4-Up Wax Sculpting for Micro Collection Unproduced C-3PO: All Micro Collection figures were originally sculpted at four times their production size. Usually, this sculpting was done in wax, but acetate--a hard, plastic-like material--was used in some cases as well. Great care was given to these sculptings, as they would have to meet the visual requirements set for the figures by the designers, as well as yield a figure which would function properly in conjunction with the mold once production got under way; the most attractive, intricately-sculpted figure in the world is useless if it won't come out of a mold with ease.
Generally, a sculptor would begin by roughing out a clay form that approximated the shape he was aiming for in the final figure. A silicon mold would then be made of this clay, into which the wax for the final version would be poured and allowed to harden. Into this wax the sculptor would then add his final detailing, working the figure until it reached a state of finish equivalent to that of the C-3PO sculpting that you see above (from the unproduced Bespin Torture Chamber playset). The principal use of such wax 4-ups was in the production of urethane hardcopies, which were created from yet another silicon mold made using the finished wax sculpt as a master.
When it comes to pre-production material, something like this C-3PO sculpt is a real treasure; it represents the original point of creation of the figure, and thus is the basis for every one of the 1:1 scale metal examples of this figure that exist on the collector's market today. Unfortunately, nearly no original sculptings have survived, most having been destroyed during the production process, or--quite horribly--melted down after their functions were met. This scarcity, however, only serves to make these sculptings all the more impressive, and helps to emphasize the quality of work that the craftsmen at Kenner put into these toys.
Description: Ron Salvatore