It was close, but on Monday evening, the HasLab Black Series Rancor campaign failed to reach its funding goal. The addition of the Rancor Keeper as a pack-in figure definitely helped, but it wasn’t enough to push the project across the finish line.
So what went wrong? This project was leaked months ago and seemed to have a lot of collectors excited.
Well, for starters, Hasbro decided to launch three HasLab projects simultaneously that would all close just weeks away from Christmas. That’s going to put a pinch on just about anyone’s wallet this time of year. It’s worth nothing, however, that both the G.I. Joe Skystriker and the Ghostbusters Proton Pack met their funding goals and even opened some stretch goals.
Both of these projects also felt like much better values. $350 for the Rancor was too much — and that’s not just an off the cuff opinion. A few years ago, you could get a 6″ scale Dewback and Stormtrooper 2-pack for $60. You can’t tell me that the tooling and paint apps that went into the Rancor made it almost 6X more expensive.
The terrible stretch goals certainly didn’t help (aside from further proving my point about the Rancor’s profit margin). That being said, the real frustration was Hasbro’s unwillingness and/or inability to listen to fans. Until the Rancor Keeper was added as a last-ditch effort to save the project, Hasbro appeared completely oblivious to multiple fan sites like Jedi Temple Archives and YakFace pointing out their mistakes and miscues in real time.
Sadly, this isn’t anything new for the company.
Less than a decade ago, they called the Star Wars Angry Birds line a “runaway success” while every Fan Q&A session was filled with people telling them how lame it was. Also, anyone who visited a Target could see the toys weren’t selling…like, at all. Hasbro quietly killed the line without ever admitting they screwed up.
A few years later, they made a 6″ scale Tie Fighter that no one wanted and priced it at $170. The fan community tried to tell Hasbro that there were multiple factors that would keep the product from selling:
- It was way too big.
- There were no other ships for it to interact with.
- $170 was far too much for an item that would take up an enormous amount of room and not have anything else in scale around it.
Hopefully Hasbro will take their motto of “Where Fans Come First” to heart before they launch their next Star Wars HasLab project. While a company obviously can’t bend to the whims of every consumer, it would be wise for one selling collectibles to a small-yet-dedicated collector community to listen to their overall consensus–if not for direction, then at least some guidance.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get things set up to snag some Vintage Collection preorders tomorrow.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!