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View Full Version : They stop making Transformers tomorrow. What do you do?


Clay
2014-01-20, 10:04 PM
I've thought about this from time to time in relation to other brands. The TF franchise owes a lot of its success to... its success. To clarify, I mean inertia. Anyone with a passing interest or a full blown obsession always has something consistently new to pique their interest and get them interacting with other fans. But how would you react if the Hasbro ceased the creation of new content/merchandise in the morning? Would you still collect the figures from the enormous backlog of existing product? Would you still watch the old shows from time to time? Or would you simply wander off after reading all there is to know?

A real example, and the contrast I think of first, is MASK. I can only imagine that there was one forum dedicated to MASK back in 1998 with a total of three posts to it, consisting of:

"Hey, remember MASK? It was pretty neat, eh?"
"Oh yeah, I enjoyed it greatly when I was a kid."
"Well, that's about it, then. I'll hit the lights on the way out"

In stark comparison, I think we're still here posting about the things after ten years or more because they still produce a lot of content, even if we like to complain about it. :)

Thoughts?

Warcry
2014-01-20, 10:21 PM
Really it could go one of two ways. Either the community creates it's own content -- fanfic, third-party toys, etc -- or it withers and dies as people run out of old official stuff to talk about.

Back when LOST was on I was a pretty hardcore fan of that. Loved the show, and lurked at the busiest set of forums a lot. While the show was airing, the place would get thousands of posts per day -- in fact, the boards would crash regularly from the high volume of posters whenever a new episode aired. Out of curiosity I loaded the site up a few months back, only to find tumbleweeds -- there'd only been a handful of new posts in the last year. Not a surprise, but a stark reminder of what happens when a community is built up only around official content.

But Transformers, I think, is a different beast. We already know that the community is adept at engineering and producing it's own toys, and I don't think the third-party stuff would stop if the official brand did -- if anything, it might pick up! And we also know, from the glut of fanfic that was produced in the 90s, that if the official fiction falls short of producing what the fans want the fans will step up and make their own.

Now, obviously the fandom would shrink over time as we all grew old and died, and no new fans were created to replace us. But I think the fandom would keep going because by now it has a great deal of it's own inertia, separate from Transformers as a brand. But as long as there was some interested fan-created content to consume I'd still remain a fan, and I'd like to think that'd be true for a lot of us.

Skyquake87
2014-01-20, 10:48 PM
I agree with what Mr Warcry said :) Even with official content a bevy of official content, fans are still producing their own stuff.

For myself, if Hasbro turned around and went "stuff this for a game of soldiers", I would survive. I regularly re-read the old Marvel Comics and must have read G2 so often to know if off by heart. Whilst I'm not much of a fan of the original cartoon, I do enjoy watching the odd old episode. Beast Wars I still get a kick out of (please please please for love of God wont someone put out a Region 2 DVD release of this) and I like the majority of the toys I've acquired. And I like the big dumb fighty guff of the films, desertnext to a major conurbation or not :P

I think my enthusiasm has levelled off somewhat over the last few years, but its still something I enjoy. A lot of that has to do with the fan community, to be honest. I've met some good people through this funny little hobby.

Notabot
2014-01-20, 10:50 PM
Start an online petition!

But seriously folks.

In a way, I think I might feel almost liberated if that were to happen. The inertia of my collection has gotten a bit out of hand to the point where it's almost a chore more than a fun hobby. And I don't know if there would be anything else that would or could take its place.

Ultimately, I'd keep going back and watching the movies/cartoons and playing with the toys I have, reminiscing about the "good old days" when all the designs and molds were totally perfect.

Cliffjumper
2014-01-20, 11:11 PM
Yeh, I think I might also be in the 'strangely relieved' category. There's sucha preposterous amount of official and unofficial merchandise out there that it's overwhelming and TBH almost off-putting. It might be nice to pause for breath and look back.


That said, I do think the end of Transformers as a toyline is perhaps closer than we might think. The toy market is declining and Hasbro are beginning to look more and more at diversifying the brand - DOTM took a billion dollars; while Transformers will probably continue on and on I'm not so sure action figures will go far beyond the fans (it's very curious that they're tailoring toy designs for the eight thousand people who read MTMTE).

Clay
2014-01-20, 11:35 PM
That said, I do think the end of Transformers as a toyline is perhaps closer than we might think. The toy market is declining and Hasbro are beginning to look more and more at diversifying the brand - DOTM took a billion dollars; while Transformers will probably continue on and on I'm not so sure action figures will go far beyond the fans (it's very curious that they're tailoring toy designs for the eight thousand people who read MTMTE).

I just posted this in the news thread (http://www.tfw2005.com/transformers-news/transformers-movie-toys-products-30/simplified-transformers-toys-confirmed-for-transformers-4-age-of-extinction-179102/), but it applies here as well. I remember watching an interview with a Hasbro designer at Botcon (that I now cannot find) where he pointed out that the toys were getting a weeee bit too complicated for kids. His example was the original Wheeljack, which has about seven steps, versus the leader Prime from ROTF, which has as many steps in his feet. They've had enough time since the last film to re-evaluate their strategy for the big banner advert of the coming film (as opposed to what was cobbled together for DOTM), so hopefully it'll pay off and make the figures enticing to their target demographic again.

Warcry
2014-01-20, 11:43 PM
Regarding the toys in particular, I think as the brand grows we're going to see more and more of a "Batman" approach to the toyline. What I mean by that is a wider variety in the type and complexity of toys available.

To illustrate that -- go to BBTS or any other site that sells Batman toys and take a look at the huge selection of 6-inch and larger figures sourced from comic series, video games and even stuff like the 60s show, all of it clearly targeted towards an adult fanbase. Then go down to your local toystore and notice that most of that stuff isn't around -- most of the Batman shelves are stocked with small, five- or seven-points-of-articulation figures of different coloured Batman variants.

The simpler "scaled up Legends" toys that are filling out the back end of the Prime line might be a sign of things to come, with the "main" toyline becoming progressively simpler to (rightfully) target the 5-10 demographic and Generations more and more blatantly target the older fans. They're in the experimental stages of it right now, but I'm sort of expecting to see a permanent divide form between the two that only grows deeper as time goes on. I think it's a good strategy, but the down-side for us is that it'll probably limit availability of the collector-oriented stuff as stores catch on that they're not targeted at or selling to kids.

Thunderwave
2014-01-21, 02:45 AM
(it's very curious that they're tailoring toy designs for the eight thousand people who read MTMTE).

Sort of. The designs for the revamped figures from G1 might not be exactly how we remember them, but they are the most likely design a kid might see these days. The pack in comics also being of the current line help tie the two together and, hopefully, boost sales. I've enjoyed the pack in comics so far and might actually start looking into the new comic lines again.

As for the rest, I agree with Warcry. There will be a good deal of Third Party products for a while still. A halt from the official line would give me time to focus on picking up bits and pieces I missed. And when that's done, if it can ever said to be done, there are other things to pick up here and there from things other then Transformers.

Knightdramon
2014-01-21, 06:46 PM
I'd be very happy. Or just my wallet.

As for what I'd do, I'd have the chance to backtrack and get a few figures I always wanted.

I'd probably sell 90% of what's left in my collection, then just focus on Macross and call it a day.

The collecting aspects of transformers has more or less died down for me, besides a few oddities, I'm only after MP figures now [not even 3rd party or generations].

And with the way it's going, I'm even debating mould duplicates in MP figures [seekers, datsuns etc].

So it only grows smaller...

numbat
2014-01-21, 07:04 PM
I think I am beginning to find myself in a similar place to Kightdramon regarding collecting. I'm loving the MP figures, but very few of the recent Generations Classics-style toys have had much (if any) appeal.

I loved ROTF, and hope that the AoE Generations offerings will be similar in design quality - in which case I'm bound to pick some up. (I love the Movieverse designs, but DOTM really failed as a line mainly due to the bizarre character choices really. I think Sentinel Prime and Deluxe Leadfoot may be the best moulds of the line, yet the latter didn't even see a Western release, in favour of infinite Bumblebees, poor Optimus Primes, and non-film characters...)

Prime is perhaps my high point in collecting though - it struck the perfect balance between stylised robots and clever transformations without being overly complex. I'm a bit disappointed that RID Prime isn't the level Hasbro have bottomed out on for future lines, but think it's good their getting back on target for kids (especially with my own due shortly).

I'd continue rewatching the old G1 cartoons, 1986 movie and the live action movies, and I'd expect I'd reread some of the comics which I enjoy (old and new). I'm more than a bit obsessive that way - I do keep rereading and rewatching things I enjoy, and Transformers are one of these. Transformers is far too big a part of me to disappear anyway.

Knightdramon
2014-01-21, 08:13 PM
The thing is, I'm into the figures for engineering, but they do have to mean something, right?

I've followed [watched] every series while it was airing from Armada onwards, non-stop.

I had quite a lot of armada/energon/cybertron toys. Since it's almost 10 years since those shows stopped, I wonder what fond memories of the shows or the characters I have.

Not many.

Likewise, I'm struggling to think, fiction-wise, the last time I enjoyed Bluestreak or Smokescreen doing something, besides an episode or two 30 years ago.

So even with MP figures, it does get selective. Prowl was a nobody on the show, but I've got so many fond memories of him from IDW he's more than just a pretty car that transforms. Sadly, even though they are GORGEOUS, I can't say the same for the rest of the MP cars.

Multiply that across many lines in the franchise ;)

inflatable dalek
2014-01-21, 08:54 PM
(it's very curious that they're tailoring toy designs for the eight thousand people who read MTMTE).

Well, for most of the last year it's been the other way round, Hasbro creating the toys for the wider audience and then telling IDW to put them in the comics, the dog wagging the tail as it were.

Though in general terms, I don't think it makes any difference at all to kids buying (Springer is a brilliant toy if you've never heard of Nick Roche, or even Springer himself before), whilst it probably made the toy designers, who are likely to be inclined to be super geeks, very happy to sneak in a Straxus or base the remaining pre-Movie characters that were always going to get new toys sooner or later anyway on their MTMTE/RID counterparts.

It is perhaps surprising that the initial pack-in comics seem to have been so successful Hasbro have gone mad on them this year, but if nothing else an extra thing in the pack that rounds out the character is a nice little bonus for someone of any age buying (in theory...).

In terms of THE END of Transformers, I think the films have been a game changer in that regard. Comics, cartoons and toys would basically stay with the people who were already fans and, as Warcry says, as we'd all age and die the fandom would slowly shrink. The films on the other hand, are going to be staples of Saturday evening TV for decades to come, so even if Age of Extinction was the last TF related thing ever made they'd still be out there, still being watched and still creating a steady trickle of young new fans who grew up on them.

Plus of course, once you've got a movie series that's done that sort of business, it's always going to be revived periodically even after a big flop in the hope it might do so again.

Denyer
2014-01-21, 11:21 PM
they do have to mean something, right?
It's a nice bonus, and linking to a recognisable bit of history is important (the trifecta of robot mode, alt mode and fiction) but Bovis and UUUU are first and foremost really damn good pieces of engineering... whereas as Decepticons they're generic thugs.

Transfannabeel
2014-01-22, 07:40 AM
Well, for most of the last year it's been the other way round, Hasbro creating the toys for the wider audience and then telling IDW to put them in the comics, the dog wagging the tail as it were.

Though in general terms, I don't think it makes any difference at all to kids buying (Springer is a brilliant toy if you've never heard of Nick Roche, or even Springer himself before), whilst it probably made the toy designers, who are likely to be inclined to be super geeks, very happy to sneak in a Straxus or base the remaining pre-Movie characters that were always going to get new toys sooner or later anyway on their MTMTE/RID counterparts.

It is perhaps surprising that the initial pack-in comics seem to have been so successful Hasbro have gone mad on them this year, but if nothing else an extra thing in the pack that rounds out the character is a nice little bonus for someone of any age buying (in theory...).

In terms of THE END of Transformers, I think the films have been a game changer in that regard. Comics, cartoons and toys would basically stay with the people who were already fans and, as Warcry says, as we'd all age and die the fandom would slowly shrink. The films on the other hand, are going to be staples of Saturday evening TV for decades to come, so even if Age of Extinction was the last TF related thing ever made they'd still be out there, still being watched and still creating a steady trickle of young new fans who grew up on them.

Plus of course, once you've got a movie series that's done that sort of business, it's always going to be revived periodically even after a big flop in the hope it might do so again.

It's odd to think that 10 years ago a live action Transformer movie seemed like a fantasy. It seemed like the franchise was in real trouble with the Dreamwave debacle, dubbed cartoons that made little sense and aired inconsistently at odd times, and toys that were shelf warmers. Even though I'm not a big fan of the movies, Bay really rejuvenated the franchise.

EDIT: Also, hi Stu! Long time since I last interacted with you online. :)

inflatable dalek
2014-01-22, 07:53 AM
Nabeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll!

Tetsuro
2014-01-30, 03:57 PM
Well, it'd certainly make catching up to all the existing content a lot easier.

Auntie Slag
2014-01-30, 05:03 PM
... where he pointed out that the toys were getting a weeee bit too complicated for kids. His example was the original Wheeljack, which has about seven steps, versus the leader Prime from ROTF, which has as many steps in his feet.

I agree with this. I bought HA Jazz a couple of years ago. A good toy but very hard to Transform for any age, and with multiple steps.

The hassle is worth it because in robot form he looks like a cross between Robocop and a Tron guy... and he has brilliant articulation.

Other than that, its only the forum that's kept me into Transformers... until the three films came along, and now MTMTE! I'm not going to buy any of the toys, but I would if they produced plush MTMTE characters; cuddly Swerve, Chromedome, Overlord and so on. Kinda like the Meerkat toys.

Clogs
2014-01-30, 11:27 PM
What would I do?

Hm...

Well, I've reached that point in my life where I've started to notice that I have a good deal more stuff than I really need. This means that I now regard most of my TFs as unnecessary dust-gatherers, so an awful lot has gone off display and into safely packed storage boxes. Some toys are going to be put aside for selling on - I've even thought of selling my MP Starscream, because I have no safe place to display him and that's a lot of money tied up in (pretty) plastic; besides, I also have the G1 colours version, which seems a darn sight more robust.

I shall only buy another TF if I really, really, really (did I say really?) must have it. Yes, potentially there will be something out there which is too yummy to pass over, but I have to be realistic.

The franchise, though, is one that is not afraid to re-invent itself and has become iconic. I don't see it dying out, more like becoming a staple at Sci-Fi conventions world-wide.

If Hasbro stopped producing the TF lines, it'd be the end of an era, but it would have been a good run for our money.

Blackjack
2014-02-01, 08:39 AM
I breathe a sigh of relief for not having to spend a lot of money and space for my collection, while at the same time crying bitter tears because we never got a good Overlord and Sixshot toy.

A lot of my collection are mostly made up of modern reimaginations of G1 characters, plus Prime/Movie/Animated/Beast Wars characters. Sure, there's the odd random toy-only character which ended up really surprising me and I would really like (mostly BW and Movie, but there are some exceptions), and while I'll always have a place in my heart for vintage G1 toys or Mastepiece toys, they are generally too expensive and/or fragile that I don't really buy them unless I get a good deal or they're Prowl. So if they stopped making mainline Transformers toys I think I'll stop buying Transformers toys as well.

tahukanuva
2014-02-02, 03:39 AM
I shall only buy another TF if I really, really, really (did I say really?) must have it. Yes, potentially there will be something out there which is too yummy to pass over, but I have to be realistic.

Like that new Armada Starscream?

Clogs
2014-02-03, 01:39 PM
Like that new Armada Starscream?

Maybe... :glance:

Knightdramon
2014-03-03, 07:09 PM
Re-resurrecting this thread instead of starting a new one with more or less the same principles.

It has happened.

There's nothing in the horizon, for the coming 6+ months, for me to get.

Primarily an MP Collector---got MP10 to MP19 already. G2 Sideswipe looks ok but I'm not crazy about it. Soundblaster is a black version of an iconic character, who doesn't necessarily look much better, and has one new MP cassette who is only relevant if you were into marvel US comics.

And I'm not dropping 100+ pounds for an MP tape that will, with great certainty, get KO'd down the road.

The "new" Silverstreak sounds tempting, but I'm not jumping any guns until we confirm what his colour will be. I'd skip it completely if my Streak was in York and not in Athens.

Which just leaves Wheeljack and Bumblebee, who're confirmed/semi-confirmed for August/September. Lots of empty months.

Generations-wise, there's lots of things I'd like to try, like assembling a lost light crew, but there's too many mismatches in size for me to try. And I don't think I'll have space to display more than 4 figures max. Anybody seen my FB picture with MP Smokescreen and Red Alert holding some speakers up? THAT'S my display space :lol:

Third-party wise, lots of things I'd like to try, but lack of space and dedication to dedicate funds to such a "project" turns me off. First chance I get I'd like to try the FP Headmasters.

.............So, there you have it, essentially they've stopped making transformers for me until late August at the earliest.

What do I do?

Veer off to Macross and try to get my 2 grails in the TF downtime.

From one obsession to the next, there's no escape...

Clay
2014-03-03, 08:41 PM
Now see, I've got Soundblaster on preorder simply because I could never find a Soundwave, and the allure of a proper Ratbat is enough to get me to bite. If I had managed to find the Hasbro Soundwave, I would have passed though. I would be alright with the two-pack of Buzzsaw and Frenzy, but holy shoes do those cost too much. I suppose I really should just wait and see if Hasbro does another run with all the tapes in one set again.

In your case, I think you'll end up with an occasional deluxe to satisfy your itching between now and August. Appetizers before the main course and all. :)

Sades
2014-03-03, 08:44 PM
MAKE YOUR OWWWWWWWWN

*breaks out the modelling clay and crafting pipe cleaners*

I just spend my time drooling over third party stuff I know I probably shouldn't buy.