Plunderlings is a new and exciting franchise that started off by a self-made team on Kickstarter that soon took the toy community by storm. I’ve been intrigued by the goblin-looking characters ever since the toy news YouTube channel, The Fwoosh, showcased some of their characters.
I think the biggest appeal to me is the fact that these little characters look so devious and mischievous. In South Africa, we have a term that encapsulates these gremlins perfectly. The Afrikaans term is, “Skelm,” which means sly or sneaky or a schemer, and is exactly what these characters are.
The Kickstarter campaign has blown its goals out of the water and there are many eager collectors who are eager to get their hands on the little devils, so I decided to bring this cool-looking franchise to light for South African collectors as I can imagine there would be a huge appeal to them.
What Comes With A Plunderling?
The Plunderlings come in different forms. One that has really stood out to me was the ‘Plunderlings Berserker Gobbler.” He’s green, mean and is planned to come with tattered ears, three heads, two pairs of hands, harness, Viking helmet, two hand axes and a conch shell horn. He’s basically a green Viking goblin! What’s not to love? This is just one of their varied characters that are lined up and the characters themselves look really good.
I could sit here and talk about what Plunderlings are and why they appeal to me for ages due to the fact that there were so many characters showcased, and they all look amazing. There are pirates, a witch-looking character, a berserker and even translucent underwater characters. The list is insane. So, instead of geeking out about them, I decided to convince a member of the Plunderlings team to let me interrogate them…this is what happened…
After washing up on a tropical island in the middle of what I assume was the Caribbean and being held hostage by a group of Plunderlings who poked me with sticks and promptly took me to their creators, I managed to make friends with them and they were kind enough to let me ask some questions before they threw me on a raft and set me on my way.
Q: Please introduce yourself and explain what you do for the Plunderlings Team?
A: I am Ricky Gluski, and I work for a VFX/Animation studio called Lone Coconut in the Dominican Republic.
Q: How did the team get together for this project? And, what was the conception phase like?
A: So, it started off as an internal studio project with Andres Rodriguez and we started off making concept art and rough models with the team, but as it started to evolve we started recruiting more people with action figure experience.
Jason Bienveau from Spero Toys was one of the first people who helped us; he was extremely supportive and told us everything we needed to know to get started. Through him, we connected with Sebastian Dominguez, a fantastic sculptor from Argentina and we spent about six months working on the sculpt and its articulations.
Q: What were some of the challenges that you faced while bringing these figures to life?
A: As Seba can attest, it was very difficult over those six months. It was such a fine balance I was looking for between cute and scary, mischievous and dangerous. I really wanted something that would appeal to adult collectors as well as children.
Also, there was a delicate balance of keeping the figure super-articulated but not having to lose its design and unity.
Q: Toy News Legend, The Fwoosh, spoke about your project. Can you talk about the reaction from the team and did Fwoosh’s mention spur your Kickstarter campaign a bit? I noticed you designed a character with the name Fwush after his mention…
A: Robo from the Fwoosh really made this project happen. Before it was a passion project that we were hoping would eventually garner interest. But when we were unexpectedly featured on Fwoosh Weekly it gave us the beginning of a fan base and seeing people as excited as we were really legitimized our effort and kicked our butt into gear to make it happen. We will forever be grateful for the platform he lent us and that’s why we made a homage to the Fwoosh with Fwush.
Q: Talking about Kickstarter, that Kickstarter video was very well done but I’m curious how you made that. What was the creative process?
A: Like I mentioned earlier, I work at a VFX/Animation company, so I had access to some very talented animators, Ramon Monsanto and Argenis Santos in particular. It was a lot of fun working to put it together.
Q: Making action figures is a dream of mine and I am jealous of your team. What are some of the pros and cons to making action figures?
A: It can be really expensive. To get to this point, it has taken us almost a year, and the amount of hours spent on drawings, modelling and designing have been extensive. We even bought a 3D Printer (Formlabs Form 2) and had it shipped to the Dominican Republic to print and test prototypes.
And, when you get to the production stages, the moulds can cost more than a new car, so unless you are sure you can sell in large quantities, it becomes impossible to make them cost-effective.
Q: What can we expect from the future of Plunderlings and would you like to see these characters going further than action figures? Like a cartoon series or even video games or buildable sets similar to Lego or Mega Blocks?
A: We are definitely interested in exploring new routes with this IP, I think it’s so fun and there is so much trouble these creatures can get themselves into. But we are holding off on all plans until we deliver to our backers.
Q: Where can we get our hands on these things?
Q: I might be a bit over zealous but would there ever be a Groovy Plunderling made based off me? (hint hint, wink, wink)
A: As for names, let’s see how many stretch goals we hit 😛
Q: Which is your personal favourite character?
A: I personally have a soft spot for Captain Teel; I just really like that colour.
Q: Thank you for your time, please provide links to all your social media accounts so readers can have a gander.
A: Thank you.
Our social media accounts are:
So, there you have it; everything there is to know about the devious Plunderlings! Hopefully, these figures invade South African Toy Collector shelves too! Arrrgh!