The Economics of Action Figures Part II: Contrived Scarcity


Russell Michaels

Russell is inside his own mind, a comfortable yet silly place. He is also on Twitter.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck

    The other thing that happens with limited-run exclusives is bootlegs. Factories are notorious for selling quality-reject seconds, or for just “forgetting” to turn the line off when they’ve hit their production mark. Or you’ll get places that buy the toy and make their own molds using the purchased item as a master; since it’s a copy it’s not quite the same (the details might be off, the materials might not be the same, the durability might be a little lower) but it can be surprisingly good if all you want is something that looks like the toy.

    And to bring it back to Transformers toys, one of the things that’s been popping up lately is “oversized knockoffs”, or “OSKO”. Larger features are easier to create, because the mold tolerances tend to stay the same absolute value no matter what the part size is; so if you increase the toy to 150% scale, you’ve automatically made your parts 33% more precise without doing anything to your process at all.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to DensityDuck

      we see this a lot in the model railroading community. Especially now with the rise of quality 3-D printing and scanning its getting easier to make something someone else makes. There’s also a whole sub group online of people who have figured out mixing ratios for various resins to shrink castings from large scales to smaller scales when you make the molds. its oddly fascinating.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird

    3D printers are changing a game here or there. Specifically, Games Workshop games. If you say “Oh, I’d like to purchase some Chaos Marines”, you’re quickly going to say “It costs $300 for a piddly 1000 point army?!?!?!?”

    A 1kg spool of printer filament, by comparison, costs about 50 bucks.Report

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