The perils of design by committee.
You are an excellent illustrator and I think you could be onto something bigger than three characters. There is no reason that you cannot imagine your designs at retail -- in which case, the name will be critical. There is no inherent virtue in thinking small, indie, or edgy. I get that it is "just a hobby," and you have a demanding dayjob -- and that is why you delegate, outsource, etc.
Obviously you can and will do whatever you want. I have looked beyond these three sculpts, and I know that you are extremely talented as an illustrator.
Anyway, this is sincere advice, free to anyone with serious aspirations of designing a toyline.
1. Pick a retail-appropriate name.
2. If you are making "soldiers," then design (at least) two factions. Define who they are fighting. Is it piss vs shit? shit vs food? autoshit vs deceptishit? joeshit vs venomshit? The why is not as important -- only that there is a who. Don't show us soldier without defining the enemy.
3. Roll out 8+ figures/characters at once. The "collect them all" drive/desire is the most successful gimmick ever. A group of three will generate more interest when it is shown to be part of a larger intentional and defined collection. Lego does 16 characters at once. Moose does 40 or 50 at once. If nothing else, a pre-determined collection (a "set") shows that the designer is committed to the idea, and of equal importance, it gives the collector a defined goal.
4. The strength of your idea is to have two warring factions each given a visual cue as to their alignment by color. The tie, to Classic Green Army Men is in your favor. I would make one army that classic forest green and the other olive green, but who knows, one could be brown. The point is, when you start making each figure a different color, you will weaken the perceived allegiance, hindering the soldier/army aspect of the project.
5. Variant/chase/colorways/repaints/etc are found in addition to the defined set. I would offer the basic soldiers in packs of 3 and have a leader from each side also available in gold along with a distinct playset or display made for each faction. Other variants of original-collection figures could become available as event exclusives, store exclusives, website exclusives, contest exclusives, promos, giveaways, etc, etc, etc. The point here is that variants are not forced into the attainment of the primary collection, but they are available as distinct extras.
6. Write the backstory in one paragraph. Do this before a comic or any other peripheral material is created. (Look at the packaging for Army Ants or Food Fighters, or many other toylines.)
Anyway, I know that you are a talented designer. I just think with your kind of talent, plus a little more intentionality (and maybe long-term thinking) you could create something really exceptionally cool. That's it. I wish you the best with whatever route you take.
Edited by steverotters, 03 July 2015 - 11:14 AM.