We were honored and excited to be asked by Magic Wheelchair to be one of their builders for this year’s San Diego Comic Con project. With this year’s theme being Star Wars, it felt like the perfect match for us here at Tom Spina Designs! Being a studio that specializes in creatures, we were super excited to hear that one of our kiddo, Liam’s favorite beasts was the Rancor! We couldn’t wait to get started creating him an over the top custom Rancor costume for his wheelchair.
This project definitely provided us with some interesting challenges, we needed the piece to be lightweight enough that it could be supported by Liam’s wheelchair. We also wanted it to break down so that it could fit through the doors in his house when Comic Con was over. Before any work could begin, we had Liam and his folks stop by the studio so we could take a ton of measurements and reference photos.
Liam is an incredibly fun and spunky five year old who inherited a love of Star Wars from both of his parents. Liam has Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita which effects several of his joints but that didn’t slow him down from scooting around the studio. Whenever he stopped by the studio he would brighten up everyone’s day and he found a new best friend in Pat, who would would spend hours coloring with him!
Once we had a plan of attack Richard Riley and Lonnie Hale began roughing out the shapes making sure all the while that whatever we sculpted was going to work with the measurements we had taken. Tom and the whole crew joined in as we took this sculpture from raw foam to a fully developed monster! When the head and hand were finished we gave both pieces a hard coating to give them durability. We gave each and every piece several paint treatments so that it would look as close to the original creature as possible. We also added a scrim material to the nostrils and mouth so that Liam’s dad could see out while he pushed Liam’s wheelchair but you couldn’t see him! The finishing touch is a mini-Luke Return of the Jedi costume for Liam, made by Tony Le.
If you are interested in learning more about the Magic Wheelchair charity or to make a donation – Donate Today
– UPDATE –
We’ve added photos from the absolutely EPIC reveal. We are so humbled to be included in a group of incredible designers and builders –including Adam Savage and the Tested team, Fon Davis and Fonco Studios, Michael McMaster, Gordon Tarpley, Red Dodge, Pixologic, Monster City Studios, Dangling Carrot, Massivit 3D, Sean Fields and Project 842 and so many more.
Each of the kids were flown out with their families to this year’s San Diego Comic Con, where they were presented with their one of a kind Star Wars inspired costumes in front of a cheering crowd! Check out the videos below!
Need custom characters created for a photo op, licensed product, or trade show? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!