Black Heart Enterprises is a group of artists, sculptors and horror/sci-fi/fantasy fans who specialize in creating “accurately detailed resin kits, busts of horror, classic science fiction and fantasy characters”. They’ve produced a number of 1:1 wall-hangers inspired by the characters and creatures that haunt those genres, and one only has to look at their gallery to see they’re serious about bringing all the care, craftsmanship and detail of fine art to the task of modeling these monsters.
Black Heart’s George Stephenson got in touch with me recently about their 1:1 life-sized scale wall-hanger of Oliver Reed from The Curse of the Werewolf, sculpted by Joe Simon. I was immediately impressed by the balance of expression and detail– I don’t think I’ve seen Leon Corledo look more dangerous!
The kit is 1:1 scale and is just under 15″ from the top of the head to the fur just below his neck. There’s no assembly involved, as it’s molded and cast in one piece, and it comes with a 2-page, full-color profile and a short essay entitled A Century of Cinematic Lycanthropy.
George was kind enough to answer a couple of questions:
Why was this particular werewolf chosen (other than Oliver Reed being awesome)?
1) It was time to add a werewolf to Black Heart’s line and Lon Chaney has been done a hundred times, some done very well, and at least a couple in 1:1 scale. COTW is one of my two favorites of lycanthropic cinema, the other being Werewolf of London. I considered doing the Henry Hull werewolf but I am concerned about how well WOL will sell. I love Jack Pierce’s WOL makeup design as much as Roy Ashton’s COTW design (maybe even a bit more) but I try to be conscious of marketability and COTW has broader appeal than WOL. We also wanted to do a kit that would appeal to the Hammer Films fans. We WILL do WOL down the road; I have to have one on my wall.
2) COTW has been done a number of times as a resin kit, and done very well by some of the best sculptors in our niche of the hobby market, two of whom I know well and have worked with on past projects when I owned GEOmetric Design. But it had not been done as a 1:1 scale sculpture that would be widely available as a resin kit. I believed that Joe Simon, with whom I’ve worked since our GEOmetric days, would be challenged and motivated to outdo the other sculptors and I believed he could capture the intensity and fury in Oliver Reed’s expression like no one else has.
3) Yes, Oliver Reed was awesome in the film. I saw the film on TV as a child in the late 60s and it scared the heck out of me; no other werewolf film had ever done that. There was a depth to the story and the characters that made it more real for me, I guess.
What sort of material did Joe Simon use for reference when he was doing the sculpt?
I scoured the www for reference photos and found a number of them that gave us most of the angles that we needed for sculpting accuracy. But there is one famous still from the jail cell scene that was the look I wanted for our kit. That was Joe’s guide… and he nailed it. [He] has been sculpting for about 15 years and he feels this is his best work yet. I agree.
The kit is regularly $175.00 but has currently marked down to $140.00. If I was at all competent in the art of model painting I would snatch one of these up right away (and probably a Predator too) – Black Heart tends to produce 100 of each kit before retiring it. Go check it out, and have a look at Black Heart’s other kits too.