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Messages - Adam_Pawlus

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The Black Series 3.75" / Re: EE Exclusive: Astromech 6 Pack
« on: August 2, 2016, 11:48 PM »
I like the Imperial Officers, but if once new tooling becomes a viable option for someone's next Hasbro exclusive I hope we get some newer newness.  But that's just me.   I'll personally buy every OT Pilot or Imperial they offer up at a store or a convention... but I worry Sheckil's time was a few years ago and we missed it.  But, yeah, I'd buy one.  I'd totally buy one.   Of course, at this point maybe they'd push for more TFA guys?  That I don't know.

...and the ROTJ Funeral Pyre would probably be the first 3 3/4-inch thing I intentionally skip.   I guess on the bright side, inflation would make a super-articulated figure on an electronic, newly-tooled (someone gotta make the molds) and fairly large display base would be prohibitively expensive.  But I'm a snot, I'd rather someone do a fan-made third-party thing that we can use with an existing figure at a lower price.  Along with a third-party (let's say) "Yeti" cave that just happens to have footpegs in the ceiling and just happens to be a good fit for a Wampa.  C'mon, someone do it.

(I like your melted Vader helmet idea though.  Here's hoping scenery accessories make a comeback.)

The Black Series 3.75" / Re: EE Exclusive: Astromech 6 Pack
« on: August 2, 2016, 02:54 PM »
I hope you love our next 3 3/4-inch exclusive!  I don't know when it will be, but hey, we'll keep doing our best!

And I'm sure it will be overpriced and you'll chime in once again with a thesis justifying the price.

You're not wrong.

I'm really hoping to see things get cheaper.  I don't think it's going to happen, but I'm hoping.   Depends on which sides of the fence you get to look at it from - either side of it, you're going to get a lot of raised eyebrows and "...wasn't this cheaper a few years ago?"  (Because, yeah, it was.)

I miss the era of cheap toys.  (This is one of the reasons I was really excited by the advent of $5.99 Saga Legends a few years ago.)  The only real shocker I've seen lately in terms of value-driven plastic is in the non-licensed sector, the Glyos guys managed to make something equal in terms of overall size/quality to Fighter Pods/Spider Pods (but not in deco/packaging) called Bit Figs.   Those buggers are shaping up to be a quarter in vending machines, as opposed to $2ish per figure in sets... which is definitely counter to most trends.   If you're seeing anything else getting cheaper (or other than Hot Wheels, flat) I'm always interested in seeing who's doing what and how they're able to make it cheap.   Mattel puts their R&D for Hot Wheels into manufacturing - and I wouldn't be surprised if the license-to-original-car ratio shifted too - but I haven't seen action figures get cheaper in quite some time.

The Black Series 3.75" / Re: EE Exclusive: Astromech 6 Pack
« on: July 26, 2016, 04:42 PM »
That still doesn't sound right to me.  It sounds like one of those 'being technically right is the best kind of right' king of things.  When you announce the price and say vintage levels of articulation before everyone knows they're droids, we're all instantly expecting 12, 13, 14 points of articulation on human or alien figures.  We're expecting things that could have been neatly slotted into the vintage line - not 6 droids made out of existing sculpts. 

Clues are clues - I was trying to give a hint as to the era and style of figure to which one should set their expectations.  Given the "diverse range of interesting dudes", the silhouette, and the vintage/black, well, it's marketing. It's a game.  The aim was to have fun, and this sort of thing isn't for everybody.   I, of course, stand by that these figures are comparable to the Vintage/Black Series line, because they're not comparable to anything in Saga Legends/Mission Series, or TFA.   It's a puzzle as to how to convey information without giving the whole thing away - I'm all for reading suggestions, though.  We're always trying to improve things, which is one of the reasons I pop in these places.  (That and I like seeing if people like the stuff.)  I was hoping someone would crack the droid puzzle the first night (and they did!) and then move in to speculation on who and what.  Also I was hoping anyone on the fence wouldn't order unless they were all-in on 3 3/4-inch - hence the "these are new characters" and not "returning favorites" angle.

All-new sculpts on an exclusive are tough to do - not impossible, but economic considerations sometimes give numbers to make it happen, and sometimes don't.    I would and will absolutely call out "this item has a brand-new sculpt" or "this item has a brand-new head" on a future promotion as appropriate - as in this case, it was not appropriate.

I don't mind the limited articulation if the sculpts are good - that said, what happened that prices tend to go up in movie years?  Back during the prequels the exact opposite was true.  We went from $7 or $8 to $4.99 when ROTS hit, because volume. 

Noooot really.  Figures were in the $4.99-$5.99 range for Saga/OTC/POTC.  ROTS started in the $5.99-$6.99 range, but because Walmart, prices hit $5.24 - and then Target followed suit and dropped theirs to $5.24 - and that's basically cost.  The big stores do fight in heavy traffic season, I see this frequently with Transformers around Xmas depending on inventory levels.

I do not remember $4.99 figures during ROTS AT ALL.  (Unless there was a weekly sale I'm blanking on, but I don't count those.)  $5.24 was the usual lowest price in the USA, and it's because it's 1 cent below $5.25, which holds some significance.

Secondly, Quite frankly the limited articulation feels like a total bait and switch on Hasbro's part to me.  Costs are high, to lower them we're going to reduce artiulcation and now you get $5.99 figures again.  Hooray.  Fast forward a year and a half and figures are $7.99, $8.99 - all while doing higher volume again.  I know inflation and costs and whatever, but oil prices are way depressed compared to 3, 5, 7 years ago, there's new movies driving more buying and collecting, but in general the manufacturing quality is going down.  While I'm not admittedly in Hasbro marketing and budgeting meetings, the general trend strikes me as a simple strategy to boost margins - which is fine and dandy and what businesses aim to do most of the time, but the idea that it's all market driven necessity doesn't pass the smell test. 

This is the "figure prices go up in movie years" thing - it's not necessarily Star Wars to which I am always referring.   For Saga we saw a dip - for ROTS we saw an increase followed by a nearly immediate dip.   For TPM and The Clone Wars, we saw increases.  We also saw increases for some Marvel, for Age of Extinction, for the GI Joe movies, and so on and so forth.  Usually Hasbro is pretty good about holding the line at certain price points, adjusting the feature set and complexity to meet the $4.99/$9.99/$19.99/whatever needs they require for stores and birthday present price points and all that jazz.

It's a puzzle - the accessories are seen as a value-add to make up for things like fancier packaging, different marketing requirements, or to hedge bets against likely rising costs.  I freely admit I don't know what the story is here, but extra gear tends to coincide with price increases - at least for a while.

We're also dealing with the Rise of the Middle Class in China - as I'm fond of quoting, the middle wage in China is doubling right now.  It's not merely oil prices - labor is a very real expense, hence the talk of moving to other places for certain kinds of product and new experiments in manufacturing techniques.   We had a pretty smooth run in Star Wars action figures from 1995 to 1999, with minimal changes until 1998 when prices climbed (and so did SRP), and in 1999 when prices went up again.  And in 2000, there was a decrease in cost - but Big Box didn't follow suit with a lower SRP until later during POTJ.  And then Hasbro really made stuff cheap in 2002, with a gradual increase to 2005, and then a price war, and then a price increase in 2006, and again in 2008, and again in 2010, and again later in Vintage and for Black Series.  I don't really know why I'm even typing this out, but stuff changes.  I'd love to see what Hasbro can do to get figures back down to $4.99/$5.99 again, but I love seeing the weird business aspects of this in action.   

For example, a few years ago Hasbro experimented with simplifying its Transformers offerings during the end of the Prime/Beast Hunters line - 4 of the "simpler" toys were de facto Europe exclusives, while 2 were tail-enders here.  The result was slightly less deco and articulation, but MASSIVE figures - $20 figures the size of $40-$50 figures - before being reigned in to a slightly different format.   We also saw a bunch of items developed for South America and China markets recently arrive at Universal Studios as theme park exclusives, also the "big and cheap and simple" category - wonderful toys, but they cost a little more about theme parks as souvenirs tend to have a little more on them.  They're great, though, and it shows a way Hasbro can experiment with price points, size, mass, and volume in order to deliver a similar-but-different product.  A key difference there is that the audience of kids is not quite as clued in to the rich history of the line as we as adult collectors are.

Around 2010 we saw a break from that - and in 2012/2013 we saw some corrections with feature and mass reductions giving us smaller, lighter vehicles, simpler figures, Transformers minus the spring-loaded weapons, and so forth.

It's not perfect, but I'd like to say it's good.  Over the last 21 years I don't think there was ever a point where everybody was holding hands, singing that things are great - in hindsight, we paint ourselves a pretty picture.  Distribution issues were always a problem, as were sculpts, as was articulation (except most of 2008-2015), and often price, and of course character selection - we've all got our favorites.  In the big picture I still say Star Wars has had the best run of any licensed (or original) action figure line, but boy howdy am I biased. We got a lot.  Not everything, and not the remaining vintage dudes with a little v still, but the only company that seemed to have goals of completely updating some original figure lines was Mattel with Super Powers (via DCUC) and Masters of the Universe (via MOTUC).  If there are others, I'm drawing a blank, but I digress.

I hope you love our next 3 3/4-inch exclusive!  I don't know when it will be, but hey, we'll keep doing our best!

PS since Jeff's post came in -

I am going out of my way to not duplicate Disney Droids in our efforts.  (There almost was one.)  I prefer the Hasbro ones with the wires on the feet, but if I have one without the wires it scratches my "good enough" itch.  If fans really grab on to the Droids and want it make it a regular thing, I'd be all for it, but I don't know if that's sustainable.

I was just thinking about Rebel Pilots last night, and I don't disagree.  I like 'em, but I'm good unless I have a pilot seat to fill or there is a new manufacturing technique.   At this point there's nobody in the flight suits that I can say I specifically have been wanting in 3 3/4-inch - I mean, Hasbro nailed it.  Griz Frix? Shira Brie?  Cesi Eiriss? Wedge after Wedge? Biggs a-go-go?  We've done well here.  Heck, I'd go as far as to say I'm good for Imperials - minus a couple of retro updates, maybe - until we have some big ships or playsets to fill out.  Even Ewoks, I can't believe we've got Marvel-based Ewoks - maybe some Kenner flavor ones, and a realistic Cartoon Logray might be fun, but that's where I'm at.  We really got a ton of awesome stuff over the years.

The Black Series 3.75" / Re: EE Exclusive: Astromech 6 Pack
« on: July 26, 2016, 01:06 AM »
Heavy paint apps, exclusive to a single online store....  Priced per figure same as WM TBS line...  The price isn't that outrageous really.  Like I've said this is basically what BAD figs cost at Disney.  But this was pretty oversold.  That definitely hurt perceptions I think.

Developing exclusives can be tricky - this set went through a few revisions before the version you see today.   Pricing is also tricky.   I do stand by that these do have levels of articulation of a vintage figure, and even though everybody is no doubt sick of me posting this on other comments threads, new sculpts are increasingly difficult in the current marketplace.  The number of "one of everything" collectors has gone down a lot since 2005, and since 2010, so finding the right item to offer everybody something new at a price that - I hope - won't make people balk can be a challenge. That and I was a little Clone-d and Stormtrooper-ed out.   Outside of Disney, droids have been in pretty short supply since the decline of The Legacy Collection, and I was happy that we were able to keep figures at more or less the same cost as a current release from The Black Series.    Had we gone with the 3-jointed droid body (and believe you me, it was something kicking around) maybe we could have brought costs down.  Some people would be happy, others would do it differently - and of course Hasbro also has the way they need to do things due to available tooling, their own expertise in the business, and whatever other factors I'm feeling too lazy to type out right now.

Because it was brought up, I still love limited articulation figures.  For five or six bucks?  Bring 'em on, all day long.  Those were fabulous.   Recent movie years tend to bring higher prices with them (see also: G.I. Joe) and other factors in terms of perception, features, filling out a line plan with varied price points, and so on can change up how things need to be run.  I'm still pleased as punch with the 2-packs from last year, Ashoka and Vader for $15 ain't bad given the snowballing prices of plastic people from pretty much all manufacturers.   The writing was on the wall in 2013 with the Star Wars action figure line splitting three ways, and Hasbro moving some areas into simpler/cheaper (12-inch figures) which saw wild, crazy success.   I know they're not for everybody, but the toy market goes so far beyond what the older crew wants that it's easy to dismiss things that just aren't meant for us in the first place.   I like Vintage.  I like vintage.   I like cheap.  I like super-articulated.   Generally speaking the 6-inch figure does manage to provide a pretty good bang for the buck compared to its super-articulated 3 3/4-inch counterpart, and the change in what is selling reflects that.   I don't need ankles to enjoy a figure, but I get super cranky if my figure can't fit in a vehicle.  Given the ever-changing options available to collectors, getting us to agree on everything is tough - and when you consider there's a vocal group of us increasingly older guys that fades away a little bit each year and also a new audience of whippersnappers and lapsed fans, I'm continuously amazed that so many of us are still here 21 years after it all relaunched.

I'm a toy fan, first and foremost.  Articulation is good, and the goal here was always to come out with the best possible item with the resources at hand.  Given that new sculpts weren't an option, I think the end result is pretty good - and I hope if it doesn't tickle anyone's fancy, what we do next might.  (Full disclosure: I don't know of any 3 3/4-inch stuff on the drawing board for us for exclusives just yet.)  There wasn't a way to do Jabba's Bartender (on my short list for almost a decade) or Ziro's droid without engaging the Vintage molds, and the others sharing the body just happened to work out nicely.   We did our best - and we want to do more.  Things like vintage packaging, the unmade Vintage 92/93/96/whatever are something on my lips on a regular basis, but after spending 10 years as a fan journalist and 11 years on the business end of things, you really get a good look at what happens and why.  Hasbro and Entertainment Earth got to meet a variety of needs with this set, plus a few of my own, obnoxious demands.  (I want new characters.  I don't want to rebuy anything I've already picked up, even/especially if it was in the Disney Droids line.)

If for any reason anyone reading this - or talking to someone reading this - ordered on the teaser day and didn't like what they pre-ordered, we're very happy to make a change to your order.  I wanted to give some awesome droids a new home - especially one of the "lost droids" from the pre-Special Edition era which I wanted to do for the first Droid packs - hey!  New robots.   I hope you dig 'em and if not, we'll try again later.

Now that I've thought about it a little more, and read some of Adam's comments, I have a different theory.  That being this exclusive may be the way to release the last few remaining characters from the Kenner line (up through POTF) who have yet to be re-made in modern renditions.

"Five of these figures have never been made as toys!"

I'd assume, even not trusting the messenger, that includes vintage Kenner as well.

Ouch.   At least trust that I do my homework, I've got my whole Vintage Kenner collection since I was a wee lad and spent time in the mines looking for Sise Fromm back when he was worth $4 carded.  Ah, the good old days.  Nobody cared.  If there's one thing I'm good at, it's being obnoxiously thorough when saying "this one not been done as a 3D collectible before."

Hmmmm...  D R O I D S...  Seems like something is trying to be said there.

I'm kinda shocked if it's THOSE kinda those though, since Disney seems to be on those like stink on poop.

But none of those are offering to buy your other figures a drink.

Great catch on the droids... wondering if it's possibly from the Droids cartoon, or someone is, because he did say in one of his many pot stirring posts somewhere that one of the figures had appeared previously in a non realistic form. Took that to mean from CW as he DQ'd Rebels, but who knows. Maybe from Droids. I'd love it. Doubt it. This is definitely one of the highlights of the year so far. Looking forward to seeing the final product and hoping to be wowed by the choices.

Droids the cartoon is probably my most favored place to do new figures, and I'd say I've succeeded in nudging about 0 to the market.  Doesn't mean I won't keep asking, and I hope anyone else out there that wants them (or anything, really) also keeps asking Hasbro and talking about it. Chatter is good.  People see chatter.   Chatter can change minds.   Seeing what people are posting, I feel like there's a pretty good split between "More droids, please!" and "No more droids! Please!"   I got a little overwhelmed with 3 3/4-inch Clones myself, for example, so I hear you.  It was 10 years since we did our last Astromech packs so it seemed like a good time, especially given some of the more outrageous designs in The Clone Wars.  (Some of which didn't make the cut.)   There are conversations about most of the things you've all brought up in the threads here, but not everything is always possible to do as an exclusive.   When you get right down to it, the main line is capable of a lot more thanks to the economy of scale.  Exclusives are more limited by design usually.

Adam has been lobbying for Vlix for years and years, imma guessing that it what Darby is saying, Droids the cartoon with Vlix. Not many Droid's from the OT left to be made.

I was hoping for modern Owen, Beru and Jawas but that would be a terrible seller

Kenner updates would kick ass including the Lars Power Droid!

I'd love to see Kenner-style figures from the "Collect All 21!" wave!

I'm not shy about how much I want a Vlix.  I hope other people are in the same "I never got a vintage one, it exists, I don't have it, so I want one" category... although part of the reason I want it is because the Droids cartoon just happened to air on my birthday in 1985 and Vlix just happened to be in it, along with the rest of the Fromm Gang.  I like 'em.

I hope - I really hope - 3 3/4-inch has a future.  I like 6-inch but I'm primarily a 3 3/4-inch guy just because of the time and money put in to the single greatest scale of licensed action figures ever produced.   And, well, I want more... so if anyone wants to kick up more buzz on those original Kenner dudes, that'd be fantastic.  For those concerned about Droid Overkill, I don't think there's a heck of a lot of chance of our doing another set for a while.  After all, this is only our third pack at EE and it took ten years!

Because I am nothing if not cheap, I stole a spring out of a springy click pen and cut that down to fit.  I'll post a few shots on my/Mike's/whatever site later today or tomorrow to show the area that needs to be tweaked.  A cheapo spring (from a click pen, no less) did the trick for me.

What went wrong?

The spring of the 2013 model is too thick and has no give.  The 2010 spring is comically thin and wiry to the point where it looks like it's too flimsy - but it works!  If you swap springs, it'll work fine (well, the one with the 2010 spring will work.)   The 2013 spring renders the mechanism inoperable in flight mode.   

If you put the springs side-by-side it looks like the 2013 one is a higher quality piece, which it probably is, but it doesn't get the job done.

If this at all sounds complicated, I would like to point out that most people can confirm my technical ability is somewhere around "affable dumbass" and I really don't have a clue what I'm doing... and *I* fixed it.   So you guys should have no problems.

For the curious, the wing problem:

The wings won't stay in position for "flight" mode because Hasbro used a spring that is too strong and too thick.  If you swap it with the 2010 version, it works fine.

Also, I have no idea where to get a good tiny spring. Mechanical pencil? Pens?  I'm going to gut some stuff and see what I can get.

So the wings were self-leveling? My 2010 version doesn't do that then.

No - on my 2010 one, if you rotate the wings and the ship, they stay in position and the seats stay in flight mode while oriented as such.  On my 2013 one, if you rotate the wings, the seats rotate but the wings won't move - the mechanism pushes them back to landing mode.

Check out how Amazon is handling the shipment of some orders. I think I've seen 30yr old Vintage Kenner boxes in better shape.

Mine came in a Hasbro-branded white mailer box, I'll be posting it in a bit.  Mine's basically mint and it came from the Kentucky DC if that makes a difference.

Here's the problem with mine - either I'm a moron, or the wing mechanism is faulty.  Or both, I won't discount it.  The wings will not rotate but the cockpit will - the wings just bounce back into the "landing" position on mine. 

My 2010 Jango Clone Wars Rise of Boba Fett TRU one works fine, though, so I know it's not an assembly issue on my part but it feels internally, something's amiss.  What are you guys finding?

The Vintage Collection / Re: K-Mart Exclusive Vintage ROTJ AT-ST
« on: September 12, 2012, 07:02 PM »
Mine won't stand very well but I did come up with a crappy "fix" for it that seems to be working so far.  The pressure point for me seems to be one of the two "knees", basically the joint right after the leg joint where it connects to the assembly on the body.  (The highest, farthest-back one.)

I tried a few things and what worked was putting some tiny slivers of cardstock in between the plastic parts like an Oreo cookie.  The good news is that it stands, no problems, but the bad news is that it's basically only going to work as a display piece.  I'm sure someone who has expertise with the Krazy Glue/Clear Nail Polish joint fixes on action figures can come up with something more elegant, but for now this is working pretty well for me.   As it's my third AT-ST of this mold, and it's not like I futz with the others all that much, I think I can live with it but given the price it's more than a little irritating.

Gentle Giant / Re: And The Mystery Ent. Earth Exclusive Is....
« on: September 12, 2012, 04:13 PM »
LAME...i foresee a future clearance on these already. It's Lt Renz all over again!

Yeesh.  Well, I like it.  I liked the Boba Fett with Carbonite we sold out of too, but generally I like things when they're tailored to my tastes. :)

Ask AP - I hear he likes those questions.   :-X  I'm kiddng...seems he's getting burnt out or we're burning him out.

Someone set up a Kickstarter, I'll make you proud!

The Vintage Collection / Re: 2012 "Vintage" Collection Wave 13
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:46 PM »
I believe the biggest thing to blame is Hasbro's out-of-touch executive mentality that the majority of product is made to support current media.  There is not enough interest from kids in owning every obscure Clone Wars character

Which obscure Clone Wars characters are we talking about?  :)  If there's one thing I'm not seeing, it's secondary or tertiary Clone Wars figures hanging around on pegs.  Those actually seem to be selling just fine.  If anything, I'd say there's pent-up demand for a lot of them and Hasbro would probably be able to coast for a year by reproducing a few of the tougher ones from 2010-on.

The Galactic Heroes version of Jek Porkins' droid-- the one that came in the X-Wing set-- has some added yellow markings within the red panels.  Maybe Hasbro is going to incorporate those on this new figure?

(I think the GH version also had those on R5-D5, which if memory serves came out after the Jek set.)

And I'll gladly pay $40 for some awesome figures.  I would prefer to see the price go up than to see Hasbro start chintzing out on articulation, like what they are doing in their "childrens' lines" (i.e., The Clone Wars and Movie Heroes).

I actually agree with this sentiment.

Me three.  I'll shell out for a Kneesa.  As long as I can buy a set of figures and instantly be able to tell these aren't very similar to what I've already bought, like a TIE Pilot, I'm all smiles.

Discover the Force / Movie Heroes / Re: Movie Heroes Battle Packs
« on: February 22, 2012, 11:54 AM »
The Naboo pack... slightly more appealing only because of character choice. What in the hell is up with the hip articulation?

Oooh, someone's been reading my notes on hip articulation!  I hope they can actually sit and fit in vehicles.  These might be fun.

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