Author Topic: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?  (Read 1139 times)

Offline BigDumbWookiee

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Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« on: July 17, 2003, 11:46 PM »
Well?  ;D

By and far, my biggest pet peeve with toys, almost across the board, has always been scale. It pisses me off to no end to only be able to fit one figure in a cockpit that should hold four, when vehicles look like clown cars when displayed alongside their same-line figure counterparts, accessories that are absolutely absurd (in terms of scale, not counting all other absurdities regarding accessories), etc. I always see pictures of gorgeous dioramas, but they end up looking bad because the vehicles and other items are so poorly scaled and crappy. Which means if you want everything to look nice, you're building EVERYTHING on your own......

Good ol 21st Century Toys' Ultimate Soldier XD line. The line by which all other toys will be judged in my books. After a few minor snaffus, this tiny company was able to make everything in near perfect scale. Figures fit in their cockpits, they had properly scaled accessories, and even properly scaled environmental accessories (buildings, etc). 21st Century Toys; a company a fraction of the size of Hasbro, producing products of unmatched quality, scale, playbility and displayability, and they even managed to keep their prices low (reasonably). So, if a company only a fraction the size of Hasbro can do it, then why the hell cant Habsro and other companies do it? They have better production facilities, can make larger quantities of items, and have larger market reaches, all of which means they could produce an item of similar caliber at the same or lower cost.

It seems all to apparent that the companies which can best well made toys just dont choose to do it. Palisades and 21st Century are both very very small companies, yet they produce some of the most highly detailed and reasonably priced toys available. Palisades Muppets line is unmatched, and very well scaled (although not perfect, its well on the way, and quite "good enough"). These companies could give Hasbro and others a run for their money if they had the same reach. Ultimately, they are only able to reach a handful of stores, and only a couple of chains, which ends up meaning higher costs.

I guess my big point is, all of the "big boys" in the toy industry are perfectly capable of producing scaled toys and in an increasingly collector-oriented market, its something they need to address more quickly and readily or they are going to get beat out by the little guys.

So, how important is scale to you? And what lines do you see as well scaled?

The majority of McFarlane lines seem well scaled, but for the most part lack any kind of other line pieces. It's just figures, not really anything else (for the most part). Even then, they produce some items that end up being way off scale.

The Jim Henson's Muppets line is very well scaled, and while not perfect, to the average fan or collector, its quite good enough. Once again, no vehicles, but there are playsets. They've been scaled quite well.

Ultimate Solider XD. The qunitessential toy line that doesn't get nearly enough face time in the toy industry, which is a very big disapointment. The company faces financial ruin, which means an end for the line. The line is the most perfect toy line available, in terms of scale, authenticity, articulation, accessories, playability and displayability. The only thing I didnt like about this line is that I couldnt afford to collect it all (monetarily, and space wise because of so many repaints).

If your favorite toy line isn't properly scaled, how much more would you spend on it if it was?
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Offline Mikey D

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2003, 08:17 AM »
Good thread Adam.

I only collect two lines: Star Wars (duh) and Marvel Legends.  Obviously, ML doesn't have any vehicles, so scale is in relation to each figure.  And for the most part, Toy Biz is fairly accurate.  The one glaring mistake is Wolverine, who's scaled at around 6', where in actuality he's more like 5'4".  He doesn't look right next to Magneto, Beast, etc.  He needs to be shorter, Logan shouldn't tower over them.  The other figs are good: Thor is considerably bigger than Cap, Torch and Namor.  From the looks of wave V, scale is still good, with larger figs in the comics (Colossus, Abomination, Hulk, etc.) accurately portrayed in toy form.

Now on to Star Wars.  Figure wise, Hasbro has been getting better over the last few years.  For instance, Chewie Bespin with Bespin escape Leia.  Looks perfect.

Vehicle wise, well its always been hit or miss, and I think the main issue with scaled vehicles is price.  Would I love a more accurately scaled Millenium Falcon?  Of course, but at what price?  $200?  $300?  I don't know.  Considering the one we have now cost $50 (back in 95 before the line took off, mind you) and the AT-AT was priced around $75, I don't think $200 for an accurately scaled Millenium Falcon is too far off.  Will it sell?  Probably not.  Look at the Dagabah X-wing.  Its one of the more accurately scaled vehicles in the Star Wars line and is reasonably priced at $40 and is still clogging shelves at TRU.

For the most part, I'm happy with what I've gotten from Hasbro.  I think as long as the porportions are there, its really not that bad.  I know the B-wing and Y-wing are larger in "real" life, but I personally think Hasbro did a great job capturing the scale with these two ships and still kept reasonably priced.  Of course, I had to resort to
ebay for my Y-wing and paid over retail for it, but that's a topic for another thread and one that's been discussed to death.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2003, 05:17 PM »
Scale's BIG TIME important to me anymore...  Scale vehicles for Star Wars are few and far between...  Even near-scale is rare anymore.  It's an area I find Hasbro will likely never change completely.

What's sad is that, as Adam has said, 21st Century set a bar higher, and Hasbro could rise to meet that...  If they can sell a Stuka Divebomber for $45 and it's 100% accurate and to-scale then Hasbro could make an X-Wing or Y-Wing the same way.

On top of that, Hasbro's toys are almost always less detailed and "crisp" than 21st's are so they're saving some $.  Often they have fewer moving parts as well, which is a HUGE $ saver.

It's tough to buy the X-Treme Detail Huey from their Vietnam line, then buy the Republic Gunship, and not be critical.  The Huey's perfectly scaled, it has detail that you didn't even know was possible, it has a removeable helmet pack-in pilot as I recall, it has moving parts out the whazzoo...

The Gunship's claim to fame was it is one of the larger toys Hasbro's put out in recent years...  It's not to-scale though, it has no pack-in, etc...  It's nice for Hasbro's Star Wars line, it's not nice compared to Hasbro's competition within the toy industry.  So the comparison is gonna go hands down to 21st making the BETTER toy.

There's surprises though, like the TIE Bomber...  No the TIE Bomber's not as nice as a 21st Century vehicle, but it's to-scale, and that's my main gripe overall.

Figure scale is a different story...  21st does relatively well keeping an average scale across the board.  Some figures are noticeably taller than others...  Then again so are real human beings, and none of the figures are inches above or below each other.

Hasbro has made a more strong effort to keep scale uniform now, so I give them props for that.  POTF2 was all over the place, but since the E1 lline and into today, things are much better.

I will say that I wish more toy companies kept scales as "standards".  I dislike the jump to 6" scale because it makes collecting more expensive and difficult to display...  4"/1:18 would be a wonderful standard that I wish so many other toy lines made their figures in...

Lord of the Rings 1:18 would be great if you ask me. :)
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2003, 05:52 PM »
This image shows that Toy Biz is starting to take scale more seriously:



I think scale is definitely an important issue.  However, it also has the potential to be taken to the extreme.  In the case of Hasbro and it's various vehicles, I understand why they've made compromises on the issue of scale.  The Republic Gunship would've been quite a bit larger, and had a reasonably higher price-point had it been exactly in scale with the 3-3/4" action figure line.  The same goes for the Millenium Falcon (which would probably need a pool table as a landing platform), the AT-AT, and the Imperial Shuttle.  As long as there's demand for these large vehicles, I understand that Hasbro is going to have to compromise between movie accurate scale, and making something that's sellable.  In the case of 21st Century, I've seen several of the Bradley Fighting vehicles, and Sherman Tanks they made for their 12" line.  They sat.  So, if there's a choice between the vehicles not being exactly to scale, and making them scale but not consumer friendly ( and hence, not collector friendly in terms of the longevity of the line), I've got to go with the compromise.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2003, 03:46 AM »
Those are 1:6 scale vehicles though Nick, and a 1:6 scale vehicle is bigger than anything Hasbro's made or will make...

The 1:18 scale vehicles are full scale though, with no compromises, and they sell fairly well...   For $45 I got the P-38 and the Stuka airplanes...  Both are vastly more complex than the Gunship, both incorporate greater level of detail, both include pack-in pilot figures (with 18 points of articulation each AND accessories like stands and oxygen masks), both sold relatively well...

The Gunship is smaller, less detailed, no pack-in, and had to be clearanced.  On top of it being hardly comparable to the aforementioned XD vehicles it wasn't to-scale and yet was priced similarly...

It just doesn't balance out.

I think Hasbro's capable of to-scale vehicles...  I think even the Falcon, if they actually did it in sections, and did it properly, could sell well enough...  

I'm not so sure about the AT-AT or a barge...  They're less "known" or recognizeable than the Falcon.

Smaller ships like the Gunship, X-Wing (or any fighter/speeder), AT-ST, etc...  Those things are easily done to-scale though.  Some are really quite close (Including the gunship, it's substantially closer to scale than the Y-Wing, or something similar to that).

I think Hasbro's view on vehicles is more quantity over quality though...  They try to push the vehicles in #'s that are too high.  

Hasbro should stick more to accuracy I think than anything...  The Saga Landspeeder sold super well, the TIE Bomber as well...  Very accurately scaled and detailed ships that were new.  Their pricepoints were lower, but they're not overly complex either.  The size increase on a Gunship wouldn't increase cost as much (It's the # of molds made that increases costs generally rather than the size), so price shouldn't have been an issue.  

It's working elsewhere though, and Hasbro's just not as interested in that  it seems.  

I'd honestly rather see no vehicles for the SW line than underscaled ones though.  They just don't look right to me I guess.  

I'm g oing to post this image in another thread, but I'll put it here too...  This is BBi's new Blackhawk (Retail of $70 about)...  Now, THIS is a BIG HONKIN' piece of plastic, and it's being made by a tiny tiny toy company, but look at that very reasonable price...  Hasbro can do better is the point I think.

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Offline MisterPL

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2003, 09:41 AM »
Without even reading his posts, I'm going to jump ahead and say I agree with Jesse.  ;D

I know from past experience that he is as passionate about scale as I am. I want a 1:18 plastic world.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2003, 11:07 AM »
I think Hasbro is capable of the kind of quality work that 21st Century does.  BUT, I think their motivations are trying to keep the pricepoint low, as well as their costs.  Remember, the Star Wars license did not come cheap for Hasbro.  Lucas got 10% of the company as part of the agreement.

As for the Gunship going on clearance, it's not happening everywhere.  Plus, it had much higher production runs than most 21st Century vehicles.  In that regard, I think that kind of comparison is wrong.  Especially when I still see plenty of Corsairs, Lightnings and Stukas still sitting on shelves.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2003, 11:08 AM by Nicklab »
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2003, 04:14 PM »
But right there the Gunship should've had a cheaper pricepoint then, if it had dramatically higher production rates than what 21st's product have been.  

Though I'm not sure I agree with that sentiment because 21st has utilized their molds over and over via repaints, so their production #'s are, quite possibly, close to what that of the Gunship is...

For instance, the Stuka was first released in the flying pig markings version...  Then the DAK camo version, then a spinach camo online exclusive, and now winter white is shipping to TRU's (And it  wouldn't ship if they weren't selling...  TRU is very picky with 21st about product moving).  

But, the idea that the Gunship had a higher production run means they had higher sales to retail establishments, so by all intents and purposes they should've made their $ back and then some (Hasbro that is)...  

Price point's are generally established early into production determined on the costs of course.  If 21st can create something larger and genuinely better (than the Gunship) for the same price, but not utilize the major costs of mold toolings and such by having a shorter production run, then Hasbro should be able to have had the Gunship come in at a cheaper price point in theory...  I honestly think that's why we saw it clearanced quickly...  I think it was overpriced to begin with (most items are in retail, but I think the Gunship was exagerrated in price more than the usual percentage increases to allow for "sales" and clearance).

Every companies motivation are to keep pricepoints as low as possible for their product offered, and to minimize costs while still making quality product (or services) to the consumer.  I think the thing I'm trying to say is that they can come in at the pricepoint they HAVE been coming in at and deliver a better, and to-scale product if they tried...

Other companies are doing it.

The excuse of the contract with LFL isn't holding up anymore either if you ask me, because 21st Century has multiple expensive contracts they've paid out as well, coupled with their being a private company that faced a buy-out within the last 2 years by Jakks Pacific...  They're paying out royalties to others just the same, to use the names and likenesses of various product and personalities.  

They're also nowhere near the size of Hasbro and have nowhere near the financial "ability", and yet they set the bar or standard Hasbro should work to attain but rarely ever does.

I think Hasbro's capable of more, but they're generally unwilling to bend.  It's not something I've come to expect from them.  It happens sometimes, and I think they deserve criticism when it doesn't, but it's really something I've just come to not expect of them as a company.  I really think it's part of the issue with the line's overall declining popularity though...  

The fact  that the Star Wars franchise as a whole is declining in popularity doesn't help either, but Hasbro's not helping by their refusal to admit that the toy industry IS a competition, and that brand loyalty isn't what it once was.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2003, 01:05 AM »
I admire your loyalty to the 21st Century line, Jesse.  However, the stuff doesn't sell that well by me.  I saw a bunch today, and a fair ammount of it was on clearance.

And here, that doesn't bode well.  I live about half an hour away from Toys R Us's corporate headquarters.  I also live within an hours drive of as many as 10 TRU's, and that's about how far all of the stores are from the HQ.  I hope they don't give up on 21st Century, because they do some great work.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Scale Figures: How Important is it to You?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2003, 07:54 AM »
The only things clearanced in the line right now are the playsets...  Rightfully so, they're overpriced and even on clearance aren't selling.

I can't argue with that, and I'm even waiting them to go on further clearance here before I commit to buying the two smaller sets.

But, figures have only clearanced once (1st series, none of the rest), and that's a good sign...  Only a handful of vehicles ever saw a sale, and that was German items only generally.  

The line's staying power is surprising...  

It's not so much that I have a loyalty to 21st...  They screw up more often on "business" issues than many companies I have seen.  I'd say I'm more loyal to BBi actually because they make smarter decisions, and they're really giving 21st a run for their money (If they'd only branch out beyond modern stuff now!), but 21st's 1:18 stuff is just unbeatable in value when compared to Star Wars I think.

I don't really think of it as loyalty though.  I'm loyal to Star Wars though...  Just wish it was possible for other companies to have a crack at an action figure line for Star Wars.  That'd be something to see...  I think we'd see a vast improvement from Hasbro, out of simple necessity then.

Or they'd just say "F it" and give the line up to someone else...  The Hasbro "dedication" to the line seems shakey at best.
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