12" JOSEPH DREDD BY JOHN HAYS
Here's one of my
favorite characters from the British '2000 AD' comics.
I've been wanting to do this figure for quite some time
and finally had the resources and time to make him! I
learned a great deal from this project (a lot of it the
hard way) and ventured into new territory in which I was
too scared to try or too poor to afford before. But, all
in all, I consider it a stepping stone to greater things
in my future customizing career.
began life as a modified Max Steel due to the buff nature
of the figure's physique... unfortunately, it turned out
that the body was dwarfed by all the gear of the uniform.
But, one can't usually foresee these types of problems
until it's too late and I don't even think there's a more
muscular figure on the market to date, which maintains
any suitable articulation. So, one just has to live with
I sculpted a new head for him and added
articulated feet. He has no hands, just styrene posts
mounted into the peg holes of the wrists, which provide a
guide and support for the gloves.
The head is
Super Sculpy and painted with a technique I've never
tried before on a 12-inch figure. It's an old scale
modeler's trick called 'dry brushing' and 'washing'.
Sure, I'm not new to this form of painting (I've done it
a million times on small models), but applying it to
large figures is a totally different animal! It turned
out fairly well and for tips on the technique, I followed
the instructions on Ransome Chula's Frontline site.
By the way,
Dredd's head is fully sculpted, painted and articulated!
But, if you follow the comic, you'll know that his face
is never revealed. So, to pay tribute to the character, I
won't show it here, either... you'll just have to take my
word that it's all there. :)
bodysuit is made from lycra and sewn from a modified
version Brenda Anderson's 'Male Wetsuit' pattern at Miniature Mannequin Matrix (broken link). As you can see, the
collar doesn't stand up well or form a 'v' in the front
like it should. Part of the problem is due to the type of
zipper I used. I would have liked a zipper with a smaller
tooth and slider, but I just wasn't able to find one in
gold or brass so, I wound up using one intended for
jeans. The other factor is due to the design of the
collar, which is a seamless continuation of the bodysuit.
What I should have done is cut a separate piece of fabric
and sewn it to the suit. I probably would have corrected
this problem if the zipper wasn't such a pain to sew on
in the first place, but I digress.
The helmet is made from a
1:1 mixture of regular Sculpy and Super Sculpy. I started
with a lump of clay, sculpted the helmet and baked the
result as a solid piece. Then I hollowed it out using a
Dremel tool. I don't really recommend this method, but
since I hadn't broken down and bought casting materials
at that point, it was the only course of action available
to me. After many fine-sanding sessions, it was painted
with an airbrush and coated with Future floor wax. The
visor is made from a piece of clear plastic backing (used
to hold items in figure packaging) which was painted and
superglued to the inside of the helmet.
shoulder eagle, shoulder pad, badge and belt buckle are
sculpted from Super Sculpy and painted with '18 Karat
Gold' spray paint by Krylon. Then a black wash was
applied. Each shoulder piece is attached by drilling
small holes into the sculpt and sewing them to the
bodysuit to allow full movement of the arms. The badge is
glued to the bodysuit and linked to the slider on the
zipper with a piece of brass chain I found at Home Depot.
The belt buckle has snaps sewn onto the back of it (in
the same manner as the shoulder pieces) which attach to
the snaps on the belt.
As the project progressed, I started to
consider the possibilities of resin casting. Dredd's belt
was a major part of this conclusion. I faced the problem
of making multiple ammo pouches so, instead of sculpting
each and every one, I finally bit the bullet and sprang
for some casting supplies. I soon found out that casting
is double edged sword! The upside is that it saves you
from a lot of meticulous sculpting... the downside is
that resin and silicone are two mediums that are totally
unpredictable. To make a long story short, I used 10 out
of the 20 ammo pouches I cast.
The gloves were another
'new' venture for me. I wanted to keep the look of a
one-piece garment so, I decided to sculpt them. I know,
there is no articulation in a sculpted glove, but since
flexible casting is very hard to do and most of the
wrist's movement is still hindered anyway, it was the
best option I could think of. Once the gloves were
sculpted and baked, the cuffs were hollowed out and a
hole was drilled into the hand areas so, they could slide
onto the posts mounted in the forearms. I don't think
I'll use this technique with Super Sculpy again, because
I had a few breakage problems, but I may try it with
The boots are
from a knock-off G.I. Joe 'Power Team' figure. They are
made from the typical flexible vinyl, but then I applied
some Super Sculpy enhancements and then painted them. I'm
not sure how long the Sculpey
pieces will stay attached, but since there was no
cracking after I baked the boots, there's a chance they
may hold up throughout the life of the figure.
The elbow and knee pads
are made from craftfoam and painted. I would have liked
to see more beveled edges on them, but to do that I would
have to cast them in a flexible material... and we all
know how I feel about that!
||The last and
final piece to be done was the "Lawgiver". It's
design is based on the classic version, with my own twist
on it. The construction of it was basically a
amalgamation of various weapons and junk I had in my
parts box. The grip, trigger guard and ammo clip is from
a knock-off M-16, while the barrel and top half of the
gun is a Cotswold MP-40 (sawed off at the ammo chamber).
I drilled out a section in the back
and added the front part of the 'light/grip module' from
a H&K MP5A3 and cut grooves in it with an x-acto saw.
The muzzle is made from the top of a model glue dispenser
tip with a Milliput backing, tapering down to the barrel.
The 'level indicator' is made from Milliput.|
||In the spirit of the
comic, I felt that any good Mega City cop should be well
supplied with plenty of 'Boing' so, I printed off a few
labels of my own design and wrapped them around a couple
of Smoke Canisters by 21st Century Toys. These are
attached to the belt with strips of craftfoam and
Stay tuned for
more 2000 AD characters and other Dredd related stuff!
I currently have a 12"
Judge Death, 12" Judge Anderson, and a 12" Rogue Trooper on the work bench.