Sculptors, the magazine for everything crafted from resin and plastic, returns for its second issue (see our review of issue one HERE). Like the previous installment, Sculptors 2 delivers on more artist spotlights, tutorials, and special features. Also like the premiere issue, this one is almost entirely in Japanese, but with sumptuous color photography and no shortage of social media links and profiles on artists for you to follow.
Like the previous issue, Sculptors 2 shows us conventions happening around the world, including Monsterpalooza 2019 in Pasadena and Wonder Festival Shanghai. The 2019 Wonder Festival Shanghai is the second time the city has hosted an expansion of the legendary modeling convention. Here’s hoping for a US installment of Wonder Festival in the future.
Sculptors is still one of the best publications out to see the work of original modelers and figure makers, and the range of talent this issue covers does not disappoint. Once more Sculptors takes up back to the studio of illustrious monster-crafter Takayuki Takeya, this time to showcase some of his special tools. If you wonder how Shin Godzilla got his craggy look that’s a combination of volcanic rock and a burn victim, it’s through specially designed texture stamps. In order to achieve an organic look to his creations Takeya looks to nature. In the case of these texture stamps, they were developed from castings of a gourd with irregular bumps and crevices.
Kow Yokoyama, a classic modeler’s modeler, collaborated with 3DCG illustrator Masato Ohata, by laser scanning one of Yokoyama’s Maschinen Krieger powered suit model kits. Turning into a combination of old and new techniques, the scan is transferred into ZBrush where Ohata paired it with one of his creations, a contemplative young girl, to create the cover for this issue.
Ryu Oyama (who sculpted the Cthulhu the graced issue one’s cover) returns with an original sculpture called Deworming Warrior (Kuchu no Senshi). Sort of a twist on Kamen Rider, it’s a delicately detailed likeness of a young man in insect-esque armor. The work is full of baroque details reminiscent of the late Yasushi Nirasawa’s work. The issue covers Oyama’s careful crafting of the figure, from wires caked with clay, to bizzare other-worldly warrior.
Much like the last issue, this one also includes a Predator related feature. Akihito Ikeda of Studio-AKI (whose movie makeup and effects credits include Deadpool 2, The Mist, and Predators) as he crafts of bust of a Kagero Predator, a ninja version of the crustacean-faced space menace.
One of Sculptor issue 2’s standout pieces is a series of submerged dioramas created by Masaki Seki. These pieces combine delicately crafted dilapidated ferris wheels, roller coasters, cities, and machines, that are partially entombed in translucent resin to make it look like they’re scenes submerged in water, as boats skim on top of the surface and dolphins mingle below. The effect is a hauntingly intricate glimpse into a mechanical world reclaimed by nature.
This issue is more of the same from issue 1, for good and for ill. Both issues had a close look at Takayuki Takeya’s workshop, both issues visit a Monsterpalooza convention, both issues even had extended features involving Predators (I hope they know other movie monsters exist). There’s cute girls, weird creatures, and complex machinery aplenty, and all lovingly chronicled within with a sense of dedication from the editorial team. My one hope for future installments is that they take an approach similar to what SMH Magazine or DDD did and have the issues revolve around a certain theme to make the issues feel more distinct. All in all though this is still another solid issue for enthusiasts of the Japanese modeling scene or just as food for thought for your next creative endeavor.
Article and photos by David Namba
The DNA of Tokusatsu Ultraman Genealogy exhibition on Ultraman, the reigning king of Japan heroes and the history of Tsuburaya Productions safely lands with COVID-19 prevention measures at Gallery AaMo in Tokyo Dome City. From the first program in 1966 to today, no Tsuburaya hero or program is left out at this game multimedia exhibition that additionally highlights Reiwa era hitters like Ultraman Z, now running Saturday mornings on TV Tokyo and the Ultraman Tsuburaya YouTube channel.
Somewhere between science and myth, the unknowable and probing curiosity, giant monsters lingers in our minds. Colossal and crawling, Varan haunted the forests of rural Japan in the 1958 film Daikaiju Varan (aka Varan the Unbelievable). Varan, with a craggly carapace (modeled after peanut shells) adorned by semi-translucent thorns, and the countenance of a demon was crafted by one Keizo Murase. Born in 1933, Murase has had an illustrious career crafting the various giant monsters of the Showa era, including Mothra, Gamera, Godzilla, and more.