Nearly a year ago, I connected with Jose Rodriguez of MiG Productions via email. I asked him to answer a few questions for the blog, and he kindly agreed. Interesting stuff, and I’m sure you’ll agree.
Thanks, Jose! Sorry it took me so long to get this published!
Jake: Tell me about yourself…how did you come to start MIG Productions.
Jose: I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1962 and immigrated first to Madrid Spain, moved to Barcelona a year latter and then came to the USA in the Summer of 1974. I have been a modeler since I came to this country, and started building the big Monogram 1/32 scale bombers. I started my Tiger Productions Diorama Products cottage industry company back in 1993 to try and fill voids in the scenery market. I started first with only plaster based products such as buildings, cobble stone streets, rubble and bricks. Turned to resin back in 2000 after re-inventing myself for the 10th time. The small manufacturer resin business is ever changing, you have to keep up with not only casting advances but creative ideas and what the modelers and market in general is looking for. The biggest thing I would love to do is being able to sculpt figures.
The process of joining the MIG Productions team as their North American Distributor took a lot of work and over 1 year in planning and implementation. It’s all about trust as a “family”, mutual understanding, benefits and doing everything possible to help grow a well known and established brand name. It is a very innovative company to work with, full of great individuals who love the hobby and enjoy what they do. We have many surprises coming this year and beyond.
I’m fascinated by the process of formulation of the paints/washes/oils. Can you share a bit of insight about how the process works to go from idea (“I need to a wash for rust”) to having a final product in hand ready to sell?
It is not a simple process, but in a way it is. I cannot give you specifics on the formulation because that’s company property and I am bound by honesty, integrity, and non-disclosure agreements.
Once an idea is created we discuss among the group and a decision is reached wether to proceed with that particular product or not. After that is done we start working and testing several mixtures to see which one is the best and closest to what have been thought off. When this is finished it is sent to the manufacturer for them to send us samples of the finished product to test. Once the testing is done and all agree it is what we wanted the manufacturer is given the go ahead for full production.
What do you think sets your (liquid) products apart from the competition?
Time in the market since 2002, proven overall reliability and modelers experience and use with them. Diversity of products, items, and a team that is never satisfied in putting a new product out on the market until it is proven to be the best one of it’s kind available.
I’m also fascinated by the process of developing resin products. Can you tell me a bit of the same process – idea to ready to sell?
Well, this is one section where I am well versed being a manufacturer as well with my lines from tigerdio.com.A-Creation of an idea and if we or I believe it will sell in the market. Need to look if it has been done before by any other manufacturer. B-Once the idea is set, product is created using various forms and materials.C-For my company tigerdio.com I use styrene in making the masters of most buildings and bases. It’s a personal choice because I find it simple to work with and allows for a lot of detail.D-Once the master is ready comes time to make a mould and pour the rubberE-Once the rubber is fully cured in a small oven it is time for casting the first piece and painting for box art and then production.
What do you find the hardest part of running a scale model business these days?
Time, Time, Time, Time. Never enough time during the day, and never any extra money to push and create more products. Part of the profits from sales always goes to financing future products and items. Hard world economy and not a lot of extra cash for modelers to buy with.
If you could change one thing about the modeling industry, what would it be? Let’s start there! I really want to know and share with readers how these manufacturing process works. We don’t often hear much about that on this side of the hobby!
Several things actually:
1. The costs of rubber and resin are out of this world compared to other industries. Modelers are not aware how much time and effort goes into creating and producing a resin item in return for very little profit.
2. Plastic model manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot with the pricing and the hobby in general. The price of new kits is really hurting the future of the hobby, kids, teens and young adults can not afford $80.00 + models. I remember how only 10 years ago plastic kits were under $35 USD. This great cost increase is not only hurting the future of the hobby but putting a lot of small resin after market companies out of business. If a modeler spends $80.00+ on a kit, he/she does not have much money left for figures or a diorama base or resin add on’s. If younger modelers do not have the money or loose interest in the hobby, the plastic kit manufacturers will not have a business without future customers.
3. I wish some modelers would not be so protective of their so called “tricks” and share them more with the general public. This is a hobby and not splitting atoms. Also, the mean spirited rivalry that seems to go on with some individuals in this small hobby. We should all treat each other as equals and we would enjoy and make our hobby a more pleasant and enjoyable experience.