Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's up with issues on expensive toys?

Having issues and problems with expensive collectible pieces has always been the nature of the beast for the most part. There's always a batch of good releases in between the bad ones so that takes the sting out of the whole thing. But what about getting three defective figures in a row that cost a whopping $450 when you factor in shipping? Is this in any way justifiable? Aren't we paying good money to receive a good product? I understand the cost has something to do with the amount of units made versus production costs, but it still sucks when I can pay $10 for a bulletproof Transformer figure but when you spend $250 on a Masterpiece Rodimus, panels are snapping off, parts are breaking, springs are getting twisted and who knows what else. Then Takara turns around and releases an updated version and basically says "piss off" to all the people who jumped at ordering the first release.
Takara's $250 first release version with trailer (not shown) and QC issues on left and my own customized $60 Hasbro version without QC issues on the right. FYI, I've never transformed the Takara one out of FEAR of breakage. The Hasbro has the updates and I still won't transform it cause I don't wanna mess up the paint.

My bad luck streak started off with the Hot Toys Superman. Now it's not that bad because mine only suffered a couple of problems instead of suffering 10 like other people. Mine had the shiny forehead and the copper cape wire that poked out of the cape. The cape was relatively easy to fix and I was able to source a replacement head (which ironically also has a shiny forehead but much less noticeable.)
OK, the issue with this guy was more from package design (plastic tray rubs on head) than factory defect so it's not too bad... but still. Should be a non-issue on a $200 figure.

Next came TFC Toys Heavy Labor which is part of their Non-Devastator Hercules combiner. I decided to do a shoot for CDX. Instead of doing my research first to make sure nobody suffered QC issues, I went ahead and opened it up. During the interview I decided to look it up in my phone and I read about the gear shearing action of the hip ratchets. Lucky for me I had already clicked the joint once. That means it can't possibly have broken right? WRONG. One racthet motion is all it took to shear the gear tooth. Awesome. So I decided to take it apart. This required messing up the screw plugs to get to screws. However folks, TFC Toys does not leave their loyal customers to eat elephant shit like multi-million dollar Takara. They actually keep customers up to date with issue fixes, include replacement parts with new figures and issue new parts etc. This is definitely much better than being stuff with a bum figure but at $100 a pop, this should not even be an issue. Not only does this hurt the small company's profits, it creates a bad customer experience and bad mouthing on the net...and we all know how TF fans can be. I mean if it only took one movement of the ratchet to mess it up (on EVERYBODY'S) didn't they realize this during testing? Donit they grab one off the assembly line and check it out? Or were they aware and shipped 'em out anyways to meet their deadline?
This is the ratchet gear piece that gets stripped. The opposing piece does not "give" so it shears the teeth. Luckily for me I did not try and move the other leg so this one is fine.

The last straw was during my ES Gokin Baikanfu review... wow did I love this set. I still do but it wasn't until I really started handling it that things got bad. You'll have to watch the review to get the full effect. Basically small plastic bits snapped, I found that the ankle on one of the figures had been forced on in the factory and I'm still not sure if the ratchets on the toes broke or if the initial ratchets I heard were just freak happenings. Oh and the chrome sword that looks like it was stepped on for a full work day..what the hell?
Oh, these are cool, yes, but don't tug the head too much or else.

The gray piece has a tab that snapped on mine.

I want to know who thought putting this in the tray was a good idea.. this is the side that face up on the tray!  Way to go Artstorm. Glad you don't sell cars cause people tend not to buy cars with scratches all over them.

We live in 2011, going into 2012...how are the toys of today going to withstand the test of time if they fall apart within a couple of days after receiving them or suffer from QC issues? I have toys from my childhood still intact after rigorous play. All you MISB guys beware, not to make you paranoid or anything but what you think is in perfect condition may have tons of QC issues or missing parts...just sayin'.

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