Crowdfunding Character Options figures

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3DPrintingDoctorWho
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Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by 3DPrintingDoctorWho » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:15 am

For those not following the Character Options thread over at Gallifrey Base, Alasdair Dewar (CO's director of product development) mentioned that he has suggested the idea of crowdfunding a figure a few times, and it's got a lot of people talking. Al specifically mentioned starting off with a console room, which would be incredible. Personally, I think it's a great idea, and I'd be first in line to throw money at them if it meant getting new sculpts instead of repaints.


I suspect that a Kickstarter with a couple of different price levels, including one where you receive a finished copy of the product (in a special collectable Kickstarter Backer box) would do better than a GoFundMe that's simply for collecting donations, though it's also a lot more work, and they'd definitely need to get their marketing staff involved.

While it's apples and oranges, the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter is a very good example of how to do crowdfunding right. Their project was a combination of different kickstarter backer levels (with different extras and goodies), stretch goals, and a separate web-based add-on store through crowd ox, which allowed them to open up additional add-on product opportunities, without having to give away free stuff to people who previously backed at the initial tier level.

The original classic 60's console seems like an excellent starting point for a Kickstarter campaign, since it's something a lot of collectors would be interested in, and CO could easily work additional stretch goals in to the mix to improve the figure as they go, depending on how much backer involvement they got. And if you really want to get the collectors to jump on the bandwagon (plus boost in-store sales as well), make the Kickstarter backed version a limited-edition exclusive, and the only way to get the alternate slightly greenish tinted paint job of the original prop, whereas the eventual public release version will be the more standard whitish silver most casual fans are familiar with.

Since the sculpt's the same, only the paint job differs, CO effectively gets two releases for the price of one, and can get away with charging more than they normally would in stores (because it's an exclusive), and I guarantee a lot of hardcore collectors will be queuing up to buy both. (In addition to all the toy scalpers who view it as an investment opportunity and plan on buying 10 now so they can hawk them on eBay for £200 a piece, down the road)

CO marketing would definitely have to crunch some numbers before launching the project to determine how far they could realistically go with each pledge level and stretch goal, before they start losing money on the back-end because they've already got 1000 backers locked in at the £60 tier. But realistically, if you start with something basic like just the console and not an entire console room play set, I'd say they stand a pretty good chance of meeting their goal and maybe making it to at least one or two stretch goal options along the way.

For example depending on the math I'd set up some tiers like:

£1 - Every bit counts. Receive email updates on this and future CO Kickstarter projects.

£10 - Get your name printed in the Kickstarter backer booklet included with the Kickstarter edition of the project. (print small in something the size of an instruction manual and you can knock this goal out for a very small fee, and it makes people feel involved, even if they can't contribute a lot)

£60ish (plus shipping) - Above, plus receive the limited edition Kickstarter edition of the figure.

£100 (plus shipping)
- Receive a limited edition, signed/numbered Kickstarter edition of the project. Limited to say 100 only.

£150 (plus shipping) - Same as above, but have the boxes signed by a few of the actors. Limited to maybe 5 to 10 of each.

£200+ (plus shipping) If you still have any prototype models or other usual stuff left over from previous designs, you could probably create a handful of special high-tier rewards offering some of that stuff, or even have your prototyping team create a few special very limited edition customs.

As for stretch goals:

Minimal funding: Just the static console (no movable parts) and a collectable Kickstarter Backer's box (everything is collectable if you say it is) and 6-10 page booklet containing some cool behind the scenes photos of the design and build processes, and the last few pages can be thank you's to all the people who backed at the £10 or higher level.

Stretch Goal 1: The central column will have a compression spring so it can move up and down. Maybe add a movable door lever.

Stretch Goal 2: Make the design slightly fancier overall, with a few more movable levers, a few more transparent pieces inside the central column, and possibly a removable panel in the base to show off the fluid links.

Stretch Goal 3: Include the hexagonal base plate and maybe fold-out cardboard console room walls (similar to the Osiran rocket). This could also be a higher tier pledge reward, depending on how you wanted to play it. Including walls would probably necessitate a slightly larger box, but you wouldn't need to include this in the store versions if you didn't want to, which would also up the value of the Kickstarter edition.)

Stretch Goal 4: Above but replace the flat cardboard walls with nicer vaccuform plastic versions instead.

Stretch Goal 5:
Above but now for £20 to £40 more on the add-on store, you can get a full plastic set of walls and the TARDIS doors!

Stretch Goal 6:
Start adding other console room add-ons for £5-10 each, like the Astral Map, Armillary Sphere, and/or Food Machine? Or if that's getting too extreme, maybe expand the initial kickstarter booklet into a small glossy paperback collectable book commemorating the last 15 years of the Doctor Who toy range at Character Options, and showing rare photos of CO's demo figures, marketing materials, and other behind the scenes goodies beyond this particular project.


If the console project did well, they could expand from there, and the nice thing about Kickstarter is that once you've completed a project, you've got a full ready-made email list of everybody who backed the previous project, so the next one could be something smaller and less involved like the secondary console room, or figures we've been waiting ages for, like Jamie and Zoe, the Emperor Dalek, Yeti, and/or an Ice Lord.

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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by BilliePiperFan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:53 pm

I like this idea... I like it a lot.
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skifflebits
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by skifflebits » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:37 pm

WOT;DNR
;)

But I support this idea. IIRC, Hasbro Labs needed 5,000 to make the Star Wars Sail Barge possible, and the got around 8,500.

They didn't use Kickstarter, just set up their own system of pre-orders on a site they made themselves.

And my vote would be for a season 18/19 console. It's look straddles the 70's and 80's perfectly.
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Koth2
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by Koth2 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:23 pm

The Classic Console stretch markers could include Ian, Susan and Barbara.

The Emperor Dalek stretch markers could include Jamie and Victoria!

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skifflebits
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by skifflebits » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:41 pm

Koth2 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:23 pm
The Classic Console stretch markers could include Ian, Susan and Barbara.

The Emperor Dalek stretch markers could include Jamie and Victoria!
Neat idea... Though those stretches are so expensive they'd probably have to be kickstarts, themselves. I'm told just striking a mold costs about $50K. That's not counting the design costs, or the cost of actually producing the figure.

Still, I don't believe Hasbro or Mattel used stretch goals, and their runs were successful.
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DalekCheese
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by DalekCheese » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:07 pm

Koth2 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:23 pm
The Classic Console stretch markers could include Ian, Susan and Barbara.

The Emperor Dalek stretch markers could include Jamie and Victoria!
I’d like that. Although if it came to it, I’d just happy with an Emperor... a stretch marker for that could be the ‘framework’ walls...?
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by Spannerintheworks » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:29 pm

So, I have a question.

Yes, we'd love all new figures, but some of these could be done a la Bill or the 13th Doctor. A new head, and maybe a new vinyl wrap/coat. Ian, Barbara, Jamie, Zoe, Susan, Tegan, Adric, Turlough, Sarah Jane - all could be realized in this manner.

Maybe it'd be more feasible if we knew what the cost on a Bill scenario was - a new head and body rework, with maybe a new vinyl bit and paint application.

I'm guessing this would make a very reasonable goal for certainly one, but maybe even 3 companions within a stretch goal.

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skifflebits
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Re: Crowdfunding Character Options figures

Post by skifflebits » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:22 am

Well, Al did say that even restoring and retooling the Primeval mold to make the Bill figure cost a significant amount. Not the same as a brand new mold or I assume they would have made one, but costly enough for Al to mention it.

Would that still translate into easy stretch goals? I don't know.

As I've mentioned before, I always heard striking a mold from scratch costs about $50,000*. If you're asking $200 for the console room, you'd need an extra 250 pledged beyond your original just to cover the cost of the mold, and that doesn't include production of the toy itself.

So... maybe yes, maybe no?


*If someone knows a more accurate figure, please correct me.
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