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Got a nice surprise after the interview with MMCs newest designer, Jesslyn Makes Robots. Ive already interviewed two of their designers (Griffith76 and Jesslyn); This time I get a crack at the next step in the MMC corporate ladder with a chance to interview their Product Developer, Penguin One.
First things first: thanks for agreeing to do this. To tell you the truth I told Griffith that it would be really cool if one of his MMC higher ups would came to speak here in the MMC Hub but I really wasnt expecting a yes for an answer that easily.
Well, what can I say other than we like to interact with the fans. Its one of the things that has set us apart for a long time inside the 3P community. You could say we started a trend. We are fans too but we also treat this very seriously. It is a business after all. And professional businesses today dont hide in the shadows and shouldnt be afraid to get in contact with their customers if they believe in their products. Even if we are 3P, any opportunity to talk about what we do shouldnt be wasted.
Slowly but surely we are seeing a bigger turnout of new figures from you guys. And that is considering stuff like Nero Rex that Im sure takes production time away from the old factory. How is the new factory working out?
The new factory? Thats old news. In total we have developed two more factories this year and hopefully we can see some improvements on our speed down the road. Furthermore, the original factory for Reformatted line is expanding in the coming year.
Great! So you basically can have dedicated factories for each of your lines! Weve heard many times, and felt, the consequences of crappy factories numerous times. Is it that hard to get a factory to do a decent transforming toy?
Well, speaking of the factory responsible for the OX line for example; they underestimated the difficulty of Sphinx in the beginning. It worried us a lot when we received the T1 which was floppy and full of errors. For example, if you look at Sphinx’s T1 photo, the shoulder launcher was mirrored by mistake, and there are other issues which could have made this project a failure. After months of mold modifications, now I can say I am 99% happy for the final product. It is never easy to coach a new factory.
Can we expect less time from reveal to release then?
On average, a transformable figure probably takes us 10 months or longer from design to finish, I think other companies would take the same amount of time, or maybe we are really too slow. You know, MMC is pretty renowned for taking time on things, maybe MMC should be considered lucky for not going bankrupt so far. But I dont believe that is the case. Fact is that we dont want to just change name like others have done if things go bad. We are already associated with great quality and wont give up on that. Like in the example I just gave you with Sphinx. We could have just rushed it out but then it wouldnt really be an MMC product and we certainly would not like to tarnish the MMC name just to have something in MP scale out fast.
To answer your question, maybe the only solution is to reveal the projects when our molds are ready, so people will see a smaller window of waiting. I believe it is how other companies are doing it now. We really need to keep our mouths shut. But that would come with a price: we wouldnt be able to enjoy things like seeing the faces full of excitement at the TFCON 3rd party panel.
Expect Sphinx to ship to our customers in two weeks time.
What about Seraph? He probably holds a record of developing time. People still get excited for it but is his destiny that of just showing up at Cons?
Let me just tell you this: Seraph will be released. Ill tell you even more: Seraph’s mold is ready. His final scheme has been finally approved; we have been testing different schemes and just recently before TFCON we got a very satisfying result. After the stock photos are done, preorders will be up.
Great to hear! And speaking of TFCON, Jaguar come out of left field. What else can we expect from the REmix line?
I have to admit, when the mechanism designer handed over this design to us, I underestimated the potential of this line. I didn’t know whether the scale would work. When I handled the prototype, that concern didn’t exist anymore. This whole idea is brilliant.
What else do you want to see in REmix?
We have quite large of selections in the character pool to REmix; if it all goes well we can even have plans for original characters.
Ooooh, original characters can be difficult for 3P to sell. What about the price? Will that help the line?
We could have priced 40 dollars if it was full plastic, but we ended up with the 60 dollar price point with lots of die cast. We can always go back to full plastic if people think it is too pricey, but that will break my heart. The weight and the finish of the die cast parts of Jaguar pushed this design to a new height. If I plan on displaying something next to my desk I expect it to look and feel good.
Could a Walkman Soundwave be part of the future of the line?
I couldn’t say too much for now. And it depends on whether the first one is received well.
These last two years youve done quite a number of exclusives. The biggest being a whole five member combiner in the form of Nero Rex. Can we expect more cool repaints in the future?
Hope you like our repaint ideas. We always think about repaints when we finish the design, some were even planned together with the main character.And a tight partner of ours has had a word with us that he wants all the black repaints for his convention.
Getting your hands on one of those convention exclusives can be hard, or expensive to be more precise. Could we at the MMC Hub get an exclusive? It would be a nice change for those that cant go to Cons to get into the action!
Why not, let’s talk about it hey, I suddenly have an idea to run a contest through the MMC Hub. How about one to choose a paint scheme design for the Reformatted Dicamus (not Roadbuster remold of Titanika) mold? The winning design will be realized into production, and we might hire the winner for future work. What do you think?
Sounds like a great start. Thanks!
Happy to see Vulcan being revealed. Was bored of having pictures of it getting cobwebs in my hard drive! I also know you have other Reformatted and Ocular Max releases planned but there is that bit about an Ocular Max Defensor that was discussed a few months ago. Hows that coming?
Sorry to say that Vulcan is no more! The name I mean lol. Vulcan will be undergoing a name change. The name now is Backdraft. The reason for this is that we just found out another company had taken this name for their product before we did. Backdraft is a cool name though!
Maximum Pro is still in the pipeline. We started the project after Feral Rex, but we have been battling internally for its scale, build and even alt modes. It will be our next big thing after we finish the first wave of the OX characters. Hopefully by then collectors will have a better idea what we want to deliver with this brand.
Bet half of those revolve around that controversial bike that turns into a leg!
Well, thats a given; its one of the craziest combiners when it comes to scales lol But not just the bike. You have other vehicles that are also way out of scale with each other in the real world. Then there is the issue of scale with other MP sized bots. We want to take our time to make something we believe in.
There are a lot of Ocular Max releases planned. What about Reformatted? Will it keep turning out new stuff like before?
Then plan is up our releases there too. The Reformatted line has quite a few new designs in the pipeline, and the added value of a grand storyline behind the products. We just met an etailer at TFCON, he asks us not to quit this line even after Ocular Max tops it, as we have grown a group of supporters these years.
I recently talked to Jesslyn, one of your new designers. Her next project for the Ocular Max line looks killer. Will be seeing more of her work for MMC?
Noticed that you are crediting the people involved in the creation of Sphinx right on his box. Have to say I really like that you are giving credit where credit is due.
Thanks! MMC is the end product of a lot of people wanting to surpass themselves from project to project. We believe that great work has to be recognized.
It also means that your talent can be scouted away from you. Jesslyn told me she was contacted by some companies.
We dont own our designers; some of them have done work for other companies after all. But we do treat them very good. Thats why we are confident that they will work their hardest for us. Plus Im sure that having your design being looked after with great care to get the best final result counts too.
As for Jesslyn, I do want to take this chance to say something to other designers: careful with who gets in contact with you. With Jess there was a person (lets leave it at that) that recently contacted her boasting about his position inside the 3P industry in a way we have seen before. The case we know of ended with a designer selling his time and work but never getting actually paid for it. Dont want to sound like Im out to scare people. Just that be careful with your work. Some parts of the 3P world are very shadowy and that creates opportunities for scammers with honey mouths.
Well, thanks for mentioning it. Really sucks that there are people out there wanting to steal the work of others to pass it of as theirs. But lets not end this on a sour note: Overlord is awesomely gigantic. When can I expect to kiss his sexy lips in the comfort of my own house?
This guys schedule should be April 2016 But dont believe everything that I said;)