The Fertility Idol from the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most iconic props of the twentieth century. After liberating the solid gold Chachapoyan Goddess of Fertility Idol from a temple deep in the jungles of Peru, Indy was forced to give it up to the rouge archeologist Belloq. The mythology of the idol has it traveling to Marrakech, where Indy eventually picks it up from an antiquities dealer and brings it back to the states.
In reality the prop was built out of resin and fiberglass and gold plated. Built in two versions, a hero and a stunt version, the original prop now resides in the archives at Lucasfilm. The two versions were slightly different; the hero containing glass eyes that could be moved via radio control and the second a solid stunt version that could withstand abuse.
The version here is a sculpt based on the stunt Idol. The project started life as a hollow cast white resin Idol. I first filled the cast with plaster of paris to give it weight and then set out to fill the various imperfections and resin flash left over from the casting process. The Idol was then coated in plastic primer and then coated with high gloss black. Gloss black paint by nature is fairly thick, so it serves the dual purpose of filling in microscopic imperfections in the casting that I missed and gives a high gloss base for the gold coat.
The gold finish is a combination of brass, gold, and antique gold Rub n' Buff, a wax based metallic finish that is brushed on and then buffed out, creating a high luster metallic finish. I then added a dirt wash of thinned black paint and a final dust coat of powdered pastels. The whole thing was then lightly coated with fixatif to keep the various layers from rubbing off while being handled.
Since this Idol was a gift for my father, I decided to create a back story to the Idol by making both a shipping crate and a map for it. The map was based on a well known fan created version, which I redrew by hand onto drafting velum and then weathered with coffee, tea, and matches. A letter from Indy and some stamps completed the project.