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Hasbro is trying to crowdfund this massive, $574.99 Transformer

Campaigns for Unicron toy and a screen-accurate Cookie Monster are just in time for Comic-Con

Hasbro’s Unicron, the planet-eating robot from the Transformers movie in the 1980s. It hopes to bring the 27-inch tall yellow toy to life, but only if 8.000 people pay them $575 first. Hasbro
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Hasbro’s nascent “crowdsourcing” portal, HasLab, has sprung to back to life more than a year after its first project went live. Right now fans can pay up front for a screen-accurate, posable reproduction of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster; or they can chip in for their own copy of the biggest Transformer toy ever made. Both campaigns are timed to coincide with the San Diego Comic-Con.

HasLab was announced in February 2018, and its first project — which launched in April 2018 — was a wild one. Called the Khetanna, it was a four-foot-long reproduction of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Backers could pre-order their own for $499.99, but Hasbro would only make them if at least 5,000 people signed up. The campaign was successful, with more than 8,800 backers and around $4.4 million earned. Fans received their barges in a timely fashion. A good portion of them stayed sealed inside the box, where they’re being sold for about $1,200 on eBay.

A screen-accurate, posable Cookie Monster. Features include articulated fingers and the “perfect plush.” Hasbro

Now, more than a year later, Hasbro is going back to the well.

Just a few days ago it announced a campaign to build an elaborate version of Cookie Monster, with a $299.99 price tag and a minimum order of 3,000 units. On the other end of the scale is a 27-inch-tall model of Unicron, the planet-eating robot from The Transformers: The Movie. The commercial shows poseable rings and a working mouth. Those toys have a price tag of $574.99 and a minimum order of 8,000 units. Both campaigns run for 48 days each.

All told, that’s roughly $5.5 million in revenue required in less than two months. Otherwise, these won’t get made. This is clearly a sign of where we’re heading with big-ticket collectible toys. After the collapse of Toys R Us there’s less retail shelf space than ever before, so just putting G.I. Joe aircraft carriers out there on the retail market to see if anyone buys them is more of a gamble than it has ever been before.

You can find both campaigns live on Hasbro’s Pulse website, which is where you can also pre-order other, lower-priced items before they arrive on store shelves. You can even pay a $50 annual fee and get free shipping.