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Messages - Nicklab

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The Vintage Collection / Re: Hasbro Weekly Q and A
« on: January 3, 2007, 11:54 AM »

3. What's been the biggest learning point that you've taken away from participating in the first 20 Q&A sessions? Has there been anything in particular that made you sit back and think, "wow, those crazy collectors are really after product X?" Have there been any specific products set into motion for 2008 or beyond based on the collective Q&A input?

** Interesting question. If anything, it has been that our intuition and interest in expanding into the EU definitely struck a vein of fan interest and the large number of EU-related questions have enabled us to think as broadly as possible about the prospects and think about other opportunities. Another thing we have taken away is that beyond the EU, we think that we have been constructing the whole line in a way that touches upon many, if not all, of the specific sub-classes of figures and themes that fans like at least as far as the figure and vehicle selection goes that fans have been asking about. If fans are asking detailed questions that is good for us and helps us think more deeply about things. Of course, the hardest thing about the Q&A is holding ourselves back a bit in our answers and not "spilling the beans" about the exciting things we have coming out. We prefer to keep things as close to the vest as possible so we have new things to talk about, and not have the line gradually revealed all the way until the end of 2008 .


Maybe read that answer over again, and see that Hasbro said that asking in more detailed questions is good for them and helps them think more deeply about things.  Plus they mention that since EU was mentioned so many times, they are thinking as broadly as possible about how to incorporate the EU line.  Hmmm.... what's so different about bringing up playsets again in a Q&A when EU has been done several times and they admit it has gotten them more serious about it?  What if because they saw a lot of interest in the playsets in the Q&As, they started to take it more seriously?

The more you look into it, the more it appears that if you do want playsets, you're wasting an opportunity to maybe have them think as broadly as possible here.  Ask once and you get a "NO" and then drop the subject without addressing it in another fashion when your readers are still asking about it?   If we drop it when there is clearly still interest there by collectors, Hasbro might see it as "See, we don't need to make laysets for them because they're not even asking about it anymore." 

But if they hear it enough, they might take on a new attitude and at least go to the drawing board and see what might be accomplished, put forward a project plan and put out a couple examples for fans to vote on.  Then put it out there as an exclusive to limit production enough to cover their costs/profit margin.  That is what I meant when I said what if Hasbro announced in a Q&A that a playset was in the works because of the overwhelming interest by the fans... I think at that point people would be GLAD that the question was asked.  People can say this would never happen all they want, but I've been around boards for almost 10 years and have seen people say all kinds of things would never happen, that eventually did.

Chewie, I understand your rationale here.  Hasbro saw just how much interest there was in the EU and they've responded in kind by saying that they're planning on supplementing OT and PT characters with some from the EU.  And to their credit, the people that have been asking for EU figures for years are getting their wish (to an extent).  But when we compare that interest in EU figures with playsets, we're really comparing apples and oranges.  The figure line is broad enough that Hasbro can afford to take some chances with it.  And the costs are low enough that they can at least afford to give things a try.  Plus it's not that hard of a sell for them to get retail involved.

Then we look at playsets.  Sure, the collector interest is there.  But is there kid interest too?  And vice versa, is there a playset design that's geared towards kids that will appeal to collectors as well?  And then there's the costs.  The costs for design, engineering and tooling are considerably higher than those for a figure.  Then factor in getting a retailer on board that is going to make space in their planogram for such an item.  These are the challenges that Hasbro and collectors alike are facing when it comes to playsets.  I think that it's this kind of honesty that we need to have in this kind of discussion.  Now I want playsets as much as any other diorama oriented collector.  But I'm also honest enough to lay out those facts.

The Vintage Collection / Re: Hasbro Weekly Q and A
« on: January 3, 2007, 01:28 AM »
I think it's the discretion and responsibility of the site that's submitting the questions to weed through them in an effort to get the most pertinent question answered.  That's my own take and I'll stand by that.  Now if that question was the best of the bunch, then that's that.  I don't know who's responsible for the Q&A submissions over at Yakface, but this question in particular might serve as a wakeup call for trying to elevate the level of the questions that get submitted.

My issue with the question we're talking about is the complete disregard for everything that had been asked and answered previously about playsets.  Now perhaps the person asking the question isn't quite as tapped into the collecting community as a lot of people here.  Because many of us know that these questions have been asked and answered before.

But then you get to the ammount of attitude that's dished out in the question.  To me that's where this particular question crossed the line.  I think we can exercise a reasonable level of civility in the process.  This question didn't have that.  It basically said that we (collectors) know the toy business better than Hasbro and drew some very inappropriate comparisons.  I honestly would have liked to see Hasbro lay out the numbers for this guy to show how far off-base he was in his assumptions, but that would have been a PR blunder.

And I think that it's here where the staff of a website should get involved in the process once again.  Since some of them do have direct contact with Hasbro they're more likely to have an understanding of the business aspects.  Elaborating on Hasbro's answers with forum members wouldn't be a bad thing for any website to do.  For instance, does this forum member know that Hasbro owns GI Joe as a intellectual property, and therefore doesn't have any licensing costs to factor into their unit costs?  My guess is no.  Does this forum member understand that Hasbro paid hundreds of millions of dollars for the Star Wars license, and that business deal impacts every Star Wars item that Hasbro produces?  And does this forum member know that Zizzle is a very different business from Hasbro, owing it's entire existance to it's Pirates Of The Carribean license?  It is all of these factors that should be presented to this forum member in an honest dialogue.

Other Toy Lines / Re: McFarlane Sportspicks
« on: January 3, 2007, 01:00 AM »
That thing looks kind of like Michael Myers in a hockey sweater. No thanks.   :o

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Happy Birthday OCB & Smartypants1635!
« on: January 1, 2007, 09:04 PM »
Happy Birthday guys!

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: 2007 Star Wars Comic Packs
« on: December 31, 2006, 06:45 PM »
id love to see a two pack with her in her disguise with tsui choi. very neat!

We're already getting Bultar in her disguise, with Koffi Arana.

1- Its just a rumor.
2- I didnt imply that we WEREN'T getting her, I just said I'd like to see her.  :P
3- Who's Koffi Arana?  :-[

Darryl Depriest (Hasbro's Star Wars brand manager) confirmed Bultar Swan in an interview on The's Forcecast.  As for Koffi Arana, this is what he looks like:

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: 2007 Star Wars Comic Packs
« on: December 30, 2006, 10:25 PM »
Here are some really good shots of Bultar Swan from PURGE with Master Tsui Choi.

I definitely want to see both a Jawa and Death Squad Commander.  They're the last of the 12 back characters to be done in the vintage style, and I think there's the potential for Hasbro to do a lot with these.

A Jawa could actually be a great little figure.  It could be well articulated with some good accessories.  The articulation could be similar to the ROTS Yoda that's been repacked a few times.  It's a prime candidate for a softgoods cloak.  You could even make removable bandoliers for them.  Add in the Ion blaster and a droid remote and while it might be a short figure, it's probably not a cheap one.

A Death Squad Commander might be a revised Death Star Trooper from the 30AC, but in grey and possibly with less bulbous joints.  The 30AC DST looks cool, but I think the articulation is detracting from that sculpt.

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: New Stormtrooper?
« on: December 29, 2006, 11:07 PM »
Darryl DePriest of Hasbro talked about the issue of Imperial era troops having removable helmets on the Forcecast.  Apparently Lucasfilm licensing has been onboard with the concept of Jango clones making up the Stormtrooper corps.

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: New Stormtrooper?
« on: December 29, 2006, 04:23 PM »
Very cool.  Just when you thought that the VOTC Stormtrooper couldn't be topped we get something like this.  Progress is a good thing.

Gentle Giant / Re: Gentle Giant Busts
« on: December 28, 2006, 10:56 PM »
I hope we get a decent gift.  But I'm going to be pissed if we get a gift from some license other than Star Wars.

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: "Treachery on Saleucami" Battle Pack
« on: December 28, 2006, 04:04 PM »
Very cool.  Hopefully the price stays at $20 or lower, but this is the kind of thing that I'd like the Battle Packs to evolve into.

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: Order 66 2-packs
« on: December 28, 2006, 03:52 PM »
We asked about a V-Wing pilot over at The Jawa in the Q&A's, but got shot down.  Hasbro said the following:

However, we do not have a V-Wing pilot slated to go with the V-Wing as of this time.  Eventually, it will be a figure we'll do but we do not have a timetable.  Patience on that one

And regarding this...
We never saw them in the movies.

Hasbro did produce a V-Wing Pilot for the Attacktix game.  And I believe there are illustrations of a V-Wing Pilot in The Incredible Cross Sections book's entry for the V-Wing.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Harry Potter
« on: December 28, 2006, 12:24 PM »
So the gamblers are getting in on the act, huh?  Nice to know that something for kids and the youthful like Harry Potter is now fodder for the degenerate gamblers of the UK.  Oh, and LJ, you really need to lay off the exclamation points.  Seriously.  It's just a step short of writing everything in caps.  ;D

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: 2007 Star Wars Comic Packs
« on: December 27, 2006, 11:30 AM »
A'Sharad Hett is a Tusken Raider Jedi.  He isn't a Sith.

Bultar Swan and Koffi Arana are both Jedi who are in the Dark Horse one-off, PURGE.  It's the story of a group of Jedi who gather on Kessel after Order 66.  They meet to determine whether to fight or go into hiding.  Vader ambushes them at the meeting, taking out most of the Jedi and leaving a couple for the 501st to kill off.  Bultar Swan had a small ammount of screen time in Attack Of The Clones and has a Databank entry here.  This is what she looks like in the movie, but in the comic she wears armor.

30th Anniversary Collection / Re: 2007 Star Wars Comic Packs
« on: December 26, 2006, 11:41 PM »
I just don't know if I'm excited enough about Bultar Swan to spend $15-20 to get her? 

$15 to $20?  The comic 2-packs cost $10.99 each at Toys R Us, and with that price in mind you can probably get them cheaper at both Target and WalMart.

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