The puppets are built by Terry Fator himself — and they don’t come cheap.
“These are all pre-made puppet bodies, complete with heads, but the head and torso are pre-made at no extra cost,” he writes. The body parts are then hand-painted in a range of materials, including leather, metal, bronze, wood, foam, wood, plastic, leather and acrylic. Terry does all the painting himself and it takes him about a month to finish each puppet, which adds up to one to two weeks.
“Most of us don’t have this time,” Terry says, sitting behind a table inside an apartment that has an open stairwell, a large fireplace and an extensive collection of antiques. On his shelves, he’s got a couple of sets of Legos. One, the ones he brought to the show, is a green version of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the other is a gold version of a tyrannosaur.
“We’ve got an assortment of different materials, different paint colors from paints we use for other projects,” Terry explains, adding that the gold and the gold-plated version of the Tyrannosaurus Rex are more than 20 years old. “They’re still good. In fact, they’re still the best looking dinosaur puppets in the world. They are the best-looking dinosaurs in the world.”
Terry’s latest puppets are the largest ones, being 2 feet by 2 feet, so they can run for about 30 minutes and will be used for four weeks. The puppets were designed in part by Terry, with assistance from the Royal Academy: “The Royal Academy were very generous in allowing me to use their puppet workshop facilities and their equipment,” he says. “The puppets are not only good looking, but are also fun.”
As for whether other people would want to buy Terry’s puppets? “A lot of people want this stuff, but I can only sell this stuff to schools and schools are not happy with it. It’s a bit like the circus, they’d only want to sell to circus companies, they have to do with other puppets.”
But there seems to be a demand for them — one person approached Terry outside the show and said he needed a T-Rex puppet. Terry thought that would be a “huge problem” because he wanted only the dinosaurs to be included. But the person said he and his wife were “happy to have them,” and was prepared to buy them. ”
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