The team over at Galactic Hunter has a press release from Hasbro regarding the fate of the planned 2013 Droid Factory action figure line.
The Droid Factory line which was slated for spring 2013 has been cancelled. We were very excited about this line at its inception and wanted to give fans an early sneak peek when we unveiled it at Star Wars Celebration this past summer. Unfortunately since then, through the course of development, we realized that the price would have to be increased and we felt that the value we were adding with the droid parts was no longer substantiated.
I used to be a pretty hardcore collector of the Hasbro line. From 1995 through 2001, I shelled out a lot of money for action figures and vehicles before having to stop due to financial reasons. And though those reasons have long since been resolved and I would love to get back into the hobby, pricing has kept me from jumping back in. I’m sorry, but I can’t justify $10 on a piece of plastic that’s less than 4″ in length.
Granted, since my time as a collector, they’ve added articulation up the wazoo, but with the handful of figures I’ve bought over the years (2008’s Ahsoka Tano and 2009’s Pre Vizsla come to mind), I’ve been afraid to move them at all as the cheaper plastic and increased joints make for pretty delicate little statues. There’s no way that most of these things would have held up to my play patterns as a kid, and considering I’d only be putting them on a shelf for display (I tend to lean towards collecting loose figures), I have a hard time justifying paying all the extra costs for articulation that I don’t really need (I’ve read some posts on forums that basically go like, “My kid hates toys with fewer than 12 points of articulation,” to which I always immediately think, “Well then, your kid is an elitist asshole”).
Hasbro really needs to do *something* as 2012 appears to be a very bad year for the line. Like most any year, there were a few characters that I thought were cool enough to be worth the price point, but with the exception of the Maul/Opress/Nightsister three-pack, I couldn’t find any of them. I’m not sure exactly what they need to do, but getting the prices under control would be a good place to start. Adding in more new characters (especially some of the fantastic designs from Clone Wars… I’d be thrilled for Satine and her Royal Guards to place alongside my Obi-Wan Kenobi. I’d likely buy a dozen Gamorrean Clowns to give out as gifts) and less remakes of existing ones would be fantastic. And also, perhaps now that new movies are coming out, they could quit flooding the market in off-film years with 60, 70 basic figures and a million exclusives.
Honestly, I’d be thrilled with 40 main line figures each year and then let them do however many Movie Heroes repacks they need to keep kid visibility going. If they got the price down, that would be enough to bring me back into the fold. I’d likely start picking up figures on the secondary market that I missed and which seem unlikely to reappear just to “complete” my collection (knowing that everyone’s definition of “complete” is different).
My gut feeling is that Hasbro knows there are a lot of problems, and I’m thinking that the recent announcements of the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm and Star Wars: Episode VII are giving them a chance to pause, reconsider their strategy, and reboot the line in a manner that will allow it to be at full strength again come 2015. At least I hope so. As I’d really like an old Luke Skywalker figure from Episode VII (if that rumor turns out to be true), but I don’t want to pay $15 for him in two and a half years’ time.