INTERVIEW WITH RAVEN HOOD
The second set of
Farscape action figures was recently released by Toy
Vault. Among them are two Rygel figures: Rygel,
Dominar of Hyneria and Rygel, Royalty in Exile. The
sculptor of these figures, Raven Hood, graciously
agreed to take time from his busy schedule to answer
some questions for Karlsweb.
completed Rygel action figures
Left - Rygel: Royalty in Exile, Right - Rygel XVI, Dominar
I really appreciate you
taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for
Hood: No problem!
First, let me congratulate you on the Rygel
figures. Your artwork is
wonderful, they're outstanding likenesses of
the character - he looks
crabby as an action figure as he does on Farscape.
Hood: Thanks! Thatís great to hear!! I hope some day
we can do a cold cast version of this figure that is
1/1 scale with the original sculpture. Its amazing how
small he is after being reduced 50%. Ok it is 50% but
its hard to believe how small he looks after you have
been working on him so long at twice the size.
Could you give us a little background about how you
began your career
action figures and how you came to work on Farscape.
sketch for Rygel was drawn by Raven Hood's Dad, Jack
Hood: Well my dad worked in the model shop for NASA
during the Apollo moon missions and later worked for
Disney's Theme Display department while I was growing
up. So there were always little astronauts, cartoon
characters, and energetic mice around. Later my
interest in film made me want to sculpt my own
characters. Then sculpting some of my favorite actors
and movie characters during college got me in the
model business. I dabbled in collectibles, toys and
film making but Toy Vault actually released the first
toys I ever saw on shelves. I think!!
Dominar in Progress
I know that Rygel is your second Farscape figure.
Being a puppet, was
difficult to create than the Aeryn Mutation figure?
Hood: Yes and No! At first we thought it might be
quite a bit easier without all the subtleties of human
expression etc. But it turns out proportions on a
puppet can be really tricky. I originally worked based
on some photos of the original clay sculpt of Rygel.
This was great because it was a solid and I had
several shots of it (several is never enough) but it
was also really rough and didn't have all the details
of the final puppet. Since I got started kind of early
on this figure, the 'based on clay version' was around
for a couple months while I finished other projects
and the second series of figures were still being
locked down. We even had a paint up at ComicCon that
summer. But when Janis Beauchamp (Henson Art Director)
and I started reviewing it, we determined he was
pretty stiff and some details were not accurate. Here
it got tricky. A human face changes a lot with
expressions and mood. Puppets stretch to achieve these
emotions and should be easier to reproduce but puppets
do not have bones like humans do. Rygel's whole face
elongates for some expressions and his body even
collapses on its self at times. With humans you can
always grab someone and say 'do this' but I don't know
any little alien puppets I could get to pose for me.
at sculpting size: two-up
Were you given access to a "real life"
Rygel or did you do all the
sculpting based on photographs and/or videos?
Hood: No! =.( I didn't even ask. Wish I had! But the
show is produced in Australia and sometimes it takes
us nearly until a project is finished to get some
photos. So, for the most part its just photos and
videos. One thing I was really happy about was the
photos the studio made of Rygel's chair. Bob Burns, a
movie prop collecting friend of mine has the original
Time Machine from the George Pal film. Rygel's chair
reminds me of that a lot somehow and I was really
excited to do it justice, possibly to the point of not
being unprofitable. I actually asked that I be allowed
to make it a little more symmetrical and not be quite
so beat up as the original. I know you can't see those
details on the show and I didn't want fans to think I
messed it up. Loving this stuff often makes the job
harder but hopefully some will really appreciate it.
If you used scenes from the show, was there one
episode or scene in particular that you chose to work from?
Hood: "Exodus From Genesis" is the only
episode where you see Rygel actually walk in the first
season. It gave us the excuse to make his feet
articulate and get him out of the chair.
for a Loss" has great stuff on the chair.
Flax" has great expressions and the best smile.
I really need to get out more!
with his fellow sculptee, the Aeryn Mutation figure.
I remember reading that for Aeryn, you worked at a
scale of two-up. For Rygel, was
it the same or did you use a larger scale because he's
Hood: Same scale though we thought we where making him
slightly larger just to make him a better figure. Now
that I have one of the toys he actually looks just
about right next to Aeryn. Glad we tried to make him
as large as we could.
Dominar of Hyneria holding the head of Rygel: Royalty in
Which of Rygel's accessories did you sculpt?
Hood: Just about all of them. I think we used one of
DíArgoís knives. Truthfully I only have a test
shot of Rygel so far so I am not sure which
accessories were produced. There were lots of them.
Not all of them were produced unless I missed
something. I also did a base that was saved for a
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