Action Figures experts (and collectors) Matt Booker and Dave Middleton tell us what’s selling, which companies are getting the category right, and where it could become even stronger.
“The Action Figure category has evolved – but not necessarily 100% in a positive way,” explains Matt Booker, who has been immersed in it for more than 30 years via The Corsham Toy Shop and Automattic Comics.
Leading properties in the space, according to both Matt, and Dave Middleton – owner of Midco Toymaster, Midco Toy Planet and Midco Freak Treats – include Paw Patrol, Minecraft, Batman, Pokémon and WWE, with the latter three appealing to kids and kidults alike. Anime and gaming are coming to the fore too, which Dave says is a reflection of the changing way kids play and consume media.
Matt and Dave are hugely excited for the new Playmates master toy range of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, which is available in the UK via Character. Dave says: “Playmates makes really good action figures, and I think the new TMNT ones look great.”
The pair have an axe to grind regarding pricing though, noting that some companies have been gouging prices to the point of unaffordability for collectors, meaning they are then having to clear down stock at rock bottom prices, which is affecting the marketplace. Matt says: “Once kids hit the latter end of primary school there’s nothing for them: prices get too high and that means action figures aren’t progressing into the playground like they used to.”
Matt and Dave firmly believe suppliers in the Action Figures category should listen to fans more. One major supplier removed the plastic windows from some of its collectible action figure ranges, despite outcry from consumers, not bearing in mind that a) people actually want to see their action figures and b) the packaging is a fundamental, ‘unthrowawayable’ part of the product. The company has since reversed that decision and returned to window boxes.
Dave yearns for a return to the 90s; “the heyday for action figures”. He explains: “Kenner made proper kids toy lines, complete with vehicles, accessories and play sets, and ranges used to come with cards on which you could cross off which ones you had. Action figures are my life: I want to see them return to the glory days.”
To find out what else this fascinating duo had to say on the topic, read the full article, which appeared in the Licensing section of the June edition of Toy World, here.