Q&A: SDCC Didn't Happen, Let's Talk Star Wars Eaglemoss, Exclusives, and Variants

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 25, 2021

1. A line I am very much a fan of is the line of die cast starships made by Eaglemoss. They've made a ton of ships from various franchises,and most of them are pretty well detailed and in scale to each other. I wanted to know why we havent seen a similar line for Star Wars? I know Disney stores did a great line of die cast ships a few years back,and Hot Wheels has done a bunch,but its been awhile since we've gotten a nice quality line of starships from Star Wars from anybody-I would love a large size model of The Ghost from Rebels or the Razorcrest.

It would be cool! I'd love to see Eaglemoss try a ship program, but it could be difficult. I think what Mattel and Hasbro have done over the years may be the best bet, because scale is something of an impossibility. Comparing the sizes of the X-Wing to the Blockade Runner to the Star Destroyer to the Super Star Destroyer, you'd either wind up with ships the size of a grain of salt, or you'd have to throw the concept of scale out the window which is probably for the best for everybody. (The Fantasy Flight Games line is remarkable, pretty good with scale, and terribly expensive for what you get.)

I have little doubt that discussions took place. Given the nature of what Mattel has already pumped out at varying sizes and price points (often at the same time as Hasbro) I assume Mattel's license could be preventing others from doing a ship subscription program, or that it could be difficult to pull off because of the huge-but-splintered fanbase. For example, you might be a huge fan of everything, but would you want Mini-Rigs in this style? The White Witch? KOTOR ships? I assume there would be something for everybody, but it may be a slog for completists - Star Trek hass a remarkable line-up but it also jumps from TV and the movies to games and other materials I wouldn't necessarily care to own.

I assume something like that could happen eventually, but for all I know the aforementioned Disney Store license is still in effect and nobody can do anything quite like that right now. Or maybe somebody else is squatting on a subscription license - or Mattel's die-cast license dominates that form factor. If anybody reading would like to chime in, we're all ears.

Right now there's no shortage of licensees making ships in various sizes. We've got games, Japanese model kits, American metal earth model kits, Hot Wheels die-cast metal ships, Mission Fleet, 3 3/4-inch scale, LEGO, statues, and I'm probably forgetting a few. Not one of these is comprehensive - if a fan jumped on board today, it'd be a lot of secondary market purchases and toy hunting to build up a decent collection. Eaglemoss (or abundant Hot Wheels Starships reissues) would be sensible ways to do this, unless Hasbro made a decent kid line of cheaper 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles again. But even that is a slow-drip of releases on a good year.

So, obviously, Playmobil should get on board with this.



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2. Before we knew it existed, the TVC Amazon exclusive Bad Batch 4-Pack (with Rex) went live and sold out.

Can't Hasbro do something about how retailers offer to carry an exclusive?

Say, "We'll let you have this figure, but you have to give collectors ample time to know about it and order it. And when the preorder goes live, you have to accept all orders and not cut them off after 60 seconds (*ahem* Walmart Black Series Rex, Target Prototype Boba Fett...).

I had the same problem with all of those items - it was sold out as soon as I heard about it, and I couldn't get mine. Hasbro did announce that the Star Wars The Vintage Collection The Bad Batch Special 4-Pack, 3.75-inch-Scale Action Figures (affiliate link for you to see it is still not available) will see another run next year - which, from where I sit, is a perfectly fine alternative. I wish they'd open it for pre-orders right now and build it to order, but that seems to not be happening.

I don't know what the edition sizes are for their exclusives right now, but Amazon's selling out that fast makes me think it has to be an unusually small run. Target and Walmart are splitting inventory between their online site and retail stores, so the allocation for the web could reasonably sell out rather quickly - especially since Target.com, Walmart.com, and GameStop.com give you free shipping when you order two of the same item much of the time. They're incentivizing people to scalp these things - heck, even I've bought extras of some figures because $30 shipped for one vs. $50 shipped for two... I'm sure somebody I know is going to want that second figure in the next year.

To answer your question - no, Hasbro really doesn't get a lot of control here. If Hasbro sells you something, it's yours. If you put in an order for 50,000 Death Star Playsets and you want to keep one and smash the rest in a dumpster, you can do that. Hasbro may decide you're a terrible partner and never sell to you again, but once you buy those items, they're yours. Hasbro doesn't have any legal claim on that specific item, although there may be agreements with the licensor (Lucasfilm) about where they may be sold, or when you can start selling them. (For example, Force Friday.)

Walmart's exclusive process is pretty opaque, and most bigger toy stores don't have someone working there to explain how their inner-workings go - or listen to fans about what they want, and then try to make them happy. (I can name one, cough cough.) There's no incentive for Hasbro to demand how an item is distributed unless it hurts business. I might argue that the way exclusives have sold lately could be harmful to the business if it makes fans quit. I mean, there've been a few things I've been unable to obtain at reasonable prices, and I am unsure if I will actually ever get some of those things. So I may skip some things. Hopefully Hasbro and their partners will continue to identify exclusives needing to be rerun at reasonable prices, as some come and go we've seen it happen, but it's ultimately up to their business partners how these things will be sold.




3. Has the TVC Boba Fett orange card with the cropped image been released yet? If it hasn't, any info on it?

I don't think it's coming out.

Since the orange colored pill and background for The Vintage Collection Boba Fett 186 was shown in pre-release mock-ups and hasn't surfaced, it's a pretty safe bet Hasbro made the switch before production and none (or maybe few) actually ever rolled off the factory line before the change. There's a lot of precedent for this sort of thing, and there's no reason for Hasbro to change the yellow release back to orange or change the photo other than to mess with variant collectors.

In the very unlikely chance it gets made, it will probably show up only at online sellers. The reason for this is Hasbro has most likely stopped shipping the assortment with Boba Fett TVC 186 in it, and from here on out it's probably all solid cases. Brick and mortar big box stores don't tend to order the solid cases - so it's not like you'd stumble on one out there anyway. At this point checking fan sites, forums, and eBay are your only hope but let's be honest - it's probably not being made, so you can probably stop looking.



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And that would have been San Diego Comic-Con! Numerous people have San Diego exclusives, for a convention that never happened, which will surely confuse future generations of collectors. Normally on the Saturday of Comic-Con, I am doing one of two things: either someone called a car service to take me to the airport, or, more likely, I am hauling a stack of boxes as tall as (or taller than I am) to the city bus to get my stuff checked to bring home. Yes, I'm that guy. The tower of toys from 2014 is one I'll probably never forget.

I've started logging my toy runs, as they've been far and few between. There are places I haven't been in a year, so I'm hoping to keep tabs on where those places are so I know if it's worth checking. In the last decade, four pretty big malls in or around Phoenix have gone belly-up, as has Toys R Us. Kmart and Sears quietly exited the city - and possibly state - over the last couple of years, which I realized when chatting with my pal Phil. It's kind of amazing, about 19 years ago I would spend my birthday weekend sweeping every place in town that sold any kind of new toys just to see if there was anything cool or weird. Now that's an increasingly short list, with fewer outlet stores, no proper toy stores, and a journey that's mostly big box retail.

I mostly miss toy runs. The online pre-order system is a mixed bag - the "it's in stock and bots will clean out a store in 30 seconds" aspect is something I'm have to make peace with, after being consistently unable to secure stuff during the NES Classic drop of a few years ago. My only chance was a random visit to a store, which was (and is) still a system that largely rewards persistence and dumb luck. That or I have to ask a manufacturer to do an entire new run of a toy for me, which is a tool very few of you have at your disposals (and it doesn't always work, either.) It's a weird place to be.

Not knowing all the precise production runs, I am wondering if we're in another hoarder's bubble. Figures have been in pretty short supply for years, but store exclusives for Hasbro items were usually easy to get due to the minimum production runs - and the fact they weren't assortments - making it possible to track them in adequate numbers. I doubt most recent items will be seen as undesirable, but I am curious if in five years' time fans will want the regular version, the Credit Collection version, the Carbonized version, and whatever other variant exists of the same figure. Ah well. At least now we all get to pay for that giant Rancor monster that I'm sure all of us are dying to buy. At least Mattel is struggling with its crowdfunding and Galactus is lagging, so maybe this crowdfunding trend will end.

--Adam Pawlus

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