Acetate Sculpt for Leia Hoth Action Figure
The standard material for sculpting action figures--as well as a great many other consumer products--is wax. The material allows for a great degree of detail as well as great malleability. You can melt it, mold it, scrape it, texture it; and if you make a mistake, it's not a big deal--you just heat up the botched portion and fix it as you will.

Given these advantages, it should come as no surprise that the great majority of Kenner Star Wars action figures were sculpted in wax. It's what every in-house sculptor at the company used almost exclusively.

But there was a contract sculptor working for Kenner during the vintage years who used a different material: Bill Lemon. An old-time toy sculptor who had cut his teeth sculpting model kids such as those produced by the Aurora company, Lemon preferred to work in a hard, unforgiving substance called acetate.

The process Lemon used to create his sculpts was, by nature, subtractive. That is, it progressed by means of carving, with Lemon working exactingly to remove bits of acetate from a larger, unformed block. The process is best likened to a sculptor who carves into solid marble rather than modeling in clay.

The Bill Lemon work you see here is, of course, the sculpt for the Hoth Princess Leia figure. It was sculpted in seven distinct portions, all of which fit together snugly like a smooth, pink Voltron.

You can see how tightly the detail is rendered in these head close-ups.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:Empire Strikes Back
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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