Back in July Hasbro showed off the largest ever Transformer collectable in Unicron – the planet sized monstrosity that would not go on sale as another premium piece of plastic, but would need to be funded by the community.
Hasbro Pulse – through its HasLab brand – set up a campaign to get the Unicron made by offering up a deadline of 31st August and 8 000 Unicron orders. That’s a hard sell considering that each order costs a whopping $574.99.
Should those 8 000 orders not be placed, the product would not move into production and backers would not be charged for their order. If this all sounds familiar it’s exactly the kind of crowdfunding that Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made popular over the years.
The difference here is that Hasbro is a publicly traded company that brought in $4.58 billion in 2018. We think that this way of doing things is less about securing funding, and more about gauging interest around such a premium product.
Even LEGO, arguably the world’s most popular toy brand, pulled a similar stunt in 2018 when it ran a campaign on Indiegogo for a series of kinetic sculptures based on sea life called Forma. This was even more baffling as Forma was relatively cheap, especially compared to Unicron.
Regardless, today is 31st August and, at the time of writing, there are only 5 517 orders for Unicron which would mean that the campaign was unsuccessful, if not for Hasbro offering up an extension.
Those with a substantial amount of money to burn now have until 6th October to express their interest by leaving their credit card details. If you’re feeling extra ridiculous we looked around the campaign page and you can even order a maximum of five per transaction, so you can get a few to fill up the mansion.
Aside from the campaign being unsuccessful, we have to imagine that Hasbro made this change on the behest of the community. Springing the news of Unicron on them without warning means that many people had to scramble to find the large amount of money to place their order. Leaving them with just one month before the campaign closed (before the extension) meant that some people would be unable to become a backer before being paid their salaries.
That being said there are still other things Hasbro could have done here to make sure more people could have become backers. Payment plans for premium products like this are common, but none are on offer here. Placing the campaign nearer to the end of the year – when people save up for Black Friday and the holiday season – would have made more sense too.
You can poke around the campaign page to find out more about Unicron, or look at the video and images on this page.
The gigantic Transformer does, of course, Transform but the process takes a rather long time. You can see a man in a suit do it in this timelapse video using a pre-production version here. It kind of looks like a gigantic puzzle, but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t also look like a lot of fun.
True to Hasbro’s claims that this is their biggest Transformer yet. Unicron is 68.5 centimetres tall in robot mode (complete with 50 points of articulation) and 76.2 centimetres in diameter once transformed into planet mode.