Yes, they *will* go ahead and begin the production process long before Wave 1 hits shelves. They're just hedging their bets, so they havent wasted all that R&D time on a failed subset.
It isn't like they look at wave 1 comic packs, decide they are selling well, THEN start the next wave. No.
Dude, I *just* said that. My point is, they're throwing out a quick and easy Wave 1, then using the sales from that wave to offset the costs of new tooling in Wave 2. It's not as linear as you're making it, it's all in the accounting. It's not like Hasbro literally sits there and waits for money to come in, then pulls a lever, and Wave 2 starts production. I know that, you know that.
But if there *are* no sales on Wave 1 (IE, pegwarmers), Hasbro will take a hit from
A) No orders for Wave 2, which they've already sunk money into.
B ) No sales from Wave 1 to offset that money they've already sunk into Wave 2
So Wave 1 pegwarming could be a tremendous loss for Hasbro, thus the Mail-Away failsafe. If every fan who wants Doc is forced to buy 2 sets of Wave 1, then possibly a third for MOC collectors, that's practically taking care of minimum acceptable sales right there.
Sure, that could end up like VvV wave 4. But don't forget Hasbro DID allow the wave to MasterCollector. It doesn't seem to logical (but then, what do *I* know) to have those figures at that level of "readiness" and not use them.
You do know your example proves my point, and not yours, right? Hasbro went all the way with DTC Wave 4, and took a loss on all that R&D time. Just because The Collector's Club is producing them now doesn't mean Hasbro's recouping all their expenses on designing, and tooling a line that never went to mass market. And unless Hasbro's getting a cut of the sales, they're making profits on that set that are equal to a repaint (IE, just the fees to license the molds).
So no, there's no bright side to the situation with Wave 4 as far as Hasbro's concerned. And there's no way Hasbro would go ahead with Comic Pack Wave 2 without doing everything possible to assure it *doesn't* end up like DTC Wave 4.