Better late than never, right? The renowned talents at Four Horsemen Toy Design Studios finally got a chance to answer some of my Toy Fair related questions after their busy last week or two. Here's what they had to say about their upcoming and recent work for Mattel...
Q: Mattel made it a point to tell everyone who’d listen that Four Horsemen sculpted their new Battleague line. Was this line a concept that they pitched to you, or vice versa?
A: We're extremely appreciative that Mattel has been connecting us so heavily with the DC Battleague work that we did for them, but DC Battleague is essentially Mattel's idea. We have talked to Mattel about a figural gaming system for years, but until now nothing has come to pass. This new DC Battleague concept may have partially grown from, or may have been somewhat inspired by those brainstorming sessions, but we can't say for sure.
Q: Did you design/sculpt the Battleague toys at that same 3” scale?
A: Nope. The DC Battleague figures were all sculpted at a 6" scale and then Pantographed down by Mattel to the finished 3" scale.
Q: Did your cool “alternate realities” Clayface sculpt posted on your site help convince Mattel to do a Clayface figure in the DC Superheroes line?
A: Probably not. We're not even sure that any of the guys over at Mattel know about that original Clayface sculpture. We've always been big fans of the Batman Animated stuff, and when Mattel decided it was time to add Clayface to the DC Superheroes line (actually, we probably suggested it to them... many times...), we jumped at the chance to create an amalgamation of the Batman Animated version of the character and our own vision and style for the 6" DC Superheroes line. We sent a sketch of the character over to the powers that be and Mattel and DC. Both liked what they saw, so they let us run with it. They're cool like that!
Q: Is there a character you’re dying to be able to do for the DCSH line?
A: Anyone (EVERYONE) from the Jack Kirby/New Gods area of the DC Universe! We had so much fun with Darkseid that we'd leap at the chance to dig into more of those characters! Orion! Kalibak! Steppenwolf! Mr. Miracle! Barda! The Parademons! Heck, even Mantis!!
Q: How far ahead is character selection decided on or planned for these lines, if at all?
A: In the past it's been all over the place. We'd have a potential line-up set a few months in advance of beginning on a wave, but then things would get all switched up along the way. As of right now we're in meetings with both Mattel and DC to streamline a straight-forward line-up. The way we're currently planning things we should be very busy for the next couple of years.
Q: How is your working relationship with Mattel so far?
A: Terrific! We've made a lot of friends at Mattel over the years, and It looks like this year is going to be our biggest and most productive year with Mattel so far, so how could things be bad?
Q: Kind of an off-the-wall question: did Mattel ever talk to your studio about doing sculpts for their Superman Returns line?
A: Yes. As a matter of fact we worked on the two deluxe "statue-like" pieces for the Superman Returns line (the one where bullets are bouncing off of his chest, and the one where he's flying away from Metropolis below). Through approvals changes and production those pieces didn't turn out quite the way we'd originally envisioned them, but we liked them well enough. We did a little bit of work on the regular Superman Returns action figure line as well, but things went through so many stages and changes after we worked on them that they really didn't look much like our stuff after all was said and done. We really would've liked to have had more control in the look of the work that we did for that line, but there were many parties involved with far more say than us.
Thanks to the busy guys at Four Horsemen for their time and answers!