Mörk Borg Articulated Action Figure: An Interview With Justin Sirois (Severed Toys)

Mörk Borg, the award-winning TTRPG by Johan Nohr and Pelle Nilsson, is getting an action figure with an exclusive zine. Coming to Kickstarter in 2024, this project is a collaboration between Justin Sirois of Severed Toys and the Mörk Borg creators. Because of my love for action figures and Mörk Borg, I was eager to learn more about this from Justin. We discuss the figure’s scale, accessories, manufacturing plans, crowdfunding plans, the zine that will come with the figure, and more. Check out the Kickstarter.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Justin, you announced that you’re working with Johan Nohr and Pelle Nilsson on a Mörk Borg action figure and zine. How did this come about?
JUSTIN SIROIS (JUSTIN)
: Our first action figure release was going to be Ax-Wielder Jon by Nick Pitarra, but we’re going to wait until the street release of that comic to launch the campaign for it. We’re already in the prototype phase with Ax-Wielder and debuted him at New York Comic Con in October. That was wild. The reception of the prototype, even from toy collectors, was great. Getting to that point on Ax-Wielder gave me the knowledge/confidence to approach Johan and Pelle about creating a figure with them. I hung out with Johan a bit at Gen Con, and we talked about it some and got more excited. I also wouldn’t have proceeded with these projects unless we had the right sculptor(s) and manufacturing representative, so there was a lot of research and development leading up to asking Stockholm Kartell. It’s all about having the right team for the specific project and having the patience to do it right.

EGG: For the zine, is it by Pelle and Johan? What content can gamers expect from this zine?
JUSTIN
: Yes, Pelle and Johan are creating the zine, but other than trying to make it specifically for the figure, I have few details. Giving those two as much artistic freedom feels great. Being indie means we have the flexibility to allow the artists and writers to do what they want and that’s unusual, especially in the action figure market. In the end, our goal is to create something unlike anything on out there—something that both honors the source material, but also surprises.

EGG: The zine will exclusively come with the figure. Will the zine be in the packaging with the figure (like when you get an action figure that includes a comic book like classic He-Man)?
JUSTIN
: Yup, that’s what we’re doing, but our plan is to have the back of the packaging removable so you do not destroy the package. This way you can pack it all back up as it came. With the experience I have with Severed Books, we hope to add some printing upgrades to the zine as well—maybe foil and/or debasement, but we have to verify that with the factories.

Mork Borg Action Figure Accessories.png

Accessories shared on 2024-02-24​

EGG: For the figure, let’s talk about what you’re creating. Is this a standalone action figure or is this going to be the first in a Mörk Borg action figure line?
JUSTIN
: We’ll have to see what the initial reception is like. If we smash the Kickstarter then I can imagine doing more figures with Mörk Borg. To be clear, this is a 7 inch, fully articulated figure with weapons and, hopefully, weapon pack add-ons. Our line will be expensive to produce so we can’t just jump into creating six unique figures for the core class. But yeah, I’m hoping to make more and maybe, if Stockholm Kartell is cool with it, a Cy_Borg figure could be a possibility.

EGG: A Cy_Borg figure would rock! Who is sculpting the figure?
JUSTIN
: This amazing dude Dasha. Nick Pitarra found him and Dasha did Ax-Wielder Jon and a few other sculpts on specs to see what he thought. We were blown away with how he naturally took someone else’s style and interpreted it to 3D. That’s a key piece of this puzzle for us—the figure has to honor the character’s original art and creators. It has to look and feel right, but also elevate the original just enough to make something fresh while respecting the original artwork.

EGG: What scale/how tall is this figure? How many points of articulation are you planning?
JUSTIN
: Seven inches tall. I love the old Hellboy Mezco line from the 2000s and I’m aiming for that quality and feel. Ten [points of articulation]. You could compare this to the Four Horsemen line of figures.

Mörk Borg Digital Sculpt.jpg

Initial digital render of the Mörk Borg action figure​

EGG: That’ll look good with most figures created by McFarlane Toys. Let’s talk about the joints for your figure. Revoltech created skeletons based on Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts that use in-scale (read as: small) joints. They look great, but I keep mine in its box for fear of breaking those joints. Storm Collectibles’ Golden Axe skeletons have realistic proportions much like Revoltech’s work, but, again, the joints appear to be delicate. Four Horsemen’s Mythic Legions line overcame this challenge by crafting literally big boned characters. The digital sculpt of the Mörk Borg figure appears to lean into the more realistic bone structure of Revoltech and Storm Collectible’s work. What size and types of joints are you planning for this?
JUSTIN
: This will be something we work directly with the engineers and factory with. We obviously want to honor the source material (cover art) as best we can, but function over form wins. I love the Four Horsemen line—those guys are amazing. We did redesign the figure to make the limbs more robust and will have pics of that new version soon. [Updated images shared below.]

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Updated digital renders provided 2024-01-10​

EGG: You mention accessories, what did you have in mind?
JUSTIN
: The plan now is the figure will come with a sword and shield like the cover art and then also a rad flail. We have stretch goals for additional weapons and if they all unlock, there will be a large weapons pack (box) with all the core weapons from the source book. So three weapons with the figure and seven in the pack for 10 total weapons.

EGG: Bring on the stretch goals! Will this figure come with swapable heads? Whether it does or not, will the head be built with a ball joint to allow for head swaps from other figure lines?
JUSTIN
: Johan does want the head to be removable, but we have to talk more with the factory. They are evaluating the STLs now.

EGG: Specialty action figures such as this one tend to have three numbers that shock those that are new to action figure collecting: 1) cost per figure, 2) the minimum number of figures a factory requires before they’ll produce a run of the figures, and 3) the length of time it takes to create and deliver a figure. Let’s talk about those over these three questions. Do you have a rough idea of the cost per figure yet?
JUSTIN
: We do, but I’m not going to talk about that here. Our minimum order quantity is 3,000 and we’re confident that we can sell that many and more. I’m used to long production times as well, dealing with custom dice and other injection molding projects. I think our ETA will be 18 months from the end of the Kickstarter to delivery.

Ax-Wielder Jon Figure.png

EGG: You are taking this to crowdfunding. Some of the successes that action figures have seen in crowdfunding action figure lines include:
As to solo action figure campaigns, let me point out:
That is just a sampling of the crowdfunding campaigns that have brought toys to their fans. With these in mind, do you have a rough target for how much you’ll need to raise in order to make this dream a reality?
JUSTIN
: Yes, we’re aiming for around $80k. With the Mörk Borg audience behind us, I think the community of players, GMs, and third party creators will want this because it’s first party. Johan and Pelle are involved with every step from figure design, packaging design, zine creation, and more. Although a lot of the examples you mentioned are awesome, many of them just don’t have the established fanbase around the IP, right? Originally, I was going to create a figure for Sickest Witch, but after researching Kickstarter and the industry, I knew the fanbase wasn’t there to support it. I feel like other creators sometimes get super excited about this own IP and over-project what the demand is. Making a mistake like that with an action figure is very risky. I’m not totally ruling out a Sickest Witch figure, but both the company and the IP need to be well-supported to take a larger risk like that. This is also way we pushed Ax-Wielder Jon out to fall 2024. We want as much awareness around the IP as possible, in comic shops and online, before we attempt to market and make an action figure. With Nick Pitrarra, we have a superstar writer and artist who has created an unforgettable character and story—one with surprising depth and emotion. That’s the type of IP that deserves an action figure.

EGG: You’re planning a spring 2024 Kickstarter, correct? What’s your expected delivery of the figures to the backers?
JUSTIN
: Yes, spring 2024. I’m going to say 18 months to be safe, but we’re also not overcomplicating the project so I hope to deliver before the ETA. I like to have much of a campaign finished before launch.

Mörk Borg Cover.jpg

EGG: While tabletop RPGs and action figures are both geek categories, they don’t always appeal to the exact same audience. That’s to say, promoting this action figure exclusively to RPG fans may not get the word out about the project. With the probability of a high funding goal, getting toy fans onboard is critical. Do you have plans to promote the figures with toys sites like The Fwoosh, have reviews from the likes of Pixel Dan, or display the project at conventions like LegionsCon, Toylanta, Power-Con, or others?
JUSTIN
: Yes, part of our trip to New York Comic Con with Nick Pitarra was to scout out the toy collector market and gain awareness around Severed Toys. I have some industry friends that are also helping to get this news out.

EGG: Beyond bring Mörk Borg action figure and zine to Kickstarter, what else are you working on?
JUSTIN
: A lot, it feels like lol. The team from The Spine of Night delivered their Mörk Borg manuscript to me named Veilgrave. I’ve been illustrating that and hope to have the project on Kickstarter right after the action figure. I’m also writing a Cy_Borg Operating Manual for SIS/TR which has been really fun—that will have original material like a short scenario as well as new weapons and more. Sickest Witch, Hayride for Mörk Borg is at the printer and will be out really soon. Now that this is my full-time gig, I can dedicate all the time I have to making Severed Books and Severed Toys as good as it can be. I haven’t been this excited in a long time.

EGG: Justin, I’m looking forward to this project, which fans can preview here. Where can fans learn more about this project?
JUSTIN
: Sign up for alerts at Severed Toys. We’ll be email our list with production pics and special offers. Also, Severed Books is where you can get all our RPG loot.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 

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