Author Topic: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836  (Read 9652 times)

Offline CountBogro

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 14:26:07 »
So don't blame China, blame the designer who provided (or approved) the spec.

I agree with you, Timotheos. Although (as always) there's probably more to it than meets the eye.
We probably will never know the facts. What fact is known is that this is apparently a shoddy sets and not up to the usual standards of Geobra. If this is a sign of what is coming, then I am really worried...

Bogro
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Offline Martin Milner

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2008, 16:50:49 »
You've misunderstood me Tim, as happened the last time Chinese manufacture was discussed, so I'll try to spell it out more clearly.

1) I am not anti-Chinese. I am not anti-Japanese. I am not anti-Korean, or Tibetan. I am not anti-British, Irish, American, or Russian. I am not anti-any nationality on the Earth. OK? I am not stating my personal prejudices, I am looking at matters through the eyes of the toy-buying public worldwide.

2) In the past 2-3 years, a number of toys manufactured in China have, for whatever reason, proven to be of inferior quality, and have been withdrawn from the market. The wrong paint was applied, magnets dropped out. Parents got worried. I am not blaming the Chinese Government, Chinese people, Chinese manufacturing or anything else, I am stating a fact.

3) The fact that over 80% of toys in the world are manufactured in China, and 99.99999% of these are flawless and have never caused any problems, are bought up in their billions by everyone, and played with by children the world over, is barely mentioned.

3) The tiny fraction of poor quality toys coming from China was nonetheless noticed by a lot of people, brought about a lot of bad press, and now any toys manufactured in China may possibly be looked at askance by potential purchasers.

With me so far?  :hmm:

So. We're now in a climate where if someone buys a poor quality toy, and the label says "Made in China", the purchaser might say "Ah, no wonder, I should have expected it", or possibly "I had a hunch, so I checked for the words on the box....sure enough I found them.....MADE IN CHINA."

If the label said "Made in Germany" the buyer might say "Oh, I'm very surprised by this, I've never heard of poor quality toys coming from Germany".

In this market climate, Playmobil, a manufacturer of expensive but high-quality toys in Europe for over three decades, launches onto the US market set 5840 with a new style-dragon, the first seen for years, and naturally every dragon and fantasy fan rushes out to buy one.

But there's a problem. The dragon seems to be of poorer quality than previous Playmobil products, which have almost exclusively been in Europe (as per Richard's recent quote from Wikipedia. Actually the micro sets come from China, but they are outside the regular Playmo line and have been more or less ignored by collectors on this board).

Bad reviews start to appear.

Knightmo didn't like the pop-off wings.

Starhorse didn't like the pop-off wings, or the hollow rock.

Tiermann, a man who loves all Playmobil animals regardless of race, creed or colour, didn't like the pop-off wings.

Timotheos (remember him?) DIDN'T LIKE THE DROP-OFF WINGS. I quote:

Quote
Here is where the controversy starts.  The dragons limbs are made of a soft rubber (mine also had a strong, somewhat objectionable smell).  The legs can be pulled out with gentle force, but otherwise stay in place.  The arms, however, for being jointed, don't have much range of motion before they inadvertantly pop out.  I'm tempted to prophesize dire portends for the future of playmobil, but I remember having as a kid expensive, yet fall apart, Shogun Warrior toys.  So, I doubt this is a reputation killer.

This bring us to the present. Jamie Jo buys a 5840 Dragon Rock set, and wants to like it very much, but is disappointed with the quality. Despite reading a poor reviews over on Playmoboard, and several here, she still hoped she'd like the set. But she doesn't. In fact, and I quote:

Quote
I purchased a 5840 Dragon Rock set today.  I can't believe I am about to say this, but.........I HATE this set.   This is one of the most poorly made Playmobil sets I have ever come across.

Let's just hear that again:

Quote
This is one of the most poorly made Playmobil sets I have ever come across.

So we've had five purchasers of this set on this board say they found the quality below par for Playmobil. Jamie Jo was the last reviewer, but the first to point out that it is manufactured in China.

Small aside - remember the line-up of toys shown on Danish TV which were said to be made in China? Playmobil was prominent on the table, despite the fact that not one item of Playmobil on the table had been maufactured in China.

At this point I refer back to the previous problems that have occurred with toys manufactured in China (mostly under license from Mattel I think), which caused much posting here and on other Playmobil sites, (and remember how we were all quick to defend Playmobil's reputation).

I then suggested that Playmobil launching this clearly poorly-produced (I say this to include design, manufacture and anything else that gets the toy from someone's idea into my hands) set, with a label that says made in China, might possibly damage their reputation as a manufacturer of expensive but high-quality  and long-lasting toys.

And you suggest it is ME who it turning this into a Nationalist issue?  ??? ??? ???

And you know what?

I'm STILL going to buy at least one of these if I see it, because I want that dragon, and I want everyone to be wrong, and the set to be GOOD!

I don't care if it was made in China, Germany, Malta, or assembled by the little pixies in Santa's workshop, I want the set to be GOOD!

And when I'm sitting alone in my hotel room at night in Dallas (actually Irving, but who's counting), holding the dragon body in one hand and a loose wing in the other, I'm going to chant

"This is all Timotheos' fault, he made me do it."
"This is all Timotheos' fault, he made me do it."
"This is all Timotheos' fault, he made me do it."

and cry myself to sleep, as thousands of US kids up and down your wonderful country may well be doing tonight.

So there.  :P


Phew. Time for a cuppa and a Rich Tea Biscuit.

Offline Jahme88

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2008, 17:50:53 »
Pheeeeeewwwww!!!   :P  heh  A cuppa sounds good Martin.  I am brewing up some organic darjeeling as I type.

Ok....didn't mean to cause any international tension.  But I agree with Martin......99% percent of toys produced in China are fine.  BUT 99% of PLAYMOBIL toys are made in Europe, be it Germany or Malta.  The new smaller green and red dragon knight sets (5832,5836) are labeled as Made in Czech Republic.  The tiny percentage of Playmobil that have been manufactured in China have a very poor quality batting average.  The other Made In China set I have is the Take Along Pirate Island.....and I found some of the plastic to be of poor quality, flimsy, greasy and off-colored.

I believe these two sets stand as a testament that Playmobil making the decision to manufacture a few sets in China was a mistake, a bad idea.  There is apparently a rushed or corner cutting mindset in the design process of these sets.  There is also an apparent lack of over site and quality control by the usual inspectors back in Europe.

Playmobil has been synonymous, worldwide, with lasting quality, detail, and intelligent design......I collect it because these things are so attractive and obvious when you interact with the products.  These bubbles of poor quality send ripples of anxiety out. :-[  I may be off, but I think the reason for this bubble is where these sets originate, which is not the usual place of manufacture.
 
I am aware that there were economic and market reasons that Playmobil chose to do this.......and I hope it was a limited contract and not a future trend. :prays: 
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Jamie Jo

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Offline socrates

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2008, 20:53:23 »
Pheeeeeewwwww!!!   :P  heh  A cuppa sounds good Martin.  I am brewing up some organic darjeeling as I type.

oh yeah... tea sounds like a good idea...  :)

Actually, I am a little confused and puzzled with the "made in china" set.   ???

There was an uproar of German collectors when they realized that in the german skull island (http://www.playmodb.org/cgi-bin/showinv.pl?setnum=4443) several parts are produced in china (parts having a "40 xx xxxx" number) while the us-version (http://www.playmodb.org/cgi-bin/showinv.pl?setnum=5804) had only parts from european production.

But ignoring the "made in china"-thingie for a moment, I think the problem is different. Some time ago, playmobil needed about three years to get a product from the first design to the stores. Obviously, this has changed dramatically within the last years. Obviously, prototyping and developement has become more effective given the number and cycle new sets from playmobil crash into the market.

My feeling is that this speedup into niches with target exclusives, toy fair showdown-sets and christmas specials will lead to more and more situations like this. It feels like a us-representative has strolled through zirndorf and found somewhere this dragon prototype and said: "well, that's damn cool, we want to have ths one, exclusively!"
:camera:
and everybody was happy...

...except that designer, who came from holiday and found his play-test rejected prototype already in a production line in china...  :P  :doh:

That's my explaination for this strage dragon (that I want to have anyway... ;) )...

best,
socrates

P.S.: Is this set consisting of "40 xx xxxx"-parts?
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Offline Timotheos

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2008, 22:30:14 »
Yet--

Playmobil is packing a lot of stuff into low-priced sets and also the dollar has dropped but Target prices have stayed the same.  Something must give somewhere and I reckon PM is cutting cost corners, unless volume is huge (which it may be).

If the dragon came back from China faulty, PM could have discarded the inventory as a quality statement, delayed the release, and re-farmed to Malta.

The fact PM has pushed the dragon to consumers tells me it approves the design, implicitly or explicity.  The mountain is indisputedly Playmobil approved.  I doubt the Chinese manufacturer would have been given the leeway to redesign the mountain.  PM wanted a cave for the dragon to come out of, but wanted to keep the cost of such a concept down.

I mean, seriously, this Target stuff is loaded with stuff and dirt cheap.

The blister packs set records--$3 for two clickies is an amazing $1.50 / figure. 

-Tim

Offline Jahme88

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2008, 00:16:34 »


I mean, seriously, this Target stuff is loaded with stuff and dirt cheap.

The blister packs set records--$3 for two clickies is an amazing $1.50 / figure. 

-Tim


  Dirt cheap yet poorly made. :-\  *shrugs*

The blister packs are awesome.....my issue is solely with the quality of the Dragon Rock set.  It stinks.

I handed the dragon to my daughter to gauge her opinion of it.  She fiddled with it for a few seconds and then said...."ooops, his arms won't stay on"......and promptly ditched him and went off to play with something else.  That's the impression it leaves on the 6 year old target audience.
 


If the dragon came back from China faulty, PM could have discarded the inventory as a quality statement, delayed the release, and re-farmed to Malta.

The fact PM has pushed the dragon to consumers tells me it approves the design. 

-Tim


Of course they approved the design...it's on the shelves.  The fact that they did is a disturbing step away from the expected quality. 
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Jamie Jo

"Peace, Love and Little Plastic People"

Offline Gustavo

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2008, 02:33:14 »
Martin spoke out loudly ... I will remark ONE word, among ALL he wrote, in hope that I'll may, someday, gather enough information to write a letter to Playmobil (gB), and say that they're going into a pit hard to climb out from:

reputation


When you loose it, mate, it's hard to take it back. And Playmobil has a three-decade reputation of good quality. Will they loose it now?

Up to them. I have nothing to do with it.

I'm writing knights & pirates stories, ... I won't write Tolkien again, but, well, they think kids should be playing Legolas & Haldir ... It's their reputation, not mine!

(& That aesthetics is hardly actual R. Tolkien, but Allan Lee + P. Jackson (...).)

That's odd ... I sound like mad about seeing klicky "elves" ... Maybe I am.
Why don't they only give me back Robin Hood & the Merry Men*, who were so delightful?? :'(

I'm not ready for this. I'll turn myself back from medieval (fantasy), once medieval (history) is over, and focus on pirates! :-\

Gus
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"the victim"



*With trees, tables, musical instruments, fat priests, owls, bandits, giant barrels, beer mugs, nice neutral & human figures (that could even be turned into "elves" by myself, with some help of vikings hair styles), faithful dogs, ropes, stools, hidden treasures, lots of wonderful bits ...

 :toot:

Uhm ... Thanks for the review, Tim, besides all that :hmm:
 ;)

 :)

 :wave:
Gus
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Offline playmofire

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2008, 06:23:28 »
Thanks for an extensive and very well presented review, Tim.  The problem with the lighting was because you were photographing into the light (window behind the figures) and so the figures are slightly too dark.  There's probably a button on your camera which will let you deal with this as you take the picture.  Having said that, apart from the one showing the knobs on the squire's collar, all show what you're wanting to show and work fine.

I like the green knights the best, especially the fancy bit of work on the shoulders where there are two layers of clothing.  That's new, is it?

On the China/quality issue, I think Playmobil produce some of these US sets to a definite budget and this shows.  The house in the Fire Starter set is very thin and not as good as it might have been.  I imagine this is what Target want - low price but reasonable quality for their needs.  In the longterm, it may not be what is best for Playmobil in the US.

The soft plastic may be a cost issue or a quality issue or a health and safety issue.  A ban on certain chemicals in the past 10 years or so which were added to soften plastic has led to trying new mixtures for plastic and this may be one of them.  It may well be that it's fine for small items but when you get to bigger items it is too flexible, e.g. for legs to stay in place.
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Offline macgayver

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2008, 06:55:24 »
Nice revieuw

I still think the dragon looks like a chicken  :-\

still wanna have one tough ;D
One picture say's more then a thousand words ;)

Offline Richard

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2008, 14:39:16 »


Hello, Timmy ...  :wave:

As you know, I've been very busy organizing the "On Location Dino Expedition" ...  :klickygrin:
(So, I was a bit late in seeing your post.) ...  :-[

THANK YOU FOR A GREAT REVIEW !!!

After reading ALL the comments that your review has generated, I'm very happy that I can now visit Target (when I'm back on the mainland) as a well informed (warned) Playmobil customer ...  :klickywink:

All the best,
Richard