Q&A: Post-SDCC Edition

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hey kids, and welcome to the first Q&A on this exciting new template.  Speaking of templates, I don't have one, so I'm fudging this one for our first installment.   Anyway, let's look into Millennium Falcon variations, vintage Vintage figures at Toys "R" Us' web site, figures you can't find and feel compelled to keep asking about, and much more.   How much more?  So much more.

1. Did I dream this or have I read it somewhere that Hasbro was considering re-releasing the BMF but wih Empire dialogue? Here's hoping there's a chance this Christmas season!

You didn't dream it, but someone else made it up-- Hasbro has mentioned they will rerelease the big Millennium Falcon but the parts about changes are made up. It may be in a new box, but they're not going to do version 2.0. So yeah, don't get worried here.

2. I was recently on the Toys R Us website and noticed that they sell Vintage figures. And I'm not talking about the 2010 Vintage collection I'm taking about loose vintage 80's star wars! They only had 2 entries but I found that kind of interesting. How does one of the big box retailers come by vintage loose and sell them as new? Also do you know if this is going to continue?

The modern toy business is a little weird in that there's a lot of ecommerce screwing around with our beloved hobby. A number of stores employ drop shippers, which basically mean that a company may contract ANOTHER company to sell their products. So let's say your name is Brian, and your store's name is Brian's Toys. (Hypothetically.) You might have a contract with Walmart.com or Toysrus.com to supply them with certain products which they themselves do not carry for one reason or another, be it supply or a different focus-- these bigger stores have in effect outsourced part of their supply chain to other, smaller businesses. Amazon does this but generally identifies their partners, but a lot of other stores have blind drop shippers. I dunno what from here is a trade secret, so basically yeah, some dude somewhere has these and Toys "R" Us is doing all the marketing, for example. Walmart.com had a bunch of Japanese Transformers at one point, and if you think the people from Bentonville or whatever the heck their HQ exists in knows anything about Japanese robots, you're sorely mistaken.

3. I just read rebelscum's Q and A where the Hasbro reps have confirmed that This year's Clone Wars waves 1,2 and 3 are finished and they have no plans to re-release any of these figures at this time. You are the expert, so when I have questions I turn to you. My question is this, WTF? It feels like I'm being punished by the toy gods, yet I don't know why. I never saw a Thi Sen, a TX 20, or a Darth Sidious in the wild this year and I hunt every chance I get. Instead I finally broke down last week went to eBay and paid some little bastard in Ohio $16 for a Thi Sen. Now that I have it, I must say it is an exquisite figure.

Well Kris, you've basically just proven Yoda's point. Patience, dammit.

These figures were indeed shipped in decent numbers, and you missed them. I don't know how often you go to stores, but yeah, you missed them. It happens. It could be dumb luck, but buying toys in an era where we have 40-100 figures per year means that there will be more turnover and figures simply will not ship as long. This is not new-- fans have been complaining about this for years, and generally speaking if you look at your toy running habits, that's why. If you can't go to multiple stores multiple times a week, or keep tabs on when new stuff starts to show up, you may miss things. It happens to the best of us, there are some things I've never seen in person that came out several years ago.

So yeah, you paid some dude $16 for a figure. $8 was retail. Tax was another $0.80 or so. Then there's eBay fees. Basically, this goober isn't making all that much either when you calculate eBay's 12% cut, Paypal's fees, and the time the guy wasted putting a single figure into a box to send you. I'm not saying he deserves your praise, I'm saying selling individual figures on eBay is a waste of damn time. So where was I? Right, you missed your figures.

Yeah, things come and go. This is normal. There are some toys that even hardcore toy stalkers miss, because the edition size is too low or because you just were a few minutes too late. TX-20 is, more or less, seeing a reissue with a vehicle later on. Figures will generally show up in battle packs. And most important of all, nobody has any long term memory in this hobby. Look at the prices of figures from 2006, 2007, and 2008 on eBay. Notice that very few command any serious premium, with very few exceptions. Odds are time will result in these being available at a lower price, or you can buy some dude's collection where the average price per figure makes these missing ones fairly priced. It happens-- sometimes you have to wait for a few years to get something at the price you want to pay, and unless you're willing to go all alt.nerd.obsessive over figures, you won't find them at the stores.

Now everybody stop asking me about this wave.

4. I know in your last FIN you gave some recommendations for the new Vintage figures and I know you reviewed the new Dengar in your last FOTD. Would you please do a quick figure by figure analysis of what is new and old in this Vintage line? It would be a great help in deciding what is and is not worth getting, especially at $8-$10 per figure.

Here's the lightning round version!

Luke: Yes
Leia: Yes
Han: Maybe
4-LOM: Only if you missed him in 2007
Boba Fett: Only if you missed previous versions
C-3PO: Yes
Darth Vader: Only if you REALLY need a three-piece helmet over two-piece, it's not an obvious change at all
Dack Ralter: Yes
Degar: Yes
Cloud Car Pilot: Yes, buy 2-3
AT-AT Commander: Does nothing for me, but it's reasonably well made

5. I know you are not a fortune teller but in your most educated guess, do you think we will get different repaints of the new snowspeeder? I opened one the other day and it is a nice piece of work. I really like that bad boy and I hope they repaint it a few dozen times.

The item was made with new versions in mind, this is a mold that it seems was crafted so Hasbro can do a lot with it. Good on them. There are no known plans for another one, but if they want to do it, they can and will. I expect to see another Snowspeeder before 2012.


Comic-Con was last weekend! But I wrote this before then, so yeah. I personally think holding back so much for CV was in poor taste simply because fans don't go to both conventions, and because some of those items (like the new Big Slave I have been leaked fully packaged and could even hit before the "announcement.") Weak. But I did like what they did show. The animated stuff looks great, I like the ARC Troopers boxed set a ton and the various exclusive Battle Packs make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Favorite non-Star Wars at the show? Funko's Funko Force 2.0 line, currently only DC characters but I got a sneak peek at what's coming next and it all looks great. I got a Batman figure and I dig it lots-- it's a unique house style not unlike Hello Kitty. But with Batman. The Four Horsemen's Outer Space Men line is gorgeous, I got the exclusives and they feel like a lost 1970s toy line made to play with the original Kenner toys. If you get the chance to get a few, I suggest you do. Titan showed me their first prototypes for their Hammer Horror bust series, and the Christopher Lee as Dracula was a striking piece, as was the Bathory-inspired one. These (and another line) had little flourishes that actually put these slightly ahead of other busts from other companies I've seen, and in my job, I've basically seen them all.

I also had the chance to talk to someone who is on the short list of People I Look Up To (which we man-children do) about his hobbies, how he's moved around in his career, things he wrote and got published, and the like. Really good stor. It's rare that I get a really good idea of who someone is personally rather than professionally and also have it make me think about where I'm going. In the off chance this person is reading, thanks for the (pep?) talk and I hope you know who you are.

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with "Q&A" somewhere in the subject line and hopefully I'll get to yours in the next column!

Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!