It is currently Mon May 23, 2022 2:02 pm

All times are UTC


THE PROP DEN is primarily a Darth Vader Prop Discussion Board, but we also deal with other Star Wars Props as well as Prop Replicas from other movies. If you do not yet have an account, set one up, sign in and jump into the Vader Prop Discussions!


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Enter your Message here
 Post subject: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced ROTS Modification
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:19 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
5/5/2009 Update - FOREWORD

I had a stock condition Rubie's Vader helmet in a trade, and did a "Chad Vader" display. But the more I looked at it, the more the Modder in me ached to do a modification. I wondered how fun it would be to convert the face into a Don Post Deluxe lookalike - basically to achieve a far more accurate and artistic original trilogy Vader than I had done previously. My previous effort was not bad, but as Luke had said... "But I've learned so much...."

I don't know what possessed me to let the community steer me towards a ROTS conversion as I'm not a ROTS person and am hardly studied up on the nuances of ROTS (which most OT diehards like me don't even bother with). But I admit that, from a craftsmanship standpoint, the ROTS is quite beautiful, and that the challenge of converting the OT style of the Rubie's asymmetrical face into a more almost-fully symmetrical looking ROTS is a technical challenge.

Image

So here is the new title graphic. The rest is older info leading up to the decision to go ROTS with this. - Mac


* * *

THE ORIGINAL POST:

Image

(Above: A Don Post Deluxe (left half overlay in orange) atop a Rubie's Deluxe/Supreme Vader)

So some of you may be aware that my Rubie's modification found a new owner, and in exchange I got an unmodified Rubie's vader helmet so I can do my "Chad Vader" (see YouTube if you don't know what I mean). However, the more I regarded it, the need to modify it started itching with me again. My first modification effort addressed well over a dozen inaccuracies and it still failed to live up to its former shadow, the Don Post Deluxe. For those of you unfamiliar with the relationship, back in the old days, Don Post Studios had obtained a mold of Vader for their "Don Post Deluxe Darth Vader". DPS exists in name today as a subsidiary of another company, and when you see the Don Post Studios brand, it's mostly in latex Halloween masks. Rubie's Costume Company said they obtained the same molds Don Post Studios had once had from Lucasfilm. They produced the Rubie's Fiberglass Limited Edition Darth Vader, which has some significant resemblances to the old Don Post Deluxe (though some differences as well).

The apple fell far from the tree, however, with the Rubie's Deluxe Darth Vader (it's referred to as the "Supreme" as the whole costume set is known as the "Supreme". It's basically the same helmet).

Looking back at my first mod, there are things now that I felt I had done right, and some things that I would never have done. For example, shortening the bottom tusks was a mistake. Most if not all epoxy clays and putties that I've experimented simply won't either weld with the plastic of the Rubie's -- and is often stiffer than the plastic. When the mask flexed, the welds would break, or the epoxy clay would crack. I also did some enhancements without making a proper comparison with the Don Post Deluxe.

Now that I've gotten better with photography, aligning masks and doing overlays, the question becomes: now, knowing what I know, with 2 years' experience of study and of modifications what is the LEAST amount of work I can do to improve the looks of a Rubie's?

Some of you have already done some Rubie's mods but now you're hoping to make it look more organic and artful. I'm considering these advanced modifications from an artistic point of view from having advanced from studying the Don Post Deluxe for the last 2 years -- something that is three dimensional and right in front of me, providing a valuable experience and perspective I didn't have at the beginning of my previous modification. This is not so much a tutorial, as it's hard to convey nuances and subtleties with words. However, I hope this encourages you and inspires you.

I will also be up front and say that I've seen a rise of Rubie's modifications on eBay where someone made mods to a Rubie's, then recast it in fiberglass and resin, and started generating more sales. I've already seen some of my mods benefit eBay recasters whose products are more difficult to identify than in their stock conditions, and this doesn't help newcomers to the hobby. If you need more details on certain techniques with the intent of making a mask to sell copies, all I would ask is that you help me to help a disabled SW fan as a charity cause, and if you're okay with a portion of the proceeds of your sale can help improve the life of one person, I'd be more than happy to talk to you via PM. If you're a vendor seeking to make his wares more presentable and you don't give a rat's ass about helping someone in the process, then when you die, your soul will not go to Sto-Vo-Kor. :toothy

Heat modifications

Image

The first thing I've done is to try to not only take the neck in but to address the skull as a whole. This material is stubborn under any kind of heat, and I've already accidentally (again) melted a bit of the neck by having it too close to the heat source. This time around, I've learned that once you heat it enough to bend it, it's best to stand in front of a fan, hold the piece in place, and allow it to cool more slowly than quickly. I used to feel running it under cold water would work. I've gotten better results holding it in place using kitchen or oven gloves while watching TV.

Here you can see subtleties inspired by the VP. I've still have some slight beck flare, but it's more artfully done. The neck does appear wider, but much of this will be under the shadow of the dome. I've also tried to wrap the neck around its widest point and to reduce the size of the rear opening while pulling out the sides. You can see from the lower tubes that the wrap-around curvature has been achieved. The face is still a tad on the narrow side but in pulling the sides out and curving them around more, I hope that I can trust the shadow of the dome interior to mask some of this more.

Each person's mask will be a different shape, I'd imagine. These shots were taken at 6 feet. The changes here are subtle but I feel the Rubie's is now more heroic.

More later....


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Tue May 05, 2009 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:02 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
So how are these mods different than my first Rubie's mask? Well, hopefully, this time around I'm a little more experienced and have a better eye for this kind of thing. The first attempt was Mac as a n00b (that's elite/l33t speech for "newbie") inspired by the mod instructions by other fans available at the time, having NoHumorMan to guide me in what I wasn't able to see. That attempt worked within the confines of the misshapen face of the Rubie's. This next time around, I'm bolder. My approach is less methodical and more intuitive, so I'm basically not going to try to make this uber-accurate but to instead make the best use of the available structure. What parts of the face I don't like, I will remove and resculpt. In other words, there will be parts of the face that will be okay, and parts of the face that will be either sculpted over or totally replaced and resculpted.

Image

Now, the above shot is going to be a shock to some people, but honestly this is a small step up from what I've done previously. I've basically shown in my original thread how to make the bridge of the nose more realistic. Rather than fuss and fight with the plastic material, I'm going to blow the plastic away and hope that whatever material I use will be up to the job. This time around, I'll try using something like PC-7 because it spreads a bit better, and I will try to sculpt more instead of rely on sanding. I've had bad luck with PC-7 before but that may have been because the colder winter temperatures inhibited its ability to cure properly. I had previously used it to line the interior of the mid strip of my former dome (just in case I sand away the mid strip -- I'd need some material reinforcement) and the PC-7 seemed to cure eventually the following Spring, and seemed to also tolerate some flex without breaking the weld. Interesting. Experiment with it yourself on a hidden area and let me know what your results are.

Here's a rundown of what I plan to do.

Image

The above illustration is just a doodle and approximation. I whipped it up quickly to help illustrate my plan of attack -- it's not meant to be completely accurate. What's important for me, again, is the look rather than to-the-millimeter accuracy.

1. The eyes -- both lower and upper eyelids -- will be completely redone.

2. My theory is that the eyebrows are off and sanded down so Vader has a more surprised/thoughtful look rather than being anger and hatred.

3. Nail marks (those crescent shaped depressions on the upper cheeks).

4. The arch of the nose was too much. The Rubie's folks made it too narrow and tall and morphed it into a "forth" notch. I had to get the plastic out of the way so that I have enough clearance for a new sculpt.

5. The mouth. The teeth was a problem for me in the past, because this material is very difficult to file. Also, the farthest left and right teeth holes are too restricting for me to get detail files, and detail files tend to be very small. How should I approach this? Further, the mouth wall is thick on the left side and thin on the right. The last time I worked on this, I fixed the right and padded the outer mouth wall. I still plan to do that. However, the nose's wall itself shouldn't be too thick. What bothered me, however, was that the tiny hollow of the nose. I now have this powerful face but this tiny, tiny nose.

In light of the pain-in-the-bleep challenges I've had with (5) in the past, this time around, I will do a more novel approach.

Image

I thus used a reinforced Dremel disc and cut away the nose. You'll also notice that all the teeth are gone. This is partly using the same Dremel cutting disc, and also using a serrated fixed-blade knife* and removing part of the interior mouth wall. The idea is that I'm going to rebuild the interior mouth walls. Since I will be adding material to the right wall's outer side, it will give me a chance to re-establish the angle so that the mouth is just a bit more symmetrical. (Yes, this is quite extreme, isn't it. These mods are not for the faint of heart!) With the plastic of the right nose wall out of the way, I can resculpt the hollow bigger and make the nose wider like I see in the Bespin shots.

The problem I may be facing is that by adding material to the outer right mouth wall, the "whiskers" (the groove between the mouth wall and the forward-facing cheek surface) might not be wide enough. I'd have to taper the thickness very carefully. If need be, I may have to build out the whiskers.

More to come....


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:16 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 313
I love theses threads mac, its like a little story unfolding before our eyes,

The legend lives on..





cheers


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:16 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10847
Location: Denmark
You plan on tackling the sunken in cheeks as well?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:44 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Michigan
oy...I gotta believe that at the instant before the rhinoplasty, you had to feel a LITTLE bit nervous...??? :pale

cool thread :as2


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
NHM, Crow,

In terms of the mods, there are basically three approaches.

1. Bend the shape of the material
2. Modify the structure of the mask (filing, cutting, grinding, etc.)
3. Sculpting over the mask

Each has its own difficulties and challenges. For example, (1) requires a lot of heat and prolonged exposure -- and you may still end up with fighting with the memory of the plastic.

Now (2) is essentially removal of material.

Lastly, (3) is tricky. Crow, you asked me what makes me nervous. My first mod effort showed me that doing things in the name of "accuracy" that compromised the structure was a stupid thing for me to do. I wanted to be the first person to ever mod the Rubie's to have the proper length lower tusks. Well, the epoxy putty/clay just didn't weld with the plastic. You flex the plastic, the clay either cracks or breaks off, so you're doomed to keeping it only as a display or what-not. My goal here is to do the minumum amount of category (2) mods.

The face, as opposed to the rest of the mask, is theoretically subject to the least amount of bending. The complexity of the design, and all it's "U", "V", "M" and "W" kind of shapes means a lot of structural reinforcement which means category (1) mods are much, much, much more difficult here, so I'm left with options (2) and (3).

What scares me is not that it's scary looking (I do hope it gives people a bit of a shock effect, hehe) but that if I proceed with my mods, will they delaminate later on? The last thing I want is someone putting the mask on, flexing the sides, and certain mods would break. I may then have to confine my mods to just the face.

But we'll see how things go.

My next step would be to fill in the eyes, nose and mouth and hope none of the material comes off.

Then, once the interior mouth walls are resculpted and rebuilt, I will have to make some custom teeth.

Much of these skills are the same as what I've done with my scratch-built Vader as well as the first Rubie's mod thread.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:05 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
So here's a thought I want to run by you all. Please feel free to let me know what you think.

I was perusing some fan costumes based on the Rubie's. They were distant shots but they had the ROTS look down, simply by shooting the whole mask and dome black and using flat lenses. I couldn't make out what other mods because everything was obscured in shadow, but it goes to show how from a distance the Rubie's seems to help achieve a reasonable look if your not studied on all the details.

I was originally going to mod this and make this an ESB/ROTJ-style but then saw that the mid strip that most of us OT (Original Trilogy) people are fighting with might have in fact been done like that on purpose to achieve the ROTS look, despite the asymmetry.

My question is this: how many of you think I should make this a ROTS conversion instead of, say, a more refined OT-styled helmet?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:50 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:05 pm
Posts: 1312
Location: Pennsylvania
:wave :wave ...could be very cool.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
Well, only one person wants to see a ROTS Vader, and it just so happens that T-VIRUS is a ROTS fan and he's biased.

Actually, I have an appreciation for ROTS, else I wouldn't be scratchbuilding one.

Anyone else? Or do you all prefer that I stay on-target with an Original Trilogy style?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:02 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 313
Im not a major fan of rots, but as this is based on that it would be the obvious choice.
I think rotj or esb are my favourite vader. I just love the shiney look and the eye sockets.
This would be a major challenge though.....are you up to it mac???

So what im basically saying is go for Esb......
Im really looking forward to seeing another project from you mac.
Do you think brian might have some input as that would really add to the interest of this project.



cheers


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:41 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
chefhawk wrote:
Im not a major fan of rots, but as this is based on that it would be the obvious choice.
I think rotj or esb are my favourite vader. I just love the shiney look and the eye sockets.
This would be a major challenge though.....are you up to it mac???

So what im basically saying is go for Esb......
Im really looking forward to seeing another project from you mac.
Do you think brian might have some input as that would really add to the interest of this project.
cheers


The Rubie's is sooooo far from the beautiful thing that Brian sculpted that I think it would be abysmal to Brian. I know I would if something I made got watered down into a simplified $75 Halloween costume mask! If they had just made a plastic version of the Rubie's Fiberglass Limited Edition, I doubt we'd be modifying the Rubie's Deluxe / Supreme with such a passion!

Just to let you know, this was not intended to be an uber-accurate modification, but rather, it's about "What are the least amount of mods I can do to give it the most believable look possible." Just the amount of material I've removed so far is probably intimidating to some, but to me it's basically replacing the material by sculpting over it, rather than trying to force the material into a shape it didn't come in.

So if I do a ROTS, it's not to make the whole helmet and mask symmetrical. I'd tweak the dome slightly for an obvious asymmetrical issue, and I'd leave it alone. Whatever you didn't see within the shadows of the dome, I may not touch that. I might make the neck flare more symmetrical and flared, and that would be it. It's the face that would be given the ROTS look.

I'd feel that an OT would be "advanced modification" given the Rubie's shape as a starting point, but I suppose you could consider a ROTS conversion of this nature an advanced modification too.

Thoughts?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:14 am 
Random avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:55 am
Posts: 66
Mac,

I'm really psyched to see what you do with this mask. I love your last Rubies mask ;)

And I also think that a ROTS mod might be kinda cool. Since Rubies appears to a have done a half ROTS mod/resculpt, I think it would be cool to see what the mask might look like if someone went all the way with the ROTS mod.

Plus I think it would be cool to see as many Vaders as possible. :)

my .02

Dan


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:07 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10847
Location: Denmark
I do not really like the look of the RotS, but personally, I think it would be the best choice for this mask to try to emulate. Go for it! :thumbsup


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:17 am 
Random avatar

Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 6:48 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Lethbridge AB CANADA
bump


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rubie's Deluxe - Advanced Modification
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:49 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
Double post.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Blue Moon by Trent © 2007
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Hosted by Freeforum.ca, get your free forum now! TOS | Support Forums | Report a violation
buy web visitors
MultiForums powered by echoPHP phpBB MultiForums