Q&A: Star Wars Joints and HasLab Revisited

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, May 29, 2022

1. The Umbra Arc Trooper looks cool, but why bother with ball hips when his gear blocks all movement?


Hasbro generally works with whatever tooling they have available for droids and trooper exclusives, as that's typically the most cost-effective solution and a way to keep figures similar. Since Hasbro already had an ARC Trooper mold used for Fives, Echo, and many others, why spend money to reinvent something that works? I wouldn't remove articulation - particularly if it meant investing in more tooling and wouldn't save anyone anything. If Hasbro has one set of tooling they can reuse for several figures, it makes sense to just keep using it. And yes it's imperfect.

Blocked joints are a frequent issue we've seen for years. Back in 1995 we got Obi-Wan Kenobi with hip joints that were blocked by a long robe. Since then we've got a bunch of figures that are basically bell-shaped with waist joints, hip joints, and sometimes knee and ankle joints that are worthless because the figure's dress/robe won't allow them to move. Such is life. When it comes to troopers, I'd say reuse your tooling - heck, I'd say that for any figure. Don't make a new mold if you don't need to, or be sure to give the figure a good range of movement if the mold may be reused for more figures down the line.



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2. What’s your prognosis for the HasLab lightsaber? I thought the Rancor was pretty neat, but I didn’t back it since I couldn’t figure out what I’d do with a monster the size of a toddler. But this doesn’t interest me in the least (though you’ve said that lightsabers sell well).


Short answer: at 5,000 units, I expect it to get funded and then climb a bit as speculators hop on board. If you can afford a $500 pre-order you are probably going to guess you can flip it for $600-$700 later, and probably get it, especially if the run is only 5,000 units.

Click here to see the current status of the Reva Force FX Elite Lightsaber.

On the first day, before I went to bed, it almost sold 474 units and at the end of the weekend, it's at about 733. I would argue this is not bad for a $500 lightsaber that looks like something we saw on a cartoon about 10 years ago and is from a show that just premiered just a few days ago. Since the series will be done before June ends and the toy will be up for funding until July, Hasbro did right by everybody by allowing them to actually watch the show before making the call.

The 5,000 piece run is surprisingly small and a smart decision - after all, Hasbro isn't funding these at break-even. They're making $2.5 million if it funds, less production fees. It's possible the profits will be tighter if they really only make 5,000 units, but my guess is once they hit 5,000, assuming they do hit 5,000, it would not shock me to see it hit 9,000-14,000 units in short order because speculators will likely hop in and buy a couple of extras. Hasbro sold 21,000 proton packs from Ghostbusters, and I would argue it's a more essential item than Hasbro's I-can't-even-remember-how-many FX Lightsaber. From where I sit, $500 is what you spend on a dream item, a holy grail, something that you see as absurdly great. If this were the very first FX Lightsaber, I'd say it'd probably do the trick, but it's not.

Given that Inquisitor cosplay is about to explode with the show - especially if fans make up their own Inquisitor characters to dress up as - this should do well. It's a way to be part of a squad of characters without having to wear a helmet, and depending on how COVID-19 plays out with masking (as in, no helmeting) in the future, that could be pretty important way to expand your Imperial legions. As long as they don't all go out like chumps, this could be an actively essential item for some fans and having it up on HasLab could make it a sought-after item.

Is it for me? No, but neither were most of the reveals last Friday. It was heavy on repaints and reissues, and with price increases I can't justify spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on stuff I can't say I honestly feel an urge to buy. There's a lot I do want, though, so I'm not quitting - but I might just stick closer to the non-exclusive product at this point. It's a lot more interesting.





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That was Star Wars Celebration, which continues to fulfill its destiny as a commercial for upcoming things. And there were many, this seems to be the biggest slate of new shows, toys, a movie, and other stuff we've seen in quite some time. I'm working on the rundown of all the announcements in Adam's Star Wars Newsletter #9 which may or may not be up by the time you read this. It's just a list of the new Hasbro toys, the Disney toys, the video games, and the streaming/movie things that got out so far. (There are more things not yet announced, so we'll see if they got out and I just missed it.)

Was it good? I guess? The toy line is a mood whiplash, going from "this is the most amazing new figure you've ever seen" to "here's the fourth or fifth release of a mold you have, but the colors and maybe accessories are different." Fans of droids have a lot to love, but original trilogy loyalists are probably rolling their eyes so hard, they're not even able to read this on their screens. Prequel fans probably don't feel much better. But that's where we are now - the line is increasingly weird, with repaints of things you probably didn't want and you're still wondering where your damn Kenner-style Peli Motto figure is.

Hey, stop reading if you're not caught up on Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ as I will name characters who appeared on-screen. There are also spoilers for the first season of Star Wars Rebels but you don't deserve warnings for those in 2022.

I'm excited to see more figures from The Retro Collection from Obi-Wan Kenobi, which has a very sensible leaked line-up of 3 Inquisitors, Vader, Obi-Wan, and someone named NED-B. I can't imagine Hasbro was given enough runway to know Leia or 4-LOM were involved, nor do I assume they would be fun enough to give me a Kumail Nanjiani figure to say "Happy Birthday. Thank you very much." to my other toys. I assume the show will pick up, but right now it looks like they put a lot of money on screen to make good sets, decent costumes, terrible Inquisitor costuming and alien make-up, and more to stretch the taffy to make what probably would've been a thrilling two-hour movie and give us six hours of what I assume will be the most impressive streaming show of the year.

We'll probably wind up looking at Obi-Wan Kenobi much how a lot of fans looked at the comic books or some of the better video games. It has elements of a thing you love, and you were really looking forward to it, but part of the problem with being a big fan of this stuff is that you have expectations. With The Mandalorian, we had no idea who he was, or what he was doing, or how he should act or where he should go - it was easy to enjoy the ride. With Obi-Wan Kenobi you're inviting comparisons to Ewan McGregor's performances in 1999-2005, plus Alec Guiness' work from 1977-1983, and on top of that you may have Inquisitor baggage from Star Wars Rebels.

For example, Reva took a stab at usurping the Pau'an Grand Inquisitor, and unless that job is only filled by Pau'ans, we know he's going to be fine because he's still walking around in the first season of Rebels. It sort of sucks the drama out of the new thing, but at this point I have to assume this is intentional. Star Wars has been very rarely about breaking new narrative ground since 1983 (except for the detour in 2015-2019), focusing mostly on prequels or side-quels that don't do a lot to enhance the drama since those new stories don't tend to give us too much reason to worry about our favorites' survivals.

But complain as I do, we're also very lucky to have new stories to watch. I was a kid in the 1980s and 1990s, when you had years of absolutely nothing and the idea of having new Star Wars every year - let alone weekly - seemed impossible. It's not perfect right now, but at least they're trying things. It's a lot like Star Trek - maybe you won't love it today, but at least the next installment is just around the corner and that one may be wildly different.

--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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