Raw-10 Fren-Z

UPDATE: You can preorder the Raw-10 figures, including Fren-Z, here: https://www.walmart.com/col/959852712

A day or two ago, I came across a news post on a toy website (or maybe a Facebook group – can’t recall) mentioning that McFarlane Toys had teased a new Cy-Gor figure. For those who don’t know, Cy-Gor was a really cool cyborg gorilla (get it?) from the Spawn comics. He got a number of cool figures from McFarlane in the 1990s before fading into action figure obscurity.

The news of a new Cy-Gor intrigued me, especially since McFarlane had recently impressed me with some of their more recent offerings, such as their Mortal Kombat and DC Multiverse lines, which feature a good amount of articulation as well as some great sculpting (at 7″, they’re disappointingly large and more NECA than Marvel Legends, but they’re still good figures).

Then I read the article and learned that this was not a new Spawn figure, but rather he was part of a new IP called “Raw-10” which would have minimal articulation and–sorry, once I read “minimal articulation” my brain checked out.

And then I saw someone post THIS.

Holy crap, that thing rules. Miminal articulation or no, that’s a huge cyborg shark.

And guess what, friends – it has a BIO.

FREN-Z is the king of the ocean–every ocean. He is a mix of robotics and the DNA of a Great White Shark combined with the prehistoric Megalodon Super Shark for extra terror. FREN-Z was created to be the prototype for a new breed of aquatic weaponry. But the dangerous minds at Robotic Animal Warrior (RAW) labs did their job too well, and FREN-Z escaped. Now he stalks the oceans, an unstoppable hunter–part-shark, part-machine, all-deadly.

I don’t know about you, but it disturbs me a bit to learn that this is what our tax dollars are going toward in the Robot Animal Warrior labs. (I had a friend who interned there and whenever you ask her about it she just gets this thousand-yard stare for five minutes.)

Anyway, I think the big announcement for these figures will be tomorrow, hopefully followed by online preorders, but in the meantime they’re evidently popping up at Walmarts.

UPDATE: Apparently these will be Walmart exclusives.

What Do You Mean The Phone Is Off.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v ...
My feelings on Walmart exclusives

Poe’s Point > Target Destroyed

So, what to make of today’s fiasco with this morning’s Target exclusive G.I. Joe Classified preorders?

The four figures (three individual figures, including a Cobra Trooper, and the Baroness with a motorcycle) were sold out in less than a minute. Collectors are predictably upset.

Full disclosure: two weeks ago, when the NECA Raphael/Casey Jones two-pack was supposed to go up on Walmart.com, I had a Chrome browser open with Auto Refresh Plus, an app I’ve used for years to automatically refresh pages to watch for changes – so for example, when the words “In Stock” appeared, I’d know instantly and could make my order. On that day, I succeeded and got my order in. It seems very few other collectors were so successful.

Today, despite not only having Auto Refresh going but actually refreshing in-person myself, I failed. And now I ask, why?

The current go-to for blame appears to be bots. These shopping bots are scripts that more or less instantly login and make the purchases for you. Many collectors believe that this is the new way scalpers are making their money – ordering the maximum number of items almost instantly and then throwing them all up on eBay before they even arrive, preying on many collectors’ (including, at times, this writer’s) desperate need for instant gratification with a huge markup for a toy they may very well see in stores before they even receive their eBay purchase.

Now, today I was aware the instant the G.I. Joe Classified auctions went live. I took maybe 45 seconds at most to get everything in my cart and try to put the purchase through. I was logged in and I have a Red Card, so there was nothing to slow me down. And yet, before I even could check out, three of the four items were gone from my cart.

A few observations.

  • Target and Walmart both need to add Captcha and other methods of slowing down bots. This is a no-brainer. Hasbro Pulse recently added Captcha and it seems to be working pretty well.
  • Online ticket sellers figured out how to secure items in shopper’s carts years and years ago. There is no excuse for this – if you manage to get something in your cart, you should get at least 5-10 minutes to purchase it before the stock is released.
  • I’m not entirely sure the real problem wasn’t the number of items available.

This last part is important. I think a lot of collectors have become so accustomed to preordering toys online, they forget what exclusives mean to big-box retailers. Again, I don’t mean smaller stores like BigBadToyStore or DorksideToys–an exclusive toy for them is entirely based on online sales.

But big box retailers like Target and Walmart want to bring people into the store. That’s the appeal of exclusives for them. There’s no real added value if a bunch of collectors who otherwise would never set foot in their store order a figure online.

So, I suspect the online numbers of these allocated to these initial preorders were very small. I particularly suspect this in the case of the Target preorder. This preorder wasn’t announced publicly by Hasbro, it just made the rounds on a few G.I. Joe fansites. The G.I. Joe Classified line is fairly new, and the exclusive’s individual pages (required for bots to work) weren’t even posted until late last night or early this morning. If there was a decent amount of stock allocated for the presale, I’d be a bit surprised if enough scalpers with a lot of bots were able to buy up all the stock in less than sixty seconds.

Basically, the point of the preorders is publicity. By the time the items are actually in stores (the street date for the G.I. Joe items is August 14), most collectors will have forgotten their frustration and will be haunting their local Targets for these figures. And while they’re there, they might pick up some other figure they’ve been looking for, and maybe some toilet paper and laundry detergent, or a soda, or a candy bar.

Of course, I can already see the objections from angry collectors who are swearing off [insert retailer and/or toy line here] forever due to this incident. And maybe some will, but we all know most of them won’t. If they can find these, they will buy them.

Now I could be wrong. Perhaps an army of bots did spam Target, or perhaps two or three were able to order hundreds of figures. But while these may turn up to be plentiful in stores come August, there’s no question that this backfired on Hasbro (if not Target) in terms of PR.

The same goes for NECA and Walmart. It’s true that action figures have become a niche collectors’ market, like baseball/trading cards, comics, Magic: the Gathering, and–oddly–sneakers. It’s true that in many cases, if not for these exclusives, these items might not be available at all. But it’s still frustrating, disheartening, and annoying to have to deal with these instant sell-outs. And a few small steps, such as Captcha and strict purchase limits, could stem the tide and make everything a bit more fair.

PGPoA is going on indefinite hiatus

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After six years, I’ve decided to take an extended break from running Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation.

I’ve been considering this for years now. I could provide a long list of reasons – or perhaps more accurately, excuses. But really it all comes down to two: interest and time.

Pic of the Day > The Bitter Winter by nobudius_5192

The Bitter Winter

The Bitter Winter by nobudius_5192

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Pic of the Day > Will you be my Valentine, Sally? by Toy Photography Addict

Will you be my Valentine, Sally?

Will you be my Valentine, Sally? by Toy Photography Addict

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Review > Reforged Hun-Dred the Conqueror and Origin Enemy the Dictator (Robo Force, ToyFinity)

robo-force-origin-enemy-poe-ghostal-review-6

Six years ago, I wrote an article in ToyFare #132 about the 1980s toy line Robo Force. It was developed by the CBS Toy Company (formerly Ideal, who, side note, created the original Teddy Bear). Like dozens of toy lines in the 1980s it came and went fairly quickly. In my interview in ToyFare with Robo Force artist Paul Kirchner for ToyFare, he theorized that Transformers, which debuted at the same Toy Fair as Robo Force, crushed any chance Robo Force had.

However, in the 1980s even a short-lived toy line often had a production run that many modern toy companies would envy. And so many children had, among the assorted Transformers, He-Man or G.I. Joes in the toy box, an occasional Maxx Steele or Coptor.

Toy Aisle Trolls > Dearth Maul

Toy Aisle Trolls is a feature highlighting acts of vandalism to in-store toy items. If you find a ruined package, a stolen figure, a swapped-out figure, or any other such acts, take a photo (cell phone photos are fine if they’re not blurry) and email them to poe@poeghostal.com.

Toy_Aisle_Trolls-Darth_Maul

Submitted by: Kurtis Harris

Found this at a Target in Webster, Texas. One lightsaber looked like it was from a Count Dooku, and the other (with hand) from an Anakin Skywalker. The cloak and head of the figure looked right, but the body was wrong. It had a black torso and legs with gray detail lines painted on, and gray boots and gloves. The elbows and knees appeared to be molded bent without working joints.

Pic of the Day > Superman’s Fortress of Solitude by chevy2who

Superman's Fortress of Solitude

Superman’s Fortress of Solitude by chevy2who

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Pic of the Day > Surfs Up Batman by SnowHulk

Surfs Up Batman

Surfs Up Batman by SnowHulk

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Funko says Legacy QC issues will be addressed

Just an update on my earlier post regarding the quality control issues on Funko’s Game of Thrones Legacy Collection: in a comment, Funko’s Shawndra Illingworth wrote,

Funko has been made aware of these QC issues and our factory has been informed of what changes need to be made on future waves of Legacy. Thanks so much!

Great news, provided politely and in a timely fashion on a blog that didn’t even contact them directly about it. That’s great collector relations. And while I won’t be collecting the Game of Thrones line myself, I can’t wait to see their Firefly line in the fall. Hopefully we’ll see some prototype photos during Toy Fair.

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