In an EXCLUSIVE feature, Robert Harrop Designs provide Doctor Who Action Figures Online with a rare insight into the model making process for the company’s up and coming Doctor Who Handpainted figurine, the Tetrap.

We’ll be tracking this iconic monster from start to finish. We continue from our last instalment where we left the wax sculpture immersed in red rubber and now we will follow the process from mould making to the painting studio.

Stage 3: Mould Making

Once the rubber has cured, the sculpt can then be cut out following a pre-determined path in an effort to minimise any future casting lines and to avoid these lines interfering with the more detailed and important areas such as the face.  The cutting out process, unfortunately, destroys the sculpt, but the rubber is now effectively a perfect ‘negative’ to the original work.

This first mould is produced in a hard red rubber and is the master mould and into this mould, a production ‘master’ can now be poured and cast in grey master material.  From this production ‘master’ all subsequent production moulds produced in a softer white rubber can be created. The softer rubber allows a better ease of casting removal, yet ensuring that each subsequent casting is identical to the original.

To cast the first ‘white’ figurine, liquid resin is then poured into the mould and allowed to cure. The cured casting is then extracted from the mould and the first Tetrap figurine is born!

Before any fresh casting can reach the painting studio, it must first be prepared and finished. This process entails sanding the base to create a level piece, fettling off the casting lines and sandblasting the whole piece to ensure that a perfect surface key is created for painting.

Stage 4: Painting

Once fully prepared, the figurine can now go into the painting studio where our Head Paintress Peggy Horton, alongside Matt Buckley, will carefully study the reference material to create an accurate painting pattern.  With many layers of texture and shadow to consider, this process of selecting the best palette can be time-consuming, but the end result is definitely worth the effort!

The piece has gone through many hands and processes, but before we can give ourselves a huge pat on the back, it must again go to the BBC for final approval…

…which of course it passes with flying colours and production can now begin in earnest!

With production now in full flow we see that an army of new castings is steadily mounting up ready for finishing and painting!

However, the fun doesn’t end there and now there is packaging artwork, felting, spray sealing, packing and dispatching to consider…

To be continued…

With thanks to our friends at Robert Harrop Designs.