You may have heard by now that Hasbro has partnered up with yet another statue/bust company–Queen Collectables–in order to put out collectables based on the Transformers franchise. On the surface, it seems decent enough, but I can’t help being more than a little cynical regarding the partnership; Hasbro did this before, over fifteen years ago, and the results were less than stellar.
Back in the early 2000s, Hasbro entered into an agreement with Hard Hero to produce a line of Generation One character busts. For those of us who signed up early, we’d be guaranteed a spot; we’d get a bust corresponding to the number we were assigned. Prime and I signed up as early as we could and we got number 67, which was, as Blackarachnia might have put it, “not too shabby”.
Now, once we were in, we petty much figured we were going to get number 67 out of each run produced and for a while, we did. Everything was going great. Hey, we even got a freaking Unicron statue, which was absolutely awesome and terrifying at the same moment.
Then, Hard Hero pretty much decided to take a massive shit on us.
Some time into this and for whatever reason, Hard Hero said that the first one hundred busts were reserved for Diamond Selects, which is known for their dealings with comic shops. Prime was utterly livid: this completely fucked up his complete collection. We’d never have a truly complete set of busts, unless we were willing to hunt down each #67 and pay the original owner whatever they desired in order to part with that particular bust. I was stunned, to say the least. But things started going downhill at a faster rate.
Prime and I put in orders for busts that never shipped. To this day, years after the fact, we’re still holding on to the receipt from a money order that was used to order a Wheeljack bust that we never got. This was starting to become a regular occurrence. Then, the unthinkable happened.
Hard Hero produced an actual Bumblebee mini-statue. They offered it in a limited edition Artist’s Proof. By this time, I had a credit card and there was no way in hell I was letting Bumblebee anything slip through my fingers. I preordered the Artist’s Proof.
Time passed and others started reporting that they had gotten their Bumblebees. I was still waiting. Prime sent a couple of inquiries but they seemed to go nowhere. After about a week, I’d had enough; I told Prime to send Hard Hero an email and tell thm that they had two choices, to either ship Bumblebee or deal with a cancelation of my order. Needless to say, that got some attention–though the response I got was less than professional–and I got my Bumblebee. I should have been happy and for a moment, I was.
Then I opened the box and gave him the once over.
The Artist’s Proof I got? Oh, it had a smear on one of the headlights. To put it another way, the damn thing was damaged. I had been sent an inferior product and to this very day, I don’t think that was a coincidence.
Supposedly, Hard Hero was going to produce a line of Beast Wars statues; there was a picture of Rhinox but that was all. As far as I know, they were never produced. It looks as though Hard Hero may not even exist anymore, as the link that TFWiki has to their Tranformers products just leads to a generic DNS page.
You can find their products on eBay and Amazon and I fear that may be where Prime and I have to go in order to complete the series, if not really our collection. (We were screwed out of that a long time ago.) But it looks as though Hard Hero is history and to that, I say: Good fucking riddance. I can only hope this latest collaboration bears out more fruit than some of the others, but I won’t hold my breath over it. Sure, it’s been around fifteen or so years, but I’m still pretty damned salty over what happened with Hard