DSTChuck has released a new Diamond Select Toys Q&A over on their Art Asylum website
for your viewing pleasure.
In this weeks edition focuses on Minimates questions. Check out the entire Q&A below:
I just discovered, and bought, a ‘Marvel X-Men Darktide MiniMates DVD movie’ at a pawn shop. Has your company made more of these “mini-movies”, and if so, how would I be able to find and buy them? Hope you’ll be able to help me, and thanks in advance.
We have made a few and you can find them on the Art Asylum Theater page. We have considered making more long movies but the time has just not been right.
Hi again Chuck. I had a couple questions for you. First, do you know or can you say about how much new product will DST be showing at next month’s Toy Fair? Also, can you explain (maybe again) why the TRU exclusives are short-packed in the cases (which makes them much harder to find)? As always, thanks again for doing this.
Hi Joshua, I think we’ll have a HUGE surprise for MM fans at the show that will shock them for sure… however with Marvel and some of the other lines more mature now, we do not feel as driven to show lots of new assortments. The buyers at the show kind of know the deal by now so we focus on “new” stuff – and I don’t mean just Minimates. One of the reasons we short pack the exclusives are there are more buyers in TRU that are not pure collectors than there are collectors. So we make the two packs more collector oriented and make less of them than the core figures that are part of the regular case. There are a few other factors but that’s the main one, and it’s not an exact science.
Has AA considered creating a fan poll to create Marvel minimates? I recall one done for the Secret Wars box set. Some of the characters the fans are clamoring for have not been made (yet). Two that come to mind are Banshee and Sunfire to complete the ‘new’ X-Men. AA could do this twice a year (maybe) to get the fans excited again. Reading some of the forums, the diehard fans don’t seem to be excited anymore but resigned to getting a new variation on the same old character when there are so many new ones that could be made. I envision this poll where the fans could select a figure based on four choices to be released. The choices would be specific options and based around the theme of the set. Using Banshee as an example, the choice wouldn’t simply read “Banshee.” It would be AoA Banshee, 90’s Banshee or Giant-Size X-Men #1 Banshee. Thank you and keep up the great work!
NO sorry we have no plans to expand the polling we already have doen and hope to do again for the TRU box sets every year.
I apologize for how much I have to say - I’ll try to keep my questions succinct: I absolutely love Minimates. In my opinion, the simplicity of their design is their greatest strength (mainly for articulation - which is what drew me to this line way back in the beginning), and although I am impressed with the amazing sculpt work you’ve been utilizing lately, I think that there may be better ways to approach it 1) The M.A.X. Special Ops guys have a jacket piece with shoulder sculpts, which looks cool but limits arm articulation. The Law Enforcement guys, however, have shoulder pieces sculpted onto the arms as opposed to the jacket. The arm articulation on the LE’s isn’t nearly as restricted. That, to me, seems preferable over sculpting onto the jackets. However, where that isn’t a reasonable option: In the past, you’ve ventured into hinged pieces with apparent success (for example, Ultimate Iron Man and C3’s Darkseid) - have you ever considered going that route with shoulder pieces? I think it would have greatly benefited several releases like Hulk Buster Iron Man or the Battle Beast alligator, among others. 2) Add-ons that sit over the chest block (capes, jackets, etc) are often necessary, but they hinder head articulation. Have you ever considered making a chest block with a slightly longer neck specifically for releases that you know will have those add-ons? It *looks* like the Thor figure from the upcoming movie line uses that tactic - if that is the case, then kudos to you for trying it out! 3) Features like Scorpion’s tail, Angel’s wings, or Spidey’s extra arms are awesome! But I’m curious why you make them add-ons instead of sculpting a chest block that those things can attach to directly? it would keep articulation on the head unrestricted, for the most part (and it wouldn’t be new. You created a special chest block for DC’s Salaak that, aside from increased height, allowed for extra arms without adding a clunky look) and in the case of 6-armed Spidey, it would have made him look less pudgy and his top arms wouldn’t keep falling off. 4) I’ve noticed you’ve been favoring one particular sculpt for boots lately - the one found on wave 31’s Captain Britain, wave 34’s Rogue, and Classic Heroic Age’s Thor… overall, it’s a great approach to making big looking boots without the bulkiness of the large boots from the early days. But I’m curious why you are using that particular style instead of the style you used for the M.A.X. jet pilot & Gambit, or Wolverine from wave 28? The one-solid-piece sculpt looks considerably less awkward than a piece that just sits between the foot and the leg (in my opinion). It reminds me of a shin guard more than a boot ;) All of that being said, I think Minimates are, without a doubt, one of the greatest toy lines in history! And thank you so much for taking the time to read and answer questions! It’s awesome that you actually respond to fan input :)
WOW Donny, normally I try to keep each fan to about five questions and this is less than that but they are pretty detailed so I’ll do what I can here.
I really can’t comment on each design decision. There are lots of factors that go into planning and production. Time, cost, tooling space etc.. The overall feeling I have for the line is keep it simple. However there are lots of cool things we’ve done that are more designed like the IM1 movie stuff that I really love.
To be honest I did not notice that with Thor I’ll have to check, I do know we factor articulation in but I think the look of the figure takes priority in general over articulation.
Donny I appreciate the in depth questions but like I said it would be very difficult to go back and track down each reason. I do go back and forth on the check pieces and I think whenever possible at least for me – the less we mess with the core body look the better (I guess aside from Halo).
I am not sure which I prefer, I like the less bulk of the shin guard but if there is any warping it kind of does not look right. I’d have to ask the designers if there is one style they have settled with over another.
I’ll keep doing these Q&A as long as you fans care enough about what we make to buy our products AND take time out of your day to send in questions.
Dear Folks at Art Asylum, First of all, let me thank you guys for the hundreds of minimates done in last years, I am your greatest fan from Brazil! I would like to know if you ever considered getting the licenses for the Masters of the universe toys or Thundercats. I know many of the minimates fans had their childhood throughout the 80’s and I am certain exploring some of those names would be interesting, specially with a new Thundercats cartoon coming up netx year. Another toy line that matches with some of your ideas for the MAX line were the Centurions (another 80’s cartoon). Finally, I would like to know if markets in South America were ever considered by your bussiness department (I usually buy my minimates from ebay and some american shops) since I never found minimates around here (in Brazil). Cheers and keep up the great work! ed.
Stay warm Eduardo- we’ve got snow and cold here in MD! YES we have asked Mattel for Masters and they are not interested at this time. For Thundercats, years ago we asked but they were not licensing the property. With the new show coming up that has changed but not sure the timing is going to be right for us, but we’ll see. To be honest I never considered Centurions. I don’t think we have a distributor in Brazil BUT I think if there is a local comic shop, you should be able to ask them to order them for you.
Hi Chuck! HUGE minimates fan here! 1) For KickAss, you stated that the time is past, yet you make older properties such as BTTF & Ghostbusters. Where do you draw the distinction between what is “past” time to make? (KickAss is still ongoing in the comics) 2) DST make excellent Black Bolt & Lockjaw minimates. Any chance of seeing the Inhumans ranks rounded out more? 3) Zombies - any chance of seeing any kind of generic Zombie minimates line? This is something that would do well without a specific license attached to it! 4) Indiana Jones - now that the previous brick-making company isn’t making sets any more, any chance we might see IJ minimates? 5) Disney - now that you’ve got a Disney Park exclusive Marvel set, have you tried pitching them on Disney character Minimates for the Disney theme park stores? My wife would go crazy for Nightmare before Christmas, Lilo & Stitch, and classic Disney Character minimates! Preferably with sculpted heads, this would be a huge hit! 6) The Hobbit: With the new movies coming out, I truly hope DST is working to bring us Hobbit AND new LOTR related minimates! I love minimates! When I scale back on my spending, I always cut out other lines before I’d ever cut out any minimates! My wife and I are so excited for the Pirates MAX line, and we plan on buying every one we find just to show support for the Pirates! Hopefully we may some day see Pirates of the Caribbean minimates! Keep up the excellent work!
Ok speaking of lots of questions from one fan..away we go!
Brian its not some exact magic formula and I can tell you’re a fan of the property and I’m honored that you want Miniamtes to collect, but I don’t think you can compare GB, BTTF to Kick A$$. Maybe sometime down the road if the graphics novels keep selling or there is another movie, then you might see something. Until then Mez has some GREAT looking figures coming out!
I think we’re aware we have some team out there that are close and fans might like to see completed. I don’t keep a chart but maybe DSTRobert does. When we’re looking to round out a wave or such we do consider things like that for the last figure etc…
Right now we have designs for several house brand Minimates that we want to come up with stories to and develop. The ones that come out the strongest we hope to make ongoing lines. Zombies is something we considered for 2011 but we could not come up with a strong enough story that we could put our imprint and ideas on. I am sure its something we will keep in mind for 2012.
We have asked and for now we are being told, no, but we’ll KEEP asking.
Boy I’d like to think something like that would-be possible but I just don’t know. I still have not head if they are happy with the sales of their set- but I did ask.
We’ll have to see how the whole Hobbit thing shakes out with the studios etc.. Its certainly a huge property and something we’d be honored to work on.
Very glad she is excited about the pirates- I hope we can live up to her expectations; I know we’re putting a ton of effort into the line.
Who determines the case assortment at TRU, AA or TRU? I ask because my local TRU still has three Thor/Lady Loki 2-pks that, I believe were released in January 2010 and have now become the infamous peg-warmers. It seems that the 2-pks that are also released through the specialty market don’t sell as well as the TRU exclusives. The TRU exclusives always seem to be short packed. Is this on purpose? These are the ones that collectors want but can’t seem to find. I typically get my minimates through the specialty market and only go to TRU for the exclusives.
Yes, the cases are weighted 4-4-2-2. It does seem true that the Thor / Lady Loki is a slow mover. Something we have noticed though. In many cases a shortage or slow seller can be very regional, your store might not sell out but one a town or two over could be wiped out.
I’m very excited about the upcoming Calico Jack line and very excited for more MAX minimates. My question is what other non license minimates are on your shot lists of must haves. I’d personally like to see some astronauts or western minimates. My Old West Doc Brown needs someone to serve him his sarsaparilla.
I’m a HUGE fan of Westerns too, but nothing on that list for 2011, maybe 2012. I really can’t say what will be next its too soon for that, we’re finishing up everything we need for Calico Jack right now and we’re starting early work on the MAX series 2. The storyline is in its second or third round for the property after Calico so hopefully we’ll have something for maybe C2E2.