This has been a big year for Doctor Who with the 50th anniversary last month and Matt Smith’s big sendoff on Christmas day, so it’s no surprise that Doctor Who merchandise has been getting a lot of attention for much of this year. Earlier this year, the Doctor Who universe entered the world of the blind-boxed vinyl mini-figures, and the result has been some truly awesome figures based on the Doctor and a selection of his adversaries.
The line debuted fairly inauspiciously in early 2013, and in the span of just three waves, it has amassed a faithful following of fans who eagerly snatch up blind box after blind box in the hopes of completing their sets — a task that can be quite challenging because not only are the figures sold in a blind-boxed fashion, but because there are also blind-boxed store exclusives, con exclusives, and short-packed variants throughout each wave. It can be a lot of work to complete a set, but because the figures are so darn awesome, the rewards outweigh the gamble.
Each figure perfectly captures the personality and spirit of the character it’s based upon to wonderful effect, and we have designer Matt Jones to thank for that. I’ve been in touch with Matt since the Fwoosh review of the very first wave went up on the site, and he’s been a great resource for information and promo images (though no spoilers). Matt has been producing vinyl figures for some time (much of his work can be seen on his site www.lunartik.com), so this line was right up his alley.
Since his Doctor Who vinyl figures have gained a zealous following here on the Fwoosh, I felt an interview was in order. Thankfully, Matt was able to take some time from his busy work and holiday schedule to have a chat with me, so read on and see what Matt Jones has to say about the Titans Doctor Who vinyl line!
Fwoosh: Hi Matt. Can you tell us a little about your connection to Doctor Who? Like, how long have you been a fan? Which Doctor is “your” Doctor?
Matt Jones: Hi there, Tim. first up, thanks for the chance to speak about this work on your blog, it’s great to be here. Hello to your readers (waves). Being British, my connection runs quite deep with Doctor Who. I wouldn’t go so far and say I’m a mega fan, but I appreciate the show for what it is, and I enjoy the diverse array of characters in it, especially the multiverse of villains.
Favourite Doctor for me is actually Matt Smith; I think he plays the Doctor rule well, he’s got good humour, and I liked the way his particular series is set up to be more theatrical going slightly to musical but without bursting into song.
Fwoosh: What is your background in terms of art and toy design? What’s your favorite part of your job?
Matt Jones: Grew up designing objects and products, went to university in the UK. Over the years I had a handful of full-time design jobs, but for the last 10 years I’ve been self employed as a designer and practicing artist.
Best part of the job is the freedom to think and self-programmed time management.
Fwoosh: How involved were you with the line’s conception? Did you approach Titans, or did Titans approach you? How did you land job?
Matt Jones: I’ve been working with Forbidden Planet for about six years on and off now, I have good connections with the owners and we enjoy each other’s work. Titan Merchandise is actually Forbidden Planet’s product arm, so to speak. Titan is run by a small team of super hardcore geeks / nerds / fans and together we have built a strong team dynamic.
Fwoosh: How much freedom do you have with each character’s/figure’s design? How do you decide which version of each character to go with?
Matt Jones: When I start a new series Titans pass me the lineup list. I suggest things, but really they run the show. We review the artwork at many stages before we go live to production. There’s quite some work in getting from initial concept sketch to final toy you see in the shops.
Fwoosh: Which figure do you feel most pleased with in terms of the final product?
Matt Jones: Well, that’s a good question. I think the last series was great; there was all the Doctors, and my favourite was the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) as he looked bang-on to my drawing and he has a really nice screwdriver.
Fwoosh: Based on reactions from fans on the Fwoosh, the all-Doctor wave has been a huge hit. What are the chances of more classic Who characters appearing in the series?
Matt Jones: I can’t say much, but between you and me, there’s a good chance to see some more classics in the future.
Fwoosh: Wave 4 has just been revealed and it looks great. Is there anything you can tell us about the future of the line beyond wave 4?
Matt Jones: Not really for this, I do have a list but that’s for my eyes only, but you will have to wait and see.
Fwoosh: What is in store for the larger-scale figures? The Statue of Liberty Weeping Angel is a great complement to the 3-inch figures. Will there be more characters released that are unique to the larger scale like that one? Or will it mainly be its own line with upscaled 3-inch figures?
Matt Jones: Again, it’s a guarded secret of Titans; I imagine more exciting convention specials will be something to look out for.
Fwoosh: What character would you most like to see appear in the line that hasn’t yet?
Matt Jones: I think I would like to draw up a stylised K9 as that would be a nice edition to have on my shelf.
Fwoosh: What’s next for you and Lunartik?
Matt Jones: Nice of you to ask. 2014 is just around the corner and I’ve already got most of next year planned and in production. You should check out my website Lunartik.com and sign up to the mailing list if you want to be really informed as I hardly have time now days for social media channels.
Stuff to look out for: Berlin solo show in February, Toycon UK, new releases of vinyl and resin figures, and a whole host of new lines from myself and Titans!
I’d like to thank Matt Jones once again for taking the time to answer a few questions, and, based on what he was able to tell us, it sounds like there is some cool stuff in store for the Titans Doctor Who line. I’m especially excited about the prospect of more Classics characters.
The next wave isn’t due out for several months, but in the meantime, there is still plenty of time to finish up wave 3 — including all those pesky variants and exclusives!