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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you can probably all tell I'm fairly new to the hobby and started collecting stuff about a year ago. I know for sure I've laid out a few 1000 on the figures I have (and I'm not even displaying them yet). But as has been mentioned a few times both quality as well as prices have been going thru the roof in the last few years (wish I had been in the hobby back then).

My point is what happened to the $30 -$40 figure, it seems all the newer released figures, regardless of company are coming at $80-90 bucks to say the least.

Is it just me or is it getting a bit ridiculous?

All input welcome but if your going to chime in with ditch the hobby don't let the post degrade into what it's not supposed to be.
 

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sits in a loose parts box
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In my opinion you cant really compare the first DML and BBI Modern Figures to the "State of the Art" Hot Toys and ACE Figures of today. The come with a ton more stuff, much more detailed, much better bodies (G1 vs. True Type) and Headsculpts.
I know there are a few good old parts still out there, but thats only because none of the companys have tried again if hot toys revamped the 21st Sets nobody would care about them anymore either.

just my .2cents.
 

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IMHO - I think there are a few factors at work, that have a lot to do with the price.

Over all quality is way up - Back in the day when 21st and BBi started putting out sets I still called them toys. Now they are more like high end model kits.

The makers of these high-end model kits are catering to a limited audience, and they still need to turn a profit. They can't put $100 figures in Toys R Us and expect a lot of sales (except from folks like us).

This is also a petroleum based hobby. With oil prices going through the roof so goes the prices of everything made from petroleum.

There are also the retailers that want to turn a profit - Look at all the loose gear being parted out from sets. Some times I look at the prices on the loose gear and wonder if it's more expensive to bash up a figure from loose parts or to buy one in the box?

This is an expensive hobby. When I got into it hot and heavy about 2 years ago I bought everything I saw... Then paid the price by being broke. Now I'm a bit more discriminating how I spend my cash in this hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Both are very good points. I definitely agree with kneejoint, I'm look at what people pay for loose items and I say you could have bought the box, sold the rest for pieces and had the piece you wanted for free. But obviously too much of a hassle, specially in our "I want I'll pay whatever for it" culture.
And by the way sorry for dropping this post in the wrong category, i noticed that after the fact.
 

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It's just the sign of times, just like comparing The Flintstones to the Jetsons. it basically come down to how much you want it and willing to pay. I've cut down a way bit of buying but enjoy seeing alot of good bashes here in the box. I buy parts more than boxed sets cause usually thats all i want or got space for others have they own way of spending and wants, but i see where you comming from.
 

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It all depends on what you want from the hobby...and to a degree what hobby you're actually taking part in.

There's the buy-and-dress collector. Limited by what is available, and to a lesser extent what they can afford. The hobby is getting more expensive for them, especially if they discriminate more.

Then there's the collector that sees things more as a modelling hobby and building hobby. Not limited by what is available, they make more things for themselves. Price is less of an issue here.

It's not quite accurate to say that all figs have reached the high-end pricepoint of the 100 USD range.

Recently, SotW boxed figs have reappeared at retail for 6.98 USD each. While not the brag-factor of HT et al, they have decent enough stuff....especially if one is willing to do a bit of work (modelling).

The recent Hasbro Indiana Jones figs (@ 20 USD) have had some nice results when shown some attention as well.
 

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Although plastic is petroleum based there just isn't that much petroleum in a figure (I don't know the number but there has to be a LOT of figures per barrel of oil). My understanding is that there is a lot of labor involved in building one of our figures and wage rates have been climbing with inflation. If we want them and want the detail we'll have to pay the people who put them togeather.
 

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Although plastic is petroleum based there just isn't that much petroleum in a figure (I don't know the number but there has to be a LOT of figures per barrel of oil). My understanding is that there is a lot of labor involved in building one of our figures and wage rates have been climbing with inflation. If we want them and want the detail we'll have to pay the people who put them togeather.
You got me wondering just how much patrolium is used in making plastic. Thanks to the power of google I may have found an answer.

"The manufacture of all plastics consumed approximately three percent
of the total petroleum used in the US in 1997, and PS production
comprised approximately .002 percent of that amount. Comparatively, 71
percent of total petroleum used in the US is used for gasoline, jet,
and diesel fuel, and 26 percent for the production of asphalt, oils
and lubricants."

http://www.polystyrene.org/faqs/answers.html
 

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My point is what happened to the $30 -$40 figure, it seems all the newer released figures, regardless of company are coming at $80-90 bucks to say the least.

Is it just me or is it getting a bit ridiculous?
No, its not Ridiculous.....in fact I will go so far as to say that $80-$90 per figure is an IMPROVEMENT..and here's why.

Dragon started off releasing almost nothing but Germans, but the Germans they released were usually pretty well kitted out. Their first figure, Hans, still its upon my shelf proudly displayed, I think its a great figure, came with lots of stuff, and passes my 3 foot rule...if it looks awesome from 3 feet, its good enough for me. This went on for awhile, until you started to watch prices go up on the "kitted out" figures and the prices stay the same for figures that weren't so well laden with gear and gadegtry :)

The problem was somewhere along the line those became $50 and $60 figures when BBI got into the game. But as the prices went up, we started to get less stuff included in the figures. BBi's figures were the great bargains, making the Dragon stuff look like a ripoff...but then BBI just disappeared, I am guessing because they chose to release some really oddball stuff that ppealed only to niche collectors. GREAT stuff, but, was there ever a huge market for a Korean War MIG or Sabre pilot? Probably Not....(I'm guessing here, as someone who has spent thousands on these things over the years).

Now at $80 to $110 per figure, you go "OH MY FRICKIN GOD!"....but wait....stop for a second. See what you are buying. You are getting hyper accurate detailing, in everything from equipment to uniforms to weapons. The figures are almost surely kitted out to the max. The bodies tend to be an improvement over what has come before and the headsculpts are almost universally leaps and bounds better. In fact the standard head on a Hot TOys figure today is what people would pay $40+ bucks for from a customizer just a handfull of years ago.

So I think the Hot Toys figures are actually a much greater value, and so I think they justify the price. Same with most (but not all) of the other small batch producers.

The PROBLEM is when there are 3 or 4 figures released a month....that could be a $500-$600 bill......thats like....a car payment. And of course, forget about "I'll wait for it" because these things are gone a week after they ship.
So you are screwed.....

I think the deal would be to get cozy with an online vendor that is reputable and work out a payment plan with them, and pay for the figure over a couple months....layaway :) No joke, at $100+ and in these economic times, FlexPay isn't a bad idea....if the vendors can afford to do it. Some will, some wont be able to.
 

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the oil isn't in the plastic, it's in the cargo ship loaded with SeaTrans coming across the Pacific. that's a lot of miles at less than a mile a gallon... (your mileage may vary)
 

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I think one of the reasons the price is going up more then from the past is the companies are making smaller runs of the figures. Years ago I know companies were releasing larger #'s of each figure. Now the runs are alot smaller and as mentioned the items are more detailed inaddition they have to make a profit.
 

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Running from explosions
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Although plastic is petroleum based there just isn't that much petroleum in a figure (I don't know the number but there has to be a LOT of figures per barrel of oil). My understanding is that there is a lot of labor involved in building one of our figures and wage rates have been climbing with inflation. If we want them and want the detail we'll have to pay the people who put them togeather.
Not just inflation, but with the huge influx of production moving to China in the last decade there has been an increase in the standard of living there. There are more jobs that people can discriminate between which has led to problems with retention and an increase in wages paid. What does this all mean? Manufacturing in China isn't as cheap as it used to be. Some companies are already in Vietnam and other SE Asian countries. In the future it will be the middle east and Africa for cheap labor.
 

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And don't forget most of the good stuff are imports. If you live in Hong Kong and can just go pick up your goodies at the local Hot Toys shop, the stuff only cost 60-70% of what we are paying here.
 

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HP-2nd that...
i remember back in 2000-2001 going into Outer-perimeter Hobbies( in Canada) and paying $75.00 for BBI's Japanese pilot figure. That was when the Canadian dollar was worth about .55 US. Its a nice figure but no where near the quality of to days figures...I think people entering this hobby now have it better then 8 years ago...better Quality, better selection, and figures that I paid 60-80$$ for now sell regularly on eBay for like 20-25.00. Plus the Canadian dollar is even or worth more the the US dollar...all the better...
 

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blistering barnacles
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what happened to the $30 -$40 figure.
It went to the same place the $1 gallon of gas went.

Seriously though, people mentioned most of the factors, but to sum up it's really just these things:

- Less figures produced/bought(no big box retailers carrying 1/6 product not produced by Hasbro/Mattel/Zizzle/21st Century/Power Team)

- Significantly higher quality

- Collapse of the US dollar compared to other currencies

- Oil price increases (which affects costs of plastic but more significantly shipping costs)

- People willing to pay the higher prices
 

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Français par le sang vers
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I got into this hobby about a year ago and while i have not went thru the $30-$40 per figure period, i do managed to have some older DML and BBI figures, courtesy of evilbay.

Here what i noticed why the prices never stay the same as before :

Clear and common reasons are :

1) The quality has definitely improved - In the past, you get molded and unable to opened ammo pouch, now you got actual cloth and functioning ammo pouch, not to mention the 'celebrity' HS being done by HT.

2) Standard of living in China went up - Not exactly cos it seemed the average China factory worker is still living on a US$100 or less pay check a month but i m not too sure about the 'skilled' workers in the 1/6 industry, maybe they earn more?

3) Packaging design - Just compare the HT M Icons Series James Dean box design and packaging with a old school BBI or GI Joe packaging.

Beneath all the above reasons, i think the one clear reason ( and its just a guess ) why prices went up is this :

Price threshold of consumers : Yes, i think all of us played a very big part in bringing up the prices. Why? If you noticed, as the prices for some major brands and smaller brands too slowly started to creep up, what did the consumers like us did? We complained and we make noise but at the end of the day, WE STILL FIND MONEY BUY IT ! ! ! Imagine the below 'scenario' :

BOSS of company A : 'Raise the price of our new release to USD$100'

Sales agent of company A : 'Yes, Boss'

After releases for over a week....

Boss of company A : ' How is the market sales and feedback ? '

Sales agent of company A : ' Some complaning about the price increases but sales is still strong, all releases were sold out due to our so-called " Limited Edition / Production Run " tactics, nobody is willing to take a chance and sit on these babies. '

Boss of company A : ' Good, next release will be at USD$115 '

Sales agent of company A : ' Sure thing, boss '

Meanwhile, at company B...

Boss of company B : ' It seemed company A has raised their price to USD$100 for their last release and in no way is our product more inferior than theirs ( remember how all of us think the best of our own stuff, even though sometimes it may not be ) and so why should we be selling at USD$80 ? If the consumers can take the price tag of USD$100, i m sure ours will sell at USD$95 '

Sales agent of company B : ' sure thing, boss '

Boss of company B : ' I heard company A will be revising their next release at USD$115 and so for our next release, we will sell at USD$110 '

Sales agent of company B : ' sure thing, boss '

Lastly :

Consumers at OSW forum : ' %#@*&$ , why is the prices keep going up ? '

Disclaimer : The above scenario is a totally speculative ( and meant to be a fun - poking way ) scenario and no names of any manufacturers are mentioned at all.. I don't need anyone to agree with me at all, just read it and move on. Thank you.

Hope all retailers , manufacturers and supporters of any particular brands take this as a light-hearted joke.

Let's keep the can of worms sealed :bag
 

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I'm not sure all of that is true, in fact I don't really agree with the last largest argument. Thing is, I have no way of knowing at all what the reality of the situation is in don't even have enough information to make an educated guess.

I would just like to think these smaller companies (of which are pretty much all the "major" makers we talk about) are run by people who love this hobby as much as we do and aren't trying to price gouge us just because they can.
 

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Ain't it Cool?
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Well, it is all true. Everything all of you have said. However, there is one thing I think we have forgotten. In the early days, 1997 - 2000, a lot of folks were collecting and everybody was buying because the concept was new (accurate military 1:6th figures), they were cheap, and the dollar was strong.

Then some vendors (like 21C) got greedy, failed to be inspirational, some overcome by the saturation of rip-off companies, and/or displayed poor management which in the long run affected the market.

However, the biggest change was with us. The hobbyist who start taking these dolls from toy collector items to true models reflecting our interest from cavemen to super troopers and everything in between. This meant that much more study, research and effort had to go into the product to give us what we wanted. And there is a price for that!

A lot of the guys who were just collecting drop off the radar and true hobbyist emerged. Which also meant that mass sale were no longer happening. A lot of us struggle to pay that 90 dollar plus tag which also means that sales will also fall more. But we love what we do so we do! But soon, we will have to make the choice of getting to work, feeding the kids, making Mama happy or buying a figure a 100 plus a pop!

Don't forget that DML started the soft pouch revolution with their 75th Ranger series and it has been to their credit that our appetites are what they are today. That being said, also thank Dragon in Dreams for making a kick-ass figure that is still under 60 bucks in most cases. All the equipment you get, the extra uniforms and gear, and the level of detail in truly wonderful. Their head sculpts are very, very good and there has been few times that I even thought of repainting them.

I love HT and they are the trend / pace setter. However, if DiD can make the level of figure they do for 60 bucks, why can't other vendors. If DiD ever decide to cross the line and make more modern stuff, it will be to our benefit (Remember the ACU uniform set?). There is a level of effort that goes into these figures and the work behind the scene does not come cheap. Just think of the cost and time you put into making your wonderful bashes!
 

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I'd like to comment on one thing....as prices go up, I'd love Hot Toys to offer their figures and accessories polybagged, and save us the $20 we are paying for that fancy packaging, which I destroy immediately upon opening the figure (and I hate doing it every time, those are nice boxes...but I got rules about this sort of thing).
 
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