Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 17788 times)

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2012, 08:52 PM »
In all fairness, all their eggs are not in one basket with TPM... and most of that stuff has sold fine... Too many carry forwards, but really we have not seen a disaster with logjams from the first TVC wave.

Really?   :-\  TPM Vintage is stalled here to where even Maul isn't selling well now.  Movie Heroes is almost entirely TPM and isn't going anywhere.  Vehicles?  Lots of TPM stuff, not moving.  Deluxe STAP's and stuff.  The WM Wave of TPM figures are all easily found, and none seem to be moving now though these did do ok for a little bit.

And there's lots of TPM carry-forwards in the current cases available (Wave 2, 3, and 4).  None really should be carry-forwarded, knowing what we know now, but I do think Hasbro did hedge their bets on TPM3D lingering in the minds of kids longer than it ultimately has.  TPM stuff is all I see in the SW section right now, and it's not selling well.  It's not as bad as 1999, but it's not as big a blitz either.  1999 had an entire aisle of WM devoted to TPM crap.

It was a bet and by all accounts, it seems to have gone sorta poorly.  Vintage is the only line that's doing somewhat ok.
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2012, 11:07 PM »
I don't think all Hasbro's eggs are in one basket at all.  The initial launch for 2012 is TPM heavy, but it's not like Hasbro is focusing only on one film this year.

The first wave of Movie Heroes is about 1/2 TPM related.  Clone Wars has nothing to do with TPM... so that's not all their eggs in one basket.  And once we get past the first wave of vehicles/deluxes, the TPM drive is about gone. 

Has some of this stuff sat around?  Yeah - but it's the old sculpts in Movie Heroes and Clone Wars that are warming the pegs.  New figures are selling, including most initial shipments of Wave 1 TPM in the vintage line.  Waves 2 and 3 have more TPM carry forwards than necessary in my opinion, but outside of Target, most retailers that I've seen in the midwest and on a west coast trip I took across three western states showed the same thing - TVC is moving pretty well.

Has there been a pretty big TPM push overall though?  Yeah, and maybe more than I'd like to see outside of TVC and the Discover the Force exclusive wave.  But this isn't anything like what we saw with the initial barrage of TPM product over a decade ago.  Really, 2012 is nothing like 1999-2000 - back then, everything was dedicated to TPM until they transitioned over to POTJ. 

Some may disagree, but I don't see Hasbro has having "all their eggs" being in TPM this year.  Outside of the STAP (which has been released so many times now it's getting stupid) and the Podracers, I don't think the deluxes and vehicles were bad choices.  So quite a few eggs are in the 2012 basket, but certainly not all.  And that's coming from someone who has been disgusted by Hasbro lately on many fronts - but they are not focusing on TPM only - just TPM early and in a heavy dose.  I also think that TPM figures have sold great in the vintage line - much better than I thought they would.  But I am worried about them being carried forward again in Wave 3.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 01:47 AM by CHEWIE »

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2012, 05:45 PM »
That's not my point though, as I noted...  It's not really that it's all their eggs in one basket, so much as they loaded the basket early, and hedged their bets that TPM3D was going to hold onto kids a bit longer than it did.

Funny you mention TCW as "not counting" too...  since TCW, by Hasbro's own basic account, was put on hiatus while they focused on TPM3D for a while.  And TPM isn't done...  More to come later in the year like the WM figures finding their way to vintage cards, etc.  Unless they wisely cancel those.  I doubt it, but they should consider it, if it's even possible to stop.

It's not a comparison of 1999, at least not in any terms other than relative...  That's not fair, since like I noted, 1999 was an ENTIRE aisle devoted to a movie that was the first new movie in the SW franchise since 1983...  They did put a lot into this though, and in a pretty stiffly competitive movie year looking for the kiddie angle....  I think it was dismal on Hasbro's part and thought that since basically NYCC.

I know you say Vintage is selling well, but by my eyes I disagree.  Like I said, even Maul's pegwarming, and he really shouldn't be.  I think retailers just aren't ordering much.  I know my pegs aren't getting replenished anywhere in any kind of quantity.  A case now and then, but Wave 2 is still non-existant here, and it's April, and Wave 3 & 4 are now shipping.  That's not good to me.
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Offline Scockery

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2012, 06:16 PM »
They never seemed to order much last year in terms of vintage (which is why the stuff goes to close-out stores). Yet movie heroes languishes more, probably because public interest in Star Wars toys isn't that high. Front loading with old crap didn't help. Had they Naboo fighter out there and the new Movie Heroes out there in january...might have improved their situation.

THEY KNOW THE STORES ORDER/GET MORE OF THE FIRST WAVES. Heck, they base releases on it (no more opening with Yarnas). So they sort of  shot themselves in the foot.

But this is the company that short runs main movie villains (Red Skull) and henchmen (why aren't the warriors of Loki's whatever-they-are army on store pegs now...getting fanboy army-building sales before the movie's release?).

Offline P-Siddy

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2012, 06:54 PM »
And TPM isn't done...  More to come later in the year like the WM figures finding their way to vintage cards, etc.  Unless they wisely cancel those.  I doubt it, but they should consider it, if it's even possible to stop.

I hope not... just for the sake that I'm bypassing the WM figures to get them on Vintage cards. But I understand what you're saying.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #50 on: April 15, 2012, 08:34 PM »
Well if you rethink the WM ones, they're readily available, and outstanding. :)  It was funny how, in this day and age of collectors supposedly being the ones that make the smart moves and support the line, even that short-packed droid is readily available, as is Ric Olie, and in a wave completely exclusive to one store. 

To me, there are two figures with probably short production runs, but it says a lot about things I think, as they currently stand.  They're everywhere here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not doom and gloom on the line since it always has these peaks and valleys... but I think we're in for a rough patch...  er, the continuation of a rough patch anyway.  I don't think it's on a quick uptick is the point.  It'd be nice if Wave 3 and 4 see a really solid distribution, and Wave 2 is the wave that eats it.  I'd be ok with that, especially since 2 was so heavy with TPM repacks.

That's the wave I could stomach seeing making it to some discounter for cheap in half a year.

I totally see the point that not everything is TPM for a year though and so there's hope, but this also wasn't a new movie being released for the first time in this franchise's history after a 16 year hiatus...  So to that end I do look at it as maybe not all the eggs, but a solid dozen of the year's 20 were stuffed in that basket, to the point the packaging is centered on it even. 

At the end of the day, I just wanna go to WM or Target, and know something is there I want to buy.  Even if I already have one or a dozen of it, I'd just like to know I could go now and buy a few more and it'd be figures I wanted.
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #51 on: April 15, 2012, 08:48 PM »
Wave 2 could be hitting more than some people think too though... for example, a local friend of mine only hits about 1 store a week, and I'm pretty much the one getting his figures for him these days... he has only seen Cracken and the Mon Cal in the wild - none of the other new ones. 

I've personally seen evidence of at least 20 or so cases of Wave 2 at various stores in my area - but the new figures sell out within days... if I didn't hit stores nearly so often, I would swear they didn't hit much at all.  I've bought something like 10 Crackens now, and passed on quite a few more (not all those were for me, but these are out there in my area if one is hitting the stores enough - but it sucks that someone has to hit as often as I do to actually find the figures they want).

Anyways, I am optimistic that 2012 is going to be a better overall year on the TVC front than 2011 was in terms of finding figures - but as for the other lines, I think it's going to maybe be worse.  A lot worse.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 08:49 PM by CHEWIE »

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #52 on: April 15, 2012, 11:34 PM »
My biggest problem right now is the lack of product at my local stores.

For example, my local WalMart has SIX vintage figures - 2 Queen Amidala, 2 AOTC Obi-Wan, 2 Naboo Guards - that's it. Everything else is gone.

Movie Heroes is in even worse shape - 2x Yoda, 2x Obi-Wan, 1x Destroyer Droid

The pegs of the Clone Wars and the Discover the Force waves are pretty stocked, but the exclusive six figures are pretty much gone, I think there's only like 2 Mawhonics and a Rick Olie, everything else is Qui-Gon, Yoda, Obi-Wan and Destroyer Droids.

And this has been the state of things at this store for over a month. And I'm not one of those people who checks like once a week, I check this store EVERY day and thanks to the fact that there are so many carry-overs from previous waves in both Wave 2/3 of Vintage and Wave 2 of MH, I can assure you, nothing new has hit this store in quite some time.

My local Target is no better either.

So when you have four pegs dedicated to Vintage and four pegs dedicated to Movie Heroes, why are they sitting there with less than 8 figures in either assortment spread out between those pegs? Clearly SOMEONE isn't doing their job, either the store's toy person or the Hasbro rep, either way, my local WM is a great example of how distribution is clearly broken.
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2012, 12:06 AM »
Sounds similar to the Wal-Marts and TRU stores that I frequent... and I went on a road trip yesterday about 2 hrs south of STL, and it was almost an exact same picture there... the Wal-Marts and TRU for the most part have lots of room for more vintage, and even some Movie Heroes... some CW too. 

But Target is a joke.  No stores have room for any product, it looks like people aren't shopping there for SW these days... heck, why even shop there when Wal-Mart is cheaper and TRU keeps having Buy 1 Get 1 50% off?  Plus Wal-Mart and TRU put their stuff out way before Target did, so the collectors got their fill of the initial assortments there...

I don't think I've bought a single Star Wars item this year at Target.  And I've bought a lot of stuff... and oh yeah, Target charges $10.99 for GI JOE now, while Wal-Mart 200 yards away charges $6.97.

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #54 on: April 16, 2012, 11:17 AM »
Ok - well - here's an update regarding my local WalMart.

This morning on my way to work, I stopped at two other WalMarts and bumped into the Hasbro Rep for my area. I have had conversations with her before, and I've always been polite so she recognized me and said hello.

I asked her if her region covered my local store as well and she said yes, so I asked her about my store having 6 Vintage figures and 5 Movie Heroes figures on the pegs for over a month and she told me the problem at my store is that the store manager "feels he has too many toys left over from the holiday shopping season" and is rejecting ALL ORDERS for new stuff.

Meanwhile, Star Wars isn't the only line that's nothing but empty pegs - GI Joe has like three figures, there are barely any transformers and his Avengers section is loaded with Thor and Captain America figures from last summer's movies. The entire action figure aisle is bare - except for the end with the crappy Bandai junk.

So, I don't have much hope in things changing, but I am going to go there tonight and ask if he's around, ask him to take a walk with me to that aisle and explain to me why he isn't stocking his store.

At this point, something really needs to give, and the logical thing is for Hasbro to start offering to outlets like EE case assortments where you have a Wave of 5 figures and each figure is in the case twice and then you take two other figures which should be popular and put it in there 3 times. Charge a little more per case, since they are 100% new. The Wave 4 and Wave 3 cases at EE are now temporarily out of stock - but they were "in stock" and available for order most of the weekend. That would NOT have been the case if Wave 3 was 3x Malgus, 3x Imperial Navy Officer, 2x Hoth Luke, 2x Clone Wars Anakin, 2x Darth Vader. If EE had a case like that and charged $150, I'd have bought it in a heartbeat. Heck I would have bought two, just to be done with the wave, and I know many others would have as well. You would think it would be a win-win for everyone involved, Hasbro, EE and collectors alike.

So if WalMart managers are going to essentially ****-block the lines from making it to their shelves, then they really need to stop making case assortments that cater to the brick-and-mortar stores. Pure and simple.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 11:18 AM by Pete_Fett »
Peter

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Offline P-Siddy

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #55 on: April 16, 2012, 12:12 PM »
Or HTS could start selling individual figures again to people like us that are having problems finding anything in their neck of the woods? I know they say the B&M stores bitch and moan about it (I think someone once said this was the case, I could be wrong, that) but if the B&Ms aren't doing their part, it sucks for the person looking for fresh product.

Offline shmashwitdaclub

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #56 on: April 16, 2012, 12:44 PM »
I really do think maybe there does need to be two different styles in case assortments like Pete suggested - one for online, one for retail.

First question though, do cases have to consist of 12 figures?  Has it historically ever been different?

Given the current state of the economy and how toy lines seem to be doing in general I think first things first is, there needs to maybe be fewer new figures released each year.

As for retail assortments?  perhaps Hasbro can keep doing things the way they are, but I honestly don't think they are doing it 100% right.  If they could move from 12 figure cases to 10 figure cases maybe they would choose their characters more wisely and not so many pegwarmers.  Fewer figures per case means cases will sell through faster and stores will order more sooner and thus get newer waves in the process.

Online assortments should be double of everything and all new - period.  Doesn't matter if it is a 10 or a 12 figure case.  This of course would give online retailers the opportunity to sell by the case or by splitting a case, or by individual.  There wont be any "zomg rare figures that are 1 per case and cost a premium for it!" type situations - there never should be (unless maybe it is like Yarna or ICMG - figures with limited popularity).

Collectors are tired of the current state of collecting.  Driving around from store to store whether it be once or a couple of times a week with gas prices the way they are only to end up with nothing is agonizing.  I honestly believe that if collectors were able to order case assortments as mentioned above online ordering fulfillment would go up in staggering numbers.  Even if collectors got stuck with a figure they didnt want out of the case or half case I am betting it would be easy to unload the figure or they would just be forgiving and keep the unwanted figure.

     

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #57 on: April 16, 2012, 01:22 PM »
Collectors are tired of the current state of collecting.  Driving around from store to store whether it be once or a couple of times a week with gas prices the way they are only to end up with nothing is agonizing.  I honestly believe that if collectors were able to order case assortments as mentioned above online ordering fulfillment would go up in staggering numbers.  Even if collectors got stuck with a figure they didnt want out of the case or half case I am betting it would be easy to unload the figure or they would just be forgiving and keep the unwanted figure.

EXACTLY.

If I wasn't a completist and all I collected was OT - if I got a case that was all new, then I'm sure I'd be able to find someone who would be interested in Darth Malgus or Clone Wars Anakin, keeping Hoth Luke, Imperial Navy Trooper and EPIV Vader for myself.

If you have cases of 12, keep to having waves of 6, if you have cases of 10, keep to having waves of 5, either way, it shouldn't really matter, but like shmash said, if you have a wave of 5 new figures and you pack that wave as 2x of each figure in a case of 10, then that makes it so easy for an online retailer to sell by the whole case or the half case.

Peter

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Offline JediJman

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2012, 01:45 PM »
I can see some of the rationale to include prior wave figures in the current assortment.  There are many benefits to Hasbro selling at retail and I'm sure a big percentage of what they sell goes to kids or people who still would not buy online.  Including popular figures like Vader, Anakin, etc. in multiple waves makes sense because in the long term they are going to sell more of those figures than the oddball aliens or EU figures that have less overall demand. 

I do think there is huge opportunity to improve the assortments though.  I wouldn't mind something closer to 8 new figures in a wave and 4 repeats - that would be enough to get me to start buying cases.  Look at what Marvel Universe has done.  Ship a case of 12 figures with 5-6 new ones, then build out the rest of the case with hard to find figures from 3+ waves prior.  You should have a good idea of what people missed out on (take 15 minutes to do an ebay search), so round out new cases with those past figures instead of clogging the pegs with repeat figures that are probably still there from last month's assortment.  This provides much better variety on shelf, and let's your consumer know that they may be able to get that hard to find figure from you down the road. This is a constant with the Marvel figures despite what are likely lower production runs.  And yet we've waited how long just to see Wedge again?  Fail.

I like the option of specialized online assortments as well.  If they went back to a case of 12 with 2x of each new figure, I would be all over that, even at a premium price.  I collect 2 of everything anyway, but I woud think even those that don't would have an easy time selling off a full set to a friend.  I don't know how complicated that would be on Hasbro's end though or how they determine the right quantities.  I also don't think its rocket sciene to start including extras of the troopers from any given assortment, especially OTC troops.  Echo Base Trooper, Senate Guard, etc. seemed harder to find in recent history, and I think people are more willing to bite on a case with extras of these versus multiples of core characters. 
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2012, 02:04 PM »
I just don't remember seeing so many repacks/carry forwards in the "main line" until the last few years... Remember back in the day when we'd get 4-5 new figures in each wave, and it would be packed something like 2 or 3 of each figure? 

I think Hasbro now fears they have so many characters in the TVC line that are very "niche", and priced higher, that if they pack a case of figures with 3 or so of a character like Evazan, then they're going to get burned - and maybe they would.  But why not have each case have 2 of each new figure?  Then the figures that will be obviously more demand, like great army builders, can be put back into slots here and there again.

One thing too, that I don't think can be overstated, is in the "glory days" in 2005-2007, Hasbro seemed to have a great thing going with clone troopers.  They could just dump those into each wave, and they would sell.  I think they actually COULD do that still (or close to it), if they didn't have the self-imposed VC #15 clone fiasco last year.  All they'd need to do is use the VC #45 body, with improved/accurate helmets for the Phase 2 clones... I think the demand is still there, but now Hasbro is gunshy because of the VC #15's failure - but that figure had so many issues - and it looks like the new 501st clone is also going to have issues because of the huge helmet.  But he's not packed in so many assortments at least.  Would be great if it were if he had a better helmet though.

Speaking of clones, Hasbro seems to realize that Fordo is popular - glad to see him back in the mix soon. I just wish they'd fix the phase 2 helmet issues, and also put some all-white Republic Commandos into the TVC line...

Another thing - there are SO MANY 3.75" lines now that Hasbro is trying to manage... I don't know if they're able to keep up with it all like they could a few years ago when their only 3.75" focus was Star Wars and GI JOE.