During the Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay Kickstarter campaign, one of the “rewards” that fans could select was an experience listed as “Intern for a Day”. This was actually the second time the studio had offered this reward after doing it during their "Ravens" Kickstarter back in 2013. The description of this reward read as follows:
“A one day session at Four Horsemen Studios where you'll get a hands on look at how things are done stage by stage from the initial concept design to the final completed paint master.”
I actually selected this reward as part of my Kickstarter pledge and was fortunate enough to attend this event. In fact, it was the first time I ever had a chance to visit Four Horsemen Studios as well as the first time I ever met the Horsemen. For this “Behind the Scenes” article, I figured it would be fun to share my personal experience from this amazing day, including how it actually helped set the stage for the work that I do now on SourceHorsmen.com!
I Think I Want to be An Intern
The “Advent of Decay” Kickstarter was an incredible time for Mythic Legions fans. There was so much excitement around the property and this wave promised to deliver a huge update to the line. The campaign fully funded in under 24 hours and stretch goals quickly started being unlocked on the way to Advent of Decay becoming the most funded action figure line in Kickstarter history! I knew from the get-go that I would be “All In” on the line and I also knew I would be getting plenty of extras to fuel my customs, but rather than choosing that All In set as my reward, I decided to select an item near the bottom the Kickstarter list of rewards - that aforementioned “Intern for a Day” experience.
I have collected figures from the Four Horsemen Studios since their days together at McFarlane Toys. Some of my favorite pieces in my collection were designed by these guys, and that is even before you take Mythic Legions into account! To say that I was excited for a chance to visit their studio and get a behind the scenes look at how my favorite toys are made is an understatement for sure.
A Weekend in Jersey
As the Advent of Decay Kickstarter closed and the figures went into production, fans patiently waited to get these new toys into our collections. In early 2018, those of us who backed the campaign as future “interns” got an email asking us about our availability for the coming months so the studio could plan our event. The date selected was a Saturday in late May, during Memorial Day weekend. The day I had been waiting for was finally on my calendar!
I booked a hotel, packed a bag, and headed with my son, who also collected Mythic Legions, from Rhode Island to New Jersey on Friday afternoon so we could get to the studio bright and early the next day.
Arriving at the Studio
Four Horsemen Studios is located in a fairly non-descript warehouse in a suburb of New Jersey known as Little Falls. Pulling up to the building, I wasn’t even sure I had the right place since there was no signage for the company. As soon as we walked through the doors, however, I knew I was were I was meant to be. Fellow Mythic Legions fans had already arrived and were mingling with each other, excitedly talking about their favorite Mythic Legions races and figures.
As I made my way into the building, which is actually a giant facility that the studio shares with a company that makes and stores props for Broadway shows, my jaw dropped as walls of prototype figures unfolded before me. There were 2-up prototypes of old 7th Kingdom and Gothitropolis figures, as well as shelves of both unpainted Advent of Decay test shots and the painted prototypes. Remember that this was before the wave had shipped to fans, so this was the first time I had actually seen these figures in person and it was my first experience handling them. I was actually both terribly nervous and incredibly excited finally having those figures in my hands after staring at the pictures of them online for so long.
As I looked around the studio trying to take everything in, I even got to see test shots of heads that had yet to be revealed, and which wouldn’t end up be released for some time to come! They had test shots of the heads that would eventually be used on the goblins Thwikk and Thumpp, plus the Thallyn head and the Torgun Redfin head. It would take almost 2 years for some of those to actually be released into the line! There were also early 3D prints of what would eventually become the ogre-scale figures. We saw ogre parts being prepared for paints, including heads that we would eventually see fully revealed on Kkurzog, the Ogre Legion Builder, Bolthor the Tower, Argemedes, and even the not-yet-released “Vampire Brute”.
Keep in mind everything I am detailing here happened before the day’s events had even really begun! This was just the time we spent walking around the studio space in awe upon our arrival, but the Horsemen would have more surprises and fun events in store for all of us interns.
A Magical Day with the Horsemen
To give attendees a sense of how action figures are created at Four Horsemen Studios, the large group of interns (there was about 25 of us between the interns and guests) was broken down into a few smaller ones and we took turns visiting various areas of the studio where we would see different presentations.
Sherri took us through her process for painting the figures, while Bill showed attendees how they would do molding and casting. Eric gave a digital sculpting tutorial, creating some crazy looking aliens for everyone to see. Guest sculptor Ben also gave a live tutorial on digitally sculpting weapons while Jim took groups for tours of the warehouse itself. Cornboy hung back during the festivities, directing traffic and chatting with fans along the way. The pictures below show some of the groups at various points during the day, along with one of the alien sculptures that Eric did during his presentation!
The event ended with the Horsemen presenting everyone with some very cool gifts, including a “Goblin Legion Builder” bust and a custom “jawbone weapon” they had printed just for us. Fans were allowed to paint these gifts at the studio or to take them home as is, which is what I elected for. Oh – and they also gave every attendee a boxed Sir Valgard figure as a final “thank you”!
My one regret from this day was that I failed to get a photo with the Horsemen. After I left the studio to make the drive back to Rhode Island, the entire group of interns actually took a group photo with the Horsemen and everyone else from the studio. When I got home and saw some fellow attendees post this photo, I was so sad to have missed the opportunity. Luckily, this would not be my last trip to the studio…but more on that in a moment.
My Fan-Boy Moment
One of the coolest parts of this day, of course, was meeting the Horsemen themselves. Introducing myself to the Horsemen, I had a fan-boy experience when they recognized my name and the customs that I had done. To say that I was humbled to have these toy creators whose work I had admired for so many years compliment me on my customs was an incredibly cool experience, and it would set the stage for something even cooler to come very soon after!
Returning for G-Con
A few months after the Intern for a Day event, I opened my email to find a message from Cornboy inviting me back to the studio to be part of a special event they were planning. I was told it would be a live broadcast that would go out on Facebook and Instagram for Mythic Legions fans worldwide. The day would be filled with interviews and figure reveals and at the end of the day the pre-order for a new line of figures would go live. Cornboy asked if I would be willing to bring some of my customs to the studio to show them live on the air. I can distinctly remember reading this email and I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. I was honored to have been asked to be a part of such a cool event and to return to the studio not only as a fan, but as an invited guest! This event was, of course, the first ever G-con and the line that was revealed that day was Soul Spiller.
Being at the studio for G-con was a much different experience than being there as an “intern”, and I got to meet a number of people connected to the Four Horsemen for the first time, including Nate Baertsch, Chris Gawrych, Ed Waysek, and Israel Ramirez - who actually interviewed me for my segment during G-con, which is shown below!
I would be invited back for the second G-con event in 2019, which is where I first started discussing the studio’s website with the team and some of my ideas to update the company’s online presence. The conversations went so well that I began working on the new SourceHorsemen.com a few weeks later, finally launching it to the world in mid-November of that year.
Bringing Some of the Magic to You
I can still keenly remember that feeling of walking into Four Horsemen Studios for the first time for the Intern for a Day event and the sense of magic that the place has. Even though I have now been back there a number of other times, I still feel that magic every time I visit. That is a feeling I have tried to bring here to the website by giving fans a peek behind the scenes whenever I can!
Four Horsemen Studios has discussed the possibility of doing future Intern for a Day-style events. While nothing is planned for the immediate future, it is certainly something that the studio enjoys and which we know fans love as well. From personal experience, I can tell that if you do ever get a chance to jump onto an event like this, do so! You will not regret it – and maybe if there is another one of these, I will be there as well, but this time I will get to be on the other side of the table and help welcome you to this magical place known as Four Horsemen Studios!
Published on 03.13.20