Some Random Thoughts On G1 Knockoff Demand

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by MetroSupreme, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. MetroSupreme

    MetroSupreme Member

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    This is just a /letsteamoff post. No offense intended. Just some thoughts ;) 

    I hate to say it, but there wouldn't BE a market for knockoffs if Takara got their heads and butts in the same place. Nobody would buy them if they thought there was a prayer of ever seeing Mirage, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, the Dinobots, etc. Heck, we KNOW the Trailbreaker mold exists, as they released him back in 2001 as a Collector's Ed (1000 whole pieces, I think... if you want to pay $300+ on Ebay by the way), and they just... sit on their hands and sue guys who try to meet that demand in their stead.

    The Encore line has greatly impressed me, particularly with Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx (NEVER thought we had a prayer on those two awesome toys), but I wish they'd step up production a bit. I have no problem with alternating between 'new' reissues (Omega, Sky Lynx, Metroplex), and 'done before' reissues (Megatron, Prime, and most of Encore), so long as they keep the ratios good. If they can manage at LEAST one release per month - and announce them more than 60 days in advance - I'd be happy... Give me a '2009 re-release schedule' and we're off to the races. I sometimes feel the Encore line is an afterthought, like it could be cancelled at any moment, since they don't seem to plan it very far out. Kinda like Hasbro hosed everybody by dumping the Commemorative line. The next reissues in that line were to be Thrust, Ramjet, Ironhide, and Trailbreaker, by the way, before they suddenly stopped... not to rub salt in the wound ;) 

    Hasbro has impressed me the least. At least Takara's still on the move. Obviously Hasbro's committment to G1 is pretty minimal these days. Gotta go where the money is, I guess, but then to go after the little guys who make a handful of KO's Hasbro'll never make anyway? Or BOX replicas? Gimme a break...

    I understand the need to protect IPs, but come on, G1 obviously isn't an important market to Hasbro, or they'd still be selling the blasted things. They haven't done a G1 reissue since 2004 or 2005, and had lots more material before they dumped it. I can understand going after KO's of current and active properties, but 25 year old G1 stuff? That's a pretty hardcore market... what Hasbro seems to fail to realize is that we're all in our 20's and above and don't have to beg mom and dad for the money to buy the stuff. I'm sitting on a great job and dieing to buy G1 reissues!

    A question for collectors... if the KO is a truly perfect replica of the original, do you really care? Seriously, if you'd never know because it's just that good? You'll simply have a beautiful specimen of a Transformer. Does it matter if it's actually made of 20 year old plastic or not? I'm very interested in people's thoughts on this issue. I imagine two very vocal camps ;) 

    The only guys I see getting worried are the ones sitting on these $100k collections getting devalued by the content getting re-released, but that's been happening for the last decade or so. Besides, I don't know one person who buys G1 Transformers for their dollar value (thought I'm sure they exist). I'd like to think the vast majority of us buy them because we love the guys :D  It's not a business, it's a childhood memory preserved.

    Anyway, I hope Takara kicks it up into high gear, commits to the Encore line for the long haul (or is that 'Long Haul?'), and gets the reverse-engineering ball rolling on some of those harder-to-find pieces. And they better not backpedal and just start kicking out old reissues they've done before. Doing that is more profitable, I'm sure (and most of us don't have all their reissue stuff, particularly those danged 'Collector's Edition' pieces from 2000-2001), so it's all good as long as they mix in new stuff and tough-to-get guys too. Toss in a reverse-engineered molded toy from time to time (Wheeljack, Mirage, and Sunstreaker, yes, I'm looking at you) and we're golden. They can always make each of them in original/clear/black/Pepsi versions to recoup the costs of the mold anyway, right?

    Anyway, that's where /endrant belongs ;) 

    Thoughts?
     
  2. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything you just said.

    Trying to get a mint Cyclonus recently I had to buy 3 off ebay all in supposidly "good condition" in order to make 1 mint one and even then I needed reprolabels. I'd have picked up a KO in a heartbeat if the quality matched the KO Mirage. Ditto for all the tfs you mentioned above. If there were actual official reissues I'd be even happier.

    KOs of moulds that are currently being sold = bad. KOs of moulds that are "lost" to the powers that be - bring 'em on. Just a shame that eBay decided to clamp down on things before the KO Wheeljack and Sunstrakers could be finished.
     
  3. justinRODimus

    justinRODimus Well-Known Member

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    i wish hasbro was listening to this. the blockbuster movie has inspired many (including me) to become fans of the whole franchise, not just bay's incarnation of transformers. we have only movie and animated (which both i love) lines readily available and as i bought the recent toys, i was meanwhile dabbling into g1/beast era lore. i love g1 and all that now but i have no financially efficient way of obtaining older toys and i try not to have to deal with scalpers and all that. in hasbro's defense though, they are paying some respect to fans like me and also the older fans with the universe line and i think that is the reason why hasbro would be reluctant to release reissues. to them they are already satisfying their g1 quota. with universe we'll be getting a reissue prime (though a very expensive prime) and we can only hope that more toys will be reissued. i myself found a new favorite character (it used to be movie bumblebee because i the 2007 movie was the furthest of my tf knowledge) in hot rod (hence my user name). he's my favorite character and i do not own ONE toy of him. i plan on at least getting a henkei hot rodimus and maybe i'll spring for one of the toys-r-us g1 reissues, but like i said, i'm reluctant to shop online and therefore it'll take a while. my two cents (and i use alot of parenthesis).

    edit: i also can't understand why the excuse for not reverse-engineering toys is that they aren't profitable. they're trying to say that these companies with millions and millions of dollars can't spend some cash to satisfy loyal fans. if they say the demand's not right, they should experiment. release a dinobot and see how much they'll be going for on BBTS and ebay. then they'd see that there is PLENTY of demand for dinobots, wheeljack, etc. (i love the dinobots)
     
  4. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    I can already tell this thread will turn in to a mess but I'll bite. There is one key issue that you forgot to cover in this thread. REISSUES DO NOT SELL WELL!!!!! They didn't sell well in japan when they got canceled the first time. Nobody in the U.S. wanted to carry them except for Toys r us and they still didn't sell. Outside of super popular characters like Prime, Starscream, BB and so on there is not enough demand to justify a production level high enough to sell the toy at a reasonable price. The lack of revenue generated by these guys is so small that is why Hasbro cant justify spending the money to redo or repair any of the molds
    Takara is so far only releasing movie characters and toys that never say a major release in japan. I think metroplex is the first toy to break that rule. They can't plan far ahead because they don't know if this line will fail like the old reissues did.

    As far as your comments on Knockoffs. I know the guys doing this are probably fans to some degree but what there doing is wrong. Just because Hasbro doesn't have the market to sell reissues does not mean somebody has the right to steal there property. To justify it as anything but theft so that you feel ok buying them is foolish
     
  5. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    Fans online always way over estimate their numbers and buying power. Yes, there is probably thousands of fans online dying to buy a reissue of wheeljack or sunstreaker at a reasonable price like $30 or less. However in order to do that at that price Hasbro would need to produce units in the hundreds of thousands. If you honestly think there is that kinda demand out there for 30+ year old toys you are crazy.
     
  6. MetroSupreme

    MetroSupreme Member

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    You kind of kill your own point there, Hav. You note (accurately) that reissues aren't a big market, but then act like it would be a significant loss to Hasbro by allowing a small number of KO's to enter a market that they find financially untenable and have abandoned anyway.

    Yeah, it's theft - we all know it.

    But as you said, it won't hurt them in the least, either, since it doesn't compete in any way with their existing products and the products they make money on. So I can see the argument working from both sides. Yes, there is a very real need to protect one's intellectual properties, but I think that there's definitely middle ground with something so obviously insignificant to them as you've pointed out.

    I mean, Hasbro even had a fit with people reproducing G1 *boxes* so people could actually put their mint G1 loose Transformers - that cost hundreds of dollars - into an attractive display package. Doesn't that seem just a little bit anal?

    Anyway, random thoughts ;) 
     
  7. Deadend

    Deadend Overloaded Spark

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    I've only ever bought 2 knock offs, though I do intend to buy the enlarged version of Highscore if he gets one.

    The only reason I've ever found to buy knock offs has been for modding or customs. Though some rare instances, it's also more prudent than searching forever for a character you can't find stateside.

    The two knock offs I have are the robot hero victory saber, and a model kit blaster. Both were characters I had wanted, but victorysaber wasn't one I was willing to pay 30+ dollars for, when 3 gave me a facsimile close enough for now till hasbro makes a better one. Blaster was due to the fact the kit's aren't produced anymore, and his scale and form were perfect for a Real Classics Blaster.

    In cases of things like animated KOs. I don't agree with, but I can see where they could come in handy for modders or kitbashers. Though those are often missing pieces and are rather limited, if you just need a random item from it the 1-5 dollar cost isn't too bad. As full on replacements for Hasbro or TakTomy bots though? Just doesn't work unless you put the care into it for that. (Like the model kits can be superb, if you take the time to paint them properly, sand them, and even enhance them with new joints for poseability.) Something like an upscaled Highscore figure though? That just screams 'gut me into a real controller!'
     
  8. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    I would like to think of them as two different but equally correct points myself :wink: 

    Remember Hasbro does allow a small number of knock offs They could give a rats ass about those aerial bot knocks-offs in those little ghetto easter baskets. They also have done nothing to stop wst Dinobots. The problem is that the new knock off companies got so damn good and attracted too much attention to themselves. They were carried on several major online retailers listed right next to real hasbro product and swarmed ebay like a plague.

    You bring up the very cool accurate packaging which actually was probably the stupidest move these companies could make. They were copying it so well most fans cant tell the difference. They were essentially representing themselves as Hasbro. We live in an age were copyright and brand names are so freaking important. Hasbro could not allow unknown companies to produce product with their brand name and intellectual property on it. Trust me that is way more important to them then some toy mold from 20 years ago (though it is still wrong to copy said mold). Thats why i can go to the swap meet and buy the newest Spider-Hombre, Batguy, and Super dude toys. (yes I have seen all of these in real life)
     
  9. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    I think a major problem was that these ko boxes, as well as some of the knockoffs themselves, had the hasbro logo right on the box. That puts Hasbro in a very uncomfortable position, as its blatant infringement of their IP, and also could lead to a situation (no matter how remote the possibility) where Hasbro could be held responsible for a flaw/danger in those products, and that's bad press nobody would want.

    In terms of not seeing reissues we want, I think something to remember is that, as was mentioned earlier, reissues didn't sell very well, aside from the major characters. Grapples and Thrusts were cramming the shelves for an extremely long time where I live. So where's the incentive for a company like Hasbro or Takara to put the time and resources into making a product where all the evidence available to them indicates it will not sell well? I think both companies have taken steps to cater to the collector market, as well as G1 fans, through avenues like the encore line, the classics line, and even little things like robot heroes and titanium. At the end of the day, Hasbro and Takara have to look at what's good for their business (of which transformers may be an integral brand, but not the only one).
     
  10. justinRODimus

    justinRODimus Well-Known Member

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    i'm not crazy, i'm a new fan. all i'm sayin, the movie has inspired alot of older fans and many kids. it's inspired a new generation and when the TRU reissues came out, the series wasn't really as big as it is now (i hadn't shown the slightest interest in tfs until the movie came out). there's probably much more demand now than in 2004. maybe if 25th prime sells well, we'll see some more reissues.
     
  11. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the fandom. I don't in the slightest bit doubt that interest in transformers is at an all time high. Older fans that are coming back after 15 + years would definetely be interested in repurchasing nostalgia based reissues they remember from their childhood. However, kids are going to be interested in the characters and toys from the movies and shows. they recognize. A kid that liked jazz or bumble bee in the movie might get excited and want his new animated version. But do you really think he or more importantly his mom is going to pay $30 for a g1 jazz that is smaller then the animated version and cost 3x's more.

    Even if Optimus is very successful I doubt hasbro would risk releasing anybody not in the movies. In other words it would do nothing to help exsisting fans who want "new" reissues like the ones that were recently knocked off
     
  12. aussiehippy

    aussiehippy Au contraire, Blackadder.

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    The KOs would still be as available now as they were before, if the makers hadn't decided to slavishly reproduce the boxes.

    Seeing their logo and copyright on something they hadn't produced is what lit a fire up Hasbro's arse. It also divided the fandom as the boxes made it harder to tell what was a genuine transformer and what was a knock-off.

    If the KO makers had stuck to colour variants and cheesy KO packaging styles they would still be able to sell them on ebay and online stores.

    There may well be an increased demand for reissues with the higher profile of the brand at the moment, and this could be tentatively explored by Hasbro, but in my opinion, the 25th ann. Prime that's coming out next year won't sell very well due to it's price, and we'll have to rely on Takara's more collector-oriented Encore line to deliver the G1 goods for as long as people buy them.
     
  13. nkelsch

    nkelsch Do you know this Icon? TFW2005 Supporter

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    This. And the 'if reissues existed, the Kos wouldn't' is false. We have had many KOs of figures with existing reissues. The problem is, Hasbro/Takara cannot feasibly keep the whole G1 line active in reissues for the next 10 years while TFs generate this increase interest in vintage toys. So there will always be someone who enters collecting before or after a specific reissue and that creates the KO market.

    Next year this time, people will be crying for Ko omega supreme because they were not around to get the reissue an reissues will be 400$ on ebay. They will claim they are justified in buying a KO and that Hastak has their head up their butt for not filling the market demand for Omega supreme.
     
  14. DethPike

    DethPike Master of Sinanju

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    I don't personally mind KO's as a cheap alternative to the "real deal" but I do kinda wish Hasbro would take a peek at what they're doing overseas. I mean - that Henkei Powerglide is RED. And I'm gonna order one. It's gonna be more $$$ than the Hasbro one, sure - but if Hasbro's was red I WOULD buy theirs as well.

    It's the little details that to me it seems like Hasbro doesn't seem to grasp too often. Henkei series is a good example. The chrome on those guys is great! Over here? No way. But I'm getting off topic -

    KO's - I don't mind them. If there were MORE of the real thing, I don't think they'd be as popular as they are. But, Hasbro needs to stick to it's money products - and TF Animated has a cartoon to support it and the movie line has, well, the movie and another one coming. As far as robots go, THAT'S where their money and effort is going to want to be spent. Not on reissues.

    There's an old joke - "That's not an "S" in Hasbro - that's a $" ;)  Expect them to do what's going to make them the most money everytime, and
    with that NOT being reissues we can safely expect KO's and Encore to be popular if what you want is reissues.
     
  15. Erector

    Erector I ruined the Hall of Fame

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    This is true but hey, you know what? They're a company. And as much as you and I (figuratively speaking, not just you and me DethPike :D ) would love them to reissue C-564 Obscurimus Maximus who was exclusive to the 1643 Japanese "Go Super Robobuilder!" line, it ain't gonna happen because they're not there to make 50 people on an internet site happy, they're there to make their 50,000 shareholders happy. And ladies and gentlemen, you don't get that from reissuing obscure Japanese toys. You get that from making a crapload of stuff that sells.

    I'm 100% certain that Hasbro do see us fans and they do take notes and they'd love to make us happy by reissuing the Dinobots and Black Zarak and Grandus and Skygarry etc. etc. etc. but there simply isn't the profit in it to make it economically viable, especially in the current global market where things are going down the pan for a lot of companies - at this point they need to be solely making the stuff that they know will sell.
     
  16. MetroSupreme

    MetroSupreme Member

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    Well, imagine if Takara announced that Encore 13 would be a Dinobot set with all 5 generation 1 Dinobots. Kinda like the Predaking set.

    Would it sell?

    Yeah, thought so ;) 

    I just don't know if they feel retro-moulding is worth the $. But it MUST be lucrative, or there wouldn't be KOs, either. That's where I think the KO market is really in demand. Guys like Mirage, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, and the Dinobots - all major 'nostalgia' characters that Takara hasn't touched in a decade of reissues (and while we're at it, the $300+ for the Trailbreaker reissues is asanine, so toss him in, too :) . I think almost all of those are (or will be) KO's. Mirage is out. Wheeljack is coming. I imagine Sunstreaker will follow. Snarl is the only Dinobot that didn't get made (yet), I think. Problem is FINDING KOs. Ebay is devoid of them, and I don't read Chinese to order from overseas ;) 

    And yeah, I understand Hasbro's problem with the actual Hasbro logo being on the box. If they just wiped that little logo off, do you think it would fly much better? Probably.

    I'm all for KOs, so long as they're called for what they are - KOs, not trying to masquerade as originals. I think most G1 collector's are pretty savvy on which is which.
     
  17. Easterling Capt

    Easterling Capt I am Vern Schillinger

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    No it wouldent sell because the price would be way to expensiv since a few dinobot molds are supposedly lost and reverse engeniring is way to expensiv. And since they have all been KO that will take away once piece of the market aswell with ppl satisfiyed with their KO. The only dinobot that would holds his market is Grimlock..a key G1 character.

    The only reason ppl cry about Mirage, Wheeljack and Sunstreaker is because they are hard to find mint, are expensiv if you find them. Sunstreaker has so little screen time and Mirage is not that much better. Its only Wheeljack that has screen time that iw worth mention. these guys were not reissued and ppl dont want to pay 80+ for a complete minty toy they want it for 30. If I am not misstaken those 3 molds are also lost or destroyed and they will probably NOT be reverse engenierd because it will cost to much and they will not be able to make profit.

    I dont support KOs, but I accept they are there but they should brand the box and toy with a little mark or something so it is easy to spot.

    It is not just to reissue anything and anything..everthing needs to in the end be +. If TT or Hasbro dont see certain characters make it into a + then they wont do it. And especially not reverse engenire it.

    ppl need to reralize that far from everything will be reissued and if you want a fig thats not reissued you can buy a junker, or pay the collectors market, or wait a few years and see if it goes up and down..and when it comes to vintage Im saying it will reamina with a little slight up or down but never loose value..vintage is still vintage and good vintage is hard to come by.

    end of rant
     
  18. aussiehippy

    aussiehippy Au contraire, Blackadder.

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    A dinobot set would be VERY expensive and I don't think it would sell very well. A 1-off Grimlock encore would sell much better.

    And as for the reverse engineering of lost molds, I dare say it would cost Hasbro a lot more $$ in testing, safety law considerations and legal bullshit than some Chinese KO company who doesn't have to care about all of those things.

    Just because a KO company can make cash from a shoddily reverse engineered mold made from substandard materials in a sweatshop, doesn't mean the same toy would be instant mega-profits for Hasbro or Takara.
     
  19. Solscud007

    Solscud007 Banned

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    Dont be so quick to bash KO. KO, just like any other product, come in varied qualities. Take the KO G1 OP. Spencer made a comparison and it seems that the KO OP is better than the Encore.

    Also the line of Ultra KO (the dinobots, insecticons, mirage, OP) are not int eh same league as the big lots KO.

    I agree with some of the other posters here, in that I too believe it was the fact that the packaging had HASBRO on it.

    I commend the KO makers in their goal to "replicate" G1 boxes. They did a fantastic job. The quality and attention to detail is an art in itself.

    But just imagine if they had made different packaging like the JUSTITOYS WST Dinobots. maybe they would not have been so heavily regulated now.

    I love KO and I collect them. Yet i have not bought KO G1 OP because there is nothing new about him. I have G1 OP loose, Diaclone Battle convoy and music label OP. Now black KO OP is one im looking to add to my collection.

    Take Mirage. I LOVE the fact that they fulfilled a demand that is there. the fans have been screaming for a mirage reissue ever since the reissues came out. the mold exists obviously. And the fact that they made Diaclone Red Mirage (which I still need to find) and a Clear g1 Mirage (which i own) gets me all excited for KO. Granted im sure if Takara reissued Mirage, Ehobby would probably make a Diaclone Red mirage and clear mirage. (since ehobby made clear ALT Mirage)

    BUT look how much ehobby would charge for those? probably around 80 bucks. Yet the KO go for $50.
     
  20. Easterling Capt

    Easterling Capt I am Vern Schillinger

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    I doubt that the molds for Sunstreaker, Wheeljack and Mirage are safe. If so then they should have been reissued at some point. There have been TFC, and those Convention exclusivs. Heck even Trailbreaker got a reissue there. I am sure that those 3 cars would atleast been a convention exclusiv if any if the molds were around.
     

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