Making A White Tiger.
After the success of the Camel for Madame Tussauds, Hollywood (for the Lawrence of Arabia exhibit), we were asked to build a Tiger for Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, this time for the Siegfried and Roy exhibit.
Over the years we’ve made many of the big cats, but up until now we haven’t had the chance to create a tiger. This was an even more interesting challenge since this would be a black and white tiger.
As it was to be a replacement it needed to exactly match the position and size of an existing tiger with brackets installed inside the head to mount speakers. The tiger growls at patrons as they visit the exhibit.
In preparation we collected tiger photos, books, and visited the Animal Wildlife Park in San Diego to photograph their black and white tiger. We like to do a considerable amount of research before embarking on a project so that our finished product is as accurate as possible.
Our very talented sculptor Len Burge, sculpted the tiger and Jim Ojala was in charge of making the mold. The tiger had to be in two pieces to make it possible to separate the head from the body so that the speakers could be mounted.
We decided that piecing hides would create a durable long lasting finish and goat and calf hides were imported from France. Ernesto Cornejo did our pre-paint, which means he painted where the stripes would be on the un-furred tiger body. Chief Critter, Aina, now had a pattern to follow. It was a very meticulous and detailed process a little like a jigsaw except that you have to create and size each puzzle piece yourself. Each piece needs to be carefully chosen to match the length, thickness and fur direction of the hide as it would be on a real animal. After last piece was attached, Ernesto did some final shading.
If you are in Las Vegas drop by Madam Tussauds and check out our tiger
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