Star Trek Ru’afo Costume Display

A custom display for a Star Trek Ru’afo costume from Star Trek: Insurrection

An original Star Trek Ru’afo costume, worn in the 1998 film Star Trek: Insurrection by actor F. Murray Abraham. Our client asked us to create this wax museum style display, complete with a custom sculpted likeness bust.  Considering this was a “monster” type of character, where Abraham played the film’s main villain under a bit of makeup, it made sense to turn this into a life-like statue.

Sculptor Steven Richter began this project by sculpting Ru’afo’s head, using photos of both actor F. Murray Abraham as well as his onscreen character. This helps us to not only properly sculpt the actor’s makeup but also his underlying facial structure to get the most accurate sculpture possible. We want to be sure to see the actor through all the “makeup” and alien skin.  In this case, that alien skin needed to have natural folds and sags, as well as a stretched look, which was key to the alien species’ backstory.

Once the sculpture was finished, the head was molded in silicone and cast in a resin.  To give him a very life like quality we added a pair of custom acrylic eyes and natural false eyelashes.  Tom painted the piece with many layers of airbrush and hand paint for a realistic skin tone, while still capturing feel of the film makeup’s look.  It’s a bit of a sickly looking paint scheme, to really give him that post flesh-stretching session look!

Ru’afo’s costume was in good shape for its age, but we did some small amounts of paint touchup and conservation work to help the costume really look it’s best. We then created a custom mannequin which was sized based on the measurements of this specific costume, and capturing F. Murray Abraham’s body type at the time.  Be sure to check out the video below to see a time lapse of the sculpting process of this project!

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Watch Ru'afo's head being sculpted from start to finish!
A few words from our client…

Tom Spina and his group just completed my Ru’afo hero uniform project. As you can see they did a fantastic job.  The bust they sculpted and painted of F. Murray Abraham (Ru’afo) is an excellent likeness. He accurately depicted all the folds and distortions in his face and highlighted them in the coloring. The eyes are also hauntingly lifelike. You clearly can see F. Murray Abraham.  I would highly recommend Tom and his staff if you have one of these costumes or any other costume you want to give special treatment to.

Angelo Cifaldi, Star Trek Prop and Costume Collector