McFly UK Tour

Pistola Bear: Young Dumb Thrills

professional puppet
Image © McFly Touring LLP. Credit: David Spearing.

Our task for this project was to transform the client's existing plush toy, Pistola Bear, into a fully functioning puppet character suitable for filming.

This character was made for the opening video sequence of McFly's live UK Tour. Our aim was to create a puppet that retained the visual identity of the existing plush toy, whilst ensuring this new puppet version was movable and could perform with ease. We also had to adapt the original bear image so that the final puppet version was able to display emotion and create impact on screen.

mcfly puppet
Image © McFly Touring LLP/ David Spearing.
music video puppets
Image © McFly Touring LLP/ David Spearing.

Starting with a quick sketch, we created a maquette in foam, in order to test the overall shapes and to allow the all-important sign-off from the client. The style of character is a typical 'hand and rod' puppet with mouth and arm movement. The limbs were designed to be removable to provide more versatile options for arm movement and direction. The nose and tongue were sculpted and cast in latex at our workshops and the eyes were also custom manufactured for the project. These carefully crafted elements enabled the bear to become more anthropomorphic and lifelike.

When we assembled all of the various elements of this bespoke puppet it was critical to regularly refer back to the original images supplied by the client, in order to ensure customer satisfaction. The end result is a professional puppet which is full of personality and extremely effective on film.

We very much enjoyed bringing McFly’s famous Pistola Bear to life and seeing the end product performing at Wembley Arena. The final film was directed and edited by David Spearing.

puppet illustration
The initial sketch
foam puppet
Foam sculpt taking shape
puppet design
Patterning and material choices
bear puppet
Final character with arm rods attached