View Full Version : Army Builders...

Obi-Dan Kenobi
08-21-2001, 12:03 AM
I'm thinking, with the seemingly arbitrary method has of assigning collection numbers, a new system is in order. Wouldn't it be great if we had a collection of heroes and villians, a collection of more obscure background characters, and then a collection devoted entirely to army builders? Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to order a case that consisted entirely of biker scouts, battle droids, rebel fleet troopers, and imperial officers? Or Echo Base Troopers, stormtroopers, Naboo royal guard soldiers, and rebel commandos? It would certainly cut down on pegwarmers like Greedo, Qui-Gon, Mas Amedda, etc... I mean, a fan goes in and buys all the Sandtroopers they see, but might leave all the EU Obis and Mauls. But by putting out entire cases of army builders, stores would sell them out faster, and order more of that collection. Then they could order less of the other two collections, thereby reducing the amount of less desired characters that make it to the shelves. And online dealers would go nuts with all the cases they would sell. What do you think?

08-21-2001, 06:38 AM
I think the Sandtrooper though have a full case of them will still be snapped up. Instead, they'll go by at least a pair for each consumer. As such, consumer spent their available cash on all the Sandtroopers they can get and have no money left for the other figs. Then it goes back to square one. Nevertheless, its only my opinion.

08-22-2001, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by Obi-Dan Kenobi
But by putting out entire cases of army builders, stores would sell them out faster, and order more of that collection. Then they could order less of the other two collections...I think you just gave Hasbro their #1 reason to not do this. :( Hasbro wants stores to buy more of stuff they put out, they don't want to lessen the amount of cases they sell. The whole collection number thing should be abolished, just have more waves and cases instead of Col 1 and Col 2. I guess the 1 and 2 collection numbers serve the purpose of getting stores to order 2 cases instead of one, being assured that the stores will get more variety.

Obi-Dan Kenobi
08-22-2001, 03:48 PM
But isn't it worse to have rows and rows of Qui-Gon, Obi-wan and Maul, so that stores don't order ANY figures at all? If less of these figures were ordered, wouldn't less be produced? Thus a larger percentage of the production run would be sold the first time, instead of ending up on clearance. I mean Biggs and Meijer stores around here in Cincinnati aren't stocking any POTJ because of all the Mauls and Qui-Gons hanging around. Biggs doesn't have anything but pegs and pegs of old E1 figures!
If less main characters and obscure characters were produced than army builders, but they all sold, it would be a better return on the investment in plastic Hasbro have made in manufacturing them. Then they could crank out army builders, and since collectors want more of them, they'd sell in larger quantities.

08-23-2001, 12:08 AM
As it is here in LA, there's virtually no pegwarmers at all. However, Hasbro feels that core characters are their bread and butter, even with the continued focus on the collector market, they are still making toys for kids, and if kids want a figure that they recognize from the films, then they'll be able to find one. The only thing worse than going into a toy store and not finding any Star Wars figures is going in and finding only the ones you wouldn't want. While we collectors may feel that Qui-Gon tatooine is on that list, there are millions of kids in America who may feel differently and they are potential customers too.

08-23-2001, 04:02 PM
I have to gree with JL but on the other hand.It would be great if Hasbro could offer on thier site,a section where you can order as many of a figure you wanted.I know that there would be a problem in this as far as thier way of shipping orders out to the stores but I think it would become a big money maker in the long run.All the collectors could come to thier site and order what they want for thier armys.I know that this will not happen but it would be nice.Maybe have a bulk packs of stormtroopers and others we can order,but thats another forum.

08-23-2001, 04:20 PM
Although this seems like a reasonable solution to the problem, it would probably backfire in the long run. The way I understand the process: Hasbro makes a bunch of prototype toys and displays them at toy fairs, where retailers like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, TRU, etc look at them and decide what they want to order based on that company's projected sales. It's not Hasbro saying "we don't think the customers will buy this so we won't produce it." It's Wal-Mart (for instance) saying "we don't want as assortment of only army builders so we won't order that assortment." If Hasbro doesn't get any support from the retailers then they can't justify producing the toy to Hasbro's marketing department.

THis situation happened with Ep1 toys. Hasbro wanted to release Shmi back in 2000, but the retailers said "We don't want anymore assortments with female characters. If you produce another assortment with a female character then we won't order that assortment." Thus Hasbro was forced to pull Shmi and any other plans for a female character. This is why POTJ had all male characters in it's first few waves.

El Chuxter
08-23-2001, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Obi-Don
It would be great if Hasbro could offer on thier site,a section where you can order as many of a figure you wanted.I know that there would be a problem in this as far as thier way of shipping orders out to the stores but I think it would become a big money maker in the long run.

Unfortunately Hasbro's license prevents them from selling direct to the public. (I don't know why, but I'm sure SirSteve or JediTricks would know more about it.) There were a couple of Internet exclusives (B'ommar Monk and the Muftak/Kabe 2-pack), and apparently LucasFilm didn't like this. Everyone was hoping the takeover of the Fan Club by Wizards of the Coast (owned by Hasbro) would provide a loophole for Hasbro's selling direct, but all I've seen them offer is Luke w/ T-16.

Obi-Dan Kenobi
08-23-2001, 10:24 PM
So when these toys are shown to the retailers at Toy Fair, do the retailers tell them whether they like stormtroopers or Han Solo better? Or whether they think female or male characters are more viable? I didn't think they had that much input.

I think if the assortments were arranged the way I said, it would simply be actual sales at the stores that would dictate which assortments get ordered. I could be totally wrong, never having run a toy department at Wal-Mart or anything. But let's say it's arranged like this:

Collection 1: Main Characters (Luke, Leia, Vader, Obi, Padme, etc.)
Collection 2: Army Builders (ST's, Biker Scouts, Jawas, BD's...)
Collection 3: Obscure Characters (Hammerhead, PRune Face, Aurra Sing, etc...)

Okay, if Collection 1 figures were selling fast, they'd get re-ordered, right? And if they were selling more slowly, they wouldn't get ordered and would sit until they sold. Same with the other two collections. Now, for most loose collectors, they only need one Luke Hoth but many of the army builders. And I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I had a ton of Stormtroopers, Jawas, and the like, but only one figure of each version of the main characters. And I only had one Greedo,Prune Face, Squid Head, etc... So don't you think Collection 2 would move pretty fast, encouraging Hasbro to produce more? The other two would sell, but at a slower rate.

I am basing this largely on what I see at stores. Once a wave has sat around for a while, the army builders are the first to go. When I see collection one POTJ figures, I see Han, Chewie, Leia, but I hardly ever see Boomer Droids or Biker Scouts. In fact, I've only ever seen Biker Scouts in a store ONCE, at Electronics Boutique.

I certainly don't pretend to be an expert or anything, but I think it would be a perfect way to break up the collections.

08-24-2001, 10:35 AM
Hasbro's license with Lucasfilm renewed with a clause saying that Hasbro could not offer figures to the public directly, this was right around the time of the Kabe/Muftak 2pack, so this delayed their release until a special contract could be hammered out for those 2. Although Hasbro has bought the Fan Club, they're still bound by their contract, I don't know if things have been worked out with LFL yet, but also, Hasbro has a "non-competion" agreement with their retailers, which basically says that they won't be sales competition with TRU or Wal-Mart, so their prices cannot undercut the retailers and can't even be MSRP.

Unfortunately, the reordering conditions between stores and Hasbro just aren't good enough that Hasbro can tell exactly what's selling when, and for what reasons (could be a fluke, could be a sale, could be scalpers...), and even worse, the reorder process can take a long time, so store buyers have to be able to guess the future of one item.

The whole point of Toy Fair in New York is to show off the upcoming products to the retailers in hopes of getting better orders. When a retailer says "I have 150 million customers nationwide, if even 1/10th of them are toy buyers and they're not interested in females or Nemoidians or whatever we don't like, then my stores are just wasting valuable shelf space and we'll simply not order as many of those, or perhaps not at all", this is a very powerful statement because this is how toymakers make their money, and a bad relationship with a big chain (like Hasbro's was with Target after 12" Han Carbo) can seriously harm a toy line - when SEVERAL retailers say this, the line is in jeopardy of dying. These stores weild a LOT of power because what they don't buy, Hasbro doesn't sell, so Hasbro listens.

08-24-2001, 02:22 PM
I honestly had no idea Hasbro owned the fan club, this explains the changes in the Jawa Trader. They're just dumping backstock on us!

As fo the different assortments you listed, Obi-Dan Kenobi, if a retailer felt that an assortment of purely army builders wouln't sell then they wouldn't order it and then your chances of finding some would be zilch.

Hasbro would love to make every figure on our wish lists, they have no reason not to make a figure they're sure will sell. It's the retailer middlemen who are ruining it for us. This is probably why we haven't seen a new Jabba, since the blasted SE and Ep1 crap versions rotted on the shelves. Thus the retailers think Jabba is an unwanted figure and will probably never order him again.

El Chuxter
08-24-2001, 02:51 PM
The Episode One Jabba rotted on shelves? Where's that? I haven't seen it to this day. :)

I take it you're talking about the Jabba Glob as opposed to the horrible-looking one with the two-headed announcer, right?

08-24-2001, 06:37 PM
I totally forgot about the Jabba with announcer, I was refering to the Jabba glob. I've never seen the w/announcer version but from the looks of the thing it's crap.

Darth Cruel
08-25-2001, 01:50 AM
I wonder if the phone number I had for Hasbro Direct sales was a hoax. I actually called them, but they didn't have any figures that I wanted so I didn't place an order. If it was not a hoax, wouldn't this violate the license?

Obi-Dan Kenobi
08-27-2001, 01:06 PM
Yeah, that Jabba w/ Announcer WAS crap. Never saw it in stores, and I wasn't too disappointed. Except that it was probably part of the reason I never saw an Eopie.