February 20, 2011

Finding value the fairplaythings way

Filed under: Collectible of the Day — fairplaythings @ 1:53 am

As promised just a few short hours ago, I’m taking this moment to unveil fairplaythings.com own toy rating system.

Basically a five star system, I thought I’d try something slightly different by describing toys in terms of how we find them on toy shelves. Of course, the description is based on how well a toy sells itself to me, rather than how it sells in reality, but it’s a simple distinction.

But it is so easy to simply say a toy is a sell out versus a lingering toy (the name used for this rating is actually a homage to a choice book called, Linger Awhile, by Russell Hoban - it’s a tale of ageless love, dead stars, celluloid, and vampires recommended). What we want to do as well as give a bit of context to the ratings. Not just a toy is one thing and not another, but how and why this is the case.

Forgive the overlap that may ensue…

Five Criteria for Critiques

  • Completist - Is this a character that I feel I need to complete a line? - I figure if you are on the Collectible list as a toy, you are there with one point. That lowly point is probably based on something as rudimentary as my completist, gotta catch ‘em all mentality. So here’s to the underachieving toy.
  • Original - Is it a character I want? - Of course there is going to be a Batman or an Optimus Prime on the shelf. The question is whether it sings, or an example of a toy design team asleep at the switch. This is where cool rendering or a never produced figure will have an advantage.
  • Design - Is it a cool rendering of the character or toy? - Design is intended to be serve as an overarching concepts. How is the toy conceptualized? Is it fresh or does it feel like a lot of other toys on the shelf? Is it a flawless execution or are there glitches? Does it get you excited to see how far along toys have advanced or is the same old same old? This is where a toy will lose points if it is a simple repaint without any extras and gain points for innovation.
  • Value - Is the toy worth the price? - Tired of toys that are statues and not toys? Toys that fall apart when you look at them? Articulation. Accessories. But also the feeling that this is a toy worth having. This is where factors like these will come into play.
  • Zing! - It don’t mean a think if it doesn’t make me sing! - Some toys have good design, are original, and represent good play value. And they sit on the toy shelf in my mind. But to move to the front of the shopping cart, the best of the best have a special X-factor. Something meaningful to me. It could be giving more weight to the use of an obscure character or a clever design, but it’s something. And it’s here.

Now I don’t intend to do a checklist for each toy coming up, saying how it ranks on design, originality, play value, and the x-factor. I have neither the time nor the inclination. I plan to continue to talk about the collectibles I have as they are - all the strange and wonderful tales that I’ve bound up about each one. Sometimes the toys speak to me; sometimes they simply satisfy the completist in me. The ratings will hopefully help me express how I feel about them.

But I still love them, because they’re mine.


  1. What? Did those values just change? Yes, yes they did. I actually tried to use the conceptualization I created last night in my review of the Transformers: Reveal the Shield characters, and had some difficulties. So rather than risk getting into a full-on, 10 point scale for each of the four bullet points (believe me when I say I was dreaming up tech spec type graphics in my head) and thus falling further behind, I refined the criteria sot aht it would be more obvious to me (and hopefully to the reader) how I was rating things. Hence the change. Wanted you to know. You’re not crazy. But I might be…

    Comment by fairplaythings — February 20, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  2. I want to also add that, thanks to the hard work of tfwiki.net, there are some really excellent descriptions of various paint and redesign techniques. Yes, the descriptions are Transformers related (which frankly works for a storyline based mostly on Transformers to date), but will apply to toy company practices too.

    The art of the redeco: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Redeco
    Which is different from a repaint: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Repaint
    The coveted retool: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Retool
    Paint operations in general: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Paint_operation

    Comment by fairplaythings — February 20, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  3. [...] created a value guide to impart my views on the toys. It’s a pretty good one (far simpler than the one I was running earlier last year with my toy of the day efforts) three years on, so I’m going to keep it for the purposes of the Botcon [...]

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  4. These are some of the toys my 2 nieces have, they are both nelary 19 months old.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn: Learning Puppy Introduces baby to the alphabet, numbers, counting, parts of the body, colors and more. Fisher-Price Laugh Learn Vacuum Cleaner Baby will learn things like opposites, actions and objects through sung songs and appropriate activities.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn Say Please Tea Set Introduce the delights of pretend play while helping baby learn about counting, shapes, opposites, manners and more.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn: Learning Purse Baby will learn about numbers, colors, size, opposites, and greetings.There are a lot of other Fisher Price Laugh and Learn stuff that are cute and educational too, as well as lots of other fisher price toys that are also educational. But I love all the Laugh and Learn toys.Hope this helps and good luck, :D

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