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decline in tf toys over the years


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Watch my reviews. you will hear me bitching and moaning on all the toys I bought last year. I gave up on complaining because it is what it is now.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 7 months later...

You can really see things coming to a head with this with Masterpiece and Siege. In terms of shrinkage, Leaders are now essentially Voyagers with more bulk, Voyagers are close to the size of what Deluxes have been and Deluxes are now halfway between what Deluxes and Scouts used to be.

Then there's the value for money side of things in terms of sculpt and engineering. The Masterpiece line started out as wonderful, but now it's turned into a rort. We're now paying for Autobot Cars and BW "Deluxes",  close to what we paid for MP-36, while Black Arachnia's alt mode is so poorly engineered that you can clearly see leg kibble in the abdomen in spider mode. That ignores the 63% price hike for MP-19+ compared to MP-19, despite the + version having a far more basic deco with far less paint apps.

Then you have Siege. With the exception of Chromia, which really does show how quickly the Prime Wars Trilogy figures have aged compared to a lot of what Siege has given us, the line has been a massive step up. Voy Optimus is 90% of an MP-10, DLX Sideswipe is 85%-95% of an MP-12 with less moving parts, Springer is pretty close to what a Masterpiece of him would be and every single design to date, with the above exception, has been solid. Then you have the trickle down engineering, especially on Voyager class figures, where things like the engineering for Masterpiece Ironhide's arms have been used for the arms for the Siege Seeker mould.

At the same time, many of the designs have fallen short. The biggest 3rd party offerings for Siege have been coverings and I honestly don't think it's bad design. I find it incredibly hard to believe for example, that the gaps on Ironhide's and Soundwave's arms were originally there on the prototype. In fact I'd go as far as to say that I believe that they were the result of a design revision where they were removed. Likewise, the battle damage paint deco on Springer's legs for example, is present on the front of the shins, but not the sides of them.

In fact I think that Takara has now found itself in a bind and it's directly affecting the Siege line. The first hit Takara took was the loss of the Pokemon toy license. The second was the loss of distinct releases, which not only allowed them to charge more for the same figure due to distinct differences between releases, but also will have seriously cost them overseas sales, as now there is no incentive for people in Hasbro's territories, to order the Takara Version. The upshot of this is that Takara's budgets will have shrunk, resulting in them needing to find more revenue from the Masterpiece line, hence the dramatic loss in value with the Masterpiece line, no matter how many random extras they pad figures out with to try and mask the price hikes.

At the same time, as noted, the Siege line has raised the bar so much that it has significantly narrowed the gulf between Generations and Masterpiece to a moderate gap in several cases. This in turn has further worsened the value issue with the Transformers Masterpiece line. After all, if a smaller version of what is virtually MP-10 is ¥5,500, then isn't it reasonable to expect  MP-44 to be far closer to ¥22,000 than ¥40,000? Likewise, if Siege Voyagers are  ¥5,500 and are roughly the same size and complexity as even the likes of Masterpiece Sunstreaker (eg Springer), then shouldn't Masterpiece Autobot Cars and Deluxe BW figures be far closer to ¥5,500 than ¥18,000?

If I were a betting man, I'd put money on these questions being in the forefront of Hasbro's and Takara's collective mind. The simplest solution for them would be to severely drop the quality of the Generations line, however the bar has been set so high for Siege that there is no way they can easily drop the quality without fans noticing and sales suffering. They can't keep taking the Generations line to the nth degree because it makes the Masterpiece line look increasingly worse. And so the solution is to cut corners in little ways - not enough to really harm the figure, but enough to make the figure feel like one or two corners have been cut and significantly curtail the impression of the Siege line and try and stave off the inevitable. While it's a great plan in theory, the problem is that from what I've seen, multiple people have seen through it, and I wonder how long it is before than number dramatically increases.


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Its hard to deny there is a decline, but we have to remind ourselves this is due to a very high peak that was created by the 2007 Movie. Before that, we had just one or two lines at a time at retail and even they were parceled out in waves of new stuff every 3 to 6 months. Today, there are at least a a half dozen going at the same time and that's not counting what Takara Tomy is doing too. 

IMO, the decline is as much due to burnout on lameness as it is availability of new products. The movies, especially the recent over-saturation Bumblebee has made it feel like Transformers are trying to appeal to everyone and ultimately no one when its so watered down and sophomoric. Even the adult focused stuff from Machinema was so poorly done, they managed to make combiners fighting dull and boring. The new G1 comic lacks passion too. HOPEFULLY, they are pulling out all the stops for the new Netflix cartoon, because we need something G1 made with passion and gutts. If its turns out to be another feel-good offering, Transformers will lose even more fans.

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If we're going to talk about the comic, that's got massive problems and has had ever since Windblade entered the scene. I firmly believe that if you're going to do something to advance a story, then it needs to fit with the existing universe building and in a manner which doesn't feel forced or shoehorned. IDW has repeatedly shown they're in capable of recognising this. IDW's Cybertronians are Gaiasexual - that is the planet reproduces Cybertronians but the Cybertronians do not reproduce themselves. This is different to say, the Sunbow continuity, where the Transformers were facsimiles of bisexually reproducing beings or the Beast Machines continuity, where the Maximals were bisexually reproducing technorganic beings. "Male" and "female" as concepts, work in these universes. They don't organically work in IDW,  nor do romantic relationships. In fact the only reason that "male" and "female" ever existed as concepts in the Dead Furmanverse, was because Arcee was one of Jhaixus' experiments, where he turned Arcee from gender neutral to female, and in doing so and by way of point of difference, made every other Cybertronian male. At best, IDWs attempts to reconcile this can be considered to be essentially forcing a square peg into a round hole, which how clumsy and ham-fisted their retconning was.

It's not just heart the IDW Transformers comic lacks - it's that IDW have people on the book, that have no idea how to competently universe build, no real concern for even remotely doing it properly and clearly have no idea that Transformers is essentially science fiction rather than science fantasy.

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  • 9 months later...

Despite my issues with both Siege and Earthrise i feel as generations lines they are on the right track. Focusing on the figures rather than forcing a gimmick like they did in Prime Wars. However every other leg of Hasbro has been super weak Cyberverse and Netflix for example are either poorly made like in cyberverse and Netflix is just a bunch of lazy repaints. Masterpiece has been super hit or miss as of late by forcing super toon accuracy on the robot mode. Overall Studio series the best line as it only has a few duds over it's huge run as a line.   

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