Thanks for stopping back for part 2 of our 3-part interview with Randy Falk, Director of Product Development at NECA Toys. In Part 1 of the interview, we talked about the Classic Video Game Appearance figures. If you missed yesterday’s interview, you can check it out by Clicking Here.
Today, Randy and I talk about their ever expanding Ultimate 7″ Scale Figures. For newcomers, this line consists of new figures and some retooled versions of previously released figures. The figures are decked out with new articulation, paint apps and more accessories than ever. They also come packaged in flapped window boxes, much like the Classic Video Game Appearance figures. So read on to see what we talked about and where the line is going in 2016.
Interview with NECA’s Randy Falk Part 2 – Ultimate 7″ Scale Figures
JoeMoore: The Ultimate figures have spanned so many great themes. It seems there’s a little something for everyone. Where did the idea of the Ultimate line originate?
Randy Falk: It’s something I wanted to get off the ground for a long time, in the past we released multiple variations of the same character with all different accessories and heads and all that to help off set our production costs and tooling and everything. For the Ultimate line I wanted to re-release classic in demand characters, stuff that people always want like a Freddy or a Terminator but add in all the articulation that was missing from our original releases on these characters and then pack in as many accessories and features as possible. All bundled up in a gorgeous window box with opening flap – just a great display item that really looks incredible inside and out. I would say it was about 2 years before I was able to get the line off the ground and it has been a huge success and it is all that I hoped it would be and more
JoeMoore: We’ve seen some great reuses of existing characters and mold parts (such as the T2 T-800). How much of the lines future will be revisiting and improving on older NECA figures?
Randy Falk: I would say 50/50 I mean that is the basis for how it all started so now we get to go back and truly deliver the “Ultimate” versions of these characters. However we have expanded it to include video game characters that we had never done before like Dante from Devil May Cry or an all new Kratos from GOW3. Also our Part 6 Jason was the first time we had done a Part 6 Jason and Sarah from T2 was a first.
JoeMoore: Some of the characters that you have created Ultimate releases for, such as Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, have had some vastly different appearances throughout the years. What are the chances of seeing some of those variations getting their own Ultimate releases?
Randy Falk: Very good, Freddy was our first Ultimate figure and did really well so we have a follow up planned for this year and if allowed we plan to dedicate to the memory of Wes Craven who passed away last year. He was a great supporter of the merchandise and was such a creative genius we would really like to create a special Freddy in his name and memory.
JoeMoore: One of the things fans really enjoy (I know I do) are the included mini backdrops with each figure. Would you ever consider actual mini diorama pieces or collect and connect dioramas for licenses that have multiple ultimate figure (like say Terminator)?
Randy Falk: Possibly, we are working on something like this now for one of our other lines so it could happen. For now though the Ultimate’s are mainly self contained and designed to stand alone with accompanying graphics and inserts that suit that character and scene(s) I am glad to see people appreciate all that little stuff we are including, even the packaging insert
JoeMoore: Are their any lines or characters that NECA has licensed on that you see as “Off Limits” for the Ultimate treatment?
Randy Falk: Well anything like Marvel and DC we can’t touch in the format besides that it’s pretty wide open it’s just some characters or things work better than others.
JoeMoore: You get many requests asking for specific characters to be in the line, or for other characters to be revisited. Are there any particular characters you’d love to include, but just don’t think there’s enough to them (potential accessories, popularity, etc.) to qualify for an Ultimate treatment?
Randy Falk: I have spent so much time thinking about who we are doing and what we are including that I have not had much time to think about what won’t work. I guess the only thing that comes to mind could be Robocop with more articulation and a Peter Weller head but we can’t do that under our license so sadly it will remain a dream…
JoeMoore: At times, we see one of the Mego style releases give way to an Ultimate figure. Does the flexibility of the Mego line allow you to test the viability of certain characters for the Ultimate treatment, or are the two handled separately?
Randy Falk: Yes, while the mixed mediums and fabric may not be for everyone it not only allows us to test the waters on potential sales and interest it allows us to do many more figures in that format that we can’t do as traditional injection molded action figures due to all the costly sculpting and tooling involved. The lines are handled separately and I manage and direct both of them and I think they are a great extension from what we were already doing in the traditional figure format.
JoeMoore: With Toy Fair right around the corner, what can fans look forward to in the Ultimate line?
Randy Falk: Well a lot of it is still being sculpted, but I have about 8-10 planned out for 2016. I expect to announce around 5 of our 2016 “Ultimate” figures and maybe show a couple samples or things in progress, perhaps even just packaging mock-ups to whet the appetites for what comes later in the year. We have to space things out and certain licenses perform better at certain times of the year, logistical stuff like that but if you like what we have done so far you are going to love what is coming. It’s a great line to work on and watch it expand.
Check out some of the amazing Ultimate and Special Appearance figures released in a small collection of our past photos below.
I want to thank Randy for his time. You can always interact with Randy on Twitter. Just follow @NECA_Toys to keep up with all the latest from Randy, who is always dropping hits, teases and great interactions with fans. But we’re not done yet. If you missed it, check out Part 1 of the Interview. Check back tomorrow as we talk to Randy about the All Things NECA.