The Answer is Out There… the Matrix figures
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
In 2000, a small company named N2 Toys released figures from the Matrix trilogy in various sizes, including a 1/6th scale. “N2Toys” was originally founded as “Warner Brothers Toys” by one of the Kenner Executives. Most of the staff had worked at Kenner at one time also. At the time, it has a loose association with Warner Brothers’ motion picture studio although it was never owned by them. Ultimately, the association ended as all the key new film released were licensed to larger toy companies so WB Toys could never generate the sales it needed to survive in that capacity. As Warner Brother Toys and later N2Toys did not have soft goods designers/engineers on staff, I was hired to do many of their fabric design projects.
N2Toys Matrix Neo
The Matrix was one of the first 1/6th action figure line they produced entirely by themselves. One of the fun parts for me on this line was getting input on the sculpting of the new bodies they were going to tool. They had top-notch sculptors on staff. One ran the sculpting department at Kenner for many years. The other had been a sculptor for hire for many companies, including Marx. I brought in many figures from my collection to recommend some of the best construction of different parts of the figures. From my time growing up and playing with 1/6th scale action figures, I knew that the Marx hands-on Johnny West and the Nobel Knights was the best at holding parts. But when it was not holding anything, it did look a bit odd. The first hands-on Stoney Smith and Daniel Boone had a more open and relaxed hand but it would not hold anything. So, they aimed for a balance between those two types.
I was also hoping for the body to look nicer when it was not fully dressed. The direction the company chose was more realistic but without overly-bulky muscles. I like the way they gave full-sized shoulders and indented them a bit to make sure they still functioned well. The one problem the bodies have it they are a little loose. The tooling should have been “tuned-in” a bit more to make sure the parts held their positions similar to the Classic Collection GI Joe bodies do.
While the figures were getting sculpted, I was asked to create the costumes using bodies made by Diamond Comics for Lobo and a female figure (Gen 10?.) If memory serves correctly, the factory in China which made those figures would also be making the new bodies so they would be similar. It is always funny to see the costumes for one figure with a different character’s head.
Since the costume is all black and the photos are not great, it is hard to see the heavy detail on these, but the costumes looked great. Neo had mostly matte black colors.
N2Toys Matrix Trinity
The basic Trinity costume was just as detailed as the black Neo costume. One of the main differences was the shiny black look created by using polyurethane coated polyester interlock. Since the weapons also needed to be sculpted and tooled, the weapons on the models and shown at New York Toy Fair all came from my collection from various toys.
N2Toys Matrix Neo and Trinity 2pack
There was also a special edition sold at Musicland, which had both of these figures in one box.
N2Toys Matrix Martial Arts Neo package
Later, they had me add two additional figures. This first one showed the same characters but in their Karate Gee training uniforms. Neo wore a white version in the film, which had black trim.
N2Toys Matrix Martial Arts Morpheus package
The bodies were the same for both figures so they could use the same tooling but in different body colors and heads. The patterns were the same between both figures – they just used different colors of satin.
N2Toys Matrix Real World Neo
The strangest figures in this set were the “Real World” figures which showed them in their run-down, ripped clothing. This look was very tricky to get the look with the holes. Note that both this and the Trinity version had different heads that showed the cyber attachment of the backs of the neck.
N2Toys Matrix Real World Trinity
It was too bad they never asked for a basic Morpheus – that would have been a fun character to create the clothing for.
What is your favorite Warner Brothers movie Action figure?