On the fourth floor of Harrods, the ludicrously luxurious department store in London, a special exhibition has been set up inside The Disney Store. Out of sight, locked behind an unremarkable black door, is a collection of items meticulously adapted from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Poe Dameron’s X-Wing helmet. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. Chewbacca’s bowcaster. Each is based on a 3D scan of the original movie prop, and built with an expensive mixture of 3D-printed materials, forged and cast items.
All of the pieces have been created by Propshop, a company that has long produced physical props and digital assets for the movie industry. The team is based in Pinewood Studios, where some of The Force Awakens was shot, and has Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Episode VIII on its resume. Outside of the sci-fi franchise, it’s also worked on Spectre, The Martian and Ex Machina, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Dark Knight Rises.
Each replica is virtually identical to its on-set counterpart. Some of them are available to order online too, but be warned — they’re not cheap. Kylo Ren’s helmet, for instance, will set you back £1,800 ($2,000). For that price, you also get a stand, a chip that proves its authenticity, and a wooden crate inspired by the packaging that was used for the original prop.
These “Ultimate Studio Edition” replicas aren’t the sum of the “Star Wars Gallery” experience, however. Propshop has also reconstructed the Millennium Falcon cockpit — complete with pilot, co-pilot and passenger seats — and the curved sofa where the film’s heroes play a game of Holochess. A couple of minor elements have been changed — one set of levers was switched out to make the cockpit more durable — but otherwise, it’s an absurdly accurate recreation of the legendary spaceship. Oh, and you’re allowed to sit in the pilot’s seat, provided you don’t touch anything.
Dotted throughout the exhibition are a few character statues, including Rey, Kylo Ren and a First Order Stormtrooper. My personal favourite was BB-8, although sadly it’s unable to roll around or make any of its trademark beeps and boops. For that, you’re better off buying the toy by Sphero.
Before you leave, Harrods and Propshop will invite you to sit inside a room with a spherical camera array. Fifty DSLRs will capture your head simultaneously, giving the team the data it needs to 3D print your likeness. Should you have a spare £1,595 floating around, you can then order a custom Stormtrooper, Rebel pilot or Tie fighter pilot with your face on it. The figures stand at nearly half a meter tall and take 16 weeks to build and deliver — again, with a certificate of authenticity and a branded crate.
If, like me, you don’t have the cash to spend on such exorbitant items, you can still look around and admire Propshop’s handiwork. Admission is free, but you’ll need to book in advance online — the gallery shuts at the end of August, so an early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Source: Star Wars Gallery