Lots of things in this life make me happy, but a couple that happen to be pretty high on the list are: giant robots & action figures! That's why NECA's recent release of toys based on the upcoming "Pacific Rim" film, by Legendary Pictures and my favorite director Guillermo del Toro, caused my heart to practically burst from my chest with excitement! After the ensuing trip to the hospital, I contacted Randy Falk, King of NECA Toys & All Things Heavy Metal*, about the upcoming figures and the working relationship between the film-making process and the action figure madness!
MTV Geek: How early was NECA involved with the "Pacific Rim" license?
Randy Falk: Very early on actually, we had great access and visited the set in Toronto a couple of times during filming.
Geek: What kind of materials did you have access to for the sculpting of the figures?
Falk: We were given great access and reference in the form of a digital bible for the jaegers and access to the 3D files from ILM used to create the jaegers and kaiju on screen.
Geek: The figures look extremely intricate and match up to the look of the film. Were these traditionally sculpted or digitally?
Falk: Mostly digital outputs supplied to us through Legendary and ILM -- then we articulated by hand and cleaned up and refined some details. For the 18" Gipsy Danger we did a lot more by hand to really add more details and weathering as well as adding LED lights to the head and chest. It's a really impressive figure and is a great nod back to the Shogun Warrior type of toys from the late 70s.
Geek: Have any of the Jaeger designs changed during the course of the film's production that caused reconfiguring the action figure sculpts?
Falk: Fortunately no, early on Crimson Typhoon didn't have the 2 arms on his left side in the concepts, but by the time we started our digital modeling in Sept of 2012, the designs were all locked and final.
Geek: I've been loving the amount of articulation NECA has been adding lately. Are these figures following that model?
Falk: As much as we possibly can. The designs of the Kaiju make the articulation a little tougher to implement organically into the design, but we tried to integrate as many functional joints as we could. You can definitely pose them all in a variety of ways and stage your own Jaeger vs Kaiju battles.
Geek: Of all the Kaiju, how was "Knifehead" chosen as the first to bring to action figure-form?
Falk: The character selection really came from meetings and conversations we had with Guillermo del Toro, looking at the designs of what makes the most sense as a toy. Some of the Kaiju are so huge they become cost prohibitive for us to produce at scale so we tried to work with Kaiju that would be close to our target pricing. The Leatherback in Series 2 is enormous, huge and heavy chunk of plastic.
Geek: Any plans for more Jaegers besides these first two in the 7" line?
Falk: Yes, you will see Striker Eureka in Series 2 along with a battle damaged Gipsy Danger that comes with the chain sword accessories.
Geek: How about any of the pilots, particularly Raleigh Becket? I could definitely use a Charlie Hunnam headsculpt for a "Sons of Anarchy" custom!
Falk: Main reason we avoided pilots are scale – first, the movie is about the battle of Jaeger vs. Kaiju and we did them at our normal 7" size so a pilot at that scale would be a speck. If we did a pilot at our traditional scale then the pilot is as big as the Kaiju and that just doesn't make sense. The pilot armor design is awesome and if people want to see it bad enough we will make it, but our focus is really the epic-ness of Kaiju vs. Jaeger.
Geek: In one of the latest trailers, we see Gipsy Danger using a ship as a baseball bat. If you were piloting a Jaeger, what would you improvise as a weapon, in a pinch?
Falk: I'd go for a jumbo jet. Pile drive that sucker onto a Kaiju, really do some damage, plus loaded with jet fuel it would create a pretty spectacular fire and explosion.
Here's even more Jaeger madness:
NECA's "Pacific Rim" figures are available now at major retailers both online and brick and mortar. Plus, you grab plenty of "Pacific Rim" awesomeness in NECA's new online store, and are beginning to hit retail as you read this! "Pacific Rim" smashes its way into theaters nationwide on July 12th!
*That's definitely NOT Randy's official title.