Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

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Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby Bed Bugs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:28 am

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I don't believe this topic was covered at Botcon, so I thought I'd bring it up here in the hopes that we may get a few answers.

If you paid attention to the Club announcements, the Club Freebie is Universe Ramjet out of Generations Deluxe Starscream. Likewise, a Skywarp repaint of the same mold will be offered as a Club exclusive later. The original Starscream mold that both of these are using was used in China.

Meanwhile, the Club announced that the next Subscription Service assortment will all be repaints/remolds of Combiner Wars figures, which are all made in Vietnam.

On to the questions, and these apply to Takara and Hasbro.

Question #1: With production moving from China to Vietnam, how long will previous molds in China still be available to the Club?

We've seen Takara is releasing the remolded Generations fembots and now we've seen the upcoming 5 pack of Movie Dinobots. So the old molds seem like they're continuing to be used....

Question #2: Are molds being moved from China to the Vietnam factory?

We won't know for sure until we start getting some of the above mentioned figures. It will be quite interesting if we see Nightbird, Blackarachnia, and Slipstream all have "Made in Vietnam" stamped on them instead of "Made in China".

Question #3: Will Hasbro limit the Club to only being able to order from one factory/country?

That doesn't seem to apply this year with Ramjet and Skywarp presumably coming from China and the Mayhem Attack Squad coming from Vietnam, but this could affect Botcon 2016's choices for molds. I think it's fairly evident that it would be an inconvenience shipping-wise had they offered one of the seekers with the Sub Service and say Impactor as the freebie. There's a reason they are paired as they are. Which means....

Question #4: If not limited, will Botcon be able to mix'n match China molds and Vietnam molds to make a Box Set?

It's quite possible that they can repeat what they did with Club Exclusives (China figures in a 2 pack, Vietnam in a 6 pack)and offer a Box Set from Vietnam and 3 bagged sets from China. Shipping all at once though, seems like a waste to ship from 2 different countries, especially when they are trying to keep expenses low.

If anyone else has questions about this, please feel free to ask. I hope we get a few answers, as this change really affects the whole dynamic of what we get Domestically, through the Club, and through Botcon.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby First Gen » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:07 am

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Huh?
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby ScottyP » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:28 am

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Oh wow, yeah I hadn't considered what that production move could mean down the line. Afaik moving molds is not a practical thing to do, but then again Hasbro is one of the world's biggest toymakers so the definition of "Practical" is probably a bit loose in this context.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby Bed Bugs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:40 am

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Exactly. I don't think they would move molds from China to Vietnam, but thought I'd ask anyway. With the move to Vietnam though, the entire catalog of molds for the pass 30 years is in jeopardy. It's just a matter of when Hasbro/Takara/Fun Pub say they're done with China and the big question is when will it happen?

It will be quite interesting if the next batch of Masterpiece figures are made in China or Vietnam too. Is anyone who has bought RID able to confirm if those are made in China or Vietnam?
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby Bed Bugs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:20 am

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It's also been pointed out to me that a sizable chunk of Age of Extinction figures also came from Vietnam. While we won't be seeing any of those molds due to licensing issues, this little detail is quite interesting.

With the Dinobots, the original retail releases had the following stamps:
Voyager Grimlock - Vietnam
Voyager Slog (Sludge) - Vietnam
Deluxe Snarl - China
Deluxe Slug (Slag) - China
Deluxe Strafe (Swoop) - China

Now we're getting that Platinum 5 Pack with all 5 molds. The question will be, will all 5 have the same stamps? Or will 3 be made in China and 2 be made in Vietnam still? It's quite possible with Vietnam's geographical proximity to South China, where Chinese TF's are made, that TF's could continue to be made in both locations and packaged together.

Which could indicate a likely answer about what Botcon can and can not do as far as packaging figures from 2 different countries together in a box set. We shall see. :D
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby RAR » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:44 am

It makes a certain crazy sense that a lot of the Asian exclusive boxed sets should be toys that come out of Vietnam. But I suppose they may well be a mix of sources as is.

I tend to associate Vietnam with Legions and Transformers Animated - But I have to admit looking where things are made isn't something I make a habit of so often.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby ScottyP » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:13 pm

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What's the stamping/legal text/etc on the recent G1 reissues show? That might be very telling as well.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby RAR » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:42 pm

I hope that Takara will safely store the remaining Chinese moulds rather than destroy them or sell them for scrap metal or some other horrible fate... They seem to have decided to have go back in time a bit with AOE what with using the Enegon Cruelock Mould fro Grimlock and the Beast Wars Terrorsaur mould for Strafe. So I hope that wasn't a last hara.

It's quite possible china might still be used by one market when the other is using Vietnam instead. there is still the Asian market and especially Korea to consider too.

On the plus side to the club/convention ; are not a lot of the Legion toys mould located in Vietnam - it might make them easier to use and there is plenty of repaint suitability with those and they'd go nicely with Titan Wars toys too.

I agree though it's worth asking around to see how serious of a pull out Takara and Hasbro or doing to Vietnam - so far it's been quite slow and gradual.

I wouldn't be to surprised if they only move all new production for good if Vietnam remains consistently cheaper.

There might be some things that China can do better than Vietnam though due to more experience in toy manufacturing and a great access to unusual materials, larger factories etc... Hong Kong remains a very key shipping hub in Asia I don't think that will change so there may be logistical advantages to Chinese manufacturing.

I have wondered if other toylines that might trip up Transformers and take a lot of factory space up for example if Star Wars does especially well in the next couple of years perhaps.

But yes well worth investigating & not just as it applies to the club either.

----------

P.s. Didn't the club mention they still want to make a Transmetal Fractyl some time suggesting they still have potential access to the mould (I hope they use the Dinobots version with the Spark crystal if they do ever decide to make that).
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby TF_JW » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:23 pm

Fun Publications should still have the same access to the tooling library as Hasbro and Takara Tomy.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby Bed Bugs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:54 pm

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TF_JW wrote:Fun Publications should still have the same access to the tooling library as Hasbro and Takara Tomy.


So as long as Hasbro/Takara continue to have at least a few TF's made in China, Fun Pub will have access to the Chinese Mold Catalog?

That's fine, but I'm still curious if Hasbro/Takara's goal is to move all production to Vietnam. If Hasbro stops making TF's in China (right now the only current things coming from China are Platinum Line repaints/remolds, RID and Combiner Wars are from Vietnam), at what point does Fun Pub actually lose access to the Chinese factory? Will the Chinese factory continue to make short runs for Fun Pub if Hasbro stops ordering retail figures there?
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby TF_JW » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:04 pm

I am going to try to answer every question that I can, but for this one I'm going to have to stick with the same answer as before:

"Fun Publications should still have the same access to the tooling library as Hasbro and Takara Tomy."

I understand the interest, but this is as much as I can say.
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Re: Club Exclusives and The Move to Vietnam

Postby Bed Bugs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:22 pm

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That's disappointing, but expected. Thanks for the reply. :D

In all honesty, I started this thread to draw awareness to the topic, not necessarily to get answers. I'm already operating under the assumption that Hasbro is going to continue the change over from China to Vietnam and that we won't be seeing any Pre-2015 molds used again by 2017. I think that's a big reason they kind of pushed these last G1 Reissues out the door. To get them done before they no longer have a chance to anymore. To me, that also pretty much means we're going to see the last of any Generations molds used by the Club and Botcon in the next 2 years.

Again, I know you can't answer or acknowledge any of this.
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