Recently revealed over on the TGB blog, Marty “The Godbeast” Hansen is proud to present his latest Glyos head sculpt, the Granthan. Created for the popular Armorvor figure, originally designed by Onell‘s Matt Doughty, sculpted by Jason Frailey, and cast by Marty himself, the Granthan lizard ranks alongside the recent Cobra head (find out more here) as one of our favourite sculpts from The Godbeast yet. It’s still not clear as to whether this guy will be getting an official release, so be sure to keep checking the Glyos/TGB blogs in the coming weeks for more info on the project…
Now in it’s ninth edition, Ben Spencer’s Galaxxor: Monster Hunter Robo figure has swiftly become one of the most sought after designer toys in the industry. Heavily influenced by the hunched 5.5″ action figures of the 70’s and 80’s, the series has gained a reputation through Ben’s instantly recognisable sculpt, a seemingly endless supply of new colourways, and of course, the experimental talents of resin genius, The GodBeast, who has been on hand to prototype and cast the line from day dot.
We were lucky enough to get some time with Ben ahead of his upcoming appearance at April’s C2E2 to discuss his influences, the future for Galaxxor, and what attendees to the Chicago event can expect from the world of Monster Hunter Robo…
How did you stumble upon the art toy scene? Were you a collector before you started work on the Galaxxor project?
I guess the first time I realized that there was an art toy scene was when I popped in to a shop here in Chicago called Rotofugi. Little did I know at the time that it was one of the coolest and most comprehensive stores in the world for designer toys and kaiju. I was really blown away by the sheer scope of these amazing little art pieces and the reverence with which the design thought that gone into them was handled.
At this time, I had already been collecting Masters of the Universe figures for probably 10-15 years, and the way that the art toy scene approached aesthetics and design really fell in line, philosophically, with how I saw my MOTU figures.
Galaxxor pays a loving tribute to the action figures of the 70s and 80s, what particular toys/cartoons/tv shows inspired it’s design?
Well, there’s the obvious vintage MOTU influence. For some reason, that squat, hunched 5 1/2″ figure shape just particularly speaks to me, as a platform for design.
Beyond that, cartoons like Thundercats and Silverhawks, Tokusatsu shows of the 70’s and 80’s, the aesthetic of the Mega Man games, everything Jack Kirby ever did, and Warhammer 40,00 also inform my approach to Galaxxor.
Honestly, if I had to point to just a single toy line that I aspire to emulate in my approach to toy design, it would probably be the Warrior Beasts line from Remco. Warrior Beasts was this great MOTU-sized knockoff line from the 80’s that featured monster and dinosaur heads and these ridiculously over the top brilliantly psychedelic colorways. I aspire to make something as outrageously engaging as that.
(Galaxxor ‘Gutsman’ Megaman custom)
Galaxxor signified your first foray into the world of toy sculpting, can you explain a little about the process? What materials/techniques have worked best for you?
I should probably start by pointing out that I have been friends with guys like The Godbeast and Giant Japanese Monster, Bad! for years. So, the idea of a person creating their own figures in resin was always around. Additionally, the more I did with my Nerd City blog and podcast, the more my friends became people who were making their own comics, toys, beer, video games, or whatever. So it really just inspired me to get off of my butt and have a go at it.
In a sense, I’m a terrible sculptor and have zero traditional sculpting skills. I probably worked on that Galaxxor sculpture for well over a year. In terms of materials, I used an Aves two part epoxy and built over a vintage Zodac figure. Technique-wise, I tend to build up the area that I want to sculpt and then sand and sand and sand, until I reach the desired shape. It’s a long, painful and often boring process, but I feel like it somehow results in something incredibly soulful. Which is cool.
Again, I have to give so much credit to my talented friends. Galaxxor would be one sculpture sitting on my shelf if it weren’t for Marty “The Godbeast” Hansen. He does all of the molding and resin casting of my figures. He’s the best in the biz and he really makes the Galaxxor figures look the best that they possibly can.
Depending upon the desired final result, I then hand paint the resin figures that I get back from Marty, typically using acrylics.
The recent Galaxxor 009, as with 005 and 006, comes in a unique bb filled clear resin that has made him one of the most sought after figures in the scene. How did the idea come about?
The original idea is a combination of a couple of things. I was trying to figure out a way to save on my cost, materials-wise, to bring the final price point down, a bit. Additionally, I always dug those RealxHead figures that people had that were bb-filled clear vinyl. So, the idea just came to me to have a figure comprised of bb’s suspended in crystal clear resin. Again, The Godbeast is the master, so presenting him with a challenge like this wasn’t a concern at all. The 005 and 006’s were huge successes, and sold out immediately. So it was pretty clear that people liked the bb/resin combo.
The 009 started out as something that I just had Marty make for me for my personal collection. Those chromed bb’s cost an arm and a leg, so creating a Galaxxor with them was actually more expensive that just a standard resin figure. But, when I got that figure in my hands, I knew that it was too cool to not offer the Galaxxor fans a chance to get their hands on one. I offered up 5 pre sale slots for the 009 and they sold out pretty much immediately, as well.
The Galaxxor story is well documented on the series’ header cards, but can you explain a little bit about the universe for the uninitiated?
The short version of the Galaxxor story is that he was this sort of robo savior superhero bestowed upon humanity by these Kirby-esque Seven Space Gods to protect them and maintain order. He had all of the cliche super powers, such as flight, super strength and super speed. He also had the ability to regenerate and heal his wounds, using the power of the environment around him.
After the original Galaxxor had established order throughout the universe, humanity entered a golden age of technology and progress. General Gorgax and The Evil Mutant Legion began challenging humanity’s grip on the universe and knew that the only way to achieve this was to eliminate Galaxxor. Gorgax created The Ultimate Nullifier Cannon, which he used to shatter Galaxxor into a thousand shards that scattered to every corner of the universe.
Eventually, each of these shards regenerated into a Galaxxor (thus the 001, 002, 003 etc. …). The idea is that there are 1,000 different Galaxxors and that anyone can create their own unique version of him.
(Galaxxor header art)
Your taking part in this year’s C2E2 expo, what can attendees expect? You previewed the General Gorgax resin heads on your blog a while back, will Galaxxor’s sworn enemy finally be making an appearance?
Nerd City will have a booth (and a party!) at C2E2 this year, and I will have 5 different versions of my Cyborg Space Barbarian figures available for the first time at the con. These figures will consist of the already shown Cyborg Space Barbarian helmets (designed and sculpted by me, cast in resin by The Godbeast) attached to disused vintage MOTU bodies that I’ve found at thrift stores, flea markets and that sort of thing, painted up in funky glitter and neon paints. These are the elite henchmen of General Gorgax and will be available at Nerd City’s booth for $40 each. If I have any leftovers, they will be available on the Galaxxor site after the con.
The Gorgax figure will make his debut at C2E2 as well, but will not be for sale. As the ultimate big bad from the Galaxxor story and probably the final figure to use the original resin Galaxxor body for the immediate future (he will be a unique combo of the Galaxxor body and the Space Barbarian helmet), I want to make him available on the site, so that all of the fans can get their hands on him. Like I said, though, I do plan to at least have the General Gorgax prototype on display at C2E2.
(Cyborg Space Barbarian, General Gorgax)
What can we expect from Galaxxor in the future? You’ve mentioned the possibility of blank Galaxxors for the custom community, will these see the light of day?
The primary goal right now is to get Galaxxor into vinyl production. I’m extremely lucky to have such helpful and talented friends, and one such friend is currently lending me a hand with getting the Galaxxor design cleaned up and optimized for vinyl toy form. Most likely, this will be the way that people will be able to get their hands on more affordable, DIY Galaxxors.
I also intend to produce the occasional run of Cyborg Space Barbarian, as well as my Xenotron resin figure, which I’ve been sculpting for the last year or so.
Any final words?
Just that I’m endlessly flattered by how well Galaxxor has been received. Making these toys is one of the coolest, most enjoyable things that I’ve ever done and it makes me really really happy to know that so many other people are having fun with them as well.
We’d like to give a massive thank you to Ben for sparing the time from his busy schedule! Anyone interested in finding out more about the Galaxxor universe should head over to Ben’s blog and shop for regular updates…