Our client Hot Pickle asked us to make three giant animal heads for a promotion they were working on for Magnum ice cream. We needed to make two of each of the heads which were to be attached, one on either side of a four-metre high by two-metre wide metal-framed panels. These were to be suspended above Regent Street, London, during Magnum’s Design your own Magnum Pop-up week. The heads had to be lightweight, and at a specific weight due to Health & Safety regulations given that they were to be suspended over the heads of thousands of shoppers.
Prop process images
A company had ensured us that they could CNC all three moulds for us; because the heads had to be faceted and angular, and because we had a short deadline. However, with only three weeks left before the deadline, we were very badly let down and only one mould turned up which was totally unusable. After speaking with the client and letting them know the situation, we promised that no matter what, we would get the job done, and on time.
We had to pull in extra sculptors, which at such short notice was a task in itself, but luckily we have been in the business long enough that we have many freelance artists on our books that we found the extra people we needed. We projected the artwork of each head onto plywood. We drew around the profile and jig-sawed two of each profile. We sandwiched the polystyrene between the two formers and cut the shapes out using a hot wire. We managed to get the heads sculpted in polystyrene and ready to mould, with less than two weeks to the deadline.
We had to cover the polystyrene sculpt with aluminium foil and on to this, we applied a release agent so that the completed mould would come away from the sculpt easily. Then we applied the gel coat, fibreglass matting and resin.
Once we had cast two heads from each mould we had to clean them up, sand and finish them, prime them and paint them and have them ready so that we could bolt them to the frames.
With only a few days left, we had to cover the metal frames with banner material, paint the material to match the colour of the heads, of which there were three different colours: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate, and apply the promotional printed vinyl. With one day left until the deadline, we applied the vinyl and bolted the two heads to each of the three frames. Any minor paint touch-ups were also done and we were ready to load all of the heads onto the truck the next day.
The client loved the heads and we were elated that what could have been a disastrous and costly end to a project was managed and executed with military precision. The three heads, the white chocolate lion, the milk chocolate tiger and the dark chocolate panther, looking tiny now that they’re so high up over Regent Street.