“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of nerdwallets suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly emptied. I fear something expensive has happened.”
Yes, the money printing machine called Star Wars has once again found a way to separate nerds from their money. This week Disney and Lucasfilm launched Star Wars Collectibles: Ultimate Studio Edition, a line of authentic prop replicas made by the same company that made the props for the Star Wars films. The props will be manufactured by Propshop at the UK-based Pinewood Studios, the movie prop shop that produced all of the amazing weapons, costumes and sci-fi props used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The props will be sold exclusively in the United States on the new starwarsultimatestudioedition.com web portal, and yes they will have very high price tags.
The reproduction props are being made using the same advanced technologies that were used to create the originals as well as high-quality 3D scanning to capture the actual props from the film. Once the real movie props have been 3D scanned, they are turned into 3D models that are cleaned up for production and sent to be 3D printed using a Voxeljet VX1000 powder bed 3D printer. Each prop can take up to twenty hours to completely 3D print, and the high-resolution detail is incredibly exacting and precise. The detail is so fine that you can actually see tiny springs and mechanical details that would have been part of a mask like Darth Vader’s before it was melted at the end of Return of the Jedi.
After the raw 3D printed part has been cleaned, inspected and approved the prop moves down to the workshop where each individual prop is hand painted by the same artists who created the originals. Because these replica props are being made in the same studio as the originals, they won’t be approximations or made using different materials. The same paints and finishes will be applied as the originals, which is going to be really hard for other companies making prop replicas to top.
“We are continually looking for new ways to extend the storytelling from movies in innovative ways. We’ve worked hand in hand with the film makers and talented team at Propshop to create a unique product experience for fans and we’re excited to see their reactions to these incredible prop replicas,” gushed Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media as he imagines the truckloads of cash Star Wars fans are about to fork over.
Here is a video showing the production process of the melted Darth Vader helmet prop:
All of the props manufactured by Pinewood Studios will be identical to those used in the film in every way, and have been made using the same 3D assets from the Lucasfilm archives, including high-resolution 3D scans and super detailed 3D printed recreations of the originals. Each replica will be made to order with custom display pedestals and be shipped in branded wooden crates inspired by the real crates used to ship film props. Each of the shipping crates has been custom made to accommodate the exact shape of the replica inside of it, and protect it from being damaged during the shipping process. These are probably the highest quality and most accurately detailed replica props ever made and sold to the general public.
“We’re delighted to be able to produce such a groundbreaking line of merchandise. Designed, made and finished by the hands of specialist motion picture prop makers and artists, we’ve worked extremely hard to create something that we know would make fans and filmmakers proud,” said Propshop Assets Director and CEO James Enright.
The first line of props will consist of eight replica weapons and costume helmets, several of them very limited editions. A replica of Finn’s FN-2187 Stormtrooper Helmet is limited to 500 pieces and will set you back $1,750. Kylo Ren’s helmet will cost $2,000 while Poe Dameron’s X-Wing helmet will cost $1,500. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, Rey’s Lightsaber and Rey’s staff are each priced at $1,250 each while Chewbacca’s Bowcaster replica will cost $2,500. The star of the show is clearly the incredible replica of Darth Vader’s melted helmet priced at $3,500 and limited to 500 pieces.
Yes, all of the first series of props are all based on those seen in The Force Awakens, however it’s very likely that props from the earlier films will find their way on sale soon. Disney and Lucasfilm will be releasing more videos detailing the production of their prop replicas on the Disney YouTube channel as part of their “Boxed” series of videos, keep an eye out for videos about the making of Rey’s staff and Poe’s helmet. You can shop for props over on the Star Wars Collectibles: Ultimate Studio Edition shop and either cry at your inability to afford anything, or send your children to community college and spend the rest of your savings on a truly awesome Star Wars prop. Interested? Discuss further over in the 3D Printed Star Wars Collectibles forum at 3DPB.com.