About Sideshow Collectibles
Sideshow Collectibles (briefly Sideshow Toys) was founded in 1994 and is currently based in Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles. The company originally started out making prototypes of toys for companies like Mattel, before eventually beginning production and marketing for their own collectibles five years later, in 1999. Many of Sideshow's employees found their start in the arts industry producing special effects and models for movies with several key members of the team working on the sci-fi classic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Fast forward to today and Sideshow is regarded by many collectors as the pre-eminent producer of highly desirable, Premium Format statues for sale. Producing an average of 150 unique pieces per year, each typically taking from 1-3 months to sculpt and finalise, chief among these items for many collectors are the wonderful Premium Format statues, produced in roughly 1/4 scale from polystone. In addition to these figures are character busts, usually created in half or full scale and based on a range of characters, from heroes and villains like Superman, Batman and the Joker all the way through to Darth Maul, Alien and Predator (a full size 'Wolf' Predator bust is truly a spooky thing to behold).
Before work on an original figure or bust begins, a license to produce an official likeness is obtained from the game or film production company in question -around 90% of Sideshows output is officially licensed, so this is an important part of the system. Each proposed figure must then go through a rigorous process of research and development, culminating in concept art that is sent to a team of talented in-house sculptors in order to produce yet more concept art, this time in the form of free-flowing, expressive sculpture intended to bridge the gap between the initial artist's pen and the final resin mould.
Walter O'Neal sheds light on the Sideshow Collectibles creative process in this great video from Tested
Because Sideshow statues are mixed media productions many pieces contain materials other than the resin that makes up their majority, and for a lot of figures that means clothing. Sideshow's 'Cut and Sew' department meticulously sources suitable materials for figures requiring costume, a task made much more difficult when scale considerations have to be made with regards to properties like foldability, grain and weave. Once ideal materials have been found they must be crafted into tailored garments, already a highly skilled job when working on a full-size person.
Once a sculpture has been finalised and given the 'ok' for production, two master copies must be finish-painted at Sideshows headquarters in LA. One is then retained by Sideshow as a reference and the second is sent to their manufacturers in the Far East, so they can begin the time-consuming process of deconstructing the colours and methods used by the American artists in order to create a process for their own artists to follow. Then begins a back and forth process of incremental adjustments and changes to determine the final paint that will appear on the distributed figures; only when both parties are in complete alignment with each other will the sculpture go into production.
The core of planet Sideshow might be made from polystone, but the range of collectibles produced by the company doesn't end with these hyper-realistic resin representations. Sideshow also produce their own collection of highly detailed sixth scale action figures, (like Hong Kong based, Hot Toys, to whom Sideshow act as the sole distributor for the US and Europe), as well as some pretty incredible limited edition prints from their talented concept artists. If 12" tall, 1:6 figures are just a little too petite for your tastes Sideshow also has a host of iconic pop-culture figures on offer in both 1:2 and full scale - yeah, seriously!
One unique facet (among many) of Sideshow's business plan was the decision to sell directly to customers from their own website. By removing the distribution middle-man Sideshow has a much better relationship with the stores and final end customers they actually sell to. This means they're always kept in the loop as to what their audience want to see and they do their best to make it a reality.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this brief look into the inner workings or Sideshow Collectibles. Do you have a favourite Premium Format statue? Maybe there's something you've always wanted to see Sideshow create, let us know in the comments box below, we'd love to hear from you!
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