Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time

Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time

Monday, December 31st, 2018 1:01PM CST

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Posted by: william-james88   Views: 21,032

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Anyone reading message boards online or social media comments may think Transformers fans are some of the hardest fans to please but that is just because these are great places to vent frustration and those annoyed and unhappy are always louder than those content with their toys. So I wanted to look back on this year and write the positives that came out of it, especially since there was some massive change in how Transformers toys were handled retail wise. Plus, from the onset, 2018 looked to be a really rough year with Toysrus now out of the picture in the US and Hasbro pushing for 4 different Transformers mainline to occupy the shelves at the same time (Generations, Studio Series, Bumblebee and Cyberverse). It makes it even more miraculous that, thanks to some management/distribution choices, 2018 has been the best year for collecting in a very long time.


The Generations Subline only lasting one calendar year

The first two line in the Prime Wars trilogy lasted for a year and a half and had 6 waves each (one per quarter) so some fans were upset that it was not followed through with Power of the Primes. However this was the biggest move Hasbro has ever done to help the distribution woes and it actually worked. With the line only having 4 quarters, and them coinciding with the calendar year (meaning begging of the line is beginning of the year and end of the line is end of the year), this helped retailers manage their inventory better. By making it shorter, there was less of a chance for there to be a pile up of unsold toys from the same line, and thus every toy from Power of the Primes would be ordered. So no more skipping the last wave. This also assures that the toys for the next calendar year are put up for grabs as soon as Hasbro would allow it since it's seen as fully new product as opposed to a continuation of the same line (instead of say, wave 5 of the last year's line). And, more importantly, that means that the retailer is now certain that whatever stock they receive of that line during the year is of the current year (as opposed to them confusing it with remainder stock of last year). The result is that this year no mainline toy from any line was skipped by retailers in the US. I won't have to write one of these articles next week.

Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time
Pic of US Target 3rd quarter

Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time
Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time
Pic of Canadian Toysrus 4th quarter


Exclusives were far more attainable

I can't tell you how much I hated the Transformers Collector's Club. Not that I didn't like their product, but being an international fan (aka, not US based), buying from them was a huge pain. The extra costs to get these overpriced toys made them practically unattainable if you have any semblance of a budget. And of course going to conventions to get their exclusives wouldn't be possible. But with Hasbro doing away with the Club, and taking matters into their own hands, getting most exclusives has been relatively doable. They were very smart to have most of their exclusives be Amazon, Entertainment Earth, or Hasbro Toy Shop exclusives which removed any American's dependence of having a brick and mortar location near by. Also, by having these exclusives made by them, and using their economies of scale, redecos like Nemesis Prime were very reasonably priced (that would have been an easy $100 price tag if it came from the club, probably more due to the exclusive accessories). And for international buyers, Amazon.com having surprisingly fair shipping rates helped.

Another HUGE helping factor was the brand unification. So for instance take any Movie Masterpiece toy, which are all exclusives in one way or another. Takara released the exact same toy at comparative prices. So if you could not get it through whatever channel Hasbro was using, you could get the Takara release off Amazon Japan, which recently decided to ship toys internationally (this might be their first full year of doing so). Same goes with other exclusives like the Throne of the Primes, which was integral to fans completing their Prime Master collection. If you couldn't get it from Hasbro Toy Shop, you could just get it off Amazon Japan, which currently even comes out cheaper than having bought it off HTS (but that's because American's wont get taxed when purchasing from Japan). And as for Walmart exclusives, this was the first year in a long time that Walmart had a Transformer toy over $50 on the shelves (their exclusive G1 Devastator reissue). Needless to say, all these G1 exclusives fared far better than the Last Knight Walmart exclusives where a few were never even released by Walmart.


No more missing out on Takara versions

The brand unification discussed above had another major impact on collectors this year, and our community as a whole. We don't talk about it much, but there has been some pretty intense elitism in this hobby in the past. A lot of it is based on the fact that there have usually been two different versions of the same Transformers toy with the one from Japan being an import and thus costing westerners more. That higher cost coinciding with differences from the Hasbro releases could make it seem like those only buying what they find in stores locally might be missing out. But 2018 marked an end to all of that with the exact same toy being released by both companies and the realization that the higher prices had nothing to do with the products actually being different (in the cases where only the deco differed).

This helped in a lot of ways. This gave us another outlet for toys that may be exclusive in one company but not the other, it removed any possible feeling of false superiority or inferiority in terms of either the products being purchased or the fans themselves, and best of all it meant that now all that amazing Japanese product promotion was applicable to everyone. Every month, for years, we get these magazine pages showcasing all the upcoming toys from Takara and most of us just look at all the toys we won't be getting (at least not looking exactly like that or with those accessories). But now, we can relish in this joyous advertising, and it is proof that Takara is just as proud of their releases as ever before. And now we can all easily own these beautiful toys with no need to import. Plus, that means that reveals for toys we will find locally can come from both Hasbro and Takara. Meaning that reveals in Japan concern us just as much as reveals at SDCC, for instance. The unification works both ways too, with Hasbro releasing all Takara MP products in the US as well. Plus, completionists will be getting a break, especially with 4 mainlines on the shelves.

Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time
Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time


Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time
Transformers News: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time

_


So in the end, 2018 was amazing because in a year where we had more product than ever before (4 mainlines!), the final toys/waves in the toylines were not skipped, exclusives were more readily available (and affordable) and we no longer have to worry about which version of a toy we should get. Oh, and it also happens to be the year where we got a Masterpiece Beast Wars Dinobot, here is hoping 2019 treats us just as well.
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Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001841)
Posted by Randomhero on December 31st, 2018 @ 1:54pm CST
I agree 100% I think this was one of the best years. There’s always gonna be the complainers who feel that as grown adults they’re entitled to better toys...which is a sentence I just said..wow. Anyway I thinking making generations a one year line is a good thing. It keeps changing just like transformers themselves and gives us shorter time to look forward to new stuff which is good to me.

A lot of people were and are still upset POTP was shorter than previous lines and name off all the characters we didn’t get but when I see those complaints, I’m reminded of all the complaints people said about how combiner wars just redecoed and retooled the same figures over and over and let’s be honest, that’s what would have happened 3 times over if we got one or two more waves.

I only picked up Cybersverse warrior shockwave and no masterpiece figures so I can’t speak for those but I think this year was truly kind to fans and kids who play with transformers alike.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001842)
Posted by cruizerdave on December 31st, 2018 @ 1:59pm CST
The brand unification is nice for the reasons pointed out in the article ... however ... it's a duel edged sword.
Take for example the Unite Warriors Devestator from a few years back. It had better articulation for the individual robots, individual guns for them, a better combiner head and a different paint scheme. All in all, the changes made from the American to the Japanese versions took the toy from an easy pass to a must have for me. Had the Japanese version of Predaking been similar, with more individual weapons, some improvements on the individual bots, maybe some big robot weapons it may have become a must have for me.
As it was, I passed.
I like that it is a blow against elitism in the hobby [nothing is more tedious than guys going on about "I only buy Japanese versions"], but sometimes the Japanese versions really were substantially better.

But the distribution has been extremely good this year. I've been surprised by how I've been able find pretty much anything I've wanted. The wave revisions at the end were especially helpful. So good job Hasbro!
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001844)
Posted by DecepticonFinishline on December 31st, 2018 @ 2:17pm CST
william-james88 wrote:The Generations Subline only lasting one calendar year

The first two line in the Prime Wars trilogy lasted for a year and a half and had 6 waves each (one per quarter) so some fans were upset that it was not followed through with Power of the Primes. However this was the biggest move Hasbro has ever done to help the distribution woes and it actually worked. With the line only having 4 quarters, and them coinciding with the calendar year (meaning begging of the line is beginning of the year and end of the line is end of the year), this helped retailers manage their inventory better. By making it shorter, there was less of a chance for there to be a pile up of unsold toys from the same line, and thus every toy from Power of the Primes would be ordered. So no more skipping the last wave. This also assures that the toys for the next calendar year are put up for grabs as soon as Hasbro would allow it since it's seen as fully new product as opposed to a continuation of the same line (instead of say, wave 5 of the last year's line). And, more importantly, that means that the retailer is now certain that whatever stock they receive of that line during the year is of the current year (as opposed to them confusing it with remainder stock of last year). The result is that this year no mainline toy from any line was skipped by retailers in the US. I won't have to write one of these articles next week.

Image
Pic of US Target 3rd quarter

Image
Image
Pic of Canadian Toysrus 4th quarter




I mean... No waves got skipped by the entirety of Targets or Wal Marts. But I had plenty of trouble finding Wave 3 Legends. One of my Targets didn't stock them at all. We nearly missed out on Primal, too.

EVERYTHING going on clearance is a good sign for early-wave Siege stuff, but that's where it stops in my area. For whatever reason, whatever power stocks my state thinks that movie-adjacent toys are just the bees knees. They're not. Not here. They have shelf-warmed since ROTF. But we continue to see Movie and Studio Series stuff arrive week-of-first-sighting, whereas Generations pegs sit empty for weeks on end, only to be stocked with the previous wave once they are restocked.

Anyways, I would say that distribution still needs work.

Otherwise, I am really on board with this article and the changes as a whole. Even though I am not a fan of Amazon in general, I do appreciate the greater accessibility of the exclusives (in both price and quantity).
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001845)
Posted by cruizerdave on December 31st, 2018 @ 2:29pm CST
DecepticonFinishline wrote:
william-james88 wrote:The Generations Subline only lasting one calendar year

The first two line in the Prime Wars trilogy lasted for a year and a half and had 6 waves each (one per quarter) so some fans were upset that it was not followed through with Power of the Primes. However this was the biggest move Hasbro has ever done to help the distribution woes and it actually worked. With the line only having 4 quarters, and them coinciding with the calendar year (meaning begging of the line is beginning of the year and end of the line is end of the year), this helped retailers manage their inventory better. By making it shorter, there was less of a chance for there to be a pile up of unsold toys from the same line, and thus every toy from Power of the Primes would be ordered. So no more skipping the last wave. This also assures that the toys for the next calendar year are put up for grabs as soon as Hasbro would allow it since it's seen as fully new product as opposed to a continuation of the same line (instead of say, wave 5 of the last year's line). And, more importantly, that means that the retailer is now certain that whatever stock they receive of that line during the year is of the current year (as opposed to them confusing it with remainder stock of last year). The result is that this year no mainline toy from any line was skipped by retailers in the US. I won't have to write one of these articles next week.

Image
Pic of US Target 3rd quarter

Image
Image
Pic of Canadian Toysrus 4th quarter




I mean... No waves got skipped by the entirety of Targets or Wal Marts. But I had plenty of trouble finding Wave 3 Legends. One of my Targets didn't stock them at all. We nearly missed out on Primal, too.

EVERYTHING going on clearance is a good sign for early-wave Siege stuff, but that's where it stops in my area. For whatever reason, whatever power stocks my state thinks that movie-adjacent toys are just the bees knees. They're not. Not here. They have shelf-warmed since ROTF. But we continue to see Movie and Studio Series stuff arrive week-of-first-sighting, whereas Generations pegs sit empty for weeks on end, only to be stocked with the previous wave once they are restocked.

Anyways, I would say that distribution still needs work.

Otherwise, I am really on board with this article and the changes as a whole. Even though I am not a fan of Amazon in general, I do appreciate the greater accessibility of the exclusives (in both price and quantity).



True, the movie stuff drives me nuts. It takes over so much of the allotted space for most of the year, and just peg warms. This studio series stuff has just sat and rotted on the shelves in my area, while the Generations stuff sells out within a few days after each restock. I don't know if that's so much a distribution issue as it is a retailer deciding what to stock issue.

The movie stuff just doesn't sell as well as the other lines.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001846)
Posted by Cheetron on December 31st, 2018 @ 2:31pm CST
My only complaints about this year were the mess that was hasbrotoyshop and the throne of the primes. My other was never seeing POP Optimal Optimus at retail. I had no problem finding anybody else. Just those two figures.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001851)
Posted by Lore Keeper on December 31st, 2018 @ 3:08pm CST
Great article! I do have one disagreement with your assessment of the brand unification, specifically that having fewer choices is a unanimously good thing. I understand the feeling of not being able to afford the shiny nice things that someone with more income than me has. But, eliminating that option not only hurts Mr Moneybags, it hurts you too. Because you may decide you'll put the money aside, maybe do some extra budgeting because you really want that shiny nice thing. Heck, I did it with Grand Max and Greatshot, even though I never buy Legends otherwise. Eliminating unique figures would prevent me from ever having those figures in my collection. Perhaps you really really want that Devastator with more accessories and better articulation. You can have a chance at getting it or have it not exist. Also, it can suck to see people flaunting their ridiculous collections that we can't afford, but is it better to take that away from them? I for one do not believe in taking something from someone just because I can't have it.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001855)
Posted by Ig89ninja on December 31st, 2018 @ 3:38pm CST
No waves skipped, eh;
then why is it impossible for me to find SS Ironhide!?!?
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001857)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on December 31st, 2018 @ 3:52pm CST
Good article, Willy J. However I must disagree with some points. Shortening the waves from 6 to 4 did not make things easier. I wasn't able to find any figures in PoTP past wave 2, and missed the last 2 waves of TR as well. So far SS has been distributed fairly well, as I was able to find every figure so far between all the B&M stores around me. But the other lines? It's still a problem. As for exclusive pieces, I haven't noticed any difference in availability. They might start out cheaper, but Amazon is similar to eBay in that the prices go up after initial release. Sure, no TCC might be better for you, because you live in Canada, but I live in the US and to me it makes no difference. It's still bad.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001858)
Posted by Emerje on December 31st, 2018 @ 3:56pm CST
Good article. The distribution really has improved quite a bit. Even when I thought SS wave 2 was never going to show up in my area it showed up in abundance after wave 3. I still haven't found Nova Star or Optimal Optimus at retail (got my Nova off Amazon) so they still haven't fixed the tail-ender issue, but they're getting better. Paint has picked up to the point that I really don't miss the Takara Tomy versions and now that stickers are no longer being used things are only improving.

Emerje
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001861)
Posted by ausbot on December 31st, 2018 @ 4:26pm CST
I miss getting the Takara Versions of the Prime Trilogy. I would have loved seeing Buster and Hydra from Dreadwind and Blackwing or Black Zarak from Twin-ferno. It was special seeing what Japan did to their versions of the same line. And Don't get me started on Botcon and the collectors club, these were the only places to get really obscure versions of characters, I doubt I will ever get my Xaaron figure now because you will never see him at retail but one day funpub would have probably got to him.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001867)
Posted by Galactic Prime on December 31st, 2018 @ 5:27pm CST
The last wave of POTP has not been released in Canada, so.... Yeah, wave 4 missed. No last female Autobot
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001870)
Posted by DeathReviews on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:00pm CST
I had my gripes about the distribution - many of the figures were hard to find and some never turned up in stores at all. But we got a new Abominus combiner! That makes up for a lot as far as I'm concerned....
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001871)
Posted by Jeffrohurt on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:02pm CST
I concur. Still haven't seen Rodimus Unicronus anywhere(I'll grab off Amazon) nor Novastar. Too bad about Throne of the Primes though. Maybe I'll grab it from Amazon Japan instead.
Otherwise, great article Will
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001873)
Posted by Randomhero on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:03pm CST
DeathReviews wrote:I had my gripes about the distribution - many of the figures were hard to find and some never turned up in stores at all. But we got a new Abominus combiner! That makes up for a lot as far as I'm concerned....



I was looking at him last night and said “holy crap we actually got Abominous” I know so many people were asking for one but to actually have a modern Abominous is pretty amazing.
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001874)
Posted by Randomhero on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:04pm CST
I’m glad I got to finish the year with finding Siege Shockwave today. I can’t put him down he’s so much fun!
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001876)
Posted by Megatron Wolf on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:07pm CST
Actually the no waves missed is false many have not seen the final wave of PoP & the wave 2 masters were MIA along with wave 3 deluxes for alot of people, also some studio series stuff as well. Lets also not forget another price hike (Last year deluxes were $14.99 this year they were $16.99) thats never a good thing and quality control is still asleep at the wheel. Was it a terrible year no but it wasnt the best either
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001877)
Posted by Rainmaker on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:11pm CST
No waves missed?

Hahahahahaha, no

(Jazz and Lockdown :( )

:MAXIMAL:
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001879)
Posted by Randomhero on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:19pm CST
Rainmaker wrote:No waves missed?

Hahahahahaha, no

(Jazz and Lockdown :( )

:MAXIMAL:



He’s talking in general. A lot of places found everything. Even optimal Optimus is being sighted all over the place and now on clearance to make way for Siege getting unloaded in mass

Just because you didn’t see a certain thing doesn’t mean his over view is wrong
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001881)
Posted by ScottyP on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:25pm CST
This was a weird and chaotic year and I'm burnt out on the "main line" stuff more than I have been in a very long time. MP was great but there wasn't enough of it. There were far less cool and/or wacky Takara repaints for me to mess with and I fail to see how that is a good thing - third parties absolutely got more of my money due to it.

Always glad to see postivity though, and there were definitely some very high points. Grand Max is an especially awesome piece, and MP Dinobot is a dream come true!
Re: Why 2018 Was the Best Year for Transformers Collectors in a Long Time (2001883)
Posted by ScottyP on December 31st, 2018 @ 6:29pm CST
Randomhero wrote:
Rainmaker wrote:No waves missed?

Hahahahahaha, no

(Jazz and Lockdown :( )

:MAXIMAL:



He’s talking in general. A lot of places found everything. Even optimal Optimus is being sighted all over the place and now on clearance to make way for Siege getting unloaded in mass

Just because you didn’t see a certain thing doesn’t mean his over view is wrong
Bingo! There's also the internet to buy things from. I get that some don't choose to use that option but it's indeed just that, a choice.

The only legit tough to find things this year were the Downtown whatever Cerebros repaint and the SDCC TCG pack, with the latter needing a qualifier of "at a reasonable price after a while."

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