We were excited to work with Gentle Giant Studios to help produce fifty (yes, we said 50!) lifesized Chewbacca statues! We know our Wookiees, and have worked on quite a few Chewie related projects, like this great Chewbacca mask for our friend Adam Savage, and that work led them to tap our studio to create the heads and fur panels for the “costume” each figure would be wearing. The figures would be used as photo ops and point of purchase displays in theaters and offices around the world during the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. One even showed up in a tweet from Cannes Film Festival!
Gentle Giant created an incredible digital sculpture and printed a lifesized 7.5 foot tall prototype. Tom consulted with them on that work and when the prints were done, the head was molded for production by us in New York while the bodies were concurrently produced by Gentle Giant. Time was tight so the whole crew here pitched in to get these done!
As the fiberglass heads were cast, our team did trimming and clean up to allow for glass eye installation, then painted each with airbrused skin tones and hand paint for realistic stained teeth. The hair for Chewbacca is always a challenge, and we knew who to call! Our friends at National Fiber Technology are the premiere source for FX quality hair for movies, museums and theme parks. They worked with us to get the right colors, including a mix of stock colors and new custom blends. For the hand-laid hair on the faces, we used loose NFT hair blended with wool fibers to adjust for color and shine.
Each head was haired with a seven piece cowl of fabric backed hair and loose fiber glued to the face in many layers. Natural edges were key! Careful application with clear glues made for a great look.
And we used a LOT of hair. We spent weeks scooping up Wookiee tumbleweeds from the studio floor just from the runoff! For the Chewbacca “costume,” we created patterns off the lifesized prototype body. Time was very short and luckily, National Fiber Tech offered us a new computer controlled fur cutting service they’ve debuted, which saved us countless man hours we’d otherwise have had to spend tracing patterns and trimming. If you’re considering this service, don’t hesitate to ask us more about it! We can’t stress enough how helpful it was!
We took a lot of video from the process and you can see that below (and be sure to subscribe to our Tom Spina Designs Youtube Channel for more like this!). Big thanks to Gentle Giant for bringing us onboard for this fabulous, furry, fun project!
Need custom characters created for a photo op, licensed product, or trade show? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!