playing with myself 003 – Mattel WWE Hornswoggle

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by Adam Van Wickler

Welcome to the 3rd installment of playing with myself. I wanted to shine some light on an ongoing line that we’ve been cranking out that has just started showing up at stores.  Mattel’s WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) action figures, and more specifically, the Hornswoggle action figure appearing in Series 2 of their 2-packs.

With St Patrick’s Day about a month away and just about every other show on TLC focusing on little people I am enthusiastically jumping right onto the bandwagon. Yes, Hornswoggle, the professional wrestler, is a little person. Standing at 4’4” and weighing in at 129 lbs this 23 year old wrestler is a staple on WWE Monday Night RAW.

Hornswoggle made his WWE debut in 2006 and is frequently partnered with his “father” Finlay. His signature move is the Tadpole Splash. The Hornswoggle action figure comes in a 2-pack with a Finlay action figure.

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Mattel’s only recently acquired the license to produce WWE toys, we’ve been working on them for quite a while now but they just began showing up in stores as of January 1st 2010. Jakks Pacific had been making WWE toys since 1996, so there was already a large fanbase that were not too crazy about change. When Mattel first approached us to work on the WWE license they were very open to suggestions on how to improve upon the established WWE products without alienating fans of the Jakks Pacific toys.

The Typical Jakks Pacific WWE toys were in the neighborhood of 7.25” tall, about 1:10 scale. We really wanted to keep that the same so anything that we made would be able to coexist in someone’s older collection. Jakks Pacific also had 2 different levels of articulation which we also realized would be an important factor for collectors. In order to be able to move quickly in the world of ever changing characters and gimmicks, Jakks Pacific would ‘frankenstein’ parts from different action figures to create new looks.  What I mean by this is if you have one figure that is bare chested and wearing tights and another figure that is wearing a tee-shirt and jeans, that you could take the upper body of one figure and combine it with the lower body of the other figure to create an all new figure. This is a great cost and time saving maneuver that can be handled very well with some foresight.

One of our main issues with the Jakks Pacific WWE toys was the lack of any real sense of scale between the different Superstars. Without planning ahead and trying to frankenstein pieces that may not work with one another you end up with toys that aren’t always accurate to what you see on TV. An action figure of Rey Mysterio who is only 5’6” ends up the same size as the action figure of The Undertaker who is 6’10. You can understand how this can be an issue to an anal retentive collector such as myself. This was one of the first things we wanted to correct.

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Knowing that Mattel was in this for the long haul we worked with them to create a vast library of parts that could be combined together in numerous ways that would also pay attention to the relative heights of the WWE Superstars, Mattel has dubbed this ‘Superstar Scale’.

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As you can see in this image, Hornswoggle, 4’4”, is the shortest. Rey Mysterio, 5’6” comes in next. Then there is Beth Phoenix, 5’7”.  And finally we have The Undertaker, 6’10”. This is just a small sampling of different heights and bodystyles that we have created for the Mattel WWE toy line.

I mentioned earlier the 2 different levels of articulation. There are the Basic figures, with fewer moving points and a lower price point and then there are the Elites, which have all of the articulation you need to pull off some great poses and signature moves. Well Hornswoggle here kind of blurs the line. When we first discussed adding some female Superstars (Divas) and some of the more unique characters, like Hornswoggle, they were going to be released only as Basic level figures. While it may not have made sense to do some of these more unique figures in both the Basic and Elite articulation styles, I just wasn’t happy with that idea.

We suggested a happy medium for these types of unique figures, a compromise that doesn’t make them as insanely poseable as the Elite figures, but also adds a few key points of articulation so as to make any action figure junkie happy. Mattel agreed and in the end everyone was happy and fairly poseable.

I would be remiss not to mention our first Hornswoggle action figure. We created the prototype for the Jakks Pacific figure some year’s prior to this one. I think it still holds up quite well but I do believe the new one is a nice improvement for anyone’s collection

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Thanks again for reading my toy ramblings, see ya next time!