Sunday, 1 July 2012

Death Star Playset

Star Wars memories from my childhood.

I was about seven when Star Wars first came out. I remember going to see it with my older brother at the ABC Cinema in Basingstoke. (Here's a great website I found with some old photos of the cinema). It was one of those proper old 'flea-pit' cinemas (said with great affection) - not like the two 'multiplex' cinema that we see today! We queued around the side of the cinema opposite the taxi ranks...  the experience has stayed a long time with me.

Now, I have a family - they're really too young to understand what Star Wars is, but it's a great excuse for me to retrieve all my old toys from my parents garage and have 'fun' drawing designs out on the computer.

When I was young, I had some great toys - the Falcon, Vader's Tie and a Snowspeeder... I remember seeing the 'cardboard' Death Star and thought "hey, that's cool". Years later, I stumbled on an excellent website of diorama's - amazing film like replicas of scenes from Star Wars...

This is run by Frank Diorio - a 'wizard' at making foamboard and stickers look like expensive film sets. (Frank, I hope you don't mind me referencing your site here:

Frank has produced some amazing photoshop background images and shares these freely so that anyone can have a go at making their own models. (Frank, huge thanks for taking the time and making these available for everyone).

With an idea in mind and huge inspiration... Using a range of Frank's excellent stickers and my CorelDraw X5 software I set out to create a Death Star.

The model is made using sticky paper and 5mm black foamboard. The walls slot together to form the four main segments. This means it can be flat packed.

The upstairs floor level then slots through the main panels.

The 'lift' shaft columns are made from TV cable trunking, cut to length with end-caps. They attach to the main walls by Velcro strip. (Again, this means they can be removed and flat packed.

I added some panels that Velcro to the walls, to give a little more detail.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the end result - great fun!

My last 'improvement' was to build the tractor beam console that Ben switched off. Once again, this is a slotted piece that can be dismantled.

I do hope you enjoy the pictures and please do take time to head over to the


  1. Thanks Dallas, I appreciate the feedback : )

  2. Hi Mark, great work I'd love if possible have the tractor beam decals for a small proyect of my own, thank you -- Kala

    1. Hi Kala, thanks for the feedback... Much appreciated. I'll see what I can arrange for you. If it helps, you might want to keep an eye on Frank's Diorama Workshop site which is being refreshed. The designs of the artwork for my Death Star all come from Frank's superb designs. If it wasn't for Frank's art, I wouldn't have started this blog!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Rich, glad you like the 'play set'. Hope you enjoy the others in my blog too. A house move has delayed a new printer... Stopping me from finishing some of the other play sets.

  4. Nice work. I was going to uild the death star in a 1' x 2' wooden box with a shelf halfway up and put rollers on it. Email me at if you want to see my idea...

    And check out my new posts in the ANH forum under "Galactic Heroes". that's what I'm working with.

  5. Hi Mike, thanks for the feedback... I'll take a look at your work - thanks for sharing!

  6. love the diversity of your skills Mark!