As the one sixth community expands, the quality of the headsculpts being produced rapidly approaches uncanny valley. Recently, some collectors have been having discussions about whether or not rooted hair is an option that they prefer or not. There are cases for both options. So we are going to look at Sculpted vs Rooted Hair on Figures and provide some thoughts and examples of the best of both options!
Now if someone was new to the one sixth scale hobby, they may be asking: What is the difference between sculpted and rooted hair? Well, it’s actually quite simple! Sculpted hair is just that, sculpted onto the headsculpt. The hair is sculpted and painted to replicate the color and texture of real hair. On the other hand, rooted refers to an faux hair that is embedded into the headsculpt. This allows for a more natural look in some cases. You typically see this on female headsculpts and custom action figures.
Pros and Cons of Sculpted and Rooted Hair
An obvious pro of sculpted hair on a headsculpt is that if it is sculpted well, it will look extremely nice. Looking at something like Hot Toys Thor figures, they capture Thor’s long, complicated hair in a sculpted fashion that looks quite nice. Additionally, the hair being casted means that there is no kind of upkeep needed to maintain the hair’s style.
The cons of sculpted hair are a result of its pros in a way. The rigidness of the hair can at times look unnatural for long hairstyles, as it cannot flow naturally. Other times you will see sculpted hair on some of the best head sculpts out there. Additionally, color and sheen of hair can be difficult to reproduce with paint. This is not the case for all head sculpts obviously but it is something to keep in mind.
The pros of rooted hair on a headsculpt are similar to that of sculpted in terms of quality. When rooted hair is done well, it can look absolutely lifelike. Looking at artists like Jacob Rahmier, Thomas Terbanc, Andy Hibb, and Shane Poole’s work with rooted hair demonstrates just how nice it can look on custom sculpts. Jacob is demonstrating how intense the process can be to create realistic rooted hair. Shane shows just how intricate you can be with rooting, matching some of the details that you can achieve by sculpting. Andy and Thomas showcase just how much a fantastic rooting job can elevate a sculpt that previously had sculpted hair by rooting it instead. It cannot be understated just how difficult this process is to make look proper. This is exactly why One Sixth Society wanted to show you Sculpted vs Rooted Hair on Figures.
Additionally, Hot Toys and other companies have had a relatively successful run producing rooted hair. Hot Toys first effort was their Planet of the Apes figures, with them tackling characters like Black Widow recently. Threezero has shown off rooted prototypes of both Daenerys Targaryen as well as The Hound from Game of Thrones, however we have yet to see the production pieces for these figures.
As with sculpted hair, rooted hair also has its fair share of cons. It is exceedingly difficult to maintain a proper look, especially with mass produced pieces. You may have to repose the hair using some sort of hair product. Hot Toys has had headsculpts with the hair very fluffy right out of the gate and that is not fun to try to make look correct! Over time, hair can come out of the headsculpt and diminish its visual quality. Additionally, if you’re getting hair rooted on a custom headsculpt, it will cost a sizable amount of money. There are plenty of downsides with rooting.
So the question remains in Sculpted vs Rooted Hair on figures; which is best? And the answer is that there really isn’t an answer. It depends on the character, the amount of money you want to spend, and if you think it would be something that is appropriate for your collection. Some collectors just don’t want to deal with maintaining the hair, while some want that extra level of realism. It is up to you, as both sculpted and rooted hair have their pros and cons! We also wanted to extend our thanks to these custom artists who allowed us to showcase their lovely work!