Groot, Sweet Groot
by Bob Wallace for Build A Dream (2014)
I started by building my armature using the torso of the mannequin as Rocket' lower body (saving the leg as a prop, as it was a hilarious bit from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy). The using Rocket as a size guide, I created Groot's shoulders using the wire mesh and plaster gauze. (I really fell in love with this technique, and plan to use it on future projects!)
Next I continued using the mesh and plaster to make Groot's trunk and face.... once the main section of body was complete, I cut up the foam cylinder and round wood dowel to create his arms (I wasn't sure how much armature wire I was going to need, so I supplemented with the dowel and foam... it worked out well.)
Next I went to work on the "Tree House" using a cereal box to cut and form the shape of my house (for reference only!) I then tore the temp version of the "tree house" apart to get the shapes I needed to cut out of the Masonite board, to create the actual "Tree House". I used my Dremel 3000 to give it texture, adding wood grain, and some shape to the shingles on the roof. I also used some of the square wood dowels to make the railing, and the shoulder connection braces.
I then Started making Groot's legs. I used the inner spool of the plaster gauze as an extension of his upper thigh, creating holes, so that I could wire them to his body when the time came. (also put in little pins to hold the gauze and make the bond tighter when attached. ) I connected all the arm and leg dowels with sections of aluminum wire, so that I could still bend his body into a more dynamic pose. I also decided to use the plastic egg parts as his feet to give him bulky feet.
Once all the parts of Groot were attached I covered him in more gauze, making him nice and solid. (I originally had planned to leave the sculpture freestanding, and it was balanced to do so, but once I started adding props, I needed a place to set them.)I made sure to save some of the gauze for later, as I knew I would need it for vines and finishing touches.
When I was happy with the main parts, and had them in their basic poses/positions, I started adding the clay to Rocket, hot gluing all the pieces into place. At this point I needed to get the chain saw built so that I could finalize Rocket's pose. So I started making the smaller props of the sculpture. I used a technique I learned from the Mystery Build hints and tips page, and hammered the aluminum rod into tools... a trowel, a hammer, a hand saw, and the carving bar for Rocket's chainsaw. Once I had the Bar for the chainsaw made, I used more of the cardboard from the mannequin box to male the main section of the chainsaw... this took a while. (I'm a chainsaw carver by hobby, so I wanted it to look just right.) I even cut the chain links and sharp bits out of cardboard.
I got the chainsaw built and Rockets pose just the way I wanted it, and then built out his body the rest of the way, adding details and bulk where needed. I then made sections of "vines" from aluminum wire wrapped in the canvas cloth, and glued these sections around Groots bod, I also added the last of the plaster to him, solidifying the sculpture a bit more, and adding mores vines/ muscles to bulk out Groots arms and legs. Then I started laying on the paint... I used acrylic paint on the whole sculpture
It was about this point when I decided to switch direction a bit and make the sculpture about building an army of Groots, rather than Rocket building a "tree house". So I created a few pots, using the cardboard again, and rolling it into cylinders, and filling them with clay, and baby Groots. I also made "dirt bags" using the plastic wrapper that the plaster gauze came in, and filling them with clay painted black. I also created a shipping crate from scrap from the Masonite board, one of the square wood dowels, and a spring out of the mannequin. I also made sure to add the leg I had saved from the mannequin, painting it silver, like the one in the Guardians of the Galaxy. (it was a hilarious bit in the movie, and I figured Rocket would have kept it as a trophy.) I also made a book out of the box the Mystery Build came it, as an inside joke... hinting at Rocket being a sentimental sap... the book is The Giving Tree, by Schell Silverstien. I hid these inside the "Tree House".
Lastly I used the canvas as a base. I used one of the sponges to dab paint grass and durt on to the ground, and painting shadow areas where things come in contact with it. I glued all the pops down, and called it done.
My family and I loved the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and my Daughters especially loved Groot and Rocket. Being a chainsaw carver (by hobby) I wanted to do something with Rocket chainsaw carving something into Groot... but that seemed wrong and a bit violent.
So I decided I'd have Rocket "Building a Dream" tree house. (What better place to make a tree house than on your best friend/sidekick's back.) But... my Daughters kept talking about how much they loved baby Groot, so I decided to switch it up a bit.
I was inspired to make them in the process of building a dream ARMY of Groots. Using the clippings that Rocket cut loose with the chainsaw, and planting them in pots, they were able to grow baby groots. One of which is crated and ready to send off to their buddy Star Lord.
Thanks to my Wife and Daughters for all the support, inspiration and understanding while Daddy finished this project.
Thanks to Marvel for the inspiration throughout the years!
Also, I've posted some work in progress shots posted on Instagram under @DaddyOtis
Thanks! I had a blast working on this!