Third parties in other franchises, comparable?

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Big Dawg, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone. So I've noticed a lot of thread's speculating on future value of modern transformers, about how some currently hot figures prices will crash and that they will be comparable to beenie babies as a current fad. Then I got to thinking about economic indicators (my background is in economics) regarding the preformance of a company in the market. An example is men's socks. Men tend to buy socks when the economy is good, and don't when the economy is bad (basically it is a luxury good to men and they will wear their socks until they disintegrate when money's tight).

    The sock metaphor made me think of transformer 3rd parties and the abundance of people we have making figures for us collectors specifically, making me think the TF market is healthy, and possibly healthier than ever. The problem is, is this a general trend across licensed properties or has trasformers become so big we can support these boutique manufacturers well into the future.

    So I guess my point, or question would be, do other licensed properties have anywhere near the third party support that transformers is getting? I know there are some 3rd party makers for robotech stuff and for 1/6 scale figures, but are they from established companies like fansproject and igear (and Maketoy to an extent)?

    Does anyone agree or disagree? Sorry if this seems rather longwinded, but it just kinda popped into my head and gave me a positive feeling towards the health of our beloved franchise.
     
  2. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Lego seems to dislike custom brick makers with a passion.

    There is also some angst among makers of certain lead figures with Games Workshop.
     
  3. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    those I understand, but I was kind of wondering if there are 3rd party companies that make products for GI Joes? He-Man? Power Rangers?

    I guess my point was that the number of companies that make third party products for TFs is insane, which to me signals that the market for TFs worldwide is through the roof. Unfortunately I have no idea if there are 3rd party companies for those other franchises so I am kind of looking at it in a bubble.
     
  4. Macross7

    Macross7 Well-Known Member

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    What it is is that Hasbro didn't bitchslap the first couple of 3rd party products so everyone and their mother has decided to try to make a buck on this lapse in judgement.

    If Hasbro or Lucas allowed a 3rd party GIJoe or Star Wars item to be made without and repurcussions, you can guarantee there would be tons of 3rd party items being made for those as well.
     
  5. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    I think this is less a matter of TFs being insanely popular (which is still true and certainly helps), and more a case of a Japanese phenomenon jumping the pond due to the highly collaborative Japanese/Western hybrid nature of the brand. Fan-made anime garage kits are pretty common overseas, licensed or otherwise, made by individuals or by fan clubs. Every so often, one of these clubs will invest in injection molding and factory assembly, and that's essentially what we've got with most of the third parties we're seeing now. I think that accounts for why these groups are disproportionately (though not completely) Japanese. Hong Kong and other Asian markets are also strongly represented, probably due in no small part to easier access to manufacturing facilities and a tendency to make knock-off products in the first place--or so I should think.

    He-Man and Joe fans may be as numerous and hardcore in the West as Transformers fans are, but Western fandom traditions don't tend to include mass production (in a loose sense) of fan works, and they have far fewer Asian fans to introduce it. They probably produce a lot of customs and scratch builds, but few or none that get sent to factories for production.
     
  6. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody!

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    are there even any 3rd partys located in the US?
     
  7. Billzilla

    Billzilla Skeptic

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    do any of them file US Tax returns? No. That would be suicide. Are some of the people working for third companies American? No reason why not.
     
  8. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    Yep. Accessory folk doing garage kits. No KO or IP theft folks as far as I know.
     
  9. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Pretty much this, mostly. There are definitely people in the U.S. who sell individually cast, garage kits, or models that can be printed on Shapeways, which is a smaller scale version of what the third party fan groups are doing. Reprolabels is technically a third-party group, and they're in Canada.
     
  10. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    but do we see it in the scale we see with TFs? I really have no clue lol. Do people make reproduction he-man and Joe weapons and add on kits? Is there a Venska for Voltron?
     
  11. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    Don't think so. Voltron is far more of a niche franchise than Transformers is at this point.


    What helps is that Hasbro has been remarkably lax, in letting things continue on as they have. If this were, say, a Bandai property we were talking about, they'd be run into the ground in no time.

    I think the other major recipe for 3rd Party success for Transformers is that as a whole, the brand supports and encourages all sorts of major aesthetic and design shifts, so the 3rd Parties can go and do their own thing, skirting the edges of straight up IP theft and "different enough to squeak by", and the fans will still buy them and accept them into their collections. It also gives them quite a bit of creative freedom.

    Any other fandom would probably cry foul at the product not being faithful to the source, yadda, yadda. Look at the Macross fandom, for example, that cries foul when such and such new toy doesn't follow the original lineart to the letter.
     
  12. Astronut

    Astronut Well-Known Member

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    I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that they are robots who change their appearance in each series they appear. You can make a 3rd party Optimus Prime that doesn't look exactly like G1 Prime, but you can't make a 3rd party Han Solo that doesn't look like Harrison Ford.
    Besides, has ANY SW character not been made into a toy?

    As for He-Man I know there are a few shield/weapon packs out there for the MotUC line.
    I just think it's a lot more difficult to make a realistic looking human than it is to make a robot-looking robot.
     
  13. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    As far as the star wars thing I know a guy named Morgan who goes by SuckLord that sells bootlegs openly and Lucasfilm has no issues with it even going so far as to having him work with topps on sets and to help topps bring back wax packs.

    Suckadelic: The Official Site of the Super Sucklord
     
  14. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    It's a lot easier to make a ~20-piece single-mode action figure than a ~100 piece transforming robot.

    I don't think that's the reason.
     
  15. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    There are plenty of garage kit sculptors with the skills to make a likeness of Harrison Ford though, and not nearly so many with the engineering skills to make a transforming vehicle.

    Probably not, but there's probably a niche market for larger figures than the ones available from Hasbro/Kenner.
     
  16. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody!

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    i think you nailed it with the creative freedom comment MX, since transforming robots concept is not exclusive to hasbro (or any company for that matter) its very easy for a company to make loose interpretation of a character, but not infringe on IP. while clearly we all see city commander and casuality figs from FP as Ultra Magnus and the Insecticons, and TFC's hercules as devastator. they are loose interpretations of a character and by letter of the law, doesnt violate anything since they have not made a direct copy of any current product or insignia. while Igear pushed it quite a bit with some of their products (which is not the basis of this comment) legally they took something and tweeked. this same thing goes on everyday with patents in the US, you can take a current patented product change it ever so slightly or add on to it and bam new product new patent.

    its very hard to make a interpretation of Voltron, skeletor, duke, or Han Solo and be able to sell it to fans.

    but someone else mentioned the characters of transformers have changed in every series they have ever been in, and with classics updating all the figures from our childhood, with new and modern altmodes. Its very easy for another designer to base something on a car or truck or animal that fits a character we havent seen official versions of, and fans jump on the bandwagon to get it

    warbot comes to mind, as does PE scout force and demolition warrior
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  17. Astronut

    Astronut Well-Known Member

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    That goes without saying.
    But if you're making a human lookalike, it has to be pretty spot on to avoid the whole "uncanny valley" thing. A robot that transforms from a vehicle doesn't have to look perfectly humanoid.

    Not saying this is the reason for it though. Just speculating. It is interesting that no other line has this level of 3rd party products. Especially since transforming robots are more complex.
     
  18. Big Dawg

    Big Dawg Well-Known Member

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    but companies could make updates for Joe vehicles, like rolling thunder, and probably make it pretty cool, yet I have never heard of such a thing happening. or say remaking the flagg. I personally just had never heard of them or seen them on any sites yet big toy sites like BBTS have an abundance of 3rd party companies making TFs.

    Other examples- stormtrooper packs: I'm sure if someone made an aftermarket stromtrooper army builder pack or cobra bat army builder there would be some demand. Or misc star wars vehicles (has there ever been an official krayt dragon toy)?

    I agree with the theory that hasbro has a pretty lax stance in regard to 3rd party TF makers, although apparently getting a little tougher on straight KOs. my theory was that there is an abundance of 3rd party TF makers because TFs are insanely popular since the Bay movies.
     
  19. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    Been in a big lots lately? Lots of knock Joe alikes there.
     
  20. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    There's lots of good sculptors out there.

    The uncanny valley thing is mostly a non-issue, even, because the designs that people would be trying to imitate are generally somewhat stylized anyways. Sure, photorealistic humans are hard to do, but generally speaking, they wouldn't even be trying for that in the first place.
     

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