Q&A: Star Wars Yellowing and the Pits

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, December 22, 2019

1. With the recent releases of Jabba's Sail Barge and Tatooine Skiff, I was wondering if Hasbro might be planning a re-release and considerable upgrade to the old Target exclusive Battle at the Sarlacc Pit (focus on just the Sarlacc Pit of course). They could produce one with a hapless Jabba goon(s) included for its nourishment. Then the circle will be complete!

I'd bet you good money that the exact same Battle at the Sarlacc Pit Ultimate Battle Pack will never be reissued. It wouldn't stun me to see them find a way to get the "pit" part out if fans demand it, but it's a pretty substandard set - even for its own time. The pit was fine, the skiff was good, but those are some of the absolute worst figure reissues the line has ever seen with ghostly skin tones and horrendous face paint. And if that weren't enough, the set rand up to $75ish back in the day thanks to Targets charging inconsistent prices from store to store - another unusual aspect of the set. What's more, the 2008 set would probably cost two to three times as much to run as-is today thanks to inflation in this space. (And, again, it was pretty darned expensive for its time - a $20ish vehicle, a $25ish Battle Pack, a piece of scenery, and it shot up fast.)

If fans want to see it again I'd suggest lobbying Hasbro and making a fuss on the forums and social media platforms. It might make sense for Hasbro to run more of these - if the mold still exists - but I'd rather see a newer, bigger one that goes better with the Barge. It's rather tiny by comparison.

Unless the scene fits into an episode of a figure Disney+ streaming series, I would assume Hasbro is probably moving away from the whole scenario for now - but it's not like Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn't bump in to Jabba's gang during his show, right?



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2. if only parts of the [2002-2003 releases like Clone Troopers, R2-D2, and some later ones like Commander Cody and the Vintage Saga Collection Scout Trooper action] figures turn yellow while other parts stay white, why aren’t they made entirely of the materials that don’t go yellow?

This is the mystery of the ages! A lot of vintage 1980s figures have been seen with yellow torsos and white limbs, as well as white limbs and yellow torsos. Perhaps there's surgery to be done there.

Some of the figures from the 1970s through the 1990s turn yellow and while there are solutions like RetroBrite, they don't always work well or forever. The same kind of discoloration continues to happen, but around 2002 there's an added wrinkle - some of the discoloration isn't discolored plastic, but rather an oily residue that can be cleaned off using the right materials. I've had some "yellow" Saga troopers get cleaned up by wiping the limbs down with either a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or used dryer sheets.

As to why Hasbro doesn't make figures that last forever, I don't think they know which batches of plastic will go sour until years later. It's possible the factory is using a lesser grade without Hasbro being able to know for years later. It's possible there's just no desire for them to consider long-term whiteness and brightness of their figures. Longevity is a topic that comes up a lot when I'm talking with Hasbro people on this and other brands - some materials just don't last well for the ages. Clear plastic can be brittle. Several kinds of chrome deco cracks and flakes over time - look at some Beast Machines releases. It isn't always pretty to see what can happen through the years. White plastic and clear plastic do tend to discolor with age, and while there are some gems that seem like they'll never change color, I don't tend to be the kind of person that wants to test that against the fury of the sun.

Even with the best of testing and intentions, some things just plain don't last. Mattel had a number of issues with the foamy material used in its Matty Collector Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, which started to decay and discolor within a year - despite extensive testing to make sure the material was good. Was it a bad batch? Did the factory screw up? We may never know for sure. Collectors don't tend to talk a lot about older toys - and some stuff is packed away so we'll never see or realize damage was done for years.





If you haven't seen it, you should see it. It's definitely a big-budget 2019 movie. I didn't love it and I don't really feel like I want to see it in theaters a second time.

I left the theater for the last movies of the Disney generation feeling inspired. I couldn't wait to see how Luke trained Rey. The ending of Rogue One really grabs you... even if everybody dies. The Last Jedi throne room fight is the best in the series (fight me.) Even Solo was fun enough and had enough hooks in it that I was left wanting more - I loved the performances and the design, and I wanted to see what happened next. This new movie was fine. A lot of it was familiar from decades of comics, video games, and other expanded universe materials. It wasn't bad. It was fine. A lot of Marvel movies are also fine, but Star Wars should be great. It was... fine. If it were anything but Star Wars I wouldn't even be giving it a second thought and it would be fast on its way to being forgotten, like several of the Marvel movies and other recent blockbuster sequels.

Expectations and too many things to compare it to can doom a movie. There were lots of little neat things that they didn't quite explain - and I consider that a plus for these movies - but there were also some very large things that seemed to come out of nowhere. Having written about Star Wars on the internet for over 24 years, it's kind of weird to now be in a world where everybody is also now writing about the series.

Episode IX reminded me how much I liked the other movies. I almost jumped out of my seat cheering during the scene where Rey and Kylo Ren teamed up against the guards in The Last Jedi. I got a huge kick out of Han's poorly-worded subtitles in Solo. The recruits from Jedha - heck, all the supporting players - in Rogue One were pretty great. And who could forget Kylo Ren's insane tantrum in The Force Awakens? These movies are capable of delivering great entertainment, huge set pieces, unforgettable creatures, and adventures that we keep coming back to for years and years to come. The stuff in this one? Again, it's fine.

I feel we got shorted on Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, and much of the new crew - even Hux. I don't feel it really told me anything I wanted to know, it didn't really answer too many questions, and it didn't deliver on the weird thrills we got in previous movies. There's no lizard chase, there's no potato monster, and the "there are too many Death Stars" critique had been answered by delivering nearly infinite Death Stars. I feel like I'm getting the video game sequel to a 10-20-year-old cliffhanger, unsatisfying and by-the-numbers. It pushes the nostalgia buttons but fails to deliver on wonder, thrills, or anything other than reminding me I've got a shelf full of DVDs and Blu-Rays I'd rather be watching with other, better Star Wars movies. And cartoons. And Wilford Brimley.

The Mandalorian continues this week, as does Resistance which you're not watching but probably should now that it's getting better, and I don't think there's much else planned for 2020 beyond the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. --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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