At the moment, there are two crowdfunds occurring simultaneously from two rival toy companies. In one corner, there is Hasbro with their HasLab crowdfund for the Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance. In the other corner, we have Mattel with their Mattel Creations crowdfund for the Masters of the Universe Origins Eternia Playset.
One is failing spectacularly and the other one has been a huge success. At the time of this article, Haslab’s Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance has just 4,925 backers and falling. That’s right. Each time I check on this campaign, there are fewer and fewer backers as more people bail on this crowdfund. The target is 9,000 backers and there are 8 days left on this campaign. It does not matter. This crowdfund appears to be dead and unlikely to hit the 9,000 backer number.
Meanwhile, Mattel Creation’s MOTU Origins Eternia Playset came out white hot and hit their target of 5,000 backers in the first seven days of the campaign. At the time of this article, this crowdfund has 8,114 backers and has now stalled out once the early bird offering ended. The Moat Monster stretch goal has already been unlocked. The 10,000 stretch goal is certainly within reach since there are still 17 days remaining on this campaign.
I find the different trajectories of these two campaigns to be rather fascinating. I wanted to take a moment to compare the two crowdfunding projects and discuss why the Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance is failing so badly while Mattel is having such success with the Eternia Playset campaign. I will admit right at the opening of this article that I did back the Eternia Playset and passed on backing the Engine of Vengeance campaign.
Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance
The Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance is going to cost $350 plus $15 in tax (for my home state of Virginia) and $15.00 shipping. The shipping is free if you are a Hasbro Pulse Premium member which costs you $50 to join. I am not a member so it would cost me a total of $380 to back this campaign.
The MOTU Origins Eternia Playset costs $550 plus $33 in taxes and $55 shipping. So, for me, it would cost a total of $638 to back this campaign.
This presents me with a $258 price difference between the two campaigns. That is a rather large price difference. At this point, I decided to examine the dimensions of features of both campaigns in order to decide if Engine of Vengeance was worth backing and if the Eternia Playset was worth backing at an additional cost of $258.
Marvel Legends Engines of Vengeance
Robbie Reyes’ Dodge Charger is a big car. The Hellcharger clocks in at 18.5 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 5.5 inches tall. That is a seriously large vehicle. The Hellcharger is certainly going to have a commanding presence on your toy shelf.
The Hellcharger is a big toy. But, it is dwarfed by the monster that is known as Eternia. The Eternia playset clocks in at 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall. Yeah, a whopping 4 feet by 3 feet. It is insanely massive.
Unfortunately, Mattel does not say what the depth of this monstrous playset is which is something I would love to know. It would have been helpful in deciding if I had a place in my office that could accommodate such a playset. The Eternia is so massive that many toy collectors are going to be scratching their heads about how they are going to display this bad boy.
Features and Extras
Marvel Legends Engines of Vengeance
The centerpiece is the highly detailed Dodge Charger. Based on the design of this vehicle it must be a 1970 Dodge Charger. The Charger can be displayed in normal Street Mode or Hellfire Mode. The vehicle comes with Hellfire wheels and a Hellfire engine as well as additional plastic flames to complete the Hellfire Mode look of the Charger.
In Hellfire Mode, the Charger has 20 built-in LEDs that flicker and pulse like fire. All 11 translucent Hellfire accessories glow when the LEDs are turned on. You can press on the Hellfire engine to cycle through the different light sequences.
The Dodge Charger is gorgeous. I am a massive gear head so I love any and all things automotive. Both doors open. The trunk lid opens. I wish that Haslab would have shown if you could stuff a Marvel Legends figure into the trunk of the car all Mafia style. The toweled be fantastic. All of the car’s wheels roll and the front wheels can be manually turned into different positions.
The interior of the Charger is incredible and highly detailed The gear shift inside of the Charger is articulated. Evidently, you can even fit Marvel Legends figures into the back seat.
The Dodge Charger also comes with a Robbie Reyes figure. This is a standard 6-inch tall Marvel Legends figure. Robbie Reyes comes with a human head and a Ghost Rider head. Robbie also comes with two lug wrenches and a hammer. Robbie also gets a pick hammer and crowbar accessory linked with a 5-inch metal chain.
The Robbie Reyes figure looks incredibly bland. This comes across as a rather pedestrian Marvel Legends figure that I would probably only purchase if it was 50% off at Target. The Robbie Reyes figure is definitely not special enough for a campaign that costs $350 to back.
Personally, I have always thought that Robbie Reyes was easily the lamest of all of the Ghost Riders. Robbie Reyes was the All New All Different Ghost Rider that bombed in Marvel Comics just like the other All New All Different titles bombed. I have also always found Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider form to look incredibly dorky and lame. I would take the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider form or the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider form any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Having said that, if you are a big Robbie Reyes fan then you might find this Robbie Reyes figure to be totally badass.
Personally, it is the Dodge Charger that is the obvious star of this campaign and it is certainly what is driving the large $350 price tag. The Robbie Reyes figure comes across as a complete afterthought.
The Eternia playset is comprised of three towers. Eternia is the main large tower with two smaller towers: Grayskull Tower and Snake Mountain Tower. The three towers can be connected together or displayed separately.
- Lion-head entryway that can open and close and arms that can grab a figure.
- A secret compartment under one of the gargoyles.
- A large cannon that can attach to either the top of the Eternia Tower or the top of the Grayskull Tower.
- There are three levels.
- Entrance level with a ramp and a ladder.
- A Command Center on the second level. It has a computer and a command chair that moves.
- A training room and armory on the third level. It has numerous weapons and a practice dummy that moves.
- There is an elevator to access all three levels.
- Stairs on the front.
- A trap door and a dungeon.
- A back door to the dungeon opens.
- A gate in the front of the tower that closes when the monorail vehicle rides past the tower.
Snake Mountain Tower
- A giant snake is controlled by a handle hidden inside the tower. The snake can move 360 degrees around, can lung forward, and has a mouth that can open.
Motorized Monorail System
- There is a motorized monorail system that can be configured to run around a single tower or to run between all three towers.
- There are three different vehicles for the motorized monorail system.
- The Sky Cage. This enclosed vehicle has a bottom that can drop out.
- The Battle Tram. This is a sleek-looking enclosed monorail tram with guns.
- The Jet Pack Fighter. This is an open-air vehicle with twin guns.
Stretch Goal Bonuses
Marvel Legends Engine of Vengeance
At this level, a 6-inch figure of Madelyn Pryor the Goblin Queen gets unlocked. Madelyn comes with an additional pair of hands and a detailed skull accessory. The skull looks cool and is a great accessory. I would absolutely pose Madelyn with this skull in her hand!
This figure is glorious. Longtime followers of the Revolution will know that Madelyn Pryor sports the kind of costume design that I love! Seriously, Madelyn Pryor looks phenomenal. I love her head sculpt as it perfectly nails Madelyn’s look. Yeah, Haslab G-rated Madelyn’s costume a bit as we no longer have any underboob showing. Still, the costume looks incredible. Her flowing cape is wicked looking.
I love everything about this Madelyn Pryor figure and want it on my toy shelf ASAP!
12,000 Backers: Mephisto
At this level, a Mephisto figure gets unlocked. Mephisto stands over 7 inches tall. Mephisto comes with an additional pair of hands. Damn, this Mephisto figure looks phenomenal. The face sculpt is deliciously evil. This is the perfect expression for Mephisto. I dig his hair and his tattered flowing cape. Mephisto is a badass-looking figure. I definitely want Mephisto on my toy self, too!
Early Backer Bonus
Backers who commit to the crowdfund in the first week will receive King Grayskull. This is a 5.5-inch tall MOTU Origins figure with 16 points of articulation. King Grayskull comes with a soft goods cape that has fur at the top. We do not get to see any of the weapons or shields that may be packaged with him.
Honestly, the King Grayskull figure does nothing for me at all. I will probably just end up selling King Grayskull in order to recoup some of my money from backing this expensive campaign.
At this level, the Moat Creature gets unlocked. Moaty comes with 7 points of articulation and adorable bugged-out eyes. Look, Moaty is the star of the show. Moaty is based on a creature that was a design molded into the bottom of the original Eternia from 1986. I love that Mattel took such a small design from the original Eternia playset and turned him into an action figure! This is one reason why the MOTU Origins line has been so much damn fun. The guys at Mattel have not been shy about scouring some of the smaller details in the vintage toys and turning them into figures.
At this level, Keclar, Leader of the Elders gets unlocked. This is a 5.5-inch tall MOTU Origins figure with 16 points of articulation. Keclar also does very little for me. Keclar is too monochromatic which makes him rather boring looking. The Keclar figure also lacks much in the way of detail. In Keclar’s defense, he does come with a soft goods cape and has one seriously bitching beard. So, there is that.
Why Eternia Succeeded and Engine of Vengeance Failed
So, why is the Eternia Playset such a massive success and why has the Engine of Vengeance failed so hard? There are a few reasons that come to mind as I keep comparing and contrasting the two campaigns.
One major reason is that MOTU fans are incredibly passionate. Few fanbases turn out in support of their franchise like MOTU fans do on a constant basis. Marvel Legends may have a larger fanbase overall, but MOTU fans are more fervent in their devotion to their franchise. MOTU fans show a willingness to support He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at every possible chance.
I know this is a highly subjective reason, but I do think there is something to this possible reason why Eternia has had such success despite the high price tag.
Give Fans What They Want
Successful crowdfunding campaigns usually are delivering something to the fans that they desire or have been begging for over a long period of time. This is one reason why Eternia is so much more successful than Engine of Vengeance. MOTU fans have desired the Eternia playset for as long as they have been collecting MOTU toys.
The Eternia playset is the Holy Grail of all MOTU toys. Most MOTU fans have probably never even seen an Eternia playset in person. The Eternia playset came out in 1986 at the tail end of the MOTU toy line. Due to waning interest in the toy line in 1986 and the big price tag of $90, the Eternia playset was made in very limited numbers. It is estimated that only 4,000 vintage Eternia playsets were made.
In addition to being rare, whenever a complete Eternia playset appears on eBay it usually sells for anywhere between $3,000-$4,000 which is an insane price tag. Therefore, most MOTU fans pass on spending that kind of money to get their hands on the unicorn of the vintage MOTU toy line.
The combination of the rarity of Eternity combined with the high price tag for a used one makes the Eternia playset something that all MOTU fans have desired to have in their collection and will never own.
Well, Mattel saw that intense desire to have an Eternia playset and gave the fans what they had been clamoring to have: a brand new Eternia playset. The result has been MOTU fans clamoring to get in line to fund the Eternia campaign in order to get their hands on a brand-new Eternia playset. This is an example of pinpointing what fans desire and giving it to them will result in a successful campaign.
On the other hand, you have toys that nobody was asking for and that would be Robbie Reyes and his Dodge Charger. Let’s not beat around the bush here. I have no idea if it was Hasbro’s idea to use Robbie Reyes or if that was an order from Disney. At any rate, nobody was asking for a Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider. This is not a toy that fans were clamoring to get. There is no passion and pent-up demand for Robbie and his Charger. The result is a campaign that has failed to generate any real excitement.
The fact is that the overwhelming majority of fans think of Johnny Blaze when they think of Ghost Rider. Another sizable portion of the fans thinks of Danny Ketch when they think of Ghost Rider. Either Ghost Rider would have been a far more popular choice. Deciding to go with Robbie Reyes who was a part of the sales failure that was Marvel Comics’ All New All Different initiative was a bad idea.
Another problem is that the overwhelming majority of fans associate Ghost Rider’s vehicle with some form of flaming motorcycle. A Dodge Charger is simply not what most fans associate with the Ghost Rider vehicle. In fact, I am sure that most people recognize the black 1970 Dodge Charger as being associated with Dominic Toretto from the Fast and the Furious franchise and not from the Ghost Rider franchise.
Instead, Hasbro should have rolled out Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch with their respective motorcycles. Then Hasbro could have had a stretch goal that would include the Cowboy Ghost Rider and then another stretch goal including the Cowboy Ghost Rider’s motorcycle. You could play this game all day long by coming up with different variations of a Ghost Rider campaign. I think a campaign involving Blaze and Ketch and their motorcycles would be more in line with what fans would desire and would have a much better chance of success.
Bang For Your Buck
Look, both campaigns are ridiculously expensive. I am not going to try to argue anything other than that. Both campaigns are asking toy collectors to shell out massive amounts of money. It is obvious that both Hasbro and Mattel are actively trying to push the ceiling on how much toy collectors will pay for a particular crowdfunding project.
Having said that, I do think you can examine both campaigns and make a decision on which one offers the best bang for the buck. Even though the Engine of Vengeance is $258 cheaper for me to purchase I still backed the Eternia campaign. I simply found that I was getting a better deal with the Eternia playset.
Eternia is far larger than the Engine of Vengeance. It is not even close. Eternia is stunningly large. Eternia also comes with far more details and play features than the Engine of Vengeance. I know that I am spending more for Eternia, but I feel that I am getting so much more in return for my dollar than I would with the Engine of Vengeance.
I can get lost in the amazing details and features of the Eternia playset. In contrast, at the end of the day, the Engine of Vengeance is really just a $350 Dodge Charger toy car, which I do not associate with the Ghost Rider franchise, that is paired with a boring figure of a niche character.
At the end of the day, the Eternia playset made much more sense to me for the aforementioned reasons. Of course, toy collecting is highly personal and there is no one correct or wrong answer. You have to collect what you have a passion for and you have to decide what you think is a good buy or too highly-priced. It is going to vary from person to person.
Having said that, I simply feel like Hasbro delivered a product with the Engine of Vengeance that not many fans desired, and then Hasbro put it at a price that was too expensive for what was being delivered. On the other hand, Mattel delivered exactly what fans have been desiring for a long time. And while expensive, I thought the price was acceptable for the product being delivered.
In the end, I had three choices regarding the Eternia playset campaign. First, I could back it and finally own an Eternia for the price of $638 total including taxes and shipping. Second, I could go to eBay and spend anywhere from $3,000-$4,000 for a complete and mint Eternia playset. Third, I could continue not having an Eternia playset in my collection. For me, choice number one made the most sense.
I do have to admit that while I do think the Eternia playset offered a much larger toy with far more play features and details, the stretch goals for the Engine of Vengeance are indeed cooler. What does Madelyn Pryor have to do with the Ghost Rider franchise? I have no clue. But, guess what? I don’t care! I love the figure! Mephisto is an amazing figure, too. The Madelyn and Mephisto figures blow away King Grayskull and Keclar. And while I do love Moaty, he alone is not better than the Madelyn and Mephisto figures combined.
At any rate, at this point, Mattel is hitting its stride while Hasbro seems to be having one problem after another. It will be interesting to see if Eternia’s success for Mattel influences some of Hasbro’s future HasLab campaigns.