The clay sculpt
The silicone mould
Glowing blue eyes
Painting the buoy
Belle at E3 Los Angeles 2017
Belle at Gamescom Germany 2017
The clay sculptMicrosoft Rare Games asked us, for a third year in a row, to make Belle, a new character from their ever popular Sea of Thieves online platform game, to take around the world to showcase at gaming expo's. Because Belle is an ethereal, ghostly character who floats around the seas on a barnacle infested buoy with glowing blue eyes and a lit lantern held in her hand, we knew we had our work cut out.
Shaping upBelle being hand sculpted in clay. The characters in the game Sea of Thieves have a very distinctive look, not quite real and not too cartoony so it was fairly difficult conveying this in clay and especially as we only had 2-D drawings to work from, but after a visit from one of the designers of Rare games, and many photographs emailed of Belle throughout her conception, we got her just right.
The silicone mouldWe made a silicone mould of Belle and she was cast in fibreglass as this is light weight yet very durable. We made her separately from the buoy for ease of manufacture and also to allow her to be taken off the buoy and placed in bespoke flight cases we had made for them to be flown around the world to different locations while keeping them safe and sound
Glowing blue eyesWe had to carefully drill the eyes out from the finished fibreglass cast so that we could fit clear eye balls in to the eye sockets for them to glow blue
The buoyThe buoy had to bear the weight of the main structure and Belle herself, plus it had to hide the electrics, and the Sea of Thieves logo on the side had to light up, so it was important that we got this just right. We sculpted the buoy itself using a high density foam, which we moulded and cast in fibreglass. This was fitted around a metal Crow’s Nest that had a fibreglass bell and a glowing fibreglass flame in the top. We sculpted barnacle in clay and cast these and then fixed them to the buoy.
Painting BelleWe take great pride here at Spur Creative that when we take on a project, because of our diverse skill sets, we are able to see a project through from concept to completion all in-house. The most enjoyable part for us, apart from the initial sculpting, is bringing our creations to life with a beautiful paint finish. Depth is created in a paint finish by adding layers of paint. The first process, seen here, is the first layer of spray paint which define which colours go where, then further layers are added on top and finally traditional brush techniques are used to add the fine detail. A coat of protective lacquer not only protects the completed prop, but also gives an added depth to the paint finish.
Painting the buoyThe buoy and sea painted ready for the Crow’s Nest and, of course, Belle. Our clients at Rare-Microsoft wanted the finished prop to have the same look as their game characters, which is a very particular, stylised look. We think we captured the essence of the characters and our client agreed.
Belle at E3 Los Angeles 2017Rare-Microsoft use our props to promote their new online game, Sea of Thieves, all around the world, so we had to make sure the finished sculpts were very durable and would fit in to flight cases. Belle and the buoy had to come apart in small enough sections that they fitted snugly in to 2 flight cases, which had to be a specific size to fit inside the cargo hold of the plane, but also had to be easy enough to fit together in situ with all electrics and lights working properly, and because the logo on the side of the buoy, the flame in the Crow’s Nest, the flame in Belle’s hand and Belle’s eyes all had to light up powered from one power source, we had to make sure that the construction method ran seamlessly. Here is Belle in all her glory at E3 in Los Angeles.
Belle at Gamescom Germany 2017And after E3 Games Expo, Rare-Microsoft flew Belle to Gamescom in Germany. We also made the wooden wall with barrels and props, seen on the right of Belle, as a photo opportunity for fans of Sea of Thieves.