Four Horsemen Studios is a group of four action figure sculptors who formerly worked for McFarlane Toys, and whose work has included the new 2002 line of Masters of the Universe toys and the current DC Universe Classics and Masters of the Universe Classics lines.
The Four Horsemen are:
- Chris Dahlberg
- Eric Mayse
- Eric Treadaway
- Jim Preziosi
The origins of Four Horsemen Toy Design Studios can be traced back to the four partner's days of working together in the trenches of McFarlane Toys. Eric Treadaway, Jim Preziosi, H. Eric 'Cornboy' Mayse, and Chris Dahlberg discovered early on that their various abilities worked well together, and they tried to make sure that each new project that came their way became a collaborative effort between them. They went on to create such McFarlane classics as Cy-Gor, Cy-Gor 2, The Crow, Mandarin Spawn, Chucky, Manga Spawn, Leatherface, Manga Freak, The Flukeman, The Monsters Playsets, and three different lines of Kiss action figures just to name a few.
After working together at McFarlane Toys for a few years, they realized that the toys that they were having to design and create were moving in a somewhat different direction than they had anticipated. While they understood that there was definitely a market for more posed, statuesque figures, the four wanted to continue to create toys that displayed the detail and dynamic sculpting that they had become known for, while still containing a certain level of 'playability'. They saw no reason why the action features and articulation of a figure had to be sacrificed in order for it to still remain a cool collectable item. It was during this time that one of them jokingly said that they'd 'eventually ride off like four horsemen into the sunset' to start their own toy design company.
Even though they were joking around at the time, the joke soon became reality when an opportunity arose in the form of a friend with major connections within the toy industry. Through various discussions, the four learned that the largest toy company in the world, Mattel, had been considering the possibility of bringing in an outside design group to help in the re-design and re-vamping of some of their core and new brands. The quartet eventually set up a meeting with Mattel and boarded a jet for L.A. Upon arrival at the Mattel design offices, the four were a little surprised at the loose, easygoing nature of the group that they met with at Mattel. While they'd expected to meet with a bunch of stuffy 'suit and tie' types, that couldn't have been further from the truth. While the Mattel guys were definitely professional and knowledgeable about their craft, they were much more 'down-to-earth' and approachable than the four had anticipated.
Throughout the discussion, Mattel and the quartet seemed to be on the same page with everything that was discussed. Even when the idea of re-launching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was thrown out. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Soon after, the newly dubbed 'Four Horsemen' had signed an exclusive agreement with Mattel and began work on the He-Man and Skeletor action figure prototypes. Since then, the Four Horsemen Toy Design Studio has not only helped in Mattel's successful re-design and re-launch of their He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line, but they've also done various deluxe figures for Mattel's Harry Potter action figure line, a line of high-end cold-cast collectable Harry Potter statues, a villain for the Max Steel action figure line - the Bio-Constrictor, and a couple of Micro-Hot Wheels playsets that are currently in limbo as to whether they're actually going to be produced or not.
One of the group's greatest achievements to date is the thrill of seeing their re-designs of Mattel's classic Masters of the Universe figures brought to life, not only in 3-D toy form, but also in the new cartoon and comic book, as well as upcoming video games and other properties.
Currently they are in charge of sculpts for a majority of the DC Superheroes line as well as the upcoming DC Universe Classics.