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.”
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.”
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!”
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!”
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!
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)
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)
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!