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Hot Toys Prices Are Officially Out of Control


A couple of days ago I shed some light onto the rise of Hot Toys prices. I don’t know how many of you were able to check it out, but if you collect Hot Toys this should be something that you are keeping an eye on.

Luv left a comment on that article and said that as long as people are continuing to buy the figures, the price will just continue to rise. This is probably true, but the figures are already 2-3 times what a standard sixth scale figure would cost.

Sure, their figures are what many consider to be the highest quality action figure money can buy, but I predict a lot more 12-inch action figure collectors are going to be getting out of the hobby as the prices continue to rise.

As much as I would hate to see that happen, it seems that it might be the only way prices are going to drop anytime soon. Until then I am going to be much more selective what figures I buy and you should be too. If enough people do this then maybe the prices will drop in the near future.


22 Comments on Hot Toys Prices Are Officially Out of Control

  1. Zachary Memos

    So true my brotha! I find myself deciding what pieces are essential regardless of how much I lust after them because they look so damn amazing. I bought DREDD (Heavy Armored Special Cop) for just $130 and it can stand toe to toe with some HT items. I get it, licensing BLAH BLAH BLAH, but seriously, how much do you think we’ll have to pay for a HT Hulkbuster? It’s gonna be at or near $1,000 and we all know it. How much really after overhead should it be? Certainly NOT a GRAND! I agree. Stop buying them at their freaked out prices. They’ll get the idea, or, NOT.

    • Nick Lenihan

      I’m thinking Hulk Buster will be around $500. Just think. Hulk was $300 then add a $200 Iron Man suit on top and you have $500.

      At $1,000 I think I will cry and quit collecting for sure.

  2. Steven Saldutti

    Very good article. Geeze, I miss writing! I’m torn on this subject. I have 40+ hot toys figures. Based on prices from eBay, that equates to about $15,000. Which now surpasses my 401k! Would those price tags on eBay be so high of they weren’t so expensive to begin with? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet that’s half of it.
    Now (yes, I’m bracing myself to be blasted here), I’ve only opened two of them. And those were the ones I did reviews on. After opening them, I wasn’t completely convinced the figures were worth the $200 price tag.
    As I’ve mentioned before, before I knew what hot toys was in ’09 (I believe) I ordered two face for $99!!!!! That’s not a typo, $99 bucks. And I thought that was over the top. Now : that’s a freaking bargain for a hot toys figure. In fact, a $99 dollar new hot toys figure does not exist. The closest to that is the 1/4 scale Groot for $44. Really??? Could that not have been full scale at that price? Now, that would have been a deal!!!!!
    I still have about $1,500 on preorder at side show collectables. The only thing, really, from keeping me cancelling those orders is I already paid a deposit on those.
    And if I may take this one step further: I have a good paying job. But I spent most of 2014 stressing about bills because of all the damn hot toys figures and side show busts I ordered. Which is ridiculous!!!!!!!
    So, to echo what you said, they’re over pricing themselves indeed. It’s time for me to find a new collectable!!!!

    And although I agree with the premise of supply and demand, I think there are too many people who are enamored with hot toys to actually stop buying them to where prices are going to come down. Unfortunately. It seems the $99 hot toys figure has gone the way of the dodo. Just like my spending money in 2014!

    • Nick Lenihan

      You should come back! We miss you here!

      Yeah I wish I started collecting Hot Toys from the start. I don’t have a clue how much I have on pre-order. I just like getting surprised when it arrives.

      =)

      The supply and demand thing I’m not buying anymore. The demand used to by way more than what Hot Toys produced, but now it seems like Hot Toys production levels have gone up and there are tons of figures left over unsold. It’s evident with how many discounts Sideshow is offering on figures that were just released.

      Also, Sideshow is allowing you to buy like 6 of the same figure, before it was just 2 when Hot Toys couldn’t keep up with the demand.

  3. Steve Conard

    Good, thought-provoking video! Here’s my outlook on the situation.

    Hot Toys is a business. They need to make money like any other. While it’s hard for me to say this, I don’t really blame them for inching up prices. It does keep me from buying 50% of the stuff I’d like, however. So for personal reasons I don’t like the super high prices. But I do understand their strategy and believe one of two options would need to happen that could force them to level prices or maybe even drop them without sacrifice to quality.

    1) We stop buying them. This probably won’t happen. I can only get 50% of what I really want, if that. There are others in the same situation. However, a lot of the AAA figures continue to sell out. Probably most sell out even in the pre-order phase. So if I’m a business and the product demand continues to be higher than my production then it makes perfect sense for me to charge more. More money means I can retain world-class artists, expand into other licenses and increase time-to-market.

    2) I think Hot Toys are kind of like Apple is with mobile devices. Apple pretty much has the market cornered when it comes to MP3 players, tablets and smartphones. Therefore they can charge a premium and fanboys will continue to lineup outside the stores for hours just to get the latest iPhone each year. However, I can get an Android devices that’s just as good, if not better, for half the costs. Where Hot Toys exceeds Apple is they do not have any really strong competition. Sure, Soldier Story and Damtoys have really cool products, but, for the most part, the quality isn’t quite as good as Hot Toys and they don’t have all the great licenses, like Star Wars and Marvel. Sideshow has great licenses, but, in my option, the quality isn’t as high as Hot Toys and the prices are almost as expensive. If a company can match Hot Toys quality, price and licenses then it creates healthy competition where we benefit from it. Imagine if Xbox One was the only awesome console in market. Microsoft could charge $600 for it instead of $350 and millions of gamers would still buy it.

    As a side note, but somewhat related to your accessories comment, I’d like to see more accessory sets like the Iron Man Workshop. Also, I love getting lots of accessories with my figures. For me I can pose them in multiple ways over time with more goodies which keeps my displays fresh. So, personally, I’m ok paying $50 more for lots of gear out-of-the-box. Even duplicate accessories between figure versions is – somewhat – ok with me. Mostly because I can’t get all of them so rarely have duplicate items. But for other collectors I certainly do see your point and frustration.

    Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents. Again, great video!

    • Nick Lenihan

      Thanks for the comment. I actually considered this before making the video, but since Hot Toys keeps all of their business practices a secret, I thought it would be best if I just left it out.

      I completely agree with your comment though. They are just like Apple, but I do think they have a greater market dominance than Apple.

      I think what needs to happen is some other company needs to step up their game. Sideshow is probably the closest in terms of quality, but I also had high hopes for Threezero and Play Imaginative, but in the end the disappointed. If just one other company can match Hot Toys with the quality and number of big quality licenses, I think that’s when we will see Hot Toys prices drop. I’m crossing my fingers that someone doesn’t match the quality of Hot Toys and also match their prices though. Make something quality that’s affordable, that’s what this hobby needs.

      In regards to your comment about accessories, I see where you are coming from. When I first started collecting 12-inch figures I was all about the accessories, then I started to realize how many duplicate accessories I had amassed and was kind of mad about it because it’s directly related to the price on many of the figures.

      What could be potentially really awesome is if Hot Toys cut out most of the accessories for their figures, BUT offered extra accessories that are based around say The Avengers, Robocop, etc. Then, the prices would be low for their figures AND collectors that still need and want more accessories can pay the extra price for the accessory pack.

      • Steve Conard

        Oh yeah! That would be awesome. Baseline figure for $150 and get an optional accessories set for $75. I would be all over that!

        I think Sideshow and Hot Toys are in-bed together. I know they have distribution deals (some being exclusive territories), but Sideshow seems to inch their prices up based on Hot Toys prices. Maybe just 10% cheaper because they realize Hot Toys has better quality. Plus, if they started releasing equal or higher quality products at a competitive price it might damage their distribution deals. If Sideshow’s Deadpool was only $150 I’d totally get it instead of one Hot Toys figure and have some cash left in my wallet. But since it’s $230 then I might as well pay another $20 to get a Hot Toys figure. Kinda screws us consumers.

        Maybe some of these small companies need to partner up or merge to take on the big guy! Not that I want Hot Toys to get hurt, but competition can make for a healthy game.

        Either way, I’m a sucker. I will continue to buy what Hot Toys I can even at their inflated price point because there is nothing else out there. I just might not be able to get as much as I want.

        • Nick Lenihan

          So true about the Sideshow products. Why get any if you can have Hot Toys?

          Sideshow and Hot Toys are definitely in bed together. They use each other for development of new figures.

          If anyone reading this has any idea what a licensing deal could potentially look like for Hot Toys, spit it out. I want to see the numbers!

          What we really need is a super duper rich VC that can take over the industry and create a new company in record time. That would be awesome, but it’s never going to happen.

          • Steve Conard

            I’d imagine license deals are not cheap. If you look at Lego, for example, their licensed sets are a few pennies more per brick. Non-licensed is like $.07/per brick and licensed is $.11. Give or take…

            Plus, then you have talent agreements. I’d imagine Chris Hemsworth gets (which I think is fair) part of the action. $1,000,000 to use his likeness on a Thor figure. Then, Hot Toys has to go through an approval process with the talent. Chris isn’t happy with his hair so Hot Toys has to redesign and engineer it. Repeat until approved. Avengers 2 Thor comes out with the same head sculpt (not sure if this is really the case) so Hot Toys can save not only on production costs, but also talent fees. The hope is that translates to savings for us, not even more money in Hot Toys already deep pockets. That I have a problem with.

            That’s just my theory. 😉

            Yeah, VC to invest in Super Duper Toys would be awesome. Agree it probably won’t happen. My hope is the smaller companies partner or merge. ACI, ThreeZero, Soldier Story…

            I think Hot Toys started with modern military…

          • Nick Lenihan

            hm… If it’s that expensive than I think the only option to get cheaper figures is to have less accessories like Threezero is doing then.

            Yeah Hot Toys had a bunch of modern military figures, then they realized the gold mine that licensed figures have.

            I’ll bet that Hot Toys has a really good deal with Marvel since they make so many figures from their license, but none of that love is passed onto the consumer.

            The licenses must be very expensive, that, or WTF are the companies doing that only do unlicensed figures? Clearly the gold is in the licenses.

            With that being said, I know Hot Toys is pretty vicious when it comes to getting the license they want. That’s why Enterbay started to make more sports figures – Hot Toys bought all the good licenses!

            I call…. MONOPOLY!

            🙂

          • Steve Conard

            Good points. I wonder if Hot Toys business deals are exclusive for some of the 1:6 scale figures??? Like nobody else can make a Thor Dark World 1/6 “collectible” figure. The cheap Walmart ones don’t count. 😉

            The $1,000,000 Chris Hemsworth logic was just a guess. I’m sure he gets paid for his likeness and has to approve, but I don’t know how big the check really is.

          • Nick Lenihan

            I can’t quite figure that one out. Lots of the licenses seem to be that way, because when Hot Toys has a license companies like Enterbay can’t touch it.

            I think they can get around that by making the figure out of diecast, but I’m not sure exactly. That’s like top secret stuff that no one will ever tell you about.

            EDIT: Though with that being said, somehow Play Imaginative was able to dodge Hot Toys’ license and make their own diecast Mark 7.

          • Steve Conard

            I think that’s why the original Predators were “model kits” and not figures. I have a bunch of those, but I hate trying to add/remove their heads. Ugh. I have one with a broken neck joint. Happy model kits are gone!

  4. Spoon!

    I recently started collecting Hot Toys. I started with Marvel and planned to pick up DC and Star Wars stuff on the side. The price increases the past two years or so, coupled with the fact that I already collect too many other toy lines, I’ve decided to just stick with the Marvel stuff. Even then, I’m trying to stick to characters I really like, and only one version.

    A base option for each figure without accessories, or only essential ones, would be great. With the option to purchase accessory packs, which could be discounted if purchased with a figure. These packs could also drive sales of themselves to buyers looking for fodder/custom pieces for figures and displays.

    $100 NECA 1/4 Scale continue to feel more and more like a steal with the current industry wide rising costs the last few years. There’s just something so awesome about getting that hefty hunk of detailed plastic Action Figure goodness.

  5. Ran

    I remember about 5 years ago getting a new Sideshow Stormtrooper for like $80 and feeling like shit paying that much for a toy. I think part of the problem are the people flipping them on eBay for crazy prices and people buying them. Hot Toys was probably like ‘hey we can charge a ton more!’ But both companies are taking advantage of their fans. At the current prices I am completely ashamed at what I am paying for them. I can’t think of another hobby that makes me feel like shit. After they release the final Star Wars trilogy figures I’m done.

    • Nick Lenihan

      Hey Ran,

      That’s a very good point about people flipping the figures on eBay. That could very well be a part of the problem.

      I think it’s funny that Sideshow charges almost the same as Hot Toys, because I don’t think they are the same quality.

      Nick

      • Ran

        Sideshow knows they can’t compete with Hot Toys in head sculpts—I think they realize that. Both the Hoth Luke and Han head sculpts prove that. They are getting better, but right now, its always better to wait for the Hot Toys version. I think the two companies are talking together about who is doing what and when-but ultimately Hot Toys has first dibs. If Hot Toys is doing The Force Awakens—then they (Sideshow) won’t be. I think that is why Sideshow is doing their Marvel comics line. Hot Toys has the Marvel movie license and probably isn’t interested in doing a comics line…(yet). Sideshow is also turning to other avenues like creating their own original content.

  6. James Mcpartlin

    Hot toys 1/6 scale figures are a magnificent obsession…as long as the addiction to them thrives then prices will continue to rise…only decent competition from multiple companies will reverse the trend…a big opportunity for talented people out there.

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