Well, after a long, long wait, it looks like fans may finally be seeing
their hopes of another comprehensive mass-market DC Comics based toy
line! Yeah, I know we thought that we've been down this road before,
and DC Direct has pumped out an impressive number of figures, although
the quality has been all over the place, but now it all may be heading
toward a return to the heady days of the Super
But there were also strong arguments for a smaller line. Smaller figures would allow a larger range of playsets and vehicles to be made at a much lower price point which makes them much more attractive to toy buyers to stock). Smaller figures can be packed at higher volume into a case and greatly reduces shipping costs (which accounts for a sizable amount of the price of a toy) and take up less valuable peg space, again making them attractive to buyers. In general, kids seem to like smaller figures, also, as they can amass more of them with less storage space. But possible the greatest reason for Mattel wanting to make smaller figures has nothing at all to do with any of these reasons.
What might tip Mattel in the direction of the smaller figures is simply the time crunch in getting these to market. Let's look at the facts: Justice League has being airing on Cartoon Network for nearly a year now. Most products proceed their media tie-ins in stores by months, and then refresh the line throughout the life of the show. Factor in the average of a year's lead time to design, sculpt, tool, manufacture, ship, and distribute a toy line, and Mattel would be looking at having merchandise hit stores a year after getting the license and almost two years after the show debuted. By that time, the Teen Titans show will have been airing, and they would have two shows competing for the initial awareness from buyers.
Which leads us back to those sculpts DC Direct had made in 2001.
And going back to my Super Powers comment, these guys are apparently
in a 4 3/4" scale, which makes them a bit smaller than the existing
Hasbro Batman and Superman
animated lines, but in perfect scale with Super Powers. And thus able
to use the Hall of Justice and Batcopter for their own use (and conversely,
Super Powers fans can add whatever new vehicles and playsets that are
being produced to their existing collections).
Yeah, Martian Manhunter's scale is a bit off (thanks, DCD!) but all in all, these are more on model than most of the Hasbro line. They even appear to be scaled down, articulated versions of the Maquettes sculpted by Karen Palinko. And if we're lucky, Mattel will release the whole team in concurrent waves, using the time to sculpt the villains and guest stars for subsequent assortments. Some fans won't be happy with the limited articulation and scale discrepancies, but for my part, if the rest of the line continues with this same basic look and pattern, I'll be a happy camper. Expect these and other items in the line to be shown at Toy Fair 2003 in New York. Odds are, they were already shown to buyers last week at Pre-Toy fair, which is closed to the press at Mattel.
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