You may not know the name, but Andrew Ainsworth is the creator of one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – the original Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet. Working out of his shop situated on the quaint, leafy Twickenham Green, Ainsworth began his career in the ’70s as a prop maker for films and has since become one of the leading exponents of products made via plastic moulding techniques.
He has worked on titles such as Superman, Alien and Star Wars, as well as for TV and live events, helping with key effects work and all manner of sci-fi themed props and costumes. Ainsworth’s key innovation when it came to devising the Storm Trooper mask was devising a way to produce lots of them (plus the full body armour) very quickly and at very little expense. And it wasn’t just the Stormtroopers – Ainsworth produced head-gear and armour for innumerable characters, some of whom didn’t make the final cut.
We met Ainsworth in his shop to find out what makes him tick, heard his stories about working with George Lucas on the production of the little film that could, and see images for the alien he and HR Giger created that was going to be part of Ridley Scott’s Alien, but wasn’t ready in time.
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Published 2 Sep 2015