Why are Japanese/Third Party toys so expensive?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by ezim93, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. ezim93

    ezim93 Well-Known Member

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    To start let me be honest and first say that this thread is moreso to explain to other people why japanese and third party toys can sometimes be so expensive such as MP-10 who is $250. I kind of understand the reasons some of these toys are expensive and am totally OK with paying the price, it's moreso other people that are confused with why Transformers can sometimes be so expensive. So please let's attempt to keep this civil and hopefully enlighten a few people.
     
  2. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    Main reason I can see 3rd party toys being expensive is because they don't have the same god tier amount of resources Has/Tak does to mass produce them on the same scale. They also aren't as limited in terms of design as most of the official toys.
     
  3. Soundblaster1

    Soundblaster1 The Heisenberg of Toys

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    Have you seen the exchange rate recently? The yen has become about 20% stronger against the dollar, making anything priced in yen (3rd Party and Japanese goods) comparatively more expensive than usual.

    Seriously, I know 2 Japanese exchange students. They can't get over how cheap everything is here.
     
  4. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

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    Everything in America is inexpensive - except International shipping and Pizza.
     
  5. Deceptigtar

    Deceptigtar Sworn Decepticon Assassin

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    the thing is right now as soundblaster 1 said, things are a little less expensive there and plus the yen to dollar right now is shit. i remember buying things off yahoo japan when the rate was about 1,000 yen was 10 USD and that is not the same right now.

    also remember it is not 250 for the new prime in japan even with conversion. bbts and other retailers have to pay a certain price, factor cost of shipping to them, then charge more to make the principal expenses back plus make a profit.
     
  6. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

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    BTS's Sonicron is a cheap as chips really.

    Looking at MP-10 Optimus from the British Perspective I'd say He's about £85.00 worth he's only worth over £100.00 if you really rate the trailer and want to factor it in as much money as the figure then maybe he's £120.00 - However going by mass alone he's not so different from Ultimate Prime and if you compare him to the Anakin Star destroyer he's appauling Value for money (on mass alone)... so you then have to factor in the number of parts the cost of assembly and number of paint applications.

    Anakin 4 Changer is as big but costs only $40.00 (he's probably worth $65.00) so either Anakin is being sold stupidly cheap or Takara are Gouging a bit - I think looking at what Tomy Charge for Revoltechs there's some gouging going on in all honesty.

    So I'd blame TOMY I bet they are trying to Maximise Profits in the short term at the expense of selling to an ever diminishing market.

    Look at it dispassionately... I really am having a hard time wondering if I'd really want to buy another MP Skywarp at some point let alone for a premium price just because it's a revised mould.
    MP-11 Starscream is at least the 1st time they have made him in the correct mid-Dove grey colours.

    But given a choice between a $100.00+ IGear Thrust or a $100.00+ Takara Skywarp with some modest mould changes I think I'd give IGear my money over Takara.
     
  7. Shin-Gouki

    Shin-Gouki Rebuilding Veteran

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    US Economy is in the shitter plain and simple. as others have said before it's the exchange rate that is killing us. If you want to blame anyone I would blame Washington, all of them.
     
  8. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

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    Japan's economy was weak in the 1990's & into the 00's so it made stuff cheap for the rest of the World, I'd say after Henkei Japanese Transformers no longer seemed like such a good deal.

    I got all of the stuff from Japan as it used to come out first a lot of the time and was not much more expensive than UK retail toys were.

    But now with all these 50% off sales paying premium marked up Prices just seems a demented thing to do to yourself by comparison.


    I used to pay £12.99 for a Galaxy Force Deluxe and £9.99 for a Cybertron one.
    With Henkei it was about £15.99-£18.99 and £12.99 for a UK toy
    Now it's £6.49 for a DOTM Deluxe (Half price or so) and £24.99 for a United Deluxe and even more for a Japanese DOTM Deluxe like Airraid or Vortex.

    So paying £65.00+shipping for a Voyager Optimus with a box trailer is kind of annoying.

    And Takara charging Voyager+ retail prices for two Scouts is just not nice.

    I'd love both of those Wing Optimus toys (as I'd want to swap their guns over)- but the cost of them both would just be total crazyness if you look at it in the cost of multiples of UK sale price Transformers like £3.00 Legions. £5.00 Commanders, £7.00 Deluxes and £12.00 Voyagers.

    It's not a huge exageration that you can very nearly buy every UK Transformer on sale for the price of both of those - heck very nearly for one if you ommit the Kreo and Ultimate Prime.

    Or the whole lot period if you just count all of Takara's Leader Optimus' up and compare them to UK sale prices - Kreo and all.

    That is why Mp-10 seems crazy to me - I only need the cab the bank end is of minimal use and to be honest I don't much like how his fingers fall off so easily. I'd be happy to pay 20% off a UK retail price for the cab alone just so he can chill with Grimlock - but otherwise --- no not so much feeling the value for money there when I examine my points of comparison.
     
  9. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

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    Yeah Galaxy force was the last series you could get for reasonable prices. I remember that the average Japanese beast wars neo toy or unicron trilogy toy was only about double the american retail. I had no problem buying all the paint variations for the takara minicons because they were only about 10 bucks at the toyfairs around here. Nowadays, something has to be extra special or exclusive to warrant the cash of importing.

    Also keep in mind that Transformers toys have more unique molded pieces per figure then about 95% of the toys on the market. It's not like superhero toys or Gi joe where they get to mix and match pieces. A transformer is usually 100% built from scratch.

    That is why 3rd party toys are taking such a risk on things like on characters that can't support repaints like a prime or a seeker mold would. They get one shot to get there cost back so they have to charge higher prices
     
  10. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Economies of scales. Hasbro produces hundreds of thousands of toys whereas Takara and 3rd parties only produce tens of thousands. Fixed costs are costs that are there no matter how many units you produce. That includes molds creations, transportation, line setup, etc. Variable prices are the same per item no matter how many you produce (material cost, assembly labor, paint).

    Simplified example.

    Let's say fixed cost is $500,000 now matter how many you produce and assumes variable is $5 per item. If you produce 100,000 items that's $10 an item ($500,000/100,000 + $5). If you produce 10,000 then it's $55 an item ($500,000/10,000 + $5).
     
  11. 2punish&enslave

    2punish&enslave Starscream's Brigade

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    The bigger question I have is how are these third parties allowed to make and sell these products in the first place? I'm glad that they are I'm just surprised that they are.
     
  12. Orodruin

    Orodruin @deathformer TFW2005 Supporter

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    They're not using any copyrighted material. They don't use the trademarked names, the logos, or other keywords. (This of course excludes Igear's Faith Leader and Seekers since those are direct copies of existing molds.)

    Also, I don't think Has/Tak really wants to go after them. Third party stuff is fan-made, collector driven product. It all enhances the franchise. If it go to the point of being direct competition, (let's say we were deciding between buying a 3rd party version of DotM Prime vs an official one on a massive scale) then you might see intervention.

    Finally, these things are made in China. There is no copyright law there. At all. China is the honey badger of copyright law, they don't give a shit. The best that could be done is pressuring domestic retailers who carry stuff.
     
  13. blurr69

    blurr69 First time caller

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    ^ faith leaders x% smaller than mp, and takbro didnt make any mp coneheads/created the "no kibble" molds after igear. Neither FL or the seekers examples are direct copies of anything, is all Im saying. Just playing devils advocate, ppl can still selectively hate whoever all they want.

    edit: at most one could say the seekers are somewhat copied, since fl is downsized and shares zero parts with mp prime. and that somewhat being copied could legally be broken down into a % of copied parts, sure, but again... china. nothing else need be said.
     
  14. odeean

    odeean Infiltrator

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    It always seems funny to me that the place where markets are supposed to be free is in fact not and the place that every one accuses of being totalitarian actually has what seem like free markets.

    One thing that no one has mentioned is that the USA has always had artificially low prices. This is because Americans consume so much more than most others it creates a high volume sales environment where a profit can still be made off a lower margin. In countries all over the world Transformers prices have always been much higher than the US even when the currencies are similar. When you buy a product meant for consumption in one of these foreign countries you have to pay that internal price.

    Lets face it, we are to blame too. By letting TT get away with the $200+ price on Rodimus we pushed up the window for future price points.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  15. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

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    Compare them to united figures, and they are not expensive at all. Almost the same price.
     
  16. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    Don't forget that retailers in each country also play a huge part in what they sell each item for. Hasbro/TakTom can only advise as to their desired RRP, but in the end, the stores have got them over a barrel. So really, what Odean said about sales margins in relation to high product consumption is correct. In non-US countries, there are far less volumes sold, so the prices have to be higher. Luckily here in the UK out exchange rate is better than that of the US, so we don't lose out quite as badly, but I know in other parts of Europe and places like Australia things can get really expensive.
     
  17. 3.8TransAM

    3.8TransAM 1989 Turbo Trans AM

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    There have been rumblings of Hasbro or Takara taking down the offending partied in rights to their properties.

    Remember, they don't necessarily have to go after the manufacturer, but they also don't have to sell to your favorite retailer either.

    I would love cheaper Masterpiece figures, dunno if it will ever happen again.(USA releases are still cheap, go USA)

    Although I find it quite disturbing that people most vocal about MP prices probably have that new midget Reflector set that cost 90$ in their collection(seen it a few times in person now and it's tiny). Or they are shelling out $80 a limb for Devestator.

    It is some amount of exchange rate bias, some of it is manufacturing costs, but I think the bigger end is "What will the market bear where we make the most cash".
     
  18. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

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    I'm seeing american prices quoted for japanese items in this thread. How about comparing MP Rodimus to, say, MP Grimlock? In their japanese retail?

    Transformers sold by Hasbro in the US are both benefited and cursed by the "wave" system set by retailers. It means that basically every figure in given size class costs the same. It's a curse because certain bigger sized figures have less paint applications or accessories to fit them in the price budget set by retailers. It's why RTS Jazz pales in comparison to United Jazz. It's why Samurai Prowl is more expensive than other deluxes in the japanese animated line, but has the same price as his wave-mates in the US.

    Moreover, prices are being kept artificially low. Taking Europe and Japan's TF prices and comparing them to America's, ever since Beast Wars in 1996, there has only been a 2-4 USD hike, depending on the size class, on all classes. In a world where everything in value fluctuates, I find it difficult to believe that the first and only rise in price occured 13 years later.

    So in essence, American [and only american, even though everything sold in Europe is a simple re-pack] prices are kept locked and artificially low. We good?

    Japanese transformers, to the casual collector, have steadily increased in price with EVERY SINGLE LINE. At Superlink, deluxes were at 1800 yen, Galaxy Force rose them at 2000 yen and so on until we're at the current 2600 or so yen. Except for the movie lines, every other line had something to signify the price hike. Glossy paint, more paint applications, extra accessories and so on were the norm.

    The first real hike in the masterpiece line occured with Grimlock, which raised his retail price 5000 yen over Prime's\Starscream's\Megatron's. And it had to do with the rising cost of plastic, which, since transformers are not so big in Japan, no retailer opted to keep the price artificially low, and takara could not comply. This is why Grimlock was more expensive even though he was SHORTER [not smaller, SHORTER] and had nowhere near the amount of die-cast MP-01 had.

    Rodimus is physically bigger than Grimlock, and more complex. And has a huge chunk of plastic in the form of his trailer. Hence a 3000 yen increase in his retail price. MP-10 came along, which was even bigger in mass than Rodimus, and so on.

    Basically because unlike hasbro, takara has not "locked" the retail price of that size class, and partly because you can clearly see that those toys are getting bigger and more complex with each release.

    Which concludes in importing. Since the exchange rate sucks, at the moment, big time, for US fans, it's very likely the prices are reflected on our favourite products. When a vendor like BBTS wants to carry MP-10, they have to buy a X amount, pay for SHIPPING, make a profit and then add shipping to your address in order to get a total out of each item.

    You're basically paying a middleman. By ordering a figure directly from Japan, you're paying shipping to your house and that's it. By ordering from an american online vendor, you're paying all the extras I mentioned in the paragraph above.

    Starting to see the light? I hope so.

    Third party products are not made by a huge corporation [hasbro\takara] and have a production line at around 1/10th of regular transformers. So they do not benefit from mass production lines or mass discounts in shipping materials and so on. Plus, taking the TFC Hercules figures as an example, they cost like 75 USD on asian sites, but over 98 USD on american ones.

    Why, because as stated above, a US retailer has to pay shipping and make a profit on top of the retail you saw on an Asian retailer.

    I hope this extremely long post illustrates clearly why we're seeing different prices and how different those prices are.
     
  19. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    Gotta love that noone picked up thie fact that third party stuff is generally chineese not, japanese :gen069: 

    Also let's not try to factor in europe into the equation and try to draw conclusions from that.

    Here's how the pricing works

    In my case it's

    produced -> shipped to Hasbro US -> shipped to Hasbro EU -> shipped to Hasbro Scandinavia -> Shipped to retailers

    Each of these steps require shipping and markup to pay for sallories, shipping and profits. THAT is why it's more expensive in other countries and why it's cheaper in the US.

    When it comes to takara and third party then sure, fixed costs is responsible for alot of it, but the biggest reason is greed, third party companies charge $100 for a devestator limb because they can - Hasbro isn't doing a propper classics devastator, so if you want one you will have to pay third party prices - simple as that.
     
  20. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

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    Reading what I have over the past months I think that some of the companies that make non-Transformers Transforming toys have contacts that allow them to get the moulds made at a bargain prices.. or even make them themselves... that gives them a lot lower cost base than someone who has to hire someone to make the mould for them. that explains what one company is twice as much as some other company for a similar toy.

    Also it's cheaper to make moulds from Copper or Aluminium or an alloy than it is from Steel and they take a lot less longer to cut too. a small company wouldn't need steel moulds as you only need them if you going to make over 100,000 units. Copper moulds would be fine for example for something like the CarbotV axe.

    Something like the Starcats Combiners might warrant an Alluminum mould though (approx 25,000) units as they might be selling them as a cartoon tie in to Asian retail stores so it might justify a bigger run of them than something aimed just at the collectable market would. I think if they can proove they can do it to the buyers TFC could easily become a much bigger company and get much bigger orders. I'd buy their stuff with pleasure it's like getting a whole new loads of Brave or Webdiver or some other non-Transformers transforming Toyline that still has that play appeal Transformers has.

    Take someone like Side show Collectables some of there stuff is so limited if they are using steel moulds to make it then that might be one of the reason they are so expensive. When really all they need to do is make the body types in steel as they see repeated use on everything from a Gi Joe to Doctor Who and the heads in copper. You are not really going to need 100,000 Matt Smith Heads after all.

    Basically it's cheaper to make two or 3 Copper moulds that can make you up to 45,000 units than it is to make 1 steel for 100,00 units+ with aluminium some where in the middle.

    I'm sure some place online there's some articles on mould cutting that might be educational.

    I'm guessing Fansproject might be getting a better deal now than before as the Not-Insecticons have got cheaper than the Previous Causality toys likewise with Perfect Effect stuff the PE-01 was well pricey compared to later ones.

    If someone was a shapeway genius and wanted to have their stuff mass-produced I expect they'd not be getting such a good deal.

    Darn I want some Mass-produced Hex pods :/
     

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