Toynami is Making New Voltron Shogun Warrior Jumbos

Posted by glane21 
I am absolutely convinced that Toynami could literally sell a million Jumbo Lion Voltrons, if they could just get the price under $50, and sell them at GameStop and Suncoast Video, ten years ago.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
That would require a DeLorean, and they don't have the license for that.
MattAlt Wrote:
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> Sure. And even better at $25! Alas, it isn't cheap
> to manufacture stuff like this. Trust me. I am
> sure if every kid on the block wanted one, it'd be
> a different story, but when you're talking about a
> limited audience of adult collectors, the
> manufacturing runs are way too small to be able to
> make up the difference by volume.

But isn't this a 'chicken or egg' problem? Seriously, what has changed that makes vinyl (sofubi or polyvinyl)
so uber expensive now, when it used to be the choice of cheap, disposable throwaway toys? I know volume of production is (was) a key factor and of course if you're Popy/Bandai and you plan on cranking out 500k that's going to bring per-unit costs way down, but doesn't the price also end up driving the sales?

Example from the anime VHS boom days. The price for an anime tape in the US was pretty solid at $39.95 for an average OAV, subtitled (animeigo) or dubbed (the early AD Vison). Shortly as more companies came into being that price shifted to $29.95, dub or sub. This is where CPM was in the early days. Then Manga Ent. came onto the scene, pushing the tapes to the record store market, and they broke out their dubs at a significantly lower price, $19.95 Vs. $29.95 for subtitled. Note that there was no actual track record to prove this would succeed, and given the added costs to dub into English it was a big chance. It worked, not so much because people preferred English dubbing for anime but RETAILERS preferred carrying a product that had a $19.95 MSRP over a $29.95 MSRP.

And it quickly became the industry standard, and an 'action line' was created. Subs cost more because dubs sold much better, which meant people preferred english dubbing regardless of the perceived quality of the acting and translation.

One thing that was interesting that I tracked down long ago, it was normally mentioned that a dubbed tape would outsell the subbed tape by 10 to 1, but when they were priced the same the spread fell down to about 3 to 1. Given the added expense of dubbing the wise move would have been to consider the subbed versions pure profit, and they could have increased that profit by lowering the MRSP to match which would have gotten an increased shelf presence...but it didn't matter in the end as DVD came along, made most of this issue moot, and created it's own failure mode which continues to spiral down further each year...

So, to bring it to the toys, if they figure that they need that large markup, they WILL sell a very limited number because it's self limiting, but a tighter margin might increase sales and make a larger net profit.

But again, it's not 2004, nor is it 1988. Where is there to sell them, who is the buyer now? I get the vibe most here are feeling "that's kinda nice but not 200 bones nice" but aren't saying it because that would be bad, to be that negative or something.
MattAlt (Admin)
You make a ferocious point, Steve. I am going to contact George with a new plan that he just give the things away for free, because he's guaranteed to move more of them that way.
I'm not familiar with Dairugger other than common knowledge and its ties to voltron. I have no nostalgic want for the figure but goddamn is it pretty. It'll be hard for me to not buy it when it hits shelves.

On a completely sort of unrelated note. After contracting Dairugger fever I sought a video review of the old godaikin on youtube and found this: [www.youtube.com]

I really think someone should put up something better. Hint hint.
I feel the only way these toys can succeed is if they are produced in limited quantities and sell for more than 3 figures. Can they turn a profit if the mass produce these and they end up ending up on Toys R Us or at Target for $50? I don't think so. They will take a ton of shelf space wherever they are sold. They got 60% off sale written all over them.

This isn't Star Wars where there is an undying fan base which continue to buy whatever comes out. This is a specified niche market that isn't very big at all.

A good example would be He-Man. Didn't the releases in the early 2000's fail? I think Mattel realized that He-man catered to a specific market and thus nowadays you can buy new figures for $20 on their website. Their strategy is to sell them in limited qualities thus keeping the fan base interested and continue selling them at a high price.

I doubt you will be able to buy these Voltron Jumbos for under a hundred dollars when they come out. I believe they will come out because of the new cartoon that is being produced as we speak. Hopefully they sell well enough in to the specified niche so they will produce other characters. I'd like to see jumbos of other super robots.

Does anyone know why UNIFIVE stopped making Jumbos? Was there just not too much interest when they released them? I noticed there's not too much interest in the Gaiking but the Mazinger and especially the Great Mazinger sell well in the secondary market.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/17/2010 04:20AM by gaiking123.
MattAlt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You make a ferocious point, Steve. I am going to
> contact George with a new plan that he just give
> the things away for free, because he's guaranteed
> to move more of them that way.


Matt, that's uncool. I'm fully aware of the need of a company to make a profit, Recouping the costs of cutting the tooling, design, development, materials, promotion, blah blah blah. I get that.

I would need a lot of convincing that there's $100 of all that in a $200 designer vinyl. The reason they're making a Voltron jumbo is because of the 'huge' fanbase, yes? the 'mainstream' that craves returning to the items of their youth? Same as taking up the 'Shogun Warriors' branding, again tapping into the nostalgia value of the 'mainstreamed' product.

So doesn't it make sense that mass producing them, which supposedly brings down per-unit costs is a more wise move than standing in the niche market that a $200 price point will create?

I'm mindful of the urban materials Mazinger Z (two million Yen!) is maybe releasing. I guess you have to pay a hefty deposit and wait up to a year for them to build the thing. And they're only going to make 10. Wow. And Bandai wonders why they're having problems.
Sorry to jump in on this conversation but I think it is interesting.
<<<<So doesn't it make sense that mass producing them, which supposedly brings down per-unit costs is a more wise move than standing in the niche market that a $200 price point will create? >>>>

You mean Economies of scale? Not always, businesses also need to consider the law of diminishing returns when producing that extra output of any product. Sometimes the cost of producing more units actually increases depending on several factors.

But even if we didn't factor that in, I feel that in the end it is a big risk to mass produce any product that is catered to a specific niche market.

<<<The reason they're making a Voltron jumbo is because of the 'huge' fanbase, yes? the 'mainstream' that craves returning to the items of their youth? Same as taking up the 'Shogun Warriors' branding, again tapping into the nostalgia value of the 'mainstreamed' product. >>>>

Saying Voltron has a huge fan base is a misconception. Yes there are millions who grew up watching the show and are still crave nostalgia but how many people in that group are willing buy a toy for $50? In the big picture, that just isn't a very large number of people. Their best bet is to make a limited number and sell to the small niche market for big prices. I don't fault them with that. All you need to do is look at past non Star Wars toys that were massed produced for the adult collector. How many have succeeded and how many have ended up in the clearance racks? Heck, I believe even some of the large Star Wars vehicles ended up in the clearance racks pretty quickly. As mentioned before, something this big will take up much storage space on the shelf, warehouse, etc and that cost needs to be taken into consideration.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/17/2010 03:27PM by gaiking123.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Don't ya just love how as SOON as a pricey toy gets announced, suddenly all the toy production experts come out of the woodwork.

Oh, where to begin...

Quote
SteveH
I think it's too bad they don't seek out the companies that DO still make blow molded Polyvinyl toys and job out the manufacturing to them, I think Empire Toys is still in business..heck, Marx still has their setup IIRC (that is, the company that bought up Marx's assets for Big Wheel et al)

Oh, what a great idea. Now, why didn't *I* think of that?? Or better yet, why didn't *Brian Flynn* think of that...with his blow molded polyethylene Jumbo Stormtrooper? [Yes, it's "polyethylene": traditional Jumbo material--not "polyvinyl", which is the same thing as saying "vinyl".]

Clearly, Flynn must be a dumb-ass and has no idea what he's doing. It's not like he's trying to bring back a dead toy manufacturing process or anything. It's not like he has any experience in obtaining licensing, marketing, or producing his own toys. Tell you what, PM me your phone number...I'll forward it to Brian, and tell him to give you a call. Please school him on what he should be doing differently.

Step 1, change the pricepoint to $11. Just take it from there...

Quote
SteveH
I would need a lot of convincing that there's $100 of all that in a $200 designer vinyl.

You are ABSOLUTELY right, sir.

Last time I was in San Francisco, I was lampin' with Mark Nagata on his yacht with 15 bitches in his champagne-filled hot tub. He explained the whole game to me while smoking blunts rolled in thousand dollar bills. Granted, I didn't quite catch ALL of it because I was busy doing lines offa some supermodel's belly...plus, Mark had his platinum fronts in, making him kinda hard to understand. Hey...at least he gave me a Bentley.

Quote
SteveH
So doesn't it make sense that mass producing them, which supposedly brings down per-unit costs is a more wise move than standing in the niche market that a $200 price point will create?

Quick! Someone get George Sohn on the horn. I mean, I understand that he's already mass-producing these with cheaper vinyl, roto-casting (I'm assuming), paint masks...all done in China. Clearly, he can shave off a good $50 or so from the pricepoint by molding them outta pulverized assholes... Let 'im know. Steve.

...

Look dude, if you wanna gripe about the aesthetics of the toy and complain about the sculpt or design choices, that's cool. But when it comes to the economy of all this shit...come on. Steve, you think toy-making is some kind of racket that will get you rich??? You're fuck-damn lucky just to break even.

--
Sanjeev

'Us Massholes straight up just don't give a fuck. I still pronounce "Mazinger" as "Tranzor Z".'
-Nekrodave
Interesting for sure. In looking at the various Jumbo projects over the years, it becomes clear how tempting it is to get away from the specific Machinder aesthetics. Toys are made differently than they were in the 70s and creating a Jumbo that fits into the old line is difficult. Matt Alt's Kappa Machinder and Super 7s Stormtrooper could have easily drifted astray from what truly makes a Machinder, but were shepherded back to these qualities through a critical development process.

Most of the other Jumbo projects do kind of get away from what makes a Machinder a Machinder. That said, if the Jumbo Machinder line had continued forward in 1983 and never stopped, the toys would probably have changed in appearance and materials on their own (they kind of did with Five Robo, Bandai Creation, etc.)
Sanjeev (Admin)
tomf Wrote:
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> That said, if the Jumbo Machinder line had
> continued forward in 1983 and never stopped, the
> toys would probably have changed in appearance and
> materials on their own (they kind of did with Five
> Robo, Bandai Creation, etc.)


That's a damn good point.

We're talking unrealistic hypotheticals here (because the line ended in 1983 for many legitimate reasons)...but it's interesting to wonder: if the line had continued, would they look like Bandai's new Neo JM?

But I guess there still would be two camps: one pro-vintage style, and one into the modern aesthetic. For a decade, ALL the vintage machinders really had a very unified style...so I can see folks being VERY devoted to that...even if the line continued and changed radically...
<<<you think toy-making is some kind of racket that will get you rich??? You're fuck-damn lucky just to break even.>>>>

Not to be ganging up on Steve but I think if it was profitable, the big companies like Mattel and Hasbro would have jumped on producing these toys years go. It obviously isn't. Voltron was never a big money making license to begin with. I would think a lot of these companies making these kind of toys (vinyls, etc) started with someone loving these toys and producing them because of that love. Hell, if I had millions of dollars to spare, I wouldn't mind releasing battery operated Japanese character tins that I know I could only sell to a small niche market but unfortunately I do not.
There is an argument to be made that the Machinders did change during their 1973-1981 run. Yes, the newer stuff is farther removed aesthetically, but the Robot Factory Machinders and the wheel-less Super Machinder from 1981 show that Popy was not immune to experimentation and trend-following. I believe in the Gangu Jinsei issue that shows the picture of the Goggle Robo Machinder, they mention that Dairugger was planned as well. I had also heard rumors that there were plans to continue the line with entries that had more gimmicks - A light up Kenshiro was one I remember. I think Tobekage was another and some robot that sort of resembled Paima whose name I can't remember. These rumors were completely unsubstantiated, but I don't have any obvious problems believing that Bandai was considering really shaking things up with the line.
Sure $200 is a lot for ANY toy but doesn't the new Jumbo Mazinger cost even more and that's from a huge company and of a toy that pretty much dwarfs both Golion/Dairugger combined in popularity. Of course here Mazinger isn't well known and the toy is meant for the Japanese market but in this day and age there really isn't such a thing as a "exclusive market" and I can easily see these Voltrons sold in Japan barring any licensing issues.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/17/2010 06:24PM by chen.
Wow, seriously guys? I'm sure most if not all of us have spent more than $200 on a toy before. I certainly have. Is this really a big deal? How much did those Unifive Jumbos cost originally?

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Ginrai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow, seriously guys? I'm sure most if not all of
> us have spent more than $200 on a toy before. I
> certainly have. Is this really a big deal? How
> much did those Unifive Jumbos cost originally?


$125 for Unifive Jumbos originally.
gaiking123 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> <<>>>
>
> Not to be ganging up on Steve but I think if it
> was profitable, the big companies like Mattel and
> Hasbro would have jumped on producing these toys
> years go. It obviously isn't. Voltron was never a
> big money making license to begin with. I would
> think a lot of these companies making these kind
> of toys (vinyls, etc) started with someone loving
> these toys and producing them because of that
> love. Hell, if I had millions of dollars to spare,
> I wouldn't mind releasing battery operated
> Japanese character tins that I know I could only
> sell to a small niche market but unfortunately I
> do not.


When Voltron made a resurgence due to the computer animated series in the 90's Trendmasters did make a big go of the license, and Matchbox before them. So it's not unheard of that a larger company would pick up the license. In fact it may not be coincidence or voluntary that Toynami is losing the license. A live action Voltron movie and a new animated series are in the works I believe, and they may have been outbid by just such a larger company. This is exactly what happened with the Robotech comic license when Robotech.com started and it was yanked from Antarctic Press to DC Wildstorm.
Sanjeev/gaiking123: You both make great points about the profitability of toys. Lets look at one the 700lbs gorillas of the toy industry. Hasbro is like an octopus with its tentacles in every part of the market. Kids, dollies, plush, games, video games, boys toys...you name it and they make it...

If someone somewhere in that company thinks that they can make a profit from a license they will go for it. They can afford to. Just think of all of the great and not so great products that they have made over the years that were total failures in the marketplace. Anyone remember Xevoz, killer toys that DIED on the shelves...did Hasbro even blink at the loss? Nope...I say all of this for three reasons...

1.) Hasbro's profit margins are pretty thin and they are an industry giant...so imagine how hard it is for a small company... especially when something tanks or comes back from the manufacturer with poor Q.C. (just ask pallisades...oh wait you can't...they went out of business...)

2.) Since Hasbro's so huge they can afford the occasional failure. Small companies with more targeted audiences can't afford not to sell out...

3.) You know those killer gigantic space ships/playsets that Hasbro makes for the star wars line...When they go on clearance for 50% off Hasbro is losing money...again, small companies can't afford for that to happen...

Get to the point...I don't fault Toynami for their pricing of these guys. Hey, lord knows I've dropped that kind of bank on a toy before and will again. Do I think it is a little high...yes, but that is the nature of the beast. Will I but vehicle voltron...probably...I have always liked Toynami. I appreciate their efforts. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't...These "JMs" may not be 100% accurate to the method of production as the originals, but in the long run does it really matter. I agree with what Matt said elsewhere... Ultimately, these are giant robot toys made by a company that is trying to give us product that we are interested in...How can that be bad?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2010 08:04AM by fel9.
Sanjeev (Admin)
And just to add on to what you said, I'd be amazed if Hasbro weren't outright bleeding money right now. MOST US corporations are losing money. It's a recession. What's the new financial expression on Wallstreet? "Breaking even is the new black"? Tongue-in-cheek, to be sure...but it definitely says something.

But here's the deal: Hasbro can afford to come up short. I'm sure they have a fat enough bank roll to support them during lean years. Toynami? I don't think so.

So...while I may gripe about the aesthetics of these toys (despite knowing I'm gonna get at least the Dairugger! :P ), I cannot begrudge them the cost.
That is quite amazing...But like I mentioned before Hasbro makes all kinds of stuff and has its hands in all sorts of things (just think of the licenses that they own the rights to, and how many of those licenses had movies in the past year...movies that did reasonably well...) so they have a little wiggle room during the rough times...They are after all the definition of a giant mega-corporation.

let me make another point about the whole license thing. Hasbro owns quite a few that it gets paid lots and lots of money by others (including other toy companies) to use. Just think of all the crappy transformers products that we have seen over the past few years...all money in Hasbro's pocket. Toynami on the other hand pays another company to use the voltorn license...And that my friends is the magic of OLPs (original licensed products).
Sanjeev (Admin)
Getting back to the toys...

Crank up your speakers and watch this:
[www.youtube.com]
Laughed my fucking ass off! It's ALL about the musical selection!

Anyway, I just had a thought...sure, hands that can hold each respective Blazing Sword would be clutch...but how cool would it be if there were additional ones specially molded to shake hands!?

I know, I know...neeeeeeeeeerd! ;)
mcfitch (Admin)
I got yer friggin' Voltron right here pal!
-Mason

[www.youtube.com]

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt &quot;I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!&quot;
Voltrons - Defenders of the Universe.









[www.youtube.com]
Those look great. They will be mine.

I've thought for a while that someone needed to repackage the SOC line as "Shogun Warriors" - or even "Godaikins". Put them in the old stlye boxes, remove some of the extra accessories and sell them cheaper. Would be an interesting experiment...
Corellian Corvette Wrote:
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> Those look great. They will be mine.
>
> I've thought for a while that someone needed to
> repackage the SOC line as "Shogun Warriors" - or
> even "Godaikins". Put them in the old stlye boxes,
> remove some of the extra accessories and sell them
> cheaper. Would be an interesting experiment...


I seem to recall that when Toynami announced the deal with Bandai back in '08, one of the ideas floated was exactly that, repackage SoC toys in Godaikin boxes. Guess that never happened.
Anybody who went or is going to San Diego Comic Con please check and see if there is any more news on the Jumbo Voltron. Let us know what you find out.
I'll post pics here. We have been waiting in line for Preview Night for the last... *shudder* six hours... but before I do that, I'm stopping off at the Onell booth!
Here are some pics from the Toynami booth...

Dairugger, in all his glory.


GoLion, my personal fave...


And here's the protos... on sale in October (I think - my brain is a little fried)




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I think JoshB's gonna have a heart attack now...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Those posters are sick...were they actually for sale or were they just promotional materials for the show?

Dang...I need to get me one of those "metallic" standard-sized Dairugger vinyls!
The Regaults look like they were flying off the shelves.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
The Golion poster is not so great to me, just reminds me of recent comic book covers, but the Dairugger poster could absolutely be the back of an 80s toy box. Maybe these will be art for the actual new Jumbos' packaging?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those posters are sick...were they actually for
> sale or were they just promotional materials for
> the show?
>
> Dang...I need to get me one of those "metallic"
> standard-sized Dairugger vinyls!


As far as I know they were promotional posters for the show. As for the latter, PM me AND email me and I'll see what I can do.
Man those posters are really nice.
I'm still having an issue with the lettering style for "Warriors" on the graphics. Looks the same as that ill-conceived line of "shogun warriors" toys that sat on the shelves of toys r' us and wal-mart years ago that had NOTHING to do with the old school line.

Just sayin'. Anybody else remember those cheapy figures that came with weird motorcycles and such? If figured the name was gone for good once I saw toys of that calibur showing up under the soiled banner of "shogun warriors".

-Adam
Anonymous User
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those posters are sick...were they actually for
> sale or were they just promotional materials for
> the show?

Those are box art for the Toynami Shoguns' packaging. A little bird told me...

Sadly, there are no current plans to market them as posters. But maybe someone could be convinced.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, let's see...

JoshB has an in with George Sohn...and he's about the biggest Dairugger fan on planet Earth!

JoshB, where you at!?
Anonymous User
Well, Toynami might not be able to sell them if their license doesn't extend to posters and similar printed matter. But maybe he could make some for 'promotional purposes'.
Dairugger Jumbo looking mighty tempting...!

On a side note, started watching the original Dairugger episodes on DVD - it's funny how for a change, it's the Earth military forces who are completely superior to the outmatched evil Alien Empire, and that's even BEFORE they bust out the giant robot.
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