Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Figures, collectables, customs and collecting.
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Tantrum
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Post by Tantrum » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:57 am

Warcry wrote:If that's the plan it's come nowhere close to working, since the Generations toys sold out anyway and nobody is buying the alternatives. And honestly, relying on your consumers to not be able to tell what they're buying is a horrible business strategy.

I wouldn't put it past them, though.
I may not have explained my idea well. I wasn't suggesting an intent to confuse purchasers about which toy is which, but to confuse young children who would ask for toys above their skill level. This way, when little kids in the store ask their parents to buy them a big kid toy, the parent could find the appropriate age level without the little kid knowing he's getting a little kid toy. The kid wouldn't whine in the store about getting a little kid toy, or whine later at home when he can't figure his new toy out.

I have both the First Edition and mainline Prime toys of Cliffjumper and Arcee. The FE toys are noticably bigger. In fact, I think the mainline Prime toys were the first ones I noticed being smaller than previous Deluxes. Maybe the cost of making new molds was justified because the alternatives were: make all the Prime toys FE size (which would cost too much), or have a line of toys out of scale with each other.

One thing that bugs me about all the Bumblebee toys is that in the movies and Prime cartoon, Bee has a unique take on the standard door-wing silhouette. His meet in the back instead of being attached to the shoulders. But, most of the toys I've seen have them on the shoulders. I only found one that has them get about half-way to each other. I might pick up another Bee if they did a better job of matching one of the more distinctive elements of his character model.

I find the way Hasbro's doing things now especially frustrating, because it wasn't that long ago they were giving me exactly what I wanted. When I'd got back into collecting TFs, I wondered if there was any reason they couldn't just put out the 80's toys again. I pick up a Free Comic Book Day Armada book, and there's an ad for the Commemorative series.

Those were pricey, small, and poorly articulated. So, then I thought it'd be nice if they made more advanced toys of the original cast with current technology; skip the die cast if it'd keep costs down. They made Alternators. I got a bunch of those and liked them, but thought they were a bit too complicated to be fun toys. Then they made Classics/Generations/etc.
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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:33 am

Knightdramon wrote:Had I known earlier, I would have told you about the one I saw at AA last Saturday [loose] at some table for like 30 pounds...:lol:
:lol:

Ah well, nevermind...

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numbat
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Post by numbat » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:57 am

The G2 Constructicons were released in the UK, packaged without their combining parts (these were the versions I had as a kid - I asked Hasbro if they could send me the combining parts in a hand-written letter and the said they were unaware that any such parts ever existed - even as a kid without the internet yet I knew that was bollocks!).

Bumblebee and Starscream were available in fine numbers I believe - I certainly had both as a kid (my first Transformer was Bumblebee, while Starscream was my first Decepticon). I do remember my parents having a nightmare time getting a Megatron for me for Christmas - it was mispackaged with Spanish instructions and promptly broke during the first transformation.

Moving on to the more modern lines - things have gone way worse in the UK since the Generations line became a store exclusive for Toys R Us. I've not been able to find Generations toys at retail since RTS. I enjoyed Prime, as I could collect them from actual shops, which was neat (although I ordered in the First Editions when they were re-released, but only doubled up on Starscream, and I actually think the PRID Voyager is a better toy, but I've also never seen the show).

There are still multiple DOTM Bumblebees available on shelves in various stores near me, alongside stacks of two versions of Beast Hunters Bumblebee, incidentally...

With AoE, the Generations Leaders are exclusive to Argos, while the rest of Generations are exclusive to TRU again. In what passes as my almost local TRU all the first wave of Generations are now gone, with the exception of a wall of the exclusive 'Then and Now' Slug set. There are so many of the various simple lines and non-transforming toys though, it's unreal.

In other retailers, there are loads of non-transforming AoE toys clogging the shelf space now, with the three or four transforming lines (can't remember what they're called and can't really tell them apart) gone from shelves (even the crappy Legends that have no connection to the film yet are packaged as AoE).

I am 100% certain I will never see Generations Voyager Roadbuster at retail.

I've given up and have just ordered the figures I want in bulk. But I would far prefer to be able to buy them in stores - but I don't tend to make 80 mile detours to visit a TRU. Keeping the standard Transformers (Generations) line as a store exclusive (and a minority store in Scotland at that, which most people don't have access to) - or worse splitting different size classes between two stores - will kill the brand in the UK, I'm sure.

I like a lot of the Prime First Edition moulds (I have Voyager Prime, Voyager Bulkhead, Deluxe Bumblebee, Deluxe Starscream, Deluxe Arcee, Deluxe Vehicon, Deluxe Terrorcon Cliffjumper). However, I actually think PRID did Vehicon betterm and based on the Hot Shot toy I think the Bumblebee is probably a lot more kid friendly as the FE version is extremely fiddly. I was irked by the lack of Breakdown in particular (I was luck enough to find a Skyquake in a discount store), and would have picked up Unicron and Nemesis Prime, plus a Frenzy, if Hasbro had released them, but don't fancy the sticker nonsense (don't get me wrong, I love stickers, but I understand these ones are pretty rubbish). Deluxe Ironhide in red or black would have been great too. Prime remains my fave line - the designs and engineering just hit a sweet spot for me.

The First Edition and Platinum nonsense with AoE is infuriating though - and just how many versions of the Dinobots will there be in the end (let along how many different ones)? It annoys me that AoE is clogged with Dinobots, while lacking villains - there are only two villains in the Generations line at all!!!! Stinger should be in there easily (given they clearly designed Bumblebee to reshell) and there is an army of Decepticons that could be easily done. Other lines have given us many non-movie Decepticons, yet AoE is failing to deliver ones in the film.

New sale thread added with a range of Transformers including Masterpiece, Botcon, CHUG, RID, Movies etc.

Looking for MP-11T Thundercracker and MP-9 Rodimus v2 (Takara version with as few QC issues as possible).


Check out my new sale thread now!

Also items on eBay.

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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:39 pm

I remember reading somewhere (and FTR I don't know if it true or not) that in some cases it's not that Hasbro doesn't want to send more Generations toys to the stores it's the stores don't want to carry them. This was aimed at giant retail stores like Wal-Mart and Target.

Another thing I think is problem is having multiple lines and sublines going on which can get confusing and every store I go to seems to have a lot of Constructibots and AOE leftovers with only a few Generation deluxes and voyagers on pegs and shelves.

Generations Legend class all I have seen is Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and Bumblebee. Swerve, Tailgate, and the rest I haven't seen them anywhere.
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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:08 pm

TBH, I've always found having multiple concurrent lines is just going to be a ballache for buyers in any retail chain - what are you going pick, the stuff that's backed up by a huge film and / or cartoon show that's likely to reach the target market or some unfamiliar (to modern consumers) toys based on 30 year old designs?

Its quite sad to see Transformers succumbing to the increasing Lego-isation of the toy market. Sign of the times, I suppose. Lego survives all!!!

@Numbat - those Constructicons you are referring to are the yellow / grey G1.5 'New Constructicons' released to European markets in 1992 as part of the first full on European line (the one with the Turbomasters , Predators and all that. They came on a 'circuit board' designed card with group artwork of all six Constructicons and pictorial instructions for all six team members on the back and were not individually identified. There were also changes made to the moulds that would have prevented them combining too (Hook and Scavenger).

The original G1 Constructicons did come out in the UK in 1991 - I picked up Mixmaster from Boots in Portsmouth at the time.

The G2 releases followed in 1993 - 4 in orange and yellow, but I can't recall these showing up in the UK. The yellow G2 versions are easily identified vs the earlier European G1.5 ones as they have no grey plastic parts, have the G2 logo tampographed on them and the yellow plastic is slightly more opaque and feels slightly waxy in comparison to the Euro G1.5 ones.

To add to all this yellowy confusion, in France, the original G1 Constructicons were made available in Yellow and could combine!

I really should get out more!

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Post by numbat » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:01 pm

Wow! That is confusing! Eye opening too. And the fact I think that probably means I need to get out more too - shall we go for a beer sometime?

;)

New sale thread added with a range of Transformers including Masterpiece, Botcon, CHUG, RID, Movies etc.

Looking for MP-11T Thundercracker and MP-9 Rodimus v2 (Takara version with as few QC issues as possible).


Check out my new sale thread now!

Also items on eBay.

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Post by Paul053 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:12 pm

My son threatened me to buy a TF for him right away when we were at Target because if I don't, they will be gone and I'll have to get it from internet. That's what he said (kids nowadays). But son, first wave will stay there forever. The later waves are the ones that are hard to get.

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Post by Knightdramon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:44 pm

Skyquake87 wrote:Ha! Sure! Actually, I was up in Scotlandcestershire just yesterday, in the fine city of Glasgow (love all the murals!) - thought I'd best go before I need a passport to get in...!
:lol::lol::lol::lol:

Funny and sad comment as well!
Few stuff in the UK to trade/sell. Measly sales thread.

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Clay
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Post by Clay » Thu May 10, 2018 7:55 pm

I saw a tag on the shelf at walmart today that said, "ITEM OUT OF STOCK: POTP VOYAGER ASST".

I swear, they took twelve years since starting classics before making dinobots* and terrorcons, and then they go and not make enough of them just because people didn't buy repaints of the movie dinobots from the last knight? Did they seriously think that they wouldn't sell? AND I ALSO just paid waaay too much for a TLK Cogman because they put a brand new mold in the last wave of line made mostly of repaints because that works SO WELL every time they do it.

Also my employment is in jeopardy due to draconian budget cuts by our whackjob governor, but that's irrelevant, surely. I'm mad because hasbro's distribution system has still yet to un**** itself enough that I don't have to dust off a three four-year-old thread. Yeah, that's it.

*I actually found a grimlock months ago. I'm looking for hungrr.

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Sorry to hear about your job.

Post by Warcry » Thu May 10, 2018 10:18 pm

I hear you. The POTP section at my local stores consists of nothing but scattered Dreadwinds, more often than not. Sometimes there'll be Voyagers or Leaders, but more often not. Meanwhile the Marvel Legends and Star Wars shelves are completely empty at Walmart, and full of 2+ year-old stock at Toys'R'Us, in spite of both franchises having major films coming out this month. When new stock does come in, there's never enough and it disappears within a day or two of someone posting a sighting on a forum. This isn't how retail is supposed to work! And while I don't follow other manufacturers' lines with the same vigour, it really seems like this is mostly a Hasbro problem. Lego sections are always full to bursting. There's never a shortage of DC figures -- if they're sold out one day, they're fully stocked again the next time I visit. The TMNT, WWE and Power Rangers sections never look this barren. Individual figures are sometimes hard to find, sure, but there's at least something in stock most of the time. So how in the world does Hasbro struggle so much with getting their product to market?

(Also, I'd completely forgotten about how frustrating the Prime line was until I re-read this thread!)

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Tantrum
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Post by Tantrum » Fri May 11, 2018 1:24 am

Clay - Do you know if your Walmart is still planning to carry Voyagers? Mine got several cases of PotP Deluxes a couple weeks ago; no Voyagers. Now, they got a case of SS Deluxes; no Voyagers. They gave some former TF shelf/peg space to Ben 10 figures. The SS stuff was on the shelf where Voyager and Leader figures used to go. There wasn't really any space for more/larger figures.

We mentioned in another thread that Walmart seems to be dumping Leaders. Maybe they're cutting back on Voyagers, too?

Good luck with your job situation.
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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:58 am

I was just thinking how things had got a little better over the course of the Prime Wars trilogy...and then I read this^ :lol:

Whilst at retail, I'm still contending with having to hit 2-3 different places to find stuff, the selection (outside of supermarkets) seems to be a lot better. The assortments in each wave for the CW and TR (and, so far, Prime Wars) seems much more evenly balanced so you've a good chance of finding stuff fairly easily. There are still some exceptions - the Clones and Slugslinger seem to be only available online (did these ship in cases by themselves?) or arrived too late for retailers to get them before the next round of Generations stuff launched.

RID15 and TLK are still plagued by having too much stuff going on - those ugly Titan dolls that have no paint and don't Transform, the 1-Step, 3-Step shizzle that looks identical to the 'proper' stuff which has lead to some real shelf warmers. That said, as far as RID15 goes, again the assortments are pretty good with a nice variety of figures per wave (guessing Prime and Bee are doubled up in some).

The TLK line though... I dunno... it just feels like a straight reissue of AOE product in new packaging. Because that's largely what it was! The few new characters, Cogman, Nitro and Infernicus relegated to being exclusives or available only in Asia or something (although I was so surprised to see Nitro in Smyths I bought him on the spot). Even a guy like Hot Rod was exclusive to Asda. And then...there's those Allspark toys with the AI in. Released at getting on for £50 RRP, they were put on sale barely a month after release in the UK and at a heavy discount too , going for about £10 a throw. I'm just left baffled by that - I'm guessing it was an attempt to cash in on repeat attempts by physical toy manufacturers to get in on the video games market or something like Lego's Boost, but just done at a price point that no-one's going to bite on.

@Clay - bad news about your job :( Hope you'll be okay

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Tantrum
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Post by Tantrum » Sat May 12, 2018 11:30 pm

I only ever saw Slugslinger at 1 Walmart that had several of them, so maybe he did ship as a case by himself. Or he was double/triple packed in a case with previously released figures.

Making all the Hot Rod toys Walmart exclusives wouldnt have been so bad if Walmart actually carried them. I saw the Flip-and-Change a few times, but never the Deluxe or Legends.

Wave 1 of movie Deluxes should be 8 different figures. Retailers are going to order a shitton of Wave 1 anyway. 1/8 shitton of 8 figures will probably move faster than a quarter-shitton of 4.
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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun May 13, 2018 7:03 pm

Asda - effectively the UK arm of Walmart - did a good job of having pretty much the full range of TLK stuff (except for the Leader size class and the TRU exclusives) and Hot Rod was pretty easy to find. His wave mate was an exclusive version of Bumblebee, but I've no idea why anyone thought that would be a good a idea, given the sea of him already available...

Agree that for the movie / cartoon lines, more variety upfront would be better - especially in a smaller territory like the UK, where places quickly get swamped with product. Too much of the same stuff front-loaded is only going to kill sales, not drive them. As we've all said, hundreds of times before.

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Post by Unicron » Sun May 13, 2018 11:31 pm

POTP Wave 2 has been fairly ridiculous around here.
Prime Masters: Haven't seen them ever.
Legends: Seen here and there, but not much.
Deluxes: Same as the Legends.
Voyagers: Saw an Elita-1 once. Aside from that lone sighting, they might as well not exist.
Leaders: Saw pleanty of the Black Rodimus.

If I didn't know any better, I'd almost say Transformers was done as a toyline. That or the stores deliberately don't want me to buy anything.

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Clay
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Post by Clay » Thu May 24, 2018 4:14 pm

Thanks guys - job wise, everything'll be alright at some point or another. It's just frustrating is all.

Had a day excursion on Tuesday and checked a few stores. POTP was nowhere to be found aside from maybe two cloudbursts and a skullgrin. I did take note at the larger walmart of which toy lines were sparsely stocked, and they were all of hasbro origin. Mattel, Playmates, and Lego keep their sections full.


I did see at a larger walmart a shelf tag for POTP leader figures, so maybe the chain isn't dropping the size class entirely, but rather just... mostly?

Also stopped by the TRU, which is up to 50% clearance now. They had... a dozen head of Infernocus, five or six TLK leader Megatrons, and five or six combiner wars G2 Superion boxed sets (!).

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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Thu May 24, 2018 8:18 pm

Maybe the larger items are being kept for larger stores? That's what tends to happen here in the UK.

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Clay
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Post by Clay » Sat May 26, 2018 11:20 pm

That would be my guess, but it seems to be even more tiered than that. Walmart across the street has deluxe+voyager, walmart in my home town has only deluxe, while the largest of the three has deluxe+voyager+leader.

It's just kind of a triple-whammy to have the store nearest me not carry a size class on top of not having stock for the ones that they do, on top of the alternative outlets going out of business. Online shopping it is!

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