Thursday, February 19, 2015

Masterpiece - Initial 3rd Party Speculative Thoughts

It's time for more Masterpiece Transformers speculation!  It's one of the things that prompted me to start this blog initially, and I enjoy backing up my posts here from what I contribute to the discussions over at TFW2005.COM.  If you've missed my previous speculation, you can catch up by clicking here.  From there, you can see where I may have been on the mark and where I totally missed the bull's eye.  That's ok, as that's been much of the fun - posting what I think will happen, and then seeing how it compares/contrasts with what we actually get.

This post is much different.  This post revolves around the ever-growing trend of 3rd party products.  With the increasing number of collectors flocking to the Transformers Masterpiece line, the demand for official - and unofficial - products increase as well.  What's in store for the future?  Let's venture on to get a good start anyways!

(Close enough?  Igear Weapon Specialist and Masterpiece Bumble)

Before we move on, let's clarify just a bit: a "third party product" is quite simply "anything not made officially."  I'm only making that distinction here for definition's sake.  Having said that, let's move on:

Recently, TFW2005.COM member botfan started this thread in the TFW2005.COM Third Party forum, specifically with the aim of speculation what third parties might offer in the future in regards to supplementing the Transformers Masterpiece line.  Below is the first of my posts there:

"My main prediction is that third parties are going to start REALLY cranking things out exponentially, especially in regards to beating TakaraTomy to the punch of releases.  This particularly pertains to the Autobot cars.  We've already seen this with both Ligier/Rijie and Hound, as there's not one but two companies making each of those.  I think we'll continue to see more companies compete against each other with similar products, such as the recent Insecticon offerings.

I do think that the focus will remain G1-nostalgic focuses, since that's what the majority of the Masterpiece nitched out fan base typically demand.  That's not to say that there's anything preventing third parties from branching out into other Generations.  However, third parties are wise to strike while the iron is hot, and it's only going to be hot so long.  G1 fans aren't getting younger, TakaraTomy is still making official releases, and younger fans are demanding more product tailored to their interests.

(How far from "official" can you get here?  Not far, as Fans Toys Soar, "Cartoon Blue" version, seems to prove.)

As in typical fashion, third parties will venture into the more obscure portions of G1, much like has been done with Generations.  We've already seen two companies tackle Dinobots, even being so bold as teasing Grimlock.  Things like this aren't just what we may think will happen, but even to the point that we've come to expect it.

What I don't think will happen is that third parties will just abandon Generations, as some fans speculate.  Generations and the demand is still going on strong, perhaps even stronger than ever before if the popularity of Combiner Wars is any indication.  I don't really see third parties slowing down for Masterpiece, but simply expanding to cover it."

There you have it - my initial thoughts of what how I think third parties will respond to the growing trend of Masterpiece Transformers collecting.  What do you think?  Certainly feel free to post in the thread at TFW2005.COM or submit a comment below!


  1. I believe the 3rd party companies will continue to make whatever they think will sell. Yes, I believe we'll see more Masterpiece scaled figures in the near future as well as IDW themed releases. I think these companies realize that are different tastes and will try to appeal to as many collectors as they can.

    That said, I don't care for a lot of the 3rd party stuff these days. Perhaps that's because there is so many darn things coming out that I can't (afford to) keep up. Also a lot of the Masterpiece scaled releases may have the scale down, but miss the mark on aesthetics. While I like the overall look of certain MP scaled figures, I feel they just don't blend in as well with the official Takara Tomy Masterpieces.

    I wish someone would tackle the more obscure characters, like Flywheels. If Mech Ideas can release a modern Crankcase why not a Duocon or other Triggerbots/cons? I guess in due time all this will happen unless all the companies continue to put their own spin on the same thing (a la the Dinobots).

    Either way I've learned to take a step back and enjoy what is being produced. Read and watch reviews and then decide what to go after. Done are the days of buying everything released. Now I'm being very selective on future purchases (Unique Toys Ordin aka "not Terrorcons" are fantastic by the way) and even looking back at previous 3rd party purchases and considering putting them up for sale.

    Who would have thought a collector of a brand of toys that's 30 years old would STILL have so many choices of figures to buy. Crazy.

    1. Colbey, I think you're right on target. As for actual third party releases, I think that Fans Toys products are directly on par with official releases, both in look and quality. I don't have Brawn/Backland yet from Bad Cube, but they have the look nailed down at least...they just need to up their quality. I think the same holds true for X-Transbots/KFC as well. Fansproject/Maketoys still have that house "anime" look that isn't quite "Sunbow" G1 and/or "official" Masterpiece look to it. Time will tell with these things, though!