Q&A: Mending Rubber Band Hands (and guns), Trooper Overload, Capes, and More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 6, 2011

So what kind of robe will Barriss Offee have? Why does Hasbro make so many trooper figures? (Really? We're asking this now?) And should you be worried about those Raiders of the Lost Ark figures coming to Comic-Con? All this and more, if you just read on!

1. I'm kind of a numbers nerd when it comes to revenue and output. With Lucas Film LTD. announcing record sales for a non-movie year in 2010 it got me thinking about when Hasbro releases their sales numbers. I understand retailers set their prices and that Hasbro is their vendor selling products wholesale to their client (Target, Wal-Mart, Online Retailers, etc.). When Hasbro releases their sales by brand, are they tracking sales to vendors (i.e. orders) or the retail outlet's sales to their customers?

Internally, Hasbro tracks sales to stores, and they also can track sales THROUGH stores with some interesting levels of accuracy-- which I'm not at liberty to discuss as how Hasbro deals with its top accounts is, most likely, not something they want me sharing. But yes, ultimately, Hasbro has many ways to tell what's selling through including some ways that we've seen in the wild-- like Hasbro reps going to stores and examining the pegs themselves.

When Hasbro releases numbers, it's generally sales to their accounts. If they made the sale to TJ Maxx or Wal-Mart or Toys "R" Us, that's usually the end of their involvement of the product, and what matters the most to shareholders usually. Most companies' sales figures are stuff that they have sold to their customers, not the stuff that we the consumers bought. (Sales to stores, not sales THROUGH stores, tends to be larger and more impressive.

2. Has Hasbro said anything about why so many troopers are packed in (not so much being in the wave but the actual count per case)? The one argument is that troopers are popular with the kids, but parents will purchase the $1 cheaper Legends trooper, and isn't Vintage meant for collectors?

For years, it's been collectors begging for more troopers. It's possible you forgot or weren't here, but fans have been mad about the lack of availability of Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, and the rest since 1995 when the line relaunched under Kenner. Sure, parents might buy Saga Legends but I've seen a lot of kids gravitate toward Vintage on the aisles and get something. It wouldn't surprise me if parents aren't savvy enough to know "line A is $X" and "line B is $X+1" when they're looking at the pegs-- it's all Star Wars to them. Even at just $1 difference, if the figures are different (and frequently are) between Saga Legends and Vintage, people will buy the one they want. $1 isn't a deal-breaker, ladies.

I'd say in this case it might be your skewed perception-- army builders are a collector segment, while some kids jump on them, Hasbro tends to see that as adult behavior. (Kids don't buy 4-6, or 40-60, of most figures.) They do buy Clones here and there, but then again, so do we.

3. At Toyfair Hasbro released promo images of Barriss Offee witha soft goods robe, yet on display she had a sculpted robe - which are we getting?

In the Power Point presentation, it was stated that despite a soft goods robe being shown in the picture, the final product will be plastic. Having said that, sometimes these things change back and forth (thank the factory), so we'll know for sure when the carded samples start leaking out.

4. In the PS to last week's Q&A, you alluded to being able to take the yellowing we're seeing on the newer Clonetroopers off by rubbing them with a damp cloth. I tried this to no avail on some helmets. Could you perhaps go into a little more detail about eradicating this menace?


Rub harder.

I've managed to get most of the "yellowing/greening slime" off with a damp paper towel, although this is on a very specific kind of white plastic which Hasbro has used in a few short time windows. For the record: most white figures 2002-2004 and some from 2010-present are made from a plastic that appears to be yellowing in the package, but, in some cases, is actually just an oily residue. It's going to take some warm water and a lot of patience-- it doesn't just come off like wiping peanut butter off a plate-- you'll need to get in there. I suggest really rubbing down the top of the helmet, and then comparing it to the rest. You should see a difference.

5. Wanted to ask about the Raiders six pack of figures from the lost wave to be sold at SD Comicon. Did Hasbro say anything about enough quantities being produced so that they may also be sold on hasbrotoyshop.com after the event or will this be another impossible-to-get and convention-only exclusive?

Hasbro said some should be available after the show, but sometimes it shows up and sells out in 30 seconds, so, yeah, no guarantees there. Many Hasbro Comic-Con exclusives are on something of a pricing rollercoaster, where they start off at retail, shoot up high, and in 12-18 months are forgotten and the prices sink. If you can wait-- and you've already waited 2 years-- I'm sure you'll be able to get this set at or below issue price. Just be ready to pounce as soon as it hits your target price. I'd say the same is likely with the Revenge of the Jeid boxed set which is a clever idea, but without NEW figures in there it's possible we're ultimately going to see that go the way of other "ultimate galactic hunt" figures.


If you play the Clone Wars Adventures MMO, I'm giving away Clone Cash codes (from the Hasbro inserts) on my Twitter feed as I have them. Apparently you can add 150 to an existing account. Since I don't play, I don't care, but if you do or know someone who does hopefully you can make use of them. One-time-use codes, first use, only use.)

Boiling water. Got rubber band hand or weapon damage? A lot of Hasbro figures are packaged with a gun in their hands, and a rubber band around the hand and the gun which often causes bizarre warping to both. It turns out that all you need to do to "reset" the plastic back to its normal shape is to microwave a little bit of water to "boiling" and dip in the plastic, and presto-- it (in my tests) magically goes back to the molded form.

I tried it with a TA-175 Tactical Droid on Friday after seeing that the plastic interior tray warped the shape of the arm and the bands pulled the thumb completely back, so I'm quite pleased that when I look at it now I can't even tell that both the gun and the arm were ever misshapen.

Oh yeah-- and if you accidentally boil your own hands that's your problem. You should never listen to anything I tell you to do, like go outside or boil water, as you might get hurt. (You klutz, you.)

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.

Nice 30 Rock reference!

Nice 30 Rock reference!