Weta Workshop reveals how Footrot Flats statue was made

By Kristine Walsh

Weta Workshop's lead mould-maker and fabricator Bruce Campbell at work. Photo / Supplied
Weta Workshop's lead mould-maker and fabricator Bruce Campbell at work. Photo / Supplied

Weta Workshop has lifted the covers off the construction process of Gisborne's new statue of Footrot Flats figures Wal and Dog.

The Wellington special effects and prop company yesterday released a video showing how it made the bronzed representation of two of cartoonist Murray Ball's most famous characters.

In an accompanying blog, Weta lauds the 1.8m statue -- commissioned by the city's Arts in Public Places Committee -- as "another great reason to visit Gisborne".

"Gisborne is the obvious place to house this detailed sculpture of the quintessential Kiwi farmer and his precocious pooch," said Weta communications manager Erik Hay.

"It is the town Footrot Flats creator Murray Ball and his wife Pam call home."

The sculpture was seven months in the making for the Weta crew, who first created small models to see how Mr Ball's iconic illustrations could best be translated into three-dimensional characters.

"The models were then sculpted in Plasticine at full size before undergoing a complex moulding and lost-wax bronze-casting process," Mr Hay said.

The bronzed representation of two of cartoonist Murray Ball's most famous characters - Wal and Dog. Photo / Supplied
The bronzed representation of two of cartoonist Murray Ball's most famous characters - Wal and Dog. Photo / Supplied

Once the bronze components were cast, the 14 pieces were delivered into the hands of lead mould-maker and fabricator Bruce Campbell.

He was tasked with welding and fettling the 300kg sculpture, before giving Wal and Dog their burnished bronze coats.

The completed work arrived in Gisborne last month but it cannot be installed at its intended location, on the grass in front of the H.B. Williams Memorial Library, before a major library redevelopment project is completed in 2017.

Until then, it will take up temporary central city residence on the banks of the Taruheru River.

-Gisborne Herald

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