RE: PCC Dinobots
Warcry wrote:You'll probably like them more than I do, if you enjoy the other PCC sets. If nothing else they look pretty cool compared to the others I've seen because of their uniform Dinobot colours. I just get so frustrated by the whole PCC line, because the drones just don't work well as arms or individual toys. Being an animal set probably made the Dinobots seem worse, too, compared to the cars or tanks or jets.
Clay wrote:I think they're an interesting subset in relation to the smaller stuff. Considering them as deluxe figures, they're below average, yeah. But if I think of them as the larger Legends/Legion figures (which came a year later, I think), I like them more. It makes more sense that way, especially considering the drones are the same size as the smaller Legends and can carry around a Minicon.
Actually, that's an irony... the Legend class has overcome most of its initial shortcomings by sheer weight of numbers, which is exactly why the PCC figures failed. The critical mass of quantity and variety wasn't reached before they gave up on the things.
Warcry wrote:I think that might be part of the problem with the Dinodrones...they're way bigger than your average Legends/Legion figure. The Dimetrodon is a bit smaller than the other three, but they're not far off from the core robot's size in beast mode. They do work nicely as big, massive threats for Cyberverse-style figs, I agree, though the BH Terrorcons kind of put them to shame in that regard.
The first comparables that come to mind for me when I think of PCCs, though, are the DOTM Human Alliance Basics and the modern Legend two-packs. Those are a more apt contrast to the Targetmaster two-packs than the full-fledged combiners sets, admittedly, but I think all three are meant to fill the same niche. Ironically, while the big guy in the sets have gotten better with each iteration, the smaller partners have decayed from cool (albeit overly busy) Minicons to boring human minifigs to unarticulated bricks in the latest set.
I do think the line produced a few really cool Scoutish figures and Minicons, I just think the core gimmick needed another design revision or two. Drone limbs weren't a bad idea for combiners at that scale, but they really needed to have good limb configurations to make up for the lack of robot modes and that didn't happen.
Clay wrote:[Clay nods his head "yes"]
I'd also add that in most of these cases, if they'd simply carry on and keep building on a concept, they'd get more traction over time. I think that's the big reason the Generations toys now move so quickly. They've essentially built upon the premise of "Classics" off and on for eight years now. Things like the PCC figures are just sort of errant off-shots and oddities.
/armchair brand manager
Warcry wrote:Actually, I'd say the perfect example of that goes all the way back to the genesis of TF combiners, the Scramble City teams. By launching with four teams at once, kids had a choice to collect a whole team, or cherry-pick the toys they liked and Frankenstein a gestalt. And by adding new teams in later years, they gave kids a chance to build up their numbers even more. You could say the same thing about the tapes too, which were an even older gimmick. They kept releasing those for, what, five years?
I'd agree that it's a shame that things seem to come and go so quickly these days. Kids who fell in love with, say, Human Alliance or Activator toys or data discs were totally out of luck six months later when they stopped selling them, and if that's all they're into then Hasbro looses them as a customer. And unlike when we were kids, stuff doesn't hang around long enough for a kid to collect a whole subgroup when they come out at once, unless they get them all for birthday/Christmas gifts.
I mean, it took me the better part of two years to get all the G2 Aerialbots. There's no way I could do that nowadays. I'm an adult actively hunting the stuff, and even I struggle to find stuff if I want to buy multiple figures per wave and can't get them all at once (case in point: I saw Waspinator twice and Skids once). For kids? No way. It makes me wonder how the whole Generations combiner stuff is going to go over with people who can't just order cases off the internet.
Clay wrote:And they also had the sense to release them as gift sets as well, skipping over the maddening hunt for figures that aren't released together because they're in different size classes. Of course, that's an extension of the wave system. I don't really understand why they do it. Hasbro and retailers seem perfectly happy to keep the static assortment of, say, Nerf guns on shelves year-round aside from a six-month reset. But they don't even do what would be the simplest fix for the wave system: shipping one figure per case of eight, making each box contain eight different figures instead of doubling up on everything.
The AOE line is the perfect example of shooting themselves in the foot: it's only got three waves anyway, so the first wave should have been one of each of the figures from waves one and two. Better variety and less clogging that way. Instead, wave one is overstocked everywhere meaning that two-thirds of the deluxe figures are going to be difficult to find. It's daft!
The other thing about the Scramble combiners is that they made them cross-compatible and continued to do so after the initial groups. They added three more sets (Computron, Abominus, Piranacon) in the years after, and used some of them again in G2. But instead of an interchangeable part system like that, the connectors for the Energon group are different from the FOC Combaticons, and are different from next year's batch, which are (understandably) different from the PCC stuff, which are different from anything else I'm forgetting...
Wow, I'm ranting a bit. Sorry about that...
Warcry wrote:Are you me? Because you think exactly like me.
The idea that toys need to have constantly-new stock like fashion is a silly one. The best way to sell toys has always been "kid goes into store to buy Toy A, sees Toy B, comes back to buy Toy B next month and sees Toy C, etc...". And the wacky modern wave system has utterly strangled that. A kid walking into the toy section nowadays will only see a small handful of other toys in the line, and may never see those toys again depending on the vagarities of distribution. Cross-sells are similarly useless now, for the same reasons.
The Lego model makes way more sense to me. It's basically what G1 did anyway, and it was hugely successful at the time. Two waves per year, one for Christmas and one for summer vacation time, with a lot more items per wave.
Using Generations as an example, you'd be releasing all of Cosmos, Swerve, Tailgate, Shrapnel, Waspinator, Skids, Dreadwing, Goldfire, Armada Starscream, Skywarp, the Mini-Con Assault Team, Scoop, Rhinox, Whirl and Doubledealer all at once as your big 2013 Christmas push. Then around summertime, Acid Storm, Gears, Nemesis Prime, Cliffjumper, Tankor, Rattrap, Crosscut, Nightbeat, Jhiaxus, Windblade, Arcee, Chromia, Sky-Byte, Roadbuster and Brainstorm slowly take their place. And then for this Christmas, have two whole combiner teams on the shelves!
In general, I think Hasbro and retailers don't factor in repeat sales when they decide how this stuff works. Fill a case with eight Bumblebees and you have to find eight people to buy them. Fill a case with eight different guys, and you could sell them all to one person. And a kid in scenario #2 is way more valuable than the eight kids in scenario #1. He's well on his way to having a big collection and becoming a lifetime fan, but others are just eight of the millions of kids with one Transformer who'll forget about it as soon as something new comes along.
I've never thought of it like that, but you're 100% right.Clay wrote:The other thing about the Scramble combiners is that they made them cross-compatible and continued to do so after the initial groups. They added three more sets (Computron, Abominus, Piranacon) in the years after, and used some of them again in G2. But instead of an interchangeable part system like that, the connectors for the Energon group are different from the FOC Combaticons, and are different from next year's batch, which are (understandably) different from the PCC stuff, which are different from anything else I'm forgetting...
(You also caused me to transform FoC Brawl into leg mode and have him stand around like that, silently mourning the absence of the rest of his team and his inability to combine with the upcoming toys. So much limb potential, never to be used! )
I can understand them not reusing the Energon combiner ports, because they were designed to hold limbs one size class smaller than the FoC Combaticons onto a body and probably wouldn't hold up to the extra weight. But why not reuse the Combaticon technology for the new guys? It seems fairly robust.
Of course, the answer probably is "this way we can force fans to buy an entirely new set of Combaticons in 2016, mwa-ha-ha-ha!"
Yeah, and you've got me started too! I've been known to go off on this same tangent more than once. I suspect we could fill an entire thread with nothing but complaints over how Hasbro handles its distribution and strategy nowadays.Clay wrote:Wow, I'm ranting a bit. Sorry about that...
Clay wrote:We should do exactly that.