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  1. Do you have information about this specifically? All indications I can see is that the markup is being done by the retailers and not the Hasbro's cost which you say. The only way to know for sure is if we knew what the MSRP of the current toys are. Sure! In short, plastic is produced in part using oil derivatives; and although there are fluctuations in pricing, the general trend for crude has be a steady increase. As such, Hasbro and other such major plastics users have no choice but to either pass the cost of their material increases onto the consumer, or else replace or remove the material in question from their products. Now, my point is not that Hasbro have increased their prices (although they may very well have); but rather, they are objectively opposed to raising prices on the various classes that they sell. Thus, given the choice between making the Fall of Cybertron Deluxes smaller, or more expensive, they chose to make them smaller - and quite observably so. Said figures also contain less material in general - a trend that began as early as the second line of Classics. It would be very interesting, I think, if someone with a extensive collection of modern Deluxes and a good set of scales could record the weights of various figures. I posit we would see a downward trend over the last few years; and I think we can all confirm that if there is one thing we haven't seen during that period, it's any kind of decrease in price.
  2. The problem with Hasbro's recent line-up is not one of quality (which is a measure of how well a thing is made) per se, but rather, value (which is a measure of the worth of a thing). That is to say, Hasbro are wedded to a set of standard price points at a time when their cost of materials have sharply increased. As such, given the choice between raising the price of a Deluxe Class figure by n dollars, or decreasing the amount of material used in (and by extension, the size and / or solidity of) a given figure, they choose the latter. Thus they end up creating a figure that has the same degree of quality as prior releases, but has markedly less value compared to them. Of the two complaints regarding the lack of value and the resulting downgrade in size and solidity, it appears to be the former that most fans (at leas in my own experience) cleave to. This appears to come from a desire to maintain a degree of scale between figures; a desire that is, obviously, undercut by an change in the sizing standards that fans have come to expect from the aptly named 'size classes'. While I cannot claim with any veracity that fans will refuse to purchase further Classics-style figures due to a noticeable size disparity, I do think it will have some effect on their enthusiasm for such figures.
  3. To be fair, the Hasbro / TakTomy partnership produces what I would refer to as 'collector grade' figures; primarily through the Masterpiece line. The problem is that Hasbro, for whatever reason, continue to treat their domestic collector market as an aberration; a blight upon their desire to market themselves purely as a 'toy company'. Their production and distribution of collector grade figures appears specifically intended to confound the very people expected to purchase them. For instance: high-end collectors will pay an extraordinary premium for quality (e.g. more paint applications), alacrity (receiving figures as quickly as possible), and a hassle-free purchase experience (buying figures online versus hunting for them in stores). So let's look at Hasbro's release of MP-10: it featured a pointless change in deco from the Takara version, including the removal of paint applications; it came an entire year after Takara's version; and it was sold primarily through Toys 'R' Us stores, frustrating collectors. Hasbro engineered every part of the sales process to thwart the very people they were attempting to sell to; people that were willing to spend $250.00 on a figure that Hasbro wanted to roll out for $50.00. I think perhaps what I find so extraordinary about Hasbro's current approach is that in so far as many of their other lines are concerned, they have embraced the collector demographic wholeheartedly. Sideshow Collectibles currently have Hasbro's licensed blessing in producing $130.00+ collector grade GI Joe figures. Similarly, Integrity Toys have Hasbro's licensed blessing in producing $130.00+ collector grade Jem dolls. When it comes to collector grade Transformers however, Hasbro loses their goddamn mind. They could simply have Takara run off X additional units of their latest Masterpiece, and provide these to Hasbro for simultaneous release through HasbroToyShop.com. Instead, we get the MP-10 debacle...
  4. Let's go through this bit by bit: 1. If a third party manufacturer copies part or all of an existing figure; uses the names "Hasbro", "Transformers", or the respective faction logos; or intentionally gives cause for the average consumer to perceive their product as one associated with the official Hasbro Transformers brand, then intellectual property infringement has occurred. 2. The vast majority of third party products do not fulfill the above criteria and do not therefore infringe upon Hasbro's intellectual property. Notable exceptions include iGear's Faith Leader figure, which clearly utilizes scaled-down MP-01 engineering; and iGear's numerous Seeker variations, which utilize MP-03 engineering. 3. The high cost of third party products is primarily reflective of the high costs of producing limited figure runs and not some kind of pricing malignancy on the part of said manufacturers. If you want cheaper figures, you have to mass produce them; if you mass produce them, they have to appeal to a much broader audience - which is precisely why Hasbro produce a multiplicity of new Bumblebee figures each year. 4. Hasbro have been quite clear that as far as they are concerned, the primary consumer of Transformers products are children; and that this is therefore the demographic they will cater to (and by extension, parents that expect a roughly $10.00 Deluxe Class price point, irrespective of the current cost of plastic). I am personally of the opinion that they are making a mistake, as demonstrated by the number of fans that spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars last year on third party products; however, this does not change the fact that Hasbro have stuck to their guns so far. 5. Transformers fans are not noted for their ability to spontaneously self-organize and pursue a particular goal; and within that fandom, there appears to be even less interest in opposing the third party market. I will be following this petition with interest, if only because I wish to see precisely how many people don't sign it.
  5. I've seen some wild speculation in my time, but DEAR GOD. That Steel Core's trailer is on the sprue should surprise no-one; FansProject Core already put out an announcement revealing that a trailer was in the works. The dune buggy is clearly Sandstorm; again, a no-brainer considering that Fans Project have now released homages to two thirds of the Autobot triple-changer team (and this sprue comes with one of those releases no less). The only remotely accurate call here is that the jeep is an homage to Roadbuster; again, hardly surprising given that he shares membership via the Wreckers with Springer (Defender) and Broadside (Assaulter). Furthermore, the idea that this sprue represents some sort of ironclad evidence that FansProject are actively working on or have even completed full-scale versions of these tiny models is ludicrous - putting aside the potential for figures to be permanently backburnered as a result of outside market forces (e.g. FansProject's not-Wreck-Gar effort), it would be just as easy for FansProject to model small-scale versions for this sprue as to shrink down the CAD work for completed figures. Given that we have seen only a very basic upscale version of Steel Core's trailer so far, I think it fair to say that the former approach was taken here.
  6. Monty Python: "I'm not dead yet!" Sorry to be out of the loop for the last couple of months; I've been working flat out and trying to move symultaneously. I think this is the first chance I've had to sit down and start reading the thread again! ^_^ As for my MP-01 and the continuing saga of the waist pins... what I did was clamp the leg section to a table, and then hold my soldering iron to the pin. The pin was getting fairly hot, so far as I could tell... it just wasn't enough to dislodge the pin. (Taking into account new findings, this may not be a surprise. ^_^) As for the nick I created in the process... it's not serious at all. Totally insignificant. Nonetheless, I will carry it to the grave as my secret shame. *sob* I tried to work out a way of drilling the aforementioned holes into the waist, going from the top (i.e. where the connector to the torso is) and parallel to the front edge of the waist section, drilling diagonally down. I've got the equipment to make it work, but the angle needs to be so precise that it frightens me. Not to mention, I'm worried that I might end up drilling through part of the internal mechanism. So I've held off on this particular plan so far. Now, if I understand properly, then... the two pins on each side are, in fact, one long pin? GYAH! ^_^ This was sort of my first summisation; so what I did was try to slip a thin piece of plastic inbetween the flaps and the waist to test for the pin; it passed pretty far between the two, so I figured the pin was short. That nick was for nothing, oh noes! (j/k ^_^) So... if I understand this correctly... all I need to do is basically hammer out the pin from one side to the other? (And then set about resetting the ratcheting mechanism.) As an aside... am I the only one that thinks the waist connector between the legs and torso is, well, a bit questionable? I might have mentioned this before... it just seems to me that it's kind of small, and doesn't secure very well, thus making it possible to torque the screw out of the thing. I don't know; it just seems a little weird that so much effort went into the rest of the model, and then what is arguably the connector with the most stress on it is this tiny little piece of plastic and a diddly screw! ^_^ Anyway, I need to get back to work... TY for your continuing advice and input, it is highly valued and greatly appreciated. ^___^ - JOP
  7. A-ha! The soldering iron *finally* turned up today. Hot damn. The company has some cheek, advertising it as available in 'November'... Turns out they meant that it was available to pre-order in November. Anyway... I've already given it a whirl on the pins connecting the front and rear panels, and, well, it isn't going all that well. Trying to keep the tip balanced on the pin is tricky... it slipped once already and started melting the plastic of the flap. I had forgotten how plastic likes to stick as it melts... fortunately I realised quickly and moved the two apart, but now there's a nick in the plastic. Incredibly minor, really, but I'm a terrible perfectionist. ^_^ I'm going to try a few more times, but the main problem appears to be that no matter how much I heat the pin, I cannot work it out of it's hole... I was hoping that gravity alone, or maybe giving it a good whack from the other side, would be sufficient to work the pin out far enough to grab it. No such luck yet though. ._. One of the possibilities is that I'm not heating the pin long enough. I'm going for about twenty seconds at a time, until there's a little wisp of smoke and the delightful scent of melting plastic in the air... is this far too much, or far too little? Barring this working, I'm going for plan B; drill holes in a diagonal direction from the top of the waist (which will normally be hidden when joined to the torso)... I'm a little worried about doing this though, as I don't know exactly what's inside and fear drilling straight through a retaining mechanism or some such. Hopefully I can get together a little diagram to show exactly what I'm thinking. (Pretty sure also that this is what you suggested Wraith, although I'm not sure if I exactly understood the positioning of the drill holes.) Grr, I'm not a happy chappy right now. First this, now I discover the AC adapter on my PSTwo melted itself. Whatever happened to the good old days of quality control, eh? Anyway, hope you guys enjoy knowing what's happening here, even if it's not good news. ^_^
  8. ^_^ Sorry to be so quiet; I'm a web developer during the day, a retail sales associate by night, I run my own web development business outside of normal office hours and then I've got a family to take care of. With my schedule, taking Autobots apart is a job best left for the Decepticons. ^___^ I've found what I think might be quite a nice soldering iron; it's relatively inexpensive, has a low heat (I thought this might be a good idea, as I could easily end up burning poor Op without realising it) and I'm pretty sure it's got a slender tip, which seems ideal for taking pins out. It's the WE-BP645MP. It doesn't ship until November though. D'oh. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on how things go, although it's anyone's guess as to when exactly they will actually 'go'. And as always, thanks for taking the time to listen to and mentor me. ^_^
  9. Hey, no problem. You guys deserve it. ^_^ And yeah, I think you are right about the knurled end probably providing more than enough retention to prevent the thing from coming out. (But man, it would be too cool to have a little hand-held eltromagnet to just pull pins out with! *dreams*) Also, I'm desperately trying not to think about the posibility of knee surgery, although I am somewhat amused by the fact (it would figure that if there is one part of Optimus Prime that gives out after all these years, it would be the knees, wouldn't it?) TY for the heads-up, R-VTS. ^_^ I'm looking to find a simple soldering iron now to heat up the pins and hopefully just let them fall out. ^_^ Can anyone inform me as to what kind of range I should be looking at in terms of tempreture or wattage? I imagine that that it's probably quite easy to overheat the pins, so I turn to you, the experts. ^____^
  10. That's what we're here for at the Idiot's Guide, JOP. I don't think of anyone as an idiot, and we all had to start out somewhere in this craft. Besides, Has/Tak doesn't exactly make our hobby easy on us, and we need all the help we can get. So if one of us has an idea on what to do, I think it's our duty to everyone else to share it with them. As for the magnet idea, I don't really think that will work. Rodimus is correct; the pins are knurled on the ends, and won't come out sans physical force or heating. I'm going to ask a couple of friends about this, so if i find out anything else, you'll be the first to know. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> TY again ^_^ Yep; love HasTak; but I've gotta wonder sometimes what they were thinking. (i.e. front half of Alt / BT Grimlock versus rear half.) And yeah; methinks also that the electromagnet is impractical... it's just that I recall a friend who made one a couple of years back, and it used to throw hunks of scrap about 30 feet at a time. But how that translates into force of pin versus knurled surface etc. is anyone's guess. ^_^ Hah, also, everyone indeed has to start out somewhere. ^_^ I just hope that sooner rather than later I can contribute rather than question, if that makes any sense. ^___^
  11. I understand; the textured end appears to be covered in a 'spikey' pattern that is slightly larger than the receiving pinhole, thus holding the entire assembly in place. Makes sense to me. ^_^ My curious thinking is that if you took a powerful enough electromagnet, you could attach it to the rough end of the pin, and use that force to hold the pin in place whilst one pulled the surrounding plastic off of it. So basically, instead of pushing the pin out, you'd be pulling it out. ^_^ Mind you, this is just idle theory and not something I can try out any time soon, not to mention the posibility that (a) no home-version electromagnet strong enough exists or (b) it does but the procedure would fail as the electromagnetic field would attract all other metal components. Like I said, idle theory. I think of whacky stuff like this. ^____^ As for the MP, I'm looking to find a heat iron small enough to heat the ends of the pins without touching up against the plastic itself; all suggestions welcome. ^_^ Bloody heck; considering the amount these things cost, one would rather hope that they wouldn't neccesitate such repairs simply because the joint got rotated a couple of times. ^_^ Again, kudos to you lot, you are great people. ^___^
  12. First off, thanks already for taking the time to reply and help me out! ^_^ You guys could easily be dismissing the idiotic newbies, but I think it's great that you are pulling for us instead. Kudos. ^_^ I have taken note on not removing those two screws; the last thing I need to do is spring-fire the ratchet mechanism half-way across the room, let alone try and put it all back together again (as opposed to into my eye.) I also think you are right about the waist being designed not to come apart again once assembled; the way the waist flaps cover one another is pretty indicative. I'm not going to try drilling it just yet, but I'm holding it as a posibility. (If only Takara had used a single long pin for each set of matching flaps instead of multiple pins; that would've made this a lot easier!) I like the idea of using the pin heating technique; although that brings me to my next question: can anyone suggest a good heat iron to use? Obviously, I'm thinking along the lines of something with a tip sufficiently narrow that I can apply it to the pin without melting the surrounding plastic immediately. ^_^ Anyway, thanks for all rooting for me; and although it may be a while before I get this sorted, I'm sure I'll keep you all up-to-date on what's happening. ^___^ - JOP P.S. An interesting thought, and well out of my capability to test... but what are the magnetic properties of these pins like? I'm curious as to whether or not one could attach a decent sized electromagnet and use that to pull the pins out. ^_^) Edit: I don't know how this looks to anyone else, but I'm seeing broken BB code... truely, I am a master of my newbie art. ^_^
  13. I've got a slight problem; hopefully someone can help me with it. ^_^ I've just picked up a Takara MP Prime; very nice too. ^_^ After only a couple of transformations, the ratchet joint in his waist suddenly stops working. No obvious signs of some component or other breaking (no noise, no sudden change in force.) So what on earth is going on? A little closer inspection seems to indicate that the screw that holds the torso and waist section together is loose; but after a couple of attempts at cleaning it up, it doesn't seem to be doing anything. (Perhaps the joint is stuck? In which case, now all the torso does is rotate around the screw instead, gradually stripping it out.) What I'd really like to do is maybe split the wait / leg connector section and have a look inside; but it would appear that the damn thing has been put together with the dreaded irremovable pins (i.e. pins that can only be accessed from the side they were hammered in.) It's those bloody flaps; they look great, but they are all doing their damndest to stop each other from being removed! Note: On closer inspection, I think I can percieve two screws, one on either side, at the top of the rear of the section. (Essentially there is one in the top of each of Op's "cheeks"; but let's not go down this road too far. 0_o) So if only I can work out how to get those rear flaps off... Any thoughts? You guys are totally the experts on this stuff. ^_^ I'm fairly mechanically inclined, so following instructions and working out the internal mechanism shouldn't be a huge problem; however, this is the first time I've ever looked at trying to unpin something, and considering how much I just paid for this I'd rather not make a mistake and leave Optimus broken and buttless. >_< Anyway, thanks for the time. ^_^ - JOP
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