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What If - Hasbro Changed The Primary Way Marvel Legends Are Sold At Retail?

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I don’t know what it’s been like for you these past several weeks. For me, I have been stuck in my house with a COVID-19 pandemic shelter in place rule in place, leaving only for a supply run to the corner grocery or taking my dog for a walk. My access to new action figures (assuming any are available on local shelves) has been greatly restricted.

I still have access to shopping online for my plastic fix at places like BBTS, but the recent events really have me thinking about what the future holds for action figures and how things might change long-term.

Obviously, with many under the same type of shelter in place restrictions, I am sure several will turn to more online shopping, at least in the immediate future. With that in mind, WHAT IF a company like Hasbro started shaping how they release figures based more on the online delivery channels?

In particular, I was looking at their recent Marvel Legends Hydra Soldier army builder figure. The single-packed figure with a few accessories shipped in a mailer-type box with some artwork on it and only cost $14.99.
 

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The packaging is what intrigues me the most about this figure. Not only does it meet the new non-plastic standards Hasbro is said to be implementing soon for all of its brands, the box also is simple and (I assume) cheaper than the regular Marvel Legends packaging. If most people move to buying their figures online, there is no longer a real need to have the figure visible in the package and the artwork makes it nice if you don’t want to open it.

Now, I don’t see Hasbro as able to lower the price of their Marvel Legends figures across the board to $14.99. Keep in mind the Hydra figure had already been released multiple times, so Hasbro likely already earned the return on their investment in the sculpt. If this was a brand new figure, I doubt they would be able to sell it as cheaply, even with cheaper packaging.

You hear over and over in the media that this is the new norm, and I don’t really know what that means for the long-term. I certainly don’t see people fully giving up shopping at physical stores. I do think there will be a significant shift to more online activity, including shopping, even after the immediate crisis subsides. So maybe shifting the focus on how one sells their products isn’t such a bad idea?

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Marvel-Legends-Hydra-02.jpg

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I am down for the change in packaging to lower the prices, but for me it would only be for online purchase. Because I already see so many people swapping figures into these plastic-less boxes in places like Walmart and Target.

I also, occasionally, like to keep some of my figures in package. I see some in-box collectors not liking this idea.

But not bad....

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I wouldn't mind. Personally, I do most of my shopping online anyway and since I'm an opener I don't mind the packaging. Quoting Robo "just give me my plastic".

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I can only buy legends online being that I live in Tralee in Ireland and the closest I get to ML in stores is in Cork or Limerick. Even then they are a year or 2 old. 

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I, for one, am 100 percent down with this idea, but I think it would only work well for figures that (as you said) have already earned their return, which would apply to pretty much any repaint or mold re-use, but I think since the movie licenses are the major draw for the retailers those movie related products have to have a presence on the shelves. Even if they only stock a few rounds for each wave and then direct the customer to an online site for more purchasing options.

I love this idea for army builder types such as the Hydra soldier (of which I ordered a dozen) and they could even use some of the larger molds such as the Reaper or Hyperion bucks to add a little variation. This would also work for the AIM figures, which I'm sure will shortly follow suit, and long requested builders like the Hand or SHIELD agents. They could probably release figures of Quake and Commander Rogers/Nick Fury, Jr (on the Reaper mold) and release them as standard SHIELD agents online. They can easily do it with the Nick Fury figure they already did a few years back. I think even a Multiple Man would do fairly well if the price was right.

Additionally, I wouldn't mind if products like the Premium format figures were through Pulse or etailer sites exclusively. It seriously would free Hasbro (and the customer) from having to depend on some of those frustrating stores like Walmart and Gamestop (who are the worst offenders) to get some of those HTF products. Even a pre-order would be a good idea. I think Hasbro made a terrible mistake by making the Red Hulk available through no other source but Target. I think they grossly under estimated how well it would do on the open market. Giving WM art Target 2 different exclusives of the Black Widow in a market that was being flooded with BW product at the time is one thing, but not making the Red Hulk available on Pulse or e-tail sites was a missed opportunity. They missed out on a gold mine, IMO.

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I personally am not a big fan of buying my figures online. I don’t mind doing it if it’s an import figure because for the price point the paint and QC are usually top notch. Legends on the other hand I feel like I definitely need to see when I buy because the paint is all over the place. The new power rangers lighting collection is really bad when it comes to paint too. I’m hoping when hasbro changes to the new plastic less packaging it’s more like the Star Wars black series skywalker strikes Luke but, I do see people having an easier time stealing figures In that packaging. 

 

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I'm in Canada, which means trusting to find things at retail is like going out expecting to find money on the ground; once in a while you might get lucky, but overall you're not getting anything at retail save for filler figures. Online is best and most reliable way to get things here.

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Sounds good to me also, I have actually run out of room on my wall to put in package figures anyway. And army building can be so expensive this would be nice for that. While on a supply run last week I passed through the action figure isle in Walmart and it looked abandoned as far as the ML figures and DC. And with online being backlogged lately who knows when things will pick up again. If they ever pick back up. I think we have reached a turning point in our world if we realize it or not. This whole pandemic thing creeped up so fast it was like a car accident. All of a sudden we are living in the episode of Sliders where everybody lived in fear of a deadly virus.

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Not a fan of this approach. During the pandemic I have been very fortunate to be in Walmart at just the right time to acquire the new Abomination wave and the Crimson Dynamo wave. Also this week acquired the exclusive Gray Black Widow figure at Walmart.  I am surprised that they have been dropping so soon. I didn't want all the figures of these waves but could have gotten them if I did.

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I have a feeling that retail as we know it will change after things return to "normal"

I would prefer to buy my figs in person, but lately I find myself having to resort to online retailers as most of these awesome pieces of plastic are hard to come by at Canadian retail.

 

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2 hours ago, tarot said:

I can only buy legends online being that I live in Tralee in Ireland and the closest I get to ML in stores is in Cork or Limerick. Even then they are a year or 2 old. 

Tralee is a nice town. At least Waterford now has a comic shop but the prices for Marvel Legends varies from €30 to €40 there. The problem I have with online shopping is the shipping and customs so in the end I don't actually save much money and I don't support my local store.

I'm all for the reduced packing idea since it ends up in the recycling anyways. But packaging isn't the most expensive part of a figure, so just because the packaging gets cheaper doesn't mean the figures will (no matter how much I would love them to)

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Given these day my only way of getting my hands on MLs is online, I would be fine if that was their primary source of distribution AS LONG as they don't d*ck about the UK market and sell us all figs here as they do in the US. Supermarket exclusives are a pain in the arse and expensive to get over here. Also I'd be fine if it also meant getting them for £15 as suppose to the overpriced £20-£22 we pay now for them. 

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7 hours ago, JayC said:

I don’t know what it’s been like for you these past several weeks. For me, I have been stuck in my house with a COVID-19 pandemic shelter in place rule in place, leaving only for a supply run to the corner grocery or taking my dog for a walk. My access to new action figures (assuming any are available on local shelves) has been greatly restricted.

Hey, be careful. We're not really allowed to talk about COVID around here. The mod's kind of anal about it.

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I would love to just get everything online...opening up packages is one step removed from opening presents, so I'm all about it...BUT, the whole reason I still bother with retail is Hasbro's hit-or-miss QC. I need to see if the paint or random mold lines are horrible enough to ruin the figure for me, in which case I can walk away from the item at retail. I can't do that ordering blind.

And if they're doing away with windows entirely, this may force me out altogether.

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If doing this kind of packaging would keep marvel legends at their current price and give us all a little peace of mind without having to worry about them upping the price on us, I wouldn’t mind. It’s probably suck for in box collectors, but I like to open my figs so it depends I guess. 

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5 hours ago, mako said:

Hey, be careful. We're not really allowed to talk about COVID around here. The mod's kind of anal about it.

And I thought you were outta here for the umpteenth time?

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12 hours ago, Air-Walker said:

I'm in Canada, which means trusting to find things at retail is like going out expecting to find money on the ground; once in a while you might get lucky, but overall you're not getting anything at retail save for filler figures. Online is best and most reliable way to get things here.

Ditto on this, But the thing is I also love love getting out and hunting, I usually come up short but I'm addicted to the thrill, and the surprise, I'd be bummed out if I never got a chance to check local stores for figs on pegs or go to cons, but hey if thats the way it's gotta be in the future I'd learn to live with it.... I mean I guess checking Amazon every other day can be sorta like a B&M store hunt ahahahah

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Did not realize the packaging would cost a lot...I'm happy to go with the mailer type box, so there is no guilt or regret of throwing away the package when you decide to open and pose the action figure.

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2 hours ago, Bluecomet said:

Did not realize the packaging would cost a lot...I'm happy to go with the mailer type box, so there is no guilt or regret of throwing away the package when you decide to open and pose the action figure.

Packaging shouldn't cost that much. The reason the Hydra Soldier was discounted is because it required no new parts. The most expensive part of making an action figure is the molding. No new parts means no need to make new molds which means cheaper to make. 

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I just received 2 hydra troopers in the mail from Hasbro. With shipping, exchange and sales tax (yes they are in the US but still charged me Canadian Federal and Provencal sales tax) it worked out that these cheep army builder figures cost me $5 more each than if I had bought any ML at Walmart at retail.

Unless they go free shipping I'd rather buy from brick and mortar store,

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If legends did move to being primarily online, i would expect the price to go up a bit as i think having these figures in the toy aisle at big box retailers is largely what has allowed them to stay at a $20 price point.  But of course i don't really have much inside information to back up this assertion, just my instinct. From what others have said in other threads, i think these figures are largely viewed as close to loss-leaders by WM/Target.

I still enjoy seeing figures on the pegs so it would disappoint me if that went away, but would shift to buying online rather than give up the hobby altogether. But a  price increase would result in my being more selective / cherry-picking waves more.

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11 hours ago, Lord_Scareglow said:

 I mean I guess checking Amazon every other day can be sorta like a B&M store hunt ahahahah

I currently get my hunts that way, gives me peace of mind 😛 Even if I find nothing new, just looking at the figures in stock feels fine.

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On 4/15/2020 at 4:07 PM, anthonywayne said:

I would love to just get everything online...opening up packages is one step removed from opening presents, so I'm all about it...BUT, the whole reason I still bother with retail is Hasbro's hit-or-miss QC. I need to see if the paint or random mold lines are horrible enough to ruin the figure for me, in which case I can walk away from the item at retail. I can't do that ordering blind.

And if they're doing away with windows entirely, this may force me out altogether.

Agree completely. Legends is not a line I could buy sight unseen. I've seen some atrocious paint apps and several times I've had to go to multiple stores just to get one character that looks right. I'd have to only buy loose or used I guess...meaning Hasbro would get $0 from me.

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On 4/15/2020 at 11:55 PM, Lord_Scareglow said:

Ditto on this, But the thing is I also love love getting out and hunting, I usually come up short but I'm addicted to the thrill, and the surprise, I'd be bummed out if I never got a chance to check local stores for figs on pegs or go to cons, but hey if thats the way it's gotta be in the future I'd learn to live with it.... I mean I guess checking Amazon every other day can be sorta like a B&M store hunt ahahahah

Lol! Totally. Well, truth be told I've managed to re-wire my thrill-of-the-hunt fix to sitting in front of the computer screen and typing up every site I can think of, lol. I know it's not the same level of anticipation, but it can work! 😎

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29 minutes ago, Air-Walker said:

Lol! Totally. Well, truth be told I've managed to re-wire my thrill-of-the-hunt fix to sitting in front of the computer screen and typing up every site I can think of, lol. I know it's not the same level of anticipation, but it can work! 😎

Hahaha I indeed as well have been doing this exact same thing, It actually does fulfill my hunt fix to a degree, and it's good enough for the time being anyways

Havn't found any exciting new things or great deals or obscure older figs yet.. so bummer hunts these days

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