Invite the Dark Shepherd to Your Doorstep

First reaper of souls. Son of Heaven and Hell. The Alltaker. The Dark Shepherd.

He is known by countless names, spanning all of time and throughout all the realms of this world.

But there is only one Death: Master of the Underworld. Feared and misunderstood here in the Mortal Realm, we mourners know better: Death seeks a more noble purpose than the reaping of souls under the celestial yoke. He plots to free us from the shackles of Heaven and Hell, and their pointless war for power. He desires to bring balance to our universe.

Until then, you can foment rebellion and bring balance to your own home with the Death: Master of the Underworld Premium Format Figure, which is now shipping! Countless hours and hundreds of diligent souls have collaborated to ensure Death could voyage from the Underworld to your domain. Let’s take a peak behind the scenes, at the process of bringing this fearsome leader to the Mortal Realm…

Death: Master of the Underworld Premium Format Figure

Why does Death’s mask have no eyes? What does Death’s mask say about him, as a character?

“I think designs with no eyes leave a lot to the imagination, regarding how ominous something is or can be, which I really dig… Is the character nice? Are they mean? Are they just fair or unfair?… You wouldn’t know based on only his appearance with that mask; you have to get to know the character to really find out.”

– Dave Igo, Art Director

What did you use to inspire you and drive you to create such an intricate piece?

“I used Cathedral architecture and Gothic decoration. I think that was the source. I was looking at something that might resemble HEAVEN, BIG, INTRICATE, HUMAN BUT BEYOND HUMANITY.”

Amilcar Fong, Artist & Sculptor 

Most characters in the Court of the Dead align with a faction, and this often influences the paint scheme. The Alltaker is one of a select few who do not align with a faction, but instead champions a balanced, united Underworld. How did this story element inform the paint?

“It’s safer to say the Alltaker champions all three factions equally. In achieving that balanced sense of the Alltaker’s purpose, one can see the fossilized enduring elements of Bone throughout as his calcified mask and armor reflect the strength of the Underworld’s resolve. The mortar between all of his osteomancy-created armor is a rose blush chorus of fleshy, undulating creature and figural forms – the expressive heart of the Flesh Faction as it holds the aspects of its sister faction together. The Alltaker’s embrace of the more abstracted senses of spirit come best presented in the swirl of forlorn souls seeking asylum as they rise below the altar, intent on finding solace beneath the billowing cloak of the Alltaker. Somewhat understated at the Alltaker’s shoulder are the united sigils of the Underworld. It is the overlapping statement of factional unity that pronounces the Underworld’s evolving rebellious purpose both possible and just.”

Tom Gilliland, Painter, Creator of Court of the Dead, CCO of Sideshow

What were some techniques or methods used in painting this piece that helped unify it with the other Court of the Dead collectibles?

“The color palette, and an Underworld-tattered costume couture are the most common denominators across the Court line. While some faction allegiance colors create diversity, the number of effects that tie them all into one world and unite the look is present throughout. Bone is most often seen with a fossilized dark brown toasted edge, which is common wherever osteomancy is present in a character’s armor or décor. Most things also have a sort of faded glory aspect where we use muted colors, especially in garments or on metallic objects. Staining patinas transform the opulent metallic armors or weapons to striking practicality on some characters. Throughout the collection, clothing is threadbare and tattered at its edges, a notion that hard use or combat damage isn’t something to fix. Instead, they are the scars of recollections of moments worth remembering.”

Tom Gilliland, Painter, Creator of Court of the Dead, CCO of Sideshow

What was the process like for fine-tuning keys and magnetic pieces on this figure?

“As far as fine tuning the keys – it’s a real bitch, or at least it can be. Most of the original parts were traditionally sculpted and not digital prints, so those keys are often much easier to deal with as each key is made by hand to coordinate with its counterpart, so they usually fit great. As for ‘magnetic pieces’ – that part was done by the project manager after the fact (most likely Jesse) but I assure you that that process is also a bitch, or at least it can be.”

– Chadwick Anderson, Mold & Cast Manager

How long does clean-up of a piece like this take?

“Well, clean-up top time can vary depending on the quality of the mold. Not every part was molded by me, and most of the CotD projects have gone through several renditions and revisions by the time it makes it to market. If you take the time to set your molds up correctly, clean-up can be a breeze. Other times you pray that Death will appear and spirit you away.”

– Chadwick Anderson, Mold & Cast Manager

How did you choose fabrics for Death?

“It was really over many discussions with Tom, our Creative Director. Death had to have a level of reality, an elevated status, but weathered and aged. The fabric selection process is always interesting and fun, especially with Court characters. It was ultimately a study of the character. The first impression had to allude to the many facets of Death. In this case, we got to balance silver silk linings with coarse black fabrics. Custom-designed binding along the multi-tiered skirts, and red piping details throughout made for a fascinating statement. The cloak was also an enjoyable creation with heavy textured black fabric, the bottom worn and rough, highlighted by silver trim running the edge.”

– Tim Hanson, Cut & Sew Manager

What techniques do you use for weathering his cloak?

“The edge was physically roughed up with sandpaper, which immediately gives a great worn effect to the material. And after that, the paint was applied for additional garment aging.”

– Tim Hanson, Cut & Sew Manager

How did your team decide on the lighting scheme for Death? What did you set out to feature and highlight?

“In the realm of the Court of the Dead, every color in our lighting palette is symbolic. Teal represents the all-encompassing Underworld, and Death being the Alltaker is wholly worthy of that color.”

Jeannette Villarreal, Photography Manager

What were some of the challenges of lighting this pose?

The Photo Team went to great lengths in finding just the right mixture of gels and punch in the lighting to get Death’s vibe just right. It went through many iterations of stacking gels, creating custom light modifiers and rounds of approval with our Creative Director. Behind the lens, we looked for the most ominous angles we could muster to instill the fear of our beloved grim reaper of souls.”

Jeannette Villarreal, Photography Manager

Rebellion is coming. Some day, Death and his Court of the Dead will rise up against the corrupt forces of Heaven and Hell, and restore balance to the universe.

Until that time, a few lucky mortals will be able to embrace Death and celebrate a united Underworld at home. The Death: Master of the Underworld Premium Format Figure Collector’s Edition is limited to just 1,250 pieces. The Exclusive Edition of this figure, which features the delicate and twisted Shepherd of Souls Mask, is limited to a mere 500 pieces.

Invite Death to your doorstep before it’s too late.

Click here to order the Death: Master of the Underworld Premium Format Figure.