GEEK! INTERVIEW: Jeremy Sung, Spy Monkey Creations

Do you find your 3-eyed Evil Warrior lacking protection against Power Sword attacks? How about noticing that your Skeleton-faced overlord could use a wicked bat wing-shaped blade? Perhaps that a certain Space Cop would benefit from a powerful blast that emanates from his mighty ring? Well folks, now you’re in luck! No longer do your action figures need to be ashamed by their lack of accessories, because Spy Monkey Creations Inc. has got you covered! Today we’re talking to the President and Lead Designer at Spy Monkey, Jeremy Sung.

MTV Geek!: For the readers unfamiliar with your company, could you tell us what Spy Monkey Creations Inc. is all about?

Jeremy Sung: Spy Monkey Creations is an endeavor by fans, for fans. I've been an action figure fan for a long time, and I love accessories. Our current focus is on bringing high quality hand crafted accessories to fellow collectors in order to enhance their collections.

Geek!: How did the company get started?

JS: The whole project started when I created the Master Blade of the Empyrean. It was a hobby project I undertook to make a figure in my collection a little bit more fun. The fan response was so strong that I founded Spy Monkey Creations Inc. in order to bring that, and other fan created accessories, to my fellow collectors.

Geek!: What has been your most successful product to date?

[caption id="attachment_1303" align="alignright" width="243" caption="Master Blade of the Empyrean"][/caption]

JS: Our first item, the Master Blade of the Empyrean was and continues to be popular, but our most recent item, the Dark Arsenal of the Space Pirate has been an incredibly strong seller.

Geek!: What (if any) has been the biggest pitfall? Any horror stories of things going horribly wrong, either with procuring materials or in the manufacturing process?

JS: Oh yes! I'm sure every small business has it's share of horror stories, and we are no exception! On our Shield of Destruction Eye of Doom we'd originally been using these great glass taxidermist's eyes. Unfortunately the supplier was not able to keep up with demand and it ended up delaying our orders significantly. Ultimately we had to switch to a plastic doll and bear eye, which also looks great and ultimately solved the supply problem. But it's a shame as the glass eyes were made in the USA, and I like to try to support fellow US based businesses when possible.

Geek!: You guys seem to be on top of things when it comes to releasing product coinciding or (in the case of Tools of the Master Strategist) before figures hit the market. About how long from concept does it take to have an accessory ready for the consumption of the masses?

JS: Since everything we do is hand cast in the US, our production cycle is pretty fast. From initial concepts to first castings we can turn out a new product in about a month. This is assuming the design is sound and passes QC. Working in resin means we have to account for shrinkage in curing and test durability carefully. So the bulk of the time is really taken up in planning, design and testing. The actual fabrication, molding and casting is relatively fast as long as we have the designs locked down.

The compatibility of your products with the hottest "adult collector" lines is really a boon to the fans that feel slighted by a lack of great accessories. While the fantasy-themed weapons are quite plentiful, there's considerably less in the superhero department. Have you been looking to develop any new products for that line, or possibly some of the current energy blasts in different colors?

[caption id="attachment_1305" align="alignright" width="243" caption="Glyos Accessory Pack"]Emerald Energy Shield

JS: We're big superhero fans and our Emerald Energy Accessories were a big hit! The main reason we've not yet expanded that line is that there are issues with the fit/function of clip-on accessories. Weapon grips and handles are relatively easy to do while allowing compatibility with a variety of figures. Clip-on's are harder to keep universal. We do plan on re-visiting the superhero genre, it just may take some more R&D.

Geek!: As we've seen with The Dark Arsenal of the Space Pirate & The Tools of the Master Strategist, Spy Monkey is capable of some really intricate systems that are just as high, if not better, quality than the lines they're made for. How much more complicated were the "plug and play" aspects of the sets to sculpt and pull off than the axes and shields that have come before?

JS: Every product teaches us something new, and the Arsenal/Tools sets were a real challenge. The fit/function of the plug system was something we weren't sure would work in resin, so we had to very carefully test those. The toughest issues were accounting for resin shrinkage. The resin we use shrinks about 2% as it cures, so this makes parts with narrow fit/function tolerances challenging as you have to account for the shrinkage with some guesswork.

Glyos Accessory Pack[/caption]

Geek!: You have recently been offering some really interesting add-ons for the Glyos series of figures. Is this in conjunction with Onell Design? How did that come about?

JS: I've been friends with Matt Doughty at Onell for years now and am a HUGE fan of his work. He's really blazing a trail for the small toy designer/entrepreneur, as his collaboration with the 4 Horsemen shows. The Glyos heads were really fun and hopefully bring something new to the Glyos community. There are some really excellent cast and painted Glyos items by a variety of very talented toy artists like the Godbeast, Evil Earwig, NiStuff and Matt himself via his Custom Corps project. What we wanted to do was work with the building aspect of Glyos and offer affordable add on kits for the builders, customizers and kit-bashers of the Glyos community. Glyos is the Lego of action figures, as far as I'm concerned and no line is more original or inspires the imagination more, and we are proud to be part of it!

Geek!: That's great to hear! The Glyos stuff is really fantastic, especially the additional heads. Speaking of heads, quite a few fans have been wondering if perhaps Spy Monkey will release any custom heads that might fit on a more He-roic 7" body?

JS: Custom heads are something we are considering. The main issue is working out a way to get the pegs to work. Our resin has very little flex to it so getting it to work with a ball joint peg might be tricky. But it is definitely something we're working on.

Geek!: Nice! That’s gonna make a lot of collectors VERY happy. Jeremy, for the people now frothing at the mouth to score some of your products, where can they find them online?

JS: The best way to interact with us is via our Facebook page, just search Spy Monkey Creations Inc! We also have our website at www.spymonkeycreations.com, and our store at spymonkeycreations.ecrater.com. Don't forget to check out www.onelldesign.com for the latest from our friend Matt Doughty. Our friends at www.actionfigureinsider.com and www.poeghostal.com both have exclusive programs with us so check out their special items!

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