Brummie Bull: How was the 10m tall bull made for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games?

The design company, Artem Ltd., spent almost six months making the Brummie Bull.
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It took almost five months for the Brummie Bull, which made an appearance at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022, to be made. The design company that made it then spent another three weeks fine-tuning on site in Birmingham prior to the ceremony.

The inspiration and vision behind the Opening Ceremony story and the Bull came from the Birmingham Ceremonies Ltd production team – including Misty Buckley, Production Designer, Iqbal Khan, Artistic Director, and Steven Knight, Exec Producer, said a representative of Artem Ltd., the design company responsible for it.

The 10m bull was transported in pieces overnight in a ‘curtain-sider’ (legs, horns and various bits) and a low-loader (the torso and head) by the transport company called Potteries.

Clay maquette of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)Clay maquette of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)
Clay maquette of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)

This is how the bull was made

Initially, a clay model was created and that was the first step of turning this animated model into a 3-dimensional reality. It was then scanned and fed into a computer so they could workout the structure. However, the basis of the detailed design was old-style pencil sketching, which was then given to the CAD team to ascertain accurate dimensions.

At an early stage it was decided that the best solution for moving it around was to incorporate a telehandler into the design, that would support the structure safely upright while it was driven around. So, the arm of the telehandler was added into the design.

The whole structure is 10m high x 4.5m wide x 15m long – but weighed only 2.5 tonnes. Each part of the structure was created separately. For instance, the legs, the main body, the head, and the method of dressing the whole surface. The design team had to ensure that the model could walk, kneel, paw at the ground, rear up, and when it walked it had to move in time with the telehandler.

The horns of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)The horns of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)
The horns of the Brummie Bull (Credit: Artem Ltd.)

The Bull has computer controlled motors and gearboxes. The wheels are foam-filed to virtually eliminate bounce and the telehandler along weighs 17 tonnes.

The animations include full 4 leg animation, full head animation, horns, ears, eyes, mouth, snorting nostrils and a grappling hook tail. There are also special effects like smoke from the body and nostrils, tears of blood and lighting from within.

The team of almost 60 people had many sleepless nights and long hours to put it all together.

Petition to keep it

The Brummie Bull in the process of being put together (Credit: Artem Ltd.)The Brummie Bull in the process of being put together (Credit: Artem Ltd.)
The Brummie Bull in the process of being put together (Credit: Artem Ltd.)

As many as 2773 people have signed the petition to keep the Brummie Bull in Brum. The original plan was to dismantle it at the end of the Commonwealth Games 2022 but the creation has wowed audiences, locals, and visitors to a point that they hope to make it a permanent fixture in the city centre. You can sign the petition here.

The huge Bull now has its own Twitter account, and has already garnered more than a 1,000 followers. Locals hope that the animated bull can become another interesting landmark that Brummies can be proud of.

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