YOUR REVIEWS » ‘A GRAND WEEKEND WITH ROBERT HARROP’ REVIEW
Over the 20 years that Wallace and Gromit have been on our screens companies ranging from ‘Coalport’ to ‘Vivid Imaginations’ have tried their hand at figures and ornaments of the duo. However the news that Robert Harrop Designs Ltd. had been given the rights to produce figurines filled me with a lot of excitement. Probably best known for their ‘Camberwick Green’, ‘Beano/Dandy’ and ‘Doggie People’ models the company has been creating beautiful pieces for over 25 years.
As you approach their new base of operations you know you’ve reached the right place – they’re just outside beautiful Ironbridge and surrounded by Wallace and Gromit-esque old buildings, one of which, interestingly, is a wool shop (though no sign of a wool shortage there...)
The ‘A Grand Day Out with Robert Harrop’ weekend marked the grand opening of the W&G side of their Collector’s Club which currently has around 2,500 members. Although many attendees were there for the exclusive auctions and sales of special Robert Harrop pieces there was enough W&G to make it worth a visit from any fan.
Jim Parkyn, Aardman modelmaker, taught visitors how to make their very own bunny from ‘Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ and after every 50-minute session you would see people wandering around clutching their plastic bags with Rabbits safely inside. Many agreed that it was much harder to do than it looked, but all left pleased with their results and eager to try out more at home.
Elsewhere very exciting new figurines were announced, two of which were on display finished (ready to be released about mid-November) and one which was in the process of being painted. They were:
- ‘Bakers Dozen’ – the ‘13’ bakers mannequin from Piella’s bedroom (Exclusive free gift to every member of the collector’s club)
- ‘Gromit and The Bomb’ – speaks for itself! (Exclusive club yearpiece available for members of the collector’s club to buy)
- Christmas piece based on the Radio Times cover image from 2008
Also available to view were original props from ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ including a baker’s mannequin, various pieces of baking produce and an original cog. Other pieces of Wallace and Gromit merchandise were on sale, the most popular being the cracking W&G Wensleydale, which almost sold out after free tasting sessions convinced people of how good it was!
What sets the Robert Harrop pieces apart from companies in the past can be described in this quotation from Robert Harrop during an interview he gave to me:
“...Attention to detail and method of sculpt and production which allows us to involve the particular ‘hands on’ detail that Nick Park was very keen on. i.e. the fingerprints and the ‘thumbyness’ of the sculpt. From Nick Park’s point of view this is the key to our involvement.”
As he later expanded upon it’s the fact that the figures are exactly as collectors know them which sets them apart – for example, they have produced two BFG models in their ‘World of Roald Dahl’ range, both of which have slightly different ears. This is because the original images were different, and for collectors this is something they know and would want to see in figurines.
As far as W&G go it’s the difference between the shape of Wallace’s mouth or Gromit’s nose in ‘A Grand Day Out’ compared with ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death.’ These figures are exactly as we know and love them right down to the smallest detail and that is why I cannot wait to see more of their products.
All in all I think the weekend lived up to its name – it was indeed ‘A Grand Day Out’.
Seb Hamilton runs http://www.62westwallabystreet.co.uk which publishes Monthly online magazine ‘The Aardmag’. Watch out for issue 2 which will include more pictures of the event as well as exclusive interviews with Robert Harrop and Jim Parkyn.
very cool article thanks for posting, anymore pix? are the new figures for RH club members only?
i want to sign up just to get the baker's dozen manniquin and the gomrit with the bomb figuruine (and on the subject of robert harrop,my older brother accidently broke of the finger of my stephanie womble figurine. i'm very annoyed. but i forgive him)
Well it makes sense as the 'bakers dozen' piece is free so by signing up you essentially buy that for £18 and get a load of cool Robert Harrop stuff free as well!
I can't wait for these three new figures to be available! Wonder how much the Christmas one will cost and if it'll be ready in time for Christmas????
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