It's time for Q&A again! Let's talk about upcoming exclusives, plus the Sandtrooper obsession plaguing America today. And since we're all here, what's the deal with those new LEGO sets not being modeled after anything we've seen yet? All this and a little more Toy Fair in this week's installment, which you can read after the break.
1. Hey Adam just wondering is the Amazon exclusive Slave 1 the same scale as the Rise of Boba Fett one or is it a different scale? Also do you know when it's supposed to be released?
I was snowed out of the presentation, so I don't have a release date for you. I can say it's based on the "Rise of Boba Fett" Slave I from a few years ago, so be shocked if it's under $60-$80.
2. I know you haven't explored every dark crevice in the Expanded Universe. Which of us really has? But I saw an image of this upcoming Jek-14's stealth starfighter Lego set from Toy Fair, and I have to say that I am stumped. I am guessing this is a hint of something to come on The Clone Wars series? Or maybe the 1313 video game? Maybe I should be patient, but I think that like all Star Wars fans, patience is not something that comes easily to me. The designs are absolutely intriguing, and I'd love to know more about what this could be.
As of when I write this I do not have an answer for you. My assumption would be from a video game or an as-of-yet unaired episode of The Clone Wars but I was unable to dig up a sufficient answer. If you have one, please use our comments section below.
3. Hey Adam, I have to ask: what is up with Hasbro's obsession with the Sandtrooper? It seems like he's been repacked a hundred times in the last few years, and now he's even one of the first figures to be released in the 6" line? Are they aware that the Stormtrooper is more iconic?
The are, but you get a lot of mileage out of a Sandtrooper mold. Hasbro has taken Sandtroopers and turned them into (cheaper) Stormtroopers, plus the Sandtrooper lends itself to numerous mud washes and rank pauldrons. Kicking off with it in The Black Series pretty much sets up a future plain Stormtrooper as well as opens the door for Luke or Han in disguises, so from a product development perspective there's an advantage to starting off with the more complicated, expensive design now and cut features out of it (or change the head) as time goes on and costs go up.
I do think Hasbro forgot that, when they decided "troopers don't sell anymore," that we're getting a lot of very similar (if not identical) rereleases of the Sandtrooper when, previously, we had 2-4 flavors in any given year. Variety is important!
To be honest, picking the first 4 6-inch figures is an unenviable task. I was surprised of the 3 Star Wars figures, only 1 was in the original 12 from the old Kenner days. I can understand why they made their decisions, but I'm sure most pundits were left scratching their heads a little.
4. The current Yoda packaging - I'm disappointed that this is to have such a short shelf-life, as that cartoony Vader packaging looks horrendous. Which figures will be released in this (Yoda) packaging?
As of right now, no Yoda-carded figures are slated to be sold in the USA. That doesn't mean they won't hit closeout channels or importers, so like you, I'm on the market for these guys and the last batch of Maul-packaged Movie Heroes. Help? Seriously, can anyone get me the later-wave Movie Heroes Battle Droid, Boba Fett, or Yoda line look guys? Do let me know.
5. After their spectacular showing in the past couple The Clone Wars, what do you think the odds are of seeing new TCW-style Mandalorian action figures, or at the very least Pre Vizsla? I know the line is drying up, but these guys have proven in the past to be quick sellers...and heck, their on-screen personas are awesome.
The chances of new animated-style anything should be considered low to zero. There might be a few which slip out, but Hasbro is skirting away from this style, probably because they think the style didn't click. (From where I sit, the figures didn't look new enough - the only characters I saw looked exactly like characters I already bought two or three times over. But that's my random guess.)
Unless Hasbro is stupid, there are probably "realistic" style Mandalorians on their list of figures to do in the future as slots and time permits. (No offense to stupid people, but man, this was a slam-dunk.)
I didn't want to use a Q&A for this, but it was asked: Gentle Giant was not present at Toy Fair this year. They haven't really had a presence for a while, neither has Sideshow. Gentle Giant used to share a showroom with Dark Horse near Diamond, and they just stopped presenting there. For business reasons, it sort of makes sense. One of the reasons you do Toy Fair is to get new clients to buy your stuff, and Gentle Giant seems to have a pretty good handle on how they want to distribute current and upcoming product.
Right now I'm the most interested in Saga Legends after the Toy Fair showing. Simpler, cheaper figures are right up my alley, particularly if they expand the offerings to all 6 films. Original Trilogy figures in a quasi-legit vintage style seems exciting, and the t-crotch joint is something I can get behind. "But Adam," you say, "it's so ugly!" I don't care. It's a $6 toy, and I expect my $6 toys to sit easily inside toy vehicles. There are dozens of $10+ figures in varying sizes without that kind of joint, and I got in this game to collect toys. The toys aren't very fun to play with if they can't sit or fit in vehicles, so I say bring 'em on and expand it to include Anakin Skywalker from The Phantom Menace and Obi-Wan Kenobi from Attack of the Clones. Heck, remake Qui-Gon just so he can have a lightsaber that wasn't from 1999.
It's my sincere hope that Hasbro continues this range into 2014 and has a little fun with it. I'd love to see a set of Star Wars-themed figures on replica 12-backs, particularly for $6 each. Could you imagine how well these would sell on fake Vintage cardbacks? Maybe with a J-hook for $6 per? Man, I'd be all over that. $10 hole-punched figures are a drag, but $6 black-and-silver carded figures with a big photo would be awesome.
A good figure is a good figure is a good figure, so I'm hoping this year's batch of figures are better engineered than their recent peers. I want figures with hands that can grip their weapons. I want figures that can stand up without needing a display stand. And most importantly of all, I want figures that are fun to futz with and don't require my spending 10 minutes to find some "sweet spot" to keep them from toppling over when I'm not looking two days later.
I picked up 2 of Hasbro's cheapo Spider-Man figures and 2 of the cheapo Iron Man figures and they're OK. Both lines are currently just reusing existing tooling from 2010 or 2011 in new colors, but they're decent figures. Not great. Decent. The clear blue Spider-Man will be reviewed in my 16bit.com Figure of the Day feature this week, and I rather like that one. Wolverine will see a line of $6-ish figures based on a mix of the comics and the new movie, and I'm actually really excited to get those... at that price. I don't collect Marvel widely, but $6 figures are totally buyable.
I've been collecting modern Star Wars since the Froot Loops box in August of 1995, and I can safely say that the $5 ones were just as satisfying (if not more so) than the $7, $8, or $10 ones. I'm not a high-end collectible guy, I like my stuff cheap because, let's face it, I'm going to be doing this for a while. While I cannot deny that figures like the 2012 Starkiller with bonus costume accessories are pretty cool, it would be a lie if I said I spent more time with them than I did the simpler guys. I wish Hasbro mucho success with its $6 figure venture, and I hope they continue to do well with the $15-$20 6-inch figures for that audience. And the $100-$250 12-inch figures from other vendors, well, I'm just not interested in throwing down that kind of money. I'll keep my clear blue $6 Spider-Man, thank you very much.
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.