July 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 7
Spidey's Special, But Knights Still Rule
Heroes and Fighters Stake Their Claims on Specialty Floor
OK, knights still KO most other action figures in the specialty market, but a mass-market arachnid has caught kids in its web.
Spider-Man was named as a top-selling action figure by three of 41 specialty toy-store owners, and made TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Action Figures list.
But other than a bit of Spidey and Batman, it was knights and pirates all the way for the second year in a row (VIEW ARTICLE).
“I buy the whole Papo line. … The only ones that don't do well are the Vikings and the Robin Hood era,” summed up Linda Angel, owner of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla.
Papo, Schleich and Safari were the most-named companies in the knights and pirates categories, but Shana Hack, owner of Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, N.M., is considering the Bullyland characters as an alternative to those more popular brands.
Despite five other retailers’ continued enthusiasm for the high-seas robbers, “Pirates in general are pretty much bye bye,” claimed David Campbell, owner for 19 years of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
Even with $112.5 million in opening-weekend ticket sales for “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Reuters, May 27), Campbell projected the slump to continue: “Everyone who wanted pirate stuff to play with got it. A new movie might bring it up for just a short time. But I think it's pretty much played out.”
You might be able to woo back even the most jaded kids by offering them a chance to create their own action figures. Last year, TDmonthly reported on 3-D printers that could replicate human figures (VIEW ARTICLE), but, at the time, the price for such technology was prohibitive. However, IdeaLab’s Desktop Factory intends to sell a model for $4,995.00 and company CEO Cathy Lewis projects it will be ready in November.
WHAT TO MAKE OF IT
Don’t clean the bats and spiders from the shelves just yet, pirates are a maybe, but knights are still going strong. Keep an eye out for cheap 3-D printers to get your clients designing their own toys.
In the meantime, these are the action figures that might move your sales today:
Driven to a life of crime to save his sick daughter, Flint Marko went down the unintended but dark path of becoming the Sandman. Now he won't let anything get in his way, including Spider-Man. The Sandman figure has interchangeable hands. Press the lever for smashing sand-punch action. Super detailed, this is one friendly neighborhood action figure to add to your collection The Sandman also comes with Spider-Man peel-off stickers.
— "Action figures? We do it across the board. Just got Spider-Man stuff from Hasbro. We ordered all of that," said Buddy Wood, owner of Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13097 (added 5/24/2007)
The King is one of six figures in Safari’s imaginative Once Upon a Time Collection. The figures range in size from 4” to 5.25” tall (the King is 2.5” long by 5.25” high) and are offered individually or in a POP display for flexible retailing. Pieces in the collection are superbly sculpted by masters for hours of imaginative play. Launch date: May 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13077 (added 5/23/2007)
Snake Eyes uses a tactical flight pack with pivoting blades, giving him speed and maneuverability in the air. His skills are essential in combating Storm Shadow, who has his own flight pack to perform aerial missions of sabotage and destruction. The articulated Snake Eyes action figure comes with ninja weapons and accessories, and features a backpack with spinning copter blades.
— Buddy Wood, owner of Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La., cited "G.I. Joe" as one of the lines of action figures selling well with customers in the spring of 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13095 (added 5/24/2007)
Swashbuckler Pirate Collection ? Ship's Helm and Cannonballs by SAFARI LTD.®
Other products from SAFARI LTD.®
This ship’s helm and cannonballs are part of Safari’s pirate collection, which includes six pirate figurines and other accessories that range from 3” to 4” long. The pieces are hand-painted and phthalate-free. Launch date: Spring 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13007 (added 5/22/2007)
Swashbuckler Pirate Collection ? First Mate Jonathan Roberts by SAFARI LTD.®
Other products from SAFARI LTD.®
Avast ye heartys. Kids can travel back to days of yore, when seas were plagued with marauding pirates, with Safari’s pirate collection, which includes First Mate Jonathan Roberts and five other 4”-tall figurines. The products are hand-painted and phthalate-free. Roberts is offered individually, on platform boxes or in a POP retail display. Launch date: Spring 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13001 (added 5/22/2007)
World of Elves - Nuray by SCHLEICH NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Other products from SCHLEICH NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Hand-painted Nuray is the beautiful princess of darkness. But despite her enchanting appearance, her thoughts are very sinister. Launch date: May 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11895 (added 3/12/2007)
Two action figures of Jack Bauer, hero of Fox’s television drama “24,” are available in boxed sets. The figurines re-create scenes taken directly from the action-packed show. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11273 (added 1/29/2007)
Star Wars Bounty Hunters Booster Packs by WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Other products from WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Children can take their quarry alive with the greatest collection of fearless and inventive bounty hunters (and other scum and villainy) from across all eras of the Star Wars saga. These lawless characters — including new huge figures — add another dimension to battles for the galaxy. Each pack includes seven randomized pre-painted plastic miniatures with statistics cards, including one huge figure. Launch date: September 2006.
― “Star Wars action figures and collectible miniature games lead the charge,” Ed Evans, owner of All Things Fun! in West Berlin, N.J., assured TDmonthly. “Individual SKUs come and go, but the category has been a top seller for us since the day we opened our doors [in 2004].”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11267 (added 1/29/2007)
Each packaged set of Shockinis comes with two figures from the lineup and a mini comic book. Series 1 features Dick Tracy, Solar Man of the Atom, Madman, ShadowHawk, Kabukie, Scud and Katchoo. “These characters use the Shockini body, which is completely interchangeable and can be used to create many other versions of the characters or new characters,” President Geoff Beckett of Shocker Toys told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11224 (added 1/22/2007)
STIKFAS Action Figure Kits allow enthusiasts and collectors of all ages to express their individual personality and interests through posing and customizing. Armed with incredible interchangeability and poseability, these Action Figure Kits are leading the way in a whole new toy revolution. STIKFAS combines creativity and playability, and is an open medium for children, toy collectors and hobbyists alike.
― “These action figure construction sets with an attitude are great for young boys and adult collectors,” said Ed Evans, owner of All Things Fun! in West Berlin, N.J. “We only started stocking the full line in 4Q 2006, but this line has quickly become a top seller.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11209 (added 1/19/2007)
The Phantom Ghost Ship from Le Toy Van looks like an authentic pirate ship, but also features a spooky skeleton and spider web design. With glow-in-the-dark skeleton fabric sails, it sets sail with two masts, rope ladders, two removable jail cages, a prison, a working anchor and an opening stern for greater play value. The wooden, durable Phantom Ghost Ship holds so many ghostly pretend-play details that kids will sail off into some spooky and great imaginative play. Launch date: May 1, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10450 (added 12/6/2006)
The ultimate crime fighter needs the ultimate crime-fighting vehicle. Enter the new ShadowTek Batmobile. This tricked-out cruiser features electronic lights and sounds, twin projectile launchers, and two modes of play: “stealth” and “attack.” The ShadowTek Batmobile fits with most 4-3/4” figures, which are sold separately. The ShadowTek Batmobile requires three button cell batteries, which are included.
— "Some Batman cars" were best-selling in the action figure category according to Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorers Toys in Zionsville, Ind.
— Mattel is “accommodating to small stores beyond what is expected of such a large company. They give free shipping for very small orders and special discounts for small stores,” Harold Herskowitz of Toy Trade told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13099 (added 5/24/2007)
Whatever your challenge or interest — from school projects to that vexing home repair to a customized toy or avatar — Desktop Factory will cause the creative disruption of the manufacturing value chain, enabling each of us to personally manufacture what we need, when we need it. Desktop Factory prints 3-D solid objects from traditional CAD software, the variety of new low-cost or free CAD programs aimed toward the consumer, 3-D scanners and/or 3-D objects that are downloaded from websites, such as Turbo Squid, DAZ, etc. IdeaLab was founded by dot.com entrepreneur Bill Gross. This product received a 2007 Best of What's New award from Popular Science.
— “Our intent is to reduce the costs over time, delivering a model below $1000 by 2011,” an enthusiastic Cathy Lewis, CEO of Desktop Factory, told TDmonthly. “Contemplate the creative talent that will be unleashed when each of us has a 3-D printer. Imagine, too, the enormous reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when we alter the current manufacturing pipeline!” Launch date: 3Q 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13205 (added 6/1/2007)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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