When it comes to action figures, bigger truly is indeed better. 2016 has seen a steady surge of the coveted Quarter Scale 1/4 action figure with none other than NECA leading the charge. The reason? Well not only are they amazingly well built, they are gorgeous in style, paint apps, likeness & articulation. And truth be told, not every Junkie can plunk down $200-$350 on a HOT TOYS piece every few weeks. NECA has found a way to level the playing field and the future is looking very bright for the New Jersey-based toymakers. AFJ was able to sit down with Head of Product Development Randy Falk to get some answers about the gestation of their 1/4 scale line, what's in store for the rest of 2016 and what we can expect to see in the future. While it has been months since my visit to NECA HQ, I still marvel at what I got to see in person and it further proved why Randy and his group of dedicated craftsman are the Quarter Scale Kings!
1) Quarter Scale figures are gaining in popularity among Junkies w/ NECA leading the charge. How did NECA first get involved w/ making 1/4 scale figures?
RANDY: We were doing them years ago, we sort of picked up the ball where McFarlane left off. They had done some 18” tall horror figures with motion activated sound under the Movie Maniacs banner, they did about 5 releases and abandoned the format due to rising costs. We picked up where they left off in 2003 and ran with it for a while. We had a hell of a run but again costs were soaring overseas and we had to cease them for a while. We brought them back in a big way a few years ago with more articulation but removed the motion activated sound gimmick.
2) What was the first 1/4 scale figure that NECA produced?
RANDY: Pinhead from Hellraiser.
3) Which 1/4 scale figure was really NECA's first commercial hit and you knew you were onto something? Has there been a hands down, best selling 1/4 scale figure for you guys?
RANDY: Pinhead was huge, Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean was probably the biggest and really went to mass rather than just collectors.
4) What do you attribute the growing trend of collecting 1/4 scale figures too? Personally, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck. Did NECA see a gaping hole in the marketplace and a chance to do something different while still being affordable?
RANDY: Yes to all the above, large figures are used more as centerpieces in collections and are great for media rooms and home theaters. We keep them very reasonable still, basically 1/3 of what other companies charge for 12” or 1/6 scale figures.
5) How many new 1/4 scale figures does NECA produce or going to be producing in a calendar year? And what is the gestation time from a sketch on a napkin to on the shelves at TRU?
RANDY: We try to have 10-12 per year and it takes about 9-12 months from concept to on shelf.
RANDY: Not really, TRU is embracing them in some locations, the biggest challenge for the chains is the items are too large for the section or shelf space and they are more expensive so they turnaround is slower.
RANDY: Yes, takes longer to produce, balance and stability in standing is tougher to engineer for example, deco can be better since its a larger surface for the painters to work on.
8) What is NECA set to release for the balance of 2016? Any idea which is going to be the hot 1/4 scale piece for the holidays?
RANDY: TMNT Donnie, City Hunter Predator w LEDs, Batman Returns Penguin and Catwoman, and Deadpool. Deadpool will be the #1 and TMNT second.
9) Any Pre-Toy Fair '17 reveals you can tease the Junkieverse with? Any chance of some 1/4 scale ROCKY pieces?
RANDY: No plans for Q scale Rocky at this time. We are doing a lot more with MARVEL and DC and going beyond the movies as shown this year with Arkham Harley and comic Deadpool so you can expect a brand new expansion into comic based versions of icons of the comic book universe.
10) What is your personal favorite 1/4 scale NECA figure and what is your dream figure for that scale?
RANDY: Pinhead is always a favorite cause it was the first and put us on the map and proved we could do this on our own and be successful. Kyle (sculptor of Pinhead) and I had spent a few years at McFarlane prior to coming to NECA so we had a lot to prove and Pinhead perfectly captured that.
My dream figure in Q Scale? Ask me again at Toy Fair '17 because we are currently working on it 🙂