Drew Matthews

Home Personal projects Datapads

Datapad protection.

Bright suns! In the summer of 2019 Disneyland opened Galaxies Edge and transformed 14 acres to a planet on the outer rim. The planet Batuu beckoned travelers from all over the galaxy. Before I made my journey I saw other travelers making sure their Datapads looked the part before visiting off-world. A combination of scrapping, kitbashing and painting that took ordinary phone cases and transformed them into bonafide Datapads.

The goal

Find some model kit's and other supplies and fashion them into phone cases to make period fitting Datapads.

Role & responsibilities

Lead design, engineering and builder.

Design process

After being inspired by what I was seeing on Instagram. I took an approach at making cases that called back to classic vehicles or styles within the Star Wars universe. All my cases were made for friends so I sourced visual ideas from them. Some just wanted a case that looked the part for Batuu. Others were more specific, like wanting something that looked like the Corellian YT-1300f light freighter.

I would start with sketches. Using reference material. Then I'd get to assembling the cases from thin layers of styrene and WW2 model kIt's I got from the hobby store. I also used some model kIt's of actual Star Wars ships I found on sale. Nothing says kitbashing Star Wars like kitbashing actual Star Wars models.

Once build, cases were primed and painted and weathered. I had never done weathering before and I'm an average painter. I relied on the local table top gaming store's owner to guide me into the painting realm and referenced a whole world of model painters on YouTube.

What shipped

Some Datapads got the Photoshop treatment in some glamor shots. Cases were packed up and made their journey to the outer rim. They might have even taken the Falcon for a smuggling run. But thats maybe a tale for another time.

Tantiv IV iPhone Case
Are you familiar with Corellian Corvettes?
Sandcrawler iPhone Case
Jawas surrounding the sandcrawler inspired case.
Sandcrawler onboard the Falcon
Gio smuggled his Datapad aboard the Falcon.

What I learned

I really enjoy building things with my hands. It's always a challenge to take something in your head and assemble it in the real world. I got much better at painting and I learned a bunch about weathering. This really kicked off the prop builder in me. I'm going to make more, next up are some tiny LEDs for an added effect. The best part is actually seeing people in the park react. At the same time it's always awesome to see your friends faces when you deliver the bounty. 'Til the spire!

©2020 Drew Matthews