Collectors collect things. It’s right there in the name, after all.
At best, a collector buys cool things that he or she enjoys. At worst, a collector buys things they don’t enjoy because they need to have the entire line, a show cast, or just because they haven’t bought something in a while.
While this post isn’t about the dichotomy of those aspects, that brings up something important, that collecting is best when you’re buying cool things that you enjoy. At some point, a collector needs to consider quality and how it relates to quantity.
For collectors of tiny plastic giant robots, that’s only gotten more important as 3rd parties have gotten better.
Would you rather buy three Voyager class Transformers at retail, or buy one of the Fansproject Function X Headmasters? Four Deluxes or a Mech Ideas Apex or Geminus?
Each of those options has its own merit, depending on what tiny plastic giant robots we’re talking about. Hasbro’s Generations Springer is a great example of them doing something better than a 3rd party, and FansToys Quake Wave is a great example of a 3rd party doing something as good as a Takara MP.
On the surface, quality seems to win out here, and for the most part it does. If you’re the ‘at best’ kind of collector, you’re going to want the best option, or the coolest version of that cool thing you enjoy.
But where that ‘for the most part’ thing comes in is price. Most of us have some sort of budget, whether it’s imposed by income or imposed by a psychiatrist, and having an extra restriction on a collection is usually a good thing. Without a budget, you can have both quality and quantity, but that can mean you value both of those less. As soon as a budget is introduced, value is gained because each choice has more weight, and that means you care about those choices more.
And that means you care about your collection more.
But so far, quality still seems to be winning. If you can only budget for a certain amount of price, buy less quantity and get more quality, right?
Yes, and no.
Quality is important, sure, but a collection isn’t much of a collection if there isn’t some kind of quantity, and price makes both of those more valued.
And it’s value that leads us to the next consideration, size.
Size is just as much of a gray area as the other factors that a collector should consider, being different for each collector. Often, size is closely related to quality, but it’s still its own distinct factor. For instance, I’ve seen people buy a Transformer that they’d otherwise say was crap, just because of how big it is.
I actually tend to like smaller Transformers, especially if they have a lot of things I consider for quality, like articulation and a cool transformation.
But it’s not just quality that size ties into, of course. The smaller the size, the more quantity a collection can display. The larger the size, the more price can be excused.
And it’s actually size and price that stirred this post in the first place. As a rule, 3rd party tiny plastic giant robots cost more than regular Transformers, just because the companies don’t get as good of bulk discounts from factories and retailers can’t get as good of bulk discounts from the companies.
So naturally, a collector is going to adjust the value of the price factor accordingly. Some leeway on price is built in, so long as the collector doesn’t feel taken advantage of.
And when it seems like something costs too much, people complain.
Now, there are some arguments against doing that, as it is true that most collectors don’t know the details of what goes on at that third party company, and there may have been a reason for the seemingly extravagant price. That’s not even mentioning those talking about how it’s a free market and that company can charge whatever they want.
I’m not talking about those that nitpick a dollar difference, or those that go on and on about it and annoy whole threads on message boards, but it’s entirely reasonable for a normal person to point out that a price for the size is higher than average.
Specifically, Fansproject’s Stunticons are overpriced for what they are.
They’re $60 scout class figures. For $8.99 more, the same company is selling headmasters that are the size of tall deluxes.
What is it?
“FansProject told people at TFCon that the smaller Stunticons were going to be higher priced in order to spread out the cost of Motormaster.”
Someone from FP did say that, yeah.
And they also said the smaller Stunticons were going to cost about $50 each with Motormaster costing about $80.
“But that was months ago! So what if the smaller Stunticons cost $10 more than they said. It was an estimate!”
Hey, I’m not complaining about that. The small price increase on those is reasonable.
“Oh. Well what’s the beef, chief?”
Did you see how much Motormaster’s retail price is?
“No. What’d they do, give a $20 price increase? That’s still not-”
That’s a $10 shy of being twice the estimated price.
“Hey, at least they’re being nice and letting you get an early bird preorder in for $120. Or are you one of those people that hates early bird deals?”
No, I’m fine with that kind of special pricing. I like discounts!
But even with the early bird deal, that’s an extra $40! By itself, $40 is half the cost of the original price estimate! I think the retail price of $150 is more important here, but even if that’s not part of the discussion it’s still a huge increase.
So either Fansproject Motormaster cost spacebuxx to produce and they’re actually giving customers a reasonable price… or they’re overcharging for all of the Stunticons.
Regardless of which one of those is true, price isn’t the only factor when it comes to making a purchase for a collection. So lets take a look at each of the factors in turn, and see how the Fansproject Stunticons do.
Are the FP Stunticons quality?
Despite needing mods to transform without feeling like they were breaking, FP Breakdown and Wildrider are decent quality.
What about quantity?
What about price?
What about size?
Click the picture for the full version!
You can see the unaltered picture in Turnman’s MMC Bovis pictorial review on TFW. There’s some really cool pictures in there, including a lot of size comparisons, so click the link!
And to answer the question in the picture, FP Dragstrip costs about $60, while MMC Bovis cost about $90 with early bird pricing or about $105 retail.
MMC Bovis’s backpack gun has about as much plastic as FP Dragstrip.
I sold FP Breakdown and Wildrider because I didn’t like the look of the rest of the Stunticons. The price hike on FP Motormaster wasn’t announced until most people had bought all the others, and I can’t blame them if they want to complain. I know I would have wanted to.
As it is, the money that was budgeted for them is going to the MMC Predacons, and that picture really shows how size and price can be important factors in value.
So, dear readers, do you have a better understanding of the factors a ‘at best’ collector should consider, or was that just an excuse to post a picture with TTT-style eyes? What kind of stuff do you put in your collection?
“Rubber gloves, mostly.”
“Hey, it’s tough finding 4 inch tall blow up dolls. So I take a sharpie and-”