I grew up loving the Aliens and Predator movies, even the terrible AvP movies have a special place in my heart. They were a staple of my childhood and I am still infatuated with them to this day. I’ve been a fan of the comics, books, and toys based on those franchises throughout my life. I have been collecting the toys starting with Kenner, continuing with McFarlane, and now we are MORE than lucky to experience the awesome and innovative tooling NECA is doing with the line today. I am so happy to see the licences in the hands of a company that takes such pride in their work and delivers the best product to the fans. I had the opportunity to speak with Randy Falk from NECA at Toy Fair this year, who was kind enough to answer my questions about their most popular line!
It was nice to geek out and talk about action figures that I had grown up with, especially when Randy started talking about the Kenner “homage” lines. A Kenner Predator wave was featured back in series 10, and Randy has high hopes to do another wave based on these classic action figures. “We do a little bit of design in the Kenner line, since there’s not much detail in them (Kenner), we are making them look like they can fit in the movie line. We just did a vehicle for the first time ever and its an homage to the old Predator Blade Fighter, it’s two feet long, we designed the pilot that comes with it and the helmet that comes with him is unique.” The fact that the Predator line has reached double digits for wave releases in astounding!
I asked Randy what differentiates NECA from other companies that put out multiple versions of characters (i.e. Jet-Ski Batman) when it comes to delivering all of their different Predator figures. “The films most of all have always been the priority, we are covering everything from Predator and Predator 2. My first really big goal was to do all the Predators from the spaceship at the end of Predator 2, because there was like 9 of them that came out and most of them had never been done in figure form,” Randy said, “For us (NECA) there was advantages as well, there’s only a few main bodies. There’s the city hunter from Predator 2, the Jungle hunter from Predator, so really all you have to do is create different heads, dreads, armor, and weapons, to make all of the other ones. So for us its advantageous from a tooling and cost standpoint we can re-purpose parts or the main body and just add or subtract pieces to create all these different Predators.”
I asked him what do we have to look forward to down the road from the series. “Again it’s a balance, we aren’t just going to make Predators up, we are going to give fans AvP and we are going to do stuff from Dark Horse, video games, and some of our own stuff. The key to the longevity of this line is that first there is a TON of Predator fans, and second, we’ve been completely faithful to the source material,” Randy continued, “they are just amazing toys for the price, at Toys R Us, they’re $16-17. Anything even close to that size is $20 or more and yet those figures hardly have less accessories, less articulation, and hardly any paint on them. There’s no less than 130-150 paint operations on a Predator figure. You can buy another figure from another manufacturer and they have less accessories and most are just molded in the color they are and you get a handful of deco-ops on them and they are mass marketed. For your dollar nothing else comes close and I think that’s why its been so successful and we want to stay that way, at $20 or less on the main figure line.”
I asked Randy what the chances of getting a Danny Glover “Harrigan” figure and we had a good laugh. “I don’t think it works, he’s a fine actor but I think it was a bit of a miscast. No matter what, even if he’s your favorite actor, he’s not Arnold. Schwarzenegger, especially in the 80’s, is like a human superhero. Dutch is Dutch, Harrigan is not Dutch, and he’s a plain clothes cop, there’s no appeal to it. I haven’t even asked Fox for the rights, for me it’s not worth the time it takes to sculpt a figure, I’d rather be sculpting a bull Alien.”
After you have great success with a line like Predator, your next logical step is doing one based on the legendary Alien movie franchise. NECA had some great prototypes on display for the upcoming human figures including Dallas, Kane, and Bishop, which all looked amazing, along with the dog Alien from Alien 3. But the biggest Alien news was just being announced that day, Ripley is coming!
“The amazing thing about Alien, very much like the parallels with what we did with Predator, is that we have secured the rights, approval, and the endorsement of Sigourney Weaver to do Ripley. So the same way we had the Predator line elevate with Dutch, I think even more so, you’ll see the Alien line do the same.” Randy gave us some insight into whats to come, “By the end of this year you are going to see a Queen that is the size of this table (~2 1/2 feet) with a Ripley, a (in-scale) Power Loader, and a Bishop that is torn in half. You’ll be able recreate some great dioramas from the Cameron film, and we have something pretty special planned for SDCC, it’s going to be sick.”
I asked Randy what the possibility of seeing the old Kenner Aliens being brought into the series, like the snake, bull, and gorrilla ones from the 90’s. “It’s absolutely going to happen and that we are eager to have that fun and look back at those old toys, pull them out of storage or buy them off of EBAY so we have them in the office to look at and pull from. But with Predator we waited until we were 10 series in. With this year being the 35th anniversary of the original Alien film, some of the stuff we are doing there: Kane, Dallas, Bishop, the dog Alien, these really great film figures, that stuff has to come first. But once we nail all that killer stuff, people ask where will we go next? Logically it’s the Kenner line, video games, comics, so there’s 20 something years of really great material to mine from. “
The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie figures were on display as well, unfortunately we didn’t have time to talk about these, or anything else really so please enjoy the pictures from here on out with the official Toy Fair press releases from NECA.
NECA continues to “Go Big” with new additions to its best-selling action figures from the sci-fi action movie PACIFIC RIM. The first three series of 8″ figures sold out immediately; Series 4 will include kaiju Axehead and Scunner, created directly from the digital files used by ILM in the making of the epic movie. Going even bigger, visitors to the booth got a first look at the 18″ Knifehead action figure, and NECA confirmed that there will be even more large-scale figures to follow. Next in line to battle the toxic kaiju will be an 18″ Cherno Alpha, with more figures to be revealed at a later date.[/box_light]
There was an amazing 1/4 scale Batman figure on display from the Arkham video game series along with prototypes for possible upcoming figures based on the The Dark Knight Joker and Rambo. NECA continues with their HeroClix series with sets based on upcoming comic book movies Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. On the cute side of things NECA has a line of what they are calling Scalers, here is the official press release:
Scalers, the hottest accessories yet to hit the world of electronics, were front and center in the NECA booth thanks to their unprecedented popularity with fans. The new line of collectible mini-figures clip to headphone cords, device cables and anything else they can fit their little hands around, and feature monstrously cute versions of popular licensed characters! Adding to the frenzy surrounding the first wave of mini-figures, in stores now, NECA revealed the next group of characters set to join the Scalers family this spring.
The second wave will include Cornelius (classic PLANET OF THE APES), Knifehead (PACIFIC RIM), and Batman and The Joker (classic DC COMICS), plus two more heavy hitters to be revealed in the coming days. Throughout 2014, iconic characters from over 50 different licenses will join the line. For video and more information, visit www.necaonline.com/scalers[/box_light]
NECA has been releasing products based on various video game franchises for awhile now, my personal favorite line being their Borderlands 2 series, love that game. On display were some great props and figures from Bioshock Infinite, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and Diablo 3 as well!
Not shown at the booth, but officially announced, look forward to upcoming products based on the NEW Godzilla movie license! Here’s the official press release!
The upcoming theatrical release of GODZILLA features the beloved monster in a spectacular adventure to save the world! To meet the demands of the legions of dedicated GODZILLA fans around the world, NECA’s line for the movie will be appropriately gargantuan. The company will offer highly detailed action figures in different sizes: 6″ tall figures (12″ head-to-tail), and 12″ tall figures (a whopping 24″ head-to-tail). NECA also revealed a mighty line of accessories, giftware, apparel, bags, bedding, smartphone cases, jewelry and more, plus GODZILLA collectible mini-figures and a Connect with Pieces puzzle-building game from WizKids.
NECA also thrilled the crowds with the announcement that a series of action figures and additional new products based on the classic GODZILLA movies was in the works, and would begin release later in the summer.[/box_light]
Thank you to Randy Falk who took time out of his busy Toy Fair schedule to talk about the exciting products NECA has to offer! Keep it tooned here to DFAT for announcements and news from one of the greatest action figure producers on the planet!
National Entertainment Collectibles Association Inc. is a media and entertainment company operating in the United States and internationally, with three segments: Consumer Products, Filmed Entertainment and Online Retail/Digital Distribution. NECA is the leading designer, marketer, and worldwide distributor of licensed entertainment consumer goods based on some of the world’s most established and beloved properties, providing products across all consumer categories and distribution channels. Together, NECA’s divisions provide a comprehensive, end-to-end solution to elevate each property, maximizing exposure and reach, while protecting the vision of the creator. As a result of NECA’s singular passion and reverence for the intellectual property backing its products, some of this generation’s most recognized content creators enjoy working with NECA, allowing us to help bring their vision to their audience. For additional information, visit www.necaonline.com.[/box_light]