Q&A: Sail Barge Bonus Edition!

By Adam Pawlus — Friday, March 30, 2018

1. I'm surprised the minimum order requirement hasn't been met yet. One would figure speculators and scalpers would order at least 2, wait a while after the release when demand is huge, then resell them for a higher profit. Even the addition of an exclusive YakFace (which they could easily sell for a few hundred) doesn't seem to help the order drive. Do you think the minimum will be met?

A $500 ship, paid up front, from a new platform, during an era where the economy is... shall we say exciting? I can see people dragging their feet - but as of right now they need less than 200 by next week. I wouldn't be surprised if people could recoup a little money from Yak Face - especially with a mainline Return of the Jedi coming for those who don't need every last package variant or the coin (seriously, we're never going to see the reverse of that coin are we?)

Two weeks ago I would have said "no way they're gonna make it." Now it seems like they're going to make it for sure.

I'm supporting it - but I completely understand why you wouldn't. Some of us ordered the Castle Grayskull early, but we didn't have this level of transparency.



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2. Given the rabid desire for fans to have mint packages, and that this is the most expensive Star Wars toy yet made, is there any indication Hasbro will take care to double or triple-pack this huge box when it ships? One can see outrage if Barge boxes arrive crushed. I ordered one today, and was charged tax, but no shipping. Might that be tacked on later?
--Chris (again)

I do not believe Hasbro is thinking about mint packaging. I expect the boxed toy will be in a bigger box, but just because of the size I'd bet money at least half of them are heavily dented or even have holes in them. I doubt Hasbro will be test-shipping these to see what kind of damages are being done, but I hope that they will - there's no reason these have to come damaged, but I can't imagine there will be any sort of mint condition guarantee for the box.

Shipping is "included." A few weeks ago I spelled this out, and depending on where you live it's expensive. I'm assuming they'd be shipping from the Chino Hills, CA warehouse - but Hasbro could deliver them to literally any fulfillment company anywhere in the USA. My estimates were Hasbro would have to spend $30 or so to ship it one state over to $115 across the country, assuming there are no significant rate hikes over the next year.

I hope Hasbro considers double-boxing or using a durable box, or even manufactures the item in China with a special heavy-duty shipping box. But the weight adds shipping costs, and cost costs. Will Hasbro throw down the extra $5-$10 of profit to deliver you perfection, or will they just say "well, it's a box, they're gonna open this right?"

We know where this is going.




3. Should the Barge be a success, would this give Hasbro the motivation to make other large Star Wars toy, like a Death Star playset? For the last 20+ years, Hasbro has told us making one would cost too much, be too big, and no retailer would want to carry it.
--Chris (again)

I know there are retailers that would carry and have pitched big items at higher runs than HasLab is offering over the years. Hasbro does what Hasbro wants.

Rumblings are that Hasbro's next plans for HasLab incorporate other brands and other kinds of products - I am not liberty to discuss anything, but a Death Star was not on the current short list. Hasbro has a lot of licenses, and if any of them are expiring it's in their interests to put out the craziest stuff they can to ruin it for the next guy. Supposedly the license expires at some point in 2020 if it doesn't get renewed. The Sail Barge took 6 months to design and a year to deliver (supposedly), so Hasbro could sneak out several surprises over the next year if they felt like it. I would consider it to be bad form to try anything like that without first delivering the Barge, so if this succeeds I would assume a sequel could be on display at Toy Fair 2018. Or maybe we'll see something for another brand over the summer.

There's also the grim reality of space. Provided you only buy one of everything, you're running out of space in most homes - another giant boxed toy that could occupy the same space as a loveseat may not be in Hasbro's best interests. I still hope Hasbro considers a modular Death Star that the user could configure out of smaller sets, sold in chunks, preferably not as an exclusive. You could buy more than one to build out big hangars and giant hallways, or just grab a conference room. For example.



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4. With interest in the Barge so high, might Hasbro make another release of the Tatooine Skiff? And, wouldn't it make an awesome pack-in with the Barge?

One of my favorite releases in the past was Target's 2008 exclusive TLC's "Ultimate Battle Pack: Battle at the Sarlacc Pit Skiff." It came with the Skiff, 5 figures, the Sarlaac, and a nifty base. Might we see some similar sort of base with the Barge? It'd be nice if it had a desert base, which could accommodate a Skiff. Hasbro could then sell us an updated Skiff and a Sarlacc. Collectors would go nuts buying up figures to create the ultimate Jedi diorama.
--Chris (yet again)

I read on another site - I failed to remember which one - that Hasbro said there were no plans to reissue the Skiff in the near term. Thing is, costs are a real issue. Nearly every decent vehicle produced in China in the past two decades costs about twice as much to make, or at least they now cost twice as much once reissued. Remember those smaller Jedi Starfighter, Fighter Tank, Slave I, and other Jedi Starfighter vehicles? I asked Hasbro back then why they would make new ships when the old ones were great - they said the costs in China were too great to just keep using the same techniques, and they had to develop cheaper, newer vehicles to keep prices down. Tooling costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for some vehicles, so that kind of investment is a Very Big Deal. Would you have paid $40 for the same vehicle? You ignored the AT-ST reissue last year for $60, when it used to be $30.

Hasbro's Target-exclusive The Legacy Collection Battle at the Sarlacc Pit is the must-have accessory (with some of the worst figures Hasbro ever made - check out the face paint) if the Barge makes it out. The Skiff is a thing of beauty, and the Sarlacc is certainly unique and cool.

Now let's put things in perspective - those sets were bargains when they came out. It was $62.99-$72.99 as Target stores varied price by location - and items from that era cost about double when they get reissued. Would you pay $150 for a rerelease, even if they fixed the paint? I wouldn't. You can get it on Amazon for about $200 at press time, or on eBay for about $175. I'd suggest just doing that.


5. Does the Sail Barge come with a unique Jabba or is it a repack of the TRU Black Series?

Hasbro's plans at Toy Fair were to use Toys R Us' Rancor Pit mold from The Black Series, which is basically the same sculpt they used for the 6-inch figure. But smaller. The deco would be changed and Hasbro plans on using the new "digital face printing" from the 6-inch figures to add spittle and general grime, which could be really awesome. Those 6-inch figures turned out well.



And that's it! If this were Election Night Coverage I'd say "The Barge is President" and go to bed early. It looks like Hasbro's first attempt was a success unless there's a botnet of griefers who put in phony info that evaporates when Hasbro tries to charge all your cards next week. If you're like me, this week you put some time in going through some of your stuff to get rid of it - I'm writing reviews of toys I've had for over 30 years because they've been in a box this whole time and they're just taking up space the Sail Barge could use. And frankly, I have too many toys.

With the first round of Toys R Us closures likely taking place within days if not hours, this is a big shift in how we can buy toys - I have my doubts Hasbro can succeed in other lines (would 5,000 people buy a $500 Transformers toy? Doubt it.) but it's sobering to see that Hasbro now has to go for Hot Toys-market's dollars. That's a lot of bread, and in the short term we're an easy audience to appeal to in order to make up some of the hit Hasbro will take from Toys R Us. However, I'm also keenly aware that every Big Hasbro Toy in the 1980s usually came out as a line ended as a "Hail Mary Pass" of sorts to the toy industry, saying "Support our brands - this is the kind of insane thing we'll do to keep afloat!" The Barge is going to serve as a beacon to figure fans that may have lapsed, with some coming back to collect if Hasbro gives them 3 3/4-inch stuff to get.

We've got some excitement in the coming year, but it's still a gamble. Just because Hasbro has your money doesn't mean some catastrophe might not happen and you don't get your Barge. I think Hasbro has their stuff together and has gotten significantly better about release dates than they used to be, but this is still like a Kickstarter. There's no HasLab shame squad if we don't get our Barges, so here's hoping Hasbro has a very good year.

--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.