Just shipped out a cool new project and had to write something up to share on how it came together. My friends at Smooth-On asked me to create a version of the legendary Xenomorph from the Alien film franchise. Being a huge fan, I was psyched. Though the original HR Giger design on Alien is amazing, without a doubt one of the best, most original creature designs in film history, I've always loved the "warrior" variant from James Cameron's film ALIENS created by Stan Winston and his great crew.
So as with any project, it begins with a lot of research. Finding good reference is key. And as I started really studying the figure, it became clear this was going to be challenging due to the detail and forms. I also found some conflicting references and even versions of the "warrior" produced by some of the best collectible companies. So I took this all as a sign that I could take a little artistic license and put a little spin on some things here and there, as long as I was in keeping with the iconic elements of the design. One distinct feature of the warrior is the removal of the alien's signature clear smooth headpiece. Apparently it was removed for ALIENS because with the amount of action and stunts, the headpieces were getting cracked and broken.
Anyway, the head is very complex, lots of layered elements, so I started with that first. Well...things came up (see previous blog post) and the Alien had to simmer on the back burner. Summer came and it was time to heat up the Alien again. Serious progress made on the figure when, well...life threw a wicked curveball. Well, as things are recovering from that situation, I assembled and finished up the head and sent to off so Smooth-On would have it for display at the upcoming 2017 NY Comic Con. Soon we'll get back to the full on figure and get him completed.
Below are some "Work In Progress" shots with a few notes in the captions of each photo. Enjoy!
Start at the end. With finished shots of the head display !
FACE IN PROGRESS
Progression of the face. Sculpture, rough assembly, underpainting, final look.
Drawings lead to foam armatures (that get wrapped in aluminum foil), then clay over that. Here's some shots showing that process.
MOLD MAKING and CASTING PARTS
Mold-making and casting gallery. Exclusively used Smooth-On products. Lots of "fiberglass" for molds, mold jackets (mother molds) and castings. When I say "fiberglass", I usually mean Epoxamite laminated fiberglass cloth with Free Form Air for filleting and filling as needed. Molds always have surface coats of Epoxacoat. Mold rubbers are Mold Star 15 (green) and Rebound 25 (Orange). Mouth skins cast with Dragon Skin 10 Fast. Other casting materials for hard parts included Smooth Cast 321, and 65D, and Foam-It 5. Other products used with Plasti-Paste 2, Sil-Poxy, Psycho Paint, and Silc-Pig colors.
Some paint process pics. Went a little nuts with the underpainting because I felt that though the head is mostly black, it would look dead if there weren't some colors and textures underneath. So I used lots of different blues (different acrylics and inks from Golden, Createx and Liquitex) applied with different techniques - airbrushed mottling and patterning, sponging and glazing with a Valspar glaze. Also glazed on and hazed with the airbrush were shades of brown using various inks. Clear coat was Alsa Mirror Clear (killer can product). The teeth were done with Molotow chrome ink. Inner jaw done with acrylics and inks, a little iridescent glazing and a color-shift purple from Createx Auto Air. Mouth skins painted with Psycho Paints.
Ok, well that's a look at the display head from start to finish. No time for good professional photos before Comic Con, but after the show I'll get some and post onto the main website gallery.
Next up will be completing the entire Alien figure!