OPINION: Micro Machines: Past, Present, and Future: Part 3

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    Micro Machines: Past, Present, and Future: Part 3

    A Big Future of Hasbro’s Smallest Scale?...


    By C.J. Stunkard

    The news from Toy Fair about Micro Machines was less than anyone would have predicted given the line’s retail presence. Much of what was on display in the showroom was already available in stores, and I saw nothing online in the way of press releases or product announcements.

    Fortunately, we live in the preorder era of collecting, and online retailers have assured fans the line is going to continue with at least another wave or 2. I’ve developed a real affinity for the relaunch (See HERE), and the known upcoming products give me confidence that this great line will continue throughout the coming year!




    Shipping now are the new “Gold Series” deluxe sets and blind bags (wave 4). In the deluxe sets (retailing at $10), we’ll get The Force Awakens Han Solo, more First Order Troopers, an unmasked Kylo Ren, and some vehicles cast in gold-colored plastics. Some online retailers are also taking pre-orders for upcoming 3-packs that contain offerings from not only The Force Awakens but also Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi. Any day now, a new transforming playset should arrive, featuring a bust of Kylo Ren that opens to reveal the interior of Starkiller Base - a great companion piece to the transforming R2-D2 head that becomes the base’s exterior.

    Beyond this, it’s anyone guess what Hasbro will have to offer, but from what I’ve seen on fan boards and online groups, the demand exists among fans of varying demographics. Hasbro has successfully ignited a niche fandom that gladly supports the line (Aamazon was nearly sold out of the Gold Series by Thursday, 10 days after going live). Typically, I would offer observations on how Hasbro can continue the line’s success; but frankly, I don’t think they really need my input. They are doing right by collectors of both the original trilogy, prequel era, as well as the new trilogy and current Rebels series. My hope is that the pipeline is full of great product, and below I’ll offer some guesses based on nothing more than my own delusions of grandeur, and we’ll see if I was right on anything over the next nine months.




    BLIND BAGS (LIKELY)

    If Blind Bags continue, they’ll bring the beasts with them. Each series gave fans at least 1 beast or creature per series, and my most expected inclusions are:

    • Force Awakens Rathtarr
    • Revenge of the Sith Boga Lizard (with Obi-wan rider)
    • Saga Tusken Raider on Bantha


    My personal wishlist item in this category is that we eventually get all three great beasts from the Geonosis Arena sequence in Attack of the Clones, but I do not think that will happen anytime soon (if ever).

    PLAYSETS (UNCERTAIN)

    The transforming playsets sadly have not fared well at retail (more on this coming soon), but my guess is that the Hasbro team developed a fair number of them. If they are going to keep shipping, I would guess they’ll stick with The Force Awakens and give fans at least one of the below:

    • Maz Kanata, which becomes her bar pre-battle. Probably includes Maz Micro Figure and a Millennium Falcon with unique deco.
    • Captain Phasma, which opens into Maz Kanata’s bar, post attack (so blackened ruins, basically really) which will include a crowd control stormtrooper or Finn with Lightsaber and Kylo Ren’s Shuttle (in flight mode) or, possibly, a uniquely painted X-wing.
    • BB-9, which opens to reveal the Resistance Base OR the interior of the Cargo Ship where the Rathtarr attack takes place---I give either just as much likelihood. The Base might include Leia and an X-wing or Transport; the Cargo Ship might include another Han and the Falcon.
    • I hate to say it, but my guess is that at some point in the rotation there was a prototype of Constabul Zuvio that opened into The Jakku junk market, with an Unkar Plutt, but we all know about poor Zuvio’s status as absentee pegwarmer of the year (which likely killed this one).


    My hope, however, is that Hasbro abandons the opening head models and returns to the platform based playsets. I’m not sure how the tooling costs compare, but I know that the “platform” playsets that helped launch the line in 1994 (See details here https://www.figures.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79883), would be a welcome addition to the product line, maybe giving fans the Ruins of Maz’ watering hole or the Jakku junk market. Very unlikely this would happen, but hey, it’s fun to dream.




    MICRO FIGURES (50/50 shot)

    While my hope is that Hasbro doubles-down on Micro figures and gives us packs of 7 of army builders at a $5 price point, I am not optimistic. If they were going to do this, I think we would’ve gotten wind of it at Toy Fair. The Micro Figures likely will continue in the Deluxe Packs; and with any luck, we’ll see the below characters in some shape or form:

    • Kanjiklub Members
    • Death Squad Members
    • General Leia
    • Maz Kanata
    • General Hux


    Frankly, I think that the Micro figure Army builders would do gangbuster sales: First Order Officers, Stormtroopers, Resistance Soldiers, Kanji Club Versus the Death Squad, Denizens of Maz’ Bar, I could go on and on…of course, so could the line. The real money in Army builders is not in th Force Awakens but going backward to the Prequel era. I cannot believe we have not seen Hasbro exploit the large scale battles of the Clone Wars through the Micro Machines line. With a handful of clone molds (say, 5 different ones), they could do at least a dozen different clone battalions. Plus, they can do blue Repubic Guards, maroon Battle Droids, Wookies, Rebels-era Storm Troopers, and a host of other factions from the prequel era.

    These are the biggest item on my wishlist for not only myself but fellow collectors; Of course, being the eccentric buyer I am, I would throw also love a retailer-exclusive line of “Mission Series” Deluxe sets featuring JEDI GENERALS and their respective BATTALIONS. At a $12.99 price point (The cost of a small Lego set), the series could include:

    • Fan-favorite Jedi general Micro Figure (Windu, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, Shaak Ti)
    • That Jedi’s Starfighter
    • With a matching Hyperspace ring.
    • And the aforemetioned Clones in 4 different molds
    • Plus a clone gunship
    • And ARC Fighter with unique deco to that battalion.


    Current Deluxe sets run $9.99 and include 7 items. These sets would feature 4 vehicles and Five Figures, so the three dollar increase would be reasonable. You could also do the remaining Rebels Crew Micro Figures in this line. I know it would never happen, but I would buy them all.




    VEHICLES (DEFINITELY)

    Lastly and most importantly, The line focus on the vehicles. Star Wars Fore Awakens still has some untapped potential:

    • Death Squad Shuttle
    • The Rathtarr Cargo Freighter
    • Starkiller Base
    • Damaged X-Wing
    • Kylo’s shuttle, with wings open.


    I’m sure Hasbro has far more planned than I could list. But like the micro figures, I want them to continue going to the prequel/clone wars/rebels era. It’s true that people love The Force Awakens, but continuing to fill gaps from the Prequels and Clone Wars era will maintain and enhance goodwill from the fandom. While I’m unsure what we’ll see, I trust Hasbro’s team with this; they’ve already proven themselves on point here. They have given Rebels fans a deluxe set with The Inquisitor plus Jedi fugitive Kanan Jaros. Prequels-era enthusiats have gotten the AOTC Slave I, 2 different Jedi Fighters and separatist droid ships. Given the “toy-rrific” nature of both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The possibilities seem endless. My top three most wanted items:

    • Senator Amidala’s cruiser from the opening of AOTC,
    • A Jedi Fighter Hyper-space ring compatible with one of the current molds, and Jedi Fighters (plus their pilots) for several core Jedi.
    • Of course, I’d also hunt for the likes of a Venator Class Star Destroyer, Grievous’ starfighter, AT-TE, and Hailfire droid.





    The Micro Machines line will live and die by the 3-packs, and a strong variety - even in the way of repaints on current molds (Revenge of the Sith Deco on Tantive IV, Squadron-specific Clone Gunships, and maybe a Green A-wing ) will carry it far.

    All that conjecture aside, big thanks again and huge applause for Hasbro on this line. The last time I had this level of enthusiasm over a toy line was the magnificent 25th anniversary G.I. Joe launch. Here’s hoping this line continues to stay affordable, even as it expands over not only this year but many years to come.

    Hasbro, bring on the blind bags; and if you can, go deeper into the Micro figure game with army builders. Do whatever works on the playsets, but focus on expanding the line into vehicles from throughout the vast saga. Oh, and don’t be afraid to keep trying things. I have not given a lot of attention to the remote control vehicles or the Kylo Ren carrying case; they are not my bag, really. But they may be someone else’s - like kids in your core demographic. Bottom line: whatever you’ve been doing, it’s working; keep it up and surprise us!

    By C.J. Stunkard


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

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