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Saturday 13 November 2021
Whatever you choose to call them, greeblies, greebles or nurnies are an essential for the serious scratchbuilder and trash-basher.
What are they?
They’re the hundreds of mechanical-looking parts that break up the surface of a model and give it the feeling of a real, working machine. According to Frank Burton, who was a department head on The Empire Strikes Back, 'Greeblie is a word George Lucas coined on Star Wars for something you can’t otherwise define.'
When you saw those huge star destroyers hove into view for the first time and marvelled at the surface detail, what you were actually looking at were thousands of pieces of rubbish and tiny parts cannibalised from model kits and stuck to the model's outer skin. Famously, the engine ports on Han Solo's Millennium Falcon are shovels from plastic bulldozer kits.
But, while Lucas might have given them a name, they predate Star Wars by at least a decade - certainly model-makers were using them in the late 1960s and early 70s on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and TV shows like Thunderbirds. In fact, one of the industry's most infamous greeblies can be seen in the underground (or under swimming pool) hangar of Thunderbird 1.