So, yesterday morning Kotobukiya held a livestream to introduce the upcoming HMM Guysack. The video is worth a watch because man, the articulation that they managed to squeeze into this tiny little bug is impressive. All of their recent kits have been, really. Aside from that, though, there was a lot of interesting discussion going on during the stream. This is all relying on machine translations, so please take with a huge grain of salt.
Exhibition! Kotobukiya will be holding an exhibition in Japan on February 12th, starting at 1pm. Here, they're showing off displays and all of the recent HMM artwork in beautiful quality. This comes one day after Wonder Festival.
Upcoming Releases! They've announced that the next two kit rereleases will be the Lightning Saix MPV and the Berserk Furher Repackage! As someone who hasn't picked up the standard Saix yet, this is tempting.
New Releases! Aside from that, Kotobukiya announced its intention to release the RMZ-012 Guysack, the original OJR! This is a nice surprise, as the OJR color schemes have always had a classic funkiness to them. Pre-orders are expected to open in July as a Kotobukiya Shop Exclusive with its final release planned sometime in Spring 2025. This kit will include clear colorless parts in addition to the orange pieces. If you want the red canopy pieces you'll need to pick up the upcoming Guysack (the first release) being released in July of this year. It's currently expected to be the same price.
Updates! The Salamander they hope to release sometime around or after Summer of next year. It's about the height of an Iron Kong, but has a huge wingspan.
Fun Facts! Apparently when they chose Guysack, they were choosing between it and Helcat, the top voted small Zoids.
Death Saurer scored the highest in the end-of-year survey this year! The hype surrounding the AZ is real.
Apparently Redler and Raynos have roughly tied in votes over the years
Economic Decisions For Small Zoids?
Kotobukiya took a few minutes of the stream to discuss the current economical climate of producing these kits. This weighs in especially hard with small kits like the Guysack. Small kits are harder to produce because the profit is quite small compared to something like a Liger kit. They still have to pay for brand new molds, which are quite expensive, but the kits sell for much less. This leaves Kotobukiya often asking themselves about the feasibility of continuing to release small Zoids. Like the Rev Raptor, they are calling for people to order the Guysack to help them determine if it is a worthwhile endeavor.
This conversation got pretty in depth. They mentioned that a major factor of current Zoid prices is that the average wage where the kits are produced has doubled in the past 10 years. The kits have been struggling to maintain their current production cost, and are finally reaching the point of inching upwards in price. We've seen this in kits like the Red Horn (6800 yen, tax not included) to the Red Horn MPV (9,240 yen, tax included) and Fire Fox (4800 yen) to MPV (6000 yen ish.) They threw out some calculations of what kits would cost to produce today. While some are reasonable (Command Wolf Repackage from 4800 > 6800 yen) others were surprising. Dark Horn, originally 6800, was estimated at 18000 yen if they had to start from scratch.
To Molga or to Molgas? This line of questioning brought up an interesting question. In the past, Kotobukiya released Molgas in a two pack, with different variations. These Zoids are small, they should be cheap, theoretically, but with production costs climbing, staff asked what people thought of releasing them in a different way. They estimated that the cost of producing the Molga & Molga Canory (formerly 4200 yen) would be around 6800 yen now without tax, so if it were released again, it would be released as an MPV at the new price.
This brought up the question of what people would think if the MPV were released as a single Molga (not a two set) with the weapons of all three variations included, like the Command Wolf Repackage? The full set would contain the Canory Unit, Anti-Air weapons, and Carrier equipment, and would shake out to roughly 6000 yen. There's still a lot of support for releasing the two Molga sets, even at the increased price, and Kotobukiya was clear that this didn't mean they wouldn't release the two-packs anymore. However, there are still many '1 Molga' releases we could have. Rokurou, what with the other web comic Zoids released over recent years, and the NJR color scheme to name a couple.
It was an interesting stream, with interesting questions and insights. These dilemmas are also why we haven't gotten Gilraptor yet, which was estimated to cost 20,000 yen to produce in the current climate. I look forward to seeing where Kotobukiya goes, and I hope they can continue to attract good sales through these difficult times.