Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Buzz: SDCC Reveals, part 1: Hasbro

Hello friends, 3B here chiming in with some thoughts on SDCC reveals. I know it's a bit late, but by now I think everyone's had a chance to look at the stuff that was revealed and that way I don't have to link to a bunch of different sites.

Jump ahead for my thoughts on the Hasbro reveals!

First up I'd like to share with you the reason updates have been sparse around the Hive. Sure, having work moved to our old facility (which we're still at) has thrown a wrench in my schedule, compounded by the fact that I'm working on the Day shift for the first time in six years and I'm having trouble adapting a regular writing schedule. That move to day shift also meant a 10% paycut and needless to say, the toy budget gets slashed first, so I've been clearing out some old toys and things I just didn't feel excited about as much anymore. This has mostly been Marvel Legends figures I've had boxed up for years and some more obscure DCUC figures. The money is one side of it, but space is becoming limited and my attentions in the last year have turned to Transformers, Marvel Universe and even G.I. Joe, the latter of which involves vehicles, so space fills up quickly.

However, I've looked over all my current toys and decided, "if they haven't been displayed at some point in the last 3 years, they need to go." And so I've ruffled through countless plastic bins and really hacked my collections down to my absolute favorites and some supporting characters. Don't let me confuse you, I've still bought a shit-ton of new stuff, but I've really been careful with what I buy and have tried to avoid impulse purchases. A few times I've been suckered-in (like the Walmart-exclusive TDKR Tumbler w/Batman), but have held them a couple days, then returned them to the store.

Inspite of the exciting reveals coming out of the Hasbro Marvel panel and the triumphant return of Marvel Legends this year, I discovered I'm not all that crazy about 6" Marvel figures. I honestly prefer the sculpts on DCUC, I find them to be the superior six inch figures. So I eliminated about half of the ML figures I had. I kept my Spider-man related figures (seen on display recently) along with my "first appearance" collection that includes Captain America & Bucky, F4, Hulk, Iron Man and a few others. I really like those, but nearly all my X-Men figures have been sold off, including my "X3" customs.

But I haven't quit on the Marvel Universe, yet. No, no, on the contrary, I've already built up quite the collection in 3.75" scale. Mostly due to The Avengers and the ultra-fantastic Super Heli-carrier that was the SDCC-exclusive this year. That thing is beautiful! So, yeah, I was VERY happy to see more MU figures revealed at Comic Con. And my four inch X-Men team is already better fleshed-out (or is that "plasticed-out") than my 6" collection ever was.

*** Update Aug. 2nd ***
Hive reader, Cody, sent me an e-mail with a link to this Toys R Us-exclusive, SDCC X-Men box set featuring redecos of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, the upcoming Angel and villains Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse. This is meant to represent the inaugural version of X-Factor so I'm not sure why Beast isn't in there. In fact, I would love to buy this set if only it did include a pre-blue fur covered Hank McCoy. I already own MU versions of Sinister & Apocalypse, so they aren't reeling me in, but I guess there's always the chance for a single release Beast. Forty-five bucks for six figures isn't bad, either.

By now it should be obvious that my main interest in Transformers are the "classics" figures, which at this point I have nearly all the original G1 characters I want. At SDCC it became apparent that Hasbro would be focusing heavily on the Fall of Cybertron game as inspiration for the Generations line. While I appreciate the game designs and the confidence Hasbro has in them, I'm rather disappointed. The figures are debuting with a price increase (now $14.00, ARP), but are much smaller and flimsier, more so than even the Prime line, which was about as much as I was willing to accept. I sincerely understand all the "rising production cost" excuses, after all Hasbro isn't the only company using it, but I'm sure many fans felt the FoC figures would fit-in nicely with their classics collection. Right now, the only figures I'm interested in are the Combaticons that can combine into Bruticus. Although I really liked the game-accurate colors of the SDCC version, I felt $100 was too much for this admittedly, disproportioned combiner. Not that I even had a chance to buy him for that much.

I did, however, preorder the G2 version, which in a way brings me full circle, you see when G2 was the thing on the shelves, my cousin and I agreed to pool our resources in order to complete Bruticus (you had to buy each of the five components separately, like the current retail release). He was able to find Vortex and Swindle, while I picked up Brawl and Blast-Off. We decided to split the cost of Onslaught, but neither of us ever found him, so we never had a completed Bruticus. Picking up this updated version will be kind of fun, but I still think he looks odd when combined. Mostly due to Onslaught being deluxe-sized I assume.

The true bright spots for me in the FoC line are: a (finally!) Voyager-class sized Grimlock and, filling a nice gap in the season 2 crowd, Blaster! I don't count that horrible Universe version. I may even pick up the new Soundwave, although I love the deluxe-sized, WFC figure. Also, the previously Asia-only exclusive Generations figures will be released at Toys R Us this year. I only need Wheelie from the set and Ewan from Chase Variant is already helping me out with that one. Filling in the rest of the G1 cast will likely fall on the shoulders of Third Party companies.

I don't know how I feel about the Prime series, though. I've picked up all the show-based characters released to-date, but have skipped the random recolors (i.e. Hotshot, Dead End) and have been mostly pleased. However, as the wallet gets stretched thinner the need to collect two TF lines diminishes and I may nod out of Prime soon. The upcoming voyager Ultra Magnus is freaking sweet, though!

G.I. Joe
Most of the cool Joe stuff was revealed last month at Joe con and pretty much none of it will be available until 2013. I've picked up a few Retaliation toys and vehicles and they not as bad as some of the diehards have made them out to be. After picking up one of the HISS tanks, I was really hoping to get the SDCC Shockwave & Destro set, alas, it was not meant to be. That thing sold out almost instantly on I did pick up a second retail HISS and am now planning to purchase a third. No, I'm not crazy, I've actually sold off the included Cobra Commander figure, recouping about half the cost of the tank!

Star Wars
Here's a line I've never truly collected. The most I owned were a couple of Power of the Force figures from the mid-to-late '90s and a few The Phantom Menace toys. That's it. The vintage line almost pulled me in, but I managed to avoid it. However, there is one item I really wanted and never bought and that was the big Millenium Falcon playset releasted a few years ago. SDCC revealed it will make a return in vintage packaging and I may be unable to pass on it this time. You see Han Solo is my absolute favorite Star Wars character and the MF is one of my two all-time favorite movie vehicles (Burton's Batmobile being the other). And now having my own office, I may be forced (wink, wink) to buy it.

Well, that pretty much sums up Hasbro for me. Like I mentioned earlier, I snagged the Super Heli-Carrier along with the "Masters of Evil" 3-pack and those were the only two SDCC-exclusives I purchased this year. I realy wanted the Shockwave HISS tank, but am not willing to pay $130+ for one when I can get the regular HISS for a little over $10.

Next up: Mattel!
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