Microsoft Rare Sea of Thieves – 2015

  • Sea of thieves giant prop at the e3 gaming expo on display.
  • Sea of thieves character at the e3 expo on display with green glowing eyes.

The brief

We were asked by Microsoft to create two game characters for their brand new game Sea of Thieves. These sculpts were being used to promote Microsoft’s Rare Games Division’s brand new exciting online platform game Sea of thieves at the E3 Gaming Expo, a video gaming conference and show in Los Angeles.

The statues look absolutely amazing at the show. The guys have all agreed that you have “knocked it out of the park” with these.

David Sanderberg – Head of Facilities Management Rare – Microsoft Studios

Prop process images

  1. Close up of sea of thieves character prop at e3 expo.
  2. Sea of thieves prop finished at the studio where it was made.
  3. Sea of thieves prop with green eyes complete at the workshop.
  4. Close up of sea of thieves prop with green eyes.

The Process

We were given detailed 360-degree images to work from and in the space of just a few weeks, we had sculpted, moulded, castfinished/sanded and painted and lacquered both sculptures. They had to be shipped to LA and so we ordered specially made flight cases, which had to be small enough to save space keeping shipping costs down as much as possible. So we had to make the sculpts fit the smaller cases, and to do this we made them come apart in sections but that would fit back together seamlessly.

We first made metal armatures and bulked out large areas with chicken wire and foam and added the clay. This method keeps the amount of clay needed down and also the weight, but more importantly, it gives support and structure to the sculpt. One of the benefits of sculpting by hand, as opposed to 3-D printing or 5-axis CNC machining, is that we can include the client in the sculpture process allowing them to make any last-minute changes or tweaks.

Once the clay sculpts were approved we made the silicone moulds, which both had many parts due to the complexity of the sculpts. From these moulds, we cast the fibreglass figures, sanded them, primed them, painted them and lacquered them. They were both free-standing on bases that we made to look like the deck of a galleon, each with its own mast and sail with printed vinyl Sea of Thieves promotional literature.

Project Image

Sea of thieves character props on display at microsoft studios.

The Result

There were many photo opportunities at E3 with hundreds of gaming fans having their picture taken with our sculpts. Here are the team from Microsoft’s gaming division Rare at E3. Our client from Microsoft Studios loved the sculptures, so much so that they are now on display at their studios.