Q&A: Post-Game Pre-Toy Fair Droid Vintage Black Series Edition

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 7, 2016

1. Several months ago, I decided to take your advice and concentrate on completing all or most of the original Kenner lineup. It's going to take a while . But this is a marathon, not a sprint.

When hunting for figures, I've seen a lot of figures for sale with reproduction of the original weapons and accessories. To this point, I have erred on the side of complete figures with original weapons, even if the cost is higher.

Do you have any idea how pervasive the repro weapons are? Are there ways to tell that the weapons and things like capes aren't original? If I'm just getting them to display and not planning on selling them, should I care? Do I need to worry about reprint stickers on R2D2 figures?

I've seen reproductions of stickers and weapons, so all I can say is that you should assume they exist. My paranoia runs deep, so I more or less have to buy things knowing no repros exist, or assume it might be fake. R2-D2 stickers aren't terrible common, though - but people have made them.

I haven't seen as many weapons floating around lately, but they are out there. If you have real weapons, the fake ones I have seen are generally harder, more brittle, and more prone to snapping. The original Kenner weapons are by no means rubbery, but there is a minimal amount of "give" in them - you'll know it if you feel it, usually. I would say all you can really do is trust your dealer, or if you can swing buying poor carded figures to rip open or Kenner-bagged figures, those are safer bets. I did a lot of that to finish my set in the late 1980s and 1990.

When I bought my Vinyl Cape Jawa - and it cost me - I got it from a very well-known, trusted collector who had it since he was a kid and also got the cardback. A paper trail helps, but isn't always available. I suggest doing your best to really get to know people and if you can compare a loose weapon to a carded sample (say at a show or in a store) that's not a bad move. It's also one of the reasons I buy stuff at places like Toy Anxiety (nee The Empire of Toys), generally there are multiple samples to look at and - on the whole - most of the people working at these stores can ID fakes coming in.



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2. With the upcoming release of the ANH Farmboy Luke, when do you foresee a 6 inch ANH Leia, Ben and C3PO?

Well, Toy Fair is this week so hopefully we'll find out soon. With a red arm C-3PO, a deco variant seems pretty easy to pull off if they're so inclined. Leia and Ben, I'm not sure what the hold up is. At least C-3PO seems like an easy mark for the coming year!




3. My name is Scott and I am a big SW fan. Here is my question.

Last year for Ep 7 preview, Disneyland put out a 4 pack of Astro droids, including a new version of an R4 droid from SW4ANH. Do any of these droids appear in Ep 7 or did they face the same fate as that sheriff dude from Jakku?
--Signed, confused in California

Yes! I think. You can see a number of Disney's new droids when the Resistance shows up. Some were in X-Wings, some were rolling around, but I believe I saw them all there - but now that I think of it, I'm trying to remember if I saw R0-4LO or not. I think I did. I know I saw R5-X3 in an X-Wing and I believe I saw R4-M9 rolling around. I'm not 100% on R2-Q2, though. I guess I've got something to look for on the Blu-Ray.




Toy Fair is just a few days away! Rumored (and "rumored") news out of Europe indicates that we'll see some more classic stuff, no doubt thanks to the next movie taking place during the original trilogy's rough timeline. I'm trying to get my stuff together for the show - like getting these done early - so let's hope that all works out for me. We were told to not expect new movie toys, which, well, I guess that makes sense. We don't know how they plan to do the distribution and I'm sure there's some concern over secrecy given that the hype for this movie doesn't seem to be as intensive as the last movie was. Too soon? Perhaps.

What I'm most excited to see is what's new with Godzilla and the Transformers. Toho has a new Godzilla movie so I am hoping BanDai has new vinyl monsters for sale. Transformers will bring back "Headmasters" in the "Titans Return" line, so I'm pretty stoked to get some of those this year.

The biggest rumor going around is Hasbro and Mattel merging. They tried before at least once - that we know of - and as of my writing this I don't think anything is official in either direction. I'm hoping it doesn't happen - not that the results are guaranteed good or bad, but, well, it's a sign of change. It's like Square merged with Enix, and it felt like Enix got the short end of the stick. Takara merged with Tomy, and some of the lesser things got lost in the shuffle - I could use more Zoids, personally.

One of the things that get brought up to me a lot are playsets and vehicles - for example, Playmates does a lot of them for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's easier for them thanks to the fact that it's a kid-driven property with minimal collector creep dictating its direction, and also there are no other brands vying for Playmates' attention. That's their prized pig - it must be carefully curated. It needs fresh figures, cool playsets, and vehicles just to keep everybody eating.

Meanwhile, Hasbro has Transformers, Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel, Yo-Kai Watch, and others all competing for marketing and development resources. Factor in the Hollywood calendar which dictates releases and schedules, Factor in new Disney properties, and Hasbro's got a pretty full dance card. If Mattel adds to it - and they don't keep the two corporate cultures/sales teams/SKUs/databases separated, that means even more competition. Seeing DC figures put under the same kind of level of care as Marvel Legends would be interesting, and seeing what happens when Hot Wheels and Transformers become siblings would be fascinating. It's hard to say how this would turn out - but I'm a big fan of competition, and the more toy companies we have the better our chances are for seeing new and interesting things that we've never seen before.

--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.