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    Q&A with Palisades President, Michael Horn

    In August of 2002, Palisades Toys began releasing G.I.Joe Mini-Busts, Statues, and other licensed merchandise.

    Michael Horn, president of Palisades, was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us and clear up some rumors.

    For more information on Palisades and their G.I.Joe merchandise, check out the following:

    Q: What led you to G.I.Joe as a possible line for your company? Do you collect G.I.Joes?

    Credit where credit is due, our Executive Vice President, Michael Renegar is a big Joe collector and the entire project was his brainchild. He got the idea and floated it out in one of our licensing roundtable meetings (we meet every couple of months with the whole staff and throw out licensing ideas, then chase the best ones), where it was met with considerable enthusiasm. The idea made perfect sense and really fit the Palisades M.O., which is essentially, to find licenses with diversity and a broad character base, and build highly detailed, authentic product around them.

    I have just a few Joes, myself. I have resisted the temptation to join the Dark Side.

    Q: What G.I.Joe bust or statue are you most proud of producing?

    There are a couple. First, would be the pairing of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow Mini Busts. These were the first and the anticipation from the market, from within the company, from Hasbro, was really strong. Plus, it was new ground for us, being a Toy Company holding a license from a Toy Company.

    My favorite piece of the line, aesthetically, is the Cobra Commander statue. I think it really captures the character perfectly and the detail is one of the best jobs we have done.

    Q: Did you have any reservations at all about bringing G.I.Joe into the bust and Statue market?

    None. From the moment the idea came out, I thought it was brilliant. Once Hasbro agreed, it was just a matter of time. Sure I had some concerns that Joe collectors might resist these items. Logic is, if you (Joe collector) has $50 to spend on Joe stuff, would you buy one of our Busts or would you get a pile of vintage Joes? The answer, as it turns out, is a bit of both. Of course, the design has to be stunning to convince you to spend your cash on us instead of the "core" products in your collection.

    Q: Several sites on line have suggested the line is ending. Is there any future for G.I.Joe busts and/or statues?

    Well, our license expires at the end of this year. We have discussed the option of continuing on, but nothing has been finalized yet. There certainly has been a slow down in the line, no doubt, so perhaps it is coming to its own conclusion.

    Q: What do you think is the biggest reason the line has slowed down to the point of cancellation?

    Again, I wouldn't necessarily characterize it as slowing to the point of cancellation. We only have 4 more months before the license expires and our normal development time is about 10 months.

    Every line slows eventually. That's just part of the life cycle of product. When Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were introduced, we were branded "hot" by the Joe community as well as the general toy collecting community. You can't stay "Hot" forever. And we lasted nearly three years with that tag.

    Does that mean no more Joes from Palisades? Not sure yet. There are certainly more that we would like to do. If we do end up extending the license, then it will be because we have more products that we believe we can sell.

    Q: Will there be any other G.I.Joe related products from Palisades in the future?

    We have an active license for Car Accessories. So far we have produced Static Clings and Car Flags, although our license does permit other car accessories. We have some other in idea form, but nothing in active development. There are certainly some more Statues and Mini Busts that we would like to add, but that really depends on whether we continue with a renewed license.

    Q: When starting this line and choosing Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, did you think that they sold as well as you expected or less than expected?

    Significantly better than expected. We had just come off of doing some Anime and Video Game busts and our Alien and Predator lines hadn't really gotten started yet. Response and orders to those first pieces was much heavier than we anticipated.

    Q: Although sells have declined is there any way for the G.I.Joe bust/statue line to stay alive through Palisades?

    I hope so. Really, there are just a couple of basic factors to consider. First, is there enough demand to produce more items? Sure, we can make some great stuff and they can look like they belong in museums, but ultimately, we have to sell enough to warrant the production. The second is between Palisades and Hasbro if we renew the licensing agreement.

    Q: What is the status on the Palisades DF exclusive busts?

    Dynamic has supplied a couple of concepts but they have not been approved by either Palisades or Hasbro. Time is definitely running out to make this happen, but we are hopeful that we can pull it off.

    Q: If you could do one other G.I.Joe bust/statue what would it be?

    We get asked for Shipwreck probably the most. Maybe a Zartan Mini Bust since he was only in Statue form. How about Pimp Daddy Destro?

    Interview by: Curtis Letson

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