So, back in December I entered a competition Toycon UK ran to win the chance to design and create a one-off custom of a giant War Tourist, a collaboration by RunDMB and Planet Domu. The lucky winner would have their creation on show at the event next to the only other giant War Tourist, a custom by Jon Paul Kaiser. I was the lucky winner!
I had already fallen in love with the original resin platform (pictured above and also released at Toycon UK) from Planet Domu’s very first development images I had seen online earlier in the year. No surprise that I jumped at the chance, if nothing else just to satisfy my desire to design on this brilliant character.
It is like nothing else out there, bold and powerful; it hints at possible characters but has enough ambiguity to be developed into many different styles or themes. RunDmb AKA David Bishop’s stoic but dynamic form has been beautifully translated into three dimensions by the incredibly talented sculptor Planet Domu AKA Sam Griffiths. Also launched at Toycon UK, the resin version is four inches tall, limited to 20 per edition with two interchangeable heads and available at planetdomu.bigcartel.com “Endzone” was my entry. I was a massive American Football fan as a kid and the figure immediately brought a footballer to mind, in the “hut hut” position. The strip had to be Toycon-themed to celebrate it being the first ever British toy convention. As a War Tourist he also had to be battle damaged, to me he is an epic character that has survived and witnessed wars but is kind a mascot or symbol of hope for new beginnings. When the gigantic box arrived it was like Christmas! I had very high expectations of this sculpture and when I opened up the box and lifted him out the reality far exceeded. The scale itself was impressive, but the sculpting was perfect. I felt like a kid, so thrilled to get my hands on this prize, and get my teeth stuck into it.
But the excitement soon turned to a little bit of panic, if I’m honest, the realisation that the jump in scale meant a lot more work, and time was of the essence!
My weapons of choice were car-body filler (horrible stuff!), power tools (big guns!), surform files, knives, tin foil, hot glue and lots of sand paper. It’s not pretty, but I bulked out the basic shape with hard compacted tin foil glued in layers with hot glue. Then I built up layers of the car body filler on top.
I’m not a big person and the size of this beast was a challenge in itself, just physically maneuvering it to get at all the angles. I definitely lost a few pounds in the making of this! However, I loved every minute of it and I’d do it all over again given half the chance.
Once you start spraying a base coat all these little pin holes show up and need filling. It’s a tedious process, escpecially on this scale, but worth taking time over. I also went through a lot of spray paint and have to say thanks to Chris Alexander of Creo Design
for his help and advice in putting me onto a new brand. All the details of the stripes, numbers, etc, I drew out and masked on to paint, and the logos on the helmet were all hand-painted in acrylic.
And so I Break Toys husband and wife team set off, 586 miles to London in our little Yaris packed full of our wares and “The Beast”, set for Toycon UK, very tired, excited and a tad nervous!
Here they are reunited in situ at the entrance to the event. A proud moment … .Having the only other Giant War Tourist along side Jon Paul Kaiser’s was an honour in itself.
“My War Tourist is inspired by my Riot Cop custom (I did) earlier in the year, though this guy is a little more old-school and brutal. Specifically he’s based on a policeman from the 1980’s, one of the numerous heydays of British civil disobedience and this time was particularly known for the violent clashes between the coal miners and the police in the UK during the infamous Miners Strikes.
The motto on huge helmet comes from Full Metal Jacket – I think the character ‘Joker’ has it written on his helmet.” ~says Jon-Paul Kaiser.
So, lastly, we put together a film to document Endzone, though not totally happy with the photos but lucky we got them as they were literally taken before getting in the car to London. But we are really happy with our very own awesome song “War Tourist” written by my brother in law, Peter Lockhart, of “Mindflare”
who you can checkout on his Soundcloud
Thanks so much to Sam Griffiths, David Bishop, Jon Paul Kaiser and the team behind Toycon UK for this most memorable opportunity.