mugatu Sculpts HIC - 1st RPF Build


Sr Member
Hello everyone.
Well, like probably many of you, I stumbled upon theRPF while browsing one day and I have been crazy hooked ever since.
My main area of interest for content is Star Wars, but I do love most sci-fi.

This is my first post to theRPF, so I figured I'd start out with a doozie: Han In Carbonite.

A couple things you should know:

1) I have only ever sculpted once before, and that was about 20 years ago, so this is mostly a practice right for now to see if I can actually handle this new-to-me medium. I do have plenty of experience in other forms of visual art, like drawing, but this is working in a brand new way that is for the most part fairly alien to me. If it's anything like painting, this post could end up in the disaster archives... speaking of which, maybe one of those should be started (for posterity, for the tears, and for the laughs). Regardless, I will probably retread much ground that is newb stuff for all you pros, but hopefully my bumpy ride will help inform other newbs.
2) I originally wanted to "simply" create an HIC with prefabbed parts. I know there are usually a few different options floating around the junkyard or in the Runs category where I could pick up Han, side panels, perhaps even a chassis. Once enough time had passed though, I decided, at least for the front, a real challenge would be to attempt a new sculpt.
3) I'm not yet decided on whether to sculpt the carbonite overflow spill patterns. Seems daunting. Plus, I am not sure I can find an image of the screen-used HIC that is hi-res enough to give me the info I need.
4) I really don't know what I'm doing with this.

Anyway, my first step was to get a model, preferably in 3D, and I found this cast of Han's face from They claim it is pulled from a mold taken from the original screen-used prop. Okay, which one, Empire or Jedi? In my research I have also read that there are even touring HIC's, so this may not be the most accurate model from which to begin.

Oh well, gotta start somewhere. Here is the Han Solo face from carbonite freezing:
HIC Haunted Studios.jpg
Looks pretty good. Harrison Ford apparently has a small face/head.
HauntedStudios informs you once you receive the cast, that the cast is resin, but then they also spray the outside with a few layers of some sort of clear coat. This makes it difficult to view super delicate details like pores (if there are any).
However, overall, I am impressed with the cast.

Next, I researched the best type of clay to use. I read about a lot of different clays and preferences as well as advantages and disadvantages of each type. I settled on one of two types: water-based WED clay and oil-based Chavant NSP Medium. Based on the total amount of time I setting aside to this project, I wanted something that could take possible long periods of waiting around, and yet would hold detail well, be somewhat easy to handle and manipulate, and would not collapse under its own weight too much.
Here is what I ended up ordering:

Here are the cheapo tools I ordered from China for $1.50. The quality of the tools is apparent also, especially that one with the wires coming out the ends. And by "quality" I mean "complete lack of quality".
cheap tools.jpg

This first sculpt will not be a final piece, but is more about getting me back in the swing of exercising dormant parts of my brain, and seeing how well I can handle this type of clay and/or sculpting at all.

I figured at first I would start with something simple and go against everything I've ever heard about scuplting and start focusing in on one area:


Again, this is only going to be a test run, testing my own skills, and not testing the final piece.
At first I did not like using the NSP because it is very hard at room temperature.
Also, wooden tools tend to hold onto the NSP leaving crumbs and sometimes even pulling away areas that I don't want pulled away. Fortunately, I ended up not using the tools very often and have found, at least at this stage, that using my fingers and pressure tends to push the NSP where I need it to go. This is definitely a patient or persistent person's medium.
Also, I really need to get one of those clay cutting wires.

Here I am still building up the face.

I have read that first, it is smartest (for proportion's sake) to get the basic general shape of the head before doing what I am doing. I certainly can see the benefit of doing that and will do so on the final real piece.

And of course, always comparing back to my model for reference:

Well, that's it for now. I think on this practice sculpt, I will go up to the hair (from the nose) and just work on the side of the face (on our left), to further try out sculpting/blending techniques.

Thanks for checking this out.


Master Member
Looks like you're off with a great start ... keep practising and check some youtube tutorials with this clay for some nifty tricks of the trade :)



Sr Member
A little slow progress now. Still pushing around the clay... 10 P-leftSIDEbuildUP1.JPG 11 P-leftSIDEbuildUP2.JPG As I was working along, I decided it would be easier to picture the entire form by building up the left side of Han's face (his left). Although Harrison does have some asymmetry going on, his jaw (not including his chin) is fairly symmetrical.I believe my method of adding small pieces of clay is probably not good and may trap air bubbles in the piece... but it's working for me at this particular moment. 12 P-comp4.JPG Another quick comparison to keep the ball rolling. 25 P-aboveDOWN2.JPG 24 P-leftCHEEKbuildUP1.JPG 22 P-leftSIDEbuildUP3.JPG 23 P-aboveDOWN1.JPG More minor additions to Han's left side jowls. 21 P-widenFACE1.JPG 20 P-raiseCHEEK1.JPG 17 P-eyeBUILDup1.JPG 15 P-comp5.JPG Here I noticed that on the cast, Han's face really widens out/mine so far is a very gaunt Han. I am widening his right cheek here.Also, building up the eye area just a tad, and a comparison shot from above. 19 P-lowVIEWclay.JPG 18 P-lowVIEWhan.JPG Even though his lower face is appearing more evened out, when comparing the clay side-by-side with the resin Haunted Studios Han, it becomes obvious that there are some areas needing a major overhaul. The view from dead-on, looking down, is okay. I'm getting the basic forms, but the view from below (like from Han's belly looking up his nose) reveals major issues with the height f certain features. Notice Han's right cheek. Much higher in relation to his left cheek (nearly equal height) on the real piece/very low on mine.I do believe this is that old, get the basic general shapes and proportions in place first before moving on the the details. I will do it that way from now on.Also, I think everyone can agree that the part of HIC that will sink or sail this thing is the mouth. His mouth even got that close-up during the thawing scene in Jedi. The comparison shows that the upper lips is way wrong. I fear I will have to extract that section and rebuild. 27 P-aboveDOWNhan.JPG 28 P-aboveDOWN2.JPG After trying to build up low areas, here are a couple final shots until next time (with a flash!). Damn, I can see so much more now that I am reviewing these images. I guess I need to get brighter lights at my work table! Believe it or not, this angle shows the mouth looking about the worst that it has since I started, but it is actually a lot closer in shape (generally speaking) than what I had previously had on this piece.And a final comp. A lot of work to redo here. 26 P-comp6.JPG Any suggestions or tips about not leaving fingernail marks everytime I breathe in the same room as this thing would be greatly appreciated!Thanks for looking.


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Master Member
Sometimes it also helps to shoot a picture in black and white ... the grey reveals more that's off ... the same as spraypainting a grey matt basecoat on a real 3D model :) ... just cut your fingernails as short as you can bare or wear latex 'surgeons' gloves ;)



Sr Member
Alrighty, I am back. I couldn't really progress any further due to running out of clay. It took about a week, but I finally have it.

Before I ran out of clay, I began extending the lower clay level of the forehead. I decided that it would be best to get a rough shape for the whole head. I have also decided that next time, an armature of some sort would be extremely beneficial as the following image shows a full 6 pounds of Chavant NSP clay:

31 x forehead build.JPG
Half a head. That's it. An armature (or bowl or a wadded up rag or anything not clay) would have saved a lot of clay. Oh well, this is all a learning experience.

I also took Sym-Cha's advice and cut my nails down as far as I could to get rid of the fingernail dents/marks that I kept leaving in the clay. I don't think I'll have any issues with fingernails now:

30 x faux nails.JPG
Just kidding. I was just making sure you were paying attention. That's not my hand, although I did cut my fingernails almost too far back which there really is a delicate line to walk there. Sore fingers get you about as much work done here as running out of clay does.

With my new plan of forming the basic shapes as much as possible first, before hitting any details, I decided that some things just needed to go and be redone. So I took out the mouth:

32 x mouth remove.JPG

Then, once the new NSP arrived, I began filling out the outline of Han's head, and also while viewing the piece from different vantage points, I could tell that my proportions, although seeming to be heading in an alright direction when viewed straight on, were way out of wack from any other perspective. So I took the nose too:

33 x nose remove.JPG

Adding more clay to build up the rest of Han's forehead & hair area. I've also been studying my progress with black and white photos:

34 x outline build.JPG

Here is a comparison shot from above and from the side:

35 x comp.JPG 36 x comp.JPG

Believe it or not, even without the nose and mouth, proportionally, the newer progress is more in line with the actual cast Han.
I finished building up the clay on the head and hair, careful to add just a bit too much so that I have something to cut and shape away. I also put a nose on and started to slowly build up the upper lip just where it connects to the nose:

37 x build nose.JPG

And one more comparison shot from above. It's not a good comparison with the camera so close to the table, but the basic shapes are coming together much more in comparison to the sculpt just before I ran out of clay last time.

38 x comp.JPG

I am considering spray painting the Han cast a darker color to draw out the details. What color do you think I should paint it for that? What brings out the best detail? Gray?

Thanks for looking.


Master Member
A flat gray is what is usuallly used for a base coat ... see the maquettes they did for ROTJ in the Art of ROTJ book ... that should pop some more details. It is good to practise your skills ... but why are you attempting to create a new head sculpt for HIC, since you already have a well done casting?



Sr Member
A flat gray is what is usuallly used for a base coat ... see the maquettes they did for ROTJ in the Art of ROTJ book ... that should pop some more details. It is good to practise your skills ... but why are you attempting to create a new head sculpt for HIC, since you already have a well done casting?

I was thinking lite gray too, Chaim. Per your recommendation, I will seek out the book.

The reason I am sculpting it is kind of a long story. I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I even went to college for it back in the mid 1990's. While at college, I did take one sculpting class but it covered all sorts of media (metal, wood working, etc.). Only one time did we ever sculpt with clay. Fast forward a couple of decades and I practically have done no art since college. Not even drawing.

I have been hounded by the people that love me to pick it back up in any respect, but I have ignored their requests because I had no passion to draw anything or paint anything anymore. What finally did spark my interest again, honestly, was theRPF. I was originally really pulled in by Sofaking1 (or is it Sofaking01) and the Falcon Cockpit build. Seeing him go over the pieces again and again, making sure that every detail was absolutely correct. It was eye-opening, mind-bottling, and I guess just the kick-in-the-ass that I needed to get moving again. I suppose I truly owe him and all those cockpit guys, and well, you and the creative tempest that is the RPF for getting me going with my hands again. But yeah, Sofaking is the real deal craftsman. As are so many here. This place seriously has an overflowing talent problem that I hope only gets worse and worse.

Anyway, I was 7 when Empire came out. It's my favorite Star Wars movie, the last film I saw in a theater with my father all the way up to Gravity last year. So Empire has always meant a ton to me. As you and roygilsing know, the Luke ESB will be my first saber build.

Ive always had a deep connection to the HIC, more than any prop from any movie.

So, the actual end reason that I am sculpting a new HIC is not because I don't like the resin face cast (I really do like it), but because for 20 years I haven't done anything worthwhile with my hands or brain, I know this will keep me interested enough to complete, and because I know I can do it. It just may take forever.

Plus, I want to see better detail in the hair, and an accurate carbonite flow surrounding Han. And I will need at least two when I am done (and I won't recast anyone's work, not even just for my own private collection. Not when I can recreate it myself). One for myself and...

The very best part is that my father had a house built about 7 or 8 years ago, and in an attempt to get my creative juices going again, he requested a piece of art from me. Anything I wanted to do and he would hang it on the wall in his living room. I never took him up on the request. Now I am, and like most loving fathers with the very best of intentions, he will probably regret those intentions when his son delivers not what he was expecting: a full-sized Han In Carbonite hanging on his living room wall!
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