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Face Off Season 7 Episode 8: Snakey Soldiers!

Published September 18, 2014 by vfdpixie

This week, the artists met on the Battleship Iowa which served World War 2 and the Korean War before being retired in 1990.  It now serves as a museum in San Pedro, California and was a fitting backdrop for their next Spotlight Challenge which was to create a G.I. Joe super soldier in honour of the iconic toy’s 50th anniversary.  McKenzie had several crates that hid different species of snakes, and in the tradition of characters like Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander, the artists had to chose one type of snake to inspire their soldier.  There was an extra prize for this challenge:  A collection of special edition G.I. Joe toys!

George chose the Green Anaconda.  His concept was a soldier called Nick Strangle due to the anaconda’s muscular body, code name “Manaconda”.  George fabricated a muscle suit that looked great, and he was happy with it.  The end result was a blocky looking dark green snake man soldier.  It actually looked like an action figure.  The judges liked the asymmetrical head, and he ended up safe.

Rachael got the Green Tree Python.  Her soldier worked for Cobra Commander and since the snake had heat seeking organs, she incorporated those down the character’s face.  Mr. Westmore liked this feature and told her to continue them further down the side of the soldier.  She ended up losing time and rushed finishing the cowl which she didn’t like.  As a result, she focused on the paint job.  She hated her design, and on the reveal stage, she cringed.  The judges thought it lacked a sense of form and didn’t feel like a snake, with Neville calling the head baboon-like.  The scales they called random and the paint looked blocky and lacked transition.  They felt it was rushed.  she was in the bottom looks.

Cig created a female soldier called Lashes based on the Christmas Tree Eyelash Viper, but he was left with a male model cast, so he had to change his concept.  Mr. Westmore liked his sculpt and instructed him on how the eyes should appear.  Cig was on the fence with the outcome of the eyes, and debated whether to keep them, but the finished makeup was really great.  It was colourful and fun and really looked like a toy.  The judges like the symmetry, with Glenn wanting to buy 2 of the figures, one to play with and one to keep in the box!  Lois loved the snake head epaulettes, and Neville felt the forms around the face was beautiful.  He was in top looks.

Stella picked the Namibian Coral Cobra.  She designed a motorcycle chick with body armour.  She had a major issue when her model ended up getting very sick, so they had to replace her.  Stella had already created her face prosthetic for the sick model, so she had to carry on and hope for the best.  She had to modify the face so that it fit the smaller face of her substitute model, and scrapped the helmet she had molded, chosing to style the model’s hair instead.  Her makeup was really good and the judges liked the small shapes and scales.  She was safe.

Damien went for the Gabo0n Viper and decided on an assassin character that was a snake/human hybrid.  He was one of the few that created fangs for the soldier.  It was an interesting looking makeup and the judges liked the fangs and the neck area.  He was safe this time around.

Kaeghlan got the Albino Reticulated Python.  She came up with a femme fatale character but was nervous because she was not familiar with the G. I. Joe world.  Mr. Westmore advised her to bring more snake-like features to her design and perhaps change the eyes.  She was so worried that she hoped for some inspiration from her dreams.  She decided to use a wig instead of making a cowl, and added white to the weird reddish tinted wig.  She was concerned the makeup was missing something.  The end result looked like an old aged makeup instead of a snake.  The judges thought the colour was too matte and looked dead.  The snake forms were diluted and looked more feline, and the colours needed more contrast, and to Lois, looked “mimsy”.  She was in the bottom looks.

Sasha worked on a Hognosed Snake soldier.  She created a ninja that attacked from the holes he burrowed.  She also had trouble with her design, especially with the nose.  Mr. Westmore gave her some guidance, but she struggled, getting input from the other artists.  Her scales looked a lot like her owl makeup, and her cowl didn’t line up with her face.  It was o.k.  The judges liked the colours, but could see the owl makeup as Sasha feared.  They also thought the shape of the head was too simple and round.  She was in the bottom looks, and was terrified that the judges wasted the immunity on her.

Drew chose the Tiger Rat Snake.  His idea went against the grain as he created a body modified human instead of a human hybrid.  His prosthetics were more subtle, and Mr. Westmore told him to focus on the paint  because of his smaller sculpts.  He made really cool claws that looked like steel, and used a paint spatter technique as well as tattoos for his character.  His was different from everyone else’s.  The judges noticed and loved the risks he took.  They thought the colour was spectacular, and felt the idea was brilliant and would look great as a toy and on film.  He was in top looks.

Diana picked the Brazilian Rainbow Boa.  She designed a super sexy soldier and used a cut popsicle stick to create scales.  She did well with time and seemed confident with her design.  She used an iridescent sheen overtop her paint job and it looked really great.  It was a really pretty makeup with a great profile.  The judges liked the precision of the scales, and thought it was “incredible”.  She made “perfect choices” and had phenomenal equilibrium and balanced forms.  They thought this character had great balance between a toy and something for on-screen as well.  She was also in top looks.

The winner was Dina!  The judges loved the nuanced forms and incredible details.  She also got the special edition toy collection for her boyfriend.  The person that went home was Kaeghlan.  They thought her colours were awful and the concept looked too feline and not snake-like.  They told her to use this experience as a platform to improve.  Very glad Dina won!  Not only because I know she can make cakes and I like cake.  Can’t wait to see what she creates next!

Face Off Season 7 Episode 4: Woe Is Trees!

Published August 13, 2014 by vfdpixie

This week, the gang talked about Stella’s win and Jason’s desire to show his talent.  The 12 artists left met with McKenzie and models dressed as superheroes.  For the Foundation Challenge and immunity, they were to choose a model and create a hero inspired by their costumes.  Their guest judge was makeup artist Mike Elizalde, who worked on Fantastic Four, X-Men Last Stand, and got an Oscar nomination for Hellboy.  He wanted them to integrate the costume into the makeup so that the character told a story.  They all had some interesting ideas, and all of them did great jobs.  The standouts for Mike were Vince’s chameleon type superhero with a great layered paint job and Rachael’s elegant alien assassin with her choice of colours, beautiful contouring, seductive look and lashes.  Mike chose Rachael as the winner.  She was relieved for the immunity.

For the Spotlight Challenge, they gathered in the lab where McKenzie stood with a giant tree.  Films like LOTR, and Evil Dead had trees with human-like traits and intelligence.  They had to work in teams of 2 to create a tree character with traits of a specific species of tree AND, since the trees from the aforementioned films were either evil or angry, they had to incorporate a common tree malady to create a darker character.

Stella and Sasha teamed up to create a White Birch with burls.  They came up with a sacred Native American tree that was upset that it’s people were driven away, so he had eyes all over to watch the land.  When Mr. Westmore checked out their progress, he warned them that the design should be a personification of the tree, not a person in the tree.  Stella used L 200 to create a paper-like birch bark, and Sasha created hands that didn’t quite work out, so she made them out of foam.  Stella used a dry brush of white paint to create a birch bark look and in last looks, she realized how much she hated the hands but loved the character overall.  It turned out great and the judges loved this character too.  They thought was well rendered and a full head to toe coverage.  They thought it was clear that it was a birch, loved the gorgeous paint job, and Lois loved the “crumply knees”.  Because of the paint job and malady driven character, they were in top looks.

Jason and Doc got together to create a Bristlecone Pine struck by lightning.  The character was a guardian of the desert.  Mr. Westmore felt they hadn’t done enough to convey the character.  They took his advice, but both were nervous.  Doc was concerned because so far, he had been in the bottom for every challenge, and Jason because this was the biggest sculpt and mold he had done and was worried about their time.  Doc encountered disaster as his arm molds broke in several places.  He had to scrap that idea, and was discouraged by this.  In last looks, they figured out a way to work out the arms.  Their character came out really well.  I loved the tree bark texture.  Glenn thought “the form language was exquisite and awe-inspiring”.  Lois loved all the small details like the knees and feet, and although the malady was not defined, Neville thought there was finesse in the cheek area.  For a duo that started off in trouble, they were also in the top looks.

George and Keaghlan picked the Silk Floss and choking vines.  They came up with an environmentalist that fell when the tree was cut down and became a warrior.  Mr. Westmore told them to take out the human features.  They worked well with their time, with George creating a gang mold for a large and quickly done piece, leaving them of day two for fabrication and a little dance break!  George thought there could have been more variation of colour, but it was complete.  On the reveal stage, I thought it looked a touch too human, and the judges acknowledged all the work they put into it.  They didn’t like the vine aspect, calling it an afterthought, but they ended up safe.

Vince and Damien got the Sequoia and tree rot.  They decided on a zombie tree.  When it came time to create a colour scheme, they were at odds.  Damien wanted more red, but Vince wanted to go with a more grey tone to convey the zombie aspect.  Their second skin on the latex was ripped but they worked with it since it looked like the tree was rotting.  In last looks, Vince changed the paint.  I didn’t mind the look, but Glenn thought it was great if they were going to an office Halloween party.  Ouch!  They thought it was limiting with the tree stump on head and it was not cohesive.  Neville thought the hands were well sculpted but the left eye was crippling to the whole look.  They were in the bottom.

Rachael and Dina chose the Banyan and fungus.  They wanted to go for a really twisted tree look.  Dina was nervous right off the bat because Rachael had immunity.  Mr. Westmore thought their design didn’t look like a twisted banyan at all, but like vines or fire.  They girls had to start over with their design.  In the end, Dina didn’t like the final character.  The judges didn’t think it read tree bark, and Neville thought that “fungus wasn’t the only malady” the design suffered from.  Yikes!  Rachael was really worried because she had immunity and would be devastated if Dina went home, but they were safe.

Cig and Drew got the Weeping Willow and insect infestation. Mr, Westmore suggested they make the holes for their emerging insects obvious.  They had plans for large branches to convey the willow aspect and arms to grab victims to feed these insects.  Drew decided to attach the branches at last looks which was risky because they were the defining feature of the character.  To their shock and dismay, the model came out sans branches because they were way too heavy for her to function.  The judges felt there were missed opportunities, and that the colour was too uniform.  The bugs didn’t work and although there was some definition, it got muddy in some areas.  Drew took full responsibility for the branch issue, which the judges admired.  They were in last looks.

Among the top looks, the judges were impressed by Doc and Jason’s elegant flowing lines and paint job, and Sasha and Stella’s colour and malady driven character.  They picked Jason as the winner because of the amount of detail in the tree.  What a great feat for him since he was hoping to impress the judges!

They judges felt that they couldn’t judge something that wasn’t there, i.e. the branches, with Cig and Drew’s Weeping Willow, although they did like Drew’s face sculpt.  Vince and Damien’s design suffered because of the prevalent crippling concept.  Vince was the artist going home due the makeup’s head and cowl issues.  Boooooo!!!  Boooooo, I say!!!  I liked him and was sad to see him go.   He was really chilled out and talented, but I know with his experience, he will go far.

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