star wars

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I walked this weekend at Wizard World in Philadelphia and it was a blast. Considering I have been working on this idea and design for almost 5 months, I was happy it worked out and was enjoyed by people at the show. I even got stopped by some 501st guys, which also made me happy. What follows is some background and photos from the build process. Enjoy!

So for the past few months I have been building a character that came to mind for a costume.  I was thinking about who actually maintained things on the Death Star. If you remember the first movie the Death Star blows up after Luke shoots into the Thermal Exhaust Port. So I started thinking, wouldn’t a Maintenance Trooper be an interesting idea. So, I started drawing and thinking. I sketched out this idea of a trooper in overalls and a construction helmet and came up with the below.

I decided on a Thermal Exhaust Port Maintenance trooper, now I’m a big guy so I was worried about any Stormtrooper Armor fitting me. I did some research and ended up buying a suit of armor from Shepperton Design Studios (SDS) in England. They made the original costumes for the movie back in 1977.  I knew I would have to expand the biceps and forearms to fit properly. I ended up expanding them with white plastic signs I bought at Home Depot. I bought an extra helmet from Hasbro and used that as the bucket I attached my construction helmet to. This way I didn’t need to ruin the original SDS helmet. I crafted a few items to fit the character and used a tool belt from dickies with a spare trooper belt I bought, again not to ruin the SDS costume, because maybe one day I will do a full Stormtrooper outfit.

I ended up adding a shoulder pauldron that I modified from a safety vest. Also aged the helmet and added some stickers to tell the story of the character. I added a Thermos instead of a thermal detonator, also had to mount a fan inside to keep me cool, and an old pair of lenses from some glasses, so I could see, since I couldn’t actually wear my glasses. It was a fun build and kept the brain active.

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Probably one of the best things a viewer of a TV show, Movie or Broadway play can say to a costume designer…is nothing about the costumes. If done correctly the attire worn by the cast will blend seamlessly into the type of media they were watching. We live in the world where many of us pay attention to the special effects in a film and often forget about the sets, the music, the costumes and all the work that goes into making a film pop on the big screen.  That’s OK, all those elements are designed to whisk us away into a place we haven’t been before or ever seen.

Now of course the costumes don’t want to go unnoticed at all because it’s what helps make the character. Princess Leia wouldn’t be what she was if not for the glamour and clean lines of her costume. The wrong vest and pants for Han Solo and you would think he was a garbage man and not a Smuggler.  The materials used, the cut, the style, all important. I Recently had a chance to look through the new book STAR WARS COSTUMES: The Original Trilogy. This is a book to have if you really want to look into the detail and craftsmanship behind the costumes, helmets and other elements of the Three Original Star Wars films.

You see the costumes from the films in a way you never have before. Up-close and personal. Creators of the book brought out the original costumes from the Lucas archives to show them in a way you NEED to see them to understand what beauty and craftsmanship went into the work.

If you are a STAR WARS fan, you will love this, but if you are an artist like I am, you are going to really enjoy this. From perfecting the perfect fabric cut, replicating scratches and bullet holes on Boba Fett’s helmet, It’s beautiful.

Gatefold Photo from Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy. Lucas Books/Chronical Books 2014

Gatefold Photo from Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy. Lucas Books/Chronical Books 2014

The Above is just one of many examples you will see through the book.  As the book progresses through the three films you see how characters are created by what they wear based on their environment. Planet Hoth costumes were interesting, such as vinyl sheets for Imperial snowtrooper costumes, or creating the camo costumes for the speeder races through the woods on Endor.

This book is a fantastic read and Visually stunning. I recommend for the fan and the artist.

STAR WARS COSTUMES: The Original trilogy book was purchased by Paul and was not provided by the publisher for review.