So will we get more Galactic Heroes now that the line has been declared over? How about Mighty Muggs? And can we trust Hasbro's release date presentations? Of course not, haven't you been reading my columns?!? All this and more, so read on!
1. End Galactic Heroes for a slightly larger figure?
No No No!
Not before we get a Scorch and Sev to go with Fixer and Boss!
What am I going to have to do to make that happen?
Pray for a savior in the form of retail exclusives, as the official line from Hasbro is that Galactic Heroes is done. Just because a line has ended doesn't necessarily mean that it's completely over-- Hasbro may decide to redeco the existing Fixer and Boss figures as "close enough" for a future Comic-Con, Toys "R" Us, or other outlet's exclusives. It's also possible these items are in the pipeline, waiting to make it out somewhere. We still got quite a few Mighty Muggs from various licenses after that line was declared over, and I'm still not sure where the cotton-pickin' heck the Galactic Heroes AT-ST is as far as its US release goes, but it's possible Hasbro has one or more items in the pipeline needing to make it out somewhere, eventually.
As Hasbro sub-lines go, this one did really well. It launched in 2002, was declared dead, was retooled in 2004 and has lasted up until the end of 2010 (or longer, if they get the AT-ST out.)
A good example of "dead" lines coming back as exclusives would be the 2-inch Unleashed product, which got some single-carded and boxed-set releases at Wal-Mart as late as 2010.
2. Do you think Hasbro has any plans to continue Star Wars-themed Mighty Muggs later? I thought not for a long time, but I still see some stuff trickling out for Iron Man, Transformers, etc. Would they give any more thought to this line in the future, do you think?
Right now, nothing was shown (I was surprised) at Toy Fair in New York-- I really did expect someone to announce Mini Muggs of some sort, but it seemed so few pre-Comic-Con exclusives were shown for any of the collector brands that it wouldn't completely shock me if we stumbled on new ones at Target in the next season. I wouldn't expect it, but since nothing was announced and this was a segment Hasbro has effectively ended, I wouldn't get your hopes up. Galactic Heroes' kill is fresh, so there may be some meat on those bones, but the Muggs are probably done unless they decided to continue Mini Muggs.
...or maybe Comic-Con will get some new exclusives. But if they did go back and do one or two more, I'd say you should expect Savage Opress or Pre Vizsla.
3. At Toy Fair, Hasbro's presentation listed that Wave 1 from 2011, containing Gree, Yoda, Yavin Han, etc., was slated to be on shelf in March, Wave 2 was expected for April, Wave 3 for May, and so on. Given that Wave 1 has already been trickling out since the beginning of January(and now is almost widely available everywhere), and that they still seem to be trying to get Wave 4 from last year out in decent numbers as well, do you think that their estimates for new waves are off by a month or two, or do you think they will wait until April to ship out the next wave?
I've said it before, I'll say it again: Hasbro's release dates, unless part of a specific coordinated launch (i.e., "street date") are generally not accurate. It may be close, it may have been the planned timing at some point, but stuff tends to make it out when it makes it out and depending on your hunting skills even if it does ship, there's no guarantee that you will have it or that all stores will get it at the same time. These things show up when they show up, and if stock of an earlier wave runs out early we've seen later waves show up weeks (or months) early.
So, how about this case? Obviously the presentation is wrong-- Hasbro sold through a lot of its 2010 product (or all of it, as far as I can tell) so waves 4 and 5 got out early-- and, oddly, at essentially the exact same time. Heck the next wave already shipped, if you got your order in early enough. I was surprised too.
4. Mandalorian Warriors Battle Pack - is it gone from the shelves, or will more be shipping? I've never seen this anywhere.
As far as I know, the Mandalorians are still available from Hasbro in the Battle Pack. I've seen it pretty frequently, usually at Toys "R" Us. (They seem to be on top of things for Battle Packs this year.)
5. The deluxe "mini rig" figure and vehicle packs were nice to see, but I noticed the lack of mid-size vehicles. Did Hasbro mention anything about the focus on deluxe affecting the mid-size line? I'd be ok if they did for a while after those went up to $25-$30 each. The Swamp Speeder was disappointing, especially at that price, and what ultimately turned me away.
I did not see a singly new midsize vehicle, or any Original Trilogy vehicles of any kind. Frankly, I'm kind of shocked, usually we get at least one or two. Perhaps this is because there are presently a lot in circulation with many late 2010 releases still getting out there like the Trifighter and Turbo Speeder. I was a little surprised by the total lack of new exclusives too, generally it feels like some meaty Original Trilogy item gets announced for the new year around now. I'm not sure why we're not seeing anything (ok, that's a lie, they're all focusing on Marvel and Transformers as they all have movies this year) so maybe, hopefully, next year will get better.
The balance of this year's Hasbro line in the first half isn't bad, although from your comments it seems you think it's worse. I can see how you might think that, but we're actually set up to get multiple waves of Vintage and Clone Wars before Comic-Con unlike last year, where everything was held for the August (or June if you're Toys "R" Us) launch. While we are light in exclusives, last year was a real drag in the first half. As in, you could probably have retired from toy collecting for six months and not miss a thing if you were into the Hasbro brands, as the few new items stuck around for a while. Overall, aside from the lack of vehicles of a medium or large price point, it should be a pretty swell first half.
I gotta say while it does feel genuinely weird not to see a Starfighter repaint, I'm pretty damned happy with the Clone Wars Figure and Vehicle Packs, a.k.a. Mini-Rigs, for 2011. Like, if I could high-five the engineers, I would. The new mini Grievous Wheelbike looks more solid than the (inaccurate) movie version, and seems to be a more stable and fun plaything. The Obi-Wan Kenobi Attack Shuttle feels like a real, honest-to-goodness descendant of the INT-4 and ISP-6 from ages gone by (look 'em up) with a closing cockpit and a retooled head on the pilot. Less exciting (but neat) is the Boba Fett Speeder which has a swell poncho, although the bike itself is essentially yet another bike, and boy howdy do we get a lot of those. A redeco of the speeder will also come with Castas (the Klatooinian who worked with Aurra Sing and Boba Fett) and to the collector market, should be far more exciting.
As to the army-builder segment, the Clone and Scout Speeder is another oldey-timey looking vehicle right out of Kenner save for the bright colors. It looks like a lot of fun, as does the Separatist Droid and Speeder which is essentially a bike but it feels a lot like the 1984 Power of the Force smaller mini-rigs. It doesn't look like it'll do much but damned if I don't want to play with the lot of them.
The vintage waves are pretty great, as figures like Logray and
Fordo the ARC Trooper Commander scratch my itches nicely, and I'm also elated to see a new Bespin Han Solo, Barriss Offee, Rebel Fleet Trooper, and Bom Vimdim as part of the early 2011 lineup. New characters, as in COMPLETELY new, never-before-made in the entire modern Hasbro line AND the Kenner line are far and few between. This makes Bom particularly exciting, because while the Weequay Skiff Commander is new enough, we've had Weequay figures before. But Bom Vimdim? Never. He's also the first new Cantina alien since 2009, when we got the slow-selling Lessub Sirln and the speedy selling (but largely not screen-accurate) Hrchek Kal Fas in October of that year. So Hasbro: thank you! Much appreciated.
Later waves bring us Kithaba (the 1984 Barada figure) and a new Echo Base Trooper (essentially the 1980 Hoth Rebel Soldier) helping us to cross those vintage figures off the list of the original 92. Er, 95. 96. Whatever. Great stuff, overall.
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.