Here is our Interview with George Hsu, product development team leader at Asmus Toys. For the German version click here.
Let’s go back to the very beginning, to your origins. How did Asmus Toys start in the 1/6th scale business?
Asmus was founded by our director Andy Hsu. He was and still is a devoted toy collector and he was a free-lance sculptor back in the days. This love toward collectible toys motivated him to start his own business.
In March 2013 you announced the Lord of the Rings license. I guess that was a big step ahead for Asmus Toys?
Yes it was. The opportunity to work on the LOTR and THE HOBBIT license began in 2012. And it was Andy’s passion project because he began his sculpting career at Weta Workshop, and the title has a special connection to him
Was there a cooperation with Weta Workshop from New Zealand?
Despite Andy’s personal experience with the Workshop, Asmus doesn’thave a collaboration with them so far.
How long does it usually / in average take to create a figure – from the first draft to the final product?
It begins with an intensive research of images and data. Once we have enough material, jobs are given to different artists of different fields. Like head sculpting, fabric/clothing, and 3D modeling. Once they are done, all parts are brought to the workshop to paint and assemble into a full figure. The entire process, from research to prototype, it takes around 6~8 weeks.
Once the prototype is ready, a copy is sent to China for production. It normally takes 8~12 weeks run a full production.
Do you work with your own designer team only, or do you hire freelanced artists for certain jobs?
We have a good in-house designing team, but we also rely on talented freelance artists now and then.
The Lord of the Rings is such a rich source of characters. How do you choose the characters which you will turn into a collectible figure?
There are places like social media and collector’s forum, also toy shows where people will suggest us on what/who we should do. It is like a public survey
How important is the reaction of your fans on Facebook and their desire for certain characters? And how big is the community’s influence on changes / adjustments on prototypes?
We try to approach the fans online directly. We want the first hand reaction on prototype announcement, accessories, and also the end products. We always read the comments and ACTUALLY make adjustments accordingly. So we are very active on forums and also reply private messages on our Facebook page daily.
And all our designers are collectors too, so to us, it is important that the voice of the collectors be heard. We feel it is a rare gesture in our industry.
We really believe that best products are made by the ones who love it.
In April 2013 you posted a five years master plan. In this plan, you wrote that you will work on sets as well – the Armors in the battlefields. Is that still on the list?
Yes, hopefully we will finally see it happen in the next couple years.
When will the Fellowship be completed? Everybody would probably go crazy for a Gimli 😉
We are planning to complete the fellowship by 2016, but at moment it seems to be an impossible job, however it is still our priority goal for LOTR.
We will also be focusing on Uruk-hai in 2017, planning a full range of infantry of the big ugly monsters.
Is there any chance to get more female characters? Arwen, Galadriel…
Big definite yes
Recently you created a teenager body and the John Connor set. Now that there is a brand new teen body, do you have any plans to bring more teenager character sets?
Yes, we always look into characters that are suitable for the teenager body.
What can you tell us about the new The Hateful Eight licence? When can we expect to see preview pictures of the first release? And do you plan to make all 8 characters?
We have already completed two of the characters. And we expect to have them up for pre-order in November 2016.
We have a contract to make all 8 characters, but it will depend on the sell of the first few, before we can decide to make all of the 8 or not.
Is there any other license that you can already talk about or confirm? If not, what would your “dream” license be, to produce figures for?
We have already signed Devil May Cry series to produce in 1/6 scaled figure.Right now, our dream license is Wonder Woman, it would be amazing if we can make the new Wonder Woman figure.
Thank you very much for the Interview.
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