Q&A: Small Figures, Big Figures, Cartoons, and More New Figures

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 16, 2014

What's on the docket for Galactic Hunter Star Wars Q&A? I'm glad you asked. Let's talk 12-inch figures, 31-inch figures, and 3 3/4-inch figures. Are they related? And then 3 3/4-inch figure futures - the good news is that there's a rich past, too. Let's also talk animation styles - because we've got the space. Send in your questions for next time, and read on!


1. My children love 3 3/4inch action figures and I want to continue to buy what my children love. Making the children happy is what is important especially more important then what I will buy. Question, if my children want 3 3/4 inch action figures and Hasbro will only make 6 inch figures will the line now be targeted to collectors then children?

Hasbro will continue to make 3 3/4-inch figures, especially for kids. Saga Legends/Mission Series fans will enjoy Sandtroopers, a new Luke Skywalker, Darth Sidious, and many more this year in addition to the Rebels line. Also, if you love your kids, remember that there are thousands of worthless 3 3/4-inch movie action figures on eBay available in collections for $1 or $2 each in collections. You'd be doing your kids and those collectors a huge favor by picking those up and finding them a new home - specifically, yours.

There will also be more 3 3/4-inch Black Series for collectors, and depending on who you ask those are for kids. Some people say 6-inch is for kids. I'm sure some lunatic thinks Sideshow's figures are great for kids. Really, just pay attention to what it says on the box. The important thing is that 3 3/4-inch figures aren't going anywhere - there's just a new 6-inch option for those who want to start fresh.

A personal anecdote - I got into Star Wars something fierce in the era of Ewoks, and late in Return of the Jedi the line died. Dead dead. Not "dead" as in goofy internet terms, but Kenner stopped shipping this stuff around 1985 until 1995 - so people like me, the single-digit age, no car, $1 a week allowance crowd, had to hit up garage sales, friends' older brothers, and flea markets to get Star Wars figures. Your kids have countless retail stores, eBay, online shopping, and a whopping 19 years of existing, common, and cheap toys they can get whenever they want assuming their cool dad is willing to click on the sponsored Amazon links below and order something. For example. My point is this - if Disney implodes tomorrow and nobody ever releases another toy ever again, scalpers, dealers, collectors, and speculators have so much unsold, worthless product that it's entirely possible your children could have a toy collection that rivals mine, at a fraction of the retail cost. As to the true future direction of 3 3/4-inch, we're going to see what Hasbro can sell - personally their silence on the size in both Saga Legends and Black Series incarnations at Toy Fair was unsettling, but I don't know if I can read much into an iffy Power Point presentation.




2. Quick question for the Q&A. Some of the recent Star Wars figures in different scales look extremely similar. There are some 12 inch-ish plastic figures, sometimes referred to as shampoo bottles, which look a whole lot like sized up versions of the Saga Legends Figures. And even the very giant Clone Troopers from Jakks Pacific look a lot like like very very sized up versions of the Saga Legends figures. Is this just similar sculpting, or is this some sort of computerated design capable of being made at any size?

There are similarities, and they may even come from similar digital files - I don't know this for a fact - but there are key differences. There's only so much variation you can get with the same character in the same pose, but generally speaking the big Jakks guys have more detail and look better.

It wouldn't stun me if there were some shared sculpting, but the 12-inch figures are preposterously narrow, almost 1980s-like in their proportions and functionality. Maybe that's why I like them? Well, who knows. Like most things they aren't for everyone but I've got a smattering of them down here in the basement office and I would probably buy a few more, if they keep it light.


3. I can't tell the style of the animated Clone Wars and Rebels apart. (Is anyone else disappointed by this?) What's the difference?

Specifically in the mission series, regarding the pair of figures with a stormtrooper and green-eyed alien with pointy ears, black goatee/sideburns and yellow suit, who is he? Is he from Clone Wars and Rebels?

I find the overall look of stills from Rebels and Clone Wars to be very similar, but my people tell me that the budget on Rebels is lower. This might mean that the real difference isn't in how they look, but in how they move - very little finished footage has surfaced, so we might not know the real difference in the two series' styles until we see them in motion during a completed episode. As the maquettes go, they do seem pretty gosh darned similar. Perhaps a little more rounded, but for all I know this is an illusion created by the renderings released thus far.

I believe the big guy you're referring to is Zeb Orrelios, another character based on the work of Ralph McQuarrie. In this case, he's sort of similar to the Chewbacca concepts minus the color and costume. His species is very similar to the West End Games-introduced race known as the Lasat, but he may be significantly taller. It's not an area that has a ton of reference on it, so I'm sure it's flexible enough to be whatever Disney needs it to be.

My guess is this will be a popular show with the kids - DisneyXD does not have a reputation for old nerds like Cartoon Network (and indeed Adult Swim) does - so hopefully it can carry its own weight long enough for me to get a few more vehicles and figures out of it. I'm quite happy with the 3 3/4-inch plastic line-up thus far, including the surprise R2-D2 and C-3PO Rebels two-pack, but I don't know if I need 100 figures from it just yet. If it's a smaller line like 1985's Droids that may be a blessing. I'd work on a checklist but I'm not entirely sure as to what's coming when - we've seen some mock-ups, leaks, packaged samples, and so on that tell us to expect movie toys in Rebels packaging. It'll be fun to watch, and certainly a fun diversion while we wait for the movie. If you're a video gamer, I anticipate that Rebels will be the Sega Dreamcast of the Star Wars franchise. We look forward to it, we'll enjoy it for a few months, and it'll have some truly great moments - but everybody is waiting for the Playstation 2 or Episode VII just around the corner.




Oh! I need to write something down here. Well, The Clone Wars' sixth season, or second encore, or whatever is up on the Netflix and elsewhere. As such, you can expect Galactic Hunter Video Theater to return in the next day or so. Aren't you lucky? I'm not so sure, actually - I'm two episodes in and just not feeling it. Ahsoka's departure from the show made for a perfect finale on so many levels, not the least of which is literally seeing a young character grow out of playing Star Wars, so to speak. The new season starts off with an arc that goes out of its way to kill some of the shock value surrounding Order 66, which makes for fertile soil for a story but well... we know where this is going. I'm glad these are being shown, but I'm hoping it gets a little more interesting really quick. It's amazing how a story of consequence is turning out to be the most inconsequential, but maybe it's just me.

One of the greatest toy lines of all time that people ignored is on my desk right now, as I grabbed them out of my archives. Burger King's 1997 Universal Monsters action figures. Each were basically 3 3/4-inches, 5-jointed, Kennerish-quality releases. Frankenstein's Monster had a clear green head that could light up. Dracula had glow in the dark elements and a coffin. If you don't yet have them, look them up - they're cheap, scratch that Vintage Kenner itch, and are so bizarrely great they won't ruin your high-end figures a bit. They're fun!

Also, some official Hasbro photography got out of the next wave of 3 3/4-inch Black Series, and I don't know how many of you remember how wonky some of those early Hasbro Indiana Jones figures looked... but these are worse. Obviously your mileage may vary when they hit stores - ha ha ha, I mean when your box arrives from your online order - but it really does reinforce my point about how the line is really eating its own tale. 2004's first wave of Original Trilogy Collection brought us really nice Yoda and Luke figures. They were thin on articulation, but were cheap with wonderful sculpts and great accessories. To say these are merely awful is a grand understatement - this is one of the reasons I'm more keen on the cheap figures. That Luke and Yoda might be more acceptable if we were dealing with the premiere edition of those figures. Sure, Luke looks goofy, but a mega-articulated figure could be forgiven for its eyes if we haven't already seen multiple better takes on the character in this costume. I thought 2004 Vintage Yoda was pretty awful... and somehow this is worse.

On the bright side, it looks like we might get another grab at Bastilla Shan - which is going to sell cases and/or sets I'm sure - and Toryn Farr is something of value to old-school fans squeezing blood from the stone that is the original trilogy. Most of the opportunities from those movies going forward are going to be the same areas we've always asked for - Cantina, Jabba's Palace, Rebel Pilots, Imperial Officers, and (in my case) Ewoks. I sincerely do expect the samples that show up on my doorstep of the new Black Series figures to look slightly better than these samples - hopefully we'll see a delay for QC - but it does make me continue to believe that Rebels TV figures and the new movie are desperately needed to keep things interesting. And so that we have fewer examples of figures that cost more and look worse.

Also saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was a delight. Go see it now.

Still looking for a Life Force arcade cabinet... or conversion kit. Got one? Let me give you money.

--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.