This is the only plastic scale model of the Death Star I can find.
AMT released this model sometime after the release of the second film, The Empire Strikes Back. The model is about 11 inches in diameter when completed. AMT did not publish an actual "scale" reference to the model.
The kit was originally sold as a complete ready-to-build model, with plastic cement and small paint tubs and brushes included with the kit.
The result is only different shades of gray panels onto the predominately gray plastic base color of the model. This just was not going to work for me.
So, we set out to do the foundation construction for the kit, putting together the two hemispheres of the model, while deciding what to do about detailing.
The first thing we did was to pull down some images of the Death Star from the Internet, in order to research the movie model and possibly what others had done in their own model work. Only the former, pictures of the movie model, or conceptual drawings of the ship were all that was available. But, they can into good use.
We took section from the conceptual drawings, which provided surface detail and "window" locations and pasted them onto a flat sheet in patterns, to create "strips" of colored surface detail. We did this for both a lighter and a darker Grey-based set of surface patterns. Those sheets were then printed on clear decal stock, and coated. My plan was to measure section of the surface, cut out a decal section to match that location and place it. By alternating or maintaining light & dark areas, I could try to achieve a seance of structure as well as randomness in the surface detail.
Staring with a 1/4" black striping tape "chasm" placed around the equator of the sphere, we started to apply the rings of decal section.
The first rings were done with more consistency of shading, but as we moved up the spree, we started to do more alternating between Leigh and dark sections, in order to show that the ship was not built all at the same time, by the same construction crews.
Once placed, each section was set, using Microscale "Micro-Sol" decal setting solution. The upper and lower "pole" areas were both done using overlapping sections of dark gray decal.
We later decided to paint all intervening areas bet wen the surface panels with dark Gray paint, Tami ya TS-4 German Grey, to be precise. This color was close enough to both the light and dark Gray panels to bring the whole surface closer together, while STOL maintaining the sense of randomness.
The finished model and it display base. The base was furnished with the kit, painted with a Flat Black base coat, with Tami ya TS-4 German Grey used to do the Imperial Seal, and copper and gold metallic paints used to do the lettering. The entire model was protected using an airbrushed coat of Micro scale Micro-Flat, to dull out the shiny surface of the decals.