Paul Harding, an action figure designer and sculptor, is inspired by all things superhero. Recently, he kicked off a series of superhero designs titled “Marvel In The 70s”, which is exactly that - Marvel Universe superheroes the way they’d look in the 1970s.
Paul Harding is a sculptor, illustrator, concept artist, and designer of action figures and statues. During his 17 years in the industry, Paul has created a myriad of action figures and sculptures for various superheroes, supervillains from the DC, Marvel, Star Wars, and a number of other universes.
“As a child, action figures were a big part of my life, like for many kids my age. Star Wars, DC Super Powers, and Marvel Secret Wars were major areas of my collecting focus. Later, in my teen years, comics and movies began to take my attention with Star Wars, Batman, and the X-Men,” explained Paul of his fascination with the superhero universes.
Paul gave us a brief rundown on how he makes his sculptures a reality:
“As an action figure and statue sculptor of 17 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many characters. I do them all digitally using Zbrush, articulate the joints, cut up the statue parts, and 3D print for painting and production.”
“For my new personal project called Marvel In The 70s, I use a similar process, except I render them with materials, textures, and color in another program so that they become more like illustrated portraits that focus on the characters’ essence. I hope that people are able to imagine a whole story in their heads when they see them.”
“I chose the 1970s because it is such a grim time in comics with tons of racial diversity and edgy storylines. To bring these to life in a modern way was a fun challenge.”
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Sculpting, like many other forms of art, comes with its own challenges and in Paul’s case, it’s no different. Besides every sculpture coming with its own unique takes and quirks to deal with, there’s also the sheer amount of effort and time required to ensure that every detail fits the character and their aesthetics:
“As a current sculptor for both DC action figures and Marvel Legends figures, I always want to add something a little different to each character so they look unique in some way. The process can be similar across the board, but each project is unique and often refreshing if this approach is taken. Many times, the larger 1:6 scale statues can be more challenging because they require more detail and time. Also, depending on the licensor, I can have more or less flexibility when it comes to a character’s look.”
Now, Paul has also launched another project that is kind of doing the same thing as Marvel in the 70s, where people of today are shown the superheroes in their 70s light, except the other way around:
“With my newest projects, I am taking “Golden Age” DC Comics characters (from the 1930s and 1940s) like Batman and Superman and reimagining their costumes 100 years later, around 2040, in a futuristic way.”
As it has become tradition with articles on superheroes, we asked Paul about his favorite superheroes and supervillains. He had this to say:
“I have always loved Batman, Wolverine, and The Joker. I also really like Marvel’s Kung-Fu, mystical, and cosmic character mostly from the 1970s.”
Paul is currently working on Marvel action figures, Marvel animated mini statues, Star Wars busts, and DC Comics action figures and statues of all sizes. So, be sure to stay tuned for more superhero (and supervillain) goodness by following Paul on his Twitter and Instagram.
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