|07-26-2009, 11:04 PM||#1|
Dark Lord of the 'Ark
Join Date: Oct 2008
The purpose of this thread is to provide some general information for people new to the toy collecting hobby or new to the Toyark. Sometimes those of us who post here or on other forums on a regular basis tend to use a lot of shorthand and industry slang. This can be intimidating to new collectors or those who are new to the online aspect of collecting. I will probably update this post as other acronyms and information become more prominent.
With that said, let’s get into it!
Acronyms Regarding Condition
MOSC - Mint On Sealed Card. Means that the blister or bubble package is still sealed and has not been compromised in any way.
MOC - Mint On Card. This means the packaging could actually be opened with a mint figure but the blister is still connected to the card back. Lately though, it has become interchangeable with MOSC, though they do not mean the same thing. MOC is comparable to MIB.
MIB - Mint In Box. Means that the figure has been opened but is in mint condition and comes with the box and all packaging. The box itself may or may not be in mint condition, which is why listings for this will usually have some indicator for it listed after (see further down).
MISB - Mint In Sealed Box. This means that the packaging has not been opened in any way. Generally, the condition of the box is good, too, but it is not a guarantee.
OOP – Out Of Package. Basically, the toy in question has been opened and taken out of the packaging. The packaging itself may or may not also be present. Can be Loose or Opened.
LOOSE - A toy that does not have any packaging or paperwork. May or may not have some or all of its accessories. Usually accompanied by a percentage representing how complete it is (see Loose guide later in this post). Keep in mind, "loose" does not say anything about the condition of the toy or packaging, or the number of missing accessories (if any). There should be some qualifier after Loose to say if it is complete and/or in good condition.
OPENED - Same as loose toys, except that an Opened toy has all of its packaging intact. And as with "loose", "opened" does not say anything about the condition of the toy or packaging, or the number of missing accessories (if any).
Condition Scale (C0 – C10)
This is a scale from 0 to 10 representing either a figure's condition or the packaging condition, where applicable. C0 is practically worthless, and is rarely mentioned. Even an opened baggie is usually a C2 or C3. C10 is perfect and very hard to get, since it means there isn't any discoloration, missing or damaged parts, sticker wear, odors, residue (adhesives, dirt, dust, soda, etc), scratches, dents, dings, cuts or any other damage. Typically, the highest you'll usually find is C8 or C9, known as Near Mint or Mint. These figures (or boxes) are in excellent condition and have only one or two minor issues, which are typically due to factory errors (minor paint application mistakes) or shelf-wear (minor creases on boxes and card backs).
AFA stands for Action Figure Authority, which is an independent grading company. For a fee, they will review and rate any action figure in or out of packaging. Generally, anything that has been AFA-graded is worth more than a non-graded version of the same figure in the same condition. It's comparable to certified diamonds versus non certified diamonds.
Here is AFA's website, if you want to know more about them: Action Figure Authority ? Home Page
General Info Regarding Loose Toys
Loose toys come in a variety of conditions, mostly using the same scale as their packaged versions. The difference with loose figures is whether they have all or some of their accessories and parts. This is usually denoted by a percentage following the name, similar to the condition rating. Most of the time, though, there are only a couple variations actually used.
100% - This means the toy is not broken and has all of its accessories.
110% (or more) – This usually means that the toy is not broken, has all of its accessories, and has some or all of the original paperwork. It’s a bit subjective, so be sure to read the auction’s full description whenever you see “% Complete” in the listing.
Last edited by trebleshot; 02-21-2012 at 07:20 AM..
|07-30-2009, 12:28 PM||#2|
Dark Lord of the 'Ark
Join Date: Oct 2008
Acronyms Regarding Stores, Online Shops and Websites
BNM or Brick-And-Mortar. This refers to physical retail stores, as opposed to online stores. Some larger chains, such as Walmart, Toys 'R' Us and Target, have both physical and online versions.
LCS or LCBS. Local Comic Shop or Local Comic Book Shop. Basically the local mom-and-pop stores that sell comic books and other associated merchandise. Usually, they sell a wide variety of toys as well.
WM = Walmart
KM = K-Mart
TRU = Toys 'R' Us
HTS = Hasbro Toy Shop (Games, Toys, Action Figures, Collectibles, and Gifts - Hasbro Toy Shop)
Matty or Matty.com = Mattel's online store (MattyCollector.com Online Store - Welcome)
HLJ = Hobby Link Japan (HobbyLink Japan Home Page)
BBTS = Big Bad Toy Store (BigBadToyStore.com - Toys, Action Figures, Vintage Toys, and Collectibles)
EE or The Earth = Entertainment Earth (Action Figures, Toys, Bobble Heads, and Collectibles by Entertainment Earth, the Action Figure Company)
TFW = Transformers World 2005 (our TF sister site, Transformer World 2005)
The Tank = Hisstank.com (our G.I. Joe sister site, HissTank.com - G.I. Joe Toy and Movie News and Discussion)
Miscellaneous Acronyms and Forum Shorthand
BAF or Build-A-Figure. Used mainly when referring to lines where a part is included with each figure in a specific series or wave, and when all the pieces are put together you have a unique figure that is unavailable otherwise. Marvel Legends, DC Universe Classics and Star Wars Droid Factory are examples of toy lines that have had BAF waves. For DC figures, they are known as CNC or Collect-N-Connect and for Star Wars they're known as BAD, or Build-A-Droid.
LAM - Live-action movie, as opposed to an animated movie.
MU (Marvel Universe)/FF (Fury Files). Both refer to the same toy line: Hasbro's 3.75" Marvel figures. The Fury Files moniker comes from an accessory included with figure from the first two series, known as a Fury File. It is a miniature manila envelope containing a small trading card of the character with a picture on one side and vital stats on the other, a “Top Secret” document from the S.H.I.E.L.D./H.A.M.M.E.R. Database about the character, and a code to enter on the now-defunct website www.furyfiles.com. The code unlocks additional information in the form of another “Top Secret” document. Some of these unlocked versions continue the story that begins in the file with the figure.
ML – Marvel Legends. Hasbro’s 6 inch Marvel figures. Known for their high levels of articulation, they also began the current trend of BAF in action figure lines (under previous company, Toy Biz).
DCUC – DC Universe Classics. Mattel’s answer to Marvel Legends, they are 6 inch figures of the DC Universe characters. Recent waves have contained BAF parts for some of the larger DC characters, such as Atom Smasher and Giganta.
DCIH – DC Infinite Heroes. This would be Mattel’s version of Marvel Universe. DCIH figures are less articulated than MU, but there are still some great figures in the line, especially if you’re a DC fan.
TF - Transformers. Hasbro's line of shape-altering robots from the distant planet of Cybertron, first released in 1984. The current TV series is Transformers Prime (also known as TFP, TF:P, TF:Prime, or simply Prime, though the last one creates some confusion considering the various characters to bear the Prime name/title). The deluxe and smaller size classes go by the subtitle of "Robots in Disguise", so those are generally referred to as PRiD, to separate them from a previous line with the same name (see below).
Other Transformers series acronyms
G1 (Generation 1), G2 (Generation 2), BW (Beast Wars), BM (Beast Machines, RiD (Robots in Disguise), Arm or TF:A (Armada), En or TF:E (Energon), Cyb or TF:C (Cybertron), Ani or TFA (Animated), TFTM or TFTM:86 (cartoon theatrical film from 1986), TF:TM or TFTM:07 (Transformers LAM from 2007), ROTF (Revenge of the Fallen, second LAM from 2009), DOTM (Dark of the Moon, 3rd LAM from 2011), GEN (Generations), WFC (War For Cybertron), FOC (Fall of Cybertron), WWI (War Within), TI (Titanium), RH (Robot Heroes), MM or Muggs (Mighty Muggs, in the case of Transformers; as opposed to Minimates). Armada, Energon and Cybertron are also known collectively as the Unicron Trilogy (or UT), due to his prominence in all three series, and that they are (officially) a trilogy.
MTMTE - More Than Meets The Eye. Originally the premiere 3-parter of the original Transformers series. Now also references comic series by both Dreamwave and IDW.
MLP - My Little Pony. Hasbro's toy line about ponies, unicorns and other equestrian animals. Debuted in 1983. The current TV series is called Friendship is Magic (FiM).
CB - Care Bears. Hasbro's line of plush bears with a symbol on their stomach indicating their personalities or other attributes. First released in 1982.
HW - Hot Wheels. Mattel's line of primarily 1:64th scale vehicles and playsets. First released in 1967.
MB - Matchbox. Another brand of 1:64th scale vehicles and playsets. First released in 1953. Though once a long-time competitor of Hot Wheels, now they both owned by the same company (since 1997). Not to be confused with Milton-Bradley (M-B or M/B), a board game company bought by Hasbro and known for games such as Twister.
JL - Johnny Lighning. An independant company also specializing in 1:64th scale and larger vehicles. First released in 1969.
Last edited by trebleshot; 04-13-2012 at 12:07 PM..
|07-30-2009, 12:29 PM||#3|
Dark Lord of the 'Ark
Join Date: Oct 2008
Industry Terms and Other Miscellaneous
Mold or Mould. This term is usually used to describe the actual manufactured and assembled toy sculpt, regardless of paint applications or plastic colors. But the term originally applied to the casings that shape or "mold" the plastic into the parts needed to create the figure and its accessories. Also known as a buck, when referring a basic mold that multiple characters are derived from, especially with DCUC, MOTU and similar lines.
Most of the time, the plastic used for a particular mold has four or five separate dyes added to make the base colors of the finished toy. Any additional colored details are painted over these base colors at the factory to match a particular color scheme.
Depending on how complicated the figure is (articulation, alternate modes, etc.), there may be more than one physical mold used in the manufacturing process to create all necessary parts. But the singular term "mold" refers to all of the sections, regardless.
Most modern toys (and plastic products in general) are made using a process called injection molding. For more information on this, go here: Injection molding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Master Mold - This is the mold created to make the production mold(s). Generally, only one set is made (the top and bottom halves). Depending on how many production molds are made, the master mold can degrade over time until it is no longer viable and is destroyed. Other times, the toy company will destroy the master mold after a set number of production molds have been made, or after a set number of toys have been manufactured (i.e. exclusives).
Production Mold - The is the mold that is actually used in the machines to manufacture a toy. Any number of production molds can be made from the master mold. Generally, a production mold is only used for one run and then discarded.
Deco - Short for decoration, it is the overall paint scheme of a toy. From the base colors of the plastic to the painted details and tampographed items. Every detail put on the toy is meticulously laid out on a color chart during the design phase and is matched during the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, based on the toy's budget and the mold design, certain parts will always be the same color plastic coming off the assembly line because they share the same mold. This is why some decos don't exactly match their source of inspiration sometimes. It also leads us to the next item....
Re-deco (or redeco) - Short for redecoration, it is a re-release of a particular toy mold with a new color scheme. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the same thing as a "repaint." A re-deco means that the plastic itself was made using different colored dyes during the manufacturing process. It does not mean that the original figure was made and then painted over with the new colors at the factory (read: repaint). A re-deco mean a brand new run of figures were produced. Any factory-applied paint applications would still fall under re-deco if changed, since they only cover a small area of the figure to highlight details of the mold.
An example would be MU's "Flame On" Johnny Storm, which is identical to the non-flame Johnny, except the plastic used was translucent, with different dyes for the color.
Redecos are an important and, like it or not, necessary part of any toy line. Designing and manufacturing the base (or master) mold for a toy takes up the bulk of that toy's budget. The actual mass production of the toy is only a small portion. With a redeco, all of that R&D is already done, so the only new costs would be the mass production with the new color scheme (and in some cases, packaging).
The sales of redecos are almost all profit, since the original release's profits go to pay for all that initial R&D. The redeco money is used to fund budgets for new molds and toys. But that doesn't mean that it all goes back into the same line. For example, the massive sales of TF1 merchandise allowed Hasbro to produce a lot of the 2008 Universe releases, as well as some of the Animated line.
Repaint - A released figure where most or all of the existing plastic has been painted over. Should really only be used when referring to custom toys. Unfortunately, a lot of collectors tend to use repaint to mean re-deco, which only tends to confuse the issue. For most toy, it is actually cheaper for manufacturers to change the color of the plastic they use during the manufacturing process than to use the original color in the mold and pay someone else to paint over it using another color.
An example of this would be if someone bought the green MU Hulk and painted his purple paints denim blue. Hasbro would just change the dye, rather than use the purple plastic and then paint over it with blue.
Remold - A re-released figure that has certain parts of its mold altered for various reasons. Going back to MU Hulk, Red Hulk would be an example of a remold. It has a new head and hand, as well as a new deco, but the rest of the mold is the same.
Re-issue or Re-release - This is when a previously released toy is released again sometime after the initial offering. The new release may have different packaging, minor changes to the paint apps and some changes to the mold (usually for safety reasons), but otherwise is identical to the original release.
An example of this would be the recent 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime. The packaging was different (to match the Universe line) and this version also had shorter smokestacks. This change was due to comply with US toy safety regulations. Obviously, re-issues from Japan or other countries do not have to comply with US laws, so they tend to be more true to the original in that respect.
Other times, a re-issue may also get a new color scheme, usually to match the character's appearance in certain media.
Repackage or Repack - This is where a previously released toy is released again, with the only difference being the outside packaging. It does not mean that the toy company took old toys out of the packaging and put them into new packaging in order to re-sell them. The toy company has a new run of the toys made and put into the new packaging.
Running Change - A running change is a minor tweak to an existing figure and/or its packaging.Also with running changes, the original release is never re-issued/re-released again (except for the odd aisle reset/restock with older merchandise).
Changes to the packaging, while still deliberate, are not usually preplanned and result after the manufacturer gets packaged samples back and finds something wrong. Or license-holders request a change. For example, during the production of TF Power Core Combiners, a 5-pack was set to be released as "Spastic & the Stunticons". All the packaging read Spastic as the name of the Commander figure (the others being unnamed drones). That is, until Hasbro found out that spastic is a very offensive term in Europe. So they put stickers on the already-made packaging that covered up the original name and replaced it with the name "Over-Run". If you get one, you can actually peel off the stickers, revealing the original name. That is a running change.
Other examples would be Thor's wave 1 Odin (shield repositioned, paint scheme tweaked), MU Series 3 Marvel and Doc Samson (reversed card art, S.H.I.E.L.D. symbol's color changed), Green Goblin (pumpkin bombs moved) and so on.
Variant - A variant has more drastic alterations than a running change, such as a completely different deco or even remolded parts. But it is still packaged the same as its counterpart. Variants are intentional re-decos/remolds of figures released separately from the originals, but still identified as filling the same slot (i.e. same packaging). It's not a running change, even if the original never gets released again, because it wasn't a minor correction or change in packaging to fix something. It was a deliberate alteration to a figure to produce something different. Examples include: Modern/Classic Havok, Warpath/Thunderbird, Dr. Strange regular/astral forms, the FF box set in modern and Future Foundation color schemes, and so on.
All running changes are variants, but not all variants are running changes. Variants can take the place of the original release, like a running change, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the original and the variant are at retail for equal amounts of time before going out of production.
As for which version of a given figure is the original, it's generally assumed to be the first one released. Or if they are released together, then whichever one is considered the default look of the character. For example, the regular outfits for the FF set were first in the comics, so that version of the set is considered the original, while the Future Foundation outfits are the first variant and the transparent Sue version is the second variant.
But it's not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes the variant is considered the harder-to-find version and the non-variant is the more widely-available version, regardless of who came out first. It can definitely be a gray area, like the two versions of Absorbing Man.
Last edited by trebleshot; 04-16-2012 at 01:40 PM..
|04-13-2012, 11:29 AM||#4|
Dark Lord of the 'Ark
Join Date: Oct 2008
Joints and Connection Points
Last edited by trebleshot; 04-13-2012 at 01:14 PM..
|04-13-2012, 12:15 PM||#5|
Dark Lord of the 'Ark
Join Date: Oct 2008
A Few Notes On Distribution And Shelf Space
Contrary to popular belief, toy companies do not have any control over the distribution of their products. The retailers (both online and BNM) control how much stock they have and where it is located for purchase or storage.
Essentially, retailers are resellers of a manufacturer's product. To illustrate this process, we'll use Hasbro for the manufacturer, Wal-Mart for the retailer, and Marvel Legends for the product.
Hasbro makes several Marvel Legends figures and organizes them into a group called an assortment (or wave). Then a box is filled with the figures from this assortment. This is what's known as a case, and sometimes it will have more than one of each figure in the assortment. It usually depends on the size of the box and number of unique figures in the assortment.
Next, cases are sold to Wal-Mart for X number of dollars and shipped to Wal-Mart's main distribution center. Wal-Mart then ships these cases to regional distribution centers, and from there to individual stores based on inventory requirements. The local store's staff then puts the toys on the shelves for consumers to purchase.
Once Wal-Mart has paid for the merchandise and Hasbro shipped it to Wal-Mart's distribution center, there is not much else that Hasbro can do about the products. They can check stores to see if their products are displayed prominently and properly. They can urge the store management to fix the display or ask about empty shelves/pegs. But they cannot force any retailer to put product on the shelves, nor can they specify what kind of product to put there.
POS (or Point-Of-Sale) System
A large part of the distribution issue stems from the usage of the POS system. For Walmart and Target, virtually all ordering is done by the computer, which monitors what goes across the checkouts. Let's use Transformers for our main example:
A case in the first wave of Transformers Prime was made up of 3 Bumblebees, 2 Cliffjumpers, 2 Wheeljacks, and 1 Soundwave. Each one of those has an individual UPC number, and on the receipt may even acknowledge the ndividual character, as it may read out "Tsfmr Bumble," or "Trns Sound" on the receipt.
What POS does, is it keeps track of how many items a store has in stock, and how many it has on the floor (meaning in the backroom, and on the shelf). Once an item reaches below a preset amount, then the system automatically orders a preset amount of cases from their warehouse. And it does not acknowledge or understand the differences between Bumblebee or Soundwave.
So in this situation, Soundwave is a rare and popular character. Needed by kids and collectors alike. They can stock four cases to the shelf, and end up with 12 Bumblebees, 8 Cliffjumpers, 8 Wheeljacks, and only 4 Soundwaves.
Naturally, Soundwave is gonna sell out really fast. Even if not many people want him, but more people want Bumblebee. Those looking for Soundwave are still gonna come up short.
As mentioned, POS doesn't individualize and see they're out of Soundwaves, and low on Wheeljacks, but still has 10 bumblebees on the shelf but no Soundwaves. All it sees is they have 20 deluxe Transformers on the shelf (where you or I see 10 'Bees, 7, Cliffs, and 3 'Jacks), and a full case in the back stock, and doesn't order any more until the total stock drops to five or six deluxes left.
While I can't speak for Barbie or similar girls toys, this affects every action figure, across every brand, across every toy company. It's been the downfall of many many lines. Even popular ones. This is what affects distribution so badly, and this is something that Mattel, nor Hasbro has absolutely *any* say over. It killed Transformers Alternators and affects more recent lines such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Marvel Universe. It has arguably been the single worst enemy to DCUC and Infinite Heroes, as well.
The only thing manufacturers can do is try to cheat it with case assortments. And even if they dropped the case assortments down as evenly as they can, to 1 figure per case, per wave, and even that still wouldn't do much. Crazy Jetty has seen this happen in other areas of retail:
Shelf space is very important to toy manufacturers. The more shelf space their products occupy (or retail presence) at a given retailer, the more likely those products can be sold to consumers. The more products that get sold means that the retailer will be more willing to buy their products in the future, thus making more money for the manufacturer and keeping them in business.
[Editor's Note: special thanks to Arker Crazy Jetty for the section on the POS system. Minor edits for spelling and grammar by me.]
Last edited by trebleshot; 05-10-2012 at 10:22 AM..
|05-05-2015, 01:26 AM||#6|
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Norrtälje, Sweden
Thanks for a lot of good info! Is it too much to ask to request a section about abbrevations used in ads? Like LOT and JOB for example... It doesn¨'t make any sense to me and it helps a lot when doing searches on selling/buying sites to have the correct terminology corresponding to the thingamajig I'm currently looking for.
|09-20-2015, 07:10 AM||#7|
Join Date: Sep 2015
|09-20-2015, 10:19 AM||#8|
Join Date: Jan 2015
I never knew the fury files unlocked anything online. Jeez I have to look at what I buy alot better
Don't go all stealth mode mother ******! We can't see you.
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