Monday, August 20th 2007 7:36pm CDT
Categories: Site News
, Comic Book News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Hotrod
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Transformers Mosaic and Seibertron are proud to announce a new partnership. Every Monday we will be posting the newest edition of Transformers Mosaic! The first brand new issue this week is Penumbra. Here it is:
The Universe of the Transformers is vast, and populated by many characters. Their universe is a large tapestry, made up of the stories and points of view of countless experiences that serve the larger whole.
These are some of those stories. This is:
It should be noted that this project is not in any way officially affiliated with either IDW Publishing or Hasbro. They're just some short stories crafted by your fellow Transformers enthusiasts.
That being said, everyone is welcome to leave comments and whatnot regarding the posted stories. Just bear in mind that no one has been paid for this work. These stories are the result of people taking the time out of their busy days to contribute to a universe they love.
This week's piece is called "Penumbra". Story and art by Jon Stone
(aka Jack Cade
Today's release "Penumbra", is the project's 10th completed piece to be revealed to the world.
We would like to take the chance to thank everyone who has contributed to the project so far, it's been a blast working with so many talented people, and we look forward to producing more great stories with you all.
Also, we would like to thank everyone who has commented on these pieces, your kind words and support really make it worthwhile.
So to everyone..
Wednesday, August 8th 2007 5:13pm CDT
Categories: Toy News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Hotrod
Lapse Of Reason
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The latest Seibertron.com site article comes to us courtesy of our own Lapse Of Reason. In this article Lapse Of Reason looks at the debate of whether Transformer collectors should keep their collection MISB for investment's sake. Without further delay here is Lapse Of Reason's article:
There is often debate whether Transformer collectors should keep their collection MISB for investment's sake. Almost all agree that a MISB figure retains more value than a loose figure. Some Transformers fans balk at the idea and throw around the mantra "free them from their plastic prisons!" Others prefer to keep their collection preserved in it's original state, beautiful box art and all.
So who is right? Is there even a right and wrong answer to this debate? Let's examine each perspective, and in the end make an educated decision.
The typical Transformer investor buys Transformers mainly because he or she has a genuine love of the toys.
They choose to buy something they enjoy and carry the satisfaction that their collection will someday be worth more than what he or she paid. In the meantime, they enjoy having the figures in MISB state. The more pristine the box, the deeper the satisfaction - especially for older Generation One (G1) figures. Some go as far to have them graded by the AFA (Action Figure Authority, http://www.toygrader.com/).
AFA graded figures receive a specific rating recognized by the toy collecting community, thereby increasing the value of the figure and giving the owner of an AFA graded figure an even deeper level of satisfaction.
In general, toys and collectables are a poor long-term investment unless you choose the right toys in which to invest. Often collectables peak at a certain price and don't continue to grow in value at a steady rate. Exclusive or hard to find figures are the general exception, as well as figures in a rare, well preserved state. The rule of thumb with any collectable is something is only worth what another is willing to pay for it. This makes toy investing a higher risk than a more conservative approach, such as a CD or mutual fund.
G1 Transformers, however, seem to be special circumstance fueled by an ingenious marketing strategy perfected 25 years ago. Many G1 toys have increased in value at very high rates. A $100 figure then (Fort Max) still MISB (Mint In Sealed Box) sells for over $1200 today. That's an 1,100 percent margin! In comparison, say you took a $100 and invested it in a 10 year 5% CD (compounded annually). At the end of ten years you would only have $163. In 20 years, $265.50. While Fort Max is a flagship example, the average margin of return on MISB G1 toys seems to hover at a 500% to 1000% return on the original investment (or roughly 5 to 10 times its original selling price). Inflation has not been taken into consideration here, for the sake of simplicity.
Surprises can come along that devalue a collectable toy. Reissues, for example can fulfill some of the demand for a once rare figure by making them more affordable. The original may still fetch a higher price, but maybe not as much as it would have before the reissue. There is currently still a strong enough market for collectors of "original G1 toys only" to stabilize the price of the vintage figures.
Popularity of the character, the quantity originally available, exclusivity of the figure, regions of distribution, the age of the toy, or the difficulty of maintaining the toy in good condition (G1 Swoop, for example), or an event that triggers a revival of interest (like the new movie) all play a factor in the value of a collectable figure. The best investments are exclusives like this year's Botcon set where you could flip it and get an instant 300% to 500% return.
On the flip side, let's examine another common viewpoint.
The Toy Liberator
The vast majority of toys are opened and played with by children - the target market. Although Hasbro and other major toy companies occasionally cater to adult collectors, they are in the business of selling toys to children and their primary focus will always be the child market.
The adult "toy liberator" buys Transformers for the same main reason as the investor - he or she loves Transformers. The difference is that these people would much prefer to open up the box and free the figure from its cardboard prison. They like to transform the figure, pose it in various stances, and later often retire it to a shelf filled with many other "freed" toys. These figures are always available to be moved around, posed in battle scenes, picked up and transformed, and maybe even swooshed around the room now and then. Sometimes they end up in storage or collecting layers of dust on the shelf, but they are admired, enjoyed, and played with.
Loose G1 Transformers also have increased in value, despite the lack of a box and pristine condition. The average return on investment of a loose G1 Transformers in decent condition hovers in the 200% to 600% range (or 2 to 6 times the original selling price). Although not as big of a margin as MISB toys, they still carry their own weight as far as investing goes. Usually these are bought by other collectors of loose toys wishing to fill a gap in his or her collection.
Some collectors are on the fence between MISB collecting and loose figure collecting, so they open their toys but preserve the boxes. While the inclusion of a box might boost the sale of a figure, it will usually not boost it to the sale price of a MISB figure. Therefore the resale values lie somewhere in between loose and MISB value.
There are also many collectors out there who never plan to sell their toys. Such a thought is never a consideration. Ten, twenty, or thirty years from now such feelings of attachment may subside, but the point is that many collectors could care less about the collectable value of the toy and are more concerned with what the figure is worth to them.
Transformers are special. You can see that by just visiting this site - so many adults still hooked on them after so many years. That, in time, might fade. Thirty years from now, the generation that did not grow up with G1 toys may not value them in mass the way we do today. Values can drop as time goes on because it is the nostalgia factor that has kept Transformers going for so long. Just because it is old does not mean it is valuable. I had a large amount of one billion year old rocks in my backyard that I could not even give away. Like I wrote before, a collectable is only worth what somebody is willing to pay. Take away the target market for vintage G1 figures and the values will drop. Or maybe Transformers will somehow stand the test of time. It does not seem like Hasbro has plans of ever stopping the Transformers brand, but over long periods of time things do change.
So are Transformers a worthwhile investment? The answer all depends on you. If you love the toys but want to be able to cash out on them later in life, then maybe MISB collecting is for you. If your idea of enjoyment is to open it up and play with the figure, that is a good choice too.
Unfortunately, no matter how vast or complete your collection is, you will not be able to make enough money to retire and live well off of it (unless you are lucky and list your collection on eBay for $1 million and some fool bids on it it).
Therein lies the heart of the matter. Keep your collection boxed or open them up because it suits your taste. There is nothing wrong with that. Collect these toys because you love them. The money is a nice second. Although G1 Transformers have a high return margin, it is still a relatively little amount of money. You won't be able to retire off of income generated by selling your Transformers. For that, you’re far better off investing in coastal real estate.
Friday, August 3rd 2007 5:29pm CDT
Categories: Site News
, Toy News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Hotrod
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It has been awhile since our last site article. Our own Counterpunch has posted an insightful article in the toys forum that we thought everyone would enjoy. With out further delay here is Counterpunch's article:
This is an article I wrote, it is themed as a conversation or argument even. Hopefully it sparks some discussion and helps some of the new guys out as they get into the hobby. For those interested, this kind of article may become a regular thing.
Punch: This one’s about the market folks or more specifically the current market for Transformers collecting. We’re going to look at a few trends, traps, and realities of what may be the most stable and profitable (read: Expensive) toy collecting fandom.
Counterpunch: Any discussion of this issue would be completely off base if we did not first separate the market into two distinct and equally treacherous branches: G1 and everything else.
Punch: Agreed. However, in saying ‘everything else’ we aren’t meaning to degrade or somehow put off the non-G1 toys. It’s simply that the realities of the G1 market merit their own side discussion.
Counterpunch: There are basics to all manner of Transformers collecting that we are going to first and foremost agree on. There are three cardinal rules where if we and more importantly you can’t accept, you should just quit reading right now.
1. Pay to play. Don’t kid yourself, ever. Pound for pound, collecting Transformers is about banking money and understanding that you are going to pay early, often, and in considerable sums.
2. Prices do not ‘go down’. Unlike StarWars or other collectable where technology consistently improves and the toys are actually better than they were 20+ years ago; Transformers only becomes different. Sure, articulation improves, but essentially, a car is still going to unfold into a robot. Even the oldest Transformers toys are no where near as time dated as the 1990’s Star Wars stuff. So, Transformers fans never have to ‘upgrade’ a character. Where as a 1990’s Luke Skywalker is a retarded hunk of plastic compared with an SA version.
Punch: and third:
3. Quantities are limited. As for some of the mass-produced figures like Classics Starscream or Energon Tidalwave…where are they? Shouldn’t these be on the shelf when we want them? Why am I literally battling Wal-Mart to find Cybertron Wingsaber? The popularity of Transformer combined with you, me, kids, and sweaty fan-boi #7 really ensures that toys do not linger on the shelves. (Though Energon Ironhide is a note worthy exception. ‘F’ that toy, right?)
Counterpunch: So we’re in agreement then?
Punch: Most certainly. I think we should dive right into the vintage market and address this issue up front. This of course means tackling the big issue, the elephant in the room per se.
Counterpunch: The movie?
Punch: The movie and its relevance to the vintage market is very, very important. What we’re seeing is not even a gradual assault on the formerly stable vintage market. We’re seeing a bump in prices which approaches 30% in most areas. The movie has awakened hordes of former fans who now want a piece of the action. They are older (about 25-30), have jobs, and are willing to drop some cash to reclaim their childhood.
Counterpunch: I agree with you that the movie is the driving factor here. I am not entirely sure it is purely Gen-Xers that are fueling this though. Sellers are doing their part as well. Looking through eBay of late reveals that many vintage figures are simply placed online with considerably higher BuyItNow prices than they were drawing even a year ago. The marketplace is taking advantage of the movie fervor by upping the cost of entry into the collecting game.
Punch: I will concede that even the dealer room of BotCon this year was very difficult to find a deal of any kind in.
Counterpunch: And I can concede that there really are more people out there to snatch up any deals that do lend themselves to the market at any given time.
Punch: At any rate, the vintage market is a tough sea to navigate properly. Remember when the reissues were announced and everyone thought that the values of those reissued toys would crash?
Counterpunch: Indeed and it never played out that way at all.
Punch: Exactly, this all goes to support my demand side for this discussion. The demand from the growing fan-base is enough to support even several rounds of reissues.
Counterpunch: Touché good sir. You are indeed a scholar and a gentleman. All things considered, the vintage market remains a solid investment. It follows the 3 rules perfectly. Prices are prohibitive, even in the best situation you aren’t going to find ‘deals’ which means the market is steady and people recognize the worth of the toys they have.
Punch: Right, and to further this, Prices do not go down. We already mentioned the reissue, issue. The market is varied enough (incorporating both ‘true’ vintage, read: originals, and character vintage, where the figure, not the date, is important).
Counterpunch: And lastly, quantities are limited and more limited every year. G1 figures break and degrade into uselessness more so every year. If you don’t believe this, go out and try to hunt down a good condition Vroom. If that proves too difficult, go with Jetfire. Approaching 25 years in age for most of these toys means they are becoming real antiques.
Punch: So we move on now to the Post-G1 era. This will encompass everything from G2 through Classics (Beast Wars/Machines, RiD, Armada, Energon, Cybertron, you name it)
Counterpunch: If you had asked me about the value of these toys a year ago, two years ago, I would have pointed to the wasteland known as eBay as proof that these toys just do not have or hold value.
Punch: Now in retrospect, that would make you an ass.
Counterpunch: Indeed it would.
Punch: Something has happened to this side of the market and no one can really point to a time or event that was the catalyst. Even the movie can’t really claim credit for this one.
Counterpunch: I first notices the trend at Christmas a year or so ago when several people were commenting that they were having trouble finding Cybertron Leobreaker on eBay for a reasonable price. My disbelief was considerable especially since the toy had been so absurdly plentiful not long before.
Punch: Before we continue, be assured that there is an argument about to develop in this discussion, we’re not all sunshine and lollipops on this issue at all.
Counterpunch: Right, but we have to agree that there are many, many figures that have been released over the past few years which are now seeing close to 100% increases in their value on the secondary market. Noteworthy mentions include the aforementioned Leobreaker- $50, Brave Maximus $250-$350, Classics Starscream- $25, Armada Starscream $40+?, Energon Omega Sentinel- $65-100, BW Rattrap (75$ F’ing dollars for a basic?!?), Alternator Camshaft, Swerve, Decepticharge, Mirage…- More $$ than they should be…. and so forth.
Punch: That we do. I’ve seen Universe Tankor and Obsidian sell for upwards of $35-40 on eBay. Those are horrible toys people and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Counterpunch: So, we’re left with a choice; to pay now, or to pay later. Many collectors have taken up the mantra: If I find it, I buy it. I subscribe whole-heartedly to this concept. It’s much better to pay retail on sight than it is to suck it up and pay (grudgingly) 2-3x the MSRP on eBay.
Punch: On the other and potentially more intelligent hand, I can not remember a line in recent history that has NOT gone to clearance at sometime or another. Maybe there are 3-5 figures in a given line that will perform very well on eBay and the secondary market. That leaves 30-40 figures that will not increase instantly. The real incentive and smart, practical move for any collector (or completionist) is to wait out these deals. What you will save over time, should be considerably more than the premium you may or may not pay on those hard to find figures.
Counterpunch: As compelling an argument as that is, it ignores our firmly established Rule #1: Pay to Play. For that matter, it basically ignores Rule #2 as well. If prices will not go down, they can really only go up.
Punch: You should realize that those rules apply to the long-term for collecting. It’s taken Energon up until now to see those realized values for the toys. In the short term, playing the retail market to its fullest can help keep the frugal collector afloat. Keeping with Energon, there were a lot of people who were able to acquire the majority of the line after the Christmas season it ended and all on clearance prices.
Counterpunch: That’s a great single instance you pointed out there. It did not happen in Armada, Cybertron, or Classics. For that matter, good luck finding Titaniums or Alternators from the first wave or two 3-4 months after release (which people never did). Mass market lines have the potential to provide excellent clearance prices under the right circumstances, all I am cautioning people on, is that in no way should you make a strategy of that when looking to acquire a line or even a specifically popular figure, otherwise, you end up paying $40 for Energon Tidalwave like an ass (of which the author of this article is guilty, but would like to redeem himself by saying that he bought Alternator Swerve on sight just because he’d ‘probably never see it again’)
Punch: Fair enough, since you were able to concede the G1 analysis to me, I can let this one go to you. Despite all the ranting and venomous assaults on the quality and design of the new age of Transformers toys, they have been undeniably popular. While I can’t understand exactly just who out there is buying these things, they are leaving the shelves.
We either pound the pavement, in search of these toys as they hit, or we fume on eBay in vain attempts to not fund ‘scalpers’ as we try to get the best deal on the latest figure. The ‘wave’ release system has gone a long way to almost demanding our presence in stores to hunt down the latest figures. Recent trends have shown that the cost of not being up to date on what is available and when will literally cost us in the long run. On the other hand, there is a whole lot of satisfaction in buying a $20 figure, only to see it approaching 40-60 dollars on eBay in a year or so.
The vintage G1 market is and has always been a bed rock of collecting. In almost no instance will your investment in these toys, over time, see you at a loss. It’s a hard market to deal in, because condition, completeness, and availability are all demons that will haunt you as you collect. Prices are rising for these toys for a variety of reasons and kind of like the housing boom, these reasons will most certainly cause a permanent increase in value no matter how much we’d still like to find affordable G1 Wheeljacks at $60 (Try the $100-120 range for a nice C9 version…)
Good luck to you in your hunting endeavors. Just know that whatever figure you are looking for in Wal-Mart, I’m there snatching up before you at the butt-crack of dawn and when you get sniped for that G1 figure you really wanted on eBay, well, check back with Rule #1.