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JediTricks
09-19-2003, 09:39 PM
It's been over a month since Hasbro cancelled the Action Fleet line, and while we've actually been sitting on most of this interview for that whole time, we finally have the final pieces to it. So here is all 4 pages of this: http://www.sirstevesguide.com/news/?m=show&id=29598

Please feel free to comment on this.

LTBasker
09-19-2003, 10:53 PM
I like how they just avoided issues with a form answer. Like the paragraph about the figures and such, they just gave a very brief answer about consideration.

Just as predicted when the line launched and the first pics of wave 1 showed up, they would release half-baked ideas, shrug it off as they tried but it didn't catch and ignore it. :mad:

Bah, I know they realize releasing rehashes was a mistake, but as those answers show they don't care.

sergiurusu
09-20-2003, 02:23 AM
They don't care at all. AF was never prmoted like the action figures. And Hasbro thought AF line will destroy somehow the action figures or at least will reduce the sales.

SWAFMAN
09-20-2003, 10:35 AM
Those lying hefty bags full o' poo!!!!! They claim no ships after the gunship wave were produced??????? What about sicqnus' & the other speeders we've seen?

Their contempt for AF collectors in general, and their fan base at SSG in particular, is outrageous and inexcusable. If there's any Asian & Rhode Island chapters of the ELF, may they PLEASE read this post and PLEASE torch all Hasbro facilities*.


JT, what would it take for me to persuade you to give me the contact information to the person(s) at Hasbro who you were in touch with for that "interview"?

I promise I will not in any way give away that their info came from SSG.

I want to send them the text from THIS (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showpost.php?p=267391&postcount=16) post (with any ssg-identifying content removed).


P L E A S E!!!!!! PLEASE give me the contact info!!!!!

:frus:



*SWAFMAN and SSG in no way whatsoever endorse arson, or violence against people or property. Any references to the ELF are intended solely to demonstrate an overwhelming, incontainable fury over Hasbro's decision-makers and interview-answerers being a bunch of rings-of-Saturn-sized sphincters.

good shot jansen
09-20-2003, 03:14 PM
:rolleyes:

we all saw this coming ever since they announced that they were re-releasing common action fleet without any play features.

if i look back throught the archives, i will probably find a post that indicated exactly, after which wave the line would demise due to hasbro's indifference.

what has me baffled by the interview, is when they say that the action fleet design began in the uk, and then was shifted to the us :confused:

i don't recall glitch mentioning anything about uk involvement in the design. da heck is that about????

look, we all saw it coming, and hasbro delivered exactly like we thought.


i doubt we're gonna see any new af's until 2005 when ep III comes out. and watch, it'll end up being another release of the same re-hashes we got last year to celebrate the upcoming release of the ot on dvd :rolleyes:

i like how they say none of the new vehicles were produced, yet they've shown us tons of photo's of these phantom toys, telling us to expect em any day :mad:

and one more thing, if their mm expert "andy" can't see that the aftermarket interest in mm's, particularly st has been stedily going through the roof for several years now (not to mention the hard to get due to low production shipping of certain action fleet vehicles), ol' "andy" should probably find himself a new vocation, cause quite frankly, he sux at this one :dead:

Tycho
09-20-2003, 04:17 PM
First, I want to commend JediTricks on an awesome and thorough interview!

That's the way to do it! I think JT got the questions answered and his follow-ups to any vague answers clarified things for me so Hasbro got specific enough to make their answers sound coherent.

Their answers were good enough for me. Now I'm not an AF Collector. I have the Gungan Sub, the Millennium Falcon, and the Republic Star Destroyer for background deco for my 3 3/4" scenes. Granted I don't have my heart into this as much as the rest of you.

But what I don't understand is how you want them to produce stuff that people are not buying? (by this I have to first mean the retailers)

What I saw from the whole article was that some repaints shelf-warmed and stagnated sales in some areas. I also understand that you feel some ships like the Solar Sailor could have been better - however, the Gunship, Jedi Fighter, Coruscant Speeders, and more all looked promising - so it wasn't a LONG TERM quality problem.

What I think should be done is more letters should be sent to Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us' home offices (see the letter writing campaign on the home page) and encourage them to order these vehicles the next time Hasbro brings some to a Toy Fair (2005 for the movie?)

I agree with you that I do think they should be selling, as how else can the kids be getting all the ships? Capital ships may never see production in the 3 3/4" line. Profits from 3 3/4" ships probably do NOT go up or down depending upon availability of AF ships for the simple reasons that there are inherently different offerings.

I'm not sure what else could be done. Hasbro is right about the costs of production having to be equated with sufficient orders to hire the laborers and set up their tools and assembly areas for these specific toys rather than other ones. Crazy exclaimations of exasperation bounce off Hasbro because they do not govern the laws of economics. I doubt they don't care. There is just simply nothing they can do.

Anyway, it was a great interview by JediTricks and I found it interesting enough inspite of not being an Action Fleet Collector, that it still prompted me to make my first post in this forum.

good shot jansen
09-20-2003, 08:09 PM
i would love to be able to put this in to persective, so that non-galoob collectors could understand our angst.

in 1993, lewis galoob toys began selling star wars vehicles in the micro machines scale. the detail for such small ships was amazing, far superior to any other produced star wars line when it came to vehicles.

as a parent, the larger 3 3/4" line proposed a bit of a storage problem when it came to buying star wars toys for my children. the larger ships were not easily played with and manipulated in the small hands of child, and quite frankly, where to store em was a big problem. if you put the larger kenner (now hasbro) toys into a toy box, they were sure to come out in a broken heap, with pieces falling off, and soon the toy was no longer desired by my kids.

however, with the micro machines, my children were able to play with them, and when done, store them within the confines of their room.

galoob began to make metal die-cast vehicles which were larger, and even better detailed than the micro machine versions, and from there introduced a very interesting line called x-rays, which were based on the old "see thru" model airplanes which used to be displayed in travel agencies, and airline offices.

the only problem with the micro machines, is that there was no proper way to interact the play between the ships and the fugures. r2d2 was twice the size of the x-wing he was supposed to fit into.

galoob addressed the situation in 1995, with the introduction of the action fleet line. these ships were no bigger than 6" in length, and were sold with 2 figures that were properly scaled to the vehicles, and allowed full scale interaction between the ships and the characters. To insure that the line prospered and grew, galoob began selling battle packs. these bp's contained additional figures (between 5 and 6 characters), as well as lesser ships such as the lars family speeder, and the escape pod.

to further enhance the line, galoob released playsets, which included more figures, as well as really fabulous play features. as a bonus, each of the playsets included battle damaged versions of ships which had been previously released.

a new wrinkle, was added to the action fleet line called series alpha's. actual toys of the original concept vehicles, as designed by joe johnston. this line is without a doubt the most original of any star wars toy.

the action fleet world grew, and in fact contains more ships and characters than were ever released in the 3 3/4" line. the larger ships of the hasbro line would sit on my sons shelf gathering dust, while endless battles involving the action fleet raged on.

but what really made galoob unique in the toy game, was their web site. they had a full featured bulletin board known as the buzz board which permitted micro machine fans to talk about their favorite galoob toys. James Fong, the lead designer for galoob micro machines, posted often, ran contests, and gathered input from all the boards participants regarding what new ships should be made. the interaction between toy company, and their customers was unheard of before (or since). each new quarter, new action fleet and micro machine sets were being released, eagerly sought out and purchased. in fact, action fleet became the flagship line of galoob. they began to branch out the line into additional franchises (aliens, predator, starship troopers, etc.).

everything was going great, if you had trouble tracking down a particular galoob toy, you could always call their 800 number, and order the toy directly from galoob. they used to post quaterly on the buzz board, what items they had in stock to purchase directly from them. not just vehicles, but also spare parts, such as laser cannons for the x-wings, just in case you broke or lost one, spare missles, etc.

when it was announced in 98, that galoob was being bought out by hasbro, the changes were felt immediately. the newly released product was not reaching the stores (this is why the tie defender and e-wing wave command so much money in the aftermarket), nobody was able to find any new product. this problem was felt all through the galoob line. last waves of battle packs, micro machines, x-rays, die-casts, all of em, were nearly impossible to find. all of a sudden there was no galoob product to be found.

when hasbro finally did release new action fleet vehicles under the hasbro moniker at midnight madness for ep I, the 1st thing everyone noticed was that there was now only one figure included with the ships. this may not seem like such a big deal, but the situation was felt immeidately. the naboo fighter came with only an anakin figure, which led to many people not buying more than one. who wants an army of anakins piloting a bravo one force? in fact, a naboo pilot figure wasn't even released until a year later with the very hard to find alpha series naboo ship. and to make matters worse, the pilot wouldn't even fit into the tiny cockpit of the original naboo fighter.

these 1st 4 vehicles were the mtt, republic cruiser, sebulba's pod, and the naboo fighter. the detail was lacking when compared to the origianl galoob action fleet, and the fact that there was only one figure included, this prevented people from buying more than one as army builders. now if they had released battle packs like galoob did, with 5 or 6 characters and a lesser vehicle, that would have helped the line. but instead of battle packs, we got mini scenes, which did not contain any vehicles (with the exception of a stap and mauls speeder), but instead came with little dioramas of scenes from the movie. and instead of containing the 5 or 6 characters, contained only 2 or 3.

and to make matters worse, this new lesser toy masquerading as action fleet, cost more than the original line.

hasbro completely missed the boat, they over produced that 1st line (i'm sure you can still find a stray mtt or 2 still sitting on a toy shelf somewhere), tons of merchandise remained on the shelf, so when the 2nd wave was released (which actually was a good wave consisting of desirable vehicles from tpm), stores didn't line up to buy em, the only store i could find these in, was walmart. i saw em one day, and picked em up. good thing i did, cause i never saw em again.

and with the recent re-introduction of the line, hasbro has repeated the very same sorry history that hurt the line before. they release re-hashes of previous commonly obtainable ships. this time, there's no figure included (how would the 3 3/4" crowd like it if no characters were released this year, and the only vehicle produced was an inferior x-wing, vaders tie, and falcon....not very much i'm sure), the paint job is botched, the materials used are flimsier, oh and just to complete the full hatchet job, the price for these really inferior toys (actually hasbro called em display pieces not toys)have increased once again.

when they finally get around to releasing ships that are new, and that people want, the retailers aren't ordering em, cause they still have the 1st horrible wave sitting on their shelves. i never saw the republic gunship in stores.

galoob was doing quite well with the action fleet line, the product was selling, with 6 to 8 new vehicles released each quarter, along with battle packs to accessorize the line. hasbro had to see something good in it, why bother to buy the company if there's no consumer interest in the product?

the line was profitable for galoob, they participated in discussions with their consumer base. they relased ships and characters that were requested, they helped consumers to purchase toys that were hard to find,they produced new and origianl toys, not just copies of vehicles seen in the movies. galoob ran their company in a very different way than hasbro, and consumers bought and enjoyed the toy. i'm rather appalled at hasbro, after killing what was once a great line with a retooled inferior product, they blame it on us consumers, saying that there is no demand.

hasbro has never had very much interest in the galoob line, and it shows in the lack of quality of the product that they are now no longer bringing to market............................................ ...again.

Tycho
09-20-2003, 08:23 PM
Great Post Janson!

That did explain a lot. I'd copy that exactly the way it is and mail it off to Hasbro.

You made a clear case as to how they ran the line into the ground.


Do you think it was done intentionally so that the 3 3/4" line was the only flagship line with vehicles that interacted with figures so that everyone would have to play with the main line?

It doesn't make much sense because many of you probably collect BOTH lines.

I myself got into Playskool Star Wars for exactly the same reasons you described above. They're even better for kids than Action Fleet since kids can't lose the tiny figures with Playskool.

But Action Fleet does have some darn good detail. I bought the Falcon because it is my favorite for all-time ship and I made up the excuse that if they make 3 3/4" recovery room figures of Leia and Luke, I can make them and the droids watching the Falcon's departure of the medical frigate by using the Action Fleet ship. But I really got it because it was irresistable.

I've seen the AT-TE and the Republic Gunship in the stores. They did a great job with some of the CLone Wars stuff.

It's really too bad Galoob was acquired. They sound like they kicked some butt when they were independent.

britcit3
09-21-2003, 03:20 AM
Hey JT

I agree with Tycho - GSJ's post is PERFECT.

IS there any way that you can send it to somebody who gives a c*$p @ Hasbro?

BC3

Warstar
09-21-2003, 04:07 AM
A consumer's story-

Or why I stopped collecting Action Fleet.

(Bare with me- we get to AF but we don't start there ;))

Unlike most here, I had everything from the Star Wars 3 3/4 line and that was all I cared about from the beginning. I got into the Playmates larger Star Trek ships, which, eventually, lead me down to their smaller cousins- the MicroMachines. I started collecting the Trek ships when they were on their way out, and I was kinda' bummed because I loved the way they had all kinds of ships you'd never see in the larger Playmates line, and they complimented my big ships as well (the 1701-A MicroMachine was very close to scale with the Playmate's Galaxy Class 1701-D ship- and I LOVED that fact :)) The MM Defiant worked fairly well with my Playmate's Deep Space 9, too).

So, I saw Action Fleet for the first time and was like "Nah. Never last." Then my friend, Jason, bought Darth's TIE and the X-Wing. When I saw them out of the box and on their stands, I thought "OOo- could be wrong…we’ll see."

It wasn't until Shadows of the Empire in 1996 that I was hooked into the Action Fleet line, and all of it was indirectly caused by a Hasbro mess-up!

I loved Shadows- a LOT. I ate it up mercilessly- getting everything I could find (and though I am selling my collection now, I am probably not going to sell my Shadow's stuff- ever!). After getting the disappointing Outrider 3 3/4 toy from Hasbro, I was hoping that their planned Xizor's Virago would make up for it.

It didn't, for Hasbro's planned Virago for the 3 3/4 line was cancelled. I was disappointed, and all that any of us are left with now are pictures in a book of a paper model that never happened. I watched Ebay for a few months, hoping some corporate spy or ex-employee would sell a prototype 3 3/4 Xizro's Virago, but it never happened. I was bummed.

I wondered where I would get my Virago fix. The ERTL model looked cool, but I wasn’t into cementing and painting all that much.

So, one day, perusing the Action Fleet out of sheer habit, there was Galoob- all over consumer demand having made a Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Action Fleet Virago, along with a Swoops Battle Pack which had a Swoop Pilot, Guri, Leebo 2D-9, Dash and Xizor himself.

I thought to myself "BADASS!" So I bought the Action Fleet Virago, and it was everything I had wanted in the 3 3/4 line. The opening wings made it look menacing; the opening cockpit was secure. The rotating cannons into “battle mode” were just neat, the minor paint detail was just enough. Xizor’s Virago, not even one of the best Action Fleet ships in most people’s minds, convinced me that the Action Fleet line was a great product, and around for the long haul.

Not too long after that, I saw the TIE Defender and the E-Wing and thought "That E-Wing looks like something I designed as a kid!" So I bought them, 'cause they were damned neat. Once again, I was getting Star Wars ships from Galoob that Hasbro would never make for the 3 3/4 line- mostly because these two ships were from comics and books and we all know children don’t read those! Why would they want toys of them for their action figures? It’s not like literate, intelligent 20+ year olds buy toys with the money burning a hole in their pocket!

Whoops- sorry- “Hasbro” thinking. Anyway-

After seeing these two new original ships, my collection snowballed until the inevitable day I had all of the Star Wars Action Fleet ships- variations and all- the Silver Logo boxed ones and the Gold Logo boxed ones- a few of the Battle Packs, too, for I opened up all my Action Fleet to display back then and the packs complemented the ships nicely. Ask anyone I used to work with- the Action Fleet ships were displayed on the rims of my cubicle, and half of the office staff at the Gateway call center I worked at knew my desk out of 300 or so ;). It was my own museum- and my personal homage to Galoob for making a great toy.

Set the fast-forward machine to Episode I and 1999. I thought "COOL! MORE!" And when I saw the first ones, other than the MTT, I wasn't too disappointed. 2 figures versus one didn't really matter to me at first because I was just displaying them. I got the first wave and then waited...

And waited...and waited...for the rest to disappear, because damn, they were there a LONG time…

Finally, the new wave came out and I was extremely happy! I gobbled up the Sith Infiltrator and loved it, and then the Alpha’s came around and I thought that Hasbro making the prototype ship the bigger one and the movie one smaller was just a grand idea, so I got all 4 of them (took forever to get the Series Alpha Naboo Fighter, but more on that later) and hoped for more. Hec, even though I didn't play with my Action Fleet, I still got the remote control AAT and Fambaa for the repaint and display value. I was happy!

...Then the Episode I line officially died. "Why?" I asked myself, "They had a great thing going!" Hence began the "Consumer demand" stuff. The second wave came in and out while there were still first wave ships sitting there! Then the second wave was gone- kaput- and the Series Alpha Naboo Fighter was never seen on the shelves (got mine during the massive Episode I toy clearances that happened on a lot of dot-coms after Christmas of '99.) These, though minor things at the time, started a trend. The line started to die again because no one was buying the first ones continually clogging the shelves.

I pondered and, like many, came to the same conclusion as to why the Action Fleet line died the first time. Let me put it succinctly here:

-Galoob released each of their ships with at least 3 play details and 2 figures. Relatively low price! Awesome!

- Hasbro's Episode 1 line had ships with at least 2 play details (the Pod Racers had a rolly thingy and you could adjust the seat tethers) and 1 figure. Same price as the old Galoob ships at most stores, but here and there, the prices were higher. Ok I suppose. Not cool, but ok- I mean getting less for your money is never good but the ships looked neat.

I mean we, the collectors, weren't happy with the play details, and the scaling was getting kind of weird (esp. on the Pod Racers), but the ships were cool. The Episode 1 Series Alpha ships were some of the best ever made, IMHO. So we, the consumers, kept buying the new stuff until stores were choked with stock left from the first wave ('cause we didn't want them anymore- we had them already! How many Sebulba’s did we need?), and then the line sank. Still- I got them all and was still happy for a time...

I decided to stop collecting somewhere between the old line and the most recent one, but, even though I was starting to “uncollect,” I didn’t sell my Action Fleet, and when I heard about the new line, I thought I might at least stick with the Star Wars Action Fleet line because they were so neat in the past, and only maybe $10 a pop now and then.

I saw my first new Action Fleet from the this last line (Episode II) at K-Mart here in Montana, and it was the re-hashed Naboo Fighter. I was a little excited at first because I liked the new packaging. Then I took a closer look at the toy and that emotion changed- a LOT.

The “Battle Damage” wasn’t all that great. In fact, it was laughable. Now had they “chromed” the front of the Naboo Fighter like they did with the whole body of the Naboo Royal Starship, that would have been a marked improvement on the old design and I probably would have bought the new Naboo Fighter on the spot. But no- the ship was fronted with dull silver paint…again…like the last one...so why should I buy the thing?

Then, I found myself staring at the new stand for the ship in the box wondering where the single figure was going to fit on the base before I noticed- NO FIGURE! Now, granted, I was a little taken aback with no figure- why make a cockpit open (did it open?) when there would be no figure for it? Oh well.

All in all, I left the toy on the shelf and found myself feeling disappointed. All that excitement for a dull repaint. A lot like McFarlane stuff all of a sudden. O_O- sorry- sidetrack- anyway-

I soon heard of New Action Fleet designs, so I got excited and kept an eye on the line. I saw the new X-Wing, Darth’s TIE and Millennium Falcon finally appear at Wal-Mart, but they weren’t really anything to me I didn’t own already, thus I still wasn’t convinced I would get back into the Action Fleet line just then. So, I waited to see a new design before I would go back in and get the other ships.

The first new AF I saw was the Solar Sailor, and my heart sank. It looked like ***. Hardly any detail, the sail was too small, no figure…dumb toy, in my humble opinion. Needless to say, I was bummed, thus I never did not rekindle my Action Fleet collection.

After that, I continued to see the re-hashes everywhere. The AT-AT’s paint job with snow on it was laughable, and the Snowspeeder without pilots? Don’t get me started. Out of the new stuff, I only ever saw the AT-TE and the wannabe Star Destroyer Republic Cruiser thingy (this tell you how much Ididn't care about them? You bet!) in later releases- and while those two were neat, without a Clone Trooper or two, there seemed to be no point.

I never saw a Republic Gunship on the shelves, let alone a Jango Fett's Slave I...hmm…Jango Fett’s Slave I…think about this for second...

Jango Fett's Slave I. How can you release a ship named after a guy with no pilot in a small toyline? Esp. when that little figure would probably cost less than $.01 to make? How is this playable for kids? How is this cool for me, the adult collector? I wanted a little Jango for the cockpit when and if I ever found the ship on the shelves- and I never did.

*Stares at the Hasbro employee reading this- yes- YOU!*

Hasbro- it's the little things- both figuratively and literally- that made the Galoob Action Fleet line so great- get it? LITTLE figures. LITTLE play features. LITTLE prices! DUH! WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT? >_<!

*Pant pant...Deep Breath*

Anyway, it was from a lack these and other little things that I could tell the current Action Fleet line was going to die now. It came to no surprise to me because of this simple fact:

-Hasbro's recent re-launch had ships with maybe 1 play-detail, NO figures, and a higher price. For a toyline that was made up of mostly re-hashed ships we all bought 6-7 years ago (at least, these were the only ships we could find, anyway), less detail, no figure and a higher price was unacceptable- and we, the consumers, thought so too!

And here we are. Left knowing that 2 more Episode I Pod Racers were made- and some ex-Hasbro Employee or corporate spy made a killing off of them on Ebay. We know that there were some nifty Zam Wessell and Anakin Skywalker speeders made and ready for the Episode II stuff- but without a little Ben and Anakin, or a little Zam, would we have bought them? Maybe. Probably not. I wouldn’t have, though I think that the battle damage feature on Zam’s Speeder was ingenious.

In the end, we're left hoping that the Death Star and Star Destroyer we have been promised for ages might finally stare back at us from the tops of our computer monitors. Maybe the concept art paint job of the A-Wing will join them, too. Alas, though rumors abound, I don't expect this to be. Especially now. And some Corporate Spy or ex-employee will make a killing on Ebay with their prototypes, too. Sad.

So I am left with the ghosts of my Action Fleet past- I loved the ships, but even now I am selling them. Why? Two-fold- because it pains me to see how hopelessly cool they were and how they were abandoned (just like George did with his movies…;)), and to give some other collector a chance to marvel at a toyline that Galoob truly did right. Sure, the profit doesn't hurt, either, I'll admit...

...but I'll never forget the day I opened up that Virago, and was proven wrong about the Galoob Action Fleet line. The toys were a great product and a good buy for all involved. I'll never forget getting that Hasbro Series Alpha Naboo Fighter from a dot-com for $9, and how I was at least happy to find the thing- and how cool it was next to my other Episode I Series Alpha ships!

Unfortunately, though, I will never forget seeing those poor, decrepit excuses for Action Fleet toys- the re-hashed Naboo Fighter and Count Dooku's Solar Sailor (another toy made without the less than $.01 figure it's named after)- with which Hasbro destroyed the toyline for me. I hoped maybe a new ship would rekindle that interest, but you read what happened after I saw that Solar Sailor- it became clear to me that Hasbro got Action Fleet all wrong...

And even if they start Action Fleet again- I doubt they'll ever get it right.

Hasbro's Action Fleet is dead- Long live Galoob!

And that’s my $.02.

Grif
09-21-2003, 08:27 PM
Clearly it was once again Hasbro's fault. My local stores only saw the first wave of AF. No new vehicles. I had to drive a hundred miles to find the Slave 1, Solar Sailer :zzz: , and others. It is very obvious that if Galoob was still in control, we would be in Action Fleet paradise and the line would be getting the attention it deserves.

JediTricks
09-21-2003, 10:12 PM
Sorry Swaffo, it'd take getting fired for that to happen. It wouldn't be fair to Hasbro and it wouldn't be wise of you since they read the forums.


GSJ, since day 1 of the current AF, Hasbro has been saying that the rebirth of new AF designs was starting in the UK. I don't recall them explaining "why", but I have the feeling that's where the Solar Sailer came from.

I also was pretty taken aback when they said none of the post-Gunship wave pieces were produced, even suggesting not all of the molds had been created when the line was finished. I pushed on that twice and what you saw is the final result, I was very disappointed in how they responded but since this was their clarification answer, I kept it in the interview anyway.

As for Andy, he wasn't who I was talking to, so don't judge his response based on what was said here - I believe his view on SWMM may be different from the SW brand division's view on the line.


Tycho, I really wish I had been able to get more from them. I can definitely say I wanted more from the clarifications, I wanted to present the situation in the best possible light for them by allowing them to clarify as much as they could.

I don't agree that the retailers are the problem, I see it the way GSJ stated: Hasbro badly mismanaged the line and if that can't be fixed, the retailers won't show interest. Look at how Hasbro botched the 2002 Saga line, they oversold so much stuff because *some* of the later stuff looked promising that it bogged the retailers down to the point of freezing up their warehouses and shelves with pegwarmers. The only thing that saved that line was Hasbro's faith in the 4" core line, they bought back all the pegwarmers so long as retailers used the credit to buy new SW figures and they did... and the retailers had it happen AGAIN! Twice in 1 year they got strangled and all but gave up on the line until 8 months later, with the Christmas resets, they had made enough room and sold enough old product to wrench new figures into place. So if that's what happens to the line Hasbro promotes the strongest and shows the most faith in and even buys back the old product of to help keep it alive, how can the little Action Fleet line which Hasbro treats as the proverbial red-headed stepchild be able to survive? How can I convince TRU, who still has tons of Vader's TIE and Solar Sailers, to take another risk on Hasbro's management of the Action Fleet line when their shelfspace is still suffering from Hasbro AF product over a year old?

And let me point out that Hasbro didn't respond to my questions about the costs of using those already-created molds, almost all of which eventually sold. If this were merely cost issues on their end, most of which is molds they claim, how would NOT producing the Coruscant Speeder wave even though the molds are definitely created make money back on these completed but unused molds?

To address your comment about the quality getting better, it's absolutely true that the AF Rep Gunship shows some improvement over the Solar Sailer, and the future waves looked good too, but compared to Galoob's lines (Galoob designed and built everything in the classic and Ep 1 lines even after Hasbro bought the company until Hasbro pulled the plug) the Hasbro Action Fleet items are still sub-par in both final details and overall design.


BC3, right now I don't think I have the ability to find the right person at Hasbro who takes such things, but I'll try to get this sort of info to someone who might have that power.


Ultimately, what I feel is wrong here is that Hasbro's corporate mentality shows too little care for the line and too many rigid cost rules that don't take into account the overall quality of the final product. It feels like they look more at the corporate parts involved and less at the overall line.

SWAFMAN
09-21-2003, 10:32 PM
Sorry Swaffo, it'd take getting fired for that to happen. It wouldn't be fair to Hasbro and it wouldn't be wise of you since they read the forums.

If that's the case, then to whomever at Hoover (http://www.hasbro.com) reads this forum, please click on this link. (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showpost.php?p=267391&postcount=16)

Hoover's (http://www.hasbro.com) b/s responses to JT's excellent questions are validation of all the worst-case estimates of their intentions towards AF, in so many postings on this forum.

Customizers of the World, Unite! It looks like the only worthwhile new AF we'll see in the near future (regardless of whether any new, legit product is ever released), is going to be whatever is created by talented, imaginative plasti-hackers. So, all you wizards of the x-acto and airbrush, please put your noses to the grindstone. We needs some "new" old AFs!!!!

Oh, and Hoover (http://www.hasbro.com), B I T E______M E !!!!!!!!!!!

plasticfetish
09-22-2003, 01:16 AM
Do you think it was done intentionally so that the 3 3/4" line was the only flagship line with vehicles that interacted with figures so that everyone would have to play with the main line?
Wow. Not having read beyond this comment in the thread yet, but I have to say ... that's exactly what I was thinking.

And out of good shot jansen's great post, I can totally identify with ... "however, with the micro machines, my children were able to play with them, and when done, store them within the confines of their room." They are simply great kids toys. My son loves them ... would love to have more of them.

jeddah
09-22-2003, 06:10 AM
Firstly I want to echo what most have said here and put my “aye” behind GSJs post.

The responses seem rather disinterested and given in a “we’ve already made our minds up” way. Maybe that is down to the medium we’re using but I suspect that as JT infers, we are the poor cousin of the 4” line.

What I thought amusing was the passage where they say that they don’t know where we’re getting our market research from. On a global collectors website with contributors on this forum from France, Italy, US and UK (and more overseas I am sure), I would say out demographic is pretty wide. The fact that, globally, we are all reporting the same hardship with distribution and collecting AF speaks volumes and seems to me to represent a very valuable morsel of free market research.

Of course any company has its bean counters and they’re in business to turn a profit, but I don’t think that their well-used cry of non-profitability is the true picture, it is more a case of lack of planning (or care). I certainly don’t think we as collectors on this site are so important to Hasbro that we are the cause for them to recently restart the AFs only to then claim they were causing a loss thus giving them - with clear conscience - a reason to cancel the line. This has been suggested in the past and made me laugh. But if the Hasbro hob nobs do browse this board from time to time, it certainly seems ludicrous that they act so oddly, and with such specious arguments. Therefore it seems nonsensical for them to claim there was “sufficient” customer and retailer interest in the rehashes (DV TIE, MF and X-wing) when the community was crying out for the new models – which as JT pointed out had already been tooled.

One thing I did not understand in relation to the report however was the reference to DCs. I don’t see how this is relevant to AFs or MMs. I liked the DCs but would say they are the least child-friendly and have the least amount of playability of all the Galoob lines. If one line had to go for good – despite my love of it – I would rather it was the DCs and I would much rather have MMs back. Here in the South UK, the DCs from all lines were warming pegs….

I stopped collecting AF (and stuck to my guns) when Hasbro started playing silly buggers. I would have loved to get on the bell to VT and ask him to keep an eye out for the latest EP2 stuff (notwithstanding my already-huge VTab ;) ) but I am not going to get into the trap again. I wanted a comprehensive collection of all the SW vehicles. Hasbro have precluded that goal and until it is guaranteed, I will continue slowly accreting little bits of aluminium to add to my R2 unit J

jeddah

good shot jansen
09-22-2003, 08:31 AM
SSG: On the Episode I line - which was originally handled by Galoob before being bought by Hasbro - overproduction of the first wave of Action Fleet (almost universally considered far and away the weakest of the 3 Ep I Action Fleet waves) ultimately played a big part in that line's demise. Is the current Action Fleet line's discontinuation the result of a similar problem?

HASBRO: Probably not. We did get Episode II items to market later than we expected, but after the initial wave, sales have been soft.

nice, "we did get the items to market later than we expected" :rolleyes: the dvd came out before the toys did ferchrissakes :frus:

SSG: When you say "sales have been soft", does that refer to retailer orders or customer purchases? Are there any specific pieces or waves this applied to, or just the line in general?

HASBRO: It refers to both retail and consumer purchases and the line in general.

that must be why all these people here (http://search-completed.ebay.com/search/search.dll?GetResult&ht=1&sortproperty=metahighestpricesort&query=action+fleet+gunship&from=R10&completedonly=1) were willing to pay from 3 x the price and up to obtain this item due to soft sales:rolleyes: , sales were fine (for product actually wanted), it was distribution that was soft :mad:

SSG: In many markets, reports of line's poor sales hasn't been entirely accurate, most areas have an abundance of repainted TIE Advanceds, X-wings, and the Solar Sailer, but the other ships continued to sell. The repaints were of some of the most common Action Fleet sets ever (X-wing, AT-AT, TIE Advanced, Snowspeeder, Naboo Fighter) and the Solar Sailer was generally considered to be a sub-par sculpt. With all that in mind, could avoiding issues like these have saved the line if caught in time? Will these issues be kept in mind for the future should Hasbro ever decide to restart the line again?

HASBRO: I'm not sure what markets you are looking at, and retail sales and inventory can vary greatly from store to store and chain to chain, but overall sales have not been strong and retailers have been cautious with reorders.

:rolleyes: i bought the crummy rehashes which were 1st released, cause me like everyone else here on this board was starved for any kind of new galoob-like product. we even found reasons to try and like these sub-par toys as well. i remember how excited some of us were when the x-wing was released with the yellow stripe down the fusalage, just like as it was shown in galoob's original pictures of the line. but one yellow stripe does not a line make. after the 2nd wave was released, the at-te was gobbled up immediately, sold out, gone, you couldn't find one anywhere, while the solar sailor hung around gathering dust. with regardds to hasbro asking what markets are we looking at, they should ask instead, what markets are they looking at? :frus: there must be some kind of inventory list of product sold somewhere that shows that the at-te sold out, while the 1st wave, and the sailor just sat there. you can't condem a whole line, just because the consummers don't want the dreck that you've included with the desirable items.

SSG: A crucial part to Action Fleet's original design was the inclusion of play features and mini-figures to the ships' great sculpts. Why did Hasbro choose to start the current line without these elements? Do you think they could have been part of the stalling sales problems?

HASBRO: Should the line re-launch, we would take this under consideration.

well duh! :mad: why wasn't this taken into consideration when you bought galoob in the 1st place? you took a great prospering toy line, retooled it, reinvented it, and it ended up as a loser due to your monkying around, and now you will take under consideration what made the line great to begin with? :rolleyes:

SSG: Even after all the issues (in the latest line), many of the current Action Fleet sets continue to sell as stores receive them; perhaps they don't fly off the shelves with the same lighting speed as the Star Wars action figures, but they still get bought by collectors and kids alike. Was this factored into the decision to halt the line?

HASBRO: Absolutely. While sales of these items still occur on a daily basis, in sum they haven't been sufficient to maintain retailer interest. As noted, even combined with online retail sales, there isn't enough demand to make it profitable to continue to produce new items for the line.

lets see...........every last gunship, at-te, and troop ship flys off the shelf, (as though anyone could even find em) yet the x-wing rehash, tie rehash, falcon re-hash, slave I rehash, snowspeeder rehash, at-at rehash, and the ridiculous sailor sit there. so for every three sales, there are 7 non-moving stock items still sitting on the shelves. obviously the fault doesn't lie with hasbro's brilliant market research, it lies with the fact that consummers are fickle, and don't really know what they want :rolleyes:


SSG: Action Fleet fans are still quite interested in the unreleased sets that were expected to hit the market recently, the Anakin Speeder, Zam Speeder, Spider Droid, Jedi Starfighter, Mon Calamari Cruiser, and Star Destroyer were all new sets that were being greatly anticipated. What is going to happen to the sets already produced now that the line has been halted?

HASBRO: We will consider releasing these items if we were to relaunch the line. Recognize that the biggest investment in making a toy is in tooling, not sculpting.

huh? if it's been tooled, then release it dammit, particularly if the bulk of the money's already been spent............right, who am i kidding, like, we'll ever see the neva kee's, or bole's rhoor pod racers see the light of day, or the nemoidian shuttle, or the star destroyer, or the death star, or the....................... :dead:

SSG: Understanding that paying for the tooling is the most expensive part, what precisely is going to happen to the completed production-run Action Fleet sets mentioned above that Hasbro already paid workers to manufacture and paint which are now not going to ship to retailers? Are these sets - which are already completed toys - going to be destroyed, put in storage for later use, sold off in clearance sales, given away to employees, or something else?

HASBRO: None were produced.

riiiiight so i guess this page over at rebel scum must be an illusion (http://www.rebelscum.com/c-galoobhist200111.asp), or this page (http://www.rebelscum.com/c-galoobhist200112.asp), not to mention the links shown here (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21194), and here (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21235) :rolleyes:

SSG: Hasbro has several toolings for unreleased Action Fleet items that never saw production (from when the first line was halted), how is not releasing these sets going to pay for that tooling? By that I mean Hasbro has already paid for these tools to exist and they can't be reused in anything else except recycling the metal, so how can not using these tools be more cost-effective than selling the products they create in an attempt to at least recoup some of the costs of the tooling? Wouldn't not using these tools guarantee they will not make back the money already spent on them while using them will at least generate some return?

HASBRO: Recognize that even if some were tooled up, there are still minimum order quantities (MOQ) that would have to be met.

again, why order anything new and desirable, when old and unwanted is still sitting on the shelf........sheeeeeeeesh

SSG: With the current Action Fleet line, around half the line was repaints of older molds where the tooling was already created and paid for by Galoob before they were purchased by Hasbro; since these tools didn't require total rebuilding, did that factor into the overall costs of the tooling new vehicles in this line? Would that factor into a future line of mainly already-paid-for tooling from Galoob like the original Micro Machines or Die Cast line?

HASBRO: Sufficient consumer and retail interest to justify the costs and reach MOQs.

how many different ways can they say the same dayum thing? :confused:

JediTricks
09-23-2003, 12:37 AM
Jeddah, I mentioned the DCs because not only are they my pet project ;) but I was also trying to hit multiple bases at once with this Q&A, hence my mention of Micro Machines and non-SW licenses.


GSJ, never tell Hasbro "distribution that was soft" because then they'll just rant and rave over how its the retailers' fault, how the retailers are in charge of distribution, etc.,etc.. While it's true that the retailers distribute product to their retail stores, it's not the retailers who make the funky case assortments and hold the line back for months at a time, but for some reason, I can't get Hasbro to admit they understand that concept... maybe they don't.

"they should ask instead, what markets are they looking at?"
- I totally agree, I really hate when Hasbro makes marketing claims because they always seem to be oddball in one way or another and it drives me up the walls. Mostly, it seems like Hasbro has no interest in consumers buying product at all and they base their decisions primarily on how well they can convince (notice how the term "con" comes from "convince" ;)) their retailers to buy and continue buying this stuff.

What truly drives me nuts is how Hasbro has this minimum monthly order and "gotta buy this to get that" type of thing to push small retailers away from doing business with the company, not to mention ye olde bait-n-switch on the small time retailers that I've heard about. That pushes folks away from getting this line because Hasbro has a lot of corporate bills to pay and it poisons great lines like Action Fleet.


Oh, and BTW, Hasbro declined to respond to only one of my questions, one about what they were/are looking for in MOQs on this line. They said they don't give out that kind of data publically, so I didn't bother ending the article with that "no answer" answer.

LTBasker
09-23-2003, 01:33 AM
That MOQ stuff isn't doing jack for the consumer. Seems more like stores' main HQ's are getting so much crap from Hasbro, they're only ordering enough for at least 1 case of figures alone to make a round at a store. I know it seems like that's all that's been shipping to the stores around here.

I have never seen the Gunship wave around here, not even a trace of it. I haven't even seen much quantities of the Snowspeeder or AT-AT, and you know that's saying something when they can't even sit. Not that I want to see them sitting, but you know.. Of course I still see Vader's TIE Advanced sitting around and about.

The main problem Hasbro seems to have is judgement on what to make. Nobody wanted to see an incarnation of a MTT in every single Galoob-ish line right away. They should've never made the line as Episode 1 based. They even killed fun little micromachines by taking a ship out. How crappy is that? Then they had a bunch of playsets out for in micros that didn't offer much. Mostly due to lack of armies to place around them like in earlier Galoob days.

I remember when I first saw the packs of micro-machine figures. They were all really cool! Had a whole army in one box, perfect for the Endor playset! (which kicked butt) I still even have fun digging'em out and setting them up in a whole battle scene. Even the Ewoks and Jawas were great packs to place as Rebel allys.. Hasbro took that away though. I used to pack up all the figures in a little camera film box and go over to a friend's house to set'em all up and battle. Ya can't do that anymore, you gotta lug around large 3 3/4" figures that can't even stand up.

Why though? Galoob made masterpieces, and Hasbro sabotaged an ally. That's why they're so poor at making profits, they're too concentrated on making an empire based on mindless consumers who'll buy anything at any price. Then when they can't sell things, they blame it on us and the stores for turning our backs.

So when are we going to get mature management at Hasbro? You said they read over these forums, JT? Probably sitting there just giggling their butts off at us thinking they'll ever really give a rat's behind about anything the consumer says. If it doesn't have a dollar sign on it, they don't care.

I know the whole point behind any company is to make a profit, but Galoob showed that they cared about the people actually giving them that profit. It's just really heart breaking really to see what Hasbro has done.


Oh, and BTW, Hasbro declined to respond to only one of my questions, one about what they were/are looking for in MOQs on this line. They said they don't give out that kind of data publically, so I didn't bother ending the article with that "no answer" answer.

They do huh? So why have they said before how much money a store would need to pay for in order to support a license to sell SW figures. And why were they so free in talking to Tycho about pricing plans for that 3 3/4" scale Falcon? Sounds like Hasbro's beatin around the bush about somethin. Perhaps stores refuse to buy more stock because they push up the MOQ's and keep it classified when sells are down? Purely speculation though..

jeddah
09-23-2003, 03:43 AM
Thanks JT, I completely misread that :) by thinking they'd brought that up (nd also forgetting about your passion for DC) ;)

jeddah