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Yodasnews Exclusive Interview with Amanda Burns from Gentle Giant Ltd, Episode II (5-4-2006)

Yodasnews: Let's start today with the hot topic the last few months, the BlackHole Stormtrooper. Even after Friday's interview we are still in the dark about when the BHT  will go on sale and if we will get advance notice or not, can you  let us know in advance one way or another, for example tell us on June 15th that between then and comic con, we will get an email and it will be up for sale, or they tell us the day/time. No matter which one you choose, can we at least know which one they picked in advance?

Amanda Burns: Next week, when I get back in the office (I fly on Monday, I will be back in the office Tuesday), but before the end of the week, before Friday, we will have information and it will be sent out via e-mail to the Collectors Club.

YN: So, we will have information before Friday or it will be on sale before Friday?

AB: One way or another, we will be passing along information by Friday. I have to make sure we have enough time to get things ready, to make sure it all works and all departments are ready for it but there will be an email going out this week.

YN:  Will you be making animated maquettes of prequel trilogy characters and how many OT characters do you plan on making?

AB: We have a bunch characters lined up, when and where they fit in,  I don't know. And we will be making more of the OT characters.

YN:  Why do you make edition sizes so low at 1,000 when you know more than 1,000 people want them?

AB: A lot is taken into consideration in determining the edition size. The outlet, the vender, the character. It it warrants a run of 1,000, we make 1,000. If it warrants 5,000, we make 5,000. Lots of things are taken into consideration and if a company asks for and are granted an exclusive and they ask for 1,000 and we agree to 1,000 that is all that will be made, if we were to then sell 4,000 of them, then it no longer becomes exclusive to them.

YN: Are there plans to do more Clash of the Titans rotocast figures based on other scenes from the film such as a 1:1 scale Medusa head or Pegasus?

AB: Wait for Comic Con!

YN: If the autographed Clash of the Titans rotocast figures 3-pack is not ready for San Diego, will it still be available to SDCC attendees as a preorder for a later time or will it be available as another convention exclusive? Also, is it possible to know the limited edition number and price of this set?

AB: We will have pre-orders for Clash at Comic-Con, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the piece that we have will be available for Comic Con, it will be a rotocast, but it won't be the 3 pack.

YN: Recently this week Sideshow Toys announced the creation of a new service called their Inclusive Service in which fans determine the size of their figures. Do you think GG may adopt such a program?

AB: I believe that is for the 12" Figure line which may give them the ability to do something like that, with statues and busts that we produce we do not plan to do anything like that.

YN: Sideshow Toys and Master Replicas do something unique with their collectibles and have limited edition or chase variations of their figures and props. Has GG considered such a thing as well like creating a limited edition pose of an item such as the Blackhole Stormtrooper?

AB: We do, we have had variants on our busts and bust ups. This past Comic Con we had the Sirius Black paint variant and recently we have had the blackhole trooper bust ups chase and the commander gree bust ups chase as well as the CloneTrooper 4 packs, dirty and clean variants. We also have the regular Vader and the Blister Chrome Vader that was just released so we have been doing it.

YN:  It was stated earlier that GG will not reissue maquettes and mini-busts that have sold out, but has GG considered creating variations on the maquettes much like how the Clone Trooper mini-busts are designed where a simple paint scheme creates a whole new figure? An example would be to reissue the Red ARC Trooper as a Blue ARC Trooper or releasing Clone Trooper mini-busts from Attack of the Clones or the Blackhole Stormtrooper with new arms so it is different than the original?

AB: Nothing is out the question!

YN: The Clone Wars maquettes are based off the designs by Genndy Tartakovsky from the animated series. Are the new Star Wars and upcoming Lord of the Ring maquettes based off of Genndy Tartakovsky’s designs as well, by another designer, or were they created solely by the GG staff?

AB: The Lord of the Rings is New Line, so we are working with New Line on those designs. The OT Boba, Leia and Vader are based on his, but they are done in house. We actually had Paul Ruddish who actually created a lot of the designs for Clone Wars do some of our upcoming Star Wars early concept drawings to see how they would look as 2-D and then our in house sculpters take it from there.

YN: Many fans love the designs of the various Clone Troopers from the Revenge of the Sith film. However, many collectors are not as thrilled that GG’s upcoming Clone Trooper mini-busts have the white Clone Trooper in such large quantities of 7500 when they had the least amount of screen time of all the possible Clone Troopers seen in the film. Why was this figure made in such larger numbers than the other possible variations?

AB: We used the same philosophy as we did with the AOTC Episode 2, they were all in the film. And there are a lot of people who like to army build with the white ones as well as people who like to make customs and use the plain white as a base. There are some customs out there that are amazing, and we are all for it and want to make sure those people get what they want as well.

YN: If the Mara Jade mini-bust sells well at GenCon (and all indications point that it will), have you considered creating more expanded universe mini-busts from the comic books, video games, books, and other tie-ins?

AB: Yes, that is a possibility. We need to see how Mara Jade does first..

YN: Are there any plans to continue Bust-Ups figures based on characters from Revenge of the Sith and the upcoming Clone Wars line, or is the goal of each Bust-Ups wave attempt to be completely different?

AB: A little bit of everything. We are up to series eight or nine now and we are looking to expand on how they are done, maybe in the way of the Simpsons and Corpse Bride..

YN:  So it's possible we might get diorama style busts up like the Simpsons wave debuted here?

AB:  Maybe.

YN: How does GG decide on what characters get the mini-bust/Bust-Ups/maquette/statue treatment? Do the designers have their own favorites that they create mock-ups for that must get approved by licensors such as Lucasfilm, or do they also listen to what fans have been clamoring for?

AB: Everything. Each of those things mentioned is done. There is a list of everyone in house and the characters we want to see, Lucasfilm suggests some, we check the fan boards on what fans want, popular characters, etc.

YN: Will GG consider creating mini-busts based on the Clone Wars cartoon?

AB: Probably not.

YN: How long do they have the license for Star Wars?

AB: I can't answer that sorry, that is confidential.

YN: Are you done making the Matrix busts?

AB: Yes.

YN: If you do decide to offer the SDCC Shock set as a pre-order, will you do attendee and non-attendee like other companies do. With a small %, maybe 10% going to for the people that can’t make the trip?

AB: We are hoping to have some of them available to the collectors club at our site.

YN: What is the edition size of the Malfoy Harry Potter SDCC Exclusive?

AB: That has not been announced yet..

YN: A few cons ago we saw some very cool HP Statues of Ron, Hermonine and Harry. I am pretty sure they were GG, when will they be coming out?

AB: They were done by us and they were for display purposes only and will not be produced, we do not have the rights to make the full size figure statues, only creature statues and environments.

YN: Will we ever see HP Maquettes like the SW Clone Wars and the upcoming LOTR?

AB: I don't know.

YN: A reader would really like to see a sneak peek image of the LOTR Maquette, are we allowed to take a quick picture today?

AB: Nope, sorry.

YN:  Does the Rancor Keeper detach and how much does it weigh?

AB: Yes he does and I do not know the final weight.

YN: We've seen a picture of the Nearly Headless Nick made with transparent material. Is that going to be released? Or was that idea scrapped?

AB: That was a very very early prototype of the Nearly Headless Nick that is being released. It was not meant to be a hologram, it was just a early pre-production piece we showed at Comic Con.

YN: Some readers have said that shipping to Canada from your online store is very high, could explain why the rates are what they are?

AB: The fees for shipping outside the US include the customs fees, taxes and any charges we get charged for shipping outside the US. 

YN: What is the difference between AP and Promo?

AB: Nothing, just a name change. AP was what we used when we first started out and we have since changed the name to Promo. Early on we would number the APs (for example 1-50) but over time we have changed that process and we now just use promo for all pieces outside of the edition size run.

YN: And are Promos (or for the older ones, AP's) the "first off the line" or "last off the line" and is #1 really the 1st one off and #2000 the 2000th off?

AB: Nope. The numbers are added after are not in the order in which they are produced.

YN: We really want to thank you again Amanda for taking the time again today to speak with us. It has been a great weekend and I think our readers have been very happy to be able to get answers to some of the questions they have had, and even a follow up to the Q & A we posted on Friday. Enjoy the rest of you time in town and thanks again!.

AB: It was my pleasure Mark, Thank you.

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