Production of Physical 3D Figurines in Japan
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Production of Physical 3D Figurines in Japan
10 September, 2018
Character Art
Interview

We’ve talked with the people behind Gecco – Japanese figurine production company, which creates the most amazing physical statues based on famous game properties.

Can you tell us a bit about Gecco?

Gecco was founded in Osaka, Japan back in 2013, and our first product was Red Pyramid Thing (known as Pyramid Head) 1/6 scale statue from Silent Hill 2. We were the very first company, who recreated characters of the video game “Silent Hill” as mass-produced statue. Because of the choice and quality, we got a really good start. Since then, we have been working on several characters from mainly video games, and from comic books, animation or movies. Currently our biggest clients as video game developers are Konami and FromSoftware.

Could you talk a little a bit about the way you are working on the production?

Talking of the quality of products, we are really glad to hear that many customers are satisfied with the quality of mass-production level. Before mass-producing, we have to have a very good prototype. We always ask sculptors who love & know the characters very well to sculpt them. Our director and sculptors spend a lot of time researching the designs and details. Besides, we work very closely with the video game developers, manga artists or original designers of characters, and always have supervision from them directly, so that we can faithfully capture characters with super fine details. Sometimes we can hear some details about design, nobody else but the original artists know about.

By the way, most of our prototypes were made by hand with clay. That is why it takes us a really long time to develop statues. We even wrote a blog post about it. Recently, we have started using digital sculpting tools like Zbrush for some statues to recreate sharp details, for example, mechanical parts. We sometimes mix traditional clay sculpt & digital sculpt.

How do you produce the physical statues? 

We have a long-term partnership with very reliable factories instead of having our own facilities. We often use plastic as the main material of production, and we have to make steel molds to cast the pieces. Engineering the molds is the key to recreate the detailed designs in the actual products, and our factories have very experienced engineers.

In order to make one fine detailed statue, we need lots of tiny parts. You may get some ideas from our past Facebook post.

What’s the painting process like?

First, we have very talented painters to paint our production masters to be followed by production. Here is the process of production master. For mass production, our statues are produced in factories in China. Most of the paint works are done by hand by very skilled painters using simple brushes or airbrushes. To recreate some complex designs like mechanical marks, small letters, or eyes, we use a printing machine.

Do you buy licenses for famous characters?

Basically, we do buy licenses to make statues of characters based on IPs. First few years after we founded Gecco, it was really hard to get licenses since we did not have actual mass-products to prove our performance, and finally, we got a license contract with Konami Digital Entertainment, who was very kind & supportive to give us a try with Silent Hill. Luckily, we were able to work with the original creature designer Silent Hill, Mr. Masahiro Ito to have thorough supervision. Since then, we have built up good relationship with Konami, and now we are licensed to produce Metal Gear series. After we producing Silent Hill statues, many IP licensors have given us offers.

How do you keep the quality control on such a high level?

Controlling the production is the most difficult part, and we spend a lot of time, money and energy on it. We are not sure how other companies do the inspection, but we, actually our CEO, check every single piece during the production. As we mentioned above, we have to make tons of small parts to be assembled in one final statue. In order to avoid production loss, we check each small part before assembling and check all assembled statues once again to confirm the final condition. There is no shortcut or cheat. We simply spend a lot of time for inspection.

How can we purchase these amazing products?

We have distributors worldwide, so our customers can purchase our goods at retailer everywhere, but not many physical stores, we guess. Also, we usually don’t have stock, and we manufacture items according to pre-order amount. Therefore, we recommend our customers to find their favorite online stores to place pre-order. Some may worried about ordering kind of expensive goods before seeing the actual condition. As figure geek ourselves, we totally understand the feeling, but we always guarantee our quality.

If you can not find your online stores, we also have our own store.

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev.

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