Dale recently had the chance to check in with figure customiser Dean Goulder and get a closer hands on look at some of his work and chat about his creative process alongside an exclusive studio shoot.
What made you decide to start making custom figures?
I have always liked the look of a gritty Sci-fi mercenary, after getting into toy photography and realizing its potential I wanted to make some gritty art. Unfortunately toys are pretty slim in the space merc department. Seeking that grungy feel I began to work with what I had available, that being mostly stormtroopers. My first set of customs were just stormtroopers with a bit of black scuffing. That was enough to hook me and plunge me deeper into the rabbit hole of making figures.
These figures have a lot of attention to detail, how much time is normally put into each figure?
It depends on the character that I am creating. After I formulate a plan and character design, it can take anywhere from 3 hours to 15 or even more depending on if I have to sculpt anything or not. Part of that time is waiting for stuff to dry and prep for painting. I strive to make my characters look as realistic as I can.
I noticed your camera skills are on point as well, how long have you been shooting and what gear do you use?
I began taking pictures when I was fairly young, but I didn’t really start shooting until I bought my first DSLR. which was about 3 or so years ago now. I am currently using a Pentax K3-ii with a 90mm 2.8 prime lens.
Whats your favorite custom you’ve made to date?
My favorite custom has to be my Hunter from Destiny. I actually haven’t finished him yet! He’s my favorite because of how much time and work I’ve put into him. I completely sculpted his chest piece along with some other armor bits. He is made up of a combination of at least six different figures making him one of the most unique figures I have in my collection.
Whats the story with Ghost Company?
I always liked taking pictures of battle scenes, mostly involving the classic storm trooper. However after many shots of generic troopers I began to question what they where shooting at? It seemed like all I had available where monsters and “invisible” rebels. The idea behind Ghost Company is that the Empire has long since fallen, and there is a galactic battle for survival. A post apocalyptic galaxy if you will. The Ghost Company is only one among several factions, such as The Blood Born and others yet to be discovered in the fight for survival.
They battle among each other for power and resources. The idea was formulated to give people a team or faction to root for. As people invest into a custom of mine, they aren’t just getting a toy, they are becoming part of a faction. They can base their decision off of a factions tactics, combat style, reputation, or even just appearance. For example Ghost Company is focused on stealth and having the tactical approach, they use a combination of both ballistic and energy weapons to ensure the combat advantage.
The ballistic weapons pierce most energy based shields leaving their opponents physical armor as the only barrier between life and death. The Blood Born are known for their close quarters combat and ruthlessness, they decorate their armor in the blood of their victims to instill fear into their opposition.
Any plans for future designs?
As of now I am planning to continue to make more factions to rival Ghost Company and The Blood Born. In addition to that I am working on a few new character concepts for Ghost Company and potentially some 6″ scale vehicles.
How does somebody go about getting a custom from you?
If somebody would like a custom, I encourage them to send a me a direct message to my Instagram @dtg_photos. From there we can discuss what type of figure they want and work out pricing. After that, it generally takes roughly 3-4 weeks for me to construct and ship a figure.￼
The two figures up for review today are the Ghost Company Scout and the Blood Born General. What can I really say that these photos haven’t already said? These custom figures by @dgt_photos are insane! The attention to detail on the weathering alone is enough to make you check your bank account to see if you can buy your own, and I highly suggest you do that.
I will say that I’ve always preferred a weathered trooper to a pristine one so maybe I’m a little bias but this is some next level stuff right here. The scuffs in the armor look natural and the paint application is top notch. Even the weaponry looks like they’ve been at it for years cappin rebels with little time for cleanliness. It doesn’t end with the paint job though, the Ghost Company Scout comes with three grenades strapped to his leg and some sort of tubing around his shoulder and helmet, one can only guess its purpose, some would say it’s some sort of breathing apparatus but i like to think it’s his way of supplying himself with a steady flow of RC Cola while the gettin’s rough.
Also added to the figure is an antenna on his helmet, a utility pocket on his chest and some sort of reverse fanny pack that actually fits the figure really well and look badass.
My favorite of the two figures however is the Blood Born General. The horns are what first grabbed me, a demon stormtrooper? Yeah, count me in. The blood work done to this figure is incredible and it definitely looks like he’s killed his fair share of good guys.
The tally marks on the back of his helmet reads five but I like to think that’s how many bosses he’s killed, not his total kill count which is obviously in the hundreds. The tattered side cape fits the figure really well and gives it a bit more of a menacing presents for some really demonic shots. Weathering fabric for a 1:12 figure is not easy so I give Dean props for making it believable. So that leaves us with this badass sword, which, if I had to guess came straight from the depths of hell.
I’m pretty sure I’ve had nightmares where my ex girlfriend had this exact blade and I’m pretty sure she’s the devil, so it makes sense. But all in all, both of these figures exceeded my expectations and I strongly suggest getting one to see for yourself.
To check out more of Dean’s work be sure to visit his hand on Instagram @dtg_photo’s and for the latest from the Toy Industry, stay tuned to Exclu.
Last modified: September 6, 2017