FORGING A
BOND

 

It's appropriate that in the year of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise, the newest addition to the ever-growing Planet Wallywood collection of life-size figures would be Sean Connery.

Over the course of 22 Saturday nights, Wally and his weekly movie crew will watch every James Bond film in succession from the new "Bond 50" Blu Ray set. But it was during one fateful visit to Son of Monsterpalooza on October 27th that Wally decided that James Bond was destined to join Elvis Presley, Michael Myers, Barnabas Collins, Lon Chaney, Andy Kaufman, Adam West, The Phantom of the Opera and others in the Planet Wallywood collection of life-size action figures!

Wally was drawn to the table of Midi-Evil Studios, a company who had purchased 60 original molds from the Movieland Wax Museum when they went out of business in 2005. Evil, the proprietor, made beautiful casts from the molds in latex. You could buy them in just plain latex, or latex with foam filling, or latex with foam filling and fully painted. A Laurel and Hardy fan since 1974, Wally spotted the boys' visages from across the hall. But when he got closer, he recognized the features of Sean Connery on the bottom shelf on the far right corner.


Just then he remembered that he had purchased several vintage-looking shawl-collar tuxedos at a recent sale at It's a Wrap. They were selling from $10 to $25 each so he couldn't resist getting a couple dozen in all different sizes. These tuxedos looked exactly like the one Sean Connery wore in Bond's very first big-screen appearance, at a casino in "Dr. No." PERFECT!

During a lunch break, Wally obsessed with thoughts of putting together the coolest-looking Sean Connery Bond figure ever. (Second only to the wax figure of Roger Moore in Scaramanga's funhouse in "The Man With the Golden Gun!") He phoned his effects man Jim Ojala, who gave him the greenlight to purchase the head. Since it was Son of Monsterpalooza, it was virtually one-stop shopping! A maker of realistic glass-eyes also had a booth there!

But then the discussion began about the color of Connery's eyes. His pal Bob Mitsch remembered a line from the film "From Russia With Love" in which an amorous paramour of Bond's said, "The case is brown like your eyes." BROWN! The correct size of eyes were purchased and Wally was on his way!


Once the head and eyes were purchased, Wally began researching Connery's first scene as Bond. A thin, black bowtie would need to be purchased (an easy find on eBay), but Wally already had the tux jacket, pants & shirt. The only thing missing were the shoes, socks and cuff links. And don't forget the handkerchief for the jacket's breast pocket! And one more important element...


The Walther PPK! A few years ago, Wally had purchased a metal, non-firing replica of Bond's famous firearm to display on the wall next to his Bond collection. But the replica had been bestowed with a much higher purpose now. Jim Ojala has reformed mannequin hands to grip Barnabas Collins' wolf's head cane, and Elvis Presley's vintage microphone. Now he would need to reform the mannequin's right hand to hold a gun.

Wally wanted to have the mannequin posed in the famous Bond pose...left arm across his chest, right arm holding the gun across his shoulder, and his left leg crossed over his right. Two suitable mannequins were found, but neither were in the exact pose. On one mannequin the arms were correct but not the legs, and on the other mannequin the legs were correct but not the arms. Could the mannequins be morphed?

After consulting with Jim, it was decided that it was easier to reform the arms to the desired pose, than the legs. So the mannequin was purchased and the process began. Jim was given the latex and foam Connery head and the eyes to begin work. He would need to dig out enough foam in the eyeholes to accommodate the glass eyes.


The mannequin arrived from New York a few days later than expected because of Superstorm Sandy. But when it arrived it looked perfect! Several pair of cuff links were purchased, and the perfect pair was selected. Jim came to get the top half of the mannequin to do the head transplant, reform the arms, and reform the right hand to grasp the replica Walther PPK pistol.

The pants, socks and shoes were added to the bottom half and everything fit like a glove! When the top half is finished, the proper tuxedo shirt will be selected. Then the right tuxedo jacket will be put on as the finishing touch. A narrow, vintage black bowtie was purchased to complete the picture.


The pants look baggy here because they're not drawn up over the waist and torso, but they are a great fit. And the leg position is perfect for the desired effect!

Jim has reshaped the right arm to stretch across the mannequin's chest for the famous James Bond pose. The fingers of the hand will be reformed to grasp the grip of the replica Walther PPK.


The head placement is tweaked to convey the proper Bond attitude. Notice that the eyeholes have been hollowed out of the foam and latex head to accommodate the glass eyes!

Jim has inserted the glass eyes into the foam and latex head, and the fleshtone base has been applied to his face. He also finished the angle of the arms, though the right forearm will be raised by a few degrees so it doesn't obscure the face. Looking good!

The work on the fingers is finished, and the hand is now fully grasping the butt of the gun. Also, the angle of the arm is lowered and it all looks perfect!

All it needs is a bit of paint, and Jim's incredible artistry, and Sean Connery is done. Then he'll get dressed in the perfect tux and get a hair style courtesy of Sergio Lopez! It's really coming together!

Jim brought over the almost-finished mannequin and we put it together. Looking great! Later that night I picked out the perfect tux and dressed him in a tux similar to the one he first wore in "Dr. No." Everything fit very well. Next, Sergio Lopez will add the finishing touch...the hair!

Sergio Lopez, the hair designer, attaches pieces of the wig to the Connery head in sections. Once the glue dries, he'll hand lay individual strands of hair all across the front to create a hairline on the top and along the temples.

 

Here, Sergio begins the process of laying in the hairline, and styling the hair to resemble Sean Connery's in the 1960's James Bond films.

After a LOT of work and tweaking, Sergio works his magic and finishes Connery's hair! The difficult thing about doing hair like Connery's Bond, is that (because Connery wore a toupee in every Bond film he made) his hairstyle changed from film to film and was never consistent. So it was decided that we'd take the best elements of all of his toupees and combine them.

The finished display strikes an imposing figure in Planet Wallywood's Chaney Room!