Q&A: Clone Troopers, Clone Wars, Aliens, and Hutts

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 7, 2010
When do leaked figures typically show up? Did Hasbro goof up on the new Magnaguard Droid's head? What would the ultimate animated figure be? All this and more can be yours if you read this week's hastily written column!

1. I'd like to see [action figures] basically have the quality and accuracy of today's sculpts, but just with toned down... moving/removable parts. And even though POTJ-era stuff is good enough, I think they could hit a sweeter spot somewhere between the excess of TVC and the simplicity of the Clone Wars.

I know you've touched on this before, but I wondered if you might expand a little bit on your thoughts on this theme.

Hasbro's The Clone Wars figures stopped being simple last August. While for the first year they frequently skipped things like knee and ankle joints, new figures have more articulation than the movie line. Embo is super articulated, and the new Mandalorians are articulated better than most movie toys. The new 2010 animated General Grievous is more ambitious (and a worse toy) than any movie figure in recent memory, with tons of parts, additional joints, and great detail. It just can't stand up. The "kiddie" line is now as complicated as or more complex than the movie stuff, just look at the new Boba Fett. Hasbro's no longer shooting for just kids, and while some figures are a little lacking in the leg department most are way more advanced than anything from before 2005. Impressive stuff, by and large.

2. Surprisingly, I've only seen a few Vintage cards torn from the pegs. Maybe one or two, but that's not what I expected after the great J-Hook Debate of 2010. Have you noticed people playing nice in your area, too? On the other hand, the lack of a J-hook makes me somewhat less willing to sort through the pegs because it's a pain to get figures from the back. Any idea if Hasbro's fidelity to the original hole-punch has had any noticeable effect on sales?

So far I've seen them only in perfect shape. I gotta wonder if fans just can't bring themselves to damage a vintage figure due to some psychological block, but hey, it's great to see people aren't being jerks about this sort of thing. Kudos Hasbro on making the right call and ignoring us goofballs on this one.

3. The new Vintage Magnaguard is great, but one thing bothers me. The mouth-grill is tucked inside the headwrap. (Sorry for the lack of precise terminology, if there is any.) It's supposed to stick out over the wrap, which helps gives the guards that cool, insectoid look. Is this an intentional design choice a or screw-up? If it's to allow the head to turn, do you think that little bit of extra flexibility warrants changing the character's design this way?

The mouth does indeed come out of the wrap, as the wrap is removable. It will require some futzing but in a few minutes I was able to get it to look as intended in the movie. It's a shame that Hasbro didn't package it that way on this particular release, but they've got a lot to worry about. If you open it, it's absolutely easy to re-pose, and I wouldn't classify it as an error. It's just how it was packaged... it can be changed when opened.

4. If you were wearing a beard and a flannel for a day and Hasbro asked you for one item from the movies and one item from the animated series (either one) for them to make, what would they be?

Top animated figure choice? Vlix, no question. (Unless you meant "either Clone Wars series," in which I also mean Vlix, after which point I would insist the Fromm Gang appear on the new show.) But in all seriousness, I'd probably do Ziro the Hutt if given the chance. I'll take gangsters over pretty much anything, and after seeing the Hutt Council on The Clone Wars last week, I think we've got a door wide open for tons of new aliens and stories with those other gangs. (And if you haven't seen that episode yet, go see it-- it's like someone reached into my brain and made a new episode of Droids, only slightly better.)

5. There has been an awful lot of buzz about new clone wars stuff that has been leaked all over the Internet fan sites.
I have 2 questions on that subject. When we see new figures that are carded and have not been shown at comic con or CV when are we to expect some of these characters on the pegs Are they toy fair figs that have been packaged already? Some example's are Hevy clone cadet armor and also the deluxe clone Jesse with swoop bike.
The second question, that Jesse we are getting do you know if the swoop is going to have the medical cot attached to the side of the bike for a hurt Rex like we see in "The Deserter"?

Regarding leaked figures, it's complicated-- they're leaked, we weren't meant to see them. Sometimes packaged samples get out of figures that never see full production... it's unusual, but it does happen a lot. From the numbers on the figures, it's a safe bet these will be out early in 2011 unless Hasbro plans another one of its trademark 6-9-month gaps. If they are indeed intended for Toy Fair 2011, it's extremely likely they will be on store shelves before the official reveal... something which does still happen in this line from time to time.

Unless I missed something, Jesse and his bike are a newly tooled figure (or at least legs) with a redeco of an existing vehicle. I know of no cot at this time. Maybe it will come with another figure in the future, but odds are Hasbro and Lucas won't want an injured version of one of its key heroes in a kid's line... oh who am I kidding, we'll see it eventually when Hasbro needs to fill out a new Battle Pack, or include the accessory with another figure.


I've been reading Dark Horse's Star Wars range since the original Dark Empire and while we've had a few duds over the hundreds (thousand?) of issues, largely they're OK. The new Boba/Jango series is nice enough, even though I think there's little you can do with Boba Fett to make him interesting in the comic pages-- it's still good and I want to read it.

Knight Errant is dull. So dull. I'm not in any way bitter over series going away, if anything I think it's really good for a narrative to be given the chance to wrap things up and move on. I usually buy every issue I can get my hands on but this is starting to seem like a good point to stop. I don't care about anything I read in that first issue, plus the designs do nothing for me. Zayne and Gryph were fun, Cade was entertaining despite being Wolverine-meets-Shaggy-meets-Boba Fett, but these new ones? Maybe I'm too old, but I generally like my Star Wars comics to have a greater connection to the films than just lightsabers and the odd Duro or Gotal.

I do, more or less, continue to enjoy The Clone Wars. The last episode "Evil Plans" was a prequel to "Hostage Crisis," which was a story I don't think anyone really felt needed any more explaining. (It was a lot of fun, though.) The animators put in lots of great stuff, though-- you can see lots of solid R2-D2 and C-3PO time, tons of new background droids, and the first look at the Hutt Council. Basically, stuff that a fan might have wished to see back after Return of the Jedi, which is a welcome change of pace. If Hasbro just made a wave or two of toys from this episode-- well, I'd be surprised, but also quite thrilled.

--Adam Pawlus

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