For the past week I have been communicating with Chris Z about Sideshow WETA collectibles and the potential of going broke buying their products. Chris did some research and sends us this article:
Author: Chris Z
For several months now, we have been teased with the upcoming Lord of the Rings polystone scuptures from Sideshow Toy of California. Since they are working directly with the WETA artists who designed the material for the film, we were promised the highest level of accuracy and quality ever seen in film merchandising product. This week, Sideshow placed their catalog on their website with full photographs of the initial series to be released this fall.
( Sideshow LOTR website: http://secure.sideshowtoy.com/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/sideshow/cgi/web_store.cgi?page=poly/lotr_home.html)
They did not disappoint and perhaps even exceeded many of our hopes. The quality is amazing. Perhaps the best ever seen in mass produced items of this kind. Every Sideshow sculpture certainly promises to be highly collectible and extremely desirable for the Tolkien collector.
There is however just one problem. These items must be purchaed with hard cash. And their pricing is certainly not at bargain basement levels.
Figures with the smaller sized characters (which looks to be hobbits and dwarves) start at $100.00 each. The larger characters (which I imagine is everyone else) goes for $125.00 each. They list 24 different figures that will be available and that does not include the one everyone is wondering about – the Balrog. Perhaps that will have an even more “special price”. That comes to $2,800 for the set of figures.
There are a series of 32 busts that start at $55.00 each and go up to $60.00 each. That works out to nearly $2,000.00 for the set.
They have sixteen different helmets, or helms, with the first four priced at $100.00 each. That would make the entire set worth $400.00.
Months ago,they originally listed 57 different weapons tht they would be selling but now list 14 “weapons sets”. Since none are in the first series and there is no price listed, it is impossible to say what these weapons sets will cost. But you can probably figure on something in the four figures.
Sideshow has seven different environments with no price listed but each look to be again in that $100.00 range.
If you add all these figures together you get a figure that is somewhere between $7,000 and could run as high as $9,000.00. And that is just for the items for the first film, FELLOWSHIP. Sideshow will have two more such series for the next two films.
Questions for Sideshow. Who is the target market for these items? Do you expect collectors to purchase entire series or sets? Are we to forgo our college education or the college education of our children to afford these items? Are we to get second or third jobs to buy your lovely items? Are we to ignore every other LOTR item that will flood the market over the next three years and give our money exclusively to Sideshow? With the economy going south and stock portfolios taking it on the chin, it will be a bit difficult to come up with ten, twenty or even thirty thousand dollars over the next three years for polystone scultpures as beautiful and desirable as they are.
Sideshow executives responded to my inquires several months ago and said they were considered some type of collectors program which may offer discounts and payment plans for the hardcore fanatic who wants entire sets of these items. In a phone call on Thursday, April 19, I was told by Shere in retail sales that there is not such program.
This is sad news for me and I assume others. If I have to pay full price I will limit myself to what I truly love. I will shepherd my financial resources and be selective. If I have to go without a Barliman Butterbur bust, well, I will have to live with that. I will buy the obvious- figures of the Fellowsship and the ones that just scream out at you like the Lurtz from the first series. I will forgo the helmets altogether and settle for the weapons that come with the full figures.
Perhaps Tolkien fans can get together and flood Sideshow with emails for a discounted collectors program. If someone wants to purchase an entire set of something or the entire line or figures or busts or helms, a discount of 25% would seem to be reasonable. The other alternative is to form a company and get yourself a wholesale license and go into business. That is a bit more than I desire to do.
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write Sideshow expressing support for their product but dismay with their decisions about no discounts for collectors sets. We just may have some power in this. After all, who are they going to sell these things to if not us. And what was that line from th trailer about “even the smallest etc…..”