I wish I could say I had a spooooky Figure Friday for you since it’s the 13th and all, but the only truly scary thing is my credit card statement after I had a ton of preorders come in. Preordering can be a double edged sword which I’ll get into below…
When this line of non-transforming Transformers was announced over the summer I jumped at the chance to preorder 2/3 of the line. Anything I can do to minimize going out and being around people is something I’ll GLADLY pay exorbitant shipping fees on.
The R.E.D. line of figures (which stands for “Robot Enhanced Design” and also means that they really wanted the line to spell out “RED”) are essentially Transformers action figures, providing “cartoon accurate” depictions of some of their classic characters. Long time TF fans are aware that they’ve tried this a couple of times before, most notably with the Action Masters line of figures from 1990.
But back to preordering… These figures are unfortunately Walmart exclusives and the stores in my area have an absolutely abysmal track record when it comes to getting new product out on the pegs. I elected to preorder through the Walmart website (which was its own little slice of hell) and eventually ordered the Optimus Prime and Megatron figures (adopting a wait-and-see policy for Soundwave).
The figures were targeted for a September release and within a month of my order I started to receive updates that the shipping date was being delayed another month…and another, and another until December was the ETA…a full three months after the original date. Then something curious happened.
On Instagram, I began to see R.E.D. figures showing up in Canadian Walmarts in September. A few weeks after that, they began showing up on the east coast of the U.S., eventually creeping closer and closer to the Midwest where I live. This, of course, was complete and total bullshit. I don’t know how a company can rightfully take preorders for an item, delay shipment several times over, and then funnel the product to a retail outlet all while they have people who have committed to paying for the items still waiting.
Last week on my weekly supply run I just so happened to find the figures and they had been haphazardly yeeted onto a shelf in the toy department, mixed in with some other Transformers Studio Series figures that had been there for months. I canceled my preorder on the spot and proceeded to the checkout.
After ALL THAT…how are they? Well, they’re okay…I guess. The figures don’t justify the $20 price tag even with the multitude of accessories they come with. The plastic they’re comprised of feels a bit on the cheap side and is SUPER soft (Prime’s smokestacks and helmet antenna were both warped on the one I purchased). But in the end, they LOOK like they did in the cartoon and they look decent enough on my bookshelf. If you’re willing to wait these may be worth picking up on clearance.
Marvel Legends Logan (Amazon Exclusive)
I was suitably impressed by the Marvel Legends Wolverine figure I picked up some weeks ago that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fist X-Men film. So I opted to take a leap of faith and order up the Amazon exclusive version of Logan that’s rocking a sassy little tank top and comes with a set of bone claw hands and the obligatory stoic and angry Hugh Jackman heads.
I’m pleased to say it’s another solid figure and maybe even a little better than the leather jacket version that’s widely available at retail. The figure also comes with a miniature set of removable Weapon X dog tags that are ever so slightly too big on the figure. They’re not “Flavor Flav” large but they’re big enough to look better when they’re not ON the figure.
Also, I wanted to point out that these figures likenesses aren’t really fixed to one X-Men movie in particular. For instance, the jacket version more closely resembles Jackman from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie and the tank top version kind of looks like The Wolverine. Regardless, both head sculpts are amazing.
Amazon Strikes Again
Once again on the subject of preordering, some months ago I preordered a Masters of the Universe Origins Scare Glow figure because what’s cooler than a friggin’ GLOW IN THE DARK SKELETON? Nothing, that’s what. Much to my dismay and months after I had placed the order Amazon emailed me that they had canceled the order citing “low stock.” Now I’m stuck hoping to find one at retail, and as I established above I’m not going out much these days.
Amazon just so happened to have a Transformers Earthrise Prowl & Ironhide exclusive two-pack that I ordered and that package happened to ship before it’s estimated delivery date which was surprising. But the biggest surprise came when it arrived. Just…take a look.
That’s right they just slapped a shipping label ON THE ACTUAL BOX and sent it like that. I was annoyed to the point where I tweeted at Amazon and Amazon Support which is something I hate to do. My Twitter follower count is modest to embarrassing (you can fix that by following @eahenson…it’s all retweets) so I knew I wouldn’t be making any waves by putting a multi-billion dollar company on blast. I got a couple of canned responses from a bot which shockingly clammed up when I asked for compensation. Ironically, they stated I chose the “frustration free” packaging which meant they could slap a UPS label on it and call it a day.
At some point, I’ll need to chart my Amazon purchase history because I know that I’ve been buying less and less from them over the last few years. This year has only served to underscore how poorly a lot of their distribution center workers have it and the quality and condition of the products they’ve delivered me in recent memory has been extremely poor. This has been your weekly reminder that large corporations don’t care about you and that you should shops small and local this coming holiday season.