The first morning of this year's Tokyo Toy Show was very exciting, as we not only got our first real look at the previously teased Turtler - or Snaptrap outside of Japan in grey testshot form, but we got a big bonus with the reveal of the first Seacon limb and the promise of a whole team's worth. While likely, their existence was far from assured with only that first silhouette to go by. So what do we know from this reveal so far?
The Seacons will be individually released. Snaptrap and Skalor were shown together, seemingly the only two figures so far that were far enough along to be on public display - even as far as representing Piranacon (or King Poseidon if you're more Masterforce inclined) solely as Snaptrap's torso mode with only the Skalor leg attached. That by itself would be a good pointer towards an individual release plan, where if a boxset was planned, it's more likely that the entire team would have been revealed at once. But, we have actual info to support this conclusion: The display placards. Both shown toys had their own info cards, and each one had a separate price listed. Which brings us to...
This is going to get a bit expensive. Snaptrap is shown as a little bit higher than standard TakaraTomy Voyager pricing, at ¥6500. Even accounting for the 8% sales tax, that's still an SRP of a tiny bit under ¥6000; Voyagers typically run ¥5500. Meanwhile, Skalor is shown at ¥3800, which is consistent with the SRP of Deluxes in Japan, ¥3500, plus the 8% tax. So taken together, we're looking at a projected total of ¥23,500 (or about $215 based on current exchange) for the completed combiner, based on a ¥6000 torso and five ¥3500 Deluxes. ...wait, five Deluxes?
It looks like we're getting all six Seacons. An interesting conclusion to reach when only two toys were actually present at the show, isn't it? For this, we're looking to the silhouette in the display behind the testshots. If you look closely, you can see that Piranacon's right arm is longer than the left, as well as the right hand being hidden, where it's clearly visible on the other side. So someone is being held as a gun, though from what we have to work with so far it's hard to tell whether it's Nautilator, or if the visible lobster legs are part of the forearm instead. Though depending how far TakaraTomy tries to take this, it may well be that like the G1 toy, any Seacon can be the gun.
They're the Terrorcon molds. We knew right away that Snaptrap was based on Hun-Gurr, even from that first silhouette. The testshots confirm that and also let us determine that Skalor is based on the Blot mold. This makes sense, since in all of the modern combiner toys, there's only four beast form mold families: Rippersnapper/Blot, Swoop/Cutthroat, Snarl/Sinnertwin, and Slag/Sludge. As a Selects release, it's unlikely (though not outright impossible) that we'll see a brand new mold debut for this project. That means all the Seacons will be adapted from Terrorcons and maybe Dinobots, unless someone decides to get really innovative and make a squid out of a helicopter.
So, that's what we know. Now, what do we expect from future reveals about the Seacons?
A local release on Hasbro Pulse. Almost simultaneously with the launch of Japanese preorders, Star Convoy was listed on Hasbro Pulse. Not to mention bigger ticket items like Masterpieces that are getting consistently offered through Hasbro every time TakaraTomy starts taking orders. There's bad news, or maybe more accurately there's a lack of good news here: They probably won't be any cheaper. Star Convoy's Japanese price of ¥8500 is equivalent with Pulse's preorder price of $79.99, much the same as any given Masterpiece gets listed at the US Dollar equivalent of the Yen price, even if it might otherwise sell for less if it was a domestic product. So even with a Pulse release, we'd still expect Deluxes around $30 each and Snaptrap at $55-$60.
Obviously, this is one point we'd like to get wrong if it meant maybe seeing the Seacons fall in at the $25 level for the Deluxes like Red Swoop, Ricochet, and Smokescreen have been so far. And even if Snaptrap couldn't be $30 like Combat Megatron, $40 would be better than nearly $60. However, this pricing scheme is as much about not undercutting TakaraTomy as it is about the actual cost of the toys, so either way we'll have to pay a premium for our Seacons.
When will they come out? In this case maybe the question is not about impatience to get these toys, but rather trying to figure out how much time we have to save up for them. Either way, we don't really have an indication of that. Star Convoy went up for preorder at the beginning of April and isn't going to ship until the end of September, after having been first shown at Winter Wonderfest in February.
Neither Snaptrap nor Skalor had release dates on their cards. Snaptrap's silhouette was shown the same time color photos and preorders went up for Star Convoy. if we were to assume a similar timeline from first reveal to release, Snaptrap might be out by the end of the year. But if so, TakaraTomy is not ready to make that declaration just yet.
They probably won't all come out at once. If we're talking about six toys, especially in a line that's effectively replacing LG-EX in Japan, the reasonable expectation is that the releases will be staggered. Maybe something like two at a time with a batch every couple of months. Snaptrap and Skalor being at roughly the same apparent level of completion together could support the idea they'd release together at the same time, maybe as part of the late December batch of Transformers.
The early months of the year are typically slower for Transformers in Japan, so pacing the Seacons between January and April could let TakaraTomy utilize some time that would otherwise mostly be going idle. Whatever the basis and details of it, a staggered release is probably better for basically everyone. A $200+ Generations combiner is still a not-unsubstantial cost, but it's so much easier to manage in installments.
When will we hear more? It would be great if TakaraTomy's brand presentation at Tokyo Toy Show this weekend included more details about the Seacons. And maybe it will! But outside of that, our next meaningful update on the Seacons will probably not be until they start going up for preorder. But I would actually expect that to happen if not by the end of June, then during July to coincide with SDCC where Hasbro can announce they'll be carried on Hasbro Pulse.
We'll be keeping our ears open for more news about these toys in the coming weeks and months, so stay with us for more updates.
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