Today, we have two products hitting the market that have decidedly different approaches in the way they are put together. On one hand you have the brand new product Momentum from Panini that is aimed at a higher end breaker, while on the other you have Topps Platinum which aims to capitalize on the middle cost fan base that it has gained for the last few years. I have very distinct reactions to both products now that they are live, and only one of them has a reason that I would go out and actually buy the packs.
Starting with the old favorite, Topps Platinum is back for its third go around, with a welcome combination of a product like Finest and a product like Topps Chrome. The jumbo patch box hits use the relic element from Finest, while the stock uses the chrome to make everything pop significantly off the design. Its still too early to get hard signed autographs for cards with relics in them, but they did a good enough job hiding the sticker, that it isnt as bad as some of the stuff we have seen in previous years.
Here are some of the big hits already up:
The refractor base autographs are great in some cases, and leave a lot to be desired in others. The design work on the actual cards is top notch, improving even more over where finest was already successful. I really like the base auto design this year, as last year, it was really tough to stomach with so much negative space. For 2012, the players have big pictures and almost break the plane of the cardboard, and the autographs area is big enough to make it look that much better. There are also die cut versions of the autographs numbered to 10, which have a really cool pattern of spiked out pegs on the side. However, some of the airbrushing isnt up to the standard, still having the 00 jerseys on a lot of the cards, or combine photos. I know the 00 is more an NFL thing than a Topps thing, but I hope someone is as annoyed at the NFL licensing office as I am.
I see that for the third year in a row, Topps is adding some veteran signatures to the mix in the patch checklist, which I love. Not only is the design pretty cool looking, the added content helps to boost a rookie heavy product. Topps’ products as of late have not featured much content from non-rookie players, much to my dismay, but these are really cool. I hope that as the year moves closer to Five Star, we get more and more additions that include established guys.
The final main issue goes back to the release of 2012 Topps finest and the numbering around the box hit cards. In finest, there was a lot of complaining around the fact that the biggest hits in the product were almost impossible to pull. The SP factor remains in Platinum, with more of the box hits numbered over 1000 on the lower tier players. I think this is a blessing in disguise for collectors of the top tier rookies, as the value has been significantly higher on the card that actually are tough to pull.
In terms of the release of Momentum, I honestly have no idea why Panini is putting up a dog like this against a coveted release like Platinum. Even though Luck, Griffin and Richardson are easier pulls at /399 for the box hit, the price tag does not reflect nice work in any way on this product. Not only do the cards look cheaply put together and visually unappealing, as mentioned in previous posts, but 10 hits for 200 bucks, when at least 8 will be worth less than 5 dollars is not a good situation. You almost HAVE to hit one of the big guys in order to have a good break with this product, and that is scary.
Here are the Momentum hits up so far:
The other confusing issue with a product like Momentum is a lack of hard signed rookie content. Topps has been able to include on card autos of all the rookies in both Finest and Platinum, but Panini has not had the same focus. Although there are more of the big autographs to go around, there are none of them that actually are worth going out and chasing. Momentum offers little to nothing that isnt already available in 12 other products like it that Panini will release, and yet, im not really understanding why a high end release is coming out so early.
The biggest issue I see is that Panini had an opportunity to design around the environment they were already living in – sticker city. Why make a dark background on a dark product, when you know the stickers wont show up? Those colors should be eliminated from the palette when choosing the color scheme, if not only because the stickers require a lighter look. As a result, every autograph needs a big white box behind it, and it makes the product look less than the luxurious price tag that graces the front of the box.
Additionally, with a constant barrage of cheap and worthless jersey cards that will be in what seems like 80% of the packs for this set, one has to wonder how much longer Panini will trot out these old habits with little value return for their customers. Every time it has been brought up, the cheap relic concept has been upheld as “necessary,” but I fail to see that.
With a number of bigger releases hitting shelves in the next couple of months, I have a feeling these two products might get lost in the shuffle. One undeservedly so, the other completely deserving.