April 26 2014 – The Walt Disney Co. announced this week that it will begin selling 12-inch talking action figures exclusively through the Disney Store and DisneyStore.com. Based on the prototypes revealed this week to invited VIP’s and reporters at its Anaheim headquarters, Disney’s version of the 12-inch “action-figure” line (not dolls) offers something exciting and new for collectors:
First, super articulation: Unlike the rather static and boring twenty-dollar 12-inch versions released in years past by Walmart and Target, Disney’s figures will feature lots of articulation points allowing classic movie poses.
Second, many of the figures will light up (think light sabers and blasters) and all will have audio phrases (15+ phrases from the Star Wars movies). Designers have cleverly blended the buttons for sound and light activation on each figure’s upper chest and arm areas.
Third, the sculpting, paint and artwork on these figures are meticulous and closely capture the essence of their big-screen characters. Whoever Disney hired to sculpt these action figures needs to be retained for all such future figures, which really is a compliment.
Over the summer, in addition to the Storm Trooper, expect to see (or purchase, at $29.99 each) these figures:
● Talking Darth Vader (he’s actually 14 inches tall, to keep him correctly proportioned to the other characters, and features an amazing flowing cape and full articulation)
● Talking Han Solo (a small button on his upper-right arm activates the blaster, and another button hidden underneath his jacket activates his speech)
● Talking Luke Skywalker (comes with a removable helmet, a voice activation button on his chest, and a sound activation button on his uper-right arm)
● Growling Wookie (because he doesn’t really talk, does he? And he’s 15 inches tall and in proportion with the other figures)
A prototype for Boba Fett is currently being designed. Also expect to see a future release of Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, and others, depending on how well the buying public reacts to the first line of figures. But somehow, I don’t think Disney will have much to worry about here.