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Old 2012-08-20, 02:41 AM   #41
Sades
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Yay, I'm an angel!

Take that, you people who aren't angels.

Oh, I'm still here btw. Sorta. When I see Hound logged in, I just ask him what's the haps. The haps is usually nothing though... you people need to be more entertaining, dognabbit.

I am now 31. The doctor has told me that I have arthritis in the finger I broke when I was a kid. True story. :/

We've been here over a decade now. Who wants to do another?... *crickets*
 

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Old 2012-08-20, 03:17 AM   #42
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We've been here over a decade now. Who wants to do another?... *crickets*
For Transformers, there just isn't all that much. This year had a lot promise, but so much of it went pretty unfufilled for one reason and another.

The movie franchise is over and starting over. Regeneration One (the big comic news) wound up being 'just another retread'. The rest of the comics have little draw to them. Prime is in hiatus for another week or so. So not much news on the creative front at the moment.

Toy prices have driven a lot of the collection out. Prime's distribution has been an insane joke and news of more cancellations and 'we're not doing that here, order from Japan instead' from Hasbro seriously gutted enthusiasm. The FoC toys lost their moment when their sizes and rather uninspired designs finally showed up.

Seriously, you know things are in trouble when the best parts of the franchise right now are KreO and Cyberverse. And it appears that at least some Wal*Marts are even giving up in that area. :S

Otherwise, we're retreadding discussions we've had since 1989 (when the fandom first went online). That's really the big problem. We're heavily recycled in this fandom and hobby, revisiting the same concepts and ideas that have been played many times before. It's not so much that we, as fans, have gotten old, it's that the material we're dealing with very much has...
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 03:37 AM   #43
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Alright, time to decide on a new hobby. Abandon this sinking ship that is Transformers. Gather round, everyone.

Hmm... I know. Who wants to become a Brony? If we play this right, we can become the best My Little Pony fansite EVAR.
 

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Old 2012-08-20, 10:17 AM   #44
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@sades - more interested in monster high which seems to gaining more of a foothold of late

@vanguard - i have pretty similar feelings. Prime,although highly derivative,is one of the very best transformers tv shows out there,yet its profile is pretty non-existant (particularly in the uk).the accompanying toyline feels like an obligation,which is a shame.distribution in the uk has always been a bit 'pot luck', so its surprising to hear that its bad elsewhere. The figures themselves do seem to be erring towards more wider trends in the action figure market. Whereas ten years ago, the 6"size class was king, in recent years the 3.75" size seems to be the go to size for most new action figure lines. I can see this being born out of the general popularity of pocket sized collectables and also the price of the raw materials and maximising the returns from the purchase of said materials.

Maybe its the overall global economic downturn or the increasingly difficult time toy manufacturers are having competing against video games,but the overall decline in quality and effort points to a franchise that does appear to be suffering fatigue in the wake of three phenomenally succesful films (and perhaps thats another problem - transformers does seem to have been treading water between films and the disinterest in animated has perhaps made hasbro a little more wary of pushing new toylines during a period when the movie aesthetic is at the forefront of consumers minds). Either way, it does feel like we're in a very different place to a couple of years ago when cliffy was proclaiming that "we've never had it so good" 2010 has turned out to be a banner year in more ways than one.
 

Last edited by Skyquake87; 2012-08-21 at 07:51 AM. Reason: not paying attention!!!
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Old 2012-08-20, 12:46 PM   #45
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Alright, time to decide on a new hobby. Abandon this sinking ship that is Transformers. Gather round, everyone.

Hmm... I know. Who wants to become a Brony? If we play this right, we can become the best My Little Pony fansite EVAR.
I do! I do!

Or Pokemon anyone?
 

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Old 2012-08-20, 04:37 PM   #46
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Yeh, despite the quality of Prime it feels like we're on a bit of a downhill slope, doesn't it?

The Prime figures we've had haven't been bad but at the same time haven't been as good as they should have been. I'm getting to the point where production short cuts like minimal paint apps and crappy plastic are really beginning to annoy me - what's the point in designing a mould like Knock Out if he's going to be screwed at the production stage?
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 06:34 PM   #47
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Well, if this is the downward slope- when we've got two cartoon on air at once (both of which seem to be doing well with their target audiences); one comic that's genuinely great, one that's solid and one that seems inexplicably popular with fans (from my POV); and currently between instalments of one of the most successful film franchises of all time (not to mention things like the games doing well), then this is the sort of downward slope I can deal with.

The only area that seems a bit lacking to me at the moment is the toys, and whilst there's a certain irony in that it's not a deal breaker. Back in 2006 we'd have killed for this. And when Transformers goes into a real slump (as all long running franchises do from time to time, it's peaks and troughs) we're going to be very nostalgic about the days when there was a comic for us, a Prime episode for the teens (though that doesn't stop us enjoying it as much/more), and a Rescue Bots for the tykes (natch) all in the same week.

The only thing I can see easily destroying the run of good times is if the next film flops badly, and considering how well the last three have gone down with the general public despite the critical disdain that will take a real concentrated effort to fail.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 07:55 PM   #48
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@warcry
I don't think I've actually posted in this thread yet?

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Yeh, despite the quality of Prime it feels like we're on a bit of a downhill slope, doesn't it?
I'd disagree with that, actually. I don't think things are going downhill. I think they're shooting off in fifteen different directions at once.

When you and I were kids, Transformers was pretty simple. There was G1, with toys and comics and cartoons, and that was it. G2, Beast Wars, Beast Machines and RiD all passed in much the same way. But since then Transformers has been constantly spreading out in more than one direction at once.

When I joined the online fandom in 2002, Armada was just starting. Alongside that the zombified corpse of RiD was still crawling along with the occasional arbitrary redeco, eventually to be replaced with the Universe line. Reissues were commonplace too, and at about the time the TRU releases and the Takara "bookbox" ones lost steam Alternators started to really become a big it. So say an average of three domestic lines running at any one time, and about the same on Takara's side of things.

It pretty much continued that way until after ROTF, when the line started to really expand. Movie toys, Generations, Power Core Combiners and the last waves of Animated were on the shelves all at once, while TF:Prime showed up on TV, War For Cybertron was a big hit on consoles and there was huge cross-platform hype going for Dark of the Moon. And things have just kept expanding since then.

By my count, there are currently six distinct lines of merchandise being concurrently released, not counting standalone stuff like Masterpiece or movie leftovers: Prime, Cyberverse (now it's own distinct line, by most reckonings), Kre-o, Bot Shots, Rescue Bots and Fall of Cybertron. Soon (or now if you're in Asia) you can add non-FoC Generations stuff to the list as well. At least three of those lines have accompanying fiction and there are three high-profile G1-based comics running as well. And on top of all those things there's the virtual mountain of third-party product that seems to all but drown out discussions of official stuff on some boards.

I don't know about anyone else, but I find myself having a hard time actually keeping up with more than a fraction of what's going on these days. Add to that the fact that the parts of the franchise that do appeal to me are becoming progressively more and more difficult for me to get my hands on without resorting to the internet, and it feels to me like absolutely nothing is going on in terms of Transformers. But there's a lot going on. Probably more than ever, actually. It's just that I really don't know or care about 90% of it anymore.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 08:10 PM   #49
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The only area that seems a bit lacking to me at the moment is the toys,
Classics/Generations is still pumping out some neat figures, and the Masterpiece line is still kicking. There are also some really creative third-party releases around.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 08:13 PM   #50
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Not really talking so much about commercial appeal as actual quality. Prime's good - if sporadic, it's thus far been a good series with some weak episodes; the comics I don't read but I'm hearing nothing about the latest Best TF Comics Since G2 that I didn't hear about the last pile of shit... And the quality of the toys is really fluctuating - Prime's yet to match the heights of the FE figures and seems to be falling away, the FoC figures all look terrible and general material and finishing has been appalling.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 08:45 PM   #51
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I think the scattershot approach to things makes it easier to take a dim view, though, because it makes us miss a lot of things we might actually like. First Edition is one thing that a lot of folks missed because it was barely out in a lot of places before it was superseded by the next line. So a lot of people (not you obviously, but a lot of US fans) that complain about how bad Prime toys are never even had the chance to buy the good ones they did make and their opinion of the line is gloomier than it otherwise might have been.

I've heard a lot of people rave about Kre-o and Bot Shots, but I don't know the slightest thing about them. And I don't pay any attention to third-party stuff at all no matter how many plaudits it receives. My attention's focused elsewhere, so it's possible I'm missing out on something that I actually light like. Likewise, you've given up on the comics after IDW's previous screwups and gone elsewhere for your TF fix, but that means you'll never know whether they're actually something you'd like or not. And a lot the stuff that the average fan skips over nowadays is something they would have definitely given a chance ten years ago since there was so much less going on in the TF universe.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 09:42 PM   #52
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Kre-o just sets off my Lego KO-sense; if it looks like Lego and isn't Lego it's not worth it IMO. Most of the peripheral stuff is just too expensive for impulse too - five, ten years ago I'd probably stump up for shitty non-show recolours and the like, now I'm more discerning when Deluxes are 13.

I really, really want to love the Prime toyline and the sad thing is that it's just all so squandered... The engineering on every one I've picked up has been first rate, but let down by cheap materials, minimal paint apps and some dire colour choices. So unless you're a kitbasher you're doomed to owning mediocrities. The quality finishing of 2007 - 2009 seems a long time ago.
 
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Old 2012-08-20, 10:26 PM   #53
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Kre-o just sets off my Lego KO-sense; if it looks like Lego and isn't Lego it's not worth it IMO.
KreO, right now, is probably the most cost-effective of the Transformers lines when you think about it. It's nowhere near as expensive as Lego for similar sets and is extremely toy-etic. That said however it's not as good of a line as it really could have been, and the real selling point are the Kreon, which means that getting Kreo Big Devastator is a bit of a waste when you just want two Minifigures. :S

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Most of the peripheral stuff is just too expensive for impulse too - five, ten years ago I'd probably stump up for shitty non-show recolours and the like, now I'm more discerning when Deluxes are 13.
Yeah, it's getting hard to be completist with the current lines. The redecos wouldn't be too bad, but the costs have gone up considerably. And Prime:"Dead End" may be a cool concept, but he still looks like Wheeljack got dipped into random vats of color. But coming out with Prime "Slicer" apparently was just not on Hasbro's radar.

This is to say nothing of the lack of detail on Ratchet, the lack of Breakdown at all, the apparently half-assed design on Airachnid, the endless parade of Bumblebees (with yet ANOTHER deluxe coming), the lack of Jet Vehicon, no plans for Insecticon, etc... And I thought Pony fans had it bad.

Higher prices, lower quality, smaller size, extremely limited selection, and insanely bad distribution for the current 'main' line. You can see why a lot of fans think that, at least on the toy end, the excitement is gone.
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 12:39 AM   #54
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Higher prices, lower quality, smaller size, extremely limited selection, and insanely bad distribution for the current 'main' line. You can see why a lot of fans think that, at least on the toy end, the excitement is gone.
This is the real killer for me right now. Other stuff I can deal with, but I don't think I've seen a new toy since January. The Transformers sections of my local store are mostly filled with FE, RiD, DOTM and Cyberverse Bumblebees. I've all but given up on ever seeing Ratchet, Vehicon or...well, anything past the first wave of Prime before Christmas. Which is a shame since I'd been all set to collect the entire on-screen TF:Prime cast up untilcI realized that Hasbro and their retail partners' terrible planning was going to make it impossible. And just to make things worse, even though it's a first-wave toy in a new line that by all rights the stores should want to push, it'll probably be months before I can find an FoC Shockwave either. Is it any wonder I've basically said "screw it", given up on new toys entirely and decided to fill out my G1 collection?

Distribution is ruining the cartoon and comics for me, too. Teletoon didn't bother to start showing the second season of TF: Prime until after I'd given up and decided to wait for the DVD. I'm actually not sure if they ever started showing it. Likewise, the IDW books are so hard to find that I've completely given up on singles and just buy the trades of any stories I enjoy (which haven't been many, lately...).

Bot Shots just aren't my thing and like Cliffy I'll never be able to see Kreo as anything but "fake Lego", but that (and Cyberverse) seem to be making the biggest waves in the fandom nowadays. But I just can't get into things like that, and honestly I resent them a little because it seems like Hasbro is pouring more time and energy into peripheral stuff than it is into making sure that the core elements of it's brand -- the main toyline and TV show -- are actually accessible.

I mean...Prime is really good. I'm glad that they're still making more toys of G1 characters too, even if the Cybertronian alt-modes aren't really my thing. I'm glad that they've got a line to lure in the kids very young, and that they're trying to appeal to building-toy markets, and that Cyberverse exists to let kids collect all their favourite guys at relatively cheap prices, and all the other stuff Hasbro's got going on...but I think there's just too much going on at once. Prime is supposed to be the main line, but you wouldn't know it from the push (or lack thereof) that it's getting. Even the main DOTM line didn't do well, and at some point Hasbro need to realize their current approach isn't working, scale things back and focus on making one or two good lines at a time instead of hypersaturating the market with six or seven half-assed ones. The insane movie-driven levels of interest that we saw for the last five years seem to be fading a bit, and Hasbro should be trying to drive that interest toward a strong central TF brand -- not subdividing it into half a dozen sub-fandoms that won't be able to sustain themselves long-term once interest in the movies has passed entirely.
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 01:51 AM   #55
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What have you got available for FE stuff yet? That never got out much here in the States. I never saw any of the voyagers, and only saw the Deluxes once. Never saw Cliffjumper, never saw Vehicon.

I do have to ask TFVanguard about the insanely bad distribution he keeps bringing up. I haven't seen that to be the case any more than other lines. If shelves are choked or empty, I would assume it's the store's fault more than Hasbro. A lot of stores are starting their fall re-sets and even getting ready for Christmas, so they're reluctant to put out a bunch of stuff they're just going to have to move again in a couple weeks. But honestly, I haven't even found that to be too big of an issue.
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 02:07 AM   #56
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I do have to ask TFVanguard about the insanely bad distribution he keeps bringing up. I haven't seen that to be the case any more than other lines. If shelves are choked or empty, I would assume it's the store's fault more than Hasbro. A lot of stores are starting their fall re-sets and even getting ready for Christmas, so they're reluctant to put out a bunch of stuff they're just going to have to move again in a couple weeks. But honestly, I haven't even found that to be too big of an issue.
Locally, at the very least, distribution has been stymied both with overflow of DoTM toys (seriously, two versions of DoTM Bbumblebee are still around in most stores, and are just now started to clear out) and with a massive influx of Cliffjumpers and Prime: Bumblebees. Other figures may occaisionally show up, but many stores (such as the local big Super Target) have skipped entire waves at times.

And now? Not even any room for Prime toys, as FoC toys dominate the pegs. The shelves have a couple of Primes and Cyberverse sets, but they've been largely overflowed with other toylines. :S
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 02:20 AM   #57
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What have you got available for FE stuff yet? That never got out much here in the States. I never saw any of the voyagers, and only saw the Deluxes once. Never saw Cliffjumper, never saw Vehicon.
Nothing but a wall of Bumblebees left, last I was in TRU. I never saw Bulkhead and I don't think Vehicon actually got released. Cliffjumpers hung around for a while but I don't think there are any left now. I can check next time I'm there if you're after anything in particular, though. There might have been a non-Bee or two hiding at the back of the pegs.
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 08:43 AM   #58
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Hmm...maybe that's the problem with Transformers, too much of the stuff around at the moment is just not of interest to me.

I did try one of the Kre-O sets. The quality was very high, but yeah...KO Lego and the KreOns are the biggest selling point. I think a better approach for the Kre-O line would be to have the KreOns with vehicles/ playsets, rather than a big character. I did see a Cliffjumper vs some generic Decepticon troopers which seemed to hint at a move in this direction, but otherwise its not a line with major appeal...especially as the key component of Transformers - the ability to Transform- is missing from this spin off. I wonder why Hasbro didn't take a leaf out of Tente's book and actually make sets that could Transform...? The big problem with the Kre-O stuff seems to echo similar issues with Lego's licensed lines - the Minifigures are frequently more of interest than the actual sets.

Bot-Shots. I wonder whom is buying these. Along with the Kre-O stuff, this has largely superceded the main toyline in a lot of bricks and mortar shops (certainly around my locality anyway). They're very rarely on sale for full rrp and seem to be constantly sold at a hefty discount, but still these things keep showing up. Are they popular with kids?

I've not seen the Rescue Heroes stuff at all, but assume thats so Fisher Price if it is available in the UK, there's only going to be the Early Learning Centre that carries it.

The Cyberverse stuff seems very well supported (except for the playsets/ vehicles), but again, this seems to have sporadic fits of shelf-warming and the only stuff that you're guaranteed to find are Legion figures of Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and Arcee. The Commander Class seem to fly off the pegs, which is interesting, given that for the most part they are creeping up to 10 - which is a lot for a 3" figure, but again they're something you find by chance. The deluxe figures have settled into the painful UK rut of waves 1 & 2 for all retailers, and availability is poor. The Voyager (or whatever they call them) Megatron and Optimus figures seem only to be available at larger branches of Tesco and the only other Prime product is a massive Optimus mask.

Specialist online dealers don't seem to have masses of Prime stuff either outside of Waves 1 & 2, and anything from Wave 3 onwards in the deluxe size is clearly being priced by availability - most notably the deluxe Vehicon figure, which seems to have an average price of around 25. Bargain.

All of which makes me wonder if the toy market has shifted so much that the deluxe and up size class is in serious decline and its just not worth the effort for Hasbro and others to continue chasing a declining market. Even other 6" action figure lines seem to suffer with poor distribution and a high mark up. Have Hasbro got it right and are kids just not interested in action figures anymore? The toy aisles do seem to be awash with various 'battle game' nonsense like Bakugan and previous strong presences like Doctor Who, Iron Man and Spider-Man have all had their traditional action-figure lines almost replaced by Lego-like construction kits.

Really what this all seems to boil down to is that there seems to be less and less in Hasbro's lineup that actually appeals. It does make me feel old, as you can see the apparent change in children's play patterns really affecting the stuff that's produced these days. A lot of these bakugan and similar style toys just look like such terrible shit to me, but interactivity and gaming seems to be the go to thing these days. Only Lego seems to constantly ride out all the storms, thanks to its versatilitiy, so its perhaps not surprising to see others try and tap into that same market. But even they seem to producing more nad more licensed stuff, and Ninjago taps into the gaming thing (although their latest themed line 'Monster Fighters' looks awesome). I think, sadly, that action figures are pretty much the preserve of adult collectors now and they don't really seem to be the thing that children, long term, have much continued interest in. So perhaps its not surprising to see such unfinished deluxe product out there - if the target market don't give a shit, why should manufacturers?

I wonder if the enitable decline in novelty is another factor - this has happened before (Gen 2), so perhaps what's needed is another fresh approach like Beast Wars to liven things up again. Another thought that's crossed my mind is the absolute glut of product that was made available for ROTF. A massive toyline to begin with that also spawned multiple spin off lines and two further lines in the NEST and HFTD assortments, its hard to see what new stuff could be brought to the table for DOTM ... and consumers willingness to support it. The number of DOTM Bumblebees of varying shades still hanging around perhaps shows that for the latest movie line, Hasbro perhaps got it wrong...
 
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Old 2012-08-21, 10:27 AM   #59
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I don't know about anyone else, but I find myself having a hard time actually keeping up with more than a fraction of what's going on these days.
Yes, this is the case for me, but it is this ( and my amnesia) that I always find out new facts on toys, be they new or just forgotten.

After g1 I restarted collecting with rid and stopped again with armada, after having spent way too much cash on baby toys I did not even bother to unpack.

Comming back to tfs every other years, I like to search for exclusives or neat g1 like collectibles and so there is enough to spend my time with universe, generations, classics, or masterpiece.

But I exclude any newer toy line like armada, energon, animated, or the horrible movie toy lines.

For me enough food to come back once in a while and then submerge again for some years.

And to answer Sadie's question: "Are we all too old to still be here now?"

No one who answer this, can be to old, hence we are not.
 

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Old 2012-08-21, 03:51 PM   #60
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All of which makes me wonder if the toy market has shifted so much that the deluxe and up size class is in serious decline and its just not worth the effort for Hasbro and others to continue chasing a declining market. Even other 6" action figure lines seem to suffer with poor distribution and a high mark up. Have Hasbro got it right and are kids just not interested in action figures anymore? The toy aisles do seem to be awash with various 'battle game' nonsense like Bakugan and previous strong presences like Doctor Who, Iron Man and Spider-Man have all had their traditional action-figure lines almost replaced by Lego-like construction kits.
I've been baffled by Hasbro's choices re: size class since I got back into the fandom, honestly. During G1, their bread and butter were Minibots or tapes or small combiner-team members. And all of those toys were smaller and (adjusted for inflation) cost the same or less than even Scouts or Cyberverse Commanders do now. I don't know if I can quite say that they were the bulk of the line, but they were a good slice of it and they were by far the easiest things to find.

But up until Cyberverse became a big thing last year, Hasbro really seemed to be neglecting those smaller price points. Legends were (a couple of reborn Minibots in the Universe line aside) nothing more than low-quality tiny versions of characters that already existed in the larger scale, Scouts were afterthoughts with no accessories that got repainted three or four times inside of a year and the "real" toyline only started with Deluxes. A lot of lines didn't even have a price point smaller than Deluxe at all, and the ones that did generally filled them with off-screen nobodies (as opposed to G1, where random Minibots got as many focus episodes as big toys like Omega Supreme or Sky Lynx).

Even now, the small stuff (Cyberverse, Bot Shots, the Kreon single-packs) are explicitly separate from the main lines. They're not going to do as much to move bigger product as Minibots did in G1, since a kid who gets into Cyberverse is just as likely to stick with Cyberverse as he is to move into the more expensive lines. I just don't get that. These are the small, cheap toys that get little kids interested in the first place, so why design them with a play pattern that deliberately excludes the larger, more expensive toys that you also want them to buy?

So I'm not surprised to see Deluxes and bigger price points starting to sell less, especially in a non-Movie year. The toy market is different than it used to be and I think we'll see a bigger emphasis on the smaller price points as time goes on, especially in years when they don't have a smash-hit movie or a popular cartoon* to drive sales.


* Prime hasn't really made a big impression on any of the kids I know. The movies and even G1 reruns seem to get more attention, which doesn't bode well for the line. Is it different elsewhere?
 
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