There are very few 1: 6 companies calling Europe their home. All the more exciting it is when a young company dares the step. We met Toria and Angus Casarro of Modern Life at the Hobby Model Expo and led some interesting conversations. Actually, we had a video interview scheduled, but for some technical reasons we decided to bring an e-mail interview with Toria. Anyway, we have also brought some video footage back home from Milan.
What is your personal story behind your 1/6th passion? How did it all start?
As far as I can remember I see myself with 1/6th scale figures. What really attracted me with the 1/6th scale figures was this incredible feeling of freedom in term of personalization/customization that we could have. We had the possibility to change their clothes, shoes, brush their hair (for those with rooted hair) so it was really stimulating for the creativity, sense of imagination and the good taste!
Modern Life was founded in 2006. The first pictures I saw were from 2010. Tell me about the early years.
Modern Life started after my brother insisted for me to join him to sew 1/6th clothes. He was so confident about the fact that I could be just as good as he was that I gave it a try and surprisingly I had pleasure doing it! A bit after we started to design a few clothes and did a very very limited production (1 max 3) of the different models. The majority of the models were unique pieces. Everything was sewn by hand without sewing machine. It was the hardest and best training that we could receive to develop our skills. (Enjoy the photos from the early Modern Life years that I’ve joined to the email)
You did the costume design for Sideshows Nathan Drake Uncharted 3 Figure. How did you come in touch with Sideshow and how was the cooperation?
I’m very glad to have worked on this 1/6th scale Nathan Drake figure for Sideshow. Sideshow contacted me after to have viewed my work on the web. The cooperation was simple and easy.
Sideshow is one of the big players in the business, so this is a very good reference.
Will we see more of your costumes in the future?
This is certitude! We are currently developing a new line of clothes for Modern Life.
Recently you showed your first head sculpts. You do the modeling virtual in a 3D program. Do you like to tell us something about the production process?
The head sculpts are developed with the latest 3D technologies. It provides us an unlimited control of the detail. Associated to the best 3D printers on the market we lose nothing of the 3D models. We are using 3D printers able to print the tiniest details, up to 16 microns. It’s really a fantastic and promising technology.
How do you choose the heads you make?
We need to like the portraits that we choose to do. In our portraits we like to represent more than just a “face”, the wish is to communicate a feeling, a soul.
On Saturday eve we met in your hotel and compared a prototype of your Logan head with the Hot Toys Wolverine figure MMS220, and what shall I say – that point goes to Modern Life! It’s an awesome head sculpt and an outstanding paint job. Will the final product have the same quality?
Thanks a lot, we really appreciate your kind words! Yes the head sculpt and the paint job are two very important things, both need to be superb to have a great final result.
You showed the XXL head in Milan. That one had modeled hair. Will it come with rooted hair as well?
Yes, the VH03-XXL head will be released in two versions:
– Face plus sculpted hair plus a second style of sculpted hair (made to receive the headband) plus the headband.
– Face plus rooted hair plus headband.
You put a lot of work into the heads and they have a great likeness. Are you afraid of pirates who may copy your heads and sell it cheap on Ebay?
Not afraid, we’re prepared but you know, it’s never a pleasant feeling…
At the Hobby Expo you are guests at the Kaustic Plastik. You will work together on the upcoming XXL Projects. How did that cooperation start and what will be your part?
I was talking on the web with Fabio Varesi the director of Kaustic Plastik and we realized that Modern Life and Kaustic Plastik were two complementary brands in the sense that Modern Life offers head sculpts and Kaustic Plastik offers bodies. This is how the partnership between us started. We officially announced it with the VH03-XXL head sculpt that you have discovered at the Hobby Model Expo for the first time.
There is a lot of competition in the 1/6 market. There are several Asian companies, but only a few based in Europe. For example in Italy Kaustic Plastik with figures from ancient Rome and in the UK Big Chief Studios with figures based on BBC TV shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. Both companies found their niche in the market. Do you think about a special niche for Modern Life, something that defines your company as something unique in the market?
Currently what defines Modern Life is the quality of likeness in the portraits that we realize. This very high level of likeness is according to me what makes Modern Life so special and yes, surely unique.
There are a lot of 1/6 themes, but at the moment the most dominating theme is US American Blockbuster Cinema. Do you think that there is a chance for European themes in the market? For example we have a rich tradition of Franco-Belgian Comics?
We are not really focused on themes but mostly on characters, “real” persons. If you look carefully to the VISAGE line you will quickly realize that we have a majority of British guys 🙂
Regardless of the feasibility, what figure would you love to make?
Let’s start by making a full figure, I would love it! One female and one male fully dressed.
What further plans do you have for the future?
To make many more Modern Life head sculpts and to launch the new Modern Life line of clothes and accessories.
Thank you for the interview.