Stormtrooper Wax Sculpting
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 silicone 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 stormtrooper sculpting that you see above (from the Death Star Escape 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. This stormtrooper sculpt is interesting because, in some places, one can see indications of the wire frame used to support the wax shape. In addition, the pencil-drawn parting line indicators are very evident around the perimeter of the figure. These would be drawn on by the model maker prior to his laying the figure onto a bed of clay and pouring liquid silicon over one half of it. Its also nice to see a stormtrooper sculpt with its plastic-like gun intact. Since the guns for the stormtrooper figures were all identical, they would often be ripped out of the waxes following their use and be re-incorporated into other sculptings.

When it comes to pre-production material, something like this Stormtrooper sculpt is a real treasure; it represents the original point of creation of the figure, and thus is the basis for every incarnation of this figure produced and sold throughout North America. 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 by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Will Grief
From the collection of: Adam Lovera
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Micro Collection


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