Q&A 2011: Elastic Waist Bands, LEGO, Big Accessories, and Improvements Galore

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's a new year, but these questions come from the tail end of the 2010 mail bag. We have things like the tri-pod laser cannon not meeting your expectations. We look at big expensive LEGO toys and why you should buy them before it's too late. Heck, we even look at various stylized collectible Star Wars lines. And to round it all up, I rant about how Hasbro found another way to make today's best figures yesterday's news with new developments in their G.I. Joe line. Wow!

1. The Target exclusive from this year "The Attack on Hoth", What is the deal with that tri-pod cannon not having the battery and hose that go along with it? You would think they would try to make it look nice for such a cool exclusive, and I didn't buy it for this very reason. Are we ever going to see a version of the Cannon with the full accessories again or is it lost in time forever?

This is either Hasbro being cheap, or something related to logistics (i.e., what tooling is in what factory). It's the same "revised" cannon they've been using since 2003, despite their having made a nearly perfect one in 1997. As to what Hasbro reissues and when, it's going to boil down to whatever factory they're using at the time and if the tooling is at that location. If everything was in one building, odds are they'd be better about certain things being "right" but for all I know it may have boiled down to cost. If you get right down to it, I really should turn this around at you for being a cheapskate-- the set was $35-$40, included 3 figures, one was all-new, and a repainted $44 AT-ST from 2009. Certainly, the "value" angle was there. :) You certainly got a lot more for your money than the last AT-ST, plus all the figures were super-articulated. You couldn't say that about the 2009 release, which just rehashed a head swap figure from 2007... which itself was largely engineered from 2004 parts.

I'd wager in 2013 we'll see some other jumbo Hoth boxes and maybe then we'll see some new large hardware. Maybe. Or you could just get the one from 1997, it's pretty cheap these days.

2. Is it possible to know which vintage figures have not been made to the modern line yet. For my part I think that Lumat, Nikto, Barada, Sy Snootles, the Imperial Dignatary (Sim Aloo) and the B-Wing Pilot (human in red outfit) have not been updated. Also I think that the rebel soldier (brown outfit) has not been updated also, am I right? Concerning the vintage Rebel Commander, I know there have been a few updated versions, so from your point a view, which one from the modern line is more accurate to the vintage one? Finally, is there a grey outfit version to the Death Squad Commander in the modern line or only a black outfit version has been made?

Based on your list of "unmade" I would say the answer is a firm no, it is not possible. For example, I've got an action figure named Barada (one from a gift set, and one carded one). The human B-Wing pilot was produced in 2008, in an Evolutions set that I saw somehow magically surface at Toys "R" Us just last week. I've had a Sy Snootles since 1998, admittedly, a CG-inspired one. So yeah, this is a sort of a loaded question because it seems even Hasbro has a definition of "good enough" which means some-- Sy Snootles in particular-- will not likely be made as a figure based on the 1983 puppet.

A lot of other figures are up for debate, such as the 2007 Graak basically being Lumat in the wrong colors, but the actual vintage Lumat figure's deco wasn't quite like the Ewoks called Lumat by Lucasfilm-- there's more than one, by the way. Kithaba (red-pants Barada) is said to be making its way to the vintage line in 2011... so if the existing figures don't do it for you, there's that.

At this stage in the game, what it seems some fans want (and I think it's a good idea) are more "Kenner" figures like this year's 4-LOM and Zuckuss-- there's a distinctive Kenner action figure look that, to many of us, is more authentic than the movie designs. (Example: Hoth Han's coat is blue. Isn't it?) The modern Warok figure is completely off-color from the original, so yeah-- when you say you want to know which vintage figures haven't been remade yet, that's an answer that, as of today, is really up to fan interpretation.

3. I was saving my pennies for ages to treat myself to the giant Lego Millennium Falcon. Other than the Lego Death Star, I thought this was one of the coolest Star Wars toys ever! Sadly, by the time I had enough , they had discontinued it. E-Bay seems my only hope but the secondary prices are crazy! Usually Lego sets are around longer than that before they discontinue them. Any insight?

If you snooze, you lose. This set came out in out in late 2007 and I'm fairly confident I saw them available in 2009 still, although I won't stick my neck out for 2010. THe LEGO 10179 Millennium Falcon spent a good amount of time on the market, but it wasn't the first version of the ship-- it was the third figure-scaled version of the vehicle. I'm sure there will be another, and it wouldn't stun me to see LEGO consider doing another bigger, even better one a few years down the road. Given the current aftermarket prices odds are LEGO will want a piece of that pie.

Auctions have closed for as little as $600 for this piece recently, so keep an eye open and possibly someone will be willing to sell one for a more reasonable price. Given that it started at $500, though, don't balk at $700 or so... in terms of percentages, it's not that big of an increase compared to what most of these sets experience. (Look at LEGO Batman.)

Due to its higher price, people rarely buy LEGO to stash away-- so yeah, if you want something, don't wait.

4. I'm a fan of Sideshow's Medicom VCD series; the disproportionate heads and bodies are quite entertaining, plus a few joints here and there keep things interesting. Do you see much of a future for this series? I'd love to see a Biker Scout, Tusken Raider, Greedo, Hammerhead….heck, there's not many I wouldn't enjoy seeing.


The stylized vinyl figure is something which Star Wars has in abundance-- and that's not even to speak of the stuff that hasn't been announced yet. Medicom's line has been developed with Japanese tastes in mind, and it seems they really do dig armored guys the most. Seeing that they've done the most popular ones, I'd say your chances of seeing Greedo, the Tusken Raider, and Hammerhead are close to zero. Given the lack of new anything in this style out of Medicom, even the Scout Trooper seems unlikely. With some of the lower edition sizes on this kind of item, I'd say it's more likely that this specific kind of vinyl figure is probably wrapping up, but I'm just speculating here. (I mean, Mighty Muggs don't get no respect.)

5. I'm really holding out for some of my favorite aliens to be made in Galactic Hero format. Ree Yees and Yak Face at the top of the list, but I'd also love to see Squid Head/Tessek, Amanaman, Muftak, Labria, and maybe 8D8 and EV9D9 for the droid lovers out there. Do you think there's a chance for any of these to see life in this line?

Just call me Debbie Downer, because I'd say your chances are extremely low. If you look at the trajectory of Galactic Heroes lately, we've seen items delayed for over a year (like the Purchase of the Jawas set) or delayed with no explicit release date, and just look at the 2-packs. Since the reboot a few months ago, we're only seeing new versions of heavy-hitters like Vader and Palpatine alongside more Clone Wars heroes and villains. The weirder characters aren't really showing up these days.

This is to say nothing of your (excellent) taste-- Jabba's Palace has precious few aliens in the Galactic Heroes line and we didn't even see Jabba until, what was it, late 2007? New characters from the original trilogy have been lacking in Galactic Heroes and I can't say I honestly expect things to get much better as Jedi, Clones, and Droids seem to have gained favor over the cooler, weirder aliens which even seem rare in the regular figure line these days.

I'd put 8D8, Labria, and EV-9D9 at "when Hell freezes over" and Yak Face, Ree-Yees, and Muftak as "extremely unlikely." The kid-driven SKU has been pretty good about making stuff for that audience, but even then it's not like it's easy to find a lot of new vehicles in this scale these days.


Not a lot in the way of new stuff showed up this week either, so let's talk about something else: the fact that Hasbro has figured out how to do EVEN BETTER versions of your favorite figures. You think those new fancy-pants vintage figures you're buying are as good as it gets? YOU ARE WRONG.

I just picked up the brand new Snake Eyes figure last week in the newish blue G.I. Joe packaging-- look for the one labeled "1101" on the packaging, you can't miss it. It's incredible. It features a ton of gear, but the really spectacular thing is that Hasbro figured out the best way to get around the design flaw of the straps hanging around the waist of some figures, like the various Rebel pilots. How, you ask? Actual elastic. (I posted a shot to my increasingly lame Twitter feed. While this is going to be great the next time they upgrade the Pilot Luke figure, it's less great when you realize that the biggest boom of pilots (2008-2009) happened before this little innovation took place.

Anyway, the good news is that Hasbro is still finding new ways to do better figures. This new Snake Eyes even has articulated knee pads, plus the alternate head is a nice touch too. I don't care if you're not a fan of Joe, this one is easily the best version of the character Hasbro has ever done and possibly the best figure in this scale you can buy so far. I'm sure Hasbro will find a way to do something even better, but for now this is a great, great little plastic man. Be sure to look it up in the aisles.

Oh, and my mail bag? Virtually empty, although I got a couple over the weekend. If you have a question, send it in, but don't make up one on my account-- if I get a week off due to lack of questions, I wouldn't complain. I'm not even entirely sure when the last time I missed a week was, so hey, if you don't want to send in questions that's cool too. These Figures of the Day columns don't write themselves, after all.

--Adam Pawlus

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

I am VERY excited about the

I am VERY excited about the new Snake Eyes!