Baltimore-based Maker Todd Blatt recently devised a life-size replica of Han Solo in Carbonite.
Star Wars Day never seems to have a shortage of innovative projects paying homage to the epic space saga. As impressive as many of those may be, one in particular had caught our attention. That’s because Baltimore-based Maker Todd Blatt recently crafted a life-size replica of Han Solo in Carbonite, designed to match the version that appeared The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. From laser cutting to Bondo sculpting, the Maker employed a number of tools found throughout his Baltimore Node hackerspace.
That Maker studio, however, is about to relocate to a new building and won’t be able to take the 1:1 Han Solo replica along with them. Blatt explains that it had been a commissioned project, and did not want to have to go through the daunting task of moving it time and time again.
“In the movies themselves, there aren’t very many shots of the frozen figure, and only two props are in existence in the Lucasfilm archives,” Technical.ly’s Stephen Babcock writes. “Blatt was buoyed early on after finding that he didn’t have to recreate the images of a trapped Harrison Ford. In 1996, a company called Illusive Concepts was licensed by the Star Wars empire to produce replicas.”
In order to construct the prop from a galaxy far, far away, the Maker tracked down its necessary body parts in rubber form, which he then assembled with the help of Bondo. Furthermore, Blatt found the original costume’s accurate dimensions that he used to recreate some of the pieces via 3D scans and AutoCAD, while acquiring its other components from an old record player and a camera viewfinder.
“But the power to recreate things digitally is insignificant next to the power of 1970s prop makers who were just using found objects that happened to be lying around the studio,” Babcock adds. “Those studios aren’t much different from Makerspaces like the Node, with lots of stuff lying around that gets turned into something else. Prop makers often don’t even remember what they used. In the case of Star Wars, it just so happened that what is later seen on the screen became a cultural touchstone.”
Combining his inner Star Wars spirit with his Maker tenacity, Blatt was able to track down a Volvo 343 turn signal indicator, and make a mold to easily reproduce it. The other side features panels with LED lights, programmed through an Arduino that enables the lights to blink in a precise pattern. This code was written on the bottom panel, comprised of eight LED lights driven by an ATtiny45/85.
While Blatt has done his best, he tells Technical.ly that he realizes that the project can never be a truly perfect replica. Nevertheless, it was still pretty awesome!