CHUG analysis: update frequency

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by AutobotAvalanche, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    A common complaint showing up more and more on the boards is that Hasbro is skimping out on making new characters, and that they retread the same core 84-86 cast over and over for the Generations lines. "Too many Bumblebees! Too many Optimii!" you shout. "Where's my Voyager class Longtooth?!"

    I decided to take a look at the last 14 years (wow!) of Generations figures and see whether or not this complaint is actually true. The goal was to see how many times a new character appeared across the various CHUG lines and how many times an older figure received a significant update. Some ground rules before we start:

    • No Takara figures. Most fans are dealing with Hasbro releases and Hasbro is who gets shit on all the time for this. Plus, their releases are organized much more nicely.
    • No Botcon or club figures. These are not Hasbro efforts and oftentimes they actually reflect characters Hasbro was NOT willing to do at the time.
    • First appearances (almost) always count. Yeah yeah yeah no one really likes Universe Galvatron. But it was the first stab at the character in CHUG. So Universe gets a point for him. That said,
    • Legends don't count if they're too small for the character. Legends used to be a price point for providing "pocket money" versions of just about any character Hasbro felt like. So a figure like, say, the old Legends Trailbreaker, does NOT count as an update of Trailbreaker, despite being his first CHUG appearance. For figures of traditionally small characters that some might feel should be bigger, this rule doesn't matter. I know you want Warpath to be a big tank. He's still traditionally a Minibot.
    • Not every single update counts as a point. I'm looking for significant improvements to count a redo of a figure. For example, Classics Astrotrain counts as the first try. TR Astrotrain counts for bumping the figure up to a more appropriate size class for a triple changer and just looking more like Astrotrain. You might subjectively prefer Siege Astrotrain, but the fact of the matter is he's still just a Voyager-sized triple changer with ship and tank modes, released not too long after TR. No point. Don't worry, this is gonna drag down how many points Prime and Bee get and maybe confirm your fears that there ARE less significant updates nowadays.
    • No non-G1 updates are being considered here. This includes neo-G1 and cartoon-only characters such as Acid Storm and Chromia. I love my Rhinoxes, Hot Shots, Impactors, and Barricades as much as the next guy. But unfortunately they're still fringe cases and the majority of CHUG is G1 toy characters so that's what I'm looking at. Excluding other characters also allows you to see the proportion of actual G1 updates to just repeat G1 characters. The sole exception to this is Arcee who has been a major player and was part of the show's main cast and just got snubbed out of a G1 toy due to her impossible transformation. Japanese and Euro G1 does count. Similarly,
    • For the purposes of this analysis, only G1 updates are being counted for a line's total figure count. Universe and Classics in particular are guilty of having their release counts buffed by the Legends of Cybertron figures and random Minicon packs.
    • Slight redecos/retools of an existing character do not count as an update. Yes, Universe Starscream looks much nicer than Classics. But it's the same exact toy with a different deco. Not a significant update.
    • If a character appears multiple times within a line, they only will count for one point at most unless the different figures reflect entirely different forms/appearances. Doesn't really matter who gets the one point. i.e. Classics deluxe and Classics legends Bumblebee are equally valid. But only one counts.
    • Combiner teams sold as a set count as one point. Figures sold separately from a combiner team i.e. the CW teams count as a point each. Standalone releases i.e. Universe Silverbolt potentially count as a point each.
    I think that about covers my criteria. For each line I'm going to provide a total figure count, an update count (which includes significant redos as explained above) and a first appearance count. Here we go...



    Classics
    First appearances: 14
    Total updates: 14
    Total figure count: 17

    Universe
    First appearances: 40
    Total updates: 40
    Total figure count: 44

    Transformers 2010/Reveal the Shield
    First appearances: 8
    Total updates: 8
    Total figure count: 15

    Generations/GDO
    First appearances: 13
    Total updates: 14
    Total figure count: 17

    Thrilling 30
    First appearances: 23
    Total updates: 29
    Total figure count: 33

    Combiner Wars

    First appearances: 25
    Total updates: 36
    Total figure count: 51

    Titans Return
    First appearances: 38
    Total updates: 52
    Total figure count: 60

    Power of the Primes

    First appearances: 15
    Total updates: 22
    Total figure count: 27

    Generations Selects
    First appearances: 3
    Total updates: 4
    Total figures: 5

    WFC: Siege
    First appearances: 38
    Total updates: 61
    Total figure count: 70

    WFC: Earthrise
    First appearances: 5
    Total updates: 11
    Total figures: 12

    Of course Siege's numbers are significantly boosted by the Micromasters and Targetmasters, which deserve to be included here but also give the false impression that there are lots of large, significant figures coming out of that line considering almost nothing that small from before was taken into consideration (Prime Masters were thrown out wholesale for being too small as Pretender updates, Titan Masters squeezed in with the genius decision of making Shuffler and Lione figures).

    You can absolutely argue that this information could benefit from the inclusion of cartoon or comics original characters, or non-G1 updates as a whole, but I was more interested in seeing the sort of "economy" of figures most CHUG collectors are after. Smashdown, Soundbarrier, Nightbird, etc, etc are all welcome additions to the family but they aren't part of the original goal of updating the original toys.

    Personally, even disregarding the Micromasters and the like, I think the new trilogy is still going strong with making acceptable versions of first appearances and decent improvements on old characters. Could you argue some of that fat on the old lines could have been cut and replaced with more unique characters? Sure, but I don't think the problem of repetition with characters is as bad as some people would make it out to be.

    I welcome your comments and criticisms, especially on my system of criteria. I can absolutely understand why someone would be more inclusive or lenient on what "counts" but this way made the most sense to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  2. Siege Fan

    Siege Fan Well-Known Member

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    While I (would) love to see more characters getting their 15 minutes, I never really understand the complaint of 'We got X years ago and it was perfect!' or 'I'm sick of Optimus!'. Every long-running toyline has and will release the same characters in a slightly new form time and again across every iteration! It's a successful strategy! Lol

    You kinda need to know that without that guaranteed seller Bumblebee or Optimus you won't get your Quints or Doubledealer. And certainly not at big box store retail prices.

    Pity the poor TMNT fan right now who would love reasonably priced cartoon figures whoever they were, or those desperately awaiting the MOTU updates of 1980s designs. Others are overjoyed at finally getting 7" DC characters that don't look like crap after all these decades or cost a fortune!

    Meanwhile Transformers has...


    Cartoon versions in every scale and price point you can think of

    Updated G1 in every sense with WFC

    Movie versions

    Masterpieces

    Third party releases of every description that aren't just statues


    I think a lot of older Transformers fans don't realise how good they have it in context. What we take for granted other fandoms would absolutely kill for.
     
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  3. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    Exactly, we are a very spoiled fandom. Whenever someone complains making a list of X characters Hasbro hasn't done yet I'm always thinking "dude, that list gets smaller every wave, some fandoms don't even have the headline characters"
     
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  4. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II Banned

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    I agree that we are a spoiled fandom, because the people who want the same characters over and over again constantly get exactly what they want.

    I never understood the "Be happy with what you get, because I want a hundred Optimuses and I'm going to get them" complaint, while that's exactly what those spoiled people have been getting.

    When you look at other fandoms a wide variety of characters is the norm. It's only Hasbro who seem to cut down on what part of the franchise they are focussing on.

    They could certainly do with giving more representation of characters other than the 84 characters in toylines and in fiction.
     
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  5. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    Agreed, and luckily for us the numbers show new G1 characters are still being produced with great frequency.
     
  6. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II Banned

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    Don't know what you mean with new, but there's a vast untapped treasure of non 84 characters that still haven't been properly represented in toyform or fiction.
    Hasbro has been good at producing toys for those characters and giving some of them some focus in fiction, but they could open that faucet a little more.
     
  7. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    "New" as in first time appearing in CHUG.

    WFC: Siege
    First appearances: 38
    Total updates: 61
    Total figure count: 70

    Total figures 70 - total updates 61 = 9 redundant/not worthwhile figures. 61/70 G1 Siege releases were worthwhile updates.

    And even if you only care about characters who haven't shown up before ("new"), 38 out of 70 is over half. Over half of Siege's G1 offerings have never seen a CHUG update before. That's pretty good.
     
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  8. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    Some additional information for your consideration, regarding non-G1 updates

    Classics

    N/A

    Universe
    Neo-G1: 1
    Beast Era: 4
    Unicron Trilogy: 1
    Total: 6

    Transformers 2010/Reveal the Shield
    G2: 1
    Animated: 1
    Total: 2

    Generations/GDO
    Neo-G1: 3
    G2: 2
    Total: 5

    Thrilling 30
    Neo-G1: 5
    G2: 4
    Beast Era: 5
    Unicron Trilogy: 2
    Total: 16

    Combiner Wars

    Neo-G1: 7
    G2: 3
    Unicron Trilogy: 1
    Total: 11

    Titans Return
    Neo-G1: 5
    G2: 1
    Unicron Trilogy: 1
    Total: 7

    Power of the Primes

    Neo-G1: 19
    Beast Era: 2
    Total: 21

    Generations Selects
    Neo-G1: 4
    G2: 1
    Unicron Trilogy: 1
    Total: 6

    WFC: Siege
    Neo-G1: 13
    G2: 1
    Unicron Trilogy: 1
    Total: 15

    WFC: Earthrise
    Neo-G1: 2
    Total: 2


    POTP is inflated by the Prime Masters. Man, T30 was great, huh?
     
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