So, it occurred to me today that crowd funding is the perfect way to get collector targeted figures made. This seems like it would be a great way for Hasbro to offer characters like Yarna without having to risk overproduction.

I imagine a system like this: Hasbro selects a character/figure (they could really make this interactive by adding a fan choice element and letting fans choose which character gets mocked up) and sets the goal. Then people decide whether or not they want the figure and put their money up (pay by credit card, to be charge if the production goal is met). Most crowd funding projects have different tiers for people to participate at. This isn't necessary as they could just offer the one option that is the figure, but tiers might be cool. I imagine something like:

Tier 1: Padawan - Just the figure, comes in a cardboard box with a plastic baggie with the weapons and accessories. $12.99 + Shipping and Handling
Tier 2: Apprentice - The figure carded as you would find it on shelf at the store. $14.99 + S&H
Tier 3: Knight - Carded figure with a holo foil sticker saying "Limited Edition 1 of 1,000" etc. in the plastic clamshell. $19.99 + S&H
Tier 4: Master - Carded figure in the clamshell and something to add value, maybe the figure from Tier 1 so that you've got your carded and an opener. $24.99 + S&H

The beauty of this system is that if the figure doesn't hit it fundraising goal, it's clear that there isn't community support for a figure and people can stop asking for that character to be made. Hasbro also never has to risk making a figure that turns out to be a peg warmer, they can mock it up and then let the fans tell them whether or not they would buy that, and not just in the hypothetical fan choice manner, they would actually put their money up before hand.

Obviously, there are a couple issues. First, I doubt Hasbro would want to put a dollar sign up as their goal. They are very closed lipped with financial info, so I don't think they'd want to tell people what it costs for them to a make a figure. BUT, they don't have to. They can either put up the number of units they have to sell to make production viable, or they can just put up a percentage based counter to show how close they are without saying how much money they've raised.

Second, Hasbro themselves aren't really set up for distribution so they would probably need to partner with someone like Entertainment Earth to handle the shipping. Even so, since the prices I imagine (though, of course, it's just a guess/suggestion) start at the normal MSRP, there should be enough profit margin built in to make this worthwhile for a distributer.

If this idea were to be put in place, it seems to me it could be used for anything: vehicles, figures, playsets, you name it. I know this isn't how Hasbro does business, but I think this is a great way for a manufacturer like Hasbro to stay competitive in the collector market without having to risk losing their shirt on a dud figure or wave.