Thursday, August 05, 2004

Gots My Galactus!

So this morning I stopped off at my old work-place, Wizkids, and picked up my Galactus figure. I helped design the Big G while I was there, and Jon of Nothing Good Can Come of This . . . was holding one for me. What with conventions and schedules, it was the first chance I had to get up there and pick it up (Thanks, Jon!).

I have to say, its an impressive figure. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Galactus is a special figure for the Marvel Heroclix Game, which is the click-based minitatures game I was working on about a year ago. Galactus, in the comic books is a god-like force that goes around the universe eating planets. He has been a long-time opponent of the Fantastic Four, and with amazing precision, he has descended on downtown Manhattan in the past, intent on a snack.

While most of the Heroclix figures are about an inch and a half tall, Galactus is HUGE - a scootch over 15 inches from the base of his booties to the prongs on his pointy hat. He was intended originally as a promotional figure for retailers (sort of a big, world-eating "Thank You" to the store-owners), but Wizkids made extras to sell at the summer conventions. Needless to say, they didn't make nearly enough extras, and the Big G has been the "hot property" for collectors over the summer.

Now that I have him, let me tell you a few Galactus secrets:

The Height: For the first four weeks of the design, Galactus's height was an active subject of discussion in the office. I actually had a graph posted showing his height fluxuations from day to day. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe puts him at just under 30 feet tall (28', 9"), but in the comic books he's towering over entire buildings. We wanted a really, really big figure, and as a result, the figure's height early on varied between 10 inches and two feet tall. I found source material in the various books to make the case to the licensor (Secret Wars has a 60-foot Galactus, the Moebius Silver Surfer hardcover had a HUGE Galactus, who was at least 200 feet tall). Finally we settled on the 15 inch version, which translates (if memory serves) at about 60 feet tall. (The two-foot tall version, by the way, required two bases, each the size of the current base, one for each foot).

The Outfit: The first paint job for Galactus was a Byrne-era Dark Blue and Purple. The licensor chose instead to go with the more Kirbyesque rose and violet. It works.

The Pose: The biggest concern was to get him on the base while giving him a good pose - if he was any taller, he would have been off the base entirely. From a mass of sample pages provided, the sculptor went with a "Lo!" pose he currently has. It turned out to be good fortune that a standard HeroClix figure, like the Silver Surfer, could fit in his hand.

He's A Lot More Active: Originally I had pitched the Big G as a piece of immobile, nonplayer terrain. He was a puzzle to be solved - can you put together a team to take down Galactus before he eats the world? As the figure neared completion, Jon and his team (I was gone by this time) put together the rules to make Galactus an more active player. On reflection, I think its a good thing, and if you are using Galactus in your game, thank Jon. If you're getting stomped by Galactus-wielding opponents . . . um . . . you have my sympathy.

That's about it. I rarely share tales out of school, but the Big G has been a Big Hit, and I thought I would share a few "design notes" on the project. And I've got my own figure now, and he's going onto my desk, next to my Maltese Falcon. Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah!

More later,