Third party toy discussion (stuff that's been released)

Figures, collectables, customs and collecting.
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Thunderwave
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Post by Thunderwave » Thu May 14, 2015 2:46 am

Notabot wrote:I have to ask (and not in an accusing way), but if you had paid $20 for them, would you be more disappointed? I know that when I pay big money for something, I'm a lot more likely to force myself to like it. I think a number of 3rd party toys wouldn't get such good reviews except that people have paid so much for them, they need to like them at least a little.
I'm always leery of pulling the trigger on 3P releases because of that, especially if it's a company that I own nothing from. Online review videos are only a little help, especially with some companies sending out test shots. A lot of 3P figures seem waaaaaaay too fiddly (like that new Warpath that's coming out). Seeing as I have at least two other expensive hobbies I need to be sure I really want something before I pull the trigger on it. Also doesn't help the figures I would buy either look like poo (I'm looking at you 3P Defensor) or probably won't be done for some time if ever.

That said I'm really looking forward to the other Iron Factory releases that are coming out. I picked up their Six-Shot and Slammer a while back and they are coming out with a Legends scale Ultra Magnus, Blaster, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw.

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Knightdramon
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Post by Knightdramon » Thu May 14, 2015 8:56 pm

Been thinking about this since last night and Notabot's well-placed query.

And an oddly well-phrased and well-discussed [so far] thread at tfw2005.

What is it with a lot of folks' passive response against various QC issues with 3rd party toys, mass in relation to price [although that is one of the most justifiable aspects], and general easy attitude towards the figures, -especially- once we have been socially primed by the oh so wonderful and sadly rarely objective "test shot reviews" so far?

To illustrate this I will include two well-known samples. One is the recent Apollyon figure, and the other is the equally recent Not Onslaught Warbotron figure [Fierce Attack? That one].

Apollyon: Test shots sent out to a variety of well known and not so well known reviewers, not exclusively to people doing video reviews. If I recall correctly, the first review was a text and pics review of an actual black and white prototype?

Audience was more or less "primed" in advance. Peaugh's review had a broken part right off the bat [admittedly due to his fault], with him mentioning various times that he broke it by accident, and so on. The figure he handled was wobbly, yet he kept saying how stable and solid everything feels. If I recall correctly he was widely criticized about his rather "oh no worries, it's super stable despite what you see" stance for both the Apollyon and the Badcube Warpath reviews.

Apollyon figure is relatively well received, even though there are issues with the ball joints on the shoulders, some parts not being very secure/stable [something on the legs?] and X-transbots coming out and giving instructions on what to fix/how to fix it yourselves.

People made all sorts of excuses to make up for the fact that [in my opinion, as a consumer] they got a lacking product.

Exhibit two--Fierce Attack: Strangely enough, the first two reviews were not by any big names, but rather two unknown fans who actually got their production copies earlier than others. Neither review was pleasing to watch as both guys had issues with their figures, either too stiff joints, parts snapping on very easily---both guys, as far as I know, fully paid for their figures and were also trying to make excuses, but far less flimsy than the "big" reviews do.

Fierce Attack is not well-received by the fandom, and even some retailers publicly questioned the "DIY" fix methods from Warbotron, and some folks willingness to go on with them.

Is this some sort of cause and effect situation? I happen to find the number of "test shot" reviews by a specific bunch of reviewers to be the same overall, despite the figure in question---they all sing praises [for the unapologetic free copy], and any issues outright are always hushed away as a "this is a test shot, these issues are worked on by the company", sometimes even as a disclaimer in the first minute of the review!

The sad truth is that every single 3P product I've bought since last August has had an effect of buyers remorse from me, either immediate or in the long term. Am I finding it harder to justify the cost to result/product ratio, or am I actually upset over any attempts to justify their worth when I don't feel good about the expensive items I've gotten?

Feel free to discuss, hopefully meaningful and lengthy discussion will come from this. It's been a long and tiring day, apologies for the rambling...
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Skyquake87
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Post by Skyquake87 » Thu May 14, 2015 9:24 pm

Hmm. Some quick thoughts. I've wondered about this too as Thew (my favourite vid-reviewer) has had a few 3P reviews of late that are of the 'advance copy' nature and I've taken those with a MASSIVE pinch of salt. I think I'd probably a bit full of 'squee' if I got a £200 toy for free and I can see how objectivity goes out of the window in these circumstances.

I suppose the problem with all this 3P stuff is that its a cottage industry. These are small companies that don't go through and don't have to go through the same sort of rigourous test phases that Hasbro / Takara and other 'proper' companies have to. It would be nice to think the test copies are sent out for people to feedback any flaws and general comments before the thing goes on release, but thats not the case.

In some ways, they're the victims of their own success - by releasing grey prototype images and/ or test shots / digi-bash stuff they instantly create a demand for the latest hot MP inspired whatever and have to get the product out quick sharp before a) someone else does or b) an official (HasTak) release comes out and makes your product redundant.

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Clay
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Post by Clay » Fri May 15, 2015 12:34 am

Hmm.

Let me percolate on this.

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Ryan F
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Post by Ryan F » Fri May 15, 2015 12:56 pm

I think it works both ways - while some people feel they have to justify every purchase, there are others who go ape over the slightest flaw (as in, 'I just spent loads of money on this so if it's not 100% perfect I will get stroppy'). Most threads on TFW are full of extremes - 'This is great!' 'This is a POS!' with no sane middle ground. And that's not just the 3P threads, it's every single news or opinion thread. I think there must be something about Transformers fans that we are so polarised in this way; everything is black or white with no middle ground.

I think with most video reviews you have to take them with a pinch of salt or with the sound turned off - just look at the demonstration of the figure and make your own mind up whether or not it's for you.

I've bought a lot of 3P but the worst figure I have ever owned was the 1st-run MP Rodimus from Takara. Spend a heap on that from Xybertoys (remember them?) and it was a QC disaster.

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Post by Unicron » Fri May 15, 2015 2:02 pm

Ryan F wrote:I think there must be something about Transformers fans that we are so polarised in this way; everything is black or white with no middle ground.
At the risk of this taking a political turn, it's not specific to TF fans. I see it in the coverage of politics and most other things here in America, and I see it here on the internet with a variety of subjects. Way too many things are becoming polarized these days, especially opinions on people. It's getting to the point where if someone doesn't agree 100% on a given issue, they're Satan.
I think it's a side effect of the internet bringing people together: It's way too easy to find people who share almost all of your views while also being able to ignore or actively block those who disagree or even take the middle ground. Causes people to take the black and white view on things.

Back to the subject at hand, there hasn't been a 3rd party figure that looks great enough for me to justify the cost on. At least just from pictures or random reviews. Given the pricing, size, etc., I'd really need to get my hands on the figure and see what it's really like before that kind of money. Ending up with a subpar Deluxe or even Voyager at retail cost, that I can handle (Universe Galvatron for example. I know it's not a great figure, but I can live with it). A subpar figure of the same size at 3rd party cost, I'd either be pissed or glossing over the flaws to convince myself it's worth the price.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri May 15, 2015 5:36 pm

I think I've been lucky with my few third party purchases, out of five four have been very good fun toys. It's just those bloody awful Animated style Mario and Luigi Auto Assembly exclusives that let the side down.
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Post by Knightdramon » Fri May 15, 2015 6:05 pm

It also helps that so far each company, regardless of overlap in releases of the same characters, offers a very specific style. So on the safe side, you should technically know what you're getting in terms of style and build.

I guess that [as I've stated numerous times so far, bear with me] I am "growing out" of the toy/figure phase. Seeing as I only get one figure every 2 or so months, and the fact that I have limited space in a small flat, means that every single thing I buy has to grab me 100% almost on day one.

The last figure I got that grabbed me 100% like that was MP Magnus. FT Soar came close [I like him NOW, but my first one was broken inside the box!], which swayed my mind on Toy Scoria I have on pre-order.

As buying figures is no longer a norm but a "treat" for me, the end result must feel like it's worth it. And then cue discussion overhead on costs/advertising of figures etc etc :up:
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Post by Thunderwave » Fri May 15, 2015 6:34 pm

Unicron wrote:At the risk of this taking a political turn, it's not specific to TF fans. I see it in the coverage of politics and most other things here in America, and I see it here on the internet with a variety of subjects. Way too many things are becoming polarized these days, especially opinions on people. It's getting to the point where if someone doesn't agree 100% on a given issue, they're Satan.
I think it's a side effect of the internet bringing people together: It's way too easy to find people who share almost all of your views while also being able to ignore or actively block those who disagree or even take the middle ground. Causes people to take the black and white view on things.
It's called an "echo chamber" and is related to and tied to selective exposure theory. Basically people like to find others that agree with them, which the internet makes easy these days, and then only choose to interact with the people that agree with them, thus reinforcing ideas and bias, even ones that are blatantly false or flawed. It's a thing that people have been aware of for some time and is currently rapidly getting out of hand.

That effect is part of why I'm -always- skeptical when a group of people tell me that something is awesome and you need to read/watch X. I like to try and form my own opinions on things.

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Post by Warcry » Fri May 15, 2015 7:54 pm

Knightdramon wrote:As buying figures is no longer a norm but a "treat" for me, the end result must feel like it's worth it. And then cue discussion overhead on costs/advertising of figures etc etc :up:
That probably leads to some sampling bias too, if that's the right word. Since you're only buying toys that you think are going to be great, you end up in a situation where you only have great toys to compare your new purchases to. So even something that compares favourably to an average retail figure can wind up being a bit of a let-down if it's good, but not quite as good as the stuff you're surrounding it with.

I think that's why I was a little underwhelmed by Exhaust a few months back. He's really good and three years ago I probably would have been raving about him, but I also had to put a lot of my figures away in storage and only kept my absolute favourites out. And when the stuff I've got out on display consists of a few other MPs, Hexatron, my favourite dozen or so BW toys and a scattering of great retail releases from the last decade (like Generations Springer, FE Bulkhead, Battle Blade Bumblebee, etc.), I see him in a different light. He's still good, but he's not that good so by comparison he's a bit disappointing.
Thunderwave wrote:It's called an "echo chamber" and is related to and tied to selective exposure theory. Basically people like to find others that agree with them, which the internet makes easy these days, and then only choose to interact with the people that agree with them, thus reinforcing ideas and bias, even ones that are blatantly false or flawed. It's a thing that people have been aware of for some time and is currently rapidly getting out of hand.
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks that this is a problem! The internet is great for many things, but one thing it doesn't do a good job of is promoting discourse. There are so many people out there with strong opinions on just about anything that it's easy to find those who agree with you, so actual debate is no longer necessary. You can just congregate with other people who feel the same way you do, forming your own little ideological tribe that self-reinforces its beliefs while growing more and more vehemently opposed to anyone who thinks differently. Let that go to it's logical conclusion and you wind up with a million 4chan and Tumblr-like groups slinging blind hate at each other while continuously growing more extreme in their espoused views.

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Post by Denyer » Fri May 15, 2015 7:59 pm

Not much into fiddling with them other than to display, but so far I haven't noticed many 3P things being ridiculously fragile.
Thunderwave wrote: It's a thing that people have been aware of for some time and is currently rapidly getting out of hand.
Is it more that there's been a spate of journalistic copy concluding that? There's more scope for dogpiling online, but anyone visiting meatspace on a regular basis is going to be reminded that not everyone likes bagpipes or has a fetish for amputee porn.

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Post by Thunderwave » Fri May 15, 2015 8:37 pm

Denyer wrote:Is it more that there's been a spate of journalistic copy concluding that? There's more scope for dogpiling online, but anyone visiting meatspace on a regular basis is going to be reminded that not everyone likes bagpipes or has a fetish for amputee porn.
In the mid 1950's the cognitive dissonance theory was put out there, which is where humans seek to reduce the dissonance in their life. The tl:dr version, to my understanding, is that conflict sets up dissonance within people and makes them uncomfortable, so they seek out others with the same feelings/thoughts to achieve a form of peace. If everyone thinks like you, and talks like you, and believes like you there is no conflicting thoughts/ideas to make you uncomfortable or question. Cognitive dissonance theory laid out the groundwork for selective exposure theory which came along years later.

Inline with that, and going with your example, how many amputee porn fans do you know that are very vocal about it day to day? Not many. Speaking out in public about their fandom would create dissonance and make everyone uncomfortable, usually a socially unacceptable thing to do.

People have been using these ideas for about as long as there have been people. Religions and nations have used these ideas, without the modern wording, since before history.

...so one of my geeky hobbies MAY be learning as much as I can about how people think. >.>

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Post by Denyer » Fri May 15, 2015 9:53 pm

Should've bolded rather than italicised the last bit, forget that's the default styling for quotes...

I'm sceptical it's accelerating. People may self-select more in their downtime and be helped along by Facebook, but by the same token it's more difficult for cults and dictatorships to tamp down on alternative points of view.

The barely-counts-as subtext of Wired bitching about the irresponsibility of social media algorithms or politicians/police hypothesising magical forms of encryption that only good guys can break or decrying the fact that citizens want some privacy back is a narrative about loss of control.

Unless our polarised person only gets reinforcement offline, which they're not if they don't feel free to raise a topic, there's a limit to how much of an echo chamber effect can develop. Successful cults set their sights on ritualising and dictating every waking moment of their believers' lives, and more-or-less pull it off.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Sat May 16, 2015 4:44 am

It's certainly not a new thing. I was reading a Gareth Roberts interview a few weeks ago where he was talking about excitedly signing up for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society in the wake of season 17 and being amazed that the club magazine and one meet he went to were full of people angry slagging off the show he loved for being too silly and not featuring enough continuity (as he says, "They got what they wanted, they got Arc of Infinity"), with him being treated by the elders as some abhorrent bastard child for daring to say "I quite like it".
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Post by Tetsuro » Sat May 16, 2015 8:34 pm

So, uh, what's the cheapest place to get those replacement mitts for MP Ultra Magnus? And Star Saber too I guess...

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Post by Denyer » Sat May 16, 2015 10:22 pm

http://tfs-express.com/kfc-toys/-194-kf ... &results=4 ?

Just ask Alan about shipping. Probably won't be much.

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Post by Clay » Sun May 17, 2015 6:49 pm

Notabot wrote:I have to ask (and not in an accusing way), but if you had paid $20 for them, would you be more disappointed? I know that when I pay big money for something, I'm a lot more likely to force myself to like it. I think a number of 3rd party toys wouldn't get such good reviews except that people have paid so much for them, they need to like them at least a little.
Early video and photo reviewers are not to be trusted, full stop. If they get the figure for free, are overwhelmed with NEW THING giddiness, and can't wait long enough to do the review to actually work with the figure first, positive bias is unavoidable and the review is kind of useless.

After the figure comes out, it's hyperbolic in both directions, I think. Either tiny flaws (that sometimes aren't even flaws) are magnified and lamented as the end of the world, or the thing snaps apart immediately but it's okay because it can be fixed.

It's more complicated than that, though. Sometimes these companies do churn out lemons only to include to replacement parts in subsequent releases (frequently with the combiners). It's not altruism but rather that they need to make good on their promise of product so that customers will buy potential future releases too. So some quality control problems can be overlooked because they are frequently ameliorated later on. Contrast this with Takara's approach to fixing Masterpiece Rodimus: "buy another one".

At the other end, you have people complaining about things that aren't real problems at all. Specifically I'm recalling Fierce Attack (Onslaught), to which one person posted on TFW a series of images documenting QC problems and included a picture of a joint that had a seam in it from where the two plates of the mold connect. I mean... really? Every piece of molded plastic has that. That's not to say that Fierce Attack is problem free, but it's hard to take people seriously when their complaints are that ridiculous.

And also you have a heterogeneous group of companies producing these things. Some of them seem to approach their offerings as a passion project unto themselves while some are clearly just chucking things out as quickly as they can. The former tend to have fewer of the QC problems that the latter have. But at the end of the day, they're in the same situation: none of their stuff is "legitimate", so they either need to race stuff out the door to avoid potential redundancy or take their time and offer something remarkable. Hasbro has the overwhelming advantage here by not just owning the brand but also have much more experience making these things and having the ability to take their time developing products as they don't have to worry about being... outclassed? Outdated? Redundant? Obsolete? Er, no matter how awful something is that they put out, it's still has the Transformers brand on it. Compare the Maketoys Green Giant and Fansproject Intimidator to the Combiner Wars Devastator and Menasor. The former are almost unarguably better, but they'll never be official products.

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Post by Denyer » Fri May 22, 2015 11:54 pm

Well... I reckon the pricing on Wardog is fair. Everything guides and tabs into place neatly, the plastic is similar to the MMC Feralcons, and the transformation is intuitive if you work a section at a time. Kept the instructions out, but basically they're there to let you to know what order to work in, which pieces move and what the end result should look like. The solution for the torso and head layout works particularly well.

In short, it's not over-engineered. A lot of time, skill and love was clearly spent on getting this right, and being packaged in tank mode means each one will have been transformed so hopefully others should also have a good experience on the QC front.

I'm obviously somewhat biased by nostalgia -- Warpath was one of the first few TFs I got as a kid -- but the way this pays homage to the original toy right down to the position and shape of the gray panel on his back is great. Kudos to the developers.

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Post by Knightdramon » Sun May 24, 2015 10:32 am

Aaargh at my Vos/Cynicus

Mine had kind of loose joints on his waist/torso and legs, so I thought I'd dismantle him and polish him up with crazy glue.

Went a bit overhead on the waist joint, kind of fused in place, plastic stressed badly, spent the night soaked in hot water, stress marks not fully gone.

How can I further treat this? I don't like the fact that I had to open up and treat him twice, and in the process might even have damaged him!

I think I like Salvia the most out of the two of them. By far.
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Post by Denyer » Sun May 31, 2015 9:32 pm

3P of a sort... sellers seem to be starting to clearance MP car bot repaint KOs; Tiger Track, Smokescreen and Red Alert currently $20 shipped.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?item=121 ... 99&_sop=15

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