Just another HIC but maybe I can help someone avoid some mistakes.
Like many, I always wanted an HIC and after a few failed attempts at buying a decent version, I went the DIY route. I'm mainly writing this to help others save some pain and time and not intended to be a "how to".
If you only have time for one thread, close this now and go to AZHEAT01’s excellent thread on his recent HIC. http://www.therpf.com/f9/my-life-size-han-solo-carbonite-project-2nd-attempt-87807/ and then check out the HIC Builders club at HICBuilders : Han In Carbonite Builders Club
Kudos to Boba Debt and Stormrider for providing the key components! Boba built a great frame for me and everyone is probably aware of Stormrider's frontal casts. I just wish I had listened to Stormrider more about a few things..
Before you do anything, make sure you have a place to hang/store your finished HIC and remember its not spouse happy! Even with a decent size prop room, I had to sacrifice a shelf unit. My final product ended up in the 76” x 36” range.
The rubber frontal …
Stormrider’s recent run prompted me to get started and I ordered the best one he had – extra thick and full frontal to include the borders. Mistake number 1. While the product was excellent, the borders were useless and had to be cut off. The rubber was thicker than the ¼” I had “estimated” I would need for the frontal recession and this is the primary source of the “seam” which borders by HIC. More on this later but bottom line, more expensive and “more” is not always better.
The side panels…
I then bought the first set of side panels I came upon. I later discovered the panels I purchased are commonly referred to as “Angela’s” panels. I’m sure they were nice at one time but there are several better versions (e.g. MicDavis) and what seems to be the holy grail, screen accurate panels based on an old Volvo dash. DarthChromer is now selling these excellent panels along with all the goodies. Save yourself a ton of time and buy these. I only discovered the mess I was in AFTER the box was made, holes cut, and initial painting had started. With Winter coming fast and my wedding coming faster, I pushed forward with the Angela panels and my thick HIC front panel. To mount the side panels, I used epoxy putty to attach bolts. The decals came from TK-4510. One more lesson – store your panels in a safe place! My box of panels dropped about 5’ in the garage and I had to repair about half of them!
As I mentioned, BobaDebt made the box per specs and a wonderful box it is to include nice rounded edges. A couple of lessons here. I originally sent Dave a set of plans which didn’t fit my front panel or my side panels. Oops. He caught this right away and we worked around what I had. It is imperative that you not build your box until you know exactly what you’re dealing with in regards to panels and front. Obviously, ensure the thickness of your recessed front is just right for your front panel. If you leave too much space, it will be hell to build up but too thin and you’re really screwed.
Joining the frontal with the box….
I used expandable foam to fill in the open spaces on Han and sawed off the excess. I used Gorilla glue to mount the rubber to the box and then used small screws to secure it – lots of them. I’m sure some of you will find this next part quite comical. After seeing how well Elmers glue worked on AZHEAT01’s HIC, I thought I would do the same and bought a gallon of Elmers wood glue. In large quantities, wood glue apparently bubbles up in a bad way so I had to let it dry and sand it down before filling in with the white glue. But the big problem here is that Han was thicker than the recessed area. After a few coats of Elmers, I had to go back and use putty to build up the sides. I incorrectly thought that it would just blend in but I ended up with an extra bumpy seam around the whole box. Attempts were made to make the rest of the cast bumpier but you can only do so much. I don’t think pools of Elmers looks well either and I should have used more air can action to break this up. A lot of this came down to rushing, very limited time, and simple laziness to be honest.
Prep and paint…
As good of job Dave did in making the frame, it required a lot of Kiltz and sanding to get a smooth finish. At one point I used a 400-600 grit paper which left some nice scratches all along the side. I liked the weathered look of the scratches and ended up leaving them. I tested a lot of colors but ended up going with Model Master Titanium metalizer for the side panels which I think ended up too dark. For the Han, I went with Krylon Stainless Steel, and for the box, Model Master Magnesium metalizer. I polished the metalizer areas and finished with rub and buff pewter to highlight areas of Han and the entire box got a coat of rub and buff silver all polished. Rub and buff is amazing stuff but work in small areas. I attempted to do large areas and I don’t think it turned out as nice. I also used rub and buff on the side panels for all the silver areas. I tried to do an acrylic wash but the black just didn’t take. I believe this was because my finish was more of a powdered texture which just soaked up the paint.
I ordered a set of LED flashers from Glen and a piece of green EL for the hero panel. Much to my chagrin, the flashers didn’t fit so I had to do a lot of bending and cutting to make them look decent. And oh yeah, the Angela panels needed major cutting to get the flashers and green panel to lay flat. As I said earlier, I don’t much care for screen accurate that much so I peppered some LEDs on all the panels.
So that’s my story… I’m passively thinking about version 2 which should go a lot faster! Pictures follow: