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Messages - Jesse James

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Aquatic Clone is a neat idea...  A red ARC is a nice idea too since I definitely liked the ARC sculpt.  They appear to have the colored markings to indicate rank as well so it could just be a higher (or lower) ranked ARC trooper perhaps.

Maximise the use of that sculpt I suppose.

Lando cranked out the ultimate army builder list though. :)  Great ideas I think.  

Saga '02-'04 / Re: RUMORS FOR 2004!!!!!!
« on: October 16, 2003, 03:52 PM »
I've kinda wanted a set of SW glasses for my place.  The one guy from the Pittsburgh SWC group I'm sure is gonna have those as his main drinking glasses, haha. :)  

The wave with Gold leader looks like a good one.  I hope the Han Endor is really something special though.  That last one from Saga was a real disappointment and I've been wanting one either with a coat molded on or a removeable (good) cloth coat for a while.

Good heads up mosnab, especially the fun news on those glasses for those into the odder collectibles.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« on: October 16, 2003, 03:47 PM »
For Jimmy:

BUT when I need a therapist Jesse I'll get one...
In this hobby I have made a few very good friends...
That is good enough for me. I need not be a star and loved by all. That was never my intention.

See like I said I can stare that monster down. I'm much more in tune w/ the realization of me not making the world like/love me... Just don't try to psychoanalyze me thank you very much.

Well, you brought it up...  And it applies elsewhere, but I wouldn't call my words as attempted therapy, but rather advice...  Because around here, the actions that make one not so well-liked aren't going to be accepted like they may be at other sites.  So don't take it so much as me trying to analyze you, but me trying to make sure the warnings are clear as to how we operate here.

I guess people also can not see why we are getting such items as the TRU multipacks... Those are money makers for Hasbro any way you slice and dice it. The molds are all made therefore at this point those sets equal a pure cash cow.

I'm sure lots of people see why we're getting those...  I didn't know this was in dispute really.  They're cheap product for the shelves, I agree, and they're even selling fairly well it seems...  At least well enough to continue them for a little while.

Regardless of what one thinks this is a tough line for Hasbro and YES
LF is not that easy on their approvals. Some pieces may get brought back to them three times before they are ok to run w/...
I have a good friend that worked at LF and told me about some of how they work...

To my knowledge, a single product for 21st Century Toys saw near 10 revisits before it was finally approved...  The approval process is tough all over, not just at Hasbro.  It's short-sighted to think other companies don't have similar processes, even if they don't have a license really.  At least if the company cares somewhat about quality anyway.

As I mentioned over head for a company like Hasbro is much bigger than any of the smaller companies. Hasbro has different divisions around the world...

To me it's apples and oranges...

I'm sure to every company competing in the toy industry though, they aren't apples and oranges, and they realize that comparisons are part of competition.  You may not think so, but that's just the truth about the competing business world I've worked in.

Saturn compares itself to the big three.  Value Jet compares itself to American and USAir.  The generic brand soap at the store compares itself to Zest...  That's competition in business.

And yes, Hasbro's overhead is HUUUUUUUUGE.  We've gone over that.  It's a fact...  But to a small company like 21st Century, BBI, or Dragon, their overhead is EQUALLY huge.  It's maybe less on paper, but in relative terms they've got just as much overhead worry as Hasbro.  That is how things are analyzed and compared.  

Sure they're different companies, but they're in the same game, and they play by the same rules...  They're open to, and need to be compared as equally as possible, and when it boils down to it they're working in the same formats generally, and have strong relative similarities.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« on: October 16, 2003, 03:36 PM »
For Nick:

I never said that other companies weren't paying licensing fees.  But, when the Star Wars license ticks in at half a billions dollars and 10% ownership in your company, that's a hefty cost.  The other licensing fees that the companies you're talking about  pale in comparison.

For the record, gross income for Hasbro last year was $2.8 billion in 2002.  Net earnings after costs and such came in at a whopping $107 million...  

Sure, $500 million isn't a small ammount of $, but for a multi-million dollar international company it's not some exporbitant fee either Nick.  

And like my point I was making, to a company like 21st Century that isn't publicly owned and who turn their profit around into the organization itself, a small license is equally as costly to them as a big license like Star Wars is to Hasbro.  

To think of this as apples and oranges isn't fair.  They're 2 companies competing in the same market.  One small company, and one large company, and both have overhead issues.  Who is the worse off company?  Considering Hasbro pulled in NET profits of $107 million while 21st Century still struggles financially but manages to put out superior product is proof positive that they have more cost issues they're working around than Hasbro.  Issues that have greater effect on the company as a whole.

Hasbro even took a surprising slump in gross profit for 2002 from $2.9 to $2.8 billion and STILL came out at $107 million in net profit.

You're leaving out a lot of other steps.  First Hasbro has to approve something at the departmental level.  Next, they no doubt have a corporate safety standards department that it has to go through.  These are after all approved for children what, ages 5 and up?  THEN, it proceeds to LFL.  Lucasfilm has been renowned for being sticklers for what will and will not go out.  This delays the process, and in the long run costs more money.

You're also leaving out a good many steps in the process as well Nick, and neglecting to point out that other companies have very similar and stringent approval processes.  The point is that just because Hasbro runs things past LFL at some point does not mean that other companies do not have their own approval channels they must run their product through.  

As per my example, 21st Century Toys runs their product past military/military history experts multiple times for evaluation and approval just as Hasbro has to pop their things off to LFL.  The difference here is that 21st has to pay their people for their work in approval and Hasbro does not.

Quite simply, EVERY toy company and brand has stringent approval processes.  G.I. Joe, Star Wars, X-Treme Detail, Elite Force, Barbie, etc...  They all go through strict approval processes within the organization and outside it as well.  

The fact is that the bottom line is the core fact.  Are the smaller companies having a harder time getting by?  Yes.  They have a smaller market share.  They're fundamentally smaller companies.  They have higher production costs because they can't manufacture in the quantity level that Hasbro does at a comparable expense level.  But, the core issue once again is the licensing.  Are any of these other companies able or willing to shell out the kind of capital needed to produce a viable line?  Are they able to stick it out to see an eventual profit?  Probably not.

And again, a license to any company a fraction the size of Hasbro is going to equal in cost the Star Wars license to Hasbro.  

21st Century pays a license out to Chrysler/Dodge for naming rights and product development rights.  Chrysler doesn't charge what LFL did obviously, but the license is still a HIGH cost to 21st Century Toys who struggle to get by and make any profit at all.  

Whereas Hasbro pays a $500 million dollar licensing fee, but this is a company still bringing in $107 million in profits in 2002 when they actually reported a SLUMP in projected sales!

Maybe that clarifies the point that licensing is MORE costly to the smaller company than it is to Hasbro, even though Hasbro's paying more actual cash out for a licensing agreement.  It's the companies size that makes Hasbro capable of bigger and better product, even with their obviously large licensing fee.

I've never disputed that the SW license cost a lot...  Obviously it does because only top toy manufacturers were even considered in the running because only companies like Mattel and Hasbro can afford it.  What's being neglected or not understood here is that the smaller companies have licenses to, and that they (in relation to Hasbro) have just as much at stake in their costs, even if they pay less on paper, they're just not big enough companies to truly compete.  Yet, they seem to actually STILL compete through stronger product.

GI Joe is an intellectual property that is wholly owned by Hasbro.  As a result, Hasbro does not have to factor in licensing payments in their costs.  Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe.  They're therefore able to spend more money on R&D, manufacturing, marketing and other costs because there isn't the looming spector of licensing.  And if they play smart businessmen in GI Joe and keep their costs down, they can get a much higher profit margin out of the GI Joe line because they have a dramatically lower overhead.

Yes, it is, I agree...  But, it's also a smaller product line than Star Wars...  An average year for Joe has been compared to a non-movie year for Star Wars.

And again, the licensing fees cannot possibly be the ONLY reason that Star Wars is not generating the profit that G.I. Joe is.  G.I. Joe is simply outperforming Star Wars as a "hot" toy line.  It sells well, it moves fast...  Sure its costs are lower, but that's not the point.  Star Wars is SUPPOSED to be doing better right now and it's not.  G.I. Joe is one of Hasbro's dominant product lines and it's beating Star Wars handily at retail.

The argument isn't does it cost less, it's does Star Wars compete with it and other "Smaller" lines, and the answer is no Star Wars isn't competing at retail like it should be.  

As I said, I don't even like the modern Joe stuff, but I cannot deny that they are racking up the sales and beating Star Wars.  That's just been the plain truth at the end of the business year these past several years now.

And I have to restate, I and just about any other business person would agree that half a billions dollars is not a small overhead variance.

That it is...  It's a ton of $, but for Hasbro to still crank out $107 million in profits renders the argument that the license is all that's holding Star Wars back completely moot and useless.  The license can be added to the bottom of the laundry list of reasons that Star Wars isn't the steamroller of a line it should be.  Just one factor in a huge corporation making bad decisions/mishandling a toy license.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« on: October 16, 2003, 01:47 AM »
For Jimmy:

That's the whole morale of it all Jesse in a nutshell (and my point in the first place)... Life itself is far from perfect. I think that to trivialize something as minute as toys is just well...

The thing is Jimmy, morales to stories means that you are preaching, and preaching isn't something anyone asked for.  Sure life is not perfect...  I live it every day, but I also realize that this is just something to talk about.  It's nothing that makes me angry or ruins my day.

My posts maybe don't make you happy, and you take them too seriously, but to me I'm just talking toys and enjoying the hobby my own way.  I'm not asking for argument or anything, just fun talking and banter with the people I choose to associate with now that I'm cutting my time down at other forums and working with the people I get along with best, and enjoying the members of our forums who are a tight bunch and who enjoy the conversation.

Rebelscum was a place that had these kinds of "ties" that didn't allow opinions to go forth without criticism, and that's one reason why I don't frequent their saga topics much anymore.  

I believe you and I had this discussion before, did we not?  And didn't I make it abundantly clear that chastising people for NOT liking things isn't going to be tolerated around here?  I'm a lenient person but that's wearing off quickly.  The only two times I've had to bring this up have been with you, and I hope it's not necessary again.

I think I did mention that I do respect people's opinions... though people's constant negativity is a whole other thing... Again it's your choice and opinion... and it's also mine to comment on them.

You know how us "easily riled up" folk can get...

Jimmy, you can MENTION how much you respect other's opinions around here all you want, but it doesn't mean you actually do.  Any contradiction to you is met with replies of a less than friendly nature.  You don't like to be countered, and you don't like to be disagreed with.  That's glaringly apparant.

And you're wrong, it's not your right to comment on how  negative someone is...  It's your right to hang out, talk Star Wars (Good and bad) and enjoy yourself talking about the hobby you love, but if people don't like things or find flaws it's not your duty to tell them that they're being "too picky" or whatever euphamism you choose at the time.

We're here to have fun, and some of us have fun by talking about what could've been, or in many cases what SHOULD have been...  And those people aren't here to have you dictate to them that they're unrealistic and their opinions are somehow less valid than yours.

So, no, you don't respect people's opinions as much as you may think...  And that's where I've stepped in.

You also have to respect my opinions Jesse as I do yours... Is that correct Jesse?

Yes, and I have...  Your opinions on the line are often glowing, and sometimes they have excellent points.  I never have criticized your collecting methods.  

Just as I think my opinion is "the only" from a lot of what you haven written you feel the same about yours.

No, we're different here...  I don't think my opinion is the only one.  I know it's not.  I know that whatever I dislike about a figure that someone else may very well like it...  I know that some people think retail is more to blame than Hasbro but I feel Hasbro's more at fault for recent/current gluts of figures...  

And I know that you and I will disagree on the quality of the Star Wars line no matter how much we both say our argument.

What I also know is that you'll make unnecessary comments on people's collecting habits, or personality, because the arguments in various forums seem to make you upset to the point you feel like taking that last personal dig, and that won't be tolerated here at our forums.  

Like I said, I told you this before...  The only other time I've had to "pull rank" around here, and on the same topic.

As I have said elsewhere Jesse let's skip the melodrama... and theatrics...

No melodrama and theatrics here.  I'm telling you flat out how it is, and how it's going to be for the long haul.

The litigious society that has been created has made any form of criticism be it constructive or otherwise... slander, libel, etc...

Heaven forbid anyone dare step on anyone's toes in the times...

And this isn't applicable to this topic Jimmy.  We're here to discuss toys, not each other, and that's what this is all coming down to.  You have the choice to talk toys, but you're crossing some lines and you're getting this pointed out now.  

Everyone here is allowed to talk toys, to criticize Hasbro, to praise Hasbro, to enjoy the forums, and they're all open to being involved in deep discussions about the hobby, but nobody's allowed to openly criticize another individual here.

OK, Jesse since that seemed to touch a sore spot... forgive me.

There's been no sore spots touched.  I don't get angry over this site, I just do my job, and that's all I'm doing now...  I know you don't agree with this post, but it's needing said at this point, and you need to see that you have to truly respect everyone here, not just when you want to or when they're in agreement with you.

There is at the very least one mutual feeling we then share Jesse.

If there is some other insinuation hidden amongst this well... You're not telling me something I don't know. Difference is I can stare that monster in the face because I know he exists...

No insinuation to my post, but if you see something in it then perhaps you should do some self-evaluation about how you interact with people in this hobby.  Maybe it will enlighten you as to why there's a monster to stare at in the first place.

I guess in the end I'm just a sheep because in a year of 40+ figures I can find only a handful that are not really needed in the line IMHO.

You're whatever you think you are for liking most of the figures from the past year or whatever.  That's not my place to judge, and I honestly don't care.  If you liked every figure that came down the pike every year than more power to you I say.  Good for you because you're in a true blissful state with this line and the ammount of product coming out I'd think.

Or maybe I know they are just toys...
Nothing more... Nothing less...

Removable objects... at the end of the day.

Yes, they are just toys...  That's exactly why it's not worth letting people's criticisms of them irritate you to the point to the point of reprimanding in the forums here (or anywhere else).  They're just toys.  Enjoy the hobby like everyone else and if people collect or feel differently than you do, respect it and move along...

Picking it as the subject to discuss is going to get you nowhere around here though but in the doghouse because it's the type of behavior that EACH of the moderators here was quite happy to leave at other forums.

Hope this has been made abundantly clear at this point.

For Jimmy:

If I respond yet again to you Jesse you'll only go back to the same rhetoric that you have tried going back to in the first place... So like you said the point is moot...

I bow out gracefully you know more than I... etc... etc...
There Jesse I admit it...  

Well, yes I would go back to the same rhetoric considering it's been my experiences and research for my degrees, so there's no reason to deviate really.  

I'm sure you think you're right, as I do, and that's the nature of discussion and debate...  You don't like that people have differeing opinions though, that much I have noticed.

My one question is this... (and I'm fairly certain I'm not alone)

Why do you collect Star Wars?

Well, the individuals I choose to be friends with through the hobby know my likes of the hobby overall, but it's basically answered within your quote there.  I collect Star Wars because I like Star Wars.  

I collected the vintage figures since I was younger and previous to the modern line.  I started customizing them to flesh out the vintage line then with characters from my favorite films that hadn't been done.

Then the modern line came, and it's slowly evolved into some choice figures, but it's not quite the toy line it is capable of being so I voice my criticisms.

See, the thing about the hobby is that when you're involved in anything like this there's those who love it unconditionally as if it were their first born.  They take offense at criticisms to it like they work for Hasbro.

Not that I voice my criticisms at people to irritate them, they just get mad about it and take some personal offense to it.  I don't intend for that, but I'm not going to silence my opinions either.

There's plenty of things I praise in the modern line...  There's plenty that could use a little something extra though to make it truly "perfect" or even to make it great compared to other toy lines...  As such I like it to be the best it can be...  

That would be where my customizing habits come into play too...  Changing or fixing the things that sometimes seemed like they obviously should've been different in the first place...  It doesn't change that I want the best product from the line though.

Besides the constant badgering on this forum alone (nevermind all the others) you criticize and critique the line like no one else I have seen do before... and I have seen and known some very a**l retentive people.

Well, please refrain from belittling how people collect or what they do with their free time Jimmy.  I don't consider anything I do "badgering".  I'm here to talk toys.  If anything I gave some pretty good praise to the figures that are the topic of this particular conversation...  They're a series I like and it's good to see the line changing for the better as I see it.

You just don't agree with my opinions, but remember to respect them like you have to.  That's what the collecting community is about here, and while we're not as stringent and strict as other communities we're the place where all types of collectors are welcome.  I don't argue with you when you say you love everything that comes out generally, ya know?  

When I make criticisms I usually take time to mention the finer points of the product too, and keep things balanced.  That's how I do my reviews, and it's how I generally feel about any given figure.

I love the CT Stormtrooper for instance for its articulation and such, but loathe its lacking of wrist articulation and a working holster.  It has good qualities and bad...  It's not perfect like it could've been.

Truth be told but every time I see your sig line I just think... Why...

Believe me, you're not alone in having those feelings when you see certain names or sig lines.

You have every right to your opinion and I give you that... though it's constantly "these figures look good BUT..."  

Your respect for opinions is open to debate personally...  You don't like mine I know.  But what's the problem with "These look good but..."

Why would you want to read nothing but praise and people unwilling, or simply unable, to think outside the given product as to the "What could've been" for the figure or item?

Seems dull to me...  Lots of things can be improved...  I like reading what the various collectors honestly think, or what they'd like to see different/better in their eyes.

Some like a figure with no articulation, some like lots/more articulation.  Some like soft goods, some like molded capes and such.  

Discussion doesn't come from "That's nice" though.  It comes from "I don't agree, and think that could've been better if...." conversations.

They are toys again... Nothing more... Nothing less...
I know you could say well I should expect more for my money... or look at what BBI does... Well then someone could just as easily turn and say maybe your dollar is much better spent on Dragon, BBI, 21st Century, etc...

Indeed, they're just toys...  Toys I collect, and like to talk about.  Nothing more, nothing less, and no harm being done to any individual other than the seemingly easily riled up over my opinions on toys.  

My dollar is quite liberally spent on 21st, Dragon, and BBI as well, as they're all 3 lines that I collect a lot.  And they're all 3 lines that I can find fault with too...

-BBI Marines ditched the ankle articulation that made the 1st series so great, so the Marines aren't as nice I don't think.

-Battle of the Bulge U.S. soldiers from 21st are tough to find, if you can find them at all right now, and there's not as diverse a line-up of figures.

-Dragon needs to improve their articulation for me to buy them in large quantities...  I like having one 1:18 from them of each character but their stuff is all pre-posed (except for their 1:6 which cannot be beat by any 1:6 line IMO).

I love the lines for the good things they bring though, but I like talking about the good AND the bad things with my fellow collectors.  It's the complaints that keep the cogs in the wheels of advancement turning, not the "Wow, I love this" replies without any substance.

And not to be a smart a** but since you critique everything in the forums around the net maybe doing that in your own column on this page would serve a better purpose...

And that's a site issue/matter right now, not anything to do with your input or opinion and I'm sure anyone working for the site would share that with you just as I did...  My column will be continuing as we work to get the site going on all 12 cylinders, and right now my column is just one of the things we're improving/working at.

My input in the forums won't diminish any, even with regular updates of my toy reviews, so no need to fear me leaving anytime soon from these hallowed halls.

Afterall half my job is here to maintain the order and make sure people are abiding by the rules of the land.

For Matt:

Like I said in my first post about this wave they seem like some of the best likenesses.  I think the Kenobi is the best personally, but Elan's not too sloppy either, and a sharp figure unto itself.  The Bail Organa is a dull figure (All senators seem to be) but he's a good dull figure with lots style.  The gnashed knuckles are a neat touch considering the last scenes of AOTC.

The Kenobi's likeness rocks, but the whole sabre thing's a bit annoying.  I wonder if his hilt's removeable though?  If it is, that will be the best Obi for the AOTC line-up I do believe.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Xbox
« on: October 15, 2003, 11:36 PM »
That's a bummer about the XB Adam.  :(  My VCR just fizzled on me the other day when I was trying to get some information on a particular SW uniform and I don't know what's up with it.  It was fairly new too...  I'm irritated.

If I was in the middle of some gaming I'd be especially upset about the XB but I've heard on multiple occassions now of that platform giving out for some reason.  Strange.

Again... There is absolutely no way that Joe has strived as long as it has just on the support of children alone.
If there wasn't a very strong collector it'd have be done w/ by now.

First, I never said "Just" to anything in my justification of why it's a superior toy line to Star Wars...  I said they have both a strong adult and kid market.  

You may not believe that, but then again I don't think you believe much of anything you're told if you disagree with it so it's turning into a moot point.  My last report on the industry had findings that G.I. Joe was a balanced toy line with both adult and youth collectors that supported a line with no multi-media events, films, or anything more than comics really, to supply "interest" from outside demographics.

It was kids and adults combined that supported the line from its very birth in '64 to its current status in 2003.  I can tell you till I'm blue in the face that kids like it and you can deny it all day long.

When the annual Joe con is held kids are not the reason behind such an event... that is (more than) a predominant adult convention. Yes, during our younger days (we) the kids were strongly into that line because of the strong backing of the cartoon series... Now realize those kids of yesterday are now todays collectors buying up more Joes than any child anywhere.

The demographic at a convention is one single focus...  That's sort of a poor item to use as a basis for who's buying a toy line don't you think?

If I based who goes to sporting events on who I see lined up to get autographs at a team convention I'd have a pretty skewed view of the average "sports fan" for any given team.  

They're not the only people interested in the product is the point.  Kids aren't at conventions because kids aren't adults...  They can't drive.  They don't make reservations to meet at the next con.  They don't have jobs to buy hotel rooms and airfare...  

So that's a very poor analysis tool being used to figure out "who's into G.I. Joe" ya know?  Plus, half the guys at Joe conventions don't collect modern or even 1982-present items.  Half of them are there for the originals I'd wager...  They're not supporting ANYTHING G.I. Joe now, just G.I. Joe then...  That's entirely too small an event to gather hardcore Marketing information from.  

We also had less choice as children when we were young... and almost none when the line was introduced in '64. These days however there are more toys than we can think of... that are far more technological than we ever had. Kids are into whatever is hot... and in the kid world Joe isn't what I call hot... Not by far...

We did?  I don't know about you, but off the top of my  head I remember:

-G.I. Joe
-Star Wars
-Indiana Jones

If anything, the 80's was considered a toy revolution, and with the help of video game systems becoming more prevelant in the child's home, it made the toy industry more tenacious than it had ever been (And it's only gotten worse in the last decade +).

So far, the fact the sales #'s are so high for G.I. Joe just seems to reinfoce that they've got support from collectors OTHER than adults.  That's what logic would tell you.  If collectors kept things alive Star Wars would be in far better shape than it is right now itself.  It is in a slow/steady decline because of a lack of fresh/new collectors.  The films can be partly to blame for that, but the line itself isn't helping when it loses at at POP advertising to other lines that just grab a child's attention.

I won't argue with you that kids are picky and change their mind from day to day, but it doesn't mean they don't stick with some toy lines faithfully either.

For instance, POwer Rangers is STILL a strong toy line at retail.  It still makes lots of $, it has a hefty licensing fee, and it is funded almost exclusively by kids.  It's also got longevity on its side.  Not as long as G.I. Joe, but as long as the modern Star Wars line...  That's tough to choke down I'm sure.

As for my comment on Hasbro having a larger market that is meant in other ways than taken obviously.
They make far bigger production runs and much more product in a year than any of the smaller companies...
Does any of the se companies such as Dragon, BBI, etc make 40+ figures a year... not including accessories and other products for the line? I'm 95% sure they do not.

Where's your #'s that Hasbro's production runs are higher than BBI's or some other companies?  Just to make back the $ on molds tooled, it takes HUGE production runs for any given toy...  

Again, that's very short-sighted and I don't see anything to back this up with credence.  If anything, it's likely that these companies have to place orders near what Hasbro does for quantity.  21st Century has had retailers who bought exclusively from them and carried larger #'s of their product, so it seems to support that idea.

These smaller companies have the advantage that they can put a tad bit more time into the pieces they do release in a year span.

BBI's put out (in the last month+) about 16 figures, and 5 vehicles ranging from small to very large.  That's one month so far, and the next series is due out fairly soon...  So that doesn't really seem to follow this idea that these smaller companies aren't putting out effort to put LOTS of product on the shelves.

Plus, again, you're looking at a company a fraction the size of Hasbro, and who have a LOT less employees.  So even if they are putting out less product, on a relative scale they're putting out equal #'s in comparison to Hasbro who have a very large human capital base.

Do you really think their costs are higher? That is absolutely untrue... Their all around overhead is far less than that of Hasbro. Leaving out the expensive license that SW is...

At this point I do...  You don't know they don't either, so please stop speaking as if you do Jimmy.  You've done NOTHING to prove your point so far.

You don't have to accept the answers as correct, but don't feel it necessary to dismiss them as completely false either till you can scrounge up some information to the contrary besides what you think you know.  

This last quote personifies why this is a moot argument and will never be settled till someone can post sales sheets.  I can only speak from my experience of research in the industry, and actually being involved in production and the toy industry on some level beyond retail.  You can only speak from your experience or opinions as well, so it really renders this dead.

Hasbro has much more to lose money wise when a product fails... That is I think very obvious...

So a large company has more to lose money-wise than a small company?  So when the small company loses $ and files for bankruptcy because their profit is turned over into their capital they somehow have lost less than Hasbro would if they have a toy line that "tanks" financially?

Your logic escapes me there.

Star Wars has lost money in the last few years that is the truth... but that was due to a few reasons... Over production, lack of interest, and (yes you may not want to hear it but) the high licensing fees are just a few of those reasons.

I don't doubt it's a partial factor, never said it wasn't, but it's not THE factor which is what you two have been arguing...  It's the same old same old from some sources, "The licensing is killing SW".  

The licensing is such a small miniscule part of the modern line at this point (It WAS important when the deal was struck so many moons ago, but it's become a small part of the equation now because it's not an annual cost).  

I've never said it wasn't, I just said it's not the huge deal you and Nick seem to think it is so that your opinions on how other companies outperform Star Wars can be slightly more validated.  Unfortunately, that's not the case...  It's even LESS the case since the renegotiation of the contract  which was all because the license is a FAILING venture for Hasbro so far because it's not been competing well at retail.

If that means we get better figures, I'm happy as a clam.  But it's such a small part of the equation that it's not likely to be the deciding factor in whether or not we see vast improvements to make the line more competitive and do better at retail.

Hasbro paid out close to 600 million until E1 and then a 2.5% royalty and 10% of Hasbro. These numbers were renegotiated w/ the extension but still...

That's quite a taking...

And like I said, licenses aren't anything new to almost every toy company out there.  Bandai pays a  HUGE price for Power Rangers...  The small scale military companies pay out to multiple licenses and likenesses...  Even G.I. Joe has had to pay licensing rights and likeness rights over the years (not often, but sometimes...  And at the very least, to the toy's creator who made quite a living off the product name).  It's nothing new, and Star Wars has even had reductions in their fees.

My point was, and still is, that the licensing issue has such little impact on the cost issues of the line that it's not a valid argument to make as to why Hasbro cannot make Star Wars a more competitive line in quality overall.  

Here's a clip from a Reuters article in February of this year:

PAWTUCKET, R.I., Feb 13 (Reuters) - Hasbro Inc. (NYSE:HAS), the No. 2 U.S. toymaker, on Thursday said fourth-quarter earnings rose 19 percent, boosted by strong sales of its mainstay toys like GI Joe action figures and Play-doh.

The G.I. Joe line has been carrying a lot of Hasbro's profit increases lately, and it's just continuing as new product comes out.  Sad to say Star Wars isn't doing the same...  And I somehow doubt the license is all that's holding it back at this point.

Episode 1 / Re: Begun, my Bonus Pit Droid collection has...
« on: October 15, 2003, 09:41 PM »
I'd love these things loose, but I just cannot justify hunting t hem down and paying the high prices for them right  now.  A loose set would rock though.  Kind of like  how the novelty of a loose FF set is...  They're not common, and look neat all together.

I'll just have to be happy with my small set of extra's I have, and no Euro Bonus droids for now.

Clone Wars '03-'05 / Re: CW deluxe at TRU
« on: October 15, 2003, 09:32 PM »
I actually found every single wave of POTJ figures at K-Mart here locally.  I was very pleased with them during that era at least.

Mine have been getting Deluxe CW in as well, and are the only place I've seen a Clone 3-pack thus far...  Got the Clone Speederbikes (Original Saga and the CW version) there as well.  I've only seen the yellow and red clones there though.  No white, Green, or Blue to be had anywhere, nor Jedi 3-packs (Which I'm hearing the Jedi are a woe for many others beyond myself).

For Jimmy:

I wouldn't say that Joe handily rules boys toys market at all...

The boys toy market is huge and Transformers and Bay Blades make up a huge chunk of that markets sales now.
Joe is much like Star Wars in that it has a huge collector backing.

I'm  not asking what people think of G.I. Joe, I'm saying what is pretty common knowledge to people looking to make $ in the toy industry.  That is that G.I. Joe is dominating Hasbro's toy sales and making them more profit per cost than any of their other toy lines, at least that is what 2002/2003 is shaping up to be and 2001/2002 showed as fact.

I don't think it's a nice toy line myself, or anything I WANT to collect, and that's my opinion and some other people's opinions, but I'm not blind enough to deny they are a dominating action figure line in the toy aisle, and they make the $ which is what makes them dominant.

I like Star Wars better, it's what I'm into, but I cannot deny that they have really seemingly got a strong selling product from G.I. Joe, and it HAS outperformed Star Wars over the past several years whereas Star Wars has been reported as a disappointment for Hasbro.

Do you honestly believe that kids have supported that line since it's incarnation? No possible way... And like Nick pointed out Joe is owned completely by Hasbro.

Uh, yes...  I do.  Do you honestly believe the only people buying G.I. Joe  in 1964 were adults?   Were adults the only ones buying it in 1982 when the first ARAH figures came  out?  And are adults the ones I saw clamoring for the new figures at Target the other day?   Well you can't answer that, but I can, and it was a bunch of little kids...

Kids support that line...  So do some adults who love G.I. Joe, but kids are a HUGE plus for that line and are something Star Wars has never been capable of sustaining with its line for any real length of time except maybe when we were young.

They can do whatever they like for that line and no questions are asked whatsoever. Remember that Lucasfilm must approve what Hasbro does to the SW line...

Well, I'm sure there's a few regulations to it, but like I said to Nick, there's never been an instance in history where the licensing agreement for a toy line is what was the deciding factor at the bottom line, ya know?  Star Wars has a license (One that is likely not broken down into annual percentages by the way, so it's even tough to count it as a "cost" considering that Hasbro probably doesn't have it listed as part of the overhead themselves, but that's purely conjecture).

Aside from all that Nick mentioned... (which is 100% true) on the cost involved w/ Hasbro and SW... Hasbro also has a much larger market than any of the smaller companies such as Dragon, BBI, etc...

Actually, this supports my argument more...  The fact that BBI, Dragon, and 21st have smaller markets and fewer retail outlets to go through, and the fact they companies that don't even add up to a fraction of the size of Hasbro, means that if anything these smaller companies have higher costs and more on the line.  

So, Thanks for the backup to my point.

Those companies cater to a smaller market and have made a niche in that market. I know here Dragon and the rest are not flying off shelves at  TRU in any rate fatser than any new SW piece does. I don't take away that they do make some great pieces... but just as in the SW line I have seen a lot of the same old, same old... and some stuff I wouldn't touch.

Well of course Dragon toys don't fly off the shelves at your local TRU.  They're not sold at TRU could be part of the reason.  ;)

It's BBI that's sold at TRU right now (And some 21st Century product though they're not with TRU at this point).  From the reports BBI has put out, the product they've put on shelves lately has sold well enough to warrant an expansion of their 1:18 military line...  

Not shabby for a small private company like BBI making a go at a new market in the first place.  And it must mean that your TRU is the only one their stuff isn't moving well at, because it's moving well elsewhere.

As Nick pointed out 2003 has been a pretty good year for SW minus a handful of misses... and a handful out of 50+ figures (including multi packs, scenes, etc) is not a huge amount in my book.

Your opinion on good figures isn't what the discussion is over at this point though, or what dictates if Star Wars (As a license) has a great year or not.  It's sales, and sales weren't meeting projected sales last year or this year, and they didn't with E1 either.  Whereas, G.I. Joe seems to meet its expectations yearly.  That is what makes it a better toy line...  Not what we, as SW collectors, think of it.

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.

Differences in companies doesn't necessarily make an unfair playing field though Nick.  That's a tad shortsighted.  So we're to assume that Hasbro's licensing fee means they're in a weaker financial situation right off the bat when compared to a company like 21st Century Toys, BBI, or Dragon?

Come on now...  We're talking about a public corporation, muliti-national, and with a capital reserve that makes the small private companies like Dragon, BBI, and 21st look like a mom & pop general store up against Wall-Mart.

Licensing is not the big crutch everyone claims it to be...

Tack onto that the fact other companies DO pay licensing fees too (Though smaller), and it's hard to say Hasbro's licensing issues are a solid excuse as to any shortcomings within the Star Wars brand.

I will agree with you that we're comparing 2 very different company styles, but I can't help but laugh when anyone gives the "unfair advantage" to the smaller private companies who struggle financially.  Hasbro has a distinct advantage as a large corporation that helps negate licensing as a real issue (If we're doing comparisons here).

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?!

And every other company putting toys out on a mass basis has most of the same issues Nick, as well as combatting the fact they're a fraction the size of production companies like Hasbro.  

BBi's new deal with TRU means their toys must be in direct competition with other "military" toys that have an established market.  Namely, BBI's matching up against G.I. Joe who have a strong kid and adult market built up behind them already.  They have to appeal to kids, adults, and TRU buyers.  

So BBI, a private company, must prove their product at retail (Which BBi's reporting their 1:18 line is expected to grow immensely in the coming years after their warm reception of the initial waves at TRU).  As an exclusive, their product is ALSO being limited in sales through a single retailer...  Yet another "battle" the company faces as a small private toy company trying to make it in a large fickle market.

LFL's personal approval process can be compared to anything within any other company as well.  For 21st Century, their process relies on the strictest historical accuracy in deco or details...  For Dragon, their approval process is reported to take up to 20 different tries at a single figure before the heads of Dragon say "OK, now it's ready for production".  

LFL's maybe strict, but let's face it...  Some of what we've seen isn't exactly amazing in accuracy sometimes so how strict can their approval process really be?  They stamp it as "OK, you didn't cross our guidelines" likely and they Hasbro starts cranking it out.  Star Wars, by its very nature, is going to have more leeway in that regard.  It's fiction, and as such some things can be compromised.  The companies working on military product tend not to have that luxury.

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.

Yes...  The Patton Family.  The Rommel Family.  Chrysler, Ford, GM, etc., etc., etc...  The list certainly goes on.  

Do they cost what the SW license cost?  Probably not, these companies are small and aren't in the running for the SW license even...  But on a relative scale one could make the argument that it's just as large a cost for these small companies to pay out licensing rights that aren't cheap by any stretch (The rights to Chrysler for instance were rumored to be quite high in particular for 21st Century) to them as simply an entity that's a mere fraction the size of Hasbro.

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.

No, they have in-house historians that strictly monitor the approval of prototypes as they come to light.  Or that's how 21st Century Toys does their approval process...  Then they request the rights (for a plane for instance) to the plane's markings should they be registered (PutPut Maru variant P-38 for instance), and the pilot's name should it also be covered.

See, it's not as simplified for these smaller companies as you make it out to be Nick.  

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.

No, there's no "fact" to that at all.  

Once again, you negate the fact that these are dramatically smaller companies with much higher production costs than Hasbro due to capital restraints.  You don't recognize their own licensing fees, and the fact that they're working under the same pressures and overhead that Hasbro is, and doing it from a much smaller company's standpoint.

To say they're able to put out product cheaper than Hasbro is simply misinformation...  Some of these companies, even with very high sales, are struggling because their profit must be turned right back into the company for its own growth.  21st Century continuously makes profit but has financial issues because their overhead bogs the company down, even with good sales.  

So they're somehow still able to make things cheaper than Hasbro does?  That doesn't really make any sense unless you're looking at it black & white in that Star Wars is just a huge license and 21st's brands aren't.  Not a fair analysis by any stretch, but then you'd be correct I guess.
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.

Actually it's the same business model since it's Hasbro producing a toy line (Even same markets, trying to balance between older and younger/newer collectors).  It has a distinct overhead I'm sure, with a lot of similarities too, but you're right there's no cost for licensing...

Of course, does licensing suddenly become the key overhead cost t hough?  No, so I don't think one rather small overhead variance is what makes G.I. Joe more profitable than Star Wars.

Again, isn't that a bit shortsighted?  

From sales of the past year on G.I. Joe 2-packs I noticed they generally moved better in my area.  Of course individual #'s aren't available but that's how it seemed in my area...  They still move.  Joe vehicles tend to move better as well, as have the playets.  Vehicles and playets have long been staples of a "hot" action figure line that had interest from a young market, so I think it's possible that G.I. Joe is moving well for reasons other than they don't have a licensing fee...  Call me crazy there, but I have never once in the history of the toy industry seen where a licensing fee was the deciding factor on a product making it big at the time of the sales sheets being printed.

Another thing to keep in mind is Star Wars didn't even MEET projected sales at retail for the last 2 movie years.  So is it still a licensing issue that holds Star Wars back?  Really, that's just not realistic.

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.

No company is perfect by any stretch, I agree, but Hasbro's Star Wars line has run hot and cold since its onset.  With POTJ it ran hot, but with a limited product line-up...  Saga it's run mostly cold in my book, and retail hasn't done anything but back up my opinion there.  2003 (since the throne-room wave at least) and the forseeable future seems like they're going to run on a hot streak again.  This latest wave pictured seems to reinforce that  too...  But as a consumer they're open to lots of criticism that's pretty well warranted considering that Hasbro's always in competition in the toy industry, where opinions/tastes change on a monthly basis.  

They cannot afford to have so many "Sub par" products as they have had in the past year I don't think, and I believe even Hasbro's realized this at this point and aren't arguing it, considering they've stepped up their quality a notch it seems.

Saga '02-'04 / Talkin' about the toy business...
« on: October 15, 2003, 05:42 PM »
GI Joe has an extensive line though I don't find the line overly impressive IMHO. Some of the smaller companies producing military make some impressive vehicles... though their figures aren't blow me over material.

I do acknowledge the articulation and accessories are pretty slick in some... though face and body wise strip them down and they are nothing to really look at...

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.

Appealing to a kid and adult market at the same time is tough but for some reason G.I. Joe does it...

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.

The Wookiee Arcade / Re: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
« on: October 15, 2003, 04:07 PM »
Just a note...  Rebelstrike has gone gold, meaning it's being pressed to disc and shipped out and stuff.  Before long we'll have our game in-hand it appears.

I noticed early reviews aren't glowing for it...  The walking combat is apparantly heavily flawed?

Should be interesting...  I personally wasn't looking forward to that aspect of the game anyway, though I did enjoy the Hoth level I played as the Demo so if it's like that it isn't as heavily flawed as the early reviews claim.

Keep your eyes pealed folks...  Should hit shelves soon.  I'll be happy just to play multi-player with it, and get into the new flying levels.  The rest is just extra stuff to me. :)

I know what you mean about your worries for pegwarming Matt.  I'm having SOTE Nightmares all over again.

If I were to request new CW items though, I'd go with this:

-A 3-pack of human males and female Jedi...  One sculpt, 3 different decoed outfits though, and each with a cloth outer robe (And cloth skirt pieces).  Since one sculpt it used (And 3 unique headsculpts) the single body is articulated well with 14 points of articulation and liberal use of the ball/socket joint Hasbro's come up with.

-A 3-pack of a NEW Battledroid...  All new sculpt, and articulated better than other BD we've seen so far.  If it came in 3 colors, that would be kind of neat too (Geonosian Red, Trade Fed. cream/white, and there' s a green-ish colored one I've seen also).  3 red droids would be dandy though by me.  USE GOOD PLASTIC!

-A Republic Starfighter (Looks to be a Koensayr design similar to the Y-Wing, but seemingly more of an interceptor...  Its sketch is in the Clone Wars Sketchbook given out at SDCC).  Include either a Clone Pilot or a non-descript Republic Pilot (That'd be cooler I think).

-New Droid Fighter maybe?

-Use the Lt. Faytonni body to make some generic Republic Officers with unique asian/african/Caucasian heads.

-Possibly ATTEMPT (As best as they could) a folding Destroyer Droid that unfolds.  I'd take a few inaccuracuracies so long as they weren't HUGE, if it meant it were possible.

-A neimodian SOldier would be neat...  They were pictured in the last Insider.  I'd take some of those. :)  A wookie soldier would be dandy too, but that could be coming anyway what with the latest jibba jabba around the net.

-A new Royal Guard would be kind of neat, but one with cloth robes and articulation to kick some booty.  No Separatist would try hurting Old Palpy with a super-articulated royal guard nearby to open a can of whoop@$$ on them.

Beyond that though, I'm worried that non-army building type items will not be selling well...  The ARC seems to, but look at Anakin...  Yoda moves cuz he's Yoda, but even he's starting to go stagnant at this point.  

Not a good sign for "Single" figures...  Army Builders at least have history on their side as being figures that always move steadily and will eventually clear out.

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