Duke Seifried founded Custom Cast in 1974 and started releasing their 'Fantastiques' fantasy range. In 1977 Custom Cast merged with Heritage Models creating Heritage Models Inc. This interview is taken from the pages of Courier Magazine Volume 1 No.6 for May 1980.....
THE COURIER INTERVIEWS-DUKE SEIFRIED
by GLORIA MICELI
Courier: What aspect of the hobby interests you the most?
Duke: Well, I must confess that the concept of adventure gaming is what intrigues me the most. Adventure gaming is of course " role-playing " , you lead your little band of adventurers on a quest', command an army in a mighty battle and encounter the forces of nature , aliens or enemies. You make decisions that change the course of history! Adventure gaming with miniatures is like putting the player into a movie. The concept of adventure gaming includes what we typically describe as wargaming; it involves role-playing and the latest thing that we've come up with, which we try to describe as 'obligation' 'national duty' and such personal interests and desires as greed, etc., are all those good things that make a "soap opera" drama involving.
Courier: What do you like least about the hobby?
Duke: For me personally, long hours, sixty-thousand miles of travel across this great country and while I really enjoy working with people, I'd like to have a Iittle personal Iife now and then .
Courier: How long have you been involved in wargaming?
Duke: Thirty-five years. May we call it adventure gaming?
Courier: How did you first become interested in the hobby?
Duke: Many years ago, obviously, since I'm in my (ahem) middle to late forties; I had an opportunity to acquire some of the molds made for the semi-round figurines of the thirties. My father was a 54mm collector and dioramist. He put the goodly stuff in a big black (locked) box and I had to learn to pick the lock to get at it. I guess I have always had an interest in history, games theory and the pagentry or miniatures.
Courier: Do you think the days of the 25mm figure are limited and that we will eventually go to either 15mm or 20mm exclusively?
Duke: Well, I’ll describe it in this way: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Medieval games plus other developing adventure type games will be in 25mm for some time to come because of the personality detail of the figurine and because of the handle-ability of that particular size piece. However, I personally believe historical games will be going to 15mm as you can probably see reflected by what we' re doing currently with our lines of figurines.
Courier: Speaking of your lines, are you planning any new historical lines in the near future?
Duke: At the present time , the historical era is obviously secondary in sales to Fantasy and Science Fiction. At this point we have only a few more Historical lines in mind. Our greatest emphasis must be on that area where the general public's interest lies.
Courier: Do you think Fantasy is just a flash-in-the-pan and will die out?
Duke: Absolutely not, ma'am. Fantasy is the kingpin! It's the area that draws the young people and that is the secret to this hobby! You see, it's like an iceberg with only the tip on the surface. Those young people develop their interest and become our buyers. We're selling primarily to a young market. The demographics are as follows: Primary market is between 14 to 30 years old ; secondary market 10 - 14 with the tertiary market 30 years and older (a very small area) . The 10 - 30 age bracket being male 75% and female about 25 %, whereas the 30-year-olds and over are strictly male.
Courier: What set of rules has made the most impact on the hobby?
Duke: That is a very loaded question, because you see there have been a number of 'milestone' rules sets. I think the Napoleonic period has been the keystone builder of rules in America and if I were to describe them in a kind of chronological order, I would say that Melee, Frappe, Napoleonique, Le Guerre and Empire have been the rules sets that have had the most effect upon gaming in this country. Column, Line & Square was an extraction of Melee. Courier How popular do you think wargaming or as you call it adventure gaming will become in this country?
Duke: The penetration of the most popular hobby-sport, bowling is 20%. I believe that it is feasibly possible through the medium of adventure gaming; not just "wargaming" or just role-playing or anyone area by itself; but the total combination which is ADVENTURE GAMING to achieve a 10 to 12% penetration .
Courier: How do you explain this to people who are not familiar with the hobby?
Duke: Well, as you are well aware, "Uncle Duke" puts on shows and I have a well established pattern that's somewhat like selling a "veg-a-matic". Really, I explain what it is and how it works . Let me describe it simply this way. We must attract the imagination of the individual, we must reach him or her from the standpoint of: " How can I get involved in this?" Every person has a "hot button". Consequently, what we must do is to reach the button that rings the bell for them .
Courier: Thank you, Duke.