With the Mystique sculpture now shipping to Sideshow customers everywhere, I thought I'd shed a little light on the sculptural process of a piece like this.
Working very close with art directors from Sideshow, as well as with the designer, Adam Hughes, the statuette progresses from a wire armature through clay and eventually to wax, being refined and tweaked along the way. The initial clayup, or rough, was sculpted in Chavant NSP Medium plasticene, and was then cast in Toxic Mom's Wax for final cleanup and detailing. As you can see from the photos, I'm not above utilizing a mixed media approach to accomplish different effects, or just to make my life a little easier. The final wax master was comprised of about a dozen different pieces, not including the skull base.
After Sideshow receives a wax master from me, they'll cast it in resin, provide a paintmaster copy, and it all gets shipped to Asia for mass production.
The gun was fabricated by Oliver Brig and the paintmaster was accomplished by Mike Najera.
[Edit] Since the question has come up, I'll explain a little about the process for making the panels of her dress.
For each of Mystique's panels, I glued a thin strip of cloth to armature wire, pressed the ends of the wire into Mystique's abdomen and shaped the wire to match the design. I brushed the fabric down with a fabric stiffener and shaped the wet fabric with a sculpting tool. After the fabric was hardened, I was able to cover the surfaces with clay, allowing me to cast the panels up in wax for further refining.
[Edit] Wow! Thanks so much for a DD on New's Year Day and thanks so much for all of the wonderful comments!