I personally collect almost nothing from Hasbro, which is mostly due to a personal lack of interest in their lines.

I like Star Wars, but dropped collecting any of the toys a long time ago. I got into it for a while, particularly when Episode III was coming out, but eventually my interest in the figures dropped off and I haven't bought anything for several years now.

I was never a big fan of Transformers or GI Joe growing up. I had a handful of toys from both properties, but I never really got into either property on any kind of significant level. Despite this, however, my single, solitary Hasbro purchase this year was the Masterpiece Optimus Prime at Toys R Us. While I'm not a huge TF fan, having the iconic look of the main character was appealing to me. I doubt that I'll buy anything TF related again anytime soon if ever again.

I think Phil makes something of a good point here...

Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
The bottom line is you can't put out an Iron Man line with 20 different versions of Iron Man. Particularly when they are all the same size and none of them stand out from the others.
This sort of thing is a problem, and even was to an extent when we were kids. The main issue for super hero movie lines, unfortunately, is that there are often very few characters in a film that can be sold as an action figure. Often times you have the main hero and main villain. Sometimes that may be more than one villian and/or a sidekick or something, but for the most part that's it. They typically won't make figures off of other plain human characters from the movie (i.e. any love interest, friend, etc.) largely because they don't sell well (though I personally, even as a kid, had more interest in those characters than in weird variants of the main character).

Looking at Iron Man specifically, aside from maybe making a few variants based on the different suits that he wears in each movie, there's not many "logical" variants they can do. So they make a lot of weird variants. I remember this being an issue for the Batman figure lines from the two Michael Keaton movies (and most Batman lines in general). There would be all of these oddly colored variants of him. One or two would strike my interest, but for the most part I just wanted the "normal" looking Batman, and then I'd have to hunt to find a Catwoman or something.

The problem, though, is that the toy companies don't want to make a toy line with only 3 or 4 different figures in it in total to collect. That's why they make these odd variants.

Then you have a line like The Avengers, which is something of a catch-22. On the one hand, there are more characters in it, and therefore more potential toys to make. The problem, however, is that they are all characters that had their own individual movies in recent years with their own separate toy lines, and save for one or two exceptions (i.e. Captain America), the versions in this line don't look drastically different from the versions from the previous lines, so there's little incentive to buy the same characters again.

Star Wars is something of a conundrum at this point. On the one hand, contrary to most other movie lines, Star Wars has had the kind of interest that allows them to make and sell figures of almost every background character that ever appeared in a movie, cartoon, comic, etc. The problem, though is that they don't so many of these for so long that save for the occasional character that NEVER had a figure before, most of the figures coming out now have been released before. They are either the same exact figure repackaged, or they are variants of variants (meaning it's a new sculpt/"version" of "Bespin" Luke or something like that, and not much different from the previous versions). I would be like Mattel and the 4HM re-sculpting and tooling the standard the standard MOTUC male buck parts that have existed from the beginning of the line, and they turn out looking 99% the same with no major functional improvements.
Aside from the occasional purchaser who never got a previous version of "Bespin Luke" or a kid that is new to Star Wars, the average figure that has seen many previous releases isn't going to sell in mass quantities.

Then we get to GI Joe and Transformers.

Both of these series kind of suffer IMO from overly constant reboots. It seems like every couple of years or so there's a whole new cartoon introducing slightly redesigned versions of the same characters, which is, of course, what the toys end up being.

The Transformers movies exacerbate the situation. Since there's a new movie every couple/few years with a corresponding toy line in addition to any cartoon toy line that is already going, it's just further variants of the same main characters over and over again. And it's not like the design of Optimus Prime changed much (if at all) from one live action movie to the next, so if a kid still has their figure of him from the previous TF movie, and it's still in good condition, there might not be much incentive to go out and buy a figure from the new movie which might either be the same figure repackaged or a new one very similar to it.

And of course the new GI Joe movie getting pushed back didn't help anything.

The thing is back when we were kids, there weren't these CONSTANT reboots like this, and toy lines typically lasted long enough to give us a variety of figures. The ones that really overdid it with variants tended to be movie lines. Even lines like TMNT, while definitely being variant heavy, also had A LOT of different characters to pick from, which helped maintain interest. If the only thing that we kept getting had been variants and reboots of the same main characters over and over again, I would have lost interest. The same goes for MOTU in the 80s.

I think there is a right way to do things. So far the new TMNT series and toyline are doing very well. I hope they keep it up and don't screw it up badly. As long as the maintain the different characters in addition to the variants, it should be fine. Turtles hasn't had nearly as many reboots as these other series, so for a lot of kids, it's a relatively fresh thing, and it's being handled well so far. It makes sense why it is doing well while other properties are not.