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My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

  1. #1
    azheat01's Avatar
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    My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I am starting up my second attempt at a life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite. Many members here saw my first attempt, which came out OK and cost around $350.00. But since I have some more detailed pieces, an increased budget, and a bit more experience, I am hoping this one will be nicer and more authentic. Here is a reminder of what the first one looked like, mostly built from scratch.



    On this new project I will be using one of Stromriders excellent partial front panel casts. I also have a set of VashDStampede's side panels which I have probably been holding onto for over a year. These are the best panels I have seen. I also have a set of D. Nguyen's panel greeblies, also been holding onto those for about a year.

    Speaking of which, D. Nguyen made an outstanding HIC and set the bar high. I doubt mine will look as good, I don't have that level of expertise nor the patience.

    Here is the partial panel I got from Stormrider.





    More to follow.
    Last edited by azheat01; May 19, 2010 at 12:27 AM.

  2. #2
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Bought my lumber and started mocking this up. Also, here are some pictures of Vash's side panels. If anyone ever has a chance to get these, don't hesitate, they are super clean and the details are incredible.


  3. #3
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Not a whole lot of time to work on this, but its coming along. Finished up the box and rough cut the holes for the panels. I still have the holes to do at the base and the top, then I want to seal this and get working on the front panel.

    I also rounded the outside edges and will do the same to the inner edges around the front panel.










  4. #4
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I decided to cut out the details on the top and bottom of the case. I don't know where I first saw that, and I am not sure if the movie prop had it, but I like the way it looks. I don't know the exact sizes, so I improvised. You wont really see these anyway when I mount this to the wall.



    I used 1/2" MDF for the panel backing. It was cheap and has a nice smooth surface. I also put a few coats of sealer on the wood.



    I am using expandable foam to fill in the voids of the HIC cast. I decided to do this first, just because I thought it would be easier than cutting the panel after it was glued down. Also did not want to run the risk of the expanding foam popping the panel off. I'll trim the excess once it fully dries.



    Hoping to start priming this sometime next week.

  5. #5
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Yesterday I started working on securing the Han front panel to the box. I used a polyurethane adhesive that works well with plastics/vinyl/rubber/etc. I also secured the edges with 1/4 inch wood screws, which helped get a tight bond. I wasn't worried about putting a few holes in the panel since they will all be covered when I pour the carbonite. I checked everything this morning and it's on there pretty solid.







    Next I poured the carbonite base. I am using a technique I used on my first HIC build, Elmer's glue with a little hardener/accelerator mixed in. Once this base coat hardens up, I will start pouring several smaller patches to build it up and give it that uneven/frozen look. I figure I will do that 3 times or so.




  6. #6
    Admin Staff webchief's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Looks fantastic! This is one of those builds I've always wanted to do but never gotten around to.

  7. #7
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Thanks, I knew I had to jump on this when these front panels were offered up. I think it's the most economical and the easiest way to build one.

  8. #8
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Some of the glue is drying fast, so I decided to start with the pooling. Did a couple small spots, will do this at least 3 more times and will try and overlap some of them. Still need to wait for some of the other areas to dry a little more. Once it is all dry and primed it will tie in nicely.


  9. #9

    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Looks great. Very Nice I'm looking for a finishe front only. Show truck project. needs to be light weight. Any Ideas?

  10. #10
    Stormrider's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I sold one of these rubber fronts to someone that actually put it on the front hood of their corvette.

    The full fronts weight about 20 lbs, the partials like shown here weight about 10-12

  11. #11
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I started pouring more today. You can see it dries well, and it even tends to shrink and distort a little adding to the effect. This is a slightly different technique than I used before, but it seems to be working just as I had hoped.













    It seems to be layering well. I still have some fine tuning to do. Again, I am hoping this all ties in together once I start priming.

    Anyone wanting to try this, let me offer some helpful tips:

    - Make sure your box is square and level when you build it, that will help when pouring the glue.
    - When you start pouring the glue, it's nice to have compressed air on hand. You can use it to shape the pools and thin them out a little.
    - Elmer's glue shrinks when it dries, keep that in mind. You may need to build up certain areas (especially around the edges of the HIC panel) with a few pours.
    - Pour in several small coats, rather than one or two large ones.

    It's coming together....

  12. #12
    High Speed Low Drag Fett 4 Real's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I so want to build a HIC desk one day

  13. #13
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Now that the two bottom base layers have mostly dried, I was able to start with the texture level. I am using a putty knife to move the glue around, helps give it that random, uneven look. When this dries and shrinks a little, the bottom layers come through just a bit. I'll do one more touch up layer and call it good. I won't know for sure until after I get the first layer of primer on.

    The best thing about working with this glue is that it's easy to move and its non-toxic, brings back memories of elementary school, except this time I'm not eating it!




  14. #14
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Today I put some primer on to see how everything is tying in. I think the look is great, the technique works; but something is a little off. I need to step back and look at some more reference shots, then re-evaluate how I want to work this.






  15. #15
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Thanks for the comments!

    After looking at this for a while, and checking some reference photos, I think I found out what was bothering me.

    1) The carbonite base seemed a bit thin. Its hard to tell in the photos, but where the red arrow is, I wanted the carbonite to reach that lip. It was too low for my liking.

    2) Again, hard to tell in the picture, but the carbonite texture was a bit busy. After looking at some reference photos, it needs to be a little more subtle.

    3) The most bothersome to me was that some of the edges of the HIC panel were a bit noticeable. This was caused by the thin layer of glue in some spots. Again, hard to see in the photos, but in person it definitely catches your eye and really bothered me. I highlighted in red some of the edges.

    Call me crazy, but I decided to pour another layer on this one. The good thing about the glue; it's cheap and easy to work with. I know had I not done this it would have bothered me. With this extra layer, I am able to build up those edges and hide the panel better and the carbonite reaches closer to the lip.

    I'll use the same technique as before for the texture, just on a more subtle level.







    Pained me to do it, but had to be done.

  16. #16
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Went ahead and put the new layer of detail on. I think I am pretty happy with this. It is still a bit "busier" than the original prop, but it will have to do. I am finding that this part of the build could be done 100 times and you'd still probably want to go back and try it again. It is not as busy and looks more accurate than the last layer. A good technique if anyone wants to try this is after you pour the glue, wait about 5 minutes then go back and lightly drag your putty knife over it. It gives it a nice texture (which is kind of hard to see in the pictures).

    I'll let this dry and start on the side panels.






  17. #17

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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Hey, that glue technique looks great and you've blended the front panel in nicely. Looking great so far and now the fun begins! Building the panels and painting was the most enjoyable part of my build. Looking forward to your next update.

  18. #18
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Thanks brother, I will be using some of your techniques for the panels, in fact, I'm using a set of your greeblies that I bought from you more than a year ago.

    My biggest dilema right now is the color for the case and front panel. I am changing my mind and wanting to move from the Charcoal Metallic (which I used on my first HIC, see post 1) to a more silver metallic color. I am going to use aluminum for the side panels. But I am not sure what to do about the box. I would like for there to be 3, slightly different colors. The front carbninite panel metallic silver, the side panels aluminum, but I am not sure about the box. I was thinking a Nickel Satin, but that may look very close to the aluminum.

    Just not sure. Any suggesstions anyone?

  19. #19
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I put a quick layer of primer on so I could start testing some colors. Here is an up-close of the carbonite. I am using a color called Satin Nickel Metallic, I went back and forth between this and my first choice, but I kinda like this. It's a nice silver metallic, but not to strong or shiny.





    However, I do need your input for the case color. I have also gone back and forth with that as well. I was going to go with a color called Anodized Bronze, see below.



    In the next picture I also tested the Charcoal Metallic (which is what I used on the carbonite for my first project, see post 1), and Medium Gray (which is below the Bronze color).



    The panels will be aluminum (you can see where I tested that).

    I need some suggestions here, should I paint the entire case silver and use the Metallic Color from post 1 on the carbonite? Should I stick with the Satin Nickel Metallic for the front panel? Should the whole case be that color?

    This is making me mental.

  20. #20

    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Try doing both paints on a scrap peice of wood and take it out into the sun after its dry along with your reference pics and see which color is looking best. You might be able to do a base coat with a darker color and do the highlights in rub-n-buff color thats a bit brighter than the base for the highlights, practiice that on a rock or whatnot and compare with your pix.

  21. #21
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Actually, I think I found the combination I am happy with. I decided on Dark Charcoal Gray for the cabinet, the Satin Nickel for the front panel, and aluminum for the control panels. Although not screen accurate, I wanted some color separation from the control panels, the cabinet, and front panel. I have seen many builds where the cabinet is painted the same color as the carbonite. I like to think that the cabinet is a stand alone structure that holds the carbonite, and that the two are completely different substances and look different. At least that's how it is in my crazy head.

  22. #22
    toothboy's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Hope to see pics of the color separation you decided on. I went through the same thing with my HIC. I ended up going with Metallic charcoal for the carbonite part and then a darker metallic for the cabinet, but I wasn't really jazzed about how it looked. So when you get it painted, definitely post some pics!!

  23. #23
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I will, and that's funny, for my first build I also used the Dark Metallic Charcoal, and I loved it. I was completely sold on it, and if this does not turn out the way I want, then I'll go back to that color. With this build though, I wanted to try a different color for the panel and stick with a non-metallic for the box. We'll see how it goes.

  24. #24
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    I was able to make some progress today with the panels. I primed them all and started spraying the aluminum. I really like the color, looks sharp against the gray. I drilled the holes for the LEDs and will work on the greeblie covers for the main panel shortly. I also picked up some brushed steel handles from Lowe's for .97 each. I know they are only on the upper right hand panel, but I am going to put them on 4 panels, two on each side.

    I also cut out the slot where the green back lit piece will go.

    Where the two larger LED holes are, I decided on using two of those metal LED holders to add something extra.





    I also worked on the other detail pieces for the first panel. I was originally going to use Bright Metallic Silver, but it ended up looking too close to the aluminum. So I decided on a Krylon color called Brushed Nickel. Not a whole lot of contrast, but just enough and I like the look. I was going to try Rub n Buff, but never got around to getting any.



    I also got the first two coats of the cabinet sprayed. I am very pleased with color I picked, Dark Charcoal Grey in Gloss. I went back and forth with colors for this part but this is exactly the color I was looking for. It will contrast nicely with the front panel that will be sprayed Satin Metallic Nickel (I may also combine that color with the one I was originally going to use for the front, Charcoal Metallic). I'm glad I did not go with a metallic color for the cabinet.

    You can see the right half is sprayed gray compared to the left half which is still primer.



    Here you can see the contrast I was looking for between the cabinet and side panels.


  25. #25
    azheat01's Avatar
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    Re: My Life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite Project - 2nd Attempt

    Here is more progress on the main panel.

    I went to Lowe's and bought a roll of metal sheeting. I cut pieces to fit in the 3 spaces and drilled holes in the two that will have LEDs. You won't see the metal too much on this first panel because of the greeblies that go over two of the panels (the primed pieces in the first photo below the panel). However, on all the other panels they will be fully exposed. It looks much better in person, and does not blend in as much as it appears in the photos.



    I started adding the other details and the two metal LED holders. The Satin Nickel does contrast very nicely with the aluminum, but again, hard to tell by the photos.





    Here are two side views that really show off the details. In the last picture I placed the two primed pieces on the panel to give you an idea, they will light up from below.





    I did find some Rub N Buff today, and I used it on one of the "T" details (last picture, lower left hand corner). The stuff is pretty cool, never used it before, but it looks too much like the aluminum, so I probably won't be using it.

    Less anyone think otherwise, I am borrowing, or will be borrowing, many ideas and techniques from a few other members on this board and others (Bobamaker, D.Nguyen, etc). Much respect to them.

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