With less than 12 hours left, HasLab’s Engine of Vengence crowdfunding campaign looks like it will be short about four thousand backers. So Ghost Rider may be sucked back into the underworld with the rest of Hasbro’s failed crowdfunders unless a miracle happens in half a day.
When I first covered this story a few days after the campaign launched, more than 3k people had signed on. A month and a half later, that number increased by less than 2k people. As of writing this, there are 4,870 pre-orders, but 9,000 are needed. The effort ends tonight at 11:59 PM EDT.
What went wrong? Well, the stretch goals sucked. You’d unlock three Marvel Legends figures by getting the funding up to 12,000 people ($4,199,880). No add-ons for the car or accessories for Ghost Rider. Just three characters: Goblin Queen, Daimon Hellstrom, and Mephisto. Goblin Queen was tamed down from her early appearance in X-MEN comics. Daimon looked OK, but the very generic. Mephisto has a great head sculpt and was very bland otherwise.
The issues weren’t just in the stretch goals but in the car’s overall value and Ghost Rider figure. When we get down to it, you’re paying $349.99 for an unbranded Dodge knock-off with some lights and translucent orange parts. Similar toys have been done on that scale for less than $150. Much like the Rancor campaign, asking a premium price for a basic figure/vehicle isn’t going to draw in the masses.
How did the H.I.S.S. succeed with such a similar price tag? It was $299 but pulled in over triple the number of backers. It was also one of the few (if not first) 1:12 scale vehicles in the toy line—so many similarities. The play features were also close: lighting effects and swappable parts.
It could be brand recognition. G.I. Joe may be more popular than Ghost Rider, especially the Robbie Reyes version. I was unfamiliar with the new Spirit of Vengence until he popped up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., whereas Cobra, the Joes, and the H.I.S.S. were part of an entire generation’s childhood.[Source: HasLab]