Q&A: Post-CV Edition, Let's Everybody Read

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, August 15, 2010

After a long hard slog through the swamps, I’m back with a very special Q&A!  It’s so special, you simply have to read it.  (That’s true every week, of course.)  Find out about Chewbacca head sculpt problems, your complaints about pegwarmers, and some toys that aren’t coming to America so therefore you want them.

1. I am very happy with Hasbro's choice for the Saga Legends Chewbacca sculpt, but I have mixed feelings about the snow fleck paint deco.  It's kind of cool, helping him fit in with the rest of the ESB figures out now, but I am really hoping that they'll pull that snow deco off him for future Saga Legends runs so I can get a few more "clean" versions of that sculpt.  Do you know if this is the plan at all?  Alternatively, I think some snow fleck deco using a modified sand storm cut scene version of Chewie (the 1st Legacy Collection version) would be awesome as the figure would look more like he did in the movie whilst blasting at that imperial probe droid.

Also, I haven't been buying battle droids lately, but I chose to try out the new battle droid sculpts also offered in the new Saga Legends line, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM!  They fold up as good battle droids should, and the new ball jointed shoulders and hips make them SO MUCH more stable when standing.  These are SO great that I am very much hoping to see the sculpt reissued multiple times with different deco, especially a tan Episode I version as well as the "Security" version from Nute Gunray's ship in Episode I.  Do you know if anything like that is in the works for this Saga Legends line?



Hasbro’s decision to make Chewbacca scene-specific is an annoying one, but there are presently no known plans to make a running change without the snow.  There are also no plans to make a running change of the droids under the same SKU—this is due to something Hasbro alluded to in their Q&A, so I can mention it—SKU count.  Variations are seen as a way (by Hasbro’s bean counters) to get around “SKU count”, which is the ridiculous notion that they make too many products and need to reign that in.  A variation of great significance is seen as trying to thwart that, so you aren’t going to see 1 package with multiple deco jobs like we have in the past with droids and troopers.

Were these repaints to happen, they would likely be as new figures—either Saga Legends or otherwise—in the future.


2. So based on this thought and some of the recent peg warmers, do you think Hasbro really could move more of the less desired product if it was more affordable? Of course the price drops before resets or some sales at season. But at that point I am thinking about saving $ for the new realeases instead of duplicate figs or troop builders. While those peg warmers sit the flow of inventory comes to a standstill. Do you think more expensive figures ultimatley affect the flow of inventory and distribution?


One of the problems being where we are is that we can second-guess all we want, and our jobs are never on the line.   Pricing is a funny thing—sometimes, a lower pice doesn’t help, because it gives the item a lower perceived value.  On a premium or collector product, this is problematic.  If Gentle Giant sold its mini busts (which are essentially the same amount of stuff as a resin bobble head) at a consumer-friendly $19.99 price point, they probably wouldn’t have quite the same following.   As a consumer good, mini busts suck.   Something similar happened with Diamond Select Toys’ 1:4 scale line—the company went out of their way to make the 19-inch talking figures $79.99, which is a steal compared to Sideshow’s 12-inch line.  People did not bite, and the line collapsed.  Darth Vader was canceled.  Babies cried.  Rivers flowed blood.  The world literally came to a demon-fueled end.  That’s what happens when you make toys too cheap.

A lower price is—in my belief—a way  to get more casual buyers.  If kids are buying an acceptable amount of Clone Warsproduct at $6.99, Hasbro shouldn’t change anything, otherwise they’re throwing away money.  Even at $4.50, some of my local stores can’t move Willrow Hood figures—for most collectors, money is less of a factor than they think.  If they like the product enough, they’ll buy one, or two, or more. 

You cannot have ultra-obscure super-articlated can’t-find-him-in-the-movie figures produced at rock-bottom prices.  With The Clone Wars, some figures have less articulation, and there are lots of repacks to soften the blow of new tooling.  (The new Grievous has a ton of pieces.  The Anakin repack, not so much.)  As fans we can’t have it all unless more people buy the stuff to bring down prices, which, as “Vintage” goes, could actually happen if enough of you keep on buying.  But without the ability to amortize the costs of a lot of these new sculpts over multiple reissues and repaints, well, lower prices do seem unlikely.


3. With Hasbro's red packaging at an end I have been reviewing my collection for any items I may have missed. On my want list I have listed four different 2 packs that I don't have and don't remember ever seeing. These were reissues of the blue packaged TRU exclusives with new red card artwork. The sets were Anakin & R2, Cody & Clone, Obi & Battle Droid, and Grievous & Battle Droid. I have looked around online but have not found any for sale which leaves me to believe they they may have been planned but never released. Did I simply miss seeing these or can I safely cross them off my want list?

--Darth Spock

These products were developed for international markets, although I cannot confirm where or if they were released.  These were not sold on US store shelves.


4. With TVC slowly hitting stores, I have read plenty of online banter, that retailers are using the 'street dates' printed on the outside of Hasbro shipping cartons, to pull fast ones over collectors, hoping to secure their little piece of plastic heaven for the year. Why are retailers not putting this stock out as soon as they get it and holding it back like some kind of dictatorial regime?


This is touchy, but the long and short of it is that Toys “R” Us basically told Hasbro to go screw back in June by simply selling the product.  The toys were for sale on their web site and retail stores nearly two months early and Hasbro didn’t do anything to stop them—meaning that as a customer, they’re too big for Hasbro to police, or (more accurately) that street dates mean nothing if the big box stores don’t care.   During the Wolverine movie push, the first wave of 3 ¾-inch Marvel Universe figures were “dated” as well—many Wal-Mart stores ignored them.  I could give you dozens of broken street date stories, but the long and short of it is that if Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us don’t care, there’s little Hasbro can do about it.

Without a “midnight madness” event (or a movie-related secret to keep, like a face reveal or something) street dates are simply a waste of everyone’s time.  It’s more likely that this year it was treated like a suggested set date—one Kmart, Toys “R” Us, and some other stores elected to ignore.  (Considering Toys “R” Us sold out their Vintage figures at a $2 premium, I say they were wise to do that.)


5. Today over on jedidefender.com, they posted pics of the UGH figures. The Cody has the belt upside down and the clone trooper has the helmet off. I could swear ive seen pics of the clone trooper with the helmet off and cody with his belt correct. ive read in forums to that the belt was fixed. which is the one that is getting shipped and which clone trooper is coming out?


Variations are tricky, and often Hasbro says they’re going to do one thing and the final product is different because their factory did not follow instructions.  It happens a lot, and a lot of intended variations or running changes get missed because something was either lost in tanslation or flat-out ignored.   I honestly don’t know what to expect when this piece hits wide, or when it continues to ship in the coming months.  Keep your eyes peeled, for all we know vintage Cody with the upside-down belt will be the one to chase.


Celebration Vwas surprisingly excellent.  Hasbro’s lines were short, and while dealers refused to haggle the quality and ample seating of nearly any panel more than made up for it.  Were there lines?  Of course—but I got to see Ben Burtt and Gary Kurtz.  I got to see home movie footage of the lost Sandstorm scene, and I found out what sounds were used to voice Garindan.  

I actually came away from the show thinking that while there was too much of an emphasis on fan creations and the fan community itself, Lucasfilm and the company’s employees gave up just enough new stuff to be exciting.  While I love The Clone Wars, I can see that on TV in September.  I can’t see things like Ben Burtt’s home movies of never-before-seen Return of the Jedisequences.  That made me feel that the whole slog was worth the effort.

I’ll be posting more about the show later this week.  Special thanks to Steve Sansweet and of course the Galactic Hunter team for making the trip possible.  And if you donated to us, I could probably actually do more of this kind of thing.

--Adam Pawlus

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