Santander, the hometown of most of Burning Games’ team, hosts an annual fair called Santander Alternativo that aims to bring the ‘alternative’ pastimes (we wonder alternative to what, please comment if you know) to the limelight for at least a couple of days a year.
In such an inauspicious event we met Ángel Ortiz Pérez, a mild-mannered father of two who happens to create some of the most incredible pieces of memorabilia we’ve ever seen.
We first met three years ago, when we still did not have the financial muscle to go wild, but the seed was planted, and last year we were able to place a custom order to his studio, in order to create a CoreBall helmet.
We contacted him to learn more about the development of our piece, and here’s what he had to say:
How did you start doing these custom models?
I am a professional spray painter, an aero-graphist, so making these custom models is just a hobby, one that I started doing to create fancy memorabilia for myself. One of my first figures was a custom R2D2 and since then I haven’t stopped working on my technique.
How did you approach our order?
I approached this helmet as if I were doing it for myself. When you asked me to create this piece I was salivating. I loved the idea.
Having said that, I am always slightly fearful when I work on custom orders. Will it be good enough? Will I be able to translate the image in my mind’s eye to a real-world object? In my mind, I see the finished piece, but I always wonder if I’ll make it to the finish line. It takes a lot of trial and error!
Tell us a bit more about the creation of the piece…
You guys provided me with a 3D file, which I then cut into several pieces and glued together. In the first iteration, the hole for the head was too small, so we had to go back to the drawing board.
Once I had the printed helmet, I needed to give it a realistic texture. I sanded the thing vigorously so that every little 3D printing glitch was smoothed, I applied body filler to even out the imperfections, I painted it with the most awesome color and I aged it so that it looks worn out. Finally, I applied fine details with a brush.
Do you have any anecdotes from the creation of the piece you’d like to share with us?
To create the helmet visor, I created a custom machine, a vacuum-modeling machine. In it, a piece of plastic is heated; a vacuum suctions the air and gives shape to the piece of plastic. I had to discard three batches before I got it right!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new project, a Star Wars android helmet. I’m trying to work out how to implement lights in for its eyes!
What do you like the most about doing custom memorabilia?
There’s always something new to learn. Each project is different. If it were the same every time, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. I watch tons of engineering videos and there are machines that cost an arm and a leg, but you can do amazing things on a budget. That’s my thing.