Sensing a shift in the force - The 3rd Party Late Teens

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Bainreese, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Bainreese

    Bainreese Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. edgecrusher

    edgecrusher Pepperidge Farm remembers TFW2005 Supporter

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    #4. Prices have also continued to creep upward in several market segments.

    Just a few examples: Takara MPs, 3rd party MPs, Legends-scale figures. Even MMC has taken to releasing more figures at $100+ recently. On the other hand, combiners have mostly settled in at around $100 per figure. This will of course vary and there are some specific figures where prices seem to have improved or there is significant value for dollar, but overall 1P and 3P prices quite often border on exceptionally high for what is actually being delivered. That's the reason we've seen so much success by KO companies in 2016 - they are able to deliver actually good quality products for sometimes as little as half the cost as the original figure. At the same time, the higher prices allow 3P companies to survive and deliver as high a cadence of products as they are.

    #5. Shifts in top tier manufacturers.

    Subjective, but I think Maketoys has surpassed MMC (which has had its share of QC issues and design flaws lately, which is uncharacteristic of the brand that could basically do no wrong just a year ago). Fans Toys has also slipped a bit in some regards. Meanwhile, new challengers have entered the market or begun to stand out, like Iron Factory and several MP-scale companies including corporate siblings of KFC. This fluctuation is good for consumers because seeing the former top dogs get surpassed means any manufacturer not currently in the top tier has incentive to improve their quality and manufacturing processes to gain a similar status.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
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  3. evilwithin

    evilwithin Dinobot

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    To be fair, prices are getting lower imo, and there are a lot of amazing deals even on almost new figures.

    Let aside Quakeblast, or KOs: Grassor for 130 bucks it's pure madness. DX9's stuff is quite cheap, Toyworld' coneheads too...

    Every 3p MP of Inferno and Megatron are far cheaper than the official ones. MP Shockwave and coneheads are more expensive than the average 3p.

    Only TT carbots are still cheaper than 3p, but that's all...

    So we can't complain to much of that...
     
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  4. Max Tower

    Max Tower Well-Known Member

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    There is still some issues with TFC stuff I feel. Transformation tolerances materials choices and sharp edges are still an issue I feel with them.
    I don't know about Make toys I've not bought anything super new from them but the ones i've bought so far are a bit iffy.

    The best I can hope for really is they don't explode when you Transform them and they can stand up.
     
  5. Big Bronze Rim

    Big Bronze Rim ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Moderator

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    I'm pretty sure you mentioned that about Maketoys in another thread. That hasn't been my experience at all. What product are you talking about specifically?
     
  6. Starganderfish

    Starganderfish Well-Known Member

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    In regards to edgecrushers point 5, I don't see it so much as shifts in the rankings but more as each company starting to define their own style. It's gotten to the point where you can usually tell just by looking at a figure who made it.
    Maketoys adds their own Dreawave-esque chunk to their figures, DX9/UniqueToys are going for a super inflated, beefcake feel. FansToys are big into die-cast and embracing that early MP idea of mixing toy and toon, while XTB/KFC are getting a rep for absolutely nailing the bot mode likeness to the animation character sheets.
    And that's starting to result in more of a "preferred manufacturer" feel amongst collectors. I know that when FT or XTB reveals a figure, I'm probably going to be interested while I'll almost certainly pass on MT or DX9. MMC are my go too for IDW but their 50/50 when it comes to G1. And every other collector has their own leanings and preerences.
    The 3Ps are really starting to pin down their own styles (ToyWorld is a perfect, somewhat extreme example) and realising how big the market has grown, they're not afraid to take a few risks.
     
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  7. Funkmasterke

    Funkmasterke Custom Title:

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    TFC's Poseidon has been amazing so far, though who knows if their next combiner release will be as great. Hades is definitely the poster child for what not to do for a combiner, and why you should never buy any members till at least the torso is well reviewed.
     
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  8. edgecrusher

    edgecrusher Pepperidge Farm remembers TFW2005 Supporter

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    @Starganderfish I was primarily talking about overall product quality, but you're right that most manufacturers have established themes or styles as well.
     
  9. koonfasa

    koonfasa Well-Known Member

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    We know more.
     
  10. Wheeljoker

    Wheeljoker Well-Known Member

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    When my collection first started,I only bought official. As my collection grew and I started buying figures to take their place on my shelf,more and more the official just doesn't really satisfy me. I think my first big disappointment was Shockwave,for the cost he just didn't feel like a true masterpiece. His alt mode having the big gaps and wrong color were kind of a let down. The coneheads haven't thrilled me and Inferno was a figure I've been waiting for, but the backend looks so bland. Third party seems to be keeping the trend of mixing the elements of toy and toon that brought me into collecting in the first place. I used to worry about the quality when I first went into third party,the irony is that official products are the only ones I've had any issues with.
     
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  11. Max Tower

    Max Tower Well-Known Member

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    Team Hades are great so long as you leave them in robot mode - laugh.

    ***

    As for Make toys... yes there is many cases with sharp edges - as for tolerances there is issues in the hips of several of their toys. or as Emgo would put it bending things past other things can raise it's ugly head.

    I tend to think Make toys make adult collectables and not toys you can play with - which is fine for those who open them and shove them straight in a detolf - it's not so great for people who like to play with their toys while watching TV and you can not usually be that casual with 3rd party toys unless you want to snap something.

    I've never even transformed my Make toys prop-plane Thundercracker at all as he terrified me he's going to disintegrate. so essentially I bought some seeker statues.

    The tanker isn't well designed either the way the foot is moulded regularly breaks the Optimus figures it's mounted onto. Their inferno's crotch is very poorly designed too they made the front of the crotch out of metal and the hip skirt out of stupidly fragile plastic - they needed to do that the other way around or make the hip skirt in two pieces. ideally for hip skirts to be safe then need to be designed to pop off rather than break or not have them at all and just mount the hips lower on the toys below the crotch so they sit on the T-bar and don't need a hip skirt.

    Some thing like the clip on skirt of Titans Returns Blaster is so much safer. another naughty boy with regarded to poor tolerances is The Toyworld Shinebug's arms & back bumper into vehicle mode or Toyworld version of Brainstorm is an ideal example of poor choice of materials for the back hinges for the wings that routinely snap off.

    Even changing the instructions would have helped that as they actually fit better on the arms anyway. so in conclusion I'm not sure I quite 100% trust any single 3rd party just yet to not make some idiotic mistake or other (like fansprojects figures being like rag dolls for example).

    In general this is what I want to see improved :

    1) better combiner connectors.
    2) No sharp edges - I don't want to bleed on my toys thank you
    3) better choice of materials if the part is under stress use metal or put the metal in the legs not just the upper body
    4) make sure your toy can stand up don't give them wonkey feet or to few teeth in the hip ratchets.
    5) Good Tolerances - both in transformation and joints
    6) make sure the transformation is possible without the use of a tool
    7) Missing accessories - Where the hell is Quad U's Gun Fansprojects ?
    8) Don't go quite so crazy on the cartoon accuracy not everyone thinks basing the design specs of your toys solely on a 1980's cartoon is the wisest choice - it can lead to quite a plan looking end result or just really gormless looking toys I.e MP Ironhide, or All of the Infernos so far including Takara's being butt ugly in one way or another. or the latest example is Lupus... someone drank the cartoon koolaid a bit to much on that one - common sense should tell you do not make the face and the eyes the exact same colour even if the cartoon did it. that is just a stupid as putting Starscream's wing logos on upside down as Sunbow were to stupid to read a design document properly 30 years ago.
    I blame Takara for that too - but at least they have the sense to try to compromise between cartoon and toy to some degree.

    But some things are not acceptable to me for example not giving Inferno, Hoist, Trailbreaker or Grapple the option of 2 arms, or rockets not just one - I'll let hasbro off the once but NO don't do that 'bad companies'.

    ***

    I'm also not terribly keen on the bad habit of using the same part on the left and right side of a toy and hoping no one notices - I do notice you know. Fansprojects and TFC I'm looking at you.
     
  12. DukeFett

    DukeFett Well-Known Member

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    As far as prices go, 3P are not making limited release products anymore. And in addition to the multiple renditions of each character; stores always have extra stock. Some of these recent 3P BF sales were awesome. Apollyon for $100? Every Quakewave you could want for $100? (Remember those ridiculous eBay auctions for Quakewave?). $70 for Backdraft too, these are awesome deals. As long as you don't mind waiting, you can get some fantastic deals.
     
  13. LazyAza

    LazyAza Ehhhhh

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    Issues with hips on many of MT's toys? which ones? I own the vast majority of them and not a single one has issues with its hips at all. And what Thundercracker? MT has never made a Thundercracker ever... what are you even talking about there lol.

    What do you mean better combiner connectors? all of the ones of MT's sets are flawless and work perfectly. Likewise for feralrex, warbotron bruticus, toyworld devastator and even tfc's latest pirancon. They all hold together beautifully and flawlessly.

    Very few 3p figures have sharp edges now that can't be avoided, I'm note sure how you're hurting yourself these days on any unless you're handling them weirdly. Again even mt, once infamous for this, have long since evolved beyond that and put out countless toys that are an absolute joy to handle and transform, especially their mp figures.

    Hellfire I never had a single issue with at all, not even with the hip skirts, still am utterly baffled as to how anyone managed to break those, they seem so sturdy and obviously need to be moved out of the way to me so they don't catch on the the thighs. Like how is that kind of thing not super common sense by now with how many figures have hip skirt armor.

    And people talk about part stress and whatnot all the time, I own like... 200 or 250 or something third party toys, and of all of them, all of them handled countless times, some even roughly out of all of those only two have received damage and both instances were entirely and solely my fault and not the toys. I will never understand how people manage to break them so frequently.

    Tolerances and build quality in general I find like 95% of the time the figures I buy now it ranges from like 75% to 100% perfect. I very rarely have issues worth even mentioning with anything I buy now stuff is so well made so often.

    Your list in general there is just the weirdest thing to read, its like you took a time machine back to 2010 or something, I feel like the vast majority of your complaints barely ever pop up with anything anymore.
     
  14. edgecrusher

    edgecrusher Pepperidge Farm remembers TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think he's also mixing up MT and MMC, since the only "prop plane" seekers I'm aware of are the MMC Knight Morphers.
     
  15. Max Tower

    Max Tower Well-Known Member

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    Yes sorry about that - it was a typo I did mean MMC's Prop planes - but as it happens I have the same issues with MMC & Maketoys anyway.

    It is kinda confusing when it's supposed to be the case that some of these companies are not so much companies as they are associated brand names made by the same people or closely related ones... though not being as obvious about it as X-Transbots & KFC are.

    Anyway... Warbotron is hardly "Perfect" neither is the Not-Technobots either their Afterburner has some severe tolerance issues. The not-Bruticus has dodgy combiner joints, cracking clear plastic ratchets in feet and ill fitting parts and sharp edges.
    The even had to totally remake their version of Blast Off as it had so many QC and design issues. they are "Barely" Better than their own KO's.

    Hellfire's hip skirts are designed wrong they are two tight and need to be in two pieces when someone pushes absent mindadly on one side alone they stick and then snap - Having to take mine to pieces I can attest the hinge inside is far to thin for the job and it's far to tight in the joint too.

    If you want some other examples I can make a list... but it will be a VERY long list and might take a while to compile fully. It might be so long I might need to give it it's own thread.
     
  16. mtl79

    mtl79 Well-Known Member

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    There's also the whole issue of poor design choices and cheaper finishing from Takara as well... there products no longer look high-end, they simply look like lower tier Hasbro/Takara toys with more articulation and better plastic. There aesthetics and design choices are not as sophisticated as they used to be and, using MP-36 as an example, they're simply cutting corners on paint in the name of a more G1 look... that Boldforms triple changing Megatron was picked apart and laughed at for lack of paint... MP-36 is just as bad....

    I can see the cheapening of Takara products as a huge plus for 3rd party companies that are offering more intricate designs, better paint apps and overall more of a premium looking product than Takara are willing to offer right now. I've definitely abandoned Takara due to that... who really wants to spend all that cash on Megatron when it looks like a cheap knock off...
     
  17. Max Tower

    Max Tower Well-Known Member

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    TFC's Old Soldier's Medic "Ratchet" is a good example of a number of really annoying bad design choices that while they don't quite ruin a good toy they do have you making perplexed faces at the toy.

    Like why is the front bumper so hard to un-tab
    Why are the instructions little better than gobbledygook
    Why does he have two different designs for his hands
    Why can't he hold his own weapons especially well or indeed has so few of them (I think i'd be inclined to borrow some of the iGear ones for it)
    Only the one head design - no alternative faces or head crest colour.
    Very visible marks on all the windows
    But worst of all the wing mirrors are not a separate piece and are not made of metal or rubber like plastic like anyone sensible would have implemented.

    Also what is it with 3rd party companies allergy to numberplates or other decoration like Ambulance like deco on their toys - so many of them mould something in white and think 'that will do' something like Inferno could do with a fire department shield or a unit number or something like that. ... ( I know 'not all').

    On the plus side at least Medic has not cut, sliced or stabbed me while transforming it yet.
     
  18. lucas maximus

    lucas maximus Need more Kain...

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    And you're talking about some toys that are years old and those companies have made advances in that time.
    Mmc's hos seekers were some of their first figures and definitely not indicative of what they currently produce. Also, tfc is knocking it out of the park with their seacons. Others I can't really say much about, but I have also never been made to bleed by a 3p toy. Yes, some have sharp points and edges but as long as you're aware of and avoid them it's no big deal. Maketoys 3 different combiner ports and joints are flawless, and tfc's seacon ports are pretty good as well, though the energon style ports were never a good idea. Fansproject's dinoking's ports are fine as well as their menasor. Never bought anything warbo so I don't know about them or what generation toys or toyworld did with their devs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016