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Round 2: Putting It All Together

posted by BobP 8:00 AM
Friday, June 19, 2009

Round 2’s Creative Team consists of a small, fiercely dedicated group of individuals who juggle a variety of responsibilities. As most folks know, we don’t just make models kits (AMT, MPC and Polar Lights), but also have a holiday figural line (Forever Fun), a slot car line (Auto World), a 1:18 die-cast line (American Muscle) and a custom die-cast line (Auto World Custom & Premium). As you can imagine, with such a variety of projects, there’s never a dull moment at Round 2. (Maybe our mascot is a kangaroo because we’re always jumping from one project to another!)

In any case, I’d like to introduce you to the people behind the products. (In future entries, I’ll plan more detailed individual biographies of my fine cohorts.) As seen in the photo above, from left to right:

Jamie Hood is Art Director for Forever Fun and Model Kits, and on occasion contributes to Auto World as well. Jamie’s primary focus is product development, and he has a particular talent for reviewing sculpts, test shots and dealing with production-related issues. (If you’ve been following Jamie’s excellent entries on our model kits blog, you already have a fair idea of Jamie’s many talents.) With our Forever Fun holiday lines just starting to get under production, Jamie has been reviewing test shots and pre-production samples of Rudolph, Peanuts and Little Drummer Boy on an almost daily basis the past month or so. In addition to those responsibilities, Jamie is an accomplished artist; his most recent contribution, art-wise, at Round 2 was his stellar illustration of the Enterprise-E for our Star Trek model kits line.

Bob Plant (that’s me) is Creative Director at Round 2. Mostly that seems to mean that I get loads of e-mail and sigh a lot. (For variety, some cursing is involved occasionally, as well.) Other than that, well, I guess describing my job is a little tricky — mainly I try to make sure that things keep rolling and that I provide any support the creative team needs to get their job done. My background is in graphic design, so I still design some of our packaging as well, and recently have particularly enjoyed working on model kit boxes and instruction sheets. I’m a Trekkie/Trekker from way back, too, so it’s been a thrill being involved with the Trek kits. I can’t tell folks how exciting it is to be bringing back some of this vintage styrene — the Mr. Spock kit and the UFO Mystery ship are particularly thrill-worthy and absolutely make my geek heart jump for joy.

Terri Rach (that’s pronounced “rock,” and she, indeed, does) is Art Director for Forever Fun, but she also contributes to our other lines as well, particularly in a graphic capacity. Terri’s background in graphic design and advertising has been invaluable — she’s equally adept at designing a poseable holiday figure blister card as she is putting a model kit ad together. Terri ran her father’s ad agency, Impact, for many years, before striking out on her own as a freelance designer. Among her many clients were Playing Mantis and Round 2. At last, we convinced her to come on board full-time, and, in addition to her fine graphic skills, she’s proven herself to be an excellent conceptualist and product developer, working on Peanuts, Rudolph and Little Drummer Boy, developing both product and packaging. Terri posts Forever Fun progress reports on our sister blog, www.foreverfunblog.com — check it out!

Mike Groothuis is Art Director for Auto World, American Muscle and Custom & Premium. Mike’s focus is packaging design, but he also has his hand in the development of product as well, and is responsible for much of the beautiful and highly accurate pad print artwork that can be seen on our 1:18-scale American Muscle die-cast, as well as our Custom & Premium vehicles, which cover a wide range of vehicle types, from vintage delivery trucks to dragsters to funny cars. Mike is a fantastic photographer, and recently completed photography and packaging design for our line of classic automotive kits. Mike also specializes in photo-realistic renderings of automotive subjects; his illustrations have graced packaging art for Playing Mantis, RC2, and Greenlight. Be sure to check out Mike’s Auto World progress reports (and his excellent product photography) at www.autoworldblog.com.

John Greczula is Art Director and Brand Manager for the automotive segment of our model kits. A styrene kit fanatic from way back, John knows more about the history and the many permutations of MPC and AMT car kits than anyone I’ve ever met. His knowledge has been invaluable in restoring (“backdating”) these classic kits to their vintage glory. John’s obsessive attention to detail has helped ensure that the kits we release meet even the most serious model kit fan’s expectations. John is also a graphic designer who handles his own packaging, having a particular knack for accurately recreating vintage model kit boxes. John’s obsession with styrene car kits is nearly equaled by his peculiar fascination with the Gorn, from Star Trek the Original Series.

Tony Karamitsos is Brand Manager for Auto World, American Muscle and AW Custom & Premium. Tony has serious real-world experience with automotive restoration (specializing in muscle cars), which makes him perfectly suited for our automotive lines. Tony’s unparalleled attention to detail and intimate knowledge of many makes and models of cars have helped ensure that Auto World’s die cast and slot car lines are the most detailed and accurate on the market. Tony is one of the hardest-working individuals I’ve ever met – Tony runs a successful business as a DJ on weekends, restores cars in the evenings, (and occasionally drag-races them!) while still finding time to spend with his wife and three sons. (Three weeks ago, I saw him doing some serious partying with his wife in Vegas, but perhaps that’s a story for another time…)

Andy Jewett is Art Director Web Services and manages our many websites and blogs, from Forever Fun to Custom & Premium to Model Kits and everything in between. Andy is the most recent addition to our team, and his sardonic wit and enthusiasm helps keep us entertained. Andy is one of those multi-talented individuals who can handle the intricate inner-workings of our many websites while still making sure that everything looks pretty on the outside: he’s a true tech with taste. Andy has a great sense of design, and is also an accomplished comics artist, whose work has a distinctly indie (as in “independent comics”) bent. In the jack-of-all-trades department, Andy recently completed a couple of illustrations for our Rudolph packaging.

There you have it folks – a small taste of the personalities behind the product, and a big, big part of the reason why I look forward to coming to work every day.



6 Responses to “Round 2: Putting It All Together”

  1. psytce says:

    Sounds like a great place to work.
    I wish you guys the best, I can’t wait to get all the new Star Trek models.

    Tommy

  2. gbkron says:

    I’m not sure where to put this comment so this topic, being about some of your creative team seemed to be the best place. I’m a car modeler and of course have been following the Round2/AMT licensing deal with great interest. This new blog is terrific and, along with your new web site, are very strong marketing tools if they are promoted effectively. Below is a link to a post I just put up on the MCM board that gives my impressions of Round2/AMT One Year On. The very best of luck to you all going forward!

    http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21150&st=0#entry188980

  3. BobP says:

    Thanks very much for the kind words — we appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts on Round 2 Models at modelcarsmag.com forum.

    We do take model kits very seriously around here, and have folks working on the lines that have an affection for the hobby that goes way back. I am more of a sci-fi kit guy myself, as is Jamie, who has done the majority of the posting here. Our automotive kits are obviously a big aspect of the line, too, and I’ll see what I can do to encourage John to do some posting here. John is absolutely swamped with the automotive lines, but I know he would love to share some insight into the world of AMT and MPC vehicle kits, it’s just a matter of being able to carve out the time.

    Again, thanks for the nice words and very much appreciate you supporting our product.

    Bob

  4. jprampolla says:

    Hi Folks,

    I am very fond of your Rudolph and Peanuts line, especially the Charlie Brown Christmas mini clip-on figures from a couple years ago. Those sculpts are the among the best I have ever seen of the Peanuts characters and I would like to see an expanded set to include other characters from the original Peanuts Christmas special, in that same 3 – 3 1/2 inch tall scale. In my home Christmas display, I team up those figures from the Peanuts mini clip-on set with the Lionel Snoopy and Woodstock handcar (from about 1990-91) on a circle of O27 3 rail track. I realize that the economy is tough right now, but I believe, from my own personal perspective, that your company and Lionel could do well together offering a set of figures with a handcar. My own interest is just as a hobbyist who would like to see toy trains and beloved cartoon / storybook characters become a bigger part of our culture and family Christmas traditions.

    Please continue to offer more wonderful products!!!!!

    Take care, Joe.

  5. BobP says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the nice comments. We would very much like to add to the Peanuts mini figure line at some point. You are right — the economy is tough right now; retail buyers are very cautious about what they will purchase from manufacturers, which of course means that we have to plan conservatively. That’s one big reason why you’ve seen many re-releases of items we’ve done in previous years. Our tooling dollars for new items are very limited at the moment, but we have high hopes that the economy will pick up and more buyers will invest in our product; at that point, we’ll be able to justify spending to develop new figures.

    By the way, we do have a blog devoted to discussion of Forever Fun, including our Peanuts, Rudolph, Frosty and Little Drummer Boy product. Check it out here:

    http://www.foreverfunblog.com/

    Thanks again for writing!

    Bob

  6. jprampolla says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the reply! I just posted on the Forever Fun blog.

    Take care, Joe.

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