Welcome back! I've got a mix of questions from Toy Fair 2011 in New York concerning plastic cloaks, new head sculpts, and even some vehicles. I'd say "you won't want to miss this one," but hey, maybe you will. But if you've got nothing better to do? Read on!
current waves 4 and 5 seem to be in limited quantity. Do you think
that these waves will be like the Attack of the Clone wave from the
Legacy collection line in the summer of 2009 or the Expanded Universe
wave that was offered by Toys R Us last summer?
There's a big difference between "new" and "limited." These just started hitting in January, and since the new figures in both cases are only one per box, if a store got one box and a collector beat you to it, well, you've missed a shipment.
I have no reason to believe that at this time-- given that the initial batch of Wave 3 hit around the Christmas rush, and that was (in many markets) still partially findable, I would wager you will see more units as time goes on. It's a little too early to press the panic button, even though Hasbro seems to be shipping a whopping three waves in a 2-month window, there's still product that has to get out to market. Just be vigilant, and I hope you're hunting frequently. Before I left for Toy Fair I saw both waves several times at Wal-Marts, Targets, and yes, even Entertainment Earth. (If you pre-ordered.)
2. Do you think Hasbro has any plans to continue Star Wars-themed Mighty Muggs later? I thought not for a long time, but I still see some stuff trickling out for Iron Man, Transformers, etc. Would they give any more thought to this line in the future, do you think?
Right now, nothing was shown (I was surprised) at Toy Fair in New York-- I really did expect someone to announce Mini Muggs of some sort, but it seemed so few pre-Comic-Con exclusives were shown for any of the collector brands that it wouldn't completely shock me if we stumbled on new ones at Target in the next season. I wouldn't expect it, but since nothing was announced and this was a segment Hasbro has effectively ended I wouldn't get your hopes up. Right now the closest thing to Muggs shown at Toy Fair were Mezco's 6-inch Mez-Itz figures, which currently are mostly DC Universe characters.
3. I'm just curious, how many "Return of the Jedi" era speeder bikes have been released? Not prequel, Clone War or EU type bikes. Actual Imperial speeder bikes. I know there was a Biker Scout with bike and a Luke with bike from Power of the Force but have there been any since then?
All use (basically) the same mold, so depending on how you want to count. The "exploding battle damage" figure has been removed over time, but pretty much every release since the early 1996 bike uses similar looking tooling with similar deco and similar stickers (although there are slight differences.) With that in mind, you can pick-- either there's only one Return of the Jedi Speeder Bike since they're all effectively the same, or maybe there's two since some explode and some don't, or if you're a packaged fan... there are more. Just off the top of my head, there's the 1996 Scout Trooper one, the 1997 Luke, the 1997 Leia, the 2004 OTC Toys R Us Endor boxed set version, and the 2007 30th Anniversary Collection Target Ultimate Battle of Endor set with two more. Again, just off the top of my head. Hasbro has never created its own completely original sculpt painted to look like Return of the Jedi Speederbike in the modern era (I was half expecting to see one over the weekend), so for now these all use the 1983 Kenner form factor.
4. Is that a new head-sculpt on the deluxe [Clone Wars] Obi-Wan w/ Mini-Attack Shuttle? The headset looks like it could be sculpted or is it a separate accessory?
It is indeed-- the sculpt is much more true to the show and also has the sculpted headset. It is not removable, and the body seems to be the same one we got with the Freeco Bike and the BARC Speeder with gunner sidecar.
5. Will Nom Anor come with the bulky plastic hood and cape from the press photos or the much better looking soft goods from the show floor? Same with Bariss Offee. Press photo soft goods with bulky hood but incredibly gorgeous and intricate cloak or sculpted hood with totally wrong colored skirt from the show floor?
I believe Hasbro said that Nom Anor would be plastic from their presentation, and I know for a fact they called out that Bariss Offee would indeed have plastic parts for the final product despite what the Power Point presentation showed.
Other than Hasbro and LEGO, Funko was the other real big Star Wars licensee with a presence in New York this year. Sideshow stopped going as they were largely a direct-to-consumer business, not actively seeking US retail distribution. Gentle Giant's presence was really only felt in the Diamond Distribution booth, where a few of the big Kenner 12-inch remakes were on display. Funko had a pretty great setup with their electronics, showing off the clock/iPod dock/etc. units alongside headphones, bobble heads, and their Pop! Vinyl figures.
I'm particularly taken with Pop! Vinyl. It's sort of like what Mighty Muggs would be if they were slightly cheaper and had more detail in their sculpting... with a pinch of Sanrio's design sensibility. Some of them (music, most movies) are vinyl figures with an articulated head, but the Marvel and Star Wars ones are actually bobble heads and Star Wars (presumably for licensing reasons) include a non-removable display base. They're also incredibly cute. I've had a Batman from the line as a permanent fixture on my desk since Comic-Con last year, and I really hope they continue to get more licenses. It's just a great little item, the Star Wars line is looking sharp and Boba Fett is, naturally, on the horizon. Greedo's coming out early in the line (I expect because the company's head honcho is fond of the character) and he's an early favorite.
Hasbro's showings were interesting. I guess it all boils down with how you want to look at it, because it's genuinely hard to be "exciting" when it comes to making new toys from three main movies that ended in 1983. Once you get past those, the fanbase is pretty splintered as to what qualifies as "exciting" or "acceptable" as releases in the Vintage line. For example, I'm not too fond of Bastilla Shan, but I find Fordo an incredibly exciting prospect. (And this is keeping in mind that it's at least Hasbro's fourth Fordo figure.) Bespin Han Solo and Barriss Offee should delight most fans, though, and there's enough interesting in Vintage that it's really no better or worse than most years. With the addition of Expanded Universe, I'd say it may even be slightly better just because it won't have the "don't I have all of these?"-ness that waves 1 and 2 of Vintage 2010 brought to more than a few fans.
Clone Wars, in the end, was pretty great. A big new Republic Attack Shuttle was revealed to be this year's Big Giant Vehicle, and a half-dozen "mini-rigs" were shown that all look pretty great. New characters as pilots are a nice addition, and the new head sculpt on Obi-Wan Kenobi looked pretty great too. With the show itself getting characters on the air like Tarkin and Chewbacca, it's probably going to mean a lot more neat figures come Comic-Con or next year. I will say that the lack of midsize vehicles was a little disappointing, but we got quite a few at the end of last year. Heck, overall 2010 may have been one of the best years for new midsize vehicles as we got a Cloud Car, Snowspeeder, Swamp Speeder, Droid Gunship, Jedi Turbo Speeder, and numerous redecoes all within a six month period.
The end of Galactic Heroes was unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. Since the staff was quite busy at the show I didn't get a chance to ask my one big question: Where the heck is the Galactic Heroes AT-ST as far as the US market goes?
It looks like it will be a good year, but the reduced number of exclusives and "starfighter" assortment vehicles feels like we're missing something. I also found it odd that they didn't highlight the smaller mini Star Wars Transformers in the slideshow, and that the four-mode Darth Vader/Anakin/Star Destroyer/Republic Destroyer didn't even make a blip despite being shown on a pedestal in the showroom.
As of now, I'm expecting parts of the line to slowly shift into more of a "mainstream mode" for the end of 2011 and most of 2012 courtesy of Blu-Ray and 3D theatrical rereleases bringing in a crowd who needs things like Darth Vader or Han Solo over ones we're still missing, like Ben Quadrinaros or Ziro the Hutt. (For the record, we still do need a Ziro the Hutt.) I fully expect to see a lot more Vintage goodness, but the exclusive lineup for the first half of 2011 does not inspire joy. (Granted, it was lacking in 2010 too.)
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.