Which Captain Rex is the new one, and how can you tell? What will another theatrical push do to help Star Wars in 2012? And yeah, why does Hasbro do package variants? All this and fuel injection, fuel injection, fuel injection after the break.
1. Care to speculate on how Star Wars 3-D will keep the lines alive for Hasbro, during and post 2012?
There's no guarantee that they will. Movie critics have basically dismissed most 3D as a cheap (expensive) gimmick to artificially raise box office revenues, and a lot of consumers have expressed similar displeasure. Of course, there's no predicting what the American moviegoer will think of Star Wars in 2012, particularly after just buying another version of it on Blu-Ray.
I personally don't think the movies themselves will do much to change whatever momentum for the brand is already there. It seems that Star Wars is in great shape (when Hasbro says it's not as strong, that's true, but it's still one of the top-performing boy brands) and if the 3D movies do anything, it'll probably bring in more new fans. Which means a whole new crop of people that are eager to buy lightsabers, Darth Vader figures, and things you are already sick of.
Personally I hope we see The Clone Wars continue and maybe another non-humor project. Prequels and sidequels are getting tired, but they are bringing us new characters and some new blood to the toy line. Another round of theatrical reissues isn't exactly a thrilling proposition. I mean, I've got over a thousand figures from these films and TV shows. What else can they do that's different? That's what will probably keep the line going, because rewriting Anakin as a hero rather than a jackass seemed to do wonders for toy sales.
...but yeah, the 3D movies? This is a vehicle to sell lightsabers. Mark my words, that's where the real money is.
2. When you worte about the new Rex figure (and when I've seen it mentioned before), I got/get kind of confused abotu which one it is
There are multiple Captain Rex figures, but the "new" one comes in the ARC Troopers Battle Pack. It's basically the same mold as the 2008 figure with new deco, a new helmet, a new head, and a sweet sniper rifle.
3. Hasbro says they no more running changes (I have read / heard that pretty clearly). They have admitted how horridly it worked.
So why the "Anakin" to "Darth Vader" pill change?
What Hasbro told you was true, from a certain point of view. They have indeed been asked to avoid running changes as a way to get around an internal bean counting policy known as "SKU count," which, to my ears, is nonsense. (But totally a real thing they're doing. A thing the Marvel team doesn't seem to be held to.) Basically their bean counters want Tan Battle Droids and Red Battle Droids as separate products-- because, let's face it, they are. A running change in a "let's get the product correct" sense is not a "running change" in the sense that it's actually fixing something that's wrong. That's something they'll always do-- I mean, that's sensible business. That and changing a nameplate is not a significant product change. If an item is arguably an error, or the factory goofed, they're going to fix it. It's just that the days of a figure named "Clone Officer" that comes in any of 4 colors on an identical cardback are over.
Hasbro does things in a way which, I gotta admit, don't always make a whole lot of sense. They do have an internal logic, but it doesn't always make sense to outsiders (myself included) and it isn't always consistent. If you want to blame anyone, blame the beancounters. Derryl and friends would probably love nothing more than a dozen running changes on clones to increase product sales, and to make fans happy too.
4. I'm loving the new vintage figures, the more the merrier, I hope they do em all. Trouble is, I was happy in the knowledge that I could use some of the plastic cases from the old waves (I bought a bunch of stormies so have spares) to house and protect the new waves. Upon trying it though, they don't fit, the bubble configuration has changed. Are there any cases out there that are in keeping with the old waves but will house the new? I only have to glance at the card backs and they get bent all out of shape.
I don't want to give you a product to grab unless I've tried it, and I haven't tried many on the new ones yet. I would suggest grabbing a sample from Star Case or any of the many vendors and see what fits your needs best. Is that a cop-out? Yes. I get hate mail for saying that one brand fits from people who think it's too bulky for their needs. (To you, I suggest manufacturing your own-- this is a product you can totally make.)
If you're feeling saucy, the HasbroToyShop G.I. Joe cases are basically the same design-- those figures were also 6-by-9-inches and were of a similar construction. Give it a whirl, and if it works? Be sure to share with the rest of the class. (Or heck, you guys can log in and post comments below. What do you like?)
Personally I don't use Star Cases because the last 15 years have taught me that most figures are eventually worth slightly less than the Star Case used to store them. So. Yeah.
5. I just picked up the Clone Pilot Goji figure. I love the "eyes" painted on the helmet. Would you happen to know if the name "Goji" and the reptile-looking deco on the helmet are a nod to everyone's favorite giant, Japanese monster with the atomic breath? The name "Goji" just is just too close to Gojira (Godzilla) to be a coincidence, right?
Totally. The team on The Clone Wars have shown a real love of Godzilla and monster movies, Goji is a not-too-subtle nod to the greatest movie monster of all time. He also appeared in the episode with the Zillo Beast, another nod to Japan's third finest cinematic export.
Every now and again I make large spreadsheets of worthless data-- recently, I made one for The Clone Wars to see which figures were reissued on which cardbacks, and how many Clones, new characters, and other tidbits of information were notable. Interestingly, it seems that unlike a lot of the movie figures the kid's line is actually becoming collectible. So this line you're all skipping? This is the good one.
With The Clone Wars we're actually seeing how real toys behave-- when the "collector line" aspect is removed, you actually see stuff command a premium because it isn't a limited pool of adults, but potentially limitless kids getting interested. (And yes, some collectors.) Odds are it isn't your former college roommate who's paying $28 for Commander Bly or $22 for Hondo Ohnaka, but some poor kid who missed it on the first go-round. (Note to Hasbro: please consider rereleasing your many one-per-case new characters from the 2009 line.) The figures Hasbro made in good numbers-- Anakin, Rex, and so forth-- aren't seeing a bump, which basically means Hasbro figured it out. Make the core characters for everyone, and some people will stick around for the other guys.
Because it was largely ignored by collectors, it seems The Clone Wars will very much be a line that will be interesting to watch 5 or 10 years down the road. (You know, in the same way that Revenge of the Sith isn't.) Things like the Ambush on the Vulture's Claw Battle Pack don't even register on eBay, which is really funny. By making a line they claim was aimed specifically at the tiny tots, Hasbro may have inadvertently given kids the collecting bug (seeking out what you can't get generally does it) and kick-started the next generation of toy collectors. WELCOME NEW GUARD. We hope you are enjoying our web sites. A lot of us started them in our early teens so don't let that stop you from doing one yourself-- you've probably got a lot more time to write up this stuff and if you do enough reading, you'll get the expertise quick.
I wonder how many new collectors we'll see out of this phenomenon. My foray into the secondary market was kick-started by my inability to ever find any MicroCollection toys when they were first out (beyond Hoth) in the 1980s. The next Steve Sansweet or (insert name here) could be a frustrated kid who wasn't able to get his Gha Nachkt with his allowance. Remember, collectible toys often spring forth from what people don't save, and there are still thousands (possibly tens of thousands) of people out there still keeping one or more of every movie toy in their collection. But Clone Wars? It sure as heck doesn't seem that many people are into keeping it boxed, and adults don't seem to care that from what I saw, there seemed to be less Vulture's Claw packs than Scramble on Yavin sets. But hey, maybe I got lucky.
...but back to reissues, it's pretty stunning to see what's going on now. $40 for Aayla Secura? $15-$20 for Thi-Sen? $25 for Darth Sidious? We're in crazy town. Most new Star Wars movie stuff declines in value at some point in the first 24 months. Hasbro, I don't know if you follow this stuff, but it might not be a bad idea to give some of those guys a second (or maybe third) production run. Unless, of course, the Fromm Gang were to somehow weasel its way into the series and toy line. In which case screw everybody and give me Tig and Sise and Vlix. (Doooo it.)
...over the weekend I got Embo, R4-P17, armored Boba Fett, the carded Mandalorian, and Shaak Ti. And guess what? They're fantastic. Embo is clearly superior to anything in the current "Vintage" line, plus has a stand and a card and is a dollar cheaper. And by "superior" I mean great sculpt, a removable hat which pegs into place, a cloth robe with friggin' lettering (or doodles, heck of I know) on it, knives, and a bowcaster. What's so special about the bowcaster? The dang thing is articulated. Did Chewbacca ever get good soft goods, a hat, and an articulated bowcaster? I'll save you the trouble of doing the research-- no he didn't.
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.