Q&A: Aliens, Popular Figures, Aliens, Body Parts, and Checklists You Won't Get

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is there a master list of what to expect in stores today? No, and it's not like it wasn't in stores three weeks ago either. Which Darth Maul is best to use with the most vehicles? Does Ratts Tyerell share parts with Tsui Choi? All this and more-- or less-- when you read this week's thrilling new installment of Q&A!

1. I was curious, which FOTDs are the most popular (say top 10; can use page count if you like). Which are the least? Care to opine on why you think certain ones are in either list?

Since I moved Figure of the Day over to Blogger for easy sorting purposes in 2008, well, I don't exactly have full data-- it's basically only accurate since around then. As a rule, "new figures" (i.e., the things I got early and you don't have yet) and Expanded Universe figures have always been the strongest performers. So in the last few years, as all-time hits go, here's the top list:

1. TVC Ponda Baba
2. TVC Dengar
3. Deliah Blue
4. Starkiller
5. Cad Bane with Todo 360
6. TVC Clone Trooper
7. Han Solo (Search for Luke Skywalker)
8. TVC C-3PO
9. TVC Rebel Commando (Black)
10. Sila Kott

I find some of these to be astonishingly interesting-- Sila Kott in particular-- but I guess I did review him/her when he/she first came out, so there ya go. I'm pretty sure most (if not all) of these were published shortly after or before their wide release, which makes a big difference-- how else can you explain Dengar? I'm a little surprised all the Top 10 were released recently, but that probably speaks of increased readership. Or so I'm telling myself.


2. I know the Aurra Sing in the "Discover The Force Line" (I think that is what it’s called) is an all new figure, but when will it actually be released? Is it part of the January 30th release? Also, can you confirm the rumor that the same Aurra Sing will be re-released on a vintage cardback later this year? If so, I plan on buying the first release to open and the latter to keep carded. BTW - I found a case fresh batch of TPM Vintage figures today at my local Walmart & I found some of the newly carded Clone Wars figures over the weekend (finally got Chewbacca!).....that Aurra is the only thing eluding me so far.

The new Wal-Mart exclusive line does not have a specific set date which I'm aware of-- it's my guess it won't be out prior to, well, today as today is the street date for everything. It has surfaced in the UK, just not here.

The Aurra Sing "rumor" started when Hasbro confirmed that 10 of the 12 figures would be reissued on TVC cards this Fall. Knowing Hasbro, I would never, ever rely on "this variant is coming" seeing how many alternate heads and repaints that never quite made it out over the last few years. I plan on buying them at Wal-Mart to be safe, but well, "safe." History says most exclusives will only get cheaper, and if TVC cards do come out, these will probably be pretty close to worthless.


3. With being a week away of the (official) 2012 product releas date, has anyone compiled a "master list" of what's new, what's a repack, what's a repaint, what's being identically released on different cards?

As someone who's bought everything Hasbro has ever produced since 1995 I plan to pass on all the straight repacks regardless of how cool the packing looks. With the price increases, multiple lines to juggle and llast year's poor distribution, I need to cut back as much as possible without leaving the hobby.

It would be great to walk into the stores next week and know exactly what I'm picking up and passing on.

As far as I know, nobody has done this and let me tell you why I won't do it, either. Every collector has a different version of what constitutes "different." Is it a new stand? A new gun? A cloak? Slightly different lightsaber paint? I'm not going to go down that road, because I don't want to tick someone off. Lists exist primarily for the purpose of facilitating arguments, and right now I can't say for sure what's new to you. For example, the "repackaged" Clone Wars Chewbacca has different and vastly improved head paint-- to me, that's a legit change and unquestionably worth buying. The "Movie Heroes" Darth Maul is a heavy repaint of the 2002 Sith Training Robes figure which, again, to me is well worth picking up. But how about the Movie Heroes R2-D2-- is the combination of dirt and sound effects different enough for you to care? Maybe? Maybe not.

Is the fact that Vintage Qui-Gon has robes and the Movie Heroes one-- the same mold, mind you-- has a rocket-firing Naboo blaster significant to you? That figure has been released with the Eopie and in the Evolutions set too, so it's tough to say. The previously-released Phantom Menace Obi-Wan Kenobi mold will be out in three configurations at this launch, with the Vintage line, Movie Heroes, and Naboo ship. Are these different? Are they the same? I don't care to make that call right now, but feel free to post your thoughts below-- as I'm more curious what you guys think.


4. I am going to buy my nephew a re-released Darth Maul with his speeder. Is the Maul that comes with that toy also suitable to pilot the newly re-packaged Sith Infiltrator as well?

I'd say so-- if anything, it seems the Sith Infiltrator was designed with him in mind. It's the same figure that was released with the speeder previously, so you might have one (or several) from those releases or the many Saga Legends reissues.


5. Does the recently released Ratts Tyerell figure share ANY parts with the 2008 Target Order 66 Jedi Master Tsui Choi figure? It seems like that would have been simple math in terms of cost-saving but, other than possibly the legs, it seems like they are completely different figures. In fact, they 2008 figure has more character (at least the head) despite more limited articulation. What say you?

Tsui Choi and Ratts Tyerell do not seem to share any parts-- the only one that's really similar is the head, and the shape of the face is different between the two One of the key differences is in the teeth-- you can see Jedi Master Choi's chompers, but Ratts' mouth is closed shut. I have to say I'm a little surprised, but hey, at least it's different? Maybe someday they'll do a "screaming head" version of Ratts. After all, that's how he looks on his packaging.



So let's get this out of the way-- Madison Avenue made a Super Bowl ad that I have to talk about. In a still from it, you can clearly see Zutton-- who we've had as an action figure for a while now-- and Brea and Senni Tonnika. As in the Tonnika Sisters. As in the characters we would never see again until Hell froze over. This is their second TV appearance in recent years, the last of which was barely a cameo on The Clone Wars episode "Lightsaber Lost" in season 2. What am I getting at? We have a cause, gentlemen. (And lady. I'm sure there must be one of you reading.)

Right now there are three different versions of these characters to pull from, only one of which has anything to do with an actress from the 1977 movie. I'm not sure the exact legal mumbo jumbo, but usually when you do "animated" or "brick" versions of a figure, the likeness licenses aren't the same as they are for realistic interpretations-- and in other recent sci-fi franchises, it's not like the figure for Captain Kirk has the same approvals for a Shatner-based version as a Pine-based version. So now Hasbro has an animated version and a TV commercial version to use as reference, and I have to assume Lucasfilm has everything squared away for these two. So unless I hear something out of Hasbro telling us otherwise, I now call upon all of you to support the Tonnika Sisters (TV and/or Clone Wars versions) for the next Fan's Choice Poll. Hell, make one body with both heads, let's do animated and movie at the same time. Moving on.

So let's complain about something more current. I always feel like a chump when I buy some exclusives. I got the Toys R Us Pod Racer pilot set last Friday because I had $17 in soon-to-be-expiring Toys R Us rewards credit, and because I didn't own those flags. Too bad Hasbro didn't do a set of Pod Racer Pit Droids with flags, because I'd have jumped on that. I'll never say no to more Pit Droids. Anyway, Monday is supposedly the Big Set Date for the line but I (and you, no doubt) have seen tons of these thigns in Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart over the last few weeks. Of all the set dates, I think this one was the most ignored. The last big one was in 2010, and Toys R Us had everybody beat on that one by about two months.

Anyway, the big question for me is always where are the exclusives, and when will they hit. The individually carded Walmart figures have started appearing in the UK, which, well, fat lot of good that does me! I haven't seen any of the Walmart exclusives in the wild at press time, just the Toys R Us Pod Racer figure pack, and the Toys R Us Titanium Series pack (with what seem to be straight repacks of the Anakin Pod, Sebulba Pod, and Droid Control Ship.)

The Titanium Series posts-- which you probably saw on our front page-- are more than a little unsettling. Going from $5-$6 to roughly $10 per ship in a 3-pack is borderline nutty, especially when the originals can be had on the secondary market fairly cheaply. This is true for a lot of the reissued items-- you can get a new action figure-sized Sebulba's Podracer for $25-$30, or you can go to eBay under $10, and that one includes a figure. Considering the fact that a significant chunk of the 1999 Phantom Menace line is preserved, sealed in the box, and quite common, you may be better served plundering the past. An old collection can be bought for $200 and can get you far more than $200 can at the toy store-- if you're willing to do a little research, of course. Obviously for most of us looking to get every version of everything, this isn't good, but if you're a new collector? It's a great time to buy up all the cheap stuff.

This should be a good hunting week-- best of luck finding everything you want to get! (I want a Laser Beasts Sea Panic. Who has one for sale?)

--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.

As far as I know, only four

As far as I know, only four of the six new Discover the Force figures are being repacked on Vintage cards - Aurra Sing, Mawhonic, Naboo Pilot, and the Gungan Warrior. G8-R3 and Ric Olié are exclusive to this release, at least for now. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are the same Movie Heroes repacks with the Naboo grappling hook blasters (from The Clone Wars line), and the Destroyer Droid, Darth Maul, Yoda, and Tusken Raider in this line have all been released before (but may have some slight changes here - the Destroyer's energy shield is much less blue, for instance) and aren't slated to be on TVC cards.

As for which figures to get, I only buy when there's at least something new. The Movie Heroes Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are passes since I already have the figures and I already have the blasters from other releases; I don't need to own this reconfiguration (same goes for the current Cad Bane). I'll be getting the TRU and Walmart podracing packs due to the flags, even though I already have the figures (though Anakin's removable helmet is a nice addition too). I'll also be getting a few of those DTF Destroyer Droids, partly due to the different shield, partly due to the fact that I just like that figure and want more of it, dammit.