MI6 caught up with Mat Falls, Director of 3D at at Sideshow Collectibles, to find out more about how the 12" figures in the James Bond series are brought to life...

Mat Falls Interview - Sculpting 007
29th October 2004

MI6 caught up with the team behind the James Bond figure series at Sideshow Collectibles recently to find out more about the creative process. In this part, MI6 talked to Mat Falls, Director of 3D, to find out more about how the 12" figures in the James Bond series are brought to life

Sculpting for a toy company is a very unusual job. How did you arrive at your current position? Which has been the most rewarding figure you have worked on to date?
Well, being a founding member of the company sure helps! Prior to Sideshows inception I was a makeup effects artist for about ten years. The expanding use of CGI put an end to my stint in effects makeup.

I remember sitting having lunch with Rick Baker and he says he's a little troubled by the whole computer graphic thing. Well, when HE says something like that, it gives you cause to think. So, I was looking hard to transition out of that business and into another that used my same skill set. I think I did in the nick of time too. The effects business ain't what it used to be.

When you sit down to sculpt a figure what reference materials do you use?
Sadly there really isn't enough time to do the intensive research we'd like to do, so we rely heavily on DVD's as source materials, as well as related Bond film books. Sometimes you can pick up a gem or two by surfing the net. But for me, the DVD's are best because I can go frame by frame until I get what I need.

Above: Mat Falls working on the 1/6th scale Pierce Brosnan head.

Which has been the most rewarding figure you have worked on to date?
I have to say the 1/4 scale Sean Connery is definitely one of the most rewarding. I got to correct some of the things that didn't satisfy me regarding the 1/6 scale portrait. Connery really has a complex face. It was a challenge to get it right from all angles. I'm pleased with how the whole thing took shape. Greg Mowry is another key partner in the artist process of creating our 1/4 scale figures. Greg’s contribution includes collaborating on the figures pose and costume design as well as the body fabrication and tailoring of all the additional elements that make up the final figure. Greg is a fantastic talent and a great find for Sideshow. His expertise and attention to detail has really made these figures sing.

Above: Mat Falls puts Brosnan's head into perspective.

Can you talk us through how you sculpted / modeled your favourite Bond and the process and equipment used?
As a Bond fan from way back, it's hard to say. Jaws, Q, Pierce, Tee Hee, Zao; I've truly enjoyed working with them all. If I had to pick a favourite it would have to be the original James Bond, Sean Connery. He made the part bigger than life. If you asked any fan over thirty, "Quick! Think of a James Bond!"… Connery would be the first thing to pop into their head. He personifies the suave, crafty, man’s man secret agent.

When the quarter scale line came to us, I was happy to get another crack at Connery. While I felt I got close with the 1/6 scale version, it just wasn't quite there. It had been irking me, so thankfully it came across my plate again.

As I mentioned Connery, to me, has a very complex face. It looks simple enough, but when it came down to it, I had a helluva time getting the front to line up with the profile. Subtle facial variations plagued me. Finally I just kept hammering away at it until things started falling into place.

Due to the size difference up from 1/6 scale, I roughed the portrait out of sculpey clay. When I had the forms blocked out close enough, the rough sculpt was quick molded in silicone rubber. After cleaning the mold, I cast a positive in a hard toy wax. This allows me to handle the sculpt while carving, raking and polishing. Wax is also good for bringing out the fine lines and details in a face. If you look closely, you can see pores. That's where we are trying to takes these pieces, a new level of detail and accuracy.


Did you create a completely new figure and head for the 1/6 scale GoldenEye-Brosnan figure? What improvements have been made compared to the earlier Die Another Day figure?
The response to the Brosnan figure has been quite approving. I was pleased with how he came out, so the team didn't feel it was necessary to alter his classic stoic look for the new figure. That one was best left alone. We will do some slight modifications for future products.

You have also created the Sean Bean figure from the GoldenEye collection. Can you talk us through how you went about modeling his scarred face?
If there is a figure that may take on different appearances in any given story line, I will fashion a sculpt of that character at his finest.

After the "nice" version has been molded, I will take that sculpt and modify it. It's the best way to make sure I've got all the forms correct and it's always good to have a natural representation before I muck it up. Thus, the scarred Alec Trevelyan. That way I'm covered if I ever need a clean copy.

What is the bonus accessory that will be shipped with him?
The exclusive version features the scarred face sculpt.

Were there any interesting design aspects to the GoldenEye accessories?
Heath Hammond - Supervisor of Product Development adds, "The Swiss Seat repelling harness was a tough, tough accessory to fabricate and to reproduce because there was again very few scenes which clearly showed the rig."

Available Now
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan
Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp


Stay tuned to MI6 for part three where we take an indepth look at the creation of the 1/4 scale Sean Connery and 12" Thunderball figures...

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Thanks to all at Sideshow Collectibles. Images courtesy Sideshow Collectibles. Bond materials © Danjaq and United Artists. Bond trademarks ™ Danjaq.