Making Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy

Lee Hurley

If someone tells me something can not be made, it just makes me more determined to prove them wrong.

366 Articles

By Lee Hurley

If someone tells me something can not be made, it just makes me more determined to prove them wrong.

366 Articles

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Being a big creature fan (people in special effects suits), when I saw Groot in the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, I was intrigued. Then I heard that he was probably going to be all CGI, so I decided to try and make a practical effects version for a convention my wife and I are heading to in August called Dragoncon in Atlanta.

When I saw the first teaser trailer, I grabbed as many screen shots as I could and literally started to make up what I could not see. Due to the size of the creature and very little money, I am having to make him from latex, so everything has to be sculpted 10% bigger than it is needed to take into account latex shrinkage.

The head was sculpted in monster clay, and then a 2-part stone mold was made. Once the clay was all dug out, I closed the mold and poured latex inside, slushed it around until I had a good thickness, then left to dry for a couple of days. When the mold is opened, you have a latex copy of the original clay sculpture. After a few more days to make sure he was fully cured, I painted him with thinned FW INKS, many washes and layers were used to build up the colors I felt would look good in not only normal light, but also under artificial light with and without flash photography.

The hands are the easiest part. I took lifecasts of my own hands using alginate then fast cast resin to cast them. Then I sculpted the hands quite long, as it appears Groot has longer arms than a human. I hope the length of his fingers will offset the difference in my own dimensions.

Legs are the make or break item in my mind. I worked it out that Groot in the line-up photo looks approx 7’8. I did at first buy some dry wall stilts, but i was about as graceful as a drunk baby giraffe on them ( did someone shout timber as i fell? ). After quickly selling those, I decided I could build some stilts, so I took my old platform vampire costume boots, glued and bolted on some 4″ pipe from Home Depot, which i had cut down. I secured them to a MDF board cut into a shape i hoped would taper up my leg and partially hide my feet. then finally added some gym impact mat to the bottom.

I have to take some liberties with the shape and size of the limbs. I hope it does not detract from the overall look, but until they are cast I will not know, again I had to sculpt the piece 10% bigger and longer than needed for latex shrinking, currently the mold is finished and was made with my wife’s help. Again a 2-part plaster mold was made, using in excess of 400lbs of plaster it has been NO fun to move around. I am currently bleeding and aching from the start of digging out the clay, which I hope to have done mid next week, then I can brush in my layers of latex to cast a set of leg skins which i hope will fit well.

Assuming the legs are OK to go, I will then make the arms, and finally, the chest. They will again be sculpts with 2 part plaster molds, and I will Velcro the whole suit together when hopefully wearing it in a couple of months.

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