Hasbro‘s been misjudging the popularity of their crowdfunded items lately. Inspired by the success of oversized Marvel Legends figures Galactus and the Sentinel, they’ve gone big on the crowdfunded front for other lines, and found difficulty. A Star Wars Rancor isn’t doing so well with a $350 price tag. And now the G.I. Joe Skystriker jet, at $229.99, needs at least 3,000 more backers in less than three days.
The key to the success of the Marvel crowdfunds above the others is that Galactus and Sentinels are major characters. No Marvel collection would truly feel complete without them. The Rancor, however, looks cool but feels inessential. As for the G.I. Joe Skystriker, it may have been a mistake to scale it for a relaunched retro line rather than any currently available Joe figures. Regardless, with stretch goals now seemingly out of reach, Hasbro just added some new incentives to the current tier.
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Simulating a Cobra takeover of the project, the Skystriker now includes an additional decal sheet to turn the Joe jet into a captured and repurposed Cobra asset. The plane already came with two — one for G.I. Joe and one for a standard U.S. military design — so a third encourages multiple purchases. And to fly it, a new Cobra Commander, Cobra pilot, and Cobra ground crew member join the package. Though the Skystriker itself features a new level of modern sculpting detail, the figures retain ’80s-style sculpts and O-ring construction.
So why crowdfund at all? In order to break even on any given toy, the company has to guarantee a certain minimum amount of presales. Usually, a retailer like Walmart or Target makes that guarantee with a purchase order. Even an online retailer can, if large enough (few are, save Amazon). But in cases where the store won’t carry an item, usually because it’s too large or risky, toy companies can go directly to the consumers. If enough are willing to prepay, to defray the costs of manufacture plus profit margin.
But for fans, it needs to be a must-have item. Will the G.I. Joe Skystriker prove it’s that, in less than three days? Let us know your thoughts in comments.
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