Officer member Tofujesse is well known for his excellent casting skills. I recently got the opportunity to pull Tofujesse away from his non stop work to take part in a exclusive Q and A session. The session went so well that I will be releasing the interview in 2 separate parts. Here in Part 1 we discuss how Tofujesse got started into Casting, his second to none work ethic and I ask some questions that were submitted by members of the forum.
Q1: What got you into Casting and why?
I guess you can say I have been doing it my whole life. When I was a kid I use to make impression molds with my Star Wars figures and I would melt my crayons to make more figures. I really got in to casting and prop making right after I got out of the service in 96. I got a job as a letter carrier and there was this guy that worked for one of the major studios and I just started talking to him and the rest is history, he taught me almost everything I know. It was kind of cool helping him even though I just did for fun, I actually got to work on props for movie sets , mostly Star Trek.
Q2: How long have you been Casting?
Basically my entire life but started in 96 and been doing it full time for 7 years.
Q3: When did you decide that your Casting was good enough to make for sale?
I mainly did other stuff for customers that weren’t action figure related but started casting for some of my friends cause they were chopping up there figures to customize. With some pressure from them they convinced me to start posting my work and kept telling me it was some of the best work they had ever seen. Once I started posting a few people wanted to buy so I sold them some, then when my sister passed away in March and my family needed help raising the money for her funeral, so I decided to offer more casts to raise money for that. After that had all passed people kept requesting a site and more casts so I figured why not.
Q4: Were you nervous or scared about offering your casts for sale at first?
Yes I was very nervous.
Q5: For those of us who aren’t knowledgeable in casting, can you give a step by step process? Without sharing any of your secrets of course.
I would have to say casting isn’t the same for every person. The very first thing I learned about casting is that you have to be very self-disciplined. I would have to say that’s probably the most important part of casting. Making a mold can take hours and if you rush it you can have a very bad mold and your casts will come poorly. As far as the process goes there’s not really much. You get your subject, decide what type of mold to make, two part, three part, four part…..can go on. Where the parting line is going to be, undercuts if any. Then just make the mold. Once that is done and your silicone is cured remove the master, clean the mold and test it out. Sounds really simple and I sure some guys have tried to cast and almost pulled their hair out but remember the most important part is discipline….that’s why most be people fail.
Q6: How much time do you spend a day and a week on casting?
It’s my full time gig so 40 hours a week
Q7: What piece are you most proud of and why?
Ah man I wish I had some pics of it but I did a scratch build Boba fett costume a couple years ago that simply came out crazy looking and I did it in two weeks.
Q8: What has been the most challenging aspect of casting?
I would have to say keeping up with crazy pace. I get tons of requests and commissions so I would have to say that is pretty challenging.
Q9: Who or what inspires you and why?
I would have to say at this point in life I am inspired by my children, its hard for me to explain but they just don’t let anything stop them, they think anything is possible. Like my daughter is 10 and she wants to go spend a week in Italy, she wants to experience culture at ten. When I was ten all I cared about was playing with my star wars figures and building my army of crayon soldiers.
Q10: Can you share with us your short term and long term goals?
Oh, wow. My short term goals are continue to service the customizer community with affordable quality work and as for long term goal I hope to bring my own line of parts, heads, accessories, figure kits, and a few secret things to market soon. This is something I really love doing and I wish I would have started it sooner. ( I mean with the casting of the 1:18 scale stuff)
Q11: As a relatively new kid on the block(as far as online sales) how do you accomplish such a fast turnaround time? (Submitted by XOC2008)
Good work ethics. I don’t lay around all day with my hand in a bucket of fried chicken like some guys I know. Seriously I spend most of my days working on casting or projects.
Q12: What do you do that other casting sources don’t do, that keeps you from getting bogged down, with the amount of orders you seem to be getting? (Submitted by XOC2008)
Man, another good question. I actually cast the stuff I sell. I try to make enough in the initial run but sometimes I do sell out quickly. Plus I try not to take more work on than I can do in a month…I try.
Q13: After getting your product and seeing the excellent quality, this made me wonder how long you take cleaning each part after you remove it from the mold? Or do your casts come out relatively flashless as they appear to be? (Submitted by Meddatron)
I spend about two seconds on a part and they pretty much come out flashless.
Q14: Have you ever done the (excuse my ignorance for the right name) shrink casting? Is it possible in the future to maybe get some larger scale items shrunk down, maybe something like He-man’s power sword or DC Darkseid’s head? (Submitted by Meddatron)
I am actually testing that out now so in a month or two I should have it down. Oh and its referred to as hydro shrinking.
Q15: Are you planning to stick with repro items for the foreseeable future, or are there any plans to branch out into new/original sculpts? (Submitted by Fogger1138)
I am working with a studio now and I will have my own line here very soon. So your answer is yes.
I want to give a huge thanks to Tofujesse for taking the time to participate in this Q and A. It was a honor and a privilege to speak with him. Part 2 of our exclusive interview will discuss Tofujesse’s store, plans for the future, some off-topic questions and much more. In the meantime check out Tofujesse’s thread Here
I cannot wait for the second part. I dig the hell out of Jesse’s work!