There is something pretty magical about owning a piece of art that draws “oohs” and “aahs” from guests, friends, and family. It could be a limited Mondo poster, a unique painting, or whatever you hold near and dear to your heart. For many, simply owning a piece like this is enough. They have it, they display it, and they derive joy from seeing it on a regular basis. For others, however, there is a sense of delight in learning more about the piece so as to understand everything that went into making it. This could be learning about the painting techniques of the artist or the history of the artist themselves. It could be the story of the property, such as when something was conceived and when it finally came to fruition. To each their own.
For me, one such item is an Aliens statue from Sideshow Collectibles, a gloriously tall and eye-catching piece of intricate detail and macabre beauty. It shows a Xenomorph warrior standing atop what appears to be an alien queen’s head…or at least a Giger-esque formation that appears to be formed that way. The warrior’s second mouth is exposed, its arms cocked and held close, the elongated fingers curled menacingly. The tail is wrapped around the base and the whole piece shines with an almost salival quality.
It really is a stunning work of art.
Since I own one of these, I decided I wanted to learn more about it. And because I had that opportunity, I wanted to share that same knowledge with all of you so that you can look at your collectibles and wonder, “What went into making you? How can I appreciate you more?”
To that end, I spoke with Sideshow Collectibles’ artist Anthony Mestas to learn more about what went into the creation of the Aliens Warrior statue. Below is our interview.
Dread Central: Sideshow is known for extremely high quality pieces that transcend figurines to become works of art. What is the process of building something like the Alien Warrior statue to ensure it meets such stringent demands?
Anthony Mestas: Thank you! That means a lot to us. At Sideshow, we’re all about the details. We really strive for packing a punch when it comes to the minutiae of sculptural design.
The Alien Warrior was conceptualized as a standalone piece that would embody the on-screen Xenomorph, while not necessarily replicating a specific on-screen moment. It’s similar in concept to what we did with our Alien “Internecivus Raptus” statue – our aim was to replicate an iconic design and pay homage to an incredible creature (in this case James Cameron’s Alien warrior) but not a moment in time from a movie.
DC: For the Alien Warrior statue, how did you find the right reference photos to ensure accuracy?
AM: We used everything we could get our hands on! First and foremost, of course, the Aliens movie. This is what fans are most familiar with. Then, to fill in the blanks of the “on-screen” Xenomorphic flurry, we referred to numerous behind-the-scene images from Stan Winston studio, everything from sculpt to paint. Various publications, (as well as the internet, of course), are a wealth of source material. All you have to do is be willing to go down the proverbial rabbit hole, and you will be rewarded!
DC: The Alien fandom is incredibly passionate, so how do you make something that you know the fans will be proud to display?
AM: Oh, for sure! There are lots of passionate fans of the ALIEN franchise here at Sideshow too, myself included. It’s an honor to get to explore these characters and their worlds. So when we approach the design for such a revered character, we always ask ourselves…would we want to display this piece in our collection? We want to be just as excited as any other fan or collector to pre-order each new statue!
DC: Can you walk me through the process of what it takes to make such a detailed piece?
AM: We start with an idea; in the case of the Alien Warrior, we wanted to have a standalone piece that put the main focus on the Alien itself. This is a study of the character in its environment. In doing so, we wanted it to add some artistic flair to the composition. By having the tail wrap around the base in a very definitive manner, we were able to add something different or unusual, some extra visual interest to the overall composition. Similar to the crossed arms of our “Internecivus Raptus”.
We then take the 2D design (along with a ton of reference!) and have our sculptors work their magic converting the design in to a 3D digital model. The digital sculpture is then output on a 3D printer. Once printed, the print output is meticulously cleaned, refined, and prepped for “mold and cast”. High quality copies are cast from the silicon molds, and are used to generate “masters” for production…
DC: What is the most challenging aspect of making one of these statues?
AM: The toughest part is to bring something fresh and new, and hope that the fans and collectors will embrace your vision. It’s one thing to replicate a character that is scene-specific from a movie. It’s an entirely different challenge to take a character from a movie and expose it in a different light, while still being true to the source material.
We pride ourselves on taking those risks, exploring uncharted territory, and trying to offer a new take on the characters and creatures we all love.
DC: What are you most proud of with this piece?
AM: Personally, I love the design of the base! We challenged ourselves to come up with something different, yet familiar. We used elements of the Alien’s own bio-mechanical physiology and familiar forms to create an artistic take on the Alien’s environment. I think that the base could stand alone as some type of Alien monument!
DC: Thank you for your time, Anthony!
AM: Thank you!