Q&A: Star Wars Shortages, Troopers, Micro Toys, and Vehicles

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 22, 2020

1. Will we be getting a 3.75 mandalorian razer crest vehicle anytime? I saw that there is a LEGO one.

No plans at this time - Hasbro hasn't done a lot of big ships with new tooling in a while, as some of their big swings where big misses. The $100ish The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon wasn't all that bad, but was blown out. The Rogue One AT-ACT was a late arrival that went straight to clearance at some stores. The less said about the $200 The Last Jedi BB-8 playset the better.

We have seen some really cool items made for $50-$100 lately, with mini playsets and expensive-but-impressive ships like the Skiff and the Imperial Troop Transport.

With that in mind, a "good" version of the Razorcrest would probably set us back at least $150-$200, which would likely put it in the HasLab zone. There are no plans for any 3 3/4-inch scale items in that price range that I'm aware of, and maybe we'll see something pop up soon but I doubt it. The next HasLab item has been teased as the previously leaked Marvel Sentinel, so I wouldn't get your hopes up for anything this or next year.



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2. Micro Machines is back, this time in the hands of Jazwares! I'd like to ask for your speculation, given the breadth and depth of your insight into toy trends:
1. What are the odds of Star Wars Micro Machines returning, given the fairly short run of 2015-2017?
2. What are the odds of military Micro Machines returning, considering Hasbro's attempts to reinvigorate GI Joe versus the possible war fatigue of the American public?
I noted a few military models presented at ToyFair 2020 (please see attached photos), but these appear to be derived from older tooling. The exhibitors did mention having included older models in their diorama to demonstrate compatibility!

Jazwares has Wicked Cool Toys and Wicked Cool Toys has MicroMachines, so I'm not sure how that may affect licensing within the brand. Jazwares has G.I. Joe for its "Domez" figures, which means there's clearly a relationship open to licensing this kind of thing but we just don't know how far things can go until they announce them.

I wouldn't bank on Star Wars MicroMachines from Hasbro or Wicked Cool Toys (or Jazwares) any time soon. I would find it massively unlikely that Hasbro would let the license get into the hands of a competitor, particularly since Jazwares seems to have its eyes on bigger and bigger products. With that in mind, I wouldn't hold your breath for Star Wars MicroMachines again in the next few years.

Military toys are a weird one - I'd usually bank on "eventually," but you never know how long a line lasts. They put tanks and fantasy vehicles in Hot Wheels so there's no reason to think that, eventually, we're going to see all kinds of things in MicroMachines if it succeeds. I haven't seen the full price list yet so I can't say for sure what they're even doing this year yet.




3. I am 100% IN LOVE with the latest TVC Rogue One Stormtrooper. I own close to 30 now with at least 24 more on pre-order still. I could die happy with no future updates to this figure ever. BUT, do you think Hasbro would ever re-release this figure with the ROTJ version of the Stormtrooper helmet, which was just ever so slightly differently-proportioned from the ANH and ESB versions? It's not a figure I would try to push for necessarily, but IF they made it, I would buy MANY of them (especially if they added the blaster holster that most/many OT troopers had).

If fans ask Hasbro for it directly, and often, to their faces? Very likely. Any excuse to reuse tooling on a popular army builder would probably be welcome, and I can't speak as to if that kind of a minor difference is enough for them to make the tooling change in the near-term. I would assume no - 3 3/4-inch isn't about new parts all that much these days. A new helmet and a new blaster would certainly make it a good figure to buy and re-buy, but so would package variants and any other tweaks they could run without a fuss.

4. The Corona virus has caused shortages of everything.

How badly has it hit toy production in China? How long will it be until they're back up and running? Is there an estimated delay in something that would, say, have a street date in America in April or May?

Can we expect a very lean Christmas, Star Wars toy-wise?

Since most stores don't have Star Wars, I wouldn't necessarily call what may happen a shortage.

A "lean Christmas" is possible, but a lean summer is potentially also just around the corner. A few lines - I am not at liberty to name which ones - were struggling to meet the target dates before the outbreak. There's a good chance some things may miss their intended launch, but there's also a possibility that the intended launches for all sorts of things may move anyway. We're seeing movies delayed indefinitely or moved to streaming, and we're not yet sure if any video games or streaming series will be canceled or just pushed back a bit. Back in February we assumed China would be the bottleneck - the press seems to indicate the worst is over and they're moving on. Meanwhile, GameStop is finally being made to close here so we're likely just getting started.

I've had conversations with some companies (again, won't say which ones) and have heard everything from "Q1 and/or Q2 are over, pray for Q2/Q3" to "we think everything is going to be normal by summer." Some other items were already a stretch for Q4 this year, and I assume the whole baby Yoda rollout is going to be slowed or pushed back a bit - but on that specific product, I have no facts to offer (or dance around, for that matter.) I'm hearing a lot of reps tell me the factories are open, but it varies as to if all the factory workers they need are back or not yet.

We also have a bonus issue - what about the ports? The boats? American retail? Some stores can be open, some online shops can ship, and some can't. It's premature to guess who or what may be open in a few days, weeks, or months. Convention season may already be over for 2020 - we just don't know yet. I assume Target and Walmart will be fine, as will grocery stores, but what about the little comic shops, or mini toy stores, or other places we buy stuff that aren't multinational corporations?

Some spring/summer items may be showing up on time or even a little early. Some things will be pushed back. It's entirely some things may just be canceled in order to free up the capacity for more important things - but I have heard zero chatter on that.

Some items with an estimated date of June are showing up early. Some April or May items have been sitting in corporate warehouses, waiting to be shipped out. It's going to be a crazy year, everything is going to be jumbled a bit, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see some things vanish without a trace - but it's still too early to tell. As to your final question - will it be lean for Star Wars for Christmas? Well, look at last year. A movie year. With a Force Friday. It was pretty lean. Don't get your hopes up too high, but I think if schedules hold, you might be halfway happy with the results.



We're back to four questions this week and we've got questions for a few weeks - but keep 'em coming. The column can get bigger and more frequent if I have something to answer.

We're not at chaos levels, but it's certainly a very different place than we were a week ago. Maybe you can find soap and groceries, maybe you can't. Maybe you'll find new toys - maybe you won't even go out because of what may or may not be out there. Maybe we'll get new toys throughout the year, and maybe we'll see delays. I've seen bands put up new record pre-orders and I'm sitting here wondering if they'll even be pressed on time, given how many municipalities are just shutting down. But things were almost ready to go on the boats from China, and stuff is still coming our way.

It's the season of ordering online, or checking for toys when you go out for groceries. I hope you're having as much fun as you can - mail order may or may not work in this time of no retail. Happy hunting?

--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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