Q&A: Vehicles, Toys, and More! Welcome to 2013!

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome to Q&A 2013! We're back for another year of... well, apparently looking back at what's going on with the toys you never saw in 2012. We talk up vehicles new and old, discuss 2013 nomenclature, and other stuff.  You may as well read this after you start downloading your email from (I hope) a couple of weeks away from the office!


1. The "2012" Hasbro Naboo Starfighter: I was really looking forward to it, but I haven't seen it anywhere, not even Ebay. Did I miss it yet? Is there still hope that it might show somewhere before the smaller vehicle assortment takes over?

Hasbro has done a weird thing with many of its assortments (this was particularly abundant in 2011, in Transformers) where 1, 2, or 3 waves just never show up in a lot of major stores. The 2012 vehicles wave 1 got marked down at some stores quite quickly, and, obviously, big box stores never saw wave. Sure, you can get it online but few seem to be doing that.

Will it be brought back in the new midsize assortment? No. Will the 2012 assortment show up somewhere, some day? Maybe. We don't know how much Hasbro made and if it's still available online, it's still available to you, the consumer. The Mandalorian Transport showed up late in 2012 and generally speaking, but not always, some hard-to-find items are manufactured and are waiting to show up somewhere. I don't know if Hasbro played a safe bet on this round, but if previous years are any indication vehicles are usually waiting to get out. Usually. Every now and again they do a small run, so right now your hope is probably like what happened in 2012: wait and pray someone dumps it cheap.


2. This may be old news, but I happened to end up on "Myth Buster" Adam Savage's web site. Adam has several images of dioramas he made for Hasbro. He also has images of accurate reference models he built for Hasbro/Galoob. One is a Tie Bomber; The other is a fantastic Y-Wing. We got the Tie Bomber, but are we ever going to see a new Y-Wing?

While Hasbro has made reference to rumblings regarding new and/or different Y-Wings, there's a lot of difficulty in determining what they were referring to. Over the last few years we've been told new Y-Wingy things were on the way, and with the vintage Y-Wing, the Scout Y-Wing, and the jumbo Y-Wing Bomber, we certainly got some.

So in short, even if it was happening, I'm not hopeful. The 2012 vehicle trajectory was weak, and I don't exactly feel hopeful that the main line or exclusive channels will be receptive to another Y-Wing in the first half of 2013. Or the second, really. Maybe in 2014 if the 3D release of Star Wars makes a big enough splash with Disney behind the brand?

There's a lot of buzz about several vehicle revisions inside Hasbro that, as of yet, have not surfaced. It's tough to tell what will make it out and when, or if the models flying around in there will be the ones they use. The new, smaller vehicle mandate may mean a new, smaller Y-Wing with less heft will be designed, or a mini Darth Vader's TIE Fighter could be around the corner.



3. What is the new 2013 (green box with yoda on it) line of star wars action figures called? (It has no writing on it like past lines)

It doesn't have one yet. The last few years have been confusing and irritating to me, as the line many fans call "Shadows of the Dark Side" often has "The Legacy Collection" written on the internal paperwork, like instruction sheets. For 2012, it seems to be unofficially dubbed "The Maul Line Look" although I went with "Discover the Force" for now because, well, some figures had that slapped on it and it's better than nothing. Although I suppose "Star Wars 2012" would have been a good name for it since it started in January 2012 and seemingly ended in December 2012.

Right now we have to hope the 2013 line has some release with words on it, otherwise I'm sure we'll all be calling it "the Yoda Line" or something like that.


4. I was wondering if you know anything about the quality of the 8 inch Real Action Boba Fett that Tomy made a while back.

I was very intrigued by this, as it was Mego size, and just never heard much about them. I know they are hard to come by, but as Hasbro has slowed down quite a bit, I am looking to get a few higher end items for my collection.
--Mike Rex

I looked up some photos of this piece and while it looks neat, I lack the expertise on its quality. Reviews seemed mixed, so I would like to turn the question to you guys-- any input for Mike? Please leave them in the comments!


5. If I'm a person that wants to see new characters in plastics (Cantina, astromechs, Jedi, or EU, or anything else) what hope does 2013 hold for me?

I haven't heard about any new figures at Comic Con or Celebration VI that have got me anticipating the new waves.

(I decided not to shell out $25 + shipping for an admittedly cool and new figure, Jocasta Nu, on principle.

However, that didn't stop me from paying about the same price for 25 Disney build-a-droids each.) It seems that the only thing to look forward to at this point is more (admittedly cool) pack-in build-a-droids with carded figures I don't want, which in the end will add up to $40+ per astromech and $60+ per protocol droid, that is if the distribution woes don't continue and I can find them at all.

I need something in the line to look forward to. Do you know of anything?

A break is still a thing to enjoy.

While I admire fishing for news, fact is it's Hasbro's to dish out. There's very little to go on until next month, unless stuff leaks, which does tend to happen around this time of year.

As a fan of this line, I can't honestly say that the character selection has been terribly exciting as of late but after 2,000 figures it's quite difficult to find reasons to get excited. New characters should happen, but it's not like we got a whole bunch since 2010. Were it not for The Old Republic 2012 would've been pretty rotten too, as most figures were updates to existing product in the marketplace.

So while you will undoubtedly have access to New and Improved versions of characters you have, well, I wouldn't hold much hope for genuine newness. Unless you want to start collecting another line. My current favorite distractions are SLUG Zombies, October Toys' OMFG line, and Onell Design's Glyos figures. Collecting them all is and always will be a hassle, but they're pretty swell in small groups.



Aaaaand here we are. I won't lie to you, I expected a little bit more out of November and December last year. The lack of a Black Friday Surprise was a little disappointing, usually Target or somebody squeezes out an exclusive of note. Ah well.

If you want to be outraged about something? Admiral Ackbar apparently has a first name now, and it's "Gial." When the Hell did that happen?

I'm on Tumblr! Also Twitter. I'm posting old collector stories on Tumblr under the tag "Toy Stories" and there's one coming up about how and why I started writing about toys on the internet in 1995.

I did enjoy my vacation from writing about Star Wars at length but did run into some interesting predictions coming true. Many in the biz have postulated that there should continue to be a market for collector toy product until the numbers work out that it costs too much... and we may be getting there sooner than I thought. Obviously I'm a cheap, cheap man but two of the lines I enjoy watching have squeaked passed the point of "yeah I ain't paying that." Most of my toy purchases of new product (as in, at stores or online at first retail) generally was "money is no object" but the price tags of Playmobil and LEGO released in December at Toys R Us, a store which is historically higher, actually gave me sticker shock. I mean, there are new Playmobil dinosaurs out and while I've got bunches of old ones, the new ones cost a lot more for less. LEGO's Legends of Chima just hit, giving Battle Beasts-style characters at surprisingly high prices. And, of course, you all know that Matty Collector's He-Man line is going up a few more bucks this year along with steadily increasing Transformers prices. And the thing is, TRU just got 'em first. They're $1 or so cheaper elsewhere, but that's still pretty expensive.

I was pretty surprised to find myself actually saying "no, that costs too much" as 2012 wound down, but I know it's something you guys have commented on before. A $10 Star Wars figure doesn't seem too outlandish, although if we start butting up against $15 I'm going to need larger characters, more accessories, or scenery in each box.

We're in a rut, creatively speaking, as Hasbro is all but ignoring The Clone Wars as of late and new characters are probably going to be lacking until Disney does whatever they're going to do. Star Wars in its current state is loaded with great stories and amazing character designs, although the last few years (2012 in particular) sapped the retail momentum in ways I honestly did not expect to see until the line was, well dead for reals. Obviously it's not dying, but I assume it's going to be bumpy until our group decides it's time to line up in front of the movie theaters again.

Until then? Check out some other stuff. If you liked MUSCLE, go look up Jakks Pacific's SLUG Zombies toys at Toys R Us. (Target just killed their support, look at the clearance aisles.) If you liked Power Lords, the Four Horsemen are reviving it. If you like Battle Beasts, after several years, it seems Diamond's figures should be in stores any day now. And if you like Star Wars, consider housecleaning. This is the time to sell your extras, trade for the figures you missed, and clean up if you want to keep collecting in the Disney era. From a business perspective I hope this line continues and does well for years, but as a collector, well, if I've got 3-6 months of downtime at least I can sort through some stuff rather than go on more toy runs.

...I'm not saying that to be glib either. Sure Ephant Mon isn't getting any cheaper, but you can get yourself some awesome Mon Calamari Officer figures for $5 or less. It's a fun figure, read the old review. I like his helmet.

--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.

Tomy Boba Fett

I just ordered the Tomy Boba Fett from Japan and should have it in the next few weeks. I'll put up a review then if no one else has done so beforehand.