. The very word seems of another century in an age where everything is of molded plastic and made in China. It's a hot, dirty, and noisy place where 15 skilled workers cast and assemble statuary. There are sand blasters, grinders, and pots of molten bronze at more than 2,000 degrees. Mendez, bespectacled and in a bright polo shirt just this side of peach, emerges from the din to suggest we talk at a coffee shop-not so much because of the noise level in the modern-day Vulcan's forge, but out of fear that a reporter might get a sneak peek at the poses.