I spent about ten years of my life writing and helping to promote popular collectibles from action figures to resin busts. It’s very easy for an outsider to be dismissive of the art of such things – who didn’t own a Princess Leia action figure that made her look more simian than human. But the truth is, the mass manufacturing process means that sometimes a lot of detail gets lost. Certainly in my time I saw the standards of sculpting rise from the barely acceptable to the truly stunning. I dare anyone to walk into the Four Horsemen’s studios and look at the Masters of the Universe 2-Ups (basically a prototype at twice the finished size) and not have their breath taken away.
Tim Bruckner is one, if not the best, in the business. He’s a pro’s pro – a sculptor other sculptors look up to. If you’ve ever seen DC Direct’s Alex Ross-inspired Justice Line you can see a lot of his best work. In fact he’s worked on a lot of DC Direct’s properties bringing various comic artists’ drawings into the 3D realm.
So now Tim has teamed up with Zach Oat of Toyfare fame and Rubén Procopio (Electric Tiki amongst other things) to bring us the definitive book on creating action figures and statues.
You’d think with the number of customizers and people wanting to break into the industry there would be a wealth of books on the subject, but this is the first one I’ve ever seen, and frankly, after being amazed by how comprehensive it is, I don’t think another one is ever going to be needed.
What’s stunning about this book is the level of detail. It goes into everything, filled not just with information, but tips as well. It starts with looking at the art reference, goes through the sculpting and casting to painting and ends with tips on going pro. Gorgeous photography detailing the various processes sit alongside little cartoon asides that not only raise a smile but raise pertinent points.
If you’ve ever marvelled at the level of art in an action figure or bust, then this is a fascinating book even if you have no intention of ever sculpting yourself. You can just dip into it and always come back with some new piece of knowledge you never had before. But if you’re into customizing and hoping one day to turn it into a full-time job then this book is a god-send. Seriously, in ten years’ time I reckon this will be THE textbook every sculptor learns from.
As someone who worked on the fringes of the industry for ten years, it’s an incredible book. For anyone looking to get into the industry I’d say it’s pretty much damn well essential.

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