Originally published Aug. 3, 2006, at GJSentinel.com.
Sculpted by Jim Maddox.
Produced by H2Creative, email@example.com.
1/6th scale resin bust in six parts.
$75 plus shipping.
Something about Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” connected with me right from the start – and I don’t mean the movies, I mean the characters from the rides at Disneyland and Disney World, which I discovered when Johnny Depp was probably a year or two ahead of me in grade school. I’m pretty sure it’s because I was fascinated with the idea of “living” skeletons sailing the seas.
Like so many of the entertainment things I’ve loved in my life, I was introduced to the Pirates through model kits. Specifically, a series of kits from the company MPC, heavily advertised in comics in the early to mid-’70s. I remember staring at displays of those kits every time Mom took us to Kmart.
I’m not positive, but I think I did end up getting one of those kits – one of the skeleton ones, I’m not sure which – and made such a discouraging mess of putting it together that I quit bugging my parents to buy me more. Now I’m hoping someone will repop the kits for today’s kids (and grown-ups) the way Polar Lights did for the classic Aurora monsters, because I’m not willing to pay eBay prices for 30-year-old boxes of plastic.
For the moment, however, corporate America doesn’t seem interested in the relatively small but thriving community dedicated to figure model kits, even though the financial success of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie and even greater financial success of its current sequel (which recently became Disney’s all-time-biggest money maker) would seem to indicate that repopping the old kits would make a little money for someone. Oh, well. Fortunately, hobbyists such as myself can turn to garage-kit producers for some wonderful stuff, particularly the “Pirate Captain” recently introduced by H2Creative. Inspired by the character of Davy Jones in “Dead Man’s Chest,” this pirate has been shivering the timbers of many a GK fan recently.
Family man Lonnie Hale, 38, of Atlanta is the man behind H2Creative. He has mostly worked at producing resin model kits – “literally dozens” – for other people’s companies and he also produces “a lot of movie prop stuff for people.” One of the biggest things he produces is a line of 1/6 scale “Hero Heads” and he sells once a month on eBay under the member name “TK570.”
“I really specialize in very small run stuff and/or prototypes and specialty materials,” Lonnie told me in an e-mail. ” I do a lot of stuff that requires glow in the dark colors, clear or translucent material, rubber, soft and hard foam cast product or simulated special effects in mold like tortoise shell, ivory, jade, etc.”
Q&A WITH LONNIE HALE
Resin the Barbarian: I know you recently had surgery, although I’m not sure why. You feeling OK?
Lonnie: I had surgery recently on a muscle in my upper thigh. Fine now, thanks.
RtB: The second “Pirates of the Caribbean” has only been in theaters a few weeks. When did you and/or Jim start working on this bust? Whose idea was it to create this sculpture?
Lonnie: As a big fan of the first POC film, I had created a custom figure of Captain Jack several years ago complete with a custom head of Depp, etc. This was very popular with people, so I knew there would be some renewed interest in the subject matter when the second film was to come out.
As pre-production on DMC got under way, some pictures from the art department got out and showed the character of Davy Jones. I read the script to determine his level of appearance in the film and decided he would be a great project.
Planning started on him around the first of the year and figure studies for pose were developed by early February. Some other projects got in the way for a while, but then it got back on track and was finalized by May.
RtB: What’s your history of working with Jim Maddox?
Lonnie: I have been working with Jim for about six years now on a wide variety of projects that cover everything from heads and busts both large and small to props and toys. It really is a good partnership on a lot of things.
Jim is such a remarkable talent. His ability to create a likeness is truly unrivaled even by those scan capture technologies.
RtB: I’ve never done resin casting, but I know enough about it to look at this kit and see it has a thousand small details that could be lost without extra care. What particular challenges did casting this sculpture present?
Lonnie: This project presents some challenges in both molding and casting. I have never shied away from a project due to a challenge of detail and I often encourage Jim in pieces that “I’ll find a way to do that” when it gets to the casting end.
Jim and I usually talk the details out with respect to how a piece will be cut or designed for casting. This helps for the work later if you plan it well before any sculpting is done. Planning where sprues or vents are to be placed, how to hide a seam or even if there is to be one, etc.
In the specific case of the “Captain,” there were a ton of mold locks created by his tentacles and several small and delicate coral protrusions on his surface. This was all going to be unavoidable so I knew going into the molding that it had to be right the first time since the master would get destroyed in removing it from the mold.
I usually don’t tell how I mold things or my casting techniques, but I will say that he does take six molds
for his six parts and with the exception of the hat, all of the molds are one-piece molds and they are pressure molded silicone.
The creation of the torso cast is the tricky one as I opted for a two-stage pressure-casting process instead of adding a ton of vents to his front. The piece has to be slush filled on the front and then pressurized, followed by the addition of the remaining volume and additional pressure for completion.
The other parts are cast pretty much as you see them in one piece molds and the hat is a two-part mold with traditional venting.
RtB: Do you do your resin castings in your own home? If so, is it hard to clear out the smell?
Lonnie: I work with very high-quality resins and there is no smell in them. A lot of people use resin that has that hideous smell and the pieces turn a dark amber color with a little age. I never liked getting kits made in that stuff because the smell never went away. Knowing that, I decided to never offer anything but premium stuff. It costs more, but it’s so worth it to me.
I vent all sprays, release agents, and chemicals when I use them.
RtB: Do you have any further new kits coming soon?
Lonnie: I usually stick to producing kits for other people, but if the “Captain” kit does well and is popular with people then I think you could see more kits directly from me in the near future.