Q&A: Star Wars Carbon Freeze Treats, Size Issues, and NYCC Panels I May Be At

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 22, 2019

Come See New Toys at NYCC 2019!

1. Is Jar Jar Binks the only other figure created in Carbonite besides Han? (If people wanted to switch around Jabba's trophy display in the Adventure Set, even without a magnet).

Full credit to Hasbro for creating Jabba's Palace Adventure Set. Any slight changes you would have suggested for the set if you had input (like a couple of cardboard infill Movie-Photo backdrops/steps for the arches, etc) or recommendations for future Star Wars [3 3/4-inch scale] playsets?

I think Hasbro nailed the Walmart set as a product - selling Jabba's Palace as a partial set was better than nothing, and including two vintage figures in there was a stroke of completist genius. It keeps the figures protected from poor shipping or shelving practices. It sells more product - people have to buy one to get the other. And it's also expandable. The only thing I would've done is say "we're not saying we're doing more or not... but we are watching how this sells closely." Hasbro hasn't spoken to anyone I know (or me) about doing add-ons to that particular set but I hope they consider it.

Right now, my only real interest in 3 3/4-inch action figure playsets would be to house figures I've already bought. The Cantina would be interesting to see in a more robust form. I'd love to see more of Jabba's Palace. I think Hasbro could do well with Cloud City. I believe most fans would love some sort of Imperial set - be it a Death Star, Star Destroyer, or base of some sort containing familiar elements. So many of us built armies and they have nowhere to go - I assume such a thing would be a boon to sell many, many figures for those who didn't army-build in the past.

I believe Hasbro could do a good job expanding the Cantina - the "bar sections" from 2002 and 2007 could be reissued with more booths, a building or walls, and other elements over time while slowly dribbling out vintage-carded reissues of aliens as well as new ones. (Confidential to Hasbro: 1979 Kenner-style Cantina aliens would be very nice additions to any diorama or collection.) I'm all for anything interesting and modular. Another ideal "playset" would be some sort of stackable "Display Arena" with spaces for name tags and backdrops... and maybe chain-able LED lights in the top. I would love to see something that encourages or rewards collecting, and allows us to build - literally or otherwise - on what we've done.



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2. Please take us to school about why the con exclusive 3 pack Luke is still up on Hasbro Pulse 4 hours after both 6 inch figures sold out [when they launched on September 9.] Consider this an invitation to rant about entitled fans, 6 inch figures displacing the one true action figure scale, and the kids on my lawn.

Or in question form: why doesn't everyone like what i like and why do people buy dumb things?

6-inch has been consistently outperforming 3 3/4-inch, but I don't know if it's because it's more popular or if it's because 3 3/4-inch has been pretty awful since 2012. The Black Series 3 3/4-inch line has been consistently boring since its introduction with previous few figures to appeal to collectors and tons of retreads. Meanwhile, 6-inch was a new scale with all-new sculpts and molds and a new customer base - including lapsed fans - able to start fresh. Unless fans hated it, 6-inch was destined to (eventually) succeed but the lackluster variety and countless retreads in the small scale aren't helping.

When it comes to this year's SDCC exclusives, Boba Fett tends to be more popular than Luke. 6-inch tends to be more popular than 3 3/4-inch. Vintage photo packaging is more popular than a nice-but-generic vintage box. Kenner deco may trounce almost everything - you have Lukes like that in the 3 3/4-inch size, and it was unclear if the figures were all-new or just new heads to most fans. Boba Fett, it's obvious what you're getting - 1979 deco on a popular and sold-out 6-inch mold. Boba Fett and a new Sith Trooper should, always, outsell Lukes. A Luke 3-pack was an odd choice even though they're excellent figures.

Splitting the lines was probably a (to our unique group) mistake. Kenner used to sell hundreds of thousands, allegedly, of some 3 3/4-inch figures in the 1990s when kids and collectors all bought, played with, and speculated upon the very same figures. Those figures would be worthless by the end of the century. Since then the split got pretty ridiculous with Hasbro having a 6-inch collector's line (and a 6-inch kid line in drug and value stores), plus kid AND collector 3 3/4-inch figures. Hasbro went from the Kenner line's one-size-fits-all approach to splitting the fans up and reducing the sales-per-item by introducing multiple scales. To steal from a classic poster, "whoever wins, we lose." No matter how well the new line does, they're going to suffer because there are always other figure options out there - plus LEGO, Hot Toys, BanDai, and so on.

3 3/4-inch is further doomed with bad case selections (sorry Disney, Hasbro, and/or Lucasfilm - the assortments are weak and freshness is scarce. 6-inch is generally more exciting, but we're clearly suffering from too many Reys and Kylos Ren in a world where saturation means a figure is going to be in trouble for months or years if it doesn't have a constantly renewing fanbase. The Disney-era guys are still finding their footing, the George-era figures have 42 years of fans coming and going where it's easier to sell overall.

The only thing I can say now is make peace with the money you save and the space you don't waste on more toys you don't need. Hasbro probably could've done just as well with a "modern" Kenner-deco Boba Fett as a 3 3/4-inch figure, but didn't. We got 3 new Luke sculpts, a Skiff, a Barge, Yak Face, Klaatu, and a few other odds and ends - all I can say now is be happy with what you have. Dark Crystal fans don't have all the Skeksis or Mystics as figures. There's no Star Trek Discovery action figures of any kind. Precious few movies have toy lines that last months, let alone four decades. Sure, we all know someone could make a better line for us - but the powers that be want to do something else, and it's doing the kind of business it is doing. Maybe that'll change between movies, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.





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I can't talk about Force Friday yet but on October 5, you can see me at New York Comic Con! I'm doing another panel. (Just me, and lots of toys. Maybe some things will be given away.) Entertainment Earth Presents New Toys, Action Figures, and More with Adam Pawlus!

Right now it has some Star Wars but not a lot - and everything is subject to change. I've got about 85 slides so far of upcoming exclusives, information on chase variants, never-before-seen blind boxes, concept art for 2020 figures and plush, renders of upcoming figures, and a couple of indie toy things I just think you should know about. Not all of it is Entertainment Earth stuff, but a lot of it will be sold there eventually. Think of it as an action figure magazine with an overly enthusiastic in-the-flesh narrator.

Room 1C03, Javits Center, October 5, 2019, 6:30 PM. Be there or don't.

Also, the new 5-inch Galaxy of Adventures line - I had hands-on with one toy so far and it seems that someone at Hasbro remembers the Playmates Star Trek-style figures a lot of us wish we got in the 1990s, and tried to make something like that but better. I need to see more to know for sure, but the first impressions of one figure are very, very positive if you can get past the whole "new scale" thing. I hope kids love it.

--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, and we're down to 2 questions per week until we get overloaded with questions to re-expand back to 3 or more.



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