After successfully releasing our first original action figures in the form of Xetheus and the Mynothecean 7 variants, our studio was excited to visit the world of Seventh Kingdom once again with the winner of our second FANtastic Exclusive voting contest – the pachyderm swordsman, Ramathorr!
A much larger figure than Xetheus, we knew from the start that creating this figure and his variants would be a challenging task, but we never expected the process to be quite as challenging as it turned out to be! In fact, the release of Ramthorr remains one of the single most problem-filled projects we ever worked on! Here is the story of this figure’s creation.
FANtastic Voting 2
Our second fan-voted process was won, once again, by our Seventh Kingdom property, and the character that fans choose was Ramathorr. A large elephant warrior, FANtastic voters were very clearly telling us that they loved our anthropomorphic characters, and we were excited to meet their demands with this second figure.
As with our first voting process, fans voted on not only the property and character we would make for our second figure, but they also helped choose Ramathorr’s size, articulation, and weapons (the weapon choices that were available are shown below in one of the photos, along with the character art we used for the voting process and the Seventh Kingdom logo)! Once that vote was done and Ramathorr stood victorious, we started planning his production…but first we needed to give him some fellow warriors to head into battle besides (as well as a few baddies to fight).
The Anitherian Nine
Like we did with Xetheus, we decided to create a number of variants using the base Ramathorr figure as our starting point. With Xetheus, we developed a second head and new armor options and repainted them in a number of ways for The Mynothecean 7. For Ramathorr and his “Anitherian Nine”, we went even further by creating 5 new heads, from which we would release 9 variants! These included 4 additional elephant warriors, a hippo, a rhino, a warthog, and a pair of evil mutants! We also included new weapons for the figures to come with, and the Anitherian elephants also each came with a removable helmet! These figures were made available as shared exclusives. Many of our friends and partners offered individual figures for sale, while we sold Ramathorr and one of the variant elephants, the pink Chalice of Gundenuph, on StoreHorsemen.com. We also offered a complete set of The Anitherian Nine for fans who wanted to buy the entire set all at once.
Producing action figures is a challenging process at the best of times, and the process of getting Ramathorr to market was definitely not “the best of times.” These figures were very large and very heavy. That alone provided a significant challenge. When we received the first run of the figures for this line, we found that they did not meet our high standards for quality. The sculptures and paint work were wonderful, but the figures themselves suffered from loose joints because of the extreme weight of the toys themselves. With “floppy limbs”, these figures had a hard time standing up or holding their poses, and we knew that our fans deserved better.
Connecting with the factory, we addressed the issue of the floppy limbs, but the situation was about to get worse. The factory we had used for these figures suddenly closed up shop, and the steel molds for the parts were left discarded where the elements began to damage them! Those molds are the single biggest cost in producing action figures, and they represented a significant investment that we had made in these toys! Thankfully, some of our friends in the toy industry helped us retrieve the molds and get them over to a new factory. The damage to the molds was repaired and we began to work with this new factory to produce improved versions of the Anitherian Nine figures. This second run was updated to include ratcheted limbs. This would prevent these heavy figures from buckling under the weight of the toy itself and would ensure that they would pose and display well for our fans. If you hunt these figures down today, you will find both the original release as well as the second run with the ratched limbs.
Making Things Right
The production challenges of the Anitherian Nine series put us in a tough spot. We reached out to fans who had received the “floppy” figures and gave them a choice – they could keep the toys they already had in hand, or they could send them back to us and we would replace them with the updated second run of the toys. Realistically, some of the first run figures actually weren’t that bad, and many fans elected to keep the toys they had. Others who did receive figures that had substantial issues asked for a replacement, which we were happy to provide once the second run arrived at the studio.
While this entire process was a very stressful time for us at the Four Horsemen Studios, we were incredibly humbled by the way that our fans handled the situation. Their patience and understanding was amazing to see and it was more proof of the fact that we have the absolute best fans in the world!
The Anitherian Nine Today
Like all our older releases, Ramathorr and the Aniterian Nine figures are now long sold out and only available on the secondary market. With the rise in popularity that our company has received thanks for the amazing success of Mythic Legions, interest in these figures has greatly increased, and prices for some of these have now climbed pretty high! Many fans have even added these figures to their Mythic Legions displays, loving the impressive size of the Anitherians! You can see Ramathorr below alongside one of our ogre-scale figures. They are almost the same size!
While we do not have any plans to revisit Ramathorr of any of the Anitherian Nine in the future, and the molds used to create these toys are now long gone, you can look forward to many other large and imposing warriors from our studio in the future in the Mythic Legions line and beyond - and the tale of Ramathorr’s production remains an important, albeit challenging, chapter in the story of our studio’s history!
One more notable comment on the release of the Ramathorr figure – it marked our first collaboration with Nate Baertsch! Nate created this wonderful art of the elephant swordsman that we used on the card back, and we have been working with him for our packaging art ever since!
Published on 04.21.20