Sources of Reference Material
General - Prop Building & Modeling
Prop Builder's Molding & Casting Handbook (Thurston James)
- considered by many to be a bible. Although it is now starting
to show it's age there isn't anything else out there covers quite
such a comprehensive scope on this specialized subject. The
author looks at all different materials and techniques from using
materials you can commonly find at the hardware store, to highly detailed
resin casts which is probably what you want to know about. A
must have if you want to attempt making a mold and casting copies.
Theatre Props Handbook (Thurston James) - not as comprehensive
as James' book on Molding & Cast (see above) this book is, nonetheless,
packed with useful, surprising and inspiring information. The
author does assume that you have access to a comprehensive workshop
but there are still projects many of us could use and learn from with
a more modest toolbox. This book is aimed at the theatre prop
builder but still has sources of information and projects that you might
Modeling (Bob Hayden) - Aimed at the scale modeler but contains
mainly useful techniques for those of us trying to scratch build 1:1.
Covers tools, adhesives, scratch building, kit bashing, conversions,
detailing, airbrushing, decals and weathering techniques.
(Dan Perez Studios) - This enthusiastic sculptor lists the most useful
books he has found.
There are a lot of sources of useful Star Wars material and many of
them are not on the web (shock, horror!). Obviously, the first
place to start is with the movies themselves. Unfortunately, uncle
George hasn't released these on DVD yet so it is hard to get screen
captures to work from unless you have a video capture card, but he does
promise that they will be available .... eventually.
- The best book, without doubt, is Star
Wars Chronicles. At list price it is expensive at $150
and it is huge. It has the most detailed pictures of props,
models and characters that you will come across but don't look in
this book for detailed pictures of Lightsabers; although it does contain
a couple the book spends most of it's energy on studio models and
Star Wars to Indiana Jones: The best of the Lucasfilm Archives
is considerably cheaper than "Chronicles" but is no less
useful. Surprisingly there is little overlap between the two
books and "Archives" contains a great many close-up shots
of famous hand-held props.
art of Star Wars: (episode name) are basically the movie screenplays
illustrated with pictures of studio models, publicity stills and concept
art, however, they seem to contain a lot of shots not available anywhere
Wars: The Visual Dictionary & Star
Wars: Episode 1 Visual Dictionary are great sources of detailed
of many hand-props. You have to be a little careful, though,
as some of the props are not the original, screen-used props.
Some are commercially available replicas, such as Icon's Lightsabers.
Some were invented for the books like the cutaway sabre, stormtrooper
helmet and Yoda's sabre.
Wars : The Magic of Myth as well as being an interesting read
this book, that was produced to coincide with the tour of the same
name, contains quite a few pictures of props and characters.
Some are very detailed and useful.
Wars : The Action Figure Archive is a great book if you collect
the toys. As a bonus is contains quite a few pictures that you
don't seem to be able to find anywhere else. Unfortunately,
they are in general tiny thumbnails but it remains a surprisingly
intriguing book nonetheless.
There are two reference CD-ROM sets worth checking out, both published
by Lucas Arts; "Behind
the Magic" for Episodes 4, 5 and 6 (the original trilogy) and
the "Insider's Guide" for Episode 1. Both contain
loads of great pictures including behind the scenes shots and close-ups
of props and models. Either can be picked up for less than $20
and they provide a fun and useful way to research many props, characters
- The Star
Wars Insider magazine has been a good source of material but
it has just changed hands (January 2001) and been bought by Wizards
which is itself owned by Hasbroken.
Lets hope it continues and improves.
- Cinefex is a great
magazine but when it concentrates on Star Wars it is especially useful.
Get your issues when they are released as back issues, especially
ones with material on Star Wars and Aliens, fetch quite high prices
on the secondary market.