But first - a message from Adam. As you may know, we launched a Patreon this week to pay for our server expenses and hosting - basically, to keep writing this site for you, we'd love it if you could kick in a dollar. A few things have changed, and we'll go into it at the end a bit, but if you've enjoyed the last 21 1/2 years of Star Wars toy news consider donating for its continued upkeep.
1. On the back of one of your questions [recently], wonder if you could clear this for me. What do Walmart have the exclusive rights over? 3.75 inch articulated figures or 3.75 black series. I ask because would it be possible for Hasbro to produce a line of 3.75 inch articulated figures under a different banner (vintage...) and release them generally to anyone and everyone?
I think we're dealing with language questions here.
Hasbro has the rights to make officially licensed Star Wars action figures. Walmart is a customer of Hasbro. Hasbro makes products and decides to whom they sell. Walmart doesn't have the rights to anything, other than to buy what Hasbro offers to sell them, and their position as a customer does not extend worldwide - Hasbro can and often does offer exclusive products to other markets at other retail channels. (This is why you might see a Target exclusive at Toys R Us in Australia.) If tomorrow, Hasbro says "We're going to make this available to everybody" that would probably mean one or both parties no longer want to continue what is, supposedly, a very successful program so far. (After all, if repacks sell, that's basically free money.) For whatever reason, they are not doing this - they just want to have all that product go to one very large, very loyal customer. This is a good plan for both parties.
If Hasbro wanted to stop offering them to Walmart and offer future waves to everybody, that could potentially happen. If they wanted it to happen. For all we know the current deal - Walmart agreeing to buy all the inventory of these assortments - is way better for Hasbro than offering it elsewhere and hoping it all sells. That last wave of Vintage wasn't a shared online exclusive because Hasbro was being nice - and, if you'll recall, many of those figures were down to half price (or cheaper) on Amazon within weeks of release. This might be the most viable release pattern for super-articulated action figures at this moment in time.
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2. My question goes back aways to 2009. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Hasbro was going to make a running change to the Hrchek Kal Fas figure, The eyes were to change from "gold" to the screen accurate black. Was this change ever made? I've never seen a blacked eyed Hrchek Kal Fas anywhere on the Internet so I assume it wasn't or if it was that it was very small run of black eyed figures.
My memory was that Hasbro said it was too late and that they couldn't make any running changes to that figure. As far as I know, no such changes were ever produced for mass consumption. There were a few times where a change showed up several months to nearly a year later (see: red Battle Droids ca. 2002-2003) but by 2009, most figures were off the market by the time Hasbro could have changed anything in production due to fan inquiry. (I do believe the 2010 Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader vintage figure name plate change was one they pulled off.)
This is to say, it isn't impossible that Hasbro considered a change, changed the production run, and a small run somewhere in the world got it - this sort of thing has been known to (rarely) happen. If it ever does show up, I would bet money it wouldn't be in American packaging.
3. Now that you have seen rogue one, what did you think of the battle scenes? There was a larger tie striker that was used to deploy the death troopers on the beach and I'm wondering if they have a name for it. Has anyone watched it enough times to figure out all of the new vehicles?
If you're looking for stuff to be catalogued, I'd suggest checking and re-checking Wookieepedia to see what hardware was deployed on Scarif and elsewhere - it's usually a good resource for this sort of thing over time.
I haven't picked up all the resource books just yet, so I don't know what the lander/boarder versions of the TIE Strikers are called - and Wookieepedia didn't have them called out just yet. I flipped through a few books this weekend (boy howdy they're nice) and could not find an answer.
I quite liked the Rogue One battle sequences. The interesting thing about them is that the technological marvels tend to be the thing that you love the most leaving the theater, and down the road (for me, anyway) start to get boring. When I rewatch the old Star Wars movies, I'm more interested in the characters than the vehicle battles. The space battle of Scarif is one of the most gee-whiz things I've ever seen as a Star Wars fan - and I'm sure it'll be boring 3-4 movies from now, especially if we see more Rebel vs. Imperial conflicts on the big screen. A great place to get tension in these battles is from the characters - putting a known, likable character in danger who has motivations up against another known character does wonders to distract from things like old effects. Once you get beyond the cool crashes and amusing cameos, the Scarif battle's reliance on technology over emotional resonance is probably not going to do it a lot of good down the road.
...but the ground battle sure as heck is going to grip people for quite some time. Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace had similar problems - in the former we had Lando, Admiral Ackbar, and Wedge as the only characters you might have had some relationship with prior to the shooting. For The Phantom Menace, there was Anakin and Ric Olie, and nobody would weep for Ric Olie. Attack of the Clones pulled off the masterpiece of a battle, putting virtually every character in danger and ratcheting up tension over one of the most sprawling final conflicts in space movies. Similarly the introductory battle in Revenge of the Sith was really something - Obi-Wan and Anakin had to stop new and old villains, save someone, and stop the government planet from being obliterated. What I'm getting at is this: Rogue One could have benefitted from putting someone we knew and liked in space in danger.
This is why it's good to have characters like Poe Dameron - we care what happens to him. It would be nice to care about more characters, and it'd be even nicer to have one or two First Order pilots be a known entity - sort of like Darth Vader in the Battle of Yavin - just to make things interesting. Hopefully they'll give Kylo Ren a fighter, or a pilot sidekick of some sort. Either way.
So it's come to this! I could use some help.
Just this week, Mike from Galactic Hunter has officially handed the site (and its server fees) off to me. I've been writing most of the content here since 2006, but now it's likely I'll be writing all of it here and at 16bit.com too.
Why am I telling you this?
I set up a Patreon for Galactic Hunter and 16bit.com to help offset the fees. Google adwords don't pay much, and the affiliate programs vary wildly from month to month are depending on what you buy. I've been writing things that have been free to the Internet about toys since 1995 - you may have seen my contributions like Adam's Star Wars Newsletter, articles on Rebelscum/Yakface/Galactic Hunter, 16bit.com, and guest spots elsewhere. My goal has always been to get you as much dirt as I can, but I'm only wanting to invest my time - once it costs me money, that takes away from my ability to buy toys, and I don't want that. Neither do you - I need something to write about.
So today, I come to you with my metaphorical hat in hand to ask if you'd kick in a dollar or two each month. This would pay for keeping this site and its archives online for as long as humanly possible - I'd love to get it set up so if we have enough coming in, it can pay for the sites long after I'm gone. (I mean dead, which is when I'll stop working on this stuff unless it starts to turn in to an expense.)
Right now, my goal is to get about $30 a month. This should pay for the servers and domain renewals when the times come, and little things like replacing cameras as needed when they reach their end of life.
If we get there - or beyond - I'd be happy to do more Q&A updates, a permanent return Figure of the Day (or at least regularly scheduled Star Wars Figure of the Day programming - at least 2 per week for here on out), or other stuff to help keep the lights on. As it is, the sites take up a lot of my time - generally 2-4 hours every weeknight and often on weekends - so I'd love to not have to be concerned that they're costing me additional out-of-pocket money, too.
If you've enjoyed reading my work for the - oh God I'm old - 21 1/2 years I've been doing it, please contribute. I've been posting stuff online about toys since before I was legally old enough to drive, and I'd like to keep this up - if it doesn't cost me anything to do so.
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.