THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Big Interview on ROH's first figures line - Figures Toy Co. talks talent choices made, how are they able to feature Kevin Steen/Owens?, much more
May 26, 2015 - 4:23:03 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: Figures Toy Co. unveils details and images of first ROH action figures.
Fans and collectors have been hounding Figures Toy Co. on Twitter ever since the company unveiled its plans for a line of Ring of Honor action figures last year. On Tuesday, Figures Toy Co. revealed the line-up for the first series - along with some impressive looking prototype images.
Series 1 will include the first-ever action figures of Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Adam Cole, and Kevin Steen (a/k/a NXT champion Kevin Owens).
Figures Toy Co. Chief Marketing officer Chris DePetrillo discussed these action figures in an exclusive interview with PWTorch.com..
- Moore: What made you decide on these four figures for the first series?
DePetrillo: When we first entered into licensing with ROH, I immediately started brainstorming what figures should go into what set. When we made the decision to go with four figures per series, it narrowed my focus to several areas. I thought of the top stars in ROH. I thought about the talent we could launch with for that big initial buzz. I also looked at it from a collector’s standpoint - what stars were the most coveted by the wrestling figure collectors? To me, the Briscoes were an easy pick for Series 1. They're ROH originals and Jay represents them as World Champion. Then you have two former World champions - superstars in every sense of the word - that know how to get people talking and get people’s attention, and there are few people who do that better than Adam Cole and Kevin Steen.
- Moore: There aren't many wrestlers hotter right now than Kevin Steen/Kevin Owens. How do you think his WWE push will affect sales of his first figure?
DePetrillo: Even before he left ROH, I felt that Kevin's figure would be a hot seller just due to how he carries himself. Fans love him, his t-shirts were always big sellers, and I think a lot of fans relate to him in some ways. He just comes off as a cool guy in real life. It's great to see what's been going on with him in WWE and NXT, and I think this opens up sales to a whole new audience.
You might have that casual fan base, that "WWE only" crowd that go online looking for a Kevin figure, and they come across this one. You'll have the kids begging their parents to get them that figure because they know who he is from Monday nights. Then you'll have the diehard collectors that are happy they don't have to wait much longer to add that figure to their collection. It's a win no matter how you look at it. It gets the ROH brand name exposure, it gets Figures Toy Company exposure and it makes the fans happy.
- Moore: Do you foresee any legal issues with this figure?
DePetrillo: Absolutely not. We never go in blindly making the figures and hoping for the best. I personally talk with ROH regularly, and together we brainstorm about who will be the best fit and who we should or shouldn't do. Development on this began before Kevin left Ring of Honor, and we retain the ability to release it based on that fact.
- Moore: Do you have an approximate time on when these will be released?
DePetrillo: We'll have pre-order information in the weeks to come, but I don't have a concrete in-stock date from the factory just yet. I don't want to set expectations just yet.
- Moore: Any estimates on how many of each figure will be made?
DePetrillo: These won't be limited edition; we'll have a very good stock on hand. I will say this though: once Kevin's figure is gone, it's gone. The initial release is going to be the only chance to get your hands on his ROH figure.
- Moore: You've definitely got a hot group of figures in Series 1; do you expect these to sell out?
DePetrillo: Absolutely. There's been a lot of buzz behind these figures when there was nothing to show. The reveal has really kicked discussion into high gear, and I think people who were on the fence about the line were won over by what we have to show so far.
- Moore: These head sculpts would make the biggest toy companies envious; how long has it taken to come up with these?
DePetrillo: Our sculptor Danny does some amazing work. He works on the ROH figures for us, as well as our other licenses. Take a look at figurestoycompany.com sometime and look at the likenesses on the Batman 1966 figures, or the Three Stooges. He has an attention to detail that is unmatched. I spoke with an ROH talent who will be in Series 2, and he had just seen his head sculpt for approval. He was blown away by how good it looked.
- Moore: What goes into producing sculpts like this?
DePetrillo: It all starts with something as simple as reference photos. We'll get headshots from multiple angles: side profiles, full head shots, even the hair. Look at Mark Briscoe's beard. Danny studies every image we send him to get the best possible representation of the talent. Once he has a mold complete, we'll look it over, we'll make sure ROH and the talent themselves approve, and then it gets submitted for production.
- Moore: Anything else to share on these figures?
DePetrillo: We've talked before about this, but my excitement about this line just grows every day. I made a mention of Series 2, and I can confirm that Series 2 is in the production phase as we speak, and I just finalized the four talents for Series 3. There is going to be a lot more to look forward to from Figures Toy Company and Ring of Honor in the coming months. I'm loving the reaction to the reveal, and I hope to get that same reaction when we roll out Series 2 and so on. We have some amazing figures in development right now. I think wrestling fans and collectors are going to be very pleased with the assortment of stars we have planned for the ROH line.
[ FYI: Figures Toy Co. regularly updates the status of its toy lines through social medial. Follow them on Twitter (@figurestoyco and @wres_superstore), Instagram (figurestoycompany and wrestlingsuperstore), and Facebook (Figures Toy Company and Wrestling Superstore).
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
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