Ugnaught 911 - screen-used restoration project

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TomSpinaDesigns

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Been meaning to post this here for a while but have been crazy busy.

I did this a few months back for Brandon, who sent me a screen used Ugnaught mask from Empire Strikes Back that had deteriorated badly. It's a foam latex piece that had been stored (gulp) stuffed with newspaper since 1979. That meant 26 years of having the moisture sucked out of the piece by acidic paper. The result was that many of the thinner areas of the foam had turned to dust, and some would literally crumble between your fingers. Further, it had been stored somewhat "flattened" and developed a (now permanent) fold across the back of the head to boot. Add to that severe discoloration and some very matted hair and it was a sight. :(

Before I start, I want to say that I'm still fairly new to this degree of restoration, and carefully considered options before working on this. Brandon and I shared quite a few "philosophical" discussions about the pros and cons to restoring a peice as well as how far we wanted to try to take this. In the end, we decided that these sorts of choices need to be made on a piece by piece basis and, in this case, a pretty drastic restoration was not only warranted, but just about needed to save the piece from turning to dust and ending up in the trash bin. He felt that as-is, the piece had little value because it was barely recognizable.

This Ugnaught in particular, had very few reference photos to work from. This means that some of my work is "best guess" based on the few photos we have of him, mixed with information from clear photos and first hand observation of other Ugnaughts used in the film.

We decided to restore the piece and I set about recreating the missing and severely dry areas. I used as much as I possibly could save from the original, including much of the back of the head, the face below the brow and the sides of the head. I patched and repaired the face, lips and nose (stabilizing rather than rebuilding) and recreated the chin and forehead. I patched the gaps left from the crumbling areas of the head, and repainted the piece, attempting to match the few areas that remained with color (much of his color had turned a dark grey-ish beige due to the foam turning dark brown and crunchy.)

Most of the hair was salvaged from the original and carefully combed through by me before re-applying it to the restored head and cheeks. What couldn't be saved was matched by me and replaced.

All in all, this was an intensive project and one that required quite a bit of time and effort. Brandon and I are both pleased with the results.

I suppose that's where I'll leave off for now. Please post any questions or comments.

Pics in the next post, including a reference shot and before, during and after photos.

Tom
 

TomSpinaDesigns

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A reference photo (he's the one on the right).




Before and after comparisons:










In progress:

First up was sorting out what was usable and what was not and assembling then on a styrofoam head. You'll see that where the fold was across the upper back of the head had to be completely removed (although I saved the hair.). I had also removed the hair from the face at this point.




Here is the beginning of the patching and building up of missing areas. You can see I've incorporated a cotton fabric underneath. This was to hold the new parts to the old, and to help stabilize the areas we were keeping intact.




Here's a shot of it pretty far along. The forehead's been rebuilt (but not textured), the head pieces blended together and the chin added.


 

Jack Bauer

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
COOL. You do gtood work. The one on the left looks a little to real like a corpse or something. spooky.

Great job.
 

bothanspy

Sr Member
Tom, thanks for saving a piece of Star Wars history. Without talent individual like you, where would our love of this great hobby be. Outstanding work. I only wish I have half the talent you have. Great work.
 

RKW

Sr Member
BLOODY HELL.

I've seen corpses in better condition than that.

You've got balls of steel :thumbsup
 

OldKen

Master Member
Originally posted by bothanspy@Feb 8 2006, 06:45 PM
Tom, thanks for saving a piece of Star Wars history. Without talent individual like you, where would our love of this great hobby me. Outstanding work. I only wish I have half the talent you have. Great work.
[snapback]1179254[/snapback]​

no kidding...

i cant believe that you could use any of that at all, the fact that it turned out so good... amazing.

thanks for saving a piece of SW... :cheers
 

BobFett

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nice work Tom.
Originally posted by oldken+Feb 8 2006, 10:57 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(oldken @ Feb 8 2006, 10:57 PM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-bothanspy
@Feb 8 2006, 06:45 PM
Tom, thanks for saving a piece of Star Wars history. Without talent individual like you, where would our love of this great hobby me. Outstanding work. I only wish I have half the talent you have. Great work.
[snapback]1179254[/snapback]​

no kidding...

i cant believe that you could use any of that at all, the fact that it turned out so good... amazing.

thanks for saving a piece of SW... :cheers
[snapback]1179268[/snapback]​
[/b]
 

TomSpinaDesigns

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
haha on the "balls of steel" from RKW.

Thanks man... it was very much a "bravery test" when I started on this one. Brandon was huge in the encouragement department though. He kep saying, "hey, you can't make it any worse." :lol

While I know it wasn't 100% true, it was close enough that it got me going.

Thanks very much to everyone for the kind words. It definitely felt good to "save" something like this.

T
 

adamata

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow.

So, what were you using to patch and fill in the missing parts? (I know *nothing* about this)

Its amazing.
 

TomSpinaDesigns

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
thankya :)

The patching was a mix of techniques. Some was done with cotton fabric soaked in latex (the base of the lower jaw) but much of it was a mix of thickened pros-aide and cotton as filler to build up the bigger gaps.

I did the paint and finish work using sponge and hand techniques to try to match the style they used on the originals.

T
 

ioncanon

Well-Known Member
Tom that is just AMAZING... Nice work. Simple breathtaking.. I've done small small patch work to dry rot, reinforcing, filling holes, etc. I didn't even know it could be done to THAT extent. Simply amazing.
 
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