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introduce yourself

I'm Adam Van Wickler, 1/3 of the Mortal Ruin team.
I grew up during the heyday of action figures. Star Wars, GI Joe, He-man, Thundercats, Transformers, Super Powers, Secret Wars, Mego. You name the line and I had at least a few figures from it. My mom still likes to tell people that I was potty trained with the promise of a new Star Wars action figure each time I went like a big boy. To this day I still expect a new action figure each time I go like a big boy.
My younger brother certainly did not appreciate my desire to take apart our toys and swap parts around, or why I needed to “ruin” our figures by repainting them to be other characters.
Even now you can find me hunting for new toys during my lunch breaks and visiting the local comic book shops regularly.
I've been involved professionally in the toy industry since 2001 and I'm lucky enough to have worked on many of the toy lines that I grew up playing with.
I am a Director – Creative Services at Gentle Giant Studios, working with a wide range of clients throughout the toy prototyping process. Overseeing concept artwork, digital sculpting, 3D printing, silicone molding/resin casting, painting, and manufacturing while working directly with both licensees & licensors to gain approvals are among my daily tasks.
As a 12.25% part-owner of the Fwoosh LLC I spearheaded the Articulated Icons: The Feudal Series project. This toy line was the first time that I had control from inception to completion. From the initial concepts, to prototyping (digital sculpting, 3D printing, clean-up, silicone mold making, tooling & paint masters), logo and packaging design, putting together and running the Kickstarter campaign, marketing & promotions, overseeing the production and manufacturing of the 17 SKU's, and then getting them shipped from China to the US.
And that brings us to Mortal Ruin, after so many years of creating action figures for other companies (Hasbro, Mattel, Diamond Select Toys, Dark Horse, Funko, DC Collectibles, SOTA Toys, Fwoosh LLC, etc.), I, along with my longtime coworkers and fellow Articulated Icons Design Team members Rene Aldrete & Scott Akers, decided it was time to create something that could truly be our own, we hope you like it.

Born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants Rene Aldrete grew up wanting nothing more than to make cartoons. "One day I will make cartoons" he probably said once. He went through school learning about cartoons and how they're made. He went to college to study animation, he was okay at it, not terrible, but certainly not good. While in school he learned that animating kinda sucks and it's not as fun as he thought it would be. Marvel Legends came out around this time and were the bee's knees. While in a maquette sculpting class he learned that he liked sculpting, he was decent at it, again, not terrible, but he showed promise. During a career development class, there was an assignment to interview someone in an industry you would like to be a part of. His friend, Steve Gomez, suggested contacting SOTA Toys because they were close and interacted with fans online. Rene and his friend contacted SOTA, told them about the class and asked for an interview, they said yes. One hot summer day while Rene and his friend Steve were driving out to Van Nuys from Inglewood, where they lived, they hit a traffic jam and had to call in to let them know they'd be late for the interview. SOTA understood. Once they got there they were greeted by Jed Haigh, "we're here for the interview" one of them said. Jed proceeded to give them a tour of the studio. Once they reached the mold shop Jed said, "and this is where you'll work..." Rene and Steve stopped and said, "that's not the type of interview we came in for but if you're serious we'll take it." They worked for dirt cheap for a few months, some would even say they worked for free (their families said that). Eventually, almost everyone was laid off but Rene was kept on because someone needed to work in the mold shop. While there he met Adam Van Wickler who was hired to manage things, they became friends at some point. Adam then left to work at Gentle Giant Studios. Then Rene met Scott Akers who was hired to fill some holes because at that point SOTA Toys was really only 5 people and two of them were office folks. Eventually, Adam got Rene a job opportunity at Gentle Giant where he cleaned 3D prints and even got to hand-sculpt things sometimes (the 6" ML Ultimate WWII Captain America was an early highlight). He wasn't good, but also not bad enough to get fired. He moved on from traditional sculpting to digital sculpting at some point though details are hazy because his memory is terrible and he has no real concept of time. Over ten years later and he's still there to this day, having sculpted a ton of Marvel Legends for Hasbro, some Star Wars Black for Hasbro, a bunch of Marvel Select for Diamond Select Toys, numerous WWE figures for Mattel, a 6inch Game of Thrones figure for Funko, created Articulated Icons: The Feudal Series out of thin air, and probably some other things he can't think of. He's still not good, but he's trying.

3. I’m have bird.