I stumbled across Tony's custom figure page, and saw the beginnings of his 12" Darth Maul. I was immediately motivated to start work on my own, so I did some research, and began. I found all the pictures I could of Darth Maul that have been floating around the 'net, and set out to purchase all the hobby items I would need...

My finished 12-inch Darth Maul

Darth Maul is the Sith apprentice of Darth Sideous in the new Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace, which will be out in theatres May 21. The toys from the film won't be out until May 3rd, and I couldn't wait, so I just had to begin construction of my own...

First I purchased a few hobby supplies that I thought I would need. Acrylic paints (red, black, white), Super Sculpey baked clay, paint brushes, glue, et cetera. Most important of all was the Alumilite Super Plastic casting material, and the rubber latex mold material. More info on these later.

I then found a 12" GI Joe figure at the local Toys 'R' Us. I bought it and immediately ripped off the head. I'd be using the head as a base for my Darth Maul head, and the body would be covered with custom-stitched clothing.

The head

First I made a mold of the base GI Joe head. I then cast this using the Alumilite Super Plastic. I then used Xacto knife and Sculpey to add to the base head. I then fired this for 15 minutes to harden the Sculpey, and then began to make the final mold:

Here's a picture of me beginning to coat the model with layers of latex rubber to build up the final mold (there are about 4 layers already on in the picture on the right, which is why it looks like a Gammorrean Guard with spikes :-)).

So, above is the picture of the first good cast I made (after two failed attempts that required a full rebuild of the mold, too!). This one came out looking really good, so I'll be painting this one. In fact, here is a preview picture of my first coat (without precise color matching or the dull coat, and lacking detail to the eyes and teeth).

Here are a few more shots of the completed head below. The red paint has been touched up a bit, and extended around to the back of the head. The teeth have been painted in, too, in a dark grey colour. The eyes are yellow (hard to tell from the pics).

After these pics were taken, I then coated the whole head with an acrylic dull-coat to seal the paint and give it a more realistic look like the Kenner 12" line (no specular highlights; compare the above photos with the ones below). It was then glued onto the neck of the 12" G.I. Joe body, which still allowed the head to turn and move up and down.

The double-bladed saber

The lightsaber is being constructed out of a wooden dowel rod 1/4 inch in diameter. Various buttons and rings are then added with Sculpey, and the whole thing painted silver. The actual blade pieces are clear plexiglass rods about 1/8 inch in diamter painted with translucent red paint.

After much consideration and hardship I decided to make the saber out of a drinking straw. Much easier to work with. Pictures follow:

The outfit

Now it's on to working on the costume. I stole a pair of black boots from my 12" Lando. The patterns we then drawn up for the inner robe, the pants, and the larger outer robe with hood.

The outfit is finally done. It was made out of three different types of black material, two of which were crepe. The three styles give the outfit more texture and more scale than if it were done in just one. The outer garment is a thicker, heavier robe. The inner robe is a shinier material to make it stand out. The inner collar and belt was made out of the third material, as well as the pants (which really can't be seen anyways...).

Here are some pictures of the finished figure (sans lightsaber):

All said and done this custom took me about a month to complete. I was really busy with work and such, so I only got about 15 minutes a day to devote to it. Not actually having the movie to reference made it somewhat difficult to fill in details on the figure, but I hope I at least got the general look. Now it's on to a young Obi-Wan...

I would appreciate it if you could e-mail me with some comments about this figure. It's my first, so I'm curious what people think. If you have any suggestions on what to change for improvement, please don't hesitate. Thanks.

More pictures

(click on the above image to enlarge)


Michael Sherman