Q&A: Sometimes Star Wars Giveth, Sometimes Star Wars Taketh Away

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 26, 2017

1. Do you know anything about the Playskool Galactic Heroes toys?

I've been looking for the Phantom shuttle from 'Rebels' for over a year now

The 'Rebels' Ghost playset is showing up at 'off' retailers like Ross right now for cheap and the documentation mentions Phantom compatibility.

The only information I can find has been pictures of it from Toy Fair 2016.

Was is cancelled? Limited overseas release?

To my knowledge the Phantom was never produced - possibly because of its destruction on the TV show prior to its release. I have no evidence that it was made, even though some online listings and packaged samples exist. This happens with a lot of toys, Hasbro's Bistan and Shoretrooper 2-pack was set for oblivion until someone went after it, and Fenn Rau was close to going down the toy-let. (Say it out loud, that's hilarious.) The same thing has happened with a lot of other toys over the years - Hasbro sets up the factory and buys the materials, but never runs the production. Things can change, but at this point it seems Hasbro is so far beyond paying any attention to Rebels outside of The Black Series that I doubt you're going to ever get one short of a test shot popping up for a few hundred bucks.



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2. Is there a difference between the 6 inch black series Praetorian Guard and the Amazon version? I don't have them in hand but according to ebay pics they are the same!?!

At this time there are three versions, and I've got them all right here.

The 6-inch Amazon Praetorian Guard shares a helmet with Toys R Us' exclusive 3 3/4-inch helmet. It's the "underbite" version.

The 6-inch GameStop Praetorian Guard in the Guardians of Evil 4-pack - there's a story I'll tell some day - has the Gilead bonnet topper. This is also on the helmet in the 2-pack with Rey in the 3 3/4-inch line.

The third helmet is the 6-inch main line helmet - it's a rounded cap over a series of horizontal lines. This helmet is also on the BB-8 Playset's 3 3/4-inch figure and on Walmart's The Black Series 3 3/4/-inch helmet.




3. What is going on with distribution? Is Hasbro totally inept? Do the big box store want us to all order online? Even that is sketchy anymore.....I love the 6” black series. They are great and getting better. But if you can’t get them, what’s the point. I stop at a variety of big box and small stores daily and don’t see new stuff often if at all. I preordered the 2nd wave of the 40th anniversary wave from your fine company only to have them cancelled. I only saw them in stores once and ended up missing that group which had some awesome OT figs. Loved the Guardians of evil set, preordered that from B&N only to have them cancel on me as well. Did an online store search and found every store around me had it in stock, so I went and grabbed it from them. None of the Walgreens in my area had the C3po last fall, had to eBay that. This year, I did the same with Obiwan since they never had him. That is until last week when a case of, not only, Obi showed up but so did an entire case of the 3po as well. Is there any hope of this getting better or is it going to remain a freakin disaster. Unless I want a Zuvio, my Walmart still has multiples of him in stock.

It's been a while - let's talk distribution at big box stores. This is normal, and has been forever. Big box stores order by the assortment (not by the wave), and a manufacturer supplies product based on availability. If they run out and wave 2 is in the Hasbro warehouse, wave 2 gets shipped. If they run out and there's more wave 1, they get more wave 1.

40th Anniversary Wave 2 was a special case. They were canceled, and then opened for reorder after the new arrival date and availability were confirmed. I hope you got in on the reorder as they were up for a few weeks. This was a bit of a strange fluke plagued by delays, but as of right now that rerun is happening for early next year.

I can't speak to exclusives - I just finally got my Snoke Throne from ThinkGeek after considerable delay - but I've had good luck with Walgreens. Supply can come and go fast, but it also tends to show up in quantity later. I don't know how many Walgreens you check, but I just did a bunch of hunting looking for a new Transformers exclusive and still found C-3POs available - we also sold them at my place of work, Entertainment Earth, and as of my typing this we still have some in stock. I found their Jakks Pacific Nintendo exclusives months after they first started hitting, and continue to find them to this day - years later.

Things change a bit, but what you're seeing is the norm. You'll never, ever get to a point when all figures will be available for long periods of time. You have to be at the right store on the right day, or pre-order, or just buy someone's collection on the cheap when they throw up their arms and quit. (This is more effective than you might think.) Per your own anecdotes, things do sometimes work out - just not when you want them to, necessarily. I've had times where I'd never seen a figure in stores, only to stumble on it a year after it stopped shipping. All I can say is if you're sticking with it for the long haul, generally patience pays off. Some figures get dumped, and things often show up somewhere, eventually. Not always.




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Thanks, as always, for reading! I'm working on December's Figure of the Day entries and we'll be doing a few weeks with 3 figures per week leading up to the movie - and then it's back to two. I can't wait to actually know who these people are in the context of a story. Remember when we always knew? Those were good times.

I'm happy Kohl's had a bunch of stacking coupons over the weekend so it brought their exclusive boxed set down to a reasonable price. $50 for four figures is ridiculous - $24, that's more or less a good deal (even if I only wanted 1 figure.) The exclusive train for this movie has largely been a bore - repacks, troop variants, and bonus accessories. More changes would have been nice, or no changes. One unique figure is just barely enough to make it worth it. Unless they also changed the sound chips... I should test for that!

If you're lucky enough to have Kohl's, Ross, or Marshalls near you check them out. They're getting some nifty toys including previously unreleased Transformers alongside heavily marked down Rogue One stuff - including vehicles. If the U-Wing wasn't your bag at $50, try it at $17.

It's a good season to buy cheap stuff as a lot of sales are going around Target and elsewhere. This may not be good for the health of the line - Star Wars has enjoyed periods of extreme popularity where it was hard to keep stuff in stock at full price, and periods of time where you couldn't give figures away for $1. (It's true. 1986 and 1998 come readily to mind.) With annual movie launches and increasingly boring figures - no I will not stop complaining that we got a new Poe Dameron that looks exactly like our old Poe Dameron - it wouldn't surprise me to see Hasbro take what we would consider to be the wrong lessons and give us lines that push more toward the kid-friendly roleplay or the generally popular 6-inch range. They just need to expand the character offering, or hope Disney and Lucasfilm give the cast more interesting costumes.

--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.