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Old 2013-11-16, 11:20 PM   #97
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay View Post
That actually sort of happened to the company producing the Slag. One of their previous projects was a masterpiece-style Soundwave, and a week later Takara announced theirs. So the third-party company just canceled the whole project instead of competing and went on to produce the Shockwave/Quakewave.
Right. I remember that now!

Weren't they also doing a Blaster as well? Was he canned too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
A bit more on-topic, 3rd Party stuff just leaves me strangely cold. It feels too abstract, it's too expensive and it's all oddly samey.
It leaves me cold too, but for different reasons. Aside from some of iGear's output, which were...well, basically retooled bootlegs (their MP seekers, their Impactor, probably a few others) none of the third-party stuff seems to have any cohesiveness and very little of it fits, either with other 3P items or with official stuff. I think you were the one a few years ago who pointed out the futility of designing beautiful G1-accurate versions of Swindle and Blast Off when they were designed to combine with a bunch of Energon toys that looked nothing like the other Combaticons. And that same sort of cognitive dissonance seems to afflict most other third-party offerings too.

I mean, just looking at the pictures that Clay included in his article (and not including the armour for ROTF Prime, which is actually good) I see: a weird thing that doesn't even look like it belongs in the same room as real Transformers that people purport to be Ultra Magnus; a Hardhead that looks like the 1987 toy with extra joints; versions of Devastator and Shockwave that are way too big for Classics but not nearly G1-accurate enough to pass as Masterpieces; Omega Supreme is the only one who actually looks like he'd "fit" with any other toys.

That's not to say that all of these figures are awful (Magnus is though, I laugh every time I see that piece of crap in a shelf of Classics toys) but the scattergun approach they've taken to making stuff really hurts the appeal, for me. But then, there are probably fifteen "major" groups operating by now. What else would you expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
No matter what facet of Transformers is firing my... fires... at any one particular time, be it a well-timed re-read of a Titan TPB, catching a few episodes of Prime, reading Eugen or having a Bayathon, the thing that remains largely unshakeable is my love of the Diaclone-based toys, warts and all. I've got MP Sideswipe sitting here and he's great, but he's also strangely transient compared to the block-legged party-shagging-motion-expert original. I'm the same with 3rd party stuff - there's always going to be a slightly better Prowl to come with articulated toes and a little persex cloud of smoke you can clip onto his gob, but the original is there, finite and in its' own way beautiful and perfect, job done. The updates are always going to get updated on and superceded, and it's too expensive to win the game (well, unless you shill for TFSource).
I don't disagree with this, but it's true with official product as well. It really depends on the "breadth" of your collection, though. If you're constantly buying and re-buying every character as soon as a newer, better one comes out, you're going to spend a lot of money spinning your wheels. Personally I couldn't fathom spending that much time, effort or cash on anything but a handful of favourite characters (Prowl, Soundwave, Shockwave, Hot Rod, Bludgeon, Spinister, most of the BW cast...), with other toys getting picked up only if they really catch my eye, but I know that lots of folks are a bit less...discerning than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
Cost. There's a larger potential market for the cars than Grimlock, simply due to pricing; leading onto...
Gotcha. I thought you were going to make an argument that Grimlock wasn't big enough, which I see all the time on other boards and which makes me want to tear my hair out. People acting as if scale beyond vague large/medium/small groupings existed in the G1 cartoon are a pet peeve of mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
...more of the moulds than not have been chosen are ones they can get multiple characters from. "Milking" not as a pejorative, incidentally, just meaning reuse. Where a mould can't be reused it's a bigger gamble (or has to be underwritten by something else) and we see fewer of them.
I'm actually not sure how much of a difference that makes at this price point. I was pretty bemused when it turned out that Takara was going to put out two non-show redecos of the Lamborghini mold just because...well, I didn't think anyone would buy them. Tigertrack and especially G2 Sideswipe, who had extensive retooling done, just don't seem to have the same level of appeal as a cartoon guy, and even as lower-run releases I didn't think they'd do well (and Tigertrack at least doesn't seem to have sold well by MP standards, with the price being reduced on several major sites).

And the next two MP cars are Wheeljack and Bumblebee, neither of which have quick or high-profile redecos at all (though if you've ever wanted an MP Slicer or Marlboor, cross your fingers...). That makes me think that redecos aren't as big a factor in their plans for MPs as they are for, say, a standard Deluxe toy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
Don't think I was dreaming that more than one official source has indicated that reissues have been deferred or not investigated due to the market they estimate already having something in-hand.

Partly it's Takara's reluctance to use certain methods to do reissues, though.
That might be true in certain markets, but Hasbro seems to be making a tidy profit re-reissuing their Commemorative Series stuff for the Asian market these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
Also, "the fandom as a whole" doesn't exist any more than smaller groups are homogeneous. Relative to numbers sold, surprisingly little collectible product makes it back onto the main online markets. Either folk are doubling up or sticking with their choices.
Not entirely sure I agree with that -- there were a lot of Warbot Defenders up for sale earlier this year when the new Springer came out, for example. But it can be hard to gauge with third-party stuff, because they're so low-run compared to official TFs that even if there is a massive sell-off of certain items it might not register on our radar.

Also, we tend to forget but both the impetus and the primary market for this stuff isn't really us -- it's the burgeoning Asian fandom, just like the Asian fandom are the ones making it. How that impacts sales and distribution, we don't really know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
If they could make it pay, they'd re-release more than they do.
I'm not sure they would. Part of the MP line's branding is exclusivity, for better or worse. If they made the molds more easily available they'd make money off of it in the short term, but in the long term it would take away from the "feeding frenzy" that happens when a new MP toy is released and possibly hurt future sales. It's a fine balancing act...Takara could probably make twice as many of each MP available as they do, charge less than the Hasbro prices and still make a profit...but then the line would lose the "high-end collector" tag it's acquired and just become another toyline, killing a lot of the buzz in the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay View Post
Yep, that was pretty much my thesis statement for this article.
Just curious...while writing this, did you look into whether or not third-party toys exist in any other fandom? I don't follow too many other toylines that closely, but I've never seen anything even close to this level of fan production for anything else. The Lego fandom tend to produce custom accessories and reprolabels-style custom minifigure stickers, but the idea of third-party bricks is anathema. Third-party TMNT or DC stuff likewise doesn't seem to be very thick on the ground, which is a surprise -- surely it'd be way easier and cheaper to produce non-transforming figures? Especially for DC stuff, whose fans have a legitimate case when they talk about how Mattel has screwed them for the last few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
Yeh, sorry, was tangientally wandering, obviously the Dinos are S1 either way. Do, say, Air Raid or Groove count as Season 1 characters to the Japanese or not?
Yeah, that's what I was wondering. As best as I can recall, so far the only characters who weren't in our S1 who've gotten new MP molds are Hot Rod (a hugely popular character on both sides of the pond) and Ratbat (a tiny accessory to a bigger toy). I'd be curious to know whether Takara sees guys like Powerglide or Beachcomber or Astrotrain or Perceptor as viable, or if "Season 1" to them means the same as it does to us -- the 1984 Hasbro catalogue plus Devastator, Skyfire, Dinobots, Insecticons, Shockwave and Reflector. Honestly I'd be really surprised if they dipped into that pool too deeply...the cast from the '86 movie seem to attract more nostalgia, and I'd expect to see Galvatron and the like well before they touch guys like Warpath if the line gets that far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
The cartoon straddles the toy releases quite awkwardly when you think about it - Season 1 covers the 1984 range and the advance figures from '85; Season 2 has the bulk of the 1985 range (after a dozen or so [?] episodes using the Season 1 cast...) then the first few figures from 1986, the Movie has the bulk of the 1986 range, Season 3 tidies up the rest and has the advanced guard of 1987...
That's just an artifact of the US way of scheduling a TV season, I think. The new TV season starts in September, so a cartoon starting in September 1984 will need to advertise the summer '84 and winter '85 stuff (though as best as I can tell, Dinobots and Insecticons and the like would have been coming out around Christmas anyway, just like Wave 1 of the 2014 toys will start showing up in stores over the next few weeks if they haven't already).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
Nice read - must pay more attention to the site. And yeh, I think it's going to be a big problem for 3rd Party companies in the future. I would theorise that while there might be a lot of dilly-dallying over ordering that once a 3P figure arrives in a collector's hands as long as the quality is passable they're inclined to stick - so say you buy a third party Shockwave that's excellent and then in a year's time someone else comes up with a slightly better one, the collector is likely to stick unless they have money to burn (or shills for TFSource) as the price is so high.
I'm not so sure about that. A lot of people still openly say that they're only buying a certain third-party toy as a placeholder until a "real one" comes out. That seems like a kinda silly approach to me, but I think it's the only way a lot of folks can justify to themselves buying a fake. It's the same sort of attitude that some folks had about outright bootlegs a decade ago.
 
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