Gomek

Eurobricks Vassals
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  1. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    That's great. I have a ton of purist customs and pad printed customs myself. I would also agree some are much nicer than the official versions. Are you telling me though that I shouldn't want a nicely designed Lego figure? I'm not really going to argue much about that. I'm sure every AFOL has been through that discussion at one time or another. I did however (as a kid) have a kind of sad Captain Kirk Mego doll that was painted like Green Lantern. That doll might poke a hole in the imagination is just as good idea, lol. (sad might have been an understatement) All in all, it's not really about justifying what should, and should not, be a part of someone's collection. That's a highly personalized decision with a lot of factors. I still whole heatedly believe that artificially rare exclusives do not serve the collectors market (at least vast majority of it).
  2. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    Totally agree that I have no idea what the plan was; But any promotion for this figure at the time of the give away absolutely made it seem like they were not going to be made again. Absolutely no hint it was a preview figure. Obviously multiple people laid out over $1000 believing the same thing. With the Azog I think it wasn't clear either, but I think most people (thankfully) had the good sense to realize they didn't make a custom mold for convention exclusive. BTW, just to be clear, I don't have any issue with exclusive packaging or preview figures. The market is a constant (or at least won't swing wildly in a short amount of time), the real variable is the amount. Lego controls the amount, no one controls the market (despite what advertisers will have you believe). No better example of this is the price of the Lester figure. Demand never changed, but Lego's move from 275 to unlimited changed the value of the figure from $3000 down to $6. That's a Lego move, not a change in the demand. Similarly the market for a Daredevil figure is what it is. If Lego produces 300,000 Daredevil figures they are a $6 figure. If they make 3,000 it's a $300 figure. If they make 300 it's a $1,000 figure. This is not a change in the market. (edit: after considering this some more, I would be remiss to imply the market does not change. The original SW Cloud City set would be a good example of a set that was produced to market demand. Now you could argue that it was not on the market for long, but at the time it was freely available. Overtime the market changed and the set became more sought after, and the prices steadily rose. But then again, this is not a case of artificial rarity.) But honestly, the point is really that these ultra limited runs really don't benefit the larger community. If you're a high roller and find a lot of value in having something that other people can't have, then yes, it does work in your favor. But if you just enjoy Lego and enjoy collecting, then artificial rarity is really not helping. Fair point. I can't find any prices for the limited edition one but I have a hard time believe it's any more that 2% of that $3000.
  3. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    First off, no offense at all taken. I'm always happy to have a civil discussion and always glad to hear other's take on it. I'm not OK with figures which have mass appeal (i.e. anything based on a character from a TV show, movie) or wide general appeal (like Mr. Gold) being purposely produced at numbers far lower then their market demand. I am OK with having variant figures with event logos and dates printed up for attendees of those events. Also sets that just have unique packaging (where collectors can piece together versions on their own if they want) seem pretty harmless. I also don't blame the secondary market for anything really, because it's not a singular entity. Further more, if you put a figure on an ebay auction it will just go off for market value, and not anything the seller actually has control of. The only thing that truly affects the price is the number available, which in most cases is what I have an issue with. (And obviously we're talking about new sets and figures, not old figures that have naturally declined in availability) There are also a lot of "monkey see, monkey do" marketers who maybe don't even understand the audience they are dealing with. Heck, I had one fellow AFOL tell me in the 90s that in talking to people at the Lego group that the people at there didn't understand at all why adults would be buying their product. I'm sure the comics industry went through the same things in the 60's. (Like "why are adults buying cartoon books?"). So I'd be slow to suggest that everything is done on purpose, or even that one group at Lego cares or approves of what the other group does. Still, in no world does anyone at Lego think only 5,000 people globally will be interested in completing their collection of series 10 of the collectable minifigure line. So that situation I think was completely avoidable. Side note: If you want to see a good example of how exclusives can negatively affect a toy brand, watch the Star Trek episode of Netflix's 'the Toys that Made Us'. Skip right ahead to the 31 minute mark where Playmates has the most successful Star Trek line ever. By the 35 minute mark it all falls on it's face (and hard). We're all going to have widely differing opinions on how bad this is, most of which will probably pertain to how it affects our personal collections. My main point though is that however bad it is, artificial rarity is still not good, and not meant to benefit collectors.
  4. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    Ok, so I'm not sure if I'm really "bad mouthing" The Lego Group. But it also doesn't mean I have to support the things that I don't believe serve the community. Like I said, I have a couple grand opening exclusives but yeah, I would also put those in a category of something that is really not designed for everyone. Do you really need a figure that says "FlatIron Grand Opening 2015" or whatever? probably not. I'd also say I don't need a version of Wolverine that says "SDCC 2018" on the back. But that's kind of where I draw a pretty thick line of exclusive figures that are meant to appeal to a select audience or commemorate an event, and those that are meant to have a mass market appeal. My argument isn't a blanket statement against exclusives per se, it's really against the artificial rarity of items designed for the mass market. I've also heard the "Hey I spend a lot of money to go to this convention, I deserve to be be special" argument. There are a lot of people who spend a lot of money on Lego and who aren't claiming they need to be special. A lot more than a SDCC ticket. I took a family of four to Legoland and it wasn't cheap either. If they gave me a special Daredevil figure for it, I'd be thankful and grateful, but I'd never say "I deserve to be the only one who gets this figure" or "this Daredevil figure isn't meant for you because you weren't at LegoLand" or "this figure shouldn't be at Target because then I would feel less special". I don't know, maybe if they gave these things out at several events, and the SDCC goers that actually care about Lego got to miss out on a ton of other figures, and everyone got to miss out on 15 or 20 figures a year, then there might be a little more "Hey wait a minute, maybe we'd all be better off if these were just available as polybags".
  5. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    If you want to see true Veruca Salt try telling a comic-con goer they should wide release these figures. You'll won't believe the self-serving and self-entiled arguments. Of course you can call me "Everyone-entitled" but besides that not really being a thing, I'll take that as a compliment. Actually prices are determined by supply and demand. No one single entity is dictating demand. There is however one single entity that controls supply (and also very much understands the demand). If Lego decides to release figures as polybags at Target all the price gouging stops. If a higher roller doesn't bid $315, it ends up going for $312. I'm not getting down on you for not complaining. I do however hope that you wouldn't take the opposite side and support it. I've been lucky enough to have had two store openings near me in the last 5 or 6 years. I got a couple "exclusives". In a way I guess I feel "Lucky" to have them, but if I knew these were super sought after items I would never oppose a wide release of said items. My enjoyment of these things is honestly not affected at all by trying to keep them out of others hands. But maybe that was one of the things that drew me to Lego in the first place. I was amassing a collection at a time when everyone said "Lego is just generic bricks, there is nothing 'collectable' about them". But that never really mattered to me, because I just loved to build. And yeah, Spider-woman, Phoenix and the Collector all have mass market appeal and should have never been exclusive. That was a totally inconsiderate move. Am I going to die because Lego was inconsiderate? Of course not. But I really can't see any reason why fans would support this and not say "Hey this is really not a good thing"
  6. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    agreed, which is sadly what it initially looked like they were going to do this year.
  7. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    I guess I sort of touched on this with the CW superheroes which don't do anything for me. They can do all the Star Wars Prequel, Brickheadz and CW Superhero exclusives they want and it won't affect me personally, but I still understand that these things have loyal followings that are getting cut out for not a whole lot of good reasons. (In fact if you are really into CW Superheroes you'd have to ask yourself why Lego seems to have a vendetta against that theme in particular.) My answer to this has always been that if you feel the need to have a special figure for your event it should be exclusive to that event. Similar to how they do the store opening figures with a stamp on the back. These figures do go for money and are rare, but you can say with a reasonably straight face that they should mainly just appeal to people who were at that event and serve as a memento for those people. When you're doing a figure with mass market appeal then you're really creating something meant for a mass market and only giving to a privileged few. For me Lego is still a toy that, to your point, should be interchanged, customized, built and played with. The idea of creating ridiculously priced small sets and minifigures runs completely contrary to this idea. funny, i was just writing the exact same thing
  8. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    I have to say, one of the interesting things that has come out of these discussions is really taking a step back and kind of looking at the nature of collecting. In some weird way I have to say for me personally the annoyance some of these ultra rare figures have caused me to me really appreciate my common and easily obtainable figures a lot more. But also I will certainly concede to your point that (while I still don't support artificial rarity), there is a big difference between going a little out of my way (which I do regularly) and unobtainable (Which clearly I have an issue with). Yes, I had heard that as well. But they can make 275 to give out and not call it a limited edition. People would still want it. Obviously I have zero issue with them giving out figures. Implying they will never make them again (which I feel they did) is more the issue.
  9. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    And this is maybe why the lines are a little hard to draw, and maybe why I don't think they should be doing these limited runs. With the amount of variants Lego puts out they have broken me of my completist nature a long time ago. I would even argue that's for the best. But I grew up reading comics in the 80s. The Black suit Spiderman is my Spiderman. My collection literally started at #252. To me that is NOT a needless variation and a HUGE slap in the face as a collector. Then I get to be told the figure is not meant for me and I have no right to want it? Are you kidding me? If I have a right to want any figure it's that one. So luckily, said figure is EXTREMELY easy to counterfeit, so all in all, mostly Lego's loss and a huge wasted opportunity of a figure that could have anchored a mass market set. But again: Why do it? Why "slap collectors in the face"? and even when I'm not slapped in the face (for instance I could not care less about CW superheroes) I know that these things still have a far greater appeal than their limited run is going to support. What would really be so bad about just releasing them as a polybag and meeting market demand?
  10. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    Here's an example that ultimately worked out in my favor (I guess) but was really was messed up. When Lego opened up the store in Leicester Square they created a mascot for the store which they promoted on all their materials. Then someone got the bright idea to only produce 300 of the physical minifigures and give them out at the store opening. I thought the minifigure was really cool so I followed it on Ebay. So what happens when you create an ultra rare figure that is highly publicized, yes, it starts to go for stupid money. Several went off in the $2000 to $3000 range. Way to rich for my blood and not even by a little. So then someone at Lego realized that this was a pretty big mistake. They now have a mascot and no physical minifigure to sell. Horrible wasted opportunity and they reverse they the decision and start selling them in the store. Now I'm not going to condemn that second decision because that's what I'm talking about, and I eventually had a nice collecting experience swapping for said figure. But what about the collectors who paid $3000 dollars for a minifigure that's now worth $6. You can certainly say "You shouldn't be paying $3000 for a minifigure" but I take the approach of 'there is just absolutely no reason for a global company to be doing things like that in the first place'. What is the point of creating a $3000 minifigure? Just don't do it.
  11. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    "Am I against limited edition stuff" is a good question. I'm an old school collector so the model has always been that things are available for a limited time. Be it Lego, Comics or toys in general. So to a degree I guess I do very much support "Limited edition" merchandise. I mean almost everything Lego produces is a limited edition to an extent. Personally I feel if you have good market research and a good marketing team, you should be able to roughly gauge the interest in your products and determine your production runs. Will there be mistakes? Absolutely. But I also don't believe vastly under-producing an item at the expense of consumers is something that is imperative to the success of a business. My gripe is basically Lego is trying to appeal to the collectors market, and to a certain extent the completists, and then they are turning around and supporting marketing practices that exploit them. You can certainly say "it's just business" but it's a business and marketing model that is not there to help collectors, and being a collector, I don't think it's something to feel good about.
  12. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    Well, like I said, I'm old, so this started long before Lego was considered "collectable". This was a regular practice with action figures and comic books and they were called 'retailer intensives'. Like I mentioned, it was really just a way to take advantage of collectors. And of course I believe there were also a number of products that probably were under produced by mistake, but when manufactures saw what kind of hype the secondary market could generate, this led other companies to do the same thing on purpose. I can tell you Nintentendo is often accused of doing this, though honestly I'm not really involved enough in that market to have real opinion of their marketing.
  13. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    In the days of the chase figures vendors absolutely ordered more so they could get exclusives that they could turn around and sell for 10 or more times the value of any of the 'common' items. In Lego's case they believe people will but more figures (by mistake?) looking to complete a collection, which is now twice or three times as hard. While some of us are good at feeling blind bags others are not and frequently wide up with doubles.
  14. Gomek

    My Case Against Artificial Rarity

    Yeah, I definitely remember artificial rarity opening the door for the knockoffs. Specifically the Green Arrow figure was the first one I remember coming out of China where AFOLs were actively buying the knockoffs as a infinitely cheaper alternative to the real thing. And that initial support of course opened up the whole can of worms with the knock-offs.