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SERIES 1

Andy Carroll

Liverpool

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 Creative Toys Company (CTC) followed up the success of the Danish national team 2012 series of SoccerStarz by releasing an extension of Series 1, which consisted of 32 figures from 4 of the biggest teams in the English Premier League.

 

 This series of SoccerStarz would feature 8 players from the following 4 clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and of course Manchester United. The figures were released as single blind sachets and also as single blister packs. The blind sachets were released on Thursday 9th August 2012, with the blister packs following 1 week later on the 16th August.

 

 The blister packs had the figures on Green base only and you could of course see which figure you were purchasing, whereas the blind sachets were released on 7 different base colours, however you could not tell which figure was inside each pack. The collector cards were only issued inside the blister packs.

 

 The 7 base colours, along with their rarity are listed below:

  • Green -  28.00%

  • Red -     22.00%

  • Blue -    17.00%

  • White -  15.00%

  • Silver -  12.00%

  • Gold -      5.00%

  • Black -     1.00%

 

 So as you can see from that table, the Black bases were going to be incredibly rare and much sought after by collectors. Even if CTC produced 10,000 of each SoccerStarz, it would mean only 100 Black bases would be around!

 

 This release was much anticipated by collectors all over the world and CTC did a fantastic job of building up the hype behind these figures, using social media networks to interact with collectors and release images of how the figures were progressing.

 

 Of course any series which is released prior to a season starting, while the transfer window remains open, is fraught with danger and the potential for a player to leave for another club before the figure is released is quite high, especially in these days of player power. So would any of the players released move clubs prior or just after the figures were released, well that is just something they had to make an educated guess on.

 

 Robin Van Persie was a huge target for the majority of clubs all over Europe, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Juventus all expressing a keen interest in the Dutch forward. Van Persie was still an Arsenal player when this series was released; however would he be so when the 2012/13 season started?

 

 The sculpts themselves are all superbly detailed, none more so than the Alex Song for Arsenal, his hair style is expertly replicated, in fact the same can be said for his Gunners team mate, Bacary Sagna, you have to love the colourful dreadlocks.  The figure of upcoming star Jack Wilshire was well received by collectors and those in Poland will have been pleased to see Wojciech Szczesny produced for the very first time. Completing the line up for Arsenal were Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta and Theo Walcott.

 

 The stand out sculpt in the Chelsea team for me is that of powerful Ghana international Michael Essien, the sculptor really captured the likeness of the player. The figure of Spaniard Juan Mata is equally as impressive and a hot favourite amongst collectors. Petr Cech was of course sculpted wearing his now trademark protective headgear. Long serving English trio of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and club captain John Terry were all obvious choices for inclusion. The Terry SoccerStarz is the only figure from this series which varies body pose wise from the Master Model. Despite his poor form Fernando Torres did enough to warrant inclusion in series 2, ironic perhaps that the sculptor chose to put him in the ‘goal celebration’ pose!

 

 Daniel Sturridge started the 2011/12 season really well for Chelsea and under new manager Andres Villa Boas; he kept Ivorian Didier Drogba out of the team. It was this early impressive from that made them select Sturridge ahead of Drogba for series 2, although this was a very close call. The master model image of Drogba was placed on the official SoccerStarz website and on their social media pages too, leading some collectors to wonder whether he was indeed going to be released in series 2. Drogba left Chelsea in the summer to seek a fortune playing for Shanghai Shenhua with team mate Anelka; reportedly Drogba would earn around £200,000 a week! As Drogba no longer played for Chelsea SoccerStarz could not release the Drogba figure as part of series 2, however they did not rule out the possibility of producing a Chelsea Champions League Winners pack.

 

 Liverpool has always had a very strong collectors following, so any figure released for this famous club was always going to do well. My personal favourite from this set of 8 is of course Luis Suarez, the sculpt is superb and even captures the cheekiness of the Uruguayan. Speaking to sellers of SoccerStarz, it was Suarez who was out selling the rest of the figures, including the likes of Wayne Rooney! Andy Carroll may prove to be surplus to Brendan Rodgers plans but he has a home here in series 2, complete with his trademark ponytail. Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam completed the line up.

 

 Manchester United has such a vast squad that it must have been a very tough task to select just 8 for this release. Ryan Giggs was of course always going to be selected, how could he not be? The same could also be said for Wayne Rooney. Nani and Ashley Young made up the attacking element of this series.  Nemanja Vidic was included due to his immense popularity at the club, despite the fact he spent most of the 2011/12 season on the injury list. Club captain Patrice Evra was another obvious choice, as was talisman Rio Ferdinand. I have to say the sculpt of Rio is as good a sculpt as you are ever going to see, it was one of the first images of these SoccerStarz I saw and upon seeing it I knew that Creative Toys Company had spared no expense when producing these figures. The final player in the united line up is keeper David De Gea. This figure is an excellent sculpt indeed and among the finest of those produced in this series, the work on his facial hair is particularly impressive.

 

 Each figure in blister pack came accompanied by a collector card and series information file, with the rrp being £2.99. The blind sachets retailed at £1.99 but were not issued with collector cards. CTC released 2 different versions of the blind sachet, 1 sachet would contain SoccerStarz from Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, the other sachet would feature only Manchester United SoccerStarz and the sachet was a generic version for Manchester United. Speaking to the re-sellers it appears many collectors opted to purchase full team or series sets, very few collectors purchased the odd one or two from this series. Early indications were that Suarez would sell out first, would this prove to be the case, only time would tell.

 

This was a superb series of figures and a real show of intent from the company and left collectors waiting to see who would be in the next series!

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool

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Charlie Adam

Liverpool

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Stewart Downing

Liverpool

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Jamie Carragher

Liverpool

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Glenn Johnson

Liverpool

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Pepe Reina

Liverpool

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Luis Suarez

Liverpool

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Petr Cech

Chelsea

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 Daniel Sturridge

Chelsea

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 John Terry

Chelsea

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 Michael Essien

Chelsea

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 Frank Lampard

Chelsea

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 Juan Mata

Chelsea

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 Fernando Torres

Chelsea

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 Ashley Cole

Chelsea

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 Wojciech Szczesny

Arsenal

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 Theo Walcott

Arsenal

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 Bacary Sagna

Arsenal

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 Thomas Vermaelen

Arsenal

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 Jack Wilshire

Arsenal

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Mikel Arteta

Arsenal

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 Alex Song

Arsenal

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 Robin Van Persie

Arsenal

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 David De Gea

Manchester United

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 Ashley Young

Manchester United

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 Patrice Evra

Manchester United

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 Rio Ferdinand

Manchester United

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 Nemanja Vidic

Manchester United

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 Ryan Giggs

Manchester United

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 Nani

Manchester United

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 Wayne Rooney

Manchester United

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