Q&A: Mego, Veers, and Clone Wars Continuing

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 9, 2018

This week in Q&A - Mego returns! At Target, right now, cheaply. General Veers - hold your horses, he's still coming. More Clone Wars chatter - hey, people love that show.

Be sure you send in your questions for next week. Read on!

1. Hey Adam, What do you think about the MEGO revival figures that came out this month? I'm thrilled to see them but baffled at the selection; Alice, Tootie, Norm?

While I have yet to play with any open ones, the sculpting and paint jobs seem great and I'm digging the quality of the outfits. I don't much care for the new style of packaging, and the character selection is curious - it makes me think they plan on running this for a while. You don't start with Norm unless a) he's the only likeness you have the rights to, or b) you're planning Cliff, Sam, Diane, Woody, and so forth later.

Mego has been off my radar pretty much forever - I didn't have any as a kid and they were more or less done by the time I started buying toys. I also wonder if the timing is off - action figure collectors tend to ramp up when a line hits 15-20 years old. This is when the kids get their first jobs and consider buying the childhood toys, and when it's the perfect time to start looking at bringing them back. (1992 and 1993 brought us Bend-Ems and MicroMachines, 1997 brought us the Special Editions and the massive merch push there. Similarly Star Trek at 20 had its then-biggest hit with The Voyage Home, at 15 Transformers had its first G1 reissue in Japan, and so on.) The 30th anniversary tends to be where a lot of retro toy brands peak - G.I. Joe in both sizes sort of tapered off after their respective 30th salutes. Masters of the Universe went big around its 30th, and while it's still going (and so is Star Wars) the classic style and classic characters fans love aren't really the focus anymore.

Mego figures peaked about 40 years ago. If this line takes off and works, then Marty Abrams and friends did a great job releasing the figures at a surprisingly low price. My gut tells me there's a pent-up interest in parts for customizers and hardcore fans, plus a bunch of tourists will buy something because "Mego figures are worth something," although I'm skeptical that there will be long-term interest without directly appealing to a broader, younger audience. A lot of these shows haven't been on broadcast TV in a while, also the steady diet of reruns on which so many of us were raised have since been replaced by Netflix and other streaming services with unlimited new things every day. I hope it keeps going - but other toy lines make me think it might be a short, bright flash that we'll talk about for years to come.



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2. Any update on the Walgreens exclusive 6-inch black series General Veers? Last I heard was a June release date which has obviously come and gone. Did the rebels captured Veers and offered him to the wampas as a peace offering for Luke's misunderstanding? The Empire wishes to know his whereabouts. Thanks!

This sort of thing happens with almost every exclusive - the date Hasbro gives tends to be the date it was supposed to ship from China. So that's the date Hasbro hands it off to Walgreens' shipping people, most likely. Generally once you have an item get on the boat, it takes 4-6 weeks to get to the USA and get through customs. After that, Walgreens has to get it to its distribution centers, and if Walgreens store shelves have Black Series product on shelves those have to clear before Walgreens will send something new out to replace it. (It's sort of like Target's DPCI - multiple items can be under a single internal item number.)

I don't remember when Hasbro announced Veers first - I don't think it was before June - but let's say Hasbro DID hand it off in June. August would be the earliest it should arrive. June usually means June 30, which is July, which would probably mean late August is the earliest. In previous years, the date Hasbro gives is far, far too early.

There's usually a new Star Wars, Transformers, or Jakks item I'm seeking at Walgreens every year and the roll-out tends to be over a few months. The first sighting happens, everybody misses the item, and Walgreens has thousands upon thousands of units that trickle out over the next 3-12 months. (I swear it took a year for the Jakks World of Nintendo 8-bit exclusives.)

So your short, annoying answer? We've still got a lot of time. Due to the nature of Veers (and Hasbro's minimums) you'll probably end up cursing Veers' name in 12-18 months as he continues to clog pegs when the next big thing is supposed to start showing up.




3. As you noted in your last column, the new Clone Wars series seemed to be a surprise to Hasbro as much as it was for all of us, albeit a very happy surprise! (Can't wait to see what Dave Filoni and crew have in store for us.) If Hasbro is just learning about Clone Wars, I'm guessing the most we can hope for are a range of 3.75 action figures in the cartoon style since those molds are already produced. Do you think there's any chance we'll see new versions of some of the harder to find figures from the original series? Figures like Darth Sidious, Fives, ARC Troopers, etc are extremely hard to find/expensive on secondary market. I'd love to see Hasbro bring back Battle Packs and repurpose some of the hard to find clones.... And maybe throw in a new Padme, or a Duchess Satine along with a repainted/ battle damaged Anakin, Asohka, Rex or a droid. Do you think there's any way we'll see a Clone Wars toy push from Hasbro? Obviously, there are still a lot of Clone Wars fans out here, and I'm betting they're ready to spend more $$$ on Clone Wars toys.

If fans start making a fuss, I think reissues of hard-to-find figures are likely. In conversation with the brand team, these guys love the stuff - but they don't necessarily know what wrath the secondary market hath on fans without a lot of noise. I assume you're going to see Ahsokas and Anakins, but Darth Sidious sort of slipped under the radar - unless you're prepared to make a lot of noise, I wouldn't bet it's on their radars. Depending on what else Disney and Lucasfilm are to roll out - don't forget, Avatar is Fox and Fox is Disney now - we could see a lot more competition of Disney-on-Disney toy violence bumping certain properties from getting new toys at certain times of year. It's possible we might not see any figures from The Clone Wars.



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Welcome to another edition of "Adam gets old." It's my birthday this week - no gifts, please (or maybe sign up for $1 support on the Patreon) - and I used to celebrate by going on a toy bender. I'd hit every store in town in the quest for nothing in particular - hobby shops, malls, game stores, you name it. I didn't know what I might find, it might be a new exclusive, an old Playmobil set, or a cache of clearance Zoids kits. It tended to be a fun experience thanks to the diverse landscape in toys back in the early 21st century - Zany Brainy, Hobby Bench, Kmart, Kay-Bee Toys, Toys R Us, numerous grocery and drug chains, and other established places of weirdness were treasure troves of things I could dare not imagine.

This year I feel about as far removed from that experience as ever before, because Toys R Us is gone. Despite being a big chain, each location's stock varied widely from neighborhood to neighborhood and shelf warming rarities on Camelback were long gone from Tatum or Dunlap. Generally speaking my toy hunt direction would be decided by Toys R Us - there were Walmarts, Kmarts, and Targets everywhere. I would pick the neighborhood with the Toys R us depending on that days' mood - Indian Bend's store favored new items sticking around longer, if something new hit and you missed it, you'd probably find it there. But it's gone now. Now it's mostly a sea of Big Box with smatterings of GameStop and Walgreens, both of which were famous also-rans in toy runs of old. Walgreens has stepped up with better prices and arguably the best slate of exclusive toys anywhere (other than maybe Amazon), but the decline of the toy store has resulted in more than one toy run being dictated around food or records. Hi Lenny's. Hi Stinkweeds. Hi Eastside Records. Hi China Magic Noodle House.

With waning comic shops, fewer video game stores - remember EB, Software Etc., Babbage's, and Funcoland? - there isn't as much reason to hop in the car and explore the retail landscape, particularly since there's no guaranteed toy trove. Even if it didn't have something you wanted, it was a safe bet that Toys R Us had something interesting to examine - and now, well, not. With KB Toys' silence and players like Amazon, Ollie's, and Walmart all making noise about the battle for your Christmas gifts, I expect we're about to go through a broader, blander, and even less diverse landscape for toys with even less experimentation in weirdness. Would anyone but Toys R Us have the guts to try out Japanese Gundam Wing models in stores? Would anyone else take $100-$250 retail exclusive Star Wars sets? I have my doubts, particularly in this era of stuff.

Toy City pop-ups are slated to open soon, but not here, so take advantage of that if you can. My guess is it will be great for gift buyers, but pop-ups tend to fare poorly for collectors after opening thanks to limited follow-through on stocking the newest of the new waves of things.

--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.