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#41 Alex

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 02:43 PM

A prime Universe TV series needs to happen... I also agree it should be a futuristic jump into the 25th Century.

I'm 100% in support of this idea, and have been in support of it since around the time Enterprise was announced, as I felt this is where the show should have gone after Voyager. I only wish CBS would announce it for fall 2016 to celebrate the 50th anniversary with a new show.

 

As for DST, I'm happy with what we're getting, but I would like to hear that they found someone new to handle the ships and that development is back on schedule. I love what we have, but I want to see more, particularly the Enterprise-C and Voyager, not to mention the Defiant and others.



#42 Whirlygig

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 09:36 AM

A good start would be for DST to get set up to sell their products directly through their store to fans world wide. They could offer exclusives only available through them such as figures that wouldn't sell to retailers who don't think demand is there.

 

Time and time again, people say "if only they offered subscriptions, if only they marketed online, etc, etc".  We always hear the same thing back: "we aren't set up for that."  To which the obvious response is, "then why don't you get set up for that?"  Of course they could but it isn't that easy for a company to change like that, especially if they are comfortable where they are.  It is clear DST has DST's way of doing business and that's that.  It works well enough with their other product lines to keep their salaries paid.  They are obviously in no way interested in making any changes to their business model.

 

The reality is that nothing is going to change here.  It's time to stop asking them for help, and start hoping/asking for someone else with a better model for this franchise as it stands today to step in, like Eaglemoss has.



#43 Dilithium1

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 11:11 AM

An agreement with a 3d printing company where 90% of the manufacturing cost is gone/absorbed by us..... they could even print the box :P



#44 1701D

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 12:21 PM

 

Time and time again, people say "if only they offered subscriptions, if only they marketed online, etc, etc".  We always hear the same thing back: "we aren't set up for that."  To which the obvious response is, "then why don't you get set up for that?"  Of course they could but it isn't that easy for a company to change like that, especially if they are comfortable where they are.  It is clear DST has DST's way of doing business and that's that.  It works well enough with their other product lines to keep their salaries paid.  They are obviously in no way interested in making any changes to their business model.

 

The reality is that nothing is going to change here.  It's time to stop asking them for help, and start hoping/asking for someone else with a better model for this franchise as it stands today to step in, like Eaglemoss has.

 

Very true



#45 Alteran195

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 01:04 PM

All I want from DST is more communication.

 

I would love to see a monthly development blog where they go over stuff they're working on so we can see how things are coming along. I know I would love to see how their ship development process works, and it would make the wait for new products less annoying if we can just see what's going on. 

 

I would never expect a company to completely change their business model, that's just ridiculous. 



#46 OneAngryDwrf

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 06:03 PM

Greetings All,

I wholeheartedly agree that more information on the development process of the various toy lines would be welcomed. Mostly because I am fascinated by the process of making toys and collectibles.

I certainly feel the same frustrations where we have been told for what feels like years now that the next fed ship may be revealed at this con, or next con or what have you. It's difficult to remain dedicated and more importantly optimistic under these conditions.

A thought had occurred to me though. Diamond Select has a somewhat wide array of products that they offer. They do various figures, role play, statues, banks, minimates, and retro cloth figures from a wide varieties of properties including Star Trek.

Is it possible that DST has had to shift priorities on items based on what they consider to be a hot property? It makes some sense for a business model to create product for a property at the peak of popularity and these days movie releases are constantly putting franchises in the public eye. Marvel, for example usually has a movie a year in the pipeline for their phased cinematic universe, therefore having marvel themed select figures available around the clock makes sense.

Many of us have seen the beautiful ghostbusters select figures that DST is preparing in anticipation of the new reboot due to come out in the next year or so. That can't be a coincidence.

I guess my point is that we all know that DST is not a huge company and I can't imagine them being able to afford having several different teams for all of their projects being in development at once.

Perhaps, Trek is just on a little bit of a back burner right now while they focus on more immediately popular properties. With the new film on the horizon in Star Trek beyond, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more product reveals and momentum for the trek line going into next year.

At any rate, it's just a thought I've been kicking around.

Hope you all are well.

Regards,

OAD

#47 Alteran195

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 07:03 PM

The biggest problem with DST waiting until next year to reveal something, is that they typically don't reveal and release the same year. 

 

Granted for the 50th they COULD have things planned that they don't want to reveal yet, but it's hard to say. 



#48 Alex

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:44 PM

DST cannot hope to operate a subscription service for their ships - it's just not practical - but from my layman's perspective, the path from warehouse-to-customer seems needlessly complex and expensive for them. Is there some regulatory barrier to them setting up a direct sales system via some online front-end on eBay or Amazon (or the like), and selling toys direct to customers China-to-doorstep?

 

I'm sure I'm talking out of my arse, but it feels like something somewhere needs a re-think.

Destructor, you might not be as far off as you think you are. While I cannot comment on DST specifically, I do know that most toy companies typically have contracts with the retailers that carry their product (at least in the United States) which prohibits them (the toy companies) from selling directly to consumers. Some larger toy companies (e.g. Hasbro and Mattel,) may be able to carve out some specific exceptions, and sales at conventions and similar events are usually omitted from this clause, but typically if a company like DST wants to have their products carried by stores like Wal–Mart, Target, and sometimes even Amazon, they're not allowed to sell most of their items directly to consumers.

 

As for China–to–doorstep, I know that it sounds like it should be simple, but the cost of doing it would be absolutely astronomical. A "slow boat from China" is just that, a slow boat that has to cross oceans at the speed of a slug, avoid areas of the sea where storms, pirates, and other potential hazards might pose a threat, and clear customs at both a port in China and a port in the United States or other countries where the toys are being sold. Depending on the speed that customs workers are moving at, that could take days even if the ship is just sitting in port collecting barnacles. While DST could airlift some items early on, the cost of doing so would increase the cost of each item by $10–20 dollars to cover the increased fuel costs. Apple airlifts early iDevice orders so that they're available to customers on the release date, but that increased fuel cost is built into the total charged for every iDevice on the market, and Apple has deals in place with FedEx to fly iDevices to various locations ahead of schedule using an already–existing infrastructure that they built over the course of decades. DST and most other companies don't have that luxury. Shipping items directly to customers from China creates a legal nightmare because of the number of packages that would have to pass through customs on an individual basis, and the chance of someone not getting their ship and then suing someone because somebody didn't check a box on a form somewhere increases exponentially. When everything is shipped on a boat, customs officials might open or inspect a case or two, but they don't go through every single thing on a ship, with the amount of detail that they'd put into individual packages.

 

Now if DST could sell directly to customers, even just through Amazon, that might be an option worth looking into. "Fulfilled by Amazon" is set up in such a way that you basically ship your stuff to Amazon and if it sells, they pay you for your sale. DST might be able to do something like that if contracts with other retailers don't treat it as a "direct sale," but that's not too much different from being an Amazon supplier already.

 

The biggest issue with a change in operations is how it would affect DST's overall budget. Sure, they might be able to set something up along the lines of what people have asked for, but they might to jettison some items people were looking forward to in order to cover the costs of setting up a direct sales system, and then people would complain about how the thing they wanted was cancelled (even if only temporarily for several years) as a result of such a system being created.

 

The biggest problem with DST waiting until next year to reveal something, is that they typically don't reveal and release the same year. 

 

Granted for the 50th they COULD have things planned that they don't want to reveal yet, but it's hard to say. 

This is honestly what worries me the most; DST has released most of what they've already announced, and as you've pointed out, it's rare for them to reveal and release in the same year. If something is announced in 2015/2016, I don't think we'll necessarily see it until 2016/2017, and the time to announce something in 2015 is rapidly coming to an end. While I would love to be surprised with a bunch of unannounced product being revealed and released for the 50th anniversary, and to hear that CBS Inc. was the one who gagged DST the whole time, I'm admittedly not getting my hopes up. I would love to be wrong, but if CBS Inc. was really planning a huge 50th anniversary celebration, we'd be hearing about a new Prime Universe TV series being scheduled for the 2016 fall TV season, and I haven't heard anything that suggests even a currently unofficial project is at the point where it could be ready for a fall 2016 release. For something like Trek, there are usually a couple of years spent on pre–preproduction alone to nail things like ship design and other details.

 

As for DST, I seem to remember hearing that one of their lead designers for the ships passed away. If that's the case, it's really not right for us to fault them for being behind schedule; if they have to hire a new designer, it's very likely that they're going to need some time to regroup, especially if the goal is to maintain the level of quality that we've had over the years in terms of detail on DST's ships, which is arguably one of their largest selling points. However, if they know what the next ship is going to be after the Romulan BoP, I don't think that it would hurt just to show a poster of it in sillouhette like a teaser poster for a movie or a concept car, or to do some sort of blueprint/display schematic style design that just reads something like "DST's next ship is," followed by a "technical manual" style image of a ship such as the Enterprise–C or any of the other contenders. This wouldn't require any new sculpting, and people would know what to expect, even if it just said "when it's finished" at the bottom of the poster. No news might be good news, but it can certainly also be quite frustrating.



#49 DSTZach

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:58 AM

The warehouse to store to customer path is what we are set up for, and we are set up for that because we are partners with Diamond Comic Distributors, one of the largest specialty toy distributors in the country, if not the world. There are 3,000 retail locations around hte country that are able ot order our Trek products in (I need to double check what regions we are currently licensed to sell into), and more who order from subdistributors like Entertainment Earth (who have no such international restrictions).

 

We have direct-sold action-figure variants in our web store and ship variants at conventions, and while they do well, they nowhere near meet the number we need to make to cover the cost of tooling a new ship or figure. So we rely on retailers to order a certain number through Previews in order to meet the number required for manufacturing -- even then, the minimum production number is usually higher, and we simply put the rest into inventory in the hopes that there will be re-orders and new customers (and, to a lesser extent, web store sales). But if the orders are too low, it's less likely we would be able to move that much un-pre-sold merchandise, which is why things have been canceled.

 

The old marketing strategy was to show something once any prototype was ready, in order to get people talking about it. But most of what was said online and in forums like this was usually negative, since a prototype can sometimes have flaws not present in a production piece, or they simply didn't like the choice. Then people would imediately start asking what the next one was, and if the item wasn't out in six months, people would start asking where it was -- even if we hadn't solicited it yet. I'd say we changed our strategy because of that, but we really haven't.

 

The development time for a deluxe action figure, or an electronic ship, or a role play item, is still pretty long. Ships and role play are always being worked on, figures not necessarily. Even the Retro re-issues and new variations require work to perfect. We still show a prototype pretty far in advance, once it's approved. The only difference is that we don't solicit it until it's closer to ready, so that retailers (and paying customers) aren't asking where their orders are. We can't stop a store from taking pre-orders on an item once we show it, but they may not have final pricing or know the release date.



#50 1701D

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 12:38 PM

I think it's all about how DST come across to your customers and retailers and right now, it's just not good enough, it's as simple as that. DST aren't fast enough in keeping fans engaged in their product and Diamond Comic Distribution just aren't fast enough getting product to the retailers.

Diamond Comic Distribution has a REALLY bad reputation as being very very slow at delivering to retailers as Eaglemoss use the same company to distribute their products too.

The quality and selection is never going to be universally accepted by fans, there are always going to be fans out there who dislike the choices being made etc... But by and large the new stuff you have shown has been great! All 4 selects are brilliant (albeit Picard being shafted with no articulation or accessories) and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next! The TNG phaser looks awesome and re issuing the TOS 1701 and NX01 are great choices. The Romulan Bird of Prey is a nice ship but for me not something I'd buy. However your Star Trek items are cool, it's just the lack of any information on your product that well diminishes interest in your line when there are other companies out there who are now giving us alternatives to your line.

It might have been the response to negative comments online to not show or announce anything until 6 months before release but that seems like a very old way of doing things when you have social media tools to keep fans up to date with the progress of a products development.

I'm sure if you kept fans engaged with this line by showing them the progress of a ship or figure by showcasing the process behind making something like a ship or figure then people wouldn't be half as mad waiting for something new

#51 DSTZach

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:01 PM

I think it's all about how DST come across to your customers and retailers and right now, it's just not good enough, it's as simple as that. DST aren't fast enough in keeping fans engaged in their product and Diamond Comic Distribution just aren't fast enough getting product to the retailers.

Diamond Comic Distribution has a REALLY bad reputation as being very very slow at delivering to retailers as Eaglemoss use the same company to distribute their products too.

The quality and selection is never going to be universally accepted by fans, there are always going to be fans out there who dislike the choices being made etc... But by and large the new stuff you have shown has been great! All 4 selects are brilliant (albeit Picard being shafted with no articulation or accessories) and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next! The TNG phaser looks awesome and re issuing the TOS 1701 and NX01 are great choices. The Romulan Bird of Prey is a nice ship but for me not something I'd buy. However your Star Trek items are cool, it's just the lack of any information on your product that well diminishes interest in your line when there are other companies out there who are now giving us alternatives to your line.

It might have been the response to negative comments online to not show or announce anything until 6 months before release but that seems like a very old way of doing things when you have social media tools to keep fans up to date with the progress of a products development.

I'm sure if you kept fans engaged with this line by showing them the progress of a ship or figure by showcasing the process behind making something like a ship or figure then people wouldn't be half as mad waiting for something new

 

I could go back and check and see what the frequency of new Trek product announcements is -- I think there's been a new item at every convention and in at least every other Previews, sometimes more than one item. But as far as each product line goes, the frequency of release is simply what it is. I can look into giving more in-progress pictures of items we've announced, and shown in prototoype form, but that's going to be manufacturing and shipping details -- or packaging and lights/sounds info, which I already share in advance. (It's not a weekly update on each item, but I do give advance promotion and previews of items in between solicitation and shipment -- if an item has not been solicited for orders, I am probably not going to promote it too heavily, or give too many updates.)

 

We will probably never again announce what an item is going to be when the prototype is not yet completed, and we're not going to show the development of a prototype we haven't completed yet, or solicit it before it is ready to begin the manufacturing process. We could fake it, completing the item THEN announcing concept and teasing development, but that would mean going silent for longer than we already do, just to build in a the lie. Seems like that would be less popular.

 

If people have opinions about DCD, they can share it with DCD. If retailers aren't getting their product in a proper manner, then they have representatives to talk to. If customers are unhappy with how quickly DCD is getting something to their retailers, they should talk to their retailers. But once we get something to DCD, they ship it out, so if you have an issue with how long a product is taking, that is an issue with us, not them. A couple of weeks to sort out an inventory problem is a drop in the bucket compared to our 1-2 yr. development time, but if having to wait another week or two causes you to cancel an order and place one somewhere else, then I can't do anything about that. I can only advise continued patience at that point.



#52 DSTZach

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:10 PM

And yes, one of our ship designers (our lead ship designer), Thomas Sasser, was ill for a long time, and recently passed. He was working on the next Federation ship, but it was handed off to the new designer, who was with Art Asylum back in the early days, a while back. Not sure how close to ready it is, it might be in the approval stage, but hopefully we can reveal soon. NX-01 (which was re-decoed and got new sounds) is close to done, and the new TOS (with new sounds and lights) has started to ship to some retailers, as you have seen. After that it's the BoP and the Fed ship, so I expect us to show it by February, but I've said that before.



#53 1701D

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:31 PM

Zach do you guys know if you'll be allowed to produce product based on the as of yet untitled 2017 Star Trek TV series?

If so then that'll probably help your Star Trek line immensely!

#54 DSTZach

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 08:46 AM

I don't know yet what our rights are or will be. Hopefully a high tide raises all boats, but just because there is a new show doesn't mean people are suddenly going to order higher quantities of, say, Chapel, Janeway and the Salt Vampire. Unless the new show stars all of them, cruising the spaceways. :)



#55 Dilithium1

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 10:06 AM

I don't know yet what our rights are or will be. Hopefully a high tide raises all boats, but just because there is a new show doesn't mean people are suddenly going to order higher quantities of, say, Chapel, Janeway and the Salt Vampire. Unless the new show stars all of them, cruising the spaceways. :)

 

Holodeck Fanfic?



#56 ensignmelkor

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 10:34 AM

Hi Zach,

 

I'm a first-time poster here and my love for Diamond Select Trek ships is what brought me to this board. So far I own The Wrath of Khan Enterprise, the Enterprise-B, the Enterprise-D, the All Good Things Enterprise, and the Klingon Bird of Prey from Undiscovered Country. (I also have the 2015 version of the HD Enterprise-1701 pre-ordered.) So I'm definitely invested in the future of this line. Since I've just started collecting, playing catch-up to get the ships I want through ebay and other online resellers, I haven't experienced the evident frustration some fans mention when they talk about the wait time between new ship releases and the occasional lack of new information provided. Reading your comments about this, I can completely understand why you guys wouldn't want to show pictures of prototypes in progress, as any little imperfections could lead to a flood of online negativity that really isn't fair considering prototypes are works in progress.

 

However, I'm not quite sure I understand your reasoning when it comes to not wanting to announce in advance your choices for which new ships will be produced. For instance, the next Federation ship is apparently being worked on but its identity hasn't been revealed. I guess you don't want to risk negative online reactions to ship choices, but wouldn't negative reactions in this type of situation be informative? For example, if the new Federation ship was something like the Botany Bay, which probably would be very far down on most fans' want lists behind the Enterprise C, the Defiant, Voyager, etc., and fans made their displeasure known, wouldn't that help you guys to realize that a more profitable choice could be made? I would think that, in the instance of ship selection, you guys might welcome feedback before you made a final decision and went into the production stage?

 

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for being a presence on these boards and giving us what information you can. It's appreciated!

 

--Mark



#57 1701D

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 11:15 AM

I don't know yet what our rights are or will be. Hopefully a high tide raises all boats, but just because there is a new show doesn't mean people are suddenly going to order higher quantities of, say, Chapel, Janeway and the Salt Vampire. Unless the new show stars all of them, cruising the spaceways. :)

 

I'm really hoping that despite my gripes with DST, you guys do get or find out you already have the rights to do product for a new show. It seems to me that ok whilst Trek isn't the same as your Marvel Select line in popularity, that the classic stuff (TOS - ENT) is far more popular and everlasting than the movies Abrams has directed/produced. I kind of saw that for the first time this year when we've seen absolutely zero product for Star Trek Beyond being even rumoured. What do you make of the lack of product for the new JJ Abrams movies in general? Do you take that as a sign that perhaps the rebooted universe isn't as popular in the long run as the original classic franchise has been?

 

And actually what do you make of a new series being made??? Is it something you guys at DST will watch and is it something you hope will be set in the prime universe beyond the TNG - VOY era? Thats my hope, I'm seriously hoping this series is set in the 25th century, far enough away from TNG et al but close enough to still maintain the legacy that was left in limbo by the Abrams movies in favour of generic action movies with Star Trek characters (however fun they are, they are throw away movies made for a fast-food generation at best. We all love a big mac now and then but lets not live off of them all the time).  

 

Anyway, hoping to see some awesome stuff from you guys in the coming months. 



#58 1701D

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 11:16 AM

Hi Zach,

 

I'm a first-time poster here and my love for Diamond Select Trek ships is what brought me to this board. So far I own The Wrath of Khan Enterprise, the Enterprise-B, the Enterprise-D, the All Good Things Enterprise, and the Klingon Bird of Prey from Undiscovered Country. (I also have the 2015 version of the HD Enterprise-1701 pre-ordered.) So I'm definitely invested in the future of this line. Since I've just started collecting, playing catch-up to get the ships I want through ebay and other online resellers, I haven't experienced the evident frustration some fans mention when they talk about the wait time between new ship releases and the occasional lack of new information provided. Reading your comments about this, I can completely understand why you guys wouldn't want to show pictures of prototypes in progress, as any little imperfections could lead to a flood of online negativity that really isn't fair considering prototypes are works in progress.

 

However, I'm not quite sure I understand your reasoning when it comes to not wanting to announce in advance your choices for which new ships will be produced. For instance, the next Federation ship is apparently being worked on but its identity hasn't been revealed. I guess you don't want to risk negative online reactions to ship choices, but wouldn't negative reactions in this type of situation be informative? For example, if the new Federation ship was something like the Botany Bay, which probably would be very far down on most fans' want lists behind the Enterprise C, the Defiant, Voyager, etc., and fans made their displeasure known, wouldn't that help you guys to realize that a more profitable choice could be made? I would think that, in the instance of ship selection, you guys might welcome feedback before you made a final decision and went into the production stage?

 

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for being a presence on these boards and giving us what information you can. It's appreciated!

 

--Mark

 

Brilliant post, hit the nail on the head with this one. 



#59 robster

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 11:51 AM

Whadda ya mean,fast-food generation?? Are you saying I have a short attention span or ADD or summat?! Correct on both accounts,LOL! Those movies really are perfect for people like me,and the ADD/ADHD folks. I mean,when I wake up in the middle of the night,superawake,I can put one of those two on and it keeps me focused.....and no,I don't fall asleep while watching ST ID,lol. Before those two it used to be the first Transformers movie. Go figure. I like the new Trek movies,which I've said plenty of times,but would like the new series to be set in the future prime universe.

 

And yes,excellent post EM!

 

J-R!



#60 luclin999

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 02:48 PM

Hi Zach,

 

I'm a first-time poster here and my love for Diamond Select Trek ships is what brought me to this board. So far I own The Wrath of Khan Enterprise, the Enterprise-B, the Enterprise-D, the All Good Things Enterprise, and the Klingon Bird of Prey from Undiscovered Country. (I also have the 2015 version of the HD Enterprise-1701 pre-ordered.) So I'm definitely invested in the future of this line. Since I've just started collecting, playing catch-up to get the ships I want through ebay and other online resellers, I haven't experienced the evident frustration some fans mention when they talk about the wait time between new ship releases and the occasional lack of new information provided. Reading your comments about this, I can completely understand why you guys wouldn't want to show pictures of prototypes in progress, as any little imperfections could lead to a flood of online negativity that really isn't fair considering prototypes are works in progress.

 

However, I'm not quite sure I understand your reasoning when it comes to not wanting to announce in advance your choices for which new ships will be produced. For instance, the next Federation ship is apparently being worked on but its identity hasn't been revealed. I guess you don't want to risk negative online reactions to ship choices, but wouldn't negative reactions in this type of situation be informative? For example, if the new Federation ship was something like the Botany Bay, which probably would be very far down on most fans' want lists behind the Enterprise C, the Defiant, Voyager, etc., and fans made their displeasure known, wouldn't that help you guys to realize that a more profitable choice could be made? I would think that, in the instance of ship selection, you guys might welcome feedback before you made a final decision and went into the production stage?

 

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for being a presence on these boards and giving us what information you can. It's appreciated!

 

--Mark

Hello,

 

While I agree that I'd love to know more about the release schedule for new Trek items in advance, as someone who designs and produces terrain models for role playing games I understand the other side of things as well. Over the years there have been  several projects in my shop that have been in various prototype stages which either ended up being altered dramatically or scrapped altogether due to either design/production flaws or necessary improvements to the final models which caused them to differ in some cases dramatically from the original concept pieces.

 

These changes resulted in confusion with some of our customers and this ultimately led to our adopting a policy similar to what AA has done where we only "preview" models which are ready to move into production rather than the early stage prototypes.

 

That said, we still occasionally "preview" potential concept pieces quietly at conventions we exhibt at in order to obtain feedback and potential interest in the new product.

Of course, we also don't have the issue AA does with having to obtain "final approval" from the executives at CBS/Paramount regarding the likeness and design of new models which I'm sure adds yet another layer of legal entanglement to any product announcements or previews as well.






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