Monday, 9 February 2015

Art Figures AF015 - Artistic Intepretation : Dredd.

America is an irradiated wasteland. Within it lies a city. Outside the boundary walls, a desert. A cursed earth. Inside the walls, a cursed city, stretching from Boston to Washington D.C. An unbroken concrete landscape. 800 million people living in the ruin of the old world and the mega structures of the new one. Mega blocks. Mega highways. Mega City One. Convulsing. Choking. Breaking under its own weight. Citizens in fear of the street. The gun. The gang. Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos. The men and women of the Hall of Justice. Juries. Executioners. Judges.
- Judge Dredd.

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.
- Aristotle.
A (mis-interpretation) :

Name: Joseph Dredd.
Age: Unknown.
Affiliation: The Hall of Justice, Mega City One.
Rank: Senior Street Judge - Street Division, Sector 13 Justice Department.
Abilities: Analytical skills; intuition; cunningness; tactician; intelligence; master hand to hand combatant; peak physical condition; indomitable will.
Std. armaments: General Arms "The Lawgiver" MKII - tactical machine pistol x 1; frag grenade x 1; krak hand mines x 1; Stumm gas grenade x 1; flash bang grenade x 1; tactical carapace body armour; tactical helm x 1; interactive wrist computer x 1; respirator x 1; medic pack x 1; tactical blade x 1.

Judge Joseph Dredd is one of the longest serving Street Judges in Mega City One, a law enforcement officer whom is empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals. Like all orphans, Dredd underwent the mandatory Hall of Justice selection programme at the age of five. Upon completion of his training programme from the Academy of Law and passing the Final Assessment, Dredd is assigned to the Justice Department based in Sector 13 but his jurisdiction covers the entire city along the eastern seaboard. Dredd accumulated experience and knowledge makes him one of the most feared and infamous Judges amongst the general populace of the city. A senior ranked veteran, Dredd's straightforward and un-compromising stance in administrating law and order with extreme prejudice are well known. He uses extremely brutal methods when meting out judgments to serious offenders, rivalling even the SJS (Internal Affairs Special Judicial Squad) and Black Ops Division. Dredd has one of the highest execution rate after delivering judgments. Very few would be sent to Iso-Cubes for detention. Dredd lives only to ensure the current law and order are imposed and observed by the citizens of Mega City One, of which its post World War Three nuclear holocaust society is perpetually on the edge of collapsing into utter chaos and anarchy. Dredd's imposing nature and fearful impression is further reinforced by his harsh, raspy voice, akin to a saw cutting through a bone. He carries out his duty with the principle that the means justify the end. To Dredd, there is no grey area when it comes to judgment, only black and white absolutism, right or wrong in accordance to the existing law.  He would deal with any criminals that threaten the city state's law and its own citizens if they commit even the most minor of crimes. Dredd doesn't question his role within the fascist-like regime city state nor sympathizing with the disenfranchised members of the society such as the mutants or the citizens' cry for freedom. For these are matters not of his concerns. Dredd could have been promoted to be a Chief Judge but he opted not to be nominated as Dredd knows he is not a politician nor bureaucrat. His only allegiance is to law and order, and to ensure it is abided and observed by any citizens. As such, Dredd's personality and behaviour, for better or worse, are often viewed to literally epitomised the law itself and true product of the system itself. The ultra-violent society within the post apocalyptic world is incredibly harsh and remorseless, and as such, so must be the Judges enforcing the law.
Routine psychological evaluation by the Med Division reveals that Dredd is motivated largely by a complex and intense form of anger, simmering just beneath his visage of seriousness. Results also show that he has an underlying sub-conscious hatred for the society in general, attribute to his frustration that human kind does not take the effort or will themselves out of their current existence, and to improve and progress further. Dredd seemingly has little faith in humanity itself, his nihilistic and cynical views attributed by his long tenure in service, having seen and encountered the most heinous acts of atrocities and worse crimes capable of committing by the citizens. There is no crime he would ignore. No one, including himself, is above the law. This extent to members of the judiciary whom exploited any weaknesses or loopholes in the judicial system. Corruption is rampant, even amongst the Judges. Dredd has had his fair share of dealing and executing these corrupted fellow law enforcers, which include his own brother Rico which caused Dredd to undertake the Long Walk amongst the irradiated wastelands outside the city as penance, numerous rogue Judges and even a Chief Judge, the notorious psychopath Chief Judge Cal. Ironically, apart from Dredd and a handful of veteran Judges, the longer a Judge lives to serve and carry out his or her duty, the more susceptible they are to corruption. Any traces of conscience, moral doubts, emotion and empathy have long been supressed deep within his sub-consciousness. Dredd would unquestionably undertake any dangerous and life threatening situations in order to impose law and order without any actual regard for his own life. He lives for another minute, hour and day due to his strong survival instinct and determination to ensure criminals are brought to justice. All members of the Mega City One's law enforcement agency are imposed a strict self abstinence from any forms of emotional and physical relationships. This is to ensure that law and order is given the upmost priority in terms of responsibility and allegiance, and never to be interfered or distracted by one's individualism and "self". He lives his life in a straightforward manner, spending every waking moment patrolling the streets, fighting crimes and meting out judgments. On average twelve serious crimes are reported every minute and up to seventeen thousand cases per day. Each Judge could respond only to 6% of the cases within a sector. The only period of rest is the mandatory 10 minutes in the sleep machine to prevent psychosis.
Judge Dredd primary law enforcement weapon is "The Lawgiver", a .50 side arm, standard issued machine pistol to all Street Judges. It can fire in several different modes, which are selected via voice activation, and features a digital display that keeps track of its remaining ammunition. As a safeguard measure, "The Lawgiver" is specifically coded to its owner's DNA and will self destruct if anyone else attempts to use it. The machine pistol has a maximum range of up to three miles. The weapon is armed with a variety of ammunitions based on the modes selected. "Standard Fire" mode fires self-propelled mass-reactive shells which are timed to explode just after penetration for maximum lethality. The explosive warhead within the shell is triggered by a mass-reactive detonator; any sudden increase in local mass triggers the explosive, causing the weapon to explode inside the target. This can have a gruesome effect on the target, often killing them in a single shot as their chest cavity or head is blown apart, while simultaneous hits can render the corpse unidentifiable. However, the detonator has a minimum arming distance, during which it will not arm the warhead. At point-blank ranges the shell will instead pass through the target and explode behind it, though its sheer size and velocity still makes it capable of causing damage. The "Rapid Fire" mode allows firing of explosive shells in continuous bursts of five rounds in rapid succession. "Armour Piercing" rounds utilise powerful ammunition for maximum impact to penetrate heavy armour. It has depleted uranium tip and uses a heavier main charge. Upon impact, the outer casing peels away and, from within, bundles of high velocity super-hardened steel needle accelerates into the target, where the larger detonator propels shards further into the wound, shredding the target inside out. These are effective against heavily-armoured target such as rogue cyborgs and automatons. "Incendiary" rounds are designed to immolate the target. The main core is replaced with an oxy-phosphorus gel. The mass-reactive fuse of the standard shell is replaced with a proximity fuse with increased high-explosives casing. The shell explodes when it nears an enemy, creating a shower of superheated chemical fire. It is capable of inflicting maximum casualties on multiple targets. "Stun" mode fires a non-lethal electric charge ammo that incapacitates the target. The "Hot Shot" mode is similar to "Incendiary" mode, firing a superheated round but with additional function that allows it to be heat seeking rounds to track targets based on their specific heat signature and instead of detonation with superheated chemical near the target, it is designed to penetrate and immolate the target inside out. "High-Ex" mode fires high explosive rounds that could penetrate thick concrete walls of a Mega Block structure and armoured vehicles. It is also applied against energy shields use by rogue mercenaries, of which continuous shots would deplete and eventually shatter the void barrier. Under "Silencer Mode", "The Lawgiver" features a built-in suppressor which retracts into the frame when not in use. It utilises rounds with low sound signatures, meant for covert fighting. A solidified mercury slug replaces the mass-reactive warhead for lethality at sub-sonic projectile speed. A gas cartridge also replaces both the propellant base and main charge for silent firing.
Each Judge is also issued with a frag grenade, a krak hand mine, a Stumm gas grenade and a flash bang grenade. The frag grenade is an anti-personnel grenade, exploding in a hail of thousands of tiny and deadly shards of metal, the effect being to deny an enemy the benefits of any cover as they are assaulted.  It has a kill radius of 10 meters. A krak hand mine is designed to crack open armoured targets such as vehicles or heavy door through a concentrated implosive blast. Although a krak hand mine can easily kill a man, they are primarily used against tanks, automatons and other armoured vehicles. They are also very effective at destroying hard targets, building structures, and for tearing holes into defensive structures. The Stumm gas grenade emits deadly gas which kills an average of one person in every 250, and very effective against a concentrated group of mob. A flash bang grenade emits an extremely bright light and loud noise which causes disorientation upon the target senses.
All Judges wear the official uniform which consists of an outer carapace body armour. The armour consists of individually plated super-hardened plasteel ceramite composite alloy molded to fit parts of the body. While heavy to wear and unable to cover flexible areas such as joints, it offers far better protection over lighter types of armour such as flak armour, which is worn underneath the carapace armour. It is matt-black and red in colour, the official colour code of a Street Judge with gold coloured eagle symbol on right and left pauldron. The flak armour consist of multiple layers of different ablative and impact absorbent materials designed primarily to deflect or absorb the majority of the force from a shot or blow. It is meant to provide defence against low-velocity, dispersed damage, such as explosions, shrapnel and ricochet material, rather than to protect against a direct impact. The ablative characteristics of the armour provide further defence against heat and energy based damage. It is made from carbon nanotube fibre interwoven with plasfibre.
The helmet, made from super-hardened plasteel ceramic composite alloy, is equipped with an electromagnetic spectrum photo-visor, encrypted micro-bead, vox-amplifier and clip attachment on the side for vid-recorder. It is synched to the wrist computer and is fully augmented with auto-senses, including threat analysis, targeting and tracking system.
Each Street Judge wears an interactive wrist computer with display that allow database assess and information, vid-vox communication and auto location detector. It is comm-linked to Sector Control.
A medic pack is issued for all Street Judge in the case of sustaining injury while carrying out their duties.
All Street Judges travel in "The Lawmaster" as the primary mode of street transportation. It is virtually a form of armoured motorcycle, which is regulated by a computer with limited artificial intelligence. The armour comprises of the same super-hardened plasteel ceramic composite alloy as the carapace body armour. It uses an ultra-compact cold fusion based power to run its jet turbine engine, with maximum top speed of 650 km/h and up to maximum 1000 horsepower at 11,000 rpm. This is particularly useful, especially when catching speeding criminals the likes of Skysurfers. The entire motorcycle is completely regulated by the on board A. I. computer, ensuring optimum balance in its performance without compromising the safety aspect of its rider. It has an option of manual override using a simple 2 speed transmission but this is not encourage. A pair of retractable "Widowmakers" 8.75 x 52mm railguns are mounted on each side of the front with brass catchers. It has a high rate of fire, and its high-velocity rounds rip right through walls and shred enemies. It is a dual-stage weapon, use chemical propellant first and then electro-magnetic rails as the second stage. "The Lawmaster" has full auspex communication capabilities, allowing Judges to relay information to and from Sector Control at the Hall of Justice, crowd control capabilities and carry equipment for securing and investigating crime scenes.
Both "The Lawgiver" and "The Lawmaster" are manufactured exclusively by General Arms Corporation from its production facilities on Mars. If a Judge survives long enough to retire for his or her Long Walk, which is quiet rare, or KIA, his or her machine pistol and vehicle would be returned to Mars for re-programming and re-conditioned before being released back to a new owner. All Judges are expected to maintain their machine pistol and vehicle with absolute care. This is due to the complexity and scarcity of resources in producing them and lead time for new batches would stretch into years. Failure to comply to such responsibility would result in automatic suspension and subject to one year detention in an Iso-Cube. If a Street Judge looses either "The Lawgiver" or "The Lawmaster", or both in the course of duty, it would result in automatic termination and lifetime detention in an Iso-Cube.
After nearly a year of waiting, this figure finally arrives, which was arguably one of the most talked about and anticipated figures of 2014, fuelled partly by the controversy behind the licensing. This is Art Figures release of the titular and iconic British comic character, Judge Dredd, based on the 2012 movie, Dredd, starring Karl Urban as the futuristic, paramilitary law enforcer with extra-judiciary empowerment, and Olivia Thirlby as Cassandra Anderson aka PSI Judge Anderson. For the record Art Figures initially marketed this figure as Heavy Armoured Cop. Many jumped into the pre-order when the prototype was announced but I did not have a chance for immediately after the announcement, many primary retailers were uncertain about the availability after a series of warnings were issued by the official license holder of Judge Dredd and 2000AD, the magazine which published the comics. So Art Figures, uh, figured that it would go ahead, how they did it were subjected to intense speculations and rumours. Many got theirs but I didn't as I was caught in between placing an order either locally or from online. A last minute confirmation that the figure was available for me around fourth quarter last year came in too late as I decided to order it online instead and had made full payment. So this is the second batch, which gave me near cardiac arrest kind of situation, as some speculated that it would not come true and probably some sort of scams. And after all that drama, here it is and I am glad to say that true to Art Figures standard, the figure looks and feels great, though the thunder of excitement had been stolen by what I had seen online and forums from the first batch, unlike when Art Figures first released "Saves" aka The Punisher based on the 2008 movie, the figure which pushed the company to popularity, I think. Hardcore fans and purists may want to mod it abit, particularly the lack of gold on the pauldron's eagle symbol but I just leave it as it is. Now, Judge Dredd is a fictional character who appears in British comic books published originally by Fleetway and then Rebellion Developments, as well as in a number of movie and video game adaptations. He was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, and first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD way back in '77, a weekly science-fiction anthology. He is that magazine's longest-running character. I don't follow 2000AD but I knew of it and of course Dredd but that's about it. The only comic I had on him is a crossover storyline with Batman, which I admittedly got because of Simon Bisley's artwork (someone please release Slaine: The Horned God). Looking back, I thought Dredd was cool but now, he's kind of right wing, including the design and I am not far off to say that yeah, Dredd could be controversial if someone were to be nit-picking about the character. Then there is the first movie adaptation in '95, starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, and Max von Sydow. And featuring Hammerstein. Which gave rise to the local joke line "Ayam Telur! (I'm the law!)". The movie was true to the original design but deviated from the "spirit" of Judge Dredd, and that mistake was to show and remove the helmet from his face for audience to see. Judge Dredd doesn't remove his helmet at all. His true face remains a mystery but partly because, according to Ezquerra, in an interview, law is faceless. He also shared that the helmet design is inspired by medieval executioner's hood, and the uniform and colour combination, the eagle symbolises America, but also could be interpreted as symbol for fascism, black with gold and red, and ultimately, the reflection on the helm's visor which curiously looks like the SS rune. The root of the design, I guess, is apt based on the background and universe which Dredd exists. Eventually they decided not to show his face at all. Just like Top Gear's The Stig. But I don't think it would be Rocky Balboa nor John Rambo. Years passed and came this 2012 version, which in my honest opinion, was alright but something still lacking from the overall storyline. But credits to Karl Urban, whom managed to have done it right (that frown, man, totally nail it). And the design of the uniform, which is updated to look more realistic and practical which I like. Great to finally have this in hand, now, wishing that one day, they would get a sequel done with a tighter storyline. Just make sure Karl Urban retains the role. Oh  by the way, the helmet is removable, and the headsculpt looks more like Kurt Angle, a former WWE superstar than Karl Urban. The eyes are asymmetrical with a Lego-like plug on top. The helmet seems to sit alright for me even though some scenes from the movie shows otherwise (it supposedly covers the nose area as well as the "cross" would not obstruct the line of sight). I have no concern about the position, sitting snugly with a click and I'm gonna pose him with his helmet on at all times anyway. Again, much of the mis-interpretation are taken from WH40K...