Author Topic: More Ultimate Battlepacks  (Read 4213 times)

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2008, 10:31 AM »
I like some of your ideas and think your customs are pretty darn good - I'm just trying to tell you that if you're trying to push Hasbro to produce modular playsets, you're wasting your time. 

I'm done arguing the point, but let's get one thing straight - if you think that your ranting is going to get me to quit discussing playsets, you are wasting your time.  :)

Offline ruiner

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2008, 01:22 PM »

I'm done arguing the point,

You chose wisely.

Quote
but let's get one thing straight - if you think that your ranting is going to get me to quit discussing playsets, you are wasting your time.  :)

I hope we can still be friends.


Offline Jesse James

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2008, 04:19 PM »
I'm not even sure how a $150 UBP with a Millenium Falcon even came into this discussion at this point...  I'm confused on that one.   ???

By all accounts this is probably just a $50 battlepack like the Target ones from last year, and it'll have some figures, and maybe a large piece or two like the Turret or logs.  To me, they're no different than getting a big accessory like the drum for Ak Rev, the moisture vaporator like Luke had, or curved Cantina bar pieces...  I'm pretty happy with a big accessory like the Hoth Turret, so for the Death Star it could be something semi-larger like a Tractor Beam control thing, or it could be one of the Death Star Control stations like the grey Death Star Trooper used, or it could be simply some boxes and barrels from a hangar....

The scale Millenium Falcon, even in pieces, seems highly unreleastic (at least in a pack?), much less a $150 set with a whole new Falcon seems like it's mashing one thing rooted in a solid rumor with some wishful thinking.   :-\

I found the big accessories from last year's sets nice, but some were really rather lame (logs).  The Hoth Turret's INSANELY simple, I believe Hasbro even mentioned that in a Q&A actually, and that's why we got it.  It's only a few pieces that actually comprise the total make-up of it.  Pretty neat designing really to give something impressive like that accessory. :)

I'm with the others though in guessing this'll fall right in line with the other UBP sets in terms of what it'll come with.  If we get something cool like the control consoles out of it, I think that'd rock.  Even just one of them would rock, but two would be real neat.

On the subject of playsets though...

It's ironic this very topic is brought up, when just a short while ago basically this exact topic/dicsussion ("playsets" in battlepacks) question was answered in the Q&A:
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With fan interest in playsets for Death Star Scenes, has any thought been given to making modular sets and releasing them in Battle Pack format ? For example, looking at the Classic Death Star Playset, releasing one platform at a time with separating struts, that way we can buy as many as we want and set them up how we want? Perhaps with 1 or 2 figures only packed in? (IS, 02/27/08)*

     That is an interesting idea and we have considered it. The main challenge is that the playset section we would include would eat up a lot of cost and would result in fewer figures - essentially, a playset assortment on a smaller scale. That leads us right back to the issue at hand, which is that kids like Battle Packs for what they offer in figures and story, and would not find the playset compelling either. So while it's an interesting way to "divide and conquer" the playset problem, it still doesn't solve the kid interest issue that prevents us from pursuing a playset in the first place.]

&

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Are there any playsets in the works? We really, really need a Mos Eisley bar (with light-up tables!) and a Jabba throneroom. (RTM, 02/27/08)

     There are no playsets in the works. We are concentrating our efforts on bringing out a healthy range of Star Wars vehicles, since we feel the figure/vehicle play pattern is the more dynamic one for Star Wars. In the past decades, playsets have really struggled in Star Wars (and in boys toys in general) as kids do not see them as the important "center" of their play experience. In Star Wars, there are few examples of buildings or settings that are truly iconic and would be the anchor of play sessions. The ones you mention would be narrowly targeted at collectors (kids are much more interested in the prequel trilogy, versus the original trilogy), and as such would not be something that we would look at if we did decide to pursue playsets.

Both from the 4/27 Q&A round after Toy Fair...

I think it's noteworthy too that Hasbro's very specific in their wording that playset don't appeal to kids, and they do appeal NARROWLY to collectors.  I think that's important to remember, no matter how badly any of us want playsets.

I've advocated the concept of a multi-piece Large Millenium Falcon "playset"/ship, and Death Star, for many years now, but I have to admit they're collector-oriented things and not kiddie things.  I don't know their numbers to judge them on this, but Hasbro claims kids make up the majority, collectors the minority, and I do know the costs involved would be high, so I can see their reasoning why they don't want to go that route.  Cost high, focused group is the minority, and that = risky.

Not to derail the thread even further from UBP discussion and all...

On a completely other topic mentioned...  Regarding "animated styling".

There's a ton of collectors completely happy to see animated styling.  Off the top of my head I could name 3 guys that hang out here that are happy for the style chosen.  I'm not one of them personally, but there's a lot who are quite happy to get something accurate to what they see on TV.

That said, Hasbro have also implied that the new Clone Wars line DOES have a touch of realism, and that they did intend for it to be somewhat mixed, but from a certain point of view...  That view being that they're not the "extreme" animated stylings of the original Clone Wars series.  Clearly some of the figure's bases would actually translate well to a basic figure if the headsculpt were different, with a maybe different paint application...  I think Hasbro really was trying to appeal to both as best they could, while still leaning to the animated stylings of the source material.

For that, I applaud them, even though it didn't turn out as something I'll buy.  They did try to mix it so at least some would feel these figures would fit in "just enough" to make the cut. 

Anyway, I'd like it to be shown in the records...

I think I've supported the idea of Modular Toys/Vehicles/Playsets longer than anybody was even bringing them up. ;)  I'm taking credit dammit, I deserve it!  Hey, even in my time here at JD, I was supporting the idea.  Go figure. ;)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 04:49 PM by Jesse James »
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Offline ruiner

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2008, 04:42 PM »
I'm not even sure how a $150 UBP with a Millenium Falcon even came into this discussion at this point...  I'm confused on that one.   ???


From Dr. Padawan:

Quote
We've also seen the DCPI listing for a 150 dollar Falcon in the Target system, but nobody could figure out what could justify an increased price for the same old ship, not to mention the fact that everyone is wondering what large piece could possibly be included in the Death Star Escape UBP (if it comes to pass) that could justify the UBP motto.  Could it be that all of these seemingly disparate things are one and the same, and that the 150 dollar Millennium Falcon will not only include the same ship we've been buying for years with slight modifications to the interior, but also the aforementioned boatload of figures, thus justifying (debatably) the ridiculous 150 dollar price?

Offline Jesse James

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2008, 04:47 PM »
Ah, ok...  Had to go back a long ways on that one.  I see Dr. P's point on getting an old Falcon in a big ass box, but I'm gonna bet it's not the same.  Thing is with DPCI's that, UBP's (as Scum listed them that is) are part of an assortment, like last year's, while the Falcon's listed by itself.  Unless of course they'd have a $50 and $150 pricepoint and two separate DPCI's for the two unique "packs", but I think that's about 99.9% unlikely. 

I'd say the Falcon either took a bump because of the AT-TE, or was dropped by Target all together, and that Scum's 2 UBP's mentioned are an assortment, probably for the holidays/end of the year again at Target.
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2008, 04:58 PM »
Thanks Jesse - just the man right for this discussion.

First, regarding the Animated figures... Hasbro had these answers (thanks to Actionfigs.com for the quotes):

June 9, 2006 - 'Characters in Clone Wars are great - and we're looking at ways of getting more of them in the line for 2007. However any we do will be in "realistic" styling rather than animated. We’ve done some polling with fans, and overall the realistic style is preferred.'

June 16, 2006 - 'We do have plans for some of these characters in 2007, but we won't be announcing the specifics just yet. However, any we do will be in "realistic" styling rather than animated. We done some polling with fans, and overall the realistic style is prefered over the animated style so we are going to stick with that.'

April 17, 2007 - 'We will not be producing any more of the Clone Wars animated-style figures. Unfortunately, for each one of these we produced, we did not get results on par with the realistically styled versions of Clone Wars characters. Realistic is where we will be keeping our focus'

That's three separate occasions they flat out said that realistic is where they are focusing their efforts on.  And twice they mention "fans" not "kids."  What we're seeing in the upcoming line is an attempt to merge the two, but we have to be honest with ourselves - the only aspect to these that has a realistic feel is the weathering.  Don't get me wrong - I want the line to do good.  I just won't be doing much with it.

Regarding the UBP's, I fully expect them to stick with a $50 format - yeah - DP mentioned the idea of the Falcon actually appearing in one of these in some other format, and the discussion expanded.  And I really don't expect to see the Falcon in one of these at all - if for some reason it were in a Battle Pack (especially one that cost $150), unless it were an all new version and much larger, it would be a complete waste of money for anyone to get one.  Retooling isn't enough to justify that sort of price. 

On the playset front, I think there is a huge misunderstanding here - I don't recall ever having advocated for the kind of playsets that I want to see to be geared towards kids. 

The POTF2 ones were when the line was first launching (and even the vehicles didn't sell well then), so that right there makes those a bad comparison. 

The EPI playsets can't measure up either - they were poorly constructed, had ridiculous action features that detracted from their appearance, and were part of a line that was for the most part, a flop.   Vehicles and figures sold bad.  So again, comparing playsets here is a bad comparison.

The Geonosis Arena might not be bad one however, though I don't really care for it.  At least in my neck of the woods these sold really well.  And they're not half bad for display pieces.

The Mustafar playset is plain silly looking, but still sold somewhat well in my area.  It's not easy on the eyes, but it seemed to do ok.

None of those however are anything like what I advocate for when I say the word "playset" - I guess for some people the term needs to be more like "diorama" to get the point across.  I don't care for attempts at these targeted at kids.  They've never even attempted something like this at adults.  So until they have something to compare it to, it appears to be merely speculation/fear on their part. 

Will we ever see something like what you or I are discussing Jesse?  Probably not, but there's a chance, isn't there?  And as long as people like you and I do want to see things like this someday made, there's no reason not to discuss it.  If we all just brush the dream aside, it might go off Hasbro's radar completely... I honestly do think they want to be able to deliver something like this, but haven't figured out a way to go about it yet. 

I wish they'd indeed farm out the playset front to Sideshow and see what they can do with it. 

Offline Daigo-Bah

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2008, 05:27 PM »
Just to throw in .02 cents on a couple points:
- I still find the Hasbro speculation on consumer ages ridiculous.  Sure, I've seen kids buy SW; like one or two figures at a time.  I've never seen a kid army build to the extent we do, or buy ultra-obscure characters like the recent cantina figures.  They can't keep using this argument to the group that supports the hobby more than any other.
- I think the Clone Wars styling makes complete sense.  Now, I say this knowing that I won't buy a single Clone Wars product, because all I buy are film products, but why would they possibly style a line based on a CGI cartoon any differently than looking like that CGI cartoon? (Other than, of course, because they stated it in Q and A answers which didn't make much sense to me before either).  The goal of film character figures is to make them as close to looking like the real characters as possible, and you can clearly see the progression from vintage, to POTF2, to POTJ, to now.  As production techniques improved, so did the realistic likenesses.  Now, why would anyone want characters that never appeared in live action to look like live action?  The Clone Wars series didn't take place live action, and therefore doesn't make sense to produce live action figures based on it.  The AT-TE on the other hand, did, and so the realistic styling makes sense.  But I think the majority of the gripes comes from those people that immediately accept any particle of SW-related media as canon, and must own toy representations of it.  I find it an odd phenomenon, which to me is like requesting figures from novels (those that don't have visual representations like in comics or games anyway).
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2008, 05:36 PM »
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That's three separate occasions they flat out said that realistic is where they are focusing their efforts on.

Check the dates there though...  "Nothing for 2007, but...", etc.  They're not talking the 2008 CW3D line, they're referencing specifically the old Clone Wars cartoon and any subsequent figures for it, which Hasbro has kept to their word there exact as we're getting that insanely kickass CW wave for the old CW toon this year, and got TattoonAkin, Roron and the gang the last couple years all realistic styled.

AF.com didn't seem to read the quotes too closely that they cited as "evidence" Hasbro was somehow BS'ing them, and their arguments to the contrary are nullified in my opinion.  

In recent Q&A's Hasbro has obviously answered regarding the new CW line, since we've all seen it, but Hasbro is implying they tried to appeal to collectors as much as possible, stay true to the source material, and at the same time make the figures less animated looking than the original "animated figures" for the original line...  Do they fit in with the basic line?  Not by a longshot to me, but the animated look is less drastic, and the right paintjob and headsculpt could see the base figure look pretty decent as a "basic line" figure if they wanted to make it...  I don't think they will, and I don't think it'd be perfect, but there's clearly a "more realistic" tone to the 3D animated line than the original animated line...  I think that's where confusion was lead with different rumors as well, as Hasbro themselves are giving the implication(s) that they tried to be a bit more realistic, but from the "certain point of view" of comparing this line to the original animated line.  Not to the basic line, or the realistic sculpted CW figures in the basic line.

Changing gears...

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I don't recall ever having advocated for the kind of playsets that I want to see to be geared towards kids.  

That was kind of my point when I emphasized that Hasbro is insisting that playsets MUST appeal to kids because Hasbro insists Kids are their primary target market while we are not.  And that, coupled with the much higher tooling costs of playsets, means that playsets must appeal to the target market, not the niche market...  I have no doubts about Hasbro's notion that tooling of a playset is expensive, and I think that's undeniable really.  I think sometimes they underestimate the importance of the collector "niche" to a degree, however I think they're probably pretty rooted in solid reasoning why kids are so important.  It's kind of tough to dispute how well the line's done since 2005 when kids really got back into it afterall.

You add those things up though, and the things Hasbro say in their Q&A's about playsets don't seem so abstract...  Playsets are expensive to create.  Playsets, according to their info, don't appeal to kids.  Collectors want playsets.  Collectors are a small fraction of the purchasing whole compared to kids, so playsets due to their costs MUST appeal to kids on some level, but data shows playsets (for Star Wars at least) are not appealing and/or important to kids and the costs involved are too risky to make them focused on the niche that cannot carry/support them.

As far as what Hasbro has done in terms of playsets, and how they've done at retail...  This is my experiences:

-POTF2 sets...  Small, inexpensive, relatively simple, all on clearance.

-Episode 1 Sets...  Larger, more "dynamic", certainly  more expensive, all on clearance.  I'd add to this as well that the Theed Generator playset is not far off from what you call a diorama-type set CHEWIE.  I can't see how anyone can deny that.  It's very sturdy, it has lots of detail (maybe lacking some paint application, but that's a minor issue), it has very VERY few "action features", and it was a nice set up for an iconic scene in that film.  To me it's a shame it didn't do well.  On top of all that it even connected to the Hangar scene which, aside from the poor "floor" being flimsy, was a detailed set up that would display figures nicely for the final battle.

-POTJ Bespin Freeze Chamber...  Always left off people's lists, the Bespin Freeze Chamber was a distinct attempt IMO to mix collector-appeal with a cool feature for kids, and it functioned well.  It's a really decent toy, it's sculpted insanely well and intricate, it's very complex...  It got to retail online for collectors only, and it bombed.  I still display mine with my Bespin figures because I do believe it's very decent as a display piece, and if people take the time to "add" to it, they really can have something impressively accurate.  Once again, these couldn't be given away at one point, despite them being a good toy really, and underappreciated.

-Arena Playset...  Sold dismally here, clearanced well into 2003 and even 2004.

-Mustafar Playset...  Sold a little better here, still saw these on clearance at various stores.

Now that's just my experience here, and hardly solid marketing research data, but still it shows a trend.  Couple that trend with the costs involved and Hasbro took a beating on these items once retailers sent their response back to the manufacturer...  

I'm not saying a cool, non-kid-focused "playset" piece wouldn't rock all...  I'd love one.  I'm just saying Hasbro's been clear that their costs, plus the data they have that says collectors cannot carry an item that would justify that cost, is where Hasbro's basis is for not doing collector-oriented playsets for us.  They've said kid-interest HAS to be there for it to work/sell, and that means the firing cannons, the blast-apart walls, and all the other stuff...  And kid-interest isn't there for playsets at all, so they're not gonna make them for the "niche" that cannot financially support them.

Sideshow maybe will pick that ball up and run with it...  I think the playset focus in Q&A's is downright silly at this point though, personally, and that if the focus was to take a new direction, they should pester Hasbro to give playsets a chance with Sideshow with the questions...  That's where Q&A focuses should be on the topic, not the week-in-week-out asking of "When will you make a playset?", "Will you put a playset in a battlepack?" "Can you give us parts of a playset with figures to make one big playset?", and any other variation of "Can we get a playset yet?" type question in the Q&A.  It's all the same question really.  ;)

Maybe it's time to start writing more to Sideshow than Hasbro though?  I dunno.  They're a pretty personable company to deal with.

I'd love a stackable Death Star, and I've had my ideas for my own one for over 10 years now and just never made it...  It is a cool idea, but Hasbro's not laying out something that's unrealistic or hasn't addressed everyone's "concerns" yet either.  Maybe CW will do well enough they'll take another look at something like this since there's a TV show to help it along, but I'd bet dollars to Donuts it'll have some kind of appeal to kids that'll make it less appealing to adults.  Not to mention, it'll be for the Clone Wars series, not a Death Star or Hoth, or Bespin...   :-\
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2008, 05:40 PM »
Good post Daigo-Bah... but regarding the Animated style... I'd have to throw this into the mix -





The Clone Wars figures pictured above don't appear in realistic form on any sort of screen - they are from the Animated Series.  So why'd Hasbro go with realistic styling?  Because the Animated Style of figures flopped... big time.

Again, I hope I'm wrong and that this upcoming line does good.  But I'm guessing it would do better if they were purely realistic styling.  They've already lost a lot of my dollars.


Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2008, 05:43 PM »
Jesse, you posted right before I did in my reply to Daigo-Bah... I skimmed through it so far and looks like you have some really good points, I'll reply back when I get a chance. 

Thanks in advance Jesse for discussing this.

Offline Daigo-Bah

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2008, 05:48 PM »
Yep, Chewie, you're absolutely right about that wave and I was thinking of it too.  I believe generally that realistic-styled will outperform animated-style, what confounds me is the desire to purchase a realistically-styled character that does not appear in live action (Hasbro's choices are of course motivated by sales predictions and some manner of artistic decision, but what motivates the fan to want a different artistic license than the source media?).  Of course, I'm just thinking out loud... er, thinking out-typing, because I don't understand the appeal of Choppers, Muggs, or anime-styled characters either  ???
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2008, 07:15 PM »
I'm not even sure how a $150 UBP with a Millenium Falcon even came into this discussion at this point...  I'm confused on that one.   ???


From Dr. Padawan:

Quote
We've also seen the DCPI listing for a 150 dollar Falcon in the Target system, but nobody could figure out what could justify an increased price for the same old ship, not to mention the fact that everyone is wondering what large piece could possibly be included in the Death Star Escape UBP (if it comes to pass) that could justify the UBP motto.  Could it be that all of these seemingly disparate things are one and the same, and that the 150 dollar Millennium Falcon will not only include the same ship we've been buying for years with slight modifications to the interior, but also the aforementioned boatload of figures, thus justifying (debatably) the ridiculous 150 dollar price?

Yep, that's my fault.  I throw myself on the mercy of the jury. :)


Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2008, 07:52 PM »
Yep, that's my fault.  I throw myself on the mercy of the jury. :)

I compliment you for throwing out the idea.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2008, 08:35 PM »
You suck Dr. P.  :P  (Honestly I was just confused and didn't look back far enough to see what I'd missed and how we got to a $150 Falcon in a battlepack, so no harm, just confused)


EDIT:  I moved my comments over yonder to the CW section where appropriate.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 03:00 PM by Jesse James »
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: More Ultimate Battlepacks
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2008, 12:33 AM »
Damnit Jesse, now you've posted two novels that I have to read and then reply to.   :P