Tag: world of warcraft

SDCC 08: Sideshow Opens Up For Booth Tour

Year after year, Sideshow brings dozens of amazing collectibles to San Diego Comic Con and 2008 proved no different. Sideshow’s booth was one of the centerpieces of the show, featuring not only their own productions but also the work of several independent studios.  Sideshow will be expanding many of their already-extensive lines by adding new and fantastic figures and collectibles to shelves across the nation.  We spent some time with the good folks at Sideshow and were able to view these new products without the barrier of a glass case.  Read on for all the information about the upcoming G.I. Joe, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Alien/Predator product… and a whole lot more!

The impending 1/6 scale figures alone are enough to empty any fan’s wallet.  With incredibly popular brands such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and G.I. Joe filling out the 12” ranks, Sideshow is sure to draft many collectors into their loyal customer base. The previously announced 12” Indiana Jones figure will be joined by Dr. Rene Belloq as well as a Fertility Idol Base (available only in conjunction with the purchase of Belloq).

Sideshow’s Star Wars line will continue with figures from A New Hope, including a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader and a Tantive IV Rebel Trooper.  These are announced on the heels of prequel Jedis Obi-Wan Kenobi (in Clone Trooper Armor) and Ki-Adi Mundi (a Sideshow direct-to-consumer exclusive).

The 1/6 scale G.I. Joe series will begin strong with the upcoming release of Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander; and while I pushed for news on upcoming recruits, our Sideshow tour guides let nothing slip. My money is on either Destro or Flint… but as I said, no other characters were specified for the next releases.

Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, Sideshow’s premiere video game property in the 1/6 scale, was also on display. True to Sideshow’s portfolio, the character was looking as adventurous as ever (and by “adventurous” I mean “hot”).  The Dead, Sideshow’s in-house 12” zombie line, will also see newly risen & grisly flesh-eaters. Expect to see undead versions of a Street Prophet and a Mall Santa all coming before Christmas.

Not all of Sideshow’s 12” figure collections will add members to their fellowship.  Sadly, no new 12” scale Lord of the Rings figures could be confirmed at the time of the show. Given the investment already sunk into tooling the new bodies for the previously-released Sam and Frodo figures, one would assume that Bilbo, Merry, Pippin, or perhaps even a pre-corrupted Smeagol could be released some point.  However, neither these nor any other new 12″ figures in the LotR line could be confirmed.

Anyone familiar with Sideshow’s work knows that the company has plenty of goodies to offer beyond their 1/6 scale figures. On display at this year’s SDCC, fans got a glimpse of upcoming 1:1 scale prop replicas like the Eye of Shangri-la and Dragon Dagger from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor as well as the Big Baby from Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Other 1:1 scale pieces included full scale busts of Hellboy, The Angel of Death (from Hellboy 2), a movie-inspired Iron Man (developed in conjunction with Stan Winston Studios), Predator and Nosferatu.

The Premium Format figure line will continue with stunning multimedia pieces sure to dazzle collectors. From the Star Wars galaxy comes the incredibly detailed Asaaj Ventress from (Clone Wars) and a Tusken Raider (A New Hope). Other popular film characters such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Hellboy, Conan, Indiana Jones and a Moria Orc (Lord of the Rings) will expand the Premium Formant line’s movie-based assortment.  Acting legends Bruce Lee, John Wayne, Elvis and an animated Elvira will continue the celebrity-inspired portion of the line.  The 1/4 scale Marvel line will get another mutant in the mix with Mystique and Laura Croft will serve as the first video game inspired figure to get the Premium Format treatment.

Additional maquettes and statues will continue as a large element of Sideshow’s product line.  Fans of the highly-detailed, unique work for which Sideshow is known will have a plethora of polystone to purchase over the next year. While no new products could be confirmed for the Lord of the Rings 1/6 scale line, Sideshow will be producing a pair of Two Towers-inspired statues.  A portrait-inspired Grima Wormtongue standing next to the cursed, enthroned King Theoden and Gandalf vs. Balrog mid-battle were both on display. Several new Sideshow-produced Marvel statues will also be forthcoming as well, including Ghost Rider on a throne, Iron Spider-Man and Rogue.  The high-quality 1:3 scale Marvel bust line will also continue with Sabretooth, Thing and Apocalypse.

Cult classic flick Species will receive its first nod from Sideshow with a 12″ tall maquette.  Sci-fi/horror heavy hitters, Alien and Predator, will be represented with wall-mountable pieces featuring the a version of the creatures from each film (pieces from AVP, Aliens: Requiem, Alien and Aliens were not displayed but are planned for a future release).  Tapping into video game giant Blizzard’s popular licenses, Sideshow unveiled a 1/4 scale Berserker statue (Diablo III) and a polystone Blood Elf vs. Draenei diorama (World of Warcraft). Horror-based statues from Universal’s legendary monster films will also be released the coming year; as will collectibles featuring Sam from Trick R’ Treat.  The numerous additional Star Wars dioramas that Sideshow has previewed over the last several months were also on display, as well as the upcoming FRAMES, a six-book collection of 35-MM prints covering each of the films in the saga.

You can read more of C.J.’s musings on film, toys and music over at stunksstage.com.

Click here to see the photo gallery of our ‘open case’ tour of Sideshow Collectibles booth at this year’s San Diego Comic Con!

Blizzard Games Isn’t WOWed By Uwe Boll

“We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you.” – Blizzard Entertainment to Uwe Boll

For some reason, despite the pleading of legions of fans, Uwe Boll insists on continuing to make movies. Not just any movies… ones based on popular video games. The much maligned director of box-office albatrosses such as Alone in the Dark, Postal and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale thought that perhaps all he needed was the right property to sink his directorial teeth into. After all, the 10th time is the charm, right?

So, when Boll approached video game manufacturer Blizzard Entertainment about securing film rights for their globally-popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, he certainly was expecting a more positive answer than he received. Blizzard’s response was to all fans of WoW, as priceless as it was reassuring. According to MTV.com, representatives from Blizzard told Boll that “We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you.”

I applaud Blizzard for having the chutzpah to keep their most profitable property out of the hands of a director who would have most assuredly turned it into the cinematic equivalent of… well… another Uwe Boll flick. Hell, I’d even have their response silkscreened onto a t-shirt.

You can read the original article, including Boll’s response, over at MTV.com.

Want to share your Uwe Boll -movie-viewing-war-stories? Let us know over in our Lounge

Exclusive Interview With Action Figure Sculptor Jean St. Jean

If you dig action figures, chances are you own something that was created by Jean St. Jean Studios. The sculpting house, founded by St. Jean himself, has grown since its creation in 2005 and now boasts clients such as NECA, Diamond Select and DC Direct. Jean began his career making dolls and preschool toys for Appollo-Juno, Inc but soon moved to McFarlane Toys, where he eventually rose through the ranks to become Sculpting Supervisor. A few years later, Jean ventured out on his own and eventually founded Jean St. Jean Studios, which has become one of the most popular and highly-regarded sculpting houses in the industry.

Jean was kind enough to answer a few questions about his career, what influences him and what may lie on the horizon for Jean St. Jean Studios.

PCZ: You’ve been in the sculpting industry for a number of years. After all the work you have done, what stands out as your favorite, or the project that you are most proud of?

Jean: There are two actually; The Tomb of Dracula Marvel Milestones for Diamond Select Toys and the 18” Pumpkinhead for SOTA. The Dracula in particular was something I had wanted for someone to make, let alone get the chance to design and sculpt it myself. The Marvel Dracula had been ignored for years and I’m very glad it was me that got to do the first statue. I put a lot of time into rereading the whole series and studying Gene Colan’s art, especially the face and body language.

Production issues aside, I love the Pumpkinhead; partly because I never thought any company would be nuts enough to do an 18″ action figure. Also because typically, I’m not the guy folks come to with monster jobs. Generally, I’ve been typecast as a realism and portrait sculptor, so when something like Pumpkinhead or the Day of the Dead figures for Amok Time come up, it’s a nice change.

PCZ: In the Diamond Select Stargate series, you were able to incorporate ‘build-a-figures’ such as the Stargate and MALP. How does your approach to sculpting these large-scale devices/accessories differ from a standard action figure? Do you prefer working on action figures or accessories?

Jean: The ‘build-an-accessory’ idea was Diamond’s and I think it is awesome. From a fan standpoint it allows us to make oversize accessories that are iconic elements of the shows. It also adds a buying incentive for collector’s to pick up the whole set. Having said that, they have to be sized and decorated within certain cost parameters to make them a reasonable addition to each of the blisters. These things are very expensive to produce so in order to get them out to fans, compromises have to be made.

There are plenty of examples of companies promising the moon on some insanely expensive product and then having it slip below the radar because of unrealistic costing for production. Within my team of artists I have guys that specialize in fabrication (or, a more mechanical form of sculpting) for vehicles, weapons and architectural elements. I’ve begun doing more of it myself, for instance the (DC Direct) World of Warcraft Gnome Mechanostryder as well as the weapons for my Warcraft figures. Figural and accessory sculpting each have elements which I enjoy doing, again because I prefer to have variety in my workload.

PCZ: Has there been an instance where the final packaged product has drastically differed from your original sculpt? What is your reaction to this and how much control do you have over the finished product?

Jean: Rarely does a final PVC toy look like a hand painted prototype. In fact, never does the final product nail the prototype. Concessions have to be made for cost and for practicality of reproduction. Because I understand this, I generally expect to be underwhelmed, though I’m mostly pleasantly surprised. That’s not negativity, it’s just practicality. However, McFarlane has made some amazing innovations in the production process that have completely changed the look of the average action figure. They have forced everyone else to pick up their game. The average collector is much more discriminating and savvy of the production process.

PCZ: Not many fans know that you are also an accomplished musician with a degree in classical piano. To what extent does music influence your sculpting work (or vice versa)?

Jean: Over the last ten years I’ve traded one obsession for another. Where I used to practice (music) 16 hours a day, now I work those hours making toys and statues. I’ve gotten to sculpt a few of the musicians I listened to like the Kiss Alive Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper and the ‘Roid Rage’ Ozzy Osbourne for McFarlane. I also worked on the (Iron Maiden) Phantom of the Opera Eddie and Freddie Mercury in the yellow jacket. Both of these were for NECA.

PCZ: Can you tell us a little about what some of your upcoming projects are? Anything new with Diamond Select or are you working with other companies?

Jean: As far as I know (Diamond Select) is still rolling ahead with Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica. On other fronts I’m working on Mezco’s Cinema of Fear (wave three was my first line), DC Direct AmiComi (Poison Ivy was the first) and Day of the Dead and other cool properties coming up for Amok Time.

PCZ: Have you ever worked on a project that required you to work with source material that you were unfamiliar with? Have any of your projects made turned you into a fan of a show/book/movie that you were previously unexposed to?

Jean: Actually, Stargate was a property I had only passing knowledge of before the Diamond gig came up. I started cramming to become immersed in the show, and thank God I ending up really liking it. I’m more of a horror guy than a sci-fi enthusiast but (Stargate) is a fun show with really well written characters and great casts. Plus… there are some cool aliens!

PCZ: You have mentioned in previous interviews that you got started in this business as a toy collector. What new toys keep you hunting shelves to add new items to your collection?

Jean: Indeed. An addiction worse than crack, I’d wager. Super Powers started it for me in my ‘20’s and I just can’t get clean! Right now I collect mostly anime figures and PVC statues. Just this weekend I picked up two of the Hasbro Iron Man movie figures and two of the Gentle Giant Hellboy figures.

PCZ: Have you ever worked on a line that didn’t make it though final approval with the licensor (for whatever reason)? Anything that you wish you had a second chance with?

Jean: The only thing that comes to mind is Samara from The Ring for NECA, but that had nothing to do with the sculpt; it was an issue of international versus domestic licensing rights. I’d love to attack that and other Japanese horror properties at some point.

PCZ: What’s on your short-list of musicians that you would want to turn into an action figure?

Jean: I think a Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust Bowie would be cool. Also, guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore and Michael Schenker or a line of metal screamers like Rob Halford, Tate Dickinson… and especially Ronnie James Dio.

PCZ: What are your long term goals in the sculpting industry? You are already the owner of your own company… where do you see yourself a few years down the road?

Jean: More of the same but with more capacity and efficiency. I’m constantly trying to improve on my own abilities. Maybe, eventually doing some of my own manufacturing.

PCZ: We here at PCZ are big fans of your work on NECA’s Highlander box set. What future do you see in kilted action figures? Do you think that it’s high time that Scotsmen were given their due in the toy industry?

Jean: I think the irrepressible engineer Scotty from Star Trek and Connor MacLeod are forced to carry the banner of the Scots alone. However, the kilted action figure allows for more range of motion for the ball joints (Nyuk! Nyuk!) and easy access for long wedgie-prone car rides. Personally, it took me eons to get out of black jeans and into shorts , so unless I’m an immortal like MacLeod and his ilk, it’s unlikely I’ll ever make the bold fashion statement of the kilt, where junk roams free and wedgies are a thing of the dark and distant past.

We want to thank Jean St. Jean for the time and patience (especially with that last question) he took in this interview. You can see more of Jean’s work over on his MySpace page. Or, run down to your local toy shop and pick up one of the many amazing figures sculpted by Jean St. Jean Studios!