Time to make the donuts, but for the purposes of this metaphor the donuts are a column about toys and it’s time for me to write it. Which I’m doing. Right now. Also, padding the word count. If this were one of my college term papers I’d be futzing with the font size and margins right about now.
Webster’s Dictionary defines toys as…
Alright, enough messing around, let’s get into it.
About As Hard To Find As An ACTUAL UFO
Right now I’m inhabiting the space between preorders shipping and allegedly I should have three figures delivered in the next six days. That is, of course, until the ETA gets updated and pushed out by yet another month which leaves me with no new toy purchases to write about.
Over in my little corner of nowhere, the big box retailers have begun to clearance out all the peg-warmer figures and reset the shelves in anticipation of all the new toys that are scheduled for the holiday season (trust me, it’s going to be here before you know it). As I mentioned above, all the stuff I’m waiting for I generally have on preorder…with one glaring exception.
During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the hunt for the Walmart (painfully) exclusive Transformers Legacy Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection: Cosmos. For the uninitiated, Cosmos is the weird little Autobot that transformed into a UFO. It’s a delightfully odd figure and the original was one of my favorites back in the 80’s.
This figure is currently number one with a bullet for most Transformers collectors due in large part to its scarcity. The Velocitron Speedia 500 wave of figures is ninety percent re-paints, admittedly some of which are pretty cool, but Cosmos is a rare, completely new figure making him first to disappear off store shelves. While I was out and about last week, I hit three Walmarts in a row and was too late to snag a Cosmos at any of them.
The figure was briefly available on Hasbro Pulse where I was again too slow to secure one. The star rating on that site is sitting at a petty 1.5 stars solely because the figure is impossible to obtain.
Collectors have seen this type of thing happen time and time again and we’re always surprised and indignant when we can’t get our hands on a product. It’s the same kind of goldfish-length memory that also makes us forgot that Hasbro is in this business to make money and that Cosmos will no doubt get a wider release at some point in the future as part of a different collection or bearing a slightly different paint deco.
Data? I LOVED The Goonies!
Way, way back at the end of January I wrote a little bit about toy company Playmates acquiring the Star Trek license and wonder who exactly they were making these figures for. Well, I have something of an answer now.
Which is perfectly okay!
In-between Walmart stops, I popped into local supermarket chain Meijer to do some ACTUAL grocery shopping. In my humble opinion, Walmart is on a seesaw with Amazon to see who currently holds the title of The Great Satan and I don’t like to shop at either (plus, Meijer is a Michigan business and blah, blah, blah). At any rate, Meijer has a toy section in theory insomuch as they have a wide assortment of toys but very rarely do they have anything that’s NEW.
Which made it all the more surprising when I found three of Playmates’ new Data figures randomly on a shelf. Seeing the figures threw me for a loop due to the packaging being of a throwback design that closely resembles the Playmates own 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, a line I collected obsessively and probably why I didn’t really start dating until my junior year of high school.
To my knowledge, there has been next to no online fanfare associated with collectors finding these things. I haven’t seen a peep on any of the social media accounts I follow regarding the figures…it kind of feels like no one cares? Sure, I could have tweeted it or put it in an Instagram story but I didn’t care enough to, so maybe I’m projecting.
Objectively, I feel like these figures are not as good as the original ones in almost every measurable metric. If you were to place the two Datas side by side and ask a random person to pick the figure that was 30 years old, I honestly think they would be hard-pressed to pick the correct one.
Criticism is a slippery slope. In my mind, there’s a fine line between legitimate criticism and “this is bad and you should feel bad for making it.” Someone sculpted this figure and it had to go through a lot of steps to be approved and produced so there are a lot of people out there that were happy enough to sign off on it. And that’s okay.
Like I mentioned above, these new Trek figures are for somebody out there. Just not for me.