After reading my review of the One2One Blue Spartan bust, the sculptor of the item Peter Mook signed up at the HaloCollectors.com forums to let me know he enjoyed and appreciated the review and photographs. He took the time to interact with forum members and agreed to an exclusive interview with the website. He also graciously offered me exclusive behind the scenes photos of unreleased items that were in the works. When One2One lost the Halo license, some of these unreleased items made their way into the hands of collectors due to the original association with HaloCollectors.com. The interview is being reproduced here from the archived information. I will also post the exclusive photos provided in a separate post later.
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Peter Mook: I used to play Halo when it first came out but unfortunately the spinning made me sick, so I never managed to get very far. But when I was offered the opportunity to work on the license, I was very excited as I knew how great the characters were. I also badly needed a challenge as for the last ten years I have worked on Betty Boop, Disney, Warner and many other cartoon licenses that were not too difficult to sculpt. I had been thinking of a career change when this opportunity came along and got me excited about sculpting again.
HC: What has been the most challenging thing about creating the Halo products so far?
PM: The most challenging thing was the sculpting, as I did not know if it was possible to hand sculpt something that is so geometric. That is why all the products manufactured so far by other companies have been rapid prototyped, but we decided it would make these busts more of a ‘work of art’ if they were created by hand and not a machine. As I wrote on your website forum, I was quite scared as being new to this industry. I knew I would live or die by the pieces I made so to be given Halo which is possibly the hardest license to sculpt as my first project was not the best way to start, although it can only get easier from now on.
HC: Do you have a personal favorite bust from the Halo bust line?
PM: It would be between Spartan, Brute Chieftain, and Arbiter all for different reasons. Spartan has the most fantastic armor. Whoever designed him was very talented. I was also more confident as this was my second ‘geometric’ sculpt. Brute Chieftain is the largest out of the range and I don’t want to sound big-headed, but it is very impressive when you see it. I am really looking forward to seeing this item painted. Arbiter was so difficult I had to sculpt this (with the help from Microsoft) in different stages, and by the time it is prepared for the mold it will have taken weeks to sculpt. Bearing in mind I work a minimum of 70 hours a week, that makes 420+ hours to sculpt. My father who is a bricklayer could have built a house in this time! But all this work means that it is visually very interesting from all angles.
HC: What is the current release schedule for future Halo products from One2One? What is the next bust to be released and when is it expected to ship?
PM: This is a difficult question, as a lot of people are aware we are a very new company and therefore we cannot sell many items from our website. Also one of the partners left as he was inadequate and had made such a mess of the website that we are currently making a new one, which means for the moment we are only selling to our distributors. They are telling us the order they want them in, so all I can say at the moment is Brute Bust is next, then I believe Spartan figure followed by Spartan Bust. After this I am not sure.
We have some Halo Reach items being designed by a fantastic 3D artist called Olivier Coustan and a couple more figures from Halo Wars. There is also ODST and Arbiter Bust, so we have enough products for 8-10 months. I cannot give any precise release dates as this depends on all the companies involved. The distributor tells us when they want it, then we have to book the production space with the factory and only then can I give a release date. Many companies give dates then move them again and again. I do not want to work like this as it upsets fans, so I will only give a date when it is definite.
HC: In a recent post at HaloCollectors.com you mentioned that you had just finished sculpting an Arbiter bust. Is it the Arbiter from Halo 3, or the one from Halo Wars?
PM: Halo Wars. I will speak to Microsoft and when they tell me I can release a photo I will send it to you guys first. We are also hoping that the factory can chrome plate it, if they can this will be something very special.
HC: How long does it take to make a bust from the time the concept is approved to the time it is ready to ship?
PM: I have to prepare it for the mold (1 week), then I have to drive it to the molder and wait for her to make the master molds (4 weeks). It then gets shipped to the factory and it is re-molded to make the production molds (4 weeks), then a copy needs to be sent to be painted and approved again (2-6 weeks depending on approval time). Then we send a painted sample to Microsoft for final approval (2 weeks), and only when this is approved can we send images to the distributors so they can start to solicit orders. Due to the state of the economy they only want to order in low quantities that they know they can sell so they need as long as possible. So it can be anything from 6 months to a year.
HC: Is the winner of the Halo bust fan poll on the One2One website guaranteed to be made, or are you all just using it to see what types of characters fans are most interested in?
PM: No, it was just to see what fans are most interested in, but it was a stupid idea. Now that the other director left, I am in charge of what is made. I think it would be better if in the future I could work with you guys to decide what items are best to make. You all know Halo much better than I do, so the input from you guys could help us really move forward and produce some great items. Also, if you guys are going to be buying them then why not have a say in what we make?!
HC: Are any Halo products in the works besides the 1:2 scale busts?
PM: Yes, we are currently designing a range of figures and dioramas, and later in the year I would love to make something special, similar to the design Kotobukiya was going to produce with the two figures in the Mongoose. But we have to wait on this as the economy is so bad and this would cost a small fortune, but it is something I would love to do.
HC: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and provide us with some exclusive information about some upcoming products!
PM: Can I just thank you for asking me to do this short interview? I really enjoyed it, and anything else I can help you with in the future just ask!
HC: I had one more quick follow up question if you don’t mind. What types of figures are you all making? Action figures, or replica style figures? And in what scale, 12-inch or another size?
PM: We will be making action type figures. The first one, Spartan, will be on a base with a flagpole with a skull on top, and the size is 10 inches. We would like to make them bigger but due to the economy we have to try to make them a little cheaper but as, hopefully, the economy gets a bit better we can start to make more impressive dioramas and larger figures.
HC: Great info Peter! Thanks again for sharing your time and expertise with us!