Swappers Strike Again: Sandtrooper Edition

By Adam Pawlus — Monday, October 18, 2010

Because I love a good story-- even a good story gone wrong-- we're going to share Reader John's Wal-Mart swap-out story today.  John saw not one, not two, but five Sandtroopers swapped out and returned to the store by a thief and, surprise surprise, the store wasn't too receptive to him trying to help. More after the jump.

John writes:

"I thought you would like to see what has to be the worst case of figure fraud I have ever seen in one Wal-Mart in Westworth Village, Texas. I spent about ten minutes yesterday (which was nine minutes too long) to find a older worker drone who seemed to care more than anyone else. After trying to explain, he laughed it off and said their store detective would take a look at it on their store cameras. I then told him that they get returned like this (sealed up well too), and…then I lost interest in trying to explain further. I just told him that the stored had been ripped off by $42. Then I left.

I know there isn’t a question in this, but it would be fun to send an email to someone higher up about a particular store, have you had any experience with that?"



I know I haven't had much luck explaining this to employees, mostly because I can see how it's extremely easy to a) not notice with fairly similar figures, and b) not caring because you aren't paid to.  What have your findings with swappers been like?  Feel free to post your comments below.



Saturday I went to a Target in Edmond OK and my son says to me, "look dad this AT-AT comes with two figures." So I look at him and then look at the box and sure enough some one replaced the Speeder Bike with a Clone Trooper. So I found an employee to tell them that the store has been ripped off. Then I looked at the dude and told him he should look in the box. He opened it up and looked in and said it looks like the AT-AT is here. So I looked in and said umm no it isn't. Someone had put in an AT-TE in the box and brought it back. Unbelievable. Bloody thieves.

Years ago, I saw that someone

Why'd they leave the new guns? I mean, really?

Years ago, I saw that someone swapped out the Wal-Mart droid factory C-3PX parts with peices of a broken POTF C-3PO(I think), pretty clever.

The other thing around these parts was a bender. Newer Star Wars figures would have totally creased upper corners, not a little crease, but near-torn bending.

Back in 2004, someone in my

Back in 2004, someone in my area was doing this. I remember at Target seeing, of all things, the VOTC C-3PO swapped out with a POTF2 one (why I really don't know :P ). I showed it to a stock boy, and he seemed concerned, but confused at the same time. And I've seen a Clonetrooper swapped with a POTF2 Stormtrooper not too long ago.

My thought was, "Why didn't I

My thought was, "Why didn't I think of this instead of rewarding Hasbro for making crap figures in the first place?".

This happened to me once. It

This happened to me once. It was at a Kmart store for their exclusive Attack on the Jedi Temple. One of the 501st clone troopers was removed and replaces with a stormtrooper instead. At the time I didnt look at the figures but I was more concerned about the condition of the box since the Kmart by me is notorious for having damaged boxes, so my attention was focused on that. When I got home I noticed the double taping on one side of the box so it wasnt an oops done by Hasbro. A friend of mine who lives in another State told me that the Toys R Us store by him will not accept returns on any "collectible toy" and now I understand why they wont (not even with a gift reciept).


Hate, hate, hate the swappers.

There's a creep (or two) in my area of suburban Atlanta (Alpharetta and Cumming) whose handiwork I saw a lot during the blue-and-white package era.

Walmarts and Targets in the area took back a bunch of swapped out garbage, some of which no doubt wound up at little kids' birthday parties.

It was pathetic, stealing these new figures by stuffing the packages with substandard 14-year-old models.

I did my best to alert the local stores around me, even firing off emails to the retailers' corporate offices. Local Walmart manager rang me back, and other managers seemed to appreciate me letting them know what was up.

Bottom line: swappers are pathetic thieves.


Even TRU got suckered by what I believe was the same guy, taking back a couple of those Force Unleashed 5-packs that had multiple figures replaced with POTF2-era figgies.

I saw this happen at my local

I saw this happen at my local WalMart in King of Prussia, PA. I saw the new vintage Anakin with the legacy collection darth vader (anakin) in the packaging. There was an obi wan kenobi vintage collection switched out too. to be honest, I actually thought these figures were variants. I almost bought them too. Glad I read this post first. I also noticed a number of the vehicle deluxe packs with just the vehicle and not the figure (plo koon speeder bike with no plo, anakin naboo ship with no anakin). Anyway, I have to give these guys a lot of credit whoever is doing it. They are obviously getting free figures courtesy of walmart. Maybe if Hasbro put new figures on the pegs on a consistent basis here in the Philadelphia area, these Bothan spies wouldnt have to do things like this. In the words of Lando Calrissian himself to Han: "Ya old pirate!" These smugglers are getting good these days.


I hate figure swappers but it's a growing problem that constantly persists... the only real solution to have a policy where once the package is opened then it cannot be returned... the only problem with that solution is that it also harms the honest people as well... for instance if you buy the new Jabba set and find that you are missing parts or the exclusive figure or whatnot how do you prove that you didn't take the accessories you wanted and return the package saying that it's missing stuff...

I think these stores seriously need to employ people who are aware of the current offerings in the toy department and can say, wait this is not the product that is available on the shelves and thus turn away these cheats but alas it's not going to happen. all we cna do as fans is try to bring this to the attention of the stores and hopefully try to catch these cheats in the act at the returns desks.

I've actually seen this only

I've actually seen this only once. It was an Endor battle pack swapped with POTF2 figures. The only other closest I've seen are a few figures missing hologram pack-ins or build a droid parts.