Q&A: Star Wars Prices, Carbonized Figures, and 5POA Gets Better (and Stops)

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 4, 2020

1. Please tell me Hasbro isn't going to continue the Carbonized gimmick past the Mandalorian 3.75" figures. The Carbonized Black Series figures made last year looked like a joyless cash-grab.

We don't know how they'll do yet - usually things don't last if the fans don't show up. I would expect some of them - specifically Mando and the Stormtrooper - to do well, just because a lot of people want more Stormtroopers and tons of fans haven't even seen a 3 3/4-inch Mandalorian yet. Right now, I'm sitting them out - but I reserve the right to change my mind if I like how they look up close or if they go on clearance.

There's still demand for these characters, so I expect they will probably do just fine. I'd say the same for the Credit Collection figures. Even though I don't love them, I'd bet the Holiday Edition guys might do OK - at least for a while. Last year's Target Snowtrooper with Cape did OK - for a while - but I got the fancy box one with the pin and knit cap on clearance without a fight. I would bank on this being a year where people buy stuff just because we all need a fun distraction, though.

I would wager the holiday redeco onslaught had to do with two things, like a) meeting demand for Star Wars when it went up - instead of down - now that the sequel movies are over, and b) the fact the license could have expired and Hasbro probably didn't want to be stuck with something they couldn't easily do without increased tooling costs had the license not been renewed. I wouldn't say it's a cash grab so much as a (for better, or worse) easy way to please those who just want these characters and were unable to find previous releases.



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2. Why is the Heavy Mando $10 higher than other Mando Black Series figures? Granted, it's a bit stockier than Mando, has a jetpack, and a big gun, but does that make it $10 higher?

Further, why are the new exclusive Black Series figures $5 more than the non-exclusives? Is it just because the retailers can charge whatever they want, and it's not like we're going to find said exclusive at another chain?

Hasbro deemed Heavy Infantry Mandalorian - and General Grievous, and the Probot - as a "deluxe" figure at a higher price point. (Also Jar Jar Binks, and also the new Boba Fett, and Zeb.) Is it worth it? Probably not - there are more parts and more deco, plus all-new tooling on the eve of a price increase, so in almost every case I would say it makes a lot of sense. In the case of Boba Fett, I would assume they did it because they could. (I bet the jetpack has "hooks" to attach flames which weren't included or costed out.)

Generally speaking when there's special packaging, meatier figures, or more accessories, Hasbro will take the chance to charge a bit more. The Carbonized figures largely all started at a $5 premium - there's a story behind this (and another line you'll never see) that I am not at liberty to discuss - but basically, you're being charged more because you'll probably pay for it. We've seen this a lot, like when The Vintage Collection had a $10 Qui-Gon Jinn while the very same figure was in the Movie Heroes series for $8, with a stand. And a card. And a little box of extra guns. Or when we saw 2010 Saga Legends blue-card figures for $8 with a whole bonus box of guns, a stand, and a die - while the figure was $10 when on a Vintage card earlier. There's something of a "collector's tax" in spots.

This even happens in the normal lines. The Child (Black Series) is $10... but it looks like Hasbro is planning a smaller Vintage Collection one for $13 (but has only alluded to, but not explicitly state, this.) Maz Kanata and R2-D2 (Black Series) figures are less complex than Vintage Collection figures, but cost $20. That's life in the world of toy assortments.




3. This is more a comment. I love these themed 5POA box sets. Really love them (though I would have used the Last Jedi 2-pack version of Boba Fett).

If Hasbro put out the original 12 (6 each), the 79 nine, the 80 11, and so forth, I would buy multiples of EVERY pack.

5POA updates of the original 96, with photoreal tech and screen accurate weapons/accessories?

Heck, if they made 100 figures from each of the nine movies plus RO and SOLO, I’d be ecstatic.

I’d take that over 100 Razor Crests. I know I am in the minority.

Just wanted to sing their praises. My Best Buy exclusives get here tomorrow.

The drip, drip, drip of product’s driving me crazy.

Have you all seen the Best Buy exclusive Photoreal repaint of Hux? Wowzers. These are great!

It will never happen - I asked if they could just do Vintage-esque Saga Legends a few years ago during the Revenge of the Sith wave, because those were incredibly good sculpts with great range of motion and could stand and sit in the vehicles. As you can see, it did not happen - j-hook packaging or something to make it different from "Vintage" would have been great. But here we are.

These 5-packs are basically the send-off to 5 POA. (Hasbro described them as a farewell tour/final lap.)

I agree with you that some sort of "Collect all the vintage guys" sub-line would be a surefire hit in 3 3/4-inch, or even 6-inch, but after 25 years nobody seems to grasp the significance of fans who just want an update of the original 1970s and 1980s line in its entirety. Mattel's DC Universe line managed to do it with all of the Super Powers figures, though, so why can't or won't Hasbro? Nobody seems to have a good answer.

I agree that many of those 5-jointed sculpts of non-sequel trilogy figures are unusually good, as they lack the terrible rubbery hoses, robes, or other elements to block leg movement for sitting purposes. For whatever reason, Hasbro seems to not be terribly consistent about making a good toy. Carded collectors frequently get attractive collectibles, but I am not a collectible person. I'm a toy person. And I want more toy things.

Right now Hasbro has little to no interest in 3 3/4-inch as a figure-and-vehicle scale, so the figures we'll be getting will reflect that. "Mission Fleet" is what they're trying to push figure figure-and-vehicle fans, effectively serving as a replacement for what were previously the kid line figures. Will it work? We'll see!

I'd be very happy to see Hasbro pick any scale - even a new one! - for a "Collect all 92!" or whatever kind of a line. So far nobody has proven to have the attention span or ability to stick it out, even when given literal decades of goodwill and SKUs and capacity. There's no excuse for there not being every single last figure remade at this point - so hopefully they'll consider a way to do it, eventually, because why the heck not.



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If you live in the USA, I need to remind you that Monday October 5 is the deadline to register to vote in many (but not all) states for the election in November 2020. You may want to look at Vote.org if this is a thing you are inclined to do. (I know how much you love politics.) You can also sign up anyway for the next elections, which you'll probably want to vote in (or its primaries) for any of many reasons.

I spent the weekend playing entirely too many video games, like the free-for-now Super Mario Bros. 35 on Switch - which you can play if you have their online service. What is it? A randomizer of levels from the 1985 NES/Famicom game, where you can send enemies you kill to other players' screens. It's a lot like Tetris 99 in that regard, so your strategy for survival is to stomp, Star, or shell enemies - you get more time than if you fireball them - and survive as long as possible while amassing coins and perhaps unlocking the other meta-goals for the day, like "place above a certain rank" or "use the random coin box thing 10 times." It's not great. But it's fun enough. There is no way to compare your progress against friends on a leaderboard as far as I can tell, nor is there any way to play with your friends, so I'm not exactly crazy about it - but it may be free for you, so give it a shot.

--Adam Pawlus

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