Questions about "First Shots"

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by hulk23869, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. hulk23869

    hulk23869 Well-Known Member

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    How many first shots are usually made?

    How do you know they are authentic if they're not AFA graded?

    How much are they usually worth?
     
  2. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean test shot? The usually multi-colored ones that factories do to test the molds before they start making the proper figure.

    If so, qty can vary. They might make 10, they might make 100, it depends how long it takes to adjust the machinery.

    Authenticity is pretty much impossible to tell (even for AFA) unless there is paperwork tying that particular item directly to a Hasbro employee. The problem is that there are tons of them run later in China by the factory workers not related to the "test shot" process.

    Here are the 4 most common ways these get made:

    "authentic" #1: New item, Hasbro requests the factory send them 10 of the new Optimus Prime toy to test packaging, lighting, fit, joints, etc. Factory runs off (lets say) 200 and starts assembling them. All are made in the same funky color. Some break or don't work, so they end up with 50 completed toys, 50 broken toys, and 100 toys worth of parts sitting in bins.

    So 10 got to Hasbro, the other 40 working ones are put in storage. The 10 are marked "not for sale" or with other markings. The other 40 may or may not be marked. The 10 with markings/papers from Hasbro can be worth hundreds of dollars.

    Later someone in China finds those 40 and sneaks them home to sell on eBay. In this case, they are from the original run, but buyers have no way to know. Are they "authentic"? If we could prove what they were then... maybe?

    Later someone in China finds the 100 toys worth of parts. They can put them together and sell them on eBay too. Are those "authentic"? Again, maybe, but its impossible to tell.

    Lastly, after the retail version of the toy has been out for a while, someone in China can start up the factory and run off 100 of that same Optimus Prime figure in new funky colors, then sell them on eBay. These are absolutely not authentic (as part of the test shot process). This is the most common thing you see on eBay, and they do not have anywhere near the value of those in the first category. They frequently sell at about $40 for a deluxe, and that is about the value they should have. However, tons of sellers try to get more and shady folk will attempt to sell them as something more than what they are, and pass them off as the equivalent of the first category with the Hasbro paperwork.

    To be blunt: anything you buy on eBay or TaoBao or Yahoo Auctions (that does not come with Hasbro paperwork or from someone with a confirmed, legal connection to the factory and can vouch for it) is not authentic. Those figures are essentially bootleg versions of the authentic toys in funky colors, and that's it. They are still pretty cool and sometimes fun to have in a collection, but they are not "Real" in context of the toymaking/prototyping process.
     
  3. GiganGoji

    GiganGoji Well-Known Member

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    How do the AFA graders determine authenticity? Isn't it just a group of fans like us, or do they have some kind of credentials/expertise in the area?
     
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  4. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong.

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    IMO 'test shots' are virtually worthless. They're basically test firings of new moulds before the big batch starts. There's no way to know how many were made, and what flaws were evident. They're supposed to be thrown away.

    'Prototypes' are a completely different thing, and it's from these that moulds are made from, they're instrumental in the making of a toy. And it's hard to verify prototypes. Some come with paperwork, some come with a full owners history. And unless you really trust the source? It's probably a weekend job or test shot. Ie, worthless.
     
  5. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    Sigh, there is a lot of misinformation in this thread

    Also you already asked this:
    How many first shots are typically made?

    Also read this:
    Some help identifying a Test Shot

    Per Ras:
    A lot of misinformation here.

    1.) Since the late 90s test shots are frequently, if not always done in non-production colours. You're right about the use of whatever colours are lying around (leftovers of colours used from other toys and toy lines - same with some packaging samples) but workers most-certainly do not run the lines on their lunch breaks or after hours. Instead of being discarded, they are simply taken home to sell.

    3.) The test shots come from wherever the factory producing said figure is located. The ones stamped "not for sale" are only the ones intended to be sent back to Hasbro for inspection and reference. The rest are meant to be destroyed, as you said in point 4, but we all know that some make it out.

    5.) Test shots are rarely hand-painted, and only when sent back to Hasbro or Takara R&D/HQ. Nevermore touched on this issue - there are many many stages of a prototype, and vary from toy to toy. If it's not quite right, it'll have more stages of pre-production. Toys are hand-painted for two reasons. To create a concept mock up paint scheme (paint concepts or paint masters), or for photography. These days it's mainly hardcopy models are painted for packaging/advertisement purposes.

    6.) There are many reasons for this. The main one being a market saturation over the last 5 or so years.

    7.) There are numerous quantities of most prototype stages, not least the latter ones. For the latter stages; the factory don't just test the moulds by producing one piece. they need to make sure that everything is working. At this stage it's normal for a dozen to be made....if there are no problems.

    It really depends on a lot of criteria. The era is obviously a factor (technology differences, methods used), and varies from toy to toy.

    The biggest difficulty in telling a 'real' test shot (or production item for that matter) from a 'fake' is the amount of companies and individuals producing knock offs. They can sub-contract a small factory, with the right amount of money and prepped. reverse engineering. We're seeing more and more of that. It ruins the hobby and rips people off in the process. May these clown farts fail miserably. They won't however, of course..
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  6. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Except that all over eBay are *100% clear* transformers which are never part of the prototype/test shot process, because clear plastic has much different tolerances. So one can assume that some are also made in weird colors are also run without Hasbro's permission.

    Everything else you said is in line with what I said.
     
  7. cobra zartan

    cobra zartan Think's He's a Detective.

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  8. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    Not entirely true, I have some all 100% clear ones that came directly from a Hasbro employee with the "not for sale" stamp on it and some without that came from the same guy at the same time. However, the 100% clear ones are definitely more of a gamble, especially when it comes to the G1 seekers and anything WST
     
  9. hulk23869

    hulk23869 Well-Known Member

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    is anyone willing to help me out with an item i'm interested in buying? i'm not a huge fan and this stuff is over my head, but i would still like to have this piece if it's real.
     
  10. hulk23869

    hulk23869 Well-Known Member

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  11. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    All the stuff from z75sales came from a former Hasbro employee. They are all legit. He also had unreleased figures as well (which caused quite a bit of drama). I will say I think the price for it is high, but if you want it go for it.
     
  12. hulk23869

    hulk23869 Well-Known Member

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    What do you think is a fair price for it? I asked him to go down and he said he wouldn't take anything less than 275 lol. He also doesn't have any documentation, so if I want to get it AFA graded, how will AFA know it's the real thing?
     
  13. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    They won't.

    You know it came from Hasbro and in this case, there is documentation that the seller had direct connection to Hasbro. This isn't a peice of art from the 15th century, its a test shot of a transformer. The fandom will believe you if you save screenshots of the auction and his past selling prototypes (he even has a whole thread here about them), so I'd not bother with AFA grading.
     
  14. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    AFA is not even remotely an authority when it comes to Transformer prototypes.
     
  15. ar78

    ar78 Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I would consider an "authentic" test shot or prototype is something that came from a Hasbro employee that was brought back or sent from the factory. You may only get a real one from and employee that left Hasbro and took it with him. I have hundreds of product prototypes and samples I could sell, but I wouldn't risk my job over it. If the product did get out there is only one source it could have come from.

    Whenever an injection molding machine starts, it takes a few shots before the mold is warmed up enough to fill the complete cavity. We call those first shots and require the factory to run 15 or so before we will accept that the part is complete and will not have hot spots or thin walls anywhere. Those first shots are supposed to be thrown away. Most of the factories keep these and grind them up to use as regrind in other products.

    It would be pretty easy for a factory worker to take the various incomplete parts and piece them together to make a few complete units. There is also runoff to complete the production run. You aren't going to leave a small amount of pellets in the hopper, so the technician will just run out the plastic. You'll get a few complete parts from that as well.

    I've seen a few of the products I designed and sold wind up on sketchy Amazon Marketplace pages. Someone at the factory sold off extra units to a shady wholesaler. The problem is the products are real and not counterfeit, just not sold through the proper channel.
     
  16. RoboticPlanet

    RoboticPlanet Exclusively Exclusive

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    AFA has some ability to determine authenticity, but they're not infallible, and have been known to mistakenly grade knock offs as authentic:
    Dinobot Sludge AFA BOOTLEG on ebay!
    Buyer Beware! - Fake AFA Graded Transformers - Transformers News - TFW2005
    They've learned from mistakes like these, but I don't think they've ever proven themselves an authority on pre-production pieces.

    OP, you can be safe with that black Rattrap since it's a well known test shot, and as already mentioned, z75sales' test shots came from a former employee, or rather his widow (who I think some collectors even identified and located after the first batch surfaced online). The price is top dollar and while you will likely see it cheaper if you wait, you could be waiting years for another source.
     
  17. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    AFA was also scammed by a star wars guy who had taken vintage figures and re-bubbled them on repro cards. I don't recall the details now, but they're nowhere near perfect.