Hot Toys Release Dates: Sooner Rather Than LaterPaul
If it feels like the Hot Toys new releases are flying out at you quicker than usual lately that’s because they most certainly are. Over the last 4 to 6 weeks we have seen several Hot Toys that were due to release months from now found their way to the homes of sixth scale collectors everywhere. And we mean everywhere. Previously, Hot Toys figures would first launch in Hong Kong for pick-up at Secret Base and then anywhere from 60 to 90 or more days later they would begin to ship out to collectors in North America, Europe and other parts of the world. To avoid this wait time a small group of collectors have been resorting to all kinds of strange tactics to get figures sooner. Patience is a virtue that some collectors (myself included) do not possess so thankfully this trend of more waiting seems to be coming to an end.
It’s not out of the ordinary for Hot Toys figures to go up for pre-order 12+ months before they are due to release. The wait time for the design finalization and production of a figure is something Hot Toys collectors simply have to accept if they want to participate in the hobby. With the inherently long wait for a figure release as it is, some collectors get impatient and frustrated with having to wait sometimes 2+ months for order fulfillment after the Hong Kong release date. Understandably so. It seems both Sideshow and Hot Toys have recognized this frustration and in effort to ease collector woes are actively trying to change and improve release dates for collectors outside of China. Some examples of recently released Hot Toys figures that launched almost simultaneously in all regions are: Thor (Avengers: Infinity War), Boba Fett, Iron Man Mark IV with Gantry, Deadpool 2, Darth Vader, Wonder Woman, Gladiator Hulk and others. While not all of these figures shipped the same week of release as in China, the wait time for fulfillment in other regions seems to be shrinking dramatically. What was once 6-8 weeks or more now seems to be 1-2 weeks if recent Hot Toys releases are any indication.
It’s not just all about improving the customer experience for Hot Toys collectors with moving release dates up, though. Now this is just a guess (a good one, mind you) but with the number of collectors utilizing eBay sellers and other strange or unsafe methods to get figures directly from Hong Kong increasing, this change aims to try and nip that in the butt before it becomes a widespread issue. Collectors dealing with these in many cases, unauthorized 3rd party dealers, may have issues with their purchase and won’t be able to get the customer service they need which could reflect poorly on Hot Toys as a brand. In the age of social media one person having a bad experience can in some cases lead to a whole mess of bad press. Meaning it’s in the best interest of not only Hot Toys but distributors outside of China to ensure they minimize this however possible. The loss of revenue for distributors outside of China is probably also another factor, albeit to a lesser extent most likely.
There’s no better way to solve a problem than going right to the root of it. Hot Toys and distribution partners like Sideshow Collectibles understand this and it seems they are working to make changes. There’s nothing worse than watching an unboxing or review video of a figure you are waiting for on YouTube and then having to wait another 6-8 (or more) weeks to get yours in the mail so this is a positive change in every respect except for one: the damage to the wallet! Whether or not we will see future Hot Toys releases continue in this same pattern or not is left to be seen but for now collectors can enjoy speedy release & delivery of their latest pre-order instead of playing more of the ol’ waiting game.