Toy Biz – Action Figure Insider http://www.actionfigureinsider.com The Best Darn Toy News On The Web! Sun, 24 Jun 2018 01:10:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 61893577 Tim Bruckner Posts On-Line Portfolio http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/tim-bruckner-posts-his-on-line-portfolio/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/tim-bruckner-posts-his-on-line-portfolio/#respond Mon, 09 Apr 2018 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=167725 Master sculptor Tim Bruckner has put together an online slideshow/portfolio that shows off over 2 decades of his work.   Tim’s slideshow includes many of his works both professional and personal from a variety of different companies including: Toy Biz, DC Direct/DC Collectibles, Sideshow and more.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Tim’s work.   I know it’s not “cool” to be a traditional sculptor these days with you kids and your Mayas, your Z-Brushes and your hula-hoops…  but the level of craftsmanship, of story, of gesture that Tim puts into every piece… I’ve never seen that replicated anywhere else.

I’d love to see some company take him in and put him to work like DCD used to.  There’s still a lot of creative, innovative product lurking in his mind waiting to get out…

Click on the video above and be amazed!

You can see more of Tim’s amazing work at TimBruckner.com

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HAKE’S AMERICANA ANNOUNCES WAVE 2 OF THE TIM BRUCKNER ARCHIVES AUCTIONS http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/hakes-americana-announces-wave-2-of-the-tim-bruckner-archives-auctions/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/hakes-americana-announces-wave-2-of-the-tim-bruckner-archives-auctions/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:19 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=150910 HAKE’S AMERICANA PRESENTS: THE TIM BRUCKNER ARCHIVES COLLECTION

Tim Bruckner’s earliest memory of sculpting was when he was seven. He sculpted little heads of the Seven Dwarves out of wax candy tubes. From the very beginning, he was a wax sculptor. He started working professionally at the age of eighteen as a jeweler’s apprentice/wax carver. He sculpted several hundred wildlife waxes that became rings, pendants, broaches and belt buckles. It was the single most valuable experience of his professional life. In those two years he learned the foundation of his art that would sustain him for over forty-eight years.

His first free-lance job was for Max Factor, sculpting a menagerie of fanciful animals and decorative objects.  From there he sculpted two alligator suits for the movies Joe Panther and a twenty-eight foot, two man suit for Alligator.

He’s appeared in the Spectrum Fantastic Art books (the premier juried annual of the best in fantasy art) fourteen times and has won two Gold Awards in the Dimensional category. He was awarded two Diamond Comic Distributors. Inc. Statue of the Year awards as well as an award for Product of the Year.  In 2009, he was inducted into the ToyFare Hall of Fame.  He’s been featured in dozens of magazine and online articles including Blue Canvas and Amazing Figure Modeler, as well as Fantasy Art Magazine, China’s most popular pop culture publication. His work has appeared in numerous successful gallery exhibitions and his collectible resin kits have been sold in specialty stores around the world.

A partial client list includes: DC Direct, Mattel, Kenner, Hasbro, Toy Biz, Bowen Designs, Sideshow, Gentle Giant, Electric Tiki, Reel Arts, Enesco, Dakin, The Hamilton Group, Hallmark, Applause, American Greetings, Department 56, Ashton Drake, Franklin Mint, Geometric, Graham Nash, Harry Nilsson and the Danbury Mint. He was under contract to DC Direct for almost a dozen years. One of his most gratifying professional experiences was designing and sculpting the DC Dynamics line based on the art of J. C. Leyendecker.

Now retired from commercial work, he focuses on commission and personal work.

In Auction #220, Hake’s Americana is pleased to continue to present items from “The Tim Bruckner Archives”.   To see the items for auction in this second round here.

For a fascinating in depth video bio of Tim Bruckner Click Here!

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The Bruckner Archives Are Up For Auction at @HakesAmericana http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-bruckner-archives-are-up-for-auction-at-hakesamericana/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-bruckner-archives-are-up-for-auction-at-hakesamericana/#respond Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=146084 The other day Hake’s Americana auction house launched an incredible set of auctions that should make every action figure fan salivate.  Hake’s is know for having a long history of auctioning off some stunning one-of-a-kind items, and the new collection is no exception.  In their most recent auction they have listed the first lots from master-sculptor Tim Bruckner’s archives.

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Tim is in the process of retiring from doing commercial sculpture (but don’t worry you can still enjoy his incredible talents through his writing) and part of that process is clearing out his decades worth of work.   Over his many years of sculpting for a wide range of companies he has accumulated an overwhelming amount of molds, castings, original waxes and prototypes of items both released and never released.

I think a lot of folks will focus on the prototypes and the original wax sculpts that are EXTREEMLY rare and sought after by the “big fish” collectors… but I think the real stars of this first batch of lots are the castings (and original wax heads) from the NEVER released DC Direct Watchmen comic figures.   These figures were only shown in 1999 at Toy Fair and comic con, but because of a falling out with Alan Moore and DC Comics they were never made or released.  Fans, such as myself have been pining for them for years!

See bellow for Hake’s write up on the auction, or click here to be taken to the auction listings.   This is a once in a life time opportunity to pick up some pieces of action figure history from my dear friend Tim.

 

HAKE’S AMERICANA PRESENTS: THE TIM BRUCKNER ARCHIVES COLLECTION
Tim Bruckner’s earliest memory of sculpting was when he was seven. He sculpted little heads of the Seven Dwarves out of wax candy tubes. From the very beginning, he was a wax sculptor. He started working professionally at the age of eighteen as a jeweler’s apprentice/wax carver. He sculpted several hundred wildlife waxes that became rings, pendants, broaches and belt buckles. It was the single most valuable experience of his professional life. In those two years he learned the foundation of his art that would sustain him for over forty-eight years.

His first free-lance job was for Max Factor, sculpting a menagerie of fanciful animals and decorative objects.  From there he sculpted two alligator suits for the movies Joe Panther and a twenty-eight foot, two man suit for Alligator.

He’s appeared in the Spectrum Fantastic Art books (the premier juried annual of the best in fantasy art) fourteen times and has won two Gold Awards in the Dimensional category. He was awarded two Diamond Comic Distributors. Inc. Statue of the Year awards as well as an award for Product of the Year.  In 2009, he was inducted into the ToyFare Hall of Fame.  He’s been featured in dozens of magazine and online articles including Blue Canvas and Amazing Figure Modeler, as well as Fantasy Art Magazine, China’s most popular pop culture publication. His work has appeared in numerous successful gallery exhibitions and his collectible resin kits have been sold in specialty stores around the world.

A partial client list includes: DC Direct, Mattel, Kenner, Hasbro, Toy Biz, Bowen Designs, Sideshow, Gentle Giant, Electric Tiki, Reel Arts, Enesco, Dakin, The Hamilton Group, Hallmark, Applause, American Greetings, Department 56, Ashton Drake, Franklin Mint, Geometric, Graham Nash, Harry Nilsson and the Danbury Mint. He was under contract to DC Direct for almost a dozen years. One of his most gratifying professional experiences was designing and sculpting the DC Dynamics line based on the art of J. C. Leyendecker.

Now retired from commercial work, he focuses on commission and personal work.

In their current auction, Hake’s Americana & Collectibles is presenting the Tim Bruckner Archives Collection of character sculpts. Bruckner has been sculpting since he was 7 years old. Since developing his skills, he has sculpted for DC Direct, Mattel, Kenner, Hasbro, Toy Biz, Bowen Designs, Sideshow, Gentle Giant, Electric Tiki, Reel Arts, Enesco, Dakin, Hallmark, and many other clients.

The inaugural offerings include one of a kind pieces, sculpts and busts of DC characters, X-Men, Watchmen, Star Wars, and other figures.

In lot 2257, collectors will find a Ninja Force Zartan resin 2 up prototype figure, created for Hasbro in 1993. The one of a kind resin cast is a fully realized light gray primered 8” tall prototype that is missing the left lower arm. It comes with artist COA.

DC Dynamics Statues Batman resin cast prototype with statue in box is in lot 2258. It was one of eight statues, 11-1/4” tall beige resin 1 to 1 size statue without extreme cape tips, with resin sprues attached, used in the production of the resin tool parts. It comes with the original 12-1/2” box and artist COA.

Lot 2261 features the DC Dynamics Statues Sinestro wax head master sculpt and resin torso with statue in box. The one of a kind 1-3/4” original Master Wax 1 to 1 head sculpt with neck on brass rod with custom purple cast resin base is signed by the artist. It comes with artist COA.

Wonder Woman #72 cover statue prototype complete package can be found in lot 2268. This one of a kind grouping was involved in creating the award winning statue. Included in the lot are the original master wax head sculpt, the fully realized resin tool parts used in production with components unassembled, and the 10-1/2” original paint master prototype that was hand painted by the artist. It comes with artist COA.

Star Wars Boba Fett full resin casting for Justoys “Bend’Ems” line prototype is in lot 2296. The 1 to 1 brown cast resin 5” full figure with blaster was used to create the molds for the rubber bendy figure. It comes with COA.

Lot 2300 features the Star Wars Princess Leia wax head master sculpt unproduced chess piece prototype. The Lucasfilm Ltd. 3” figure is a one of a kind original unfinished master wax bust with pedestal base. It comes with COA.

Star Wars Chewbacca wax head master sculpt unproduced chess piece prototype is housed in lot 2301. The 1 to 1 figure is a one of a kind original unfinished master wax bust with pedestal on base. It comes with COA.

Lot 2302 is the Norse God of Thunder, Thor, master wax head and unproduced prototype figure. In the lot, collectors will find a one of a kind original master wax 1 to 1 head sculpt with neck on brass rod, 7” resin articulated full figure paint master with unfinished right leg, arm, and unpainted area on back. It comes with COA.

Collectors can look through all of the Tim Bruckner Archives Collection offerings on Hake’s website. Auction #219 is now open for bids and will close on November 15-17, 2016.

In Auction #219, Hake’s Americana is pleased to present the inaugural offerings from “The Tim Bruckner Archives”.

For a fascinating in depth video bio of Tim Bruckner Click Here!

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Tim Bruckner Posts Toy Biz Head Sculpts http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/tim-bruckner-posts-toy-biz-head-sculpts/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/tim-bruckner-posts-toy-biz-head-sculpts/#comments Sun, 08 May 2016 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=137169 Our old friend Tim Bruckner has been doing some Spring cleaning at the Art Farm and has dug up all (we think) of the Master Wax Head Sculpts of the Marvel comic book characters he did for Toy Biz back in the day.   It’s an unbelievably  impressive line up, and this doesn’t include the WCW or TNA wresting figures that he did for Toy Biz.

These were all pre-Marvel Legends figures and you’ll even see some X-Men movie figures sprinkled in there.    It’s so cool to see them all together like this!

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Tim might just be looking to “thin the herd” of some of these soon.   If that comes to pass we will have more information on that here on AFi!

But for now just look at that amazing body of work JUST on Toy Biz Marvel!

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AFinterview – The Life and Work of Tim Bruckner Part 1 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/afinterview-the-life-and-work-of-tim-bruckner-part-1/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/afinterview-the-life-and-work-of-tim-bruckner-part-1/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 09:41:53 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=132072 I’ve been friends with master sculptor Tim Bruckner for over 10 years and a fan of his work for even longer.  I had the great privilege to sit down with him last week and do an exclusive in depth interview with him as he is looking at semi-retiring from sculpting, putting together a career retrospective of his personal work, we talk about his life, his process, what he does in his downtime, his advice for new sculptors entering the industry and much, much more!

 

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If you are anywhere near the Pacific Northwest I would really encourage you to head up to Seattle to the Krab Jab Studio and see this exhibit Well Played: The Art of Tim Bruckner before it closes on Feb 6th.

Illustrator. Sculptor. Toy Maker. Writer. Comedian. Whatever hat Tim puts on,it’s with skill, dedication, and glorious humor. With new, one-of-a-kind works in this show, we are celebrating his 40+ years of creative endeavors and the legacy he has left for the next generation. They are quite the (clown) shoes to fill!

 

Tim wrote an essay about this week about what it was like to put together a career retrospective of his work that you can read here at MuddyColors.com.

 

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You can find out more about Krab Jab Studios here on their official Facebook page.

Tim’s other art show of comic book at toy work going on right now is Framed: Inside the World of Comics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

You can find Tim’s Facebook page here.

Here is Tim’s official website www.TimBruckner.com

 

 

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Listen to part one of the interview with Tim Bruckner here ⇓

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AFi Toy Panel FRIDAY 4/3 At @WONDERCON 2015 #AFiToyPanel http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/afi-toy-panel-friday-43-at-wondercon-2015-afitoypanel/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/afi-toy-panel-friday-43-at-wondercon-2015-afitoypanel/#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:40:07 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=116064 Do you like toys?

Do you like talking about toys? 

Do you like watching guys who make toys talk about toys?  

Do you love straight up fun? 

Then get yourself down to WonderCon on Friday and join in the conversation!

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Action Figure Insider has been doing panels at San Diego Comic con for ten years, and THIS year they are doing their first ever action figure panel at Wonder Con 2015!    The panel is LOADED with great industry folks that are a blast to talk with.   Come on out and listen as these toy industry folks talk to each other and swap stories as they only get to do maybe twice a year!

Here are the details:

Toy Collecting in the Modern Age: The High Price of Having Fun

Friday April 3, 2015 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Room 213

Are mass-market collector toys dying? The price of raw materials and costs of the production process continue to skyrocket. Action figures that were $7.99 five years ago are now in stores for over $20. At that price can you still be a “completist?” Is Kickstarter the better way to go for an up-and-coming toy company to get figures in the hands of collectors? Are toy collectors prepared for the onslaught of all of the new Star Wars figures that will come from the new movies? A panel of toy industry insiders and collectors examine just what is going on today and where it’s all going in the future.
Moderator Daniel Pickett (ActionFigureInsider.com, host of Geek Shall Inherit podcast) is joined by industry experts Justin Donaldson (collector, director, The Tournament of Nerds), Jim Fletcher and Kevin Kiniry (DC Collectibles) Jason Lenzi (co-founder, Bif Bang Pow!), Scott Neitlich (director of play, Jakks Pacific, collector), Jeff Trojan (Playmates Toys) and David Vonner (senior designer/product manager Spin Master) to talk toys and answer your questions.
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NECA’s 1989 Batman Action Figure Ships Repainted with Blu-Ray Set http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/necas-1989-batman-action-figure-ships-repainted-with-blu-ray-set/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/necas-1989-batman-action-figure-ships-repainted-with-blu-ray-set/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:14:40 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=110659 When NECA first debuted their 7″ Michael Keaton Batman based on the 1990 video game (that was based on the 1989 movie) fans were told that the purple game deco was the only version NECA could do and we would not be getting a regular black version of the figure.

It looks like NECA was able to find a loophole in that deal and make an exclusive version that will come with the new Blu-Ray version of the 1989 movie coming in December.   The figure will NOT be sold separately, it will only come with the Blu-Ray Diamond Luxe Edition.

Check out that great retro packaging that is a throwback to the 1990 Toy Biz movie Batman line.   NECA sure knows where to poke the nostalgia pocket in our brains!

Here is the official post that was made today on the official NECA Facebook page:

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“Gotham City. Always brings a smile to my face.” – The Joker

25 years later, the Caped Crusader continues to protect Gotham from crime and corruption. Don’t miss your chance to bring home the new Batman Diamond Luxe Blu-ray with limited edition #Batman action figure!

Order your bundle today from the Warner Bros. Entertainment eBay store: http://neca.io/1xS0ubJ

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It appears that the quantities for preorder in the link able sold through and the listing was pulled down, but NECA just posted: “Listing will be back up shortly!

 

UPDATE– HERE IS THE NEW SALE LINK:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Batman-25th-Anniversary-Blu-Ray-Diamond-Luxe-with-Action-Figure-PRESALE-12-9-/261669651235?pt=US_DVD_HD_DVD_Blu_ray&hash=item3cecba0323

 

Here was the description of the set that was on sale:

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film that defined Batman for the modern generation — pick up the new Batman Diamond Luxe Blu-ray and get a bonus Batman action figure!

Made by NECA, Batman stands 7″ tall and features the likeness of Michael Keaton! The figure has over 25 points of articulation for great poses, plus removable cape, Batarang and Spear Gun accessories.

In 1989, director Tim Burton breathed new life into one of the most complex and intriguing characters in popular culture. Burton cast off the 1960s camp depiction of the Dark Knight and launched one of the most popular comic book film series ever. Tim Burton’s vision and Michael Keaton’s performance as the Caped Crusader combine perfectly to capture Gotham City’s sinister atmosphere and Batman’s brooding nature. Jack Nicholson stars in a memorable performance as the maniacal Joker and Kim Basinger is Vicki Vale, the beautiful and resourceful photojournalist desired by both men. Featuring songs by Prince and a score by Danny Elfman, Batman won the 1990 Oscar for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. The new Diamond Luxe Two-Disc Edition includes brand-new bonus material: “Batman: The Birth of the Modern Blockbuster,” a look at the phenomenal marketing, extensive merchandising and franchise foresight that set the template for the next 25 years of tentpole pictures. 

Items will be available to ship after 12/9/2014.

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What’s in a Toy Company Name? http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/whats-in-a-toy-company-name/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/whats-in-a-toy-company-name/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 03:08:32 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/?p=91601 Recently I was staring at the cool packaging of the Super7 ALIEN ReAction line. As I noted how the ReAction logo pays homage to the original Kenner logo I started to wonder what “Kenner” originally meant. Then it occurred to me that I had no idea where many toy company names came from. Hence, my latest wormhole…

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Founded as The Wallace Berrie Company in 1966 by Wallace Berrie. In 1979 the company obtained worldwide rights to The Smurfs and released figurines which became one of the best-selling toys of 1982. That year, the company acquired the Applause division from Knickerbocker Toys. In 1986, the company changed its name to Applause Inc.

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Started by Digger Mesch and Donna Soldano in 1996, Art Asylum was initially just a work-for-hire sculpting studio but eventually decided to enter the market as a full toy company. The company dissolved in 2007, and some assets (including the Art Asylum name) were acquired by Diamond Select.

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In 1947 Naoharu Yamashina began distributing toys in Tokyo for his brother-in-law. In 1950 Yamashina took over the business and renamed it Bandai. It is the world’s third-largest producer of toys (after Mattel and Hasbro). A quick Japanese translation search tells me that bandai means: all ages / eternity.

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Bif Bang Pow! was founded in 2005 by Jason Labowitz and Jason Lenzi. And if Mr. Lenzi is reading this, perhaps he could comment below and tell us about the process he went about choosing the name! Couldn’t have anything to do with this, now could it?

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Coleco is an American company founded in 1932 by Maurice Greenberg as “Connecticut Leather Company”. It became a highly successful toy company in the 1980s.

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The name ‘Corgi Toys’ was chosen in honour of the company’s new home (Fforestfach in Swansea,South Wales), taken from the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi, and the iconic Corgi dog logo branded the new range. The name was short and easy to remember, further aligning the range with their rival Dinky Toys.

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Diamond Select Toys was founded in 1999 by sister company Diamond Comics Distributors (founded in 1982 by Baltimore-based comics retailer Steve Geppi) to create collectibles for children and adults, and has since licensed a variety of pop culture properties. Geppi named his new company ‘Diamond’ “after the imprint Marvel Comics used on non-returnable comics,” and although the publisher discontinued the symbol months later, the name remained.

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The Ertl Company is founded by Fred Ertl, Sr., in 1945. In 1999 Ertl was purchased by Racing Champions.

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Founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Price’s illustrator-artist wife Margaret Evans Price, and Helen Schelle, the name Fisher-Price was established by combining two of the three names.

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After working for Mcfarlane Toys between 1993 and 1999, Chris Dahlberg, Eric Mayse, Eric Treadaway, and Jim Preziosi left to form Four Horsemen Studios. In 2005, Four Horsemen Studios began creating their own properties and designing and manufacturing the toys to support them.

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Founded in 1998 by Mike Becker, the company was originally conceived as a small project that would bring back low-tech toys in the now high-tech world. Sold in 2005, Funko LLC is now headed by Brian Mariotti.

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Beginning in 1894 John E. Hubley manufactured electric toy train equipment and parts under the name Lancaster Brand Iron Toys. The name was later changed to Gabriel Industries and still existed as a division of CBS as of 1978.

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Galoob was founded by Barbara Frankel and Lewis Galoob in 1954 as an import business. Before it was purchased by Hasbro in 1999, it was the third largest toymaker in the United States.

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In 1923, three brothers, Henry, Hilal, and Herman Hassenfeld, founded Hassenfeld Brothers, a company selling textile remnants, in Providence, Rhode Island. Having previously sold toys under the Hasbro trade name, the company shortened its name to Hasbro Industries in 1968.

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Established in 2000, the company initially focused on producing 1:6 scale U.S. military special forces action figures before transitioning to production of high-end figures based on media properties.

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Ideal Toy Company was founded as Ideal Novelty and Toy Company in New York in 1907 byMorris and Rose Michtom after they had invented the Teddy bear in 1903. Now, brace yourselves:
The company changed its name from “Ideal Novelty and Toy Company” to Ideal Toy Company in 1938. In 1982, the company was sold to CBS Toy Company, which in turn sold Ideal to Viewmaster International in 1987, which renamed itself View-Master Ideal in the process. View-Master Ideal was later bought by Tyco Toys, Inc. The Ideal line remained part of Tyco until Tyco’s merger with Mattel, in 1997. The UK assets were sold to Hasbro which has released Mouse Trap and KerPlunk under its MB Games brand. Whew!

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Jakks Pacific is named after its founder, Jack Friedman, who also presided over the company until his death in May 2010. Headquarters Malibu, California.

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Kenner Products founded in 1947 by brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located, which is just north of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.

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Knickerbocker Toy Company was founded by a family of Dutch immigrants named Van Whye in 1869. The company name was derived from the nickname “Knickerbocker” given to the Dutch settlers who populated New York State. The company was originally known for their lithographed paper on wooden puzzles and educational toys.

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The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (born 7 April 1891), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”, from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”.

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The original Lionel Corporation was founded in 1900 by Joshua Lionel Cowen and Harry C. Grant in New York City. Initially, the company specialized in electrical novelties, such as fans and lighting devices.

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LJN Toys Ltd. was founded in 1970 by Jack Friedman, who later founded other toy companies, notably THQ and Jakks Pacific. The name LJN came from the initials of Lewis J. Norman, the reverse of Norman J. Lewis, whose toy company had employed Friedman as a sales representative in the 1960s.

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Founded in 1919 in New York City by Louis Marx and his brother David, the company’s basic aim was to “give the customer more toy for less money,” and stressed that “quality is not negotiable” – two values that made the company highly successful.

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Mattel is derived from Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler, who founded the company in 1945.

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McFarlane Toys was founded in 1994 by Todd McFarlane Founded. The company was originally dubbed “Todd Toys,” but the name was changed in 1995 following pressure from Mattel (who feared the new company’s name would be confused with that of Barbie’s younger brother).

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The Mego (pronounced Mee-Go) Corporation was founded in the early 1950s by David Abrams. David’s son, Martin, became president of the company in 1971. Martin’s younger brother, Howard, is credited with coining the name Mego by saying “me go, too” as a child every time his father traveled.

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Mezco Toyz was established in 2000 by Michael Markowitz (Mez) from the ashes of the short-lived toy production company: Aztech Toyz.

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In 1860, Milton Bradley moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, and set up the state’s first color lithography shop. Struggling to find a new way to use his lithography machine, Bradley conceived the idea of making a purely American game. He created The Checkered Game of Life, which had players move along a track from Infancy to Happy Old Age, in which the point was to avoid Ruin and reach Happy Old Age.

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The National Entertainment Collectibles Association or NECA was founded in 1996. In 2002, NECA’s Reel Toys was formed as a division to produce action figures and dolls.

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Established in 1994, Palisades Toys, was a manufacturing and distributing toy & collectibles company geared toward the adult collector market.

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Parker Brothers was founded by George S. Parker and Frederick Huntington “Fred” Parker. Parker created his first game, called Banking, in 1883 at the age of 16.

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Playmates Toys is a Costa Mesa, California toy manufacturer and a subsidiary ofHong Kong-based Playmates Holdings Ltd which was founded in 1966.

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The Playskool Institute was established by Lucille King in 1901 as a division of the John Schroeder Lumber Company. King developed wooden toys to use as teaching aids for children in the classroom. In 1943, Playskool bought the J.L. Wright Company, the manufacturer of Lincoln Logs. In 1968, Playskool became a subsidiary of Milton Bradley; both companies were acquired by Hasbro in 1984.

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Remco was founded in the 1940’s by two cousins: Ike Heller and Saul Robbins. Armand Daddis soon joined the two taking the company from simple ‘walkie-talkies’ to remote controlled toys. The name Remco comes from the two words “Remote Control”.

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Sideshow Collectibles started out in 1994 creating prototypes for companies such as Mattel, Galoob and Wild Planet. In 1999, Sideshow began marketing its own line of collectible and specialty products under the Sideshow brand. The company then began creating items in the sixth scale format that sold through specialty markets, at which time Sideshow switched their name from “toys” to “collectibles”.

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Since the year 2000, SOTA Toys, or State Of The Art Toys, have created and manufactured numerous licensed products based on the characters from popular movies, TV shows, hit video games, and literary works, as well as legendary musicians and pop stars.

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Spin Master Ltd. partnered with Cartoon Network Enterprises in 2008 to create “multi-category consumer products programs for Spin Master’s portfolio of brands.”

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The name Spy Monkey Creations is an amalgam of the online monickers of company founders Jeremy Sung (SpyMagician) and Bill Murphy (Fresh Monkey).

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In 1946, Mound Metalcraft was to manufacture garden implements. Their building’s former occupant, the Streater Company, had made and patented several toys. Streater was not interested in the toy business so he approached Mound Metalcraft. Mound Metalcraft thought they might make a good side line to their other products. After the addition of a new logo with the Dakota Sioux word “Tanka” or Tonka, which means “Great” or “Big”, the company began selling metal toys.

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ToyBiz originated in Montreal, Quebec as Charan Industries’s (founded in the late 1800’s) American brand. In the late 1980s, Charan Industries sold their toy subsidiary. Becoming an American-owned company, Charan Toys was renamed Toy Biz in ’88.

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Mantua Metal Products was a metalworks business founded in 1926. In the 1930s Mantua began to manufacture HO scale model trainsof die-cast metal. In the 1950s, Mantua pioneered “ready-to-run” HO-scale model railroad kits under the TYCO (for Tyler Company) brand.

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Founded in 1948, WHAM-O’s first product was the Wham-O slingshot. The name “Wham-O” was based on the sound of the slingshot’s shot hitting the target.

No doubt, some of the information I’ve present here is inaccurate or incomplete. I did my best. If you are “in the know,” please school me in the comments below!

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Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! Valentine’s Day Special http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/marvel-super-heroes-what-the-valentines-day-special/ Thu, 14 Feb 2013 19:32:16 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/main/?p=55731 The Hulk, M.O.D.O.K. and more search for love in all the wrong places!

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The “Hills” Are Alive… With Toys! http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-hills-are-alive-with-toys/ http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-hills-are-alive-with-toys/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 16:55:43 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/marxblog/?p=683 Over the holidays I was talking to fellow AFi staffer Cantina Dan about the “olden days” of collecting and I mentioned my time in the mid 90’s out east and hitting “Hills” department stores as part of my regular run.   I never had Hills in the mid-west and they seemed to be a treasure trove of old and new toys I was looking for (and some that I was not looking for).  They were great for finding new 5″ Toy Biz Marvel figures, Kenner’s Aliens (and Predator) line and Playmates Star Trek figures as well as full runs of clearance Swamp Thing, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Nightmare Before Christmas.

I WISH they were still stocked with the vintage toys in these old commercials!   I would have very much liked to have walked in and found endcaps of Shogun Warriors, Micronauts and Generation 1 Transformers!  I stumbled across these the other day on YouTube and they were just too weird and wonderful not to share.

All the Hills discount stores are gone now.  But their memory and their commercials live on!

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The “Hills” Are Alive… With Toys! http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-hills-are-alive-with-toys-2/ Tue, 08 Jan 2013 16:55:43 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/marxblog/?p=683 Over the holidays I was talking to fellow AFi staffer Cantina Dan about the “olden days” of collecting and I mentioned my time in the mid 90′s out east and hitting “Hills” department stores as part of my regular run.   I never had Hills in the mid-west and they seemed to be a treasure trove of old and new toys I was looking for (and some that I was not looking for).  They were great for finding new 5″ Toy Biz Marvel figures, Kenner’s Aliens (and Predator) line and Playmates Star Trek figures as well as full runs of clearance Swamp Thing, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Nightmare Before Christmas.

I WISH they were still stocked with the vintage toys in these old commercials!   I would have very much liked to have walked in and found endcaps of Shogun Warriors, Micronauts and Generation 1 Transformers!  I stumbled across these the other day on YouTube and they were just too weird and wonderful not to share.

All the Hills discount stores are gone now.  But their memory and their commercials live on!

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The Legacy of Super Powers – Toy Biz Joker http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/the-legacy-of-super-powers-toy-biz-joker/ Sun, 08 Jul 2012 21:14:10 +0000 http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/super-powers/?p=3009

Welcome back to our series of in-depth looks at the Toy Biz DC Superheroes action figure line. This week we’ll be looking at Batman’s archenemy, the villain of the Tim Burton Batman movie, the one, the only…The Joker!

Mr. J had had a few figures prior to this one – a couple of entries from Mego, and of course the Kenner Super Powers figure – so he was no stranger to toy aisle shelves. How did the Toy Biz entry stack up to his predecessors? Read on…


(Click on any of the images for full-size views)

The Joker’s cardback is one of three in the line that bears the logo for the Batman film rather than the standard DC Superheroes logo.

The art features The Joker squirting poison gas from his deadly corsage. Naturally he’s using his cane to steady himself while he does this. I know whenever I think of The Joker, I think of a guy who carries a cane while he’s poisoning people.

The figure comes packed with the aforementioned cane (which is almost as tall as he is, so maybe it’s more of a hiking stick), as well as a hat and plastic bulb/tube for use in the squirting flower feature.

There were two variations on The Joker figure, and as with Batman they were head variations. One had a curl of hair on his forehead, while the other did not. Shown here is the forehead curl version. At the time this one was harder to find, so lucky us!

As you can see, the vast majority of the Toy Biz Joker is a straight re-use of the Super Powers Joker figure – the only new features are the lapel flower and the head sculpt. The purple on the TB Joker is a much darker than it is on his Kenner counterpart. Props to the Toy Biz Joker for including a hat, though – he’s shown with one on the Super Powers card art but the figure doesn’t include one. How am I supposed to accurately recreate The Killing Joke if The Joker doesn’t have his hat, Kenner?

The cardback is exactly the same as it was for Batman, but with instructions for how Joker’s feature works, and a Joker-centric newspaper article.

As with Batman, the figure shown here is clearly a repainted Super Powers Joker, right down to the head. It looks like they sculpted off the points of the SP Joker’s hair to make him look a bit more distinct, but the facial sculpt is the same. They also added a huge lapel flower, and what looks like a piece of cellophane sticking out of the flower to illustrate how the squirting feature works.

According to this article, The Joker is “The most dangerous madman on the face of the Earth”. On Earth. ON EARTH. Really? I don’t dispute that The Joker is really dangerous, but is he the most dangerous man on Earth? He’s a guy with a joy buzzer and some acid. Most dangerous man in Gotham? Absolutely. On the whole planet, though…

That’s it for The Joker! Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with another figure spotlight!

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