Piece by piece, item by item…
Heads up, 1:6 scale fans! The past, present, and vast, unfulfilled future potential of 1990’s popular toy manufacturer, 21st Century Toys (21stC), is currently being auctioned off on ebay to the highest bidders. Years after the company’s untimely and unfortunate bankruptcy, its owners are attempting to recoup some of their losses—one auction lot at a time.
Everything from 21stC’s original clay-sculpted prototypes of its never-produced “Grimsphere” line, to resin castings of new headsculpts and equipment, even full-size mock-ups of never-produced vehicles—it’s all up for sale RIGHT NOW. Let’s take a look at some of the auctions currently running…
The Weird World of “Grimsphere”
The first auction to catch our eyes includes a MASSIVE 150-bag lot of original prototypes from the pre-production phase of 21stC’s unreleased “Grimsphere” line. While it is difficult to determine EXACTLY what’s in all those little bags, according to the auction’s description by seller, usarules:
“These are from the un-released Grimsphere line that was introduced at the New York Toy Fair. These are hand-made prototypes, NOT production toys. Very very RARE! This auction is for a HUGE lot of parts. Over 150 bags. Misc parts, hats, boot, weapons, bones, heads, hands, tombstones, etc. Both wax and resin parts in various conditions! Please see the photos. These things look AWESOME!”
Fans, collectors and entrepreneurs alike realize the tremendous potential at stake with this particular auction. The 21stC Grimsphere line was sort of a futuristic, “goth-vampire killer” sci-fi line of 1:6 scale figures. Writing on the bags reveals intriguing clues about the unproduced line, with descriptions such as, “Chainsaw for the Jesse character,” “Vampire,” and “Specimen Jar.” Cool!
Now, over 10 years later, this massive, historical trove of original 21stC prototypes, if still in viable, usable condition, could provide a tremendous boost for any enterprising individual (or existing company) wishing to produce new products of their own. Just think of it! All the hard, artistic work is already done. All that remains is to find a company with the requisite infrastructure and equipment to begin mass-producing copies. (Hello, Cotswold? Hobbycrash?)
WW2 Meets “War of the Worlds”
This second auction is a real MIND-BLOWER. It’s for a one-of-a-kind, 1:6 scale prototype vehicle of something known only as the “Battle Suite.” Created by famed vehicle designer, Neville Page, this wild contraption gives you an idea of the highly creative, “outside the box” approach 21stC was shooting for, and the type of products it was planning to build before it collapsed financially.
Visually, it’s a cross between a Star Wars “Scout Walker” and the turret of a double-barreled Sherman Tank. This thing has “bad-ass” written all over it! Standing at over 2 feet tall, it was also wired for lights and sound effects and was apparently going to include one fully outfitted figure or “driver” with each vehicle (see shrink-wrapped figure in adjacent photo on the right). According to the description…
“Ultimate Soldier Fans, here is a chance to own some real 21stC history. This is a PROTOTYPE, Sci-Fi WWII U.S. Army ‘Battle Suite.’ Designed for the 1/6th scale figures. Hatches open and close. This thing is HUGE, over 25″ Tall and 12″ Wide. It was built by Neville Page at Neville Page’s Studio. (Neville is now on the TV Show “Face Off” as one of the judges.) This is one of the most expensive prototypes 21stC EVER had built.
It had working lights & the two guns moved. These are hand-made, NOT production toys. Considering its age and how many times it was moved, it is in good shape. It will require the buyer to have model building and model painting skills to bring it back to life, as you can see in the photos. This thing is VERY Cool.”
Very cool, indeed! Imagine all the wild sci-fi diorama possibilities this thing could create. It’s easy to picture some cigar-chompin’ “Sarge” poking out of the hatch, scanning the wastelands with his binoculars and blasting away at a bunch of post-apocalyptic “Grimsphere” zombie-vampires walking around. “There they are, men! Blast ’em!” Ka-CHOOMMM!
If this unique sell-off of historic, 21st Century Toys paraphernalia continues, it would bode collectors well to keep VERY close eyes on ebay during the next few months. Fans on the One-Sixth Warriors forum are already doing just that. They’re plotting to pool their respective resources, then go in together on the bidding and “divide up the spoils” if they should ultimately emerge victorious.
Bottom Line: We’d like to wish usarules all the best with their auctions. 21st Century Toys brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people and the chance to own an authentic piece of the company’s history is a rare and delightful opportunity. Whether these prototypes end up in the hands of individual collectors or enterprising companies, it will be VERY interesting for fans to see what, if anything, is ever done with it all. To get in on all the exciting “auction action,” jump over to usarules’ ebay page HERE. Best of luck and Happy Bidding!