How Its Made - The 962 Series Sculpture

So far,  I have given readers a high level understanding of how the Porsche 956/962 was developed and put together, and that is fantastic, but I hope the main reason you find yourself on is because you are interested in the sculptures.  With that in mind, I feel it may be useful to highlight the process of creating a 962 series sculpture. 

The entire process starts with a passion for a particular car.  There is no way in hell anyone would bother going through the trouble to flesh out a sculpture of a car they didn’t absolutely love.  I was always fascinated by the Group C prototype racers, and to me, the one that best stood as an ambassador to that era of motorsports was without doubt, the Porsche 956/962.  Great, but how do I get started?  Fortunately, my education as a mechanical engineer has allowed me to develop my skills with 3D CAD software.  I think of it as the clay modelling process, but in digital reality.  I capture the critical defining lines of the car using orthographic projections.  I continue to create surfaces the way I see fit until I am happy with the look of the model.  This would be less an exercise of ripping hairs from my head if CAD software wasn’t so picky about how you connected lines and edges, but then again, I chose this route over traditional clay sculpting so…

Pouring the silicone mold

Pouring the silicone mold

From here, I have the 3D model printed in final scale.  It comes to me in rough and delicate condition.  My main focus at this point is to take down the lines and burrs left behind from the printing process, and fill in the gaps with body filler until I have a surface akin to an infant’s bottom.  FYI, a baby’s bottom was created using 3000 grit sandpaper and a lot of patience.  The sanding process is a long a tedious one.  Any imperfection will be reflected in the silicone mold I eventually cast using this first copy of the car, which brings me to the next stage: casting a mold.

The scariest part of the entire process is pouring the silicone mold.  One little air bubble trapped against the surface of the model?  Garbage.  Silicone leaks through a crack in the mold box?  Garbage.  I didn’t calculate the pourable volume correctly?  Garbage.  The two halves don’t separate from each other after the second round?  Cool, I now have a big blue rubber box I can use as a paperweight.  Fortunately, none of the above occurred, and the mold came out great, and could now pour the urethane resin which will eventually cure to form a sculpture.  This two-part concoction is both expensive and time-sensitive, so once the liquid plastic mixture is combined, it is immediately poured and placed in a pressure chamber to cure.  It always feels like Christmas when I remove the mold halves to reveal the cured sculpture inside, until I notice air bubbles formed on the bottom surface.  These aren’t a showstopper, but require more hours to fix the same body filler and high grit sandpaper treatment.  From here, it is elementary; paint, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand, polish.  Creating a sculpture with livery makes this process much more challenging, but then again, they look absolutely gorgeous when finished.