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Post By
Tiger Shark

In Reply To

Subj: You Miss The Whole Point ...
Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 09:49:46 am EST
Reply Subj: Toy Fair
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:45:05 pm EST

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Everyone talk about Galactus and the Sentinel as the be-all-end-all of BAF's, and while I'd agree that those figures were good, no one mentions the fact that we haven't seen BAFs of those size in what, three years? Four? Toy Biz themselves didn't ever top the Sentinel, but somehow it's Hasbro's fault for not doing it?

And Marvel Toys can continue to make BAF as big as they want, and it won't make a lick of difference to me because I've never heard of half the figures in their lines. Pitt? Stryker? Super Patriot? Who cares?

As for the Fair itself, I was really irritated that press materials spoke of a Puma, a Carnage, and others, and all they actually displayed were re-releases.

Spectacular Spider-Man looks awesome, though.

The problem is partially that this ML / BAF conversation is an ongoing on here, and we can't all restate every point every time we post about Marvel Legends.

The BAFs were introduced by Toybiz as incentives [underscore] for fans to buy all the figures in a given ML series. And Galactus, the Sentinel, and Apocalypse worked as incentives--it made fans everywhere sit up, take notice, and want to buy all the figures--even the lousy ones like Lady Deathstrike--to get all the pieces necessary to build the fairly magnificent BAF.

But the Apocalypse figure already showed signs that TB was putting less work in to the BAFs than they had previously, and the smaller Onslaught figure underscored this point even further.

Then came a fairly rinky-dink MOJO (which was just a reproduction of the MOJO figure released in the 90s) and a better, but very small MODOK.

Chances are that that fans felt that a 'bait and switch' of a kind had been performed (especially since TB then launched the Icons line, which sold fans the same size Marvel figures they had previously been getting free for $19.99 and up), and the reactions to the later BAFS were tepid.

Which means: the new smaller, cheaper, lazier format for the BAF incentive wasn't working any longer.

Other companies, however, saw the wisdom in the BAF idea. When Hasbro got the Marvel license, they continued on with the smaller BAFS--a mistake in my eyes, since Mattel, the renamed Toybiz, and other companies were going competitively forward with both the BAF idea and the larger BAF idea.

Hasbro gave fans a fairly cool, if badly engineered--and small--Annihilus, then a tepid Blob, a tepid Brood Queen--and now the ultimate in tepidity, a Holocaust / Nemesis figure.

And this, amid rumors that sales and distribution for the ML lines are down, that retailers feel the line is dying or already dead, that overseas collectors feel the good figures 'have already been done,' as well as the SNAFU with the Astonishing Beast figure for Hasbro Series 4.

And rumors keep circulating that Hasbro is shutting down the ML line altogether--as both the Brood Queen and the Nemesis series have been rumored to have been cancelled, complaints that the Hasbro figures are badly made compared to the Toybiz figures, and fan unhappiness with the characters presumably included in the forthcoming Spiral wave is all over the net. The forthcoming Hulk line began as 12 figures, and was cut down to 10, and then 8. By the time they finally see release, it may be just 6 or even 4.

So: the general feeling is that Hasbro just doesn't know what they're doing, that they don't know how to market themselves to collectors, and that they haven't got their fingers on the pulse of what collectors want to buy and to see.

So, Yes, in light of this, going back to the Large BAF idea which originally roped in so many new buyers does seem like a good idea, and what most fans want--simply that. Marvel Toys is doing it, Mattel is doing it in the near future with 8-inch Solomon Grundy and Gorilla Grodd---and other companies are as well (such as the Universal Frankenstein Monster figure I mentioned yesterday).

Thus, there's a lot of enthusiasm for the forthcoming Fin Fang Foom BAF and fans are saying, 'I'll buy all the Hulk figures for that glorious FFF figure.'

And that's what Hasbro wants and needs to do: move toys in a manner that's both productive for them and that generates enthusiasm among fans and collectors.

As to whether the Large BAFs cost too much to produce, ToyBiz, Marvel Toys, and Hasbro have all shown that successful BAFs can be made which are essentially hollow (MODOK, the Blob, Monkey Man) and thus both non-costly to ship or to produce.

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