Okay. I have to own up to my own Star Wars bias: I skip all the documentaries that involve models or special effects. (I know. I’m a betrayal to my own geekdom.)
So when Insight Editions (the folks who made the gorgeous Dressing a Galaxy, last year) announced a book about the models? I was a bit torn.
Sure. I collect all the books. But I was going for the Limited Edition one. And the price is not cheap. However, I can finally admit to having fallen to the model side of The Force by saying that it is totally worth spending obscene amounts of money to pick up the Limited Edition of: Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop.
Totally worth it.
Lorne Peterson (as edited by the lovely Pablo Hidalgo) proves to be a wonderful storyteller. When he talks about the models, he doesn’t just get into the mechanics of how they built them, but he shares the stories that go with them. Each model is attached to a memory of friends or situations. So you don’t have to be afraid of intense boredom. Instead, you get a sense of the fun that went into these films.
As with the previous book, you get to indulge your anal-retentive, geeky side by scruitinizing the incredibly detailed, close-up pictures of various models. The photography and print quality are really something to behold.
On the technical side, they seem to have corrected some of the binding problems that Dressing a Galaxy experienced with all its add-ins. The items inserted into the bigger, limited edition book seem fairly stable, as does the overall binding. (At least, none of my pages fell out as soon as I opened the book.)
What self-respecting Star Wars fan wouldn’t enjoy getting “toys” along with their books? The model pieces are a lot of fun. You, too, could make your own little landspeeder movies by putting the little figures into the speeder and on top of the reflective mirror. And they’re just fun to hold.
Then there’s the Millenium Falcon on the front of the clamshell. Apparently, you’re able to make your own model out of it, but I’m kinda afraid to mess with it. Haven’t quite figured out how one plays with it without ruining it. (But I will. I’m sure.)
The Death Star pieces? Funky. They aren’t painted (aka, aged or distressed), but it’s fun to try and stare at them and figure out where they might go on the Death Star or which stormtrooper lived in which building.
You also get an extra book on the digital modeling that they did for Episode III. Not much beyond pictures in this book, but the pictures are gorgeous and richly colored.
On the side of the clamshell, there’s a booklet and DVD. The DVD contains previously-aired documentaries, but there are also “talking galleries” in which Lorne Peterson talks to you on various subjects while an on-screen slideshow goes by.
The coolest feature of this DVD is the opening menu in which you’re greeted by a holographic Lorne Peterson who welcomes you to the book and DVD. Just like being in the GFFA!
The booklet is a guide to your toys. Read it. Learn.
Ooo. And extra bonus! Sideshow Collectibles threw in a mystery gift card (mysterious, until you go to their website to find out how much).
If you’re going to pay an obscene amount of money for a book, you’d best have a great experience getting it. This one doesn’t disappoint.
[I feel it only appropriate, as a public health professional, to include a warning here that the box housing this monstrosity should not be lifted without proper lifting form. It's heavy!]
You open your shipping box and inside is yet another box! This one is protecting your treasure.
The clamshell is a lovely shade of reddish-orange. (Okay. SO not an artist. What color is that?) It’s a little easier to open than their previous book. It has two flaps that reveal the DVD on the left and your toys in a nice, cushy foam bed on the right.
It took me a little while to figure out where the books were. Look underneath the toys’ bed. Yeah! There they are! Safely hidden away in little compartments. I’m a little concerned that this will cause a little more wear and tear on the books, this way. But at least people will know it’s loved.
My anal side is a little peturbed by the fact that the foam pieces they put in to hold your Death Star pieces don’t line up exactly unless you mess with them. But I guess it’s either a good exercise in patience or a way to kill some time getting them to line up properly.
Two big thumbs up for another great job by Insight Editions. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!