With the fine details on the bust portion of the mannequin complete, further modifications had to be made to the 6’6″ mannequin to transform its generic proportions to better match those of Christopher Reeve in his prime. The first issue was the height, where, with the addition of the bust the figure towered over 6’7″! Having gone to considerable efforts to make this piece as realistic as possible only to be undone by it being too tall I once again enlisted the help of FX Supremo Rich Martin.
As Reeve’s torso was short and legs long I was confident we could remove a 2″ plus section of the mannequin’s midsection, solving the height and proportion problem in one with a ‘cut & shut’. The addition of a cricket box as a codpiece 2″ lower would then compensate for the deficit. I produced some illustrations and sent them to Rich who at first was unconvinced, fearing the mod would make it unbalanced. As the weeks went by I became frustrated and was on the verge of doing the work myself when I tried Rich once more – to my delight this time he gave in.
With the mod completed and the base resealed with fibreglass, the mannequin now stood at approx 6’5″! Satisfied with this I began the considerable task of remodelling the torso using air-drying clay. Besides filling the ‘shelf’ between the top and base left by the mod to make it seamless (third pic down), I took the opportunity to fill the gaps on the top of the wrists to bring the hands closer to the hips, (first pic featuring Rich’s amazing paintjob on the hands!) give better volume to the Lat muscles (second & third pics) and finally add the characteristically protruding rib bones. (this took a few attempts to get just the right shape!). After much sculpting and even more sanding, I was overjoyed with the results and though I could have left it at that, I had been supplied with a few bottles of the original touch-up paint so finished it accordingly.
My final task was the stand, which had been a pain since I’d received the kit insofar as it failed to hold the figure up straight or securely. After trying a number of different methods to alleviate this (using tape/screws to wedge it, etc.) I finally just bent the solid steel rod down a further inch and the figure locked on straight & true. The rod assembly was then taken apart and sanded back to its original state (it was painted an awful flesh colour) and the glass base cleaned (bottom pic).
Only when all these amendments were complete and to my standard were the measurements taken and order placed for the Bronze Edition suit from Action Costumes, which, at the time of this writing, is only days away from completion. The next post will hopefully be the completed model, check back for the update…!!