Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A conversation with Howard Chan, President of Hot Toys - Part 1

Ok - the approval took longer than expected but finally I can produce the full transcript of my recent conversation with Howard, founder and President of Hot Toys!

It was a balmy spring afternoon when I made my way to Hot Toys HQ in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, a little before 3pm; I was quickly ushered to Howard's office by Ms Emily (head of PR) and as you can imagine I was NOT allowed to wander around their office unsupervised, and taking any pics was out of the question!!

Q: Why did Hot Toys make the decision to allow customers to cancel their orders
for the Iron Man Mark III (Battle Damaged Version) collectible figure?

Howard: We remain very proud of the final product with its many new enhancements
to the armor; unfortunately there were too many negative feedback from the “public”
in the discussion forums (which not necessarily come from the actual customers or buyers of the product) regarding the head sculpt and color scheme.

So we made the decision to allow those who feel they are not 100% satisfied to cancel their orders, in direct response to all the negative discussion in the forums. If we had not made the decision Hot Toys would have been accused of having grown “too big” or “arrogant” who does not care for the feelings of customers.

However, I stress again the final product is one that the Hot Toys team is proud of and I believe this has also been the opinion of the vast majority of the buying public as we had less than 50 actual cancellations in Hong Kong, but the truth is that we are still getting re-orders in after the final product released in the market.

Q: What is the nature of Hot Toys’ collaboration with Sideshow Toys (USA)?

Howard: We have established a close-relationship with Sideshow Toys since 2005, and we had the chance to collaborate with Sideshow at their 12 inches Clone Troopers projects. And Hot Toys also has the great opportunities to produce the T2 series and the Godfather collectible figures under our Movie Masterpiece line in partner with Sideshow Toys.

Q: Hot Toys’ last military product in the 1/6th scale was the pair of modern British soldiers. Have you abandoned this line and why? Is it due to resource constraints in having to produce the various movie licenses?

Howard: Yes and no; of course Hot Toys started in the 1/6th scale military genre and has been very successful. And yes, the nature of design, production and meeting the various demands in pursuing movie licenses is time and resource demanding.

And given the current time frame and our resources, we just feel we are better having to commit all our time and effort in doing justice to producing the very best in our movie license products; this is not to say we won’t go back to producing the military line sometime in the future; in fact we have already made many in the past that we are looking for something “exciting” before we return to this line. Also, some of the related movie licenses may have some military-related theme so that when we do produce them, we can draw on all our past experience and success.

Q: So is there anything planned in the year 2010?

Howard: This year we are bringing about the 1/6th scale newly licensed collectibles from the worldwide well-received movie Avatar, and the upcoming and long-awaited movie Iron Man 2, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia. You may expect the collectibles of some of the characters from these great movies this year!

Q: Moving on to the Marvel license: does the current license only cover Marvel characters as released in the movies?

Howard: Yes, when we discussed this with Marvel that was the plan. Having said that we are aware of the various possibilities with Marvel characters whether they are in the movies, animation, comics or video games, and definitely Hot Toys would like to explore further the opportunities to make popular figures from the Marvel line.

But we only started with Wolverine Origins and Blade; there are still many Marvel movie characters that we can produce before we even start thinking of doing those in the comics or other properties. We are still catching up!

Q: On specific characters from movie licenses, will Hot Toys produce Commissioner Gordon (Batman), Iron Monger (Iron Man), Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)?

Howard: Yes. We have always planned to make Commissioner Gordon; initially we were informed that the actor (Gary Oldman) was not so supportive of the idea but our current understanding is that there is no such obstacle either from him or the main licensor so yes I can say that at some point we will be releasing a Gordon figure.

As for Iron Monger, it was always a case of cost issues and pricing, as you know it is a very large figure in 1/6 scale so to really do it justice and yet making it a price that will still be supported by the dealers and customers remain the greatest challenge.

Personally I want to see this made! But now given that Iron Man 2 the movie will be released soon and we are already committed to making a few characters from the new movie. We are also preparing a series of exciting promotional activities such as Iron Man exhibition in Hong Kong and Taiwan in Apr-May this year and a stream of exclusive privilege to our event participants. Therefore, from a timing standpoint we don’t know where to fit Iron Monger. But it remains in our development plans.

As for Jill Valentine, yes in speaking with our dealers and from what is discussed in the forums we know she is a very popular character so yes: I can say to her fans that you can look forward to Jill sometime in 2010!

End Part 1 - Part 2 follows


  1. very excited about Avatar and Jill valentine.. hope it will really comes out this year! but poor Iron Monger... i'll buy it even it's a bit pricey!

  2. Cool interview! I want me a Jill Valentine!!! I played RE3 countless times during the PS1 heyday!