Here I am again with yet another instructable from the awesome universe of Star Wars!!! My favorite one has always been The Empire Strikes Back! I was 11 years old in 1982 when it came out and it actually was my 1st Star Wars film to see. The crazy sets, the characters, THE LIGHT SABERS.....OMG I was hooked!!
Fast forward to to 1999. I brought my kids up watching these awesome movies. One night my oldest son and I were looking through a Star Wars magazine when we came across a replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite, and they want some major ducks for it!! I absent mindedly said "I could build one for way less than that!!" Instantly my 8 year old son starts asking, " Really dad? Can you do it? Can I help?" so for the next few months I was buying Plaster of Paris and experimenting with how it worked and how I could possibly pull this thing off. I knew I couldnt make an actual Han Solo, but the more I thought about it the cooler it became to have a unique replica of myself frozen in carbonite!!!! Not many people have those!
Unfortunately My Photos are limited on the build because I built this way before cell phones were a thing and the few pics I did have were lost in a flood.
Plaster of Paris or some sort of like plaster. They have different grades thats more durable and not as likely to chip so do you research. The plaster soaked gauze is handy as well.
2 sheets of plywood, hardware wire or chicken wire, some framing 2x4s, screws to put box together. I would suggest primed pine boards for the sides of the box.
Step 1: Build the Box.
First start off with the box. I dont really go for the "Movie Accurate" thing because I always change stuff up and add in my own things so that its a little different. I guess thats my way of making it more my own. I went with a 6'x3' box. framed it with 2x4s to make it sturdy and then screwed the plywood to the front side and back sides of the box.
Step 2: Day 1 Getting Plastered!!
So the time to start doing the cool stuff begins!! First off you will need at least 1 to 2 people willing to help with the process you will undertake. The way I did this was we first spread large amounts of vaseline all over my pants and shirt. we They then mixed and applied the Plaster soaked gauze to me as I laid perfectly still on a table. We needed to build a solid thick "4-5" Shell" on top of my body so that we would basically have a good "Indention" to work with. We worked it in sections. We did the area from the chest to below the knees first.
After a good hour or so and a great nap, my 2 assistants carefully lifted and pryed the plaster for the top of me. Sadly in this attempt it shirt that I wore had become bunched really badly and I could tell was not going to look right. So Day 1 of plastering was scraped.
Step 3: Day 2 Getting Plastered!!
Day 2 was planned a little different and oddly enough it ended with me in my boxers! But that tends to happen when your getting plastered! Lol!!
I was young and broke and didnt have alot of money to sink into much more plaster. So for fear of ruining my mold again I decided to do it shirtless and just wear the pants. So again I slathered on copious amounts of Vaseline and repeated the process from the last time. As the Plaster shell was being removed, we had alot of trouble getting it to release from my jeans. In a last ditch effort to we ended up cutting off my jeans and then turned the shell over and with great effort and patience were able to pull the jeans from the inside of the shell.
Remember- dont be stingy with the vaseline or what ever mold release agent you may use. It can mean the difference between keeping or losing your chest hair!!
Step 4: Day 3 Face, Hands, Boots
So now we need to get the hands feet and face completed. We used a bucket and filled it with plaster of paris. I then submerged my hands into the plaster and left them there until the plaster hardened. We did the same thing with my boots.Once I wriggled my vaseline coated hands free of the plaster there were 2 large "hand shaped cavities" in the bucket. We used a harder plaster and added a red pigment to it so that we could tell the difference between what we wanted to keep and what we needed to chip away.
Once plaster was solid I removed the boot tips from the plaster. I then turned the plaster bucket containing the hands upside down and began the slow and careful process of chipping away the white plaster keeping ever vigilant to watch for the red colored areas on the inside.
It was now time to start on the face. I was dreading this because I had read that some people freak out when they cover their face in plaster. I will sress once again, Use plenty of Vaseline or your Carbonite Sculpture with have authentic eyebrows like mine!!
The mold with the body cavity in it had been sitting for a few days now drying out. We mixed up several batches of the harder plaster and slowly poured it into the mold to form the body.
Step 5: Putting It All Together.
So it had been over a week since I had last worked on the carbonite. The body cavity was definatly dry enough to safely start trying to pry it out. We were able to chip back the edges until we could see the main piece. we then carefully pried the mold off of the main piece. We were amazed at the detail that was preserved! I figured we would possibly break off pieces were wrinkles had been or where the snap was, but it all came out ok.
We took the Chicken mesh wire that I purchased and attached it to the front of the plywood board on the front of the box. We then laid out each piece and laid a 2x4 next to it and drew a line around each piece (Face, body, boots. Hands were pretty flat. I used a porta band saw to cut down the lines.Once finished, all the piece laid flat on the board as they should.Once I was satisfied with the placement of each piece I screwed the pieces to the box where they would forever stay.
We then mixed multiple batched of plaster and poured it around the pieces until the edges and all wood was covered. I wish I would have taken a bit more time to smooth out the plaster around some parts of the body but at that time I was wanting a rougher look. I am ore than pleased with it overall though.
Step 6: Paint
So I've painted this thing several times over the years using charcoal greys, silver, and a few others I cant remember. I finally found a Pewter color that I used the last time and in my humble opinion I think thats the best its ever looked.
For years this has stood in my home. For years he stood in there without a shirt, and I wont torture you people with those images LOL!!! I finally had some time to add the shirt a few years ago. I laid a piece of saran wrap over the chest of the sculpture and basically used one of my shirts that I cut to fit the sculpture. I then mixed up fiberglass resign and poured it on the shirt till it was saturated with the fiberglass. I popped some wrinkles into the fabric till i liked the way it laid and then let it dry. Once dry I removed the saran wrap from the bottom of the shirt and used E 6000 Industrial adhesive to adhere it to the chest. I then fiber glassed around the edges of the shirt to blend it. TA-DAAAAA!!!!
That same son of mine that was reading that Star Wars magazine with me, years later when he was about 16 was sitting in the movie room watching a movie with a new date. She sees the carbonite sculpture in the back.
"Whats that" she asks.
Devin suddenly acts very emotional. "Well...that's my dad. He used to love watching movies with us before he died. So we had him encased in carbonite so he could still spend time with us"
We never saw her again!
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