Black Horse King Kong "The Altar" Scene

This is my second go at this scene but this time it is 95% my own materials/design with the only other part being a vinyl kit from Dark Horse of Kong. I have used this particular kit several times, primarily because it is fairly cheap (fifty bucks or so on eBay) and because the pose fits many possible scenarios. I used it in my “Unexpected Stop” and “Precipice Encounter” build ups based on the classic 1933 King Kong, both of which can be seen elsewhere on this site in the King Kong area.

Anyway, I copied the basic layout of a recent resin kit I built sculpted by Jim Davidson of the iconic scene where we first see Kong as he approaches the altar where Ann Darrow has been secured. That kit was roughly 1/48 scale whereas my build will be a bit larger, somewhere around 3/16 scale.

The first step was to determine how large the altar and related objects (such as the Ann Darrow figure) would be based on Kong's size. Assuming that Kong was fifty feet tall as is often presumed, I came up with a scaling factor of approximately 1.45 for all the measurements of the altar's level dimensions.

With this number, I cut four of the levels from 1 inch thick foam insulation. Additionally, I made the steps from standard foam board that I had peeled off the paper covering from one side. I left the paper on the underside for added strength and a better gluing surface than what the foam would be. I then scribed the exposed surfaces of all these materials to suggest stone blocks as well as texturing with balls of crushed up aluminum foil to simulate a rough rock surface.

As in the previous build of this scene, I printed up a pair of columns using my 3D printer, the measurements of which matched the altar. In terms of scale I made the skulls that sit atop the columns with a newly acquired liquid resin printer which can offer a final product with exceptionally more detail than my other 3D printer. The Ann Darrow figure was one that I had made on my 3D printer earlier and had turned out to be the correct scale for this scene.

I built the vinyl Kong kit in the typical way after I had carved the cast in Ann Darrow figure out of its right hand. I accomplished this quite easily by warming up the part with a heat gun which allowed me to cut it out the softened vinyl with a hobby knife. I also use this technique to trim the 'flash' from the various parts in the kit. Using the heat gun again, I curled the now empty hand to accommodate a tree trunk (not built yet) that I will place in Kong's grip. Using modeling paste, I filled any voids left behind after I removed the Darrow figure.

I partially filled the lower leg section with plaster of Paris to give the figure a little more heft and to provide a solid footing for the wooden dowels I'd later insert to act as standing pins..

I made the base from a 13 inch wide by 16 inch deep sheet of one inch foam board insulation which I framed with 1 inch wide x ¼ inch pine for durability. Once I placed the completed altar, I inserted a 3/4” thick piece of wood to mount Kong onto since the foam board simply wasn't sturdy enough to support the figure. I drilled two holes where the dowels I had inserted into the underside of Kong's feet would be into the 3/4” wood and then secured it to an insertion pit I had carved into the foam board.

Detailing the base was probably the most time consuming part of the build up. I made two dead trees, one of which would be in Kong's right hand to suggest he had just ripped it out of the ground in his fury. Each have aluminum wire armatures which I wrapped with yarn to bulk them out a bit and provide an anchoring point for the epoxy clay I would apply later. I painted them with carpenter's glue which I allowed to dry before building them up with the epoxy. While the epoxy was still pliable, I gently scribed the trunks of each to suggest tree bark, knot holes and the like. I used a medium gray undercoat with a dark brown wash to bring out the texture and glued frayed cloth to a few limbs to resemble hanging moss.

  • Detail shot of the right side of the altar. Click for a larger image.

  • Rear shot of the scene with Ann being framed by Kong's legs. Click for a larger image.

  • Detail shot from the right rear showing some of the plant life and t-Rex skull. Click for a larger image.

The rest of the base had a irregular ¼ inch layer of Sculptamold applied on top which I painted a flat dark brown from a rattle can once it was completely dry. I then came back with a moderate dusting of various ground foam ground covers I had. I then misted the whole thing with isopropyl alcohol to act as a wetting agent and finished off with a spray of a 50/50 mix of white glue and water to secure the ground cover.

I let the base dry overnight and began the slow process of adding the foliage. I use several different types of materials including plastic aquarium plants, war gaming trees, ground foam, tea (for dead leaves), actual pieces of wood and plants just to name a few. The floral section of craft stores can be a good source of plants such as fern leaves which can be trimmed of their smaller leaves to look like small fern plants. I cut four or five of the ½ inch long (or smaller) leaves and glue them in a cluster with two part epoxy on a non stick surface. Once cured, they can be popped off and placed anywhere you care to. Just avoid patterns when making and/or placing the plants to mimic the randomness of Mother Nature.

Finally, I printed up another T-Rex skull with my 3D printer and placed it to break up the scene a bit and, once painted, I added a few clumps of ground foam to suggest that it had being there for a while. 5/30/19

Kong shaking his fist in defiance at the screaming natives on the wall above.