In-depth Dissection of How Creators Design Plastic Models :Episode 3
BANDAI Super Mini-Pla (english)
Plastic Model Kits
Following the earlier interview, now, we'd like to hear about the development phase.
(SH):Alright. Our job is to design the detailed structure that clears the requirements for safeness, playability, and other various perspectives. What is important then is, partitioning, the base fundamental stage for designing plastic models.
(HS):We think through and design the formations like this. We spend much of our time and effort at this partitioning.
Amazing! I'm sure I can't do that! In what order do you lead your mind to proceed partitioning?
(HS):I suppose my approach may be different from others. First, I watch lots of its animated programs, and evoke the images of how I want to play and activate the robot. Then, I try drawing up my own designs.
Though you get the design materials from the planner?
(HS):Well, usually, designers' job is to draw a design based on the given materials, but maybe I'm working as a planner's side, too. I won't be satisfied without putting my originality into the design.
I suppose it would need courage to change Mr. Nonaka's design, doesn't it?
(HS):Actually, this way of working is very effected by Mr. Nonaka・・・
(HS):I was struck when I first saw the MAZINGER Z of SOUL OF CHOGOKIN series. I got to know Mr. Nonaka for the first time then and thought, "there's a designer who can draw well and also can plan so well!"
SOUL OF CHOGOKIN MAZINGER Z was released on 1997.
(HS):I have always been aware of Mr. Nonaka's works from then, and came to think that I also have to be able to draw illustrations to work on creating products.
So, you started to design the graphics as you are a mechanical designer.
(HS):That's right. In the interview article I've read once before, most of the cartoonists and illustrators were replying to the question "what is drawing to you?"that, "it is to put my images in my mind on to the paper."That means, that we can't draw designs unless there's a clear image in your mind.
That's the reason why you watch many films and design the graphics though you are a mechanical designer.
(HS):Right. If I can draw the graphics, it means that I have a clear image of the product in myself. Conversely, I have a strong belief that if I can't draw pictures, I can't make what I want to make.
After the image is settled, how do you do the partitioning?
(HS):First, I think about the motions. For example, if you want to activate the arms of the robot, the arm parts and the body part have to be divided. For the VOLTRON this time, it has some set poses in its cartoons, so I broadly divide the parts as I imagine the image of those poses.
(HS):Next, I divide the parts into half so that it can be combined as a model.
Now it's getting to look like a plastic model.
(HS):After that, I consider what belong to those parts, like joints. So, I think about the joint parts. So far is the brief process of the basic designing.
I think we can imagine the process then.
(HS):Until this phase, it's rather simple, but from now on, we have to consider how to mimic its colorings of the cartoons, how to meet the safety standards, and if it's playable for everyone or not. After we think about every various aspects, the partitioning will finish up.
So Mr. Hiramatsu and Mr. Sakamoto keep considering about it even after you did the partitioning, right?
(SH):Mr. Sakamoto is really brilliant, so I don't need to point out many things. I try to give some opinions as one user by combining it again and again, of the points like if it's easy to do the colorings, or if it's easy to make the poses.
You repeat testing in the user's point of view.
(SH):I'm always paying attention to be easy for the users, like when I'm making the instruction handbooks. I keep testing on and on considering if it's really alright.
I also made the Super Mini-Pla VOLTRON and enjoyed making it because the explanation was very easy to follow.
(SH):Thank you. I care for the easiness, too, and I'm also making the handbooks and products so the users can be excited when they are assembling the models.
In this episode, we took a look inside the mind of the plastic model designers. There might be a new discovery or an inspiring impression if we can feel the designers' hearts when combining the models. Next up is, the behind-the-scenes stories of developing the VOLTRON!
To be continued in Episode 4: Interviews| Developers Story of Super Mini-Pla VOLTRON
Interview, writing, photography, graph: Takuma Ogata
Photo by courtesy of BANDAI CO., LTD.
Episode 5:Messages for Super Mini-Pla VOLTRON Fans
This article has been translated from Japanese into English. Go toJapanese ver.
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