We're literally only minutes past the first look at what appears to be the Studio Series Drift that we're bound to get more detail on by the end of Thursday morning. But already fans are scrutinizing heavily the partially visible render from the teaser, and deciding that this new toy may not be very new at all. And maybe it's not.
It's very true that what we can see from Drift looks remarkably similar to the toy released in The Last Knight toyline. And honestly that's only to be expected, to some point. They have to make the toy look like the character as much and as accurately as possible. So that certainly might result in not having much discernible difference in the sculpted detailing from one toy to the next that depicts the same form. The vehicle shell parts that we can see also look designed similarly. The shoulder panels especially, but even the backpack looks to be doing the same things as the previously released toy. Studio Series is the movie line of car backpacks, and on some level you're bound to see very similar engineering methods put to use. But it's not helping to argue the case that this is not just a redress and up-deco of an existing toy to pad out the current line.
So let's say that it is. Why is it? It might be down to how Hasbro views availability of toys. Recently we heard about a listing seeming to show that a Studio Series Cogman was coming our way somewhere in the nebulous future. An immediate conclusion jumped to on that was that it might be a way to sneak out a rerelease of the TLK Cogman toy that had obscenely limited distribution at the tail end of that toyline. Availability varied from country to country, but a lot of noise was made about how hard it was to get Cogman. If people at Hasbro are aware of that, they might have a motivation to get the toy produced again, maybe with some deco tweaks even, and get that back out to waiting fans and get a "free" extra toy in their current movie line. It makes a good amount of sense, right?
Drift may be the result of a similar happening. Let me unpack this a little. I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with the Hasbro Transformers team quite a while back about The Last Knight's toyline, during which I was able to ask about the reuse of various molds in Premier Edition. The official word then was that they saw some of these molds as having been hard to find during the run of the previous toyline, and so they decided to try to get them back out again and available to collectors. Setting aside what we might think of the assertion that any Age of Extinction toys were ultimately "hard to find", this perspective may have come around once again.
The same line of thought that would lead to trying to get Cogman out the door one more time might extend to the idea by Hasbro that maybe it wasn't easy to get very much from Premier Edition that wasn't wave 1 or, if you were kind of lucky, wave 2. Even by the time TLK went on clearance, it was very common to only see Deluxes from those first two waves, and the influx of wave 3 to closeout retailers recently serves as some confirmation: major retailers never had a chance to stock those toys, in general, so they sat in distribution centers until they had to be sold off to places like TJ Maxx and Ollie's. So at the time that Hasbro is plotting out the waves of Studio Series we'll be seeing four or five months from now, there was essentially a dead zone where those later toys were simply unavailable to collectors that might have wanted them. At the same time, they might have needed some low cost filler to help balance out an assortment or two, and suddenly they have a chance to hit two birds with one stone.
From our perspective, especially right now when there's a good chance you can walk in one of a small number of different discount retail outlets and pick up a Premier Edition Drift for just a few dollars, rereleasing this same toy in an upgraded deco - maybe even with slightly tweaked parts for some better visual or functional effect - might seem ridiculous, just as pushing the Dinobot toys a second time in altered decos because they were "hard to find" was a year ago. But I'll be totally honest with you, if a better-decoed rerun of Drift is the price to get Cogman out again and give fans and collectors that never had the opportunity the first time a new chance at that very nice toy which might similarly enjoy a deco tweak to look even better than before, I think I can live with that.
I can live with it.
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