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Meng’s Dune Atreides ornithopter

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Meng’s Dune Atreides ornithopter
Posted by Bobstamp on Monday, April 1, 2024 2:53 PM

I’ve completed a new model, a first for me — smallest model yet, a 1/400 (1/800?) version of the Astreides ornithopter from the new (and the old) Dune movies. Small models are challenging!

Meng's Dune Atreides ornithopter

The wingspan (all eight wings!) is about 7.4 cm, and it fuselage is 9.5 cm. It looks for all the world like a dragonfly!

It’s highly detailed, although I was disappointed to learn that the kit has no clear windows, only solid dark grey plastic. I painted them gloss black, and they look good, kinda sorta evil!

I painted the model with Tamiya paints: AS-22 Dark Earth (RAF) for the fuselage, and AS-15 Tan (USAF) for the wings, giving it a two-tone look. I dry-brushed the leading edges of the wings with XF-16 Flat aluminum. 

I’m pleased with the weathered look I achieved. That’s a first, too, being proud of my weathering, even though I myself am very weathered — thank you Vietnam! I used TS-13 Gloss Clear spray to “pre-weather” the model, brushed Flory black weathering wash into all of the recesses, wiped the excess wash off with a dry microfibre cloth. I used a kitchen paring knife to chip leading edges to reveal the white primer and lightly scratch/dull areas of the surface, and finally brushed matt clear (XF-86) onto the fuselage (everything except the windows). 

I enjoyed the build, which was my fastest ever, only a week or two, as opposed to a year or two! It was an easy model to build, but I have to quibbles:

  • Every pin had to be filed down and every hole had to be enlarged to obtain a close fit; the fit was as perfect as possible after the prep was done. 
  • The instructions are almost wordless. Most notably, although decals are supplied for “windows” and two apparent warning signs (Danger — Flapping Wings?), there’s not the slightest note about placement.

The kit includes parts for two versions of the ornithopter, one with wings extended and landing gear and access ramp down as shown in the photo of my completed model, and one with wings folded back, parallel with the fuselage and landing gear and access ramp raised.

I’ve thought about buying a second kit and building it in its diving configuration, wings folded back, gear up. If you’ve seen Dune, you know how that works. If you haven’t seen Dune, see Dune, starting with part 1, released in 2021! The photography, sound, and special effects are wonderful! Part two is in theatres now, and probably available on line.


On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Monday, April 1, 2024 3:27 PM


Congrats on your finished ornithopter! It looks great. What did you end up doing with the DANGER stencils?

We looked at the Meng 1/144 scale Atreides and Harkonnen kits for a video earlier this year, I'm really looking forward to the 1/72 scale versions. Can't wait for those to drop! 


Timothy Kidwell
Scale Model Brands
Firecrown Media


  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 5:41 AM

That is beautifully done. It gives the feel you would get thinking about how one should look!    T.B.


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