Q&A: Vintage Cardback Photos, TV, More TV

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, August 29, 2010

So it seems you like the vintage cardbacks but like complaining more.  I can see that.  And you’re hoping the Scramble on Yavin Battle Pack gets cheaper—which it may be already, depending on where you’re looking.  And what’s up with all the mail-in offers running right now?  Read on!

1. Hear me out, please.  All of us old folks know the "Vintage Collecton" = designed to reinvigorate the collector-fanbase while also servicing the brand for lovers of all 6 films. But to what do you attribute the following 4 areas of concern, relative to what to "expect" for the next 2 years?

1.  A end-of-Return-of-the-Jedi-esque Vader, with the stock ANH photo, gets released in an ESB wave, especially given how persnickety collectors are about specificity? Couldn't they have at least come up with an Empire pic?

2.  A sorta-Senate Duel-looking Yoda has / will use the ESB pic, will contain prequel-trilogy accessories, and will cone on a RotJ card? What?

3.  Hasbro admits the new Jedi-Luke photo is wrong, but have not announced plans for a running change to make the presentation commensurate with what looks like an amazing figure? Why?

4.  A "no big deal" (to me) Anakin Skywalker name appears in the pill of the RotS Sith Anakin figure, but oh boy we have to change that to Darth Vader?  This is the one they looked at and said, we have to change that? This is the one that gets the correction?

As an OT fan, I wish they would address issues like in 1-3 before even worrying about something in #4. What say you?  Am I wasting my time with these complaints? I am really not happy, and I don't know what to do in terms of complaining directly to Hasbro (as you often suggest fans do).


I know this will stun and amaze you, but I don’t care, and neither should you.   In the vintage line we had photos that didn’t exactly correspond to the outfits, either.  Sure, they were usually from the same film, but did anyone complain that Boba Fett didn’t match his movie appearances and that the card art was from a concept outfit for several years?  Or that the original 1978 Darth Vader figure’s chest armor seemingly had more in common with the Empire Strikes Back film model?  These things happened a lot in the old days, sometimes major, sometimes minor… but ultimately, the packaging exists for one purpose: to make the figure attractive enough for someone to pick it up and buy it.

I would start off by asking you, simply, will you not buy the figures because of this?  If you still plan to buy anyway, your complaints are falling on deaf ears.   I’ve read a lot of posts on forums over the years to the effect of “Hasbro made a toy that I don’t like, they suck, so I’m only going to buy 2 of it rather than 3 or 4.”

I am told some people at Hasbro read this column—so by being posted here, your complaint may be seen by several members of the Hasbro Star Wars team.  While I think Hasbro would benefit greatly from changing up the cardback logos and photos through the line to encourage repeat business from cardback-centric customers, it doesn’t really bother me that they’re trying to keep a theme going in their assortments.  So Yoda uses a familiar photo—if they aren’t going to do a proper Empire Strikes Back Yoda before vintage 2010 ends, I don’t see a problem with it. And there’s always the 2004 version if you really need to go back.

I know you don’t see it this way, but there’s nothing wrong with putting an image of a character with the proper name of the character on the packaging.  It’s fine.  You’ll live.


2. Does the TRU exclusive [Rebel Tech with vehicle] mean the rest of the [Scramble on Yavin Battle] pack is destined to always be rare and expensive ($155 on Amazon last I checked), or is it possible the rest of the set might also see another release, like maybe another wave of the pilots and astromech four packs that are also set for TRU in 2011?  Could the Ground Crew exclusive at least mean the Battle Pack might start slipping in price on the secondary market?


I saw no fewer than three Scramble on Yavin Battle Packs on retail shelves in 2010.   I wasn’t even looking for it, but they were indeed out there.  Odds are they’re gone now, but there’s clearly a supply of these things out there if you can wait.  The battle pack is currently going for (and has gone for) about $60-$80 this year on eBay, so if you want one, well, don’t buy it on Amazon.  Due to the fact that Hasbro seems to be “done” with wider battle packs, you’ll probably never see the Battle Pack released again. The vehicle and crew member should help bring the pack’s price back down to earth—but then again, $60 isn’t exactly “outrageous”—double original retail qualifies as annoying but acceptable in my book.

The Astromech Droid seems to be what pushes the price up, so if you don’t care about that, you can get the rest easily.  I’d suggest buying the next one you can at $60 through eBay and be done with it, because the Crew and Transport reissue is going to be at least $18 and it’s entirely possible Hasbro will never get around to reissuing the other two figures.

A note on Amazon: people charge crazyprices for things on there just in case someone will pay it.  I’ve seen CDs on Amazon used for $60, where the same (admittedly obscure) album shows up on eBay and goes for $3 because nobody wants it or knows what it is.  Shop around, be patient, and if it sounds ridiculous, consult other sources.


3. After reading all the sites coverage of celebration.  I dont know if anyone confirmed with either Sansweet or Lucas,  if [the live action TV series announced a few years ago] is indefinately on hold or what?? Did you hear anything?


The only TV shows discussed at Celebration V were the untitled Seth Green project—which if I’m reading things right will include Luke, Leia, Han, and Darth Vader in a post-Return of the Jedi galaxy—and The Clone Wars.  The live action show was seemingly not even brought up, and based on recent quotes from George Lucas it’s probably going to be a while off until production prices go down or some such.

Lucasfilm, if you’re reading, might I suggest trying Kickstarter?  If you want money, a name on the end of the credits would probably make that happen.


4. With all of the mini rig (deluxe) releases coming out, can you take a minute to share which pack-in figures are new or just new enough versus the straight repacks from previous incarnations of these figures?


Of the five new ones that are out now: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Bike with Sidecar) has looser limbs and a seemingly slightly darker shade of off-white, but is otherwise the same as the Freeco Bike figure.   The Mandalorian Commando is the Pre Vizsla mold with different deco and a non-removable helmet, so it’s worth your time… even if the vehicle isn’t.  The Anakin Skywalker in Naboo Pilot mold is new, and the Naboo Star Skiff is fantastic, so be sure you get that one.   Cad Bane from Cad Bane’s speeder is a completely new sculpt with a new head and different articulation, and a much wider torso—be sure to get it.   Plo Koon from Plo Koon’s Speeder Bike is super-articulated, whereas previous versions were not—so buy accordingly.

The other upcoming figures are a bit more obvious—the Clone Boil with the AT-RT is newly painted, the Snow Clone Trooper with the Freeco Bike has new deco and knee joints, and the Tactical Droid with the Scout Tank will be slightly different but not extremely different.  So far, it seems the arms will change and possibly the legs.


5. Anyway, does Hasbro have any mail in offers going on right now other than the Fett for the VOTC and the Cw Captain guy w/ mat? Is Eopie still going, or Nadar and so on?


No future offer was given and generally speaking it’s not a good idea to confuse the market with too many offers—from your question, it’s pretty obvious there’s too many mail-ins going at once.

According to my intel the offers for the Eopie and Nahdar Vebb are expired.  However, sometimes these offers are more flexible than you might think—you can always send a check (not money order) and the UPCs and see what happens.  Worst case scenario, they send your check back.  The going rate on eBay for Nahdar is $15-$20, and the Eopie goes for about $3-$15.  With the Eopie being as cheap as it is, I would suggest you just buy that one off eBay rather than send off a check for $7.


It never ceases to amaze me how quickly this hobby turns from a feeding frenzy of toy hunting and news to a dead zone of jack squat.   Depending on where you live, you may actually be all caught up until October already.   The “Evolution” 2-packs are out, the Vintage Box AT-AT hit, Jabba the Hutt is already out and about, Jodo Kast is in the wrong aisle at your local Kmart, and you may already have the new Clone Wars and Vintage figures between your local stores and Celebration V.

I was pretty stoked to find my “Rise of Boba Fett” Battle Pack this week until TRU decided to up the price slightly-- $10 really does hurt when an item is already $100 and it feels too expensive.  Looking at eBay, though, it seems most fans are happy to pay twice as much, so maybe it really doesn’t matter.  It’s a nice set for the money, particularly if you’re a fiend for the vehicles.  If Hasbro tossed in R2-D2 and Aurra Sing to complete the package, I bet it might be easier to swallow at the price.

So what’s next?  Well, the next big batch of news will either be in February for Toy Fair 2011 or through the solicitations of your favorite online toy stores.   The next new exclusives should be the Galactic Heroes Purchase of the Droids and Kamino scenes—available online but seemingly not in store at Toys “R” Us—as well as their exclusive Nikto Guard from The Clone Wars.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions?  I bet you do.  Email me with Q&A in the subject line.