Orders for a 6in tall Bernie Sanders action figure – complete with signature slouch, open mouth and accusatory pointed finger – were flooding in from fans on Kickstarter, months ahead of the product's delivery date in July. Brooklyn-based FCTRY created a prototype for the plastic version of the Vermont senator and started a campaign with a goal of raising $15,000 (£10,640) to fund production. Within 24 hours FCTRY had raised about $40,000 from fans snapping up various deals, including a sold-out $20 offer for a single Bernie Sanders action figure called The Early Bern Special #1.
The company has also sold 20,000 Hillary Clinton action figures depicting the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential hopeful in a sky-blue trouser suit. Back in 2008, the company sold 200,000 Barack Obama action figures, said FCTRY chief executive Jason Feinberg. The Obama figure was the start of something special, Feinberg said.
"It's sort of like the legacy of what got this company started. I started initially by making historical characters, people like Einstein, Freud and Picasso," Feinberg explained. "But then the first break-out product that I had that let me quit my day job was an Obama action figure in 2008. Since the Obama election, I've sort of been waiting around for the next wave of Democratic candidates to come along."
Feinberg said buying the product also helps the presidential hopefuls. "If you buy one of our action figures, whether it's Hillary or now Bernie, we'll donate $1 from that sale online to their actual campaign," Feinberg said. "The idea is to have a way where regular people can sort of easily participate in campaign donations through a small business."
A prototype of the figure was created by Seattle pop-artist Mike Leavitt and will be mass produced overseas, Feinberg said. The figures are expected to be ready in July, the same month as the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when Clinton and Sanders face off as the party chooses its nominee for US president and vice president for the November national election.
Among the pre-order deals available online is The Full Ticket, which includes a single Bernie Sanders action figure plus a single Hillary Clinton action figure. "We're just sayin. Crazier things have happened," the Kickstarter site notes.