Launching a successful toy line is a bit like putting a man on the moon. It takes a lot of people to make it happen. It takes a lot of late nights; blood, sweat and tears, and once you finally get it going you don't want it to stop. Every company has had their successful and…well, not so successful lines. Every Company has sent something to the factory and gotten something back completely “honked up.” Every line has its figures that were designed and sculpted but never saw the light of day, much less the pegs of a store display. "Behind the Plastic" looks at the triumphs and heartbreaks of launching toy lines and getting them to store shelves. Why did a line end? Why haven't they made your favorite character yet? What does the future hold for your favorite line? What kind of experiments do the toy makers conduct when no one else is looking?
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Marvel Legends Ultron- from Concept to Figure

 

Many posts and pages have been written on the topic of the Marvel Legends Ultron figure. From the first leaked pictures from Toy Fair 2005 to the "dog head" prototype pictures to the final product fans were wondering why this design was picked over a more classic streamlined look. Who was this new version? What was the design based on?

The Design

This new Ultron was designed by Toy Biz favorite Paul Kimoda. Kimoda also designed the cool Cyber-Spiderman figure in the Spiderman Classics line and he sculpted the unmasked "hamburger" head for the Marvel Legends Deadpool figure.

Since the story of Ultron involves him rebuilding or regenerating every time he is destroyed, each time coming back stronger than before, Kimoda was allowed to let loose on the design and come up with a future incarnation of Hank Pym's "son." Let's face it, apart from the scary robot head with that weird signature mouth, classic Ultron is just a silver guy. Kimoda came up with a new design that looked more like something that if it showed up in your front lawn you would want some Avengers to assemble!

Here, for the first time anywhere AFI is proud to bring you the original Kimoda designs for the Marvel Legends Ultron figure:

 

There are some very insect elements to the design and a very bio-mechanical feel as opposed to just a robot. The body is almost a precursor to the new Cylon redesign on Sci-Fi Channels Battlestar Galactica with some very claw-like appendages.

The prototype

When pictures of the "dog head" prototype showed up on the Toy Biz image disk given out to press at Toy Fair, no one was more surprised than Jesse Falcon. The press photo session for this wave of figures happened while Jesse was overseas in China overseeing production. Normally he is at these shoots and helps set everything up. The Ultron prototype had changed to the more classic looking head several weeks earlier and this version was never going to be seen outside of the Toy Biz offices.

The Finished Product

The figure was sculpted by the Four Horsemen. It was one of the first Marvel Legends that they sculpted, and they continue to work on the line. I suspect their run on Marvel Legends may end now that the line has moved to Hasbro since that might be a conflict of interest to their Mattel projects. Time will tell if that is the case.

With the finished product it looks like there was some middle ground taken to smooth out Kimoda's design and still give some of the old robot feel to the figure. The double blades of the elbow extensions become single, the feet lose a lot of the spiky detail and the whole figure doesn't feel quite as armor plated as the sketches.

Ultron is part of Marvel Legends 11 the Legendary Riders series and is available at our sponsors: YouBuyNow.com and Legends Action Figures.

 

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