Introduction: Han in Carbonite - Scratch Built

About: Aspiring wizard... Influenced by steampunk designs and desire to make things my way.

Since being a child i always wanted my own Han in Carbonite, but lacked the funds necessary to obtain one. Since i have been playing fibre glass resin and papie mache i decided that my skills were sufficent to attempt making one myself. This has been a long project, about six months off and on but i am more than happy with the results and had some great feedback from family and freinds. Enjoy....

Step 1: Hans Body

The first thing I needed to establish was the dimensions of the piece. Thankfully I managed to do a google search which provided these. I used a image I obtained from The RPF which credited Chris KING as the developer. Not sure who that is, but all credit to him.
I then started off by dividing the diagram into a grid and then transfer this onto a sheet of MDF. This gave me the basic structure which I outlined. I used expanding foam to form the rough shape of the body and legs.

The foam was carved to shape, and then covered with tissue paper and a
wood glue/flour/water paste. Once the main body was dry, glue soaked fabric was used to give the fabric of the shirt and trousers texture. The basic head was also sculpted in papier-mâché (more on this later). The shoes were also made in papier-mâché. Tissue paper / paste was also used to provide the texture to the rest of the board.

Step 2: Hands

For the hands I was initially planning on sculpting them. However my skills proved to be lacking. I then decided to play with alginate moulding. This is an excellent substance which when mixed will warm water creates a detailed mould.
I created two moulds of my hands and the used fibre glass resin to create copies. The only issue with alginate moulds is that they are single use, so can be costly but the results are brilliant. Care has to be taken when removing the cast from the mould, but that wasn't an issue with the resin used as it is extremely strong.

Step 3: Face

As you can see from the initial pictures, the face was okay, but was clearly lacking something (mainly a similarity to Harrison Ford). I was considering buying a resin cast of the face, but decided to try again. I carefully removed the existing face with a large hammer and chisel. Work could then begin on the face. I used expanding foam again to build up the face and neck. I then built on this ensuring that the main features were sufficiently raised and proportional. I repeated this step as I still wasn't happy, but the improvements over version1 game me hope. I think the final version is number 4. There is still slight room for improvement but it is very close and I'll settle for that rather than keep tinkering and end up spoiling it.

Step 4: Frame

Once again i refered to the plan obtained fromThe RPF (Chris KING)

The frame was built using 20mm pine. Strangely only the base section is cut square, the rest is cut at 85 degrees sloping out from the face. This was actually a lot easier than expected. I did have to remount the body after i put it in upside down.

I have left the sided flat as the panels are attachecd to the face. Holes were cut in th e location of panel 1, 2 and 5 for the electronics.

I built the recesses directly into the end pieces as I didn't want to have to cut them out and bolt on extra bits. This obviously added weight but looks better and helps strengthen the frame.

Step 5: Resin Coat

I created a resin mix of plaster, fibreglass resin and acrylic paint and applied this to the face and sides. This helped strengthen the papier-mâché and fabric. It also gave a reasonable base cost to the model. the whole peice was coated as it gave the required look and feel.

Step 6: Panels

This has been the bane of this project. You can buy the panels, if you take out a small mortgage, but that isn't in the spirit of this project.

I initially started by trying to make them out of Pepakaura from various designs located on However none of these were right and were too difficult to assemble, especially as i needed 8 copies. I then tried making a balsa wood version and planned on making a silicone mould. Once again this proved to be problematic and did not turn out right.

At this point I was becomming dispondant with the project and started thinking that i'd have to either abandon it or buy the panels. It then dawned on me that if I was spending several hundred pounds on panels, that i'd be better off buying a 3D printer.

After much trial and alot of error, i have drawn and printed all of the panels. The advantage to this ovedr buuing the available panels is that i was able to priont them with the details unique to each panel as opposed to post assembly. I'll admit my panels are slighly shallower than the ones available but still in keeping with the design. Each panel is in four sections which are then assembled.

The panels are fixed with four black japan screws and the sliders that jutt out are also drilled and screwed to aid strenth and hopefully stop them being knocked off. a small amount of wood is fitted in the recess behing the panel to aid strength.

Step 7: Electronics

Panel lights are available as a complete kit, but wheres the fun in that. So i decided to build my own circuit. I worked out that there are basically eight light clusters.

I started by looking into using an Arduino Uno which could then control each of the clusters. After researching varius options i opted for a MAX7219 chip. This is a LED driver where individual LEDs can be addrerssed. It is easy to connect it to the Arduino as it only requires three pins. It has low power consumption as technically only one LED is on at time albeit for a short period of time giving the effect of all being on simultaneously.

I then breadboarded the basic circuit and started coding. The arduino platform is exceptionally good and easy to use. I ended up with a circuit which consisted of eight light clusters with the speed and brightness being adustable vie two potentiometers. The three modes, loosly imitated from available footage is selected via an intertupted activated push button.

Once i had everything in good working order and the code relatively efficient, i used project board to assemle the components. The Arduino simply plugs onto the board.

Step 8: Paint and Lighting and Finishing Touches

After the initial resin coat was applied, the whole piece was painted with various shades of acrylic paint. I actully stubled on a pearlescent silver paint (bought the wrong one) which when mixed with other siver and black paint gives off a wonderful metallic finish. As this looked too new for my liking, a coat of dark oak wook varnish was applied. this gives an almost brass tarnished look.

Power for the panels etc is through a kettle lead an socket. this has a swith attatched and is located in the middle base resess.

Prior to mounting the completed piece on the wall, i decided to install RGB strip light to back light it. This was is colour changing and really finishes off.

Although its noty very clear on the photo, i have also included an Arebesh description on the build plate inside, should the empire want to know whos copying its stuff.... Yes i am the nerdy.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about this or my other projects.