Tag Archives: Model Making
The Dumping Ground
The BAFTA award winning CBBC series the Dumping Ground has been going for several years as a follow up show to the incredibly successful Tracy Beaker program. I have been asked over the course of three series to provide a variety of action props from the realistic to the bizarre. Props include a controllable robovac, a marble run to papier mache frogs! Below are some images of action props made for the show.
Latex/polystyrene rocks made for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Christmas special.
Sand sculpture, one of four identical sculptures used.
Safe and ‘safe cracker’. I fitted the safe with electronic lights and built the ‘safe cracker’ to look like one of the children had designed it with the ability to manipulate the dial and crack the code displayed on an electronic screen.
Miniature background locusts to pin onto cast members.
Wolfblood is into its 4th series, currently airing on CBBC. I have been fortunate to have been involved in this series since it began. The first series I was involved with creating fog effects for the special effects department and also helping the makeup department with their transformations makeups that were scaled down to claws, wolf teeth and eyes. My role was to take finger casts of our actors and under the direction of makeup designer Michael Birtley, whom I had previously worked with on Ghost Street, I assisted in building the false nails/claws to be worn by our young cast.
More recently it has been the art department who have called upon my skills to create various action props and set pieces to be used during filming.
Latex rocks for a cave in sequence.
Fracking model for school display.
Engraved ‘Wolfblood’ goblet.
Segolia laser pens, first generation.
This is a wonderful short film that was adapted and directed by the very talented young film maker Alex Nichol. The film is an emotional little drama with a healthy dose of the blackest of humour. It is based on a short three panel cartoon created by the genius of Nicholas Gurewitch.
I had great fun creating the production design for the short, finding suitable prop items, creating the illusion of a real fire and providing the simple make-up. Even the grave stone is fake. Enjoy.
The hit ITV series from Coastal Productions, “Wire in the Blood” showcased a number of grizzly scenarios and stories. My involvement came in season six when I was asked to create three mutilated suitcase victims.
In the story the bodies are discovered inside suitcases with their limbs hacked off, I guess they just don’t make suitcases big enough for serial killers these days! Then the mutilated corpses where thrown into a lake with the hope that they’ll never be seen again. Unfortunately for the killer but fortunately for me the bodies are discovered and I was given the task to realise their horrid demise and I had only a short amount of time to do it.
I began the job by doing research, what does a body look like after its been mutilated and thrown into a lake for several months? Well I found my answer from some rather disgusting images care of the pathology department. With research in hand, I drew up some designs and discussed the look of the corpses with the art department, who adviced me on just how grotesque to go with our poor victims.
So based on those instructions I set about creating the bodies by taking life casts from some very helpful volunteers. From those casts I created sculptures of the dead victims before making moulds and eventually the silicone castings.
The silicone rubber was pre-pigmented before applying into the mould, building up translucent layers one at a time. The bodies where then fitted with a wooden skeleton and filled with an expandable polyurethane foam.
The final bits to add was some congielled blood, gooey stuff to make the skin appear slimey and of course finished off with wigs and hair. NASTY!
Oceanic is a dark twisted horror directed by Michael Pentney back in 2005. It starred the now late Iain Etchells and his multi tallented brother Neil for whom we aged to appear as Iain’s older self. This was the first project that I joined creative forces with Jez Hunt, we have since worked on many short films together including two features creating all kinds of weird, strange and surreal effects.
Oceanic was also the first project that I successfully used silicone to replicate human skin and it also started a creative working relationship which continues to this day with Alex Nichol, Michael Pentney and Jez Hunt.
I was asked to create an Alien for the Newcastle based production company Superkrush to be filmed as part of a promotional advert for Centre of Life, an award-winning science centre full of exciting exhibitions, activities and events for all ages.
The model alien was sculpted, moulded and cast from silicone in just two days. The brief was to have an alien model that at first would appear to be real, but as the camera pulls away we see it as a floppy doll being played with by excited children visiting the Life Centre.
My role was to create the ‘Soft Prey’ from which the film takes its title. Being more of a costuming job than a special effect it did offer up several challenges such as how to build a huge rubber suit which can one emcompass an actor and two appear at times to be two dimensional.