Hey all. It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here. The past year has been absolutely insane for me and my family. My wife and I had a our first kid, I started doing my dream job of sculpting action figures and now we’re in the process of buying our first house in Hawaii! So much going on, hardly time to think.
Anyway, I thought I’d share the very first toy project I did which was contracted to me back in Jan 2015. He finally hit retail so I’m FINALLY able to share some images from it. Four Horsemen Toy Design hired me to sculpt a Mattel Collect and Connect figure. This was an incredible opportunity as well as a HUGE challenge for me on a lot of levels.
1 - I’d never sculpted a toy before
2 - I’d never done a lick of articulation and knew even less about how to make it happen (Thanks Joe!)
3 - I’m more of an organic kind of guy… hard surfaces? PSH.
4 - There were no official art turns, just a handful of panels from Greg Capullo’s Batman comics
I had to figure all that stuff out on a super tight deadline. Thankfully, I had some old pro’s I was able to chat with and work through some of the roadblocks I hit along the way, included our very own, Joseph Drust… who I want to give massive golf claps to for all his help though the process.
On the toy end of things, as I mentioned there were no official turns of the character so I had to use Greg Capullo’s panels from Batman. Now, I love Greg’s art… but like any good comic artist… he cheats. Armor and steel doesn’t move and bend as conveniently as comics and video games would have you believe appear… much less function as an action figure. Another tick was that a ton of details were hidden in silhouette. So i had to make them up!
I was told “welcome to toy business”.
So, I made my own turns, using as much reference from Greg as I could… and sent them back over to the Four Horsemen for approval… got that and went to sculpting. After a few weeks, when I got to around 90% complete, I unexpectedly got an email from Mattel telling me that his depth, front to back could only be so big as it had to fit in the blister pack. In the comics, Justice Buster is a tank… he’s HUGE… In order to fit the dimensions, I had to literally squash him almost 45%. Again, welcome to the toy business.
Few things are more exciting than seeing your first toy project come to reality. I got to feel that sensation at last year’s SDCC where he was on display in the Mattel booth.
In the end, I was really happy with how he came out, though a few things did change. Originally, I’d put in about 22 points of articulation… when the final toy made it to retail, Mattel had simplified and cut that number down to about half. I also had an alternate “dramatic, wide spread finger, hand” Mattel decided they wanted two fists instead.
I’ve been working steadily since then on all sorts of toys for Four Horsemen/Mattel/DC/Warner Bros… ThreeZero… Icon Heroes… and others and I can’t wait for more to hit retail so I can share those as well!