Craftsmen are already well underway with the lengthy process of cutting, moulding and casting.
The first process took place at Bakers Patterns Ltd in Telford. Here, the 360-degree Computer Aided Design (CAD) of the sculpture was broken down into more manageable sections before each part was then carved into foam using a giant machine with a jumbo drill bit revolving at 7,000 times a minute.
The face being carved into foam
The foam sections were then glued together to create larger chunks, which were then hand sanded to ensure a perfect finish.
Silicone body parts and a foam foot ready for the next stage of the process
John Baker, the company owner and managing director explains: “Essentially we programme our cutting machine to carve out a design into blocks of polyurethane foam. It’s a bit like carving the contours of a map.
“There’s something like 14 million polygons in the whole sculpture and I wanted the digital part of the sculpture to be apparent. That has been a bit of a headache for us as each triangle carved into the foam has had to be individually hand sanded to retain the crisp edges.”
Hand sanding foam to retain the crisp edges
Other major projects Bakers Patterns Ltd have worked on in the past include creating the prototype stealth helicopter which exploded in the Osama bin Laden film Zero Dark Thirty and a model of the M16 building which was blown up in the James Bond film Skyfall.
The next part of the process has seen each finished foam section carefully transported to Liverpool where Castle Fine Arts Foundry are creating silicon moulds. These are then taken to the company’s foundry in the tiny Welsh village of Llanrhaeadr, where the bronze casting process begins.
Silicone moulds of one of sculptures feet
Chris Butler, managing director of Castle Fine Arts Foundry, explains: “It is our job to turn the foam pattern into bronze. First we make a silicon rubber mould to take a negative version of the pattern, which is then hand-painted with layers of wax. A shell of ceramic is built around the wax. This is fired in a kiln, which burns off the wax but leaves behind a hard ceramic surround.”
Ingots of bronze are then heated to 1200 degrees C before the molten metal is poured into the new ceramic moulds.
Molten metal poured into ceramic moulds
Chris goes on to explain: “When we break away the shell, we’re left with a bronze version of the original pattern. This process will continue over several months before the individual panels of bronze are then fabricated together to create the final sculpture.”Tweet