Who doesn’t like the constant reminder that Sonic the Hedgehog owns so much of our free time and money? As if our shelves weren’t already stacked high with game cartridges, many companies go out of their way to create a huge array of irresistible merchandise that become objects of desire amongst large parts of the fanbase. Entities such as First 4 Figures have established themselves as one such company that goes the distance and create highly detailed statues of video game and anime characters, Sonic and friends included, in gravity-defying and dynamic poses true to their source material. But as the complexity, scale, and limited nature / scarcity of these pieces of merchandise increase, so does the cost…
…which brings us to today’s topic. The latest offering from F4F sees Tails carrying Sonic across the jungles of Angel Island, aggressive RhinoBot badnik and spike traps to boot. It’s the sort of scenario you’d experience playing Sonic 3, with everything finely crafted in resin, hand-painted for that extra touch. There’s even an “Act 2” variant where Angel Island is on fire, and yes! It lights up!
Roll back the clock 10 years. F4F’s first offering in the range, a classic Sonic statue, was offered for under $100 (£59.99 in the UK) – for many, including myself, this would have been a big purchase as is! So how could one justify paying 5 times as much? Are Sonic fans being priced out of the market?
It’s undeniable that prices have risen in the intervening time, but this is because statues have taken on an increasing scale and complexity; one recent such example being the Sonic and Tails on the Tornado statue (which I could see it claiming a corner of the hypothetical game room I may one day have). F4F have also improved their manufacturing processes, going from resin instead of cheaper PVC, and from hand-painting statues rather than using an automated process to detail these high-end collectibles (and naturally, at such a price point, folks want accuracy!). Some people will pay anything for Sonic merchandise, right?
The new statue comes in at a price of $500 – or $925 if you wish to purchase both simultaneously. (That’s almost 4 Figures! …see what we did there?) This puts the item up into the equivalent leagues of a monthly rent or a mortgage payment! This probably puts this collectible out of the price range of anyone without a well-paying gig or pocket full of birthday money. However, F4F now offer a payment plan, in which one can pay in installments over the course of up to a year (the equivalent of 9.3 cups of coffee a month, as calculated when the statue was announced by stream). While this is a convenient means to pay for such a nice looking statue, it also acts as a potential conduit for many to spend large quantities of money they don’t have.
So why have F4F gone to the effort to craft such a large, expensive piece? While the amount is probably eye-watering to the vast majority, F4F have come to know their customer base over the last decade – and is but one example of cases where fans have no gripe in opening wallets and bank accounts to secure Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise.
While splashing out $500 resin statue might seem incredible, this is perhaps a move on F4F to capitalize on fans with disposable income; the world of avid Sonic the hedgehog collectors are well known to part with a tonne of “rings” to secure the ownership of rare merchandise, such as a $2150 for the much-sought 10th Anniversary Sonic Adventure 2 plush. It was wearing SOAP shoes, so it’s worth it.
The reality is that while we can pin a specific price point based on materials and branding, what doesn’t have a fixed price is personal value and lifestyle. There are many avid video game collectors out there who probably wouldn’t hesitate to add a great Sonic the Hedgehog moment, immortalized in resin, to their collection of memorabilia – to many of these, $500 isn’t considered breaking the bank.
It’s true that you could buy something perhaps more practical with this quantity of money (or buy a plethora of new video games), but the fact remains that people will spend high dollars for objects of value which will likely retain value, if not appreciate, and F4F recognizes this. This is why we have such an expensive statue on the market; many will be investing to resell down the line (I imagine the seller of the Sonic Adventure 2 plush chuckling all the way to the bank!).
While these Sonic figures probably won’t sell as fast as, say, Funko Pops at this price point, these newer figures will someday sell out, and from then on their value will go from $500 to who knows what. It’s like investing in the stock market, except with Sonic.
All that aside, while I personally wouldn’t purchase one of these (perhaps as a casual collector at best, I’m not the target audience), I can at least appreciate the fact that Sonic as a brand has a rich and varied selection of merchandise available; I’m sure many would agree that a few more mid-range statues would not go amiss so those with less disposable cash could also enjoy some of this fantastic work by a companies who really get to know the licences they create merchandise for.
What do you think? Will you be buying one of these statues? Why wouldn’t you buy one? Let us know in the comments!