It's obvious that the larger companies are a slave to the market and big box stores like Walmart, Target and, so a certain degree, Toys R Us.
These stores (mainly Walmart, followed by Target) are demanding that action figures be cheap and sell quickly and in bulk rather than allowing the toy companies to simply create the best toys/figures possible and they charge the appropriate price.
This is leaving adult collectors with less and less quality product to buy at retail. I'd say that of my collection, only about 20% of it comes from the normal retail outlets.
I think most of the toy companies want to keep their brands alive, and they realize that adult toy collectors do take up a certain amount of the market-- with most of the people who work at or on the toys at these companies being toy collectors/fans themselves-- so I don't think they'll ever give up on us completely, but the big box stores are not making it easy for the toy companies to have a good relationship with adult collectors.
That's where projects like this one come in to play.
Marauder's Inc., a company who has been producing realistic, detailed weapons for 3.75" figures for years now, has decided to enter into the 3.75" military figure market through a Kickstarter campaign with their Marauder Task Force figures.
When I first heard of this, I was very anxious and curious to see how much support they'd get. Well, not only did they get the support they needed to move forward with the project, but they surpassed their original goal four times over, and they still have five more days to go.
This is a fantastic sign as to how many people are willing to support an independent toy company with an unlicensed, high-quality product.
To be honest, the Kickstarter page is a bit complex for me to completely wrap my head, but here's a rundown of what I've been able to understand so far.
All of the figures comes nearly "bare bones". But, as the pledges raise the total, it "unlocks" extra accessories that will come with each figure (assuming you pledge enough to get one, which is only a low $19).
They have many pledge levels, ranging from one (1) figure all the way up to 50 figures.
As of now, they have "unlocked" five levels of "extras", meaning that, if you pledge and receive a figure, he won't be as "bare bones" as originally proposed.
With only five (5) days left to go, I encourage any and all action figure collectors to lend their support to this project as I really feel that we're going to see a lot of our future toy collecting coming from projects like this as well as Mattel's Matty Collector site.
With any luck, Hasbro will get into the direct market/adult collector game, and more projects like this one (don't forget, Boss Fight Studios' HACKS figures will be going up on Kickstarter soon, too!) will pop up to give us the kinds of toys/figures that are quickly disappearing from retail.
All the figures were sculpted by the amazing Boss Fight Studios, the same guys who work on GI Joe for Hasbro. Here are some images of the Marauder Task Force figures from their display at JoeCon 2014.
UPDATE - 4/27/2014 - SECURITY OPS HAS BEEN "UNLOCKED"!
Like what you see here? Then go support the Kickstarter campaign!! Click here.