Interview > Brian-Man of Spy Monkey Creations, Part I

It was over a year ago when I last spoke with the Spy Monkey crew, and the seeds were being planted for their venture into overseas-produced toys with their original Armory set. Going from their in-house resin weapons to injection-molded PVC weapons with interchangeable parts was just the beginning. On October 1, they released their very first lineup of action figures – the Weaponeers of Monkaa.

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the toy-forging machines, Brian “Brian-Man” Stevenson. This will be Part I of the conversation with Brian that should give you all more insight into the line and more than a few possibilities going forward.

VENENOR: First off, I want to thank you for your time and say that I, along with many fans and collectors, am pretty excited for the release of the Weaponeers line. Full disclosure: I basically piggy-backed my way into the Glyos-verse with you guys and the original Armory set. But this really takes things to another level with the introduction of figures of your created characters.

Brian: With the Weaponeers, we definitely wanted to give them all unique names and back-stories to really flesh these characters out, instead of just being generic figures. We feel we’ve done pretty well and it’s opened us up to a broader audience that way. Plus it’s kinda neat to see non-builders getting into this line.

V: I agree with your take on the back-stories. Being able to read the Prologue leading up to the reveal was awesome. It was laid out wonderfully and kept me, along with other fans, hooked to see what we’d be getting with this line. I was entertained and hope for the stories to continue to unfold.

B:  The continuation of the main character’s stories and expanding on The Stranger’s Tale are definitely in the plans. We really want to expand the stories for the characters who aren’t in this first wave, like Ambro and Fandar Sun. It’ll be a way for us to expand on the colorways we have in the line.

We’re trying to match the colors of the characters to the colors of the weapons. Each Armory set is imbued with the characteristics and powers of the corresponding character. Take Palidar for instance; the Cold Steel set was forged by him and all of the Empyrean stuff was forged by Empyreus. You’ll definitely see themes with future colorways.

If we come up with a character that has colors that we haven’t done an original Armory set for, then we’ll probably do a matching Armory.

Another thing we’re looking into, depending how the steel tooling in broken up, is to delve into using some of the PVC parts from the original Armory without having to run an entire Armory set, and use those as build-able parts to create new characters. There’s plenty of potential with the amount of steel tooling that we have cut, and it’ll be interesting going forward. Based on numbers from our Facebook traffic and everything else, there is lots of interest, so if the demand is there it’s definitely going to grow.

We’re very confident in releasing this line, and it’s one of the main reasons why we really didn’t show anything six months ago during the process. And the truth is, we were changing stuff up to the point right before we sent the masters to the factory. During development it was constantly evolving. Even when we were getting ready for Power-Con, Jeremy and I were sitting around working on builds to take to the Con, and as we were building the builds were evolving into new characters. So if we decided to run those builds in new colorways they’d be new characters.

V: Speaking of new builds that could lead into a potential new character, is there any possibility that a build you’d create would be an over-sized or “mega” version of one of these initial characters? For instance, it’d still be the same character only he’s now taller and/or more heavily armored.

B: That would mostly fall to buyers getting multiples of a character and/or Armory sets and creating them the way they want. It wouldn’t be anything we’d build and market to sell that way, because we would have to tally up the total cost of those parts. So if you had a bigger version of Palidar, using two Palidar figures, we’d have to charge the cost of two Palidars. We wouldn’t feel right doing that.

But we’re planning on doing many suggested builds that we’ll post so those that want to can get multiple items to create those suggested builds. For example, we recently posted on our Facebook some pictures of some creatures we made. One is a kind of steel horse using two Palidars, a Close Combat Armory set and an original Armory set, and if it were sold as-is it’d be a $45-50 piece. It’s just better to give fans the ability to buy the amount they want so if they choose to build things that’s cool, but we don’t want anyone feeling obligated that to have fun with these, they have to buy them as bigger build. We just wouldn’t sell them that way.

For those that want the characters as-is, they can buy them that way and the ones that want to build are welcome to buy the multiples they want and build. Plus with this being the initial drop, we definitely want to see how these individual characters do. Looking [ahead], we wouldn’t want to have figures using a ton of parts for sale. That’s what the suggested builds are for. If anything, the extent we’d go to would be similar to two characters we’re devising at the moment. They use a standard figure’s parts but they’re “built up” a bit by using a Close Combat set built into the figure so those parts are a part of the figure’s body.

When we get past this initial drop and have more time, we’re looking to do some build videos. Maybe opening up a YouTube channel or something so we can do builds piece by piece and explain what parts it takes. When we come up with something new we’ll also post as many pictures as we can on our site.

END PART I

Part II coming soon!

 

Comments now closed (3)

  • i'd be curious to hear what the learning process is for getting factory work done overseas. what the costs are, what the time cycle looks like, how they broached the language barrier, that kind of thing… is that part of part 2?

    • Brian does open up about the development process. Specific info about costs and language barrier weren't discussed but the timeframe from concept sketches to final prduct is discussed along with things that happened in between.

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