Cliffjumper wrote:My main problem isn't with the figure itself (which'd be subjective anyway), it's with the general cheap look and finish (going by those pictures, and by the general quality standards of most of the 2009 releases).
That's true enough as far as it goes, but you can't judge something entirely based on the pictures. I don't mean that in a "don't judge a book by it's cover" sense either, I mean it in a "Hasbro's stock photographers are horrible" sense. Most of the stock photos we see look horrible, and the ones that don't are usually Photoshopped beyond recognition (the same goes for pics that fans have taken). That's a marketing problem though, and not something inherent in the toys themselves.
It could turn out that the toys actually do look like that, but until we've seen them in person it's hard to say.
Cliffjumper wrote:Take Movie Dreadwing, for example. Diabolical figure, and I love the 2007 game and love the drones (no idea why, just do). It's a pretty poor basic concept made into an action figure that loses any positives along the way. But it's well-presented, with a well thought-out paint mask, good quality plastic and so on - that's what seems to be missing from a lot of more recent figures, that final little bit of effort to make them look... finished.
I've been hearing this complaint in one way or another ever since I started participating in the online fandom eight years ago, though. I'm really not sure I see any difference in plastic or paint quality between now and Armada, though. What I do
see are toys that are somewhat more complicated, which makes me wonder if they're reaching the limits of what they can do with the materials they've got at any given price point. More moving parts means more places where the plastic is going to wear.
I don't think it's a recent thing for toys to be released without all the paint apps they should have, either. That's why we got the Premium toys in the first Movie line, after all. And the Japanese releases have had more extensive decos since Armada at least, so this isn't a new thing either.
One place where you hit the nail square on the head was when you pointed out that ROTF has more bad designs than the original Movie line, and that Universe had more bad designs than Classics. But I don't think it's hard to figure out why, either.
Classics had eleven new molds -- Astrotrain, Rodimus, Bumblebee, Starscream, Grimlock, Mirage, Jetfire and two each of Prime and Megatron. The rest of the line was made up of redecos and Minicons that IIRC were designed for Cybertron and pushed back. Universe had 28 new molds. And considering how the back end of ROTF is being filled out with new molds instead of Cybertron redecos, I think you'd come up with similar numbers if you went through and counted those. Nowadays they're trying to throw so much new product out on the shelves that I think we're seeing a lot of toys make it to production when four years ago their designs wouldn't have got past the concept stage.
The thing is though, I don't think there are any fewer good toys being made now than there were back then. It's just that there are more bad ones out there along with them.