Big 3 US TF Sites Q&A with Hasbro17/10/2008
Hasbro have answered various questions sent in by “the big three” US Transformers fansites as well as ActionFigures.com.
ActionFigs with Hasbro
ActionFigs.com: Although we realize that Hasbro and the Transformers Collectors Club might like to keep the BotCon exclusives as unique as possible, the demand for the remaining three ‘Seeker’ Decepticons (Thrust, Dirge, and Thundercracker) is enormous. An upcoming Starscream figure looks to be a repaint of the Classics figure from two years ago in a more cartoon-accurate paint scheme. Since these other three Seekers had minor color differences in their various incarnations, could it be possible that they could see a wider release in altered versions that could not easily be mistaken for the BotCon versions (especially since Thrust and Dirge also required new wings which are, so far, unique to these releases)? And while we’re on the subject of repainted Seekers, can we expect a Sunstorm in the future as well?
Hasbro: Thank you for understanding what the big issue is with the exclusive sets – we need to ensure that we don’t de-value those sets. I think that it is possible for Hasbro to release new versions of those characters as long as there are enough differences from the original Classics versions. However, we have been trying to get a wide variety of the Seekers out before going back to do 2nd versions. So we don’t have any immediate plans for those 3 characters, but they are not totally “off limits”. And to your Sunstorm question – Acid Storm was originally going to be Sunstorm, but we changed our mind. So now you know Sunstorm is on the short list of Seekers!
ActionFigs.com: Will the Universe and Animated lines continue alongside new Revenge of the Fallen movie product for 2009? If not, are there plans for them to return towards the end the ROTF movie line’s run?
Hasbro: We anticipate the Animated TV Series being on air throughout 2009, so we will plan on having some Animated toys along side of the ROTF product. The line clearly won’t be as big as it is right now, but we will keep some key assortments going. As for Universe, it will continue via some retailer exclusives, etc. but it likely won’t be as large of a line as it will be before the Movie. But we are very happy with the Universe line and expect it to become a bigger part of our line again at some point after the movie product has run its course.
ActionFigs.com: On the filecard for the Classics Grimlock, his function is listed as Dinobot Commander. Since his card specifically mentions his role in charge of a group called ‘Dinobots’, could the Universe Classics line get some of these ‘Dinobots’ for him to command? Off the tops of our heads, we can come up with very good suggestions for names (all of which start with an ‘S’ for some reason) and alt-modes for 4 of these hypothetical ‘Dinobots.’
Hasbro: We love the Dinobots too! And we really liked how the Grimlock figure turned out. However, due to the movie we have really been focusing on vehicle modes for the most part in Universe instead of beast modes since those are the most recognizable to the largest audience. There are some new beasts planned for the 25th Anniversary Universe line to celebrate the Beast Wars era, so we hope that will open the doors for us to do more of the Dinobots in the future. But there are no short-term plans for any of the other 4 original Dinobot characters right now.
ActionFigs.com: In the Classics and Universe Classics line, we’ve gotten updated versions of Astrotrain and Octane (under the replacement name, Tankor). Any chance of seeing the third Decepticon Triple-Changer, Blitzwing, as a Classics-style figure soon? The set seems a little incomplete at the moment.
Hasbro: We’ve really tried to provide a wide variety of characters in the Universe/Classics line, especially recently with the 25th Anniversary line because we really wanted to try to celebrate ALL aspects of the brand. So the fact that we have done 2 triple-changers already is a big feat! Because we have already done 2, we were focusing on some other things. But that doesn’t mean we won’t do Blitzwing, just that the timing hasn’t been right. Also, he is a key character in Animated and we try to not have the same characters out in both lines if the toy would be similar.
ActionFigs.com: A line of discussion that has come up many, many times among fans over the past quarter-decade of Transformers has been that of a combiner figure made up of the Dinobots. That has always felt like a fairly natural extension of some already popular Transformers concepts, yet nothing has really ever come of it in the line’s 25 years beyond the rather underwhelming Energon Grimlock/Swoop set. We have combiners based on construction vehicles, airplanes, cars, military vehicles, trains, predator animals, sea life, Maximals, Predacons, even pretender monsters; yet not the beloved Dinobots. Why is that? And what are the possibilities of seeing a Dinobots combiner in the future?
Hasbro: Well, we can’t really answer for anything other than what we have done for the past 8 or 9 years. Most of the reasons why we have chose the combiners we did was our past history. There never was a Dinobot combiner, so we didn’t think of re-inventing it. That being said, there is no reason not to do a Dinobot combiner. I think in order for that to happen though it will need to be an important part of a TV series.
Seibertron.com with Hasbro
Seibertron: Will there be toys based on characters presented in any of the IDW comic book series? We know the new character DRIFT is supposed to get the toy treatment, but what about favorites like Sentinel Prime (Megatron: Origins), Nova Prime (-tion series and Spotlights), Thunderwing (Stormbringer). An answer in response to the general question, not the specific characters would be much appreciated (unless you want to mention specific characters…)!
Hasbro: When we can we love to fold into the product line any new or popular character from any outside source Comic or Video game. We have done things like the Fallen in the past, and we look for more down the road.
Seibetron: Will we see the Alternators line return soon? BinalTech has returned to Takara Tomy, and Takara Tomy is also adding the new Alternity line. The Alternators line was supposed to make a comeback after the first movie, but we are getting close to the second and no mention of any Alternators revival.
Hasbro: There are no current plans for Alternators in 2009. There are just so many exciting things happening in 2009 that we had to make choices. The team likes the Alternators concept, but unfortunately it’s just not the right time for a re-launch.
Seibertron: Are you considering releasing any other re-issues of Generation 1 toys like 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime at this time? He’ll be pretty lonely on his own shelf.
Hasbro: We have a few G1 molds that we would like to see come out in Fall 2009, but not yet ready to announce as they will likely be retailer exclusives.
Seibertron: There are a lot of issues with HASBRO brand product quality control lately. We know you care about the brand and toy because of your desire to protect collectors from lesser quality Knock Offs, but can you tell us what you have been doing to address issues with HASBRO Quality Control problems such as loose pieces that fall off out of the package, poor paint application quality, missing paint applications, and as the case may be with Universe Prowl- tacky, sticky paint.
Hasbro: You are correct in stating that a quality product is at the forefront of our minds. First point, as conversion of Transformers has become more complicated, it is critical for peices to pop off more easily. This is meant to stop breakage and stress points. It some of the pieces didn’t pop off, they might end up snapping off or at the very least stressing the plastic. However, we have heard some complaints about Animated products and are currently investigating. If you have specific issues ple
ase contact our consumer affairs department.
Seibertron: Transformers fans love the fact that you are now putting us on a more equal footing with GI JOE and STAR WARS collectors by doing this Q/A, responding to the fandom more, and offering more nods to popular fan characters. Any plans for the ‘fan favorite’ idea to be put to use with Transformers? A poll could be taken in the same manner as has been done for GI JOE and STAR WARS. That way, you could see if there was a large demand for characters without us flooding HASBRO’s regular e-mail address, or filling forums with, “Will Hasbro ever make ‘X’ threads?”
Hasbro: The fan choice would be a lot of fun to do! Transformers are a little harder to pull off than Joe or Star Wars because of the complex tooling (costs a lot more due to size and complexity). But that doesn’t mean we won’t do it – it just won’t be in 2009…unless of course you vote for the Bay-former since we already have Michael Bay’s head sculpted – HA! (those of you that saw the Easter Eggs on the movie DVD will know what I’m talking about).
TFW2005 with Hasbro
TFW2005: Will we see a US release of Alternators or Alternity in 2009?
Hasbro: Likely not. There are so many other things happening in 2009 with Animated, the 25th Anniversary, and TF:ROTF that there really isn’t room to do so. But we keep them on our radar.
TFW2005: Will there ever be GI Joe styled 3.75 inch figures for human characters (any generation)?
Hasbro: There are currently no plans for a 3.75″ scale human figure in any Transformers line, but we do have an awesome concept for Fall 2009 in support of the movie that I think you will find very cool! Stay tuned
TFW2005: Will Animated and Universe toys be sold alongside the new movie toys next year or will they be put on hold to make room for the first few waves of the movie toys on stores shelves?
Hasbro: Universe will be put on hold when the movie toys come out (although we will likely have a few new toys out in Universe as retailer exclusives). But Animated will continue with certain key assortments alongside of the new Movie toys. But we don’t think of Universe being done, just on hiatus.
TFW2005: Will we ever see Voyager/Ultra/Leader class molds of more popular/leader-based characters in the Universe/Classics 2.0 line?
Hasbro: Since we did Optimus and Megatron in Voyager when we launched Classics, we didn’t want to go back and do new versions at a slightly larger scale so soon after. So we have been focusing on bringing out characters in the higher priced assortments that have great alt modes and have pretty good fan recognition. After we get through the movie product we will likely re-evaluate Universe to see which characters we want to focus on. There are still so many great characters that haven’t been done at all in Classics/Universe that we have been wanting to get those out first.
TFW2005: Will there be an Omega Supreme toy for Animated?
Hasbro: Not in the near future. In order to do Omega Supreme justice, it would need to be Leader or Supreme Class. And we typically only launch those as new molds in the fall. With the Movie coming out this summer, the higher priced toys will be in the Movie line. But we do love the way he turned out and would love to see him in the line.
TFormers with Hasbro
TFormers.com: Are there any steps being taken to address for the recent quality issues in the Transformers: Animated and Universe lines?
Hasbro- Corporate: Product quality is at the extremely important to us. Firstly, as conversion of Transformers has become more complicated, it is critical for peices to pop off more easily. This is meant to stop breakage and stress points. It some of the pieces didn’t pop off, they might end up snapping off or at the very least stressing the plastic. However, we have heard some complaints about Animated products and are currently investigating. If you have specific issues please contact our consumer affairs department.
TFormers.com: Hasbro has said that the Universe line is a tribute to all eras of Transformers. Can you reveal any figures currently in the pipeline, or planned for production, that the fans can look forward to?
Hasbro – Corporate: We have announced most the characters and figures that we will be celebrating in Spring 2009 as part of the 25th Anniversary. Some of the great ones include: Cheetor, Hound, Cyclonus, Smokescreen, Hot Shot, Inferno and many other of the great characters throughout the ages.
TFormers.com: What is the process you use to decide which characters get made into which size class?
Hasbro – Bill Rawley: We try to mix up all of the different types of vehicle and alt modes, flying, tanks, faster land based, beasts, etc. Having a variety in vehicle modes and robot silhouettes is a plus, not to mention having a good balance of Autobots and Decepticons. Scale is not really something we stay true too, it’s just to difficult. But where ever possible I’ll try and throw historically smaller guys like Wheelie and Bumblebee into a Legends scales. That way they look closer to their actual scale when posed next to Deluxe.
Hasbro – Eric Siebenaler: One part Animation Scale, one part Popularity/Exposure, one part Feature driven, one part Brand Goals, and one part Personal Preference. Not in any particular order.
TFormers.com: Will there be a Transformers Crossovers G.I. Joe line?
Hasbro – Corporate: We have had many discussions about GI Joe Transformers either executed as the other Crossovers lines or even true to the Comic (Joe figures and Transformers figures together). Right now is just not the best time with the Movies being the main focus for brands, so don’t expect to see it in 2009.
TFormers.com: 5) Will the Alternity Convoy figure (in either color) see a US release?
Hasbro – Corporate: Not likely in 2009.
Source: Transformers Toys