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The movie

maître Yoda screenshot

Star Wars
The Empire strikes back

Master Yoda does appear for the first time in The Empire Strikes back. He is the one who teaches Luke how to use the Force.

Yoda lives on a very welcoming planet : mud, dirty water, sticky creatures who eat droids, aquatic plants, dead leaves… Welcome on Dagobah, the exact opposite of Tatooine. You are not here to get a tan but to move stones and X-Wings with your only mind.

Yoda is one of the most popular creature seen in Star Wars. However, his species, origin, and personnal story remain unknown. Even if the prequel episodes enlight a small part of his history and the cause of his Dagobah retirement, nothing tells us who he really is and how he became a Jedi.

Frank Oz is the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars movies. During the original trilogy, a puppet was used.It was controled by Frank Oz. Another puppet was used for Yoda’s first appearance in “The Phantom Menace” but a couple of years later, it was replaced by a CGI. The walking stick was in fact a trick allowing the puppet displacement. Yoda’s face was created by the british make-up artist Stuart Freeborn who was inspired by his own face and Albert Einstein‘s.

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maître Yoda visage

Making a master Yoda figurine was not really a challenge to me. Big fan of the character, I’ve made many of them, some work well, some don’t. Bizzarely, the oldest were also the ugliest… passage of time, I guess…

This model was a gift to a friend’s brother, also a big Star Wars fan.


Master Yoda, an emblematic character

maître Yoda master figure

No big trouble, except the clothes I intended to make with real fabric. First step, as always, the sculpt of the body elements, face, hands, feet made of supersculpey ploymer clay. Other body parts are hidden by the clothes, no need for super-detail. Yoda is an iconic well known character. No “easy-going monster principle” : hiding mistakes under pimples, open wounds and so on wasn’t conceivable. The likeness was essential.

As usual, I search my pictures database from episode 5 and 6 and I make screenshots. I document a lot to catch the character soul, to become filled with. Even if I know the little green guy well, things can always be improved. And there is a lack of feet references, mostly unseen in the movies.

During my research, I’ve discovered that the Tussauds museum of London is opening a Star Wars section featuring among many things our master Yoda in his environment. I seize the opportunity for gathering new pictures of the sculpture which is absolutly perfect. After a few hours of work, I “have” him.

Swamp green

maître Yoda peint

Before assembling the sculpted parts, they must be painted. But master Yoda’s color is not only “swamp green”, it’s a subtle mix which needs a subtle work otherwise the sculpt could look like an awful flashy extraterrestrial. Fortunatly, I own a “Yoda skin” painting I made a couple of years ago and kept safe just in case… Cool, I won’t spend hours to search the right tint… For the record, it’s a light olive green mixed with a bit of yellow. Go on with this… I’ll add a few darker age spots -“That face you make, look I so old to your eyes ?”

The body, the clothes and the base

maître Yoda Master

And that’s it, everything’s ready for the last step, the parts assembling. The hidden body is made of wood, polystyren and iron wires to give the arms flexibility. Clothes are made of two types of fabric. A brown one for the body and a beige one for the “kimono”. Bye the way, this one is a little bit thick for this scale and is wrongly folded. That’s life… The base is simply a wooden plate on which a muddy soil is sculpted and enliven with crushed dead leaves I found in my garden.

Cat’s hair and resin eyes

maître Yoda Star wars

That’s not over yet, a 800 years old creature without white hair is not really credible. Kitty, kitty cat… Yes, I used to have a free hair provider, our Angora Mimie cat. She unfortunatly left us in the meantime. Her thin thick hair was perfect for figuring Yoda’s hair.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.

Master Yoda

Since her disapearance, I use folded wool but I miss her purrings when I cut her hair. Far less enjoyable. In order to retrieve master Yoda’s eyes full of life due to translucidity and not only painting, I made a recessed sculpted iris. A simple resin drop was enough to figure a nice full of life eye

And that’s how our old master Yoda reached another galaxy until I make more of them…

by philigore