Q&A: 3 3/4-Inch Anxiety, 6-Inch Anxiety, and Star Wars Myths Never End

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 2, 2017

This week in Q&A - vintage vinyl-cape Yoda? Nope! The 3 3/4-inch scale - is it over, finished? Also 6-inch value figures - why can't anybody find those without a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it being dark, and your wearing sunglasses?

And send in your questions for next week. Read on!

1. A friend of mine assures me that he remembers seeing a vinyl cape Yoda released in 1980 before the regular soft goods version that we are all familiar with. So was there early running change to Yoda or is my buddy just suffering from delusion?

If I had a dollar for every "my friend assures me he saw/had..." story I've been told, I'd be a very rich man. Usually these come from variations that never shipped to stores, mail-in figures that were never delivered, or products that just plain didn't exist. Your situation is a little different, because while a vinyl-caped Yoda was never produced by Kenner it's not impossible that someone, like a parent or a fan, decided to make one of their own to be consistent with the other figures available at the time. If a kid started life with a vinyl cape Jawa (because that was normal for a brief time), one figure with a cloth cape may stick out and be annoying. I know when I found an element of a toy strange, sometimes my parents would offer to change it with paint or other means - which I kind of found abhorrent, changing the figure struck me as a sin.

It's also possible your friend is just trying to make you nuts. I'd actually bank pretty heavily on that option.



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2. Because there has been a lull in the 3.75 inch Star Wars line lately, I've taken this time to focus on other 3.75 toy lines (Funko, Bifbangpow, etc.) The Retroaction line largely has been phenomenal and I would love to see Super7 (since they took back the 3.75 inch line), continue with new figures. However, there are several movies that I think would make great additions to the 80's retro figure line such as the Last Starfighter and Pee Wee's Big Adventure (who wouldn't want a figure of Large Marge or Mario or Pee-Wee with bicycle accessory?). What do you recommend we do to get Super7's attention and tell them, "Hey, Super7, please make this and we will buy it!"

What movie line or lines would you love to see in 3.75 action figure form that currently has nothing in toy form? What would other staff there at Galactichunter love to see in 3.75 inch action figure form?

Super7 employs fans with a penchant for detail and getting old details right - their slogan has to do with making the toys that they personally want to make, and it shows. They get a lot of it spot-on, and while you can always see them at a convention and make suggestions, remember that any company can make a retro action figure. If you want Pee Wee, you can go to any manufacturer and say "Hey, I want to buy this, get the Pee Wee license" and if they can, and they are so inclined, they will. You can email or talk to any of a number of companies, each of which have their own reasons for doing a line or getting a license from seeking it out to being approached to just falling into it somehow. I'm very excited to get Super7's Planet of the Apes line and anything else they do with the first two Alien films. And if they do Prometheus I'll buy a David and a Shaw.

I'm at a point where I love the 3 3/4-inch figure form for Star Wars and stuff that should have been that scale in the first place in terms of era-specificity. Due to the fact there are thousands of figures spread over multiple lines, I don't have a lot of licenses I want in that size. There's very little to never have been made as any sort of toy or product on my short list, particularly with Funko licensing dang near everything - and even doing some of it in that 3 3/4-inch size. I'd love to see more music guys done in this size, but I assume the market for 3 3/4-inch Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Aquabats, The Stooges, or Man or Astro-Man? toys to be pretty limited. Right now I'm a lot more curious to see what manufacturers can do to create toys for kids than anything else, so lines like Playmobil's recent Ghostbusters line fascinates me to no end. It's a toddler line, marketed at American fathers, being distributed by a German toy company worldwide. I don't know if it's just them getting their feet wet with global licenses or if their standards for success are lower than that of a major American toy maker, but I want to see more stuff like that. I do, however, pity the current crop of children because lines like Imaginext and Playmobil seem to be marketing to dad rather than the kids. I know, I know. Your childhood favorites were awesome. I'm sure your parents and grands thought the same thing about Howdy Doody and Thunderbirds and Gene Autry.

Looking back is the norm, we see it all the time - back in the 1990s, I'd see ToyFare losing their cool over how great Mego figures were, but those were dead just months before my time. I've got zero personal emotional investment in cloth outfits, squishy heads, and a figure that requires assistance to stand - but they helped me to understand why each generation has its own thing that's important, an icon, and worthy of praise. And also how, as those kids age, they stop buying nostalgia properties as the next generation grows up and throws down money. You might notice that G.I. Joe is dead as a doornail in its two major formats due to a lack of kid interest and Hasbro requiring large runs - minus its fan clubs - to produce anything. I look at 3 3/4-inch figures as the post-Mego kid format - we worship it, too. But it also pretty much died with G.I. Joe, minus a few releases for Star Wars as Hasbro has largely started sending it out to pasture for its Marvel properties and everything else. The real last hurrah for the size was 2010, and it's been downhill from there. We'll still buy some. It feels like it's struggling to regain acceptance with children. But thank goodness there are boutique manufacturers like Funko and Super7 and Bif Bang Pow!, making retro figures for adults in small batches with that fleeting sense of childhood that starts to be more and more out of reach as we age. I'm waiting to see if the 5-inch-ish figure makes a comeback, as that was really the powerhouse format for the mid-1980s to about 2000, but it feels like that opportunity may have already come and gone.

If you really want to get me excited, convince Hasbro and TakaraTomy to bring back the original small form factor of Beastformers/Battle Beasts. Beast Saga were nice, sure. The Minimates were fun. But if you want to see me go bonkers, let's do some 2-inch figures with jointed arms in cheap 2-packs. Or just look ahead to the future, or at least the present. I'm going to be fine either way.

... I'm really impressed by the SSM Vending/Onell Design/Culture Pirates Bit Figs vending machine figures. Just throwing that out there - those are neat, and you'll see them in the village of red and chrome boxes at the end of many a retailer. This seems like a thing that if it had more omnipresent marketing, we'd all be going nuts for them.




3. Back in December I saw that Big Lots stores were getting a 6 inch wave of cheap star wars figures including a Darth Maul. I have been checking Big Lot and Family Dollar stores ever since in an effort to find them but keep seeing the same figures over and over. Any Idea what happened to the Darth Maul or where I can find them? I’ve checked Ebay and Amazon but nothing comes up.

I saw these come and go at Big Lots real quick, and no real restocking. Family Dollar and Dollar General still seem to get some of these, but it's all the Han, Luke, Kanan, and Vader wave as far as I can tell. Some of these chains are regional, so if you have small stores in neighborhoods where they won't open a Target or a Walmart with "Dollar" in the name you might want to take a look. I have not seen these online anywhere but eBay on occasion.

For those keeping track: First Order Snowtrooper, First Order Snowtrooper, Kylo Ren, and Finn have not shipped in any form to the USA so far, as far as I can tell. Kanan, Vader, Rey, Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo have been shipped here but I have seen very, very few of Rey and Maul as they shipped around Christmas for about 30 seconds.

If you really want to make yourself nuts, I'd suggest setting up a bunch of search alerts with variations on key words you might see should one show up for sale. For everyone complaining about distribution problems, I would probably say nothing has it worse than this segment - Hasbro doesn't sell it to online accounts. It has no specific name, so you can't really search on them. Most stores don't stock them, certainly not stores collectors are known to frequent, and Hasbro has never actually announced them or spoke of their existing at any collector event, ever. They're one of the few truly scarce - possibly even rare - new things in the marketplace and to make matters worse, almost no collectors care so it seems your only source of hope is dumb luck. I haven't seen Rey or Maul in months - and if any figures were released since them, I have yet to see any myself.




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