The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

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The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Sledge Hammer! on Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:16 pm

From CBR/TNI:

McFarlane Toys, the company owned by comic creator Todd McFarlane, has had a long history and reputation for increasing the quality of design of action figure dolls. However, of late, the company have had a few problems. And has internally announced a third round of redundancies far more severe than the previous two.

The company is split into two, design studios in New Jersey and administration in Arizona offices. Ed Frank, President of the NJ group and founder of the original company before it was bought and renamed by Todd fifteen years ago read a letter out to the New Jersey staff.

The studios will see forty staff drop to thirteen. Major operations will be shut down, including the mold, paint, sculpting, and model departments.

The only department to survive will be the digital department, and only two of its members will be held on, and a couple of traditional sculptors are being trained up to handle digital sculpting.

The plan as it currently stands is that most new sculpts will be scans of actual people, cleaned up digitally, armour and accessories assembled and added digitally mixing and matching from other sculpts, and then the files sent to China for 3D printing, cleaning, touching up, sculpting, articulation and the rest. New Jersey will only generate digital output from now on.

The New Jersey complex will be reduced from four buildings to one, with the equipment either being sold of shipped to China. As for Arizona, they will shrink from seventy people to around thirty-five.

The phasing out of staff will occur sometime between now and June, though no specific dates of personnel of departments have been given.

Cutbacks are hitting hard everywhere, and it's been clear for a while that McFarlane weren't as strong in the market as they once was, but if this really is the beginning of the end of McFarlane Toys as we know it, as some speculate it could well be, then that's some sad news. I mean regardless of how you may think they went wrong over the years, how many collectors today got pulled into this hobby because of McFarlane, their figures, and their influence on those companies that followed on from them. Not only did they set the bar, they kept that benchmark at a high level for a long time, pushing their competitors to make better product just to keep up.

I know if it hadn't had been for me spotting Movie Maniacs series 1 in a window display at a comic store while visiting melbourne many, many years ago I might never have become the collector that I did. McFarlane was my gateway drug into this hobby, as I'm sure they were for many. So while I don't find this all that surprising, given recent history with the company and all, it's sad news all the same...

Worse still, is that from what I've heard, they likely won't be the last specialty toy company to fall...

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Dabigfella on Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:27 am

Yes, very sad, but completely expected, i too was brought into "hardcore" collecting from their MM line, specifically the 18" Freddy Krueger which had me chase down all existing MM. But with the saturation of high end collectables companies in the last 4-5 years, not everyone were going to stick it out, and i agree that Mac won't be the last to go either......

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by NiteOwl on Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:58 am

Yep, the combination of SW figures getting the re release and Mcfarlanes' toys level of sculpting made me start collecting again.

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Mahzian on Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:53 am

ah that's pretty sad, i think i might have the first thing they released (a little pvc spawn / violator 2 pack). They really did push the envelope and produce some groundbreaking figures in the early days (I didnt even like spawn but I had to have the cool looking figures!) the least of which marvel legends (clamshell packaging and all) and I couldnt see companies like Mezco around without them.

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by ragericho on Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:19 pm

Ah well cant say i will miss em

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by TheGoodDr on Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:45 pm

I can remember my first McFarlane Toy......Manga Cyber Violator from Series 10.....I just thought it ws the best toy I'd ever seen!
For many years they kept raising the bar higher and higher.....and then they started the whole statue thing......and for me, that's when the desire to buy their toys stopped.

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Deno on Fri May 01, 2009 2:02 pm

This is very sad news, i loved the AVP figures Sad

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Artistix on Sat May 02, 2009 6:14 am

Can't say this bothers me personally. Though it's always sad to hear when toy companies aren't doing so well.

I was never a fan of McFarlane/Neca style of doing things. I like it much more now with Neca using good articulation (in some lines).

I remember my disliking of McFarlane started when I bought their X-Files figures, only to find out they were basically statues. Crying or Very sad

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by Shadowless on Sat May 02, 2009 9:51 am

Some of my favourite toys are McFarlane toys. My AVP action figures. All my Dark Age Spawn lines. Series 11, 13{not dark age but great none the less} 14, 19 and finally the brilliant series 22. When series 22 The Viking Age came out I remember thinking Wow how can they possibly improve this? Great sculpts great articulation. Then series after series of lame posed statues came through and McFarlane went from my favourite Toy maker to my most hatedÖ

I canít help but also blame all those kiss-arse boardies over there that shouted down anyone who questioned the choices the company had been making with their toys. They should have listened to the negatives, because you canít always believe the word of mindless sycophants.

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by BigSi on Sat May 02, 2009 7:03 pm

Well, from what I understand, McFarlane Toys was the birthplace of the 4 Horsemen, and thanks to them I've now got an ever-expanding MOTU collection, so I'm glad they existed. The statue-style figs did prove to be a deterrent to me, but the few McF figs I do own are pretty cool (black and white comic Marv being a personal fave - can't go past the severed-head accessory), and one day I hope to nab a Maxx fig.

The thing I think is a shame is the shift to scanning tech over sculpts, especially when there are so many amazing sculptors around in the industry (the 4h guys as a prime example). Sign of the times, I guess...

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Re: The end is nigh for McFarlane Toys?

Post by TheMyth on Sat May 02, 2009 7:15 pm

The Movie Maniacs line got me into figure collecting in a serious way. and the forum at spawn.com introduced me to ML's the rest is history really. sad times indeed.

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