Toy Talk: Designer and Sculptor David Silva

 

Toys, Statues and other collectibles don’t just magically appear on store shelves. A lot of work goes into the concept, design, sculpting and final production of these items, and many of the people who work behind-the-scenes with companies like Diamond Select, Gentle Giant, and others, remain mostly unknown to their appreciative audience: the final consumer.

With Toy Talk, we hope to introduce you to the artisans behind some of your favorite collectibles, and to let them enjoy their well-deserved moment in the spotlight!

This month, we talk with Founder of Creative Beast Studio and Designer/Sculptor at NECA, David Silva about how he got started with designing and sculpting, what led to the creation of his own studio, and more! See what he had to say below.

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PREVIEWSworld: How did you get involved in the toy industry as a designer/sculptor?

David Silva: I first became interested in working in the action figure/ toy industry when I was attending art school in Savannah, GA (SCAD), back in 1998. There I would be introduced to some fantastic figures from toy lines such as McFarlane Toys' Spawn, Beast Wars Transformers, and later the 200X Masters of the Universe figures. All the while I was studying for a career drawing comics, but I found that my true interest was action figures.

I gradually began beefing up my portfolio with more character design studies and sculptures, and less sequential art. After having sent out portfolios to multiple toy companies, I was thankfully able to get my first design work three weeks after graduating from none other than McFarlane Toys! This would eventually lead to me sculpting for them as well and everything just took off from there.

PREVIEWSworld: Working for several companies as you have, what are some of your favorite sculpts that you've created?

David Silva: My favorites include the McFarlane's Dragons Scavenger Clan (the only figure that I designed AND sculpted for them), and the 1/18th scale Jabba the Hutt and Dewback for Hasbro. But the bulk of my favorite toy projects have been with the company I currently work for, NECA. These include Otachi from Pacific Rim, Machiko (Predator), Clan Leader Predator, Lasershot Predator, Alpha Predator, and Rhino Alien.

PREVIEWSworld: Back in 2009 you started Creative Beast Studio. Tell us your inspiration for starting the company?

David Silva: While I was at McFarlane Toys, I became very involved with the Dragons line, as both a designer and a sculptor. With the aim to create more realistic-looking dragon anatomy, I became more interested in animal anatomy, and most specifically dinosaur anatomy.

So I began sculpting dinosaurs in my spare time to practice. After completing my first one (Dilophosaurus), it was suggested to me that I make the sculpt into a resin model kit and sell it. I figured 'why not' and it ended up being a great way to share my work with other creative people. That was the beginning of Creative Beast Studio.


PREVIEWSworld: Take us through the sculpting process of one of your Beasts of the Mesozoic 1/6th scale Raptor figures?

David Silva: I knew I wanted to focus on a scientifically accurate Velociraptor as I don't think there were any feathered Velociraptor action figures at that time (this still may be the case now). I felt that presenting the true essence of the animal as best I could would be just as effective as any Hollywood interpretation. So once I had a solid design to work from, I spent several months developing the castilene sculpt and the articulation along with it. I tried a lot of different articulation ideas along the way (poseable head feathers anyone?) but ultimately I was pretty happy with the end result.

Once all of the sculpted parts were completed, I had the parts molded and cast in resin. With the resin parts I created a non-working prototype that I then painted to represent the final product. These parts would then be adapted into parts for the rest of the Raptor Series and the process was repeated until all 16 prototypes were done (not counting environment sets and nestlings).


PREVIEWSworld: Finally, tell us what is your favorite part of the toy design process?

David Silva: As far as the actual design process, I definitely like sculpting the best. I love the feeling of moving the clay around and creating something from nothing. It's also by far the most time-consuming aspect of the process, so that works out well.

My favorite part overall though is holding and playing with the final painted production figure. To finally see the end result of so much work and problem solving is extremely gratifying. Plus knowing that I'm contributing value to an industry that I have so much love and respect for is a privilege beyond words and I'm happy to continue doing it as long as I'm able to.  

 


Available to Order Via Your Local Comic Shop:

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
Known for its long-snouted skull and unique dagger-like ridged teeth, Acheroraptor is the youngest known member of the raptor family. This figure measures approximately 12" long by 5" tall, boasts 26 points of articulation, and includes; display base, posing rod with two support options, interchangeable closed running toes, and a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $39.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
With its tall skull, short toe claws and robust build, some believe that Adasaurus is more closely related to birds than dinosaurs. This figure measures approximately 12" long by 5" tall and boasts 26 points of articulation. Includes display base, posing rod with two support options, and interchangeable closed running toes, plus a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $39.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
These packs of three raptor nestlings are in scale with the existing 1/6-raptor action figures at about 2" tall and 3" long each! Pack contains three figures with eight points of articulation and small bases with ball pegs. Necks, arms and legs are interchangeable between the three figures for a variety of posing options. Recommended for ages 15 and up. Collect the nestlings in Black, White, Amber, and Grey!
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $44.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
Little is known of the mysterious Atrociraptor. Only fragments of the skull and teeth exist for this animal, but from just these fossils, we know that Atrociraptor had a very strong bite! This figure measures approximately 12" long by 5" tall and boasts 26 points of articulation. Includes display base, posing rod with two support options, and interchangeable closed running toes, plus a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $44.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
From Creative Beast Studio. These packs of three raptor nestlings are in scale with the existing 1/6 raptor action figures at about 2" tall and 3" long each! Pack contains three figures with eight points of articulation and small bases with ball pegs. Necks, arms and legs are interchangeable between the three figures for a variety of posing options. Recommended for ages 15 and up. Collect the nestlings in Black, White, Amber, and Grey!
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $44.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
From Creative Beast Studio. This unpainted customizable set includes: 1 main raptor figure, 1 base 2 posing rods (standing and jumping),1 set of running toes, and various interchangeable parts including: 5 heads, 2 head crests, 3 jaws, 3 feather neck collars, 1 chest feather attachment, 3 tails, 2 sets of different sized sickle toe claws, 3 sets of different primary wings, 3 collars, chest feathers, and pelvic feathers. Parts are interchangeable between both Build-a-Raptor sets. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $49.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
From Creative Beast Studio. The Desert environment accessory pack includes one 6" long Mononykus olecranus action figure featuring seven points of articulation with foot base, one over-sized main base, various diorama parts, a small posing rod and a deluxe raptor jumping rod. Main base is designed to fit with existing deluxe raptor bases. Diorama accessories and posing rods are interchangeable between all Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series accessory packs and deluxe figure bases. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $49.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
The Forest environment accessory pack includes one 6" long Microraptor gui action figure featuring seven points of articulation with foot base, one over-sized main base, various diorama parts, a small posing rod and a deluxe raptor jumping rod. Main base is designed to fit with existing deluxe raptor bases. Diorama accessories and posing rods are interchangeable between all Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series accessory packs and deluxe figure bases. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $49.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
From Creative Beast Studios. These packs of three raptor nestlings are in scale with the existing 1/6 raptor action figures at about 2" tall and 3" long each! Pack contains three figures with eight points of articulation and small bases with ball pegs. Necks, arms and legs are interchangeable between the three figures for a variety of posing options. Recommended for ages 15 and up. Collect the nestlings in Black, White, Amber, and Grey!
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $44.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
The Mountains environment accessory pack includes one 6" long juvenile Troodon formosus action figure featuring seven points of articulation with foot base, one over-sized main base, various diorama parts, a small posing rod and a deluxe raptor jumping rod. Main base is designed to fit with existing deluxe raptor bases. Diorama accessories and posing rods are interchangeable between all Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series accessory packs and deluxe figure bases. Recommended for ages 15 and up.

In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $49.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
The only Pyroraptor specimen consists of incomplete remains including distinctive foot claws, fossilized teeth, arm and back bones. Imagine a full Pyroraptor with this figure! Measuring approximately 12" long by 5" tall and boasting 26 points of articulation, figure includes display base, posing rod with two support options, and interchangeable closed running toes, plus a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $39.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
Known for its keen sense of smell, light build, and long sharp claws, Saurornitholestes was both a hunter and a scavenger! This figure measures approximately 12" long by 5" tall and boasts 26 points of articulation. Includes display base, posing rod with two support options, and interchangeable closed running toes, plus a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $39.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
The Wetlands environment accessory pack includes one 6" long Buitreraptor gonzalezorum action figure featuring seven points of articulation with foot base, one over-sized main base, various diorama parts, a small posing rod and a deluxe raptor jumping rod. Main base is designed to fit with existing deluxe raptor bases. Diorama accessories and posing rods are interchangeable between all Beasts of the Mesozoic accessory packs and deluxe figure bases. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $49.99

CREATIVE BEAST STUDIO LLC
Noteworthy for its long arm and tail feathers, Zhenyuanlong was a dinosaur that closely resembled a bird. Despite this, its short arms would not have allowed it to fly and it remains a mystery as to what it used its large feathers for. This figure measures approximately 12" long by 5" tall and boasts 26 points of articulation. Includes display base, posing rod with two support options, and interchangeable closed running toes, plus a unique background display insert.
In Shops: Nov 20, 2019
SRP: $44.99


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Sneak Peek Inside the November PREVIEWS Toychest

The November PREVIEWS is on sale at your local comic shop this Wednesday, October 28th! Here's some of the Toys and Collectibles that you'll want to check out in the new catalog!