1. I just saw your QnA [linked] on JTA and I loved it so much so thank you for that! As a 3.75 collector for 15 years I feel like I have been left in the dark with our beloved line. I love the sculpts of new R1 figures I do. For example the death trooper from wave 3 is amazing! Yet I compared it so my saga legends 2010 501st trooper and I get happy when I look at it I get new figure feel of happiness when I look at it I can't say I get the same with the R1 figures. I'm not sure weather to give up on the new figures or continue or just collect all the figures I missed from from 07 to 12!
There's no bigger (and therefore better) action figure expression than 3 3/4-inch Star Wars - it has been around for 30 out of the past 40 years! But the line has changed form many times, with multiple sculpts or points of articulation or accessory variants. A new collector today is actually a lot luckier than those of us who went through it, because you've got the ability to see everything that has come and gone, and make smart purchasing decisions accordingly. I think most of us took the attitude of "this might be it" - and in some cases that was very true, while in others it was not at all accurate.
I don't know your budget, but I'd say any collector who gets to collect the older stuff - and now the glory days of this line are probably 10 years ago and qualify as older stuff - do your research. I'm assuming that modern figures - good articulation or no - are being skipped over by the kinds of people who are going to wish they bought them later. If you're not buying your $6 super-articulated Jyn Ersos or Cassian Andors, that's on you. Since there are thousands of figures, you're in the fortunate position to be able to watch the market and see if prices on eBay, Amazon, or comic book shops drop. It happens - I got my Jango Fett from the Titanium Series line for $10 because enough people forgot that it was made at all, let alone is actually quite scarce (rare, even) and this means a dip in demand. And pricing. Pricing can swing both ways, and markdowns are temporary. Today's $20 U-Wing at Walmart could be tomorrow's $50 (or $150) U-Wing on eBay as everybody who skipped this toy who reads this column slowly realizes Hasbro's not going to be going to making a new, better, bigger one. People didn't think the Original Trilogy Collection Sandcrawler was worth the $40-$60 in 2004 either, and that hit clearance too. It's in the $200+ range now. This is what waiting and skipping things gets you if you aren't lucky.
Also don't discount the fact that if your sense of ennui surrounding new figures could be as much about you as it is the product. It's difficult to keep receiving the same sort of excitement by doing the same thing forever - if Hasbro has left you cold, you're probably not in a place where your resources or interest warrant collecting them all. Since the 1990s I've known of fans who only buy stuff when it gets cheap (I believe some self-applied the term "clearance whore" back in the era of rec.toys.misc) and if you can go through life being OK missing a few good pieces, that's the real secret to toy happiness. You can get a lot of stuff, you can get it cheaply, and if it breaks? At least it was cheap.
The bad news for you is some of those 2007 figures aren't super cheap, and the same can be said about the few "new to the modern line" characters in 2012. Especially at the end of 2012 now, which is kind of hilarious because a) that last Vintage wave almost didn't get US distribution, and b) they went straight to Ultra-Clearance on Amazon upon release. (I could've bought Lumats for under $5 all day long... and Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan, and so on.) I guess this is a long-winded and unhelpful way to give you this glib and unhelpful answer: buy what you like and ignore everybody else. Also, if you didn't notice, a lot of the later 3 3/4-inch The Black Series non-exclusive carded figures like Mosep are still pretty cheap - at or below SRP cheap. So if you see anything cheap, go for that first.
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2. In today's (3/20/17) Q and A you mentioned an unofficial metal bantha toy from the '70s. This got me curious but I can't find any information or pictures. Can you point me in the right direction? My Google Fu is weak...
While most modern price guides and books about the history of Star Wars focus exclusively on licensed merchandise, some companies made a big splash making figures without a license. In the 1980s, it was pretty common to see iffy price guides include things like unlicensed but popular products in addition to figures that the authors may not realize were never actually manufactured.
A company called Heritage and/or Star Trek Galore manufactured a series of metal figures and jewelry before Lucasfilm started doling out licenses for said products. The Star Wars Collectors Archive has a handy article - and a few more articles - showcasing this rarely seen metal figures, which come in various colors as well as painted or unpainted varieties. What I think is the most fascinating about these figures is that it represents what someone who just saw the movie thought was really important - the main characters, Jawas, Tusken Raiders, the Bantha, and the Snitch - now known as Garindan. This is fascinating because that long-snoot alien and the Bantha didn't get made as toys from Kenner until 1997.
3. The new AT-ST Walmart Exclusive - any significant tweaks or retooling?
As I recall the previous release suffered from soft plastic legs and weak joints that made standing / balancing difficult.
Have these issues been addressed with the 2017 version?
I wasn't able to find a good answer, as the set was not decorated sufficiently (at all?) differently for me to want to pay $60 for one. I mean, wasn't this same mold in a set at Toys R Us with a dozen more figures for like $80-$100 and we said that was overpriced as a group?
If anyone out there bought the Walmart The Black Series AT-ST release, please let us know how the legs worked out. Right now I'm just having to prop that last Kmart exclusive version up with some Fighter Pods stuck together until I set up something more elegant.
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