Tag Archives: Captain Action

UPDATE— Captain Action Newsgroup Members All Agog Over New CAE “Prototype Product Reveals” Spotted Recently at San Diego’s Comic-Con 2018

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Keeping the DREAM Alive— A “Rocketeer” costume set for Captain Action has long been one of CA fan’s “holy grails.” With the reveal of this latest prototype, is such a sought-after product FINALLY about to become a reality? This one looks to hold MUCHO potential. Cross your fingers! (Photo: CAE)

The internet’s all “abuzz” this week with talk about possible new costume sets for 12″ Captain Action (CA) figures. Over on Yahoo’s Captain Action News Group (yes, such places still exist) and on Facebook’s Captain Action Enterprises (CAE) fan page, “Actioneers” are eagerly swapping first-person and hearsay descriptions of products that many clearly want to purchase, but (sadly) don’t actually exist—yet. But fan memories are long, and CA collectors recall having their hopes raised (and dashed) many times before (remember those never-produced Batman, Superman, and Rocketeer costumes?). Many are reluctant to be “burned” in such a way again, preferring to give such online gossip of “prototypes seen at Comic-Con” an understandably WIDE berth of cautionary skepticism. Nevertheless, as dyed-in-the-blue-spandex CA fans ourselves, we’d be remiss here at The Joe Report if we didn’t pass on any and all juicy CA intel when it became known to us—and so—with a quick dash of “just don’t get your hopes up,” here is what we heard on the boards today—

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“I went to the Captain Action panel today at the con. Along with the spacesuit set and the Mars Attacks Dr. Evil costume, they also announced the Rocketeer, based on the comic version of the character, not the movie. Future costume sets in the pipeline include Madman, the Black Terror, and the Golden Age Daredevil. The hope is for the first release to be ready in time for Christmas.

There is a new headsculpt, but it’s essentially a ‘1st shot’ prototype version, not a final product version, so it is almost certainly going to change before any sort of future release. Also, distribution of the new sets will be online-based. Some retailers have expressed interest in carrying the sets, and they’ll certainly work with them to get them stock, but they’re not focusing their attention on brick-and-mortar store distribution.

No price point at the moment, since all the manufacturing arrangements are not finalized yet. Being a costume set and not a dressed figure, it should be way below the cost of your average Hot Toys figure. Figures are a possibility in the future, but not immediately. Flicker rings are also a possibility (It’s new for you!), but no guarantees.” —​​​​​​​James (last name not given)

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AKK! My, how he’s GROWN— The “Mars Attacks” martian prototype. (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge.

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Mining the “Public Domain”— Let’s face it, licensing fees are what killed the Batman and Superman CA costume sets. Such “top-dollar” properties are protected like the gold in Fort Knox. Fees to reproduce their logos and likeness cost a VERY pretty penny. As a result, budget-conscious toy companies (such as CAE) hoping to “mine” pop-culture for new and affordable product ideas have to go WAY back in time to find characters that nobody knows, remembers, or cares about. Ideally, such “forgotten” characters are also now in the “public domain,” copyrights-wise (i.e. FREE). Ever hear of “Madman?” Didn’t think so. How about “The Black Terror?” Nope. We all know who Daredevil is, but that boomerang-wielding guy (above) ain’t Marvel’s Matt Murdock. And as for the identity of CAE’s “Mystery Hero,” well, if that’s not the silhouette of Will Eisner’s “Spirit,” then we’ll eat a comic book price guide! (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge.

CAE’s head honcho, Joe Ahern, added these informative comments—

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

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“The figure at the show is just a stand-in. The prototype came to us very late, so there was no time to rework it on a Captain Action figure.  The head though, is a new headsculpt we are toying with, but haven’t made any decisions about.

We’re not doing any new figures at this time, but if we get good results on these costume set offerings, we’ll certainly look into that more closely. Just to clarify, the Rocketeer is absolutely the Dave Stevens comic book version.” Joe Ahearn, CAE

Bottom Line: We’ll believe it when we can buy it. Until then, this is all speculative talk—albeit just the kind of talk we typically only dare DREAM about. Please let us know when we can REALLY get excited, fellas. Until then, we’ll just keep holding our breath along with the rest of the Captain Action collecting universe.  Let Justice be Done!

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First Pics!— Prototype “Attack on Mars!” Captain Action Costume Set and New Prototype Headsculpt Thrill Attendees at 2018’s San Diego Comic-Con

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Holy, Spaceman!— Now THIS is what ‘ol Cap should’ve looked like from the beginning—a high-flying, adventurer-type HERO. This is, without a doubt, the most exciting CA product “reveal” we’ve seen in a lonnnnng time. As Bill & Ted would say—“EXCELLENT!” (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Take a look at the 3 exciting images posted by Captain Action Enterprises (CAE) over on their Facebook fan page. The first one (shown above) shows a completed prototype for their proposed “Attack on Mars” (AOM) spacesuit costume set and—if you look closely—an all-new HEADSCULPT for the figure itself! Fans who’ve grown tired of CAE’s previous “meh” headsculpt, will undoubtedly be thrilled by what they see in this pic. The second photo (below) shows proposed artwork for the costume set’s window-box packaging as created by illustrator, Joe Jusko (GREAT—as always).

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Ray Gun at the Ready— Joe Jusko’s “Attack on Mars” illustration for the new CA costume set packaging. Out-STANDING! (Photo: CAE) Click to enlarge.

The third and final pic (see below) is actually an advertising banner which touts the new AOM set and its contents stating, “pre-order info coming soon!” VERY exciting news all around. Forget all of those previous “little” CAE incarnations—it appears CAE and our favorite “multiple-personality superhero,” Captain Action, are finally getting ready for (another) BIG-TIME 1:6 scale comeback!

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In your FACE!— Bold, attention-grabbing advertising banner created for the upcoming “Attack on Mars” CA costume set. Oh, YES, please! (Graphic: CAE) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We couldn’t be more thrilled by this news. But are we the only ones thinking how great this new spacesuit would look on OTHER 1:6 scale action figures as well? Say, oh, I don’t know, maybe something called, “GIjOE?” All you’d have to do is change the CA chest emblem to an AT one. Can you imagine an entire space-exploring Adventure Team clad in these silver spacesuits? Offer them in different colors, gold, bronze, etc., and we’d have to COLLECT ‘EM ALL! What a concept. It’d be like Major Matt Mason all over again, but this time in 1:6 scale. WOWZA!

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13th Dimension’s Dan Greenfield Reports CA Enterprises to Display Prototype of All-New Captain Action Uniform Set at SDCC in July

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(Captain Action Enterprises)

Bottom Line: The popular “13th Dimension” website announced today that Captain Action Enterprises is considering producing an all-new “Attack on Mars” uniform set for the 12-inch Captain Action figure. Here’s a direct link to that exciting article. Enjoy!

https://13thdimension.com/exclusive-captain-action-returns-with-space-outfits-and-more/

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Stayin’ Alive With POWER— Customizer Gary Stair Creates Unique “Iron Kid” Action Figure Featuring Chest-Mounted Arc Reactor and “Light-Up Action”

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Meet “IRON KID”— Gary Stair’s exciting new 1:6 custom figure features a custom silver suit and an “Arc Reactor” installed in its chest that REALLY lights up. Out-STANDING work, Gary! (Photo: Gary Stair)

Here’s another quick-n-cool custom figure idea from the VERY fertile mind of renowned 1:6 scale customizer, Gary Stair. Gary describes his latest—unique—creation thusly:

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Toy collector and customizer, Gary Stair, PA. (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Hey Mark, I had another idea—You remember those little ‘mini LED’ lamps? The ones we found at The Dollar Store? Well, I just found another use for them, one that that I think the other readers of The Joe Report might enjoy knowing about. We all need little lights that are easy to work with (for trucks, boats, planes, cars, etc.); and can be easily replaced too, right? Well… Voi-LAAA! Now we now have it. And creating this custom figure was really easy. First, I took the lamp apart. Then, I took an old ‘Steve Scout’ body and drilled a couple of holes into him, making the front one SMALLER so that the LED lamp would fit fairly tight when I inserted it into his chest. Then, I had a custom silver suit made up for him (looks pretty snazzy, doesn’t it?) and dressed him in it as shown. All done! He’s now part of my ever-growing Captain Action team. I’ve dubbed him “IRON-KID” (lol). I would LOVE to see what other customizers do with these little $1 LED lights. They’re good for so much more more than just placing on a desk and using as a lamp. We’re only limited by our imagination. Go, Joe! Go, Captain Action! And now, Go, IRON KID!” —Gary Stair, PA

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Drill, intall, and you’re done!— Say, is Iron Kid finally hitting puberty? Is that a chest hair we see poking out from behind his arc reactor? Maybe Lady Action’s new Phicen body is having some unexpected “side effects” on our young man? Hmm… ya’ better go take another (cold) shower, kid! (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Power up!— Gary Stair’s 1:6 scale “arc reactor” is in reality, a common canvas fastener. AMAZING! Click to enlarge.

That cool-looking “Arc Reactor” Gary created looked somehow familiar, but we just couldn’t place where we’d seen it before. Fortunately, Gary had an answer for that, too, revealing:

“It’s a canvas fastner – the top portion. It’s the female piece of a 2-part fastner set. I had some sitting around because I had previously repaired an outdoor canopy. You should be able to google ‘marine canvas fasteners’ (see HERE) and find them easily. Good luck!”

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He’s ALIVE!— Iron Kid’s implanted arc reactor lamp has seen to that. (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Sharp Dressed Young Man— The custom silver suit for Gary Stair’s “Iron Kid” action figure fits like a glove. EXCELLENT! (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Testing, 1,2,3— It works! Just glue the disc over the lit area and you’re done. (Photo: Gary Stair)

Bottom Line: A big THANK YOU to Gary Stair for yet another wonderful contribution to The Joe Report. Gary’s articles are always entertaining and informative. Go, Gary! Go, IRON KID!

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Customizers of 1:6 Scale Vehicles Now Utilizing “Shapeways” 3-D Printing Services to Recreate Lost, Broken or Missing Original Vintage Parts

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Missing Parts be Damned— As the newly 3-D printed missile launchers of Gary Stair’s vintage 1960s “Silver Streak” vehicle clearly prove, the ability to recreate broken or missing parts of vintage toys has DEFINITELY arrived. Out-STANDING work, Shapeways! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

We’ve covered this topic before, and we’ll cover it again—because 3-D printing ROCKS! Wassamatta, Joe? Can’t you find that rare, missing, or broken piece of your classic GIjOE or other vintage toy? Well, fear NOT, my friend. Nowadays, thanks to the modern-day miracles of 3DP, you can simply MAKE ONE YOURSELF (see our previous article HERE). In further confirmation of the evolution of this exciting field of “amateur” toy creation, diehard customizer and revered TJR Field Reporter, Gary Stair, wrote in recently to describe a new 3DP project he had just completed for his beloved Captain Action “Silver Streak” vehicle. According to Mr. Stair:

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Toy collector and customizer, Gary Stair, PA. (Photo: Gary Stair)

 

“I bought the Captain Action Silver Streak vehicle many, many moons ago and have been searching for rockets and replacement launchers for it for some time. After reading about Wayne Faucher’s Bell jet pack / Shapeways article on the Joe Report HERE, it dawned on me one day—DUUHH—that I have the resources required to make all-new parts—with 3D printing!”

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We can rebuild them— Will 3D printing become a panacea for collectors of vintage toys, allowing them to replace or recreate ANYTHING they need? We think YES! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“I began by interviewing several designers and finally found one over in Australia who was up for the challenge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a vintage Silver Streak rocket anywhere—and believe me I hunted. I wanted the designer to have an exact replica to work from. But in lieu of that, I emailed him a TON of photographs, and he was able to use them to figure out the (close to) exact measurements required to recreate a “non-firing” version.”

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99% Accurate, NON-FIRING— Gary’s new Silver Streak replacement parts do NOT come with a spring-loaded system that “fires” missiles off their launchers. but the shape, size and accuracy of these parts is—nonetheless—unbelievable. WOW! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Unlike the original versions, my new rockets do NOT fire. On the original vehicle, a spring came inserted in the rocket that would then lock onto the launcher. I wasn’t sure I wanted that level of liability yet—let me sell a few first—(LOL) so I went with a non-firing version. Regardless, overall, it is a near-perfect design and DOES fit PERFECTLY onto any original 1960s IDEAL Silver Streak Captain Action vehicle (as you can see in the photos).”

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Things of BEAUTY— Gary’s new 3D printed parts simply snap into place, perfectly replacing the original missing launchers and rockets. WHOOSH!!! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“As for the Silver Streak’s LAUNCHERS, I did manage to locate some (broken) vintage ones, and sent those off to my designer in Australia, communicating via email every step of the way. And while this was an expensive project, the new 3-D printed parts from Shapeways came out GREAT. After I sell a couple on eBay HEREI may jump back in and work on a ‘firing version’ (with spring inserted), allowing the ‘2nd generation’ repro rockets to ‘hook’ onto their launchers.”

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Armed and Ready to do Battle with Dr. Evil— Superb! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Customizers can paint them silver (like the ZICA version) or blue (like the Ideal original) or ANY color to replace their missing launchers and rockets. It is amazing all of the things you can do with the 3D printing process. I’m not sure what I will create next (maybe the gear shifter?), but for now, it’s just great to know that we have the tools required to make replacement parts or create NEW parts for our 1:6 scale GI JOE, Action Man, Captain Action and other figures. What a great resource!”

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Big, Bad, and BEAUTIFUL— Say, who stuck those .50 cals on the front? (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Thanks again (and hats off) to the pioneers of 1:6 scale 3DP, Wayne Faucher, Sean Huxter and David Pruitt (see HERE) for showing all the rest of us “the way.” And a great big thank you to you too, Mark Otnes, for helping us all keep our 1:6 scale dreams alive. Go, Joe Report and Go, Patches of Pride!” —Gary Stair, PA

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Zoiks! It’s ZICA— The mini Silver Streak from ZICA Toys for 3.75″ figures. (Photo: ZICA)

Bottom Line: 3-D Printing is proving to be quite the boon for creative-thinking customizers and 1:6 scalers. A few years ago, “Super” Sean Huxter made some short videos demonstrating a couple of his new 3DP product ideas in prototype form (see below), proving that the potential for new GIjOE-related accessories appears to be practically limitless. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Gary Stair for all his generous help with this article and to the other “pioneers” of this new 1:6 scale field of expertise and endeavor. You guys are all the BEST!

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

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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:
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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
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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!

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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)

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“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:

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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)

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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)

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“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:

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“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:

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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:

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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:

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“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:

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“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:

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“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!

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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!

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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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