Second Wave

The second wave of dolls were rumored to exist as far back as the days of Stormy’s Avalon site, but it wasn’t until years later that Chris tracked down a 1996 Hasbro Toy Fair catalog to see if there really was any truth to the rumors. It turns out that prior to the show’s cancellation, Kenner/Hasbro was working on a second wave of toys based on the S2 designs.

JewelRiders-ToyFair1996Catalog

Some particular memories from Chris:

I remember buying the Toy Fair catalog off of Ebay without knowing precisely what was inside. When it finally arrived I was practically shaking as I opened it up. There were many toy memories contained within those pages: Hasbro’s Batman line, Gargoyles, etc. But I flew past those on to the way to the “Girls” section. With bated breath I turned the pages, fearful of missing something, any hint of Jewel Riders. Well, there was no way to miss the beautiful three-page spread. After more than a decade of wondering, the fandom finally had visual proof of the prototypes.

JR Toy Fair 96 Combined WM small

JR Toy Fair 96 - 03 small WM

Year Two Jewel Riders Action Figures

Jewel Riders Archive: First off, we want to express our thanks for speaking with us again Greg! Firstly, can you tell us some general information about this unproduced wave?

Greg Autore Photo

Greg Autore

Greg Autore: The new basic priced figures were done in a bit of a rush. We needed them refreshed but season 2 had not yet started so we just had to think of those costumes as “a different gown in their current closet.” Also at that price point, it was hard to deviate much as they had to stay very simple. They were fun, but the real creativity was unleashed in the deluxe doll s were there was room to play.

JRA: Shown below are Preproduction samples for the Magic Armor dolls, the new basic line. Painted prototypes of these figures were shown in the Kenner Catalog (see catalog page image). This is a production pilot model. It was shot in all the right colors. It is painted. This product never shipped. Note: that some of the armor looks clear because it is color change plastic.

 

Magic Armor Gwen

GA: For the first year, we spent considerable time building the visual foundation of the characters, the world and line of product. Even though some things were different between the animation and the figures (like the visors on the helmets), it all had to tell a cohesive story. The hunt for the jewels from Merlin’s chest was the story arc for that first year and each story had to further the quest in some way.

Magic Armor Tamara

GA: Since the second season (episodes 13-26) were not yet written and were rushed into production, this was where I had the most fun. Instead of just translating the characters and creating new fashions, I was free to create many new powers and adventures for the show. While I had input on many of the first episodes, I was now creating the basic storylines for entire episodes. Two of those were the mermaid episode and the Zebracorn episode.

Magic Armor Fallon

GA: Now we could break out and expand the world of Avalon in different ways. We used the mystery of the Wild Magic Jewels as the starting point. Since they were wild… we could create wild adventures and wild new looks.

The wild jewels would obviously enhance the magic of the current stones. The real trick was to make sure that new power fit the personality of the jewel and the character. Having the girls become mermaids was just good fantasy fun. Tamara’s bubbly personality and colors made her the perfect choice to get the mermaid tail even though all three had it in the episode.

Mermaid Tamara

GA: Flying was a natural magical ability and Gwen was a natural for flight. I could just see her and Sunstar flying together and laughing as they dipped in and out of the clouds.

Flying Gwen

GA: The mysterious qualities of Fallon and the moonstone begged for her to disappear just like the moon does. The easy part was coming up with the fun – the hard part was translating that fun into a fun toy. The engineers thought I was crazy when I suggested this, but they humored me as I pulled mechanisms from several older toys to pull this off. But they made it happen. It was not until the team saw the finished working sample that they “Aha!” moment happened and they realized I was not totally crazy…just slightly crazy. There have been a dozen or so “Greatest Toys that were never made” in my career so far. The disappearing Fallon was one I would put on my list.

Invisible Fallon

Shadowsong & the Power Jewels

JRA: The Shadowsong production sample is molded in the clear plastic (like all the Jewel Riders horses) but the sample is not painted.

GA:  The Power Jewels were to be released in 1996 by Kenner but did not ship as the doll sales were not high enough – (due to the show constantly changing time slots and not notifying media when it would be on). Note the picture showing the page from the Kenner Girls Toy Fair 1996 catalog. These are production pilot samples. The colors and construction are correct to how they would be shipped. These are child-sized jewels with lights that activate by pushing the hidden button on top. The sample still works. They are approximately 3” in diameter.

 

 


Further Questions about the Second Wave

Jewel Riders Archive: If the second wave of toys had been shipped out, were the first wave going to still be produced? Or would they have stopped being produced when is the second wave hit the stores?

Greg Autore: The second wave would have been folded into the first wave. Most likely, Marketing would have looked at the sell-through rates of each character then dropped out the ones that were not moving as well. For instance, the 3 news ones for wave 2 Gwen, Fallon and Tamara would most likely have replaced Drake, Lady Kale and possible sun power Gwen depending upon the number of units in that master carton.

JRA: Was there any direction to the retailers to pull the first wave in anticipation of the second? Or we’re retailers at the last minute asked to keep the first wave longer than expected?

GA: First, Wave 2 never made it to a point to do that as it only went as far as first shots and a few paint masters. Mattel would typically not ask retailers to remove product from the shelf. If they wanted it to move off the shelf quicker, they would have ran a promotion where the figures were half-priced or a BOGO 50 (buy one, get one for 50% off). If they had too much stock from the first year in their warehouses, it would have been sold off to a liquidation company like Odd-Lots for half the normal price. If there were just a few dozen cases, they would be sold on in the company store for deep discounts.

JRA: Do you have any prototypes or artwork of what the boxes would have looked like?

GA: While I was in Design at that time, Marketing was responsible for the new packaging. I was in on the initial packaging direction but chances are it would have stayed the same.

JRA: Would the packaging have changed? Would you have kept them still in the blister packaging versus boxes?

GA: Blisters work better for action figures and dolls so they are clearly visible. This is since much of the purchase is triggered on the look.

JRA: And generally why did you put the unicorns in boxes instead of blister packages?

GA: The real reason the horses were in boxes was to save on cost. Window boxes are expensive and it would have required making a bigger box size to display them properly which would also have cost more money to ship from China. However, they sure would have looked glorious if they were in a window box!