Will Expanded Universe figures like Jaina and Jacen Solo see a reissue? What's going on now that Comic Pack Figures are a thing of the past? And will there be more Republic Gunships? All this and more, in this week's Q&A!
1. Since the comic book two packs have been cancelled it doesn't seem like Hasbro is interested in developing too many new figures from the expanded universe. Do you see any signs that they might consider any EU characters for figure development in the near future? I ask because I would really like to see a figure made for the Jedi Knight, Beyghor Sahdett from the Dark Times comic. This is a book that hasn't seen enough attention in my opinion and I would rather see Beyghor Sahdett then Bomo or Dass Jenir. Anyways, I thought I would write and ask and see if anyone else has any interest in these characters.
Let me answer your question with a question. Does anyone out there know who Beyghor Sahdett is? My guess is "no."
Hasbro indicated that they will start peppering in one Expanded Universe figure per wave in Vintage going forward, which is actually pretty swell. With most waves having between 5-8 figures, that's actually a pretty good ratio considering how deep the general toy-buying public's knowledge of the Expanded Universe really is.
At first, it was easy-- if you like Star Wars in the 1990s, there's a chance you read the first few novels and knew who Thrawn was. Today? Well, hundreds (or are we at thousands?) of comic books and dozens of novels later, what may seem like an obvious, great choice to one fan is the most obscure thing in the world to next. A Verpine Jedi may seem cool, but do most Star Wars fans even know what a Verpine is these days? Obviously the best thing to do isn't always the one that makes the most money or has the biggest mass appeal, but there's usually a reason we get the figures that we get-- namely, some level of fame and long-running fan demand. Or a big supporter inside Hasbro.
Having said that, well, I gotta say I think it's unlikely. Even major characters with numerous appearances don't always make the cut, but fan support can change that. If you can convince a few thousand fans to join your cause, things can happen. I'm not overly optimistic, but hey, we've got BoShek, the Ice Cream Maker Guy, and other (let's face it) joke characters. Anything can happen if fans work at it.
2. Always catch your Q&A and wanted to ask about the upcoming Target Vintage sets. Will they be a single 9-pack [3 packs of 3 like the first set] or will they be 3 sets of 3 sold as an assortment without the big long cardback? Heard the 3 sets announced awhile ago but nothing has been updated and they were supposed to be a "spring" release? Any DPCI number yet? With Easter done and over I'm thinking about summer.....
The 3-packs have actually started hitting in Canada and in the USA just a week or two back, but I don't have the DPCI handy. They are indeed going to be 3-packs, and not a 3-pack OF 3-packs like last year. I for one am glad, there was a lot of wasted cardboard and all that wasted air between packs in that giant box raises freight costs... and that gets passed along to you somehow or another.
3. My question is related to any future releases of the Republic Gunship. Do you think we'll be seeing it again anytime soon, if so, what color scheme, and finally, will it be another exclusive or have more widespread distribution. I currently have the original, the krayt dragon, and the Wal-Mart exclusive with the twi'lek pin up girl. I'd love to get a few more of the regular color schemes, but the secondary market is a bit cost prohibitive most of the time.
I like to use terms from the box to keep things clear-- while there's no "Krayt Dragon" Republic Gunship explicitly named as such (unless I missed that bullet point), I'm going to assume you meant the 2006 Toys "R" Us Exclusive The Saga Collection release which has the face on it and was featured on the original Cartoon Network Clone Wars series. That's a great one.
While no new Gunship repaint has been announced, if we see another repaint, I expect it to be exclusive. I've also heard rumors of an all-new Gunship mold being developed but I have yet to have any concrete information on that. If Hasbro cranks out a new mold, I expect to see that be a widespread release... but exclusives can be tricky, depending on what kind of money is being thrown around from Hasbro's biggest clients and the needs of the toy marketplace.
With rising costs for labor in China, freight, and materials, even repaints of the vehicle have gone up-- the last two Gunships were $50 or so, despite the 2002 release being $40 and the 2003 release being $30. It's the same dang mold, more or less, so another release of the ship could be $50-$70. When browsing the secondary market, you might just want to cough up for what's out there now, or at least you might want to wait until Comic-Con is over and see if Hasbro has anything new planned for the year first.
Also remember, in the grand history of the line, each of the Republic Gunships has been pretty easy to get-- maybe not the day it was released, but due to the $30-$60 price point it was absolutely possible to just stroll into a store and pick one up in the USA. So if you do want one, I suggest socking away the cash so you don't get hosed the next time one comes out.
4. Do you think that the extremely difficult to find Jacen and Jaina wave will ever resurface as a re-release? This seems to have been the most limited run of a wave in the history of modern Star Wars figures.
Unlikely. Since 2006, very few Expanded Universe figures based on new molds (read: not Clone Troopers) got rereleases. The 2007 Yoda with Kybuck got a strong second life in Saga Legends and we got rereleases of the McQuarrie figures, but we're still waiting on Darth Revan and Darth Malak to get a second chance at retail-- those guys were super-hot and are still up there. I wouldn't expect to see Jaina and Jacen in the near future. Despite being well-known to fans of the novels, they seem quite unlikely to get a second run at retail.
Loose samples go for about $12 each. If you see them for that, I suggest you pick them up.
5. By now, I may have read more of your words, than any other single author since college. That's a testament to your effort and dedication and however you interpret mine. That being said, after keeping up with over 1,500 figures, I was curious about how you process the individual figures for Figure of the Day. I know you use tackle boxes, as do I, to store figures, but mine are in chronological order by release, making it difficult to chose candidates at random. Most of your FoD choices didn't follow a specific order, many were timely as well. Enlighten us, if you please.
It's basically random-- if a new wave hits, I bump the next day's figure and put in a new one. I then shoot the new figures, while going through my collection, trying to not duplicate anything I've already done. (Once you write 1,000 toy reviews, you're allowed to forget if you did one.) My figures are not presently sorted in any meaningful way-- this is due to a couple of moves-- but eventually I'll have them sorted by character or, as a secondary sort, scene. (Jabba's Palace, Cantina, etc.)
I've got a few hundred in the buffer, plus others to shoot still-- so there's a definite effort to make it random. I'm not particularly interested in writing about the latest and greatest, I like to examine the aging stuff more... but based on what you guys click on, few fans like looking back except for Expanded Universe offerings or things that I decide are crappy figures.
So new Clone Wars are hitting, and I still gotta open the rest of the figures. I quite like Colt, despite being the same as the one in the Battle Pack with new colors. Overall, the one in the Battle Pack is a cooler-looking figure, but I admire their rereleasing this hard-to-find mold with a more show-accurate paint job. The other new figures in the wave are Barriss Offee, Eeth Koth, and a Riot Control Clone Trooper. I need to score a second Riot Clone, definitely.
After this, we have Vintage Wave 7, a couple of small exclusive vehicles, and then most likely nothing until the next big reset-- which could be in either June, July, or August. It's supposed to be August, but last year Toys "R" Us broke the pattern and started putting out its new Transformers, G.I. Joe, Marvel, and Star Wars product much earlier, so it's my hope it'll be June this year.
Oh, and for the curious? I saw G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Wave 6 (but not 5), Captain America movie stuff, and Dark of the Moon toys at a Wal-mart over the weekend. For a non-reset time, there's a lot of new stuff hitting shelves... that isn't Star Wars.
One last thing: I keep seeing, every few years, people making a campaign to call the 1990s Star Wars figures "Vintage." These are not "vintage." Early modern? Sure. POTF2? That's a good name, because that's what we as a community decided in 1995. (I cast my vote for POF2 to keep it short.) If the current Star Wars line weren't a non-stop juggernaut since 2005 save for a brief six-month gap in 2000, I might say you could make a case for defining the early years of the modern line (specifically, Kenner and CommTech Hasbro) as a separate thing. But I can't. It's one big honking line, if it had a gap of 10 or more months I think you can reasonably define a separate generation. POTF2 sculpts and figures continue to be used, uniting the line of the 1990s and of today quite nicely. Sure, they clash, but it's all one big line-- while the exact original molds of the 1970s and 1980s have not been brought in as part of the regular modern line. (IG-88, the Classic 4-Pack, and EV-9D9 from 1995-1997 come close though.)
Let's keep this clear-- "Vintage" toys are 1978-1985, and there are also "Modern Vintage" lines from 2004, 2006, and 2007-- plus the current 2010-2011 line. Just throw a year in when you're writing, and people will be able to understand you. Let's not redefine things, people still can't agree on if an AT-AT has "chin guns" or "tusks."
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.