How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 9:54AM CDT

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Posted by: william-james88   Views: 17,208

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It is a growing concern for fans that more and more retail space is being given to Transformers toys aimed at younger audiences, with simplified or instant transformations instead of more complex puzzles, and plagued with gimmicks. While Transformers toys for young kids have been around since the beginning - they are toys after all - the option of a line of figures aimed at a younger audience sold alongside more complex toylines has been around since the first live action Transformers film (2007), with the Gravity Bots and Fast Action Battlers. And it has decidedly grown since.

There is, however, one big part we tend to forget: this distinction in age groups started happening because Transformers toys grew more complex and less gimmicky. In G1, the kiddie line was all we had. There weren’t more advanced toys. It's not like you could pick between a jumpstarter Top Spin and a Deluxe Top Spin back in the 80s - Jumpstarter Top Spin was all you had.

We are also very quick to forget that when we see toys that are today’s equivalent of Jumpstarter Top Spin (e.g. Turbo changers and One Step toys) on the shelves.

Now the status quo is changing once more, with both the Bumblebee Movie line and the Cyberverse cartoon line being made up solely of gimmick driven toys. At this point, I thought of looking at other action figure toylines available at retail and compare, principally the DC and Marvel figures, and Star Wars toys (the last two being a perfect comparison since they are made by the same company as Transformers).

And yeah, as the title suggests, we Transformers collectors are waaaaaaaaay better off than anyone collecting DC, Mavel or Star Wars figures.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let's just check out some pics from my latest visit to Walmart and Toys R Us (sorry, American readers, I don’t mean to open up recent wounds).


We have Marvel

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Notice how the main attraction for parents, kids and anyone wanting a Marvel toy here is limited to either tall PVC toys with limited articulation or smaller toys based on gimmicks. The Marvel Legends line, which encompasses figures aimed at older kids and fans of the movies and comics all mixed together, are sparsely stocked, if at all. The only toys exclusively for Infinity war are only made for younger kids. Collectors have to instead try to find more articulated toys of characters from the film within a wave that has movie characters and other totally unrelated characters from the comics. And if you want to get a decent figure of the main villain in the film (Thanos), you are stuck having to buy all the figures in the wave, even the non movie ones, since this villain has his parts split amongst all these figures. Can't find a figure? too bad, not only do you not get that specific toy but your buildable figure is also missing a limb. NICE!


We have DC

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Basically the same as Marvel. Sure, we have some more collector oriented toys, but it is mainly bigger and simpler products, aimed at younger kids. Right now, as with Marvel, toys featuring the characters from the movies, toys or games are not in lines of their own but lumped together. And if you want better articulated figures of the Justice League Action show, well, too bad!



Now Star Wars

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Ok, this is a little different. While like DC and Marvel there is only one line for collectors, which also mixes in characters from across the franchise, the simpler toys do have a retro feel which can attract collectors as well. Basically, it’s as if alongside Transformers deluxes and voyagers, we literally had a G1 Topspin reissue somewhere on the shelf. Not just him, but other characters from recent films. Which is basically what we already have with the One Steps, but imagine all the One Steps had the same packaging as G1 Top Spin. That is basically what is going on with Star Wars. One difference though: these smaller simpler Star Wars figures overwhelm the shelf space, and most other toys are all aimed at younger audiences too, like the vehicles, playsets and role play weapons.


Now let’s look at Transformers

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

Transformers News: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys

There are definitely toys for younger audiences, there is no denying that and it is what this article started from. But unlike every other toyline covered here, these simpler toys are not the majority of product being sold. They are just a subset - there are far more toys that are complex and made up of more than 5 steps, for adult fans and older kids alike. And we have more than just one line of those too. We have movie toys in their own line (Studio Series) and other toys looking at the history of the brand in another. Plus remnants of a previous cartoon line which also had some standard complex toys for collectors to enjoy (Robots in Disguise).

That last part is of course changing, with Cyberverse not having options for older kids, but that just means Hasbro is doing with Transformers what it has done with Marvel and Star Wars long ago (in a galaxy far ... ok I 'll stop). So to reiterate, toys targeting younger kids are usually the norm, and have been the norm since, well... toys are for kids. Yet, in the Transformers brand, we get lines dedicated to more mature kids and appealing to adult collectors, and those toys tend to take up a lot more shelf space compared to similarly marketed toys in other franchises.

So yeah, we Transformers fans have it a lot better than the rest when it comes to our options of more collector oriented toys.
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Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975821)
Posted by Randomhero on August 1st, 2018 @ 10:09am CDT
Bob Budiansky has a wonderful quote about fans not liking his transformers comics and I feel it can be extended toward the toys to:

“If there are older Transformers fans who feel my stories were too geared to children—hey, good insight! That was the audience I was playing to”

I’m a 33 guy who works his butt off to pay the bills but I also collect transformers and I’m fully aware the first and most important audience is kids because we were kids once and we were introduced to a cartoon that more than a than should had really bad animation and toys that were literal bricks and we had to use our imagination to give them elbows and knees.

The toys that are made today are damn good in my opinion
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975823)
Posted by notirishman on August 1st, 2018 @ 10:11am CDT
This really makes you appreciate what you have.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975828)
Posted by ZeroWolf on August 1st, 2018 @ 10:33am CDT
A very good article will :APPLAUSE: this helps show that we have got it a lot better than some think but I've got a feeling they'll find something to complain about still :lol:

I do like it when articles like this come along :-)
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975833)
Posted by william-james88 on August 1st, 2018 @ 10:55am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:A very good article will :APPLAUSE: this helps show that we have got it a lot better than some think but I've got a feeling they'll find something to complain about still :lol:

I do like it when articles like this come along :-)


That's very kind of you, thank you so much! I just kept reading the same post after post across different boards online and wanted to put things in perspective.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975834)
Posted by Rysquad on August 1st, 2018 @ 11:00am CDT
Go even younger and it's pretty similar: Transformers, Marvel, and Star Wars with Playskool and DC with Imaginext.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975837)
Posted by hinomars19 on August 1st, 2018 @ 11:18am CDT
We are lucky in the lengths Hasbro has gone to both acknowledge and cater to the distinction, but sadly it is let down by distribution/what stores are willing to stock. My Tesco for example, has made a conscious decision to ONLY carry the super kiddy and gimmick stuff. Generations is dead to them, and they have stopped stocking even RiD warriors for a very long time.

I'm still of the opinion, the Masterpiece line aside, that the distinction doesn't need such a big line drawn. UT toys are the bastion of TF toys! Animation accurate, chunky, fun gimmicks, easy (but good looking) transformations, and, just with a few Armada toys as the exception, good articulation...how does that not please both?

For me, G1 toys LOOKED and FELT good. They had chrome, stickers, clear plastic, had accesories etc. They felt worth something and were fun to play with. I feel that hasn't followed throughout the years. Today's one steps and the like are awful. Not because they are simple and provide quick kid value, because they just.... :SICK: The designs of simple movie and RiD toys don't look nice to me either. And that's because the designs of the TFs themselves are less than appealing. Let's get Animated on the phone, and ask how it managed to create a cartoon aesthetic that was made to sell good toys. There is no shame in designing these things with toy and animation processes in mind. I feel they (hasbro, and even fan expectation) have lost that, more than anything. Now Cyberverse, I think, is getting there. The warriors look like nice toys. Sadly, the pricing is disgraceful :BOOM:

Just to note; RiD warrior Bumblebee was something I considered more than once, but just kept putting him back on the shelf because he just looked cumbersome with car part backpacks and silly fake bits on his bot mode. He seems more complex than a CW Arielbot, but he appeals to me far, far less. Because the CW toys achieve so much more with far less bits and pieces. And are chunkier :) And have a fun gimmick :) and have fun accessories :)

BTW, I'm 37 ;)
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975838)
Posted by DecepticonFinishline on August 1st, 2018 @ 11:36am CDT
Thank you for the insight. I needed that. It's easy to get frustrated, but as a one-trick pony of collecting, I hadn't considered how it is for everyone else.

So, sincerely, thank you for forcing me to be more considerate of our fellow fandoms. ;)^
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975842)
Posted by paul053 on August 1st, 2018 @ 11:48am CDT
I have to agree with you, but this applies "ONLY" if I can see anything from the stores.

Pretty much in all the retail stores (Target, Walmart, TRUs don't exist now) around where I live or even other states I visited, the TF aisle and selections are close to nothing. The pictures you showed are just unrealistic to me. :lol: :lol: :-( :-(

But yes, nice article. ;)^
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975843)
Posted by ZeroWolf on August 1st, 2018 @ 11:53am CDT
One key thing to remember is that g1 was the start of this all and the world was more or less a different place then it is now. Production costs are up and businesses want less risks and a bigger profit margin to make investors happy. Having lines split like this makes it easy to see what is selling and what isn't, allowing them to redefine the next line.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975852)
Posted by hausjam on August 1st, 2018 @ 12:35pm CDT
Put a G1 Optimus next to a POTP Optimus and tell me which one looks and feels more expensive. Today's licensed toys feel like yesterday's knock offs. While today's knockoffs tend to exceed today's licensed toys in quality. Granted they have an unfair pricing advantage. But it's still pretty sad.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975857)
Posted by ZeroWolf on August 1st, 2018 @ 1:04pm CDT
hausjam wrote:Put a G1 Optimus next to a POTP Optimus and tell me which one looks and feels more expensive. Today's licensed toys feel like yesterday's knock offs. While today's knockoffs tend to exceed today's licensed toys in quality. Granted they have an unfair pricing advantage. But it's still pretty sad.

Which one looks more expensive? Easily the potp one as it does more and looks more. Most kids will pick the newer toys (tested with my eldest, he preferred my newer stuff over the G1)
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975862)
Posted by SG Roadbuster on August 1st, 2018 @ 1:18pm CDT
hey william-james88, can you pick me up one of those rid Heatseeker legions please? dont think i'ver ever seen him round these parts.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975864)
Posted by Flashwave on August 1st, 2018 @ 1:49pm CDT
Money wise, I am glad I can not worry about Cyberverse, but I am bummed. We are getting at least one or 2 cool Cons, Cons I have wanted to have Toys for since their inception. Yes, I mean Shadow Striker. Vut we aren't getting a cool toy of her. If she had debuted even a year ago we might have gotten her in an RID line and I eoulda been fine, because even the "Kiddy Brand" stuf2f stayed somewhat true to the line. I don't expect Rescue Bots to have full fledged action figures because of being targeted to an extreme age range, but even thpse did sme neat stuff (Quinjet Bee) Likewise, as the next step up, I don't expect to see RID15 toys being as complex or as clean as a Generations or a Movie toy, but even Strong Arm was a good figure for no more than she did.. Blurr was a very tempting figure. Stormshot, Megatronus, I can go on
They were simple without feeling incomplete. These new toy lines feel like Happy Meal McToys, and if thats where we were getting them that would be fine, but its not. And yes, the range of options that qe have in Generations and Studio Series far exceeds what the Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse lines offer (although its worth noting that a majority of those characters are all between 4 and 8 feet tall ;) ) but I don't think that makes it unfaor to call Hasbro out on taking 2 steps backward on their toyline when its immediate predacessor and the same Design team are doing so.
hausjam wrote:Put a G1 Optimus next to a POTP Optimus and tell me which one looks and feels more expensive. Today's licensed toys feel like yesterday's knock offs. While today's knockoffs tend to exceed today's licensed toys in quality. Granted they have an unfair pricing advantage. But it's still pretty sad.

Blindfold test? POTP Hands Down, every time. I would not expect to pay as much for a new toy of G1 Prime Complexity as I do for a new Leader Class.

But to answer your question as you state it: Knowing that G1 Prime is a treasured Collector Piece, long out of Production, and of high demand, I.would expect to pay more for it than POTP, but that's owing to market ranges and not actually anything to do with Tpys
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975868)
Posted by william-james88 on August 1st, 2018 @ 2:02pm CDT
SG Roadbuster wrote:hey william-james88, can you pick me up one of those rid Heatseeker legions please? dont think i'ver ever seen him round these parts.

Sure, he and cyclonus never reached the US (the wave was skipped). But for your info, it wouldnt be cheap, even if you only pay the cost.

They are $8.99 each plus shipping would be $10 (minimum for packaged from Can to US, it seems) and I am taxed 15%. So in the end, this toy would cost you around $22 CAN, which is around $17 USD. If you are still interested, send me a PM and we can work out the details.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975872)
Posted by Whirlkick on August 1st, 2018 @ 2:34pm CDT
Thanks for this article, an interesting and great read! I'm from the UK and I collect toys from all of those fandoms, and I agree that TF has it best. I can't find Star Wars Black Series figures anywhere except in comic shops, the same with Marvel Legends except with the Thanos wave, and I gave up on DC a while ago. In any case, I'm grateful that I've been allowed to get what I've got, I feel we all take it for granted that we've been allowed to buy these niche goods, some people struggle to eat!
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975880)
Posted by Emerje on August 1st, 2018 @ 3:16pm CDT
Transformers is also the only toy line that Hasbro breaks down into solid demographics to investors with clear lines drawn from age range to age range. You don't see them making fancy graphics like they do for Transformers for any other toy line.

Image

Emerje
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975889)
Posted by RK_Striker_JK_5 on August 1st, 2018 @ 3:44pm CDT
Great article, Wiliam. Yeah, Transformer fans overall have it pretty damned good.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975893)
Posted by firefox91 on August 1st, 2018 @ 4:22pm CDT
Absolutely Transformers fans have it better than most! My usual #1 for collecting is GIJoe. When was the last time you saw GIJoe at retail? Or even new product online? That's right, it's completely dead.

Another favorite of mine is Star Wars. What a mess that line has become. Standard figure, Black Series 3.75in, Black Series 6in, rehashed vehicles scaled down that lack detail and paint apps, everything overpriced.

Transformers was usually my #3 to collect, just kind of got them in passing, even as a kid. At this point, they are #1 because I can get new product and that product is usually fantastic. Great updates of classic G1 characters. Close representations of their cartoon appearance. Detailing and engineering that makes your mind spin. And... they are affordable. Sure they have gotten more pricey. But I can still get most figures for under $20 each.

That said, it kind of pains me to see people complain about insignificant things in the line when they could very well have nothing at all.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975897)
Posted by o.supreme on August 1st, 2018 @ 4:38pm CDT
william-james88 wrote: In G1, the kiddie line was all we had. There weren’t more advanced toys.


Jetfire, Sixshot, Quickswitch, etc...would disagree. Also I'd argue that The original Transformers, while for boys (ages 8-12) was *not* a kiddie line (when I hear kiddie I think Playscool Go-Bots or Rescue Bots ages 3-6. Most of them were either more complex, or on par with the RiD15, or Cyberverse line we are getting. You instantly went to the most simplistic of Jumpstarters, forgetting that those were the exception, not the rule.


william-james88 wrote: And yeah, as the title suggests, we Transformers collectors are waaaaaaaaay better off than anyone collecting DC, Marvel or Star Wars figures. A picture is worth a thousand words so let's just check out some pics from my latest visit to Walmart and Toys R Us (sorry, American readers, I don’t mean to open up recent wounds).


I think you've go that backwards, and again, living as our neighbor to the north makes all the difference. Marvel Legends toys, the SW Black Series, and DC equivalents, abound on toy shelves in the stores in my area, not so much TF Generations.


william-james88 wrote:So yeah, we Transformers fans have it a lot better than the rest when it comes to our options of more collector oriented toys.


If you add the word "Canadian" between "we" and "Transformers", I'll buy your argument, otherwise, I just cant, based on the geographical area I live in. I will give this one concession however, it is better to be a Transformers fan, than a MOTU fan, if you are looking for reasonably priced collector quality merchandise.
Re: How Transformers Fans Have it Better than the Rest When it Comes to Younger vs Older Kids Toys (1975901)
Posted by ZeroWolf on August 1st, 2018 @ 5:10pm CDT
o.supreme wrote:
william-james88 wrote: In G1, the kiddie line was all we had. There weren’t more advanced toys.


Jetfire, Sixshot, Quickswitch, etc...would disagree. Also I'd argue that The original Transformers, while for boys (ages 8-12) was *not* a kiddie line (when I hear kiddie I think Playscool Go-Bots or Rescue Bots ages 3-6. Most of them were either more complex, or on par with the RiD15, or Cyberverse line we are getting. You instantly went to the most simplistic of Jumpstarters, forgetting that those were the exception, not the rule.


william-james88 wrote: And yeah, as the title suggests, we Transformers collectors are waaaaaaaaay better off than anyone collecting DC, Marvel or Star Wars figures. A picture is worth a thousand words so let's just check out some pics from my latest visit to Walmart and Toys R Us (sorry, American readers, I don’t mean to open up recent wounds).


I think you've go that backwards, and again, living as our neighbor to the north makes all the difference. Marvel Legends toys, the SW Black Series, and DC equivalents, abound on toy shelves in the stores in my area, not so much TF Generations.


william-james88 wrote:So yeah, we Transformers fans have it a lot better than the rest when it comes to our options of more collector oriented toys.


If you add the word "Canadian" between "we" and "Transformers", I'll buy your argument, otherwise, I just cant, based on the geographical area I live in. I will give this one concession however, it is better to be a Transformers fan, than a MOTU fan, if you are looking for reasonably priced collector quality merchandise.

No offence, but jumpstarters aren't the only simplistic ones...look at the throttlebots for instance, and the micromasters...and even the Pretenders were simplistic in their transformations. All the scramble city toys werent complicated either.

Also you're saying that wills point isnt valid because it seems that his situation is opposite but couldn't that be thrown back at you by saying your situation isn't the norm?

If I got the article, the point isn't what was on the shelves but the range and variety of product we tf fans are getting. All ages are being catered for with tf while in the others, certain age brackets are definitely being favoured.

I respect g1 for being the ignition which started the franchise but that doesn't mean it was the best. Not by a long shot.

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