Harley Quinn Heats up San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Thinking about using Precision Board HDU in combination with other types of materials for a project?  We talked to James A. Powell, VP of Design at Monster City Studios in Fresno, California, about a recent project his team worked on involving both Precision Board and EPS (expanded polystyrene AKA ‘bead foam’).  He needed quick turnaround on a high-profile assignment for DC Collectibles.  They used Precision Board because it was not only easy to work with, but required a lot less cleanup and allowed them to hit their completion date.  James tells us more about his cool project and how he used mixed media to achieve both his creative and timeline goals.

DC Collectibles approached James and Monster City Studios about doing a character statue for San Diego Comic-Con International.  They hadn’t decided on a character, but once they chose Harley Quinn, they sent the digital files over to James, and by this time, it was a really short turnaround.

“We had a little over two weeks to make it.  Because we had such a limited amount of time to fabricate the statue, we used Precision Board HDU in combination with EPS.  It made cleanup easier on the parts of the statue made from Precision Board, including the plaque, gun and master for the smoke.  It’s much easier to work with Precision Board because it is smoother and requires less sanding,” said Powell. “Use of PB really helped in completing the detail parts. Anything else would have taken longer to mill, sand and detail,” he added.

James and his team created Harley in pieces and then assembled her around a steel frame composed of 1″ tubing with steel wires going into her fingers.  Harley had bolts welded to her frame and she was also bolted to the base.  The entire statue was hardcoated with Polyurea, sanded and then bondo’d.  To attach different types of materials together, EPS and Precision Board in this case, he used Pur Stick, an expanding polyurethane glue, which he says is a tacky version of home insulating foam, but with a really small bead of a 1/4″ or less.

“Pur Stick doesn’t expand a lot, so you don’t have to worry about the glue expanding and pushing the pieces apart.  Typically you need to clamp your materials together to ensure they don’t separate,” Powell said.

The gun assembly, including her hand, cuff, gun and smoke were all made out of PBLT-6.   This was fabricated separately and then attached to the main body. For the smoke coming out of the gun, they made a master mold out of PBLT-6. The smoke was given a Polygem hardcoat and then sanded. That piece was then molded and cast in resin.

The plaque was made out of PBLT-15, covered with PB Hard Coat and then primed and painted.  They knew they needed something strong to attach the plaque to the base, given the heavy foot traffic it would see on the convention floor.

“We used Rare Earth magnets, which are super strong, and put them inside the plaque.  There were magnets inside the base as well.  This allowed us to attach the plaque to the base and help it handle the accidental abuse from people walking the convention floor,” said James.

The Harley Quinn statue was so popular that she made the news, featuring in both The Orange County Register (photos below courtesy Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) and CBS News Fresno.

Monster City Studios is a fully equipped design and fabrication company, located in Fresno, California.  They work in multiple markets, including theme parks & attractions, museums, experiential marketing, retail & restaurant, hospitality & leisure, aquariums & zoos, and last, but not least, trade shows & displays.  We love the wonderful things they create using Precision Board HDU and highly recommend them.  Visit their website or give them a call at 559-498-0540.

UPDATE: The Harley Quinn statue has now found a home at the executive offices of DC Comics in Burbank, CA.