Last week I interviewed Stanley Tan, Assistant Creative Director at XM Studios about their upcoming Godzilla line of busts and statues. This includes busts and statues of Godzilla 2001, Shin Godzilla, SpaceGodzilla and more related to the King of the Monsters. Special thanks for Brian Elston on his assistance with the interview questions!

Chris Mirjahangir: Tell me about XM Studios.

Stanley Tan: XM Studios is a Singapore-based global design studio specialising in the creation of premium collectibles. Our products also include premium mass collectibles and lifestyle products. Our products are designed and conceptualised predominantly in Singapore. Current intellectual property licenses include Disney (Marvel, Star Wars, Alien/Predator, Mickey & Friends), Warner Bros. Consumer Products (DC Comics, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo and The Great Gatsby), Hasbro (G1 Transformers, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons), Godzilla, Ultraman, Sanrio and more.


Mirjahangir: How did you get the Godzilla license? Did you approach Toho or did they approach you?

Tan: We approached Toho directly to acquire the license. The team from XM are fans of the license and we are really excited to be working on it.


Godzilla 2001 Bust

Mirjahangir: How was it decided what the first releases would be? What monsters were in the running?

Tan: We wanted to kickstart a range of collectibles that introduces collectors to some of the more iconic eras in the original Godzilla franchise, hence we started with the most notable Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla in 1994, Godzilla 2001 and Shin Godzilla from the 2016 movie.

The conceptual direction for 1994 was to ‘recreate’ the final battle scene between Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla. The crushed buildings, crystals and all other elements present were there to help tell the story. This art direction that we have undertaken also helps form the overall design details and character posing. Buildings were intentionally sculpted so that it looks like it is from the actual set, and the Godzilla poses were ‘recreated’ based on ‘man-In-suits’ in mind. This is very different from the CG versions that some of us may be familiar with.


Mirjahangir: What eras will you be covering in your Godzilla releases?

Tan: This Global license covers us from Godzilla’s beginning right up to Shin Godzilla.


Mirjahangir: How did it come about that you would be working with artist Matt Frank?

Tan: Matt is a very talented artist that works on almost all things Kaiju. He’s extremely knowledgeable and experience on that subject matter. It makes it really fun and exciting to explore ideas and possibilities with him. With the mentioned points and our combined enthusiasm, we are able to create new and daring designs.

We are currently working closely with him on various designs spreading across different licenses and range.


Mirjahangir: Would you ever go beyond the Godzilla series, such as the The War of The Gargantuas (1966) or Atragon (1963)?

Tan: These are currently not on our project roadmap and it is also not part of the license we hold. But that doesn’t mean we are not able to explore and expand the range of characters.


Mirjahangir: How many figures do you intend to put out per year?

Tan: Our aim is to release a good range of products to collectors rather than focus on the quantity. The targeted range includes Bust, full body sculpts and if time permits, a diorama of sorts.


Godzilla 2001 and 2016 Busts

Mirjahangir: Are there any plans to produce statues based upon more obscure Godzilla appearances, such as the Godzilla from Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007), or the icy anime Godzilla from a few years ago?

Tan: We are definitely exploring and looking into different Godzilla from across the franchise and era. I’m sure it will be an interesting in creating lesser-known version of the King. Unfortunately, we do not currently have the Anime license. But we are looking into it.


Mirjahangir: Are there any plans to venture beyond the films and tackle any video game or manga?

Tan: It is currently not in the pipeline. But we are exploring on the possibilities.


Mirjahangir: Will you be expanding to more than dioramas and busts?

Tan: The current 1994 Godzilla and Space Godzilla are actually designed to be standalone pieces that comes with the option to be displayed together to form a scene. The storytelling element linking both designs come as switch out options on the 1994’s base setup.

We are also releasing a reduced based version for collectors who wants to only collect it as standalone designs.

We are also designing an actual diorama with Matt currently. More details will be announced soon.


Mirjahangir: Is there any interest in doing JSDF-centric products, such as maser tanks or the Super X?

Tan: It is currently not in the pipeline. But we are exploring on the possibilities.