Hasbro Looking To Lockdown Their Figures With New Packaging Technology?

by Jay Cochran
November 28, 2021
As you probably know Hasbro has been working towards diminishing the plastic used in their action figure packaging for environmental reasons. This is something we've already started to see with their new Fortnite line which has noticeably less in the way of clear plastic windows on the boxes to see the figure inside.

One of the biggest concerns from collectors with this move by Hasbro to reduce the plastic is, not knowing for sure if the intended figure they bought will actually be inside the package when they get home from the store and open it.

You see an-all-to common practice in the world of action figures has sadly become what is known as figure swapping. This is when someone takes the new figure out of the packaging and replaces it with something else, usually an older figure no one wants. Sometimes swappers will change the figures right there in the store or they will buy it, take it home, carefully remove the figure from the package and then put an old figure back in. They then take the figure back to the store and return it, counting on the fact the person working the customer service desk isn't familiar enough with the actual product to notice that the figure in the package isn't the actual figure that was originally purchased.

Well now it looks like Hasbro may be working on a way to make it more difficult for people to remove the original figure from the packaging with some type of new locking mechanism.

Thanks to this patent filed by Hasbro on file at the World Intellectual Property Organization, we can see it looks like they are working on a PACKAGE WITH PRODUCT LOCKING ASSEMBLY. See diagrams below for an idea on how it will work.

Here is the official description for it:

A package can include a product display panel to which a product is to be secured, the product display panel comprising an opening for receiving a product locking assembly. The product locking assembly can include a locking element having a peg and an extended portion extending from the peg, and the extended portion comprising first and second spaced apart projections, and a receiving element disposed in or attached to the product, the receiving element comprising an aperture having a first end and an inwardly disposed second end. The locking element is adapted to fit through the opening and be inserted into the receiving element to a first position such that product display panel is secured to the product and the first projection extends past the second end of the aperture of the receiving element to prevent the locking element from being removed from the aperture, and the locking element being further adapted to be further inserted into the aperture after removal of the product display panel from the product to a second position such that the second projection extends past the second end of the aperture of the receiving element.

It's not clear to me if this is something that would actually be able to totally stop swappers from stealing figures, especially for those who take them home and then return them. I say this mainly because I assume what ever material those straps will be made of would still be something that could be cut with scissors or such. If when the figure is returned, the person working the customer service desk thoroughly inspected the product and noticed the locking mechanism had been tampered with, then you might have something. I just don't know if that would actually happen. My experience when you return something to places like Target or Walmart is, the person just takes the item and tosses it in a basket without hardly looking at it and then processes your return. At the very least though it does sound like this will at least make things harder for the swappers to switch out the figures.
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Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
memocromatico - 2021-11-29 @ 8:25 pm

I think that any attempt to reduce single-use plastic waste is good.

I buy most of my figures online because store scalpers and figure swappers are making this awful anyway. We know this wont stop a-holes from being a-holes, but at least it shows Hasbro knows its an issue an is trying to take measures to prevent/slow it.

MagnaPrime - 2021-11-29 @ 8:18 pm

Oh man I hadn't even considered how this might impact mib collectors with folks opening them in stores

K9K1N6 - 2021-11-29 @ 2:35 pm

Hasbro is most likely going to lose respect from us if they think that plan is going to work, i get it they're trying to reduce plastic costs on the packaging, but knowing that the figure is inside and knowing if the details are correct or have decent paint job is often essential for the collector.

I'm sure they were like "oh you know, let's make this plan so that there won't be figure swapping, reduce plastic cost and for that matter there won't be pegwarmers on the store, no one will be picky on what they buy anymore and alas no more complains ".

Yeah that's not gonna fool anyone, maybe at that point some people are not willing to risk buying a box that gambles the guarantee if the right figure is in there or not, especially if they'll increase the price as well, retailers won't care if the product is in there anyway, they just want to sell the product whether it's right or wrong, out of their storage and shelves, people will complain no matter what "solution" you have find for the package.

I'd say they should just leave it the way it is, anyone will plan to steal the BAF piece and/or figure regardless, i can understand the removing the BAF piece sounds like an idea for Marvel Legends, but you do know Black series nor Classified series don't have BAF pieces and they roughly have the same price as the Marvel legends do right? so that won't change a thing either.

But alas, i doubt Hasbro would listen to just leave the things the way they are, they just want our money that's all.

ghostbogey - 2021-11-29 @ 12:21 pm

Interesting....

I will wait to, "see whats to see" ;^)

RickytheRockstar - 2021-11-29 @ 6:39 am

really not a fan of these new boxes where you can't see all of the figure.

when target had those Billie Elish (spelling) dolls/figures, they were in boxes with no plastic windows and pretty much every target i went to had those boxes ripped open so people could see the doll/figure inside. i feel like that's going to continue, unless this design is for an opened window and that's why the figure is locked?

MagnaPrime - 2021-11-29 @ 3:03 am

Yeah I'm willing to applaud an attempt at a solution but most of this could be stopped if it werent for human error.

ChrisMOTUFAN - 2021-11-29 @ 12:23 am

Complicated description from hasbro all for nothing. Minimum wage target employees won't care and hasbro reuses enough of the same parts thatdifferent characters fit in different plastic trays well enough to fool target employees. Unfortunately, one way to decrease theft is to remove making bafs and just doing the deluxes. The plan to decrease plastic will also increase returns from ppl that don't want poorly painted copies especially at the higher price point. It's one thing for high end imports to decrease plastic and close off the figure.... quite another taking a retail line usually riddled with paint issues and closing off the entire item. It's not about changing packaging. If ppl will go so far as to steal something they will steal it. The motivation has to be removed or lessened. Meaning the baf has to go and that will decrease theft.Plus matty collectors brand manager put a baf in a fully closed box causing tons of ppl to return figs without the baf parts. So historically speaking,, that plan never worked.

80sboy4 - 2021-11-28 @ 8:02 pm

It sounds like a good plan by Hasbro to prevent swapping but ultimately I don't think it will stop. The person working the customer service desk will not likely check the return very often so we'll still have some still swapping figures. Taking the window completely away and just having a solid box will make purchasing from stores very uncertain.

I'll likely be getting Hasbro figures from online stores more and more now.

Fozzi - 2021-11-28 @ 7:29 pm

And this is probably not going to work on figure snappers who buy the figures and swap out different figures. Unfortunately customer service people are not going to check to see if these toys have been opened.

graycloakranger - 2021-11-28 @ 7:27 pm

Get ready for a price increase.

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