Mel Gibson as "William Wallace" in
BRAVEHEART (1995)

This figure had been in the works for several years,
but it wasn't until I went to Customdawg's toy show
last September in San Jose that I learned how to
root hair from Louie Tran himself.  Of course, I took
the techniques he taught and modified them a bit to
adapt them to my needs for this figure.  The main
difference was that he showed how to root hair on
an existing vinyl bald head, whereas I needed to
figure out how to root hair onto a
custom headsculpt.  In the end, it
wasn't the technique of hair rooting
that was problematic, but rather the
material the custom head was cast
in.  If you're a customizer, you'll know
that it's easy painting a "rigid" head
(eg. resin, paster, etc.), but acrylic
paint will flake and peel off a rubbery
head while oils and enamels will never
dry and forever remain tacky.  So if you
want to paint the head, you'd need a rigid
head, but if you wanted to root hair, you'd
                                     prefer working on
                                     a soft, flexible type
                                     head.  To accomplish
                                     both ends, I developed
                                     a method to create a
                                     hybrid-head, in which the
                                     face is rigid, but the scalp
                                     is not.  I also constructed
the                                   the headsculpt to include
                                     a neck.
Since Mel
Gibson also
directed
Braveheart,
this figure is
also
technically an
addition to my
"film
directors"
series of
figures!
When I finished the figure, I debated long and hard
about whether to add the blue face-paint.  He only
wears it during one pivotal battle scene and no where
else, and it obscures some facial details... but the idea
                                                     of putting it on the
                                                     the figure was so     
                                                      intriguing, I had
                                                     to do it!
It's funny, from memory, I recalled that
his face was painted blue and white.  
But looking at the reference photos,
and then watching the movie again, he
was really just wearing the blue face
paint.
To create the
braids, I took some
surplus strands of
hair, braided them
first, and attached
them to the scalp
afterwards, as I
figured trying to
braid at that scale
after attachment
would be more
difficult.  I suppose
my only gripe is
that the hair,
overall, just isn't
wavy enough.
The armor was created using the
same technique I used to create
Maximus's armor:  sculpting an
original, making a mold, and then
casting in urethane.  The fabric,
though close, isn't exactly the
right pattern.  I used a "plaid"
where I should have used a
"tartan", but after months and
months of searching countless
fabric shops, I figured this was
close enough.  Still, I dyed it to
match better.
The boots were created again using
the same techniques used to create
the armor and wrist armor pieces.  The
difficulty with this piece was obtaining
good reference photos.  I had even
purchased a resin sculpture, but the
boots weren't too accurate.
The strap which holds the sheath slung around his
shoulder is crafted from real suede, and I painted it
up to give it a more similar look to the one in the film.  
I was going to use a pleather or vinyl, but the way the
straps play at the front, folding and wrapping back
and forth, would have exposed the back of the
material (fabric-looking) and spoiled the illusion.  For
the belt, however, I did use a pleathery-vinyl type of
simulated leather, and fashioned the buckle from a
paperclip.  The arrowheads on his wrist armor are
made from polymer clay onto bits of wire inserted into
the urethane.
I was going to make a shield, but I realized that
with his wrist armor, he wouldn't be able to hold
it with his left, and since I had already made the
wrist armor I scrapped the idea.
I can't even begin to tell
you how many websites I
went to for instructions
on how to wrap a kilt.  
Turns out William
Wallace wore a "great
kilt", which is less like a
skirt than a standard kilt
and more or less just a
long piece of fabric.  The
trick is in how it is worn
or wrapped around the
body...
According to the reference
photos, the letter opener I
used for the sword is
inaccurate for it's hilt's
shape, but I felt like it was
close enough and didn't
want to get into smithing a
more accurate one.  I could
have made a resin one, but
I'm not that crazy with how
plasticky Gladiator's is...
I need to get a nice 1:6 scale horse
for ol' William Wallace here....
I need to get a nice 1:6 scale horse
for ol' William Wallace here....
I hate it when joints are
exposed (that's why I
sculpted the head
together with the neck)
as it spoils the illusion,
so I was glad to see
that an accurate length
for the kilt's hem would
cover almost all of the
knees...