Archive : Category

The Secret Story Of Toys

POSTED ON August 15th, 2013  - POSTED IN Toys

Throughout my years as a pop culture journalist I’ve seen a lot of toys.  I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some of the studios where these things are made and even the most cynical could not come out of those places without a new found respect for the hard work and artistry that goes into making them.

This short film highlights just some of the early process that goes into making your favourite action figure.  There’s a lot more that goes into it after this from creation of the expensive steel moulds to paint to mass production to packaging design and more, each with their own challenges.  But this film gives you an idea of the hard work that goes into the sculpting, and is worth a watch!

Gothropolis Kickstarter

POSTED ON July 12th, 2013  - POSTED IN Toys

I might not have my finger quite so much on the action figure pulse as I once did but I do follow events. My collection is currently packed in a cargo container and I really don’t have the room for more than a couple of figures so know that if I’m thinking of buying an entire series, it has to be good. So with that in mind, I urge people to take a look at the Gothropolis Kickstarter.

The Poppies Awards 2012

POSTED ON February 8th, 2013  - POSTED IN Toys

It’s that time of year when old colleagues descend on New York to cover the US ToyFair and my emotions fluctuate between nostalgic jealousy and wanting to tell the newcomers how they have it easy (in my day we had to cover as many as 80 companies over the week). I have little to do with the toy industry any more but I’m happy that once again I was asked to be a judge in the 2012 Poppies Awards. I’m pleased that there was a lot of consensus between the judges (although we do not confer) and a lot of my personal favourites were winners. Congratulations to both nominees and winners for some great sculpts, paint and manufacture this past year.

You can check out all of this year’s award winners HERE

Project Octopus’ Media Plan

POSTED ON October 15th, 2012  - POSTED IN Toys, Writing

Back in the days when I ran Action-Figure, media plans were the bane of my life. This is where a publicity department or an external media agency will work out the press for any given product along a timeline so to manage their resource and supposedly “maximise consumer impact”.

Back in the day, the major event in the toy & collectible industry calendar was the US ToyFair. This trade event, held every February, was when all the major products for the year ahead got announced in order that retailers could place their orders. The fact that many major summer blockbusters get their trailers to début at this time is no coincidence.

Palisades Toys’ The Muppets Action Figure Line

POSTED ON March 29th, 2012  - POSTED IN Toys

I’m packing up the action figure collection. Most of the Star Wars is now packed, as is the G.I. Joe, and last night with great sadness I packed up two of my favourite lines of all time: ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends and Palisades Toys’ awesome Muppets line. Where I’m going there won’t be the room to display them all and so they will be going into storage for the foreseeable future.

The Free Universal Construction Kit Project

POSTED ON March 27th, 2012  - POSTED IN Toys

Close to 10 years ago, I wrote a big article on 3D Printers for Action-Figure. They were just starting to be used for prototyping by big industry with machines that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. But prices were destined to fall and in the article I envisioned a future where you wouldn’t so much go out and buy an action figure or toy, but would buy the plans and print and construct your own. If I weren’t in the midst of packing, I would dig out the article and repost it, but needless to say it was probably the most popular article that year and drew a lot of comment. Maybe after I move, I’ll try and find it out?

The Poppies 2011

POSTED ON February 7th, 2012  - POSTED IN Toys

I’m back from SFX Weekender but still need to dig out the camera so I’m hoping to do my report tomorrow. In the meantime I wanted to give a shout out to something else I’ve been involved with recently.

Since I stepped down as editor of Action-Figure to concentrate on my writing, I’ve not had too much to do with the toy and collectible industry. I miss it terribly at times but enjoy the new found free-time my retirement has brought about. However, I was honoured when I was asked to be one of the judges for The Poppies awards. Michael Crawford runs the best toy and collectible reviews site out there and so his Poppies awards are one of (if not THE) most important awards in the industry.

I really enjoyed being a judge, especially with so many companies doing so much great product out there, and I spent a lot of time considering my votes. Check out the winners over at

Larry Hama Interview From 1998

POSTED ON October 9th, 2011  - POSTED IN Comics, Toys

I’ve written about my love for Larry Hama’s GI Joe comic series before (see HERE). As far as I’m concerned, Larry is one of the most influential writers to inspire me. Through his comic series, I learned how character drives plot, motivation and the power of great words. GI Joe is not what springs to most people’s mind when they think of great comics, but to me, it’s the greatest.

Digging around on an old hard drive the other day, I came across this interview I did with him in July 1998. This was published on my old website to help promote the limited return of the toy line, but reading over this some 13 years later, I see a lot of it speaks about the craft of writing which I find fascinating in a way I did not back then.

So I thought I’d share that interview with you. Enjoy!