I am going to chime in on a few aspects mentioned, some in defense of the set. Please take nothing personal, if you spend the time to read my long post treat it like an op-ed.
1. While I do not collect the animated line of figures, the Anakin they chose is a great figure. While he does not have any soft goods he does have articulated knees/ankles so he is 100% SA figure unlike the first static release. I am going to keep this one, even the head sculpt is better than the first release. I would have never used the space gear anyway. Hasbro likely had to cut a few corners to make the financials work, the gear was first to go.
2. The Mace figure can actually sit in the Starfighter without any problems. The tunic skirt is very soft so why would Hasbro cheat themselves out of a sale squeezing one last run out of the older tool. It's smart business and he is cheaper to produce. The soft goods adds expense. (Yes, tool availability is also a factor) Once again, I am sure their margin was tight on this set, so they went with the cheaper figure.
3. While L/S would have really made this something special there is no comparison to this Slave One when compared to the prior ones. Hasbro did a superb job, on this ship. It blows the older versions away. The undercarriage alone sports some of the most impressive sculpt details ever seen on a SW vehicle. Hopefully this follows the trend of the Rancor and the second time around they can afford more paint ops, this will look even better in ESB deco.
4. If you are into the CW line this is a fair value. Bossk, Boba & R8 are all new and done very well. If you are into Starfighters you can add another unique design to your fleet. Break down the cost in retail terms: 5 Figures x$7 each= $35, Mace Starfighter $25, Slave One $40-$50.(worth more than the Y-Wing which was $70). So $100-$110 is a very fair price. No bundle discount but you are not paying more for what's there. It's very expensive to tool a ship this big, Hasbro is in business to make money. They manufacture goods we want to purchase. They do not produce them just to do us a favor. It boggles my mind when people forget that. From my experience tooling on this is most likely around 90k-$100k for the Slave One alone. That does not count other development costs including Boba and Bossk.
5. If you are not into the CW line like me it does suck to have to purchase items you would not otherwise want. However, if that's the only way to get this and the only way to get it produced by Hasbro I am all for it. I rather have the option to buy or pass on the item.
6. If you are entrepreneurial enough you can lower your cost by:
- Selling your old Slave One to liquidate into the new one. I got $15 for my Saga version.
- Sell all the crap you do not want in separate lots which can easily lower the overall cost to you to $30-$40, maybe lower if you are quick while this is not in widespread release. Even if it is you can still get a fair price for the stuff close to if not more to the retail prices I listed above.
I am a big advocate of this. Personally, I only want the best and most updated versions of items in my collection. I am going to liquidate anything I no longer want. Some say it's scalping, I say they are stupid if they think that way. I do not go out of my way to hog anything nor am I shortchanging anyone. I am having the hobby pay for itself while being efficient with my collection. You have to treat this stuff like the stock market, you have to know when to buy and sell watching trends in the market place. Anyone collecting this line for 8+ years should really know this by now. I sold my old OTC MF for $85 loose once I learned of the BMF. I sold my TRU MIB Endor AT-AT for $160 and my loose POTF2 one for $60 once I knew the new one was coming. The two old ones paid for my two new ones. I love this stuff and want to collect every item that interests me but I have a family and they come first. Instead of being mentally (or financially) defeated by a price tag when you DO WANT the item find an honest way to overcome the problem. (BTW - The market decided the prices of the items I sold.)
Is all of what I said easy? No.
Is it extra work? Sure it is.
Is it worth it? YES!
Outside of the one functional flaw I mentioned I really am very happy with this ship. Any minor paint details missing can be easily added, the details are there. I almost get that same happy feeling when I look at the BMF and BAT-AT as I look at this. It's bigger and more accurately detailed, this is going to be sweet in ESB deco. If selling some extra crap that came with this is the only way to get this item I deal with it.
I can honestly say, in my opinion, this is a must have item. If you are on the fence because of price alone consider supporting it. If it flops the ESB Slave One version will be very unlikely for years, even if it's sold separately.