by Joachim van den Heuvel
Scale: (Not stated) 30 x 30 cm (base) 34 cm height
This year is the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back" and I thought it would be nice to make a model from that movie.
I have been a long time admirer of Phil Tippett who has done some very inspiring work on the original Star Wars movies. One of the things he made was a Wampa puppet briefly seen on screen.
The reference material available came from The Archives book and the first Chronicles book. During a Star Wars prop exhibition, I was able to take two side views of the puppet.
I started with modelling a small 5cm tall clay figure without fur to get a impression of the Wampa 's basic shape. The figure was used as reference to shape a larger model out of hard foam. A pingpong ball was used for the eyes. The skin is made from celluclay.
Ears were added. They are made from celluclay covered tinfoil. The horns were sculpted in plastilene clay and molded in silicone rubber. The casts were made in a very dense plaster. I used the same approach with the teeth. The tongue is made from air hardening clay.
The creature was painted with acrylics and fur was added. I never worked with fur before. The fur I used had been laying around for years (I was planning to do this about 7 years ago) and came from a fabric store. After conducting several glue tests the fur was attached with white glue. The edges where the backing showed were camouflaged with loose bits of fur attached with whiteglue. The dirt in the fur was applied using a acrylic wash. Some before and some after the fur was applied.
I took some creative liberties during the build. I wanted the horns to be more exposed (like the Special Edition Wampa ) and I used mottled black/grey metallic eyes instead of the cat-eyes on the Tippett model. The end result is a bit of a mix of the old and new Wampa .
The Wampa was finally based on a MDF stand painted to look like weathered metal.