Electroform Mold for Jabba the Hutt Unproduced Conceptual Roto-Cast Torso
You're probably wondering what this rusty copper turd-looking thing is. While the outside is rather odd looking, its the inside that counts. The first conceptual models for the Return of the Jedi Jabba the Hutt figure had the figure's head and torso cast in a rubbery "baby doll" like plastic to simulate the slimy feel of everyone's favorite Hutt.

The electroform mold would have originally been produced by sculpting a wax version of the torso or casting a wax piece from a silicone mold. The entire wax piece would then be coated in a special material and placed in a bath of liquid containing metal particles. Once the bath was electrically charged, particles of the metal in the bath would aggregate around the wax piece. After several days in the bath, the metal coated wax piece was removed and heated causing the wax to melt out the opening.

Once the wax was removed, pieces could be cast from a fluid rubber material into the cavity seen in the photo above. The top of the mold still has some of the original excess rubber stuck to it. The rubber was poured in and a metal cap was placed over the opening. Typically called "roto-casting," the rubber hardens after being heated inside the mold and spun to allow the walls to be evenly coated with the hardening plastic in the mold's crevices. With the inside left hollow and the rubber hardened, a vaccum was inserted which sucks the air out of the inside and collapses the rubber piece allowing it to be removed from the small opening.

The conceptual version of Jabba differed in many regards from the figure ultimately released. While the production Jabba had its head cast in a manner similar to this, the torso was cast from hard plastic and in two sections. The above photo shows the mold next to a torso piece cast.

Many other Kenner Star Wars toys were cast in this similar matter; many of the heads and boots for the human figures in the large size line, the Yoda Hand Puppet and the production version of the Jabba the Hutt head among others.

Description by: Steve York
Photo: Steve York
From the collection of: Steve York
Country:United States
Film:Return of the Jedi
Category:Prototypes / Product Concepts


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