Project Death Star

Project Death Star is a contracted project for Lucasfilms and Frank D. (niubniub).

I was contracted to build the four-foot model of the Death Star from Star Wars for The Star Wars Celebration III that will be held in April of 2005 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This model will be dispalyed in the Customizing / Diorama area at Celebration 3. This is the second time that I have been contracted to create something by LucasFilm Ltd.

As with all my projects that I work on I always start off by making a blueprint to figure out how I will go about constructing the item, gathering a list of materials and tools, ect. I designed several plans of how to commence on the Death Star Project, by the end of my planning I decided that the best way to build a Death Star would be papier-mâché. After I had my plans drawn out I stayed in contact with LucasFilm and construction on the Death Star began.

This is how my Death Star was displayed at Star Wars Celebration III in Indy 2005.

Due to the size the stand was not used to it's potential. There was a worry that some-body
might bunp into it and the Death Star could fall. So it was opted to place the Death Star display
on a table using only one of the four tiers.

I first started off with a four-foot beach ball and made measurements. The paper plate acts as a guide of where the laser dish will go (when it is time). From there I spent about four hours cutting newspaper strips.

After cutting the newspaper strips I applied the first of many layers of newspaper to the beach ball using wallpaper paste. The Death Star form is now commencing.

When the first or base layer of the newspaper was dry I started the second layer which Aayla my three-month old puppy was helping me. She kept running away with strips of newspaper and making a big mess. She is a Boston Terrier / Beagle mix.

Yes she is named after Aayla Securra from Star Wars.

After the second layer was dry I put on the third layer. When the third layer was dry I put on the fourth layer. When the fourth layer was dry I put on the fifth layer and so forth. This will continue until I feel that the shell of the Death Star form is thick and strong enough.
After about eleven or so layers of newpaper I ran out of newspaper strips. So now I have spent several more hours cutting out strips of newspaper to use.
Once again layer after layer of newspaper was applied to the form that is going to be the Death Star.

I now have about twenty or more layers of newspaper on the Death Star form. I have decided the form was sturdy enough to mark and cut the hole out needed for the Death Star radar dish.

I let some of the air out of the beach ball so I would not cut into it with my exacto knife.

After I marked the hole and cut it out I measured the thickness of the Death Star form. It is 1/4" thick. Believe it or not there will be more layers of newspaper place on the Death Star form.

To make sure the paper plate that I am using for the guide of the radar dish fit properly I had to sand down the edges of the hole I just cut.

Here is what the Death Star form looks like with the hole cut into it.

I now have glued five heavy duty paper plates together to use as the base of the Death Star radar dish. I placed black duct tape around the edge to help hold it together as the glue dried.

I then added air back into the beach ball. I was originally going to remove the beach ball but decided to leave it in there for that extra support.

When the paper plates that I glued together were dry I stuck them under the hole that I cut into the Death Star form. Along the top edge of the paper plate base I added glue so it would hold to the inside of the Death Star form.

Now I have added some newspaper to the radar dish area of the Death Star form. It looks like it is a raised area. Do not worry it is alright for now. I am just adding newspaper to the radar dish area to help hold the piece in place. When this dries, like I said before "more newspaper will be added to the Death Star form." This will help smooth out the Death Star form and what looks like a raised area will disappear.
With some matte board I cut out a circle and cut it into slices and cut out the center. This will become the radar dish of the Death Star. The paper plate gives the shape I need for the sunken in part of the radar dish.

I have now papier-mâchéd the Death Star's radar dish. The form of the Death Star is now complete.

I have coated the Death Star with a clear fast drying paintable varnish. This will help hold down all the papier-mâché, harden the newspaper, and give the Death Star a more uniformed look.

Now that the Death Star form is completed I have primed the entire surface of the Death Star. It is now ready for painting.
I have painted half of the Death Star form with Primer Gray spray paint.
When the first half of the Death Star form was dry I turned it over and spray primed the rest of the Death Star form.
Now that the Death Star form has been primed gray, no newspaper print shows through. It is time to start detailing. I started off with the trench. Using a laser level I marked where I thought the trench would go.
I added black artitst tape to create the trench.
I then cut out various shapes to start detailing the Death Star. I then started to glue them into place on the Death Star form. Looking at images of the Death Star I noticed that the shapes are not all square and lined up. This was good since the ball used for the Death Star form was not 100% round.
More paper glued into place for deatail.
Almost finished detailing the Death Star.
The detailing of the Death Star is now complete. Now to start the Radar Dish of the Death Star.

The Radar Dish detail was all cut and applied to the Death Star form.
The Death Star is now complete.

Now I have to build the display stand for the Death Star.

So how large is this Death Star Model? Just take a look.

So what ever happened to this Death Star? It was wrapped and taking up space in my storage.
As of May 3, 2009 the DEATH STAR is no more... This is what happened.