Category Archives: Captain Action News

1:6 Customizer, Gary Stair, Inspired By the Work of Wayne Faucher, Creates His Own Versions of Captain Action Battle Armor and 1960s Jet-Packs

garystair58

Creative Minds Think Alike— Inspired by the masterpieces of 1:6 scale wizard, Wayne Faucher, fellow customizer, Gary Stair (of Pennsylvania), combined another assortment of unrelated parts (including a set of Hulk Buster armor, a plastic Easter egg, a Star Wars figure and a Classic Collection GIjOE headsculpt) to create his own unique “B.A.D.A.S.S.” custom toy for use with his favorite hero—Captain Action. Out-STANDING work, Actioneer! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Like birds of a feather, customizers of 1:6 scale do indeed, “flock together.” In today’s exclusive, generously penned and provided to us by 1:6 customizing expert, Gary Stair (PA), we learn exactly how the work of one creative genius can quickly influence the work of many others. In the following two examples, Stair reports how his own custom work (as of late) has become greatly influenced by that of fellow customizer, Wayne Faucher; even to the point of requiring him to jump in his car and race over to Walmart, just to buy an Iron Man toy that was going on clearance. According to Stair:

exclusivebanner

malecomment

garystair

Gary Stair (PA) (Photo: Gary Stair)

“I want to be Wayne Faucher in my next life. I LOVE his 1:6 scale custom stuff! So much so, I often try to emulate him in my own 1:6th creations. The recent Joe Report article describing his amazing Hulk Buster figure (HERE) had me out of my house in minutes and ZIPPING over to the local Walmart; where low and behold—I found one LAST Hulk Buster (HB) figure still sitting on the clearance shelf. Thanks to Wayne’s tip, I snagged it for a mere $11 bucks—with an additional 10% off!

The HB was missing its helmet, but that didn’t stop me. I found a plastic easter egg (clear on one side, yellow on the other) to serve as a replacement, leaving only a few additional items to make it complete. (Hey Wayne—Can you tell what I did over the weekend?) After multiple hours of painting and assorted customizations that utilized all sorts of miscellaneous parts and “do-dads” (to create self-balancing rockets and heat-seeking missiles), I’d soon created my very own Captain Action B.A.D.A.S.S. (short for what else?): the BATTLE ARMOR DEFENSE AIRBORNE SURVIVABILITY SYSTEM. I also intend to install an Iron Man-esque chest light, utilizing one of those 1:6 scale desk lamps I’d purchased previously at a Dollar Store (see HERE).”

garystair62

EGGX-cellant! Gary’s superb solution to his missing helmet dilemma was to create one of his own using a 2-piece plastic Easter egg. Absolutely ALIENS-inspired! (Photo: Gary Stair)

garystair61

Custom Armor-O-ACTION! Gary’s decision to go with a metallic blue paint job gave his custom creation a definite Captain Action twist. Sweet! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

garystair60

Built For Battle— The back view reveals there are few if any weak spots in the Hulk Buster armor. The possibilities for customizing this “suit” are practically limitless! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

garystair59

As seen from the side— Gary’s Hulk Buster armor sports one of Cap’s logo stickers (just so Dr. Evil knows who’s about to deliver the HURT on his squishy-brain head) and you can also see how Stair’s unique “Easter egg” helmet was painted and utilized. COOL! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“To further demonstrate how Wayne’s creations have been keeping me up at night, I tried to replicate his outstanding Lost in Space jet-pack (shown in a previous Joe Report article HERE). I also really love the scene in Thunderball where Bond uses the same jet-pack system to make his getaway from SPECTRE bad guys (see video clip above). Thanks largely to Wayne’s inspiring examples, I now have a Sean Connery 007 figure flying high in my toy room with a Wayne Faucher-esque jet-pack (or at least my version of it).”
garystair56

Do you own a 1:6 scale jet-pack system for use with your custom Lost in Space or James bond figures? If not, WHY not? Just like Wayne and Gary, you can make one yourself! Hey, Gary, where’s the helmet? (Photo: Gary Stair)

garystair55

Prepare for Takeoff— Gary Stair’s custom jet-pack was created from an assortment of, as he likes to call them, “odds-n-ends.” WOW!!!!! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“I want to give major KUDOS to Wayne Faucher for all the inspiration he’s provided to me and other 1:6 customizers around the world. I hope The Joe Report will continue sharing examples of his amazing work of 1:6 seale ART well in the future. I know they’ve inspired MANY customizers to strive for greater achievements and help keep our beloved 1:6 scale “vision” ALIVE!” —Gary Stair, PA

waynefaucherheadshot

Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

Bottom Line: Gary mentioned that he had grown up watching ARK II. We had never seen (or heard of) “ARK II” before, so we decided to check it out on YouTube today where we found the entire first episode (see link above). If you jump ahead to the 5:49 minute-mark, you’ll see the very same jet-pack system that Wayne and Gary have recreated so perfectly in 1:6 scale.

Wayne and Gary are both outstanding customizers and are leaders by example in our wonderful hobby. We hope these two “wizards” will stay in touch often, and that YOU too, will write in to us here at The Joe Report so that we can share YOUR creative projects with the world. Finally, a special note of thanks to Gary Stair for all his generous contributions to this article. Go, GARY!

Tagged , , , ,

Konichiwa! Captain Action’s 50th Anniversary “Ultraman” Uniform Set in Retro Window Box

Ultraman Captain Action  Box Front

Holy Haiku, Actioneers! This new Ultraman set from Captain Action Enterprises is a definite MUST-HAVE for any serious CA collection. Whoosh! (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge.

Do you know that anxious feeling you get when you first see a new toy for sale, and you know IMMEDIATELY that you’re going to have to buy TWO of them? Well, here we go again, my friends. This new Captain Action (CA) Ultraman costume set from Captain Action Enterprises (CAE) looks SO cool in its retro window box packaging, that we know that we (and many other CA fans) will most assuredly decide to buy two of them—one for play, and the other for display.

Indeed, unless you’ve lived under an action figure rock for the last 50 years, you know you’ll need TWO of this ultra-cool set of Ultraman long-johns. Yes, being a dedicated CA collector sometimes drives us (and our wallets) CRAZY with action figure desire, but this sort of thing is often out of our control. HA! Seriously— regardless of how many new CA Ultraman costume sets you buy, 2, 1—or none—you’ll at least want to know what CAE’s head honcho, Ed Catto, has to say about the matter. In his latest, short-but-sweet press release, Catto, states:
malecomment
edcatto2

Ed Catto of CAE. (Photo: Ed Catto)

“Here’s our latest – We’re revealing the packaging to our upcoming Ultraman costume set. As you can see, as this is part of our 50th Anniversary, we’ve gone very retro with the styling. This will make a cool collectible to display in or out of the box! Our next release will be for our 2nd Audio book. That should be coming out soon. Thanks! —Ed Catto, CAE
Ultraman Captain Action Box Back

Kiii-YAH! The back panel contains the expected information, but we can’t help feeling CAE missed an opportunity here to discuss CA’s 50th anniversary, or to create some sort of exciting “mail-in” promotion. That way, you could cut an entry form off the back panel (of the extra set you bought) and not feel too bad about ruining the package. Or could you not bring yourself to do that? (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Release dates and prices for this new set have yet to be announced, but as we said, this looks like a certain “two-setter” to us. What it lacks in boots, gloves and equipment, it more than makes up for in its unique kitsch and COOL factors. Go, Captain Action! Go, Ultraman!

Tagged , , ,

Medicom and Captain Action Enterprises Team-Up to Produce a 1:6 Scale “Ultraman” Costume Set

Look! It's ULTRAMAN— This spread in Shonen magazine reveals one of the intriguing "grainy pictures" of Ideal's proposed costume for Ultraman—that sadly, was never made. (Photo: Ed Catto)

Up There! It’s ULTRAMAN— This spread in Shonen magazine reveals one of the intriguing “grainy pictures” of Ideal’s proposed costume for Ultraman—that sadly, was never made. (Photo: Ed Catto)

12-inch Captain Action Toy Line Lives On—For Now—As a ’60s Japanese Superhero

Just when we all thought it was over (again) for the world of 1:6 scale Captain Action collecting (admit it, you did too), an official CAE (Captain Action Enterprises) bulletin crosses over our news desks from one of Cap’s biggest fans—Ed Catto—who writes in with the following exciting intel:

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

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

malecomment

“Hi Mark, Thought you might enjoy this one! Attached is our latest news. This press release is all about a new uniform set for our 1/6th scale line. It’s a long-lost character, Ultraman, who was supposed to be part of the Captain Action line, but never quite made it to the U.S. market. Now he’s back, and we’ve got him! This is just one of the many fun things we have planned for 2016 – Captain Action’s 50th Anniversary Year! All the best” —Ed Catto

Where's my boots? So far, Medicom's upcoming costume for Ultraman appears to be sans boots. It seems hard to believe CAE would allow this set to go out without any footwear, but we'll see! (Photo: Ed Catto)

Where are my boots, Sensei? Hmm… So far, Medicom’s prototype photos for an upcoming costume for Ultraman appears to be sans boots and gloves. It’s hard to believe CAE would allow this new costume set to be released without any footwear. No gloves? Maybe. But no boots? (Photo: Ed Catto)

Here is the press release provided by Mr. Catto (edited for length):

“Captain Action Enterprises, LLC is proud to announce a partnership with MEDICOM TOY CORPORATION to produce the long-lost Ultraman outfit. This uniform set was planned to be a part of the popular super-hero line of costume sets to be used in conjunction with the iconic 12” (30 cm) Captain Action figure. An image of this outfit was shown only once in Shonen (Magazine) in the 1960s and was designed to be a contest prize for the readers. To many modern fans, it was surprising to learn such a thing existed!”

Exploring the history behind Captain Action’s ill-fated Ultraman costume, Catto continued:

Pretty Sweet! Put some boots on this outfit and you're 90% there. It's simplicity is among its many charms and fans will undoubtedly be lining up when they're available. (Photo: Ed Catto)

Is this enough detail for fans? We were excited about Ultraman’s see-thru belt until we realized that it’s just a plastic clip helping the figure stand up. The costume’s simplicity is undeniable, yet Ultraman fans will undoubtedly be lining up to buy one when they become available. What do YOU think? (Photo: Ed Catto)

“For Captain Action’s launch in Japan, Nippon Ideal made plans to give Captain Action an Ultraman costume. However, events conspired to prevent the Ultraman costume from becoming a reality, but not before pictures of it had appeared in articles about Captain Action in several issues of “Shonen (Magazine)” (“Boys Magazine”).

For decades, fans of both Ultraman and Captain Action have looked at those few grainy pictures and wished that the Ultraman costume had been released to toy stores,” said James Long, a Japanese Anime and Tokusatsu Historian and fan of Captain Action. This new Ultraman outfit will be released as a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of Captain Action. Additional 50th Anniversary plans are scheduled to be announced.

MEDICOM TOY is working closely with Captain Action Enterprises to create retro-style packaging consistent with the original 1960’s line. Shipping and sales are planned for June 2016. The MEDICOM TOY Premium Club will take orders from January 24, 2016 until March 5, 2016.”

Founding partner of CAE, Joe Ahern, offers Cap’s fans one final upbeat and optimistic comment:

malecomment

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

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

“After almost fifty years, we’re thrilled to be making this long-lost costume set available. The uniform is sized for 1/6 scale figures. As far as Captain Action goes, you should be able to use it with Ideal, Playing Mantis or Round 2 figures. And if this does well, perhaps we can get them (Medicom) to do some more. For Captain Action fans, it’s not quite the Holy Grail, but it’s pretty close! Nuff’ Said…” — Joe Ahearn

Bottom Line: The Holy Grail for Captain Action fans? We’re not so sure about that, Joe. The Rocketeer was getting pretty close. That Adam West ’60s Batman costume, definitely. But Ultraman? No. Oh well, at this point in Captain Action’s convoluted 12-inch history, ANY news regarding ANY new 1:6 scale product offering will be considered as GOOD news to the patiently waiting, “eager ears” of CA’s faithful fandom. However…

If what we see in the photos above is what we’re getting from Medicom, then we recommend you gird your corporate loins, because there’s sure to be some negative commentary coming your way. Many fans will undoubtedly label this simplistic costume as nothing more than Ultraman long-johns. Of course, if additional details not currently visible are added to the helmet, boots and equipment, then it’s quite likely this new costume will ultimately achieve a very high COOL factor. And we can’t wait to see what “retro-style packaging” you have in mind for it as well. As always, best wishes! For more information on CAE’s products, visit their official website found HERE.

If Ultraman is a hit for CAE, can an Ultragirl costume be far behind for Lady Action? Stand by, fans! (Photo: Jazz & Blues)

Now we’re Talking! If Ultraman’s costume set becomes a hit for CAE, can an Ultraman-GIRL costume for Lady Action be far behind? Let’s hope so! Stand by, Actioneers! (Photo: Jazz & Blues)

Tagged , , ,

Captain Action Exec Responds to Fan Queries Regarding Uncertain Future of 1:6 Products

Go, Captain Action! Despite his popularity, ol' Cap faces an uphill struggle to remain relevant and profitable in the future. (Art: Jusko/CAE)

Fighting For His 1:6 Future— Despite Captain Action’s popularity among collectors of a certain age (50+), ol’ Cap faces an uphill struggle to remain relevant and profitable at 1:6 scale. (Art: Jusko/CAE)

malecomment

“We need to show the depth of this license. Captain Action cannot survive as a one-trick-pony, 12-inch action figure.”
Joe Ahearn, Captain Action Enterprises 

This odd little Lego-ish rendition of CA is yet another example of a product that many fans simply could care less about. And what's with the Mickey Mouse ears? (Photo: CAE)

Captain Action for Today’s Generation— This odd little Lego-ish rendition of CA is yet another example of a multitude of recent CA licensed products that fans of 1:6 scale could simply care less about. And what’s with those Mickey Mouse ears? (Photo: CAE)

We’ve already reported on Captain Action Enterprises’ (CAE) current controversial efforts to expand the appeal of the iconic Captain Action (CA) brand though licensing and the release of a plethora of non-1:6 scale products (see full story HERE). CAE reps, Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto, have also confirmed (to The Joe Report) many times, that they believe their business strategy remains the best hope for capturing a younger market and repositioning the 49-year old brand towards a more profitable business future.

Predictably though, their plan has met with open derision from many 1:6 collectors who lament the loss of additional 1:6 scale CA product. Others have grudgingly accepted CAE’s plans as necessary steps that must be taken if ANY beloved CA brand toys are to survive and/or remain relevant to current and future generations that know little (to nothing) about Captain Action and his schizoid superhero proclivities.

As with Hasbro (and their GIjOE brand), CAE is now openly admitting concerns that its original fan base is clearly aging. And the sad truth is, both of these toy companies have begun looking at adult-aged toy collectors as customers of their past, rather than of their present—or future.

Prototype photo of a proposed 1:18 scale version of Captain Action and his Silver Streak. Is THIS the future of CA? (Photo: CAE)

The Future is Looking… Smaller— A rendering of ZICA Toy’s prototype for a 1:18 scale version of Captain Action and his Silver Streak vehicle. Pretty nice, but is THIS the future of CA? (Photo: CAE)

In our recent interview with Hasbro’s Derryl DePriest, many GIjOE fans were stunned to learn that Hasbro now openly disdains its original “razors and blades” marketing strategy (see story HERE). Captain Action, by comparison, was a toy line heavily advertised on that self-same strategy. It was predicated on the idea that a child needed only ONE CA figure and that he (or she) could then change that ONE figure into a wide variety of superheroes simply by changing its costumes. Indeed, Ideal’s original CA became better know for its costume sets than its figures (see commercial below).

Whether or not CAE’s efforts to reinvent and reinvigorate the CA brand succeed still remains to be seen. Meanwhile, its existing customer base of “maturing” collectors, will continue to stand by patiently waiting, money in hand, and hoping against hope for the release of ANY new 1:6 scale products. (Remember the highly anticipated Rocketeer, Batman and Superman costume sets?)

In this closeup of a package mock-up for an upcoming CA Batman set, assorted DC Direct parts and simple cardboard cutouts are used to indicate the sort of contents fans can expect to see. (Photo: Toygodd)

Don’t get your hopes up, Bat Fans— In this closeup of a package mock-up for a proposed 1:6 scale Batman costume set, assorted DC Direct parts and simple cardboard cutouts were used to indicate what fans might expect to receive. Sadly, this set is now on indefinite HOLD. (Photo: Toygodd)

In a recent face-off with fans, CAE executive, Joe Ahearn, responded (once again) to comments from discouraged fans in a revealing back-n-forth online discussion that proved quite illuminating. It’s wonderful what we can learn when a bunch of well-educated toy executives and collectors all get together in the same place online. In this case, the discussion in question took place over on the CA Yahoo fan forum found HERE and began with a heartfelt post left by nevergrewup_90:

malecomment

“I won’t make assessments regarding anyone’s efforts. I’m sure that a lot of hard work has been done to get us to this point. I’ll just state my interests. I’ve been a Captain Action fan since the beginning. I have all of the original costume sets and enough Captain Actions, Action Boys and Dr. Evils to wear them all. I even have Captains wearing a jet pack and a parachute. I have all of the Playing Mantis and Round 2 costume sets and figures as well.

I’ve never had any interest in owning a Silver Streak, even as a child. Comic books were never an interest either. My only interest for the future would be in the form of 1:6 figures and costumes. I would include Lady Action in that, but the Phicen-based Lady Action is well beyond what I would be willing to spend. Besides, with the various incarnations of Captain Action being slightly less than 1:6, I would imagine she would be noticeably out of scale there.

Smaller figures and novelties don’t interest me either. My fear is that the 1:6 line has already reached the end without the beloved Batman and Superman costumes, along with an Action Boy to sport a Robin costume.” —nevergrewup_90

Fortunately, CAE’s head honcho, Joe Ahearn, saw the above post and offered this candid reply:

malecomment

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

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

“Gentlemen, I would like to just say a couple of things. As far as 1/6 scale product is concerned, we of course would love to have all the stuff we all want to see out there. But due to circumstances beyond our control, it has not been able to come to pass. 

We are trying to look into a lot of different options, but all of these things take a lot longer than we would like them to. As soon as we can get some more 1/6 scale product out there, we most certainly will. It is certainly not a dead line for us by any stretch of the imagination.

We have tried to keep 1/6 items out there through our convention variants, the new Lady Action figure, the footlockers and most recently, custom heads from Marshall Made Collectibles. In the meantime, as businessmen, we need to keep the Captain Action brand moving forward in other ways to keep it growing and viable.

Do you need to like all of those other things? No you do not. If they are not your cup of tea, that’s cool, but we need to keep doing these things. Because otherwise, if we have NOTHING going on, no one will see Captain Action as a viable property, and any negativity about these other things also reflects back to our ability to do 1/6 scale stuff as well.

We need to show the depth of this license. Captain Action cannot survive as a one-trick-pony 12-inch action figure. We are still also working very hard on the animation side and are hoping to have a NEW ANNOUNCEMENT to share in a couple of weeks at SDCC.

I hope we get some Bad Guys Customs for our figure contest from a lot of you out there who are so hungry to play in the 1/6 scale sandbox. It would be a great show of support for 1/6 scale  that we can use to help move things forward! Thanks always for your support of Captain Action.”Joe Ahearn, CAE

CA fan and collector, Al Hartman, represented fans who choose to remain optimistic, stating:

malecomment

Al Hartman, Captain Action fan & collector (Photo: Al Hartman)

Al Hartman, Captain Action fan & collector (Photo: Al Hartman)

“I want to add this to what Joe just wrote… Please don’t assume that the current state of the 1/6th line is going according to some purpose and plan by Joe and Ed. The first two people who want to see the DC wave on store shelves are CA’s premiere fans; Catto and Ahern (notice the first two letters of their names? huh? huh?).

They are not playing ‘keep away.’ They want to move forward, but are depending on R2 and the factories in Asia. We have to be patient and hope that the sets we want will show up under our trees someday.

Until then, they are trying to bring us other goodies. I appreciate that. Thanks guys! —Al Hartman

CA collector, Paul Dodd, represented frustrated fans with such questions and comments as:

malecomment

“Al, I appreciate your opinion, and for beating the CA bandwagon drum. But, unless you work for R2, how do you know any of this to be true? It’s been a very long time since the DC license was announced, and a very long time since Wolverine & Iron Man.

And since then, we have heard from Joe & Ed several times, (and seriously guys, I’m not calling you out here) and the story has been the same. Never anything concrete, just a lot of dancing around the issue, without revealing the real meat & potatoes of the problem.

Have the licenses expired? Has R2 severed its relationship with CAE? (or vice versa)Is there some sort of stalemate between the two? Is it a production issue? Or, POS problem?

There has been multiple crowd funding efforts for other non 1:6 C/A figures. Why can’t something like that be done for a DC uniform/equipment set? There is a reason, we just don’t know what the big secret is.

Me personally, I would like to know more. But I know these things are not my business. What I do know is other similar superhero lines are being produced on time, and with pretty high standards. Even the little GIjOE Collectors Club produces new, classically styled 1:6 product a couple of times a year. (Did you see their ‘Fantastic Freefall’ convention set?)

There is way more to this than just ‘circumstances beyond our control.’ And to me at least, it’s a cryin’ shame.” —Paul Dodd

Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci)

Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci) Click to enlarge.

Toy industry expert, Rudy Panucci, offered his own professional viewpoint of the current CA dilemma, stating:

malecomment

“I might be able to shed a little light on this as an impartial observer who’s offering educated guesses. In order for Captain Action to have DC and Marvel costumes sold, they have to be in the mass market at an affordable price, or be premium-priced low-production run items. Obviously the goal is to hit the mass market. In order to sell to the mass market, there have to be retailers willing to sell the costume sets, as well as a supply of figures. They have to be willing to sell these items at a price that allows everyone to make aprofit.

Due to the toy licenses held by Mattel and Hasbro, DC and Marvel costume sets can never be sold in the same package with a figure. In essence,they are “model kits.” Retailers would prefer dressed figures. They are running away, screaming, from the “razors and blades” concept. It’s even hurting Mattel’s Barbie line. Costume sets are a hard sell. The license to sell DC and Marvel model kits (and other items) is held by Round2. For CAE to produce DC and Marvel product, they have to go through Round2 to piggyback on their license. Effectively, Round2 is licensing from DC, Marvel and CAE to produce their figures. CAE is shouldering some of the risk, in order to get the product made.

The license has not expired. There are no production issues any tougher than any other small toy company experiences. The problem is finding a retail partner. Round2 is willing to go back into production as long as CAE has retailers lined up. They’re still working on that. TRU has had a management and philosophy change. They are no longer open to the idea of carrying Captain Action (at least not right now, maybe in a year things will change). Walmart would be perfectly willing to carry Captain Action if they could buy them at a wholesale price that would be slightly below the cost of production.

Target is gun-shy on exclusives from smaller companies these days. They’d be interested in online-only sales, but they don’t want to give up shelf space. Sears and K Mart are barely in the toy business at all anymore. Diamond Select is not only a distributor, but also a manufacturer, and their customer base is comic book shops and TRU. If they try to sell Captain Action through DST, and every comic shop orders two of each item–that will only amount to five or six-thousand orders. That’s not enough to turn a profit due to the license fees.

Remember that, in the case of Superman and Batman, DC gets paid first.Then Round2. Then returns and defective units are deducted. Then CAE gets whatever’s left… if there is anything. If they go through Diamond, the wholesale price is probably 40% of theretail price. Then the licensors get paid. Then the manufacturer. If they crowd-fund, they may not be able to go through Round2 and use thelicense. Even if they did, you’re still looking at comic-shop numbers.

To be honest, I’m surprised that Ed and Joe are still managing to keep the character viable. By dealing with smaller licensees like Marshall Made Collectibles, 3rd Son Books, Airship 27, Dynamite Comics, Zica and the other folks who have ‘borrowed’ Captain Action for various figure lines, they’ve managed to keep Captain Action alive as a property that more and more people know. You’d never see Hasbro or Mattel invest this much time in a revival of a toy from fifty years ago. Just look at how Hasbro bungled the fiftieth anniversary of GIjOE! Mattel only keeps the Major Matt Mason trademarks because they hope someone will make a movie someday.

This is obviously a labor of love for Ed and Joe, and I think us fans need to realize that and be patient. They’re working hard on this in an industry that is more secretive than the military industrial complex. They can’t tell us every detail of every ongoing negotiation because that would probably kill any deal that they’re working on. They can’t really risk complaining in public about retailers when they’re trying to convince them to carry their product.

My advice to Ed and Joe is to maybe look into less conventional retailers. Cracker Barrel Restaurants (630 stores) have large “general stores” loaded with retro toys and 1960s TV shows on DVD. They may beopen to a fiftieth anniversary product, if the price is right and the right characters are involved. That one deal won’t be big enough for a whole line, but it could attract the attention of a larger retailer. Just my two cents.” —Rudy Panucci

Cracker Barrel's toy shelves are nothing to sneeze at. Take a look at this recent photo. WOW! (Photo: wideopencountry) Click to enlarge.

A Future Home for Captain Action? Rudy Panucci’s idea of slotting CA products on the shelves at Cracker Barrel restaurants is nothing to sneeze at. Take a look at this recent photo of some of the chain’s great “retro” toys for sale. WOW! (Photo: wideopencountry) Click to SUPER enlarge.

In closing, CAE’s Joe Ahearn sought to reassure fans of 1:6 scale Captain Action by saying:

malecomment

“We are certainly not dancing around the issue. I’m sure you can understand that as businessmen under contract with different project partners, we are not always at liberty to discuss things in exact details with the public.

I tried my best to give an overview to give everyone the gist of the current scenario. It shouldn’t really matter what the exact details are, rather knowing that we are not giving up on getting new 12-inch stuff out to you guys should be the big take away. When that will be, we cannot say. But it is still on the table.” —Joe Ahern

Bottom Line: An emotional tug-of-war continues to be waged between frustrated collectors and manufacturers of 1:6 scale Captain Action products. Our sincerest thanks to those who continue to keep Cap’s legacy alive through such well-informed discussion. Let Justice Be Done!

Tagged , , ,

Captain Action Enterprises Rep, Joe Ahearn, “Feels the Frustration” and Replies to Critics

Admits “Nothing is For Sure” About the DC Line

In a lengthy and plain-talking response to regular and ongoing criticism regarding continued delays of 1:6 Captain Action products, Captain Action Enterprises (CAE) head, Joe Ahearn, admitted feeling “frustrated” and that negative comments on fan forums were getting to be “very wearisome.” Of course, the frustrations that fans and collectors feel regarding delayed costume sets, etc., is no secret (see previous article HERE), and after many months of silence on the subject, Ahearn wisely chose to address the subject yesterday. In his post to the CA fan forum, he stated:

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

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

We too, surely do feel the frustration about the timing of the Round 2 DC sets. According to the original plan, we should be making Wave 8 by now! A few of the guys out there tend to bash everything in public forums, and denigrate all the efforts we put into various projects, and that- frankly – gets very wearisome.

Getting on the cover of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, for instance, is a HUGE deal. We’ll be in every comic shop front and center and in many bookstores. And they’ll be advertising that for the entire next year too. And by doing that, we’ll be right in front of the guys (for a year) who make the ordering decisions for the Round 2 sets.

To a lesser extent, the same thing applies to the Tonner Lady Action, the Captain Action Cat series and all the other projects. We can tell you that the first buyer at Toys R Us told us he saw the Sideshow CA statue and Moonstone series every Wednesday when he bought his comics…and that directly led to them buying in for Round 2.

So when some fans denigrated the SDCC panel because there’s no news – we tend to find that debilitating on a personal level. But hey, In a perfect world we would’ve absolutely had a Batman Prototype up there to show everyone.

As discerning fans, we’ve been defying the odds time and time again with the Round 2 sets. We’re proud to have been able to bring everyone major Marvel characters to add to their collections which was no small feat. Right now, no other company seems to be doing 1/6 scale, let alone classic Silver Age figures, and some of the experts – like the Mattel Barbie line, are faltering. (Sales down 15% vs.YA).

And Toys R Us, our lead retailer is struggling. They just had a big round of layoffs and another round is rumored. Round 2 as a company does a poor job at selling licensed toys into other big-box retailers, and beyond that we all know those retailers are having their own troubles.

So, the short answer as respects DC is ‘nothing is for sure.’ This whole line was never supposed to happen, and then just about cancelled several times along the way. We were never supposed to secure the DC license and then we did. The comics were supposed to be cancelled and then we took a step up as Dynamite is now our publisher. And as you guys all know by now, there’s lot of things going on behind the scenes too.

We’re sorry that we didn’t have Round 2 Prototypes to share at the SDCC Contest Panel. We wish, probably more than anybody, because we put so much into this – that we were further along with Round 2 sets. But like the kids used to say ‘I’m not the boss of them’ (i.e. Round2). And we’re certainly not ‘the boss’ of the TRU buyer or the Diamond Buyer either.”

A prototype of the new "Lady Action" by (Photo: CAE)

A prototype of the new 1:6 scale “Lady Action” from Go Hero. (Photo: CAE)

“All we can assure you is that we’ll continue to put way too much time into Captain Action and that we too are excited to see more costume sets manufactured. We have not abandoned 1:6 scale by any stretch of the imagination. As you know we just announced our new Lady Action figure with Go Hero. Maybe it’s not what you were hoping for or maybe you are unable to afford a higher quality figure, but there are a lot of collectors out there who play in this world. If there wasn’t, Sideshow and Hot Toys wouldn’t be in business.

The world is rapidly changing in terms of retailing, television programming and manufacturing. It’s not 1967 now and never will be again, but you already know that. We do know that it is extraordinarily frustrating for many guys on this list, and especially collectors like Ed, who never had a Batman set as a kid. (He’s been called liar about that too, btw) and we can assure you it will be very frustrating for all fans everywhere with a very narrow definition of Captain Action as simply a 12-inch action figure. No property works that focused any more, and while we respect everyone’s right to like what they like, we’ll continue to work as hard as we can to expand the brand and make better things happen for Captain Action.

Right now, as you all are aware we are working hard on getting a Captain Action Animated Series off the ground. This will be a major game changer and greatly impact the things we will be able to do for the brand as a whole going forward and perhaps alleviate some of the product development frustrations by being able to work with bigger and better companies as we move forward. As always, we are thankful for the support we have gotten. —Best, Joe & Ed”

Bottom Line: ‘Nuff said! Thanks for the updates, Joe and Ed. Keep your spirits high and please keep collectors and fans informed regarding any further developments or intel in the world of Captain Action. Go, CAP!

Tagged , ,

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!

Tagged , , ,

Kentuckiana G.I. Joe Club Continues Tradition of Outdoor Water-Rocket Parachute Launches, This Time With 1:6 Competitor: Captain Action!

This photo (taken during a previous club meeting) reveals jugs of water and other related launch detritus used to repeatedly provide thrust for the 1:6 scale parachute GIjOE missions. Out-STANDING! (Photo: KYGIJCC)

This photo (taken during a previous club meeting) reveals jugs of water and other related launch “technology” used to repeatedly provide thrust for the 1:6 scale parachute GIjOE (and CA) missions. Out-STANDING! (Photo: KYGCC)

God Speed, Captain Action!

In an egalitarian display of homemade model rocketry and outdoor “playsmanship,” members of the Kentuckiana GIjOE Club (KYGCC) gathered recently at a local park (covered in beautiful bluegrass, natch!) to launch one of GIjOE’s buddies (longtime sales competitor, Captain Action) high into the sky. As one club member stomped furiously on a pressurizing pedal, others stepped back warily. While children, unsure of what would happen next, took protective cover behind their parents. Finally ready, the launcher uttered his fateful countdown: “3-2-1, Liftoff!”

WHOOOSH!!!!!! Sitting atop a highly pressurized water-bottle rocket, Cap was sent soaring into the wild blue yonder, reminding all who witnessed the exciting event that day that: Toys were meant to be PLAYED WITH! After exhausting his craft’s harmless H2O fuel, Cap’s ‘chute popped open and he floated gently back to Earth.

While clearly pleased with the flight’s results, KYGCC club rep, Stephen Sherman, revealed that the group’s primary goal that day was actually to test the viability, strength and functionality (or lack thereof) of Cap’s vintage 1967 parachute. He described the successful mission this way:

“This past weekend, the Kentuckiana GIjOE club got together for one of our periodic Joe paratrooper water-rocket launches. This year, we decided to let Captain Action take his turn in the rocket. The jump was performed by Cap’s Playing Mantis stunt double, but his parachute was a 100% 1967-vintage ‘free’ 4-foot parachute. It still works!

KYGCC members gather underneath the park's pavilion to discuss and prepare for the day's events. (Photo: KYGCC)

KYGCC members gather beneath the park’s pavilion to discuss the day’s events. (Photo: KYGCC)

The Kentuckiana GIjOE Club has a long history of successful water-rocket-propelled parachute missions. If you haven’t seen it, you won’t want to miss the inspiring video (shown below) of their amazing 2009 launch of a GIjOE Mercury Astronaut strapped into a Space Capsule. Take a look:

Prior to his launch atop one of the club's famous "water-rockets," the astronaut GIjOE steps from his owner's superb custom Astronaut Support Vehicle. Amazing work, guys! (Photo: KYGCC)

Prior to his launch atop one of the club’s famous “water-rockets,” this GIjOE Astronaut steps out of his superb custom ASV. (Astronaut Support Vehicle). Absolutely amazing work, guys! (Photo: KYGCC)

Bottom Line: As the club’s newest mission video reveals, Captain Action’s launch was an unqualified success (just look at the altitude he achieved). It warms our hearts to see Cap’s vintage parachute still returning him safely to Earth nearly 50 years after its production. For more information about the creative, “play-oriented” Kentucky division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club, we recommend you visit the KYGCC Facebook page HERE. Go, Kentucky Joeheads! Go, JOE!

Tagged ,

Nostalgic “Retro-Advertising” Increasingly Being Used to Target Adult Toy Collectors

While the bright colors and superheroes depicted will surely interest children, the "retro-graphics" incorporated into this new ad from Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises, will likely appeal more to adults who fondly remember seeing similar ads in the pages of comic books back in the 1960s. (Photo: CAE)

While this advertisement’s bright colors and superheroes will surely interest children, its “retro-graphics” will more likely appeal to adults who fondly remember seeing similar ads in the pages of 1960s comic books. Other than its incorrect use of the feminine word “bevy,” this ad ROCKS! (Photo: CAE)

This new ad introduces the new Iron Man and Wolverine uniform sets, utilizing the same "retro" feel of previous CAE and R2 advertisements. (Photo: CAE)

This new Captain Action ad introduces the Iron Man and Wolverine uniform sets and utilizes “retro” type styles and graphic design . (Photo: CAE)

Selling Toys to Big Boys

It’s a quiet day at home, and you’re casually flipping through the pages of a toy magazine or idly clicking through websites on the internet. Suddenly, you stop and stare. It doesn’t have to be for long. Just long enough to think, “Hmm, there’s something about this ad…I really like it! I’m gunna have to get me one of those!” You don’t realize it, but at that moment, your subconscious ramblings have made you an advertiser’s DREAM.

Indeed, before turning the page of your magazine, or clicking out of the website, that aforementioned ad has somehow managed to make a connection with you; an all important “impression” that advertisers hope and pray for. Somehow—the ad has managed to fire your imagination, stir you to action, and spur you to reach for your wallet. Success!

How did this sudden transformation come about? Only moments earlier, you were innocently living your life, not thinking about buying anything. But now—you must buy. The reasons for your attitude change are fascinating to consumer researchers, and when it comes to selling toys to adults (especially grown men), the answer is increasingly proven to be “retro advertising.”

Sometimes "retro graphics" are used to spur sales of long dormant brands such as the venerable 1960s "Slinky" toy. It's plain, cardboard box with one-color line art illustrations stir childhood memories and invoke a simpler era of play. (Photo: James Industries)

Retro-graphics don’t have to brash and “loud” to be effective. Sometimes they’re simple and understated, such as those used to spur sales of a long dormant brand such as the 1960s “Slinky” toy. It’s plain, cardboard box with vintage, one-color, line art illustrations, immediately stir childhood passions and invoke memories of a simpler time of play. (Photo: James Industries)

How (Good) Retro-Advertising Works

There’s something familiar about a good retro-advertisment. Depending on the decade being mimicked, its graphics can be bright and bold, or muted and subtle. Regardless, they remind us of something we’ve seen before. Something that made us happy—once before. If poorly executed, they can come off as cynical attempts to manipulate our emotions. But if well done, they’ll tug at our ol’ heartstrings and ‘twang” our nostalgic nerve centers. You WILL want to buy whatever it is they’re selling!

Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of ads (and toy packaging) that are graphically influenced by the styles and designs of the 1950s and ’60s. Back then, the products being promoted were targeted exclusively to children (primarily young boys), and so the graphics and artwork used were bold, colorful and eye-catching (just what kids like to see). Nowadays, advertisers hoping to reignite memories of those days are creating ads and packages designed along similar lines—but targeted primarily to adults. Just look at Captain Action and his cohorts (see ad at top)! Biff! Bang! WOW!

Even arch-rival Mattel understands the powerful influence of nostalgic packaging. Its new "Batusi Batman" SDCC exclusive would be just another plastic batman without the amazing "TV set" packaging it's contained within. This is one of those occassions when the box is actually cooler than the toy! (Photo: Mattel, batblog)

Mattel clearly understands the powerful influence of nostalgic, retro-packaging. Its new “Batusi Batman” would’ve been just another plastic batman figure without all the amazing “TV set” packaging surrounding it. This is one of those occasions when the box is cooler than the toy! (Photo: Mattel, batblog)

One of the best "general" publication ads EVER for GIjOE. This one appeared in TIME magazine in 199

You couldn’t get much more blatantly nostalgic than this magazine ad for Hasbro’s 1990s line of Classic Collection GIjOEs. (Ad: Hasbro)

Another example of the rare full-color ads used to promote GIjOE in the late '90s. At that time, Hasbro's "Classic Collection" line was a brisk seller in stores. (Courtesy: Mark Otnes Collection)

While not a typical “retro-adverstisment,” here’s another example of the nostalgic magazine ads used to promote GIjOE in the late 1990s. (Ad: Hasbro)

At first (and even second) glance, this "Andy and George" ad is a dead-ringer for the ones produced by Hasbro in the 1960s to promote GIjOE in comic books. However, this superb example of retro-advertising was created by Dreams & Visions to promote their own line of "Sgt. Rock" GIjOE clones. Simply outstanding! (Art: Dreams & Visions)

At first (and even second) glance, this superb “Andy and George” ad is a dead-ringer for the ones originally produced by Hasbro in the 1960s to promote GIjOE in comic books. However, this modern example of retro-advertising was actually produced in 2004 by Dreams & Visions Toys to promote their own line of “Sgt. Rock” GIjOE clones. Simply outstanding! (Art: Dreams & Visions Toys)

Bottom Line: Today’s well-crafted, nostalgic toy ads and packaging make adult toy collectors feel good again whenever they see them. And of course, that’s what their creators were hoping for. CAE’s current retro-advertising for Captain Action is a prime example of this strategy, and it shows that they hope to hit the bulls-eye (market segment-wise) and prove that the most effective way to reach adult collectors is by aiming squarely for their nostalgic “FUN bone!” Ow! What was that?

NYCC Exclusive “Captain Action” Coloring Book Intended for Kids———But Appeals More to Adults!

Copies of this superb retro-modern Captain Action "sketch and coloring book" will be sold to fans attending the New York City Comic Con in October, 2013. Outstanding! (Photo: Joe Ahern, Round 2)

Copies of this all-new, retro-modern Captain Action “sketch and coloring book” will be sold to fans attending the New York City Comic Con, October 10-13, 2013. Outstanding! (Photo: Joe Ahern, Round 2)

Joe Ahern of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Joe Ahern)

Joe Ahern of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises. (Photo: Joe Ahern)

New CA Collectible to Debut 10-10-13

In yet another creative (and intelligent) demonstration of how Round 2 strives to please its existing customer base while simultaneously creating a new generation of “Actioneers,” Captain Action (CA) Enterprises head honcho, Joltin’ Joe Ahern has just released a press release announcing the production of an eye-popping CA “sketch and coloring book” to be offered as an exclusive to fans and attendees of the upcoming 2013 New York Comic Con. Ahern excitedly declared:

“Hey Actioneers! Captain Action Enterprises announces another New York Comic Con exclusive: The Captain Action Convention Sketchbook and Coloring Book. Building upon the fan enthusiasm for convention sketchbooks, this 44-page book will feature Action Artwork by an impressive collection of comic artists, including: John Byrne, Joe Jusko, Ron Frenz, Ruben Procopio, Steven E. Gordon and Art Thibert.”

This "retro-modern" ad for Weston crayons perfectly captures the mood of "surprise" and delight that Round 2 strives to achieve with its own reinterpretation of Captain Action's vintage charm and fun. (Photo: Round 2)

This “retro-modern” ad for Weston Crayons perfectly captures the mood of “surprise and delight” that Round 2 strives to achieve with its current assortment of Captain Action products. And yes, little girl, we’d like a copy of that Jonny Quest coloring book too! (Photo: Round 2)

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

Ed Catto of Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises posing with—and wearing—some recent additions to the growing CA product line. (Photo: Ed Catto)

R2 Decides to “Take It Up a Notch”

In contrast to their colorful, fantastically painted outer covers, the black-n-white line-art filling the interior pages of coloring books is often simplistic and well…DULL. Round 2’s decision to upgrade their new CA book by utilizing only well-known and TALENTED comic book artists, ensures that its convention souvenir will become an instant collectible. Ahern’s fellow genius-in-business, Excellent Ed Catto, chimed in with his own intel, saying:

“With a nod to the retro past that Captain Action so often embraces, this limited-edition is designed to evoke the look and feel of a classic 1960s coloring book. From the painted cover to the black-and-white interior images to the corny captions, it’s all designed to make the reader feel as if he or she’s stumbled across a lost coloring book in a forgotten corner of some out-of-the-way antique store. This NYCC Limited Edition Convention Exclusive will be sold at the Captain Action booth at the New York Comic Con, and retail for $9.99.”

nycc2013-logo-thumbBottom Line: This new book is a no-brainer for Captain Action fans. We recommend you keep your eyes peeled and pick one up whenever and wherever you can. If you’re in the area, the 2013 New York Comic Con will be held at the Javits Center in New York City on October 10-13th. So…”git yer crayons out” and… Let Justice Be Done! (Psst! Hey, Hasbro! Here’s ANOTHER great idea for GIjOE’s 50th… Hello?)

Discussion with Round2 Exec, Ed Catto, Reveals Current Development Status and Future Plans for Captain Action’s New Heroine———“Lady Action”

Professional models hired to promote Captain Action products are attired  in full-length blue and black body suits, set off with a leather skirt, belt and knee-high boots. Note the cap features a smaller CA logo. Will the action figure's chest emblem read CA or LA? Hmm... (Photo: Round2)

Professional “Lady Action” models hired by Round 2 to promote Captain Action products have been attired in full-length blue-n-black body suits, set off with a leather skirt, belt and knee-high boots. Note that her cap features a smaller CA logo. Does this mean the new LA action figure’s chest emblem will also read CA for better “team unity,” or will R2 alter the emblem to read LA? Interesting… (Photo: R2)

Secrets of a Superheroine

She’s new. She’s mysterious. She’s… British? Blimey! Clearly, there’s a lot we still don’t know about Round 2’s much ballyhooed, upcoming release of an all-new “Lady Action” (LA) action figure. Will she be as tall as Captain Action or shorter? Thin or muscular? Normally proportioned, or…”well-endowed?”

Popular consensus seems to indicate that she’ll be “raven-haired,” but will she sport Barbie-style “plugs” or some sort of a wig? How about a painted hair GIJane-type headsculpt? Or, perhaps she’ll be shipped BALD so that her character masks can contain her hair?

Hopefully, her hair will be “real” and not look fake or rubbery like Thor. (That’d get old real fast.) Collectors universally agree that believable hair is VITAL to the success of a 1:6 female figure. “Flyaway” or chunky, hard-plastic hair is often visually unconvincing and can make the difference between a sale or no sale at checkout.

Indeed, the ability to change LA’s hairstyle and her hair COLOR will be of paramount importance if the new figure is to successfully achieve its assortment of superheroine transformations. And to keep its look, the hair would have to be semi-rigid, much like the kind found on high-end, heavily-hairsprayed Barbies.

In fact, the hair may end up being one of the most expensive and challenging aspects of creating a successful Lady Action figure. It will be interesting to see how Round 2 addresses this problem. Yes, LA can use her long dark hair to portray Wonder Woman or Spider Woman, but never Batgirl (a redhead) or Supergirl (a blonde). SO… The hair. The body. The face. At this stage, fans have MANY unanswered questions about Lady Action. Oh, what to do?

Lady Action's "raven hair" would work easily to create this version of Spiderwoman, but other characters would require Round 2 to create interchangeable wigs or find some other solution. (Art: Marvel Comics)

Lady Action’s “raven hair” would work easily to create this version of Spiderwoman, but other characters may require Round 2 to create interchangeable wigs. (Art: Marvel Comics)

Always Go to the Top

To get some answers, we decided to turn over the helm of The Joe Report (TJR) today to one of our veteran TJR “Field Reporters,” renowned 1:6 scale fan and collector, Chung Kim. Kim’s no-nonsense, straight-forward commentaries on 1:6 scale-related topics have provided years of entertaining and informative reading on a variety of forums and websites.

Fortunately for Captain Action fans, Chung had written in to us recently with news of an exclusive phone interview he had conducted with Round 2 exec, Ed Catto. During their conversation, the two discussed future plans for the Captain Action line, but thankfully for the purposes of this article, they concentrated the bulk of their discussion on current and future plans for the upcoming introduction of the “mysterious” Lady Action!

Is THIS the new look of Round 2's upcoming "Lady Action" figure? Maybe. Though many fans have commented she looks a little too "SS" with her dark cap, ammo belt and jackboots, the look appeals to many who label it "erotic" and "sexy." Currently, there are any different versions floating about the blogosphere, in various forms of fan art, convention model cosplayers, comic books, and even Round 2's own concept art. How she ends up looking remains to be seen, but the beauty of Captain Action has always been, if you don't like it, you can change him (and now HER) into any number of different heroes and villians. (Art: Moonstone)

Is THIS the new look of Round 2’s upcoming “Lady Action” figure? Maybe. Though many fans have commented she looks a little too “SS” with her dark cap, ammo belt and jackboots, the look appeals to some who label it “erotic” or “S&M sexy.” Currently, there are many different versions floating about the blogosphere, in various forms of fan art, convention model cosplayers, comic books, and even Round 2’s own concept art. How she ends up looking remains to be seen, but the beauty of Captain Action has always been, if you don’t like it, you can change him (and now HER) into any number of different superheroes and super villains. Let Justice Be Done! (Art: Moonstone)

Intrepid TJR Field Reporter, Chung Kim, decided the best way to get answers to fan's questions was to go "right to the top," which led to his calling Ed Catto on the phone to discuss the future of Captain (and Lady) Action. (Photo: Chung Kim)

Intrepid TJR Field Reporter, Chung Kim, decided the best way to get answers to fan’s questions was to go “right to the top,” which led to his calling Ed Catto to discuss the future of Captain (and Lady) Action. (Photo: Chung Kim)

“Actioneers” Want to Know

Chung admits he’s had to edit the content of their conversation somewhat as per Catto’s request, and that you may have to “read between the lines a bit” to fill in juicier parts he had to leave out. Regardless of Ed’s restrictions, Kim’s remaining intel is very enticing and informative. With that said, we turn it over to Chung Kim:

“Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Ed Catto, ‘Retropreneur’ of Captain Action Enterprises, LLC, by telephone. Our call originated due to an inquiry I had made over on the Captain Action Facebook page (found HERE) about the pending/upcoming Lady Action figure. I asked if the company was looking for input specifically from collectors of 1:6 scale female action figures. I received a reply indicating they are and Mr. Catto was kind enough to speak with me.”

Early concept drawings of Lady Action for a possible animated cartoon series sent mixed signals to collectors. Now she appeared to be a teenager wearing gloves and sporting brown hair. Was this look going to transfer to the action figures as well? (Art: Round 2)

Early concept drawings of Lady Action for a possible animated cartoon series sent out mixed signals to collectors and fans. Now she appeared to be a teenager wearing gloves and sporting brown(?) hair. Is this new look going to transfer to the upcoming action figures as well? (Art: Round 2)

“I’ve been a collector of 1:6 scale figures since 1998, but my primary collecting niche has always been focused on 1:6 scale female figures starting with GIJane to the CY GIRLS and the current bevy of female figures now available from different manufacturers. Mr. Catto was very interested in obtaining input from collectors so the company can ensure that Lady Action will be a successful and welcome addition.”

Customizers have created their own versions of Lady Action. This one features a black beret instead of a cap, blue satin costume with matching collar and a silver belt, on a Cy Girl figure with auburn hair. Notice her custom "LA" chest emblem and beret flash. (Photo: Neal Patterson)

Customizers have already created their own versions of Lady Action. This one features a black beret (nice!) instead of the blue sailor’s cap, an all-blue leotard with matching collar and a silver belt, all on a shapely Cy Girl figure with auburn hair. Notice her custom “LA” chest emblem and beret flash too! (Photo: Neal Patterson)

“According to Mr. Catto, Lady Action is ‘still in development.’ He said they’re aware of the variety of different 1:6 female bodies that have been made by different companies over the years. And that due to the general emphasis on retail (i.e. toy) segment, we shouldn’t expect an overly feminine body per se. Overall, the proposed body will be more athletic with a ‘average or common build.’

Currently, they’re evaluating all body designs and they hope to decide upon one ‘sometime before year’s end.’ In the meantime, Mr. Catto did ask for fan and collector input to aid them in getting a better feel for this particular niche market segment of collectors within the 1:6 scale hobby.

Mr. Catto also asked if other collectors like myself were familiar with a variety of DC & Marvel Comics female characters along with female video game characters. As an example, he mentioned Lara Croft Tomb Raider and Harley Quinn.

Additional insight was shared that Lady Action will be going the same route as Captain Action in terms of a base figure and costume/outfit sets. Catto said they’re still trying to determine out how to properly create/design that aspect of a female character. From what we discussed, it’s not necessarily an issue with the costume, but the problem of making a female mask like the CA offerings, due to the differences in aesthetics and design when it comes to working with a female head sculpt. They’re also debating the possibility of rooted hair and sculpted hair for female characters.”

Captain Action "cosplayers" seem to prefer traditional depictions of the two characters. In this case, Lady Action sports a skirt with hose, rather than the blue leggings. (Photo: samaritanx)

Austin Powers would probably approve of these two Captain Action “cosplayers” who clearly prefer more “retro” or traditional depictions of the two characters. Here, Lady Action sports a ’60s mini-skirt with pantyhose and go-go boots, rather than the more modern version with blue leggings, ammo pouches and submachine-gun. Oh, BeHAVE! (Photo: samaritanx)

“As for a designer/sculptor for Lady Action, they’re not doing it in-house but have a short list of known & respected sculptors in the hobby whose works ranges from action figures to sculptures/statues. Mr. Catto mentioned one name specifically and asked me for my take regarding the sculptor. I actually own quite a few pieces of work from the named sculptor/his studio during my years of collecting statues based on comic book characters. I was really surprised by the name. They’re still working on details so I have to keep this one quiet for now. However, I’m sure some may be resourceful enough to possibly figure out who it is.

Mr. Catto also talked a bit about distribution and the recent pass by Toys ‘R Us (TRU) for the third wave of Captain Action offerings. He stated he and TRU have a great relationship, so he is not dismayed about their recent pass (so it’s not necessarily doom & gloom). But he does understand how and why some within the collector community may be concerned. His choice of words during our conversation clearly conveyed the desire and enthusiasm that Captain Action offerings appeal to kids (hence the TRU arrangement), but that they also cater to new and ‘old’ collectors like ourselves. And though their current focus is on licensed properties, they are also considering in-house concepts.”

Yes, this is a 12" action figure. Female figures have come along way since the first GIjane Nurse. The astonishing likeness of Scarlett Johansen as the Black Widow from The Avengers has set the bar about as high as it can go. Round 2 doesn't have to achieve this quality with Lady Action, but it gives them a good goal to aim for. Collectors are becoming more and more discerning—even kids! (Photo: Hot Toys)

Yes, this is a 12″ action figure. 1:6 scale female figures have come along way since the first GIJane Nurse in 1967. This astonishing likeness of Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow from The Avengers has set the bar about as high as it can go. Of course, Round 2 doesn’t have to reach this level with Lady Action, but it certainly gives them a goal to shoot for. After all, collectors are becoming more and more discerning—even little kids! (Photo: Hot Toys)

“One key point Catto hit upon was that he wants to provide offerings at an affordable price with great quality and improve when & wherever possible. Their current licensing agreement is written so that Round 2 can create ‘outfit’ sets of licensed characters, but not full boxed sets of a figure (as a licensed character). He was very specific on these points, which sheds light on how the company will approach future offerings.

Thus far, Lady Action is currently in development along with refinements to the current Captain Action base figure. Mr. Catto also stated that once Lady Action is formally launched, then the next possible evolution could be their version of a young ‘side-kick’ character (i.e. Kid Action), but it’s still too early to speculate. They are considering ‘exclusives,’ but nothing definite thus far.”

Round 2 draws inspiration for future CA and LA sets from Marvel and DC comic book characters. Marvel's "Scarlett Witch" looks like an obvious (and alluring) choice. Will she "make the cut" and be on toy store shelves soon? Stay tuned, Marvel fans! (Art: wikia)

Round 2 draws inspiration for future CA and LA sets from Marvel and DC comic book characters. Marvel’s “Scarlett Witch” looks like an obvious and alluring choice to “cast a spell” on collectors. (Art: wikia)

“The possibility of Jonny Quest also came up because I specifically asked him about it. Mr. Catto stated that it was a license he would love to acquire in addition to other classic cartoon characters that are viable in the Captain Action format. Time will tell. Space Ghost was also mentioned and is considered to be ‘a great candidate.’

Finally, as our conversation ended, I thanked Mr. Catto profusely for spending his time speaking with a collector and ‘fanboy’ such as myself. He stated (strongly) that other collectors with suggestions should submit them through the company’s website or on the Captain Action and Lady Action Facebook pages.”

Bottom Line: It’s exciting to be in on the early planning stages of Lady Action’s development. But it must also be somewhat nerve-wracking for Round 2 as they attempt to leap LA’s myriad production hurdles. We wish them the best of luck with this and all future CA projects and concur with Ed Catto’s suggestion that if you have ANY comments or ideas for Lady Action or Captain Action products, please leave a message over on the CA website found HERE, the Captain Action Facebook page HERE, or the Lady Action Facebook page HERE. It’s a good bet either Ed or Joe will see it, read it and respond to you promptly. Our sincerest thanks too, to TJR Field Reporter, Chung Kim, for his in-depth and informative report. If you enjoyed his hard work, please leave a comment here to tell him so. Thanks, and…”Let Justice Be Done!”