My big news this month is the official launch, today, of my Patreon page.
Patreon is a great crowd funding system which allows fans of artists to support them as they work, and in return get exclusive content and sometimes goodies direct from the artist.
I will be posting lots of behind the scenes, work-in-progress information and pictures exclusively on my Patreon page. Giving unusual detail on my working practice and methods which have taken me decades to learn and hone. A great place to pick up tips if you create yourself, and an interesting thing to see if you are a collector of my work.
I will also be giving Patrons first crack at new releases before they go to my online store, as well as the regular news and information.
There is a great Patreon App for Apple and Android which lets you follow your artists in an Instagram style. It’s fun and easy and I am excited to be sharing my work in this new way with you.
I hope you would like to support me in this new fashion.
I decided to start a series of blogs peeking into my personal collection of art and geekery. Just for my own fun to give me a little downtime (hah!) project and to share some of the stuff I have weasled away.
Today it’s my Bladerunner gun.
(Click on the pics to enbiggen!)
Well it’s actually called the TOME-BLA. Due to copyright reasons. And believe me the makers did try and get it officially licensed, but to no avail.
This is one of the prized pieces of my sci-fi collection. It is a perfect replica of the screen prop used by Harrison Ford in the movie. It is mostly cast metals with some plastic parts and weighs pretty much the same as a Magnum handgun, which is a lot.. It’s a chunky, solid piece which really does look and feel like a real gun.
Manufactured by Tomenosuke in Japan it was a passion project for the owner, Mr. Shinji Nakako who was a top movie journalist in the USA in the 1980’s and is reputedly the fellow who coined the term SFX.. He is also the author of the splendid Sci-Fi film encyclopedia ” A Pictorial History of SF Films”.
The Blaster comes in a stunning foil stamped box featuring nice 1980’s style graphics recalling scenes from Mr. Scott’s splendid film.
Inside it nestles in custom cut foam with the amunition lined up below it.
Included in the box are a schematic posted of the blaster showing the breakdown of the piece with an exploded view on the rear. This really shows the amount of work that went into the production of this piece. It is about as far from a resin block prop as you can get. Also included is a cracking booklet with lots of full page photos of the actual movie prop which was scutinised and measured to get this repro as accurate as possible. It’s nice to see how beaten up the prop was and makes it tempting to “age” the Blaster from it’s factory fresh appearance to a more used look… Maybe one day, but for now it is too pretty..
There is a really nice touch in that the little lights under the barrels work. And they slowly warm up when you turn them on rather than simply click on and off.
The rear trigger operates the hammer action and revolves the barrel as you would expect. The forward trigger has no function on this prop and indeed it is unclear how it was supposed to work on the film gun had it been real. Maybe discharged a heavier round from the top barrel, though this is blocked. I recall Ridly Scott taking about how the gun was proposed to fire mini black holes which would fold the target in on itself to destroy them, but this was never made clear in the film..
I love the transparent amber resin handle. It lends a real lightness and elegance to the weapon.
Though the safety catch is locked in place, the lever action works and opens the breach as to eject some empty cartridge. This is not a common feature for handguns, usually only found on rifles. It is a lovely detail for them to have engineered into the prop.
The chamber can also be unlocked and be hinged out. It revolves and the Brass cased, Steel tipped shells can be loaded into place.
I decided I really needed a decent wall mount to properly show the Blaster off and to display is safely. So I knocked up this from some MDF, Foam-core and mounting board with steel supports. It is modelled on the wall tiles in Deckard’s apartment, which in turn are inspired by the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
So now I bet you want to know where you can get your hands on one of these beauties for yourself?
Well there were two versions made of the Tomenosuke-Blaster, one is the “Hero Model”, which is this one, and another one is the “Police Model”.
Shinji wrote on his blog :
“The Police Model of Tomenosuke Blaster is the perfect reproduction of the futuristic gun that made an appearance in the sci-fi cult movie in 1982. After spending more than four years of development, the Hero Model, used by the protagonist of the same movie, was released last December to be welcomed by the fans. This time, the gun used in the movie by the police force will be released with the limited production of 300.”
The Police model is the same but has a solid black handle instead of the clear amber version.
This is the URL for the Tomenosuke-Blaster on the Japanese store site. (In Japanese.) :
And Shinji’s blog about the Blaster (In Japanese.) :
You can also purchase them from the movie toy store “Hollywood Collectors Gallery”. They also hold stock in LA.
The Hero Model. ( Info in English at the bottom of the page..)
The Police Model. ( Info in English at the bottom of the page..)
I don’t think this Blaster could have been made any better than it has been. Truely a remarkable piece.
To the modelmaker who built it and to Shinji and his team who putthe project together I have to say ; “You’ve done a man’s job sir!”
My uber talented friend Neil Winn was able to arrange a little trip to Spectral Motion, a creature effects studio who he works with sometimes. So he, I and other multi talented friend George Gaspar Paid a short visit.
Spectral Motion have done some of my favorite creature character work in recent years so it was an exciting place to look around for me.
We were not allowed to look around the whole facility due to secret “Pacific Rim” work taking place in some of the workshops, but I did get to see their foyer and the machine shop. The foyer is a mini museum of films they have worked on. The first thing that greets you is the full sized Sammael from Hellboy. This thing is HUGE. The photos done really show its scale. But my respect for Brian Steel has gone up massively since seeing it. To ware a suit that bulky for any length of time, let alone perform in it is a truly awesome feat.
This is me and Neil with the portal opening glove which Rasputin uses at the start of Hellboy. It is a stunning piece of work. Up close you can see all sorts of mechanical and surreal gizmos which never read on the screen. For example :
Some of the glass vials have mummified frogs in them. And there is a scorpion under a mechanised hatch on the back of the hand.. You cant see these details from a couple of feet away let alone in the movie.
Also from Hellboy they had on show maquettes of Behemoth and the Ogdru Jahad and the animated Russian corpse. Astonishing works all.
Johann, Mr. Wink and the Angel of Death from Hellboy II stand upon a shelf overlooking the large very well equipped room. The detail in these figures was stunning and the physicality of them was very visceral. They really are like people not things such is the level of craftsmanship employed in their design and production. It’s hard to explain what meeting these beings in the flesh is like over seeing them in photos or in the films.
The grass wolf creature in the middle is from “Lady in the Water”. Not a film I am familiar with but since the trip one I want to see as soon as possible.
We were also treated to an impromptu demonstration of some amazing anamatronic pieces and had a poke about a preternaturally clean foam casting room. The whole place was amazing and I envied the people who get to work their magic there. Everyone was extreamly friendly and went out of their way to show this pasty faced English no-body a splendid time.
Oh and if you haven’t seen “Don’t be afraid of the dark” yet.. Close your eyes now…….
After the Spectral Motion visit we drove out to the home and studio of a favourite artist of mine.
Chet Zar has been at the top of my favourite artist list since the moment I first discovered his work. His creature designs are among the most unique and inspired creations ever rendered. His paintings are masterful and his sculptural work is then best in the business. I was a little nervous about meeting him.
But as is always the way with awesome artists (in my experience anyway) he is the most wonderful, grounded and easy going fellow you could wish to meet.
We got some splendid pizza in a little place by his studio and talked about the art scene, tattoo conventions and general this and that. He was kind enough to add a sketch to my compendium of monsters (along side Neil’s ) and we planned a little project for next year.
His studio was a delightful tangle of creative chaos. Piles of old projects and part finished sculpts and a large current piece which had amusingly been partially eaten by his dog during the night… It was great to see some of his larger paintings and some truly wonderful works by his immensely talented father.
I am lucky enough to own a couple of small painting by Chet, but had never seen any of his larger pieces.
It was a very pleasant end to my short American adventure.
After dropping Chet off we headed out to the airport for my not so short flight back to rainy Blighty.
The weekend of the 5th/6th November was spent in (abnormally) not-so-sunny California. A mere 14 hours plane ride for this pasty English fellow.
The reason for the trip? The annual gathering of the art-toy clans at the premier geek event that is Designer Con..
This was my second year in attendence so I had some idea what to expect.
Though the hall at the Pasadena convention centre had now changed to their main room and the booth numbers swelled by about 30%. It was a bigger, brighter and ballsier show that any other in it’s previous five year run.
I was stationed this year at the Circus Posterus booth with fellow collective artists Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, Chris Ryniak and Amanda Spayd.
(I didnt get much chance to grab photos of my own so I have scalped these off the web. Thanks to Shinji, Brad and George and those others who took them).
This was me and Amanda behind out booth, showing off our Japanese cookies. A lovely gift from awesome collector, store owner and all round splendid fellow Shinji Nakako.
Most of the day was spent vending out megre wares to the friendly masses and doodling endless monsters and robots for anyone who wanted them. The one at the top of this page was a rare collaborative sketch between Amanda and myself for some lucky chap who seemed jolly pleased with it.
Me and Chris Ryniak were also interviewed in a live web streamed chat show type escapade by the Super Sucklord. You can view the whole 6 hour talkathon via the Toy Break Ustream channel (click on the “LIVE” link ) or just watch our part here (it’s around the 2h30 mark). Kathie and Brandt also made it to the couch very near the end of the day.
My “Nocturnal” Humphrey Mooncalf figure was released as a con exclusive by 3D Retro. And I sat for a while at their booth signing them for people who purchased.
I am sure they will have any remaining stock available online in the next few days.
The event also saw the quiet unveiling of my latest production toy venture.
Chester Runcorn is a new 6″ figure to be released by Kuso Vinyl mid next year. They sneekily has secreted one of the prototypes in their display cabinet and we waited to see if anyone would notice. Indeed they did, very quickly! I was fielding questions about the new arrival all day whilst I believe the poor Kuso booth staff had to fend off offer to purchase the prototype for hours upon end..
And just like that it was all over.
A very fast day indeed, probably amplified by a somewhat jet-lagged brain no doubt. I got to do one full curcuit of the hall this year. Which was 50% more than last year and even picked up a few presents.
If you love toys of the odd handmade or small run veriety. Or designer vinyl and underground art, I can recommend Designer Con as a cracking day out.. The door price is a fraction of SDCC, for a far superior, friendlier and more relaxed convention.
Ayleen and Ben hosted a splendid show this year and I hope to be back in the near future.
The next day was spent wandering the streets of DisneyLand in the rain and sampling its dubious wares with the Circus Posterus crew and some lovely members of the Sideshow Forum there…. I will let the photos speak for themselves..
Today was a very good day!
It was my sixth wedding anniversary. The best six years of my life.. Actually its been a great eight years, but we have only been married for six.
Bryony is a constant support in everything I do. A critical eye, and a level head. And in all honesty the source of some of “my” better ideas…
I could not do without her…. At all!
And she buys me awesome stuff..
Today I got this :
It’s a rather splendid pen I have been coveting for some years.
I think it looks like Nikoli Tesla’s sonic screwdriver.
It is in fact the “Cooler” designed by Eric Magnussen and released by Acme in 2004. Quite sort after now I believe. Its hand turned steel (or possibly Aluminium).. Very nice to write with, though it will now be my sketching pen, so look out for it at signings..
Also today I had this arrive :
It’s a new lamp for my work desk. It’s a 1950’s Jilde lamp from France. Originally designed as machine work lamps for lathes and suchlike they have become quite the design classic. Modern versions are mini copies of the originals (made since the 1940’s) with colourful powder coatings.. I went searching for an original because I am awkward like that and wanted something with a bit of patina to it. It’s huge and very articulated. And this one seems to be bolted to a disk brake. Originally it would have been wall mounted and I intend to rig it up above my work desk on the support beam which runs across the room.. Needs a bit of rewiring first as its French rigged right now with a two pin plug..
So not strictly a “Victorian” man as some people may have thought. But I do love a good bit of industrial design.
The first Mooncalf review is up on Toys R Evil.
“The figure is a well desirable product distinguishable amongst a sea of urban – not just because it is a distinctively a Doktor-A-design, but because it is so well made, and one of the better made figures I have ever seen in a long, long time.”
The Internet Delivers!
I have been hankering after an Elvish blade styled by those WETA fellows for years now. After a Yule viewing of the Lord of the Rings extended version marathon I caved in and went on a web hunt.
Found this little beauty…
It’s not the official United Cutlery LOTR version but another Chinese copy. However this comes with the scabbard which the official one doesn’t. Also it’s not stainless steel but carbon steel like a real sword so it can be refined if I want to. It’s also about a tenth the price of the UC ones.
Nice Elvish scrips etched into the blade.
Flowing vine details etched in too. This blade is in need of finishing though as there are still some rough tool marks along the edges..
Like the UC one the vines on the handle are screen printed on only. I am very tempted to remake the handle with inset brasswork. Though if I go down that route I may redesign the handle all together. I purchased a Unicorn horn recently and that would make a great handle for this blade.. Hmmmm.
Like I have the time…………..
So only a month after the event I have finally got a little time to recall my recent trip to L.A.
Was over for a few days to launch my G.N.O.M.E toy at Designer Con and hang out with friends.
The first version of the G.N.O.M.E was released as a Designer Con exclusive. There were 150 of the little fellows available and pretty much all of them sold out at the event. I was signing at the 3D Retro booth for an epic 3 hours, doodling on toys, sketchbooks, skateboards, you name it.
Ben Goretski who owns 3D Retro as well as running Designer Con with Ayleen (from Toybreak/October Toys) was running around all day sorting things and making stuff happen with the aid of his natty little headmike.. not quite 1990’s Boyband material maybe?
He wrangled the many artists in attendance into contributing to a large live painting jam session. I was called up late in the day along side the splendidly talented Miss Mindy to add my bit to the canvas. Whilst we were painting the Dr Sketchy’s anti-art-school model threw poses up a rather wobbly ladder on the stage next to us.
On there besides myself and Mindy are : Chris Ryniak, Buffmonster, Joe Ledbetter, Bwana Spoons, Voltaire, Ritzy Perrywinkle, Angry Woebots and several others I cant identify I am afraid.
I got to meet a lot of great artists, though sadly only briefly. Mostly at the “Sketchbot” custom show opening the night before Designer con. (Yes I went right off the plane and a 15 hour flight directly to Munkyking for the show… Hardcore art shmoosing..)
Including these two apparent clones…. Odd!
The next few days were spent meeting people I wave wanted to meet in a very long time and spending a little time seeing some of the more geeky sights of L.A. In fact overall it was a bit of a Geektrek. Let me explain:
There was also a trip to Disneyland with my splendid hosts George and Ayleen and bestest art buddy Mr. Chris Ryniak in order to check out the new TRON area set up for the month.
Yes more geekery.
You are scanned by a full sized Recogniser as you enter the area, who informes you to report to the games grid……..
There was a large M.C.P style construct in the center of the arena under which a DJ in Tron garb mixed 1980’s pop whilst Troned up podium dancers shook their stuff and other “programms” flung frisbiees ( sorry, data disks) and chased through the crowds.
There was also a full sized Lightcycle which was quite a sight and a 20 minute screening of a chunk of the new movie which was interesting for the 3D but a little flat I felt.
We went on a few of the classic rides and generally wandered about chatting. As George pointed out a theme park is a great place to socialise as it forces you to stand around chatting for hours whilst you que up..
All in all a splendid trip. I hope to be back for more next year…
Episode 146 of the internet TV toy show “Toy Break” is up and Doktor A is the guest!