A recent open letter sent to Hasbro
by our friend over at Bossk’s Bounty
has sparked a bit of debate amongst those in the Star Wars action figure
collecting community. In their letter, they express concerns over the future of Hasbro’s Vintage Collection
line. They seem to worry that Hasbro
will eventually completely phase out the highly articulated small scale figures.
I don’t think there is any denying that the toy collecting landscape has changed over the years as collectors seem to have shifted their focus to the larger scale 6” and 7” figures
. Because of this, we have seen many companies including Hasbro
change their focus as well. According to Bossk, Hasbro will produce only 12 Star Wars Vintage Collection figures split into four waves (plus two reissue fan channel waves) this year. Within those 12 figures, three are repacks leaving only nine new figures for the year. I haven’t personally fact checked these numbers, but they sound about right.
Star Wars fans aren’t the only ones to see this change happen. For Marvel, the once popular 3.75” Marvel Universe
line is all but gone in favor of the larger 6” Marvel Legends
. Hasbro also brought G.I. Joe
back to shelves after a several year hiatus, but not in the original 3 3/4” scale. Now G.I. Joe
is getting the 6” treatment in keeping with Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black Series, Power Rangers Lightning Collection
, and Ghostbuster Plasma
figures. Are you noticing a trend?
While Star Wars
fans who still want 3.75” figures have been feeling left behind, Star Wars
is one of the few lines left at mass market still seeing any kind of real love in the smaller scale.
So why the shift from smaller scales to larger ones? The biggest reason generally cited is cost. Most detailed and articulated figures done in the 3.75” scale retail in the neighborhood of $12-$15 a piece. A 6” figure of the same caliber, which is considered to have more poseability to it, costs only $5 more at $20 a pop. The thinking being, people feel they are getting more for their money with the larger scale figure. Because of this, the big box retailers like Walmart
seemingly want to carry the larger scale figures over the smaller ones. I don’t know about your local store, but at my Target, they have only stocked the first wave of VC figures which included Snoke. That wave sat on shelves for two years. The Walmart near me isn’t much better. They seem to stock only one or two cases per wave for the Vintage Collection. While they do seem to eventually sell out for the most part, one or two cases isn’t really a lot of figures for a retailer like Walmart. My guess is that if Walmart ordered a substantial number of cases for each wave, they would end up with a lot more in the way of peg warmers.
In the past, one of the biggest proponents for doing smaller scale figures was making vehicles and playlets to go along with them. That is no longer the case — once again due to costs. The price of most detailed vehicles (even at the smaller scale) are so expensive these days that many people no longer purchase them or wait for them to go on discount. Look at the recent Vintage Collection Tie Fighter
that started retailing for $79.99. It’s now selling at BBTS
for a discounted price of $34.99.
Go to Amazon
, and you will see the Imperial Tank
which was a brand new vehicle that Hasbro made for the Rogue One
movie a few years ago. It originally retailed for $79.99 and is now selling for only $29.95.
While discounts are great for the consumer, they are usually an indication of merchandise that has not sold terribly well.
Now I did some checking with a few smaller online retailers
who sell Star Wars
. While they tell me that overall the larger 6” Black Series figures
sell better, they are still seeing decent demand for the smaller Vintage Collection
ones. While good, I’m not sure it’s good enough to justify Hasbro putting the effort into the smaller scale figures that some collectors want to see.
Some fan sites
over the last 2 week have tried to start a social media campaign asking folks to use the hashtag #BackTVC
to show Hasbro how much demand there is for the Vintage Collection
line. Honestly, I think this will do more harm than good. It would be one thing if there was enough people out there using the #Hashtag to actually get it trending on social media, but as I type this I see the hashtag on only a little over 800 posts on Instagram
. I don’t think that is going to be a terribly impressive number to change anyone’s mind. The fact is, the only real symbol that will convince anyone they are wrong, is the $
sign. If you really want to get Hasbro’s attention, you likely will need to speak with your wallets and not your keyboards.