Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Size Class Transformers Toys

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Animated Optimus Prime toys of different size classes. From left to right: Legends Class, Activators, Deluxe Class, Voyager Class and Supreme Class.

Size Class Transformers Toys

Size class is how Hasbro determines the size and price of a toy. It also determines the amount of budget spent on the production of a Transformers toy, such as paint or electronics. The logic behind size classes is simple: retailers can order a case of toys, knowing exactly how much they will sell for and exactly how much shelf space they will occupy. All the Deluxes in a line have identically-sized packaging and cost the same price. When you run out of Deluxes, you order a new case and put them right back where they belong. This is incredibly convenient, especially compared to Generation 1, where the sizes and prices of figures varied widely.

Each size class corresponds to its own price point, the rough retail price of the individual toys. Price points do not correspond to exact retail price, but suggest the rough value one can expect to pay. A $10 price point toy may retail for $9.76 at Wal-Mart while being $10.99 at Toys-R-Us and $7.99 on sale at Target.

Up until Generation 2, toys with a uniform gimmick were sold as their own distinct assortment, which often resulted in an assortment consisting of no more than four or six different toys. Since Autobots and Decepticons often had their own distinct gimmicks, this resulted in separate Autobot and Decepticon assortments. Starting with Beast Wars, however, Hasbro and Kenner introduced uniform price points which continued as ongoing size class assortments throughout the line (although, in the case of longer lines, an assortment could occasionally be reset while still retaining the same size class name).

The intended class of a toy is relevant to all phases of its design process. To sell at a given price, there are tight formulas for how much plastic can be used, how many paint applications are allowed, whether electronics can be included, and how complex the transformation and articulation can be. Further, since a size class is literally a size class; toys are limited in their measurements, so that they will fit into the same size packaging as other toys in their class. As an example, the Animated Voyager Lugnut toy, in robot mode, is very short compared to other toys in his class. This may be because he transforms into a mostly-linear plane, with his weapon added on as a tail assembly, making him even longer. Regardless of whether there was room in the budget for more plastic, there may not have been room in a Voyager-sized box for him to be any bigger. Most Transformers are packaged in their alternate modes; there are, however, exceptions. Long Haul is simply too wide and thick to fit inside the box in his alt-mode, thus, he is packed in his robot mode.

Size classes have not been consistent from line to line, with names often changing to affect marketability.

Beast Wars

Beast Wars had five size classes. From smallest to largest:

Basic, the cheapest at US$5.
Deluxe, at US$10. This was one of the strongest performing price points, and nearly all future retail lines would feature product in the deluxe price range.
Mega, at US$15. Toys of this size were often shelfwarmers.
Ultra, at US$20. Only eight toys were sold at this price point.
Super, at US$30. This size class contained only one toy, Optimal Optimus.
Basic and Deluxe are sold on cards to this day; size classes larger than Deluxe were, and are, sold in boxes.

Beast Machines

Beast Machines continued Beast Wars' size classes, but increased the price of Basic to US$7.

Supreme was introduced as a US$40 size class. Cheetor was the only Supreme in this line; a Supreme Optimus Primal toy was planned to be in this line, but was moved to Robots in Disguise. Both of these supreme class designs featured electronic lights and sounds. Supreme Optimus Primal even featured speech by voice actor Garry Chalk.

Two additional size classes, Deployers (US$5) and Beast Riders (US$10) would turn out to be short-lived. The size of Ultra toys was increased while maintaining the price.

Robots in Disguise

Robots in Disguise used the Beast Machines size classes, though the Basic price point was once again lowered to US$5. However, most of the toys at this price point were either Spy Changer two-packs or redecoed Generation 1 combiner limbs, making them somewhat smaller and less intricate than previous lines' Basics (a notable exception is the recolor of Obsidian, which was sold for less than the original version).

Robots in Disguise also had three Mega-priced multipacks of smaller figures (the three smaller Predacons, a trio of recolored Beast Machines Basics as Autobots, and the recolored Laser Cycles).

Several of the line's toys ran afoul of the differences between US and Japanese packaging policies. The Team Bullet Train toys were individually packaged as Megas, despite being smaller than the usual members of that size class. The near-Basic-sized Wedge was sold as a Deluxe.

Armada

The Armada toyline renamed or repurposed all the existing price points:

Mini-Con, at US$6.50 replaced the Basic price point, with 3-packs of Mini-Cons.
Super-Con, at US$10 replaced the Deluxe.
Max-Con, at US$20 replaced the Ultra. All Max-Cons had electronic sound effects.
Giga-Con, at US$25. All Giga-Cons (except for Tidal Wave) featured electronic lights and sounds.
Super-Base, at US$40 replaced Super, but used the Supreme price point. The only figure of this class was Optimus Prime, who featured an infrared-activated automatic transformation gimmick, as well as lights and sounds.
"Unicron" was in his own class using the Supreme size, at US$50. He had lights, but no sounds.
The old US$15 price, previously used by the Mega size class, was effectively discontinued, taken up by role-play toys like the Star Saber and the Dark Saber.

Universe (2003)

The original Universe line used the Beast Wars size class designations, but only had Deluxe and Ultra (the latter at US$20).

After the Universe line as such had effectively ended, repackaged Energon (and even later, Cybertron) toys were sold on Universe cards as discount chain exclusives, divided into the price points Basic (US$5) and Deluxe (US$8).

Alternators

The Alternators line was unique insofar as it only consisted of one single price point (US$20). This was owed to the uniform scale of the line at 1:24, as well as the fact that all the toys from the line were based on licensed vehicles.

Some retailers actually listed the toys under the "Mega" price point, but this designation was never officially used by Hasbro. In fact, there was an official "Mega Alternators" assortment of sorts, which consisted of shrinkwrapped two-packs consisting of two individual toys (mostly limited to shelfwarmers such as Smokescreen, Side Swipe or Windcharger), available for the price of a single Alternators toy exclusively at Toys'R'Us.

Hasbro later replaced the original mass retail Alternators assortment with a second one, which remained at the original one's price point. In the case of Alternators Optimus Prime, Hasbro reportedly accepted a smaller profit margin (since the toy was more expensive to produce than other Alternators toys) so they could still sell it at the US$20 price point.

Energon

Energon took a somewhat random approach to size-class naming. The second pack-in catalog introduced the size class range as

Energon (Basic), with the price back to US$7
Combat (Deluxe) - US$10.
Mega Combat (the former "Max-Con") - US$20. All Mega Combat (and the subsequently renamed Mega Class) figures featured sound effects.
Commanders (the former "Giga-Con") - US$25. Commanders had lights and sounds depending on the figure.
Leaders (the former "Super Base") - US$40. Leaders featured both lights and sounds.
Unicron was given no size class - US$50.
The third catalog explicitly referred to the price points as

Energon Class
Combat Class
Mega Class (a renamed US$20 Max-Con/Mega Combat class, not to be confused with the old Beast Wars/Beast Machines/Robots in Disguise-era US$15 Mega class)
Command Class
Leaders Class
Omega Supreme was given no size class.
The fourth and final catalog continued using the terms originated by the third (although no price points were listed for the combiners), but finally listed Omega Supreme as Supreme Class.

Cybertron

Cybertron changed the naming of some size classes, but retained others:

Legends of Cybertron, at US$3, with tiny Market six-aimed figures.
Mini-Con Class, at US$5 was added for the Mini-Con two-packs.
Scout Class, at US$7, formerly Energon Class.
Deluxe Class, at US$10, formerly Combat Class.
Voyager Class, at US$20, Energon Mega Class (see Energon section above). Sound effects were dropped from all but four figures in this size class. Vector Prime, Leobreaker, Crumplezone and his smarter remold Dark Crumplezone retained their sound effects gimmick.
Ultra Class, at US$25, formerly Command Class. Ultra class toys had lights and sounds.
Leader Class, dropping the plural "s" from the previous "Leaders Class". Leader class figures featured lights and sounds, and (except for Metroplex) featured several Cyber Key gimmicks.
Supreme Class, remained the same. Supreme class figures had lights and sounds, with several different Cyber Planet Key gimmicks. Primus featured an Omega Lock accessory gimmick that was essential for his transformation.
Classics

Classics kept the Deluxe and Voyager classes, renamed as

Legends, at US$4 - Legends of Cybertron repaints, raised $1 in price.
Mini-Con, at US$7, in three-packs again, replacing the Scout Class price point.
Classic Deluxe, at US$10.
Classic Voyager, at US$20.
Movie

Transformers, the toyline based on the 2007 live-action movie, retained many size classes from before:

Legends Class, at US$4.
Scout Class, at US$7.
Deluxe Class, at US$10.
Voyager Class, at US$20. Continuing on from the standards set in Cybertron and Classics, Movie Voyagers featured no electronics unless they were redecos of toys from previous lines.
Ultra Class, at US$25. (Consisted of two Toys "R" Us exclusive Cybertron redecoes.)
Leader Class, at US$40. The Leaders featured electronic lights and sounds, usually attached to a spring-loaded Automorphing gimmick.
The Supreme class was dropped. The Scout Class, which consisted entirely of redecos of toys from the Energon and Cybertron toylines, was exclusively available at Target stores in the USA, but was sold at mass retail in Europe and Canada. Additionally, there was a gimmick-based sub-line named Fast Action Battlers, which also sold at US$10 (like the Deluxe Class toys); a simplistic, cutesy sub-line aimed at young children named Cyber Slammers, which also sold for US$8; and a new US$90 figure sold as Ultimate Bumblebee.

Animated

The Transformers Animated toyline has the following size classes:

Activators, at US $8. Features an automorph gimmick.
Deluxe Class, at US$10.
Voyager Class, at US$20.
Leader Class, at US$40. Features electronic lights and sounds, including speech samples voiced usually by the actors from the cartoon.
Supreme Class, at US$50. Only Roll-out Supreme Optimus Prime got released for this price point. It features electronic lights and sounds, including speech samples voiced by David Kaye.
In addition, the Bumper Battlers size class replaces the movie line's Cyber Slammers, going one better by featuring an extensive array of voice samples and sound effects. However, with this comes a price increase to US$10. Legends Class toys of the Animated cast are being released as part of the Universe toyline instead.

Universe (2008)

The 2008 Universe toyline has the following size classes:

Legends Class, at US$4.
Deluxe Class, at US$10.
Voyager Class, at US$20. Several of the redecos and retools of Cybertron toys respectively, have had their sound effects removed and the battery compartments riveted shut, owing to pricing changes in this price point between their original manufacture and release in Universe.
Ultra Class, at US$25. Ultra class have lights and sounds for all-new figures.
Supreme Class, at US$50. This size class consists solely of the Toys 'R' Us exclusive repackaged Armada Unicron.
Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen was fairly similar to the first movie's toyline, with the addition of the Human Alliance and Supreme Combiner classes, as well as the prices jumping up a few dollars. Due to competition between mass retailers, Deluxe and Voyager were often marked down to around $10 and $20 respectively to drive sales to those stores.

Legends Class, at US$5.
Scout Class, at US$8.
Deluxe Class, at US$13.
Voyager Class, at US$22.
Human Alliance, at US$30.
Leader Class, at US$45.
Supreme Combiner, at US$100. Consisted solely of the dog-sized Devastator toy.
Dark of the Moon

Dark of the Moon divides the toys into two major categories. The Cyberverse line contains Legion (previously Legends) and Commander (replacing Scout, but slightly smaller and less complex) size classes and transforming playsets which come with either a Legion or Commander class figure. The MechTech line includes Deluxes class figures and above, with the new addition of Basic figures to the Human Alliance subset. Due to the inclusion of the large MechTech weapons with Deluxe, Voyager and Leader figures, they are slightly smaller than those of the same size class in previous lines.

Legion Class, at US$5.
Commander Class, at US$8.
Human Alliance Basic, at US$10.
Deluxe Class, at US$13.
Cyberverse Action Set, at US$15.
Voyager Class, at US$20.
Cyberverse Playset, at US$24, consisting solely of the Cyberverse Ark playset.
Human Alliance, at US$35.
Leader Class, at US$45.
Ultimate, at US$75, consisting solely of the Ultimate Optimus Prime toy.
Prime

The Prime toyline started with the 'First Edition' line released in November 2011, and continued into the 'Robots In Disguise' 2012 line. Continuing to use the Legion, Commander, Deluxe and Voyager size classes at their previous price points, it also adds a 'Vehicle Class' consisting of a Cyberverse transforming playset and Legion-class figure, a 'Weaponiser' class for larger-than-Voyager figures with pop-out weaponry in both modes, and a 'Maximus' class for figures that transform into Cyberverse-scaled battle stations / powered armor suits.

Legion Class, at US$5.
Commander Class, at US$8.
Deluxe Class, at US$13.
Vehicle Class, at US$20.
Voyager Class, at US$22.
Weaponizer Class, at US$30.
Maximus Class, at US$35.

Size class chart

Class names, organized by toy line and approximate price point:
PriceBWBMRiDArmadaEnergonUniverseCybertronClassicsMovieAnimatedUniverse
$3Legends of Cybertron
$4LegendsLegendsLegends
$5BasicBasicBasicMini-Cons
$7BasicMini-ConBasicEnergonScoutMini-ConScout
$8Activators
$10DeluxeDeluxeDeluxeSuper-ConCombatCombatDeluxeDeluxeClassic DeluxeDeluxeDeluxeDeluxe
$15MegaMegaMega
$20UltraUltraUltraMax-ConMega CombatMegaUltraVoyagerClassic VoyagerVoyagerVoyagerVoyager
$25Giga-ConCommandersCommandUltraUltraUltra
$30SuperSuperSuper
$40SupremeSupremeSuper-BaseLeadersLeadersLeaderLeaderLeader
$50UnicronSupremeSupremeSupremeSupreme
$90Ultimate
At this point, many prices went up a dollar or two. We break the chart here for clarity.
PriceRotFDotMPrime
$5LegendsLegionLegion
$8ScoutCommanderCommander
$10HA Basic
$13DeluxeDeluxeDeluxe
$15Action Set
$20VoyagerVehicle
$22VoyagerVoyager
$30Human AllianceHuman AllianceWeaponizer
$35Maximus
$45LeaderLeader
$60Ultimate
$90UltimateUltimate
$100Supreme Combiner


source : http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Size_class
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