Friday, August 8, 2014

SDCC 2014: Todd McFarlane Launches His Own Highly Detailed "The Walking Dead" Building Sets

When Red Dot Diva told her friends that she was invited to attend creator/ artist/ entrepreneur Todd McFarlane's launch of his latest product at the Image booth at Comic-Con, a number of them uttered similar comments of "Hmm.. we have been wondering what he has been up to lately!"

Well, wonder no more.

The big Todd McFarlane news at Comic-Con is the unveiling of the realistically accurate and intricate "The Walking Dead" building sets based on AMC's international hit TV series.

As the charismatic, lively and very silver foxy Todd McFarlane mentioned during the launch of the building sets, this product was made in direct competition of LEGO (coincidentally, their booth was just across from where McFarlane was launching his product), and Hasbro's  Kre-O. But McFarlane's version has a notable and major difference - he aims to erase the visibility of those familiar interconnecting knobbly dimples.

Todd McFarlane's passion for artistry

McFarlane kicked-off his media session with answering the primary question on why he got into making these new construction blocks, even when there are successful international businesses currently in existence.

"It's the same reason why 20 years ago I got into the action figure business. They keep leaving gaps for guys like me," he said. "And that gap for me is art. They got the functionality down, and when I walk down the aisle, as an artist, I had a simple question - 'why can't they look cooler?'"

And cooler, those "The Walking Dead" building sets certainly are. Just look at these realistic sets which were on display at the booth.

Click pic above for a larger version

As in Todd McFarlane's artistic vision, the sets look beautifully seamless at close-up, with realistic simulation of concrete, grass, trees and wooden panel bricks as part of the ground layout.

Daryl kicking ass on the Prison Tower
Michonne and her two walkers

Here's a video clip of the man himself telling the media group at the booth about the "sexy veneer" he is providing with the new building sets and why "The Walking Dead" brand was chosen to launch his latest product:

Even the figurines are customizable, as you can break them down into different body parts to build your own characters, which Red Dot Diva thinks is so darn cool!

"There will be 18 different figures which will be coming up by the time we launch till early Spring," McFarlane said. "We are creating a lot of walkers so you that you will be able to mix and match. You can even do a Daryl zombie, you gotta be able to have some fun with it."

The possibilities of mixing and matching figurine parts

Plus, good news for those who already collect the other brands, McFarlane's blocks are fully interactive with them.

"If you have a million of their pieces at home, I'm gonna keep building my library and you can put my sexy on top of it. Mine is going to be bricks, and dirt, and gravel and blood and whatever I can come up with. It is going to be a realistic look to it. We have used a lot more paint and printing than you've ever seen, so you can get a lot of effects to have it look as realistic as possible."

McFarlane had earlier stressed that the two key considerations for deciding on "The Walking Dead" as the launchpad of the building sets were the show's wide range of characters and iconic environments. However, he is currently also on the lookout for another recognizable brand to help push the product to next level.

"I think I need two anchors, which is two big brands. So we have one, which is AMC's "The Walking Dead". We are chasing a couple of other big ones. Hopefully, within the next month, I will be able to announce that one."

"The Walking Dead" building sets will be launched in October, exclusively on Toys 'R' Us stores in the USA and Toys 'R' Us online store. By 25th October, the product should be open to other retailers and then, rolls out to the international market. This will all coincide with the premiere date of the 5th season of AMC's "The Walking Dead".

There will be single packs of Humans or Walkers (marked "H" or "W" accordingly) to limit the aggravation of those who keep buying humans from blind packs when they want more walkers. (Although, his suggestion of giving away the Daryl Dixon human figurines to the ladies ain't a bad idea. ;) ) These single packs would be about USD 3 each.

If these prove to be successful commercially, there will be 5-figurine packs consisting of a mixture of Humans or Walkers, and then, there are the sets like Daryl Dixon & his Chopper at about USD 19.99.

The Governor's Room, with the aquarium of floating heads which actually can be lighted up, will be released. So awesome! And the largest will be be the Prison Tower pictured above, which would retail about USD 60.

What's even more exciting is the possibilities of what McFarlane's "sexy building sets" might bring for hardcore fans in the future if the product takes off at retail.

"If the retailers are giving me a chance to do a set which could be things that do not justify a whole line but would be cool one-offs, then yes, I might do them in as assortment packs. Each one of you, I am sure, has a favourite movie, TV show, character or comic book," McFarlane added.

The new product line Todd McFarlane is launching definitely feeds the need of the serious, adult artistic toy collector who loves the challenge of creating his own scenes, and wants a gorgeous display more than a mere toy.

In fact, Red Dot Diva thinks that her photos may not do enough justice to the beauty of McFarlane's building sets. If you want a better idea on how the builds look like interactively, check out the videos and fall in love with the seductive lure of his intricate blocks at this website:!

After the official launch, Red Dot Diva managed to grab a few moments with Todd McFarlane. He said he has fond memories of his visit to the Red Dot Island back in the late 1990's. So for the fans of Todd McFarlane's work, here's his Special Message for Singapore fans:

And yes, a pic with the man himself is of course, a must for Diva too ;)

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