Ask DC Collectibles: All Things Action Figures
Welcome back to our DC Collectibles corner as we answer some new questions asked by YOU! This month we want to talk all about action figures. We love them. You love them. We make them. You buy them. And the magic begins…
Question 1: Marc, Erik and Carlitos want to know the thinking behind the New 52 Action Figure 2 Packs and 7 Packs. Will the figures ever be released as solo figures? Why should they buy a pack when they already have some of the figures?
We try to limit the need for our hardcore collectors to buy copies of the same figure, but we do like to offer gift packs for our retailers that might appeal to a more casual fan. The 7 pack sets are perfect for that customer. Sometimes, this means adding a character that is making their first appearance (Catwoman, Katana, Vibe) when we want the gift pack to feel special or when we think a certain character may not be as popular as some of the characters that we pack them with. We often release the special characters at a later date and sometimes in a new deco for the fans that didn’t purchase the gift pack. So while we don’t have any plans to release Catwoman, Katana or Vibe as individual figures right now, we will keep them under consideration as we plan future years.
There are often other differences between the solo figures and the ones available in packs, as this photo illustrates.
Question 2: Ripp Hunter has traveled through time to ask us some quality control questions. He wants to know if we have looked into the paint applications on the Simon Baz New 52 Action Figure.
The DC Collectibles team reviews all action figures from the factories at least two times before the final run of product begins. At those stages we review for any variations compared to the paintmaster figure created for the factories to use as reference. Simon Baz has a complex paint application with a lot of edging resulting in some variation to individual figures. With all of that said, we are constantly trying to improve the detailing and techniques for our figures and continue to hold the factories to a high standard so look for greater and greater detail on upcoming figures.
Question 3: Aaron asks, “Why have some of your figures prices gone through the roof?”
Earlier this year DC Collectibles made a change in suggested retail price for all basic 6” action figures. The new price was $24.95 across the lines. Increases happen when costs of material and labor fees go up. We are hoping that this new increase will allow us to stay at this price point for a while. In addition we are offering 2 packs and 7 packs that give a better deal on some previously offered figures. So if you missed something earlier because of the expense, you may be able to find a more affordable solution later. And finally we have some basic figures that are coming up in 2014 that we fought hard to keep at the same price even though they cost us a little bit more. This flexibility is our biggest benefit.
Question 4: Michael and John Paul want to know about broken and brittle plastic on figure joints.
DC Collectibles checks all joints during the final stages before mass production of the figures. Sometimes the quality in the later product becomes defective so we need our customers’ help to let us know. If you have a figure that broke in package or with light use, please return it to the retailer that you bought it from so that they alert our distributor. They will let us know if the problem is wide spread. Your retailer should be able to exchange your product for you. This also helps us choose factories that use the highest quality materials and are consistent with their production. Going forward our oversized figures will feature metal pins in key joints so that breakage is less likely. Please don’t be discouraged and always return a figure that has broken for a return. We don’t want our fans having a less than amazing experience!
We carefully inspect each figure before it's mass produced. And um...sometimes have them fight each other.
Question 5: Robb asks about a “making of” section to the DC Collectibles Facebook page that would include interviews with sculptors, concept artist and graphic designers.
We love the idea of pulling back the curtain a bit and showing our fans the inner workings of DC Collectibles. Just last week we posted a short video of one of our sculptors, Joe Menna, digitally sculpting our upcoming Lex Luthor Power Armor 6” Action Figure. We look forward to doing more interviews and videos showing everything from the sculpting process to how the factories around the world produce our collectibles.
This is either a sneak peek at a future behind-the-scenes segment...or the weirdest variant figure we've ever released.
Question 6: Robb also asks, “On average, what are typical run numbers for action figures?”
While we don’t give out our specific production run quantities for our action figures, we can tell you that there is no limit to the amount we would make if people buy them. For example, we know there will always be demand for the main Justice League members from our New 52 line, so we’ve continued to produce them so that retailers can continue to order them.
Now there may be no maximum to our numbers, but we do have minimums. We need a big chunk of our Facebook fans to purchase a figure in order to make it work for our business. And if you want to buy more, you’ll get no complaints from us!
Question 7: Nicholas asks, “Why are you not releasing many action figures based upon the New 52?”
In 2012 and 2013, we focused on the core members of the Justice League with the beginnings of some villainy. It was a smaller line than some fans were used to from DC Collectibles but as we mentioned above, we need to be sure that a character will sell in a great enough quantity. Luckily, we have our master toy partner, Mattel making amazing action figures as well. Besides their big retailer toy lines they also have a subscription line of action figures for fans on their MattyCollector site. But we hear our fans loud and clear, so expect to see our New 52 action figure lines more than double in 2014. How much more than double? You’ll have to keep checking in to find out.
So that is all for this edition of Ask DC Collectibles. Check in for some new announcements during San Diego Comic Con – either in person at the DCE booth and DC Collectibles panel, or right here on DCComics.com and the DC Collectibles Facebook page.