A short time ago, we posted a “Blast from the Past” feature on the Outer Space Men – a classic space-themed toy line that we revived for a time here at Four Horsemen Studios. Today’s feature acts as a nice follow-up to that one, looking at a second line that received this “revival” treatment from us – Power Lords.
Note: Big thanks to Israel “Izdawiz” Ramirez and his “Power Lords Return” website for the help with this feature.
The History of Power Lords
"Power Lords the Extra-Terrestrial Warriors" is a toy line from the early 80’s, released during the “golden age” of action figures alongside Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, Transformers, and more.
Created by Ned Strongin and Len Mayem, along with legendary Sci-Fi and Fantasy artist Wayne Douglas Barlowe, Power Lords was a wonderfully weird line with some of the coolest character designs even seen in toy form. While not as popular as those aforementioned giants of 1980’s boy’s action figures, Power Lords certainly had it’s fervent fans, including Four Horsemen Studios’ own Eric Treadaway.
“Power Lords was the first time I realized how alien an alien could be,” Eric reminisces. “Up until the point that I first saw Power Lords, an alien was a humanoid creature in a robe or a jumpsuit, but these creatures took my imagination to the next level. The designs have stuck with me for years, and had a huge influence on the way that I look at creature design.”
Note – for a detailed look at the history of Power Lords, check out this article from Iz.
The Horsemen Take on Power Lords
Believing that the wonderful designs of the Power Lords deserved another chance, Four Horsemen Studios set out to talk to someone about this license a number of years ago. After much research and back-and-forth, we finally made the connections we needed to make and we signed a deal to revive the Power Lords! Making this even more exciting, Wayne Barlowe was quickly signed on as a creative consultant so that he could add his talents to the mix.
Our first pass at this line was in the 1:18 scale, or 3 ¾” sized figures. Our plan was to include a mix of traditional articulation and Glyos-compatibility. The Glyos system would allow fans to mix and match parts with our previously released Outer Space Men line, as well as with the whole world of Glyos-compatible toys created by Matt Doughty. (Note – Mythic Legions was initially planned as a 1:18 scale, Glyos-compatible line before we upped the size to what would eventually be released for the toys).
The first releases in this new line would be shared exclusives that debuted at Power-Con in 2013. The black and red Power Solder and the black and white Elite Power Solder would be available at the Power-Con show, as well as on StoreHorsemen.com. This launch proved to be wildly successful, and the allotment we had at Power-Con was gone in just 40 minutes, while the one we sold on the website sold out in less than 4 minutes! To meet fan demand, we ended up doing a second run as a pre-order on the website.
Next in line we did a few exclusives for New York Comic Con. These included 2 Ggrapptikk Grunts in pink and purple colors.
The Slate-Zone Soldier and Slate-Zone Elite would be the next figures available. Similar to the Power-Con figures, these featured a single body in different colors and with different heads. These were first available to fan club members, and eventually to the general public on StoreHorsemen.com.
The first full line of these new Power Lords figures was available in 2014 and would include:
- Lord Power
- Adam Power (we elected to do these are two separate figures as opposed to a single figure with a figure gimmick like the vintage toy. You can see both versions in the images below)
The last figure, Grabbtargg, was actually released as a Power Lords Fan Club exclusive figure, something we had set up specifically to enhance fans enjoyment of this property and give them access to special items and discounts on Power Lord merchandise.
We would also offer a “Barlowe Concept Color Ggripptogg” figure of the character in black as well a new wave of paint decos on these characters to include the red and blue versions of the Power Soldiers, known as the Ophidian Squad.
The final releases from this “wave” would happen in 2015 with the Neutron Blast Lord Power and the Dark Nebula Power Soldier.
Our Second Pass at Power Lords
Granted an extension on the Power Lords license, we set out to release a second series from this line in 2017. Our plans for this series would be different than in previous years, however. Instead of releasing a few color variants at a time, we planned to do a much larger release of the figures and their variants all at once – should pre-orders allow us to do so!
By this point we had done a few successful Kickstarters for the Gothitropolis Ravens and then the first wave of Mythic Legions figures, but rather than turn to that crowdfunding platform for Power Lords, we elected to do it right on our website.
The initial offering for Power Lords Series 2 would’ve included:
- Power Solider Light Guardian
- Power Solider Dark Guardian
- Power Soldier Assassin
- Ranan Tactical Solider
- Dr. Waybar
- Flozari Shock Trooper
While this is certainly an impressive list of characters, as in our previous Power Lords series, these were all made from only a few different figure types, changing the paint decos, heads, or accessories to create all new figures.
Unfortunately, in the end the second series of Power Lords was not to be. This wave would’ve required a generous amount of new tooling, and the pre-orders simply were not there to justify moving forward on the line.
What About Cosmic Legions?
One question we’ve been asked a number of times, even before we officially announced the Cosmic Legions line at LegionsCon 2020, was if some of these Power Lord designs could eventually make their way into our space-themed Legions line in the future. The short answer is “no.” Power Lords designs are tied to the licensing of the property itself, so we do not have the rights to add them to one of our in-house properties. That being said, you can bet that the influence of Power Lords and Wayne Barlowe will certainly be something that we allow to fuel us as we venture forward with Cosmic Legions, exploring new worlds and strange races all our own!
As a fun final note - check out the awesome release party video, complete with a cake made by Cake Boss (where we appeared on the TLC show) to celebrate Power Lords!
Published on 03.16.21