Monday, November 06, 2006

Tracking Down Micromaster Superion

For the past few years, Hasbro has been reissuing collections of "Micromaster combiners" that were originally released in Japan way back in the early '90s. The basic pattern for these sets is that there are six Transformers who follow a common theme (trains, construction vehicles, airplanes, etc.) who can be configured together into a larger robot with the help of some accessory parts (unlike most other combiners from over the years, none of the Micromaster combiner members actually connect directly with any other members. They only connect via the extra parts).

All four of the teams Hasbro has reissued have been released as exclusives through KB toys, which has made some of these teams increasingly difficult to find, as KB is, at best, a struggling sales chain. Rumors had surfaced about the latest set, the Micromaster Aerialbots, as far back as a year ago, but they were not actually released until rather recently. In fact, European Transformers fans actually were able to find these toys before fans in the US, an occurrence which is very rare indeed!

And when word finally started coming out that the Aerialbots had finally reached American stores, I still was unable to find any in KB which, it must be said, is terrible about restocking their shelves. Presumably, they want to clear out product they already have, but given that their prices average out to about 25% higher than most other chains, KB doesn't tend to sell things very quickly.

I finally heard that the Aerialbots were showing up in CVS pharmacies, which I thought was odd. I had already known that the Railbots (the previous Micromaster exclusives) were showing up in CVS, but since those toys had already been at KB for several months by that time, I just assumed that KB had given up on selling the Railbots, and were getting rid of their overstock, and that CVS has opted to give the toys a try.

I later learned that CVS and KB were owned by the same company, although it appears that this is no longer the case (although KB was once owned by the company that currently goes by the name CVS, KB is currently privately owned). I do not know to what extent this former relationship plays into CVS's acquisition of what was originally understood to be KB exclusive merchandise, however. UPDATE: Someone uncovered this news article from a few years ago. One assumes that the agreement mentioned therein is still in effect.

To this day, I have still not found any of these toys at KB, although I have been assured that some KBs out there are carrying them. I did manage to track the toys down at CVS after an extensive search. I must have traveled to just under a dozen different CVS stores in Southern California over the past week, picking up the 6 toys at 5 different stores. (Drug stores are notorious for only having one or two of a particular type of toy on hand!)

Anyway, I was finally able to track down the complete set. Here is the combined Micromaster "Superion" for your viewing pleasure.

1 comment:

  1. If Kay-Bee isn't the worst toy store in America, I don't know who is.

    I really don't know how they're still in business. Is someone using them as a tax write-off?

    It boggles the mind. Congrats on Superion, Jr.!

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