Q&A: Personalized Star Wars Figures, Disney Droids, and Bestest Things

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 1, 2017

1. Hi! I vaguely remember Hasbro collaborating with Disney in Disney World to scan the faces of fans and ultimately do head sculpt to put onto 12 inch figures for their own personalized figures, or something like that. I may be just dreaming but I could have sworn that there was supposed to be a similar set up at Target stores scan faces for fans to get their own personalized 3.75 figure? Do you remember something like this? What ever happened to this?

I can say that this 12-inch thing really did happen, and it may have only been a pilot program. There was a Target near Burbank, CA which I visited (because it's near a favorite burger joint called Edy's which I visit when I go in to the Entertainment Earth offices) that did indeed have one of these set up last year. I also saw one at the Times Square Toys R Us back when that was still around.

I had never seen anything for a 3 3/4-inch action figure kiosk, nor do I recall hearing anyone take advantage of this 12-inch display and show them off on a collector site or social media. I don't assume the 3 3/4-inch format gives the same value perception to the non-collector, so that seems unlikely to happen.



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2. In the last [month -editor] or two, seven new astromechs have been released in the Disney Droid Factory series: a super cool translucent green R3-B0017, a two pack with vivid green astromechs (R4-X2 & Y5-X2) from The Last Jedi, and a four pack of variously colored bb-droids (BB-8, BB-4, BB-9E and 2BB-2) from The Last Jedi.

I am a droid fan and 3.75 collector (exclusively). So, I think I am more excited by these Disney exclusives than the Force Friday offerings for The Last Jedi, of which I also picked up seven figures at Wal-Mart or Target: Kylo Ren (no helmet), Porg (with Chewbacca accessory and collapsing bowcaster), Luke (with beard and no lightsaber (what?—he must have sworn off lightsabers in the movie)), and two two-packs: Elite Praetorian Guard (in Day-Glo Red w/ Rey accessory) and Rathtar with fodder figure.

All in all, I am having a hard time deciding which seven figures I like more. The Disney droids have a non-blue translucent droid and three new flavors of BB-8. The non-exclusive line has a rathtar, a sad chicken and old Luke. It's a good dilemma to be in. What's your call?

It might have been better to have the bulk of my fall Star Wars action figure purchases spaced out over more than one weekend though. What's there to look forward too? The Disney Droid Factory holiday 2017 astromech and 3.75” Snoke? Is there a 3.75” Snoke planned?

This is sort of what I get at when I say what we go through is boring. The Last Jedi line is very familiar, but not nostalgic - it occupies this weird place between "I think I've seen this before" and "this doesn't seem different enough." Thankfully The Force Awakens got a lot more newness - the X-Wing and TIE Fighters in black, a Millennium Falcon with new features, and some other stuff joining tons of new characters and most importantly, new villains. The Last Jedi's line so far is a real drag when it comes to new baddies. Normally we get at least one helmeted new main bad guy in a movie, and this time we got the guards. The super boring Praetorian Guards.

Right now there are two known 3 3/4-inch Snoke figures. One is in the BB-8 2-in-1 Playset. The second will be in The Vintage Collection next year. That's your new bad guy, and he's barely new. It's sort of like the Stormtrooper Executioner - it's kinda new, I guess, but at least with the prequels Lucas had the sense to give the helmets significant, massive revamps rather than a face lift.

The boom and bust model of movie launches - as I keep saying - are part of what I see as an ongoing problem. Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm expect fans to get all excited and line up at midnight every year to buy stuff, and what they forget is an important part of toy history - specifically, very few figures were released before the movies in the past. Maybe one, maybe two waves before we buy our tickets - and they would be available for a little while after we see the movie. Now, the launch toys may dry up before the movie comes out, so we'll have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on merch hoping that the characters don't get cut from the films. And that we'll like the characters. It's kind of gross.

Right now I'm mostly enjoying the new releases but the sameness is troublesome. I appreciate that Walmart has super-articulated The Black Series figures, but I think they did a smarter thing with Rogue One. Namely, Jyn Erso had a unique costume. Cassian Andor was a vehicle pack-in (or exclusive 2-pack), so the figure was basically unique. Sort of. The Scarif Stormtrooper was, at the time, exclusive to that format, and the Death Trooper was as well. You had good reason to buy those figures. Now? Luke has some more joints. So does Rose. The Stormtrooper Executioner is a debut at least, and I will never fault including a super-articulated figure like the Praetorian Guard if it means more troopers. (Also, it's the only individually packaged 3 3/4-inch guard you can buy right now.) So it's good.

I'm still waiting on some friends to mail me my droid packages, but I'm excited to get them. Sort of. The BB droids offer something new and different and previously unseen, and a glowing Astromech is right up my alley. But do I need a green droid 2-pack, just because? No, not really.




3. What were your favorite figures (3 3/4" and 6") from the last year? What were your least favorite?

The best 3 3/4-inch scale figure of the last year was the Disney Parks "Droid Factory" Chopper C1-10P. Hands-down. Bar none. Show me a better astromech droid in the last few years - you can't. It doesn't exist. This is the one figure you should all buy, even if you hate Star Wars Rebels, just because it's excellent. For the 6-inch figures, nothing really amazed me - but the Jawa and Tusken Raider both turned out well thanks to special features. The Jawa's glow-in-the-dark eyes were wonderful, and the Tusken Raider had above average soft goods and the customizable gaffi stick. I wish I could have been more excited about figures of the main characters, but most of them are just perfectly OK. I'm not wowed. It's just OK. The big surprise was the 6-inch (not Black Series) C-3PO showing up at Walgreens being pretty good, and a fine example of Hasbro being more than capable of making a great 6-inch figure for under $10. That format may not work as well for Boba Fett, but it worked great for C-3PO.

...I also liked Admiral Raddus a lot.

I have a hard time dumping on the figures because rarely is anything truly terrible, although the macro lens of my camera may argue with that statement. Galen Erso's head deco looked a little soft, but things were generally good overall. I would like to have seen them take another crack at Target's The Black Series 6-inch Cassian Andor head sculpt - or deco - or something. It's adequate, but it's not amazing.

I'm also really impressed by the new 3 3/4-inch Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi figures in Hasbro's The Last Jedi offering. These give me hope that more new "classic" figures - like Boba Fett in the 2-pack with the acceptable Han Solo - could be on the way. I'm also very much looking forward to Bistan, which is currently more or less an exclusive at a store I work at.




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I've been writing about Star Wars for over 22 years now, on the internet, about toys, mostly in the form of things like this. In that time people came and went - colleagues, friends, co-workers, enthusiasts, and you just lose touch. You don't always know where they go, but you hope that they're happy, that they're having fun, and and that everything went well for them. Last week we lost a friend, colleague, enthusiast in the form of Adam May. We were informed of his death on Friday. For a long time May was one of the tallest pillars at Galactic Hunter, joining Mike Sullenger and me for this scrappy, occasionally relevant, and on rarer occasions newsworthy web site. May contributed some of our most famous reports with rumors and actual photos of things that hadn't yet been announced, from sources unknown. I never knew where it all came from, and it was a treat to see a note in my inbox when something was about to go live.

I haven't spoke with him much in a while - I heard he wasn't doing well, and I remember he was going through a lot around the time we first met. Things improved, at least for a while, and now he's gone with none of us really having the chance to say goodbye. He will be missed.

--Adam Pawlus

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