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Return of the Jedi Endor Forest Prop Restoration

An Endor forest prop restoration from the final battle sequence in Return of the Jedi

A restoration of an original Endor forest prop from the final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. This ILM model was created for miniature scenes, when it would be too difficult or expensive to film something at full scale in the redwood forests.  The tree stands about a meter tall, and over the years, many of the tiny branches had become fragile and snapped off of the trunk. Luckily the owner of the prop had kept any of the pieces that had broken off because it helped in the restoration process while keeping the model mad of only original material. The top few inches of the the trunk had also snapped off and required repairs.

Each of the tiny branches were attached with a tiny drop of glue and then held into place until they were dry. This was time consuming and had to be repeated for each or the branches. The entire process became like a game of Operation, where you had to place one branch while being careful not to disturb the surrounding branches. We also had to be careful in placement to be sure we were keeping with the overall shape of the tree.

When the top of the tree snapped off it splintered which meant that there were some areas that needed to be re-sculpted. We matched the texture of the rest of the trunk and then painted it so that where the piece was reattached the repairs would virtually disappear. We then reattached the newly repaired piece which also had to be held in place until it was dry.

The original board which the tree was attached to had the tree pointed at a strange angle, since it was original to the prop we didn’t want to remove it so we had to work around it. To counter this we added a small block to the base so that the tree stood closer to straight up and down. We also added a custom acrylic display case to help protect the fragile branches from future damage.

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