I’d planned to hold off on this for another day (since I have to write thirty-one of these things this month), but since this is technically a time-sensitive issue, I wanted to put it out there as soon as possible.You may or may not have heard of the FANtastic Exclusive. This is a project designed by the Four Horsemen. The idea is this: the Horsemen draw up dozens of designs for several different toy lines, each with a number of different characters. Through the website, collectors and fans then vote on the line, the specific character, the height (scale) of the character, how articulated it will be and what accessories it comes with. They even get to vote on the type of packaging.
The Horsemen made their names sculpting Mattel’s revamped Masters of the Universe (MOTU) line a few years back, so it’s fair to say that, until recently, a majority of their fans came from that particular fandom. As a result, the first and second Fantastic Exclusive winners were from the “Seventh Kingdom” concept line, which was the most like MOTU–a kind of high fantasy realm. The first figure, Xetheus, was a minotaur. The second, Ramathorr, was a giant elephant warrior. Each of these figures was available only at conventions and through the Horsemen’s online store. And each came in multiple varieties of repaints and retools; Ramathorr, in particular, could be purchased with a number of variant animal heads, from rhinos to hippos to bizarre alien mutant-things.
While I’m certainly a fan of MOTU and the Seventh Kingdom, in each FE I have voted for Gothitropolis (a kind of horror-sf line) first. In particular, I’m hoping to get this blue gargoyle immortalized in plastic. What can I say? I find demons and monsters awesome.
The biggest vote-getter this year was indeed a Gothitropolis character, but not the one I was hoping for. It was a dark sorcerer-like fellow named Scarabus, who apparently won by more than twice the next vote-getter’s count.
I don’t mean this as a knock on the Horsemen’s design skills; Scarabus fits in just fine with the rest of the Gothitropolis line. But he’s certainly not going to be a challenge for them. He has hooved feet not unlike Xetheus; the same goes for his armor. The only real question is how much his robes will limit his articulation. Furthermore, other than some really creative repaints, I don’t see how Scarabus offers many opportunities for interesting variants.
The blue gargoyle, on the other hand, not only represents a more interesting design (the shape of the limbs, the large wings), but offers countless variant possibilities. Red-skinned repaints with more demonic wings, a straightforward “giant bat” version, even a bird-like or angelic version with feathered wings.
But I digress–Scarabus has already won, and while he wasn’t my favorite, I’ll definitely be buying him and supporting the FE.
So now we move on to the next vote, and my real motive for writing this. The current option is for what scale Scarabus will be in. The previous two figures were both in the 6″ scale (which matches up well with three other big action figure lines of the day: Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, Marvel Toys’ Legendary Comic Book Heroes and Mattel’s DC Universe Classics). In the 6″ scale, 1 inch=1 foot, so a six-foot-tall character would stand six inches tall. That doesn’t mean Scarabus would be six inches tall; in the 6″ scale, Ramathorr stood a whopping 9″ tall. Scarabus, according to the Horsemen’s graphic above, would be about 7″ tall.
Judging from the discussions on the FE forums, there seems to be a big movement for an 8″ scale Scarabus, which would make him almost the same height as Ramathorr. I’m against this for a number of reasons.
Nowadays, many people look at their action figures differently. Many see them as collector’s items, and it’s those people who often prefer to see larger scales with greater detail and fewer accessories, vehicles, or playsets. They don’t care if two different lines aren’t in scale with one another.
Personally, I’ve always looked at toys more from a “plaything” perspective. I love it when different lines are in scale with one another, simply for the creativity factor. I can place make a diorama with Superman fighting the Abomination, or Spider-Man and Batman teaming up against Venom. I can have Xetheus dueling it out with LCBH’s Conan in a gladiatorial scene.
If Scarabus ends up in an 8″ scale, he’s going to be enormous next to any 6″ figure. Ultimately, in my opinion, this will make him less of a toy and more of a collectible.
At the 8″ scale, Scarabus is also going to be quite expensive–at least as expensive as Ramathorr ($25), perhaps more so. This will continue to limit how far the Horsemen can go with the concept.
As such, I am officially forming the Six-Inch-Scale Scarabus Squad. As its president and currently only member, I urge you to go here and vote for the 6″ scale Scarabus. Even if you don’t care about the Fantastic Exclusive or toys at all, please take the three minutes to do it for me and my fellow six-inch-scale collectors. Viva la revoluci