143.JPG['Quiz Me Quik' is a weekly GameSetWatch column by journalist Alistair Wallis, in which he picks offbeat subjects in the game business and interviews them about their business, their perspective, and their unique view of life. This time - a look at sculptor Sid Garrard and Gears Of War replica company Project Triforce.]

I'm going to take a stab in the dark here, and suggest that maybe – just maybe – GameSetWatch readers aren't exactly the kind of people to require the pictured Locust bust in their respective lounge rooms. Now, that's possibly a generalization, but I'm going to run with it.

Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against the kind of people who horde this kind of thing. I just tend to go more for the subtle approach – a couple of signed Sam and Max posters and the odd Master System box is all I've ever really gone for. And I'm thinking that maybe GameSetWatch readers have that air of refinement that would suggest they do the same.

So, I don't totally understand that side of what Sid Garrand and his company TriForce are doing with their new range of Gears of War replica equipment. 'Do I really want a whopping great lancer propped right in the middle of my coffee table?' I pondered while conducting the following interview. 'No,' I thought. 'No I do not.'

But, somewhere in the dingy depths of my CV exists a little bit of prop making. Yes, readers, that field of heather at the start of the Honda Jazz advertisement voiced by Tony Robinson? The tremendous trees? That was me. Well, some of it was me. Admittedly, that's all the experience I've got in that field, but it's a fine field none the less, and so it's the actual sculpting side of things that I really dig. It's pretty amazing work, in that regard. I don't want it anywhere near my house, but I respect the huge amount of work that has clearly gone into it.

And so, with pre-orders on offer right now – oh go on, readers, indulge yourselves! - it seemed like a great chance to talk with master sculptor Sid Garrand to find out more about the line of products available, as well as querying how easy it is not to laugh while dressing up as Marcus Fenix.

GSW: What is it about Gears of War that you find so interesting? Is it the design aesthetic?

Sid Garrand: Actually - and this will make you laugh - I just loved the game so much that it inspired me to make the weapons and armor to show my appreciation for the amazing job that Epic did in creating the game.

GSW: When did you start working on making replicas of the equipment from the game?

SG: As soon as I completed the last mission back in November 2006.

GSW: What made you want to do it?

SG: Seriously, it was my love of the game, the character design, the level design and the gameplay. Corny but totally true.

GSW: Have you had experience in making replica equipment or sculpting before this?

143.JPGSG: I own my own company, Nightmare Armor Studios, where I did all private commission work for the last 10 years.

GSW: Any formal training?

SG: No schooling, just an incalculable amount of hours spent sculpting.

GSW: How did you get the chance to show the equipment to Epic in the first place?

SG: I just showed up at their offices in Raleigh, NC fully outfitted and they welcomed us in with open arms. As a thank you for their hospitality to us I gave Cliff Bleszinski a Lancer replica which I am proud to say he displays on his office wall for everyone to see.

He has actually been photographed with the Lancer replica I made for him a bunch of times, at the Microsoft press conference where the announcement for Gears of War 2 was made and in numerous magazines publications as well. Needless to say, that really made me smile.

GSW: Did you discuss obtaining the license with Epic at the time?

SG: The discussions for the license evolved from that day when I showed up at their door.

GSW: How long after that was it that you heard about gaining the license?

SG: We didn’t officially obtain the license until last April.

GSW: What has been the reaction to the replicas at conventions and things like that?

143.JPGSG: The reaction has been tremendous. We take 1,000s of pictures with fans whenever we attend a convention. Everyone asks, 'Can I hold the Lancer or try on your helmet?' It is so great to talk to all of them because as I explained this all started because I am a huge fan of the game.

GSW: Is it hard to take something like this seriously? Does the posing come pretty naturally once you've got the equipment on?

SG: The sculpting work we take very seriously. Because we do everything by hand it takes a great deal of time to make sure each piece comes out perfect. I mean the people who will be making purchases from us are some of the most hardcore fans in the world and they won’t settle for anything less. As far as posing in the suits that is pretty easy because you definitely feel like Marcus when you strap it all on.

GSW: What level of interest are you expecting in regards to sales of the equipment?

SG: Whenever we attend shows the main question we get is, 'Wow, how can I get a set?' When we put up our site thousands of people registered for updates and information about the products. That being said. it is a high-end item that many guys will have to sneak past their girlfriends when it gets delivered.

GSW: What's the process for making it? Has this changed much since the first replicas?

SG: The process has become much more refined. When I made my first set I did it based on screenshots from the game. Now I am working of hi-res photos and must get everything approved by Epic. They are really great to work with and are always willing to help me out whenever I have questions.

GSW: How quickly are you able to produce them?

143.JPGSG: I really can’t say because I am my own harshest critic and have been known to get stuck on a screw or bolt for hours because it just doesn’t look or feel right. I want fans to get the best product they can from us because in the end if they aren’t happy then I wont be happy.

GSW: Have there been many requests from the Epic team for replicas?

SG: They are all very interested to own a replica of something they designed. Over the last two years I have given them a bunch of products as a thank you for all they have done for us.

GSW: Have you received any hint of what to expect from Gears 2? Any plans to include that into the TriForce line-up?

SG: They have been pretty tight lipped about details but on a recent trip to the Epic offices we did get a chance to play Gears 2 for about an hour with Cliffy and the design team but their aren’t enough Locust in the world to get me to talk about what we saw in the game. I will say this, I will definitely be online to get my copy in full suit of COG armor the minute it comes out - it looks and plays phenomenally. And yes we plan to include new items from Gears of War 2 in our upcoming product lines.