The Story of Kuggs – Part 2
We're back with the second part of our write-up of the creative process behind Blackwater Toys' Kuggs line.
The factory we are working with in China requested some turn arounds to build us a prototype. We did do the turn arounds but thought how in the hell can they tell that we want this edge round or the leg is more "rounder" than what you draw in the turn around? So we thought maybe we can build a rough clay model, that way it would be easier with the factory to see what we want.
We though it can't be that hard? So we googled and did some quick research - looks easy enough. Got our shopping list together and went to Pearl Paint - aluminum wire for support, wire mesh for shaping, a box of Super Sculpey, and some materials for molding (I forget what that was - it was a recommendation from the person who worked there). After, we went home and started to try to sculpt.
Try is the key word. For those people who think sculpting is easy
(like me), it's not!! I mean, everyone should try it at least once but
for me I really have a new appreciation for sculptors. At first, I
really regretted it because it was taking so long and it was so lumpy.
I got really discouraged that it was starting to look like Freddy
Krugger! But upon finishing, I was really glad Johnny talked me into
sculpting it. One reason was you really got to see and feel how big it
was in 3D - on paper you can never really tell how it would feel or
look like. The more important reason was when we decided to
incorporate articulation into the Kugg. We knew what range of
movements that we want on the Kugg and drawing it on paper - we
couldn't really tell the "real" full motion and the consequences it
would have. For instance, the head had to be modified with bigger
openings on the sides to accommodate the range of movements.
After the "sculpt" was done (picture above), we cooked it in the oven
as the box instructed and we proceeded to make the mold (picture
below). In the picture for the mold, the left with the two holes is for
the body, the smaller ones on the left are for the hands, and the right
one with the big hole is for the head. With the mold done now, we make
a copy (Pic DSC01950, show all the separate parts) for the factory and
send it to the factory along with the turn arounds.
Once the factory in China had our package they made us a first
prototype. When the factory was done, they sent us pictures for
approval. The feeling I got from seeing the pictures of the prototype
for the first time was what I can best describe as a father seeing his
baby for the first time - I've don't have any children yet. But if it
was anything like that, it was so amazing. After the feeling of
excitement wore off, we really started to look at the prototype. The
bag (head) wasn't right, it was too bag like. The factory made it
"wrinkley" (Pic Head Swaying02 and Left Back-45), we wanted a more
“cartoony” feel. We told them our concerns and they adjusted
The last pic shows the factory adjusting the head to our comments.
It's more smooth now (Pic DSN0323). We also wanted a close up on the
arm where the magnet was hidden (Pic DSN0324).
Next up - The small train, small Kugg and the package.