It's been a while since I started telling you about how I made the Judge Dredd buddy, and right now we're about two weeks away from launching it at the NEC, so I thought I'd better finish the story....
Rebellion were quick to get back to me about the sample I sent them, and they didn't like it! The helmet part was fine but they felt that the mouth and chin lacked the character of the 2000AD artwork. Looking at it, I had to admit that they had a point. My problem was to be able to add a more prominent chin without it getting in the way of the bottle when in use. The other point they raised was that Dredd usually has his teeth clenched in a distinctive grimace, could I not make him like that? This of course was impossible, as the mouth has to be open to take the bottle opener, so I had to compromise and turn his grimace into a snarl.
To make these modifications and keep the piece functional meant changing the angle at which the metal bottle opener insert is located inside the mouth. This in turn changes the angle at which the bottle is opened and runs the risk of beer squirting everywhere. Below are the before and after pictures.
It took a couple of versions and a lot of testing before I was happy that it ticked all the boxes (and talking of which...)
Like the Motorhead buddy we wanted Dredd to have his own distinctive packaging to make him stand out from the rest of the Beerbuddy range. We got the correct font & logo from Rebellion and we chose the correct "Dredd" blue from the pantone range and it all looked great, apart from one thing. The "Dredd" blue was almost exactly the same as our own "Beerbuddy" blue, and whilst the new packaging looked the part, it didn't stand out from our own range. Most of our stockists will have a lot of the Beerbuddies range and we didn't want Dredd to just blend in with them. When I informed Rebellion about this it was suggested that we use red instead of blue. I wasn't sure about this at first: it would certainly stand out, that's for sure!
Once we had the sample packaging however, I was on board. I think the red packaging sets it off a treat.
Like the Motorhead Snaggletooth we decided that the Gunmetal finish was the way to go. A little darker than our silver finish, but a much deeper shine to it. It certainly sets it apart from the rest of the range. We also had a painted sample made up but it proved far too expensive to put into production.
Whilst all this was going on we heard the sad news that the artists who brought Judge Dredd to life both died within months of each other. Carlos Ezquerra in October and Ron Smith in January this year. I would have loved them to have seen the Dredd Buddy and hoped that they would have approved my interpretaion of their famous character.