Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Fish, Big Pond: The Newest Big Name in Action Figures to ReleaseMass Effect Series

Ever wish you could go back in time and start collecting the first figures from a top collectibles company? Who were the lucky or prescient early adopters who got the first McFarlane Toys or Sideshow Collectibles releases, and where were you when they launched? There's no sense dwelling on missed opportunities, but we're always on the lookout for the next big maker. We think we've found it. (View Mass Effect figures on our site by clicking here)

This spring, Big Fish Toys is entering the market with a new line of 8 Mass Effect figures. Formed in 2011 with "an A-list of action figure and toy industry veterans," Big Fish has already been working with video game companies, including the amazing Cole figure for SONY's release of  inFAMOUS 2. According to their press release, "When Bioware and Electronic Arts sought to bring previously-developed, yet unreleased Mass Effect action figures to market, Big Fish Toys was able to incorporate the team’s goals and craft a business agreement that allowed the project to move forward."

Not only are we anticipating some top-notch sculpts and paint in this premier series, but we're getting in-game content for Mass Effect 3 as well! A "downloadable content pack" will be included with each figure, and I believe that each content pack will be unique to that figure.  From Big Fish Toys' release, it sounds as though the content might not quite be set in stone yet, but they're shooting for weapons, characters, upgrades and modifications that will have an impact on game play, not just ornamental items.

The Mass Effect line promises to be  amazing. As described by Big Fish Toys:
The fully-articulated figures, ranging between 6 3/8” and 7 ¼”, will be intricately sculpted with collector-level paint decoration. They will be securely packaged in a clam-shell blister card. The figures will be manufactured at a vendor who has produced some of the top collector action figure lines of the last couple decades, and in fact produced the Cole piece for Big Fish. Figures should be available for sale by April 2012. As a bonus, each figure will include a downloadable content pack for the Mass Effect 3 multi-player mode (on PC and XBox) that could include powerful new weapons and new characters. The pack could also include character boosters, weapon modifications, and weapon upgrades to make your multi-player squad stronger.

At ToyWiz, we're anticipating a larger demand than is usual for a new label when these arrive. Pre-orders are available and will ship on arrival, scheduled for April, 2012.

So what do you think - are these figures going to be hot because of the quality we're expecting, because of the Mass Effect franchise, or because it's a ground-floor chance to get in on a collectibles label that might make it big in coming years? For me, all three factors make these a must-buy. But how about you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Action Pics of Action Figures: 9 Questions with Ed Speir!

If you're along with us here, on Flickr or on Facebook, you've already seen the work of Ed Speir, IV - our favorite action figure photographer. He'd tell you he's a hobbyist, but the results are all pro as far as we're concerned, and we can't get enough of his work. The feedback from his images on our site has been great, and a lot of you have been clamoring for more info. Ed very graciously agreed to introduce himself by answering a few questions!

How did you get your start with Photography?

I am a big fan of McFarlane Toys and joined their forum in 2001 or so. I saw posts from other forum members with photos of their new figures and it interested me greatly. I have always collected toys, but never thought of photographing them until joining the Spawn forum. I had a cheap Kodak 3.2 megapixel camera and just started taking random shots of the figures in my collection. At that point I had no lighting, tripod, backdrops, props...I would just take shots from my desk. A few years later I purchased a light tent with two positionable flourescent lights and a Kodak V1003 10 megapixel camera. I still use the light tent and lights, but I recently purchased a Canon T2i DSLR and am just starting to learn how to use it effectively.

How long have you been staging scenes with toys?

I have been taking toy photos for seven-eight years probably..and actually using props and backdrops for six or seven years.

What was the first figure you ever set up and photographed?

I can't remember the exact figure, but I'm sure it was one of the many versions of Spawn by McFarlane Toys.

Do you have specific sources for inspiration?

I don't have specific sources of inspiration per say...although I will say I like my shots a bit on the dark/moody side of things - similar to lighting in horror/sci-fi movies. You will rarely see a brightly lit shot from me. Some have even complained that my shots are too dark, but it adds more atmosphere in my opinion, and that's what I'm going for.

What made you decide to set up these intricate scenes for your figures and post them to Flickr?

The more shots I began taking, the more intricate they became. Instead of just shooting a static figure on my desk, I slowly began incorporating props and backdrops in my shots trying to create "movie scenes". I now have about 20 or so different props that I use in my photos, and I'm always on the lookout for more.

What's your favorite toyline and of that your favorite figure?

That's a tough one...but I've probably got to go with Bandai's S.I.C. (Super Imaginative Chogokin) figure line. These are hyper-detailed figures from the many Masked Rider/Kamen Rider television series that air in Japan. These generally have to be imported directly from Japan, although you can sometimes find them from online stores in the US. My absolute favorite figure has to go to Max Factory's Karas - basically a badass futuristic ninja from the anime of the same name. It happens to be super-rare as well, sometimes fetching $ 400- $ 500 on eBay. Not bad for a seven inch figure....

What was the single most important thing you've learned from this whole experience?

I have a somewhat stressful job...and over the years toy photography has become quite the stress reliever for me. It has a calming effect and lets me forget about work for a few hours and concentrate on the task at hand. That is definitely the most important thing I get out of this hobby.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to make dioramas for their figures?

Go to PetSmart, lol. Seriously, a large portion of my props are aquarium decorations purchased from some moss from craft stores and simple rocks from outside. I use various combinations of these items to get the desired diorama/background I need for the shot. I also use various buildings and other props picked up over the years as well. I will say that none of my "dioramas" are permanent - they are set up for specific photos and then dissassembled and rearranged as needed.

Have you ever considered trying for a photography job at Hasbro or some other toy company?

No, I have never considered photographing toys for a toy company. Quite honestly, I feel my work is too stylized to be used for "product shots" needed by these big companies and I don't think it would be a good fit. However, I definitely wouldn't turn them down if the opportunity presented itself!

Ed's work can be found on his Flickr photo stream, and is also featured on a growing number of product shots for!

Monday, January 16, 2012

5 Very Realistic Pictures of NECA's new Boar Predator Figure!

A HUGE thank you to Ed Speir, IV for these magnificent photos! More are incoming for new releases too, so keep watching! Click the image for a larger view, or click here to purchase one yourself!



Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't be alarmed, they're just Predators

[caption id="attachment_1679" align="alignleft" width="139" caption="Series 4 Shaman"]NECA Predators Action Figures[/caption]

You know that a film franchise has really taken it's place in the culture when years after it's last release, action figures are being produced due to popular demand. NECA's Predators series proves that these films really have taken ahold of the American psyche, with releases that are hotter than those for films currently in theaters!

The newest figures, Series 5, include the boar, City hunter and Shaman, plus we have the next wave up for pre-order now: Guardian "Gort," Snake and Stalker are to be released in April. And because we knew from the beginning that these would prove very popular, series 1, 2 and 3 are also available, along with special editions and releases from other manufacturers including Hot Toys.

If you're keeping track for a collection, you can view all by clicking here, or check the list below:

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4

Series 5 (scheduled for April Release)

NECA Classic Predator Quarter Scale Action Figure



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hey, We're at Pojo Telling Pokemon Pros to Play like Newbies!

Okay, this is really only for when you need to teach a newbie, not to try to be a Pokemon card-shark (and I don't mean Sharpedo). But one thing's for sure - it's always good to get your friends to play, but that's not always as easy as it sounds. So we've come up with 8 Tips for Getting Your Reluctant Friends to play the Pokemon TCG AND even better - we've reduced the price on the Pokemon Black & White Trainer Kit to help you do it.

So take a look over at for our tips, plus tons of great information about Pokemon, YuGiOh and other Trading Card Games.

[caption id="attachment_1676" align="aligncenter" width="275" caption="Reduced Price too!"]Pokemon Black & White Trainer Kit[/caption]