Tony DiTerlizzi
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12" Step-by-Step Customization Process
Starring Han Solo In Endor Gear

Tony's Intro: Okay, after a busy year, I have finally had a little time off to enjoy my hobby! With so much wonderful feedback from the photos Philip and I posted in 2000, we thought it would be cool to share with you a look inside my process.

I've tried to be as detailed as I can, and I do hope that you can improve it yourself by adding your own twists along the way. Allrighty then, let's get started!

Prepping And Painting

Step 1. I just gotta say this: I really adore this hobby. It really tests your resourcefulness. It's not like a model you just glue together and paint. You have to be able to sew, shop for parts, and invent stuff, in hopes to improve the final. I think of the look of stop-motion puppets as I make them, as I love the worn weathering they have.

Okay, here we have the original Endor Han, along with his new donor body (an Ultimate Soldier), some extra posed hands (from and Ultimate Soldier Accessory pack), and Han Carbonite's head and shirt. At this stage I have also gathered whatever photo reference I can find to help me out. In fact, that was when I realized the original Endor Han was wearing the wrong shirt. Wardrobe!

Step 2: Time to get the doll assembled and ready to paint. Han Carbonite's head gets the face deco removed with nail-polish remover and Q-Tips, while the water boils for head swapping. This would be the time you'd begin rubbing your hands together and saying "And now, Mr. Solo we will discuss the location of your Real Rebel Likeness!"
Step 3: I submerge the head and hands in boiling water to soften the rubber in the vinyl for removal and replacement. I went ahead and kept the original Endor Han's head `cause you never know when you might need Steve Guttenberg's likeness.
Step 4: Here we see the new head attached to the new body, note that the hands are not reattached! Very Important!

Also you'll see some of the Acrylic paints that I use. Of special importance are Liqutex's "Deep Portrait Pink", "Taupe" and "Raw Sienna". Along with "Mars Black" and "Soft White", these are my most commonly used paints for these projects.

Step 5: I start with "Deep Portrait Pink" which is almost an exact match to the tone the body plastic is cast in. However, I will want his face to have more color.

I take a small drop of the paint and water it WAY DOWN to a milk-like consistency. You are almost staining and buffing the skin tones more than slapping a thick coat on. Take your time to get the values and the color to your liking. I always test it on the back of the neck to see how it's gonna look before I begin the face.

NOTE: If you have never painted a face before, or are unsure of how this will look. I strongly suggest practicing on the removed Ultimate Soldier head. Start by removing his face deco and try painting his skin to get a feel of how the paint works on the vinyl.

Step 6: I like using wide flat brushes to apply the skin tones on the face. Play around with different types to find what works best for you. I build up VERY thin glazes on the skin until it gets darker and matches the tones I want. I mixed in a TINY bit of "Raw Sienna" to tan the face as well.

Okay what if the skin tones are too dark?

1. Try gently scrubbing the paint with a short brush and clean water. It should lift most of the paint off and you can remove it with a dry brush, I wouldn't suggest just rubbing it with a paper towel, as it may mottle the paint as it absorbs it.

2. Still no luck? You can always remove most all of the paint under the tap with warm water, or with the nail-polish remover.

Step 7: I stained the eye-sockets with "Taupe" to accentuate the corners and wrinkles. Also, I mixed a touch of "Taupe" with the "Deep Portrait Pink" to do the lips. Since he doesn't wear lipstick, just make the lips a shade darker than the skin tones.
Step 8: Eye-time! Okay, this isn't as hard as it looks, but it does take a steady hand!
First, I mixed some "Soft White" with a touch of "Raw Sienna", to get an ivory color (think melted ice cream consistency). Then I brushed it on, fairly thick, in the main part of the eyeball avoiding the corners of the eye and the inner lids. It took 2 coats to get an even application. Next, I used "Taupe" to paint the pupils and line to upper lid. I also started his eyebrows with the "Taupe" and built them up slowly to the darkness desired.
Finally, I mixed a tad of "Mars Black" with the "Taupe" to paint the actual iris and to retouch the upper eyelid.
Phew! That wasn't SO BAD now was it?

NOTE: I DO NOT paint a white highlight on the eye. Instead I use the "Gloss Medium Varnish" to create a real highlight (see Step 11 below).

Step 9: Okay, onto the hair. First a base coat of "Taupe" was applied over all of the hair.
Then a touch of "Mars Black" was added to the "Taupe" and the paint was thinned. With this new mixture, I stained the hair focusing on his part and the back of the crown.
Step 10: "Taupe", "Raw Sienna" and a wee touch of "Soft White" was mixed thickly and dry-brushed over the hair. This should look like highlights in the hair, so avoid his part and the sideburns. You can keep adding more "Soft White" to get the highlights lighter and lighter...
Step 11: Last step for the face includes some VERY slight dry-brushing of "Pale Magenta" on the balls of the cheeks and the tip of the nose. Then "Gloss Medium Varnish" was added (straight out of the bottle, no water added) to the eyes, lips and tip of the nose.

Accessories

Step 1: The belt that comes with Han is acceptable. I have seen some AMAZING handmade examples made of actual leather that would make your head spin, and I may tackle that one day, but for now we'll focus on improving what we have on hand.

First, I start off by removing the strange excess of the buckle itself. I have yet to find photo-reference that shows his buckle in that odd form. So one quick cut and we can begin painting!

Step 2: A mix of "Mars Black" and "Taupe" were scrubbed all over the belt and lightly dabbed up with a paper towel before the paint dried. You are really just staining the whole thing. Same for the blaster, it just adds dirt to that and keeps it from looking too shiny and new.
Step 3: Here is the blaster completed. I also mixed a dark brown and painted the handle. I have modified a few of these by cutting off the scope (like Luke Bespin), and drilling a small hole into the nozzle. You can really go nuts here, it's just a matter of how detailed you want him to be.
Step 4: Han also wears a regular leather belt. You can buy leather belts from many 12" supply shops (like Cotswold Collectibles), or make one like I did with a piece of black elastic and a buckle (from a GI Joe accessory kit).

If you do make the belt, I find a simple stitch will work better than gluing the loop to hold the buckle.

Step 5: You can either use accessory hands made to hold weapons, or modify the ones that come with your donor body. Here a simple cut with an X-Acto between the first 2 fingers does the trick.
Step 6: Being on Endor, I thought I would add a bit of dirt and mud (dry brushed) to the toes and heels of his boots. Afterwards a spritz of Armor All give them a nice shine!

The Costume

Step 1: I start with the shirt. First off, remove all the snaps. These, and the Velcro, can add a lot of bulkiness to the outfit, so I also remove the Velcro from the pants as well.
Step 2: Prepping for the staining. "Raw Sienna" and "Taupe" are mixed with water to an apple juice-like consistency. This combination of colors is what I usually use to stain all of the costumes. If you have ever tea-stained anything, the mixture is about the same as that of strong tea.
Step 3: Before I stain it, I soak the shirt in clean water, then ring it out as much as I can. Next I put the shirt into the paint mixture and make sure it soaks up as much of the paint as it can
Step 4: Now I wring out the paint. Keep in mind that when the shirt dries it will be considerably lighter than when it is wet. So figuring out the final color will come with experience. While wet, you can control the amount of stain by either wringing out all of the paint and rinsing it with water, or barely wringing out the paint and just letting it dry. It's better to have it dry lighter than darker as you can always re-stain it. I also stain his jacket slightly so that it isn't so new looking.
Step 5: I add some black to the existing mixture and prepare to dinge up the pants a bit.
Step 6: Altering the costume. Here, the sleeves are being taken in; the new seam was determined by folding the excess over while the shirt was on the doll. You don't want the sleeves too tight or the arms won't be able to bend.
Step 7: As in Step 6, the same is done to the jacket...
Step 8: ...and the pants. Altering the costume alone can really make a difference on how the final doll looks; the snugger fit is much more realistic.
Step 9: Dressing the figure. I noticed in the reference photos that Harrison wasn't quite as lean as he was in the earlier SW flicks, so I added a wee bit of knit (from a pair of women's stockings) around his waist to fill him out a bit (it's like an anti-girdle!). This was simply wrapped around him and sewn shut.
Step 10: The added anti-girdle is also helpful in that you can sew the shirt to it so that it stays in place doll...very convenient!
Step 11: Sewing the shirt down like this will keep it tucked in his pants no matter what pose you put him in.
Step 12: Finally, I hot glue the flap shut on the front. You could also stitch it if you'd like.
Step 13: His pants are put on and the fly is hot glued shut. I tape the shins so that the pants stay down when the boots are put on. The belt I made is added...
Step 14: ...and stiched down in the back so it will stay in place.
Step 15: I also stitch the vest down so that it hangs snug. Another little stitch is added to his holster belt so that it too stays in place.
Step 16: Once the holster is completely on, I remove the excess from the leg strap.
Step 17: The jacket is put on and the hands are reattached. If you need to, you can heat up his forearms with a hair-dryer so that the hands go in easier.

So, Is He Done?

Well, like I said before, these projects are always in a state of improvement. So I am sure I will continue to keep adding and replacing things in order to make the ultimate doll.

In fact, after completing this step-by-step, several ideas already came to mind: Airbrushing his jacket so that the camouflage is more distinct, and swapping his head with a cast of the Toys McCoy "Indiana Jones" head might be worth doing. You can bet that as I do them, I'll share them here with you.

Perhaps you've come up with even more ideas on how to improve him. If so, send them into Philip. I am sure there are many out there that would love to see what you come up with.

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