This thread will all be behind the scenes stuff about the process of designing and sculpting then producing Tug O' War. I often get asked questions about this stuff so i figured anyone interested in that aspect might appreciate everything laid out in one spot.
Usually the original idea and design change significantly from concept to execution and that is exactly what happened with this monster. Here is the first quick sketch of the idea. Basically a monster with a tug boat on it's back used to disguise itself as it swims around looking for whaling ship to destroy.
Once the idea itself was approved work began. Of course basic changes take place throughout the entire process. Stuff like the pose being made more dynamic and other various details as well. Some stuff because it simply doesn't work well in clay but mostly because as weeks and months go by you just come up with better ideas along the way.
The head and torso took shape first. Both done roughly but when you sculpt in actual size for a mini-figure you really need to go step by step or things get much to big and ruin the scale easily. Using a clay that you cook in an oven makes it simple to cook as you go and add raw clay over whatever piece is finished. Overall the sculpt was probably cooked well over a dozen times before it was finished.
Then the hands came next which i had planned as the most detailed part of the monster from the very beginning. Something about the idea of a mostly smooth sea monster with skin like a shark seemed to work well with the contrast of some armored scales and tons of detail and texture on the hands.
Then the arms which changed a lot from the original idea because i decided i wanted more of a muscular monster look rather then what you normally see with a classic giant monster. Obviously a lot of the creatures design comes from all the old japanese monster movies i love but at the same time i am always influenced by cool stuff from childhood like Street Sharks and Insectors. Which is why Tug O' War has so much muscle.
Next the legs and the boat were made. The legs i made as short and stocky as possible since it is mostly a sea creature and the boat was designed to look like a cross between a tug boat and a toy boat since i didn't want any part of this figure to be hyper-realistic. I always lean towards the overall look of a toy rather then a model just because that's what i like.
Then it all came together. The tail was a must otherwise i couldn't see this thing actually swimming and the shards of ice and crystals around the boat are just because if the monster was underwater and the boat was above the water it would look really cool. Plus it makes more sense because the boat has to be attached somehow.
One thing i always tell everyone who asks for tips is just not to give up. This thing took months and months and changed over and over along the way. There were plenty of setbacks and mistakes. A couple breaks and one bad air bubble. There is no big secret to making a cool monster. It's just practice and time and effort and not quitting even when you really feel like it. You have to love what you're doing. It probably won't ever pay off as far as money for your time or anything else really tangible. All the effort and time and stress is worth it for me when i get a bunch of my toys in the mail to play with and when people tell me they liked what i created and when i see it on someone's shelf next to other toys i think are awesome. That's the payoff and for me it's well worth it.