Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

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Del
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Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Del » Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:16 pm

Discussion with James Hood from Round 2.
by Delbert Wells
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This past WonderFest was very busy for me, as it was my first year as a vendor with a table of products to sell. However, another opportunity allowed for this WonderFest to be more memorable than the previous ones which I have attended. What made this event so much more interesting than those before, is that Xen had asked me to interview the man behind our addiction - James Hood, from Round 2, also known as Jamie.

My first impression of Jamie is that he's very personable and easy to approach. He appears to genuinely love this hobby, and his devotion to our passion is the proof of that. Jamie could just be another guy working for a company who gets a paycheck for his work, but what makes him stand out to me, is that he strives to get the very best product possible with the limited resources he has at hand. A task that not enough of us appreciate.

For instance, when I asked Jamie about what his job and responsibilities entail, he mentioned that while his business card lists him as "Art Director", his real function is more like a "Brand Manager". He's a one-man-band in almost every aspect. This may come as a surprise to most of you reading this, but he has no employees working for him. Jamie is in charge of the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of Round 2 that includes the Polar Lights and AMT lines, as well as the newly acquired Hawk and Lindberg lines. Every product that falls within those categories is produced directly by Jamie, including most of the decision making process. If you look at the number of kits this includes, you will begin to understand the vast scope of work that is on his desk, and I might say that it appears a little daunting to me. Again, he has no employees working directly for him, with the exception of one designer who handles part of the Lindberg line. Otherwise, he makes this all happen for us by some skillful negotiation and scheduling on his part.

A typical kit that's started from the ground up requires careful planning to consider whether the product will be a profitable seller. Due to the time required to produce a kit from start to finish, only a few new kits can be released per year, and if they aren't good sellers, then it could have negative consequences for kits later in the future. That's why there's no decision yet to go forward with another 1/350 scale kit. It's still a possibility, but there's been no discussion yet as to a subject or a date for production.

Once the kit has been decided upon, the 3D modeling must be arranged. Recently, the man to do this has been Angelo Bastianelli of Gizmotron fame, but Round 2 uses various people to accomplish these tasks. After the modeling has been completed, the 3D files are sent to the Chinese factory that is selected, and they are contracted to complete every portion of the kit from the styrene injection molding of the sprues, to the decals, instructions, and even the retail packaging. Once the kit has been tooled up, the factory produces a limited number of advanced copies of the kits, known as "test shots". After the kit has been approved by Jamie, the kit is then fully produced and sent to the USA for the retail market. At this point when the kit is almost ready for release, a few "test shots" are occasionally sent out to folks in our hobby to build and share with the community, but this doesn't happen for every kit that's released. This is a simplified breakdown of the kit production, and while the Chinese factory produces everything in China, most of the artwork for the retail packaging and the instructions is created by Jamie, with outsourcing occurring on a few occasions.

The question crossed my mind of how a person could get started in this wonderful hobby working for an outfit like Round 2. Jamie stated that his background is a degree in Illustration and many years working in the RV (Recreational Vehicle) industry. Some of the vinyl designs you've seen on trailers and motor homes might have been his work. As far as landing the job at Round 2, his immediate supervisor knew of him through a mutual acquaintance, and requested that he come to work for the company in the early stages of Round 2 development. So, Jamie has been with the company for quite awhile and has a vested interest in the business, the hobby, and the customers.

Moving on to what kits are in production or likely to be, here's how things look:

Summer 2014 - Reliant 1/1000.
Late 2014 - Cadet Series 1/2500 - Defiant, Saratoga, Galor.
Late 2015 / 2016 - Cadet Series 1/2500 - Voyager strong possibility / others not yet determined.
Mid 2015 - Romulan Bird of Prey 1/1000.
• Galileo 1/35 -- interior design and production difficulties moved this to 2015.
• Akira in 1/1000 or a different 1/350 scale kit - still possible / no commitment at this time. Continued sales of existing large kits will determine if these could be possible.

Image
( Group shot of the upcoming Cadet Series 1/2500 scale kit with the Defiant, Saratoga, and Galor. )

Image
( Close-up of the detail found on the 1/2500 scale Cardassian Galor from the upcoming Cadet Series kit. )

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( Build-up of the 1/1000 scale Reliant kit by James Small of Small Art Works. )

Jamie was also kind enough to hand me one of those "test shots" of the 1/1000 Reliant to be reviewed here at AST. I'll be posting both an "in-the-box" review of the kit, as well as a test fit of how well the parts go together. After that, there's a plan for the future of the kit, but Xen will provide the details of that. I'll start my write up of this kit within a few days, and will include some close-up photos of the detail and decals.

My discussion with Jamie provided me with a greater understanding of how things work behind the scenes at Round 2, and I hope that now you also have an idea of how much effort is put into every kit that finds its way into your stash, or onto your shelf. If you happen to see Jamie at the next WonderFest or somewhere else, please talk to him and say thank you for the great things he does to help fuel our passion.

Image
( James "Jamie" Hood in the Polar Lights shirt on the left, and Scott Potter on the right at the Round 2 booth for WonderFest 2014. )
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Moongrim » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:18 am

Thank you for that well researched and investigated report Del. 8-)

I had no idea what it was like. And now I feel bad for being an armchair quarterback concerning the Sartoga/Saratoga, misspelling. :oops:

I say yes- we all owe him a debt of thanks.

Even now I'm thinking of a 1K Reliant conversion..... :!:
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Scotchyn » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:53 am

Excellent Job Del!

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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby el gato » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:13 am

Thank you for the write up Del. This look behind the curtain was fascinating
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Julien » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:16 am

This is great stuff ! Thanks, Del ! I look forward to the review of the Reliant !

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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby asmcelhinney » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:47 am

Wow! I'm surprised at the voyager suggestion, I wonder what the licensing deal is with that?

Thanks for sharing :)
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Del » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Thanks everybody. This was really Xen's interview that he arranged a few months ago, but I conducted it for him since he wasn't able to attend WonderFest. So, most of the line of questioning was derived from his suggestions, although I changed things around a bit. The Round 2 license for Star Trek includes anything that's not in the new films, so Voyager isn't a problem.
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby jkb-1 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:13 pm

I wonder how feasible it would be for them to rent [buy?] the Revell Voyager molds. I'm guessing the pent-up demand would have to reach improbably high levels. Thrilled to think of a Cadet version!

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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby RogueWolf » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:24 pm

I eagerly await getting my hands on a 1/2500 Voyager!
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Re: Discussion with James Hood from Round 2

Postby Lonewolf » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:24 am

jkb-1 wrote:I wonder how feasible it would be for them to rent [buy?] the Revell Voyager molds. I'm guessing the pent-up demand would have to reach improbably high levels. Thrilled to think of a Cadet version!

It wouldn't be only an issue of renting/buying the molds. It's also a licensing issue. Revell Germany has the license to produce those kits for the European market. Round 2 would have to not only work out the lease/purchase of the molds, but also negotiate a whole new license with CBS/Paramount to produce the kits.
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