Action heroes are born in Gießen-Allendorf

In his monster factory in Gießen-Allendorf, Pierre Schrader models terrifying figures, but also TV and action heroes. We watched him do it.

The path to Pierre Schrader’s monster factory does not lead through a dark cellar into an abandoned storage room or into a hidden shed in a remote forest. When the Giessen-based modeler sets out to work on his sometimes terrifying figures, the 40-year-old takes the stairs to the first floor of his modern single-family home in the new Allendorf area and sits down in the study. In the new settlement on the outskirts, nobody has been bothered by the fact that – while the neighbors are pinning pumpkin figures on their windows or slowly putting up Christmas decorations – here year-round replicas of Star Wars figures, the famous alien by Swiss artist HR Gigar or human skeletons standing in the window.

“People have got used to it. I’m particularly popular with the children. They come over to do handicrafts,” says Schrader. He laughs. The trained stonemason and stone sculptor created all of these figures himself: some like the life-size Meister Eder, recreated in great detail for a small private film museum, some created himself and some like Meister Eders Pumuckl developed with his own ideas.

Master Eder and his neglected Pumuckl

Schrader’s goblin has a butt in his mouth, wears dirty jeans, a filthy sweater and carries a beer mug around with him. “I’ve always asked myself what will happen to Pumuckl when Master Eder dies,” says Schrader. The neglected goblin is his answer to that.

Schrader’s special joke also ensured that his creations got into the public eye in the summer of 2018. His Hessian superheroes Bembelmän and Griesos as well as Handkäs-Herbert, created at the time, are still among the best sellers in the Frankfurt souvenir shop “Bembeltown”. “Bembelmann in particular went through the roof, and it was just a crazy idea at the regulars’ table with friends,” says Schrader. The Giessener has already sold hundreds of these action figures.

But his heart beats more for Star Wars characters. Some of his works are in a Star Wars museum in Mönchengladbach. He has just finished modeling his version of Baby Yoda and is now working on Peter Cushing, the famous British actor who played the villain Wilhuff Tarkin in “Star Wars” in 1977. A lot of meticulousness is required to resurrect the cinema hero who died in 1994. Before Schrader could pierce every single hair made of wool crepe into the actor’s silicone skull, many work steps were necessary. Schrader models the prototype in wax, followed by a silicone cast. Then he uses hand-blown glass eyes. The silicone is painted in several layers until the skin of the face is deceptively real. He applies fine veins with a micro brush. “In the end, the age spots come,” says Schrader. It’s like in real life.

The 40-year-old can spend hour after hour with his characters. Especially in autumn and winter and on rainy Sundays. Modeling is a hobby, passion and slowly a second mainstay. In Germany there aren’t even a handful of modelers who work at his level. His Handkäs-Herbert even had an “appearance” in the crime scene of HR from Frankfurt. He has now modeled the foot of a female corpse for a broadcaster. His wife was the godfather. Maybe we’ll soon see him in a crime thriller? There were already contacts to TV productions. “I wouldn’t defend myself. The job of stonemason is physically demanding. You never know how long it will go without any problems,” he says.

But that is a long way off. At the moment it is enough for him to live out his passion for fantasy and action heroes by creating the characters. “For that matter, I stayed a little child.” Even as a boy he was enthusiastic about the characters. “I was lucky that my grandma worked at Karstadt’s toys department. And what I didn’t get, I just kneaded myself back then.”

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