Q&A: The Return, Again, For Real This Time, We Mean It

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 23, 2011

Q&A is back! Thank you for your patience with his mix of NYCC and pre-convention questions. We look at larger-scale Star Wars figures, the wonders of why we aren't getting Duchess Satine yet, and the frustrations of Movie Heroes action figures being new. (Wouldn't have guessed that last one.) Read on!

1. Hey Adam any chance of gettin a 1/4th scale Vader I know art asylum stopped theirs or maybe a larger 36 inch scale like the mattel batman,spiderman and thing,superman etc thet were found at walmart? Also I could see a jabba barge that opens up to a carry case/playset ,include a special figure and whamo too cool!

It's certainly possible, and large hollow vinyl figures do have a precedent-- I mean, we've seen a giant hollow vinyl Spider-Man for peanuts, but nobody has tried to make a big figure like that lately. (That I've seen.) I don't know why Hasbro hasn't concentrated on that size of item just yet, for all I know it could be a size-based licensing restriction. I doubt Diamond Select jumped on 1:4-scale just for kicks, odds are it was open and not under the Hasbro umbrella. So I guess it really depends on if Diamond wants to do it, and the bulk of Diamond's business is collector-driven while (I've been told) the giant vinyl dudes are mostly for mass-marketers to sell to kids.

As to the Sail Barge... it's going to be a few years. Or never. Probably never. If it does happen I'd wager it would be in or around 2017, right around the end of the license and timed with Return of the Jedi in a hypothetical 3D theatrical release. I'm not sure if you've been following trends in boy action toys lately but "bigger" and "more expensive" aren't really the way things are going. Well, "more expensive," yes, but not bigger.

Hasbro has heard you ask for the Sail Barge. But frankly-- and I say this as someone who prefers toys from Return of the Jedi and the first half of the flick in particular-- it doesn't seem like it would be as much fun as a Star Destroyer, a Death Star, or even the Blockade Runner. (Which probably could be an easy twofer if you fudge a few details-- two decos, one mold.) At this point Hasbro has said no to the barge enough times where I'd say it's in the hands of the fans. Can you find a way to make one, or something close to it, for mass production?


2. Hi Adam! What can you tell me about distribution? I live in Ohio and it seems like we are just getting waves 5/6 when you are getting waves 7/8?

What you're seeing is part of a new nationwide (seemingly) shipment of old stock. I'm seeing it here too, alongside new figures, since the end of September. Since it's "old," collectors have moved on and it sits more. What you're seeing is similar to what used to happen much more frequently, as "old" figures became uninteresting to most collectors as new figures ship to stores. Now the new shipments of old stuff are greeted with a sneer, and as a rule all collectors are angered by seeing any toy they already own when they're out hunting for new stuff. It's just in our personality.

A few weeks ago (October 6) I stumbled into a Kmart with a complete case of Wave 9 on the pegs. All of it, from the Revenge of the Jedi variants to the three new guys. I refuse to believe I am the luckiest collector alive-- and I fully believe what I always say. Hasbro is cranking out tens of thousands of these guys, and at one-per-box and stores getting one or two boxes per week, the figures disappear before you find them. It could be scalpers, employees, fellow collectors, or just someone with better timing than you have-- but they're out there, stores are getting them.

Now, if you live in a town with only 1-2 stores that stock any form of Hasbro product, or if you refuse to shop at any major toy seller out of principle, you're kind of screwed and too damn bad. Some places are not good for collecting Star Wars, like anywhere outside the USA. It's like the USA sucks for collecting Zoids. I like Zoids but if I want them, I have to drive to some store which imports such toys, order online from Japan, or just not have them. And lately, it's been the last option. I'm not saying you should quit, but there are times when it may be to your benefit to sit back and wait for someone to sell off a cheap collection or lot on eBay down the road. Patience does pay in modern collecting, but you have to be willing to wait a year or three to get the deal.


3. I was wondering what you think the chances are of us getting a Vintage style Imperial Guard, with a soft cape. The original figure from ROTJ has always been one of my favorites. The recent releases from a few years ago were ok, but I still think the classic was superior. It's just not the same with the plastic cape.

Bank on it-- the 2011 retool of the Blue Senate Guard was clearly made with a red redeco in mind. It's just a matter of when Hasbro will choose to cash in on its tooling investment. Given how much of Hasbro's 2012 hand has been played out, I'd assume 2013 or later at this point.


4. What do you think it's going to take to get Hasbro to produce a Duchess Satine action figure? I don't mind if they release her as part of the cartoon line or the movie line, I'd just like to see this great character in toy form. She appeared in the 3 episode arc from Season 2, from which with have Pre Vizla, his troops (in 2 colour variants), assassin droid (and 3 of it's babies), a unique speeder bike and now a transport (six seater no less) .... yet still no Satine. She is pretty important in that arc, and has a close relationship with uber main character Obi-Wan. Also she appears again in Season 3, and as the Death Watch are due to re-appear in Season 4 chances are Satine may do too.

Ideally I'd like two figures of her, one in her official business costume and one in her "action" costume when she and Obi-Wan confront the Death Watch in the mines. We have 3 Ahsokas, 2 Padmes and at least 4 female Jedi from the Clone Wars, not to mention "bad girls" like Assajj and Aurra. So Hasbro have succeeded with female action figures in the Clone Wars line. Why not Satine? What does the lady have to do? Or what do Lucasfilm or the fan community need to do?


When you get right down to it, you have to make Hasbro want to do it. If they don't want to, it's not easy to make them. I'd love to see Hasbro "force" fans to buy her, to be honest with you-- they could do a 3-pack with some new armored (repainted?) Mandalorian troopers and Satine as a hostage, and presto-- you have an instant hit. Army builders will buy it for the Mandos, Satine will be there for those who want Satine, and thousands of collectors or kids will be angry because of the mix. Multi-packs are a great way to force a figure on an uninterested populace, but the other guys have to be pretty strong. And right now, it seems Mandalorians or Phase II ARC Troopers would be the hamburger to wrap the "pill" in, although I'd be pretty happy to have a Satine in her action costume myself. (The gown, not so much.)

If you really want her? Make sure to vote for her as Fan's Choice moves on in the future. And if Hasbro finally gets out Jocasta Nu, who had a great performance in the polls, I'd say things for Satine look pretty good. But again... it took 20 years for Grand Moff Tarkin. It might take 5-10 years to get Satine, Ziro, and other fan favorites.

I'll also throw this out there-- because Hasbro will never do it-- but I'd love to see a Kickstarter-style fundraiser on obscure characters where Hasbro can let fans put their money where their mouths are. Set a number, let fans pledge/pre-order, and that way Hasbro (and me) can point to it and say "See? There wasn't any support!" or "See? This was the right thing to do!" Either way, it can at least provide a good way to end the can-they-or-can't-they discussion on certain characters.


5. After perusing Hasbro's slide show from New York Comic Con online, I have a couple questions. I was under the impression that the new "Move Heroes" line was the "new" Saga Legends line, meaning it would be straight re-packs, and thus us long-time collectors could pass on them. However, it appears that some of the "Movie Heroes" figures will actually be new, including the entire Wave 2. The Yoda appears to be new in Wave 1 - do you know if it is? Do you know where Hasbro is going with this line?

What you heard is true... more or less. "Movie Heroes" is replacing "Saga Legends," "Saga Legends" is going away, but "Movie Heroes" is not going to be entirely reruns. "Movie Heroes" will be the new kid-targeted line, rather than crank out the same figure on a fifth or sixth new packaging template, Hasbro is making entirely new sculpts, some with amazing articulation, some merely average, and adding in funky play features. I realize this is a toss-up to some of you but I'm actually pretty glad to see a new sculpt of Anakin with an insane backpack. That tickles my toy fan senses in a way that most Vintage figures don't-- I love 'em too, but these seem to be meant to be futzed around with more.

There will be reruns in the line, or minor upgrades. For example, during the panel presentation it was said that R2-D2 was a completely new sculpt. It isn't. It's not even a resculpt, but it is a redeco with an amazing new sound chip with what may be the bulk of the beeps the character made in the saga, unless they were exaggerating, which is entirely possible. You might be able to (or want to) skip it. The Jet Pack Episode III Clone Trooper appears to be a redeco of the 2005 Deluxe figure, but mine is in a box so I can't confirm if it's the same just yet.

If you were eager for a break... well, the back half of 2011 is pretty slow, right? I expect 2012 to be outright dull after June based on just how much product is due in the first half of the year. I hope you guys were saving your money because Q1 is going to be expensive. What better time to release new stuff than tax season?



I had to go to the east and west coasts a few times this month (on a plane again today), I moved into a house, and then I answered these questions. That's why we had a bit of a break, because for the first time in years I've actually been busy to the point where staying up all night or skipping lunch to get something written wasn't going to cut it. How've you been?

I'm hoping to get the collection situated by SDCC 2012. That might sound like a joke, but I don't know how many of you have had to move, pack, unpack, or otherwise transport an entire collection of toys from 1995-present, plus other knicknacks and goodies I've picked up through my time in the hobby/business/whatever.

Off to go check out all of Santa's secrets!

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now!