What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

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What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Skritz » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:35 pm

This one was the result of me finding out that Beast Wars Inferno was a notorious shelf-warmer. Previously I had been under the impression that the status of being a shelfwarmer was something reserved for non-show characters but Inferno broke that mold due to being a major character in the BW cartoon for three seasons. So this got me thinking, based on my own limited experience in recent years, on traits these figures that ALWAYS showed up in stores had in common.
-They are usually non-show, non-major characters. Usually some toyline-only guy.
-They tend to be at either end of the price points: either some Titan/Prime/Battle/Micromaster or Voyager or above. The theory I have with this is that smaller price point figures aren't as appealing because they are seen as 'cheap' while parents will not shell out for a larger toy unless the kid badly wants it and we've established that shelfwarmer are, by definition, unwanted.
-They tend to be figures which lack primary colors. I've noticed many of the figures which sit unwanted on shelves and pegs tend to be grey, brown, black or darker hue of primary colors. TR Broadside, being all-grey and Siege Skythread (brown and dark maroon) being two example I noticed taking space a whole lot.
-A lack of recognizable (or interesting, in Broadside's case) altmode seems to impair figure sales too. I've noticed figures with more abstract altmodes tend to stay on shelves longer versus a recognizable car or jet. This extend even to post-Movie characters during TR and the Siege figures as well. Cog being a pile of nothing has resulted in giant walls of Cogs at TRU.

This is hardly a serious study, just me pointing out that a shelfwarmer usually has at least two of these traits.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:04 pm

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Here's another: the name "Mudflap".
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Nathaniel Prime » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:26 pm

Motto: "The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people."
Weapon: Fusion Cannon
My theory involves a bunch of reasons for shelfwarming. I will name what I find most important.

1) The popularity of a character.

Often times, characters like Optimus Prime or Bumblebee do not shelf warm due to their popularity status. But other characters like Scourge tend to shelf warm because children are unfamiliar with them.

2) The price/value of a toy.

This is an important one for parents especially, who are using their hard earned money to spend on their gremlins children. So toys like Fortress Maximus, or Metroplex usually get ignored for the much cheaper Optimus Prime right next to it.

3) The look of the character.

Let's face it; people, including kids, only want what looks cool. That's why figures like ROTF Wheelie stayed on shelves for 2 years, and why figures like Optimus Prime, Starscream, and Megatron sell out fast.

4) The stability/ design of the character.

If you know this as a reason already, then you already know half the reason Studio Series Dropkopter is still in stores after 7 months. People hate flimsy or really difficult things. People like challenges, but don't make it like an impossible challenge, where it takes you hours of manipulation to get it to work and look right.

Now, there are other reasons, but don't really count as a main reason.

Accuracy is an important factor, but that plays more into collectors than kids. Studio Series Dropkopter is still in stores because he looks nothing like what he did in the movie (it's a totally different story as to why that it).

Articulation is probably another reason, but I'm not terribly sure about that one. I guess people would rather get a complicated, articulated figure than to get a brick?

Anyway, that's my two cents, and I'd love to hear this discussion grow.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:56 pm

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JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Here's another: the name "Mudflap".

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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Nathaniel Prime » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:04 pm

Motto: "The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people."
Weapon: Fusion Cannon
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Here's another: the name "Mudflap".


If I recall correctly, ROTF Mudflap sold decently because of the movie, but I agree that every other Mudflap has shelfwarmed.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Skritz » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:21 pm

I'm honestly putting money on the part about coloration, as I've never seen a Siege Sideswipe and hes a bright red car. Yes, Sideswipe is a core G1 character but he seems rare than Hound, whose movie self is more pominent and closer in look to his G1 self, if only by color.

So I honestly think being eye popping plays a huge factor. I'm not 100% sure how well this works or not because, as a kid, the figures I wanted (that weren't show characters) in Beast Wars were absolute weirdoes and freakazoids nobody wanted like Injector. Yes, I actually asked to get Injector. And Retrax. :lol:
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:22 pm

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
Well, on the color front... I'm wondering if perhaps a silver chest to make him "pop" a bit more might have been a better use of SIEGE Megatron's paint budget than battle damage. Or alternatively, using a sticker to give him one. He seems to be lingering.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Nemesis Primal » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:23 pm

Motto: "Anything worth doing is worth suffering for."
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I'll add a few cents:
-Repaints/mold reuse: This might just be me, and I feel like this is a Combiner Wars and on issue, but I feel like I see/saw figures like the masked RiD Windblade, CW Prowl & Smokescreen, TR Krok & Quake, and Siege Chromia the most of their respective lines once they were released. I figure if a parent sees a figure and has to be explained why it's different from one the kid already has or why they need another one that looks the same, it's not looking good for the figure.
-Female characters: Kinda self-explanatory, the long standing "girl characters in a boy-focused toyline" argument that prevents a lot of them from existing also makes them harder to sell, like the previously mentioned Siege Chromia and RiD Windblades.
-What mode the toy is packaged in: I have a fairly recent example to back this up: TR Twinferno. Being packaged in bot mode as all the TR figures were may have made it easier to store the Headmaster in the packaging, but I almost guarantee that that figure would have sold better had he been packaged in his much more interesting alt mode, especially given he also suffers from Skritz's primary color point being mostly grey and black.
-Hasbro-side bad distribution/planning: This point for me includes everything from the amount of figures packed in a case (like Prime FE Bee getting half of a case of 8 figures to himself) to re-releasing figures in revision waves/later waves that didn't need it (like TR Twinferno again)
-Bumblebee: This is partially still the fault of the previous point, but Hasbro is particularly bad with Bee, having a track record of filling out lines with repaints of the same base Bee figure (mainly movie lines, luckily SS has mostly avoided this at retail), releasing a Bee in multiple lines at the same time so he takes up more overall space and possibly competes with himself, over-representing him in wave cases, and overall putting out too much of him.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:35 pm

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
Nemesis Primal wrote:I'll add a few cents:
-Repaints/mold reuse: This might just be me, and I feel like this is a Combiner Wars and on issue


Oh, it's been an issue for far longer than that XD. It hurt G2, it happened to Unicron Trilogy toys, it happened to Classics a bit, it happened to movie line toys..

Here's another factor in my book: Being huge, if it's unjuatified and/or the toy lacks much "Wow" factor beyond size. BM Supreme-class Cheetor, Cybertron Supreme-class Starscream (prior to the second half of the show), and TLK Turbo Changer Dragonstorm come to mind.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Skritz » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:52 am

ZeldaTheSwordsman wrote:Well, on the color front... I'm wondering if perhaps a silver chest to make him "pop" a bit more might have been a better use of SIEGE Megatron's paint budget than battle damage. Or alternatively, using a sticker to give him one. He seems to be lingering.


Megatron being grey doesn't hurt him (as much) because he's Megatron. However I suspect that Beast-era and Unicron Trilogy Megatrons were not grey because of the color issue and we only saw a return to grey once the 2000 nostalgia for G1 and the movies cemented that Megatron=grey and even then?

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Big price point, mainline Megatrons early on had more vivid color schemes and got released with more movie accurate decos later.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:33 am

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
First off, the big price-point Megatron from ROTF was in more-or-lesd movie-accurate gray deco from the start. But he had silver accents on his chest, and silver kneecaps.
Second, even those first-release "Icy" Megatrons from the first movie line had gray as their obvious base color, and the Premium Series versions weren't plain gray - they had flashy silver and bronze accents.
During the Unicron Trilogy, Cybertron Galvatron was that line's Megatron redecoed in G1 Megatron colors (grapeface not withstanding) including plenty of silver. Combiner Wars Megatron had a good dose of silver on him. Animated Leader-class Megatron was a more flat gray overall but had prominent red accents that helped him "pop".
But SIEGE Megs? All of his gray parts are a plain dull grey, and he doesn't really have any stand-out accents to make him eyecatching.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Skritz » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:52 am

Mbe Siege should have released a Megatron redeco in the mainline, using his alternated tooling head we saw with the SELECTS G2 Arctic Megatron: giving him a darker helmet, some more colorful highlights and maybe vaguely evoking the IDW 'miner' look which Reprolabels did sets for. That more color-popping Megatron would have appealed both to kids and people nostalgic about IDW (without them doing any IDW styling, since only T30 did that) then the later waves could have added in a G1-styled grey Megatron.

Alternatively they could have done a purple-and-green G2 Megatron, since the Siege mold is a tank and the TR design never got the eggplant G2 deco (only the Combat Hero/Archforce deco in Japan). Yes, I know its a GEEWUN line but that could have spiced things up and would even encourage older collectors to get both versions. Beside, its a line which already had two Optimus.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:07 am

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
I think just making the chest silver would have helped a fair bit. A simple but significant touch to make him "pop" more.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:35 am

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Over saturation of a particular toy that is less desired for whatever reason, perhaps because of the over saturation itself.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Nathaniel Prime » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:09 am

Motto: "The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people."
Weapon: Fusion Cannon
Seibertron wrote:Over saturation of a particular toy that is less desired for whatever reason, perhaps because of the over saturation itself.


Great way of explaining it, very simple and clear ;)^
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:00 am

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
And should you release a recolor of a toy that's currently shelfwarming, well...
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:00 pm

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Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
ZeldaTheSwordsman wrote:And should you release a recolor of a toy that's currently shelfwarming, well...
Image


There's a story to that actually. Mudflap did have a planned redeco called Landslide later down the line. No less than 4 deco plans were made for him, but they settled on this:

Image

However, Hasbro noticed his slow sales and quickly replaced that redeco with Galaxy Force Vector Prime, a better selling character. The concept wasn't completely shelved however: in comes the success of the Movie line and stores requesting exclusives. Landslide was revisited, but given a more realistic deco (resembling Erector... what? :???: ). They hit a snag with the proposed name of "Sawtooth", so "Mudflap" was reused. Results were the same. :-P

Another case can be made for too many exclusives at a single store at any given time. Anyone remember Walmart in 2003/2004?
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:41 pm

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Landslide was revisited, but given a more realistic deco (resembling Erector... what? :???: ). They hit a snag with the proposed name of "Sawtooth", so "Mudflap" was reused. Results were the same. :-P

Heh, I know the story. The Erector-homage deco was because the Landslide deco was deemed too unrealistic for the movie line. I think they should have either stuck with the Landslide deco straight-up, realism be damned, or kept the dark green and the white while modifying the rest so that he would have a deco that was realistic but not bland (which is the problem with the Erector-homage deco IMO).
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Optimum Supreme » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:39 pm

Motto: "That's [not out yet/never came out] in my area."
Weapon: Nuclear Charged Fusion Cannon
Over producing/packing the "kid friendly" character. AKA, the yellow menace. How many different Bumblebee figures does one person need? Also applies to guys like Hot Shot from the UT. Doesn't really apply to the figures of the title character of movie Bumblebee, oddly. Though there were still some over stocking of those (you can still find some on clearance in stores now), it wasn't nearly as bad as past years lines.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Nathaniel Prime » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:23 pm

Motto: "The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people."
Weapon: Fusion Cannon
Optimum Supreme wrote:Over producing/packing the "kid friendly" character. AKA, the yellow menace. How many different Bumblebee figures does one person need? Also applies to guys like Hot Shot from the UT. Doesn't really apply to the figures of the title character of movie Bumblebee, oddly. Though there were still some over stocking of those (you can still find some on clearance in stores now), it wasn't nearly as bad as past years lines.


I disagree on Movie Bumblebee, cuz that guy's toys sell faster than iPhones, unless that toy is really bad. The only shelfwarming Bumblebee toys is that garbage Cyberverse Scout figure. Even Studio Series sell faster than any other figure in the line.

Kids love Bumblebee, and I can totally see why. Hasbro does too, and they are using this opportunity to their advantage. I would much rather have HasTak continue selling Cyberverse if it means we can get more of Siege and Studio Series.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby JazZeke » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:37 am

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This has me wondering what was the last major shelfwarmer. I can't really think of one though because it seems like the stores in my area hardly ever have any stock. Maybe PotP Inferno? Of course, it totally depends on your region too.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:15 am

Where I live every Walmart and Target has an overabundance of SS chopper Dropkicks. Around here he seems to be the current redheaded stepchild. Maybe everyone is waiting for the car Dropkick?
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby william-james88 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:35 am

To answer the main question, it's pretty easy. Have more supply than demand.

For instance, there is very little demand for redecos into niche characters that people don't know don't well. So thats why Quake and Krok shelfwarmed pretty hard even at discount retailers.

There is a greater demand for Optimus than Megatron, so since siege Megatron and Optimus ship in the same case you need a lot of cases to satisfy the demand for Optimus toys, but you are left with megatrons that people dont want, making them shelfwarm.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby JazZeke » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:00 pm

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william-james88 wrote:To answer the main question, it's pretty easy. Have more supply than demand.

For instance, there is very little demand for redecos into niche characters that people don't know don't well. So thats why Quake and Krok shelfwarmed pretty hard even at discount retailers.

There is a greater demand for Optimus than Megatron, so since siege Megatron and Optimus ship in the same case you need a lot of cases to satisfy the demand for Optimus toys, but you are left with megatrons that people dont want, making them shelfwarm.

I only ever saw a single Quake in my home town, and that was at a Walgreens of all places.
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Re: What is it that creates the 'shelfwarmer' phenomena?

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:10 pm

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I saw plenty of Quake, Krok, and Breakaway at my Targets
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