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Old 2015-05-28, 09:20 PM   #1
Knightdramon
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Default New trends on figure collecting---pro or against? Opinions/discussion ;)

This is an odd conundrum. At roughly the same time that hasbro is struggling to keep things up and interesting in the children market [includes many different size classes, downplaying the transformation aspect of the figures], we are experiencing a massive boom in regards to the adult toy market.

Third party makers are producing renders left and right, figures are teased, funded, preordered, then put on the back-burner until you've more or less forgotten you have even preordered something. For the interests of our talk I will limit myself to a specific number of companies/markets, each with a dominating and/or lone man presence on their target groups.

There is a worrying trend that companies have toyed with [and validated] their limits over what they can charge consumers for what is, unapologetically, a fancy, display-worthy toy. The sheer number of collector oriented figures nowadays is astonishing, and forcing the average consumer to limit themselves to one or two lines. Preorder deposits, even with one line, can reach the price of a month's rent or mortgage nowadays.

I will be focusing on Takara Tomy [specifically, the Masterpiece line], Hot Toys [Movie Masterpiece line] and 3rd party products [TF-related]

Takara Tomy has admittedly stepped up their game in the past few years. Despite not pulling one, but TWO a-hole moves in the span of 6 months back in 2011, they have managed to keep their fanbase satisfied and asking for more. For the uninitiated or forgetful, TT released a very flawed MP09 Rodimus in early 2011, with very apparent design/material issues. The company refused any acknowledgement of said issues. They also reissued a definitive, final MP01 release with a soundbase containing hints of the next MP release.

Folks went on and bought MP01 [for the final recorded official release], only to find that the next MP release is a downscaled and improved Optimus Prime. And around the same time, Takara announced a re-issue of MP09 Rodimus at the same year, only this time, the figure was fixed from the majority of heavy flaws of the first release [and went on to introduce new flaws].

So despite effectively being swindled twice in the same year, fans liked the new figures and the new direction of the line [more unified scale, way more characters, more releases etc etc]. TT also upped their game with around 5-6 MP releases per year instead of their old 1-2 per two years.

At the same time, third parties reign supreme--predictions that the bubble would burst last year turned out wrong. 3rd party creators try to get their hands on ANYTHING while they have the time to do so, in a very frantic race. While an MP Mirage is rumoured for the past year, we've had 2-3 companies come out with theirs, we've had one MP Sunstreaker contender and just in the past few days, one MP Jazz--all aiming to strike and sell their products before an official release comes by.

When an official release coincides with them, statistically the 3rd party will lose out. MP Magnus is sold out while people are still trying to unload their KFC Stack, discounted. FT were smart and just scrapped their Acousticwave altogher once MP Soundwave was announced. You can bet that if TT announces MP Jazz now, that 3rd party render will never materialize.

3rd party releases seem to try to spread in every which direction possible, just to gain cash from a sliver of the fandom that still has a thirst for any random fourth tier not yet made. In the past 4 years, we've had 2 separate companies tackle a Devastator [competitively], 3 tackle a Predaking, 3-4-5 going for the Dinobots [lost count to be honest], fresh off the bat we have 3 for Insecticons, and 3 for Defensor [although the Defensor ones are all spaced apart, so naturally not competing]. Prices seem to be going up, with very few exceptions.

Hot Toys is a company that most of you might be unfamiliar with, but they have a more or less monopoly on the sixth scale market. Their movie masterpiece figures have gone from circa 120-150 USD around 5 years ago to 230-800 USD figures now. The norm is that the cheaper ones run at 210-240 USD, the medium ones are 300-350 and the more expensive ones soar higher. Much like 3rd party companies, there is a LARGE window between announcement and release. For example, this is a figure for a movie that came out last month, needs a non-refundable deposit, and will come out next April.

With Takara being the exception for now, there is a disturbing trend in companies getting their preorders live even a year ahead, and the consumer paying in on something that quite frankly, may have gotten through the stages of purchase burn out before it even hits the market!

Coupled with the rising costs in pretty much everything, attention span and other stuff getting in the way, I find myself more and more dissatisfied with the way collectors are treated with each passing reveal.

"Oh Hey, MMC Cynicus/Vos. Yeah, supposed to come out in March. Costs 55 USD. Ooops, no, sorry, has to cost 85 USD. Still out in March. No, wait, April. Oh no, we meant May, here you go. Not our fault, the factory"

"Hello, here you go...MP level Dinobots. Scoria preorder out in December, to come out in April. Sorry, we meant May. Sorry, June, but might be July."

I find it amusing how people just excuse this sort of behaviour when so much money is tied up.

Which brings me to the final point---how much of these do you need? How much of these do you still want by the time they are out?

For example, Overlord was a thing back in 2010 in LSOTW. He was a thing again, briefly, 2 years ago and counting, in MTMTE. MMC will supposedly get theirs out in late 2015. How many of the crowds that were attracted by the comic story back then will still go for him?

I find myself in a state where nowadays I'm more interested in getting the preorder down than actually getting the item in hand. This cognitive dissonance has lead me to under appreciate various figures. The last figure that truly WOWed me out of the box was MP Magnus. And in the interim I've had expensive and non expensive figures.

Just a few hours ago I did a small headcount. My only [official] Decepticons out are MP Starscream, Soundwave and his cassettes. Then I recalled the combiner wars Stunticons, Constructicons, 3rd party insecticons, reflector etc...and found myself not caring that much. I'd be okay with not buying another one as long as I get Galvatron, Cyclonus and a version of Megatron soon.

Any of you reaching that "sweet" spot nowadays? Does getting to that place allow you to more critically assess what's coming out? Or are you still happy to keep going? As I get to that spot I am keen to let go of more and more stuff I have, slim it down to having -just- what I want and not a figure more.

Opinions and discussion are more than welcome as always
 

Few stuff in the UK to trade/sell. Measly sales thread.
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Old 2015-05-28, 10:03 PM   #2
Denyer
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Keenly awaiting an Impactor (preferably the MMC one) and will appreciate completing the FT dinos. Got a few MOTUC figures to pick up as they're released to round out the handful of subgroups I'm interested in.

Apart from that, just picking off bits and pieces that appeal. Contemplating a further clear out of stuff that's packed away.

Don't think I'm riding any hype trains, burning out, etc. A proportion of stuff won't be wins but will be enjoyable for a while and then get moved on. It's a distraction and hobby, not something that should be of great import.
 
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Old 2015-05-28, 10:15 PM   #3
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I am finding myself a frustrated collector these days. I've no interest in the 3P stuff (its way, way out of my price range for one, QC is variable, and to my mind, its also morally suspect) but I do despise that pre-ordering is becoming the only way to guarantee you'll be able to get even simple mainline releases that might be of interest.

Transformers distribution outside the USA is poo and this internet merry-go-round is only way to get stuff and I hate it. Mainly because I miss stuff, because I don't spend 24/7 attached to the internet I miss out on the 'latest hot thing'. And I wouldn't mind, but I'm usually quite relaxed about getting stuff, but there seems to be this thing where nowadays if you don't pre-order, you don't get. I've not enjoyed trying to collect the Combiner Wars Stunticons at all.

Gripes aside, I have bought quite a lot of Transformers this year already - I love the CW Aerialbots and I like my reissue Insecticons and Coneheads and am super pleased with Exhaust (whom I really didn't expect to be able to get) and am really looking forward to Blue Bluestreak.

But yeah, laying a few hundred dollars on toys - not my thing. I'm finding even 'mainline' stuff like CW is getting to the point now where its not fun as the prices creep up and up and I do think there's going to come a day where my collecting stops because these things'll be beyond what I'm prepared to pay. It does depress me a bit that this is how the market for toys is shifting. Although could be worse - I watched a thing on BBC4 about Dolls Houses and was gobsmacked that people pay 500+ for teeny tiny dolls house items of furniture.
 
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Old 2015-05-29, 06:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I am finding myself a frustrated collector these days. I've no interest in the 3P stuff (its way, way out of my price range for one, QC is variable, and to my mind, its also morally suspect) but I do despise that pre-ordering is becoming the only way to guarantee you'll be able to get even simple mainline releases that might be of interest.

Transformers distribution outside the USA is poo and this internet merry-go-round is only way to get stuff and I hate it. Mainly because I miss stuff, because I don't spend 24/7 attached to the internet I miss out on the 'latest hot thing'.
Here here

In some instance, you practically have to sit around a website hitting F5 every five minutes and hoping they list that new thing that won't be coming out for another six months just to be able to secure a pre-order. It's like bid-sniping on ebay, except you have no idea when it's gonna happen. And then again when it still sells out before you even get to it and sit around hoping someone cancels their order and/or they allocate more stock.

And this despite I've practically eliminated all the Transformers lines from my collecting habits that aren't G1 reissues or MP.
 
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Old 2015-05-29, 02:36 PM   #5
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I think I've hit that 'sweet' spot you spoke of. After going through a few years of rabidly collecting every Classics/Uni/Gen figure I could find, I've trimmed way back and now I'm very picky about what I buy. I don't collect any of the MP's since I haven't been able to convince myself to pay the $$$ for one toy.

Recently I haven't been remotely interested in pre-ordering anything, unless it's been some sort of video game special edition or something. I don't do much internet shopping either, I'd much rather casually find what I want in a store.

Off-topic but related, I've recently bought a couple of the 3 3/4" Star Wars Black Series. I've restrained myself to not opening the flood gates on these, and I'm very picky on who I will get to bolster my collection. That will probably end up with just a few, making my collection only the characters I am most interested in. The ones I am interested in are the highly articulated ones from the recent Black Series and Vintage Collection. I don't really have any interest in more child-friendly Legends Basics that don't have bendable elbows or knees.

With Transformers, I now take the same look. My collection is big enough that I don't want to buy everything that comes out. I pick only the characters I want, with the features I want, within a reasonable price. The one I'm mentally struggling with is CW Ultra Magnus. I know I will want him, but for the price I don't know if I will bite. Currently he's the only one I would be interested in.

I kind of like that type of casual luxury - pick up which specific ones I want, and in the price/size range that I want. I've definitely grown tired of picking up every single figure that comes down the line.
 


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Old 2015-05-29, 05:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
There is a worrying trend that companies have toyed with [and validated] their limits over what they can charge consumers for what is, unapologetically, a fancy, display-worthy toy. The sheer number of collector oriented figures nowadays is astonishing, and forcing the average consumer to limit themselves to one or two lines. Preorder deposits, even with one line, can reach the price of a month's rent or mortgage nowadays.
Takara haven't been doing this, have they? Third-party companies for sure, yes. And Hasbro have gone insane over the last couple years -- the $20 price jump from MP Prowl to MP Bluestreak is indefensible, especially when Prowl was already overpriced, and that's without getting into silly nonsense like $200 ugly G2 Prime redecos. But Takara's prices have seemed to stay relatively stable over the last few years.

But in general, you're right. The price of "collectible" toys has skyrocketed even moreso than the price of regular retail stuff over the last decade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
3rd party releases seem to try to spread in every which direction possible, just to gain cash from a sliver of the fandom that still has a thirst for any random fourth tier not yet made. In the past 4 years, we've had 2 separate companies tackle a Devastator [competitively], 3 tackle a Predaking, 3-4-5 going for the Dinobots [lost count to be honest], fresh off the bat we have 3 for Insecticons, and 3 for Defensor [although the Defensor ones are all spaced apart, so naturally not competing]. Prices seem to be going up, with very few exceptions.
The rising prices on 3P stuff are partly due to the increased competition, I think. There just aren't that many people willing to buy third-party TFs, and most people that do are going to stick to one version of a given set of characters. By competing to put out the same characters at the same time, all these different groups are fighting for smaller and smaller scraps of the same market. The increased volume of product only makes that worse. So they need to make a higher margin on each figure in order to turn a profit, which sucks for the consumer.

(Though I'm sure part of it is rampant profiteering, too.)

Honestly, I'm surprised that more of these groups haven't folded already. They seem to all be fairly small operations, and one or two unprofitable figures are probably all that it would take to sink a lot of them. As more and more groups start fighting over the same small collector market, you'd have to think that more and more of them would fall by the wayside, right?

You'd have to think that the current Dinobotsploision will claim a few victims before all is said and done, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
With Takara being the exception for now, there is a disturbing trend in companies getting their preorders live even a year ahead, and the consumer paying in on something that quite frankly, may have gotten through the stages of purchase burn out before it even hits the market!
Honestly, even Takara is getting worse and worse about this. It's not unusual anymore to need to preorder an MP five or six months before it comes out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
Which brings me to the final point---how much of these do you need? How much of these do you still want by the time they are out?
The delay-to-market on third-party stuff in particular is really a hype-killer, I think. A lot of stuff is super-popular when it first shows up, but then you can't buy it for a year and six other companies have advertised their own versions of the same character, and it loses a lot of its thunder by the time people can actually physically hold it in their hands.

But the same thing happens even with retail product nowadays! I mean, BotCon is in less than a month and Hasbro is going to show off figures that we're not going to see in stores until after Christmas. And it's all a bit overwhelming to me. Figures are dissected and reviewed from a zillion different angles six months before they even come out, so it's really hard to get excited about them by the time they actually do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
But yeah, laying a few hundred dollars on toys - not my thing. I'm finding even 'mainline' stuff like CW is getting to the point now where its not fun as the prices creep up and up and I do think there's going to come a day where my collecting stops because these things'll be beyond what I'm prepared to pay.
Retail stuff is already hitting that point for me, to be honest. At $20 for a Deluxe, I'm finding that I don't even bother looking down the toy aisle anymore unless I know there's a sale on. Even the little Legends figures, which I absolutely adore, have gotten too expensive for me to want to buy full-price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetsuro View Post
In some instance, you practically have to sit around a website hitting F5 every five minutes and hoping they list that new thing that won't be coming out for another six months just to be able to secure a pre-order. It's like bid-sniping on ebay, except you have no idea when it's gonna happen. And then again when it still sells out before you even get to it and sit around hoping someone cancels their order and/or they allocate more stock.
The speed with which early preorders sell out has always seemed a tad suspicious to me, especially since most retailers do open them back up again later. I've always suspected that they're trying to create artificial scarcity so that customers are forced to adopt an "order without time to think" mentality if they ever want to get their hands on anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganon578 View Post
I kind of like that type of casual luxury - pick up which specific ones I want, and in the price/size range that I want. I've definitely grown tired of picking up every single figure that comes down the line.
I agree that this is definitely a more relaxing take on collecting, but even this can get to be very difficult in this day and age. I can't even count the number of things that I've been interested in buying but haven't been able to because they never show up at retail. But my collection is large enough now that I don't really mind even if I miss out on something that I really like, since I know there'll just be more stuff out later.

Another thing that really pisses me off about modern collecting that I'm not sure anyone's mentioned yet is that toy companies seem to have the idea that stuff made for "Adult Collectors" doesn't need to be durable. Takara isn't doing too badly when it comes to this, aside from the MP Rodimus fiasco that Knightdramon touched on. But third-party toys have notoriously spotty durablity -- some of them can be slung around in rough play like a Generations toy and others will break just taking them out of the package. I'm not inclined to drop $70-$150 on a figure unless I know it's closer to the former side of the scale than the latter. I don't know why people would spend any money on something they know is probably going to break, let alone defend it. If I have to intercept anyone who tries to touch a figure because I know it'll break just from being casually handled by a non-fan, it's not worth the money -- which I why I won't even think about buying stuff from DC Collectibles anymore no matter how good they look.

Honestly, at this point I find a lot more satisfaction in scouring for good deals on vintage stuff (Beast Wars figures on the TF side of things, and also 6-inch Mattel DC figures) than I have in a long time from buying new toys. Poor distribution, rising prices, dropping quality and longer lead-times before the item is in-hand all contribute quite a bit to that growing dissatisfaction with new stuff.
 
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Old 2015-05-29, 09:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Takara haven't been doing this, have they? Third-party companies for sure, yes. And Hasbro have gone insane over the last couple years -- the $20 price jump from MP Prowl to MP Bluestreak is indefensible, especially when Prowl was already overpriced, and that's without getting into silly nonsense like $200 ugly G2 Prime redecos. But Takara's prices have seemed to stay relatively stable over the last few years.

But in general, you're right. The price of "collectible" toys has skyrocketed even moreso than the price of regular retail stuff over the last decade.
Question, since I don't go for MP anything when it comes to TFs: How many units does Hasbro or Takara make for MP releases? The complexity is surely greater than your average retail release, hence the higher cost, but maybe the price hikes are also due to quantity produced? I work for a manufacturing company (albeit in the chemical business) but everything we sell and/or buy is based on amounts. Bulk amounts are cheaper to produce. Just wondering since I have no clue how many MPs are distributed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
The speed with which early preorders sell out has always seemed a tad suspicious to me, especially since most retailers do open them back up again later. I've always suspected that they're trying to create artificial scarcity so that customers are forced to adopt an "order without time to think" mentality if they ever want to get their hands on anything.
I've run into this lately with Amiibo. Stock is so poor that I've been preordering the ones I really want, just to secure one for myself. The pre-orders drop quickly (minutes, in some cases) and I've been lucky enough to have been randomly by my computer when they go live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Honestly, at this point I find a lot more satisfaction in scouring for good deals on vintage stuff (Beast Wars figures on the TF side of things, and also 6-inch Mattel DC figures) than I have in a long time from buying new toys. Poor distribution, rising prices, dropping quality and longer lead-times before the item is in-hand all contribute quite a bit to that growing dissatisfaction with new stuff.
I've been taking this approach recently too. I don't really have the time or effort to scour stores anymore. And where I've been living for the past 5 years is very slim in stock, no matter what I have been searching for. It's been easier to wait a bit and secure one from a website or eBay for a decent price.
 


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Old 2015-05-29, 10:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Takara haven't been doing this, have they? Third-party companies for sure, yes. And Hasbro have gone insane over the last couple years -- the $20 price jump from MP Prowl to MP Bluestreak is indefensible, especially when Prowl was already overpriced, and that's without getting into silly nonsense like $200 ugly G2 Prime redecos. But Takara's prices have seemed to stay relatively stable over the last few years.


The rising prices on 3P stuff are partly due to the increased competition, I think. There just aren't that many people willing to buy third-party TFs, and most people that do are going to stick to one version of a given set of characters. By competing to put out the same characters at the same time, all these different groups are fighting for smaller and smaller scraps of the same market. The increased volume of product only makes that worse. So they need to make a higher margin on each figure in order to turn a profit, which sucks for the consumer.

(Though I'm sure part of it is rampant profiteering, too.)

Honestly, I'm surprised that more of these groups haven't folded already. They seem to all be fairly small operations, and one or two unprofitable figures are probably all that it would take to sink a lot of them. As more and more groups start fighting over the same small collector market, you'd have to think that more and more of them would fall by the wayside, right?

You'd have to think that the current Dinobotsploision will claim a few victims before all is said and done, though.


The delay-to-market on third-party stuff in particular is really a hype-killer, I think. A lot of stuff is super-popular when it first shows up, but then you can't buy it for a year and six other companies have advertised their own versions of the same character, and it loses a lot of its thunder by the time people can actually physically hold it in their hands.



The speed with which early preorders sell out has always seemed a tad suspicious to me, especially since most retailers do open them back up again later. I've always suspected that they're trying to create artificial scarcity so that customers are forced to adopt an "order without time to think" mentality if they ever want to get their hands on anything.


I agree that this is definitely a more relaxing take on collecting, but even this can get to be very difficult in this day and age. I can't even count the number of things that I've been interested in buying but haven't been able to because they never show up at retail. But my collection is large enough now that I don't really mind even if I miss out on something that I really like, since I know there'll just be more stuff out later.

Another thing that really pisses me off about modern collecting that I'm not sure anyone's mentioned yet is that toy companies seem to have the idea that stuff made for "Adult Collectors" doesn't need to be durable. Takara isn't doing too badly when it comes to this, aside from the MP Rodimus fiasco that Knightdramon touched on. But third-party toys have notoriously spotty durablity -- some of them can be slung around in rough play like a Generations toy and others will break just taking them out of the package. I'm not inclined to drop $70-$150 on a figure unless I know it's closer to the former side of the scale than the latter. I don't know why people would spend any money on something they know is probably going to break, let alone defend it. If I have to intercept anyone who tries to touch a figure because I know it'll break just from being casually handled by a non-fan, it's not worth the money -- which I why I won't even think about buying stuff from DC Collectibles anymore no matter how good they look.
I agree with most of your points---Takara is indeed one of the few companies that has kept a relatively stable price. What's surprising is that the smaller MPs go up in price [Wheeljack was more expensive than Smokescreen who was more expensive than Sideswipe and yet all are less expensive than Tracks] but the larger ones come down [Magnus and Star Saber are both less expensive than Prime].

Maybe the 3rd party industry is more profitable than we thought---don't remember who it was that brought it up or how accurate it was, but somebody said that KFC was able to build most of their capital by the crap Perceptor they pumped out. The original unit was very cheap to produce, sold for 3 times its cost, was repainted a gazillion times and made KFC richer despite being a genuinely bad product.

A lot of the newer 3rd party companies are just KFC rebranded and/or coming out as a direct result of KFC's involvement. X-transbots is KFC, the new Sunstreaker is out by KFC in all but name and I would not be surprised if the new Jazz isn't theirs.

Preorders are worrying, but this is -nothing- compared to Macross Frontier by Bandai. They sell out in 5 seconds. I kid you not, a guy posted a youtube video about it. Because they open up at a fixed time in Japan, people have actually recorded the whole procedure

I guess I am never bothered about retail because living in Greece for so long and then in the UK means I am 90% guaranteed not to see anything that might interest me on a toy shelf, so I always buy online. So to me the "I don't see it on the shelves" approach is lost, sadly.

Fully agree on the durability---the number of items coming out and breaking within months or needing excessive alterations out of the box, compared to their prices, is horrendous. I do not mind tightening a screw here and there or popping out a ball joint to apply a clear coat, but the shoulder surgery on Scoria/Soar was a bit "really? at this cost?". And at least they are durable. That poor LSOTW Ironfist is almost guaranteed to snap on the thigh swivel, isn't he?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganon578 View Post
Question, since I don't go for MP anything when it comes to TFs: How many units does Hasbro or Takara make for MP releases? The complexity is surely greater than your average retail release, hence the higher cost, but maybe the price hikes are also due to quantity produced? I work for a manufacturing company (albeit in the chemical business) but everything we sell and/or buy is based on amounts. Bulk amounts are cheaper to produce. Just wondering since I have no clue how many MPs are distributed.
I believe takara does do a minimum of 10.000 or so per unit, perhaps more. And they semi-frequently go back and reissue stuff. So far the only one that is hard to find is a proper MP Rodimus. Everything else is on the "shelf" so to speak, you just need to look at the right places.

The price on the MP cars [takara versions] is a combination of paint used, complexity/parts count and licensing. Hasbro is just price-gouging on them indeed. Prowl and Streak are perfectly good examples of figures that are cheaper to import than buy locally!
 

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Old 2015-05-30, 05:17 AM   #9
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My interest level in current releases varies. While I'm interested in 3rd party products, I can't justify their purchase to myself. If I had money I'd probably own a couple, but I'm not really bothered.

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Honestly, at this point I find a lot more satisfaction in scouring for good deals on vintage stuff (Beast Wars figures on the TF side of things, and also 6-inch Mattel DC figures) than I have in a long time from buying new toys. Poor distribution, rising prices, dropping quality and longer lead-times before the item is in-hand all contribute quite a bit to that growing dissatisfaction with new stuff.
I enjoy hunting BW toys in the wild. . I used to like going to flea markets and poking around. It's slim pickings for deals nowadays, though... a few years back before the movies came out people at flea markets generally didn't know about the "collectible" nature of some of the toys they had in bins, especially if it was Beast Wars. Now everyone checks eBay.
 

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Old 2015-05-30, 11:39 AM   #10
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The amount of Third Party people doing the same toys does baffle me, especially when you factor in HasTak themselves can destroy any interest in their goods by knocking out a decent and far cheaper toy based on the same characters (what Springer did to Warbot Defender is famous, you'd think the 3P would just avoid anything likely to get a Masterpiece anytime soon).

Considering these toys are aimed squarely at the mad fan market, you'd think there'd be more room for (relatively) obscure and oddball choices.
 
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Old 2015-05-30, 05:13 PM   #11
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The amount of Third Party people doing the same toys does baffle me, especially when you factor in HasTak themselves can destroy any interest in their goods by knocking out a decent and far cheaper toy based on the same characters (what Springer did to Warbot Defender is famous, you'd think the 3P would just avoid anything likely to get a Masterpiece anytime soon).

Considering these toys are aimed squarely at the mad fan market, you'd think there'd be more room for (relatively) obscure and oddball choices.
What baffles me is that with some exceptions, the third party toys seem to take just as much liberties in terms of interpreting the characters as the CHUG lines have. I thought the whole appeal of the third party toys was supposed to be "Masterpiece style toys of characters that will probably never receive a Masterpiece toy".
 
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Old 2015-05-31, 08:24 AM   #12
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This is a bit of a tangent, but what the heck...

As I was fiddling with my CW Superion and the four CW Stunticons I have, I was pondering how this 'classic' aesthetic has come to be so dominant in fandom. I kind of miss the Beast Wars - Unicron Trilogy era where things continued to move forward beyond G1. Even stuff like Binaltech, which brought back those G1 characters, felt kind of refreshing as it dusted down some beloved characters and did something different with them, whilst keeping true to the character.

Although the Movie toys, Animated and Prime have all had their fans, its of note that interests now are so heavily swayed to G1 (my own included) - to the extent that this now seems the loudest 'voice' in collecting circles. There doesn't seem to have been much interest in the new RID cartoon and its toyline, and the head turning revitalisation of Masterpiece seems to be steering fandom in a slightly myopic direction. The days of 'Trukk Not Munky' seem a very long way away indeed. People just seem to be sat waiting that 'Gen 1 character X' comes out.

I've noticed as well that message boards these days are inhabited only by older fans, as younger fans don't interact on creaky 'old media' like forums as , like, that's what their parents do and its totally lame. I like at all the 'new members' that join here, for example, yet remain strangely silent.
 
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Old 2015-05-31, 07:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tetsuro View Post
What baffles me is that with some exceptions, the third party toys seem to take just as much liberties in terms of interpreting the characters as the CHUG lines have. I thought the whole appeal of the third party toys was supposed to be "Masterpiece style toys of characters that will probably never receive a Masterpiece toy".
Not necessarily so, but I see what you mean. It's just that the fandom is so damn set on labeling everything as "MP scale" that they try to fit things in even when they shouldn't.

MMC Feral Rex is a prime example of this. It is not MP scale, it did not try to be MP scale, it did not try to go for MP looks. Yet it's still lumped to an MP scale/type label.

I also believe that people's definition of "MP" figures differ wildly, or make allowances for things that should not. Do people try to lump [example] Maketoys Swerve as an MP figure? Maybe. Is it one? Not really. Does it look like one? No. Is it potentially the definitive Swerve that some/most folk want? Yes---and thus the insatiable need to label it as an MP level figure.

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This is a bit of a tangent, but what the heck...

As I was fiddling with my CW Superion and the four CW Stunticons I have, I was pondering how this 'classic' aesthetic has come to be so dominant in fandom. I kind of miss the Beast Wars - Unicron Trilogy era where things continued to move forward beyond G1. Even stuff like Binaltech, which brought back those G1 characters, felt kind of refreshing as it dusted down some beloved characters and did something different with them, whilst keeping true to the character.

Although the Movie toys, Animated and Prime have all had their fans, its of note that interests now are so heavily swayed to G1 (my own included) - to the extent that this now seems the loudest 'voice' in collecting circles. There doesn't seem to have been much interest in the new RID cartoon and its toyline, and the head turning revitalisation of Masterpiece seems to be steering fandom in a slightly myopic direction. The days of 'Trukk Not Munky' seem a very long way away indeed. People just seem to be sat waiting that 'Gen 1 character X' comes out.

I've noticed as well that message boards these days are inhabited only by older fans, as younger fans don't interact on creaky 'old media' like forums as , like, that's what their parents do and its totally lame. I like at all the 'new members' that join here, for example, yet remain strangely silent.
I agree with this as well, but have some reservations---RID [the new show] has been received so-so thus far, for many legitimate reasons.

1) Much like with previous shows, Hasbro cannot, for the f*ck of it, successfully co-ordinate a proper premiere. The first 13 episodes aired uninterrupted on some Australian [??] channel, most people saw them in one go, so now when they are actually airing as they should, people do not give a d@mn.

2) Older fans tend to nitpick everything everywhere to a greater degree of scrutiny than younger folk---so when you tell somebody that series Y is a sequel of series X, they try to draw parallels, find out what happened to characters and so on. And after Hasbro's massive bullsh!t 5 years ago of the "Aligned continuity that is the basis of EVERYTHING" except it was not from the first month even, people are even further lost in what to interpret and from where. Grimlock...badass warrior in the WFC/FOC universe, present in the "tie in comics" for Prime, Autobot commander, smart, violent...and here we have a Decepticon who's labelled as a Decepticon because he caused accidents. Wha???

And the toys are, in my opinion, nothing to write home about. So I think it's only natural that older fans are so lukewarm towards the show.

The G1-ism is a new fad that I dislike as there's very, very few noteworthy original things that have come out in the past few years. It's an itch that will without a doubt get scratched in the coming 2 years, and what happens -then- is what would be the game changer. What will Takara/3rd party companies do when they run out of "classics"? What the f*ck will people moan about when, after the release of MP Grapple and the green constructicon Hauler repaint, we're out of MP cars?

On the fact that younger people tend not to interact as much, it's due to the attention span that social media interaction leaves you with---just check the "post a pic of yourself" thread at tfw2005. There's 9-10 pages of people I haven't seen posting any-f*ckin-where else on the forums, all young looking. As most social media tend to focus on pictures and not much discussion, I find it reasonable that younger fans tend not to interact as much. Sign up to a forum for full viewing rights, and there you go.
 

Few stuff in the UK to trade/sell. Measly sales thread.
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Old 2015-05-31, 09:09 PM   #14
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"Oh Hey, MMC Cynicus/Vos. Yeah, supposed to come out in March. Costs 55 USD. Ooops, no, sorry, has to cost 85 USD. Still out in March. No, wait, April. Oh no, we meant May, here you go. Not our fault, the factory"

"Hello, here you go...MP level Dinobots. Scoria preorder out in December, to come out in April. Sorry, we meant May. Sorry, June, but might be July."

I find it amusing how people just excuse this sort of behaviour when so much money is tied up.
It's not that different from official stuff, prices aside. I saw Movie Lockdown in a store for the first time yesterday, as he was supposed to be out nine months ago.

I'm not sassed by third parties being later than expected with their product releases. As Warcry said, they seem to all be fairly small operations. An attribute of these things being a niche industry seems to be the delays since very few of them meet their intended release dates. But as I say, I don't particularly care if they get the ETA right.
 
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Old 2015-05-31, 09:55 PM   #15
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It's an itch that will without a doubt get scratched in the coming 2 years, and what happens -then- is what would be the game changer. What will Takara/3rd party companies do when they run out of "classics"? What the f*ck will people moan about when, after the release of MP Grapple and the green constructicon Hauler repaint, we're out of MP cars?
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Old 2015-05-31, 09:57 PM   #16
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It's not that different from official stuff, prices aside. I saw Movie Lockdown in a store for the first time yesterday, as he was supposed to be out nine months ago.

I'm not sassed by third parties being later than expected with their product releases. As Warcry said, they seem to all be fairly small operations. An attribute of these things being a niche industry seems to be the delays since very few of them meet their intended release dates. But as I say, I don't particularly care if they get the ETA right.
Yes, but your example is one of distribution, not actual production delay. I personally have never seen AoE Lockdown in person, but he did come out circa the time he was supposed to [July last year, was it? Or earlier?]

Normally I would not care that much for delays unless it is something I need in my life -now-, but at the prices these things carry, a delay here or there could mess up your collecting financing. In my case, I preordered FT Toy Scoria in December, with an April release date. As I paid a small deposit, I can technically just ignore the payment request when it comes, but I want the figure. April came and went, then May, and it seems it won't come in June either.

If it coincides with another hefty-price tagged item, that's not going to look great on budgeting/finances for said month.

Now yes, we are grasping at straws and these are -toys- we are talking about, not cars, medicine or food consumables, but I do not enjoy the perceived notion and actual action stemming from more or less all 3rd party manufacturers so far which entails a "Yeah we'll release this X month, but you actually should not expect it until at least X month+3".

A well known UK retailer commented on the tfw2005 thread that his preorders for FT Soar were like 1/9th of the preorders he had for Scoria [original ver], and his preorders for FT Sever are like 1/6th of the preorders for FT Soar.

At this rate this will continue to plummet [not purely because of timing issues, admittedly]. FT Sever? I'll get him after release, when I can fit him into my schedule. FT Stomp? Looks fantastic but similarly, will get him after release, as and when. No point in trying to make financial plans for something that's so leisurely planned from a business standpoint.

---Disclaimer--- This is the opinion and personal stand of an adult with moderate disposable income who willingly does not wish to spend a lot on toys. Others who might have more disposable income and a more tolerant/lenient attitude might not have such issues/think this through as much
 

Few stuff in the UK to trade/sell. Measly sales thread.
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Old 2015-05-31, 11:02 PM   #17
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Put it aside into a separate account?

Quote:
A well known UK retailer commented on the tfw2005 thread that his preorders for FT Soar were like 1/9th of the preorders he had for Scoria [original ver], and his preorders for FT Sever are like 1/6th of the preorders for FT Soar.
It's like part-work magazines -- interest and financial commitments peak at the beginning of a series, and that's also where the stuff with the biggest hooks is released. Slag's by far the most popular Dinobot after Grimlock, and it also made sense to pitch to cartoon fans first, with the Grimlock upgrade as an additional sweetener.

FT certainly haven't helped by going off on an X repaint tangent, though. IIRC by the time that was announced a lot of people already had their first figure or pre-orders.
 
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Old 2015-06-01, 09:13 PM   #18
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Question, since I don't go for MP anything when it comes to TFs: How many units does Hasbro or Takara make for MP releases? The complexity is surely greater than your average retail release, hence the higher cost, but maybe the price hikes are also due to quantity produced?
You'd definitely think don't make as many of the things as they do regular retail releases, but I do wonder. Takara must know how many of these are being bought by foreign collectors, and Takara's retail releases don't get imported with anywhere near the same gusto as they did a decade ago. So even though they can probably expect to sell way fewer MP cars in domestic markets than a similarly-sized Generations Voyager, they also need to take into account the demand from resellers who market the things overseas. So the production runs might not be as far apart as you'd initially think.

Hasbro on the other hand would probably make their MPs in way smaller numbers than regular retail stuff, since TRU is their only distribution channel and half of the customers in their markets who are interested in MPs have already bought the Takara version years previously.

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Maybe the 3rd party industry is more profitable than we thought---don't remember who it was that brought it up or how accurate it was, but somebody said that KFC was able to build most of their capital by the crap Perceptor they pumped out. The original unit was very cheap to produce, sold for 3 times its cost, was repainted a gazillion times and made KFC richer despite being a genuinely bad product.
That's another thing I just don't get about the third-party "scene". If people are willing to pay top dollar for something they know is poor quality (and aren't all of KFC's products notorious for QC or engineering issues?), then nobody has any motivation to make figures that are actually good-quality and durable. I've never heard anyone say anything positive about a KFC product but people keep buying from them and I'm not sure why. And they're not the only group with a bad rep that still somehow manages to make sales.

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Preorders are worrying, but this is -nothing- compared to Macross Frontier by Bandai. They sell out in 5 seconds. I kid you not, a guy posted a youtube video about it. Because they open up at a fixed time in Japan, people have actually recorded the whole procedure
Honestly don't understand why this would be. I mean, if your pre-orders are constantly selling out after 5 seconds, wouldn't you increase the production runs? I mean if demand outstrips supply that much, surely they're leaving money on the table?

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Fully agree on the durability---the number of items coming out and breaking within months or needing excessive alterations out of the box, compared to their prices, is horrendous. I do not mind tightening a screw here and there or popping out a ball joint to apply a clear coat, but the shoulder surgery on Scoria/Soar was a bit "really? at this cost?". And at least they are durable. That poor LSOTW Ironfist is almost guaranteed to snap on the thigh swivel, isn't he?
You're completely right. For the price they're asking, better quality control should be a given. But unfortunately this is another of those things that the fandom has its head on backwards about. The whole "3P stuff is so much better than official because they don't have to pass safety tests like the stupid Hasbro baby toys!" attitude leads directly to companies cutting corners on durability because they know that at least some of their buyers have convinced themselves that fragility is somehow a sign of quality.

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The price on the MP cars [takara versions] is a combination of paint used, complexity/parts count and licensing. Hasbro is just price-gouging on them indeed. Prowl and Streak are perfectly good examples of figures that are cheaper to import than buy locally!
And two years later, at that!

Yeah, I would have been happy to buy MP cars from Hasbro if they were $40 or even $50, but Prowl was $70 here. I eventually got him on sale for a price that was palatable, but full price was equal to what it cost me to import Exhaust (shipping included). And now Bluestreak is going to be $90!

I expect to see MP Bluestreaks littering the shelves of my local TRU the way that overpriced Cybertron Starscream did (and the YOTG Laser Prime and Soundwave are now) until it gets super heavily discounted.

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I enjoy hunting BW toys in the wild. . I used to like going to flea markets and poking around. It's slim pickings for deals nowadays, though... a few years back before the movies came out people at flea markets generally didn't know about the "collectible" nature of some of the toys they had in bins, especially if it was Beast Wars. Now everyone checks eBay.
Huh. I've never had much trouble finding BW toys on the cheap. Even shops that specialize in "collectibles" don't seem to value them very much, and it's not uncommon to find Basic/Deluxe BW toys for $10 or under (well, unless they were on the show).

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Considering these toys are aimed squarely at the mad fan market, you'd think there'd be more room for (relatively) obscure and oddball choices.
I've never quite gotten this either. I mean, if there's six Dinobot teams out there dividing up the market, wouldn't you make more money selling the Monsterbots instead? Even if only 1/5 as many people like the Monsterbots as the Dinobots, you're still ahead of the 1/7 share you can expect to buy into your version of Slag.

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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
As I was fiddling with my CW Superion and the four CW Stunticons I have, I was pondering how this 'classic' aesthetic has come to be so dominant in fandom. I kind of miss the Beast Wars - Unicron Trilogy era where things continued to move forward beyond G1. Even stuff like Binaltech, which brought back those G1 characters, felt kind of refreshing as it dusted down some beloved characters and did something different with them, whilst keeping true to the character.
I've noticed this too, but I think the problem runs deeper than just Transformers. My wife and I are expecting a baby soon and as we looked at all the little kids' stuff we noticed that everything kid-related seems to have become very nostalgic and self-referential lately. Everything seems to be looking backwards -- the most obvious example for me was that all the baby- and kid-sized TMNT swag we looked at exclusively featured the 80s character designs instead of stuff from the modern show.

My dad's a big-time fisherman and he always used to say that the bright, shiny paint on the lures is designed to appeal to the fisherman, not the fish. Because the fish, after all, don't have any money to spend. It seems like they've applied that same logic to kids' stuff nowadays, and they're designing it with moms and dads in mind rather than trying to appeal to what the kids themselves actually like. Which makes sense in a way since we have the money, but it's terribly shortsighted. I mean, what are they doing to actually make the kids like this stuff?

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On the fact that younger people tend not to interact as much, it's due to the attention span that social media interaction leaves you with---just check the "post a pic of yourself" thread at tfw2005. There's 9-10 pages of people I haven't seen posting any-f*ckin-where else on the forums, all young looking. As most social media tend to focus on pictures and not much discussion, I find it reasonable that younger fans tend not to interact as much. Sign up to a forum for full viewing rights, and there you go.
Social media definitely does drive people to produce/consume content differently, and it definitely pushes the conversation more towards sound bytes and pictures, but I think that's a different problem than what's starting to make TF forums go grey. Most of the other (not TF-related, generally sports-based) forums that I lurk on have a tons of posters in their teens and twenties. I think the reason why that's not the case here is because Hasbro has done a terrible job over the last two decades of actually generating long-term fans. Most serious TF fans are in their mid-to-late 30s and got into the franchise as kids with G1. A smaller number are in their early 30s or late 20s and got into things with G2 and Beast Wars. But after that? Beast Machines, RiD, the Unicron Trilogy, Animated and Prime all have their fans, to be sure, but how many people are fans because of them? Even the movies seem to have done more to bring old fans out of the woodwork than actually create new ones (in the English-speaking world, anyway).
 
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Old 2015-06-02, 12:53 AM   #19
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You're completely right. For the price they're asking, better quality control should be a given. But unfortunately this is another of those things that the fandom has its head on backwards about. The whole "3P stuff is so much better than official because they don't have to pass safety tests like the stupid Hasbro baby toys!" attitude leads directly to companies cutting corners on durability because they know that at least some of their buyers have convinced themselves that fragility is somehow a sign of quality.
Again, any common quality control problems that I've experienced with third party figures have been followed up by replacement parts and fixes at no charge to me. If ever I buy a third party figure that has major problems that aren't subsequently addressed by its manufacturer, I won't buy from that company again, easy-peasy.

And my Gauntlet/Ironfist's thighs swivel just fine. Not sure what people are doing to break them.
 
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Old 2015-06-03, 12:13 AM   #20
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Any of you reaching that "sweet" spot nowadays? Does getting to that place allow you to more critically assess what's coming out? Or are you still happy to keep going? As I get to that spot I am keen to let go of more and more stuff I have, slim it down to having -just- what I want and not a figure more.
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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
As I was fiddling with my CW Superion and the four CW Stunticons I have, I was pondering how this 'classic' aesthetic has come to be so dominant in fandom. I kind of miss the Beast Wars - Unicron Trilogy era where things continued to move forward beyond G1. Even stuff like Binaltech, which brought back those G1 characters, felt kind of refreshing as it dusted down some beloved characters and did something different with them, whilst keeping true to the character.
I'm pretty close to the sweet spot for classic/nostalgia purposes. I've already got most of the old-school characters I care about, so it's hard to convince me to get another. For example, when RTS Jazz came out, I noticed that the shades of white didn't match, which kind of bugged me, so I skipped it. I already had the G1 reissue, World's Smallest, Alternators, movie w/G1 deco, and Animated versions. Unless I get a really good price on a really great figure, I'm pretty much done with Jazz. Given the recent price increases and quality decreases, that's not very likely.

There's still a few G1 characters I'd like to have toys of, but they don't need the full G1 look. For example, my Masterpiece Grimlock, Animated Slag, AoE Sludge (G1 colors), and Energon Swoop could use a vaguely G1 looking Snarl of some sort. But, he doesn't have to be a slavish homage to the original toy or cartoon.

The only combiner I have, besides G1 Dev and some KO, is Prime Abominus. So, the CW line is filling that gap pretty well. Once that's done, I doubt I'll find much more G1/classics stuff that'll wow me.

I haven't tried 3P stuff. At first, I didn't know which companies to trust regarding quality, customer service, and not being fraud. Now, it seems like a lot of hassle for what's supposed to be a fun hobby. And, a lot of 3P stuff seems geared towards complicated and delicate like the Masterpiece line, which I haven't been too pleased with. OP and Grimlock are great display pieces, but I don't think I've transformed either of them more than twice. Prowl went back to the store when I couldn't get his torso to snap back into place. Only Starscream really qualifies as a fun toy. I might try MP Wheeljack since I like the character, and the G1 toy was my first TF.

Other mainline stuff suffers from the same cost-cutting as the Generations stuff. I saw RiD Strongarm on sale for a good price, but her face was missing some paint. Even if I find a quality version of the figure, it'll still have those pinless wheels that don't roll. It's hard to get too enthused about a figure when I know at least one mode won't be that great.
 

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