Welcome to another edition of Chad Still Plays with Toys. Today, we’re going to take a look at some Fortnite toys and some big shifts they’re currently making.
You may have seen Fortnite in the news recently. They’ve made some decisions that might have serious repercussions on their business model and affect their success moving forward. Of course, things will have to be settled through the courts first. The courts of public opinion that is.
I’m talking about the switch from Llama piñatas to their new Vending Machine packaging for their action figures!
What did you think I was talking about? That other thing with the game makers trying to bypass Apple and Google for micro transactions and all the big legal hubbub around it? Nah, that’s for different websites entirely.
I’m here for the toys, girls and boys, and Jazware’s Fortnite action figure line has been a shining beacon of hope for 4 inch scale collectors like myself. I covered the opening salvos of the line here, here and here, but that literally was just the beginning.
From the start in October 2018 to my most recent socially distanced due to the ongoing pandemic Target run, there have been
6 waves of Solo Mode figures (between 4-7 figures a wave),
4 Deluxe Early Survival Kit figures,
1 Hot Drop figure,
5 “Squad Mode” 4 figure packs,
6 smaller piñatas,
1 jumbo piñata,
1 small vending machine,
1 jumbo vending machine,
2 different Target exclusive 5 packs,
the Gingerbread 2 figure set,
the Battle Royals 10 figure set,
3 Turbo Builder Sets with 2 figures apiece,
1 1X1 Builder Set with the Black Knight,
the Late Game Survival Set with 2 characters,
2 remote control ATKs,
a Glider Drone,
an RC Baller,
and a Battle Bus.
That doesn’t account for European exclusives, loot boxes, gliders, or the toys they make in the 12 inch scale, 7 inch scale, 1 ½ inch scale, Domez, or through their Nerf lines.
Now, admittedly, a handful of the figures are straight up repaints or kitbashes, but there’s still an incredible amount of product—to the point that I gave up being a completionist with this line before it ever really started. There was one moment when the wave 1 stuff started hitting clearances and wave 2 had not been fully rolled out that I think I had almost everything. That moment quickly passed. It’s been relentless ever since, but in a good way.
To their credit, Jazwares has shown that they listen to their customer feedback, and they’ve taken steps to address some of my earliest criticisms of the line.
- Instructions for building—Early in the second wave, they started putting instructions on how to use the building pieces so you don’t break them when putting them together. For someone who had broken some pieces already, that was helpful.
- The price point—The first waves of solo figures were $12.99 and $19.99 for Early Game Survival figures (which were the solo figs with a few extra accessories). As of the most recent wave, prices for solo mode figures have dropped to $9.99 (my magic number!) buuuuuuut they have cut out the building piece to bring costs down. The building pieces are one of my favorite parts of the line, for sure. I was getting the majority of those through other sets so it wasn’t too too bad of a cut. Definitely a worthy trade for a $3 price difference. Also, the Deluxe Early Game Survival Kit figures, originally priced at $20 have been re-configured into $15 Hot Drop figures. That $5 drop makes a big difference, too. I’ll be honest, I haven’t picked it up yet to see what’s different. In my mind, a few accessories didn’t justify the large price jumps, so I’m glad to see it level out a bit. As a simple working dad/action figure fan who struggled to keep up with the line initially (I got a loooot of stuff after it had been clearanced out), it was nice to see Jazwares do what they can to bring costs down.
- Thus far, it seems like the other content like Squad Mode and Turbo Builder sets have maintained their price points, but they were already decent values in my eyes to begin with. They keep chugging along with each new wave, serving as great jumping on points and great ways to stock up on figures/building parts. To Jazwares’s credit, they haven’t skimped on these sets. I especially liked the Amazon exclusive Wild Cards 4 pack, or as an action figure customizer like me sees it, 4 affordable suits! It’s like one of those Men’s Warehouse sales where you buy one suit for $40 and they hand you three more!
- The articulation and quality of toys has not dropped off a bit from the first waves. They are still churning out high quality toys.
- Side note: If you love a toy line and can support them at full retail prices, that’s what keeps the line going longer. All too often, the folks who wait for clearance prices are the first to cry when a line goes away, not realizing that it matters if stores can make a profit if you want the line to keep continuing. Casual fans get to be a bit more choosy, but we are dependent on those who keep the stocks moving. The absolute deluge of product has necessitated I stick to casual status when it comes to Fortnite. Also, I still have no interest in playing the actual video game! That part doesn’t matter. I still like the toys.
And that brings us finally to the focal point of today, what does matter for my fellow action figure fans, comparing the Llama Loot Piñata with Overtaker ($24.99) with the newer product, the Fallen Love Ranger Vending Machine (priced $19.99 at Target, $14.99 at Walmart). It’s worth noting that Amazon has a different version of the Fallen Love Ranger Vending Machine with clear window packaging and 7 fewer pieces for $19.99.
If you’re picking and choosing, you deserve to know what’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck!
Up first, let’s compare the packaging. The Llama packaging is definitely unique (and earned Jazwares an industry award for how cool it looked), but after six piñatas, it’s getting played out. The Vending Machine packaging is kinda unique. It’s a welcome change, but it’s not something to write home about. It is much more an end to a means as opposed the the LLama, where the packaging was just as much a selling point initially.
Ok. Let’s crack open the new one…because it’s the new one. First thing I noticed…more confetti. …Great. I was kinda hoping that would go the way of the llama. It’s fun the first time, but you can only pick up confetti scraps so many times before you learn to hate confetti! The vending machine quickly distracted me from my confetti-hatred by coming with a sticker now! Stickers are cool.
Once you clear out the box, you’ll see all the parts are individually wrapped again, which adds to the anticipation aspect when you get your new toy. Sure, it tells you on the back of the box what’s inside, but it doesn’t mean as much until you actually see it and hold it unpackaged in your hand!
There you go, the figure (pretty awesome design on Love Ranger btw), the weapons, the bling (love the unicorn floaty back piece), and the wall segment (it’s an avocodo encouraging you to “DO IT!” Thanks, excitable yet friendly avocado)! 19 pieces in all.
Here’s the back picture that spells out the accessories in case you can’t see ‘em. The plunger thing is neat-o.
Here’s what you get with the Amazon version. It looks like they cut out the wall-ocado, and 2 of of the back blings.
Now, on to the piñata, whom I forced to watch the entire proceeding. He knows what’s coming, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Spill your confetti-filled innards, piñata! Serve your ultimate purpose! AAAAAaaAAAAaaaaAAAh!
Ok. Even after opening multiple piñatas, it’s still fun. A confetti-filled cacophony of pre-packaged pieces emerged!
It’s a confetti-filled mess with an assortment of weapons, back bling, and two, yes two wall sections. One is a regal looking llama and the other is a llama gravestone. Ominous, had I not already had the follow-up set. RIP, Piñatas! All in all, it counts as 23 pieces.
Here’s the official list of what parts come with the Overtaker (who is an awesome looking figure, btw. I regret not picking up an extra for an Evel Knievil or an Elvis custom figure!) The black wing back bling is cool, I guess. It’ll go great…with the guy from the other set?!? And I do like the building pieces, regardless of what designs are or are not on them.
To compare the two, here are the figures and their respective accessories when you look at them side by side.
Overtaker comes with slightly more small accessories but fewer standouts. To me, the weapons accessories are negligible, with a slight edge going to the FLR vending machine for having more fun options. FLR gets fewer building pieces, which is a deduction, but it also gets a sticker! I love stickers, yet I rarely ever stick them to things.
As far as cost difference verses the amount of extras, it’s really negligible. I prefer the lower prices myself and will sacrifice what amounted to one 4-piece wall picture and one accessory fewer when it comes to save $5. It’s a definite yes if you’re finding them at the Walmart price and saving $10. As far as the even more limited Amazon set, it would really depend on how important the accessories are. That’s where you make a much bigger sacrifice. In exchange, you get cooler packaging, so that’s a plus if you don’t open your toys. You also get Amazon delivery which cannot be underestimated in these times. Still, I feel like you’re getting cheated just a bit with that version. I start that a figure with 1 weapon is now $10. Is the remaining amount of accessories worth the extra you paid? For the Amazon ‘sclusie, I’d say nay.
While I’ll miss the piñata packaging, it has had its time, and the thrill is waning. And 3 years into the line, I have so many building pieces I’m not going to miss an extra wall set. For me, the vending machine is the clear winner!
For the folks at Jazwares, if you’re looking for room for improvement, you could cut out the confetti. Otherwise, thanks for listening to your fan base and continuing to stock the toy aisle with product, whether we’re ready for it or not! I hope Fortnite the game gets their situation settled so we can justify getting all these cool action figures in the process!
Until next time, I’ll most likely stay busy playing with my toys! Stay safe and take care!