MI6 caught up with the team behind the James Bond figure series at Sideshow Collectibles recently to find out more about the creative process...

Sideshow Interview - Character & Costume Design
20th October 2004

MI6 caught up with the team behind the James Bond figure series at Sideshow Collectibles recently to find out more about the creative process. In this part, Mat Falls - Director of 3D, Heath Hammond - Supervisor of Product Development and Tom Gilliland - Creative Director, give insight into how the figures and costumes are designed.

How did you land the James Bond deal?
TG: We have always been on the lookout for an archive license with a well-established fan base. The Bond Property was an obvious choice for us as we are all fans of the ‘super spy’. We went through a few rounds of introduction with the licensor and shared our vision of making a true and authentic figure collectible line for the Bond Characters. As portrait sculpture is one of our trademarks we were also able to demonstrate that with these figures we would not merely suggest a character’s likeness, like many previous products, but in fact achieve a portrait that resembled the character completely.

Above: Darth works on Bond's head.

In the development lifecycle of the figures, what is usually the most difficult aspect?
MF: It's usually the approval process. This is when the figure and packaging in their various stages go to the licensor, then ultimately to Barbara Broccoli herself. That's nail-biting time. So many elements have to pass muster. If it doesn't satisfy the licensors, we hear about it. By and large it has been a good experience. Not a lot of Bond figures had been done until now, so there was a learning curve for both parties. I think we've worked out any issues and look forward to a great approval process with them.

Working on a reduced scale must present unique challenges when creating the master figure. Can you tell us how you have over come these issues?
TG: Fortunately the entire design team has a broad background in working in miniature through either the film or model kit industries. This has oriented us to the small scale making the challenge much simpler.

Above: Anthony paints Bond's gun.

Costume Fabrication

What has been the most complex costume you've created in the Bond series? The Dr. No figure comes with the radiation suit. How was this conceived? How many revisions where needed until the final version was created?
TG: The Dr. No Costume proved to be a major challenge and it was finally mastered by designer Charles Nohai. The most difficult aspects were obviously the clear environmental suit and the helmet or head portion was a real trick. It was most certainly the biggest 1/6 Bond costume challenge so far.

Who creates the accessories and how do you incorporate the accessory with the costume? How do you ensure they fit with the character?
TG: The entire development team contributes to the design decisions made on each character. There are so many facets a figure can take on, that the multiple perspectives prove helpful. We review each film as a group and make all our calls based on the original film source. Everything from their shoes, socks, wristwatches, guns, and gadgets is carefully thought out for its authenticity, relevance to the particular film, and its function to the character.


Above: Dr. No's environmental suit was the trickiest costume to create for the series so far.

Sideshow Dr. No Figures

Throughout a Bond film, there are many costume changes. How do you decide which character look to use? Once chosen, how do you select materials to emulate the look from the film?
TG: We make these decisions by art committee as well. Usually we are looking for the costume that best typifies the film. Sometimes in the event that we are redoing a character like the current Brosnan from GoldenEye, we look for a radically different approach than the original Tuxedo representation. The Design and Fabrication artists collaborate on choosing fabric that best captures the colour and feel of the original fabric. Authenticity is our Number One guide. We make our design choices to accommodate this as best we can.

Above: Jared works on Bond's boot.

How long does the design life cycle for costumes take? Does this vary depending upon the individual figures?
TG: It definitely depends on the character. Some come more easily than others.

Have you changed the process of clothing design as the line developed?
TG: Basically, as we log successes on previous products we just push the envelope one step further. We have added pockets that function and other material features that were not present on earlier figures in the line.

Stay tuned to MI6 for part two where we talk to Mat Falls about figure design and sculpting...

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Thanks to all at Sideshow Collectibles. Images courtesy Sideshow Collectibles. Bond materials © Danjaq and United Artists. Bond trademarks ™ Danjaq.