Enhancing my Jabba's Trophy diorama (WIP and completed! 8/4)

Daigo_Bah

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Ok, I lied- I thought I was going to tackle several TESB upgrades for the remainder of this 40th anniversary year, but then a few things nagged at me while I looked at the Jabba's trophy mini-diorama. Here's a pic from when I first completed it back in 2007:

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I had just this year introduced a real light above Han, instead of just the "faked" lighting of paint apps:

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What started the whole process of wanting to revisit was as simple as noticing the floor should be sand, not solid. Then, I started noticing several things that were inaccurate, out of proportion, or just wrong LOL (isn't that always the way?!).

Based on that first pic, here's what's wrong: the display alcove is a little too wide (but that's one thing I'm not going to alter actually), the walls to the sides of the alcove are too wide (making the trophy animal heads too high and too far to the left, and the wall "scars" too far to the outside), the upper alcove wall gehind Han's head is not accurate with structure or color, Han is a little too high (as is the control panel to lower him; it's also too far to the right), the faked grating lights on each side are not high (or bright) enough, the faked grating lights on the ground came out too blurry, the curtains should be dark grey rather than tan, and frankly, the scene needs archways! And perhaps the most important thing is the need for that orange glow of lighting from behind and beneath.

So, to start off, I removed the carbonite block and the trophy heads, and broke a hole through the back wall in order to introduce a light from behind rather than underneath.

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I then used an x-acto knife to cut channels in the wall above Han's head, with the intent of adding copper strips to each side of each channel (more on that later, since I was unhappy with it LOL). You can also see here the addition of an archway on the left side (there are a lot of Palace experts on RS that know this, but it was new to me: the arch on the left is squared at 90 degrees (hiding the thugs) while the one on the right is curved (hiding Jabba and his close entourage). Note that the addition of the archway narrows the width of the wall, which should measure the same width as the corner of the display alcove to the center between Han's feet).

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Here you can see the large archway I made for the front of the scene (styrofoam face with a posterboard strip underneath) and a hint of the right side curved archway where Jabba is hiding. Furthermore, notice the right wall "scar" was filled and a new one cut to the proper size and shape in its higher, correct position (the left wall scar will be altered soon too):

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And here is the left wall scar filled and re-cut to be central to the new, smaller wall width. This is also after I added the copper-painted posterboard strips and "teeth" located in each of the channels. And... I hated how it looked LOL (the channels were not evenly spaced and the copper strips were too wide), so I changed it again. But before I changed it, note Han was re-affixed, and his carbonite block was painted on the back with orange to reflect the light that will shine on it (you can also see a hint of painted orange on the bottom surface of the block below his feet):

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I tested the light (another twistable one) from behind the block, and was happy with the result. Note the light from above is not there yet.

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And a little light from above (it will be brighter but more concentrated than this, to illuminate just the upraised parts like in the scene):

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Seeing as how I was not happy with the upper back wall, I removed it. You can see the front of the twistable light here too:

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So, with the structure of that upper back wall in mind, I started cutting foamcore strips for structure, flexible foamie sheets for covering them and wrapping underneath to get a rounded edge, and thinner posterboard strips to finish the structure. Here are all the pieces before painting and assembly:

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And here it is all assembled. You can kinda see the three-dimensional resultant shape towards the right of the pic, how it's curved underneath. I had created the original wall to be a concrete structure, but it's actually an elegant molded wall structure. By the way, there are small bolts in the copper strips near the bottom (I used small nails in the earlier version), but decided just to leave it as holes suggesting small bolts. Han's block is attached a foamcore's thickness in front of the wall rather than being flush against it (hard to tell here):

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Just a test fitting here, not the final position.

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Here's a pic of the back of the scene, with my solution of how to turn on the back light; it's a strip of foamcore that works like a switch from above, rather than having to reach behind and twist it on:

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And some test lighting:

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Han and his wall are a little low here (the bottom of the block should be even with Boushh's knees), so just a another test:

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More coming soon! Thanks for checking out my process ;)
 
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Looks great! Are you going to be able to swap it out with the (Saga?) Carbonite Han that was molded in the translucent red?

EDIT: Yeah, this one!
 

Utinniii

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Looking good! Your improvements really do wonders!

Will you be changing the grill on the floor as it was not rectangular and was also lit?
 
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Revisions look great! Now I'm seeing how much revising I need to do to mine! Brilliant solution with the switch for the light too, that's superb engineering. Gonna use the Jerba head from the Hasbro release?
 

Daigo_Bah

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Are you going to be able to swap it out with the (Saga?) Carbonite Han that was molded in the translucent red?

That's a great idea what with the lighting coming from behind now; I actually sold off that one a few years ago but I might reacquire and see if it's worth doing!

Will you be changing the grill on the floor as it was not rectangular and was also lit?

I swear, I noticed the shape you mentioned just last night for the first time while viewing the scene to make sure I'm not forgetting something! It's most easily seen when Han has defrosted and Leia sits him up. I will add it to the front of the rectangle and after painting, hope it picks up the light too!

Gonna use the Jerba head from the Hasbro release?

You know, I think I'm going to try sculpting some changes to my buffalo head before looking for that piece ;)
 

Daigo_Bah

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And a question for you guys: in set pics, does it appear to you that the "ceiling" in the alcove room is lower (than mine) and angled down towards the alcove a little? If so, I may make a second version and suspend it under my current one...
 

Utinniii

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The ceiling IS lower. The space above Han is about the length of his head and shoulders (or you can actually measure it).
While it looks curved slightly, it is actually straight. We see it when the curtains are pushed away (at least on the staircase side). You can see the support buttresses (which you are missing) that are in between the mounted heads and Han's alcove.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Thanks, pal. Check this out, though- this image sure makes it look angled down, not just angled due to perspective:

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Utinniii

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Your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them.



I was thrown by that pic as well.
It would also be a lot harder to build a curved roof that would never be seen anyway. Also, aside from the archways, all the other ceilings are flat as far as I can tell. Now the walls on the other hand...
 
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Yeah, that picture (the one with all the Jabba goons makes it appear that the ceiling is a straight across surface. But the black and white shot Greg posted is consistent with what I thought. It's showing the ceiling has a weird "angled down"-thing going on. Not curved (edit----) JUST as Utinniii said, but it appears that the ceiling would be higher closer to the arch where the photographer would be and then angles slightly downward as it approached the alcove and Han. Weird.

Greg, you got the squared rather than arched opening correct on the tauntaun side and the arched Jerba side where Jabba is hiding. I am mad because I got it wrong even after specifically looking. Both the side opening are arched on mine. Also, I went with blue curtains and I think yours is more accurate as far as color goes. I think it's a lighter tan color. I think you had five opening in the ceiling originally. I actually think there's three, and the corresponding number of shadows cast on the floor is evidence. The outstanding job of painting you did shows three grated shadows on the floor. I think if there were five openings above, we'd see five grated shadows on the floor. Just my 2 cents. Anyway, keep it going, love these revisions.
 
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Utinniii

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I think the B&W photo was taken from the bottom of the stairs which gives it that curved look.
The photo I used shows a straight line. It also has end-caps that are the same as the one's in the alcoves which have a 90 degree angle.
Not that it matters, but I have a photo of the ceiling which is flat from the SE footage.
The only thing I can think of so everyone is correct is that the ceiling isn't fixed (for camera work, so it was angled in that one photo.

The curtains are a motled blue with shiny flecks in them.

Finally, the lighted floor grate is actually 3 pieces with a thick stone space between each piece. The middle one sticks out more.
 

Daigo_Bah

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It's showing the ceiling has a weird "angled down"-thing going on. Not curved as Utinniii said, but it appears that the ceiling would be higher closer to the arch where the photographer would be and then angles slightly downward as it approached the alcove and Han. Weird.

Right- sorry if it was unclear, but definitely the "squared arch" over the goons is parallel to the floor; I was referring to the "grate" ceiling directly above Han. It appears to be angled down at Han, is flat (not curved), and is held up by those 2 end-caps. I'm pretty good at noticing angled lines receding due to perspective; but the lines of that ceiling above Han appear to angle too sharply inward and downward towards Han to be just perspective (I think). There may even be a little space above the end-caps supporting it, suggesting the ceiling is not flat and flush against it...

Edit: another thing I noticed in the B&W pic is that the low wall scar on the Tauntaun side is a lot wider than I thought. Gonna have to recut!

Also, with your pic Utinniii, would you agree that there is a squared column (where I added the red line), not a flush wall there? The lower part of the pic makes it look like a flush wall, but the top seems to indicate the way I made it as a distinct column apart from the wall (and I think when watching the film, it was that way as well).

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It was me who was unclear, and for that I owe Utinniii an apology. I meant to say that the ceiling was not curved, just as Utinniii said........it read like I was countering his assertion that it was curved. Utinnii said the ceiling was not curved and I believe he is correct. I intended to concur but instead it read like I was disagreeing with him. I went back to edit that, again, sorry it was poorly worded.

As far as the angled down thing goes, I think Daigo-Bah sees it the same way I do. Perhaps the ceiling is flat across most of the distance with a change near the alcove where it does angle down??? I don't know. It's not the first time I've seen set photos of multiple Star Wars scenes that almost make me think Norman Reynolds must've built two sets (even though I'm sure that they only built one) because of conflicting visual cues.

Not sure about the column, still digesting what the deal is on that. But Utinniii is again correct with the curtail color, now I think they're blue which means I don't have to revise that. Dammit! I mean...........Yay!
 

Utinniii

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I would say that is a wall and not a column. If you look at your B&W pic, you can see it is a wall all the way yo the curtain. By looking at other pics and the film, it also looks like wall to me.
There are 4 endcaps . One on each end and 2 between the busts and Han.
The ones in the middle are plain but the end caps on the corners are multilayered and are the same as the one's in the alcoves.

 

Daigo_Bah

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Yeah, looking through a bunch of pics, especially at starwarsarchives.com, I believe you're correct that there is no column on the left- just flat wall until the curtain. Gonna have to fix that, and add the buttresses. Also, I think the grate ceiling above is indeed parallel to the floor; a couple pics (probably camera lens distortions) make it look like it slopes downward a bit. I'll need to widen the wall scar, and it never occurred to me that the multi-level drink tray below the Tauntaun head is the same structure as the astromech drink trays! Lastly, are we sure the Jerba head does in fact have horns like the Hasbro playset? Seems like they'd know, but I can't make any out in any pic...
 
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I think the Jabba's palace Jerba has horns but they can be boil-and-popped out of the Hasbro playset version as I've done to make one for a Mos Eisley version outside the cantina. Newborn Alex gave me idea to try and it worked easily. I think the tauntaun on the playset doen't have as much neck as I see. When I started my dio, I used an old POTF2 tauntaun that I cut with a dremel to give a longer neck. Makes him stick out from the wall a bit more and has a more face-up look rather than looking downward.
 

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Yeah, I'll have to extend the Tauntaun neck with some sculpting; it does stick out far when viewed from the side! Ok, so I made several corrections and additions to the structure: I lowered the foreground archway by adding another, shorter strip of posterboard and filling in with a spongy packing material I had; the cracks and seams will be filled by plaster prior to a full coat of plaster (I think the archway comes down even more than this, but I didn't want to "hide" too much behind it; after all, there was no arch in my original scene!). Note that the wall column on the Tauntaun side has been removed, while keeping the linear archway above. I was worried about the left wall being too wide now, but measuring the scene on my TV shows that the left side *is* wider than the right. I went ahead and poked the wall scar holes all the way through, widening the left scar to its proper size. The alcove floor was given its little "lip" that sticks out from the rectangle shape, and I made the 3 grate ceiling above the scene (not in its final position but pretty close). The ceiling to either side was closed off with sheets of styrofoam. The new ceiling will get a trim in each grate to deepen it and produce the 2-tiered look. And the buttresses have yet to be made!

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Edit: and the new ceiling done and placed; the last pic with the lighting test also has the 3 completed wall/ceiling buttresses we've been talking about! For the difficulty of seeing differences between rounded buttresses versus double-curved ones (or however they differ), I decidedc to make them all rounded (y)

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Edit #2: and looking at the B&W pic again on this computer which has a better screen and lighting, I see that the right wall scar continues as a crack all the way up to the end-cap/buttress above it, and that the left wall scar is even wider than I corrected, with a small "peak" next to the existing large peak...
 
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Too Boo koo, Utinniii..........too boo koo....🤣
 
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Utinniii

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Ha!

I can't let you do it man, sorry. Your floor grate is one long rectangle with an added lip when they need to be 3 rectangles with a gap the thickness of the stone between them.



If you look at the film, you can see the grate is lite from beneath and you can see the shadow of the stone making 3 distinct grates.

It would be great if you could fix your grate.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Thanks, and yeah, I thought I'd cut the plastic grate into 3 and make a little bridge across the hole beneath it to separate into 3 :unsure:
 

Daigo_Bah

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Just for you, Utinniii:

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I also cut the half-moon crescent shapes out of foamie sheets, applied them to the inner right-side arch, and plastered it. This is before sanding:

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And after a full light sanding of the whole thing; note the plaster on the floor to smooth the area in front of the alcove and in the cracks, etc. Ready for paint now!

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As usual, I'm in awe, inspired and slightly angry at myself for having to now go back and fix my own version of this set----my grate ain't straight.........the bit that juts out was something I didn't know was like that till this thread.

And the details with the arches are just sick, man.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Thank you! A couple of pics with the first coat of paint; these (except for maybe the right inner archway) are not final paintjobs. Some detail work to come, followed by another simulated grid lighting on the floor and wall spraypaint job.

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This is looking incredible! Love all the extra detail. I will be looking at this for inspiration when I tackle this in the 6 inch scale.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Thanks for saying so! I made little progress the past 2 weeks due to work, but I have a bit more done: Here are the floor gratings in and level/flush with the "stonework".

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I added in the trophy control box and painted a copper/black mix on it. Here it is with the back light turned on too.

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And I remade the wall "scar" gratings using the same plastic grids, but I tipped them diagonally and poked a hot glue gun tip through some holes to round them a bit. They're not exactly how they looked, but much closer than the older grids I had.

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More soon!
 

Utinniii

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I rolled out some model magic and used a round pin head to poke holes in it. This allowed me to make a fairly accurate "scar" (with the pics I had at the time).
Yours look great but lack the organic feel of the set IMO.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Yeah, the holes should be more uniform throughout; interestingly, up close the holes are not as round as they seem. I may re-work those. What I did next was to sculpt the full horn onto the extra Luke's Tauntaun head I had used as the trophy. I also took the buffalo head and sculpted horns onto a wire that was drilled through its head; the only film shot of the "Jerba" head's horns is when Han turns to face Jabba. It's a dark silhouette only, but the horns protrude forward just short of the snout, and appear to be smooth (so I consider the Hasbro version to be just as much artistic license as mine!). Even if the set version looked exactly like Hasbro's, it doesn't much matter since we never see it in the film :sneaky:.

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And here is a resculpt of the wine flask; I'm happy with the twisty sculpt of it, but.... I sculpted the twist in the wrong direction (should be twisted right, not left) :LOL:. Minor issue, I think.

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Then, it was time to make the multi-tiered table to the left. I had in mind to use several Bar2-D2 serving trays as the tables (the pic in the early posts of this thread show its resemblance), but I wasn't sure what to use for the "stem". I thought it reminded me of the portable cannon from the Sailbarge, so I used it and sliced off some of the extra pieces. I assembled and super-glued it together, then spray-painted it with the only metallic gold I had (rose gold) which is not as traditional gold as I hoped, but is sufficient (especially in the low light).

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Again, not perfectly accurate, but I submit to you a comparison shot with the old one :LOL::

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Nice work on the details, totally agree on the Jerba, your looks great! The table is definitely an improvement, though honestly speaking, the first rendition is pretty cool to me too, I mean, it may not have been quite as screen accurate but it's pretty awesome to see it in our scale (3 3/4) in any condition, accurate or not. I'm hesitant to use the R2-D2 bar glasses as I only have one loose but like how you done that too. And there's a LOT of cups scattered on /around the table. They did some serious drinking in Jabba's palace and left crap everywhere. Looks like the dorm room from my college days with Rolling Rock bottles literally all over the place.
 

Daigo_Bah

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Thanks ;). I had a couple more hours to get the trophy heads painted and placed on the wall; I used felt sheets to fill the space between the cut of the head and the wall, panted (though I have to blend them a little more). I'll try to take clearer pics, especially to show how I got the length of the Tauntaun neck to be pretty accurate. By the way, I tried the spray-painted "lights" onto the floor, and was not happy with it at all, so I decided to make all the lights real (that way I can shine it onto everything evenly just like the set). I think next week's update is the final one, after I complete the overhead lights, the table, and the curtains!

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The first incarnation with the spraypainted effects for the grating were awesome, I thought it was one of the coolest diorama techniques I'd ever seen, looking forward to seeing the practical use of real lighting but I can't overstate how impressive that first bit of work was. I find myself utterly blown away by your dioramas. In the back of my mind, as I open your threads, I sometimes hear the Beastie Boys "The Maestro" playing in my head. Maybe it's the perfect song for a Rodman montage:unsure:, but it really applies to the fantastic displays you do too. Yeah, you Rebelscummers, this diorama is all that. You look at Greg and say 'how can he be so skinny and live so phat?' You wanna know why? Cos he's The Maestro. :cool: Keep on bouncin' and bumpin', and stuffin', Daigo Bah.
 

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Thanks, Shiz- back then, for some reason, I found it a challenge to try to "cheap out" any way possible to create a diorama. Some came out really creative, but there was so much inconsistency and inaccuracy. But then, I love going back to them and making improvements :sneaky:.

So the next thing was the right-side table: it was too small in diameter and didn't look like polished wood. I found a metal ring washer at a hardware store that fit perfectly around the existing wood piece I was using, so I glued it on and painted it all darker brown. Note the taller sculpt bottle and paintjob (which I gave a more metallic copper drybrush later):

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I remade the legs out of a plastic rod I had, crimping the diameter of it in a few places with a needle-nose plier. I glued the legs on, added a half-sphere under the table and painted it all with a glossy dark brown. Note the sand added to the floor, the pillows (which are the same original ones, though glued down now to look naturally squished) and Boushh glued in place.

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And now the light testing! Of course, the orange light from behind is final, but I had since added a spotlight above Han in just about the best position I could get to mimic the scene. Here it is, and these are final for these 2 light sources:

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These, however, are not final! I quickly cut a piece of posterboard with a grid-like pattern and tried to illuminate from above; I like the effect, so I just have to cut the correct grid shapes and suspend the light!

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Final pics on the next, last update!
 
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Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.... you can't front on that!
Sweeter than a cherry pie with Reddi Whip topping, Greg!
Just the fruit is amazing....looks so good, like one of my tomatoes in my garden.....I'm tempted to try to reach through the screen, grab one and eat it. Mmmmmmmmm........Star Wars fruit.......
Great table too, gonna have to revise my version now.
Lighting looks ace.

*Edit*-----Are you going to change the color of Leia's feet to be tan? I don't know why Hasbro made them dark grey and when I look at mine, it sort of bothers me, I've been entertaining the idea of a swap should a suitable donor be found or just a repaint. It looks almost like you did a wash on her upper arms and tunic.
 
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Oh man. I always loved your original version of this scene but sweet Christmas have you taken it to the next level. Can't wait to see the final pics 🤓
 

Utinniii

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Looking great so far.
If you watch the scene carefully and looks t pics of the table in int sail barge you can actually see what the design looked like.
 

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Thanks gang! Here are the final pics; dang, but it was hard getting the lights positioned correctly! This was the closest I could get to the scene. First, here's another test shot of the lights before the grating:

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I was hoping one light would be enough... and no, it wasn't! Ended up with 3 angled differently, apart from the Han spotlight and the orange light. So here are the gratings made for the ceiling (before I realized they were 3 "columns" each rather than 2 :unsure:):

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And finally... the lighting just about the way I wanted it; thanks for all the help, guys (Shiz, I completely missed the incorrect boot color, so it's changed now!). Hope you like 'em!

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This is so off-the-Leia-as-Jabba's-prisoner-chain! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT LIGHTING!!! :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y):geek::geek::geek: I have so much to revise on mine now...it looks like...well....smiling poop by comparison..:poop::poop::poop: (never had a chance to use that emoji till now). Quick recap.....your revised dio??? Five crazy surprised faces+six thumbs way up+three geeks smiling. My own version???? Three grinning poops.:( ...and a frowny face. Well done, Greg. Love the boots too.
 
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Okay. I'm going to put away my Hasbro version now. It won't meet my needs anymore now that I've seen your version.

Amazing work!
 
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