McFarlane Lost Toys

i was browsing 4chan today and came across several threads about tonight's episode of LOST. One the posts was some comment about how they brought back all the characters that have died into all the flashbacks, but the photo for the post was a figure of Artz. It looked like any 'ol crappy action figure, but it was still a LOST figure. How awesome would it be to get a Jack figure and have him yelling at the Locke figure for a couple seasons or two.. Kickass awesome, that's how awesome.

I hopped on google and typed in 'lost figures' and what i found was far more than i bargained for. Apparently McFarlane Toys picked up the rights for LOST figures. Collecting McFarlane Toys had been one of my favorite hobbies back in high school and art college.. allow me to elaborate:

Back in the day...

I think i've always been a collector at heart. I started off on baseball cards and garbage pal kids cards, like most kids growing up in the 80s. I didn't really have a ton of money, so cards were really the perfect fit. I could easily spare $1 or 2 after school to hit my local Ben Franklin (now turned into John's Variety and Pets). Collecting cards really began the whole aspiration to completing something. Acquiring an entire set of a specific item of this world. Striving for completion. Finishing what you started, and searching wide and far to accomplish your goal. etc, etc, etc.

With collecting anything, you began to acquire a lot of excess that you don't really care about. You usually become caught in the moment that you gloss over the fact that most things are a waste of money. Oh well.. I'm American and this is how our country works.

Anyways, in high school i began working at Toys R Us, and lemme tell you. Giving a kid an income at store that sells things intended for short-term entertainment value will start eating away at said income, unless they have a strong will, very good tastes, sensibility towards money or simply realize that toys are really a huge waste of money that companies make a huge premium because they are cheap pieces of crap. Thankfully, at the time, i was in the mindset that toys are cheap pieces of crap.

However, that changed when i ran across my first glimpse of McFarlane figures.

Todd's Toys / McFarlane Toys

We had a few aisles of action figures at Toys R Us: mostly 7c and 8c though. Most action figures are cheap pieces of crap. They were army figures that stood straight and stoic, horribly painted, and solid colored accessories. They were wrestling figures that all had the same body, slightly changed outfits by color or paint jobs only, and faces that looked nothing like the actual wrestler. They were movie figures that also looked nothing like the actual actor, had no consistency of size between different movie franchises, and usually came with so many extra accessories that were never actually featured in the movie.

In a neatly straighten, plastic garden sea of mediocrity, McFarlane toys blew everything out of the water. The first figures i laid eyes on were Spawn series 6 and 7. These figures looked beautiful. Faces actually had discernible features, clothing actually looked soft and flowing like real clothing, the color used represented earth tones normally found in actual human clothing. It looked like someone ACTUALLY spent time and care making these figures, rather than just pumping out something for kids to buy.

The beauty of the figures were only matched by the medium. You had Alien Spawn with a dark dimly painted body, wrapped in tentacles. The Freak had actual hair, a famished physique, and baggy pants. Each figure in this set looked drastically different than the next. Each figure had a different posture, different build, different color, different head.

I fell in love ^_^

As new series came out, each figure became darker looking, darker colored, and more dramatic poses. When the Spawn movie was released in the theaters, i caught the 'making of' special on the Sci Fi channel. Todd talked about the movie, and in the last segment he talked about the figures. During this time, he went through the process of creating his figures, and his vision of what his figures should be.

He said that he would tell his assistants that once they finished painting a figure and they think they had it just right, throw it on the ground. "Kick it around in the dust and dirt and completely soil your paint job... Then it'll look exactly how i want it." He want on to explain, "These figures are representative of some happy love story environment.. These are characters in a dark, dirty world with corruption, sleaze, and villainy. They should not only look the part, but feel it." This is the love that goes into McFarlane Toys.

Coming of Age..

Todd really loves his toys. He brought his comic book (Spawn) to life within his figures, and made them in his own vision. In 1997 and 1998, He began to branch out and do this with other properties as well. He branched to video games with his Metal Gear Solid figures, movies with Austin Powers and his Movie Maniacs series, and into music with The Beatles Yellow Submarine and Kiss. He began making figures of his favorite franchises in the way he wanted them to look.

This move was business genius. His figures know grabbed the attention of a much wider audience and was able to boost sales considerably. Though, i like to think he was still making figures for himself. This next move was proof of that.

In the year 2000, his figures branched into another one of his favorite hobbies: Baseball and other sports. After buying Mark Mcguire's final homerun baseball of that season, he released his Baseball, Hockey and Football figures. Again, he began making the figures he wanted, while making yet another genius business move. Sales climbed exponentially, as he continued to release more figures. I mean, who the hell wouldn't want a beautifully action posed 6 inch figure of their favorite sports star.

This was about the time i quit Toys R Us, i moved out of state to Wisconsin when i wanted a new start at college, rather than finishing art school. Since i was no longer in direct contact with McFarlane figures, and didn't have that first contact with a new shipment of figures, I began to loose touch. I checked spawn.com every now and then, but i really didn't have a community of spawn figure collectors to talk with or gain knowledge from.. so touch was lost.

Collecting the figures.

When it came to actually buying figures, a figure had to meet 1 of 2 criteria: rare or awesome. I usually picked up the rare figure in each new series unless i just didn't like it, but whenever i came across a figure that looked awesome, i picked up that one as well, despite rarity... hell, that's the reason you buy action figures in the first place.

McFarlane figures were always distributed to be collected. Most figure series had 6 figures and came in a case of 12, which generally contained 2 or 3 of each common figure, and then one figure of the series intentionally distributed to be rare. There will always be one figure that comes 1 per case, and usually it's the most scantly clad female figure of the group, or the most kickass figure of the group.

To further the collectability scheme, each series generally had 'first edition' figures. These were figures first off the production line. They were inspected and sometimes changed slightly, to fix errors or just improve upon. Then the actual production of the figures commenced. At Toys R Us we usually got a case or two of these first edition figures. Months after the line had been in the market, McFarlane would go back and repaint this series in all new colors, and then release them again. Generally, any given series of McFarlane figures had at least 3 separate versions of a single figure.

First editions usually don't go for too much more than regular editions. Some of the time they are seriously flawed, which is why they were changed. This is especially the case with one of my favorite figures: Manga Spawn from Spawn series 10. Manga Spawn has a chain that goes from one hip bone to the other. The first editions had a plastic chain, with huge chain links. It looked gawd awful. The regular version featured a metallic chain like a necklace, with tiny links and a gold shimmer.

The rare figures are always worth more, and can sometimes be next to impossible to find for an older series. When McFarlane got the rights to the Matrix Reloaded/Revolution toys. Each case of 20 figures, contained only one of 2 twins. Prices for these figures immediately shut up to $35 each, and continued to climb. They are pretty cheap these days, though. $20 each on ebay, right now.

Through the dormant years

These past years, i've rarely glanced at spawn.com to see what has come out. Honestly, my primary collecting efforts have turned to video games. But whenever i find myself at a Toys R Us, i make sure to check out their figures. Toys R Us has the best assortment of McFarlane Toys, and if you visit one less traveled, you can usually find the rare figures easily.

I have 4 personal favorites that i've collected over the years, in order of release: Manga Spawn, Mandarin Spawn, Wings of Redemption Spawn, and Gunslinger Spawn. I would gladly take photos, if i actually had them here with me, but they are at home, displayed on my other shelves.

One of my favorite figures he has made that i do not own is Armchair Morpheus from Matrix figure series 2. Though, it looks pretty cheap on ebay. Also, i missed out on Mandarin Spawn 2.

Today

Anyways, Back to Today, McFarlane has the rights to produce figures of LOST and they look amazing. Series 1 of the LOST figures came out November 2006, and feature Charlie, Locke, Jack, Kate, Shannon, and Hurley as regular figures, plus the deluxe boxset of the Hatch.

http://www.spawn.com/toys/series.aspx?series=318

Like all McFarlane figures, they look simply amazing. Of course, these photos are of the original sculpture by Todd McFarlane, and are then used to create the mold. The final figures are based off this mold, so the most dynamic curves will smooth out a tad, and the paint job will be just a little more efficient too.

Out of series 1, the Locke figure is striking, but i think the best figure is definitely Charlie. I would actually open that one in put it on my desk, window sill, or shelf. I might open up the Locke figure, depending on how it actually looks. They actually come in boxes, so the can be resealed rather easily without damaging the packaging. huzzah. I bet Shannon's figure is the rare one of the set. Though, they should've made a figure of her getting shot. I think that would've been more meaningful.

Upon further inspection, series 2 of LOST figures are released in July 2007.

http://www.spawn.com/toys/series.aspx?series=346

Jin's figure is pretty awesome, but overall rather bland. The other figures are the same.. What's up with the Sun figure, though? Is that really the most representative pose for her from LOST? hmmm.. i suppose that was the episode where she was finally able to be free from Jin's suppression.

ahh... sweet sweet consumerism. hmm. After all this reminiscing i forgot all about those crappy LOST figures.

Edit: Whooo.. i picked up The Hatch Playset at Toys R Us yesterday. It was clearanced down to $15, so i could not say No. I was rather surprised that $15 was the same price as the individual figures though. Quite Pricey. They were completely sold out of the Locke figure, had plenty of Charlie figures, and equal amounts of the other figures. It would seem rarity is based on popularity this time, unless Locke is the intentionally rare figure of the set.




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