« on: October 15, 2003, 07:50 PM »
G.I. Joe isn't overly interesting to me either, but the fact that line has outsold Star Wars in terms of profit during a movie year (For the past several years actually) is pretty stunning. G.I. Joe handily rules the boy's toys market these days.
As for the other military lines in 1:18/3.75" scale not being impressive to you, that's fine... To each their own. BBi, Dragon, and 21st Century figures sport crisper sculpts though, accurate scaling across the board, and for 2 of the companies (Dragon for some odd reason does not support lots of articulation but rather interchangeable limbs) have figures sporting 14 to 20 points of articulation each. Pretty hard to top that...
I mean, BBi figures can even see the weave of the fabric in their clothing. Texture is something Hasbro just recently decided to start trying to bring out in sculpt (Well at times, other times their often poor paint applications don't accentuate that).
Hasbro's still a couple decades behind in those regards though, but maybe they'll pick up the pace on articulation and such since they're more than capable of doing it well, but just choose not to do it often. Be nice for the toy line to be fun AND look good like the other toy lines in the same scale.
BTW, check out Dragon and BBi for the best face sculpts in history. I'd love to see Dragon's 3.75" sculpts of our favorite Star Wars characters. It's darn near a guarantee they'd be mirror images of the actors themselves. Dragon dominates everyone in sculpt... Got to admire those Japanese Toy companies for innovating the industry.
I personally think that this is an extremely unfair comparison. Just from a business model standpoint, Hasbro and these other companies are completely different animals.
First, licensing. Star Wars is a license that is paid from Hasbro to Lucasfilm Ltd. So right off the bat, Hasbro is operating at a loss. The SW license cost them plenty, including a 10% stake in the company that George Lucas now owns.
So, they've got to try to bring something to market that meets several levels of expectations: marketability to the retailers on a mass scale, a broad based appeal to the fans, but first an approval from Lucasfilm's licensing division. Oh, and did I mention that they also have to try and pay back their licensing fees AND generate a profit?!
The smaller companies making military lines don't have half of these concerns. Do they have to pay licensing fees? Probably not. Likeness rights? Nope. Do they have to go through a long approval process with the Pentagon? Nope. If they did that, you would probably never see these toys. The fact is, the small companies like BBi, Dragon, 21st Century, etc don't have anywhere near the cost factor. Let's face facts: it's far cheaper for these companies to do business than it is for Hasbro. As a result, they can offer a somewhat superiro product at about the same price points.
Regarding GI Joe: GI Joe is able to make more money than Star Wars because Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe. As a result, they don't have to pay any licensing fees, and has free reign over this property. A very different business model.
Bearing all these factors in mind, the savvy collector has got to realize that Hasbro cannot do everything perfectly. We can't get an entire line of Ephant Mon's, otherwise Hasbro would drop the SW license to save their skins, and some craptacular company like Mattel would make terrible toys. We've got to settle on some pieces that are sub-par, some that are alright, and some that will be great. Expecting greatness from every single piece while considering the business agreements that Hasbro has to operate under is frankly unrealistic.