With all the talk of future heroes and ‘she’roes, we haven’t had the chance to celebrate the Rama figure, as much as we’d like. Let’s take a few minutes to show a bit of Rama in progress, as we were working the kinks out and trying to amplify his ‘heroic essence’.
At first, we were very focused on where the market was at for action figures. There is a general rush toward amplified, ‘hyper-realism’ that you see so heavily in console video games. Its about the ‘hard’ reality of being a soldier, but not necessarily of being a hero. We toyed with it a bit, but went back to what we really prefer, symbolism and stylization.
The farther we got into the design, the more he simplified and the more the term ‘athletic’ became a part of our focus. This body wanted to be Apollo, Tarzan, and Rama, all at the same time. It forced us to question what we were subconsciously trying to say about our subject, but also what we had to say about our specific ‘brand’ of hero. It was a lot of thoughtful discussion and pushing back-and-forth until we landed with what you see in the final.
The head in particular takes on a lot of significance. This character means a lot to people all over the word. You can see above where it started. Fairly blocky and squared jaw. What we needed to capture was that confident, whimsical of the divine look that you see on so many posters in India.
You can see in the process shots above that, like most toy developers, we work directly over photographs. We actually made trip to Sculpco in Cincinnati, owned and operated by good friend Tim Conroy. These drawings were sent after the meeting to reinforce all the input that we discussed on site with the sculptors. A figure like this has a lot of technical needs and a huge amount of surface work and symmetry to worry after. They did a great job.
Above is a shot of the figure as we’re nearing the homestretch. You can see all the metal pins sitting inside the ‘jeweler’s’ wax construction. The wax is extremely fragile and you can destroy a lot of work very quickly by mishandling it. It WILL shatter. We’ve since started working with digital sculptors, as well. (If you are a digital sculptor, give us a ring, we’re always looking for sculptor who also have a good understanding of manufacturing and process.)
This process works through all the accessories and the softwoods clothing as you see below. It takes a lot of very talented people to create a single toy (or one EXTREMELY talented person a long time on their own).
Above is a milestone in the softwoods process , where we’re reacting to the first shot at making the dhoti. This style of pant is very specific to India and we wanted to make sure it gathered and ‘hung’ properly on the figure. This blue figure is a urethane hard-copy of the sculpt. At this point, molds had been made of the original wax model and those molds are used to create a hard sample of all the parts. Assembling all those parts and painting them is what gives you the prototype that you see in all of our photography. For simplicities sake we ‘glued’ all the joints so that it would hold up during transport and photography. Prototypes are very fragile and the paint tends to flake very easily, which you can maybe see in a few of our promo pics.
I’ll be publishing a photo gallery of the sculpt in a very-close-to-finished point in the process. Its really fun to look back and see how it grew over time, just as the concept itself will continue to evolve as more people see and react to it.