Hi folks, as some of you may or may not know, I acquired the molds to cast the GH Vader gear last year and have been testing out various casting methods and playing around with fixes on particular parts. Trying to perfect my own casting techniques, testing out methods to get the perfect paint job for myself and evaluating what needs to be worked on has been an amazing experience. This post is to catalogue whats been going on as well as to open up to any critiques and suggestions others may have. Casting in the cold 30 degree weather this past winter has probably not been the best time to do it, but to be able to start making my own gear and eventually expand further to finish my life size Darth Vader display has been fantastic. The history, the lineage, and the accuracy of the items make me feel honored to be able to bring these items back out to the public eye. Luckily, my background in working on motorcycle race fairings and automotive repair work has helped immensely in picking up fiberglassing costume parts.
Here are some shots of my first armor set cast, done about 3 months ago, the learning curve in filling out every nook and cranny has been massive. Fiberglassing armor has not been so bad though the polyester resin is definitely something fierce when casting in a small enclosed environment. While the chest armor ended up ok, the shoulders were much more of an issue...lesson learned on filling out hard angles with fiberglass.
Second and third try? MUCH better.
Its definitely been a trial and error lesson as I figure out best ratio of strength and comfortability. Taking some tips and tricks from GH, I've finally started to get to where I'm happy with the items I've been putting out and confident that it could cater to both costumers and collectors. Some in the past have complained that the GH Darth Vader chest armor has too much of a flare/opening in the back, taking cues from GH, I've been able to slightly modify a more closed version for those who may wish to wear it for costuming or 501st purposes.
Now onto the helmet. This has been one of the most fun aspects of the project. After acquiring the GH ROTJ helmet molds and the GH ANH helmet molds, I've set out to make something that could could make GH and myself be proud of. Whatever your feelings on the maker, I remember years ago when I first started the hobby, that GH was a standard in putting out quality fiberglass gear, after owning Vader gear from almost every maker out there (ebay recasts, Stone, Portumac, Bookface/CSM, Animefan, etc) I knew I had my work cut out for me. Here is the first GH ANH mask with a corrected neck flare (the original GH ANH was known to have a wider neck flare with some people did not like). This was my very first cast piece from the helmet but with the lessons learned on the armor, I was pretty satisfied with the first attempt.
Here is the cast trimmed and cleaned up, with a coat of primer to show some of the details. (yes that is a motorcycle fairing in the background, something I'm currently repairing for a client)
My second mask casting attempt with the GH ROTJ face with the helmet.
Starting to get the hang of all of this. More to come.
While I've been busy casting, I've realized it was a shame to have these just sitting around and offloaded them to a few friends who could start finishing these. As a thank you for providing the community with so much cool gear like 3d printed shoretrooper stuff, a full ROTJ helmet to Sean Fields who was very much a happy new owner of this rarely seen helmet.
After seeing all of his other builds, I'm looking forward to seeing him finish that up.
I also sent a helmet and armor ANH set to a friend who has done a stellar job at painting it up. Here are a couple of photos he shared, doing the helmet soon and sending it off to him.
The GH ANH carries lineage. With the casting and recasting, details have been lost from generation to generation. Since acquiring the mold of the GH ANH, I plan to offer a reworked helmet using the GH ANH as the master to work off of. I plan to bring a GHT ANH. I've started by reviewing references of particular areas that could use adjustment. Certain sections that will get my attention are the lines around the inner eyes (where the brows and inner eyes meet) I will add some sharper lines/breaks as appears in other ANH casts. I will also rework the three inner spaces and sharpen lines on the lower eye sockets and lower the bridge of the nose. The outer eye socks will also have to be sharpened and I will correct the lower eyebrow as well. Cheek lines, cuts/breaks and cheek divots will also be corrected to have a more accurate representation of the original ANH Vader face mask.
Armor sets are a coming! I'm moving at the moment so its probably the WORST time to start casting, but I did get the GH ANH dome and an armor set made. Been experimenting with various gel coats as well as making my own. The armor in the photo is using tapplastics with their black dye, the dome is a homemade gel coat that I am able to control consistency more. The armor had 2 small flaws, a couple of nail head size dips on the center ridge, but aside from that, its a beautiful set.
I'll be taking a break soon to complete my move and settle into the new space.