I think recent events should provide Hasbro with a realization, an epiphany.
Also, this isn’t an article about 3.75″ jihadists against 6″ zealots. Keep the defense mechanisms in check, please.
But let’s travel down an abbreviated version of memory lane and see what’s transpired and where we are now.
Yes, granted, there were some very bad 3.75″ collectors years ago that waited for clearance and helped destroy the foundation of the super-articulated line. But we’re seeing that happening at an accelerated level with the 6″ line now.
If you collected from the beginning (1995), you witnessed the tremendous growth of the basic figure line with each successive line look launch. By 2008, almost ALL of the figures released came with super-articulation. And it was an orgasmic ride until halfway through 2013 where that goodness came to a screeching halt. Almost immediately we reverted all the way back to the vintage Kenner era, blowing ten years further back than POTF2 with the 5POA format (with horrid paint applications by the way).
The news of the death of The Vintage Collection in late 2012/early 2013 was bad enough for us. But it became more painful when we learned that figures intended for release in The Vintage Collection including Toryn Farr, Yoda, Luke Skywalker (Dagobah), Ree-Yees and COUNTLESS others, were relegated to hideous black and orange The Black Series [Phase I] packaging. To know that we were so close, yet so far, from getting Toryn Farr in TVC packaging is something I am STILL not over yet. But I digress.
Most of 2013 through 2017 was brutal for super-articulated 3.75″ collectors. We had the awful Walmart exclusive line, but we mostly had to make do and entertain ourselves with the 5POA (which had many hits, but many more misses). Some of the figures worked well with this simple format. But many others DID NOT. At least paint operations began improving in this line.
Then the return of The Vintage Collection was announced. And collectors got their second wind. Yes, the first wave is brutal, but great things are in store. In fact, there is SO MUCH excitement in the air that the current TVC wave 1 figures, as well as many of the <em>Solo: A Star Wars Story</em> figures. are selling out left and right with online retailers, like Hasbro Toy Shop.
I do not see the same result for The Black Series [Phase III] 6″ figures. I am seeing the Range Trooper pile up (much to my surprise), and there appears to be little to no interest in Han Solo or Lando Calrissian. My experience is anecdotal of course, but conversations with other collecting friends confirm the same or similar experiences.
Between the Jabba’s Sail Barge (The Khetanna) successful HasLab campaign to the brisk sell-through of multiple formats of 3.75″ action figures this past week, hopefully, the buying public is proving to Hasbro where the focus should always sway. 6″ is a great novelty line, (and a mainstream line for other licensees other than Star Wars), but we hope to encourage Hasbro never to lose focus on what keeps this brand successful and alive.
Before getting defensive, I think Hasbro should keep creating stunning 6″ products for that facet of the collecting community. But I strongly believe that they will find the support they didn’t know they had with the 3.75″ figures (especially super-articulated ones) if they keep producing the products we want. Don’t forsake us, Hasbro!
I also think Hasbro should keep both types of collectors honest and create MANY “out of the box” releases through HasLab. There and only there will the buying public prove to Hasbro who is willing to pay full price for what.
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