Most people turn to National Geographic for its mind-blowing snapshots of animal attacks, giant sea creatures, and surreal landscapes. But now, in an uncharacteristic project for its July issue, the 124-year-old magazine let senior graphics editor Fernando Baptista create the cover story art with action figures populating a hand-built model of Easter Island. The result is a crafty re-creation of the mysterious site: a far cry from the publication’s usual photographic prowess, but nonetheless visually entertaining.
Baptista spent weeks on location pouring over proposed theories and illustrations of the statues, and liaised with experts to understand the appearance (right down to hair style, clothing, jewellery, and tattoos) of the people who might have erected the sculptures. He carved and painted the men, who are portrayed by Toys “R” Us action figures, to reflect maximum accuracy of what’s known about them today. He also mapped out the exact location of the environment surrounding the statues, like palm trees, roads, and sky. The best part: Baptista used the set to create an animation video demonstrating the five theories exclusively for the magazine’s iPad subscribers, complete with sound effects, background music, and a flying saucer.