I assume most of you are by now familiar with the infamous "Tail End Of The Line" syndrome, where retailers stop ordering ongoing assortments from the current line because they're aware it's coming to a close and will be replaced by a brand new line (for example, "Titans Return" being succeeded by "Power of the Primes"). Not wanting to needlessly clog their shelves with products from a soon to be "dead" brand, these retailers instead opt to invest their money in the upcoming new line. This in turn makes any new figures that are only released as part of the final wave(s) of the old line exceedingly hard to find, and thus rare and expensive in the aftermarket.
However, the same phenomenon can also occur in the middle of an ongoing line, even in an ongoing assortment, if the line in question lasts long enough to feature one or more subline imprints. (For those who don't know the term, a "subline imprint" is a partial rebranding of an ongoing toyline, thereby seemingly "refreshing" it with a new look for the packaging and possibly also the introduction of a new gimmick, while still maintaining the larger overall branding. Examples are Armada's "Unicron Battles", Energon's "Powerlinx Battles", the 2007 "Transformers" movie toyline's "Allspark Power" and "Premium Series", or "Beast Hunters" for "Transformers: Prime".) Basically, "New Subline Imprint" syndrome is the little brother of "Tail End Of The Line" syndrome.
The first time I noticed this phenomenon was the 2015-onwards "Robots in Disguise" toyline. During the first year of its run, the line introduced its own version of the Mini-Cons. Those included, among other things, a Mini-Con single pack assortment and a "Mini-Con Deployers" assortment, both of them featuring multiple waves of product.
Then, for its second year, the RID line introduced a new subline imprint that put all its focus on the Mini-Cons, named "Mini-Con Weaponizers". This subline imprint dropped the "Deployers" assortment and replaced the Mini-Con single pack assortment with a new "Mini-Con Weaponizers" single pack assortment, featuring a new assortment number. However, the consequence of that was that waves 3 and 4 of the pre-"Weaponizers" Mini-Con single pack assortment, as well as the figure featured in wave 3 of the "Deployers" assortment (Crazybolt), were either never available in the United States at all, or were initially only available from online retailers, and later from discount chains such as Marshalls, T.J.Maxx and Kroger Marketplace many months later. In some other countries, the single pack Mini-Cons only appeared at retail long after their "Weaponizers" successors had already been released in those same countries.
Edited by Nevermore, 07 March 2020 - 08:42 AM.