Let's look at Jedi Force and store resets some more! It's fun! Why don't we have a big roleplay Ahsoka Tano Lightsaber yet? Good question! And let's talk Jedi Force! All this and much more in this week's Q&A! (Plus who doesn't love a nice tirade?)
1. Is the newest wave of minirigs a TRU exclusive? I think I read that somewhere (repeatedly) but I can't seem to track it down. I found one ship at TRU the other day and the most recent store reports are all from TRU. But they don't seem to be listed as TRU exclusives on sites like Rebelscum's Photo Archive and the one ship I picked up doesn't have an exclusive sticker anywhere.
No it is not. What you're seeing is a reset, and Toys R Us doesn't have a "reset" date like Target or Wal-Mart. The new Mini-Rigs are a brand-new assortment: this is not a new wave of the previous mini vehicles, hence the different costs and (if you squint) the "Asst." number on the box. This sort of thing will likely continue to happen every June or July from now on, because Target and Wal-Mart only want to reset their toy aisles in late July or early August for some reason. The fools!
2. We're four years into the Clone Wars show now and still there's no sign of an Ahsoka lightsaber on the horizon, in any of Hasbro's saber skus, low end or high. [Removed for length--AP] How much more does Ahsoka have to do or how much longer does she have to be around before she's a sure enough bet for Hasbro to go there do you think?
The real question here is does Hasbro realize there's a demand for roleplay lightsabers for girls? My guess is they assume the answer is no-- but I'd say a) a lightsaber is a lightsaber to many kids, and b) I've seen kids in toy stores pick up lightsabers and knock-offs and hand one to a girl and say "I'll be Obi-Wan/Anakin and you be Ahsoka," which, I have to admit, shocked the heck out of me. I would've guessed the lack of lightsabers was because girls weren't big on lightsaber combat, and maybe they aren't, but their brothers are and that may be enough to support the product.
I'm not remotely surprised there's no high-end Ahsoka Tano lightsaber yet, but her absence from the lower-dollar assortments is quite baffling. Rarely does a major hero lightsaber flop, even if it's just labeled "Jedi Lightsaber" with no specific character assignment-- plus hers is pretty distinctive. Hell, I'll ask Hasbro in the next (as we just submitted one) Q&A round if nobody else does. Good question, Daniel!
3. I don't suppose you had the opportunity to hit Hasbro up about Ziro's future in plastic at Comic Con did you? Any glimmers of slimy purple hope for us Hutt fans to share?
No known plans at this time, for what it's worth... which isn't much. There were rumors of him as a mail-in and I once saw phantom Wal-Mart data indicating he was on tap but now we've got nothing, so the lack of fan outcry will probably keep it that way. I'd like to see one. I'd buy it. Throw him in with a box of Clone Troopers as guards with Ziro as an accessory prisoner for all I care, I'll shell out the money.
4. I've seen you gush about the Jedi Force Landspeeder I too picked this up, but actually for my kids (that is the story I'm sticking to for now). The kids certainly liked the way it rolled forward when pushed, had a pull-back feature (actually a little hard to do for the little ones as you need to press down and pull back), and the articulated Luke.
I'm trying very hard not to buy this line after buying all of the now seemingly lame Galactic Heroes, but the figures, and especially the vehicles are intriguing.
Have you had a chance to evaluate all of the speeder bikes and figures currently available (at Target)? What about the MF, Jedi Starfighter, and Snowspeeder also listed as "available" on Hasbro's web site?
Please tell me these all suck so my money can stay in my wallet (something tells me I may end up buying many of the vehicles).
I see the line as a whole at about a B- level. Why not A+? They stole all the most important elements from Fisher-Price's Imaginext figures save for one: hands. The figures cannot have weapons in their hands if they're to properly interact with their vehicles, and Hasbro gave most of the figures a gun or a lightsaber when they should really have no accessory at all, or a removable one. To date only C-3PO and Jar Jar Binks come weapon-free, the rest are unable to properly grip their vehicle controls as applicable.
Right now I'd say the line is a mixed bag in terms of overall toy functionality-- my inner-child is pissed off at the figures, but I can't deny the vehicles are pretty good. My Millennium Falcon isn't here yet but I got the rest of the vehicles, and with the exceptions of the rehashed Galactic Heroes Snowspeeder and Jedi Starfighter I'm pretty pleased. The figures are nicely constructed and sculpted, and despite the hand-icap (get it?) they're mostly pretty good with the vehicles. Getting Obi-Wan in the Freeco Speeder is a bit of a pain in the neck, but you can cram him in there. C-3PO works better.
Given its nature as a kid line, I'd keep an eye out for sales or parent-focused retail coupons online (Hasbro Playsaver, maybe?) on this line. Not because it's going to fail, but it seems Hasbro's aspirations for it are so grand that a discount can't not be in the works.
I think the Landspeeder is the greatest, the Freeco Bike is cool but its Jedi compatibility is weak, and the BARC Speeder is a fine toy, but I've got so many BARC Speeders that the pull-back functionality-- while cool-- is not enough to make it exciting. It is more fun than the action figure-scaled releases. The figures are all basically the same buck-- quality figures but in different forms. Buy R2-D2 and C-3PO first... if you like these, go get some more. But definitely buy that set first because no matter what, R2-D2 and C-3PO are always good figures to own.
...totally unrelated, almost, but the Fisher-Price Imaginext line is on sale at US Toys R Us stores this week. Their offerings have expanded significantly and they are more or less the inspiration for Hasbro's offerings, so give those a look-- the Batman and dinosaurs (Dino-Riders-esque) lines in particular are quite neat.
5. Is it just me or does the new Rebel Trooper figure bear an uncanny resemblance to Greg Gutfeld, host of Fox News' RedEye? This is even closer than the General Rieekan resemblance to John Kerry. Along those lines, which figures do you think most resemble random celebrities (we're obviously not talking about the actors who originally played the characters)?
Comparing the toy to the stills... I don't see it. The figure seems like a generic enough composite of movie troopers for my liking. (And the only thing I ever see of Fox News is on clip shows or the occasional link to a video where Neil Hamburger made an appearance on it.)
I should have something more exciting to post here but the post-reset slump hit quick. We're swimming in new stuff, but very few new basic figures-- I got 3 waves of Clone Wars I haven't seen at retail yet, and no new movie figures have hit in a while. Dull. So how are all of you doing?
A Toys R Us near me is closing-- they say moving, I say closing-- and as of last Friday they ripped out all the price scanners. How am I supposed to know what the dang things cost if you don't have scanners? What am I, magic? Yeesh people. I want to know if these discount Gormiti figures are very cheap or extremely cheap-- I'm not psychic here. I'm gonna miss it-- I've been going to this one for years and it's been my go-to Toys R Us every time new exclusives hit since moving here a year ago. It hasn't let me down. It will be missed.
Also, we're fast approaching two big Star Wars home video releases. The entire saga on Blu-Ray is exciting for me mostly for the special features, the laundry list of deleted scenes making the rounds is almost too good to be true-- virtually everything you've ever heard a rumor about being shot seems to be included, with few exceptions. Also coming in October is the third season of The Clone Wars, of which I'm a little more conflicted. Looking back on seasons one and two, it was a pretty decent collection of episodes-- even some of the ones I didn't remember too fondly I enjoyed on recent subsequent viewings. Season 3, in spots, was bad. Real bad.
I don't mean "gee parts of The Phantom Menace sure were bad" bad either-- if you haven't seen the show at all, I do suggest checking out seasons one and two, and then waiting a bit, and that third season is really something in terms of how it takes an idea, runs with it, and runs into a wall. Some of the season's weirder ideas, like Ziro the Hutt hooking up with Sy Snootles or R2-D2 and C-3PO being sent out to do grocery shopping, actually worked for me and are some of my favorite episodes. On the other side of the coin, we had episodes focusing on bank deregulation and tainted tea in school lunches. I know I made this complaint before, but what kind of cruel sadist sets out to make a kid show called "Clone Wars" and has an episode with neither? I mean, why go to Mandalore for something that would be too boring for a Lifetime movie-of-the-week to tackle?
Overall I still like the show, but I have to wonder if putting the original films on Blu-Ray with the weakest season of the TV show in its shadow was part of a grand marketing strategy. "Hey boss, our Q4 DVD and Blu-Ray sales are going to be soft." "Very well. Release the trilogies!" Insert a ka-ching sound here, and end scene.
The other big push for Star Wars will be The Old Republic, which I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) will not be big for most of the readers of this column. This isn't to say anything about the product, supposedly due in Q4 this year, but I've got allergies to specific monthly fees for a single game. In a way it makes me feel old... but $15 or whatever a month, that's a couple of figures right there. (Don't try to convince me otherwise-- some facts are beyond arguing with me. Here are three of them. #1: There will never be a publication better than Chunklet magazine. #2: The best retro action figure line running right now is The Outer Space Men. #3: The best version of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was done by The Zip Code Rapists.)
Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.