As it is apparent to any of you that have perused the pages of this web site, I'm a HUGE fan of this film which I regard as the greatest fantasy film of all time (so far). The scene from this film I've decided to model is generally glossed over by some and for that reason I decided it needed a little time in the spotlight.
I started out searching for a model kit of the roc but I didn't find any that suited my needs. I ended up going to the CG Trader site where one can commission just about anything in an .STL file (or other formats for 3D printing) at a price. You just simply describe what you want and provide a picture if you can and set a budget limit which you then post. You generally get dozen of offers within a few hours. The file I commissioned cost about $50 as I recall which I could download after payment.
The next step is to determine how large I wanted my roc to be. I was basing its size on several pirate figures I had which were about the same size as the army men I used to play with as a kid. As it turned out, it was necessary to slice the roc figure into half a dozen parts that would fit on my resin printer which the artist that I hired on CG Trader promptly did at no charge. I could have printed a complete roc on my filament printer but after a couple test runs the quality wasn't to my liking. Anyway, the size of the roc I ended up with had a wing span of about 24” (!) and weighed a ton because it was solid resin.
As for the base, I decided to use a 12” x 12” shadow box I had yet to find any use for until this project. I studied videos and stills of the roc's attack to get an idea of the terrain that I would eventually model. For cliffs near the roc's nest, I made a multilayered form of progressively smaller pieces of 1” thick foam insulation and placed a few randomly on the base secured with carpenter's glue. I then added plaster cloth and Sculpt-a-mold to the base to make an irregular surface. I finally 'painted' the entire surface with a soupy mix of plaster of Paris to which I added baking soda to retard its curing time. Once everything
The poster art for this wonder filled film.
hardened, I painted the whole base with a pumpkin colored paint and then applied a black wash to bring out the rocky detail which (luckily) matched the background image I used when photgraphing the setting. Once this dried, I applied a layer of tinted Mod Podge on the horizontal areas to which I applied a layer of my tan soil along with some pebbles. To finish up, I added a small pool towards the rear of the scene which I garnished with a few plants to break up the monotony of the scene.
I painted the several figures to match the costumes that were worn in the film. To satisfy my blood thirsty nature, I had one of Sinbad's crew getting stepped on by the giant bird though this didn't occur in the film. I also add a hatched roc chick made by X-Plus along with a nest for it made out of some twigs and sphagnum moss in my foliage stash.
As far as painting the roc went, I again referred to film clips to get an idea of what colors to use. I ended up going with burnt umber for the feathers, a medium gray for the heads and necks and a burnt orange for the feet. I also used the burnt orange for the beaks which I followed with a wash of reddish orange. I finished it up with an application of light gray flock on the heads and necks to add a little texture and to get away from the “painted” look of the animal.
Close up of the futile effort of Sinbad's men to fight off the giant two headed bird. If you look closely, you can see a hapless sailor getting squished beneath the left foot of the animal. This was NOT a scene in the film although most on Sinbad's men are killed in the roc's attack.
A right side photo of the attack showing the recently hatched chick. This perpective is not seen in the film. Note the terrific detail in the bird's wings.
A close up of the right side of the scene showing the two headed roc chick emerging from its egg. In the film, Sinbad's men kill the animal for something to eat. Unforunately. its mother arrives too late to prevent it's offspring from being slain.
Finally, to mount the roc, I was forced to drill out one of the legs roughly four inches into the body via the bottom of the foot. This was necessary because the resin is fairly brittle and the leg would (and did) break off without much stress. In the leg's drilled out hole, I inserted a section of copper tubing to provide strength for the mounting screw that I had driven up through the bottom of the base. To provide additional stability to the mounting screw, I added a layer of 5 minute epoxy to the top and under side of the base to give it more surface area.
Though I thought this scene would be relatively easy to construct, it turned out to be not the case.The base should have been a few inches longer to get away from the crowded look it has. I also have to come up with a lighter version of the roc so its weight won't become an obstacle in terms of its stability and mounting ease. 9/23/2023
A brief video (~3 minutes) showing the entire roc attack on Sinbad and his men. Be sure to turn on your speakers to hear the terrific score by Bernard Herrmann.