Microsoft Rare Retro Games Characters

  • Giant battletoad sculpture at gaming exo.
  • Banjo giant sculpture at the games expo.

The brief

We were asked by Microsoft Rare to create four of their retro game characters – it’s fair to say all of our inner gamesters were jumping for joy. These retro sculpts were being used to promote Microsoft’s Rare Games Division’s back catalogue of video games at E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo, a video gaming conference and show in Los Angeles.

Not only did the team at Spur meet a very tight deadline but they also produced absolutely wonderful statues that featured heavily at Microsoft’s main stand at the show.

David Sanderberg – Head of Facilities Management Rare – Microsoft Studios

Prop process images

  1. Conker sculpture just after being in spray shop.
  2. Banjo giant sculpture just after being sprayed in spray shop.
  3. Kazooie sculpture having final touches applied by scenic painter.
  4. Battletoad sculpture having final touches applied in workshop.

The Process

Having only images to work from – and in the space of just a few weeks – we needed to work hard on each character’s shape and their most intricate of details. Not to mention the fact that they had to be as strong as possible for Microsoft to send them over to the States.

We set about creating the armatures. This is shaped roughly as per the sculpture and gives a basis to build the clay onto. Once the clay is in rough shape it is time to start sculpting and smoothing the clay by hand. By doing it this way we don’t have to rely on 5-axis CNC or 3-D printing. We can alter any part of the sculpture at any given moment. This is especially helpful to our clients when they want to be certain that their 3-D renders work in life-size as opposed to just seeing it on a computer screen. They may want to see minor, or sometimes even, major changes, which is not possible when relying on CNC or printing.

The sculptures had to travel to the E3 Gaming Expo in Los Angeles, we had to make sure they would fit inside much smaller flight cases so we built them to come apart at the waist, legs, head and arms by using mannequin fittings and make sure they could be easily put back together.

Our scenic painters added the finishing touches using acrylic paints and lacquer them which not only enhances the colour but also makes them durable and, if they’re outside, waterproof. To capture the finer details our spray shop team used paintbrushes.

Project Image

Man having his photo taken with battletoad giant sculpture.

The Result

These retro game characters were a hit with everyone at the exhibition – and proved to be quite the photo opportunity, too! Our client advised that their social media team received a number of tweets at the expo. Battletoad definitely received the most attention.