the evolution continues
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In January of 2005, SOTA Toys unveiled their exciting new line of Micronauts figures appropriately dubbed the "Evolution" line.

2005 turned into 2006, and the figures had yet to be released. Then in July of '06 at the SDCC, the figures made another appearance. So what exactly has been going on with the Micronauts line since then and what's been the hold up? ISO sat down with SOTA pres Jerry Macaluso for this exclusive interview to get to the bottom of the mystery and to see if the figures were still..."evolving"...

Jerry Macaluso with his US boxed Ampzilla

(conversation in progress) ISO: You just discussed with me that Tower is going out of business and that's gonna put a big crunch on companies like you. But at the San Diego Comic Con you had your Micronauts figures on display…so how is this going to play into the release?

Jerry Macaluso: I don't know that the Micronauts figures, at least the first initial run, would have ever gone to Tower. So the plan for Micronauts at this point is most likely a boxed set; a high end box set of the three figures with all the accessories, very limited run, and we'll target it to not only Micronauts collectors but people who like to collect really cool, really rare almost "import-ish" style of figures. It's gonna have a very import feel to it, the way I see it.

ISO: So with places like Tower as a distributor out of the picture, you say this is going to be strictly an on-line release?

JM: Yes…almost 100% positive.

ISO: And when does your on-line store go live?

JM: Should be October 1st, but knowing us it'll be October 15th (laughs)

ISO: So when do you see a release date for the Micronauts?

JM: Well, one of the beauties of the on-line store is that we can put things up for pre-order, we wont charge peoples credit cards, but we can then gauge the level of interest. Sideshow (Collectibles) does a very similar thing; they put their products up for pre-order for a couple of months before they announce how many they're going to make. That's how they decide what the edition is going to be.

ISO: So the amount of pre-orders helps determine the run?

JM: Right. So if we get "X" amount of pre-orders we'll probably tack on 10-15% in addition, and that will be the run. The only problems come when the pre-orders are so low that they don't cover the initial cost of development and tooling, which on Micronauts probably isn't that high now that we're going back to the original Micronauts scale and we're not doing them at 6 ½-7"

SOTA storage room

ISO: So the final decision is to shrink the scale down…?

JM: Yes, yes…it has been decided that we are "Micro-sizing"…I think that they are going to be more fun, the cost is less, less shelf space…plus for the nostalgia fans of the older figures it ties them in better. It'll actually be kinda cool to see new Lobros standing next to old Lobros…yeah, I think for sure that's the way it's going.

ISO: So will they now be all 5mm compatible like the vintage line is?


early Baron Karza concept art (above) and Space Glider concept art
(right) by Randy Queen and Sandy Collora © SOTA Toys


JM: …I'm not saying "no", but the problem with that is that those holes are so big on those figures that it really takes away from our sculpt. At that time it didn't really take away cuz the sculpts were simplistic…cool designs but simplistic sculpts. Ours are so detail oriented that it may affect it…but again, I'm not saying "no".

ISO: Well, the new Takara Microman line relies on smaller 2.5mm holes as well as the 5mm hole for the back, do you think those smaller holes will work with the SOTA designs?

JM: I noticed that actually…yeah, the 2.5 wouldn't be a problem, and if the 5mm is just in the back, that's shouldn't be either. We will definitely make it a standard size so that different accessories from different lines will be compatible.

ISO: Yeah that's great, especially now that fans will finally get a 3 ¾" Baron Karza figure for the first time. So when you say to scale down the size you have to eliminate some detailing that's present in the larger resin cast figures you already produced, how much detail to you envision losing? Will Karza still possibly have the Andromeda accessories to help him transform into a centaur, will Lobros still have the crab body accessory?


JM: In the initial run, Lobros will still have the crab body, but I don't think Karza's coming with the centaur body for now, he's got so many different arm and accessories now, I think he's stocked for now. We'll see how the first one goes, then maybe we can do a special centaur version later on at some point.

ISO: But he will be designed now to have that feature and function for later?

JM: Oh yeah…they are all going to be built with the hopes that the line takes off and we can make more and make everything as interchangeable as possible.

ISO: Do you have a projected price point for this box set yet?

JM: Not yet, but it won't be too cheap because I know the run will be low and it will be targeted to collectors. So it will be really nice, it'll be a box set you can display that will have an open front flap…

ISO: Maybe some…Ken Kelly artwork possibly…?

JM:…that would be beautiful, wouldn't it? (laughs) Yeah, in a perfect world Ken would be the first choice to do the artwork. Bundle that with the comic book…and we did video tape all the development so we still want to include a DVD of that, that follows all the development of the line as well as an interview with Marty (Abrams of Mego), stuff like that. A "history of the Micronauts" DVD, if you will.


above: the SOTA Toys resin casting area, and at left (from l-r) some of the SOTA creative team: Jed Haigh ( Operations Manager ), Adam Van Wickler ( Art Dept Supervisor ), Rene Aldrete ( Sculptor ), Alexi Bustamante ( Head Sculptor)

continue to part 2