As I’m a newbie to writing for SiP I thought I would introduce myself a little first – Hi! I’m Mark, I’m a full-time photographer from Nottingham in the UK with my studio in the heart of Sherwood Forest. In my working life I mostly shoot Weddings and Portraits, but when the clients leave and the confetti has been thrown, that’s when the toys come out to play! I’ve been photographing toys for about three years now, starting with Lego before including action figures into my work too (I was told at the start that Lego was a gateway toy, but did I listen…?)
When I saw that SiP was looking for fans to take on the Series 17 figures I jumped at the chance! I had already – as had we all – trawled over the images of the lineup. I’m always drawn straight away to the historical figures. I loved ancient history in school and along with my prized collection of Star Wars action figures, I had a fair few Romans and Knights knocking around the toy box. My favorites amongst the collectible minifigure series’ have always been the ones that ain’t available in other sets or themes. Sure, we all love a mascot, but since the hotdog suit guy turned up in that Friends set all bets were off and any ‘real world’ or modern figure could show up in any City set. The historicals have always been a favorite since all the way back in series 2’s Spartan and 6 with the Roman Soldier. These guys (until Lego releases an Up Pompei theme) stand alone, and are great fun to photograph!
It was a no brainer for me choosing the Gladiator.
So, let the games begin!
Ready for a quick history lesson? No? Too bad. The figure is styled on a class of Gladiator named the Retiarius or ‘Net Men’. A Retiarii fought in attire and with weapons styled on a fisherman, (think 90s WWF wrestlers like The Mountie or Papa Shango – themed costumes and special moves were all the rage in the ancient arena too!) armed with a trident and net, and dressed in very little armor and a loin cloth.
Lesson over, and straight away he’s missing his net! I’d have loved to have seen this figure include a nice little soft goods net to hold in his spare hand. But my gripes start and end there.
This is a great figure!
As always the print detail is fantastic with the armor having a tiny lion detail on the shoulder and the head having that awesome stubble.
The accessory is nothing new, having been included with the series 7 Ocean King, Aquaman and umpteen figures from the Atlantis line, but hey – the guys needs a trident!
Photographing this guy was great fun! The jumping shot was actually my first time ever using wires in my toy photography. By sticking a piece of wire through his leg (he’s a Gladiator, he can take it), photoshopping it out in post, and combining that with a puff from the trusty lens cleaning rocket I was able to create the illusion of action. Some of the other shots may seem a little familiar if you’ve seen a certain film starring a certain Australian.
I love Gladiator – it was one of the movies I and my mates just seemed to watch all the time at university. It’s stuck in there pretty firm so putting my own spin on some of those classic scenes was a lot of fun.
Strength and Honour – Mark