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Round 2 Models: How The Magic Happens (Episode 1)

posted by JamieH 2:33 PM
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I recently asked for some ideas to post about and it seems one of the most requested bits you want to hear about is how things work here day to day at Round 2 Models. I decided to keep a log of what I did over a four-day period. Why four? Because I got too far into one day without taking any notes.

Keep in mind that more than anything, my job is to “art direct”- give thoughts on the progress of a sculpt, assemble and review test shots, review a tooling plan to make sure every part is accounted for, create or advise an associate on a packaging design or instruction sheet, give management an update on product progress, assemble documents to generate cost estimates and figure out what we are going to do next and who I can find that would best help with that, write these blogs and generally just keep all of the balls in the air or make sure they get thrown into the proper basket complete and on schedule.

I fear this won’t seem like the exciting time you might imagine it to be. All in all, things may seem to happen at a snails pace. I can assure you I always have too much going on to make daily dents in my “to do list”.  I’ll try to explain about some things along the way.

DAY 1

7:30 – Arrive at the office. I’m the third person in today. One other creative is usually here by the time I arrive. The other person is from accounting. Our day doesn’t technically start until 8:00. Most people are out by 5, but a devoted few tend to stay past that most days.

7:30-8:30 – Check email. This usually eats up most of my morning and it gets checked regularly during the day. Some days email completely distracts from actually getting the work done that I might have intended to do in a given day.

The majority of the email traffic is me answering questions or keeping balls in the air on various projects with a few factories and vendors (sculptors, digital modelers, etc). This particular morning covers hearing that pre-production samples of our upcoming Incredible Hulk are on their way. I’ll need to review them. If they look correct, the factory will produce the product exactly way I see it. I will need to note any corrections that might be necessary. I also reviewed the progress of laying out the 1:350 TOS Enterprise tooling. Answering emails such as these can be a huge time sink. I need to capture images and make notes of every problem I see. When reviewing a sculpt or mockup from the factory, this can take up the majority of a given day.

8:30- 9:10 –  weekly product development team meeting. With a few people out, this one is relatively short. They usually take 1-2 hours. Our department (10 full time designers) meets to review what we are currently working on. It is a time for the Creative Director to present anything to the department he needs to. We get a chance to see and hear about what each of us are working on and give critiques and pointers where needed. We are each generally pretty isolated to specific lines. As you know, I am the primary line manager for Polar Lights. Another designer splits his time between my line and the automotive line. We have a part time intern assist on the Polar Lights line as well. On the automotive side, John manages that line up. We have one additional designer splitting his time between automotive model product and our new line of model rockets. Everyone else is spread over our Forever Fun, slot car and die cast lines.

9:10-10:10 – I’m back at my desk and continue responding to email.

10:10-11:45 – We have two people out sick in the department and Forever Fun has a huge bunch of package mockups due by the middle of the week for a large retailer. Mockups are basically fake packages. Most of them need to look as close to the final product as possible, which includes putting actual product in the package. It is a huge pain and takes a lot of time. We have one part timer who comes in and does nothing but mockups. With one of the missing people being one of the Forever Fun peeps and the other person being one that would normally pitch in on such a crunch, the effort is short handed. So the rest of us are enlisted to help out. For my part, I cut out a few of the more complicated patterns and assemble the boxes. It is a pain and takes a sizeable chunk out of my day, but we gotta do what we gotta do sometimes. This situation rarely happens, but we are all prepared when the call comes.

11:45-12 – check more email. This time I answer some questions for one of our sculptors for one of the projects he is working on. (details for which will be announced at Wonderfest)

12-12:45 – lunch. I run to a local Meijer supermarket to pick up lunch provisions to cover me for the next couple weeks. Other than this, I rarely leave the premises for lunch.

12:45-1 – You guessed it, check my email.

1-4 – I do some research for a few new projects we have planned. This mainly consists of researching online, checking with consultants and in one case finding the answers in a book I already had on my shelf. I won’t get into specifics, but basically I’m looking for reference images for one kit, a beauty shot of another ship to use for our sell sheet for another project, and determine the length of a couple ships. Among my search I stumbled cross Steve Neill’s YouTube series about his 66” scratch built Enterprise. That ate up a good 20 minutes just checking that out. Fascinating…

4-5:50 – I work on an RFQ (Request for Quote) for a kit coming out in the fall. This document will be sent to the factory for them to determine their cost to produce the kit. The RFQ pretty much covers every aspect of the kit from the parts included, color and packaging. If a test shot is already in hand, tooling revisions or problems will be recorded to gauge the difficulty and cost for necessary tooling work.

5:50 – I’m out the door and on the road for a 40 minute drive home.

 

Here are a few pics I snapped throughout the day.

A look at my desk the morning of day 1. It would continue to accumulate more mass for an additional week before I break down and come in on a Saturday to clean it up.

 

This is our mockup area in the warehouse. Mike G. (American Muscle and Custom & Premium) and Ken H. (model kits) stand at the left of the pic. Monica (model kits intern) and Jen (mockup contractor) are seated at the table.

 

This shows the mockups that are complete at noon. I estimate that this is about half of what is required for one retailer’s request.

 

This shows a package mockup that has had all of the straight edges already trimmed down.

 

This shows what it looks like after I trim out the window. The box will go on to be assembled with an acetate window installed and have last year’s product put inside to give the closest indication possible of how it will look on the shelf.

 

This shows an overall view of a vintage copy of the Star Trek Exploration Set. This photo gets installed in the RFQ to show what parts are needed and an estimation of their size.

 

Whew. That is a mouthful. I guess I’ll have to write up each day individually. So, to be continued…



26 Responses to “Round 2 Models: How The Magic Happens (Episode 1)”

  1. Mach7 says:

    Jamie,

    Does that mean that a re-release of the Exploration set is in our future?
    If so are you planing on improving it?

    Thanks for the look behind the curtain.

    Mark

  2. JamieH says:

    Any time you see orange “link” text, give it a click… 🙂

  3. Mach7 says:

    I did!
    Thanks! Photo etched parts? Interesting.

    Any more details?

  4. JamieH says:

    Not at the moment. We are in the early stages right now.

  5. Mach7 says:

    Might I sugest the photo etch parts for the comm lid, speaker grill, and moire patern.
    The Tric moire and speaker grill
    The phaser aspirator and power meter

  6. steve-neill says:

    Thanks so much for checking out my big enterprise build. Tom let me know. You might take a look at what I did with a R2 Enterprise B on my channel.

    Thanks again,

    Steve Neill

  7. zysurge says:

    A very cool writeup. Thanks Jamie.

    I’m kinda suprised that Paramount would allow a re-relase of the Exploration set, as inaccurate as it is. Even so, I’ll buy one just for the nostalgia factor. I remember playing with mine all the time as a kid.

  8. ModelMan says:

    Hey Jamie, Cool little glimpses into the day!
    Had I known you didn’t know about Steve Neill, I would’ve told you a while back. That ship is quite the beauty to see in person! Too bad there aren’t any L.A. trade shows!

  9. fortress says:

    Thank for the glimpes of the inner workings of
    Round 2 JamieH, many of us never really get a chance to see the process at work it gives modeler a different prospective perhaps even
    the one you see when you are trying to tell
    things like “Why things get delayed” or
    “We have chosen to make this kit instead”
    stuff like that, hey it helps.

    Please do more.

    Also I know that you are re-releasing some PL kits
    for this year, any chance for 2013 you will do more?
    I would love to see the Lost In Space Jupiter 2 re-pop
    molded in Glow In the Dark. That would give that B/W
    feel that they had going on in the first season of the show.

    I have heard many folks say that even though they have
    purchased the Moebius J2 they still dig their PL version
    well so do I and a Glow version would be sick I think.

    fortress

  10. JamieH says:

    Fortress-
    We are developing our 2013 plan right now and if it works out as I hope, we will have plenty of exciting products to talk about. No plans for Lost In Space kits though. Generally, licensors will only allow one company to develop products for each type of market. Since Moebius has the license right now (and they are doing a great job with it), we won’t be able to explore anything within that property.

  11. fortress says:

    Thanks JamieH for the reply. With your monstrous work
    Schedule to have the time, rather make the time to respond
    Back to consumer feedback is really impressive and appreciated.

    I have been in customer services for 20 years and I really feel
    Like when you connect with your customers it really dose
    Help the band or the service you represent. If more kit
    Manufacturers were doing what RC2 is doing I feel without
    Pause that it would breed more life into the modeling enterprise
    And perhaps make new customers.

    Just look at all the folks that review kits on YouTube including
    Kits from RC2. It’s just amazing how many folks that medium
    And ones like it reach modelers like me.

    So again all Props to ya JH!

    Fortress

  12. JamieH says:

    My pleasure, Fortress. I only wish I could do more.

  13. BatToys says:

    Jamie,
    Todays 1701 Club update was a lot of fun to read. It’s nice you are going to give away two Enterprise test shots to members who go to Wonderfest but that shuts out members who can’t attend, like me, who have work responsibilites. How about use the auction one or a third one for online raffle?

    And any plans for Game of Thrones figure kits?

  14. Fraley1701 says:

    Jamie,
    I really enjoyed today’s 1701 Club news letter! I am getting very excited for this kit and I really appreciate you sharing the whole process with the subscribers! I sincerely hope most of the Trek kits you mentioned in your proposal see the light of day. Fascinating!

  15. Mach7 says:

    Jamie,

    I just read the 1701 update 6.
    Thanks for the information, it was a great read. I thought your presentation was very complete and well done.

    But also exciting were the future product we could see. A 1/1000 Romulan and a new shuttlecraft are very welcome. I hope you are as persuasive with those as you were with the big Enterprise.

    I know you give us an inch and I want a mile. Could you give some thought to producing accurate 1:1 TOS props? The DST stuff is nice but they are toys. I think you could sell an accurate phaser, communicator, and tricorder in good numbers.

    I could see them selling well at maybe $30-50 for a phaser and communicator and $75 for a tricorder.

    Thanks again.

  16. fortress says:

    Jamie,

    Hey I saw the latest 1701 club update and I am with
    Batoys on this one! It was really the best one I
    have read so far, on top of that folks got some real
    insider information, man that makes a guy sort of
    feel like he’s working for the government. hahah.

    One point in question that is future kit subjects, of course
    my favorite part, I was wondering since from a buisness
    prospective you have to choose subjects that have a
    high visibility and marginal production costs to keep the
    ball rolling so to speak I submit that in addtion to smaller
    kit offering that you consider ADD-ON Kits sets;

    Example

    For the 1/350 USS ENTERPRISE 1701

    USS Constallation from Star Trek The Doomsday Machine
    Includes Add-on Battle damaged parts and decals for 1/350 1701
    http://www.haibane.info/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/damaged_constallation.jpg
    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/c/c6/USS_Constellation_remastered.jpg
    http://images.wikia.com/startrek/images/2/22/Constellation-r.jpg

    U.S.S. Copernicus(from Star Trek Blood and Fire)Easy Add-On Kit for the 1/350 1701.
    http://ussatlantia.webs.com/coperfrnt.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3009/2721395176_2cf0e8399f.jpg
    http://www.startrekphase2.de/en/files/p2d_copernicus_wallpaper01.png
    http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/6200000/USS-Copernicus-NCC-1893-star-trek-ships-6248542-1280-1024.jpg

    Tholian Ship/USS Aurora Space Cruiser in scale with 1/350 1701
    (parts included to make either one)
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XNPD380IpBQ/SCELBf8WLuI/AAAAAAAAAq4/FVMCz-6fEtI/s400/P28_13_ST9_AuroraWayToEden.jpg
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_XNPD380IpBQ/SCELB_8WLvI/AAAAAAAAArA/0u3RRcnwPPg/s400/P28_14_AuroraTholian.jpg

    Star Trek The Corbomite Manuever( Use 1/1000 1701 with lighted FESARIUS ship base)I did not make this up, found a fan made box on the internet, really looks cool.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tn7DjmJJRSQ/Ths4xxwcwfI/AAAAAAAACwE/vNRqw9mhHUw/s1600/st05+copy.jpg

    Federation Dreadnaught(I see that’s on your list as well KILLER!)
    http://www.shipschematics.net/startrek/images/federation/dreadnaught_federation_var3.jpg

    Just some food for thought on that 1/350 scale deal from
    a Trek crazed citizen.lol

    Thanks again for the updates!

    fortress

  17. jaws62666 says:

    any plans on rereleasing the MPC line Star Wars kits. An R2D2 and C3PO would be awesome. Or Disney Black Hole kits

  18. JamieH says:

    BatToys- Like I said int he report, we are giving away the kits at the show to promote the kit just as much for the show itself. No other plans for a giveaway at the moment.

    Mach7- We have put some thought into doing full size props, but we just aren’t sure how they would do against the other built props that are out there.

    fortress- Some good ideas to explore there.

  19. ModelMan says:

    Between this post and the club update, there was so much good stuff to read! Like Fortress mentioned with the add-on packs. You’ll need at least a nacelle pack of 1-3 engines for those so inclined. I bet a saucer/neck option would be a seller. Easy packaging, parts already tooled. Being so much cheaper than buying another full kit, you will get more sales is my bet. I’m certainly up for building a Scout without having to buy a full Connie. Cheers!

  20. fortress says:

    I just watched the fan-made movie Star Trek of Gods and Men
    for the second time and I must have missed some part of it
    before because man they had some really nice starship designs

    http://startrekofgodsandmen.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58&Itemid=173

    http://www.klingon-ehttp://startrekofgodsandmen.com/images/contact_top_left.jpgmpire.org/photopost/data/500/medium/GSS_Conqueror.jpg
    http://members.shaw.ca/web_roli/images/Web%20Pics/WP_Conq_01.png
    http://members.shaw.ca/web_roli/images/Web%20Pics/WP_SUP_01.png
    http://members.shaw.ca/web_roli/images/Web%20Pics/WP_KT_01.png

    http://members.shaw.ca/web_roli/images/Web%20Pics/WP_LIB_01.png

    http://members.shaw.ca/web_roli/images/Web%20Pics/WP_SUP_01.png

    I really think some of the designs would really make for
    some nice aftermarket kits for the 1/350 scale 1701 and if
    you have not seen Star Trek Of Gods and Men you have to check
    it out. As fan movie goes, it’s pretty good.

    fortress

  21. Arelem says:

    A man after my own heart. I love the Syd Mead wallpaper on your computer :-=)

  22. JamieH says:

    Arelem- I’d love to do a series of kits based on his designs some day.

  23. Warborg says:

    Never posted here, but been following Round2/Polar Lights stuff for a while, bought most of the Fed ships, and still have my 1/350 Ent-A collecting dust until my skills are where I can do it justice. A couple of questions…

    1. Is there ANY chance of re-issuing the NX-01 1/350?
    2. Is there a possibility of a re-issue of the U.S.S. Voyager? I would love to have another crack at that ship without the eBay prices attached.
    3. Lastly (less important to me personally) might we seea re-issue of the U.S.S. Defiant kit as well (I know about the one in the DS9 kit, just hoping for the full sized kit as well).
    4. Actually, one that just came to mind… I know this is probably HIGHLY unlikely but I’ll ask anyway… Ever a chance of getting a new kit of the U.S.S. Prometheus? I know it’s a minor ship in the ST lore, but always loved the design… Or if not this, maybe a Dreadnaught kit or conversion parts?

  24. JamieH says:

    Hi Warborg-
    1- yes, eventually.
    2- We don’t own the tooling for the Voyager kit. That isn’t to say we could not do a new Voyager kit at some point.
    3- yes, eventually.
    4- Prometheus would be a ways down our list of possibilities. A Dreadnaught? No firm plans, but it has been under consideration at times.

  25. fortress says:

    Warborg hit on two fine points there the NX-01 1/350 scale
    would make a fine re-release perhaps with battle damaged parts
    like from the ENT episode Azati Prime.

    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/f/f1/Enterprise_severely_damaged,_2154.jpg
    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/b/b5/Enterprise_battle_with_Xindi_ships_near_Azati_Prime.jpg

    maybe include a Xindi 1/1000 scale ship with kit? Maybe?
    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/b/b5/Enterprise_battle_with_Xindi_ships_near_Azati_Prime.jpg
    http://drexfiles.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/xindi_r01_sm1.jpg

    As far as the DS9 USS Defiant how about having the re-release version be molded in clear and come with a lower docking bay intereior with chaffee shuttlecraft.

    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/0/05/Chaffee.jpg
    http://drexfiles.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/defiant_shutlebay.jpg

    long live Trek!

  26. justinleighty says:

    While people are throwing out ideas here, have you guys considered trying your glow-in-the-dark plastic route and Defiant decals for the upcoming 1/350 1701 kit?

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