Q&A: More Ships, More Figures, Pre-Toy Fair Fun

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 6, 2011

Could Saga Legends really be on the way out? (Of course not.) Is Darth Vader's TIE Fighter due for an update? And did you miss Clone Trooper Jesse yet? All this and ramblings on Vintage Wave 5 await you in this week's Q&A!

1. I was at my local Wal-Mart today and they've finished their post season reset. Saga Legends weren't part of the new layout and the last of them had been dumped in the markdown section. I know Wal-Marts all vary and they're fickle and crazy, but is Saga Legends on the way out? It would make sense, what with the confusion of three concurrent lines, the cannibalization of sales, and the inclusion of Legends style releases into the Vintage line, but is this truly the end? And if it is, does it signal that, like the Clone Wars line, new Vintage assortments will have about four new figures and then just a bunch of reruns of main characters? Even though that would probabaly be best for the sales health of the line it would still kind of stink...

Nothing is on the way out as far as 3 3/4-inch goes-- Saga Legends still makes money and Hasbro has no plans to stop making it. Wal-Mart is, as you say, fickle and tends to axe things on a whim to make the world's best toy moneymaking real estate even smaller. It's possible your store is being weird-- there was a brief time in 2007 when a Wal-Mart I frequented knocked down the prices of basic figures, even new ones, to $3.50 for no readily apparent reason. The same SKU continued and prices would eventually go back up, but why the drop? I never found out.

Saga Legends is-- or at least, I'd assume-- one of the last things to go in this line. It's free money for Hasbro, and it's generally all popular kid- and newbie-friendly characters. Clones, Greedo, Yoda, C-3PO, and the like do still sell well in most markets so it's possible you just got to witness a rare instance of a manager making up his own rules for a bit. It's unlikely the assortment will stay away long.

2. Hello, could you please list how many Sandtroopers we got since POTF2 on ?

It's because i have seen that the following TVC waves appear to contain Sandtroopers AGAIN ! ... Will this never end ? And why so many Sandtroopers compared to the relatively limited number of Stormtrooopers ( I still prefer the VOTC version ) ?

Due to the sheer girth of this kind of answer, no-- you can research this one, and should absolutely pen an article or set up a page if you're so inclined. (I'll be happy to link you from the front page-- we got to see a great Astromech page this way.) Research projects are a little too time-intensive for this format unless I drop it down to just one question a week.

There have been many, from the white boxed 4-pack to the many Saga Legends repaint to the 2009 Sandtrooper which would evolve into the Vintage release. With different variations on the helmets and armor, there are simply more unique ways to present a Sandtrooper and many collectors have just bought Sandtroopers and ripped off the gear to make a plain Stormtrooper. Crude, yes, but it works. While I agree the Stormtrooper as a sellable thing could use greater representation on the toy aisle, fact is Sandtroopers tended to sell, that is until just recently when it seems the Vintage version just sort of starts to slow down a bit.

Who knows what the future will hold? Hasbro cranked out a very large amount of removable helmet plain Stormtrooper figures in 2007 with its 30th Anniversary Collection release, it's my hope we'll see renewed interest in a non-removable helmet version in the near future. Removable helmets are sort of a novelty who's time is seeming to pass... it's no fun if the figure's head basically falls off when you're playing with it.

3. Do you think there may have been a mix up in the names for the TIE Pilot figures in the TRU Endor Battle Packs? Not that I am any kind of expert in how the Empire ranks their pilots or have any idea who they are but there is one named Lt. Oxixo, and the other is named TIE Fighter Pilot. The TIE Fighter Pilot figure came with a helmet that has a cool sliver band going down the front middle, where the Oxixo figure just has the plain helmet that has come with the other recent releases of TIE pilot figures. Thought it would make more sense for the LT to have special markings on his helmet; it’s an easy switch though.

While the figures do have troubles-- specifically, Mianda has been previously established not to be a clone trooper-- I'm fairly sure the helmet markings have less to do with rank and more to do with personalization. (Sadly, I can't find a reference to this in print to point you to just now.) I'm not really a firm believer that these pilots-- any of the pilots in Return of the Jedi-- have a particularly strict naming structure, so it's entirely possible that things could be wrong in more ways than just names and markings. (Sila Kott, I'm looking at you.)

It's possible the names or ranks are wrong, but with things like a character suddenly becoming a clone I can't say for sure I trust anything previously established for these guys-- or the figures, for that matter. Odds are Hasbro or Lucas just applied a name and didn't think we'd look too closely, or more accurately probably didn't think it mattered so much. (Because, honestly, when it gets down to these ultra-obscure may-as-well-be-nameless pilots it really doesn't.)

4. We all know how much Hasbro loves Vader. They put him in just about every line and wave that they can and I'm sure if LFL allowed it, they'd make an animated Vader as well. With that said, there seems to be one glaring hole at the moment: a Darth Vader TIE Fighter. We haven't seen an update to this ship and frankly, even though I'm sick of Vader action figures, I would love to see a new version. Is there a reason why Hasbro hasn't updated this ship? Would it be too big to fit into the starfighter assortment? I thought for sure we'd see them redo this ship before we ever saw a new cloud car.


Other than the fact that you'd like a new one, is there a reason (a business reason) that they should?

There have been rumors of a mid-tier, possibly electronic Darth Vader's TIE Fighter prototype hidden inside Hasbro for a while now-- I'd say about as long as the big Slave I. I don't doubt that it's true, but my guess is we won't see another version of Vader's personal craft until we get some sort of confirmation that the current mold, introduced in 1997, is essentially shattered. The current vehicle price point (about $25) is really important to Hasbro and to stores, so a bigger, better, or different ship seems pretty unnecessary at this point. With figures, a new version is guaranteed to sell-- with vehicles, fans are generally less likely to buy an updated version unless it's been a while and it's significantly different.

Since Vader's TIE started in the 1970s, and got updated with an all-new mold in 1997, the current release is actually more or less "modern." The basic TIE Fighter is still a modified Vintage ship, which is pretty odd after 30+ years. If Hasbro does get around to updating Vader's personal craft, it probably won't be until 2012-- I expect there to be a lot of updates of mass market-friendly stuff when the 3D movies start hitting theaters.

If you look at the line's history, very few vehicles got all-new mold updates until roughly 2008. Hasbro was content to use modified versions of the 1978-1985 molds of pretty much everything save for the X-Wing (updated 1998), Darth Vader's TIE Fighter (updated 1997), Slave I (2002/2004), and Landspeeder (2002). The various TIEs just got a little tweak here and there over the years, and NEW molds for vehicles just started fairly recently with the Millennium Falcon, Cloud Car, AT-AT, and AT-ST. When it comes to vehicles Hasbro is very stingy with new tooling if existing tooling still works-- look at G.I. Joe, we're still getting recolors of molds that debuted around 1982.

5. Has the BARC Speeder Bike with Clone Trooper Jesse been and gone, or has it yet to be released?

Neither, actually-- as far as I can tell most stores haven't received this toy, I only just got mine about a week and a half ago. It's a great figure and a nice vehicle, the bike has rolling wheels and Jesse is a modified version of the 2010 Stone-style Clone body, but with ball-jointed hips so he can actually pilot the bike fairly easily. It's a really nice mold!


I got a question and some commentary. First, the question: for those of you who a) collect Transformers and b) are in Canada, how common are Reveal the Shield Windcharger and Chopsaw up there? I'm a little annoyed (concerned) they aren't here in the USA still. (...and how much do Scouts cost there these days?)

Second, I got vintage wave 5, so here is the rundown for that.

The Stormtrooper isn't as bad as you've been hearing. The figure combines the upper-body of the 2007 removable helmet figure with the 2009 Sandtrooper's legs. While the belt is a little loose, the figure includes two weapons and can be posed in a variety of poses, and can actually kneel for once. I might go buy more of these, I really like it. While the helmet is removable, mine doesn't fall off when you turn the figure upside-down. So I'd say it's about on par with or slightly better than the 2007 release, for those building armies.

Luke Skywalker is pretty good but he proves just how important paint can be. The figure is basically the Resurgence of the Jedi figure with new deco, a cloth "skirt," a Stormtrooper belt, plus a grappling hook and communicator. You'll definitely want it for the gear, but the painted face of the previous release looks a little more lively than this one. It's fun to fidget with though, I'm pretty pleased with the gear and even at eight bucks I'm not complaining about how it plays.

Commander Gree is a rerelease-- you probably have this one but if you don't, you should get it.

Yoda seems to be the 2007 Expanded Universe release-- which included a damned Kybuck and cost less-- with new limbs and a new energy ball. He also has a lightsaber and cane, plus it seems his robes are more Original Trilogy than Prequel as there's no hood. It feels a lot like the Tin figure from 2006, but with added swivel elbow joints and ball-jointed knees. It's not bad, but it probably could have standed to have a hood hanging off the back rather than the Dagobah robes.

The Clone Trooper from Utapau may come to you with a green helmet. Do not be alarmed if you open your figures-- this is the same film I've been talking about that has been common on almost every white figure from 2002-2003. With a damp cloth, you can rub most of the discoloration right off, but carded collectors need to be a little more concerned. I'm not sure why Hasbro went back to this awful discoloring plastic after so many good years, but here we are. Other than that, it's a redeco of the 2010 white Clone, and it has two guns. I'd suggest getting at least one.

R5-D4 is a build-a-droid mold painted to look like the movie character. The panels on the back don't quite match previous figures, and there's a decent layer of dirt on the figure. I personally don't think the 2006 figure needed upgrading, what with its bad motivator and everything, but fans of the build-a-droid concept or the vintage packaging will like this one.

Han Solo mixes and matches parts from previous figures. Han is essentially the 2009 "Death Star Escape" figure (the one that had a helmet and some Stormtrooper gear), but with a different belt-- that's why part of the holster is absent from his right thigh. It looks pretty good as a generally fun Han Solo toy, but as many have pointed out the shirt is wrong for the Yavin Ceremony sequence which it's supposed to represent, and his pant leg is basically wrong no matter how you look at it. Having said that, I thought the ring around the thigh looked weird when the figure sits down, so this might be an ideal figure to populate your big Millennium Falcon's various seats and stations, minus the medal. I figure we'll get a real Yavin Ceremony Han with a new torso sculpt within 2 years.

--Adam Pawlus

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


From Southern Ontario here and my brother collects Transformers.
the Reveal figures are just starting to show up in TRU. Walmart in my area are restocking and you just see univeres and some old animated ones at the moment. There are a few revel ones but just repaints.

have not seen the ones you are looking for.
and the average price for scout size are 9.99 CDN.