Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Petes Robot Convention, May 23, 2008.
Cool page, I bet that took some solid research to compile. Looks very thorough.
If I may chime in, we have been told, for a fact (I'm inclined to believe Brian on this), that Takara does NOT want to make their exclusives, and is actually quite resistant to the idea. They are, according to Brian, very argumentative and difficult about making these smaller runs, even when the small runs we're talking about are the relatively large runs of the Convention and member exclusive toys.
This is seconded by the information Glen Hallit gave us in the past. The Mega-SCF mold Skywarp toy we were supposed to get as the first club bonus toy from them was intended to be made in the high hundreds of pieces. One of the things that got him in trouble was that Takara then backed out and insisted that he had to order 6,000 or more, which is when they suddently became widely available to retailers and others to order from 3H without club membership being a requirement.
I don't know if they give Hasbro that kind of grief about limited goodies, but they sure give it to the convention/club crews, and have been for a while it seems (6+ years since Skywarp was announced at the dinner party...). I believe, but will not say for sure, that Brian told us one of the problems with that resistance from Takara is that they have to pay them more per figure than they would otherwise in order to get Takara to do it. So they're not just paying costs + normal profit margin (which is higher than retail releases no matter what), but effectively having to grease the palms of the executives as well.
This is pure speculation on my part, but living in Southern California, we have a perspective on multi-cultural relations (especially in regard to Western and Asian cultures) that isn't always common elsewhere. With that backdrop, I can't help but wonder if there are some cultural issues at play when dealing with Takara that Brian and company is simply ill-equipped to handle, but which folks at Hasbro may understand better. This would be in addition to and beyond the "pull" that Hasbro can exercise (that FP can't) simply by virtue of being a larger company.
While this is possible, bear in mind that Brian and Co. are dealing with Hasbro in fact, and Hasbro is the one dealing with Takara to get it done. Hasbro, of course, knows how to do it, but it seems with things like the conventions they push back for reasons unknown. I believe Brian said they were griping about it being unprofitable.
But if that is actually Takara's complaint here, it's totally shot in the foot by the way they constantly put out small run special releases and exclusives through their own partners in Japan. They must be doing it at some kind of loss, too, because those exclusive runs tend to run at or only slightly above retail cost, which means the margins for Takara must be razor-thin or nonexistant. And some of those have production runs between 1-5% of the lowest runs (~1000 normally) FunPub asks for. Some of them even only see a single piece released (regardless of the fact that quite a few are undoubtedly made).
Funny that Takara is resistant on the production of Exclusives. I look at the exclusives that Takara produce, namely the LUCKY DRAW figures.
All of them may be a repaint, but so are the Seacons and Nightbeat.
Yeah, we've heard of Takara's reluctance many many times from Brian and Glen. Each and every time it strikes me as rather funny that Takara would complain about it not being profitable, but they make crazy one shots or ten shot LUCKY DRAWS! Some of which have to be more expensive to produce due to the use of chromed out parts than anything that Botcon has ever done (except, perhaps, remolded parts).
Personally, what I think it boils down to on their end is that it's not something that Takara can use for their market without tweaking them (such as Henkei Thundercracker) and thus have no interest in it, because than it becomes more difficult if they want to do something similar. But we're not just talking about the US either... it's also probably the reason why there were only ever two Japanese Botcon exclusives. Hell, does Japan even have a Botcon anymore?
Well, it really depends on the purpose the store has for the exclusive. Often they are promotional items, and may take a loss simply to drive traffic into the stores. (SW Order 66, TF 2 packs) Sometimes the exclusives are considerably more expensive (SW Clone Wars Gunship).
I would say the lucky draws and one shots are more of a promotional tool than anything else, and any loss would likely come out of a marketing budget, not the main toyline.
Yeah, I work in retail so I understand that concept wholeheartedly. I'm just saying that Hasbro is obviously taking a hit on those kinds of exclusives and either are loosing money by pricing them like they are or aren't being charged as much as FP are for smaller production runs.
More or less, but it still doesn't explain their animosity towards doing runs for Botcon or the TFCC now does it? You can't complain that something isn't profitable if you're doing the same thing no matter where the budget for it is coming from.
Indeed, the fact that Takara does this on their own all the time is one of the reasons I was seeking an alternative explanation. But if FP isn't the one negotiating with Takara, well, I frankly expect better of Takara's relations with Hasbro....
I've gotten the feeling from Brian more than once that the ONLY reason some things got made at all was because Hasbro basically put their foot down and said it was going to happen.
It really does seem suicidal, in fact, for Takara-TOMY, a company with KNOWN money problems several times in the past, to turn down these runs. We know that at least once, Hasbro's interest has been what bailed them out of complete failure. We also know that Transformers aren't as popular as they could be in Japan, and don't sell spectacularly most of the time - often enough they've struggled to continue there. Given all that, I would think any smart businessperson would leap at the opportinity to do something, even a small special run, where they are guaranteed profit like they are with the FunPub work.
You're probably right there. Takara is undoubtedly aiming for maximum, or at least decent profit from the TF products they manufacture. And making something that they can't get any use out of themselves probably doesn't sit well with them, hence gouging FP to "make up for it". It could also be possible that Takara could care less about a US convention and feels that doing very limited runs of stuff for it as a burden or pain in the ass.
I've got to say though, if FP has been getting hosed by Takara all this time, then I am truly surprised they've continued to get as many exclusives made as they do every year.
I'll get Nightbeat as soon as the preorder is listed. It's around the price of Airazor plus it comes with a comic.
The Seacons OTOH - while not super-expensive as I expected around $100 - would hit me with extra customs taxes here, so I'll have to pass. Hopefully, there would be still Seacons sets available next year at Botcon for me to buy.
I don't know what price I expected for the Seacons... at one point I naively thought around $80... but after all the waiting and various signs of hope over the years, I will gladly pay the $120 for these. I was kinda hoping $120 was the non-member price.
I'd need to see shots of these new "paint apps" before I decide whether or not to get Reprolabels Piranacon labels for them...
What's the deal with the funky color scheme for the Seacons?
I'd have shelled out the monies if it were the classic teal/pink/purple theme.
Sorry, I just found that funny, wether or not it was a joke. Although I don't much care for this color scheme, the original was hardly beautiful or classic in anyway, it looked like a dayglo disaster. God Neptune blows them both away except for the lack of Nautilator and is cheaper I believe.
Hey, only a villain from the '80s could pull those colors off.
If anything they're nostalgic, the new scheme looks all sorts of random.
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