There seems to be a 'settling in' of the 3rd party realm of late. I mean this on many different levels. #1. There seems to be a defined market and that market seems to be growing. Let's face it, when 3rd party first landed many years back we knew they were going after adult collectors but that community seemed pretty split between the HasTak Dieharders and those that didn't mind buying questionable IP from someone other than Hastak. Now you rarely see that argument anymore and the good 3rd party companies have a much better idea of how big their market really is. What's more, it appears that 3rd party remains a growth market. We are seeing a larger amount of releases from some of the mainstays(MMC, FansToys, etc). #2. Quality and Quality Expectations have taken a leap forward. Let's face it, the early days of 3rd party figures(Yes we are talking just 3-5 years back) were a crap shoot quality wise. Putting your brand new figure on the operating table to take care of a joint or badly molded piece was pretty much par for the course. Those days are largely behind us with figures like Stomp, Carnifex, and Spartan setting standards that rival Hastak. Because not even Hastak is completely free from issues. I've had 2 Titans Returns deluxes with two left or two right feet, 2! #3. Design Improvements. It goes without saying that Transformations are getting better. With some of those early figures there were times we felt like we might be about to bust something. Some had such sharp edges that they would qualify as a lethal weapon while trying to transform them. You don't see that as often anymore and especially not from the companies like MMC who have become the 'Elite Providers' in 3rd party circles. I think its safe to say that the 3rd party era is nearing the end of its sophomore phase and about to settle in to a nice twenty something. Young enough to promote excitement but old enough to have learned how to meet the expectations of a fully legitimate market segment. I believe the next few years will be chuck full of things that are going to drain the wallet. I'm looking at you MMC Saltus, MMC Kultur, GCreation GDW-01, and so many, many more.