The Value of Nerd Stuff…Specifically "Why Do Lego MiniFigures Cost So Much?"

Today I am going to rant about something.  Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a cheapskate.  This post might sound like “get off my lawn.”  But I feel strongly about this, and have put alot of thought into it.  I have to teach my children about the value of money, and so when they read this, maybe they’ll get it too.

I am specifically ranting about the amount of money that Lego MiniFigs are going for nowadays.  My question is, Why?

(I should say that these pictures come from places that I will not disclose, on the web and in person)

Here is a MODEST example.

WHY PEOPLE?  THIS IS INSANITY!  These guys are zany and off the wall.  Who is the scientist?  Why would you pay $29.99 for a generic scientist?  Why would you buy any of these guys.  These are the kind you should get in a starter kit and give to an 8 year old.  The kit should cost about $10, and contain about 100 primary colored bricks of assorted sizes and shapes.
Here’s another, more specific and crazy one.

OF COURSE I am a Star Wars fan.  I unashamedly identify with Anakin/ Vader.  I also think the LEGO Star Wars video games are fun, and enjoy the cuteness of them as well.  But I think this much money for a mini-fig is ridiculous.

Remember, we are talking about something about the size of a quarter, made out of plastic.

The Mystery Pack here seems reasonable enough.  This kind of thing is popular nowadays.  But you don’t know what you are getting…And I happen to know, that these guys tend to be rather generic.  (I know this is a pic of the HALO MEGA BLOCKS mystery pack price..But both are the same price, I checked.  At least with Halo, you know you are getting something Halo.)  $2.97…You can get a happy meal for this price, and get food AND a better toy.

Now, I don’t think the Mystery Pack is entirely overpriced…It’s just not my kind of thing.  Magic The Gathering Booster Packs operate the same way…More about them later in the post.

Am I alone in this?

Here are some things to compare for discussion of value.

You get a decent set, and three well known characters.  Good deal!  Maybe a good birthday present.
You get a pretty big set…and four mini-figs.  This is OK. IMHO.  Maybe a good Christmas present.
This one is labeled FINAL BATTLE.  Looks like Ninjago is coming to an end.  You get a 100+ piece set, with two mini-figures.  This seems like the best value on this page, as far as Lego is concerned.  Furthermore, the boys can build this set themselves without being overwhelmed.

The SpartanSmurfs own a comparable set. Of course I had to build it for them. After that dragon bit the dust, it never has been together again.  I should have seen it coming.  It has been done before, after all!  (power rangers!)  Eventually…a Gold Ninja.  Is this good value?  Looks like you get three minifigs and the dragon…a pretty big set.  I guess its OK.  If you are a fan of Ninjago. But not the Gold Ninja alone.  Sorry.

Here you see everything you get in the Halo Pack.  $6.  Considering the price of the mystery pack, this seems fair. Plus I happen to know that there is more stuff here than you would get in the Mystery Pack.

I guess I just don’t value Lego MiniFigs.  They are the kind of thing that just gets played with for awhile, then taken apart, and then the hands get lost, or the weapons, or they get mixed up.  And the kids could have just as much fun with the generic type you get in the Mystery Pack.  Or the ones you find at a yard sale….

I mean, for as much money as the Darth Vader up there, you could have THREE Ninja Turtles.  And you wouldn’t have to order them on the internet…You can walk out the store with them!

Metalhead is one of my favorites!
I have spoke a few times about this movie.  It is an older movie now.  But look at the size of this guy!  For $19!  Great articulation!  1000% larger than the Vader Minifig, and STILL CHEAPER.

Here’s a “girly” example.  For $19.97, you can own a doll, with tons of accessories…A popular toy at that!  You still aren’t paying as much as you are for Vader!

The Great SpartanAunt is guilty.  You see, she got the SpartanSmurfs some extravagantly priced Storm Troopers and Clone Mini-Figs.  And spoiled them!  I try and tell them…Look, you could get THIS item, or four of THESE items for that price…Nope.

There is nothing there but INSANITY!  Am I being a jerk?

I exercise caution when I am buying Magic Cards with the boys.  I don’t feel a piece of cardboard is worth the price of a meal for a whole family at a decent restaurant.  I personally own a Voice of Reason…This card would cost $35-$50…But I got it in a booster pack….That’s How I roll, see.  And all of the Shocklands that I own, I got the same way, or traded.  I boosted my collection, and I keep it organized alphabetically by set.  I am getting the bang for my buck, see.  And I play everyday.

The SpartanSmurfs are going on and on about Mr. Gold.  He’ll cost his weight in real gold.  Mr. Gold is apparently the rarest MiniFig or something like that.  Here’s what I see happening.  They’ll get a Mr. Gold.  Then he’ll be in 10 golden pieces, mixed into Storm Trooper and Ninjago parts.

And I just don’t see the value here.

And that is my two-cents cheapskate opinion!  Are you mad now?…Comment!

Advertisements

Comic Review…He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #5….The Origin of Despara (She-Ra)

I might be one of the few commentators out there who enjoy the new Masters of the Universe comic.  I hope it’s truly doing well…And I hope the Justice League crossover gives it a big boost as well.

Of all the things about the comic that could be said, the most striking thing has been the appearance of She-Ra as Despara.  She has a butch haircut, and goes around in Hordak’s body armor ruthlessly….and I mean ruthlessly killing rebels and masters.  She is more than Force Captain Adora could have ever been, (in regard to the Filmation story.)  No she’s a cold blooded zealot, wanting to shine victory on Hordak.

The origin story here did not disappoint!

Here’s the cover.

I am glad to see the classic feminine look of She-Ra here.  We really haven’t gotten to see this much in the DC New 52 version of the comics….aside from a variant cover that I have not been able to get.  But if anything, Comics have proven that the cover doesn’t usually tell us much.

But this cover does….In this issue, the lies of the Horde become apparent to Despara….And she learns that she was Adora from the Shadow Weaver, who in this story has been a “mother” to her.

I like everything about this re-telling.  In fact, in the old established story, some things didn’t make any sense.  Here it all makes perfect sense.  It is well explained, and furthermore, we see the Horde’s twist on things, having the origin told from the Shadow Weaver’s point of view.

Skeletor stole Adora from the crib…Why didn’t he take Adam?  This story explains it.  The Sorceress intervened.

Why hasn’t Randor, or anyone else mentioned it yet…His mind has been wiped!  Everyone’s has been to help them with their grief by the Sorceress.

And Marlena…she’s dead too, evidently.

A couple of other things I liked.  Shadow Weaver shows her jealousy of Hordak here.  She speaks ill of  him and his arrogance.  She continues to see herself as Despara’s mother, a character quality I was unaware of.  (I haven’t watched much She-Ra….I AM a boy, you know.)  She also speaks of Skeletor in glowing terms…It’s like she’s in love with him.  This is also apparently new.  FInally, she says that she believes the Sorceress allowed Adora to be taken.  Not sure if this is her trying to put more slant on it or what, but it makes sense the way she says it.  She says that it is the kind of sacrifice Grayskull would require.  And that only one of the twins was required to fulfill the prophecy.

So my logic is, in the taking of Adora, 20 or so years were bought to train Adam to become He-Man.  At least this is how Shadow Weaver, a dark mage, tells it.

In this issue we see the Shadow Weaver killed by Hordak and his godlike power.  Why can’t he so easily kill Adora?  A good question.

What I didn’t like.

Teela had to stab her at the end, didn’t she?  Why couldn’t she have taken the heroic high road?  The writers are typecasting Teela into someone more hardcore than she should be.  I don’t much care for the snarky conversations between her and Adam, or the way she snaps virtually everyone else up.  She always gets the last word in these stories, and is such a prominent character that you could almost call this book “Teela and the Masters of the Universe.”  Here it is no different.  Despara heals Teela, and Teela thanks her by stabbing her back.

Also, we’ve seen who killed in this series…

Leech, Sorceress, Flutterina, and now Marlena and Shadow Weaver.  And at 11:30 at night my memory might be evading me.

Keep in mind that we’ve only had a six issue web series, a six issue mini-series, and five issues of the ongoing series.  If I’m right, that adds up to a character killed off in 1 out of 3 books.  What other comic can survive like this….My thinking is that the writers are thinking short term.  “No way this series is going to last much longer.”  I hope I’m not right.

At least Man-At-Arms hasn’t been turned into a snake man.

And at least Orko is still a good guy….oh…he’s not…..

What I hope to see

Next issue is the last issue of this story arc.  I hope to see Despara shed that name and claim Adora.  I hope to see her raise the sword and become She-Ra…The classic version we know…not the soldier from Wreck-It Ralph.  Somehow the sword gets to her, and it’s power breaks the fog of lies that surround her.

And I hope she tips the scales away from Hordak.

But for the future…I want to see a She-Ra book of her own.  Now we will have a hero with a truly dark history.  Someone who has to find redemption from the evil she has committed.  The book would show us how she gains the trust of the rebels and breaks the back of the Horde.  It would be awesome!

Is it too much of a fantasy?  Let me know!  Commentors could win a prize!