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TOY BIZ LORD OF THE RINGS

ACTION FIGURE CREATION PROCESS

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ACTION FIGURE PROCESS FROM CONCEPT TO RELEASE

 

The creation of an action figure is a lengthy process and follows an approval life cycle that consists of multiple stages (phases) and checkpoints that had to be approved by management. In order to illustrate the process, we will begin the process with character selection and follow through to the final product as seen by the consumer in retail.

APPROVAL LIFE CYCLE

The approval life cycle can be broken down into the following steps.  This is also illustrated in the image below:

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The approval checkpoints went from:

  • Sculptor

  • Toy Biz Management

  • New Line

  • Actor

  • and this process would sometimes repeat

The New Line Cinema approval form below clearly shows the many stages each action figure was required to pass, before being given the authority to be produced.

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Character Choice

CHARACTER CHOICE

Once Toy Biz and New Line Cinema come to a consensus on which figure to produce, they then decide what outfit and look they want to achieve that will best express the screen accuracy of the actor.

 

During this stage New Line would gather images from the movies (that were still in production) and create a character profile folder that will be used by the Toy Biz team to reference during each phase.

For the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the actors had a clause in their contracts that demanded the actors approval of each figure with their likeness.

Once the character has been selected, the actual design process begins with sketches of the proposed figure.

New Line Cinema with help sometimes from WETA or Gentle Giant (who provided the scans of all the actors), would send a "character profile package". These packages would contain very detailed images of the actor posed in a few stances, while also containing acting doubles posing specifically for Toy Biz as figure reference.

Frequently weaponry references would also be compiled which would include multiple reference images of the weapons for the character.

Toy Biz worked with in-house and 3rd party artists to render proposed concept art and control pieces.  These artists typically worked across many toy lines, and provided work for hundreds of characters, all in the same required format. These concept sketches would go to Toy Biz management for approval. After the initial sketch art was approved and was given the green light, the sculptor chooses the base material to start working the figure.

It is quite clear that Toy Biz wanted to have the most detailed product possible for the fans of the Tolkien movies.

Concept Art

CONCEPT ART