OPINION: Micro Machines: Past, Present, and Future: Part 2

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    35

    Micro Machines: Past, Present, and Future: Part 2

    PRESENT: The Current State of Micro Machines...


    By C.J. Stunkard


    If you read my story from Force Friday (HERE), you know that I was unimpressed upon initially seeing Hasbro’s 2015 relaunch of the Star Wars Micro Machines Brand. At first glance, the paint apps on were not as crisp as I expected, and the models could not compare with Galoob’s outstanding offerings from the 1990’s (discussed HERE). Additionally, the packaging was lackluster. The blister bubbles felt cheap, and the artwork advertised the playsets rather than the other various 3-packs and deluxe sets. I suppose I was becoming one of those “back in my day” collectors, which does not surprise me. I’m thirty-three now and have a fond affection for the original Micro Machines releases, so I was bound to have some level of skepticism about the relaunch of a cherished childhood toy.




    In November, I stumbled across about a dozen 2015 3-packs at a discount, and I figured, “why not?” The initial assortment I acquired contained ships from the prequels, original trilogy, and upcoming Force Awakens, so I was in a position to do some comparing/contrasting with old releases as well as fill gaps in my collection. I did not expect much given my first impressions, but having the ships in-hand made all the difference. They opened the floodgates; and once I bought the Toys R Us’ Saga Battles Pack, well, I knew I would be collecting this line in 2016.

    Online reports that the ships are not as good as the vintage ones are correct in one sense. The Tantive IV in particular does not hold up well, and the new ships are made of lower quality materials. However, their construction actually allows for real benefits I had not considered previously, and upon spending more time and money on the line, I have developed a real appreciation for the new releases. Here’s a few highlights:




    2015 TIE Fighters feature a softer mold that allows for less breakage. The original various TIE fighters (Bomber, Advanced, Interceptor) notoriously snapped at the wings, and while they could be popped or glued back into place, the fact that they broke in the first place was a nuisance. With the softer grade plastics on the new line, this problem is less of an issue (I must admit, however, that I have had one the First Order TIE’s break one me [but that’s out of over 20] ).




    The new vehicles also do not attempt to replicate the original models, which means that even if you were to collect the new and the old versions of each, they would not feel like duplicates; rather they would feel like next year’s design. Think a 2015 Mustang versus the 2016 - similar but different, part of the same class but unique. What’s great is that this does not only apply to the vehicles but the figures as well. The New 3PO works as a unique protocol droid, as does the new TIE Fighter Pilot.




    The new models also possess a hole to use the same display bases as the original releases. This is a great, added detail to assure collectors that Hasbro had them in mind. I realize the new sets do not include the stands, and I agree that their absence is a hit against the relaunch; however, it is better to have the holes for the stands without the stands being included than not have the holes for them at all. One can always buy more stands, but drilling/pressing your own stand-holes into the molds would be a daunting challenge.




    The other big factor to consider when thinking about the new line: Cost. I hate to say it, but I’ve been chased from the action figure game by the escalating MSRP’s. I just can’t justify the $10 for a 3 ¾” figure, nor the $20 for a fig clocking in at 6”, but that’s just me. LEGO has earned most of my collecting money of the last few years, but Hasbro put Micro Machines at a very competitive and reasonable price point that has claimed more a fair share of my pocket money. It’s true that the initial playsets are too high for you get: $20 for a transforming head that includes only 1 ship and 1 figure is $10 too many. However, the 3-vehicle pack at the $5 price point, and the deluxe sets at $10 are both great values. The breakdown on the 3-packs is $1.66 per vehicle, which is outstanding (the Deluxe packs clock in at $1.43 per item). For the cost of a single 3 3/4” figure, one could get six vehicles or a deluxe pack with 5 vehicles and 2 figures; and for a single 6” black series at $20 figure, a collector could get a pretty decent starter collection of Micro Machines (12 vehicles or 10veh/4figs or 11Veh/2figs). The value is great, plus the core assortments are supplemented by at least 4 waves of blind bags which clock in at $2-3 each, which is a solid price point for an impulse item.




    Given these strengths, I have to eat some crow and call this relaunch a major win. Sure, I would have preferred better playsets (a more thorough review is coming soon), but a line does not hinge on one subset of its products offerings. Overall, the full line of Star Wars Micro Machines has the goods. Hasbro has done a wonderful job not only introducing this line to a new generation but also rekindling this fan’s love for the brand - which is something they’ve been unable to do for almost 20 years.

    Well done, Hasbro. Well done.

    PS - Don’t take my word for it, our in-house Miniatures aficionado Scott Rubin also put this line on his top 10 toys of 2015 (see HERE), and that’s saying something.

    By C.J. Stunkard


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    Last edited by JeffSaylor; 04-13-2016 at 11:21 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    37

    Re: Micro Machines: Past, Present, and Future: Part 2

    To each their own. My take is simple. Along with practically all of Hasbro's offerings, more money for lesser quality product, and $5 for three tiny vehicles with no stands easily equals a NO THANKS. My opinion must be shared by many, because all of Hasbro's MM product is clogging the pegs and shelves.

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