Here is a little behind-the-scenes look and interview from Diamond Select Toys about their upcoming Marvel Select Amazing Spider-Man action figure. This Spider-Man is based on the Marvel movie The Amazing Spider-Man which is set to be released in July of 2012. The interview features; Chuck Terceira (Director, Diamond Select Toys), Jason Wires (Prototype Painter, Jason Wires Productions) and Gentle Giant Studios (Designer/Sculptor).
At the end of the summer, the world will be treated to a new Spider-Man movie, The Amazing Spider-Man, featuring a new villain, a new costume, a new Peter Parker and a new take on the wall-crawler’s origin. Diamond Select Toys has been hard at work on their toys and other merchandise for the film, and with their Marvel Select figures of Spider-Man and the Lizard now available for pre-order, we thought we’d talk to some of the people who worked on them to see what went into creating these highly detailed, 7-inch-scale toys.
Art Asylum: This is the fifth Spider-Man figure DST has done in their Marvel Select line, but the first from the movies. Why did it take so long?
Chuck Terceira (Director, Diamond Select Toys): It was just a matter of timing. While we made some Minimates for the third Spider-Man movie, as well as some busts and statues, we weren’t yet able to include movie-based figures in the Marvel Select line. But starting with the second Iron Man movie, we were able to make it happen, so we’re very happy to have the opportunity to tackle Spidey. I’m a big Spider-Man fan, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the franchise evolves with this new movie, and I think the figure came out looking great, thanks to Gentle Giant and Jason Wires.
Jason Wires (prototype painter, Jason Wires Productions): I like the new look, personally, and I am glad he got the makeover. ‘Bout time.
Terceira: This Spidey actually comes with interchangeable hands, so you can pose him shooting a web as well as with his fists. We do have an exclusive version slated for one of our retail partners, with more interchangeable parts, and we hope to be able to show off how that one is different very soon. As far as other characters go, we do have a Lizard figure we hope to reveal very soon, plus our line of movie Minimates and a line of busts and statues based on the film.
AA: Spidey already has one of the most detailed costumes in comics, and the new movie kicks it up a notch with textures and the like. Did the costume detail exponentially increase the complexity of this piece?
Gentle Giant Studios (designer/sculptor): Spidey’s costume is a great example of when sculpting digitally is a great asset. Something like this texture would take days to sculpt traditionally, and while it is still a time-consuming process it is far less arduous a task for our digital sculptors to go about applying the texture digitally and then building this on a high resolution 3D printer. But like any action figure, sculpted either traditionally or digitally, a lot of sculpting work is needed in order to create a fully functioning prototype.
Jason Wires: Painting any type of Spider-Man web line takes time. I’ve painted at least 100 Spider-Men since I started painting toys, so I think now it is as easy as anything I do, just time-consuming. For a figure at 6- to 7-inch scale, I would say it takes about a hour or two. If I have to free-hand the webs, forget about it. I will be painting for a day or two. Just pick a nice brush with a nice tip, get my paint to the right consistency, put on a good DVD, and let the brush do the work. Time and patience is all you need.
AA: Do you have to think about what is reproducible at the factory when you lay down the paint, or do you simply try to make it look as good as possible?
Wires: Of course, we always love to go all-out and make every paint job our best, and that always makes the time spent in the chair worth our while. But at the end of the day, a company is only going to pay so much per figure in mass production, so a lot of time we have basic color call-outs.I have seen some really bad paint apps come from factories, but that is always on the lower end toys and from companies that just dont care about the product. If we get the go-ahead to make it bad-ass, of course we will. I’m lucky Chris [Schaff] always lets me loose with the paints on the DST line. There is nothing like looking at an action figure proto and it’s painted like a movie maquette.
AA: How did you decide on the base that comes with Spidey? Is it based on anything specific from the film or comics?
Gentle Giant: As one of the most acrobatic of Marvel’s characters, we really wanted to make sure we could capture some great poses, so we really pushed the envelope in order to make this one of our more poseable sculpts for DST, and the base was just a basic idea to really showcase the figure. We wanted something that would allow you to pose Spidey in some cool wall-crawling fashion and was also generic enough to look like it came right from the Amazing Spider-man set. ?
Terceira: Spider-Man’s nickname is “the wall-crawler,” so it’s nice to be able to give him a wall sometimes. Some of the best Spidey toys have wall bases, including our very first Marvel Select figure back in 2002. Of course, the last version we did had him standing on a wrecked car, so this time we decided to put him up on an awning, above a typical New York City street. And the base is actually wall-mountable, so you can hang it anywhere you want to put Spidey above it all.
AA: What were some of the challenges involved in the production of this figure?
Gentle Giant: For both Spidey and the Lizard it really is a matter of interpreting the limited reference material in a timely fashion. We are always under the gun to get these done so they can be in stores to coincide with the movie’s release, and this means that we are working concurrently with the studio while the movie is being made. Gentle Giant was on-set scanning the talent for the movie studio, so we were able to utilize those scans as three-dimensional reference. But most of the time we have very little in the way of reference material, so we are scrutinizing every little piece that makes it out so that we can create the most accurate end product as possible.?
Wires: Photo reference for movie properties… Does that exist? I havent seen it. HA! No, kidding. We will usually get what we can from the project managers and what we can dig up online. But yeah, it is a lot of guessing at times. In this case, the costume was pretty much laid out for us, and Gentle Giant did a superb job with the sculpt, as always. So he was painless compared to the Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3 movie figures we did. Although the Lizard was a challenging one…
Marvel Select Spider-Man and Lizard are available for pre-order now through your local comic shop or your favorite online retailer. The first look at Marvel Select Lizard is coming soon!