Wizard World Philly 09 kicked off today at the Philadelphia Convention Center, and one of the first panels we attended was NECA’s “Sculpting at NECA” panel. Read on for a recap.
-Randy Falk, Director of Product Development, was solo for this presentation as he gave a brief overview of the sculpting process for NECA’s line of figures and then took questions from the audience.
-Castilene, a wax/clay product, is used for each figure.
-It takes about 4-6 weeks for each prototype sculpture to be made (each original is 12 inches tall, about twice as big as the final product; makes it easier to detail and handle).
-Brushes and pads used to give texture.
-Video game licenses was what had NECA evolve into using more articulation; as you probably already know, NECA handles a number of gaming licenses including Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 4, Gears of War, and more.
-Shows some Gears figures in different progressions, which we actually got to see when we visited NECA’s office last year. Takes 6-8 months from initial sculpting until it’s on store shelves; compared to other action figure makers, that’s actually pretty quick.
-They’re more for collectors than kids.
-Has sold more Edward (Twilight) figures than Marcus Fenix.
-We see a bit of the Dead Space figure process; Randy really liked the game, and wanted to recreate the figure with lights and articulation.
-Some parts are added in China, particularly some articulation.
-Test shots are made to make sure everything looks all right.
-Must be cooled and monitored properly or else figures will be deformed/distorted.
-Variant Isaac “Unitology Suit” (seen above) will be available at San Diego Comic Con and Amazon.com next month. Regular Isaac comes out in September.
-Some pics of the studio! I’ve been there!
Now it’s time for the question and answer portion of the panel.
-Are they only looking for video game licenses now? There’s more of a focus on video game toys than there used to be, but they’re still trying to keep a good balance.
-More Twilight? Yeah, there’s a whole bunch from New Moon coming out.
-Randy would love to make a King Diamond figure, but thinks only a few hundred people would buy it. At least three people in the audience would.
-He would also like Spaceballs, but apparently there was some kind of agreement with George Lucas that Mel Brooks would never make Spaceballs merchandise, so it won’t happen.
-Interested in working with Kojima, doing Metal Gear Solid figures, would like to see it happen, it’s possible. Wow, those figures would be all over Gamervision headquarters… like every other gaming figure NECA makes.
-Dead or Alive figures? Ninja Gaiden was just a one-shot.
-Some stuff getting announced tomorrow! Including “one in particular that i’m pretty psyched about, one of the best games from 2007 and a new one is coming out soon.” Wow, that’s exciting. Could it be BioShock?! Mass Effect?! Let’s start guessing now!
And Randy ended the panel with that big tease. We’ll be seeing more of NECA tomorrow, so stay tuned to see what the big action figure license announcement will be (as well as for tons of other Wizard World Philly coverage).