Over the last three years, HMG Paints, the UK’s largest independent industrial paints manufacturer, have worked alongside Aardman Animations to supply them with a range of highly specialized coatings. These were used to paint the puppet-stars of the animated film.
The film follows the escapades of the boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful Pirate Captain’s attempts to beat his bitter rivals, Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz to the much-coveted Pirate of the Year Award. Along the way, the Pirate Captain and his rag-tag crew do battle with the pirate-hating Queen Victoria and team up with a young Charles Darwin, but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure! The characters voices are provided by an all-star cast featuring Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, Jeremy Piven and other members of Hollywood’s elite.
Production for the film began in 2007 and HMG Paints were involved at a very early stage in the project supplying the necessary coatings for the puppets. A crew of 525 people worked on the film, including 70 model makers that used HMG Paints’ products to bring color and life to the 250 puppets created.
The coatings supplied by HMG were used extensively on the heads and mouths of the puppets. Animators use a vast number of mouths during filming, which are interchanged to create speech between characters. These mouths complete with teeth and tongue, are computer generated and printed on resin via a Rapid 3D Prototyping printer. The mouths are then manipulated and pre-posed in a number of expressions before being masked and painted.
In order to meet these very specific and demanding requirements, HMG Paints put together a product offering that would provide the necessary flexibility, durability, and vibrant color. HMG’s 1K Vinyl Acrylic, PVC94, was ideal for this usage as its flexibility and adhesion allow for quick and easy application to plastic substrates. HMG’s LMP water-based acrylic system was also supplied for its adhesion properties and as an alternative to the solvent-based paints on offer.
The high quality products and service offered by HMG Paints has attracted the attention of a number of Hollywood’s elites and their products are currently being used on several other movie sets across the world.