Airspeed’s Editorials – Upcoming Merchandise Discussion

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My 4th editorial was called “Where is the Korra merch?”, in that editorial I talked about my frustrations at the lack of merch put out for Korra and the amount of potential being squandered by the decision to not put much out for fans to buy. I primarily focused on the things that I felt would be popular and would sell well to the fandom: Action Figures, Trading Cards and Video Games. Now we have a ATLA and Korra Merchandise Line announced and coming out in May. So I will discuss this here.

Upcoming Merchandise Discussion

While the recent product line for ATLA and Korra announced a lot of things it did not announce a video game or trading cards (They announced playing cards, not trading cards, big difference), but it did announce products in the general area of Action Figures without saying as much. The key line from the press release being,

“A full list of products in development include: limited-edition statues, figurines, and busts, as well as, featured plush…… Playing Cards”

We do not have pictures or details about any of this stuff apart from this line. So in this post I will discuss what Dark Horse Deluxe can do with each of these merchandise types, I will give my predictions for what statues they will make, what characters, what pose and what style. Then it will be interesting to see how close I am when we finally get pictures and items announced.

I will start by saying that I am so happy that it is a collector orientated line when it comes to the statues and such, Dark Horse know who they are marketing this stuff towards, the hardcore fans who read the comics and who are on forums and podcasts. I think if it was a Hasbro or a Mattel/Ban Dai putting out a toy line it would be aimed at kids almost completely and the more I think about it the more I believe that this would be aiming at the wrong market. The stuff would sell, but not as well as we think, so a more limited and focused collector orientated line seems perfect. They will make a certain amount confident that it will sell to a passionate fanbase. The key thing they need to get right with this stuff is making the right choices and it is these choices I will discuss here.

Everything I say from here is just what I hope will happen, none of this stuff has been announced.

Figurines

The first key thing will be what exactly they mean by “figurine”, that is what is said in the press release not figure or action figure. A figurine is basically a small statue, an action figure sized character, but with no articulation (no moving parts, just stuck in the pose it is made in). The thing that has me questioning what they mean is that they also mention statues as well as being in the product line, why not just include statues and figurines under the same statue tag, this is why I hold out hope that they really mean action figure or just a poseable figure.

Figurines will sell, but I think most fans interested in getting a physical representation of a character want a figure that they can pose themselves. The problem with statues and figurines is that everyone has specific tastes and if the statue is sculpted in a pose you are not into that can instantly be many lost sales and a severe loss of interest. Action Figures will sell well, better than figurines.

I will cover my thoughts on non-poseable products in statues, so I will assume (hopefully correctly) that they mean figures with joints.

Size would be an initial key choice. Most toylines are either 3.75 inch or 6 inch figures, with the bigger 6 inch figures being more collector focused with more space for detail, extra articulation and accessories. Any bigger than that and you are usually looking at very gimmick focused toys or super high-end expensive masterpiece figures. So I would say 6 inch is the way to go, we know from the Mattel ATLA line that the ATLA designs can be done in figure form really nicely (albeit a poory run toyline with no female figures), and that from a toy company line, so a collector focused line should have more detail and quality. Here is an example of how the Mattel 6 inch figures looked,

Aang figure

If mattel can do this, imagine what a collector line of figures could be. Not to mention 10 years of better figure engineering, this toy is nearly 10 years old now.

After this comes character choice and outfit choice. Both important, what characters are must haves and which design of them will be the most popular. If I was in charge of choosing the first wave of characters this would be my thought process.

-It is an ATLA and Korra line, collector focused so ATLA characters are fine despite the show ending 6 years ago. Not to mention they are made by Dark Horse and they primarily are selling ATLA comics, their only Korra Book release has been the Book 1 Art Book.

-First choice for each show has to be the main characters: Aang and Korra

-Second choice for Korra I think is Mako, for Avatar it is either Katara or Zuko, both worthy choices

-Third choice for Korra is Bolin, for ATLA Zuko or Katara

-4th and final Wave 1 choice for Korra. I would find it hard to choose between Asami, Tenzin and Amon. Asami to make the first wave of Korra figures Team Avatar, Tenzin because he has had more screentime thus far and Amon because he really was the second biggest character in Book 1. In the end I think Asami would take it to make Wave 1 a nice group. ATLA’s final choice is either Sokka or Toph, giving Sokka the edge because he is there from the start like Aang, Katara and Zuko.

Then you have to choose the right style/design for each character.

Aang – Do you go for his current comic design, Book 1 and 2 design or his Book 3 design. As much as I adore Aang’s end of Book 3 outfit it is very situational and not a representation of him usually. So I would give it it to Book 1 and 2 just about, though I could definitely see any ATLA figures having their comic designs since it is being made by a comic company. I think they would go for show style to guarantee sales. Then you have to think that if you choose 1 style for 1 character you should also choose the style other characters had at that time so they match up well. His Staff is a must have accessory.

Katara – If you have Book 1 Aang, then naturally you should have Book 1 Katara, though I much prefer her Book 3 outfit and even her Book 2 outfit above it. Her water pouches are the accessory here.

Sokka – Tough choice here as you have his various Book outfits and also him in his armour. His accessories should be Boomerang and Space Sword, but the space sword would mean you have to choose warrior Sokka as the design for continuity.

Zuko – Probably the biggest change between seasons. Book 1 represents his villain side more than the good side we know him more for now. Book 2 is too story focused for me to choose that, so it has to be Book 3 Zuko when he is with Team Avatar with his swords as his accessory.

Right away you can see the problem, to get the best of each character you have to alter the whole group. Hence why the comic designs may be the way to go with the ATLA figures, if not then Book 3 outfits.

For Korra it is a lot easier as we have designs that continue between Books.

Korra – As much as I prefer Korra’s early Book 2 outfit, her Book 1 outfit is more well known. Accessory should be her parka.

Mako – His Book 1 outfit with Scarf

Bolin – His Book 1 outfit with a small Pabu

Asami – Her Book 1 outfit with Chi Blocker glove

I think these would make an excellent start to a ATLA and Korra action figure line.

Without going into much detail the Wave 2 I would go for would be:

ATLA – Toph, Azula, Suki, Iroh

Korra – Tenzin, Lin, Amon, Wan

Statues

Statues, big, expensive and impressive pieces. Whether they sell or not is completely on the character and pose they choose. It says they are limited edition so I assume there will be one for ATLA and one for Korra.

Most statues that I have seen are of just 1 character so that more or less means it will be Aang and Korra on each. So then you have to wonder what pose will they choose that defines who these characters are in one pose. Then action or character focused, for Avatar statues a bending position or not.

I find Korra again easier to choose for, here are some screenshots I think could work well if done in a statue form.

the-legend-of-korra

It is Korra doing the pose of a statue, it shows off her strength and connection to the Avatars before her. Also a straight up statue of the Aang statue would be a nice one too.

 

Korra Fight

Something like this would get her personality and fierceness across more.

Korra action

This would be a more action focused pose that could look really nice if the bending was done well with clear plastic or really nice paintwork.

Aang is very difficult because again you have to decide which Book’s outfit he will be wearing.

Elemental_tornado

If you go all out epic, this would be a good choice. Though it would seem a tough moment to pull off in statue form.

20120720154045!Avatar_Aang

Perhaps I am a bit biased here with this one (My Site Avatar for my first 3 years on the site), but I think it is an epic pose, showing off Aang in IMO his coolest outfit. This or any pose with him with his staff out would be cool.

avatar-aang

Finally, arguably the most overused show of Aang. From the opening, overlooking the world. It is a nice pose and could work well.

It is a tough decision, definitely post your own thoughts on what pose they should use for these statues below. Just shows they are going to have to do something amazing for it to sell well.

Busts

For anyone who does not know what a bust is or what they look like, here is an Iron Man Bust to give you an idea of what Avatar ones could potentially do.

Iron Man Bust

It is basically a statue of the upper body of a character, don’t ask me why this became a thing I am not sure, but they exist and we are getting Avatar ones.

Again the key is the character and the pose, this time we are a bit more flexible as we do not have to wonder about how a character’s legs can connect to a base in a standing position, so we can get a character in a unique position. This is harder to think of. The ones that come to mind straight away would be Raava and Vaatu, it could be challenging to do a statue of them given their unique forms so a bust just showing their trademark pattern near their “heads” and “upper bodies” could be a nice way to represent them. Amon I think would work well as a bust, simply because of the mask being the signature feature, but overall I am not too sure about Avatar busts.

Plush

We have had ATLA and even Korra plush before, but none of it has looked amazing apart from the big Appa plushes that have come out.

So an obvious release would be an Appa that would be more readily available than the sought after first release.

For me I think basing the plushes off the characters Chibi Designs would make for overall better looking plushes, it is rare that you see a plush for a character Β that looks great based off their proper show model. Case in point the ATLA character plushes

Aang plush

That face is haunting isn’t it? The body looks fine, but it is the face that is the issue, so a chibi Aang plush I think would work better as the insane expression for the face would suit the over the top chibi characters much more. Plus the whole idea of plushes is that they are cute representations of the characters so why try and make them overly on model especially when you have statues and figurines.

Chibi Aang

Now this design seems a lot more plush friendly.

You could easily cover your main ATLA and Korra characters plus some of the animals in the chibi style as we know they have official designs. Plus it would be the first way for people to get a physical representation of these chibi designs.

Playing Cards

While I said above that these probably are just your typical deck of poker cards with Ace, Jack, King Queen etc. They very well could be some new form of Avatar Card game. Note I will not be designing an Avatar card game in this post, that could be a future editorial.

So I will run with the idea that this is is your classic 52 card deck with 1-2 jokers. For me how well this sells is completely about how much they “Avatar up” these cards. They need to make these Avatar themed and go all out. I would even go as far as to do something like replace Ace, King, Queen and Jack with something Avatar focused. Ace to Avatar and have 4 different Avatar’s on each suit, with each suit (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs) being replaced by a nation: Air, Water, Earth and Fire and have the picture on each different card in each suit represent a character from that nation.

I will actually go all out and choose a character for every card.

Format will be

Classic name – New Name – Air Suit/Water Suit/Earth Suit/Fire Suit

Ace – Avatar – Aang/Korra/Kyoshi/Roku

King – King – Tenzin/Hakoda/Kuei/Ozai

Queen – Queen – Pema/Katara’s Mother Kya/Joo Dee(Major Avatar fans points if you know why she is here)/Ursa

Jack – Prince/Princess – Jinora/Katara/Bolin/Zuko

After this I may need to go searching for characters or certain nations and go obscure

2 – 2 – Ikki/Sokka/Toph/Azula

3 – 3 – Meelo/Kya/Lin/Iroh

4 – 4 – Gyatso/Pakku/Bumi(ATLA)/Jeong Jeong

5 – 5 – Sky Bison (Appa)/Moon/Badgermole/Dragon

6 – 6 – Momo/Yue/Long Feng/Iroh 2

7 – 7 – Oogi/Arnook/Haru/Mako

8 – 8 – Yangchen/Tarrlok/Master Yu/Mai

9 – 9 – Bumi(Korra)/Noatak(Amon)/Xin Fu/Ty Lee

10 – 10 – Rohan/Bato/The Boulder/Chit Sang

Jokers – Ravva and Vaatu, just because

Obviously I attempted to very heavily stick to the “Each Suit is a Nation” thing and included some very minor characters and excluded some important ones, but you could easily take out some and have a number be a set of 4 neutrals. The thing I hope they do not do is just pick a piece of stock art and just put it on every card, they need to be creative and make this set of cards something worth getting and I think that means making every card unique.

Final Thoughts

So we come to the end of my long discussion of the upcoming Korra merch, if you cannot already tell, I am EXCITED for this stuff to come out. I know for sure I will not be coming anywhere near getting everything, for the sake of my wallet I am going to be very choosy about what I pick up. If the figurines turn out to be small statues I can see myself saving a lot of money.

I look forward to seeing pictures of this stuff (Hopefully within the next 2 months) and seeing how close my own choices for items are to the stuff that is eventually produced. For me writing this post has already curtailed any possibly disappointment I may have when the stuff is eventually revealed, just trying to design the line yourself is quite challenging to make sure it is something that will appeal to everyone. Inevitably the statues will be poses that many fans just won’t like, but I hope me writing this post and presenting some of my own thought process for what I would do will show you how difficult some of the decisions that the people at Dark Horse must be making.

I really hope that the 3rd in this series of merchandise focused editorials makes for a nice trilogy of titles

Where is the Korra Merch? – Korra Merch Predictions – How good is this Korra Merch!

If you liked this, Share it with your Friends!

By:

My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

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Comments - 9 Posts

  1. Avatar Yangchen Said: Comment by Avatar Yangchen on February 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
     

    its nice you included your previous profile picture in there πŸ˜› maybe the featured plush will be a carrot guy 😎

    for the busts i cant really seem them doing characters other than amon, or maybe an avatar.

    as for the plushes i never wanted to buy an aang for his creepy smile and zuko for his book 1 hair style. i agree, chibi style faces would be much better.

    Reply

    Rance100 Reply:

    I always thought that the plushes were disturbing also. They didn’t really do a good job on them.

    Reply

  2. Hyriu 85 Said: Comment by Hyriu 85 on February 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
     

    Very in depth and it will be interesting to see what actually comes out. And I know why Joo Dee is there … hint “Going Home Again” πŸ˜‰

    Reply

  3. Rance100 Said: Comment by Rance100 on February 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
     

    I am excited that the are making Limited Edition Statues. I have a collection of action figures but I like statues more. Statues are usually more detailed which I like.
    @airspeed Can you give me your estimated guess of prices? It would be helpful so I can have a idea to save my money for.

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    I like statues too, but no matter how detailed they are if you do not like the pose they are in then you are out A statue.

    The statues I would assume would be around 100/200 dollars, they are limited edition plus with figurines and busts mentioned they are most likely pretty big pieces.

    Figurines depending on the size probably anywhere between 15-50 really hard to call now.

    Busts probably 75-100

    Reply

    Rance100 Reply:

    Thanks for the estimate. I thought you would be the best person to ask since you know a lot about Avatar Stuff.

    Reply

  4. Rance100 Said: Comment by Rance100 on February 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
     

    @airspeed Also will you be doing reviews and Unboxings when the Statues and the Figures come out?

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    Yup, whatever stuff I get I will review.

    Reply

  5. Thoix Heoro Said: Comment by Thoix Heoro on March 3, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink
     

    I cannot wait to finally get into collecting ATLA and TLOK stuff! I mind as well start saving up money!

    Reply

 

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