Custom Rudolph the Reindeer (Original Concept by Dan O’Brien) – Created Sep 19, 2011
This is certainly one of the most interesting customs I’ve ever created. I was commissioned by artist Daniel O’Brien to create in action figure form his original Christmas characters for a stage show he created. The first character he wanted me to create was his concept of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as a mobster hitman.
I loved the concept art and the general idea and couldn’t wait to help bring his character to life.
To do this, I used the body from a DC Superheroes Clark Kent figure, the head, hands, and lower legs from a Chronicles of Narnia Minotaur figure, the gun from a 2 pack Ultimate Captain America figure, and a lot of sculpting.
I had to do a lot of dremeling to sand down the legs, hands, and head of the Minotaur figure to prep them for sculpting. I chopped off the lower legs of Clark Kent and I fused the legs from the Minotaur to the Clark Kent body, then sculpted over them to give the appearance of Rudolph’s pants going all the way down to his hooves.
The hands were reshaped to be a bit smaller and to allow the gun to be held by him, and were attached to the arms of the Clark Kent body. The forearms were sculpted onto to make it look like the anatomy of a reindeer was actually under the clothes.
The head is my favorite part, because it’s the one part of this custom I did the most work on. The original Minotaur head looks nothing like the head on this custom, but because of the general shape I thought it would make a good base. I had to reshape it a lot and do a complete sculpting job over the existing head to match Mr. O’Brien’s concept art. And believe me, I did match it up. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to sculpt something in an animated style that was supposed to match a very specific look. It was a huge challenge, but I’m happy with the results. I had to chop off the Minotaur’s ears, reshape them, and reattach them in a different place on the head. The entire head is covered in Aves Apoxie Sculpt (the best 2 part sculpting compound around), to give the smooth animated look to him. I sculpted in all the fur detailing on the edges, as well as his angry eyebrows and giant cartoony grin.
The antlers were made from sheet polystyrene. I cut out the shape of the antlers (again, even the shape of the antlers matches the concept art) and shaped them to be more rounded and attached them to the head.
The Tommy Gun I gave him had to be modified from the original look. I took off the stick magazine and took the magazine from a G.I. Joe grenade launcher that just looked like a perfect drum magazine for a Tommy Gun on a 6 inch scale. The handle on the bottom of the barrel was made from polystyrene and attached. Even the gun Rudolph had in the concept art had a very specific look that I was trying to emulate.
The color scheme I painted Rudolph in is taken from the concept art, down al the different colors in his fur, his hooves, and even the color of his eyes. I painted his nose with gloss white and clear red so it would appear shiny.
This is one of my favorite customs I’ve ever done, because of how challenging it was. I love it when a custom takes my skills to a whole new level, and I hope Daniel O’Brien contacts me again to make more of his Christmas characters, because they’re all fantastic and look like they would be a blast to help bring into action figure form.