Off-Screen Characters - What happened?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Boy Blunder, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Boy Blunder

    Boy Blunder Terrorcon King

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    So, as I've been taking photos of my movie-based figures for the past few weeks, I've come to realize that Hasbro really hit the ball out of the park with a lot of them, but not the ones one would expect.

    Specifically, they seem to have gone all-out with the off-screen characters. Ones inspired by the aesthetic of the line, but not beholden to a character model that you can't achieve in plastic. Ones based on noteworthy vehicles seen in the fiction, but with no attached robot mode to inhibit it. Clever retools and repaints of existing figures that made them feel like brand-new toys.

    Hell, looking at the figures sitting on my desk right now (Brimstone, ROTF Bludgeon, ROTF Lockdown, Hailstorm, Terradive, Breacher, Hubcap, Brawn), I know that many of these are legitimately among my favorite figures for overall aesthetic, poseability, transformation, et cetera.

    So what happened? After the ROTF tie-in line(s) dried up, and we moved on to DOTM, we got fewer and fewer off-screen characters. Sure, we got the entire Human Alliance Basic-class line, but DOTM had a little over a third of the off-screen characters compared to ROTF's lines (I'm counting the movie-styled release in the 2010 Transformers line as well).

    We got a few more off-screen characters in the Prime toylines (between the various size classes, sublines, and Japanese releases, nearly 40 off-screen characters, definitely more if you include the GO! series and various TFCC exclusives), but few of those are even unique molds.

    Did Hasbro find that the off-screen characters didn't bring in as many returns? Did some other shift cause them to just drop the concept entirely? I know the latter isn't entirely true, as we're getting plenty of brand-new characters in the tie-in Kre-O releases, but... I don't know. Am I in the minority in missing these kinds of figures?
     
  2. Vaikyuko

    Vaikyuko Transmetal

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    You're not in the minority. While I like show characters arguably more because they have a fictional tie-in, the offscreen ones are great too. I imagine it's partly because the offscreens don't have much well known fiction to tie them in as even stuff like the comics tend to focus on the big players rather than small ones, and the movies especially give a lot of focus to the onscreen guys.
     
  3. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    I thought the off-screen guys were great figures, often far better than the on-screen ones. Pity it looks like we're not going to get much or any of that with AoE. Seems the off-screen figures will just be repaints of old molds (correct me if I'm wrong as I've not followed the AoE releases as much as previous lines).

    The off-screen figures were far more of an enjoyable prospect compared to now where each character has several different types of figure out.
     
  4. Mr. Chaos

    Mr. Chaos Head of Illuminati Chapter 517

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    You have to also remember what happened with DOTM. We in the united states never got Dino, Soundwave, the rest of the Dredds, Que or Leadfoot. Hasbro caught a lot of flack for that and I think that now they are gunshy to not get every movie character out asap before stores stop ordering figures. Just look at the current waves: By Wave 2 we have every new Autobot, nearly the entire Dinobot, Galvatron and Lockdown. Wave 3 gets us the rest of the Dinobots and Stinger.

    I'd say it is going to be pretty rare for us to see toy-exclusive characters in the movie line again. There will be one or two, but the days of ROTF will never come again because if Hasbro only has x amount of spots for toys they don't want another DOTM.
     
  5. Grimlockimus

    Grimlockimus Wot?

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    Like Mr. Chaos said this is mainly because of what happened with DOTM, they released so many non-screen characters in the first waves they weren't able to release characters like Que or Soundwave, so now they're playing it safe by releasing nothing but movie characters first and then who knows maybe we'll get off-screen characters after.

    Though technically Slog and Snarl aren't confirmed for the movie yet, so they might count as off-screen.
     
  6. Mr. Chaos

    Mr. Chaos Head of Illuminati Chapter 517

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    I'd also say that having 3 voyager Optimus Primes and 3 Bumblebee deluxes in the first 3 waves hurt them a TON. Had they just gone with Trailer Prime and one of the bees, we'd have had room for 2 more voyagers (Junkheap and another figure, let's say) and 2 more deluxes (Que and Leadfoot). That would have also meant that there was less peg warmers and a better chance at getting more waves.
     
  7. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    Also the recession was in full swing during DOTM's design stage, whereas it was just beginning during ROTF. There were nine waves of Deluxes during ROTF, with only the last wave being hard to find in stores. For DOTM, there were only six waves planned, and the last wave was outright cancelled for U.S. release.
     
  8. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    Overrated. Not missing them one bit.

    This subbranche was ..in a way... : "movie figures for people who dislike movieverse aesthetics".

    Oh well... you could still get Takara's Lost Age line.
     
  9. jru42287

    jru42287 Ass Möde is a way of life.

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    Yet, they've surprisingly not decided to include them in this movie line for some reason...
     
  10. Steevy Maximus

    Steevy Maximus Old School Snarkster

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    Uh, no.
    First, there were only 2 Voyager Primes released to everyone (granted, yet a third as exclusive, but exclusives are hit and miss on several fronts).
    Second, Optimus, as a core character, DOES need to be in multiple pricepoints to ensure availabiltiy of the character. Having just an Ultimate version be available would make many kids unable to get him. And the deluxe mold was tied up as a Walmart exclusive through most of DotM's retail run.
    Third, saying "x amount in y waves" really isn't indicative of anything. The second Voyager Optimus didn't see release until several weeks AFTER the first figure, and after prior shortages, seeing Bumblebee in the number we did shouldn't have been a surprise. And lumping exclusives in with normal "full retail" releases only serves to muddy that. Not everyone has access to every store, nor did every store necessarily get every exclusive (particularly Walmart).
    Fourth, we have NO solid evidence that fewer or more non-screen (or even less core characters) would have had any meaningful impact in how stuff ultimately got released.

    The sad reality is that Transformers sales softened considerably after 2009, and I say that REGARDLESS what Hasbro might have changed, we still would not have gotten the full DotM range, we still would have had 6 months in 2012 of retailers selling off back inventory, and we still wouldn't have seen anything of the "Trilogy Series" aside from the released Prime with Trailer.

    With reduced sales and a generally weaker retail environment, Hasbro is opting to focus its resources on the on screen characters of THIS movie to maximize what support they have here in the US
     
  11. Steevy Maximus

    Steevy Maximus Old School Snarkster

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    I don't know, maybe it's some crazy reason like they aren't in the movie coming out?
     
  12. jru42287

    jru42287 Ass Möde is a way of life.

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    *Looks at thread title*

    *Looks at HA Barricade, HA Jazz, DotM Skids and Mudflap...(shall I go on?)*

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Prime Jetscream

    Prime Jetscream Well-Known Member

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    Well this time, probably 60% or so of the budget is going into crappy kiddie toys.
    Anyone else notice how DOTM had 5 or 6 waves and AOE just has 3? So far, at least. I don't know if DOTM's wave count was 3 by now in 2011.
     
  14. Vaikyuko

    Vaikyuko Transmetal

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    3 confirmed waves, and at Toy Fair Hasbro explicitly noted that all the product they listed was slated for 2014. That means we may have more movie product coming in early 2015. You never know.
     
  15. Dachande

    Dachande Janitor. Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    With the off-screen figures, there was nothing the designers had to adhere to. They didn't need to make the characters screen-accurate, so the sky was the limit.
    Personally, I think some of the off-screen figures were a saving grace against the onslaught of Primes and Bumblebees.
     
  16. Silvershot

    Silvershot On The Double Dutch Bus

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    This could also be a reason - I have nothing official to back it up, it just seems logical. I've noticed that many casual collector's, which bring in a large amount of revenue for movie toys, are not into collecting every single figure available. I've noticed that when faced with a decision of which figures to buy, many decide to collect "only on-screen characters" since there is a familiarity. It's possible this is quite widespread, and has led to a lack of off-screen character development. Just a thought.
     
  17. Anguirus

    Anguirus Well-Known Member

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    I suspect they got deep-sixed because the designers liked them better than the kids. As for collectors, we are too fickle in this regard. For everyone who prefers the off-screen characters, someone else specifically avoids them (I've been both).

    For 2007 and RotF, stores were just desperate for as much product as they could get their hands on. Now, not so much.

    Also, let's not forget, a LOT of these off-screen characters were redecos. They weren't all well-regarded at the time. RotF had whole waves of redecos.

    Still, it is notable how aggressively off-screen characters are being avoided now, even in the exclusives. EVERYTHING ties back to a known AoE Autobot or Dinobot. Why is Terrorsaur a version of Strafe, instead of a new guy? That kind of thing. And they are going back to "Evolution packs" like in movie 1, again just sticking with the characters. Focusing on a core team obviously has paid big dividends before, but it can backfire...hopefully most of these guys live through the movie, right?
     
  18. Timothy.R

    Timothy.R Well-Known Member

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    probably because they don't want to have to make more larger packaging like they're doing with the leader bumblebee repaint lol.

    i'm kidding, but you're right, soundwave and que should REALLY be part of this line.. and i've also been saying that they should REALLY package human alliance soundwave as a voyager, or release it as an exclusive to target or something.. or even repackage it, throw on some silver paint and release it as a platinum exclusive.. it sure as hell would sell a whole lot better than platinum magnus. or yoth starscream. .. but them doing that would be too good to be true.. it'll never happen.

    i like some of the non movie characters.. but i'd SERIOUSLY prefer them to give us all of the robots that were in the movies rather than making non movie characters.

    besides the first movie, none of the other lines have given us main line versions of each character (deluxe, voyager, leader)

    in rotf we didn't get scrapper.. well, any of the constructicons other than long haul, demolisher, or rampage.. but i'll only count

    in dotm we didn't get soundwave, dino, que, the two other dreads, a weaponized version of roadbuster, leadfoot.. it's pretty pathetic what we missed out on in the dotm line.

    now, with aoe.. they might be making every on screen transformer.. but who knows, who knows if we'll get stinger, even though it would seem to be an easy remold of 2014 bumblebee.. but more so.. their size scale in toy form is pretty terrible. ESPECIALLY the dinobots. i would REALLY love to see slug and scorn be given voyager molds.. and if this was one of the previous movie lines i would think we'd get either lockdown or galvatron as leaders. but no, with this line, a casualty of their seemingly massive cost cutting efforts is a third leader mold.. something we've gotten with EVERY movie line since the first.. movie one we saw prime, megatron, and brawl. rotf we saw prime, megatron, and jetfire (hell, there was even a sub-line with leader starscream) in dotm we saw sentinel, bumblebee, and ironhide.. the running theme is that with every movie line we've gotten at least ONE bad guy leader.. this is the only line without one. it sucks.
     
  19. Timothy.R

    Timothy.R Well-Known Member

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    yeah.. i think you're right on.

    i always pick up at least a main line version of every character that is in the movie.. but i'll pick and choose between non movie characters and repaints.. i don't think i own any movie verse repaints, unless they're more accurate versions of the on screen characters.
     
  20. Timothy.R

    Timothy.R Well-Known Member

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    well.. they did correct their mistake when it came to the tf prime first edition figures.. so, like jru said, it is surprising they wouldn't correct their mistake by including those figures in this line. especially considering this line doesn't seem like it is going to go much further than 3 waves.