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Article by Mr. K -- "Why are Arcadia products so expensive"


Renato
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Renate thanks for posting and translating the article for us. We do appreciate your efforts with this and the podcast.

In terms of the license procurement, I think there's way too much speculation going on at the moment and should be discussed with a huge grain of salt. I hope Arcadia continues to have licenses for all of the series they have produced in the past as I really love their attention to detail and passion despite the higher retail cost.

Arcadia's current efforts are focused on the zero line, but I wish that they could mix it up a little to keep the anticipation of future releases pretty high.

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A lot of people will hate me for this but I hope Arcadia stays in bussiness producing Macross products for many years to come, cause MrK and Yamato were always bold enough to create Macross pieces of art like the 1/60 VF-1 v2 including two seaters, the GBP/Strike/Fast Packs add ons, the VF-4G, the YF-21, the VF-11, the VF-19 series, the VF-17, the v3 YF-19, the 1/3000 SDF-1, the destroids, the Q-Rau, the HDP Regult, the König Monster. All of these mechas where created with an incredible attention to details, proportion, fit and lineart accuracy.

Sure there were and still are some QC f@ck ups but all of the mentioned mechas are great 3d representations of the anime and the lineart. Bandai has stepped up it's game with the YF-30 and the VF-19 Advance and Bandai certainly has the resources to make the same quality products even better than Yamato/Arcadia but never put/showed the same effort and energy and creativity for Macross. Yes they perfected the König Monster after Yamato took the plunge and tested the waters, they perfected (actually copied a lot of gimmicks) the YF-19 after Arcadia tested the waters with the v3 YF-19!!! Yes, the VF-25 renewal is a very good toy but just that, it lacks the deluxe feeling of the Yamato/Arcadia offerings, because the landing gears, the pilots, the turbine details are too toyish even the fit and finish is not on par.

So until Bandai (with all of it's resources) doesn't offer a premium Macross product or is bold enough to venture into obscure Macross mecha I sincerely hope Arcadia and Mr K stay long enough to give us products like the upcoming Reactive Armor for the VF-0.

Designer toys cost $$$, ultimately the market will decide if Arcadia stays afloat with it's bussiness model ;)

Just my two cents for what it's worth.

I said it a couple years back, and I'll say it again, Yamato was the best that could happen to Macross toys collectors. Arcadia seems to have inherited the same spirit, hope they have the same determination.

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Hell yeah I want Arcadia to remain in business as long as possible! Any company making Macross anything for that matter (but I focus on the toy part mostly). They keep making them, I'll keep buying them! But for the more obscure offerings, I can see fans stepping up to fill those gaps with the tech to back it up in the future. Like the garage kits now but higher quality materials and finish.

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You missed a big point: economies of scale. Bandai makes A LOT of toys, not just Macross Valkyries. As a result, the factories are used more, so Bandai can presumably negotiate lower costs for labor. Also, since Bandai makes more product, they can pay less for the plastic and paint and metal they use, since they use more of it and can negotiate that. Finally, since Bandai makes so many things, they can spread production costs for one product across many other product lines that aren't nearly as difficult to make properly. Oh yes, Bandai probably makes more of each Valkyrie design than Arcadia does, too.

Arcadia is a small company. They simply don't have the capital, clout, or size to enjoy true economies of scale. Think of them as perhaps the largest, best funded garage kit company you've ever heard of, with access to facilities other garage kit companies would kill for, and who send you a preassembled, prepainted kit.

Better?

I agree with this explanation. We should look at Arcadia as David and Bandai as Goliath.

What allows the little guy to compete is the quality in tiny details. For instance people mention landing gears and pilots look so much better on Arcadia than on Bandai. It's one way for the little guy to beat them by being more accurate.

When you are a giant you make yourself a bigger target for David to hit your huge head with a rock and get a headshot. Bandai makes loadsa things but can they listen to diehard fan demand for tiny little details that most normal people who just watch the shows casually would not even notice?

Bandai doesn't need to raise price since they can fall back on so many other things like gundam for bread and butter income.

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Bandai products are also subject to a noticeable price creep. This is especially true with their S.H. Figuarts and Robot Damashii toys.

For example, the first version of Kamen Rider Black was 2,500 yen.

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10083957

And the more screen-accurate version release a few years ago was 3,500 yen.

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10234888

These days, a comparable figure like the Figuarts Stormtrooper is 4,000 yen.

http://hlj.com/product/ban992861

And the First Order Stormtrooper is 5,000 yen.

http://www.taghobby.com/1-0/1-3/bandai-2015%E5%B9%B412%E6%9C%88%E7%99%BC%E5%94%AE-s-h-figuarts%E3%80%8Astar-wars%E3%80%8Bfirst-order-stormtrooper-5000yen/

These are all basic action figures of a costumed person, so it's not something Bandai is inexperienced with.

Bandai did have the advantage of starting off with lower prices, but at this rate it won't be long until DX Chogokins prices rise higher as well.

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Just to say, I want them ALL to stay in business. More companies making Valkyries = more Valkyries that will be made. No downside.

I'm just thinking Arcadia is burrowing itself deeper and deeper into a niche. They might not recover from a single failed product.

Here's an idea to make the toys more affordable: have a simpler toy that is not so detailed. In addition, sell upgrade kits to add on or swap in the detailed parts.

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Or if you look at the HotToys price creep. I think the Iron Man Mark III was $160 and not the Mark XLV is now $360. Of course you get more out of the new Movie Masterpiece figures but it is still a major price hike.

Two things I would like to add to my first thoughts are that this kind of response from Mr. K seems rather unusual from a Japanese Company. So either the Japanese corporate culture changed or things are rather bleak looking for Arcadia that they fall back to such a look into the production process. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The second thought is that why open yourself to criticism for the hight price by omitting paint applications like the U.N.SPACY marking on the legs and FAST packs. If your going for the high priced collectible you want to have happy customers that usually want the most out of a given purchase. The crumbling hip joints and the paint scrapping on the metal swing bar can be design oversights that never happened on the test samples and preproduction copies that where used for quality control.

Stuff like the leg markings is something that doesn't seem like a major expense to me. The lower legs don't have seam lines or a huge curvature to them where the marking goes and the marking itself is only one color. It just doesn't seem to be difficult to apply and lead to many scrap parts that don't pass quality control. On the FAST packs it seems more difficult because it would go over a black marking so there could be potential color bleeding.

I don't need all the "realistic" No Step markings and warning labels that Bandai is putting on their toy (oh btw I have color bleeding on my VF-19ADVANCE where the black paint on the lower leg is producing panel lines because it runs through the seam line) but all the markings shown in the anime should be reproduced on the toy.

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Here's an idea to make the toys more affordable: have a simpler toy that is not so detailed. In addition, sell upgrade kits to add on or swap in the detailed parts.

I'm just thinking Arcadia is burrowing itself deeper and deeper into a niche. They might not recover from a single failed product.

Here's an idea to make the toys more affordable: have a simpler toy that is not so detailed. In addition, sell upgrade kits to add on or swap in the detailed parts.

That may be one the solution for arcadia. I wonder if they would be able to sell the yf-19 cheaper if they had sold they super parts and all those extra missiles separately like bandai's usual practice. I believe that the lower price and the apparent dislike of some fans toward the (non-canon) missiles would have helped the sales.

But then again with such a horrendous production failures, finding access to a better manufacturing company should be a high priority.

Personally I hope that Arcadia stays in bussiness as a competition to bandai, because any competition no matter how small will be better that none. Take for example what sentinel did to the super robot line against bandai's well established SOC line. When another company create a different rendition of a model with similar or even superior quality, surely it would whip the competition into action through better quality products or lower prices.

Either way, we as buyer will reap the benefit.

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I don't think Arcadia wants to be competition to Bandai, I think Arcadia wants to be the high end allowing Bandai to occupy the mainstream. I think Arcadia ought to stick to the Macross periphery that Bandai abandons (like Macross Zero) and make the odd valks no one else would ever make in limited numbers for diehard collectors. I think this should be passion projects for Arcadia, not their major revenue stream. They need to be identifying a license other than Macross that they can fill the mainstream role on. Alternatively, they should move to the states and team up with HG to make Robotech merchandise and give BW the finger from across the pond (j/k).

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I'd agree with that idea (the sticking to niche designs Bandai doesn't want to do part, I mean), but also don't want to be flooded by Bandai versions of valks Arcadia and Yamato have already made, if Bandai picks up the licenses.

If anything, I wish Bandai would try and mimic Yamato and Arcadia more in terms of design style, because the list of reasons I prefer them over Bandai is getting smaller all the time. If Bandai gave more than a half-assed attempt at landing gear and weapons, I'd probably ignore Arcadia now. These new releases just aren't impressing me with their designs.

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I'm just thinking Arcadia is burrowing itself deeper and deeper into a niche. They might not recover from a single failed product.

Here's an idea to make the toys more affordable: have a simpler toy that is not so detailed. In addition, sell upgrade kits to add on or swap in the detailed parts.

Or how about, smaller simpler toys with more detail?

How about some 1/100 scale Valkyrie fighters that don't transform but has every last marking tampo printed on, like a pro-built Hasegawa?

Alter made 2 fantastically detailed Yukikaze aircraft models. Completely built, painted, and all markings tampo printed on. Plus tons of optional ordnance. an included stand, and an option for displaying in flight or on the ground. All for just over US$100.

If a small outfit like Alter can do it with Yukikaze, Arcadia can do it with Macross.

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Those smaller scale battroid-only figures are fine for what they are, but the target market for them confused me. They weren't overly detailed, and not really that fancy in terms of posability, but they make nice little knick-knacks.

The cost for them was really out of proportion with what they were though, either from cost of production, or licensing.

I guess it feels to me like while Arcadia seems happy to accept a role in making the higher cost niche items, they're going through a phase where they develop priorities. So far, that seems to be focusing a lot on molding quality, and maybe painting, but I think the overall products are suffering in the design phase. The problems popping up wouldn't be hard to solve, but they have to be caught early. The way things appear to be working now, they aren't getting fixed before the factory starts assembling them, and the design issues are causing a lot of products to be scrapped because they don't meet the expected standards.

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The GN-u was competing against the Revoltechs which had the super posability.

All I wish for was they made 1/100 just like what himetal is today.

This way you could do the bad guys easily since they wouldn't be absolutely huge toys. (my biggest problem with Q Rau from yamato is its just too massive at 1.60 and the legs could barely hold the weight of the backpack thing but at smaller size it would be good with stand)

Then display bad guys with the good guys fighting against each other. All those mechas you wouldn't buy at huge scale (like the gluag) would look ok at small size since if you think about it, the zentradi are giants and their mechas look more basic in general with less details than a human micron mecha with loads of little pieces involved.

Then if you wanted to make more money you release zentradi troops with their guns and riot shield things (from DYRL) at the same scale as the valks. The idea is that with smaller toys you can create battlefield scene with all your collection of toys. For istance have Hikaru vs Kamjin in his Glaug. Have Roy vs female Zentradi grunt in the green Qrau. Have Max in his Vf-1J against Milia in her Red Qrau from DYRL etc

You get the point. If everything is tiny and small it means more can be displayed at once. You get less detail but you need less detail when camera is further back. So you could have team of brown VF-1 CF fight a team of Regult (the very first battlescene when the giants land on earth) . Posing would be easy since they are lighter so there is less chance of floppy limb syndrome on the toys that you get with the larger scale stuff.

They do this with all the tv series (SDFM, M7, MacF, Macross Delta) and they can make a lot of money for fans of the series in general. At the time the 1.60 yamato was cheap, but if Arcadia do it at the same scale as Bandai (1/100) they can cover everything. And then sell zentradi characters and detroids. These would be the "GI-Joes" of the macross toys. They could try to cover all the major people like Britai, Kamjin, Exedol etc. You could have the generic zentradi rogue power armor shown in macross plus OVA for example.

The 1/60 line can co-exist with 1/100. Those who can't afford the bigger stuff would have cheaper alternatives. (that is if the 1/60 bandai stuff gets too high for them)

The bandai monster from mac f is already 1/100 so it all makes sense to me.

Edited by 1/1 LowViz Lurker
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Or how about, smaller simpler toys with more detail?

How about some 1/100 scale Valkyrie fighters that don't transform but has every last marking tampo printed on, like a pro-built Hasegawa?

Alter made 2 fantastically detailed Yukikaze aircraft models. Completely built, painted, and all markings tampo printed on. Plus tons of optional ordnance. an included stand, and an option for displaying in flight or on the ground. All for just over US$100.

If a small outfit like Alter can do it with Yukikaze, Arcadia can do it with Macross.

Love the Alter designs but I think you're a bit unfair- they don't transform and have far less moving parts as a result. VF's have moving parts and designers have to keep the designs accurate as possible while still having transform into another design that will be scrutinised.

I own all 3 Alter Yukikaze designs and they're fantastic- but comparing them with VF's is like comparing apples to oranges. It's unrealistic to expect the same price in that regard.

Edited by Falcon
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I think that the 1/60 scale is a good scale for transforming Valkyries because you need a bit of size so implement the transformation mechanism. Yes it can be done in a smaller scale but there are compromises to achieve this. The transforming Koenig Monster is a exception because it would be uncomfortable huge in 1/60.

In addition I think that enemy and unknown soldier mecha will never sell in any scale in Japan. It is questionable that even the teased products from Bandais Hi Metal R line will be released.

I also would prefer to complete my 1/60-ish Valkyrie collection instead of re-buying all the ones I already have in a smaller scale. This is the reason why I'm not buying into the Hi Metal R line.

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Yamato and Bandai both tried making smaller scale collectable figures, but more like gachapon-style prizes than actual models. I don't know if Bandai ever made any non-fighter ones, but Yamato certainly did.

Again though, they wound up in clearance sales at HLJ, just like the GnU-DOU figures. The posable figures, I think I picked up for maybe $8 a piece (list price was 3,000 yen originally), and the collections of 1/200 figures were going for about $12 for a set of 12 figures (originally 6,840 yen).

While they weren't bad products, I don't think Yamato could ultimately turn a profit on something that small at that price. They couldn't bring production costs down enough to sell the products at a reasonable price to compete with the rest of the market.

Whether they could hit a nice balance of features and cost with 1/100 scale fighter models, I do not know, but with some 1/60th VF-1s still floating about at reasonable prices, would they even be able to compete with their past overproduction? And ultimately, the draw of the toys to many is their perfect transformation. Without that, you may as well build a Hasegawa kit, or even one of the new Bandai ones.

Edited by Chronocidal
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Whether they could hit a nice balance of features and cost with 1/100 scale fighter models, I do not know, but with some 1/60th VF-1s still floating about at reasonable prices, would they even be able to compete with their past overproduction? And ultimately, the draw of the toys to many is their perfect transformation. Without that, you may as well build a Hasegawa kit, or even one of the new Bandai ones.

I don't believe that all Macross toys must have perfect transformation*. Arcadia and Bandai's 1/60 scale products fill that niche just fine. My feeling is that a separate market is out there for detailed fighter-only Valkyrie models in a smaller scale. Admittedly, since no company has yet to try this approach, it's just my gut feeling**. However, pre-built models can be very popular these days as many folks simply don't have time or skills to build kits. Also, if Alter can release 2 highly detailed models from a rather obscure OAV series, Arcadia can do much better with Macross (in my opinion).

* The problem with perfect transformation is that it leads to higher costs and compromises in the sculpt and detail.

** Most of those smaller scale stuff released in the past failed because frankly they were not well made. Most of them were over-priced, poorly conceived, flimsy/floppy, and/or had little or no detail. No where near the quality exhibited by the Alter Yukikaze models.

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My feeling is that a separate market is out there for detailed fighter-only Valkyrie models in a smaller scale. Admittedly, since no company has yet to try this approach, it's just my gut feeling**.

It's been done. Doyusha did a whole line of valks, just the way you are describing. http://www.macrossworld.com/macross/news/_news_n047.htm

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Those are a pretty good example, but I don't know how many of them were released.

The nice thing about the 1/144 ones is that there's a pretty big market for that scale, and you can find a lot of other aircraft to go with them, both die-cast and plastic.

Personally, I'd prefer something like 1/72, or even 1/100 though, just for the extra level of features. Missiles and other attachments are really hard to keep track of in 1/144.

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It's been done. Doyusha did a whole line of valks, just the way you are describing. http://www.macrossworld.com/macross/news/_news_n047.htm

I always compared these to say Matchbox cars which use diecast for the main body.. I think Vifam is wanting something made out of quality plastic but in 1/100 scale with great detail and gimmicks. I have been wanting something like this too for a while, like the Mig 29 and the F-14 from Mac Zero but in 1/60.

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I always compared these to say Matchbox cars which use diecast for the main body.. I think Vifam is wanting something made out of quality plastic but in 1/100 scale with great detail and gimmicks. I have been wanting something like this too for a while, like the Mig 29 and the F-14 from Mac Zero but in 1/60.

I agree. But if ever they did come out with lots of fighter valk products with full detail and gimmicks, I want it in 1/72 scaled. 1/100 is too small and 1/60 is too big for me. And should be mounted hanging in the ceiling. ;)

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I don't need all the "realistic" No Step markings and warning labels that Bandai is putting on their toy (oh btw I have color bleeding on my VF-19ADVANCE where the black paint on the lower leg is producing panel lines because it runs through the seam line) but all the markings shown in the anime should be reproduced on the toy.

Well, if posts here are anything to go by, Bandai never manages to replicate all of the markings seen on the Frontier Valkyries. Especially when it comes to what's on the Super/Armor packs. I suppose they do just enough to mask any oversights though.

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