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LIST OF INTERVIEWS

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ERICK SOSA INTERVIEW ABOUT PROTOTYPEZ

Erick Sosa is regarded by many as one of the most gifted sculptors of our days. He dared to pursue the dream of having his own company, PrototypeZ Studio. Let’s learn about this venture.



1 – Hello, Erick, when I interviewed you around a year ago, you were battling to turn PrototypeZ Studio into reality. Now it is. What changed in your life?
Erick Sosa: Well mainly, I have less stress as I don't have to deal with many clients anymore.

2 – Is PrototypeZ Studio a customs venture or are the products it offers licensed?
 ES: All products are 100% licensed.

3 – I saw you launched a Street Fighter Ryu. In several formats if I’m not mistaken. What were the formats/variants, their prices and are there anymore available for purchase?
ES: There’s a few left but stock is low. We mainly work in 1/6th and 1/4th scales.



4 – What’s coming next if you can say? And when will it be released?
 Akuma has been released and we will let people decide between Chun Li and Ken…

5 – Do you have any wild dream regarding PrototypeZ Studio? Like an authorial series of figures? If any, in which category (horror, fantasy, heroes etc.) it would be focused?
ES: Yes, my hope is to begin creating an original series of PVC heroes and monsters…

6 – Any other wild dream regarding PrototypeZ Studio? Besides become Sideshow rich? Lol.
ES: Nah, no desire to grow that big at all… just the desire to do my own creations and to be able to grow from that.

7 – This is a short question with a big answer I guess: could you name and describe every process from PrototypeZ Studio from conceptual design to delivering of the figure to the buyer? I’m very curious to know every step a given piece comes across until reaching the final buyer.
ES: We start with a 2D sketch, then we get that approved by Capcom and we move on to the 3D modeling, once that is approved we print and mold cast and paint. Then we submit photographs and then once approved we send the prototypes to our factory in China in order to begin production.

8 – Of this whole process what do you like the most and what do you dislike the most?
ES: I dislike leaving my family behind to go to China, as much as I love China. However it is a great time to be able to do quality control and make sure people get the best product we can give them.

9 – Can PrototypeZ Studio products be bought in stores? How to acquire a PrototypeZ piece?
ES: You can but via retailers like big bad toy store, or our website www.prototypezstudios.com



10 – Besides PrototypeZ Studio you still work in other places/projects? Could you name it?
ES: I only work for Kotobukiya and Banpresto but not many projects as my focus is Prototypez and Semic-Protoypez…. more on that soon. All I can say is we got a Marvel license and we are doing quite a bit of product for it.

11 – It worth both financially and let’s say psychologically to create your own enterprise?
ES: Absolutely!

12 – What are the big differences of being the boss?
ES: More responsibility but also more benefits such as being able to create what I want instead of being told how to go about it.

13 – What do you like the most about PrototypeZ Studio?
ES: The freedom it comes with being able to dictate what gets done and how.

14 – What needs improvement in PrototypeZ Studio in your opinion?
ES: A lot, we are working on a new system for our consumer service, preparing a new quality control team, and working on a new product not just Polystone statues.




16 – Which franchise you really wanted to bring to PrototypeZ Studio?
ES: Honestly after Street Fighter I may just focus on King of Fighters but still working out a deal with SNK for that. The truth is my focus is original product and toys.

17 – Is there any character you sculpted so much you got tired of it?
ES: Not tired but yeah I would say the minions from Despicable me…. Ugh

18 – Is hand sculpting a dying art in the industry since digital sculpting seems to be an easier, faster sculpting tool?
ES: It is, all companies are working with digital tech, I hardly no anyone doing traditional sculpt besides Neca maybe, and they are also using 3D assets.

19 – Do you still do hand sculpting? In which circumstances?
ES: Once or twice a year I do my own monsters and sell them in japan as resin kits  at Winter Wonderfestival.

20 – Why do you think prices are increasing so fast in the industry? Do you believe there’s a practical reason (or reasons) besides pure greed? How much of it is just greed?
ES: There’s many variables, but greed is usually part of what drives any industry…. A lot of it is greed. A lot of it is…yeah greed too… lol

Right in the face of big companies! 



21 – What are the variables taken into account to determine the price of a piece?
ES: License cost, production cost, territory limitations….

22 – Did your previous experiences on the market help you developing PrototypeZ Studio? If so, in which manner?
ES: In every aspect, I wouldn’t have been able to start the company without the knowledge I gained from rubbing shoulders with people that know so much about the industry.

23 – Define PrototypeZ Studio with one word. Or phrase if a word is too short of an answer.
 ES: “Freedom to create “

Thank you Erick, wish you the best in your life and work. I hope this interview bring some light about your company and about the market as whole.

ES: Thank you, sir!


That's all folks. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

IT

“It's tricky when you feel someone has done something on your behalf”
Desired Constellation, Björk

Thank you for reading this. You arrived at this post without the aid of Facebook, my main channel of divulgation. I chose not to use Facebook because this is a different post. I felt the urge to write in English and see where it leads me, just to practice my poor domain of the language and because I may talk about figures and the universal language to collectibles is English. Right now, I’m intrigued with the conclusion that when I write what I think and you read what I wrote I’m uploading my thoughts to your head. You and I become one. Our souls merge although in a different space-time since you’re not in my room in Brazil and cannot read as I write. Your present is my future at this very moment, as in this very moment, my present is your past, depending on who is looking at it, you or me. This space-time lapse set us apart. Your interpretation may also differ completely from mine and you can form an opinion of your own regarding this text, two other things that set us apart since you are you and I am I. However, as you read this is like my thoughts are rooting and manifesting in someone else’s mind. They are my thoughts and they aren’t since who are thinking them now is you. So my thoughts become your thoughts and this is all a very strange and powerful experience. I guess this is the marvelousness of writing or communication in general, though I think writing is more personal. More up close. More deep. It’s kind of hypnotic. This looping of me becoming you and you becoming me even though we never met eye to eye. Now you’re inside my soul, You’re reading exactly what I’m thinking, no holding ups. Now I’m think since I remembered that I’m writing on my collectibles blog about one figure, one specific picture of it you can only imagine if you saw and as I don’t know if you did I’ll will post the picture below so that our “databanks” stay updated regarding the subject. Here we go:




I gave up my Malavestros pre-order and all my reward points I put into that statue due to this piece. Hulk life-size bust. I believe its box will be bigger than the maximum size allowed to be brought to Brazil as checked luggage so I will have to send it directly to Brazil via Sideshow (that is the most inexpensive delivery service I could find). Even being cheaper, the shipping costs will be well over $300 not to mention the custom taxes of my country that are 60% over the declared price plus the shipping. In other words, I will have to pay more than twice for the figure. That is already expensive by its own, $980. This is very bad news and something I was not waiting since it’s the first (and last) bust I buy. You can add to the calculus the $184,50 I lost cancelling Malavestros pre-order and – boom – you have the most expensive figure I have ever bought. By a far margin.  How I dealt with the other figures I’ve bought? Very simple, I sent them to my brother’s home who lives in US and once they get to visit us here or we get to visit them there we bring one or two statues as luggage. No absurd taxes or shipping costs. Why did I give up Malavestros? Well, I am retired or better saying legally invalid so I’m almost not a citzen anymore. I can’t vote, I can’t drive, I can’t marry… the list goes on. And who responds legally for me is my mother who controls my pension. As you may imagine my mother just hates the figures and think they are an awful waste of money. As most people do. I don’t blame her, especially because I’m the only one who cares about figures and statues in my social circle. Everyone thinks is quite nuts to spend such amount of money on a “toy”.

Well, not knowing how to communicate my mother about the arrival of Hulk without getting her infuriated, I decided to write an e-mail telling about the Hulk and the two other figures I intend to buy before quitting collecting. In the e-mail that “stunned” her (in her own words), I forgot to mention Malavestros’ pre-order. Fearing a retaliation of some kind, like cutting my credit card, I decided to cancel the pre-order since I didn’t mention that on the e-mail and I was most certain she wouldn’t believe me I ordered it before the Hulk (what wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway). My mother is very tight-handed about money and a very irascible person so I saw myself with no alternative whatsoever than cancelling Malavestros. That was the only way to earn her trust and maybe be able to acquire besides Hulk, the two other figures I wish before I quit collecting once for all. The prices are raising too darn fast. I can’t keep up with them. My pension is not enough to keep collecting and pay all my bills and although maybe other figures come to arise my desire I will have to contempt myself with what I will have. Also due to space issues I can’t have the luxury of have many more figures. My bedroom is my “man-cave” (I think this term so sexist, since there are girls who collect too) and my room is not a big one. I need to reform it in order to be able to accommodate my collection. I hope for the reform to happen in mid-2018 to the beginning of 2019. In other words, more money to spend, even though labor is much cheaper here than in first world countries it will be expensive nevertheless. But which other figures I want to acquire?

I hope the Mona Lisa smile comes with the figure and is not a light and shadow effect from the picture. I found her to have an Art Nouveau style for the head sculpt making her the most beautiful female character Sideshow ever produced, in my opinion.




It’s obvious to me that she is a computer generated piece, but, although I consider myself a purist and prefer hand sculpted pieces, I think technology came in favor of the piece in this particular case. I believe it would be almost impossible to sculpt such a wonderful face with hand sculpt. Not to mention the details on the axe and overall armor and weapons. But especially the face caught me. And I like her body, less muscular than other sideshow female statues. All in all, a perfect sculpt I have to have in my collection. I’m expecting her price not to be over $500-550 since the Red Sonja She Devil with a Sword has a much more elaborated base and costed $550. I hope this one not to be different. It would be the fair price tag for a statue from the same character with a much less elaborated base. Got my fingers crossed on that. (Note: it came ot for $560 exclusive, $550 regular)

The final statue of my collection is this big boy:



A terrific hand sculpted statue that could not be captured like this with computer programs. This organic and manual feeling can’t be done on computers. It’s the exact opposite of Red Sonja. It uses all that only hand sculpting offers to thrive in glorious shape. I’m very afraid of the price of this piece, it can range from $700 to more than $1,000. I hope Sideshow keep its feet on the ground and offers this figure for $750-$800 max, so I can afford it. I also hope that the box fit checked luggage specifications so I don’t need to spend another load of cash to have it here in Brazil (apart the load of cash I will already be spending in acquiring it). But who I’m trying to fool? My mother will not allow me to buy any other figure anymore in my life after the Hulk experience she’s about to have. What will make really me sad. Or upset, since the money in the end is mine. There’s an inch of hope since I already communicated my plans to her on the e-mail. Maybe just maybe, after I pay Hulk, she allows me to go on with these two. Then no more statues for me, I’m done with it. For good. Then will be time to fix my room to accommodate my pieces and be able to watch them every day.

If I had to choose one of the three? I would say thank god Hulk bust came out first since is the figure I’m really in love. I never felt this way with any other figure in my life. I go to its page every day to watch the pictures and allow me to be enchanted by them. Enchanted, this is the precise word to describe how I feel about Hulk. To me is the best Hulk sculpture ever done. It oozes so much detail and personality is breathtaking. I think I will never get tired of looking at it. That’s why I don’t think in quitting it at all. It’s a huge problem. An expensive one. But if I have to have a great finale to my collection Hulk LSB will be it. As always, I seem to like statues that are underrated and have low revenue value. But I don’t plan to sell my statues anytime soon. Only when I am very old I will slowly selling them. Therefore, I will not bother anyone else with the burden to deal with them, an idea I got from a very wise collector from Facebook.

Well, thanks for visiting my mind, my life and my dilemmas. I wrote exactly as it came to me. Sorry for my broken English I never took English classes, I’m a self-taught English speaker/writer and not a good one at that, as I always say.

Many must be thinking I will not quit collecting at all. But none of you know my mother or my will.

I will only post this text after I publish Erick Sosa’s interview. He may read this and quit answering the questions altogether. (Note of the editor: Erick is taking too long to answer because he is very busy and I have the freedom to post what I want in my blog.) This Matrix thing in the beginning of the text is not for the faint of heart. And I don’t know if it’s true. It’s just the way I feel about writing and the power of the written word. I think is kind of a symbiotic experience where one mind entangles with the other, more in autobiographic texts but also in fictional ones though accessing different parts of a person’s mind. The fictional texts are more distant from the author himself than an autobiographic one. I the latter you get to know the real feelings and thoughts of the person writing and share in your own way the experiences the author is experiencing. I don’t know if it will touch the reader the same way, since we are two completely different persons but will be as close as it gets to dive into one’s mind. I think this kind of sharing what drives me to write, especially in Portuguese. On this blog I am sincere but I have a subject other than me, the figures. I can’t escape the figures in my Portuguese blog but they appear more like in this post, as an integrated part of my life, I’m not advocating nothing regarding them, just expressing my feelings and worries about them and how they mingle into my life. And I bring my mother a lot in my writing since she controls my life in more aspects that would be suitable. In part because I let her to. In part because of my legal situation. The only thing I know is that after much darkness in my life I like living and want to keep it that way. Be over-controlled by my mother is just a tiny detail. A big tiny detail. Nevertheless, she started going to therapy. Maybe this helps her to respect more my spaces. And let me live my life with a bit more freedom. A freedom that I don’t really need right now given I’m so anti-social nowadays. When I don’t go to the CAPS (Center of Psychosocial Aid) I’m in my room writing or roaming through the collectors groups. Looks like a very limited life but it suits me just fine. I do what I love that is writing. I don't have to participate in the theatre of social interactions. I can be me most fully when I write then when I talk to someone. I am strange I know. I feel strange and out of the place in this world. But as I said, I enjoy living, I’m glad there’s another day after this one. I spent a lot of time hating tomorrows, begging to today be my last day as myself, even trying to accomplish that. As I said, I come from darker times. I hated myself and wanted to die. All days. All day. Finally, when I find my comfort zone, find a way I like to be me I won’t abandon myself just because it’s a weird behavior in everybody’s eyes. I stick to what I have as tight as I can, since I found my formula of being happy. The loneliness can be sometimes tedious, but this feeling doesn’t come very often. It would be a joy to have a girlfriend. That’s why I still socialize, in search for a girl that fits my heart and I fit hers. Other than that I don’t see much point in go to parties since I don’t drink anymore and really don’t like to dance and really dislike the social circus where once I was the clown, the heart and soul of the party. I’m not this guy anymore. As I said I’m passing by a very anti-social social stage of my life. I like it but it bothers me because I didn’t want to become so weird. However, at the core I came to believe we’re all alone in this life, all of our social network is based in dependence, interdependence, codependence or supplying. I seek to be as independent as I can and it revolves in loneliness so I’m steadily becoming an urbanoid hermit. I thought and sometimes I still do think that true love can aid a lot to one’s happiness but I am not emotionally available to it right now. And yes I will come back to therapy by the end of the year. I know I need. I just don’t want right now. Again not emotionally or psychologically available. I guess this post went far too long. I will end it here. If I would trade my Hulk LSB for a girlfriend? Only if it was Aurora the love of my life. Yes she exists but is just a platonic passion as things goes at the time being. And you? How did you feel about being me for a while? Hope you can get the statues you want, I hope I get the statues I want. And by the end of 2019 have all of them exposed in my room. I wish I started to like gaming once again. And watch movies. Have so many to see. So much to play. But I don’t quite feel like it. My urge is to write. It’s the most fun I have and is the easiest thing in the world for me. Not in English but in Portuguese. By the way, I got to revise what I wrote yesterday. Until the next post I hope will be more targeted in figures.

P.S.: I know I seem like a complete social failure but look at the bright side I not going with the herd, I determined a modus operandi completely mine and most importantly I’m happy being this way. There are limitations. Several. However, there’s a kind of freedom few people experience. The freedom of the mind. My mind is as free as it possibly gets. Therefore, I can be free even on a jail. As long as I’m able to write. Writing is what ties me and liberates me from the world. It’s my meditation. It’s my way to connect to myself and explore me. There’s lots to uncover and discover yet and I think there will always be more. The human being, the human essence is endless.


Why the quote from Björk at the beginning of the text? I really don’t know. I was listening to it and happened to like the verses. Lol.     

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ODE TO HULK LIFE-SIZE BUST AND A BIT OF SWAMP THING




I know you dislike the half-mouthed grunt. I know you dislike the face sculpt altogether. Looks like he had a stroke you said. I know you hate the brown shading. I know some of you see it as a “half” life-size bust because there’s no back. I know most of you disliked because is very light to its size. In one word, you’ll never get the Hulk LSB. I did. And don’t regret a bit. On the contrary, it’s the statue I’m most excited to receive ever. No other sculpture generated – and generates since it is yet to come – such a frisson in my collector’s mind (and heart) than this one. Forget OG Hulk, this is the Hulk to get. The ultimate Hulk sculpture. The expression of Hulk is incredible as is the facial sculpture altogether. It gives him character and personality. Prove of this is people find it looks like many different persons, generally ridiculing him (I also think it resembles Clint Eastwood by the way, which is a good thing to me! :) ). What people don’t realize is that Hulk is a monster and as such it’ll never be pretty. The half-opened mouth give dynamics to an otherwise very static figure. The brown shadings ads depth and variation to the piece otherwise, with all shadings green, would look very one-dimensional according to a professional painter who happens to like the paint scheme all of you detested. Apart that, the figure is a perfect merge of reality and fantasy with hyper-detailed skin marks and pores and a comic book face sculpt. It’ll be an impacting piece in anyone’s collection and it’s decidedly the center piece of mine. One cannot deny that Hulk LSB causes a strong impression even if you are a life-size bust collector. It’s a piece that grabs you attention and doesn’t let go. I get to look at the pictures of Hulk LSB every day like I’m kind of in love with it. Like watching pictures of a beloved one who travelled. That’s how strongly connected I am to this statue. I’m just enchanted by it. Enchanted is the precise word about my feelings towards this piece.

Say all you gonna say it won’t move me a bit from my decision. The only thing I dislike about Hulk LSB is that I will have to ship it directly to Brazil (what won’t be cheap) since the box will be too big to fit checked luggage specifications. It is by a far margin the most expensive statue I have ever bought and also the last I will pay this astronomic price for a piece. I just wished I live in US like my brother… but the thing is I love Brazil, I really enjoy where I live and I’m retired and I could not receive my pension in US let alone live there. Nor I would trade my country just because of statues! I just hope Swamp Thing box to fit in checked luggage specifications. In addition, I expect it to be around $700-750 max. I don’t see why even with the size, for a niche DC character with simple casting to be more than that. I know it’s big. But it’s not Hulk LSB big (only in height). The base is not complex. It’s not a difficult statue to paint. No Heat-Seeker complexities on that piece, no throne. So it can be more affordable. Even though $700-750 is no small money. But it can’t cost the price of a 1/3 statue. Because it’s not. Bane, which is also a massive DC character and only 3 inches shorter, with a much more complex composition and mixed media went for $699. I hope it goes for $750. I will not pay more than this for this 1/4 figure even if it is my all-time favorite character (which Swamp Thing indeed is). I just find it outrageous to the consumer to ask more than that. Loyalty to a brand has limits and Sideshow nowadays are pushing the limits far too far. Better keep the feet on the ground and make everybody happy than have a stockpile of unsold figures since only the wealthy collectors will be able to afford. And there isn’t as much people interested in Swamp Thing as there is in Thanos on Throne. Be certain of that, so Sideshow should pick an inclusive price tag to gather as many lovers of the creature from the swamp as possible, not alienate them with preposterous prices. And, please, Sideshow, make a box that fits checked luggage specifications! The more compact the better without sacrificing the piece safety of course. Just like Killer Croc box organization would be fine. I believe there won’t be many parts to attach to this figure otherwise it would break the flow of the body vines and ligaments, breaking this way the whole concept of Paul Komoda as well. 


P.S.: a new interview may be coming soon. 




The Incredible Hulk Marvel Life-Size Bust

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TWO SUBJECTS

I realize that whenever Sideshow launches a new line of characters they start with only two subjects of the two main characters of a given universe. That’s how it happened with the Masters of the Universe line when they brought He-Man and Skeletor as the opening pieces so to grab the most fans possible. It’s a smart move because the bet is high since a line can flop and bring loss to the company. They make at least two so that the piece don’t stay out of context in one’s collection. So they bring a companion piece most that bough the first one would be interest in acquiring. The same move is being taken for the Gotham City Nightmare line. They revealed Batman and will be bringing Joker as the companion piece. However, in GCN case I don’t think the art style of both statues match at all. I see them as two completely different takes on the concept of the line with art directions very different from each other. I don’t know if this will give unity to the line at all. Both are devilish and distorted versions of the characters but in very different ways. I guess the art directors were different for each project. You can take a look and judge for yourselves on the video below.





Did you see how different they are in terms of… everything? I don’t think this is really a bad thing, just don’t give the line the unity, in my head, it meant to have. I think both statues bold and creative and really shows what makes Sideshow different from the other companies. I really hope this line to be a success since I cannot imagine what they can do with other characters from the Batman universe. Though I will not buy this line I will gladly watch what’s the next step, who’s next in line to receive the nightmarish treatment and save pics of the characters for myself as I often do with figures I wish I have but can’t own. (See I still have some sense in my mind. Lol.)

Wish the best for this line as I find one of the most creative and daring undertaking Sideshow ever embraced. I'm all in to creative freedom and this line seems to give Sideshow artists just this, what is extremely rare outside the realm of custom figures. Kudos to the company for that.  

-x-x-x-x-





On a very different subject, who seem to be losing their minds are the money guys from Sideshow. The last two PFs launched by the company cost well above $600. If this is a signal of things to come, the future seems very bleak for the average collector. The figures in question are Lady Deadpool PF and K-2SO PF. Although I didn’t get so surprised with Lady Deadpool price, since she has all the bells and whistles that allegedly raised the production costs and overall final price of Deadpool Heat-Seeker, I was very surprised with K-2SO price. The piece has metal legs, light up feature in the eyes and is a taller statue than average but none of these, nor the Star Wars license justifies such an abusive price for such a simple statue. I don’t know where Sideshow was with its head when priced K-2SO. I certainly hope it’s an off the marker mistake took by the company or else I’ll not be able to afford the pieces I intend to acquire in 2017-2018. To be honest I’m really concerned about the future of collecting. Two years ago the PFs average prices were around $400-450 now as it seems PFs are furiously galloping to the $600 plus average. This is simply unbearable to many collectors and I hope this not to be really a trend. I know and said it before that Prime 1 pushed the prices up with their 1/4 scale figures but each one has different target customers. Prime 1 brings to the table a higher quality product whereas Sideshow (used) to bring cheaper pieces. The quality of the casting of Sideshow cannot compete with Prime 1’s, which has heavier better-finished figures. The only downside of Prime 1 – a trap they set for themselves – is the so-called translucent resin they use for skin that doesn’t seem to support a lot of detail as normal resin does. It works just fine with 1/3 figures due to their sizes but not translate well for smaller 1/4 figures. But I’m deviating from the subject. All I really wanted to say is that the new Red Sonja to be under $500 and the Swamp Thing Maquette be no higher than $750. These are fair prices and everybody gets happy with them. Sideshow for selling well their pieces and the costumers for paying a decent amount for the products they get. Otherwise, the nightmare won’t be only in Gotham City.   

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ARE WE ADDICTED TO COLLECTING?

The adrenaline rush of buying a figure be it on the company site or after a good hunting and negotiation on eBay or Facebook is awesome and all collectors I believe experience that. I know I do. Closing an excellent deal or finally grabbing that XM figure you sought for so long is a great pleasure. As is receiving the box from the mail. The ritual of opening, assemble and examine the piece is the icing of the cake. But once the thrill is over and it goes after a short period of time once having the figure (ever shorter the more figures one have) and you (and me) are already thinking about the next thrill. This is imho means you (and me) are addicted to collecting.





SDCC and the other toy fairs and conventions are like drug spots where dealers – the companies – highlight us all the pleasures to come. The next thrills. Not to mention the customs side market. Many find special pleasure in doing business with their statues, so their collections are always rotating with old figures being substituted by new ones in a never-ending cycle. By new I don’t mean only new releases but figures that were never possessed before. There are those that even sell or trade a figure to regret and acquire the same figure later, possibly for a higher value. There are all kinds of behaviors regarding collecting but when they turn compulsive is where the problem begins. When the urge of the thrill becomes relentless. If one compromises his/her finances in order to acquire figures I guess it's time to seek for help. It means one lost control of the habit. I had very compulsive collecting moments. I spent a great deal of my father’s inheritance in three months buying figures on eBay on a time figures weren’t as expensive as they are nowadays. I entered in the manic cycle of my bipolar disorder and went completely out of control. Sold the majority of them afterwards, some grails, in terrible negotiations because I happen to be terrible in business. From 2016 to today I managed to acquire “only” six figures but given the figures prices nowadays I’ve spent a great deal of money, around $4k. Not counting the shipping.



From the rest of 2017 to the end of my life I intend to buy just two more figures, SS Swamp Thing and the new Red Sonja. The hobby just went out of my financial reach and I believe I don’t have more room to display properly the figures I acquire. I cancelled one order to be able to accommodate these two new figures in my collection and because I found the painting of the final production piece disappointing compared to the prototype showed on the site. Thank god I buy only Sideshow statues, apart some Bowens and one Gentle Giant piece I have. I would be in big trouble if I collected XM and in a huge trouble (pun intended) if I collected Prime 1 pieces. I happen not to like their styles I cannot exactly say why. I feel only blessed I think this way or else I would be on a much bigger trouble. My last acquisition was the Hulk LSB (my most expensive piece ever) and I have a problem since I live in Brazil. The custom taxes here are 60% over the declared price of the product plus shipping. I generally send the figures I buy to my brother’s home in US and he brings me one every time he comes to visit us or I bring another when I go visit him (what only happened once at the time being).  But with the Hulk LSB I won’t be able to do that because the box is too big to fit checked luggage specifications. So I’ll have to ask Sideshow to ship the figure directly to me what will cost me around $800-850 in custom taxes if the shipping cost is akin to Deadpool LSB. Apart the shipping cost itself of circa $300-350. It’s a very heavy hit. I will pay well more than twice for the figure. I won’t give up because it will be the centerpiece of my collection. I believe it is the best Hulk portrait ever done and I need a Hulk in my collection and I want the best. Or, in other words, I just fell in love with the statue as I only did with the new Red Sonja, Gentle Giant Babydoll, Bowen Man-Thing, and with Hatsune Miku Mebae Version. Yes, I collect PVC and vinyl figures as well. My collection is pretty varied. I happen to have even a Hot Toys Jack Nicholson Joker though I’m a terrible poser. Lol. On the other hand, regarding Hulk, this “in love” thing maybe mean I’m still on the thrill of acquiring it. The thrill of addiction. I cannot say for sure.




I cannot say for sure if I’ll buy Swamp Thing out of addiction or because he is my all-time favorite character. I don’t know if when I fall in love with a statue I’m on my “addicted mode” which I believe so. I don’t know if I will be able to quit after acquiring these last two statues I intend to buy. I don’t know what the next SDCC has in store for me. All I know is that my room is not yet prepared for display my statues and I’m planning to reform it in 2018. At least reforming costs are a lot cheaper in Brazil than is US (and in most first world countries for that matter). Sure won’t be cheap as well. However is a sad collection one that is being kept in the boxes. The only figure I dared to take from the box and keep out of it is my SS Daredevil because right now I only have space to display him in my room and because most of my figures are still in US. It’s an even more sad collection one kept in the boxes thousands of miles away from the collector. My brother won’t come to visit us this year so only god knows when I will get my hands on a new statue of mine. In addition, my brother already said to me “no more statues at my home”. That’s another reason why I want to send Hulk directly to Brazil. But my brother is such a good person I think he will forgive me for three more statues to come, Malavestros, Swamp Thing and Red Sonja. At least he will not receive the gigantic Hulk LSB box that would certainly piss him (and especially my sister in law) the most.



Then I guess will be it. However, when planning my room, I will try to leave space for a couple more statues. You know the addiction. One never knows what the next con will bring. But the only thing I could devise to tempt me is another beautiful female character. Other than that there are no more characters I want. I guess. Swamp Thing and Hulk were the last of them. Though I love Alan Moore and Watchmen is the best comic ever to me, statues based on its characters wouldn’t appeal to me. Nor even V for V for Vendetta would appeal to me even though is my second favorite character. So I guess there isn’t anything Sideshow could bring to the table that I don’t have already. And I can only wonder how high will be the prices next year. So I really hope I’ll be out of the game by then. Still I’ll try to leave a some space left. After all, one never knows what may come down the road. Moreover, there’s one thing I’m sure about addictions: once a addicted, always an addicted. You can quit but you’ll always be addicted to it. It’s like a dormant beast, if you tease it, it may wake up hungrier than ever. I’m addicted to other things. I quit them all. I guess collecting will be the easiest one to give up. And the prices are pushing me out of it already. Still the spaces will be there. Maybe for an Iron Man MK III Maquette, or a perfect comic Iron Man (maybe I end up buying a Bowen), a perfect Beast (which was already launched as a custom, that one will be tough to beat, and I missed it…), or a perfect Joker or… well, I thought there wasn’t nothing more I desire but you know the drill, you know thrill…



There is one addiction I couldn’t and don’t want to quit: smoking. I just changed to e-cigarettes. And I even happen to smoke one real cigarette when I wake up and another when I go to sleep. Is collecting another addiction I don’t plan to give up? I honestly don’t know. But I certainly would like to. And about you? Are you addicted to collecting? What makes one person addicted to it, in your opinion? Do you plan to quit someday? When and why? Is it really a bad thing if you can afford it?

One may wonder why I posted these making of images of Swamp Thing. Well,
because it's one of the figures I intend to buy and to remember that these figures
are a form of art of sorts and should be regarded so.



On a side note, there’s something in common about collecting and other types of addiction, most people don’t understand and even have prejudice about it. My family and friends just don’t get my hobby and don’t understand why I spend so much on it. They see my pieces as toys or junk I’m accumulating. It’s a bless to have these Facebook groups to share my passion and being understood in our addicting hobby. The only downsides are the desirable new pieces shared that tempts myself getting but it’s good to train one’s will power. Lol. Jokes apart these are places where I feel right at home and can discuss and share my opinions without being afraid of prejudice since we’re all on the same boat here. A boat we all love sailing.    

   
The Incredible Hulk Marvel Life-Size Bust

Friday, August 4, 2017

MAQUETTE IS SS NEW NAME TO OVERPRICED PIECES?

I warned you last year that Prime 1 Anti-Venom for $860 wouldn’t do any good to the industry. So here we are at 2017 with one 1/4 figure from Sideshow selling for astounding $1,2k. Sideshow apparently found a new venue to make us swallow overpriced figures. They simply call them “Maquettes”. If you happen to like one of the Maquettes showcased on SDCC17 (Iron Man Mark III, Swamp Thing and Alien Queen) you are in for a bittersweet taste when the figures and their prices be revealed. Looks like Maquette is the “deluxe” line of the company, what frees them to put Prime 1 1/3 scale prices (or more) on 1/4 pieces, what is just preposterous. I may be wrong and Thanos is an exception, along with Voltron’s Maquette $1,250 price tag. However, two are one too many Maquettes to call it a coincidence. I think Voltron due to its size and complexity is an expensive piece to produce but it doesn’t justify the overwhelming price. Let alone Thanos which seems a very simple piece to produce. I’ll give you that he is big (as Thanos should be) but the price is much bigger than any reasonable scale. It’s not an 1/3 scale figure. It doesn’t come close. Well there is the throne, one may add. But with or without throne the price is simply too expensive for a 1/4 scale figure. So don’t buy it and shut the f* up, one may reply. Of course I won’t buy it, I don’t even like or know much about the character to justify such immensely abusively inflated price. But I won’t stop complaining. It is my right as a Sideshow fan to point when the company is being greedy and unfair to its customers.

Come an get me if you can face my artificially inflated price.


So I’m scared with the term Maquette and what it may mean, if people buy these pieces, to the other lines of the company. Per example, how much will the new Wolverine PF cost? The last Wolverine, still available on the site, is up for $480. It has quite an elaborated base, not too far from the mechanical Sentinel hand the new one is on, though the hand is a bigger base. Let’s see the prices of the new figure. Sideshow cannot allege the price (if much higher) is due to the license of the character nor the complexity of the figure, since they’re on par with the Wolverine they’re selling right now. The only thing left to blame is the rising production costs in China. However, First4Figures doesn’t seem to have the same issue (one can only wonder why) since they’re new Metroid Varia Suit 1/4 Exclusive figure (with lighting features all over the body) costs $429. So who is to blame? In my opinion (in the case the new Wolverine comes for a much higher price than the last one and the prices of the new Maquettes hit around 1k) is Prime 1 and it’s 1/4 line, since their price plateau for this line is stratospheric. One can argue that Prime 1 quality is unmatched, that the quality control is virtual flawless, that the Witcher’s bases are very cool and all… but $860 on Anti-Venom? This opened the door to Sideshow overprice their Maquette line. This will make the new Wolverine cost a lot more than the old one imho. This will make my beloved Swamp Thing to be no less than $800, though is not a complex character to produce, just big (so I still dream for a $700 price tag). But Swamp Thing is not 1/3 big to be priced as such. Prime 1 showed the way and Sideshow is gladly following, hitting hard the average consumer of their products. Deadpool Heat-Seeker for $700? Come on. Lady Deadpool for $675? Come on twice. Hulk and Deadpool LSB for $980? Without ES? When the marvelous mixed media Joker LSB costed $700 an year or two back? Come on… Not to mention the ArtPrints that jumped from $90 to $180 only god knows why….

Sideshow Swamp Thing will be the last statue I will buy in my life. Depending on the price. Only because is my all-time favorite character. I never imagined somebody would do a 1/4 figure of him. And a marvelous figure at that I must admit. At first, I was shocked with the bold, daring art direction but grew to love it with passing of time and more images revealed. I just wonder how much it will cost… And the 1/3 Swamp Thing from Prime 1, for that matter… If their prices are somewhere near I’ll get extremely pissed.

On a side note, I know I said I would quit with the last figure I bought but I would never imagine Sideshow to do a Swamp Thing. Never crossed my mind. And now that it is coming into fruition it happens in a market with artificially inflated prices. So inflated I might not be able to afford it. It’s almost ironic if it wasn’t tragic. And yes, I assume I’m addicted to collecting and that will be hard to let go the habit. However, Sideshow forces me to do it and may well force many others too. As the last bastion of affordable 1/4 comics-based pieces, Sideshow is falling short…


Sorry for my broken English I’m a self-taught English speaker and not a good one at that… :P 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

HARD TIME FOR SIDEHSOW... WONDERFEST

Even though Sideshow takes a share of every Prime 1 statue sold, when the two are offering (almost) the same characters, looks like Prime 1 wins by more than one neck the preference of the audience, what may put SS pieces in peril. Prime 1 revealed at WonderFest their Swamp Thing 1/3 and Dog Alien (1/3 maybe) and they put Sideshow’s Swamp Thing and Alien Queen to shame according with the opinions from people from the very Sideshow Facebook group in two recent posts I did comparing the statues. This could mean Sideshow will need to rethink its strategies for their pieces, like edition sizes and even prices. For the grace of Sideshow clientele. I’m not certain about that, it’s mere speculation I must add. But the reception of Prime 1 pieces were so overwhelming that one cannot avoid to wonder. And I wonder that when the RSVP for both Prime 1 pieces go online, the number will far surpass Sideshow’s offerings, giving clear sign that Sideshow have two problems on their hands and that are more to come when the new similar licenses from Prime 1 appear, like Predator and Marvel. It will be hard for Sideshow to justify a $ 1,150, 27 inch Jungle Predator Maquette against a 1/3 perfectly recreated Predator from Prime 1. Times are changing for Sideshow. The share they receive for each Prime 1 figure sold will not cover the loss of not selling their own. I don’t know if it will really happen. It’s just an indication from the answers to the questions I’ve posted regarding the four statues. Sideshow will need to review their market plans or only the more artsy guys, like me, will get their Swamp Thing, which I believe are a minority group in collector’s universe.




Swamp Thing went in two completely different directions in his characterization by the two companies. Sideshow dared to design an out of the box piece, with a bold and creative art direction that changes all about Swamp Thing but the essential for him to look like the character. Prime 1 stuck to the norm and made a very traditional ST statue (that will certainly please the purists) and added a ton of detail and attachments to it. Of course, the crowd, more conservative and amazed by the sheer amount of detail of the piece, preferred Prime 1 version over Sideshow’s. And, to be honest, the piece is fabulous, the small foliage and other plant parts compounding the figure are put in so much detail that are nothing short of magnificent. The only problem is that it carries no expressiveness whatsoever. It’s extremely well done but has zero personality. In one word, looks lifeless. In addition, it is too big for my room. The pose is uninspired and the expression looks dull. Looks like a computer thing generated to look perfect but looks much more like a doll than Sideshow’s statue.

Sideshow Swamp Thing lacks the detail and the fidelity but oozes personality through every vine. And has that vibe of a hand sculpted piece which I’m almost certain it is. For all of this – and for being 1/4 instead of 1/3 – I will go against the flock once more and opt for Sideshow. As I said in one reply, my mind says one thing regarding these statues and my heart tells another. I tend to follow my heart. This if I can afford Sideshow Swamp Thing, I mean.




About Alien Queen Maquette (Sideshow) and Dog Alien (Prime 1), figure alone, Dog Alien draws more attention and looks more detailed and well painted, even bigger than Alien Queen. Counting with the base Alien Queen surpasses greatly Prime 1, presenting an amazing highly detailed and rich display. Furthermore, Sideshow have the Queen, a pivotal character of the series. Much more than Dog Alien is. It’s a tougher match but those who didn't choose Prime 1 alone said would stay with both, none chose Sideshow only on the post. So, in the end, Prime 1 is still in advantage over Sideshow on this one too. The only differential Sideshow will have from now on is the price since an Alien fan or a Swamp Thing fan probably will not bother to have one 1/3 scale of their favorite character in their collections being the statues so amazing. If Sideshow keep prices on the rise, they may end up losing this game on the long run. Even getting a percentage of Prime 1 revenues, Sideshow may wind-up having lots of statues stuck in their stock and being forced to appeal to promotions to move pieces Prime 1 did better than them (in the majority of collectors’ eyes, I mean). Sure, in terms of RSVP, Sideshow began with a head-start since their pieces came out first and both were very praised on SDCC. But let’s see how many of these will convert into actual sales now that Prime 1 put its cards on the table. More chapters to come as Prime 1 starts to release all the others new licenses it now detains.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Sideshow fan. The only Prime one piece that I would have would be Batman Beyond Golden Version (but, then again, not enough room or money and SS Swamp Thing and new Red Sonja come first). However, it will be a fierce battle against Prime 1 from now on. Imagine a Prime 1 1/3 Wolverine Jim Lee style? I can imagine eBay flooded with Wolverine Legendary Scale statues…

On the 1/4 front they go almost head to head. Almost. I think Sideshow has the advantage as much as I disliked the new Wolverine and the new Magneto but these two pieces does not overshadows all Sideshow history of creative, expressive pieces. In the 1/4 realm, I believe XM is closer to Sideshow than Prime 1… for now. I find P1 pieces to be without personality whatsoever, just oozes detail and a nice finishing. It’s all bells and whistles and not much more. Additionally, I just happen to hate the “translucent resin” they use for skin, it only reminds me those sex dolls. Lol. But this is a personal taste. Or lack of it. Lol. Then again, Sideshow still have the advantage of price, but with its market strategy of increasing the prices of the figures at every new launch, soon it won’t be a factor anymore.

What I know is that a cold war has begun. Between allies. It is a very interesting moment to be part of this hobby. Who wins? The collectors with more options to choose, of course. Or loses if they choose to get the statues from both companies. Lol.


On a final note, I might be delusional and at the end there won’t be cannibalization of the SS market by Prime 1. Let’s wait and see. It will be fun to watch.  



RUN. FLEX PAYMENT STARTS IN AUGUST.

The Incredible Hulk Marvel Life-Size Bust


Predator Jungle Hunter Predator Maquette


Batmobile DC Comics Polystone Diorama


Batman Beyond - Gold Edition DC Comics Statue