A Star Wars Movie is nothing without well-made costumes and props. To keep up our low-budget motto we decided to create most of our costumes ourselves. Of course our costumes have not the perfection and detail-level as the (purchasable) Deluxe kits. They are also not applicable to be examined at conventions at close range. But this is not their intended purpuse. They are just film props, wich have to do their job in front of the camera. Therefore an authentic Star Wars Look and a high toughness (for the stunts) are the main focus. All needed are a few ideas, a fully equipped workshop and a close hardware store ;-) And, by the way, this is a perfect way to make the whole production more charming. Hey, about 30 years ago the guys from Lucasfilm and ILM had nothing more than a small workshop, some old ship kits, paint and their imagination. And we all know what they created there. Cinema is an illusion, the eye sees only what it wants to see...
The legendary Sandtrooper, probably the most beloved armor among fans. Would it be possible to build most parts on our own? Yep, it would ;-) While purchasing the helmet, leg armor and torso via ebay, we decided to build all remaining parts with help of a few waste pipes and old paint buckets. For example, the forearm armor parts were made of bog brush containers because of their beveled form ;-)
Everything started with good pictures of reference and a well equipped workshop.
The pipes became the arm armor parts, the buckets were sawed into the torso and belly parts.
Afterwards we glued small wood battens onto them, filled the joints and primed with more filler.
First tests on a living object - allright, it fits!
grind, grind, grind....
Now the best part: giving the armor the typical battle-damaged look by using Revell paint and thinner.
Having arrived in Tunesia we realised that the colour we chose was exactly the same colour as the set walls - what a perfect coincidence!
As a result of having not enough time, the Snowtrooper couldn't go conform to our DIY routine. Thus we had to buy the costume. Fortunately we found it at Oli´s Troopershop. Oli had already helped us out with some Stormtrooper parts for the Tunesia trip. Again he convinced us with fair prices as well as really resilient (!), high quality products.
White kitchen foil, Plexiglas and tinging foil made the bought helm look a lot more menacing.
Again Revell colours and thinner were used then for a battle-damaged troop look. The skirt and bags were sewed of thick white cotton cloth. The legendary "MUKLUK"-cold-resistant boots of the British Army can be bought on ebay for 7 Dollar ;-) The question of what kind of head cover a commanding officer of the Snowtroopers would wear was easily answered by Marcel, just look at the pic.
The camouflaged Kashyyk-Clonescout from "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" was exceptionally uncomplicated to build and easy to transport. As a base we used the helmet and torso armor of the common Bikersouts. After a few changes to the helmet (visor and gumshield) and with the help of fresh paint the basics for our jungle mission was finished.
The other armor parts were made of pipes and German military clipbags. "The DC-15S Carbine-Blaster" was built completely out of wood. As we remembered our incident at the Munich Airport when flying to Tunisia, we decided to make it fit for further airport security checks in the future. That's why it consists of 5 parts. Disjointed and separated onto more suitcases it will easily go through now ;-)
Unfortunately, the costume is not 100% the one from ROTS. However, the habitual Used-Look, a perfect scenery and the Kashyyk-like rainy weather made the Trooper look very authentic ;-)
Wire served as the base for our mask.
To stabilize the mask we hardened it with papier mâché, sprayed it black and taped places which might cause problems.
Now we nailed the typical fabric stripes onto it.
The mouth was wrapped in leather (no way to do it without a hot glue). Massive aluminium sticks were rounded into our horns and eyes to get the conical form.
Isn't it lovely?
The beloved protocol droid is likely to be the most complicated costume. Buy it? Hm, we don't know where. Additionally, if we found one, it would surely be invaluable. Build it on our own? Impossible! Or not? One who tried and created a small marvel: Marco Hammerand ! You can find the detailed description on his website. Unfortunately he couldn't finish 3PO due to lack of time. So we adopted the goldenrod and put him - literally speaking - back up on his feet.
3PO mainly consists of wire-netting fence, glas fiber mat, synthetic resin and filler. The right picture shows you perfectly the "comfortable" ;-) interior of the mask.
A fine detail: the battery-operated glowing yellow eyes. The pretty heavy costume is worn by straps. It weighs several kilograms and it is impossible to move in it ;-)
To get the typical gold-look we simply copied Marco´s technique and used self-adhesive golden foil. The small foil stripes cannot be seen anymore from a distance of 1 meter whereas the briliance is a lot better than with a simple golden lacquer.
Of course it's not perfect, but if you remember that we built it completely on our own (Marco did the main part), you'll find out that it is a formidable costume from a certain point of view, as old Ben would say...
In order to complete the most famous droid couple of the galaxy, Marco started to build R2-D2 in its original state. As a foundation he build a wooden frame which should of course be able to make the Astromech-typical movements.
Based on many drafts and reference pictures all the alluminium parts, like the body and the dome, were engraved, varnished and finally put on the skeletal framework. Many more parts were attached with a love for detail and gave the Astromech droid his final look.
The final outcome is simply spectacular and is even up close & personal not distinguishable from the original R2. Anyway, we are incredibly proud to present this small and bold droid in our film!
If you want to find out more about Marcos passion and talent with Star Wars costumes and droids, just visit his website.
The whole costume is pretty simple: a blue shirt, grey army trousers, black boots - and finished. All needed is the well known black and white helmet we all know from "Episode IV - A new hope" Either you use (as Lucasfilm did back then) a helmet ("Mark II") of the U.S. Navy back from WW2 (quite expensive, about 150$) or you try to get a complete kit via ebay (not much cheaper anyway). Both ways, however, were too costly and charmless in our opinion. There had to be a simpler and cheaper way.
And there was. As a base we used an old biker helmet as well as another old paint bucket. But just cutting out a big piece and fixing it to the helmet wasn't possible due to its' curve. So we cut out two pieces and riveted them to the helmet.
Now that looked desastrous. Maybe we would have been better off with the helmet kit? Too late, just two days to go before shooting. So we built a communicator out of a small plastic container for needles and an old radio antenna and attached it to the helmet. After using lots of filler the helmet started to get in shape. A new hope! ;-)
After the helmet had been sanded down and sprayed, the final stage of making it look older began. By using Revell-paint (and smearing it with thinner afterwards) small scratches wouldn't be seen anymore and the helmet became its' authentic battle-damaged look. Welcome to the Alliance!
On first sight the legendary bountyhunter's costume appears to be pretty easy. What a mistake! The moment you have a closer look on the details of it's armor parts, you quickly realize the true amount of work waiting there. Because there are so many different parts we can only give you a partial insight into our built.
For the forearm gauntlets we conically bended metal plates and clenched them. The "mounting" contents of carved Styrofoam glued onto the metal plates.
Priming, sanding, grinding, painting, giving it the battle-damaged looks - and one of Boba´s forearm-weapons is finished. The rocket etc. on the left gauntlet is a painted Resin-kit, which can be purchased at the bay. Up close it cannot compete to the original kit you can buy, of course...but the costs of about 7 Dollar make up for it ;-)
The cheapest helmet available from "Rubies" does a great job being a base for further construction. Themed on "Pimp my helmet" small jobs like painting and a new visor do the trick in gaining a much nicer "pinnacle".
Wooden blocks with leather glued to them are the base for the ammunittion-belt, the brown blaited cotton belt is horse strap (the ingenuity of Lucasfilm was unbeaten a that time). For the knee protectors we sawed drainpipes and painted them yellow, the small application on the side is just an ordinary dowel.
Aluminium plates became armour parts, were painted and finished with sledge and steelbrush for getting them into the havocked looking state. Finally they are attached with Velcro fastener for getting them easier on and off the jumpsuit.
Unfortunately this costume never made it to the set as we met Florian via the www who added not only his bodily service but also his perfect built deluxe-Bobba-Fett-Costume. You can admire the elaborate presentation of his costume on our wallpaper. Anyhow our "Self-made Bobba" is making us proud too and will, remembering all the hours spent in the workshop building it, always be of special value to the team.
The appearance of the coolest smuggler in the galaxy was planned as a short cameo. Thus our costume didn?t need to be very detailed. The gun holster was made out of premium leather and aluminium plates. The legendary blaster is nothing more than an average german military weapon from the 1st world war, the Mauser C96. Metal replicas are quite expensive (from 150 Dollar and up), the original MASTER REPLICAS version costs more than multiple. Way to much for us and besides that, a metal prop was not quite suitable as far our plane travels wereconcerned ;-)
Fortunately we found a cheap (5 Dollar) copy at e-bay, a so calledsoft-air gun, which was (apart from the material) very authentic. We improved it with a toy-scope and a handcrafted aluminium silencer. After a new paintjob the blaster got It´s typical "battle-damaged" look.
The rest of the costume was done quickly. Red stripes were attached to a pair of some old black pants, a black army jacket was cut apart and with some few stitches converted into a smugglers vest. Adding some horseman boots the costume was finally finished. Not very sophisticated and of course not ready to be inspected on a convention, though for our short cameo surely sufficiant ;-)
Our corporation with the fanfilm makers from Tydirium helped us, besides having a lot of fun and experience to get in contact with two guys, who, by the way, became big supporters of our movie, great prop builders and of course good friends: Michael Orso and Marcel Kern. Using mostly parts from the junkyard Michael build his wonderful droid with a large amount of creativity and real love into detail.
A styrofoamhead was cut, filled and sanded to become the typical robot head. A classic "Elvis"-style microfon was bought and transformed to become the authentic mouthpiece.
Waste from a scrap metal container was used to build the basic bodystructure. An old paint bucket was applied with bitumen to become the upper chest.
Finally it was painted with the typical blue-green grained finish, which is normally used for classic motorcycles.
The arms consist of old metal tubes, broomsticks, tubes and lids of aerosol cans. After the silver paintjob it looked at is was always one single piece ;-) Of course we could have saved a lot of effort and time by using an computer generated 3D-model of the 2-1B droid, that would’ve of course been more flexible. But come on, isn´t this much more charming ;-)
While Michael was building the medi-droid 2-1B, Marcel did face an equal challenge. In 200 hours of work he developed the multiarmedmedi-droid FX-4 MK1, which supposed to be a near relative of the medi-droid known from "Episode V - The empire strikes back". We already published some pictures in our shooting report from the Cantina, but now it?s time to take a short glimpse behind the scenes (you´ll see all details on Marcel´s website).
Marcel used a lot of different things to build the main skeleton. Among other things an old lampshade, a choped ventilation pipe, the bottom of a charcoal-grill and a few old buckets.
After this he topped off industrial paintbrushs and glued them to several small wooden parts. After it's first prime coating the droid started to appear in it's typical look... ...and was ready to get pimpt with some extra modules.
With a massive love to detail Marcel attached an old bicycle pump, another lampshade and a charging cable to build the droids telescope arm. Adding some test tubes from a chemical labor he managed to intensify the look of a disused medic;-)
Finally it was time to breathe some "life" into the droid. Therefore Marcel attached a circuit board and some small diods into the droids head. Well, mission accomplished!
Actually this prop was supposed to be used as a surgeon in a medical station (of the rebel alliance). But since it's a well known fact, that Jawas are selling droids to each and everybody in the SW-universe, we decided to use our FX-4 MK1 as a bartender in a shabby cantina on Tatooine. Being aware of his programming (and medical knowledge), this was surely a career our scrap metal companion had never dreamed of ;-)
While Chewie already had a cameo appearance at our Cantina Shooting, we urgently needed other Wookies for our battle at Kashyyk who deliberately had to look different from Han Solo’s partner. Which is why Jörg Steegmüller came along just at the right time, building a Wookie for the STAR WARS Convention JediCon 2010.
The foundation was a depiction of Bernhard Köhler who would don the costume later on. While the mask of the Old Trilogy by Stuart Freeborn was made out of latex foam, Jörg used the more flexible and more consistent silicone.
Regarding the mechanics, Jörg decided against the servo-hydraulic mouth control and rebuilt the old apparature of the classic Chewie to 100 %. This way the mouth can be set up to be able to either lift the right or the left lip higher up.
Finally many many hair had to be stinged in manually. After about 10 weeks of working time, the Wookie only lacked a good haircut to look like the well-known Chewbacca. This is when we came in. We managed to set up a date with Jörg before his Wookie made it to the barber.
And so we are happy to have wonderful Wookie-shots which you can already get a glimpse of in our newest Teaser C.
We don't want to devaluate any of the costumes mentioned above but this one is the most stunning and extraordinary one: the exact copy of the world famous puppet of tiny Jedimaster Yoda from "The Empire Strikes Back". The original was created by Stuart Freeborn back in 1978. 22 years later the three passionate modelers and puppeteers Jörg Steegmöller, Dirk Rößler and Michael Peter did not only plan to make an exact copy of the original but to build a fully functional puppet, breathing life into it this way. Dirk and Jörg modelled Yoda's head, hands and feet for over two months. They studied uncountable pictures and films, counted Yoda's wrinkles, looked for any detail they could find in all sources possible to understand how the illusion of the original puppet worked.
One day they finally managed to copy the facial expression and the functionality of the puppet in a model. After reaching this level they began to build the shape, copied Yoda's stick and body and compiled a highly flexible reproduction of Yoda's green skin on some kind of skull basis. When Yoda's skin along with the laminated pillar was done they had to construct a working mechanical movement model. Having copied several construction drafts of ILM, Michael created the mechanics completely in brass. Most parts were bolted together and soldered up as Yoda's movements put a lot of force onto the materials. It still had to be highly lightweight so that the puppeteers could comfortably do their job. The eyes have a thin acrylic shell with hand drafted cores inside of them. Those cores were painted like the original of the films.
The whole mechanics are build along a bell crank in order to move the eyes horizontally as well as vertically. The puppeteer creates these movements with his hand and his middle finger. The eyelids and the ears as well as the right arm with the crutch are moved from the outside on piano wires. Jörg moves the head, mouth, eyes, brow, left arm and imitates Yoda's voice. A couple of tests later the whole mechanics were put into the support carapace. As a last step the silicone skin had to be aligned and affixed and painted, the hair had to be sown in and the upholstery had to be put in to make the puppeteering more comfortable.
Finaly Yoda could slip into his coat and the fun part began: "Too old he is!" ;-)
These little lovely hologamecharakters had their short appearance in "Episode IV - A new Hope" and nearly were the reason C3PO had almost lost his arm by a Wookie ;-) Our monster figures were made using children modeling clay, which was individually shaped and then baked by 120° in the oven. Finally they were painted in funny colors.
The game table was made of two flower trivets, which were attached together and visually enhanced by diodes. The supporting leg was actually a painted drainpipe.
In spring 2007 the Austrian film project „The Price of Freedom“ started to build a Y-Wing cockpit in a small shack in Bavaria. As we helped them building it on a couple of frosty cold weekends, our friends allowed us to use their cockpit for some small scenes for our film, which we are still very grateful for. As a small “thank you” to its builders, we want to present the construction work here that took nearly 2 years.
Based on lots of drafts, a massive wood plate was used as the foundation to build the superstructure on top one by one. The challenge was to get a stable construction, on the one hand, and to keep the costs for the material and the weight on a low level, on the other. The solution was to use wooden ledges combined with Styrofoam panels, which are easy to work on and insensible to common paints and colours. As they planned to do only shots from the inside, the outside could be ignored.
After finishing the skeletal construction work, the varnish followed, and in an instant our bricolage became a real cockpit. A first seating test gave us a first impression on how the later shooting material could look like. Pure fun with a STAR WARS feeling included ;-)
Eventually many details were prepared and added to the cockpit with a love for detail, like tubes, consoles, buttons and lights.
Thanks to the building on a framework-basis 5 individual parts were created that could be removed separately on the shootings to our liking.
With a working period of about 2 years all in all and 300 working hours and the cost of about 400 € the effort compared to the shot scenes is quite high. But it was worth it because nothing can top a real cockpit. And after shooting for the first time, which was incredibly funny, all the effort was forgotten instantly ;-)
While a lot of fanfilm makers use blue screen shots in combination with computer generated background images, we always tried to use real props and sets. We love the charm of the real set from the original STAR WARS movies, but to be honest, it looks way better. Therefore we were all ears when together with the Tydirium filmteam, an idea came up, to build a real size stardestroyer corridor. After a rough calculation and planning we decided to build the set together, and to shoot both our fanfilms in it.
Two weeks later Michael, a friend and a great supporter of both film productions, managed to get the concession, to use an old industrial building in munichs outerrim, and already 4 weeks later we started to build our set. Regarding to our motto "Size does matter!" Werner (Tydirium) used his art skills to develop the architecture and Juergen (chief constructor Tydirium & Banthapoodoo) was supposed to be the technical instructor for building the set . So here we are, after 4 month we were very proud to present a film set, which is regarding size, authenticity and love to detail, surely a unique one in the entire (fanfilm)world. In the following pictures we would like to invite you, to follow us on this journey. Have fun!
First of all we started with a wooden basic building. Thus the static of the ceiling panels wasn´t very strong, we had to built some kind of a self containing structure.
Then we attached single wall-elements out of wood and drywall segments.
After attaching the wall-segments on the scaffolding, the corridor began to get it´s typical shape.
The structure of the wall already looked very well, but the typical imperial look wasn´t achieved until we built the arches of the corridor.
Doing this we always tried to make those important winding looking elements and a complex seeming structure.
By building this complex structure with curves, rooms and doors in combination with different camera angles we try to create the impression that the set was bigger than it really was.
After finishing the main corridor, we concentrated on the details, like the doors. They should look massive, but we needed to open & close them easily.
Phillip solved this by developing a very clever wire construction similar to a muffle, which worked really well during our shootings.
Finally we started to decorate the rooms and the smaller corridors. Then it was time to build the imperial consoles. Therefore we used the cardboards walls, usually used for wardrobe backs, which we purchased from IKEA, were slightly bend into the right shape, screwed and filled with putty.
Tiny elements like lights, little user interfaces and monitors on the doors and imperial consoles gave the set its final appearance.
For one of our scoundrel corridors we had a special idea. We build some kind of partition wall panels and connected them with cardboard tubes. For the decoration of the engine room, we used a lot of strange stuff. It´s really amazing, how cardboard boxes, flowerboxes turned upside down, empty aerosol cans, coffee cup lids, screw tops and vacuum cleaner hoses, e.g. can look like, after a decent paint job ;-)
Unfortunately we still had to fill and cover 2000 screws. Not really a nice job ;-)
But then we finally could start giving the whole thing an appropriate paintjob (grey blue-ish walls and a dark-grey floor and roof).
And there it was, the corridor of a imperial Stardestroyer, situated inside an old industrial building. Our first impression after the color dried, was awesome!
The emperor would have been proud of us. We of course were very proud of our building an entire imperial interior of scratch ;-)
Finally some summarizing information:
- Time needed to built: approx. 4000 hours
- Costs (only material): approx. 4000 Euro
- Feeling and fun (during the shooting): Priceless
- would we build something like that ever again? NEVER EVER ;-)
Although we had a lot of helpers, our manpower was far from the capacity of George Lucas´s. That´s why the project became a real challenge after a couple of weeks, which could only be achieved by a strong will and stamina. I really like to thank our partners from Tydirium (Werner and Phillip), which really fought all the way to the end. It was a real honor to work with you and we had a lot of fun. Juergen, our chief constructor and brave supporter, who worked hard till late at night: without you this project would not have been possible. Michi, Martin, Stefan, Alex, Olli, Dirk, Franco, Mickey and all the other voluntary helper: THANKS !!!!
Please enjoy some pictures of the final set:
Question: What fanfilm has his own toy figures? Answer: WE DO! ;-) Because of his job our producer went to Bejing, living there for 6 months in 2010. Apart from so many fantastic and interesting experiences he made there, he and our main actor (who was visiting him in April) met pupeteer Hou Ze Lin. In the midst of the beautiful lanes of the old Hutong quarters Lin offered to create a miniature bust in about 20 minutes. We couldn't resist the idea that just came to our mind but it was hard to explain to our new Chinese friend what we wanted as he only spoke Chinese ;-)
For the skull Ze Lin used a skintoned ball of Plasticine. He cut out mouth, ears and even nostrils with tools of your everyday manicure set.
As a next step he formed the hair, put it onto the head and fringed it with his nail scissors. In the end he rolled tiny balls for the pupils and set them into the eyes with a tweezer. For the final colour of the mouth Lin used lipclose.
Especially impressive was the material he used as the main ingredient of the bust which is - apart from resin and glue - built completely of sticky rice! Bon appetit! Although, if you think of it, according to the saying the fugues of the Chinese Wall were filled with sticky rice. So you better not eat it ;-)