Making Project TW85: Teen Wolf in 1/6 by The Tarantulas + Morpheus

MAKING-TW85

Since TRE's first exclusive reveal of "Project TW85" aka the 1/6th-scale Teenwolf action figure [PEEP] a while back - I've had the opportunity to chat with both Chris aka Character Design Consultancy The Tarantulas (idea & direction) and Ali Coleman of UK-based Creative Form Developers Morpheus (sculpt & execution / makers of the Wooden Wall*E) about the conception and execution, as well as the "future" and production-possibilities of the retro-classic were-teen basketball-player made toy.

[CLICK THRU for full interview, including videos and images]

TOYSREVIL: Let's begin at the dawn of 1/6th teenwolf-kind, shall we? How did Project TW85 come about? How did it all begin?

THE-TARANTULAS: I’d had the idea to do Teen Wolf in the basketball kit as a 1/6 for a few years - I couldn't believe no one else had done it! One day whilst watching the DVD hung over with some friends I announced I was going to make it happen - everyone seemed to think it was a great idea - but none of us was thinking that clearly at the time..

TOYSREVIL: "Clarity" is overrated (*cough*) - Why Teen Wolf? And why in 1/6th-scale?

THE-TARANTULAS: At the time basketball was experiencing a wave of popularity in the UK - me & my friends were really into it - plus you had Michael Jackson making werewolves cool in Thriller - it was a potent combination ... (And) I always thought of it as 1/6. It just works – I guess it’s the smallest scale you can do realistic detail & soft goods.

TW85-SPIN

TOYSREVIL: Works for me (but I'm partial to 1/6 meself :p). What we've seen from the earlier posted images of the figure were absolutely-stunning, IMHO. Astoundingly-real looking too! Bring us thru the process of the making of the figure, from drawing to final product. and share with us Who did What, if you please?

MORPHEUS: The first stage of the figure was to resolve the treatment of the fur… without that there was no point in starting. If we were going to use a more traditional fabric we would need to create a skinny armature to keep the characters body mass realistic. Holly (of A Little Stranger) scoured the net and forums for something we could use without flocking. We had tried flocking Yak hair for our “Skummoth” DDR Skumbo custom the previous year …. Not nearly long enough. Punching hair … toooo costly! The net eventually led to a material used for prosthetics and cosplay. A synthetic fur woven into a thin elastic skin coloured mesh. The full moon was rising!

TW85FURHead
[Final Fur-look]

THE-TARANTULAS: The colour of the fur we picked is actually called werewolf!

MORPHEUS: With this material we could work on a stock figure creating new head, hands and clothing.

Lee, the sculptor opted to create these parts in Zbrush. Using overlaid movie grabs Lee painstakingly recreated the features in a couple of expressions till we found the mood Chris wanted. Emailing colour turnaround movies to Chris working Stateside for sign off. Zbrush allowed Lee to sculpt 1 right hand and produce 2 different poses and a mirror left hand.


[Note: Video-image has been brightened in post]

MORPHEUS: Whilst Lee was sculpting Holly was cutting and sewing fur suits to get the right feel of the hair. The early versions looked more like Chewbacca than TW. The answer was some careful hair cutting and a nice hot blow dry!

THE-TARANTULAS: Yeah – seriously that was a breakthrough – the hair dryer!

TW85Fuzzy

TOYSREVIL: The 3D-renders are wicked tho - quite an amount of effort gone into this project, IMHO - especially in the early pre-production stages.

MORPHEUS: Scaled photos and measurements are no substitute for having a model in your hand. Rough 3D prints of all the parts helped confirm that at this scale the head would look too big and the hands too small in the fur suit so we clicked buttons and rescaled our digital sculpts ready for the master 3D prints.

TW85DIGITALHEAD
[From Digital to Physical: TW85's head]

MORPHEUS: These were cleaned up and split into face and ears like a chimp mask to plug over the hood of fur and hide the seams. These parts were moulded in silicon rubber and cast out in flesh tinted resin. This gives a translucency more like flesh than just painting. Final details were touched in ready for the fur application.


[From Digital to Physical: TW85's hands]
TW85DigitalHandsTW85Hands

TW85-SHOE-02
[It's all about the details - click below-right image of shoe-sole to see embedded Morpheus-logo!]
TW85-SHOE-01TW85-SHOE-03

MORPHEUS: Digitally sculpted retro Adidas trainers and clothes made with tweaked logos were added to the Wolfmeister. Lastly a 6th scale FIBA approved basketball was machined by Jon who added the Morpheus logo minutes before the photo shoot for a gag but we decided to keep it!

THE-TARANTULAS: Only fair since my logo was on the shirt !

TW85Ball

TOYSREVIL: I would have to say, the highlight of the piece is the fur/hair treatment and final look. Tis fab what you folks did and developed, and not have the figure end up being a plushie-cuddle toy, IMHO.

MORPHEUS: We researched everything from film prosthetics to incredibly lifelike models of people by the artist Ron Mueck but our budget simply did not allow for that degree of development. Due to the sheer amount of hair we needed to find an alternative solution to rooted fur. At this scale it would be an absolute nightmare as we would need to produce a rubber skin for our figure whilst retaining the articulation with a skeleton.

TW85-Shoot

TOYSREVIL: Seems there's loads of feedback about the jersey logo being the "wrong team" - and questions asking if this figure will make it as a production piece. What are the plans for mass production of Project-TW85 at this time? And what's planned next for TW85?

THE-TARANTULAS: The team name & number I switched in my head right from the outset - the number refers to the year Teen Wolf was released. I guess the original 42 in the movie came from the Lakers legend James Worthy.. As for production I'd love to see someone do it but at the moment there are only 2 in existence...

One of the samples is on display at Size? in London.. & there may be another version on the way...

TW85Headband

TOYSREVIL: Fanboys the world-over gasp in disappointment, methinks! (But if you ever wanna release a few, just let TRE know! LOL). Looking forward to the reveal of the next version! What's the next plan for Morpheus? and for The Tarantulas?

THE-TARANTULAS: The Tarantulas is working on a new art project which is slowly taking shape as you can see on my flickr ... Also a collaboration with Matt Doughty at Onell Design - The Nibbler - will be available in ultra limited numbers at Onell’s stand at SDCC.

MORPHEUS: We’re looking at a bunch of things but its all hush hush. I’m going to name-drop Mark James and Triclops but they may well deny everything!!

TOYSREVIL: Cheers for the trouble guys! In closing, please do share with us, who is The Tarantulas? and who are MORPHEUS?

CHRIS akaTHE-TARANTULAS: I worked at Hasbro for 12 years & I’ve been working as The Tarantulas since I left in 2007 – I split my time between design consultancy / illustration work which pays the bills & self indulgent art projects which don’t…. maybe some day! [WWW / BLOG / FLICKR]

ALI COLEMAN for MORPHEUS: The Morpheus team have been working together for nearly 13 years. We all met in a previous company and have stuck together as the industry evolved. For several years we worked as part of a team on development for Action Man where we forged a relationship with Chris.

Morpheus is a crack team of digital and traditional sculptors and modelmakers who specialize in developing 3d forms whether characters, toys, abstract sculpture or engineering for the design and toy Industries. We are the Skunk Works! Based in Hertfordshire as part a large Industrial Model Makers, Curvature Group Ltd. [www.bmmorpheus.co.uk]

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