So, Transformers fans have a pretty sweet deal right now, if they have the bucks: there are several "third-party" companies making a whole host of Transformers-compatible toys, ranging from relatively-simple upgrade kits all the way to Masterpiece-level complete figures. Most of them are well-engineered, well-built, well-packaged, and do a great job of capturing the essence of the character. But why is this phenomenon pretty much limited to Transformers? Why isn't someone out there making, say, six-inch-scale GI Joe figures? Or Star Trek? Or Macross? Or X-men? Or pretty much anything else you can imagine? What is it about Transformers that makes it ripe for third-party products? Is it the freedom to "re-imagine" the characters? In many cases, the figures are evocative of a particular character, without looking explicitly like any particular iteration, which allows for more liberties in the likeness. Then again, some other 3P products are very clearly modeled after one specific version, and do a great job capturing it. So why aren't there 3P Batmen clamoring for our shopping dollar? Why is it just Transformers so far? Don't get me wrong: I'm delighted to have the 3P TF options. I'm just curious as to why there aren't other brands.