It is currently Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:52 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  [ 469 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 32  Next
Author Enter your Message here
 Post subject: "Goldie" - A Tale of Transformation: from Trash to Gold
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:11 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
"Goldie" - A Tale of Transformation: from Trash to Gold
10/22/2010 Update

Image

In the latter half of 2006 (gosh, it's been that long?), I joined the community as an individual who wanted to spend hard-earned cash on a nice Vader prop. That sincere desire turned into a nightmare with so much money spent on what, in some cases, turned out to be junk or rip-offs by vendors claiming their work was "cast off the original" or was "Prowse-sized". Like many newcomers, I read various fan websites and forums that seemed to posture themselves as authorities of accuracy and authenticity, but when my Internet mail order props finally arrived, the reality of the purchase was more than often a painful experience. Unfortunately, I didn't always get my money back.

I'm just a guy like you, who knew little about Vader as a sculpture at the beginning of this journey.
This is a story of where after having been taken advantage of or let down* by vendors once too many times, I decided to roll up my sleeves and work on these ghastly kits and turn my fortunes around. What you're about to see is a documented journey.

As you peruse the pages of this long-standing thread, you'll notice that I had never done this kind of work before. I was learning as I began salvaging these bad purchases. I would end up trying one thing after the other, and although promising at first, some avenues had to be abandoned.

I found I was growing and developing as an artist. I'd walk away from the project for months, even a whole year, and would work on other things. I found that what I learned, I could bring back to Goldie, and that coming back to a project with a fresh perspective allowed me to see Goldie's potential instead of what it was.

It all started around February 14, 2007. I originally started with a Golden Armor kit, which is a poorly recast Don Post Classic Action. "Goldie" was named after this vendor. Here's what I had to deal with:

Image

Image

Image

The above was brittle and chalky, with many air pockets to where the fiberglass was completely separated from the resin. There was also short-strand fiberglass used that made the mask completely unwearable.

Now, another vendor mistake came from Armormask, an eBay vendor, who also goes by Nightmare Armor Studios who might be better know for Jihn Roh suits (look him up on The RPF - those suits appear to be made using the same process and materials). He had some nice photos up of Vader but what it turned out to be a horribly disfigured polyurethane kit that T-VIRUS (a fellow victim who eventually became a friend) and I dubbed "Darth Ugly". When I confronted him on misrepresentation by photographing his Vader too close (such that the photographic distortion obscured the horrible shape) he just blasted back at me.

Image

Image

Image

The above mask was cast aside. The dome had some potential. As you will see, the Golden Armor helmet was just too flared and the flange angle was too wide. It was a flawed foundation to begin with. I thus tried to use the Darth Ugly dome with the Goldie mask, but later abandoned that idea. The Darth Ugly dome may end up being paired up with my Scratchbuilt ROTS project.

This is a story that shows how me, a sincere fan, became a victim, but turned this around to make a helmet that would ultimately surpass and shame the quality of the vendors who let me down in the first place. I am grateful for the encouragement of many members of the community, especially NoHumorMan (who now goes by Too Much Garlic) who has encouraged me on and was, in my early days in the hobby, my mentor of sorts. This process has taken me from financial (and emotional) depression to a strong sense of accomplishment. I feel I am more a prop artist and prop lover today than I did at the beginning of this journey.\

At the same time, I hope that others who have been searching for a nice Vader prop but have had made bad investments may become encouraged by this project.

A Run of Goldie

October 2010 update - I have been asked if I'm going to offer castings of "Goldie" to help fellow fans, and I will say this is something I aspire to do. I've spoken to someone for help as I have no means to do any molding and casting. So it will depend on our work schedules, weather, and financial resources. Stay tuned.

* It should be noted that Golden Armor provided additional kits -- howbeit dismal in quality -- as recompense as GA did not refund my money. Armormask (Nightmare Armor Studios), however, was the worst eBay experience possible, and I never had resolution from his misleading sales description.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:25 am, edited 14 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:12 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
So let's start with the mask that is the very basis of this project.

Image

The above is a low quality recast of the Don Post Classic Action (DPCA) which was, in its hey day, a licensed product from Don Post Studios (DPS). It was like an economy model, made of plastic. DPS also had the Don Post Deluxe (DP DLX) which was their premium fiberglass version. Both are structurally similar and yet different. The DP DLX had a cylindrical dome mounting system on the crown of the mask, whereas the DPCA used a "T" shaped mounting system.

Above, you can see that Golden Armor had cut the areas of the mounting system to create a kind of three-prong monstrosity. Ironically, one of the areas he cut away was a branding/copyright area used by Don Post Studios. GA did not bother blending the areas, and it was obvious that something from the original was crudely removed.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:14 am 
User avatar

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

Image

The dome came with a lot of excess material hanging off of the flange. The Vader-costuming authorities of the time were touting that in order to properly cover the back of the neck, you had to add 2-3 inches to the rear flange. Today, we know better, thanks to NoHumorMan and Darthvaderv explaining to us that the dome merely needs to be repositioned with the proper forward/rear pitch. We know today what the screenused prop was like. The fan vendors back then who didn't listen peddled Vader domes that, by today's standards, look like Mary Poppin's skirt hanging off the back of the Dark Lord's head!

At the time, not knowing any better, I thought I could take advantage of the extra material, but the material was structurally unreinforced and came off easily.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:18 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
Under the Iron Mask

Now this is where my nightmare began.

Image

There was an insane amount of "cottage cheese" made up of choppy, short-strand fiberglass - material that is entirely wrong for costuming props. The needles would turn the mask into a torture device. There was no way this was wearable without completely removing all that... but how? This made Leonardo DiCaprio's iron mask look like a vacation in the Bahamas. I surmised I'd have to use a Dremel -- with a sanding stone and a reinforced disc. Turns out these quickly became my best tools.

The resin Golden Armor used was brittle and chalky. By my standards today, I would consider the material inferior. However, back then, the chalkiness meant it was easy to sand.

Image

It Gets Worse

It took a long time to grind out all that short-strand fiberglass to make the mask less dangerous. However, as I examined the interior, the thickness of the resin was inconsistent. It was splotchy, ugly. And there were air pockets in various places. It turned out that the fiberglass sheets failed to bond to the resin, creating many air pockets that basically compromised the structure of the mask!.

The provider had initially told me the cottage cheese was there to "add strength", but when I ground a lot of it out, it turns out there was no fiberglass sheets there at all! In other words, the whole mask -- if properly cleaned out -- would have been structurally weak and not worth working on. In fact, the more I work on it, there is an increased chance of it crumbling or breaking and not holding up to the work I needed to perform in order to give this mask a chance and becoming something more than it was.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:20 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10860
Location: Denmark
OMFG... shudder... I do NOT envy your work-load on that thing... :eek

Am tired... so will have to write more tomorrow... but oh man... :pale

This is... :putty


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:25 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10860
Location: Denmark
No, one thing before I go to bed... make this into a display piece or bust instead of making it wearable... 'cause the way you describe it, it looks too brittle and will possibly crumble and break apart of you start removing any of the material. Not having heard much about the Golden Armor kits and how they hold up... I cannot really comment... but this is definitely bad workman-ship.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:26 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
*Sniff!*

Now notice in that last shot the three dome mounts. There is a vertical line of light. That is where the resin is so thin it is actually allowing light through.

Eventually as I was grinding this out, the prong broke off.

I would advise having big plastic sheets to catch all the resin and FG powder for easier disposal.

Now why were the dome mounts a trio? Well it turns out on the original DP CA it was essentially a "T" shaped thing. The basis of this casting had certain pieces removed and rebuilt. However, when you place the dome on it, there was so much room inside the dome that these mounts failed to find an ideal position.

In other words, they were essentially useless. Eventually, I decided, "TO POODOO WITH IT" and eradicated the dome-mounts.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:26 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:05 pm
Posts: 1312
Location: Pennsylvania
Dude....you might want to send that back and keep ugly.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:26 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
NoHumorMan wrote:
No, one thing before I go to bed... make this into a display piece or bust instead of making it wearable... 'cause the way you describe it, it looks too brittle and will possibly crumble and break apart of you start removing any of the material. Not having heard much about the Golden Armor kits and how they hold up... I cannot really comment... but this is definitely bad workman-ship.



Thanks for the moral support, bro. TRUST me. I got the structural integrity part figured out!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:27 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
T-VIRUS wrote:
Dude....you might want to send that back and keep ugly.



No way. Everyone needs some company. Even Darth Ugly needs a mother. :lol


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:29 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10860
Location: Denmark
Man... you really gotta stop buying all these kits... and save all those money for something better...

Looking forward to seeing how you're gonna salvage this one. I have faith in you! :thumbsup


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:33 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
One of the things you do when you're in a difficult situation is take a step back, breathe, and assess the situation. Now you've heard me advocate using gray primer to spot surface flaws and other defects. In this case here, I decided to use black primer. While black primer may look cool, it is not as revealing as gray. However, my goal was to see if it had any chance of really looking like Vader.

Image

It was here that I had determined to move forward with the project. I felt it had some potential. As I put it on (yes, I removed all the crap out of back) the fit was a lot tighter than my DP DLX as well as the SithPlanet GH-looking ANH facemask. I don't know if the DP CA was made smaller or if this is a cast of a cast of a cast whereupon you lose size with each successive casting. If someone can shed some light I'd appreciate it.

So here's the bad boy. I've decided to give him a chance.

The aforementioned Dremel tools worked well for the eyes. Now at this point I have not addressed the fiberglass sheet problems. Once GoldenArmor realized the problems I faced, the owner was compassionate and understanding, and I think as a result of our conversation he is no longer going to cast wearable Vaders ever again.

Image

Here are the results of my first pass at cleanup.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:40 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:05 pm
Posts: 1312
Location: Pennsylvania
With the black sprayed on it doesn't look near as bad.....not picking on you CS I to am a glutton for punishment, and love a challenge....I think they make medication for people like us. :lol


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:42 am 
User avatar

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

Fiberglass irritates the heck out of skin. One thing that was imperative was that I eventually establish as smooth a surface within the mask as possible so that it would not harm the wearer. I happen to have a delicate face, and girls seem to like the softness of my skin. :blah

You can see that I obliterated the mounting system. I later managed to find one of the pieces and used PC-7 to "glue" it back. I even had begun to use PC-7 to rebuild the facemask when it just felt... gunky. So I obliterated the PC-7, hacked it all off and removed it, and started completely over with AquaMend -- the guys who make QuikPlastic. I couldn't be happier. It was a joy to work with. You need about 20 minutes of patience to wait until the stuff cures and no longer sags under its own weight, then you use your fingers to push it into its right shape, and then use some water to smoothe out the surfaces.

And I also have the Black&Decker sander ready.

Image

Here in this photograph, you can see that I've removed a lot of the fiberglass on the right side of the inside face. The slightly darker cross-hatched patches are the original FG. The white areas that are kind of like craters are the resin.

Another thing I began to do after this photograph was to rip out as much of the fiberglass as possible. It wasn't actually structurally reinforcing anything so why bother? Also, because of all the air bubbles (the entire left face was one massive huge air pocket) it made the interior "puffy". There's probably less than 10 percent of the original fiberglass left. If I ever sell this on eBay in finished form I might be accused of false advertising if I called this an FG helmet!

After ripping out the unneeded FG, there were a lot of craters and the like, and I proceeded to sand these down. The goal here is to remove as much as possible without going through to the other side. Once those surfaces have been established, I will use either PC-11 or AquaMend to line the interior. Given that they have proven themselves to me in terms of strength and toughness, it would more than make up for all that fiberglass removal! I'd have to then sand again to make sure everything was smooth and safe for the wearer.


Last edited by CSMacLaren on Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 5241
Location: San Jose, CA
T-VIRUS wrote:
With the black sprayed on it doesn't look near as bad.....not picking on you CS I to am a glutton for punishment, and love a challenge....I think they make medication for people like us. :lol


Medication... Yeah, they're called Vader kits. :as2


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 469 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 32  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