Sideshow is proud to introduce life-size pieces to its Court of the Dead collection. The inaugural items in this new format include three life-sized prop replicas, one life-sized character bust and – most epically – one life-sized figure.
What motivated this grand endeavor? Tom Gilliland, creator of the Court of the Dead, gives his insight on this larger-than-life next step for the property:
What can you achieve creatively in a 1:1 piece that you cannot in a smaller scale?
There is an entirely different theatrical reality that can be achieved with a life-sized artifact or figure. Smaller-scale figures, such as 1:4-scale, can be viewed in their entirety in a glance, so they must encompass their own environment. In 1:1 scale, you are bringing a piece of the story world into your dimension, mixing its reality with your own… and that’s a magical opportunity.
There are so many levels you can engage with a 1:1 scale piece… whether that’s the shadow of a reaper in the physics of your living room, almost like an imposing piece of stately furniture… Or being able to lean in an see the delicately carved surface of a button on Death’s ornate sleeve. The macro-to-micro easel you can project your vision on, as an artist, is enticingly epic.
What is your primary consideration when designing a base for a 1:1 prop replica?
Less environment, and more “lifestyle.” For example, for the 1:1 prop replica masks, we are crafting bases that look like decorative elements that could reside in the Underworld. What would objects look like that exist in the chambers beneath the Dirth Forge? What would be found in the laboratories and studies of the Alltaker?
These objects have the echoes of mortality – architecture, sigils, etc – but seen through the lens of a being who has never lived a mortal life. The design elements exhibit an affection fascination with mortality, burdened with the regret of knowing the Underworld’s role in ending those finite existences which they find so compelling.
What is the biggest challenge in designing a 1:1 bust?
It’s very difficult to decide where and how to “cut off” the bust. It may seem very straightforward, such as “mid-diaphragm” but in fact, to be successful, it’s much more nuanced than that. I consider the shoulders and the upper arm, and the angle at which they are canted. I have to meditate on the entire posture: How the head and neck angle with the back spine and chest cavity, and what that is communicating. Subtle adjustments can communicate massive changes.
How does creating a 1:1 piece help you in developing story and building the world of the Court of the Dead?
I live with all the Court of the Dead collectibles, but nothing transforms a space as much as a life-sized piece. Bringing these characters and their artifacts into my living spaces at their true size is a truly unique way to for me externalize and engage with my own imagination, and the talented interpretations of my team.
When you walk into a room and come face-to-face with the Alltaker… Well… that inspires new stories, characters, voice and tone in a way that could not be extracted through any other interaction. You can get lost in the world some much more abruptly, and totally.