No one is as busy in the Toy industry as the legendary Four Horsemen but we were fortunate enough to speak with Eric “CornBoy” Mayse and Eric Treadway of Four Horsemen Design Studio. They were nice enough to answer some ‘Quick Questions’ with Toy-Lines.com concerning their new Power Lords line as well as their recent successful Kickstarter campaign.
Toy-Lines: Is there a release date for the Power Lords?
4 Horsemen ( Eric “Corn Boy” Mayse): There’s an unofficial release date. We’re just launching a couple of the Power Soldiers here at Power-Con and we’re going to have them on storehorsemen.com in real limited quantities, but we don’t have an individual solid release for the fully-painted, I guess what we would refer to as the Infinity Edition. That’s what we called them with the Outer Space Men. But we’re going to try to have them ready in February or March, the fully painted versions.
TL: Is there any chance for a six inch line of Power Lords?
4H CB : As of right now, they’re only three and three-quarter. We got a really good response here at Power-Con. We’ll see what the response is on storehorsemen.com, but if the response continues to be as positive as it is now, then we may look into going back and adding in more articulation and releasing a six-inch version. As of right now, though, there’s only a three and three-quarter line coming out.
4H (Eric Treadway): We want to make sure that we fully dedicate ourselves to this first and make sure that if we start at this scale, that we’ll be able to get through all the characters and hopefully eventually vehicles, play sets, things like that. So if we were to move into a six-inch scale, it would probably be at least two years out from now, and we know that this scale will be working well, and also that will give us time to see if there’s enough of a demand to go into that scale.
TL: So vehicles are a possibility?
4H ET: If the line does well. That’s a tough sell. We would love to. That is one of the advantages of being in the smaller scale is it makes a vehicle or a beast or a play set a lot more feasible than if it were at a six-inch scale, but it’s so early for us into the line, it’s all going to be about whether sales and demand support it.
TL: Gentlemen, congratulations on your Kickstarter.
TL: With the amazing support you received, do you have another Kickstarter in mind?
ET: We are definitely leaning towards doing another one. We’ve been talking a lot since the Kickstarter. Going into this one, we’d never done one before and we learned a lot about the process. Also learned a lot about what type figures people are looking to buy, especially beyond our basic fan base that we’ve had over the years. We picked up a lot of people who hadn’t been to the store before. And so it’s given us a lot of ideas and a lot of inspiration on where to go with it. We still have to get these birds produced properly and make sure we get them delivered and into people’s hands without any problems, but in the meantime I think we’re going to be working on building up to another one.
CB: Hopefully we’ll have an announcement at San Diego Comic-Con 2014.
TL: Has it been a smooth process with the Kickstarter? Are you anticipating any problems?
CB: So far it’s been fairly smooth. It’s a really, really complicated process to kind of set up, and we were told by a guy who was kind of mentoring us on the whole process early on that once you get started, that there’s a certain point where it’s going to kind of become a full-time job. And, looking back, we probably should have trained somebody to do it and hired them to do it, because it took a lot more of our time than we were expecting to do. It was somewhat of a complicated process and I know fans that have gone on and backed us have realized that some of it is a little bit confusing and some of the interaction with the Kickstarter site could be a little bit more intuitive, something that could be a little bit easier to use. But, all in all, we enjoyed the experience. We were really successful, a lot more successful that we expected to be with it. So now that we’ve done it once, the next time it’s going to make things so much easier. And we appreciate the fans helping us out with it, because they came through us far more than we were really expecting, so thanks, ya’ll.
TL: I know you guys are busy, but with Mattel and your own personal stuff with the Outer Space Men, Power Lords, are there other licenses you’re looking to do?
ET: There’s always licenses that we would like to do. We grew up on —
TL: Nothing you’re actively pursuing?
ET: No. Especially being in such early stages on Power Lords, we need to make sure on our licensed figures, make sure that we can put as much as we can into that and also, at the same time, maintain a steady pace on Outer Space Men. So, as far as licenses, I don’t think we’d ever want to be carrying more than two licenses at a time just to make sure that we’re not spreading ourselves too thin. So, no not immediately.
TL: I know with the rising costs of labor and plastics and stuff, do you foresee it changing at all any time soon? Maybe to a different resin?
CB: That we can’t really say, because as far as the factories go, we’re not really privy to all of the intricacies as far as production and the types of plastic that are used. I mean, obviously we want to use the safest plastics possible, but that was our biggest problem. That was one of the reasons we had to use Kickstarter, because the cost of production has gone up so drastically. There was no way we were going to be able to produce a six-inch action figure line on our own without having some sort of help in the beginning, and with Kickstarter we were able to do that. I kind of have wondered if that’s going to become somewhat of a business model for small companies in the years to come, not just Kickstarter but maybe doing their own thing and having fans help back them to create their own action figure lines. Maybe that will change. As far as changing the plastics and paints and things like that, I don’t know that that’s going to be possible without hurting the safety of the product.
TL: Do you see it more being a direct market nowadays instead of just retail?
ET: You know, it’s almost like the toy version of the disappearing middle class. You’ve got the large companies like Mattel and Hasbro and JAKKS that operate on a certain level where they’re producing millions of units, and then you’ve got people like us who are producing hundreds of units in some cases, and a lot of those mid-tier companies are disappearing. You had like the Palisades and [Rhesoruses] and [Sodas] and stuff like that, and those type of companies aren’t around quite as much. And so for people at our level, kind of going back … it’s a way of working closely with the fan base, and there’s just a lot of strategy involved. Because it’s not necessarily what you’re selling, as far as what they’re made of or whatever, it’s just finding different ways to sell it. Like [CB] said, Kickstarter’s a way. With Power Lords, we’re doing the fan club. And it’s a way, if you include incentives that help offset tooling costs and production costs, we’re trying to be creative with how we sell it so we can keep the prices down and give people some actual value for what they’re giving us money for.
Gentlemen thank you for your time.
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