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Messages - Nicklab

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The Force Awakens / Re: Recents Finds and/or Purchases
« on: November 12, 2015, 05:35 PM »
I picked up the EE Exclusive 3.75" scale Desert Assault Walker with the FO Stormtrooper Commander from a local shop.  They have the EE distribution deal, and it's nice to not have to pay shipping. 

The Force Awakens / Re: TFA 3.75" Scale Millennium Falcon
« on: November 11, 2015, 09:43 PM »
This new Millennium Falcon is a completely different animal from the 2008 BMF Falcon.  And it appears that Hasbro is trying to appeal to a different market segment with this particular rendition of the Falcon.  The features say that much to me.  Especially the Nerf cannon.

Plus, there are Hasbro's comments in the new Wall Street Journal article that just ran about merchandising for TFA.  From that article it seems pretty clear that Hasbro is directing their efforts in the 3.75" figure system to kids who are 10 and under, and the 6" figure system to a more mature audience.  The design choices in this Falcon make that strategy abundantly clear.

I stopped being a completest some time ago.  And frankly, I prefer my BMF Falcon to this new version.  So I don't feel the need to buy the new version, even with the semi-unique figures that are packed in.

I'm trying to look at offerings like this one from a big picture perspective.  I'm hopeful that the line sells in significant enough volume that Hasbro can seriously consider offering a premium format 3.75" figure line in addition to a kid focused 5 POA line.

Check out THIS WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE about the marketing of toys & merchandise for THE FORCE AWAKENS:

Inside the Toy Marketing of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Sphero’s BB-8 robot works with a smartphone; fans debate the points of articulation on Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren figures

Ellen Byron

Nov. 10, 2015 1:34 p.m. ET   
Corey Van **** knows almost nothing about BB-8, Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, General Hux and Constable Zuvio, some of the new characters expected in the coming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Yet the 16-year-old has already bought these action figures plus more than 100 other items related to the movie, which hits theaters on December 17.

Corey, a high-school senior in Richmond, Va., hosts a weekly Star Wars podcast called the WolfPack. He has been raking leaves this fall for extra Star Wars spending money. “This buildup waiting for the movie is the greatest time I’ve had as a Star Wars fan,” he says.

 Walt Disney Co.  is rewriting the playbook of blockbuster movie merchandise for the latest installment in the nearly 40-year-old Star Wars saga, whose fans now span three generations. Toys tied to movies typically are introduced six to eight weeks ahead of the film’s release date. But Disney launched merchandise related to “The Force Awakens” 15 weeks ahead of the movie’s debut.

“We could have gone even earlier,” says  Josh Silverman, Disney’s executive vice president of global licensing.

First Order Stormtrooper, left and First Order Flametrooper action figures from Disney’s Star Wars Elite Series. First Order Stormtrooper is described as ‘equipped with sleek armor and powerful weapons.’ First Order Flametrooper ‘carries incendiary weapons that can transform any battlefield into an infernal blaze.’ Photo:  F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas and Leah Latella 

With the Sept. 4 merchandise launch, which Disney called Force Friday, Star Wars grabbed Halloween-costume sales and consumer attention well ahead of the Christmas holiday selling season. In between Force Friday and the opening of “The Force Awakens” in theaters, several smaller merchandise introductions are planned, all carefully designed to avoid giving away the plot of the movie. Another major wave of merchandise will launch with movie’s mid-December debut and continue into 2016, Disney says.

Such an early effort helps safeguard Disney from merchandising missteps it made with its last blockbuster, “Frozen.” Retailers and manufacturers didn’t anticipate the animated film’s runaway success and quickly ran out of Frozen dolls and gear, struggling for months to keep items in stock.

In contrast, Star Wars’ early launch has given stores crucial lead time to organize holiday displays and stock inventory according to the best-selling toys, says  Steph Wissink, a  Piper Jaffray  Cos. managing director. She expects retail sales of Star Wars toys to reach $1.5 billion within a year of the movie’s release.

Finn, left and Rey, right. Action figures from Disney’s Star Wars Elite Series. Finn is described on the box as ‘a trained warrior desperate to escape his past,’ and Rey as ‘a resilient survivor, a scavenger toughened by a lifetime of dealing with the cutthroats of the harsh desert world of Jakku.’ Photo:  F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas and Leah Latella 
“Star Wars will likely be much bigger than Frozen,” says Ms. Wissink. “With Star Wars you have that adult collector who reaches far beyond the traditional toy demographic, which is generally up to age 10.”

“This is going to be a very significant business in the first half of next year as kids watch the movie multiple times when it is distributed digitally,” says  Richard Barry, chief merchandising officer of Toys “R” Us Inc., which has built permanent Star Wars aisles in all of its stores.

Star Wars fans sometimes have been disappointed in characters they bought ahead of a film. Jar Jar Binks merchandise was heavily marketed ahead of the release of the 1999 movie “The Phantom Menace” and many fans ended up disliking the character after they saw the film.

Disney says that incident hasn’t influenced its merchandise strategy this time around. “We’re not looking at that, we’re looking forward to the new film and the new stories they’re telling,” says Disney’s Mr. Silverman.

Star Wars’ massive appeal means the toys must please a varied audience, ranging from serious adult collectors to casual nostalgic fans to children who are new to the franchise.

To maximize appeal,  Hasbro Inc.  segmented its toy line by price and design sophistication. Its most basic 3.75-inch Star Wars action figures, for example, start at about $8 and are intended to encourage consumers to buy more than one, the company says.

The BB-8 droid action figure from Disney’s Star Wars Elite Series. BB-8 is described as ‘the spherical, loyal astromech droid of the resistance pilot Poe Dameron.’ Photo:  F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas and Leah Latella

“Once you have two characters in your hand and you’re a 6-, 7- or 8-year-old, you can start playacting and building out a whole world,” says  Steve Evans, Hasbro’s design director for Star Wars. “As people get older, they move away from the play state, and go more to the display state.”

For those fans, Hasbro has a so-called Black Series of highly detailed, 6-inch figures that start at about $20. These figures have many points of articulation, the toy-industry term for the number of places where a figure can move. That compares to around five points of articulation in Hasbro’s smaller, less costly figures.

Having a range of points of articulation helps appease the most rabid Star Wars toy collectors. The higher the “POA,” some fans argue, the higher the perceived value of the toy and the wider the range of poses it can achieve. Others prefer a lower POA because it makes the figures more stable, or because they never take the figures out of its packaging, valuing the toy’s aesthetics more than its mobility.

Hasbro says it closely monitors the points-of-articulation debate. “What’s great about the Star Wars audience and fan base is that they are very passionate and have a lot of great viewpoints on what the product should be,” says  John Frascotti, president of Hasbro Brands.

Chris Pirillo, a Seattle-based online producer whose daughter’s name is Jedi, says he stays out of the points-of-articulation debate. He participated in Disney’s 18-hour online Force Friday toy launch, unboxing the new Millennium Falcon in a live video. So far Mr. Pirillo has purchased eight different figures of BB-8, a small spherical robot, among other characters from the coming film. “Ultimately I just enjoy the toy for what it is,” he says. “I can make up my own story for the characters—that’s part of the playing.”

Disney has been mum on how the new characters are selling. It says that due to accounting rules it cannot report revenue information about “The Force Awakens” merchandise until the movie is released. Hasbro has reported sales of its Star Wars toys have been well above expectations.

This weekend,  Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  is planning a Star Wars-themed “Epic Weekend” in 3,000 stores, offering shoppers the opportunity to play the Star Wars: Battlefront videogame, made by  Electronic Arts Inc.,  four days before it is available for purchase. It currently carries over 500 Star Wars items in stores and “thousands” online, a spokeswoman says.

 Target Corp.  has more than 600 Star Wars items in stores and more than 1,000 online, including action figures, pizza cutters and lipstick. Among its biggest sellers is BB-8, a robot about whom only hints have been revealed through Disney’s cryptic movie trailers.

“For all we know, BB-8 could be a son of a gun and grumpy,” says  Steve Sansweet, chief executive of Rancho Obi-Wan Inc., a nonprofit museum near Petaluma, Calif., containing Mr. Sansweet’s 350,000-piece collection of Star Wars merchandise. “Something tells me that BB-8 is going to be cool and heroic, though, and we’re not going to say, ‘Why did I buy all that stuff?’ ”

Sphero, the maker of a $149.99 BB-8 droid controlled with a smartphone app, has been racing to meet demand after nearly selling out in September; the droid remains in short supply. Now half of Sphero’s engineering team is in China working to speed up production. “Demand has far exceeded anything we predicted,” says  Ian Bernstein, company co-founder and chief technical officer.

For the past year, Sphero worked to keep its BB-8 development a secret, adding frosted windows and a keypad lock to the room where most of the work took place in its Boulder, Colo., headquarters. To keep the character name secret, Sphero employees called it “Project Ray.” Every time visitors to the office were expected, employees received a memo warning them to hide any BB-8 evidence, and the marketing department did a final inspection of desks before outsiders were allowed into the office.

Mr. Bernstein says he hasn’t seen the “The Force Awakens” and had to rely on character descriptions of BB-8 from Disney, which is an investor in Sphero. He’ll finally learn BB-8’s full story during Sphero’s holiday party, when the company plans to gather in a rented movie theater on the film’s opening night so employees can watch it for the first time together. “I know BB-8 is going to be amazing, but I’m still nervous,” says Mr. Bernstein.

Picked up the Target exclusive 2-pack with Poe Dameron and the FO Riot Control Stormtrooper today.  I passed on Constable Zuvio.  I get the feeling that he might be a peg warmer down the line. 

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: X-Men/Wolverine Movies
« on: November 11, 2015, 11:57 AM »
Olivia Munn = Psylocke for Apocalypse.

Olivia Munn posted a pretty awesome video of her sword skills on Instagram:

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: The Force Awakens Trailers
« on: November 11, 2015, 10:13 AM »
There has been.... ANOTHER SUPERCUT.  This one incorporates some of the most recent footage that's been seen in all of the domestic and international trailers along with footage from the TV spots.  And it's been edited pretty well.  It's definitely getting me that much more excited for December 18th!

I think when people realize that Chewbacca is a significant player in the new film, he's going to sell.

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: The Force Awakens Trailers
« on: November 6, 2015, 04:40 PM »
The shot of the TIE's with the sun behind them was beautiful!

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: The Force Awakens Trailers
« on: November 6, 2015, 09:18 AM »
New Japanese trailer broke a short while ago.  And there's some very cool new footage that we haven't seen before.  Some of the TIE Fighter and X-Wing shots look amazing!

That's a pretty sweet deal!  Getting that TIE for $127 and change takes a lot of the sting out. 

TRU currently has that 20% off deal, but it only applies to the 3.75" scale figures and vehicles.  Still, if you want to get the new Millennium Falcon that 20% off deal will help there.

The Force Awakens / Re: Recents Finds and/or Purchases
« on: November 5, 2015, 11:52 AM »
Hasbro's 12" figure line looks terrible.  The only thing I feel like I can take from it is that some of the things offered in that line might eventually get offered in the 3.75" figure line.  I certainly hope that things like Poe in his Resistance uniform with the speeder bike will be offered in the Class 1 vehicle line at some point.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
« on: November 5, 2015, 09:04 AM »
It's the long play.  It makes the payoff that much better when Fitz & Simmons eventually get together.

I think it was awesome to see Powers Boothe in the episode.  The tie-in of his character from the first Avengers film as a member of the World Security Council was great.  And it keeps the whole storyline of Hydra having inflitrated it's way into SHIELD that much more insidious.

As for Lash's identity?  There was a moment during this week's episode that clued me in on the possibility that it was someone close to SHIELD.  And when the reveal came at the end of the episode I wasn't that surprised.

But the fight sequence between Bobbie and Ward's chief goon?  That was good.  And when she shocked the hell out of him in the water?  It showed just how ruthless she can be!

TV-9D9 / Re: Star Wars Rebels - Season 2 (Spoilers)
« on: November 4, 2015, 07:30 PM »
I remember some of the web comics from the Official Site had a story about a Padawan who was on the run from the Empire.  And the search was led by an Inquisitor who had been a Jedi youngling, but hadn't gotten a Master to see him through his Padawan training.  He got sent off to the agricultural corps, but was eventually recruited for the Inqisitorium since he was known to be Force sensitive.  I think that was Tremayne.  But I don't know if that whole storyline has become Legends material. 

Modern Classifieds / Re: FS: Hot Toys Loki
« on: November 4, 2015, 07:04 PM »
REDUCED!  Now $200 shipped to the CONUS

The Force Awakens / Re: Recents Finds and/or Purchases
« on: November 1, 2015, 09:31 PM »
I managed to get Hux, PZ-4CO and Goss Toowers for regular price ($7.99) each from Amazon today. 

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