Q&A: Sandcrawlers, Vehicles, Vintage Wave 3, And So Much More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have kids embraced vintage as a toy or as a packaging style? (And does it matter?) Will Hasbro ever give the Sandcrawler a new release at retail? (No.) And just how different were those Toys "R" Us 4-pack figures in 2002-2004, anyway? As an added bonus, we have seven super-short reviews of Vintage Wave 3 at the end. Stop pretending that you're working today, and read our new column!

1. Where do you draw the line between a figure and an accessory? Examples: little hologram leia figure from r2-d2 commtech, interrogation droid from comtech vader, hologram obi-wan from 2003 SAGA bail organa, little green frogs from jabba glob.

Generally if the item is a free-standing thing (i.e., the folded-up Pit Droid from Jar Jar Binks) I take it as a figure, but if it requires a figure to be useful or is furniture (Carbonite Block, frogs, etc.) it isn't. If it CAN have a name of its own, that makes a big difference-- but you wouldn't name your food, so in the case of the frogs, they're just accessories. The ITO droid I always took as an accessory, as it struck me as a tool and not a character. Holo Leia is in the same department, it's meant to enhance R2-D2 and not be a plaything on its own-- but a 4-inch Leia cast in blue, that's a figure. (If marketed as one-- if it's an accessory to a 12-inch figure, well, then no.)

But that's me.

2. Ever thought about making an iPod/Phone/Pad App of your Figure of the Day? Perhaps with Hasbro as sponsor? In full Chris Farley voice - That would be awesome!

As of now (in addition to my day job) I write this column, a Star Wars Figure of the Day, 16bit.com, and a separate non-Star Wars Figure of the Day column at 16bit.com-- if someone else wants to volunteer for such a thing, hey, let us know. I don't get paid to do this so I can't afford to pay you, but I can say without question that I don't have the time or the skills to pull of an app. Wish I could, but based on how cheap I assume we are as a group, it's probably better financially for me to do nothing than to actually start another project.

3. I love the look of the vintage cards. Do you think kids have embraced this card style as much as us older collectors?
I ask because it would seem using the vintage card look for all the figures would be a good choice in the future.
Even Clone Wars stuff might look good too. I'm not sure if it's a rumor but did Hasbro recently say they were going to put some clone wars figures on that kind of card?

While kids notice, most don't care either way-- whatever the packaging, it's essentially just there to grab there eye to make a purchase, and so far I haven't heard any anecdotes of kids preferring one cardback over another. I've seen kids pick Vintage over Clone Wars a few times, but that's because they preferred one Grievous over another. (Which is a shame, as both Grievous figures are rather weak.)

Ultimately kids will buy whatever they want-- the packaging may be more attractive, but the figure is what they're buying. The price also has something to do with it, and since Hasbro continues to charge a premium pricing on Vintage because they can, it might hurt the style in the long run. Parents generally make the choice with price, and since some stores have basic Vintage down to $6.00, it's possible it might get a shot in the arm this season. I don't think Hasbro will ever choose what kids like as packaging goes, but rather what sells the most product. On the whole, kids don't keep these things in the packaging unless their parents make them for some reason. (Spoiler alert: your modern movie figures won't be worth anything in 10 years. Your cartoon figures might be, though.)

Hasbro has made mention in one of their own Q&As that they may indeed be bringing The Clone Wars to Vintage, although I'm not entirely sure why. At this point it seems like it wouldn't make fans of either line particularly happy, although for all I know it'll be awesome. If Hasbro makes a wave of "realistic" cartoon figures, that's a wave that won't be new movie figures. (Although at this point I'm basically fine with this in theory, because I'd rather see realistic Ahsoka over yet another movie Anakin.) I expect to see more in February.

4. Any chance we'll see a re-re-release of the [Hasbro] Sandcrawler? Or even the [big Millennium Falcon from 2008]?

The Sandcrawler was a poor seller in 2004. You might say "but I missed it!" because it was a de facto "market 6" exclusive sold at Hot Topic, Suncoast, comic book stores, and online stores due to its being distributed exclusively through Diamond Comics. I saw Sandcrawlers on blowout cheap, plus the "exclusive" droid saw a 2007 reissue.

At this point it might make sense for Hasbro to do a "Scout Sandcrawler" in its mini-rigs line (after all, those animated Jawas need to go somewhere) but a same-size or giant reissue is probably out of the question. The recent sales of the Cloud Car, though, say that Hasbro could probably do almost any vehicle in that scale to some degree of success-- so if you want a "mini" version, odds are Hasbro could pull it off somehow.

The 2004 Original Trilogy Collection Sandcrawler sold for about $60 at most stores, and now seems to sell for $80-$100. Adjusted for inflation, I would suggest getting the 2004 release of you can scare one up for $70-$80.

The big Millennium Falcon did get reissued this year as an online exclusive-- check our sponsors to order yours now.

5. Could I get your opinion on a few figures [to see if they're different versions] and maybe some more others as i come to them? Basically, are they new enough from their original release to stand as a new figure:

the naboo guard that came in the 2004 OTC "Naboo Final Combat" battlepack
the endor rebel soldier that came in the 2004 OTC "Endor Ambush" battlepack
the OTC basic figure of Luke Skywalker x-wing outfit (i dont have this one but i heard his outfit was a different orange)

As far as I can tell the 2004 Endor Rebel and Naboo Guard from the Toys "R" Us 4-packs are indeed repacks-- the new stand doesn't mean much to me as an accessory and the deco isn't really different. (However, the Naboo set is worth buying due to its unique Tarpals, Battle Droid, and Kaadu-- you won't want to miss those.)

While the Original Trilogy Collection X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker from 2004 is different, it's more of a variation than a few figure-- other than his teeth being unpainted and a couple of very minor batch changes, it's fundamentally the same as the figure from Power of the Jedi. I would not consider it a unique release, but rather a variation on the existing one.


I got the new batch of Vintage Return of the Jedi figures last week, and I gotta say Hasbro really knocked this one out of the park. It's a good thing Hasbro didn't kick Vintage 2010 off with this wave-- it's so good, I'm almost afraid the rest of the movie line will have a hard time measuring up to the high standards set by this batch of action figures.

Seven new figures shipped in this wave, 6 of which are 100% new, and one of which is at least 50% new (and also a trooper). You really can't beat that.

Wicket is ultimately the one that touches me in all the right places. You get the basic movie Wicket, and he has lateral movement on his hips as well as the season 2 Ewoks TV show green cowl. This is awesome beyond words-- any references to the old Ewoks and Droids cartoons will always get my money, so good job Hasbro. I'm not crazy about the higher price for one tiny Ewok, but you did give me something from Saturday Morning and for that, I will shell out the dough.

Luke Skywalker is a great figure-- he has the 2008 Clone hands which pivot as well as rotate, lateral movement on his hips, and a great sculpt. The 2009 release was too muscular, this one might almost be too thin-- I think I had this build at one point in my life. The head is good, the pose is excellent, and the range of motion in the elbows is pretty amazing. I have to wonder if Hasbro made the elbows this perfect just to annoy G.I. Joe fans with figures that can't put both hands on their rifles. Be sure to get this one.

Wooof is a must-buy figure just because it's the first modern incarnation of the 1983 Klaatu toy. It looks gorgeous and other than the helmet being a little loose, it's pretty much perfect. It's super-articulated and it includes a remake of the original weapon plus a pistol, so yeah, this is one of the few cases where fans will probably say Hasbro perfected it the first time.

Rebel Commando is excellent, with a great look and a wonderful range of motion. His face has a lot of personality, but also some weird paint splotches you won't see until you open him and take off the helmet. The trenchcoat is nice too, but this figure isn't an update of the 1983 original so much as it is an all-new Commando. The 1998 Endor Rebel Trooper still stands as the best equivalent of the 1983 figure.

Admiral Ackbar has 12 points of articulation (no ankles), a communications accessory, and a new version of the 1983 baton. The sculpt is nearly perfect, the figure can be posed in a variety of ways and the only thing he really can't do is sit. Since Hasbro will likely never make his command chair, ultimately, this probably doesn't matter.

R2-D2 is simultaneously awesome and disappointing. He has a pop-out third leg, a lightsaber compartment, a sensorscope, a drink rack, and even a pop-out claw in his torso. The sculpt is great, except the dome's eye seems a little off-- it just doesn't feel right, especially when compared to the new versions of the figure released in the past year. The removable scope is neat, but I have a hard time getting it to not fall down into the compartment. The figure has so many tricks and mechanisms, it's an engineering marvel, however I wonder if it makes it a disappointing toy. It just does too dang much, but you absolutely must play with one-- and that claw arm is tricky to work right. Don't give this one to kids.

The Gamorrean Guard rounds out the wave with a stunning sculpt and a ridiculous fur skirt. The lower part of his outfit is real fake fur, and it's way too bushy-- some fans have taken to shaving it down, and if Hasbro ever does a revised version, a plastic outfit may be a better way to go. The articulation is incredible, the sculpt is spectacular, and he has not one, but three weapons. One is based on the 1983 figure's axe, one is a new take on the 1997 figure's axe, and another is the pike you see them using near the entrance of Jabba's Palace.

Yoda and Wedge Antilles appear on the figure cardbacks, but are not currently shipping. I'll repeat that-- are not currently shipping. Neither has a confirmed release date and neither is in any known upcoming assortment. That guy who swears to you that he has them is a liar and a jerk, punch him in the mouth and collect his teeth.

While the first two waves of Vintage did get off to a rather boring start, Hasbro made up for it by releasing an honest-to-goondess new character in the modern line with Wooof and kicked serious butt with the other six. After no fewer than three attempts of the Death Star II Luke-- some of which could be called "awful" and I wouldn't argue-- this one is so good that Hasbro should keep it in circulation for as long as humanly possible. Wicket, Admiral Ackbar, and Jeff the Gamorrean are great updates to late 1990s-style figures, and the rest are all excellent for various reasons.

--Adam Pawlus

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