We caught up with Daniel Carey-George from Planet Replica – the company responsible for producing our Good Cop Bad Cop ZBOX exclusive Judge Dredd badge item this month. They’re laying down the law for prop and replica standards everywhere with their awesome high quality products. Read more about what Dan gets up to on a day to day basis with his creative process, and some of the exciting projects he’s working on right now.
For those who haven’t come across Planet Replicas before, perhaps you can tell us in a little bit more details what it is that you do there?
Planet Replicas design and create prop replicas, collectibles and merchandise for the film, TV and comic industry. We take cool designs and turn them into reality, with as much as possible done in house in the UK.
Can you talk us through the process of producing a replica or statue?
After deciding the best product angle, we research designs and try to take the best possible options and styles of these, and turn them into a single design. This is the either made as a unique item, or remade as a digital 3D file. These files are then used to make a physical prototype which is then sent for approvals by the licenser. The files or prototypes are also used to generate manufacturing quotes. Once the designs are approved, manufacturing is started and everything is ordered. It normally takes a few months to turn around but we have to allow for shipping etc. and further manufacturing tests to be produced, which also need approval!
You’re clearly pasionate about all things replica and geek! What triggered your interest in the first place?
Seeing Star Wars was certainly a spark that never died. I’ve been an Advertising modelmaker for almost twenty years now!
Do you focus on Judge Dredd, 2000 AD and Mars Attacks because these are personal favourite series of yours?
I grew up with Dredd, so always wanted to work on something Dredd related. Star Wars seemed unreachable at the time, but 2000 AD is British and just as cool! Mars Attacks was, again, on my bucket list, and it came about from a love for the movie.
What’s the best part of your job?
Having a chance to sit down with projects that, prior to working at Planet Replicas, I’d have loved to have worked on. Being in control of these projects now us still a bit surreal, and feels like I’m just playing at it!
And what’s the worst part?
That it’s all down to me. Being an artist I take my work very personally, and only ever notice the things I could improve on. However small or few my improvements are, I get very stressed over trying to keep collectors happy!
Do you prefer to work independently on your projects?
I do prefer to work independently but like I said, it is stressful handling everything. I have a great guy working for me out in China now and that definitely helps to calm my nerves.
Who do you think is the most bad ass pop culture ‘cop’ around?
Hah! Dredd is the most fleshed out future cop but Mad Max is the next best, especially as he’s not always remembered as a cop.
Everyone loves cops but who gets your vote for best villain in the geek world?
Best villain? Tricky… Darth Vader is certainly one, then probably The Mekon, and Boba Fett. Everyone loves Boba!
What do you like about Judge Dredd as a character?
He’s so well designed! But also, unlike nearly all comic characters, he’s aged in real terms. Even though 2000AD is set in the future, Dredd always has a grounding in a reality that we the reader can relate to.
The creative mind knows no bounds, so if you could produce bespoke items based on any franchise (no limits!) what would they be?
I’d love to tackle Tron! It didn’t seem to get the love it deserved in merchandise and collectibles. The toys were good, but there is still a lot of potential with Tron. (Disney, are you listening?)
We hear you’ve recently acquired the license for Thunderbirds; do you have anything exciting that you can tell us about your plans for this?
Working on Thunderbirds Classic is a model makers dream, even 50 years after its first release. The designs are still gorgeous, and the way the models were filmed still holds up today. I’d like to maintain this feeling with my upcoming product range, but inject a little bit of freshness, so I don’t just repeat products already marketed in the past. I hope the fans will appreciate it!
Apart from the ZBOX Exclusive Judge Dredd Badge, which is your favourite item that you’ve created?
It could actually be something from the forthcoming Thunderbirds project but it’s a bit of a secret! I also love the McMahon Dredd statue, which turned out very well.
And one final question – Rumour has to you will be working in partnership with Zavvi on a Steelbook project, can you give us a hint as to what this might be?
The Steelbook project was a wonderful spinoff from a very successful product of ours, and has come out beautifully. Any Dredd fan will be happy to own one…
Thanks for speaking with us Dan!