Q&A: Little Star Wars Figures, Anniversaries, Bigger Figures, and Disappointment

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 31, 2016

1. I'm wondering what you would hope to see in a Vlix figure if one were to ever be made. 3 3/4 Hasbro or 12 inch Gentle Giant? What kind of articulation? Identical to the vintage figure or a new sculpt? And finally, do you think a new Vlix could realistically ever happen? Here's your chance to campaign!

For those just joining us, some backstory on Vlix. This is a character that was part of the fabled unreleased (or so I thought) second series of Droids cartoon figures - he's a gangster thug for the Fromm Gang. He appeared in a handful of episodes, but his toy never got released in 1986 like it was supposed to, but rather sneaked into the Brazilian line and became something of a myth/white whale for me when I saw their line of figures in January of 1990 - and saw Vlix on the back! It would be years before I actually saw the real deal in person, but the figure was (and still is) The One I Don't Have. It's also the only vintage-era figure to have, if the stories are correct, no release in the USA or North America. Or anywhere but Brazil. (I've heard a few reports of Yak Face in some Kay-Bees - unsure how reliable those are - and of course Canada.) It is, to me, a Big Deal and has been since I found out one actually made it out. I'd still want the other cartoon guys, but this one? So close.

If I had my druthers, I'd want a 3 3/4-inch figure - 12-inch is nice, and I would buy it, but it's not the 3 3/4-inch Vlix we all crave. (Both of us.) It's like if Gentle Giant puts out a Power of the Force Imperial Dignitary in 12-inch - would it scratch the itch for those wanting a 3 3/4-inch Sim Aloo? Nope. Is it still cool? You bet! I'd shell out $100-$120 for a 12-inch Vlix figure in a heartbeat. Since Gentle Giant's Jumbo process generally requires tearing apart a figure to replicate it as closely as possible, I'm not hopeful someone will sacrifice one for the cause. I wouldn't.

Given the last 21 years - I started writing my first Star Wars toy newsletter on this very day in 1995 - I'd say anything is possible. We got animated Boba Fett, and his protocol droid. We got Fenn Shysa and Tobbi Dala from the Marvel comics. We got Derryl DePriest as a Mandalorian. We got the droid they cut out of the original Star Wars on the way. We got a movie-style Princess Kneesaa - and a companion green hooded movie-style Wicket. So I turn the question to you - is there any action figure that for the grace of the legal system seems like Hasbro would not at least consider it*?

So given the power of the Toy Gods, I'd have 'em make a 3 3/4-inch figure. If we're talking miracles, I'd go with whatever made the most sense given the budget (5 points of articulation might be the most appropriate), brightly-colored, maybe a little lumpier - I don't know what a "Movie" Anoo-dat Blue would look like, but I'm game because a) it fits the current line and b) it would fit with the aforementioned "realistic" Ewoks/Droids figures we've already bought and c) anyone who paid $10,000 or more for one still has a legit original animated one. I'd buy a new animated one, I'd buy a movie/comic one, I'm not picky. I'd probably also limit it to pre-orders only just because some level of exclusion would probably be important, but I'd want anyone that wants one to have it. But we're playing in hypothetical, silly territory now.

And then, I assume, you'd never see or hear from me again.

Now if I were really going full-blown Toy God King, I'd just have 'em put him in Rebels and make a figure based on that. Help me Pablo Hidalgo - you're my only hope!

* - This is because I don't think we're going to see much "classic" in non-exclusive 3 3/4-inch until the new movies and/or TV come to an end. This could be never. I hope I'm wrong, but there were zero new 3 3/4-inch pre-Disney character design in Hasbro's The Force Awakens line that were not based on existing releases. And Fan's Choice isn't 3 3/4-inch any more.



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2. The gaping hole in my collection is Sim Aloo. Not the most glamorous or sought after figure, but to me it's why I take interest in Toy Fair and Comic Con every year. Yes the glory years are behind us, and we've mostly adjusted to the idea, but what chance do you give in getting a future "Mystery Set" with some of those long sought after figures combined into one collector set? Sim Aloo Return of the Jedi, mustached human Bespin Guard... thrown into a collector set exclusively designed to reward the long time loyal collector with a Darth Vader just to justify a packaged deal to Hasbro. Are we just too far passed the Hasbro will make anything era?

Some times limitations on a product are imposed by resources - so if Hasbro doesn't want to do new figures for an exclusive right now, or if the line has to focus on the characters in the current crop of movies and television, we've got a problem. Collectors mostly ran the show from 2006-2015, with many great figures that in all honesty should not exist and would not exist in any other toy line. Concept art-based Jedi? Yarna d'al' Gargan? Like 200 Clone Troopers? Comic Book 2-packs for $10 with new figures and full-size comic books? We had it good. Unfortunately during that era there were rumblings I could never quite confirm that there was a belief that if fans "completed" the original Vintage line with updates, we'd quit. The numbers at this point probably had a bunch of us quit regardless, especially given that the original 8-year line couldn't get a full-blown update in its 21-year sequel. I don't know if this mindset actually existed or was just a rumor, and if any of it still remains in the product development team. Besides, some fans will never feel it's updated until we get super-articulated everybody, or at least post-POTF2 everybody. Heck, even I would say Kenner-style Cantina Aliens (blue vest Hammerhead) are things we'd ask for as soon as Hasbro delivered Imperial Dignitary Sim Aloo, a Mustache Bespin Guard and a few others that may not quite have an appropriate update just yet.

Fans have gone pretty silent on some of these matters, so feel free to start making a bigger fuss on forums, at conventions, and in any letters you may write. At this point I'm operating under the unsubstantiated belief that nobody realizes there still are missing figures. But we don't know this to be fact, and the team changes over every few years anyway. I think the last real update we got for a vintage Kenner guy may have been the Nikto a few years ago? We're certainly due for another one.

The real issue now is the renewed success of Star Wars. If you're Hasbro, what sounds like a better idea - figures based on the new, billion-dollar movie that everybody is going to see or a new version of a guy that doesn't talk in a movie from 33 years ago wherein some fans would be challenged to point him out in the first place? I don't blame Hasbro for not getting it out... but let's be honest, those 2003 dignitaries aren't the guy we voted on in that Fan's Choice back then. We're still owed this guy, at the very least, before any of us are likely to let this one slide.




3. Do you think Sh figuarts will start producing more Star Wars figures ? I'm losing faith in hasbro to do anything decent I've waited forever for a decent starkiller figure what do you think the chances are?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be co-presidents in a land of peace and love before you see SH Figurarts make a high-end collector grade Starkiller action figure.




I have heard many fans say 3 3/4-inch is dead. It's not. Don't believe the hyperbole. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story most certainly has a line of figures, albeit one that's seemingly not going to be all super articulated. Hasbro confirmed more super articulated figures are in the works, but who - and from what - and when? That's an unknown. Action figure lines change format over time, as we've seen G.I. Joe get taller, shorter, more articulated, less articulated, and also absent from toy store shelves. Marvel Legends have more articulation in some cases - and less in others - when compared to what we got when that line started.

If you love the new releases - even if you don't - let me at least suggest you snag the vehicles as long as you at least kinda like them. It's not uncommon for collectors to sock away carded figures for one reason or another. Customs, gifts, army building, even just *gag* resale. But vehicles? People don't usually sit on vehicles. This is what causes some to get expensive on the secondary market as the supply dries up - kids and collectors want them, and Hasbro has little reason to make new ones. If you skipped the Rebels AT-DP and Phantom vehicles, congratulations - they're going to probably cost you a few extra bucks. I saw Imperial Troop Transports at Ross for $13, and now it's orbiting $50. History - not recent history, but the last 21 years - shows us that Hasbro is often willing to go back and remake a character as a new action figure if there's a good reason. With vehicles some get remakes, but many don't. Snag the ships when it makes sense, because while I have little doubt you'll see a new Jyn Erso some day I'll be stunned if the AT-ACT gets a second go-round.

Buy what you want this upcoming shopping season, but don't forget that what you buy sends a message. If you want all 3 3/4-inch and no 6-inch, you might want to not buy 6-inch stuff. And you might want to not skip any 3 3/4-inch stuff. But hey, I'm a strong advocate of "buy what you like" because nothing lasts forever and it's not like your house is getting any less cluttered, right? I can assure you many fans are talking with people about how much they love this classic figure format, but love doesn't pay bills and sell toys. Someone actually has to pick this stuff up to keep it going.

Also - the very first issue of the first Star Wars thing I wrote on the Internet - Adam's Star Wars Newsletter - went out on AOL 21 years ago today after I was able to confirm that a Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise action figure in Froot Loops cereal was actually real and not a hoax. (I mean, c'mon, it sounds like a hoax.) It lasted through early 2000, after the Episode I fandom brought in undesirables (read: people who demanded to know what would get them rich later) and spoilerphobes who would yell at me for posting lists of names of upcoming toys. Oh, the good old days - when we knew things. Since then I've written for the AOL Star Wars Fan Club Newsletter (HoloCroN), Martin Thurn's Star Wars Collector 'zine, Auction Universe, go figure! Magazine, Entertainment Earth, ToyFare, Star Wars Galaxy Collector, Rebelscum, Yakface.com, the Fandom Menace, Galactic Hunter, 16bit.com, and who knows what else. I'm young enough still where the possibility of writing about toys for 21 more years certainly exists, but I can definitely tell you that doing the fan stuff for basically nothing is probably not something I'll want to do for another two decades. But, hey - people are leaving. Fandom moves to newer and hipper sites, and the collector who buys every 3 3/4-inch figure is an increasingly rare breed. I hope to still be around when Hasbro turns the lights off on this line, and I hope that won't be for a good long time. (At least until after the new movies stop.)

...and I really hope we'll get the Power Droid, Sim Aloo Imperial Dignitary, and Bespin Security Guard with the mustache before then. I'm not asking for a lot - but getting one of those per year, and maybe some new Kennery takes on Greedo, Walrus Man, Hammerhead, and Snaggletooth would be nice. At this point there's really no reason not to do some things to get the old school crew excited to come back the the (to say the least) controversial 5-jointed figures that are the new normal.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.


Congrats on the anniversary

Congrats on the anniversary Adam! I've been a reader since the early days (recently found a print out of newsletter #5, or there abouts). Thanks for all you've done for the hobby, and for the steady stream of information & entertainment.