The final four artists had to pull out all the stops to make it to the finale, and this time, they would do it in the jungle. They met in a green paradise with different dig sites surrounding them. Their Spotlight Challenge would involve the legendary King Kong and his origins from Skull Island. Executive producer for Universal Creative Mike West was their guest for the challenge intro because his newest project for Universal Orlando revolved around the giant simian. Skull Island: Reign of Kong, an interactive attraction where visitors get lost in an intense adventure and encounter different prehistoric species before they meet Kong would be the inspiration for the artists. West explained that Skull Island was kept warm due to thermal winds, allowing prehistoric creatures to survive, evolve, and become more dangerous and intelligent. Their challenge was to choose one creature from the dig sites and imagine how it would evolve if it had survived on Skull Island. The winner of this challenge would get a trip for two to Universal Orlando Resorts and first dibs at a visit to Reign of Kong, as well be the first person picked for the finale.
Rob created an evolved V. Rex or Vastatosaurus, a giant dinosaur creature. He made the evolved character smaller, adapting to the indigenous people to become a dinosaur/human hybrid. He had trouble right from the start and felt the face was too cartoony. He added teeth to cover a smiley mouth and give it a more fierce look. Mr. Westmore told him to pick his detailing placements wisely. He took a lot of time with the reptilian scales by drawing a grid and rounding out the edges of each little square. It took a long time but he was happy with the result. He created a crocodile inspired back piece and had to work fast to save time, but quickly ran out when it came to painting. He had to throw on hemp fibers to cover areas he didn’t paint and was panicked by the end of last looks. I thought his head sculpt was amazing! The judges thought so too, although they thought he should have covered the model’s shoulders and the paint should have enhanced the detailed sculpting.
Walter picked a bat-like creature called Terapusmordax. He designed an evolved creature that had wings as well as arms for battle. He added a lot of texture to the face and Mr. Westmore advised him to go tan with the colour and enhance it with lots of shading for a leathery look. Walter fabricated wings, but broke a spring mechanism that would have made them unfold and had to settle for a static wing. He used a thin layer of latex with holes in it for a war-worn look to the wing skin, and painted on veins. The judges loved his character! They felt the facial forms were impressive, the paint job incorporated great tones, and he added great detail to the creature’s eyes. They would have liked the wings to fold down, but they let that go because the character was definitely inspired by Skull Island.
Mel worked on a Decarnocimex . It was an insect with a rounded exoskeleton. She designed an upright hybrid with a hunched back. She first came up with a multiple eyed creature, but Mr. Westmore felt it could look like a mask, so she started over again, using different bug references and geometrical shapes to map out the face. She was also worried about fabrication, but with a little ingenuity and duct tape, she came up with a decent tail. She pre-painted as much as she could, and used a crown to cover areas that were exposed. The judges appreciated the amount of work she put into the character as well as the elegant look. It was nice up close for them, and they loved the fabrication.
Melissa’s Arachnocidis or Arcachno-Claw, was a scavenger that set traps for food. She wanted to go outside of her comfort zone and created mandibles in the face. She made bumps in the face sculpt with pearls, and made sure every detail in the face sculpt was perfect before molding. She fabricated pincers, chest armour, and mandibles, and did a ton of painting. The judges loved the forms and paint job. They felt there was a balance between fabrication and makeup, and it was a complete and aesthetically pleasing character.
The winner of this challenge and of the trip was Melissa!! They loved her concept and felt it was the best realized character. She was the first to get to the finale, and was really honoured. She was also stoked to take her son to the Skull Island attraction.
The second person going to the finale was Walter. His character was definitely of Skull Island stock and had some cool sculptural aspects.
The third person in the finale would be Rob for his incredibly detailed sculpting which is clearly his gift.
That meant Mel was going home. The judges had a hard time picking her since she really delivered this challenge, and recognized her talent. She felt privileged to be on the show and to have made it that far.
McKenzie would leave the 3 finalists in suspense, only revealing that there was something big in store next week with a special guest. Bring on the finale!!