In-depth Q&A with TriForce VP, Drew Seldin...
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Every once in awhile, a video game comes along that breeches the screen it's played on. EPIC's Gears of War did just that, spawning an avid fanbase affectionately dubbed "Gearheads." To appease this passionate following, the world of collectibles responded by producing everything from detailed action figures, engrossing novels, and comfy nightware, to even an energy drink appropriately named Imulsion.
Enter New York based TriForce, creators of officially licensed 1:1 scale Gears of War replicas. Large as life, TriForce's high-end collectibles are designed for the ultimate Gearhead; exact 3D replicas of the game's rich characters and weapons for fans to idolize. To find out more about TriForce's exciting new product, we spoke with Drew Seldin, Vice President of TriForce. Read on to learn more about their just released Locust Drone Maquette and upcoming Lancer Rifle, discover the talent behind these amazing replicas and find out what new items TriForce has planned for the future.
Strap into your grind-lift and hang on tight, it's going to be a wild ride...
A lot of big names went into the sculpting of your Gears of War replicas. Would you mind elaborating on these individuals for those who aren't in the know? Why should fans know Jordu Schell, Paul Komoda, and Erick Sosa?
Fans will know Jordu Schell as the lead character designer on a James Cameron's Avatar. Jordu has had his hand in many Hollywood productions such as 300, The Mist, and AVP Ė Requiem. If his body of work is good enough for James Cameron we thought he was good enough for us. I say that jokingly but in all seriousness he truly brought the Locust Drone Design Maquette to life. The level of paint detail on the piece is remarkable and every once in a while everyone in the office is convinced we see it moving. As a matter of fact, that nasty looking grub bastard is glaring at me right now!
Paul Komoda is also an incredibly well established sculptor, painter, and prolific artist. His work can be seen in the upcoming Sci-Fi film Battle Los Angeles scheduled to release in 2011.
Last, but certainly not least, is TriForce's very own art director Mr. Erick Sosa. Erick is one of the most respected veteran sculptors in the collectibles industry. I think it would be safe to say that he has sculpted something for every collectible company at some point in his career. Watching Erick work on a sculpt is truly awe-inspiring and inspirational. Gearheads haven't even begun to see what this man is capable of. The fact that Erick is also one of the biggest Gears of War fans on the planet certainly doesn't hurt either!
The first replica release from TriForce is the Locust Drone Maquette. Fans can see the amazing detail that went into the piece. One thing some fans might not have noticed is that the sculpt was done by Chris Perna, Art Director for Gears of War at EPIC GAMES. We'd say it doesn't get any more authentic than that. What was it like working with Chris and what other little tidbits could you share about this piece that Gearheads might enjoy?
Chris Perna is an amazing individual and an absolute pleasure to work with. Chris is, hands down, easily one of the most talented artists in the industry today. He loves the source material and it shows! It is his love and respect for the characters and the world of Gears that allows him to create the awe-inspiring things we as gamers get to see. He takes pride in every little detail and never accepts anything but absolute accuracy. Some companies might have concerns working with an individual such as this, but he meshed perfectly with us. Our philosophy is simple: Create pieces fans deserve! Our design team is so detail-obsessed that we often hold hour-long discussions mulling over the slightest detail. You can imagine how relieved we were to find that Chris was also a detail-obsessed perfectionist.
To be honest all of the artists at EPIC GAMES are amazing talents and we think it shows in every game they create. An interesting side note many Gearheads may not know is that this piece was originally created by Chris Perna as a work study for his art team, hence the Locust Drone Design Maquette, this was the first full sculpture Chris had ever created. It's just one more example of the level of talent Chris wields at his disposal.
Why the inclusion of a separate COG emblem with the Drone Maquette?
We wanted to essentially label our first piece with the Gears of War title or logo, but we wanted to do it in a way that would maintain the integrity and authenticity of Chris Perna's original sculpt without altering it in the slightest. We thought including the Crimson Omen Emblem as a separate unique piece would be the least obtrusive and give collectors the option to display the Locust Drone Design Maquette with or without the Crimson Omen. A few of the creative at EPIC GAMES had told us that our Crimson Omen piece was the most accurate representation of the Crimson Omen they had seen in 3D form. A unique emblem will be included with each piece we release in our Design Maquette line.
The beefiest, and probably the most notorious piece in TriForce's portfolio so far is the Gears of War Lancer Replica. We've seen so many different sculpts for this amazing collectible and we're curious on how many revisions it went through before you guys got it just right?
What sets the TriForce Lancer apart from the Amazon.com Exclusive Lancer produced by NECA?Not sure of exactly how many but it took well over a year before we felt we had perfected the sculpt and every minor detail. Once we were eventually pleased with the results, we submitted the piece to EPIC for approval and we received their blessing! Trying to bring the Lancer to life was a daunting task to say the least. Any fan of EPIC GAMES knows how much detail they cram into their weapon designs. In order to truly capture the essence and spirit of this iconic beast of a weapon, we were going to have to make sure every tiny detail was complete and utter perfection. We often joke had we known then what we know now it is possible we'd have waited to make this replica further along in the life cycle of the company. I'd rather battle through 60 waves of the Locust Horde then have to recreate this bruiser of a weapon again.
Your Lancer replica is being previewed without "blood". Will your Lancer sport "blood" splatter on the chainsaw blade or come clean like the test shots we've seen?What we are delivering to our customers is the most authentic and accurate representation of this iconic weapon ever created. The COG workhorse is cast in high-grade polystone, measures 40 inches in length, weighs in roughly at 15 pounds, and is fully realized with LED effects. The Lancer is 150% in-game accurate to the source material from Gears of War 2 and is one of the most ambitious collectibles available on the market today. Every single bolt, chainsaw tooth, decal, ding, and spec of grease was given careful attention. Randy Falk is a friend of ours and we have the utmost respect for him and his art team over at NECA, but what we have created is nothing like the Lancer that was previously released.
Our Lancer will come clean as shown. Many customers that had pre-ordered the Lancer have been extremely vocal about not wanting Locust blood on the Lancer. It was always our intention to create this iconic weapon without Locust bits smeared all over it, we were glad to see we were on the right track! The Lancer Assault Rifle is such a beautifully designed weapon and is loaded to the brim with detail we thought it would be an absolute injustice to not show off this remarkable weapon in all of its intricate glory!
There are previews of a new COG Snub Pistol and a Marcus Fenix Bust on www.ProjectTriForce.com. Are there any other projects planned that the public might be interested in?
Can we expect endeavors for other video game memorabilia?Right now we are finalizing our Marcus Fenix Epic Scale Bust and the Snub Pistol Replica. We have already begun working on a number of new unannounced pieces. Many fans have been emailing us constantly requesting sneak peaks of upcoming products. This is something we will start actively doing this year. Fans will get to see their first glimpse of Marcus this February at the New York Toy Fair. Beyond our Marcus Fenix and Snub projects we have an amazing line up of product we canít wait to show the fans! All we can say is, fellow Gearheads are in for a real treat!
There you have it - more details and info than you can grind a chainsaw bayonet into. There's some amazing stuff going on over at TriForce and we're going to be there for it every step of the way. We'd like to thank Drew Seldin for taking the time for this interview.We have had discussions with a few other companies about potential licenses as there are so many great games out their to work with, but the Gears of War universe is so rich with amazing character designs and locals - we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of Sera. Quite honestly everyone at TriForce, from the creative to the business, is so in love with the world of Gears, we'd be hard pressed to find a project we'd rather be working on.
Stay tuned for upcoming TriForce news, including an in-depth review of their stunning Locust Drone Maquette and complete Toy Fair coverage.
For more information on TriForce and their Gears of War replicas, visit their website at www.ProjectTriForce.com.
Interview by: Wes Arnold