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View Full Version : SSG's Tri-Weekly Hasbro Q&A - February 27th



JediTricks
02-27-2009, 07:18 PM
After an extra week delay from Toy Fair, it's Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for February 27th, 2009. Thanks again to Hasbro for the answers, to all the folks who sent in questions and especially those who voted on them.


Hasbro Q&A for the week of February 27th


SSG: Star Wars seems to be doing ok at retail, we're seeing more figure lines surviving, more $20 vehicle sales, more battle packs, and more vehicle exclusives. With this in mind, might Hasbro try pushing the $30-$40 vehicle pricepoint on retailers again? It would be a good way of getting larger vehicles such as the X-wing, B-wing, Republic Gunship, ARC-170, and even stuff like Jedi Starfighters with Hyperspace Rings into heavier rotation, and add opportunities for more new vehicles that would be considered too big to work out at the $20 pricepoint. So, any chance for the return of this pricepoint to mass retail?
Hasbro: Steve - by now you have seen the announcement at Toy Fair regarding the return of a higher price "mainline" (non-exclusive) segment. The intent is to use this higher price to introduce new vehicles such as the new Clone Wars Y-Wing as well as other vehicles down the line, either from Clone Wars or other sources. As far as other vehicles go, we will still keep them in regular rotation in the line for exclusives. One thing is for certain; Star Wars vehicles have never been more popular in the modern Star Wars line. As far as pricing - the days of larger vehicles like we are talking about being under-$40 are unfortunately well behind us (not to mention that we do not control retail pricing). We do promise to put as much as we can into each one, and bring you a commitment to keep vehicles an important cornerstone of the line.

SSG: In the Titanium Series line, the prequel-era fleets have a few vehicles that would really flesh them out. The Acclamator-class (aka the Republic Assault Ship) and the Munificent-class Frigate (aka the Banking Clan Frigate) appear notably in AOTC, ROTS, The Clone Wars series, and a number of popular video games like Battlefront II and Republic Commando. What are the chances of seeing those 2 prequel-era capital ships produced as Titanium Series vehicles?
Hasbro: There are no plans for those vehicles in the 2009 Titanium plan.

SSG: Ever since the VOTC Stormtrooper back in 2004, you've sculpted Stormtrooper figures' hands to 2-handed hold the blaster with its left hand holding the grip and the right hand holding the barrel. The wrists and fingers are angled very specifically for this, the left hand can't hold the barrel without bending it severely. While there is an unusually high number of shots with left-handed stormtroopers in the OT and its related still photography, the right-handed pose is still more common. So why choose, and stick with, the left-handed design for the Stormtrooper figures? Any possibility of either getting new hands with a more universal pose, or even putting ball-hinged wrists on this ubiquitous Imperial warrior?
Hasbro: We have used hinged wrists on a few TCW clone figures but due to escalating production costs we must continually evaluate such articulation. As we strive to constantly improve our figures, we will look at refining the hands on new versions of troopers in the future.

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And our questions at CollectionStation.com (http://www.collectionstation.com/groups/view/Star-Wars/Official-Hasbro-Star-Wars-QA-2272009_43):


With the Droid Commando now confirmed as getting a figure from Hasbro, we were wondering, what types of accessories might it be coming with? In their premiere episode, the Droid Commandos carried multiple accessories - blaster, stun baton, fusion cutter, even a vibrosword for the leader - dare we hope to see all, even the leader with the sword? What about getting a Droid Commando in clone trooper disguise, also seen in that episode?
The Comic Packs are great since the addition of the comic books give these characters much-needed context, as the average kid and collector who mainly know the movies will likely not know these characters without seeing them in some sort of action. That said, there are still several other expanded universe products that have no context other than the small bio on their packaging. Would it be possible for comic books to also be included in EU multi-figure sets or vehicles as well? For instance, fans of Crimson Empire are liking the look of the upcoming Crucible set, while those who are unfamiliar with the work think it looks more like a cross between Star Wars and Power Rangers.
As fans of Hasbro's lines, we've seen this for years: official Hasbro images for retailers and on packaging that employ a dark look as if photoshopped to enhance shadows, surfaces and edges. This gives the overall look of the toy increased realism, but often the production deco of the toy can't really live up to that. While there is a fine-print proviso on the packaging about such things, it's still a little unusual. Why does Hasbro employ this tactic so often with their official photography, and why not simply give each toy a subtle, simple paint wash to actually bring those lines out and give them the realistic look which the packaging shows could be possible?

JediTricks
02-27-2009, 07:21 PM
Ok, no more questions like that Titanium one, yikes did that one bite the dust. Wasn't thrilled with the answers on the other 2 either.

LTBasker
02-27-2009, 07:25 PM
They just love to talk about Titaniums, don't they?

JediTricks
02-27-2009, 07:29 PM
For Titaniums, we just sent in 2 questions that are broader discussions rather than just "when ya gonna make this???", one that outright challenges them to do better with this sort of thing.

On the other hand, I blame myself for letting the previous question go through, this is why I'm always warning you guys about not doing specifics, when the answer is "no", it can be a real waste. While I always hope for insight on a "no" answer, the truth is that they can crash and burn pretty hard.


I just took a look at the CS answers, they're fuller answers, but the questions are meatier.

LTBasker
02-27-2009, 07:42 PM
I think this was more harsh than the usual asking about a specific item, as it's not as though it's asking for a single random background ship. These are (moderately) significant ships, and they even have an existing sculpt for the Acclamator that could be scaled down. If they can't be bothered to offer a decent or at least diplomatic answer, what's the point of the Q&A? They may as well just wait until conventions so they can slap people across the face for real.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
02-27-2009, 07:57 PM
This was kind of a downer round here.


As far as pricing - the days of larger vehicles like we are talking about being under-$40 are unfortunately well behind us (not to mention that we do not control retail pricing).
That's kind of depressing. "Well, there's no way we can have large vehicles under $40 any more. Here's a $60 ARC-170!" I find it odd that they say they can't control retail pricing but they still set the MSRPs which are way too damn high.

JediTricks
02-28-2009, 01:46 PM
Ok, the CS questions are posted!

I'm a little bummed that we're not getting more accessories for the Commando Droid, but at least they are thinking about the leader's sword.

I was happy to see that they owned the fact that they enhance the look of the toys for the packaging though, and even gave a somewhat acceptable response to why it doesn't happen more often.


I think this was more harsh than the usual asking about a specific item, as it's not as though it's asking for a single random background ship. These are (moderately) significant ships, and they even have an existing sculpt for the Acclamator that could be scaled down. If they can't be bothered to offer a decent or at least diplomatic answer, what's the point of the Q&A? They may as well just wait until conventions so they can slap people across the face for real.I am hoping that the rather curt way they dealt with the question was simply a matter-of-fact return from Toy Fair. They didn't slap us in the face, they just said it wasn't in the cards for this year.



This was kind of a downer round here.


That's kind of depressing. "Well, there's no way we can have large vehicles under $40 any more. Here's a $60 ARC-170!" I find it odd that they say they can't control retail pricing but they still set the MSRPs which are way too damn high.TOTALLY agree! They suggest retail pricing based largely on unit costs, but I really do have to shut down the notion that they gotta jack up those wholesale prices so far. I mean, we're talking about a 100% jump, the ARC-170 (which is a rather lackluster mold in person) was going for $30 the last time it was at mass retail. Even $40 was a pricepoint we were finding on exclusives, so for them to jump that another twenty bucks despite higher production levels, that's asking way too much.

I fear all these price jumps are going to bury interest in the line. The value quotient for TLC, CW, TS, and now vehicles, is getting totally lost compared to size and quality. All this while the $20 pricepoint is floating around $25, and that's one of their bread & butter pricepoints. "This is madness!"

Maradona
02-28-2009, 02:38 PM
[SIZE=3]
TOTALLY agree! They suggest retail pricing based largely on unit costs, but I really do have to shut down the notion that they gotta jack up those wholesale prices so far. I mean, we're talking about a 100% jump, the ARC-170 (which is a rather lackluster mold in person) was going for $30 the last time it was at mass retail. Even $40 was a pricepoint we were finding on exclusives, so for them to jump that another twenty bucks despite higher production levels, that's asking way too much.

I fear all these price jumps are going to bury interest in the line. The value quotient for TLC, CW, TS, and now vehicles, is getting totally lost compared to size and quality. All this while the $20 pricepoint is floating around $25, and that's one of their bread & butter pricepoints. "This is madness!"

I echo your sentiments. It makes no sense that Hasbro claims itself innocent when it comes to pricing when the M in MSRP stands for Manufacturer. In an earlier Q&A from another site, they mentioned something to the effect of "despite gas prices going down, they still have high labor costs" (paraphrase). Labor costs? In China? At a dollar increase per individual figure per year and even more dramatic vehicle price increases, take a guess how long it will be before Hasbro becomes the prime scalper in this hobby...

Higher toys prices are like taxes and spending. Once they are in place and the people who put them there realize that consumer have just shut up and gotten used to paying them, the prices rarely drop. I'd propose a question on this topic, but I doubt Hasbro would give a suitable response.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
02-28-2009, 06:51 PM
I'm fairly pleased with their answer to my comic packs question. It makes sense, even though I would still like them to actually include the comics in the future.

JediTricks
03-01-2009, 04:23 AM
In an earlier Q&A from another site, they mentioned something to the effect of "despite gas prices going down, they still have high labor costs" (paraphrase). Labor costs? In China? At a dollar increase per individual figure per year and even more dramatic vehicle price increases, take a guess how long it will be before Hasbro becomes the prime scalper in this hobby...Labor costs in China have skyrocketed, as have materials and transportations costs, those things are true, as is the notion of "sticky prices", it's not just Hasbro or the toy industry. But Hasbro had a prime year in '08, and they have some nerve using that as an excuse to pass that along to the customer so quickly, the last time they tried this it nearly bankrupted the company (Ep 1 and then POTJ). I don't see how they can justify these increases, especially this new $60 vehicle mass retailer category, and it does make me worry that there won't be a line in 2010. Maybe when Hasbro is seeing record profits, they could avoid doing everything they can to shed those new customer sales and shave their profit margins a little instead of passing it along to us.


Higher toys prices are like taxes and spending. Once they are in place and the people who put them there realize that consumer have just shut up and gotten used to paying them, the prices rarely drop. I'd propose a question on this topic, but I doubt Hasbro would give a suitable response.Let's at least see how the line does at retail before throwing that at them. Hasbro has all but monopolized the boys action figure market though, so every line seems to go up in price at once and therefore it's what the market can bear, now we need to wait and see if the market will bear it - if it doesn't, we can slap that back in their face.