Here is a fantastic piece and an interesting story about how I came to own it.
The propstore auction in April turned out to be too expensive for most (I can’t blame them it’s you bidders doing that)and there was a lack of robot pieces. In the end this complete background piece sold for $25,000!
I decided to bypass that and try and find other pieces that may be out in the wild. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything. Literally nothing.
I did some checking on twitter and apparently when the movie was released last April a couple of very expensive what were termed “replica” pieces were sweepstaked (I prefer the English term raffled) by the studio. These pieces have disappeared off the planet too.
So with more luck on my side than I can possibly say I found one of the charity/display pieces in Las Vegas of all places and spun the wheel.
It turned out that these were made at the same time as the production Geisha pieces from the same materials by the same crew but just never shot on film at a cost of about $4000-5000 each for the display at various events and eventual promotional use, in this case a charity sale donated by Sony. So not replica at all but production made by Weta FX.
Given that most times we buy props we never know if they are actually used this seemed like a nice alternative of being production made but without the damage of the used ones or the simple fact no main Geishas were being offered at all anyway
So unlike profiles day 2 2018 auction today I had literally no competition and won it at opening bid. Then the agonizing 2 week wait as at this point apart from a grainy small pic I had literally no idea what I had just bought. That’s when I started piecing together information on the web (which wasn’t much)
The original sweepstakes info was interesting.
The $3500 price was a good sign since “the Martian” replica charity/promo helmets had an approximate retail value or ARV (contest prizes for tax purposes need these values) of $900 meaning the Geisha was made much nicer I surmised. Sometimes the prize was named as “Weta replica” and also “created by Weta” which was a good sign.
I armed myself with good photos of the original helmets on tested with Adam Savage.
There were plenty of awesome shots. The one above shows the wearable helmet with pull ties to close inside.
Using these photos I was able to do a side by side with the prize item, the prop store example and the Weta screencaps.
With this I was able to check the paint colors, the molding and various details like the intersecting lines with a single screw head that I knew from “tested” was originally 3D printed then fiberglassed but because the helmets were so finely detailed the screw-heads were added after the casting.
This was useful in ascertaining the “replica” was made by Weta and not by an outside company which in nearly every case these “copies” typically are.
So armed with all this information I was able to open the box a couple of weeks after winning the Paramount donated prize.
I had James with the HSPPA here at the time and it was a lot of fun to tick off the boxes that meant I was right in many of my assumptions.
Fiberglass…black painted interior…heavy metal stand with New Zealand style bolt in base (I knew this with all the time didn’t tracking down Weta bolts for my EXO suit from Elysium), beautiful paint job, see-thru plastic bow in the hair with interior detailing, metal custom jewelry in the hair, and I flipped it over and whooped out “look at the Weta sticker inside!” pretty much deafening poor James. Pretty vindicating.
It’s a shame that it didn’t split in two but the fact it didn’t shows it was made as a display piece but exactly as per the screenused pieces. It even had the pushpin screws used to detail the fiberglass lines per the tested video.
Here are a few more beauty shots of this beautiful piece of Weta art.
The paintwork on the hair is particularly stunning. As is the detail inside the see thru blue bow.
I hope you have enjoyed another article which hopefully inspires you to go out there and find hidden gems not always thru the auction channels. I promise you they are out there. Above is proof of that I think.