Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450

Transformers News: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 11:50AM CST

Categories: Toy News, Site Articles, Editorials
Posted by: william-james88   Views: 13,124

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Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you probably know that Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime is the highest priced Transformer of all time, with an MSRP of 50,000 Yen, which is around the $450 USD mark depending on currency conversion.

Now, while that is the official price from Takara, not everyone will or has to pay that price. The MSRP, as in the US, is just a guide and a price point to extract other prices from (like the cost per unit to sellers). It is not necessarily the price on shelves and, in Japan, the retail market for Transformers usually has them at 15%-30% off the MSRP. So the actual retail price is consistently lower than the MSRP for non exclusive toys in Japan.

That is no different for this Optimus Prime. His current price on Japan's biggest toy retailer, Amazon Japan, is about 35,000 Yen, which is closer to the $300 USD mark and indeed 70% of the MSRP.

So then why are all the preorders we saw last week more like $450 USD? Well, the thing is that Takara can only sell Transformers toys in Japan. Hasbro owns that trademark for every other market on the planet and thus only Japanese vendors can buy directly from Takara. That means the price is as cheap as it gets but if someone outside Japan purchases from a Japanese seller, they will have to pay any shipping and import charges from Japan to their own country. I have an example below of an order placed for MP 44 Optimus Prime and you can see that while I as a Canadian can get him from a good price from a Japanese seller, Amazon Japan in this case, I still have to pay shipping (about $10) and import fees (about $50!!!!). Of course these fees can differ from country to country but the point is they are YOUR responsibility. In my example from Amazon Japan, importing this toy myself would come out to $360 USD.

Transformers News: Why MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450

And if your toy breaks, well you have to deal with the Japanese seller you got it from. Takara's customer service is useless to foreigners since they only support Japanese residents (since they only sell to the Japanese). My Takara MP Dinobot's head broke off and I had to deal with a Japanese seller for 3 months until I got a replacement. FUN!

So to help with all this importing business, domestic companies like Big Bad Toy Store or TF Source, will do all this importing for you. They cannot buy directly from Takara as they do not reside in Japan, so they have to get a middleman to buy from Takara at wholesale prices and then sell to them. And they have to deal with any import fees and above all shipping a crate of these from Japan to the US. These costs (middleman, duty, shipping) add up and a toy that would have been $300 locally becomes $450 elsewhere because the company offering this service to you (i.e. TF Source) needs to make some money. If you think it all sounds inneficient, well it is. That is the cost of market exclusive IP and region based contracts and it results in all these workarounds to get the toys we love, where money must be spent at every step.

But at least you dont have to bother with importing and if a piece is missing or something is wrong, you can speak to someone locally, who speaks english, and they will deal with the problem themselves.

Of course Hasbro can import and release the product themselves in the US, which they do in China through Hasbro Asia (we have an example below from Robot Kingdom), but as we have seen with the likes of Masterpiece Beast Wars Megatron, it usually comes out to the exact same amount as other local importers like TF Source.

Below is a breakdown of the different price points available for this toy depending on its location of purchase.

Low end price, import from Japanese at $305 USD

Mid Tier price, import from China at $370 USD

High end price, already imported for Americans at $450 USD

This is of course a very simplified look at the different markets for MP-44 Optimus Prime and certain details may have been glossed over but hopefully it helps you understand what the options are and why the price range can be so vast.

Transformers News: Why MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450
Credit(s): Amazon Japan, TF Source and Robot Kingdom
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Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997021)
Posted by william-james88 on December 4th, 2018 @ 11:58am CST
Nemesis Maximo wrote:
william-james88 wrote:Article in progress

Low end price $304 USD: https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%88%E3%8 ... g=UTF8&me=

Ho dang, that’s a price I can get behind.

Not to nitpick here, but my conversions are saying that the USD price should be closer to $325-$330, not $304 with the yen about equal to .008797 USD. What source do you use to get the exchange rates?

I ask because you tend to be right in these situations.


The price you see in the amazon lsiting includes Tax for Japanese customers, which you are exempted. When adding it to your cart you see that the actual price of the figure is 34400 Yen which is closer to 305 right this second.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997026)
Posted by Cyberpath on December 4th, 2018 @ 12:12pm CST
Anyone here have experience ordering MPs from Amazon Japan? How about experience with their customer service?

Waiting for the listing on HLJ in the meantime.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997027)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on December 4th, 2018 @ 12:16pm CST
william-james88 wrote:The price you see in the amazon lsiting includes Tax for Japanese customers, which you are exempted. When adding it to your cart you see that the actual price of the figure is 34400 Yen which is closer to 305 right this second.

Image
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997032)
Posted by william-james88 on December 4th, 2018 @ 12:40pm CST
Cyberpath wrote:Anyone here have experience ordering MPs from Amazon Japan? How about experience with their customer service?

Waiting for the listing on HLJ in the meantime.

I didnt have to deal with their customer service since there was never anything wrong with my order so far. I paid, got my item for cheap, it shipped quickly and went right through customs and I got it before anyone else. Was fun.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997051)
Posted by RK_Striker_JK_5 on December 4th, 2018 @ 2:17pm CST
I have two great MP-Primes sitting about six feet from me. I can literally stand up, walk over, and grab them. Why would I get this overpriced one that looks like a step backwards from MP-10?
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997052)
Posted by Quint on December 4th, 2018 @ 2:20pm CST
Image

It's an absolutely beautiful toy though, it has to be said.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997086)
Posted by worldsgreatest on December 4th, 2018 @ 6:26pm CST
Cyberpath wrote:Anyone here have experience ordering MPs from Amazon Japan? How about experience with their customer service?

Waiting for the listing on HLJ in the meantime.


No experience with customer service, but shipping is faster and cheaper than any other import site by far. Im in PA and shipments get to me in about 2 days. Sometimes 3.

Shipping on something like an MP car in like, $12.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997087)
Posted by blueridgefox on December 4th, 2018 @ 6:32pm CST
All that is completely useless unless you can justify the price of previous releases. The high end has been $200(approximate) for years, MP Megatron was $230 and that was high but we accepted it because we needed a 10 inch scale Megatron. The price that BBTS and TFSource are asking is more than double of the current MP-10 that by the way, many folks are very satisfied with. This new MP Optimus looks very good, but damn... $450??? Another great example of the price gouging is the newly re-release MP Shockwave, original release a 18 or 20 months ago was $139 from TFSource and BBTS, now its $210? for the same figure??? darker color, whoopy-doo... I've dealt with TFsource and Bigbadtoystore customer service... much to be desired there... I appreciate the service they provide, but it's not like they are the only way to get these pieces... I'll take my chances with Amazon.jp and save $150... give me a break and stop trying to justify the prices and processes involved.

:michaelbay: :BOOM:
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997088)
Posted by GrangerPerry on December 4th, 2018 @ 6:32pm CST
I’m probably going to have to buy this just because I love Megatron so much. Question though about Amazon Japan. I pre-ordered Beast Wars Megatron from Amazon Japan but can I pay for it? Or do I just have to wait until March when it’s being shipped to pay?
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997091)
Posted by chuckdawg1999 on December 4th, 2018 @ 6:48pm CST
worldsgreatest wrote:
Cyberpath wrote:Anyone here have experience ordering MPs from Amazon Japan? How about experience with their customer service?

Waiting for the listing on HLJ in the meantime.


No experience with customer service, but shipping is faster and cheaper than any other import site by far. Im in PA and shipments get to me in about 2 days. Sometimes 3.

Shipping on something like an MP car in like, $12.


Their customer service is just like Amazon US, helpful but they won't bend over backwards for you.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997093)
Posted by Aimless Misfire on December 4th, 2018 @ 6:49pm CST
$300 is too high. There is no reason it has to be that high. It's a "NAME BRAND" thing. Transformers is popular & well known so they can gouge the shit out of the fans. If Transformers weren't that popular or well known this toy (yeah, I said "TOY" because no matter how you look at it, that's all it really is) would be about $60.

Don't agree? Well then you don't know how the world works & you've been living under a rock.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997098)
Posted by Ironhidensh on December 4th, 2018 @ 7:39pm CST
HLJ has him listed for $371.30 USD.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997099)
Posted by ZeldaTheSwordsman on December 4th, 2018 @ 7:40pm CST
No, something that size and so overly complicated it makes ROTF Leader Optimus look like a Throttlebot in comparison would NEVER MSRP for a paltry $60 in today's money. Brandflation is very much a rampant phenomenon, but fancy fiddly things with a lot of moving parts are still more costly to make.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997118)
Posted by Cyberpath on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:02am CST
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997119)
Posted by Seibertron on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:08am CST
I don't remember Optimus Prime having a ginormous backpack before.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997120)
Posted by Seibertron on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:15am CST
Seibertron wrote:I don't remember Optimus Prime having a ginormous backpack before.


Nope, he doesn't have one!

Image

It's a cool looking toy, but far from a "Masterpiece" in my book. It's very overpriced and seems to be overly complicated for an Optimus Prime toy. Alternate modes that "explode" nonsensically into a robot to accommodate animation "errors" or "creative liberties" seems more like a cheat to me than good design, with the exception of many of the Beast Wars characters if you want a more animated accurate robot mode and beast mode, though I think I still prefer the charm of a velociraptor head sitting on the chest of Dinobot instead of a faux dinosaur head. Not sure why I'm kind-of-sort-of OK with alt modes exploding into robots with Beast Wars Transformers but not G1 Transformers. Maybe someone can help pinpoint my mixed feelings.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997121)
Posted by Cyberpath on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:28am CST
chuckdawg1999 wrote:
worldsgreatest wrote:
Cyberpath wrote:Anyone here have experience ordering MPs from Amazon Japan? How about experience with their customer service?

Waiting for the listing on HLJ in the meantime.


No experience with customer service, but shipping is faster and cheaper than any other import site by far. Im in PA and shipments get to me in about 2 days. Sometimes 3.

Shipping on something like an MP car in like, $12.


Their customer service is just like Amazon US, helpful but they won't bend over backwards for you.

It's tempting, if anything for the fast shipping, but with something this big/expansive I should probably go with HLJ. Back when I received MP-29 Shockwave with a missing a piece they replaced the figure and reimbursed postage without any issues.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997122)
Posted by Seibertron on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:31am CST
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Their customer service is just like Amazon US, helpful but they won't bend over backwards for you.


Are we dealing with the same company? Amazon US customer service is fantastic. I just ordered a shirt from them that wasn't quite right, and they simply refunded me my money flat out instead of having me return it. I ordered some boxes from them in the past for the Seibertron.com store, the shipment was short a few boxes per bundle, so they just sent me a whole new bundle free of charge to make up the shortage and inconvenience. Have a problem with a Transformers toy? I can return it no questions asked via UPS or Kohl's with free return shipping. It's so hassle free that I continue doing less and less business with other retailers because of the extreme convenience and hassle-free experience. I feel like if people aren't having a hassle-free experience with Amazon, they're doing something wrong somehow.
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997123)
Posted by kiwijinxter on December 5th, 2018 @ 1:37am CST
Cyberpath wrote:

New photos from Takara --

Image





I still don't understand why the truck's cabin seem to be "nose-diving" whenever coupled with the truck trailer...
Re: Why Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime's Price Varries from $300-$450 (1997124)
Posted by Seibertron on December 5th, 2018 @ 2:00am CST
kiwijinxter wrote:I still don't understand why the truck's cabin seem to be "nose-diving" whenever coupled with the truck trailer...


The whole thing just doesn't do it for me, unfortunately. I've said that since the very first prototype pics surfaced, long before the price came out. I really want to like it, but MP-44 is rubbing me the wrong way unfortunately.

I've been bummed about most Masterpieces since Wheeljack. The line has just not been what I want as a fan, which is a bummer, because they were doing it right for a while there with Grimlock, MP-10 Convoy, Sideswipe (despite some minor flaws/issues), Soundwave for the most part, the Cassettes for the most part), Prowl, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee for the most part. My problems with the Masterpiece line really started with Ultra Magnus, which was an overall good toy, his style was just too cartoonish for my tastes. Tracks was too thin and long, Ironhide and Ratchet were missing their backs, Hot Rod had a slew of design problems with his robot mode (similar to Tracks), Shockwave was the wrong color, Inferno lacked detail (but was a cool transformation), Megatron had too big of a head/upper shoulders were screwed-up with no cover panel/and my biggest issue is his robo-vagina that I see every time I look at that toy.

The Masterpiece Beast Wars Transformers have been enjoyable because I think it's amazing what they've done with them. Sunstreaker conjures similar thoughts and he also "cheats" like the Beast Wars Transformers. However, I just don't see how else you'd achieve their "proper" looks. In the case of Sunstreaker, due to his transformation he ends up with more detail in his robot mode than I'd expect. Unfortunately, he also suffers from a similar upper shoulder problem as Megatron, though it bothers me less on Sunstreaker, perhaps because of the iconic shape of Megatron's upper torso.

Trying to please all of the individual Transformers from around the world must be an extreme challenge. I miss the days where I seemed to love just about every Transformers toy that had come out with a handful or so that I disliked, but still liked because I disliked them (if that makes any sense). But now, there are so many choices and design styles, that I find that I've become so picky with what I like and don't like. The Masterpiece line hasn't helped itself by its own inconsistencies that make each release difficult to accept the design direction changes between molds (though it seems the cartoon direction is here to stay unfortunately and I'm living in a pipe dream where I hope they'll deviate from the cartoon look takes precedence).

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