I was just talking about this in a thread pertaining to the "worst 1:18 stuff", more or less... Someone listed the 21st Tiger-I, which to me was the best the line put out. It's far from accurate but I'm not the proverbial rivet-counter either... It had late and early details, but also had no zimmerit... Meh. My view was, "It's $40, and you can get it in metal hull versions even!". Now... $60+? I'm probably right there demanding more and accepting less. Though, these days, I suppose I should adjust to $80+ for inflation.
Anyway, my point on figures Paul, isn't so much what collectors think or want... It's more that business models need one or the other to succeed... 21st DID try too hard to look at vehicles. They did ok with figures, I mean nobody was even in the ballpark for diversity in the figure realm, but they tried too hard on the vehicle front...
For me, 3.75"-4" is a great scale, but there are these companies who only want to do big planes, and expect to make a go of it... I think Hasbro alone has proven that you need the figures to succeed. The figures need need to be the anchor of the line. The place where you can make a little extra to turn into the riskier, larger pieces... I look at it kind of like an upside-down pyramid in importance...
................++++++++++++++++ <-Action Figures... The most diverse, least expensive, easiest place
to build your line, and work up capital through sales to re-invest into your
overall line. Like Legends, Repacks, and such are a necessity to make
...................+++++++++++++ <-Smaller Vehicles/Artillery/Fixed Items (MG Teams, Mortars)... Little more
financially, can be repainted and released more frequently because they're
still not the financial risk bigger vehicles are. "Interact" best with the
figures though, the anchor of the line. Like SW's deluxe fig w/vehicle.
.......................++++++++ <-Armor, smaller playset type items, etc. More risky investment, certainly
more tooling dollars. Repaint-ability is fairly diverse though, relatively
simple modifications can ultimately make a "new" variant of a piece too.
RC availability too, and ultimately not as costly as aircraft.
..........................++++ <-Planes... Biggest risk, biggest cost on the shelves, least likely to sell
many/multiple repaints because of their size and cost.
............................++ <-And just for fun/argument's sake, complex playsets... When I mentioned
sets above I meant something very simple, possibly one or two pieces
comprising it. Very basic, just to display stuff. This last part, like sets
in Star Wars and other lines, have proven to not do great at retail to
broad audiences unfortunately, regardless of coolness.
Anyway, to me that's what the companies are doing wrong... Focusing on things that are so big, detailed, and niche, that they don't build the base... The smaller stuff appeals to the broadest audience because of price and collectibility. How many planes can your average collector own before they burn out on space? And how many can a company honestly sell? And how tight are the margins going to be? Figures the margins are looser, the prices are lower, their size makes them more collectible to a broader audience.
For my money, you put out one plane a year... It's your AT-TE, or your AT-AT... You put out lots of figures as your foundation of your line. You try to do support stuff, small and affordable, collectable, but more than the figures. Lots of diversity from Nebelwervers to Howitzers to tri-pod MG teams of 2, to Panzerschrek tank-hunter teams, to maybe even a sniper in a tree... Lots of possibilities here. From there you look at armor, support vehicles (trucks, APC's, and armor of various sizes for various pricepoints... There's diversity here, repaintability to reinvest. And from there are your planes and then above that is the traditional "playset" that's big and comprised of a number of parts, and not likely to happen anyway.
I actually didn't LIKE the U-boat jackets by the way Paul... I just liked getting something extra where it wasn't warranted really. I enjoyed them for customizing and stuff, but I don't have a single figure displayed in them. The nice thing was they were removable, and came with a set of arms. I liked that.
I'm for 100% figure accuracy and accessory accuracy too... But if the price is right I'm more than happy to accept some slip-ups. At this stage, I'm happy to accept almost anything since nobody's doing anything really. 1:16 RC armor and expensive static models are it these days.
The only other people doing anything in any real capacity that is new are guys like Pickelhaube and Grunt1 doing resin garage kits and modification kits to existing 1:18 stuff. Great stuff, but resin by its nature is expensive. Far more than plastic. It's why it's only ever used for prototyping stuff and one-offs or short-run kits. I love the stuff those guys do but it's affordability and mass manufacturing is difficult.
I'm right with you on accuracy though Paul, but from a toy line perspective I think the companies are just going about things ass-backwards. Figures largely get abandoned for riskier propositions, and the companies have clearly failed. Successful companies (though it's difficult to compare some of them) have gone about things in the opposite direction and I think it shows that they have the right mode of thinking. Even Forces of Valor is still hanging in there to some degree, and they put figures first (for a more fair comparison). Their vehicles were very secondary and they've been very reluctant to even try stuff bigger than armor (and they cut down on details on their armor to cut cost).
The 1:1 thing makes me laugh Paul...
It does seem funny to sink $100k into anything, then not want to put a little extra into a uniform to go with the vehicle. I guess maybe they don't want to wear it? But why wear anything even remotely military then if you're going to wear goofy stuff that doesn't match at all? I dunno. That's just weird. I honestly never see 1:1 stuff around here. A guy out the road from me has a BMW with sidecar I guess, and someone near him has a Willy's... And someone down near Pittsburgh has a Dodge 4x4 like Patton's because I've seen it on TV in parade coverage on the news. ALl neat, but never anything big like tanks or halftracks... And other than that bike, I've never in my life seen something German in person... and I've never seen that bike actually, i just know it's been at stuff like memorial day events and things from newspaper articles.
Oh and a guy has an unrestored Harley... It's not in horrid shape but it needs work. You can certainly tell what it is and it runs. I think he doesn't have the money or desire to fix it up and just likes to show it at events like above. It has the sheath for the Thompson and everything though, from what I could tell. I've seen it in news articles too.