Q&A: Figure Lists, Figure Reissues, Definitive Guides, and Oh So Much More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 25, 2012

Welcome to Q&A!   This week: Aayla Secura and wrist joints. And how about reissuing Owen and Beru, is that likely? (No.) And does a mint in sealed box toy mean it won't be yellow? And is there a definitive list of the best figures ever? All this and more, so read on!


1. I picked up TVC Aayla Secura and she has trouble with her left hand staying in its socket. The round part that's supposed to lock it in place won't go past the wrist. Am I just unlucky? I have another on card and am hesitant to buy a third. Any suggestions on fixing it that will maintain the movability or am I stuck with superglue?

I think you may just be unlucky. You're also darned lucky if you can stumble on a third at a fair price, I would suggest looking in to various customizer techniques used to tighten up articulation and to do so at your own risk. The superglue trick is a fine example, but I'd almost rather just have her never ever use the left hand again and pray it doesn't fall out. Glue makes me nervous, is what I'm saying.


2. Do you think Hasbro will be re-releasing figures such as Emperor's Royal Guard, 501st Clone Trooper, and Grand Moff Tarkin in the future? I imagine they will but I can't army build figures I cannot find. Also, the last Vintage wave was only availble from online retailers. I do army build and Five Below has helped with plain-white Clone Troopers. Complainers who have access should hit up Five Below, or just buy figures for Holiday toy drives. I could use some 501st in the new style. Plus, I only got on vintage Royal Guard and a few ROTS ones. I would buy more. By the way, I do order from your employer but I can't afford to buy multiple cases for 1-2 figures.

Probably, but it's tough to say. Short answer: there's zero way to know this at this time.

As long as figures keep showing up, that means there's probably units in the system, which could mean they could show up again in big numbers. It could also mean they won't - I remember Entertainment Earth (where I work, in case anyone wants to lob the bias bomb) could order and re-order the Temple of Doom final wave of Indiana Jones figures for months... but they never, ever showed up in any of my retail or deep-discount journeys. On the other hand, we've seen a whole mess of Vintage dumped on clearance outlets and the BOGO pack with the Mandalorian Shuttle as of late.

Hell, I still want a loose red bandanna Kithaba, so I'm with you. Problem is, we really don't know how much production is out there yet, where it will go, how limited these are, and so on.

It's my sincere hope that fans do what they do best - complain - and Hasbro will get a good read on what we'd like more of in the coming year. Frankly, I think they'd be fools not to crank out more 501st Legion Troopers, particularly with the 3D movies next year. I don't expect that we'll see many of the figures on vintage cardbacks again, at least not soon, but I really do hope Hasbro gets them out in gift sets or exclusive packs or even the build-a-droid line as case filler. (I'd rather get another Trooper in a box than another dang shirtless Darth Maul.)



3. Hey. I just received my second shipment of the last Vintage wave from EE, and I've noticed that on both Royal Guard figures, at the hands, inside the blister, there seems to be some kind of moisture. It kind of looks like oil. The hands seem to be painted in a high gloss red. Is it oil from the paint? Oil from one of the production machines? Blister "sweat"? I have ordered a third single Royal Guard fig from Amazon. I will be curious if the same scenerio plays out. What are your thoughts on this?

What you are seeing is most likely mold release oil, but hair, dead bugs, and other debris have been found in sealed figures over the years. I had a Ferengi figure back in 1992 that was (and actually still is) pretty greasy from the moment I popped it open. I've not seen much of this on Star Wars (or really on most figures) in recent years, but it's not unthinkable. I met a guy who pretty much collected figures with weird junk in the bubbles exclusively as a sub-hobby once.

I honestly didn't pay super-close attention to my Royal Guard (which I also got from EE) when I cracked it open so I gotta plead ignorance if they're all this way or of various factors (maybe even climate) conspired to give you a moist guard. I suspect it's just oil though.


4. I'm looking to add some loose vintage playsets to my collection from both Star Wars and GI Joe (80's), but the yellowing is always a concern when it comes to white or light gray plastic. In your experience, are the never-opened boxed ones well preserved or do they experience yellowing as well?

I worked in a collectible toy store many moons ago part-time when I was just a little baby toy columnist and I learned in that time that nothing is a sure thing. I would suggest not buying anything sealed to open unless you're OK with the chance it might be damaged (or worse, missing) because there are numerous environmental factors at play. I once had a person come in with a MISB X-Wing Fighter, but here's the thing - the thing reeked of smoke, and the tape on the box had (coincidentally?) dried out and cracked open. The toy inside reeked of smoke and had a yellow tint. I have never seen (as far as I know) another piece quite like this, but it's enough to make me paranoid of discoloration.

Time and light (and probably smoking) are bad for toys, so I'd almost suggest just getting a loose one and some paint. The vintage Hoth playsets were made from a particularly solid plastic where most of it stays pretty nice and white in my findings, although there are thousands of these things out there and aberrations happen. Be wary unless it's a window box, and unless I'm blanking there were no window boxes in either of those lines during the 1980s.


5. With the 3-D release of Episode II on the horizon, what are the odds of the all-too-rare young Owen and Beru figures getting a second shot at retail?

Slim to none. Next year's lineup is looking to be mostly new stuff, and Hasbro doesn't do many (or lately, any) straight reissues of "collector" figures. And there's no way they'd retool this one. The only way you'd see this pair again is as part of an exclusive, and looking at the last year it's pretty unlikely that exclusives will be a big part of the 2013 Hasbro Star Wars strategy.

As of when I write this (last week) I'm seeing carded Owens on Amazon for as little as $20 shipped and Beru tends to run $15 loose on eBay and about $30 carded. On Owen: suck it up and throw down the cash. On Beru: keep an eye on the market for a cheap fluke, they happen. Given the probable size of the collector market these days, most action figure lines don't reissue so much as they remake. There's no good reason to do so.

If you look over the lineup since 2010, the only figures getting reissued tend to be Movie Heroes/Saga Legends-type stuff which are usually main characters or "hero" figures like Jedi. Owen and Beru wouldn't fit into Movie Heroes/Saga Legends, nor would the reissues seem like a good fit in a line like Vintage or Legacy 2013. I'd guess you're more likely to see all-new 1977-film Owen and Beru figures before you see a reissue of the prequel versions.



So effective now, Galactic Hunter Video Theater is going to be Clone Wars-only for the time being. It's a lot to write. Heck, it's all too much to write.

A member of the Twitteratti asked me over the weekend if anyone has ever put together a definitive list of the best version of every character in the modern 1995-2012 Star Wars action figure line. I replied "nope" and I'm not sure if that was his attempt to put me to work for another three years or not.

If this is something you as a community want, uh, what's it worth to you? Obviously someone with more time and better skills may be able to do it for you, if you know a book publisher or crazy person with money to finance some sort of massive book/PDF/web project/whatever I'm all ears. I've been writing about this stuff on a freelance (emphasis on "free") basis since 1995 and would love a crack at getting paid for it in this post-ToyFare, post-periodicals landscape.

--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.


Why don't you put together a book idea/outline/what-have-you and make a kickstarter? I'm sure many here would support it. Heck, we got that Star Wars Toys movie funded (waiting on the film now), so why not your book?


A list of the best figures?

Well..."best"is an awfully subjective term,but if anyone was qualified to write it it would be you. I think it would come in handy...I'm still trying to determine if my current version of Boba Fett is the best one to display or if I need to track a newer one down. I collect as much as I can,but honestly I lose track of what has and has not been released after awhile.