R2/CAE’s Efforts to “Expand the Brand” For Captain Action Resulting in Numerous Non-1:6 Scale Reincarnations———Fan Reactions Mixed

Tonner's new Lady Action DOLL would make GIjOE look like a runt. She tops in at a whopping 18" tall and features a large Barbie-like head, straight black hair, barely poseable body and mixed quality accessories and costume. Although some collectors of 1:6 scale Captain Action will want to "pick her up," the lanky "Lady A" is quite expensive, created mainly for static display and does little to advance the collection of 1:6 CA fans. (Photo: Tonner)

Tonner’s new 1:4 scale Lady Action DOLL makes a 1:6 scale Captain Action figure look like a runt! She tops in at a whopping 16-inches tall (17″ with hat) and features a large Barbie-like head, straight black hair, (barely) posable body and mixed-quality accessories and costume. Although some collectors of the original 12-inch Captain Action will want to “pick her up,” the lanky, leggy, 1:4 scale “Lady A” is expensive ($200) and is primarily intended as a static display “adult-collectible.” (Photo: Tonner)

Depending on Your Perspective, New CA Products Will Frustrate—or Delight

Captain Action (CA) is changing, and we don’t mean he’s changing into a new superhero costume. “Evolving” may be a more accurate description of what’s happening to the line, and not everyone is happy with the results. What are we talking about exactly? We’re talking about the creation of a multitude of new CA-related products, the majority of which do nothing to help outfit or accessorize your 1:6 scale action figures. We’re talking about product-line “brand expansion,” and Cap’s stuck smack in the middle of it.

Brand expansion involves the production and marketing of assorted ancillary or “offshoot” products in an effort to expand the brand awareness of a particular toy line (or company). It’s standard business practice, but when mishandled (or handled ineptly), it can become a major drain on creative resources and capital, potentially endangering a company’s most precious commodity—customer loyalty.

What does it cost to gain a new loyal customer—or to LOSE existing ones?

The old expression, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is a time-honored truism in business. Yes, new customer acquisition is a good thing, but expecting existing customers to wait idly by while you cater to others is a risky ploy. Indeed, if a company’s brand expansion efforts are poorly executed, they can actually be counter-productive in the long run. Rather than build a brand up, they can just as easily dilute it or lead to its ultimate dissolution. Such strategy can become a dangerous row to hoe.

What do you get when you remove 91% of the fat from a hamburger and replace it with seaweed? A complete flop in the marketplace. What do you get when you remove 91% of the action figures, costumes and accessories from the Captain Action line and replace it with coffee mugs, dolls and comic books geared at very young children? That remains to be seen. Hopefully CA will not end up like McDonald's McLean DeLuxe sandwich which remains one of business' biggest product-extension blunders of all time. (Even its ads were lame.) (Ad: MeDonalds)

The McFlop: What do you get when you remove 91% of the fat from a hamburger and replace it with seaweed? A complete flop in the marketplace. What do you get when you remove 91% of the action figures, costumes and accessories from the Captain Action line and replace it with coffee mugs, dolls and comic books geared at very young children? That remains to be seen. Hopefully CA will not end up like McDonald’s McLean DeLuxe sandwich which remains one of business’ biggest brand expansion blunders of all time. (Even the ads were lame.) (Ad: MeDonalds)

Remember the disastrous marketing of “New Coke?” How about McDonald’s seaweed-based “McLean” sandwich? Both of those widely ballyhooed product “extensions” were complete and utter failures in the marketplace and cost the companies millions of dollars. Coke and McDonald’s bounced back of course, but they’re gigantic, well-resourced corporations. Smaller businesses are at a much greater risk financially with each new product launched. Fail—and you’re looking at dire consequences. Are you worried about the future of Captain Action yet?

Concerned CA Fans Largely Quiet—For Now

Captain Action’s original fans (1:6 scalers) are right to be concerned by the current corporate decisions coming out of Round 2 (R2) and Captain Action Enterprises (CAE) boardrooms. Instead of new (widely hoped for) “core products” (i.e. 1:6 scale CA uniforms, figures and accessory packs), all Actioneers are seeing now is the release of an endless line of CA brand extensions, most of which do little to satisfy the needs and wants of “core” CA collectors. Cap’s so-so sales at Toys ‘R Us (TRU), largely due to lackadaisical in-store promotion (no end-caps, signage, etc.), have seen the renewed line slowly disappear from store shelves, forcing CA to “retreat” to a handful of online outlets and independent comic stores (which are themselves, quite endangered). Round 2’s answer to all this? Extend the CA product line! Grasp for new customers! Expand customer demographics!

Captain Action coffee mug. (Photo: zazzle)

Captain Action coffee mug (Photo: zazzle)

Don’t get us wrong.Those are all admirable goals and we wish R2/CAE the very best of luck in every endeavour. But it’s easy to understand why existing fans and customers may be growing impatient or feel as if CA’s stewards are beginning to take advantage of their patience and good will. Instead of focusing precious company resources (like a laser beam) on creating new products for 1:6 scalers (CA costumes, vehicles, accessory sets), they’re expending it on what many believe to be questionable, almost “frivolous” extensions.

The “Something For Everyone” Strategy

R2/CAE’s current business practice reminds us of playing with a toy train. You know that it travels on a circular track, so if you’re willing to wait long enough, it’ll eventually have to come back around to you. Right? Eventually, fans of 1:6 scale Captain Action will get something new. They must! Until then, it’s just a matter of waiting for today’s “brand-expansion train” to roll on by…

CA coffee mug? Got it. CA comic books? You bet! Want ’em? Not really. Buy one? Maybe. (After all, nothing else is available.) R2/CAE clearly believes there’s enough room on the Captain Action Express for everyone. So what’s next, fellas? A box of Captain Action-shaped gummy bears? We’re sorry, but no matter how hard Cap tries, he can’t defeat Dr. Evil with little squishy candies.

    WTF? Another example of R2/CAE's recent attempt to extend Captain Action to a new demographic is its introduction of a (rather unusual) manga comic book entitled, Captain Action Cat. What can we say about this? The decision to pour untold amounts of company money into this "kiddie comic" MAY pay off, but again, most fans of 1:6 scale Captain Action will want nothing to do with it. They're not the target market. (Photo: CAE)

Another example of R2/CAE’s recent attempt to extend Captain Action to a new demographic is its introduction of a (rather unusual) manga comic book from Dynamite entitled, Captain Action Cat. What can we say about this? The decision to pour untold amounts of company money into this “kiddie comic” appears to be paying off, but again, most fans of 1:6 scale Captain Action will probably want nothing to do with it or the forthcoming Captain Action Cat toys from Titan Merchandise. (As much as we love comic books here at TJR, the appeal of this title is lost on us and clearly targeted to a different demographic, most likely to CA fans under the age of 10.) (Photo: Dynamite)

Predictably, 1:6 scalers were quick to pounce on this particular kitty. Here’s one fan’s thoughts:

“A word of advice, stick to 1:6 scale. I don’t know where you came up with that ‘Action Cat’ stuff (totally a bad idea). Focus on 1:6 scale! Continue with this silly Action Cat (and the 3 3/4″ junk) and Captain Action will quickly fade away—again.”  —William

Many versions of a Batman costume prototype have been shown, discussed and mocked up. Nevertheless, nothing definite has come forth. (Photo: R2/CAE)

Holy, empty boxes, Batman! Many new 1:6 scale costume prototypes have been shown, discussed and even mocked-up for presentation to the public at toy shows. But the likelihood of such “concept products” ever getting made now appears to be decreasing. (Photo: R2/CAE)

Playing “The Delaying Game”

We’re not privy to R2/CAE’s financial situation, but it’s as if they’re (almost desperately) throwing a handful of darts (all at once) at some sort of “customer demographic target” and hoping something (anything!) sticks in the bulls-eye. We understand the reasons behind such decisions, but 1:6 fans are beginning to sense a growing pattern of bait-n-switch. Whatever happened to that cool Rocketeer costume idea (see article HERE)? And what happened to the DC properties, especially the 1966-related Batman costumes (see article HERE)? And what about all the other Marvel costume sets that were dangled before collectors at trade shows? Where are they all now? Have they been sidelined indefinitely? Sadly, there’s little fans can do about ANY of this except keep their fingers crossed and wait. Meanwhile, company bosses and spokesmen attempt to stay ahead of the fray and soothe swelling customer angst by issuing placating posts on forums—such this one from CAE rep, Ed Catto:

Ed Catto of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Ed Catto)

Ed Catto of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises holds a CA comic and model kit. (Photo: Ed Catto)

“Before the negative chatter starts up—this (Lady Action Tonner doll) is meant to build the CA brand and the excitement, and while Joe and I don’t necessarily think this will appeal to the majority of you guys (and girls?) on this list (the Captain Action Fan Forum), it’s kind of a different type of collectible. Although I will tell you all that when my wife saw the prototype, she said ‘Oh, this we could display in the living room.’ She hasn’t been eager to say that about ANY of my other CA/comic/toy stuff.” —Ed Catto, R2/CAE

This new comic title, "Codename: ACTION," is clearly targeted more to teens and young adults, demonstrating once again how R2/CAE is trying to touch upon every possible demographic and market segment. Here, CA is clearly being refashioned into a very James Bond type of hero, replete with guns, nubile women and action galore. Great for comic fans, not so great for 1:6 scale CA collectors. (Photo: R2/CAE)

Dynamite’s new Codename: ACTION comic book was created to appeal to teens and young adults in the hopes of recruiting new fans to the CA brand. But many existing CA customers wonder if such efforts actually help or hinder the production of the line’s 1:6 scale “core” products. (Photo: Dynamite)

Zica Toys released this cool computer-rendering of a proposed 3.75" Captain Action figure. Fans of smaller scale GIjOEs will definitely be interested, but efforts spent on this scale only frustrate collectors of 1:6 scale. Still, this little guy looks to have great "cross-over" potential and is likely to be well received if it makes it to final production. If this brand extension is successful, it will enable R2/CAE to gain market share among yet another "strata" of collectors. (Illustration: Zica Toys)

Zica Toys released this 3-D computer-rendering of a proposed 3.75″ Captain Action figure (shown larger than actual size). Fans of smaller scale figures will definitely be interested, but collectors of 1:6 scale may feel neglected again. Still, this little guy looks to have great crossover potential and is likely to be well received. If successful, Zica should enable R2/CAE to gain market share among yet another “strata” of collectors. (Illustration: Zica Toys)

Rise of “The Independents”

In addition to partnering with Tonner, Zazzle and Dynamite, R2/CAE has also teamed with a couple of independent toy makers, Zica Toys and Fresh Monkey Fiction, hoping their assistance will help shoulder the burden of CA’s brand expansion. The first agreement to be announced concerned a line of smaller, 1:18 scale CA figures to be produced by rising independent, Zica Toys. Zica’s recently released 3-D rendering (shown at right) of a proposed mini CA figure generated a great deal of positive “fan buzz” around the internet. According to Zica’s head honcho, Craig Owen:

“I’ve been given the ‘green light’ to officially spill the beans on our new Captain Action project. The format is 3.75″ scale done in the classic 80’s Hasbro GIjOE style. Starting out the line will include Captain Action, Action Boy, Dr. Evil and the Silver Streak! The press release says ‘Kenner’ style, which is incorrect. The original plan was to go that route, but I started to think the 80’s GIjOE style would be a better choice. Work is just starting on the project, but hopefully I’ll have some prototype shots to share fairly soon.” —Craig Owen, Zica Toys

In an independent effort to "expand the brand," a rubbery, barely poseable, but very muscular interpretation of Captain Action will be offered by newcomer, Fresh Monkey Fiction, IF...they can raise the funds via Kickstarter to create Cap and the rest of "Series 1" of their proposed, "Amazing Heroes" line of action figures. Good luck! (Photo: Fresh Monkey Fiction)

In another effort to “expand the CA brand,” a rubbery, barely poseable, but very muscular interpretation of Captain Action will be offered by newcomer, Fresh Monkey Fiction, IF…they can raise the funds via Kickstarter to create Cap and the rest of their proposed first series of “Amazing Heroes” action figures. (Photo: Fresh Monkey Fiction)

As cool as Zica’s proposed 1:18 line sounds, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that news of a new 3.75″ Captain Action has left collectors of the original 1:6 scale version feeling (predictably) frustrated and disappointed. The first question that came to the mind of many was, “What happened to Zica’s proposed line of 12-inch Action Jackson figures (see article HERE)?” We don’t know, but it appears to have stalled. Don’t let that surprise you. The truth is, smaller companies operate on MUCH slimmer profit margins and many new product ideas are scuttled before reaching final production.

And again, don’t get us wrong. We absolutely LOVE the look of Zica’s CA prototype, and they’re the only company to have ever even mentioned attempting a reproduction of Cap’s venerated Silver Streak vehicle—in ANY scale. For that reason alone, we wish Mr. Owen and his team at Zica all the best of luck.

Perhaps Mr. Owen should consider the modern entrepreneurial thinking of fellow independent toy maker, Fresh Monkey Fiction (FMF), which is also hoping to create it’s own miniature version of Captain Action (see photo at right) as part of a new “Amazing Heroes” line. FMF hopes to raise the required production funds by utilizing Kickstarter (beginning in July) in combination with the pre-order services of the Big Bad Toy Store (see HERE). By doing so, they effectively “hedge their bets” against failure and are saved the ignominy of a warehouse full of unsold figures and a bank balance pushed too far into the red. FMF founder Bill Murphy states:

Bill Murphy of Fresh Monkey Fiction (Photo: Bill Murphy)

Bill Murphy of comic and toy company Fresh Monkey Fiction (Photo: Bill Murphy)

“As much as we love Kickstarter, the reality is that  some folks are uncomfortable with using Kickstarter, so we wanted a way for those fans to get a hold of the figures. Joel at BBTS has been super supportive of the line, he reached out to us and made this happen.” —Bill Murphy, FMF

Then, the good folks at Big Bad Toy Store further clarified how the practice of gathering customers first and producing products second works by definitively stating on their own website:

“These figures are subject to a minimum order quantity (MOQ) in order to be manufactured. If the MOQ is not met between retailer orders and the Fresh Monkey Fiction Kickstarter campaign (which starts in July), the figures will not be produced and all preorders will be cancelled. Please spread the word and help Fresh Monkey Fiction reach their goal and put these great figures into production!” —BBTS

The fate of these four proposed "Amazing Heroes" action figures (including Captain Action) rests entirely on the results of a July 2014 Kickstarter campaign and customer pre-orders received by the Big Bad Toy Store website. Will these heroes make it to production? (Photo: FMF)

The fate of these four proposed “Amazing Heroes” action figures (including Captain Action) rests entirely on the results of a July 2014 Kickstarter campaign and customer pre-orders received by the Big Bad Toy Store website. Will these heroes make it to production? (Photo: First Monkey Fiction)

actionelitelogoRaising the Bar—and the Price—With “Action Elite”

Finally, Captain Action fans who can recall purchasing the original ’60s figures and costume sets from Ideal will need to prepare themselves for some severe “sticker shock.” Even fans from the 1990s who grew used to paying $30 to $40 for repro CA products from Playing Mantis may want to hold onto their wallets, because the suggested retail prices of 1:6 scale Cap stuff is about to go up—WAY up.

The original, 1960s Captain Action rocket-pack set included special gloves, helmet and rocket-pack. How might Go Hero toys, and Phicen Limited recreate this set for modern collectors? We shall see! (Photo: James DeSimone)

The original, 1960s Captain Action rocket-pack set included special gloves, helmet and of course, a rocket-pack. Fans are wondering how Go Hero Toys, Executive Replicas and Phicen Limited will reinterpret this set as a high-end “adult collectible.” We shall see! (Photo: James DeSimone)

In the steepest CA brand expansion ever attempted, a new line of 1:6 scale high-end figures, costumes, and equipment sets will soon be released under a new name: Action Elite, and is scheduled to appear sometime during the 3rd or 4th quarters of 2014 (although that seems overly optimistic to us). Created in joint cooperation by R2/CAE, Go Hero Toys, Executive Replicas and Phicen Limited, this new line of “adult-collectible” Captain Action figures is clearly a bit of good news for weary 1:6 scalers. Unfortunately, as we indicated, this all-new CA line will command significantly higher prices than anything that has ever been branded with Cap’s familiar “recycling triangle” logo. For more details on Action Elite, we first turn to a post by famed CA insider, Frank Bonilla:

“Go Hero will start with the Rocket-Pack Captain Action. It will be highly detailed. My guess is metal parts. Ed Catto said they want the parts to be interchangeable with vintage. Costumes will be from DC, Marvel, Dynamite, and Moonstone. The Go Hero costumes will be more detailed on a Hot Toys level. I think Action Elite will sell well because there are collectors who are willing to pay for that level of detail and their exclusivity may make them more valuable in the future.” —Frank Bonilla

Joe Ahearn, founder of Captain Action Enterprises (Photo: CAE)

Joe Ahearn, co-founder of Captain Action Enterprises (Photo: CAE)

R2/CAE founder, Joe Ahearn, provided further details in the company’s official press release, stating:

“Action Elite (AE) is an exciting new venture that will bring the Captain Action name to the boutique designer level of collectibles. We’ll now be able to offer high-end, museum quality items as part of the total Captain Action figure line. We’ll also use the opportunity to fill in a lot of the items on collectors’ wish lists.

Captain Action, Doctor Evil, Lady Action, and Action Boy will be redesigned using cutting edge tech, high-end bodies that reflect a collector’s quality, beyond the standard toy level.  This effectively creates an additional collector’s level for the line.”Joe Ahearn, CAE

Steve Forde, founder of Go Hero Toys (Photo: Steve Forde)

Steve Forde, founder/principal of Go Hero Toys (Photo: Steve Forde)

There it is! In the last line of Aherrn’s quote (above), he confirms his company’s desire to create “an additional collector’s level for the line.” Expand that brand! Not surprisingly, the founder of Go Hero Toys, Steve Forde, shares Ahearn’s fervent desire to grow CA’s brand. In a recently released statement, he declared:

“We’re dedicated to original pop-icons, especially those with historical credibility. Captain Action is the perfect fit because of its honored place in the world of 1:6 scale collectibles. It is a real joy to be able to pool our talents with the contagious commitment of Ed and Joe.  We’ve tried for years and finally the timing is perfect to develop the Captain Action brand into exciting NEW arenas.” ~ Steve Forde, Go Hero Toys 

goherotoyslogoWe caught up with Forde over on Facebook and asked him if he had any further intel regarding Action Elite, beyond what was contained in his company’s official press release. He graciously demurred, saying only:

“I’m leaving the announcements on that to Ed and Joe. We have some great stuff brewing and options that I think 1:6 scale fans are going to love. News is coming next week!” —Steve Forde, Go Hero Toys

Thank you for your comments. Keep 'em coming! (Photo: atomicreach)

1:6 CA fans are never shy about sharing their opinions about ANYTHING. (Photo: atomicreach)

As expected, a slew of anonymous collector comments have already been posted about Captain Action’s latest (and most expensive) brand expansion idea. Here are a few select fan-bites:

“As a lonnnng time Captain Action fan & collector, this news sounds extremely interesting. But if it’s done at the same pace as the regular line, it’s gonna be super slow (i.e., 2 costume sets a year)!”Ron

“I’m not sure how I feel about this. Very happy to hear a top of the line Action Boy body is coming, but more than a little nervous that I may have been priced out.” —Daniel

“I grew up with CA. I dabbled in the Playing Mantis revival, and was disappointed when it failed. I’ve also purchased all the recent CA sets. They were affordable and available locally. But you completely missed your target demographic! No 10-12 year-old boy alive today has any idea who these CA characters are. PLEASE consider interchangeable heads with Action Elite. CA as a character that ‘becomes other heroes’ (wearing a mask) is a lost cause. Stick with 1:6  scale and avoid ‘funny animal’ distractions.”Jon Rann

Fans of classic Cap, don't lose hope! This "Character Guide" of fully inked and colored CA art reveals an exciting and hopeful look at how the original Cap can be properly rendered for modern comics, toy packages and maybe even a "retro" comic book animated series, ala Jonny Quest. Keep your fingers crossed that this is what it would look like! (Photo: R2/CAE)

This superb “Character Guide” for CA comic artists nicely captures the look of a classic ’60s Captain Action. Yes, it would be great if Cap’s proposed animated TV series utilized this sort of artwork (ala Jonny Quest) but it’s not going to, so don’t get your hopes up, muchacho. (Photo: R2/CAE)

Bottom Line: R2/CAE is trying to remake and reintroduce a toy line from the 1960s so that it’s appealing to both nostalgic and future toy buyers. Let’s face it, ol’ Cap’s original fans are mostly in their 40s and 50s now, and today’s children have ZERO emotional connection with the line. If GIjOE, Action Man, Johnny West, Captain Action, or any other 1:6 scale toy of the past is to remain viable and profitable into the future, they must constantly be reinvented in order to reach ever-new market “segments.” Currently, fans of the original 1:6 scale version of Captain Action are worried about what the future holds for their spandex-clad superhero. Fortunately, Round 2 and CAE have demonstrated they have a keen business sense for the nostalgia toy market, and if their efforts to “expand the brand” of Captain Action are successful, they’ll ultimately be rewarded with multiple lines of income, diverse customer demographics, and the most important thing of all—happy customers. Let Justice Be Done!

Editor’s Note: What are YOUR thoughts on the various CA “brand expansion” products and methods detailed in this article? Leave your own comments below to become part of “the permanent record” here on The Joe Report. Only then…will Justice TRULY be Done!

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30 thoughts on “R2/CAE’s Efforts to “Expand the Brand” For Captain Action Resulting in Numerous Non-1:6 Scale Reincarnations———Fan Reactions Mixed

  1. Try to refresh PM version of the Jonny Quest line..

  2. Roy Jones says:

    Captain Action without superhero costumes is a total dud. It would have been a total dud in the 1960s if it stood alone. The only reason why it lasted for a short time back then was because of the superhero tie-in, and anyone who thinks otherwise is foolish. This line has to be catered small-scale and available to collectors only in low exclusive limited-edition runs in order to survive.

    The general toy buying public does not want this stuff. Kids today don’t want this stuff. I wish I had the money these fools throw away, because If I did, I’d repackage the original Spiderman set in retro-style packaging and offer it to collectors exclusively. I wouldn’t be able to keep them in stock.

    Brand expansion now is basically an admission of a failing, flopping product. If the product was successful, there would be no need for brand expansion. Look at every successful toy that ever was and let me know how and when they expanded or tried to expand that brand.

    Licensing out to me, means we don’t want to shove money into this dying horse’s mouth anymore, so lets just make money on the license fee and do basically nothing while we watch the other fools go into production, spend money on tooling, and then watch them crash and burn like we did.

  3. Al Hartman says:

    I certainly wish that Round2 was releasing product faster. I’m waiting with baited breath for the new DC wave. But, so far they haven’t even shown prototypes which makes me think it will be 2015 if at all.

    All the other CA merchandise like coffee cups, trading cards, comic books, coloring book, and the Tonner figure really aren’t what is slowing down releases of the 1/6″ scale products.

    Unlike Ideal, Captain Action Enterprises is a licensor. They own the property and license it out to others to actually make the products. So, they can be working with a lot of different companies at the same time without that taking away from their work with Round2.

    What they are trying to do is expand the awareness of Captain Action by getting him out there as much as possible so that new fans will be created. Imagine a kid playing with the 3.75″ GI Joe figures getting a CA from Zica that interacts with all that stuff.

    As a kid, I often used GI Joe accessories with my CA.Kids seeing him in 3.75″ scale might make them more open to getting the 12″ figure.And hopefully, the animated series will see the light of day, and that should help a lot.

    I will NEVER stop buying Captain Action merchandise until I’m dead and gone. I might not buy every expression of the brand, but I will always buy the 12″ product as long as they fit my budget. I wish Joe and Ed well. I hope that all their projects are successful.

  4. James says:

    A point of correction here. Round 2 has no involvement with any of the Captain Action items beyond the figures and costumes they have released. All these other extensions are coming from deals worked out with Capatin Action Enterprises alone. Round 2 is simply another company with whom CAE has licensed out Captain Action to. So, the references to “R2/CAE” should just be “CAE.”

  5. Steve Polzak says:

    I think they are making a heck of a big mistake on all this other Captain Action stuff. Not at all crazy about the Tonner Lady Action. Should have been 1/6th only or first. Anything else should be made for 1/6 line. Come up with a helicopter, a spy-like car, or other special vehicles.

    Also, really, I would not have brought him back in the old outfit. I would have made him a super spy, a real SUPER spy. I also still don’t see the darn Superman outfit. Oh yeah, you really want people to buy him, but you never put out what you say, how long has it been? I could tell you! But I don’t think I have to. Let alone, I can not even buy him at a store.

    For me, my son and others that I know, you have lost us. You could have had something. If you makers of Captain Action were not ready, then you shouldn’t have made him. In my Book, for all that’s going wrong, you are now running a close second to Playing Mantis or whatever the company was that tried before. And brother, that’s not good.

  6. historicbuzz says:

    While some expansion makes sense, I fear they’re diluting the brand (Captain Action CAT?) Since their primary market at this point is the nostalgia market, I think it should be their primary focus. If it were up to me, I’d say stick with 1/6, 3-3/4″, and maybe Mego-style figures and accessories, until the brand is better established, (although I do think the “Code Name: Action” Comic line looks like a good way to create interest in the line ).

    I have no use for a 14″ Lady Action fashion doll, at any price, or, for that matter, at any scale. I’ve been waiting for the basic 1/6 scale Lady Action and Action Lad figures, and have heard nothing of them, while entire new figure lines are planned. To be honest, I have no interest in ANYTHING CA outside a retail-price-point 1/6 figure line, similar to the figures I have so far: P.M’s basic repro CA, Kid Action and Dr. Evil, and the more recent deluxe updates of CA and Dr. Evil.

    My wallet is waiting, patiently, for 1/6 ACTION FIGURES (not fashion dolls) of Lady Action and Action Lad/ Kid Action, in the $35.00 and under price range. Give me a decent female figure AND a decent kid figure in that pricing range, and I’ll buy a few of each. Oh, and while it isn’t actually a Captain Action character, I’d love to see the Captain Action line annex the old Knight of Darkness: My repro Dr Evil has five KODs as android minions, and he sure wouldn’t mind a newer model: those older units get quirky when they’ve been downloading questionable games into their neural nets!

    So Comic books, coffee mugs, figures in other scales, meh. High-end 1/6, I’ll look for parted-out items, but good, basic 1/6 action figures like the ones I already have? Heck, yeah! Please CA Enterprises: I feel like you’re forgetting promises made, as you chase other possibilities: I REALLY want to see you succeed, but a path of disappointment won’t take you there.

    • Although some do, I too, have zero use for a giant Tonner Lady Action fashion doll. MAYBE if she had been poseable like an action figure and not stiff like a Barbie, but that’s not the type of doll Tonner makes. Oh well…I’ll probably buy 2, 3 (or MORE) LAs if she ever gets made in 1:6 scale. I think that would ROCK! Thanks for writing!

    • Conner says:

      Yep, that’s what I want. Make them all: Captain Action, Dr. Evil, Lady Action, Action Lad, And costumes for Venom, Red Skull, Johnny Quest, Wonder Woman, Superman, Black Widow, and whatever else your heart desires, but keep them at a price that is attainable ($20-$50) and keep them at 1:6 scale.

  7. Al Hartman says:

    BTW… I liked the McLean and was sorry to see it go.

  8. kneonknight says:

    I have been a fan of the good Captain for nearly half a century, and accordingly bought up all the Playing Mantis and Round 2 figures and accessories I could find. Much like GIjOE, Captain Action has an emotional and nostalgic appeal to anyone in my age group who was lucky enough to have him as a kid. Unfortunately, that nostalgia does not translate well to the modern world of toys, because (as it has been noted above) kids today have no bloody idea who Captain Action is.

    For us old-timers, it is a no-brainer that CA figures, uniforms and accessories are ‘must have’ items for our collections, but without any attempt to capture the attention of today’s youth (such as TV commercials or banner displays in the stores) there is no hope of generating any interest in the line whatsoever. It might as well not exist at all as far as modern parents and their children are concerned.

    I do believe that a Captain Action comic book would be a good start in generating interest in the line, as would an animated series or even a movie. The problem with animation is the licensing that would be required from the various trademark and copyright holders of the various heroes that Cap would impersonate. I have very little experience or expertise in that particular area, but I can readily imagine that it would be a logistical and legal nightmare.

    As far as “Brand Expansion,” I see absolutely no harm in it whatsoever. A Captain Action coffee mug might just be the conversation starter that gets someone else interested in the line, and every new collector (read: customer) will benefit not only other collectors by bringing another warm body into the hobby, but the company producing the items as well.

    As has been amply demonstrated, companies aren’t too keen on producing items for which there is minimal consumer interest or potential profit. Just look at Joe’s 50th anniversary if you need proof. Brand expansion isn’t a new thing, either, if any of you are old enough to have gotten your first GIjOE’s in the 60s or 70s, you may also recall that there was a whole slew of products that bore the GIjOE logo, even though they were not specifically intended for use with the 1/6 scale figures.

    Paper plates, Halloween costumes, lunch boxes, board games, toy guns and helmets, jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, walkie-talkies…you name it. If it could be somehow tied in with America’s Movable Fighting Man or the Adventure Team, then you can bet that it was. All of those items are now sought after by collectors just as fervently as the 12″ figure that lent his name to their packaging.

    Finally, I am glad that Captain Action Enterprises is willing to take the risk of reaching out to other markets. It heightens awareness of the brand, promotes interest, and generates revenue for the companies producing the products. All of that helps insure that the venerable Captain will have more than one or two years on the shelves, and that collectors of all types will be able to add new items to their hoards. And that, my friends, is a success in anyone’s book.

  9. Rudy Panucci says:

    I think you might’ve gone a little over-the-top on the CAE-bashing, Mark. There is a small, vocal, group of fans who hate Captain Action Cat, but it’s outselling all of the other Captain Action comics, and introducing the CA concept to a new generation of fans. And it’s not Manga by any sense of the word. It’s a comic by Art Baltazar–a master action figure customizer and a nice guy–who is also one of the hottest artists in indepdendent comics today. If he wasn’t good, then I don’t think Dark Horse, DC, Dynamite and other companies would be knocking down his door begging him to take time out from his own comic book company to work on their titles.

    He started his company with a Kickstarter campaign that hoped to raise fifteen thousand dollars. He raised forty-seven thousand. He’s got a loyal following. Plus, it’s kids that read his comics, and that means that kids are learning about Captain Action.

    Despite all the brand-extension and new lines, the announced date for the DC Captain Action sets was 2014, and they are on track to make that date. I know that the rabid fans wanted them on January 1, but they were never promised that soon.

    The only misstep with the Round2 figures was when TRU cancelled Wave Three of the Marvel sets, and that was because they had warehouses full of unsold Iron Man toys and decided to cancel all orders for future product from everyone peddling Iron Man.

    At the moment, TRU is blowing out their CA stock. TRU is taking a loss because they paid for them over a year ago. It’s warehouse management for them. Their new business model is supposed to improve their distribution so that product like Captain Action makes it into all of their stores instead of being dumped in huge numbers at a select few. If TRU is the retailer for the DC line (nothing has been confirmed yet), then new basic figures will ship and those will be listed in the computers as “DC Comics” figures. They will treat the basic assortment and the DC uniforms as a whole new line.

    I think you might be a little misinformed on how much of their resources they’re pouring into the brand expansions. In most cases it involves them saying “okay” and taking the licensing money. It’s not like they’re slaving away, spending all their time time on the projects that they’ve merely licensed to other companies. They’re basically granting licenses and approving prototypes.

    Ed and Joe at CAE are basically running the CA line for Round2. They’re handling the design and the sales, and Round2 is handling the manufacturing and some distribution. Ed and Joe were both involved with the Playing Mantis revival in 1999. Round2 is owned by Thomas Lowe, who owned Playing Mantis before selling it. He basically re-acquired everything that Playing Mantis made, except for Johnny Lightning.

    Right now their top priority is getting all the prototypes for their DC line approved and into production, and setting up the right retail partner. That’s what they spend most of their time working on. The other stuff, like the Tonner Doll and the smaller scale figures are all in the hands of other companies. Word is that the DC prototypes and big announcements will be unveiled at San Diego Comic Con next month.

    You would think that the die-hard CA fans, after waiting thirty years for the first revival, and almost fifteen more for the second one, might be a little more patient. I still think we will see the DC uniforms in time for Christmas.

    • Superb, fascinating and excellent comments as always, Rudy. Thanks so much for your insight and intel! 🙂

    • James says:

      I’d say that, with the numerous delays that the Captain Action line has encountered in this incarnation, CA fans have been very patient. With a line that has been averaging one new release every year, you can understand why fans get frustrated.

      When you see them taking this shotgun effect attitude with the character (“If we fire enough of a scatter pattern, something has to hit eventually!”), and present us with no updates at all regarding the core line, you can’t be surprised that fans begin to wonder if that line is dead and that they’re scrambling to find a new way to keep the character alive.

      Even an occasional update with something like “We’re looking at different design options to choose the best look for Superman’s cape” would help, as it would demonstrate that work is actually progressing on the DC wave. Instead, we hear nothing about that part of the Captain Action world, and more and more about different scale Captain Action figures from different manufacturers.

      I hope that they will have something at Comic Con next month. I’ll be at the convention, and will be at their panel to hear whatever they have to share. I hope the news is worth the wait — assuming they are even there. The last thing they said regarding it on the CA message boards were that they were considering skipping San Diego this year. If that has changed, they haven’t told us about it.

  10. Rudy Panucci says:

    Just to add an additional bit of insight. The Zica/CastAWay Toys 12″ Action Jackson is on the back-burner until they get their 8″ revival out of the gate and up and running. I spoke with CastAWay at MEGO Meet, and they’ve been having trouble getting the MEGO-sized head replicated to their standards, so they’re behind schedule on that.

    They never announced a date for the 12″ AJ. It should have been understood that they couldn’t start on that until they finished up all of their committments for their “Type S” body Kickstarter. All they’re waiting on to finish that is the AJ heads. When it comes time to do the 12″ line, they will most likely start a new Kickstarter campaign devoted to that project.

    They do have a killer new line of MEGO-sized figures called “Henshin X” that you can see over at PopCult. http://blogs.wvgazette.com/popcult/2014/06/10/the-popcult-toybox-mego-meet-x/

    These are a fresh take on the Henshin Cyborg concept, using clear versions of their “Type S” body.

  11. Conner says:

    The Ideal CA was before my time, but I liked the PM figs when they came out, and although I was not initially excited about the R2 interpretation online, once I saw it at TRU I quickly did a 180. In fact I think they are the best 1:6 scale bang-for-buck stuff to come out for a VERY long time. I literally have purchased dozens of the CA and Dr.E figs and multiples of all the costume sets.

    Patiently waiting for new arrivals has been annoying, but I’ve always been that much more pleased once I got them. I’m still holding out hope for The Red Skull costume–and I remind Ed Katto of this every time we converse via email.

    As for the “brand expanding”‘ eh. I enjoyed the iPhone case, until it broke:-( I hope to get the coffee mug as a gift one day:-) comic books n 3.75 figs aren’t my thing, n I prob won’t buy them ever.

    Now the word is they are going to go upscale with CA. Well, that will probably knock me out of the market for their 1:6 scale stuff too:-(. Hopefully they will continue the R2 line. The figures and costumes are top notch for the price IMO. I would love to see a Lady Action in 1:6 scale, but only if it’s affordable. The high end stuff doesn’t seem any less prone to shelf dives than less expensive figures, I just feel a lot more pain when they do.

  12. Matthew Pak says:

    Actually there’s already a pretty good template for a Captain Action animated series: Ben 10, which itself seemed to borrow heavily from “Dial H For Hero.” Create generic super heroes and villains for Cap and Dr. Evil to morph into and let the name brand heroes be part of the toy commercials only.

  13. Steve Polzak says:

    I thought I’d check in and read what’s up. But not to my surprise, it’s nothing new on Captain Action. Not one DC outfit out yet! Like I said before, they’re going to lose people. Also, like James said, it’d be nice if they let people know what’s going on. Show us the work, or the prototypes of the DC outfits.

    Hell, at least Sideshow keeps us up to date. They show their work in designing heads, and they show us prototypes. There was a long wait for info on their new 1/6 Superman, but I must say that the finished product is great. Would like his outfit to be a little darker blue, but hey, this Superman has a little older look to him. Sideshow is doing a good job, but they’re not cheap. This new Superman is almost $200!

    I always thought Marvel missed the boat by never making a great 1/6 scale Hercules. Wouldn’t it be great with the Roman and Greek action figures out? I made my own, and it didn’t come out too bad. Well, I hope everyone has fun in whatever custom figure or diorama set-ups you are making.

    Oh, and as I said before, I thought when they came but with Captain Action, they should have made him a “super spy.” It’s his new “look” now, and you know he would look great in a tux. A little James Bond-ish. That’s how he should be. Then, the action super outfits on the job. You don’t want to mess that pretty tux up. Just a thought. It would also work well with the 1/6 scale Lady Action when she comes out (with her being a British agent and all).

    • Al Hartman says:

      From what I understand, Ed and Joe will have prototypes in hand shortly, and as soon as they can, they will be showing them.

      I’m going to ToyConn here in NJ tomorrow to attend the talk by Ed and Joe on the future of the line.

      They said they will have some announcements at the San Diego Convention. Possibly then they will be showing prototypes.

      If not for Ed, Joe and Round 2 we’d have nothing at all.

      • Patience is indeed a virtue (and often a necessity) in the 1:6 scale collecting hobby.
        Thanks for all you do to help, Al! 🙂

        • Steve Polzak says:

          You’re right. Sometimes things go wrong, but someone could at least say something like, “the hold up to this is this,” or “there is a problem making a deal with so-and-so.” Something! We’d really like to see Captain Action (in 1/6 scale) pull it off. Here’s hoping. Anyway, thanks, Al Hartman and patchesofpride.

  14. Captain Action Cat is amazing. Tons of fun and it doesn’t take away from the CA brand at all. It’s truer to the concept than most of the other ACTION comics, in all honesty. Putting aside the fact that its all cats.

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