Time to go AWOK with Spero Studios Toys!
A prime example of the current boon for action figure collectors is the Animal Warriors of the Kingdom (AWOK) line from Spero Studios. Individually the figures are taller than four inches, but for reference the scale is the same as the modern 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe series from 2007 (4-inch, 1:18 scale). Spero recently delivered the promised rewards of their initial Kickstarter Campaign.
The figures are excellent. They have sharp detailed molds and paint deco to go with 18 points of articulation. Even better, Spero produced the figures with a carefully monitored quality long abandoned by the giants twenty years ago. The line features both basic figures and a deluxe line of significantly larger warriors.
For those unfamiliar with the current going’s on in the action figure hobby, a renaissance of 4-inch (and a few 6-inch) figure lines have been crowdfunded and delivered to backers (And a couple are still floundering in the hell of Chinese toy development. Big Trouble in Little China taught us the Chinese have a lot of hells after all). The remarkable fact is each line is produced by individuals going their own way. Consider taking a concept from pencil to a 4-inch plastic statue using overseas manufacturing burdened with a language barrier. It’s a daunting accomplishment deserving of recognition and – quite often – your purchase.*
AWOK is the brainchild of Jason Bienvenu who has a comic to go along with the action figure line. His company, Spero Studios, sells both at their website. Bienvenu recently spent a little time providing some background on the line.
He credits “that ‘itch’ to be creating something” as the driving force for producing a new line of action figures. Like many reading this article, he had a “fascination with action figures since (he) held (his) first Stormtrooper.” As a graphic designer and illustrator, he “expressed (the desire to create) mainly through drawing and artwork, (and) then music.” Eventually coming “back around to drawing and comics.” As he created the characters for the comics, he decided “I should design these to make cool toys.”
Bienvenu’s initial experience in manufacturing hasn’t diminished his desire to go forward with AWOK. (He even has a “how to” guide available on his website). With his effervescent optimism, he said “going with your gut instinct is key, but don’t lie to yourself, go with what feels right” as the main take-away from the experience. More practically, he advised “sending physical painted samples is absolutely imperative. I let my last factory create the paint apps from Pantone colors I assigned, but they had a much older book that didn’t match the colors I sent. The second order was created using all of the paint samples I personally painted and sent over and they look amazing!”
The future for AWOK seems bright. Spero will be attending conventions later in 2020 to introduce new customers to the line. The first is JoeFest in June followed by Dallas ToyFair in October. For those not able to attend these events, the figures and comics are currently available on their website. Preorders for a line of deluxe figures are also available. A detailed review of the figures I bought along with more information regarding the future of AWOK will follow later. For now, rest assured that Spero has product in-hand and delivers as quickly as possible.
As always thanks for taking your time to read The Splintering. Your comments and sharing of any article is sincerely appreciated.
*Disclosure: The author of this post is a supporter of the AWOK campaign on Kickstarter.