what would that translate into for job? do they use clay modeling like that for games?
High-poly renders are usually done by hand, but when you need it done quick and dirty and you don't have an in-house Z Brush expert, there's what's called a character reference sheet. It's usually sketches, but I've seen sculptures used. It basically consists of three views of the model: back, front, side. You have to get really good pictures of your sculpture against a blank background, though.
You can feed these into stuff like Max and get a rough but pretty close approximation of your target object if using sculptures, or a nearly finished model if you're using sketches. In either case it's ready for touchup work by whatever poor sap gets that job.
In my experience, sculpture-based character reference sheets are rare, though, because of inferior quality (even slightly uneven lighting leads to UGLY bullshit). More likely a job with that would be for a company responsible for those resin statues, IMO.