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Opinion: BAF VS Deluxes


tarot
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(NOTE: DO NOT MAKE this thread about the prices. They stink but not what we are talking about).


Many people are still debating about whether they should get rid of BAF and replace them with Deluxe sets. However, I think Hasbro has been doing something different with the BAF, at least for the comic ones. Instead of putting big name characters as BAFs, like Rhino and Thanos, they have been putting obscure characters that would probably never sell as well as a deluxe as the previous mentioned characters.


Just looking at the last few BAF, people wouldn't have heard of Bonebreaker, Controller, Armadillo, Mr. Hyde, Stilt Man or Ursa Major so many people wouldn't be rushing to complete these BAF. They are obscure enough that they would not really sell as well as a Deluxe. So having them as BAF is a way better move for Hasbro. Now you may say that you would buy them if they were deluxe, but like it has been said before, we are a small portion of Hasbro sales. You may buy them, but most retail shoppers wouldn't. 


As for the Deluxe, Hasbro has struck a balance of giving us the characters people would know, via the comics, movies or cartoon. A figure of Rhino, Classic Thanos, Lizard etc would sell no matter what as they are fan favourites. Now there are a few exceptions to this, like the Knull set, but alot of them are using the Anniversary system to sell them, which given the prices, are geared towards the true collectors. Most of them are fan channels anyway so they wouldn't sell at retail anyway.


As for the MCU BAF they are more decided via marketing and whether they appear in movies. MCU collector may finish them the rest of us won't. Look at the Korg BAF. Many people would have bought the previous version, so they wouldn't build him.  Thanos and the Hulks are another. They have them in the previous version. The exception to these Rintrah or other character that have a minimum role in the Movies but that is due to Hasbro getting the concept art and thinking they may have a major role in the MCU.


So in finishing, Hasbro are leaving the BAF as obscure characters and the Deluxes as well known characters. Let me know what you think.
 

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I personally want more well-known characters as BAFs. Because that would incentivize people like me who hate obscure characters getting the BAF treatment to build the BAF. I want to build a BAF. I want to trade BAF pieces and build a character that I want. But these obscure characters getting the treatment irks me. Especially Controller which is just a Thanos repaint with a new head and hands. As for characters like Korg, I think made him the BAF because he is the largest character to appear in the movie that the trailers have not revealed.

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Nice writeup, Tarot. I agree with your analysis as to what Hasbro seems to be doing, and I honestly think this is the right strategy. I'm at the point in my Legends collecting that I'm far more interested in the obscure characters than well known characters which have mostly all have been done. I love getting figures of characters like Rintrah, Controller, Bonebreaker, Armadillo, Mister Hyde, etc and this is likely the only way they'll ever get done. Guys like Rhino, Apocalypse, Thanos and Hulk will likely still sell as deluxe figures. So I certainly don't want them to end the BAF concept. Yes it requires me to buy repeat figures of the A-listers that I wouldn't buy otherwise, but it still lets me get those characters that would never be made otherwise. Hasbro has also done a good job recently with having characters like Wolverine, Iron Man and Doctor Strange not coming with BAF pieces because they know that they'll sell without them. That gives me an out from buying those figures. I think that the current formula is working well, although I do have concerns about both the windowless packaging and the price increases impacting the future of the line. I think we've reached our maximum acceptable price point for most collectors of this particular quality of figure.

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I think we should do away with BAF's. My most wanted for a long time was Kingpin, but there was not a single figure in his wave that I wanted. The figures from the Juggernaut wave got so expensive so quickly I figured there was no way I was gonna finish him, same with Vol. 1 Groot. Fortunately all of those figures were released as deluxe. Both Thanos MCU BAF's got rereleased with more accurate deco and paint, so did Ebony Maw. Most "must have" figures like MODOK and now Mojo are straight deluxe releases now. I think Hasbro should ditch the concept and use the budget for more accessories and effects, instead of an arm I have to try and sell for 3-4 bucks so it's not taking up room in my bins.

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On 6/23/2022 at 5:03 PM, AnotherPunkChef said:

I think we should do away with BAF's. My most wanted for a long time was Kingpin, but there was not a single figure in his wave that I wanted. The figures from the Juggernaut wave got so expensive so quickly I figured there was no way I was gonna finish him, same with Vol. 1 Groot. Fortunately all of those figures were released as deluxe. Both Thanos MCU BAF's got rereleased with more accurate deco and paint, so did Ebony Maw. Most "must have" figures like MODOK and now Mojo are straight deluxe releases now. I think Hasbro should ditch the concept and use the budget for more accessories and effects, instead of an arm I have to try and sell for 3-4 bucks so it's not taking up room in my bins.

I agree, while I have gotten some BAFs recently, I could hardly call them must-haves. The idea of a BAF is not really as viable  in today's market. The money would be better spent on Deluxes and more accessories, to make the figures better value for money. Also it won't be the end of obscure figures as Hasbro will need them to keep the line fresh.  

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I'd like to see them experiment with a build-a-diorama. They couldn't be very big, but a 6-figure wave should be able to include six 4" x 4" square pieces that lock together. I'm thinking 2 bottom pieces that also have pegs (to server as figure stands) then go 2 pieces high. So they'd be 8" long x 8'' high by 4" wide when fully constructed from 1 wave. They could do various store fronts or something similar and make them lock together to create a full city block or street over multiple waves. If they thought through it enough and planned ahead they could build out these things on multiple levels (up) instead of just stretching out long wise also. I feel like this would be an interesting alternative to a BAF. Although it probably wouldn't save anything cost wise. For me as a collector, I've begun to find the diorama building the most challenging part of the hobby. The pre-built ones that aren't just cardboard have gotten to be outrageously expensive.

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On 6/23/2022 at 6:03 PM, Reno said:

I'd like to see them experiment with a build-a-diorama. They couldn't be very big, but a 6-figure wave should be able to include six 4" x 4" square pieces that lock together. I'm thinking 2 bottom pieces that also have pegs (to server as figure stands) then go 2 pieces high. So they'd be 8" long x 8'' high by 4" wide when fully constructed from 1 wave. They could do various store fronts or something similar and make them lock together to create a full city block or street over multiple waves. I feel like this would be an interesting alternative to a BAF. Although it probably wouldn't save anything cost wise. For me as a collector, I've begun to find the diorama building the most challenging part of the hobby. The pre-built ones that aren't just cardboard are outrageously expensive.

I like that idea. 

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Thanks, Tarot!  I hadn't really thought about it the way you put it I am totally good with Deluxe figures (preferably with new characters, like the upcoming Mojo, vs. a repaint of a figure), but like many I have grown frustrated with having to purchase figures I don't want in order to build a BAF, but it seems like that has been happening less because they have been putting out more obscure characters as BAFs, which is awesome for those who want them (Mr. Hyde, Ursa Major, Armadillo, and Controller are all wants vs. needs, so I passed on them and just grabbed the individual figures I needed). I wish they would release more boxed sets - would love to see sets of Classic X-Men, New Mutants, Generation X, Starjammers, Marvel Monsters.

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On 6/23/2022 at 9:03 AM, AnotherPunkChef said:

I think we should do away with BAF's. My most wanted for a long time was Kingpin, but there was not a single figure in his wave that I wanted. The figures from the Juggernaut wave got so expensive so quickly I figured there was no way I was gonna finish him, same with Vol. 1 Groot. Fortunately all of those figures were released as deluxe. Both Thanos MCU BAF's got rereleased with more accurate deco and paint, so did Ebony Maw. Most "must have" figures like MODOK and now Mojo are straight deluxe releases now. I think Hasbro should ditch the concept and use the budget for more accessories and effects, instead of an arm I have to try and sell for 3-4 bucks so it's not taking up room in my bins.

AGREED!  I feel like the last great BAF waves were the Juggernaut, and Apocalypse BAF waves - all characters were must haves!

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This is a great analysis, but I don't think there's really that much of a question here. You pretty much answered any question within your own statement.

As far as my opinion, and that's all it's worth, then here it is.

Firstly, I've been a huge fan of the BAF system sense it's inception. As I've said in the past, it's almost like the modern day mail in system where we used to send in the Proofs of Purchases from Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures we bought to get a Palpatine or Cobra Commander like 6 months later (still expecting my Mr. Gone from the first Indie Spotlight wave about 16 years ago any day now). As the line ages there are both old and new pro's and con's to the continuation of the BAF. It was clearly a "bonus" program for the fans who bought the entire set, but now it seems to be an automatic requirement, so let's not forget that.

At this time I don't really care if the BAF system went away. Yes, it served well as a way to get both some of the larger figures out and also some of the more obscure figures out that may have otherwise not sold well, but this game has run it's course. There was a time when buying all of a Comic based Spider-Man wave in order to get a comic based Rhino was cool, but this system has become so restrictive and frustrating as of late it's just not worth my time anymore. First off, we're never gonna get very big figures like Galactus or the Sentinel or even Giant Man ever again, so characters like that are out.  Second, Hasbro refuses to revisit any previous BAF efforts, such as Blob or Holocaust from the Dark Days of ML, even though I would say a solid 80 to 90 percent majority of the fans would support it, while also insisting "improve" on Toybiz's BAF's, such as MODOK and Mojo as Deluxe and Multi-Packs, so those are out. Now there are precious few characters that fall within the confines of what Hasbro is willing to do as BAF's, meaning characters who aren't too large, characters that have never been done before and characters who are interesting enough to push a collector to make that extra purchase(s) to complete that figure. Who do we really have left? Lockjaw, Orka, Atlas, Iron Patriot (Toni Ho).....maybe, who knows. All these guys, even if they aren't capable of driving sales as Deluxe figures, I could easily see drum up some interest as Multi-Packs with characters they are associated with.

What I know is I used to enjoy building the BAF, but as of late I bought at least 3 figures that I neither wanted nor needed to build Hyde and 4 figures I certainly didn't want to complete Armadillo and I'm not liking it. On the other hand I happily passed on several figures in the Rintrah and Watcher waves because I had no interest in several of the figures or the BAF, so I enjoyed that very much, plus the total bypassing every single figure in the "People in Fancy Robes" wave that hit the clearance aisle in record time and remain there to this day. Both the good and bad from both situations basically put me in the mind set that I would be totally and completely happy to do away with the BAF system altogether and just go to a place where I just pay a settled price for what I want. Personally, I woulda gladly paid $50 for Armadillo packed with Vermin, I woulda stood in line to pay $50 for Hyde packed with Mr. Fear. Whether I wanted the 2nd character or not it still would have come out cheaper for me in the end. Put me in total control. Let me decide exactly what I wanna spend my money on. Don't put me in a situation where I have to buy storage been filler to get guys like Hyde and Armadillo.

Currently these full MCU or Disney+ waves, as much as I hate how much TV and Movie product has taken over the line, is just what the doctor ordered. Most of the time I have little to no interest in the BAF so I can cherry pick figures like Kate and Jane and Teen Groot and skirt the rest of the retreads. You got Lockjaw in the pipes? Forget the BAF, just pack him with Crystal and open up the pre-order. You planning on doing an Atlas figure any time soon? Pack him with Fixer and let's get the show on the road. Spare me the hassle of having to purchase another Cap or another IM or any What If? figure at all to get a bigger figure I want. Of course, the trade off for a lot less plastic that Hasbro will be using for the BAF parts should translate to more and better accessories, but let's not hold our breath about Hasbro doing things that are fair and make sense. How 'bout one extra gun, Hasbro. No? How 'bout just one that actually fits in the holster the figure comes with? Too much? Yeah? Thought so.

As far as the Deluxe format as it compares to Multi-Packs it just all depends on the figures. Of course, figures like Hulk and Juggernaut and Apocalypse will sell themselves, but just cuz a figure's large doesn't always mean there will be people willing to pay a premium without a little help.

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I understand the note, but its hard to have a discussion about BAFs and Deluxes without touching on price. Many collectors like the idea of getting that BAF because its a "bonus" in that 6-7 figure wave. Otherwise, it gets pretty expensive (and that was back in the day, see how worse it is now).  Hasbro hasn't done a classic Titanium Man yet, but if they do, they'll probably go the Deluxe route. And you can be sure they're gonna charge more than the $27.00 Marvel Select did. So getting guys like him as a BAF is a great deal.

Also, I agree that guys like Armadillo work best as BAFs vs. Deluxe. Don't see them getting rid of BAFs in favor of Deluxes, though, and bear in mind BAFs don't "have" to be large figures (Ares, Hit Monkey, Mantis, Okoye for example) because Hasbro seems to think that's what moves a wave...personally, if I like the entire wave, then I'll get it whether I'm into the BAF or not. But I've never bought a wave just to get the BAF, even if I really wanted the BAF (Kingpin comes to mind; I passed on it but luckily, they made him later).  

As for obscure figures, I'm all for them. Legends is an outgrowth of Toybiz and when those came out, they weren't centered around movies or tv, it was the comics. We bought the comics, the figures are driven by us, not the people who liked the movies but never heard of them before 2008. Those obscure figures, particularly when done well like Psycho-Man, Maverick, Puma and YES, Rock Python, really enhance the series...besides, it helps stop over saturation of the other figures. Overall, I agree that BAFs can be the lesser known figures and Deluxe somewhat more high profile.

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Just throwing out my two cents, Inflation and rising gas prices are a big player in all of this. I feel if Marvel Legends is to survive because people are not going to be able to afford this hobby on a mass scale then BAF will become a thing of the past and you will see 7 to 6 figure waves drop to somewhere like 3 or 4 figure waves. It will be a business decision and we will not see very many waves each year like we been seeing. I know people are going to argue with this logic but its what I see in the near future.

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yeah i know the OP indicated not to bring price into it, so i'll try and avoid doing so.

To me the BAF concept works best when you have both a cool looking BAF (doesn't have to be a big name) and the wave selection is such that collectors want at least 3 figures from the wave that come with BAF parts. At that point feels like there is a good chance the collector will complete the BAF eventually.  

Going forward between character selection and other factors, i can see collectors cutting back and deciding maybe they only want 2 or even just 1 figure from a wave. At that point it is easy to justfiy skipping the BAF unless the rest of the wave goes on clearance or something.  

The deluxe model seems great but of course it tend to involve more popular characters.  I really like it personally and hope Hasbro continues to utilize it.  $40 for the BAF Apoc, for instance, seems reasonable.  and in general, 20th aside, most deluxe prices have been pretty reasonable.  Archangel was a bit overpriced and MODOK is the other exception, of course many got those on sale but it does suggest their are limits to what collectors are willing to shell out, based on the product.

THe BAF model was great when i started collecting MLs, i think it still works well but requires extra care when it comes to selecting the wave characters - i think collectors will put up with lots of re-use for wave figures if it has a great BAF, but it has to be for characters they want to add to their collection.

 

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Great topic! 

All I can really say is that Deluxes ought to be the way forward and BAFs retired. BAFs as a concept worked when these figures were cheaper. In Canada, regular figures are between 40-45$ after taxes, and there's just no way now that I'm going to fork over that much money for a BAF piece and a figure I'm not interested in. The only way BAFS can still work imo is if they are even more wave specific, as in specific to a story-line and all the characters featured therein. 

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On 6/23/2022 at 12:10 PM, DrZarnak said:

I hope they keep doing the more obscure characters as BAFs. Seems the only possible way we will ever get Bushmaster, Griffin, Attuma, or a comics accurate Executioner.

they should do a deluxe for the Brotherhood, though. A three pack of Blob, Avalanche, and Destiny would sell well, even at a price point over $100.

Yes to all of this, Executioner has been on my most wanted list for awhile

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On 6/23/2022 at 7:36 PM, Air-Walker said:

"....The only way BAFS can still work imo is if they are even more wave specific, as in specific to a story-line and all the characters featured therein...." 

I can see that. Sadly the team doesn't pick the waves the way we collectors would want. I'd love to get the Griffin and/or the Harpy, but the way for that would be BAF, because getting either as a Deluxe (with the prices they now know they can get away with charging), we're looking at $60-80.00. And Marvel Legends just aren't worth that. One other thing, I feel they can do a BAF wave with 4-5 figures instead of the standard 7. Head for one figure, upper/lower torso for another, 2 arms for figure #3, 2 legs for figure#4, wings and tail for the 5th figure. Something like that anyway.

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On 6/24/2022 at 4:36 AM, Air-Walker said:

Great topic! 

The only way BAFS can still work imo is if they are even more wave specific, as in specific to a story-line and all the characters featured therein. 

It would be a good idea, but Marvel Legends wave selection and Bafs hasn't been very logical and I doubt that will change.

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