Capturing an exact likeness is often one of the greatest challenges associated with figure creation, from a recognizable celebrity mug to an electronic CG character. Many of our collectors have asked about the nuances of sculpting a portrait and what obstacles hinder an artist from getting a truly exact likeness. Here to shed a little light on subject is talented sculptor Trevor Grove…
“Mat Falls described likeness sculpture best to me when he likened it to a Rubik’s cube. You solve one problem only to throw off something else and create a new one. It’s a constant shifting of features. That alone can be such a struggle sometimes, and you never really know who’s going to be more challenging or less challenging. Each new face is a new puzzle.
“That said, though, I know some sculptors find that older faces are a bit easier to get down. It’s certainly true with my work. Things are so defined in older faces that you have a lot to sink your teeth into and bring out in the sculpture. The younger someone is the less definition they have, and the more subtle your approach has to be.
“Attempting to make a sculpture that will lend itself to being painted is unpredictable too. Eyes, for instance, tend to look good in the colorless sculpture, but they can cause quite a headache for a painter once the pupil is added in and you see the eye shape is actually wrong. Hairlines can also go by unnoticed in the raw sculpture, but if you don’t try to imagine how it will look painted, it can throw the entire face shape off.
“Again, though, the Rubik’s cube puzzle analogy is a great one if you’re wondering why it works sometimes, and why it doesn’t other times. Matching a sculpture to photo reference tends to be quite a challenge every time!”
A big thanks to Trevor for his insight! You can see a bit of Trevor’s handiwork in our recently announced Indiana Jones Premium Format figure and Lara Croft 12-inch figure (among other Sideshow collectibles), both of which are currently available for Pre-Order. Plus, you can click on the following images to view the sculpts!
It's pretty safe to say that Indiana Jones is a screen legend. His rare combination of intelligence, heroism and tenacity, among other things, creates an essence that has rarely been captured off-screen and can never exactly be replicated. But the Sideshow Design and Development Team gave it their best shot! Honing in on some of the intricacies that make this archaeological adventurer so captivating, these talented artists (and BIG Indy fans) did their darndest to make Sideshow's Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark Premium Format figure a piece that fans and collectors can proudly display and enjoy as a memento of their favorite whip-wielding hero!
In an effort to spare no detail, the Sideshow team called upon the fine talents of fabricator and designer Greg Mowry of Geppetto Productions to not only help design the figure but to craft the 1:4 scale Indy costume with all its challenges as well. Here's a word from Greg about the trials and discoveries he encountered along the way to recreating the ruggedly iconic Indiana Jones clothing in 1:4 scale:
"I began by studying the first film and the scene in particular they had specified, that marketplace scene where he eventually just takes out his gun and shoots the guy dressed in black with the sword… Then I went about the whole movie studying the shirt and [freeze framing the DVD]… But there's only so much that you can glean from [freeze frames], because he's in action so much of the time that you get one frame where you see it clearly. Then you freeze frame it to the next frame, and it's blurry already.
"It had turned out that [Kevin Ellis], who did [the costume for Sideshow's] 1:6 scale Indian Jones, discovered a source for really right-on photographs of the original stuff, which he very generously passed on to me. From there I was really able to tell that the pants do in fact have a double pleating in the front that point out; the pockets are sidelong slash pockets. I was able to see exactly the placement of the belt loops in relation to the pleating in the front and the pockets in the back. I was able to see the pocket flaps in the back, that are slightly pointed…and even more importantly, the jacket itself.
"The Jacket, at first glance, looks like a regular leather coat, but it's from these photographs that I saw that it actually had an action back to it, which is a pleat on either side of the back of the coat. Also, the buckled tabs at the sides of the coat, there was no way in the movie you could tell that they were there unless you had these photographs to look from. Also, which was extraordinarily difficult in the 1:4 scale version, there's an overlapping pleat on either part of the side back coming down from that action back. It's not just a V-vent, it's an overlapping vent, and that proved extremely difficult to figure out how to do so our factories don't have to resort to a whole bunch of hand stitching to figure out a way to do that in a realistic production method.
"So, once again, assisted ably by the rest of our guys on the team, I was really able to peg that costume down… I think that [this detail is important] to try to maintain an integrity, and even if it's not actually visible to the eye in the movie as anybody's watching it, if we do come across research that gives us a new detail or a new point of view, we'll strive very hard to include that, even if it's something in the back. Even if it's something you're not looking at and it's against the wall as the statue is on a shelf, I think it's important that we keep doing these things, and they can be used as reference as well. You can turn it around and say, 'Well, look. It has this on the Sideshow figure.' It can be an academic reference as well…
"I'm ecstatic over the way that the figure came out, and it's a great, great team effort."
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