An adventure on four wheels

Dossier ~ Tuesday 26th February 2019

Hachette, in partnership with Moulinsart

2019, the 90th year of Tintin, will also live on the scale of 1:24.

Hachette and Moulinsart have joined forces to create and distribute an exceptional collection of the finest cars from Tintin's Adventures.

The newspaper, Le Monde, is also involved and has published a detailed dossier about the launch of this series of mythical Tintin cars. Read the article:

The collection was officially launched in France on January 17 and at the time of publication of this newspaper, three cars are already available.

The Red Bugatti "Cigars of the Pharaoh"

© Hergé-Moulinsart 2019

Captain Haddock's convertible "The seven Crystal Balls"

© Hergé-Moulinsart 2019

The taxi from New Delhi "Tintin in Tibet"

© Hergé-Moulinsart 2019

The creation of a car Tintin - the tintinification

The first step is to draw the plan of the car in 2 dimensions. The main references are the drawings from the book. Of course, these drawings are never purely descriptive and rarely present the vehicle in an orthogonal view. We also find in the drawings what we could call "graphical ellipses”. Sometimes some elements are absent due to the needs of the narration and the enhancement of the characters.
We must therefore resort to external sources such as photos and plans, and make certain choices. To complete, or not, the blank spaces in the drawing, to decide how far to go into the details, to maintain certain proportions Hergé wanted, which don’t always correspond to existing models. This is the moment that we call between us "tintinification", that is to say to pass elements of reality to the world of Hergé. The clear line is our guide

The plan will then serve as a basis for extrapolating the volumes in a surface modelling computer programa.
Overall, the object will be constructed by the juxtaposition of the vectorial curves of the plan in the three spatial views. However, nothing is automatic in this process and vector curves are necessary but not always sufficient. Sometimes we must be cunning with them and find more or less orthodox solutions to obtain the desired volumes. The technique must restore at best the mental representation that we have made of these volumes and the car in general. In the end, we end up with a complete model with which we can do what we want, including 3D printing and engraving injection mouldings.

In parallel, the characters are modelled in a polygonal type of program which makes it possible to work in a subdivision of surface.
Technically, Tintin, Snowy or Haddock are nothing more than sets of points in space connected to each other. They constitute meshes more or less complex which are smoothed by subdivision.
Stated in this primitive way, it is difficult to imagine things, but in reality, here too, is a very sensitive work that is implemented to restore Hergé’s design, the attitudes and features of the characters.
The characters and the vehicle are created simultaneously and we go back and forth between them. Sometimes adaptations of the car are necessary, sometimes it is the characters themselves who must be trimmed a little to fit into the inside of the car.

© Hergé-Moulinsart 2019

The next step is the colouring and texturing of the models to produce a series of reference reports.
All our files are then sent to the factory accompanied by guidance notes detailing the colours, the desired surface qualities, certain graphic elements to be stamped or pasted by transfer.

The factory then virtually cuts the different parts to be molded and sends us back new 3D files for validation. After some amendments based on our remarks, the first prototype is launched. On receipt of the first prototype, we observe it from every angle and compile all our observations in a detailed document. In this document, everything is reviewed, such as the quality, surface conditions, interlocking parts, or unfortunate errors. A second prototype is then launched by integrating all the points based on our observations.

© Hergé-Moulinsart 2019

If all goes well and the second prototype meets our expectations, we can then give the green light to mass production.

Here are the major steps in the creation of a Tintin car. Every effort is made to respect the original artwork.

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