Q&A: Foil Figures, Sy Snootles, Han's Buddy on Hoth

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 31, 2010
Will that Hoth Rebel Trooper who will see us in Hell make it to shelves? Will there be more Vintage foil figures? And why haven't we had more Sy Snootles toys, dadgummit? All this and a rundown of all the new Target Hasbro exclusives await you in this week's Star Wars Q&A!

1. Do you know what Hasbro's plans are regarding the "UGH" silver foil cards in The Vintage Collection? Do they stop with the current ROTS wave, or will they be producing more of them for later waves?

There are no plans made public for additional figures beyond the 12 foil cards presently available. While the series has not been given a name (Ultimate Galactic Hunt or otherwise), it's a safe bet that what you see is all you'll get this year-- generally speaking, Hasbro's chase foil packaging lasts only for a short burst and, since the first batch in 2006, has not exceeded 12 figures in a year. I would not expect additional ones, unless you count exclusives like the Celebration V Bounty Hunter 4-LOM and Zuckuss pack.

...for those keeping track, Hasbro has done four "UGH" series like this. In 2006, we got the first round of Ultimate Galactic Hunt with silver stands and mini-figures, plus silver foil on the packaging. In 2007, we saw gold foil logos and gold coins packaged with the figures. In 2008, we saw blue foil logos on the packaging plus a sticker-- this was the lamest batch yet. Well, the 2010 foil versions are rather unremarkable, but the vintage-ness of it makes them a little more attractive I'd say.

2. I read each of your figure of the days. I feel as though you really grasp what each figure is all about. That being said, can you explain to me what you feel constitutes as a "NEW" figure? My struggle is how far you go when it comes to paint applications and what you'd consider a figure a repaint, or a new figure. Also, things like adding cloaks, pegs on belts, footholes, things like that come to mind.

It's pretty arbitrary. If the coloring is significantly different, it's new. If it's a clone and it's different in any meaningful way (different battle damage, for example) it's new.

I don't distinguish between repaints and new figures-- repaints are new figures. Variations, on the other hand, are (generally) not but there are exceptions. I don't put long vs. short lightsaber figures (from 1995) as different, but I do consider variant head sculpts (like the 2002 Endor Rebel Trooper), unique paint jobs (like the Bonus Pit Droids), and complete deco changes (green vs. red 2005 Clone Trooper Commanders) as different products-- despite sharing the same SKU.

Basically what it needs to boil down to is you. A great recent example is the IG-86 figure from the Clone Wars action figure 2-pack at Target. The figure is, at first glance, nothing new-- but the episode indicates it's a different droid from those seen in other installments, plus if you compare it to other IG-86 mold figures, it does have a different paint job. (And yes, I smuggled two figures in the store to compare them.) I generally tell people that if you can't tell the difference, you shouldn't bother, but I just had to break the rule because I certainly couldn't tell just by looking at it.

Most figures are distinctly different-- new accessories, new head sculpt, or something. The real problems come in with what do you do if you have a figure, but it gets rereleased with different gear? Generally speaking, I only consider it "new" if the gear is new. A great example is that the 1999 CommTech Luke Skywalker figure was rereleased around 2003, but with a lightsaber instead of his T-16 Skyhopper model. I don't consider the 2003 release a new figure, despite having new gear-- the lightsaber isn't really new. If it was a newly sculpted lightsaber, though? I'd probably consider it different. After over 1,600 figures, though, you're really going to have to make the call on your own because you might see something I don't, or you might disagree that the 2008 Target exclusive Anakin Skywalker from a large Battle Pack isn't different enough despite altered deco and recolored accessories.

3. Any idea if/when they will make a Galactic Heroes Sy Snootles?

Probably not any time soon. Her race-- which I actually had to look up, I never remember hearing "Pa'lowick" anywhere but I totally know Ortolans and Kitonaks---- is rarely used in the saga and short of an appearance on a cartoon it seems Hasbro is more or less actively avoiding the character. After all, I'm still holding my breath for a 1983-style version of the character in the toy line!

4. Has there ever been a figure produced of the character Tigran Jamiro? Han says "Then I'll see you in hell!" to this guy.

I know there have been lots of Hoth rebels but any of him specifically?

A second-rate klutz member of the Yakuza could count the entirety of named Hoth Rebel action figures on one hand fairly easily. Aside from the likes of Luke and Leia, only General Rieekan, Major Derlin, and Pharl McQuarrie exist as explicitly named figures. The rest are all named by rank or description.

Tigran is similar to the 1980s Hoth Rebel Soldier, but similar isn't enough. So at this time, no Hasbro or Kenner figure exists of this guy. Seeing as this is a big Hoth year and we aren't seeing any, I don't expect one in the near-term either. (Although I do dig the 2009 and 2010 Hoth Rebels enough to the point of buying one or more of every version Hasbro decides to do, in case they're reading.)

5. Hi Adam. Playing off of question 2 [two weeks ago] (regarding Hasbro being so secretive regarding future releases), your answer made sense. Hasbro wants to reduce fan outcries if something changes.

However, don’t you think that fans would be more understanding of this kind of change, now that the whole figure-selection process is more transparent than it used to be? It seems to me that a lot of fans were VERY unhappy with the lack of new product Hasbro displayed at both ComicCon and CV. Was the motivation for this the "covering their butts" scenario you described? And if so, what is the greater "loss" for Hasbro – fans unhappy over changes (which can be explained), or fans unhappy over very little to nothing new being revealed at big shows like ComicCon or CV? Which is the lesser of two evils? Or, at this point, should fans just shut up and stop whining, and be happy the line still exists at all, after 15 years?

I'd disagree with you that things are more transparent now. Hasbro does throw us the odd bone or two in their own Q&As, but by and large (short of the odd rumor list which ends up being correct) we really don't know what to expect from most waves. I mean, did we really expect that Vintage Wave 4 was going to be packed with almost entirely existing characters? Did we expect that Todo 360 was going to be out in the extremely near future? Even though I've had some inside dirt, as far as timing goes, more than a few of these were surprises.

At this point I'm sure Hasbro is trickling out information to keep fans interested. If they told you everything coming out for the next 18 months-- and were correct-- there's a really good chance you might just get bored with the results. On paper, Vintage 2010 waves 1-4 suck. There are some gems in there, particularly Wave 3, but as a list of names you probably couldn't get less exciting than what we got this year. Clone Wars on the other hand is quite exciting, and some characters may constitute a spoiler or two. If you knew all of Vintage 2010 in, let's say, February, odds are you would have complained. Splitting up the announcements were a good way of holding on to interest when the figures themselves are less than fully new and exciting.

This isn't to say Celebration V was without its highlights. Depending on where you sit, there was some exciting and weird stuff in there like Grizz Frix, a "live action" version of Cartoon Wicket (HEY HASBRO, there's your precedent for Vlix if BL-17 wasn't), 1980s-style figure gift packs, and new cartoon stuff. The question really should be "do you care?" There are dozens of new figures on the way and several announcements over the summer which I fully admit don't seem like the most exciting stuff in the world, but that doesn't mean Hasbro isn't giving us anything good.

The question I turn back on myself is often "well, what did you expect?" I guess with Vintage, the packaging is the star and the point is to bring in lapse collectors with a cohesive collection of strong characters which can also sell to kids if need be. To this extent, they're largely succeeding even if old farts like me would rather see a more diverse selection of candidates. However with The Clone Wars, I'm totally happy with how things are going. I got Shahan Alama, R7-A7 just got leaked, I love those training armor Clones, I'm pretty jazzed about Quinlan Vos, a Zombie Geonosian is really cool, and this is the segment which I personally find the most exciting right now. The movie line still has some good releases in it, like the giant AT-AT and Cloud Car (seriously, does nobody care already?) and there are dozens of figures on deck for 2010.

When I started writing about Star Wars toys on the internet (back in 1995, whippersnapper), there were no summer conventions and people like me got the news to people like you through phone calls from New York Toy Fair, leaked prototypes from Hong Kong (and elsewhere), and other strange floating bits of information. (Lucasfilm used to send out a licensing newsletter, in print, with names of unannounced characters and figures. It was useful.) Today, Hasbro gives you a Power Point presentation. I remember when, in 1996, nobody knew what Dagobah Luke Skywalker looked like until literally one week before he hit US shelves-- Hasbro didn't share a picture, Tomart's never had an image, and the packaged shot was the first we ever saw of it. And that was from a dude in Hong Kong, mere days before I held one in my hands in the USA. Things have improved a lot since then, and generally speaking Hasbro has been pretty good about making sure we have a rough idea of what to expect for the next 6 months... of course, that isn't to say there's no room for improvement. It just seems to me most of the dissatisfaction isn't from the communication itself so much as it is the creeping realization that Hasbro really did do a bang-up job on the movie line and all of the new excitement is in a line aimed at kids for a cartoon show that a lot of us don't even watch.

(And of course I'm speaking about Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.)


I've been picking up the various Target Hasbro October 2010 exclusives. Here's what I got so far.

Geonosis Arena: Nice, I guess, but if they weren't made I wouldn't miss them. C-3PO is a retooled 4-LOM, and he looks great. R2-D2 is modified Vintage. Everybody else is an existing figure with new parts, usually a head, or a redeco. It would have been nice to see the Rodian Jedi get a name on his packaging by now, given this is his second figure. Maybe it's just fatigue, but nothing here is particularly impressive. It's nice, sure, but everything here is been-there-done-that and anyone that says they were looking forward to Nicanas Tassau is a damned liar.

DVD Clone Wars Packs: The best of the bunch, but the DVDs are just highlight reels of Bounty Hunter clips. 9 minutes of lame. The figures are mostly great-- if you collect the cartoon line, you'll like these. Robonino is all new, Shahan Alama is mostly new (the torso seems recycled), while the clones and droids are mostly repaints as appropriate. The droid finger necklace is also present, and a nice selling point.

Clone Wars 2-Packs: The Senate Commando and Senate Commando Captain set has two new figures, while Cad Bane and IG-86 may not be different enough. Cad Bane is a repackaged figure, but IG-86 is repainted slightly from the previous 3 figures based on the mold. I'd only suggest getting it if you're a variant fan.

Hoth Packs: Get them. The AT-ST Driver is impressive, and the AT-ST is nice if you don't have the Endor one. The new Turret redeco is nice, but the new Radar Laser Cannon knocked my socks off. The K-3PO was wonderful and based on the build-a-droid, plus both Hoth Troopers are great. I got one of each so far and don't tell Mrs. Q&A but if the Rebel set ends up on clearance, I'm clearing Target out. This is a spectacularly fun little set, even though $40 isn't cheap, it's just so gosh darn enjoyable. The Empire set is a little less desirable due to its been-there-done-that-ness.

Vehicles: The TIE Fighter is different enough to warrant purchase, and as far as I can tell the Snowspeeder is the same retail item in a new box. The TIE seems to be greyer than previous models and isn't really like the 1982 blue Battle Damaged version, nor is it like the 1978 white one. It does have the new canopy with the ejector seat, and it's probably worth snagging.

I've got a trip to get ready for, but I'll still be posting on both my Figure of the Day columns, because I love you people. (Most of you. There are exceptions.) I need to wrap this sooprize package for Mr. Mineo.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.