Q&A: Missed Exclusives, Hasbro Cards, Clone Wars Villains, and Oh So Much More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 27, 2011

Did you miss the 2010 Target Geonosis Arena packs and if so, is it too late? Why isn't Hasbro cranking out more carry cases for action figures? And is the balance in The Clone Wars action figure line giving us the right toys for our needs? All this and more if you read on, and don't forget-- send in your questions for next time!

1. Adam, the 2010 Target Geonosian packs... any idea if these are still shipping? I continue to see the 2009 packs popping up on the shelves, but no sign of any of the new ones, aside from a couple of Obi-Wans left over from Christmas. Last time I checked Target's website, they were no longer available there, either. Were the 2010's meant to be more limited than the originals?

While Hasbro doesn't usually give a lot of information out as to quantities, it does seem there are fewer of the 2010 figures. Or that the 2010 figures were better and just sold more quickly. As of March, I still see 2010 sets in circulation-- 2009 too, but I saw almost a complete set around the middle of March. I suggest you check all the Targets in your area and see what's there.

2. Do you forsee the whole Japan earthquake/tsunami incident as affecting Star Wars toys at all or just toys in general? And if so, how badly?

As Star Wars toys are largely manufactured in China and designed here in the USA, odds are Japan's tragic loss of life and infrastructure should not alter the future of our collecting small, plastic men.

3. In modern times Hasbro has made few additions for the storing of action figures, such as Vader, C-3PO, and the Falcon carrying cases. Isn't it about time they add some more? When the OTC Vader and 3PO cases came out they had to include repacks and seemed overpriced.

Do you think there would be some form of market for modern-styled carrying/storage cases? They still have the Vader and 3PO dies, and an even cheaper alternative would be simple modern, retro-styled rectangular cases like the vintage 24-figure cases, and leave out the repacks to keep the price low.

As of now, it seems Hasbro doesn't want to pursue collector's cases. Since the first one in 1996, we've basically been unimpressed. The first Power of the Force one around 1996 was a case with a loose tray that, if you picked it up by the handle, it would cause all the figures to fall out. This set the bar pretty low, and most of the cases which followed were only slightly better-- the compartments were too thin, or the figures still fell out if you closed it.

I've been using fishing tackle boxes to store my loose figures since 1997. I suggest you pick those up, as an "official" case would likely cost more on a per-figure storage basis than these. (Do you think Hasbro would let you store more than 20 figures for $10, after the license fees and special graphics? I don't.) I'd love a retro-style case but, like playsets, I think that's something which Hasbro feels is well beyond being a viable item in the marketplace.

4. I have been trying to collect the game cards that have been coming with the Clone Wars and Legacy figures. This has resulted in the purchase of previously acquired figures, which is frustrating, but I thought I was safe when some of the recycled figures that came out again on individual cards with game cards were also showing up in battle packs. That is, I could avoid buying a battle pack with recycled figures since I already had the game cards. This theory, however, went bad when I purchased the Battle of Orto Plutonia Battle Pack. I had all of the figures previously, but without the game cards, save and except Cold Weather Captain Rex (which came out with a single repack with game card). To my surprise, the game card for Captain Rex was different (both in points and picture). I don’t think this has been universally true for battle packs with recycled figures. Or is it? Now I think I have missed out on something by not buying the same recycled figures again. Do you know anyone that has kept a record of this or started a visual guide to this yet?


As far as I know, nobody has put together a card gallery or visual checklist just yet. If anyone out there wants to start one, I'll be happy to link to it. Who's got the guts?

5. The Clone Wars has been great for all involved: Lucasfilm, Cartoon Network, and especially Hasbro. The line is seemingly a major success with both collectors and kids, and with few exceptions has been of high quality across the board. However, the one thing it it missing is diversity. It seems as though lately, we see a few Jedi, perhaps some droids, and then legions of clones. On occasion we get an underworld character like Boba, Bane, or Aurra. Even less common is a character like Thi Sen. Do you feel that, as the line increases in popularity, we will see Hasbro ease up on their supporting character embargo?

Hasbro keeps saying that The Clone Wars is a line for kids, and for that reason, they want to keep more kid-friendly figures on board. (Remember, kids don't get all of them-- and if they only get 5-10 figures, they're usually going to want the guys who are on every episode of the show first.) Most of the figures we get from the bad guy department have had more significant air time, with Boba Fett, Cad Bane, and Aurra Sing having multiple appearances and even multiple costumes. On the other hand, Thi-Sen was on one episode and has never been heard from again, so we're quite lucky to have him based on how Hasbro usually does things.

As the line goes on, Hasbro might realize that there are collectors (and kids) willing to pay extra for weird figures on the secondary market as eBay prices continue to rise on some of these guys. I'd say we're getting an acceptable mix, and while I would like more villains and aliens, I think Hasbro is doing OK. In the last wave, we got a new clone repaint, new molds of Ahsoka and Anakin, plus all-new molds for the Aqua Droid and El-Les. I'd say that's pretty good, as the nature of the show will probably prevent us from ever seeing 1:1 ratios on heroes to villains or anything like that. There's just so many clones to repaint, which subsidizes the other figures and makes the line more profitable for Hasbro.

One good thing to remember is that fans can change Hasbro's mind on figure releases from time to time. With sufficient fan support, or enough noise to create the illusion of fan support, figures sometimes make it out earlier. So if you want someone in particular-- and I note in your email that you didn't ask for anybody-- I suggest you start a campaign. Considering who they're doing, on the whole, I think Hasbro generally does a good job with getting a strong mix of figures out there. (I just wish the plastic on some of the figures was a little better. Specifically 2010 Grievous and 2011 Aqua Droid.)


I'm glad to see Star Wars Vintage showing up here and there lately, I've even stumbled on Wave 6 a few times in the past week. It's really awesome to see Hasbro have new basic carded product on the way (and on shelves), but it's interesting to note that there are very few new exclusives on deck between now and (presumably) Comic-Con. The US release of the Galactic Heroes AT-ST seems to still not have happened-- correct me if I'm wrong-- and there's not going to be a whole heck of a lot to chase down before summer at this rate.

Also notable-- and odd-- are a lack of other Hasbro lines getting to stores. Specifically, Transformers and Iron Man. Hasbro has no fewer than a dozen new toys in its gold-and-blue packed Reveal the Shield line which are showing up online, but not at all in the big box stores. Also, as far as I can tell, the new 2011 packaging for Iron Man seems to only be going to online stores. I'm thrilled they're seeing release, but this sort of thing always leaves me scratching my head. While Iron Man has been slowing down, I was under the impression that Transformers was still doing quite well-- so why doesn't Target get the new stuff? Where's Lugnut and Windcharger and Trailcutter? Peculiar. But for now, at least, Star Wars seems to be basically its normal self-- if you hunt, you should find it. And if you don't, well, that's what ordering online is for these days.

I saw Dark Horse announced Crimson Empire III which... well, that's certainly interesting. I remember reading many moons ago that the original plot for the story (then-canceled) was to be Kir Kanos vs. Luke Skywalker. I wonder how it'll turn out?

--Adam Pawlus

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

NJ Store Finds

This is Paul from JTA. Although I live in the Philly area, I have found waves 4 and 5 of The Vintage Collection many times in NJ Walmart stores. Wave 6 is hitting very heavily in PA Walmarts. Keep the faith, they'll hit.

Lousy Distro

Distribution has been horrendous in my area. I go out daily, and the only new figs to show up in the past month were two cases of wave 6 at WalMart. Apparently TRU refuses to put out anything new until the peg warmers sell, and I have no idea what's going on at Target. Their action figure aisle is barren - no new Iron Man, Marvel Universe, or Star Wars.

Online ordering is fine if you don't mind paying twice the price or getting a case half filled with repacks you don't need.

No better in south-central CT

I'm outside New Haven, CT, and the two Targets that I frequent have both been barren for weeks now. Both have been resetting the entire store for expansion of the grocery area - I'm hoping this is the reason we haven't been seeing anything for so long, but there's no way to be sure - other areas of the store seem well-stocked.

For the last couple months, at least, there have been less than 10 total Vintage figures on the pegs, and they are all the usual pegwarmers - Sandtroopers, 4-LOM, etc. I tried one of the stores today, and they had ONE 4-LOM on the pegs - that was it. The rest of the Vintage pegs were completely empty.

I'm only interested in very specific figures (ANH and ESB primarily, though I did buy a few from the ROTJ wave), so I'm not interested in buying cases, and I'm not interested in paying prices beyond the incredibly inflated retail prices we're already seeing. At this point, anything that doesn't show up locally just isn't going to be purchased.

Distribution is Horrible

Have to agree with you Lousy Distro... out here in Jersey I have yet to see even Wave 4 of the Vintage or anything CW related beyond the vos wave... it's getting increasing frustrating that people are finding Wave 6 already on the pegs and I'm still in the hunt for Wave 4.

not sure if I'm just missing the cases being stocked or if distribution is really lousy for Jersey. I go out daily (even hitting some stores twice a day) check various Target's, TRU's, Walmart's, K-Mart's etc and have no luck whatsoever.

I'm seriously debating about just ordering cases from EE or BBTS and going that route. most of the stores by me have been bare since before Christmas. I'm really hoping that new product starts arriving soon, I'm getting worried that I might miss out on some of the cool figures being offered.

Something strange is going on

Something strange is going on with retailers...I'm heading to Ebay and EE for figures now. Maybe it's something personal with collectors..Because Walmart doesnt stock GI Joe figures anymore for some strange reason. Toys R us and Target seem to refuse to stock any new Star wars figures or DC universe.... It seems that everyone is running into this problem...