FLASH! As Hasbro Sleeps Through G.I. Joe’s 50th Anniversary, Upstart “Figures Toy Company” Releases All-New Lines of 12-inch Action Figures

FTC's superb new line of 12-inch "Dressed to Kill" KISS action figures. Fans of the band's famous original foursome AND collectors of VERY special 1:6 scale action figures will all be pleased.  These are some sharp-dressed hard rockers. Absolutely out-STANDING set! (Photo: FTC)

Take a look at FTC’s superb new line of 12-inch “Dressed to Kill” KISS action figures. WOW! Fans of the band’s famous original foursome and collectors of unusual 1:6 scale figures will all be pleased. These are some sharp-dressed hard rockers. Were YOU in the KISS Army? (Photo: FTC)

You couldn't make a better Paul Stanley headsculpt than this. And look at that superb paint-job. EXCELLENT work, FTC! (Photo: FTC)

You couldn’t make a 1:6 scale Paul Stanley headsculpt much more accurate than this. EXCELLENT work, FTC! (Photo: FTC)

New FTC Releases Include KISS, “Dukes of Hazzard” Cast, J.R. Ewing & Evel Knievel 

Get ready, 1:6 scalers! While the “Big H” (Hasbro) continues to disappoint GIjOE fans and collectors during our 12-inch hero’s (apparently forgotten) 50th anniversary, a growing cadre of competing toy companies continues to pick up “Has-blow’s” frustrated customers—and reap massive PROFITS—by selling their own lines of 1:6 scale action figures. Some are good. Some are not so good. Whatever the case, there’s a flood of NEW 1:6 product coming in 2014. 

In previous articles, we’ve discussed the outstanding work being done by Hot Toys, Sideshow, Round 2 and Cotswold. Today, we’re focusing on a manufacturer that’s relatively new to 1:6 scale: Figures Toy Company (FTC). Until recently, they’ve primarily been known for creating wrestling-related products and smaller, “mid-sized” (8-inch) action figures, ala the old Mego brand. But FTC is growing, and in recent years, they’ve expanded their brand licensing acquisition, enabling them to increase the number and variety of their TV celebrity, superhero, music industry, and other pop-culture inspired products. Think of them as sort of a “Mego on Steroids.”

What a fantastic headsculpt of KISS lead guitarist, Ace Frehley. Give him a careful haircut (that’s just too much hair, guys) and Ace will be ready to ROCK ON! (Photo: FTC)

In fact, FTC has grown so much lately, they’re now selling their products from FOUR different websites. We’re not sure if that’s really necessary, however, and they do tend to repeat their offerings across sites. Imagine if Hot Toys were to put all their superhero figures onto one website, all their monsters on another, aliens on another, etc. That’s what’s going on here. While it might seem like a good idea at first, in the end, it may only serve to dilute the FTC brand. In addition to their main website, here are FTC’s three other “sister” websites:

ClassicTVToys.Com was started by Figures Toy Company in 2004 and began manufacturing retro MEGO-type 8-inch action figures. Initial lines included classic shows from the past such as Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Space 1999, The Munsters, Married with Children, Mad Monsters and Mad Clowns. Also introduced were the “Worlds Greatest” lines of Robin Hood, Super Pirates, American West and Super Knights. Classictvtoys currently specializes in producing custom 8-inch bodies, boots, outfits and accessories for 8-inch Mego-type action figures.”

For fans who know what Peter Criss looks like, this headsculpt is RIGHT ON. Again, FTC gave him WAY too much hair. Criss never had very long hair, just shoulder length. A simple (careful) haircut would fix him right up. WOW! (Photo: FTC)

For KISS fans who know what Peter Criss looks like, this headsculpt is RIGHT ON. However, FTC gave him WAY too much hair. Criss never had very long hair, only about shoulder length. A simple (careful) haircut would fix that right up. Finally, replace his “open” hands with a pair that have “kung-fu grip” (for holding drumsticks, natch) and he’s ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night!  (Photo: FTC)

WrestlingSuperStore.com specializes in manufacturing fully licensed WWE, WCW, and ECW championship replica belts. Our other products include replica wrestling masks, belt buckles, finger rings, wrestling action figures and related accessories.

MyFaceOnaFigure.com It’s time to start collecting figures of yourself and your friends!We have a big selection of body sizes and outfits to choose from for your action figure. Create your very own design for your action figure’s packaging. It takes just 3-5 business days for us to make your custom action figure. Now that’s fast!”

Gene Simmons is, without a doubt, the most photogenic and memorable of the 4 original members of KISS, and KTC has certainly done him justice with this amazing 12-inch action figure. And get a load of that suit! WOW! (Photo: KTC)

Gene Simmons is, without a doubt, the most photogenic and memorable of the 4 original members of KISS, and FTC has certainly done him justice with this amazing 12-inch action figure. And get a load of that suit! WOW! (Photo: FTC)

blasco

Figures Toy Company CFO Anthony Balasco poses with his original Gene Simmons KISS Mego figure from 1978. Gee, do you think Anthony is still a KISS fan today? (Photo: FTC)

Wow. FOUR total websites. That’s quite a large web “footprint.” We were also surprised to learn that FTC has been around, in some form or another, since 1989. According to their history:

“Figures Inc. was started by Anthony Balasco in 1989, and began selling collectible toys and action figures through print catalogs, magazine ads and collectible toy shows throughout New England. In 1993, the company refocused its complete attention to the selling of collectible wrestling merchandise. In 1999, Figures Inc. became WrestlingSuperstore with the launch of its online e-commerce website. In 2004, Figures Toy Company started classictvtoys.com and began manufacturing classic Mego-like 8-inch action figures and accessories reminiscent of action figures from the 1970’s. In 2012, Figures Toy Company began recreating the classic KISS action figures from the 1970s, with all-new lines based on different eras in KISS’ legendary career!”

FTC offers many variations of KISS figures, and unfortunately, the quality varies from set to set, compelling potential buyers to "do their homework" before deciding which versions to buy. This photo shows the company's KISS figures based on the costumes worn for the "Sonic Boom" album. (Photo: FTC)

FTC offers multiple versions of their KISS figures, all with album-specific headsculpts and costumes. Unfortunately, the quality seems to vary greatly from set to set, and collectors are cautioned to do their homework before selecting which version(s) they ultimately decide to buy. (Photo: FTC)

In this rear-view of FTC's new 1:6 scale Evel Knievel action figure, you can see how well put together the costume is. Remember his jumsuit's big "Elvis" collar? Absolutely perfect! (Photo: FTC)

A rear-view of FTC’s new 1:6 scale “Evel Knievel” action figure. The stars, the stripes, the stitching, it’s all perfect. And remember that big “Elvis” collar? YES! (Photo: FTC)

Moving on UP—to the Next Size

Recently, FTC began sort of a stealth campaign of silently (but surely) “upping the scale” of some of their 8-inch figures, introducing them anew into the 12-inch market. It’s not a strategy many industry observers saw coming, but now that it’s happening, we couldn’t be more pleased. (Are you paying attention, Hasbro? Sorry to wake you.)

A quick tour of FTC’s main website found HERE, reveals that it has produced (or is about to produce) 12-inch versions of characters from The Dukes of Hazzard, multiple variations of the members of KISS, a Larry “J.R.” Hagman from Dallas, and our personal favorite, America’s premier motorcycle (and rocket-riding) daredevil, Evel Knievel. Even 12″ figures from Gilligan’s Island have been announced. We can’t wait to see the Skipper and Gilligan!

FTC's choice of packaging makes good sense to collectors. Its two clear "clamshell" halves are easily opened for removal and/or replacement of the figure. Great for play—or display! (Photo: FTC)

FTC’s choice of packaging makes good sense to collectors. The two clear “clamshell” halves are easily opened for removal and/or replacement of the figure. Great for play—or display! (Photo: FTC)

Out of its package, FTC's 12-inch Evel Knievel figure stands tall and proud, ready for his next breath-taking daredevil motorcycle jump. Each figure comes with a cardboard display "stand" as well. (Photo: FTC)

Out of its package, FTC’s 12-inch Evel Knievel figure stands tall and proud, ready for his next breath-taking daredevil motorcycle jump. Each figure comes with bell-bottomed jumpsuit, cape, helmet, and cardboard display stand. Okay, who’s up for building a 1:6 scale “Skycycle X-2” rocket, and launching Evel over the Snake River Canyon again? Whoosh!!!!! (Photo: FTC)

A picture's worth 1,000 words, and this one says, "Quality." The graphics, the stitching, EVERYTHING looks perfect at 1/6th scale. (Photo: FTC)

A picture’s worth 1,000 words, and this one says, “Quality.” The graphics, the stitching, EVERYTHING looks perfect at 1/6th scale. (Photo: FTC)

In this closeup, everything looks great. But Evel's "weak link" is his so-so, open-mouthed headsculpt. It's just not that well done. However, when he's wearing his helmet, you don't really notice. Many collectors would probably want to swap out his head and body anyway, because it's really Evel's great costume that "sells" this figure. (Photo: FTC)

In this closeup, everything looks great. But Evel’s “weak link” is his so-so, open-mouthed headsculpt. It’s just not that well done. However, when he’s wearing his helmet, you don’t really notice. Picky collectors may want to swap out his noggin’ and body anyway, because it’s really Evel’s great costume and helmet that “sells” this exciting new figure. (Photo: FTC)

These 12-inch "Dukes of Hazzard" figures will just FLY off the shelves. And again, FTC's inspired use of easy-open, easy-close "clamshell" packaging means after you've played with 'em, you can put 'em back inside and display 'em, just like that! (Photo: FTC)

These 12-inch “Dukes of Hazzard” figures will FLY off the shelves, guaranteed. And again, FTC’s inspired use of easy-open, easy-close “clamshell” packaging means that after you’ve played with ’em, you can put ’em back inside and display ’em, keeping them dust and mold free. Yee-HAW!!!! (Photo: FTC)

FTC's new line of 12-inch figures based on "The Dukes of Hazzard" includes all the main characters except Uncle Jesse and Daisy Duke (Aw, shucks!) (Photo: FTC)

Out of their packages, FTC’s new line-up of 12-inch “Dukes of Hazzard” figures look like they’d be a lot of fun to play with. All you need now is a 1:6 scale “General Lee!” VRROOMMM!! (Photo: FTC)

This back view of Luke Duke reveals an excellent shirt, belt and jeans. Look at the tiny pocket stitching details! (Photo: FTC)

This back view of Luke Duke reveals an excellent shirt, belt and jeans. Look at the stitching! (Photo: FTC)

He's charming. He's smiling. He's...Bo Duke! Opinions may vary, but that much molded hair strikes us as...not so great. What do YOU think? (Photo: FTC)

He’s charming. He’s smiling. He’s…Bo Duke! Opinions may vary, but that much molded hair strikes us as…not so great. What do YOU think? (Photo: FTC)

"Boss Hogg" was portrayed a country buffoon on the show, and FTC's 12-inch version looks much the same. While we don't care much for this figure, his white suit is unique and the plastic Stetson is nicely sculpted. (Photo: FTC)

“Boss Hogg” was portrayed a country buffoon on the show, and FTC’s 12-inch version looks much the same. While we don’t care for this figure, his white suit is very unique and that plastic Stetson was nicely sculpted. A clear case of the pieces being better than the whole.(Photo: FTC)

This back view of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane's uniform reveals FTC went to extra lengths to get the details right. The shirt, the epaulets, the belt and weapon are all very nice. (Photo: FTC)

This back view of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane’s uniform reveals FTC went to extra lengths to get the details right. The shirt, the epaulets, the belt and weapon are all very nice. That glossy, painted black hat? Not so great. (Photo: FTC)

From the front, Roscoe's uniform is shown to well made, with a very nice tie-clip, gold star and contrasting tie and pocket flaps. Good job, FTC! (Photo: FTC)

From the front, Roscoe’s uniform is shown to well made, with a very nice tie-clip, gold star and contrasting tie and pocket flaps. (Photo: FTC)

FTC's "J.R. Ewing" may be pretty basic as action figures go, and it may not look THAT much like Larry Hagman (although it does—a LITTLE), and the suit may be underwhelming, but hey! It's J.R.! (Photo: FTC)

FTC’s 1:6 scale J.R. Ewing from TV’s “Dallas” may look like a pretty basic action figure, and it may not look that much like Larry Hagman (although it does—a LITTLE), and that beige suit may be…underwhelming, but hey! It’s J.R! Could they make that Warner Brothers logo any bigger? Geez! (Photo: FTC)

While it may be a sufficient likeness, FTC's 1:6 scale headsculpt of Evel Knievel is nonetheless, a tad simplistic and subpar. And upturned, "questioning" eyebrows are never a good choice for any action figure (also see Hasbro's Ted Williams figure). (Photo: FTC)

While it may bear a sufficient likeness, FTC’s 1:6 scale headsculpt of Evel Knievel is nonetheless, sub par. And the upturned, “questioning” eyebrows are never a good choice for any action figure (see also Hasbro’s Ted Williams GIjOE). (Photo: FTC)

After taking an informal poll around the office, opinions about FTC’s new figures seemed to come together fairly predictably. As always of course, please feel free to post your own comments to this article, but to the staff here at The Joe Report, there seemed to be a fairly general consensus regarding the following:

First, it was unanimous that picking up all four of FTC’s excellent “Dressed to Kill” KISS figures was a “no-brainer.” They are just too cool. With their superb head sculpts and excellent facial paint, snappy 3-piece suits, funky ties and shoes, these new 1:6 scale figures succeed in recreating the original hard-rockin’ foursome perfectly. FTC “Dressed to Kill” 12-inch KISS Figures: Rating: ♦♦♦♦ (4 diamonds out of 5)

FTC’s other 12-inch versions of KISS didn’t impress us nearly as much. And they appear as if they’ll require much more “help” in order to improve their appearance. In addition, some of the other KISS headsculpts seemed downright simplistic in comparison to the excellent ones created for the “Dressed to Kill” group. All other FTC 12-inch KISS Figures: Rating: ♦♦½ (2½ diamonds out of 5)

The helmet for Evel's blue uniformed version features different graphics correct for that time in his career. (Photo: FTC)

The helmet for Evel’s blue uniformed version features different graphics correct for that time in his career. (Photo: FTC)

Next, despite its “soft” looking headsculpt, the 12-inch Evel Knievel action figure appears to be very well done, and received high marks for its well-made costume (especially the original white version) and highly detailed crash helmet. Most also considered it to be a “must-have” for their collections. FTC Evel Knievel Figures: Rating: ♦♦♦½ (3½ diamonds out of 5)

Finally, as to the Dallas and Dukes of Hazzard figures, those were all viewed as more of an “acquired taste,” with some perilously approaching the ever-pink land of Ken and Barbie. We liked them, but many reviewers felt the headsculpts were only so-so, or bordered on cartoonish. The Duke boy’s clothing, however, received high marks for fit and quality. FTC Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas Figures: Rating: ♦♦♦ (3 diamonds out of 5)

You can't say FTC isn't paying attention to the details (well, you can, but...). This extreme closeup of Luke Duke's groin reveals the exquisite detail and quality of his iconic..."bear paw" belt buckle. Nice job, FTC! (Photo: FTC)

You can’t say FTC isn’t paying attention to the details (well, you can, but…). This extreme closeup of Luke Duke’s groin reveals the exquisite detail and quality of his iconic…”bear paw” belt buckle. (HA) Nice job, FTC! (Photo: FTC)

Bottom Line: Regardless of FTC’s varying quality, there’s clearly a lot of potential in the company’s new 1:6 scale lines. But we do think they should work on their headsculpts and prop details. Collectors of 1:6 scale are going to be more discerning, and product details need to be increased significantly over those of the more “toy like” Mego-style 8-inch figures. Nevertheless… it’s obvious FTC is off to VERY good start, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. If you’d like to keep up with FTC, we recommend you visit one of their four websites, or “like” them on their Facebook fan page HERE.

Editor’s Note: Our sincerest congratulations and best wishes to everyone at FTC. Great work!

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6 thoughts on “FLASH! As Hasbro Sleeps Through G.I. Joe’s 50th Anniversary, Upstart “Figures Toy Company” Releases All-New Lines of 12-inch Action Figures

  1. Steve says:

    I think its great that they are offering such a variety of figures in 1:6. Its about time something other than Batman, Stallone, Arnold or Willis had some 12″ figure attention. I like the Knievel and may get that one [but cut the mouth out and glue it shut], the Dukes outfits have potential and Bo may wind up in my “Smallville” collection. Overall, i would tend to agree with most of the ratings given here. However, as these are in 1:6, and not repros of earler Mego releases [aside from a little KISS] I would hasten FTC to consider making/using a body that is more aligned to today’s 1:6 standards.
    Also, how about some other great 60’s-80’s icons in 1:6?

  2. Matthew Pak says:

    I think it’s a little premature to say that Hasbro is sleeping through G.I. Joe’s 50th anniversary. Let’s wait until after they disappoint us at Toy Fair, THEN we can say it. 🙂

  3. Sherwood Crump says:

    Hopefully they will do Johnny and Roy from Emergency! with their turnouts and helmets!!!

  4. Joseph Benedetto says:

    I *was* going to make a suggestion about “EMERGENCY!” but Sherwood beat me to it. Man, these guys really do seem to have hitched up a new set of horses to the bandwagon. Here’s to FTC!

  5. Wayne Faucher says:

    My 12″ Evel is on the way. I’ve also ordered a resin head I think I can morph into a reasonable likeness. I’ve wanted to do a Knievel for a long time but the costume was just too much work. Problem solved now…

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