Weta Workshop Tops Adam Savage’s ‘Favourite Things’ of 2016

Adam Savage, co-host of the legendary Discovery Channel show Mythbusters, has released a new video naming his favourite things of 2016. At the top of the list: crafting his very own sword at New Zealand’s Weta Workshop.

Adam dropped by the Workshop in June 2016 to film segments for American tech website Tested.com. The site, founded in 2010 by Will Smith (no relation to the Hollywood kind) and Norman Chan “for clever people who are curious about the world around them,” is renowned for its engaging videos, podcasts, and articles about the creativity that lies within technology.

Being creators of cool stuff themselves, the crew of Weta Workshop were delighted to have the chance to show Adam and Norman around their 12,000 square-foot facility on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula. During the two-day shoot, the two crews bonded over a mutual obsession for model making, 3D printing, kit bashing, collecting, and all things creativity.

Adam had come to New Zealand with a goal: learn how to make a real sword, from one of the best in the business. The Workshop was only too happy to oblige. Adam spent a day in the Armoury filming one of his signature ‘One Day Builds’ with Weta Workshop master sword smith, Peter Lyon, the craftsman behind the intricate swords of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the premium video for subscribers, Peter shows Adam how to make Aragorn’s blade from a special aluminium, using techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries. The experience left such an impression on Adam that he named it one of his favourite things of 2016, telling his viewers: “I can’t even describe to you how much satisfaction this object gives to me.”

With sword-making ticked off Tested.com’s bucket list, the rest of Adam and Norm’s visit was spent exploring as much of the facility as they could. A trip to the paint shop to meet senior paint technician Jules German was on the agenda; as was a peek at collectibles with model maker Leonard Ellis, and a glimpse at the magic of silicone prosthetics with senior technician Kim Docherty. There was time to nerd out with the team behind Giant Killer Robots – Weta Workshop’s first tabletop game, launching on Kickstarter this February – and to wander through the gigantic miniatures of Pukeko Pictures' and ITV's Thunderbirds Are Go with lead model maker Ben Milsom. Rounding out the series is a peek into the personal projects of two talented Weta Workshop artists: Johnny Fraser-Allen, commissioned by Riverhorse Games to create the official sculptures for Jim Henson’s Labyrinth; and Javier Murcia, whose haunting oxidized skulls have gained an international following.

From January 1 to 6, Tested released 9 videos – over an hour of content – documenting their time at Weta Workshop; a fascinating snapshot of what Adam and Norm encountered during their whirlwind visit. Says Adam: “It’s almost overwhelming wandering the halls here. Every corner we turn seems to yield something more cool than the last.” The videos can be seen over at Tested.com and have garnered more than 1.2 million views to date.

Watch here:

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