MODs, this is a thread that will touch lightly on some political aspects but not does attack any specific party or "public servant", it's a blanket issue. I feel it's an important subject that over time will become more important to Star Wars collectors as this becomes more prevalent. It directly affects all toys and I will explain how it's currently affecting the Star Wars line. If this is the wrong place my apologies, but I truly think this is the right spot and should be discussed so this can be fought.
Have you noticed that all of the recent SW figures have numbers on them, many in non discreet places that kills the aesthetics? Have you noticed some of this:
I can shed some light on this now common occurrence. I think it's important to let the community know what's going on and what WILL/IS affecting the aesthetics/prices of our beloved action figure line. Overregulation and frivolous trial lawyer impacts are no longer a behind the scene aspect of what the industry deals with on a daily basis. I have worked in the toy industry for over 10 years I can tell you as a Designer my first priority was to always make sure the toy is safe. The worst nightmare of any Designer is to have a product you designed harm a child in any way. We have superb safety standards and toys go through a tremendous amount of testing to ensure safety. No company wants to harm a child.
That said, some unforeseen issues do get through. You will all remember a few years ago the lead paint recall at several companies, including Mattel, which had the biggest recall of all. No one was harmed during this recall but the paint used was unacceptable and the factories in China used materials that they should not have. To prevent this from happening again a new layer of third party checks and balances were put in place to ensure that the proper materials on the factory level meet safety standards. This has added a lot of cost to all products, including longer development time lines as it takes time to certify the product by the third party safety groups.
As I mentioned earlier, no one was harmed by the lead recall. It did not stop trial lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits claiming kids were harmed anyway. After all of the settlements the extra layer of testing I mentioned above was implemented. While it added more cost and longer development lead times, it really is good to prevent factories from going around the system. It was a reasonable measure that no one fought against. The problem is that it did not stop there. Congress grandstanding and so called private Advocacy groups got in on the action too. They proposed even more regulations that had little clarity of what to implement in addition to the new safety rules. They want even more regulation that is getting to the point of insanity. It's becoming so cumbersome and so unrealistic that it's seriously affecting the industry.
In an effort to protect their businesses Toy Companies are taking proactive and preventative steps to shield themselves from law suits. Worst of all these bills have been passed BUT the rules in them have not been made clear or have been even finalized. So as usual they did not read them, passed them and will make it up as they go along.
No one is against strong safety standards, however we are now at a point where it's beyond reasonable. Prices, delays and aesthetics are being affected. Star Wars figures relies heavily on the aesthetics of the figure. The numbers that I showed above are the production batch numbers. So if a recall happens on a particular product you can know exactly if the product you have is part of the recall. Sounds great, but the problem is in most cases there is no room under the feet to hide this anymore.
When I was a kid I played with (the very dangerous) lawn darts, painted LEAD Ral Partha D&D figures that I handled for hours, did not sue when I fell off my bike because of my own clumsiness, and my parents actually parented watching what I played with. I turned out fine. I am all for safety We are getting to the point where it's getting so ridiculous. As a community I think we should push back because if we do not you will have more numbers on your figures on glaring places like Uncle Owens boot, more delays and cost.
Hopefully some of you found this insightful. I would love to hear your thoughts.