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July 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 7
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TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Action Figures

Pirates and Knights Duke It Out


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Christine Lebednik

Knights, pirates and even dragons rule, a recent survey of 34 specialty retailers told TDmonthly Magazine. Papo, Schleich and Playmobil continue to provide kids with fantasy-based action figures. And one of Accoutrements' figures tests whether one qualifies as a Crazy Cat Lady.

Look below to see where the action is in action figures. And to catch up on related trends, read Spidey's Special, But Knights Still Rule.




MSRP: $4.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



Dressed in white and emblazoned with a cross, this knight is ready to defend his faith. His horse is also dramatically draped. Each is available separately. Launch date: 2006.
— "Papo... across the line. Our Knight Papo figures are our best-selling stand-alone figures," said Alex Witten of Sparks Toy & Hobby Shoppe in Smithfield, R.I. Eighteen of 34 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 cited Papo as best-selling action figures in their stores.
— Retailers reported sales of Papo Knights averaging 50 to 100 units a month.
— "Papo’s design, quality and play value continue to inspire children and even adults with the imaginary world of Papo," said Larry J. Hotaling of distributor Hotaling Imports.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7767      (added 5/2/2006)
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MSRP: $13.49
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



In the battle against the infidel, many knights joined forces and formed different knights' orders. This knight is part of the World of Knights Series and is no exception to Schleich’s reputation for beautiful art work and detail on hand-painted figurines. The knights are 1:20 scale, ranging in size from about 4" to 6", and are made of durable synthetic material.
Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., said, "My Schleich has done wonderfully," when asked about action figures in her store. She said the knights, in particular, were among customer favorites.
— Retailers TDmonthly spoke with reported monthly sales of 10 to 200 Schleich action figures a month.
— Ten of 34 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 cited Schleich action figures as being popular with customers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13017      (added 5/22/2007)
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Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys
Category: Pretend Play
Action Figures



This spooky skeletal pirate figure, standing approximately 3.5" tall, is hand-painted and highly detailed. He has a massive sword and shiny pistol. "Each Papo figure is painted by hand and incredibly detailed," said Brian J. Shackelton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports Inc.
— Betsy Justings, owner of Betsy's on Ross in Auburn, Ala., told TDmonthly that Papo Pirates is the hottest selling item in her store.
— Two of 45 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly specifically cited Papo Pirates as a continuing hot-seller in their stores. Both retailers are located in the Southeast.
— Pirates came in second to knights in the best-selling action figure category, according to research conducted by TDmonthly in spring 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7825      (added 5/9/2006)
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MSRP: $16.49
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



The canoe was an important tool that Indians used for hunting and to cover long distances over water. The hand-painted Canoe With Figure captures this importance and is a great addition to the Schleich American Frontier Collection. The bold warrior figure is considerably detailed, from feathered headband to realistic canoe. It weighs 11.2 ounces and is 9” long.
— "We do a lot of Schleich, and the Schleich Indians have been doing really well," said Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., when asked about action figures in her store.
— As for specific reasons customers buy the Schleich Indian figures, Tanner added, "It's probably because we're in the Southwest. Schleich does extremely well for us here."
— Although knights and pirates were cited most often by retailers who mentioned Schleich action figures to TDmonthly, six of 10 also named other popular figures, such as the Canoe.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13018      (added 5/22/2007)
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Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



This highly detailed, hand-painted, two-headed dragon stands 4.5” tall.
— "The most critical thing [with action figures] is the dragons, and in the dragons, Papo wins. The 2-Headed Dragon Figure is number one," said Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz. Other Papo action figures specialty retailers told TDmonthly are selling well were horses, animals and fantasy figures.
— Tanner was one of 10 retailers TDmonthly spoke with, out of a total of 34, who cited something other than a knight or a pirate as a best-selling Papo figure in their store.
— "The 2-Headed Dragon is available in two colors: green and, new for 2007, red," said Brian J. Shackelton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports Inc.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8580      (added 7/18/2006)
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MSRP: $10.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



Every town has a Crazy Cat Lady — the one who lives in a tiny house full of feral felines. This 5-1/4” hard vinyl Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure weighs 1 lb. and has a wild look in her eye. She comes with six cats and an illustrated blistercard. "Do you get excited when you hear a can opener?" That question and more can be found on an accompanying quiz, so that consumers can find out if they’re a Crazy Cat Lady.  
— "We really don't do action figures. The only ones we have are the ones from Accoutrements. The best seller is the Crazy Cat Lady. They have a whole line of action figures. They have Mozart, for example. Lots of stuff," said David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— When asked about sales for the action figure, Campbell responded, "A couple a month for the Crazy Cat Lady. It's not just cat ladies who are buying it …. It's lots of fun."
— David Wahl, company spokesman for Accoutrements/Archie McPhee, told TDmonthly, "The Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure is a tongue-in-cheek look at a figure that is familiar in our culture. We find that people with multiple cats enjoy identifying themselves with the figure. It makes a wonderful gift for your favorite cat person."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13019      (added 5/22/2007)
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MSRP: $5.00
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



This 4” figure is part of the Knights and Dragons series and is sold separately. It’s hand painted and accurately detailed.
— Safari knights are big sellers, Hans Masing, owner of Brain Station in Ann Arbor, Mich., told TDmonthly.
Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., also did well with Safari knights and animals.
— “Safari toys are educational,” assured Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente (View Article). The knights are designed to be historically accurate.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13020      (added 5/22/2007)
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MSRP: $9.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets



Sure, kids can splatter some color on the wall and call it painted, but if they want the job done right, they’d better call Ed the Painter. Decked out in authentically paint-splattered overalls, Ed has arms and legs that move and his head and gripping hands can turn. He comes ready to work, with a bucket of primer, two gallons of paint, brushes, paint thinner, tray, step ladder, drop cloth and other supplies, including a tiny roll of masking tape. Ed is part of the Construction line of Mighty World.
— "Mighty World has been moving fairly well. They’re realistic play figures that are working class: police, construction workers, foremen, firemen," said Erin Toure, sales assistant with The Magic Box in New Orleans, in spring 2007.
— While 11 of 39 retailers cited International Playthings as a hot-selling line in play sets, two retailers specifically mentioned the Mighty World line as the choice among customers.
— One retailer cited sales of 30 units a month for the Mighty World, while another suggested 80 was not uncommon.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7546      (added 4/12/2006)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



Smart weapons, realistic lights and sounds and twin-firing power are some of the features in the new 8” ShadowTek Batman Electronic figure assortment. With three distinct themes — Electro-Armor Batman, Twin-Blasters Batman and Dual Defender Robin — this assortment captures the essence of ShadowTek with electronics. Each figure requires three button cell batteries, which are included.
— "I do have some of the Batman action figures," said Anna Barr, owner of Anna's Toy Depot in Austin, Texas, when asked about best-sellers in her store.
— Batman action figures were cited by specialty retailers, primarily those located in the Southwest.
— Two of 34 retailers TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 mentioned Batman, as well as Mattel, when asked about action figures in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13021      (added 5/22/2007)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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