Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mr. Wink and the Troll Market

If I had to recommend one DVD collector's box set to anyone who's ever been interested in the making of movie monsters, it would most definitely be Guillermo Del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  You don't need to be a fan of Mike Mignola or Guillermo Del Toro to appreciate it for its artistic achievement.  There are so many scenes I could discuss, though I will mainly focus on the creatures that appear in the Troll Market sequence (which is by far my favorite).

In a series of events that lead the BPRD (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) to search for the mysterious and secret entrance to the Troll Market, they find its hidden location underneath of the Brooklyn Bridge.  The crew enter the market, only to discover an underground parallel universe that had existed beneath the surface all along, filled with the most diverse crowd of supernatural creatures ever imagined.  It's a fantasy world reminiscent of both the cantina scene from Star Wars IV: A New Hope, and the mutated, oxygen deprived Mars citizens from Total Recall. Here they find trolls, goblins, orc-like creatures, elves, hideous witches, fairies, you name it! In the Collectors Edition DVD, there is a short behind-the-scenes documentary, titled "Troll Market Tour with Guillermo Del Toro", in which the director walks around the set, describing (in detail) each artistic component that made this sequence possible.  It's unreal.

While Hellboy traverses the Troll Market, one very prominent creature that he confronts is the ferocious yet subtly endearing Mr. Wink. Mr. Wink is a giant, tusked troll whose primary weapon is a retractable, metal fist that he can launch from his forearm, shooting at his enemies like a cannon. Mr. Wink was designed and created by industry sculptor Mario Torres and played by creature performer Brian Steele.  

Back in 2009, I became fascinated by this creature's appearance, and chose him as my first attempt at sculpting a bust.  With very little knowledge of appropriate materials and techniques, I chose to sculpt him in Super Sculpey.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Sculpey is extremely user friendly, but for larger projects where you need a lot more material, Sculpey becomes an expensive choice.  I can't exactly recall how many boxes I used, but it was something like five or six in total. 

For this project, the armature and the stand were welded together in one piece out of aluminum. That being the case, the bust was permanently secured to the metal stand.  I began sculpting the general shapes of the snout, eye sockets and the back of his head.

Slowly, the features became more refined, and I could start adding details like wrinkles around the brow lines, eye lids, and snout.  I also started texturing the hair and adding teeth.  Mr. Wink lost one of his eyes in a previous battle, so the right eye socket is an empty cavity surrounded by lumpy scar tissue.  His right eye ball is made out of two-part, self hardening Apoxie sculpt.  

Mr. Wink's bust was far too large to fit into the oven in my apartment. I hardened the polymer by hitting it with a heat gun for about half an hour, which seemed to do the trick.  After priming the bust with Automotive primer, I base coated the sculpture with a dark blue-gray color of acrylic paint, followed by a light wash of black paint to create depth in the wrinkle lines and crevices.  The highlights were painted on by dry brushing lighter tones of varying grays and blues.

His good eye is base coated with an orange color I mixed , then highlighted with a couple of different yellows.  The tufts of hair on top of his head and sideburns were painted black with subtle streaks of gray.  The application of paint on both his tusks and teeth had a similar color palette consisting of varying degrees of beige and bone colors and finished with a brown and deep red wash.

He might not look exactly like the original beast, but I'm happy with the end result. 

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