Friday, March 7, 2014

Masterpiece - Things to "Chug" On . . . .

Recently, a discussion topic popped up, and I ended up posting a bit of my thoughts on some overall trends I've seen developing quite rapidly over the last year or so.  I figured I'd mirror my comments here,  You can check out the original discussion here:  Why is Henkei More Expensive than Masterpiece?  I honestly wasn't trying to steer a conversation away from the original topic ("Henkei figures being more expensive in the secondary market than certain Masterpiece figures").  The way the topic went, my comments felt not only natural, but I'd had these thoughts for a while and it seemed like the best time to share them.

TFW2005.COM Dark Jedi comments, " . . . . specifically speaking for most Henkei bots, their Masterpiece counterparts are less expensive. One example is Henkei C-21 Smokescreen.  I realize I might be late to the party, but this figure goes for well over $100 aftermarket. Compare that to MP-19 who can be found for even $60 or less on some sites."

Supply/demand - Economics 101.  Supply of these figures were slightly smaller than their US counterparts, plus for US collectors they're imports, meaning that more collectors passed on them at the time.  Fast forward just a few years, and now you find a collecting community with more fans, thus driving the demand up some.  With Masterpiece Smokescreen, TakaraTomy anticipated the demand a bit more and adjusted the supply accordingly.  Just contrast this with the first run of MP Lambor/Alert, as the demand became higher just shortly after Alert's release.  Both figures are still on their first runs, as they're still in production with MP Lambor's second run already in que.


TFW2005.COM Dark Jedi comments, "So my questions would be is Henkei very sought after by collectors? Were the original releases limited in some aspect? Also do you expect this trend to continue? Will we see more reissued Henkei/Asia exclusive sets like the Seekers?"

In the long run, I think much of Henkei could be sought after a bit more by collectors, given their closer adherence to their G1 counterparts.  The releases weren't "limited", just fewer in contrast to the US counterparts.  It's hard to speculate and predict Henkei-type releases since we really only have the recent packs to go on.

* * * *

Ok, so there's a little bit of me just rehashing the way things have turned out.  As the discussion progressed, this exchange ended up taking place, which is where I decided to share much of what I prefaced this blog post with:

TFW2005.COM madhatprime comments, "Good explanation, Super. I would like to add however, that I can relate to Dark Jedi here.   The MP [toyline] is far superior. Nowadays, though you may see demand go down. A lot of collectors of CHUG are moving to MP. I see it more and more often.

I do not believe that CHUG is more like G1 than the MP. Chug is a different beast. Meant to update the character in todays market. A modern take. Where as MP is strictly G1 (Character design)."

Thanks!  There is certainly a trend that I see at least starting up that may end up being problematic for certain collectors:

I think is just going to frustrate the type of collector that Classics - Generations targets.  I've emphasized it in your post.  The Masterpiece line really isn't geared towards someone who's been into Classics - Generations for some time now.

Masterpiece will not and can not cover the sheer amount of characters that one will wish to be covered.  Masterpiece will certainly hit a lot of the highlights, I'm sure (Ark crew most likely, and some others along the way).  Classics - Generations is affordable and scaled small enough that it has the flexibility to include a vast array of characters from not only G1 but several other Generations.  Masterpiece can not do this same thing, nor does it seem to aim to.

"We need reinforcements!"

Don't believe me?  Arrange one shelf of figures that have came out so far for Masterpiece that fit the same bill Classics - Generations does.  Compare and contrast this to your Classics - Generations shelf.  The available Seekers themselves will take up a lot of real estate.  There's a reason I know this.  :wink:

Masterpiece is certainly a line under a completely different time constraints due to the release schedule.  Thus, people who want their collections filled out in less than 5 years are just going to end up frustrated.  This is even with the major characters.  Look at this year's release schedule alone:


Ultra Magnus
Bluestreak redeco (most likely blue, but not confirmed)
Star Saber (no confirmation of this year as the release date, but that's most likely)


Prowl (possibly, no official confirmation)

But fraction of the limited character releases for the Masterpiece line . . . .

Hasbro already has a full plate, and I'd be really surprised to hear of another single release.  Three surprises me quite a bit, though Prowl hasn't officially been confirmed by Hasbro, there is strong enough evidence to suggest that it's certainly on it's way.  TakaraTomy will likely add a few more into the mix, but that's hard to say as well.

Add to this that several of those who are jumping into Masterpiece will say that they'll "just wait on Hasbro", so that even narrows the field even further.  It also leads into another point:

Expense.  This one can be tricky.  It's pretty obvious that the Classics - Generations collectors have some pretty deep pockets, as evidenced by the expanse of third party product.  Most will just come right out and admit that the reason they're waiting on Hasbro is for a  "cheaper" product.

The "cheaper" alternative nowadays?

As a Masterpiece collector, I can ASSURE you it's typically much easier to just click a few times to secure a TakaraTomy order versus having to hunt in order to beat the scalpers for the US releases.  Adding to such a problem is a key figure like Optimus Prime.  Unless the YotH version is completely satisfactory, one is going to look to spend no less than $200 for this figure due to scalpers and secondary markets.  Most will still want the classics colors of the original release as opposed to the YotH version.  Will Hasbro re-release the original?  Who knows?  I'd venture most aren't willing to sit around and speculate with such an important gap in their collection, even with chromed gold looking back at them from their shelf.

I know this rabbit trails from the original topic quite a bit, but all of the above is something that the collector must consider before "jumping lines".

* * * *

I feel the original discussion tapered off fairly quick, and I admit that I really didn't put much more energy into the original discussion.  Frankly, the topic of "the collectible and monetary value of Classics-Generations" really doesn't interest me a lot.  I suppose I'm interested enough to simply know how to discuss the topic well, but it just isn't really that engaging to me.  By contrast, the Masterpiece line certainly is.  In fact, I've not been this interested in a Transformers topic since the Alternators/Binaltech line.  Much of the same excitement I have now for the Masterpiece line harkens back to the days of Alternators and Binaltech.

Images courtesy of TFW2005.COM and my own photo galleries.


  1. I seen that thread, don't know if I replied, but doubt it, I probably thought "well, they're years out of stock" and left it at that.

    I've gotten to the point where I don't care as much for my Classics as I once did (they used to be my primary collection) But I will keep most of the ones I have left. A third party figure to fit in with them has to be absolutely spectacular for me to get anymore though.

    "Waiting for Hasbro" always makes me laugh though. If the rumors are true with Prowl and his price, what did they wait for? $1 less before taxes than I got mine for shipped, and a lesser quality figure. I'd hazard a guess that the entire alt mode won't be painted, maybe just the black sections and where it's made out of clear plastic. and with a lesser quality plastic, I certainly wouldn't want to untab that chest piece.

  2. The new CHUGgie "MP" collectors post a lot of things that make me scoff. The "waiting for Hasbro" is certainly one. The "the knock-off is good enough for me" mentality is one I can't get behind either. Do I own knock-offs Sure. Are they "stand-ins" for other expensive toys? Sure. Are they ever "good enough" for me? NO. A thousands times NO. Any knock-off I own will always be known by me as such, and will never EVER replace an authentic piece. Another that gets me is that people who collect Classics-Generations figures think that every line functions the same. MP Wheeljack in the pipeline means a retool as Tracks? Come ON . . . .

  3. "Masterpiece is certainly a line under a completely different time constraints due to the release schedule. Thus, people who want their collections filled out in less than 5 years are just going to end up frustrated."

    That's funny because I just stepped away from the MP line due to the increased release rate.

  4. Yeah, firstly, I just don't know where these people are getting their money/incomes, because it's all I can do right now to keep up. Yet there's a demand for an increase?

    Third parties will have to shift over if they want to stay afloat, and I can easily foresee the market absolutely flooded. I'm having to pass right now on the Scoria along with the other 3 offerings for Diobots, as TakaraTomy has me tapped out already.