Q&A: Star Wars Deleted Scenes, Big Expensive Toys

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, June 2, 2019

1. Adam, if 500 dollars was the barge price, what would you say is your educated guess at what Haslab will/would ask for:
The Tantive IV
A Star Destroyer
The Death Star
--Adam, if 500 dollars was the barge price, what would you say is your educated guess at what Haslab will/would ask for: The Tantive IV A Star Destroyer The Death Star

Thanks to tariffs, we don't know - we also don't know if there are plans for another HasLab Star Wars item, and when that would appear. I'm not being coy here either - I've got nothing.

Our last one was around $500 - so depending on how the next few months go, that opens the door for all sorts of insanity. Super7's trying to crowdfund Snake Mountain from Masters of the Universe Classics, and tariffs would raise the price incredibly high - and that sucker is already $600. Would fans pay $800? I don't think I would swing that.   I certainly wouldn't make a fuss about advertising it for them.

My hope is that Hasbro (literally) builds on to the Jabba's Palace Adventure Set concept - small playsets with "hooks" to connect future small and medium playsets, so you can eventually build out a nice world at prices that won't make you scream. With the price increases that many fans forget hit the big Millennium Falcon for its Vintage box reissue, Hasbro would either need to simplify its big toys, or remove features, or move production elsewhere. All are probably pretty good options right now.

I don't hear fans rallying behind any one item, so I don't know what to expect. As I've said before, I'm surprised Hasbro didn't do a Death Star for Rogue One and its back-to-back with the 40th anniversary of the original film. As much as I want a Blockade Runner, fans don't make a stink for it. A Star Destroyer would fundamentally be similar to a Death Star - I assume that's an either/or proposition.

It's important to remember that the price point is something all manufacturers can design for - if Hasbro wants to sell you a $40 Death Star, they can. It might be a conference room and a jail cell, but that could be a $40 Death Star. They could also sell you a $2,000 Death Star with elements of both versions of the space station, docking bays, places to hang your TIE Bombers, throne rooms, and off-screen features you would only dream of seeing in a toy.

The Barge was the same way - they opted to not leave big hollow areas for your Max Rebo Band, and added in a jail and a driver's area. They could just as easily have fudged the scale and made a smaller, $200 one with a paper sail, no pack-in Jabba, and have it completely unpainted. You can do a lot to tweak a toy - we've seen multiple sizes of the Millennium Falcon and AT-AT over the years, and there's no reason to think Hasbro couldn't plus up or tone down any idea they're considering for the future.  The price you ultimately pay will be as a result of their calculus determining how much they can extract from us as a community.



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2. Have you got a favorite cut scene toy? I just stumbled across our (ironically named?) Yoda and Can-cell. I think it's pretty cool. Obviously the cut scene wave from the last batch of throwback cards are a strong contender. Thoughts?

Just one? There are so many! During the pre-letterbox VHS days I assumed I had quite a few deleted scene figures from Jabba's Palace, but then you just find out that unlike the Mini-Rigs, they truly were just out of range of the camera. Oh pan-and-scan. You suck.

For no good reason I really love the Mon Calamari Rebel Pilot [FOTD #1,749] from the Blu-Ray contemporary wave of 2012. It's a little strange proportionally speaking, but it's a charmer and weird. I've got an unending love of Return of the Jedi toys and any concepts or deleted scenes from the film.

My next runners-up would be Biggs, Camie, and Fixer - true legends that I'll never stop being grateful for having been sold. Biggs Darklighter was something that seemed inevitable in his Rand Ecliptic digs, but Camie and Fixer being shoved in a convention-exclusive comic pack was a ballsy stroke of brilliance. Going through the old toys, especially from 2006-2012, you can see Hasbro digging around to find things fans always wanted and no other movie line could ever support. We got Sandstorm Scene figures, live-action-ish figures from the less-canonical Clone Wars cartoons, Special Edition band members, even Yarna d'al' Gargan. I could probably whip out a list of maybe 40-80 pretty good classic figures that I'd be happy to see, but it'd take some thinking at this point.

My biggest hope for 2020 and beyond is that with no theatrical movie, Hasbro will be left to their old devices to ran wild. The 50/50 split we got during many of the lines with redux figures and new weirdness really clicked. Articulation has improved to the point where I wouldn't mind seeing some new, weird deleted scene figures alongside the final few vintage figures and some more new movie guys we don't have yet.




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I don't know how much you watch the news, but it's worth highlighting that the big toy companies do some manufacturing in Mexico, too. It won't touch any action figures, but other toys do get made, assembled, and/or packaged south of the border and as of this week there's a new 5% tax being thrown around for that. China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, and India tend to come up on the regular when it comes to manufacturing toys, and sometimes a small increase is no big deal. Fans didn't really balk at the $1 increase in 1998 for Star Wars, although Hasbro has sometimes pointed to some increases not being taken well (Rise of Cobra, Episode I) and sometimes we see price drops as a result - but not always.

Toy pricing is something of a strange issue, in that the industry is having ups and downs in the face of a changing retail landscape and kid interest in screens. A 99 cent app is a cheap impulse distraction for a kid, and that's something toys have struggled to keep up with - even the once mighty 99 cent Hot Wheels car is struggling to keep product on the shelves at that price, and Jada's Nano Steel figures seemingly slowly disappearing. A real shame, I loved the concept.

Cheap toys for kids are sort of important to the future of what I hope to do for the remainder of my career, and to collectors too. You want a few kids to get this stuff and stick with it for life, so there can still be a market for nice prop replicas, fancy higher-end figures, and other stuff when they become adults. A $2.99 Imaginext figure may not mean a lot to most collectors, but that's a format that had done pretty well for Fisher-Price for over a decade. While it's easy to make puzzles and board games in the USA, plastic figure production tends to get outsourced and things like labor and material costs are always going to go up. It's a miracle when we see a decent action figure for $5 or less, and in these days miracles are in short supply outside of Playmobil, LEGO, and Fisher-Price.

Thanks to closeouts and bootlegs, odds are there will always be some sort of cheap $1 toy. Hasbro has a $1 Spider-Man in Dollar Trees, Mattel makes a bagged 3-pack of DC "flipping" figures at the chain too - but these are not parts of a full line, nor are they particularly impressive. As someone who grew up in an era where Burger King and McDonald's threw 3 3/4-inch-ish Universal Monsters and Batman figures in kiddie meals for $4 or less, it's obvious I was spoiled - but I'd like to see what can be done to make sure kids can keep being spoiled.

So, here's hoping someone out there is lobbying for no toy tariffs and someone at Hasbro is investigating how to do a $5-or-under 3 3/4-inch action figure. They figured out how to do it for Marvel figures - with simple, nearly unpainted characters like Chewbacca, C-3PO, Darth Vader, and Jedi Knight Luke in the original 1980s Kenner line, I'm sure it can be done again. (But yeah you'll never get a $5 Ephant Mon. Sim Aloo maybe.)

--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.



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Sail Barge International Shipping

There's a nice story about the Sail Barge at the Retroblasting YouTube page. The site is run by a vintage toy collector who voiced his opposition to the crowdfunding model of the Sail Barge and vowed not to buy one. A collector in Melbourne, Australia, tried to buy one and have it shipped third-party to him (as Hasbro didn't ship outside North America), but Hasbro kept making the box bigger than initially reported so the shipper had to cancel. Deciding that shipping it would be too cost-prohibitive, he decided to donate the barge to Retroblasting, which upon hearing of the plight of the collector instead decided to personally fly the barge to Australia (raising funds through his regular Patreon followers and the like, I believe). He said the cost of just flying with it to Australia (average $1500 per ticket according to Google) was about the same as shipping it as an oversized item. Even then, the airline charged $170 for oversized baggage.

So, that's essentially $2000 to $2500 in shipping to get the $500 item to Australia.