Exclusive: Interview With ‘Rivet Wars’ Creator- Ted Terranova
Featured here at the beginning of the month (our most popular article to date), Rivet Wars is the first art toy project from illustrator, Ted Terranova. Since the release of his first batch of ‘Vert Tank’ resin casts back in August, Ted’s series has gone from strength to strength, spawning comic strips, illustrations, back stories and a host of upcoming toy designs for his growing list of avid fans. With a strong underground following at NYCC this year, Ted’s beautifully created world has gained recognition from the likes of Onell Design, Super 7 and master resin caster, the Sucklord himself.
Taking time out from his very busy schedule, Ted has graciously answered a few questions I’m sure all of his followers have been dying to ask. If there’s anything else you’d like to pose to the Rivet Wars creator, e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in purchasing Rivet Wars’ first two toy releases can do so at Ted’s shop, here.
First off, how did you get on at NYCC? Did you meet any Rivet Wars fans / collectors, and did you get see any artists you admire / follow yourself?
It was great. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to meet up with anyone. The show is so huge. All I had was my Rivet Wars shirt to identify me and I knew that people would be hanging around the Onell booth. So I did some stops there but then finally just asked someone if they hung out on the octobertoys forum, and it turned out that Jarrod from the forum overheard me say that and saw my shirt. He introduced me to Connor and we all just started talking about toys and Rivet Wars, as well as Jarrod’s cool projects. Then I met Matt of Onell and he just blew me away with his great attitude towards art, and creating. Talking to him, you can tell how much thought he puts into all his work and how much he cares about the people who buy his stuff. We did a toy trade which was amazing for me.
The next day I got to meet George Gaspar. It is his podcast, Toybreak, that got me thinking about making toys. Without his podcast and forums, Rivet Wars would not be. He was super cool to talk to and really encouraging. I can’t say enough good stuff about him. At that same time I also met Steve of sketchbot fame. He has really inspired me with how he made his toy and the process he went through. And he was a fan of Rivet Wars! Then I ran into my friend Roger, who I know from collecting Godaikins and Shogun Warriors toys. He introduced me to Frank from Super 7. It was great to hear some stories from the production retail side of things. Super7 just makes amazing stuff. Later on I got Joe Ledbetter to sign two of his zodiac toys for me. I’m a
big fan of his art and he’s just a really cool laid back nice guy. Also met some of my favorite comic artists. Geoff Darrow, Eric Canete, and Ben Caldwell all signed books for me and I got some great prints. Looking back at the show, it really could not have gone better. I can’t wait for next year.
What artists / toy designers have inspired you in your work?
I think I’m most inspired by toys and shows from my childhood. I grew up watching starblazers and gatchaman and playing with shogun warriors and Godaikins. So I think Go Nagai and Leiji Matsumoto have had a huge impact on my work. Later on I got a hold of some dougram toys and a scopedog. These are robot toys, but painted in camo, with armor and realistic cannons for
weapons. That struck a chord with me. The idea that you could have a war using tanks but in the shape of robots. I still have my dougram toys with working hydraulics in the legs and removable cockpits. Just amazing stuff. The Vert Tank is very much inspired by the Scopedog.
I’d also have to say Hayao Miyazaki has really impacted my aesthetic. I saw Nausicaa (Warriors of the Wind) in the early 80’s and again, there was this realistic look to the tanks and aircraft, but with an exaggeration of scale to the cannons and armor. I just love his stuff. The military stuff in Howl’s Moving Castle is also great. And I love his Daydream Note book which compiles his illustrations from Hobby Japan. His influence is pretty obvious in a lot of my designs.
And of course I think a lot about the cheap green army men everyone had as a kid. That’s the look I wanted to go for. But with something of the GiJoe feel. GiJoe is where the idea for the stats card came from.
With the Rivet Wars universe constantly developing, have you ever considered working on a storybook or full length comic to expand on the line’s mythology?
Absolutely. I have a pretty good idea of where I want to take the world. I’ve been working out the map of the world, the countries involved in the conflict and the characters the story would revolve around. I love the technology and the vehicles and the world of Rivet but I think I’ve finally learned that a good story is all about the characters. I want to create a story about a team of soldiers sent on a dangerous mission, almost suicidal, and desperate. A sort of last ditch effort to turn the tide of the war.
I’m planning to borrow heavily from my favorite tales like Starblazers, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and the Odyssey. All stories about a group of people against whom the odds are stacked but who still have a chance to save their world if they can pull off the impossible. And it’s that journey and the trials along the road that will hopefully make for a good tale. And some crazy cool art 🙂
If there was enough commercial success in the series, would you ever consider a full production run for Rivet Wars? – a blind box line would be awesome!
I’d love to do that. The more toys, the more people enjoying rivet wars the better. I really didn’t start this expecting that many people to be interested and I still feel the same way. Rivet Wars is just me pulling together all the stuff that I really love. I didn’t imagine there were that many people who are interested in WWI tanks, resin toys and comics. But if there is enough of a following I’d really like to see more complex toys. Toys with moving tracks, opening hatches, removeable
A blind box would be awesome. It’d be so cool to have other artists design their own variants of the grunts. I could really see it going like a GiJoe type thing – the snow soldier, navy seal, ninja warrior, flame thrower guy, etc. And then to have a nice painting of each dude in action, like on the GiJoe cards. That would be amazing.
What problems have you encountered as an ‘indie’ toy maker? Has casting with resin been as easy / difficult as you thought it would be?
When I first started making toys I had never done anything like this. I did have a weird job in high school making molds of teeth for an orthodontist but that was using plaster. I thought resin was like glass and really brittle. But the information on the octobertoys forum is amazing. After reading a bit and asking some questions I just jumped in. I’m an artist in video game industry so making the 3D model for the print was very familiar territory for me.
It was when I started making the molds and pouring the resin that I made a few mistakes and learned a lot. Some molds I rushed and they had bubbles in them. Some of the molds I tried to make as one piece but they ended up ripping. I also didn’t realize that I needed to do some work on the 3D prints before making the molds. And I had no idea how much clean up there would be on each piece. The Rivet Wars stuff is pretty detailed with lots of ins and out and that’s tough on the molds and makes for lots of places for bubbles to form and flash to build up. Also the 3D prints are pretty expensive. And don’t forget to use mold release…
But I think that for the most part I’ve been very fortunate with how my toys have worked out. I’m learning new things each day and I hope to make better and better toys with each piece in the line.
What can we expect for the future of Rivet Wars? Any more colorways / editions for your existing range planned, and will the Quad Stug be available by the end of the year? (we seriously cannot wait!)
The Grunt two packs are in the works now. I should be announcing something soon. Then the Quad Stug is next. I am REALLY excited about that toy. It’s like a dream for me. It’s a toy that I’ve always wanted but no one ever really made. I plan to take my time with that one and do it right. It’s also the most complex toy I’ve made with five separate pieces. I promise I’ll try and get it out soon.
Then I need to make Blighter grunt two packs. After that I’m not sure. An aircraft would be cool. I also have some sketches of a powered armor suit. Sort of like Ripley’s suit in the Aliens movie but with guns and armor. I think people would dig that. Or maybe a two legged walker type thing.
More paintings for sure and then I plan to compile my sketches, watercolors, photos, comics and notes into an art book. I think that would be really cool and something fun for fans of the Rivet world to look through.
I’d like to finish by saying that it thrills me to no end that people in Mexico, England, Singapore, Germany, Canada, the U.S., people all over the world, have a Rivet Wars toy sitting on their shelf. That these people see value in what I am doing, to me, is the greatest honor and compliment someone could give me. In response to that I am always trying to make Rivet Wars cooler, better, and more fun.
Thanks so much for supporting this project. And thanks for the interview 🙂
We’ll be keeping you up to date on Ted’s progress over the next few months, including any details on the hotly anticipated Quad Stug and Grunt two-pack releases. Check the Rivet Wars site here for further information.