Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Super Job on the Super Chase

Wow, it's been some time since I've blogged! You'll have to excuse me - we recently had grandchild #3 and things have been a bit chaotic here . . .

Well, I'm going to tackle a pretty straight-forward subject in this blog. McFarlane's MLB Series 19 recently hit the stores and with that came the announcement of a new Super Chase figure of Albert Pujols.

First, if you don't know what a super chase is you need to step away from this blog momentarily and read my writeup on regular, variant, chase, super chase, etc. figures and what qualifies as each figure type. You can view that here.

I'm not a fan of the super chase concept, personally. I'm a collector, not an investor. Anything that creates a perceived monetary value for one figure simply detracts from the rest. Worse, a super chase is a source of frustration; a guy who is a big Tom Brady fan has to pay big bucks to get all the variations of a Tom Brady figure as it is - but when you throw a Tom Brady super chase into the mix, it gets absurdly expensive for the collector.

That said, I understand that a lot of guys DO like the super chase figures and McFarlane has decided that they need to cater to this segment of their collector base. So the problem becomes, how do they create a figure that is enough different so that the super chase version won't just be ignored - but not so different that the collectors end up getting hosed or having major holes in their collection. Todd McFarlane has an approach to this that I think offers the best possible balance; he wants a super chase to be slightly different, but not so different that it has unique collector appeal just based on the difference.

Example: Ozzie Smith super chase had Smith exactly the same as the regular figure, but the glove was gold rather than brown. This was a minor difference, not a significant change like a different jersey or uniform.

TMP walks a real tight rope with this approach but I think it's the best way to appeal to the investors without alienating the collectors.

The Pujols super chase follows this same approach. It is the same as the regular figure except that 1) the shoes are white, not red, 2) the wristband is yellow, not red, 3) the patches on the uniform are for the 2006 All Star Game. The super chase commemorates Pujols' appearance in the 2006 AS game with these changes - but if you put the super chase next to the regular figure, you might not even notice the differences.

Excellent job on this figure. If I collected active MLB players, I could pass on the super chase Pujols. The differences are so subtle that they mean nothing to me. However, the changes are significant enough that the guys with dollar signs in their eyes can still go on their quest to get the super chase so they're happy as well.

Grade on this super chase? A all the way.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Recommended Poses for Upcoming Lines

Given the recent focus on "unique" poses for sports picks figures, I thought I'd offer some suggestions for new poses that would definitely provide some freshness and creativity to the sports action figure lines. My complaint about the LT figure, for example, was that the pose wasn’t appropriate for the player; in today’s blog I’ll present some creative poses that do match up well with the player being depicted.

The first would obviously be Barry Bonds. Given that the majority of sports enthusiasts believe Bonds is a juicer, it would make great sense to capitalize on that and commemorate his commitment to pharmacological athleticism. I would recommend two different poses that would be huge sellers, for sure. The good news is that both figures would require little in the way of re-tooling; existing poses could be tweaked to make them even more popular with fans.

The first is a reissue of the Bonds 12” figure. Instead of leaving his hands empty, pointing to the sky in an apparent affirmation of religious faith (an absurd pose for someone who seems to have such little regard for the Golden Rule), I would instead use the same pose with a book placed in his hands. The book, The Steroid Handbook, would fit the pose, as well as the average fan’s perception of Bonds, very well.

The second would show the cork-headed ball cracker in the midst of his chemically enhanced swing. This figure would represent some true creativity and unique marketing opportunities for McFarlane. Using the sculpt for the “700th Home Run” Commemorative figure, McFarlane could simply remove the bat and drill a narrow hole into Bonds’ hands. Then, proud owners could insert the syringe they keep on hand for juicing or shooting up heroin into Bonds’ hands. This “Sultan of Syringe” Commemorative Edition would be a fun collectible and needle caddy at the same time and could be marketed effectively to barbell boys and junkies across the country.

The NFL offers some delightful opportunities as well.

Michael “And they call it Puppy Love” Vick could be the first in a new series of figures to cross product lines and incorporate components from Sports Picks AND McFarlane Military figures. Taking the dog from Military Series 4 Dog Trainer figure and matching it up with Vick’s two-pack pose results in a magical figure that is sure to delight sports fans and dog fight aficiandos as well. I can foresee a 3” version of this as a stadium exclusive for some Tijuana dog fighting arena as well.

Daunte Culpepper’s legacy at Minnesota will be long remembered – exciting football, hookers, sex rides on rented boats . . . just makes you proud to support the Vikings, doesn’t it? Well, McFarlane could come out with another cross-line release by merging Culpepper’s NFL Series 9 figure with the Little Red Riding Hood from the Twisted Fairy Tale line. Ahhhhh, Football and tawdry sex . . . a winning combination.

Many have recommended the Ray Lewis figure with butcher knife in hand so I won’t recreate that here. The new NFL 2” team sets could be expanded to include the Cincinnati Bengals in prison stripes. Not a new pose, but certainly a fun – and appropriate – new paint style. This same paint scheme could be rolled out to about half the players in the NBA as well.

OK, I’m just having a little fun with all this. The really sad thing is – each of these suggestions would be a more appropriate pose than showing LaDainian Tomlinson sitting on his ass on the bench!

Labels: ,