Q&A: Star Wars Clones, Missing 3 3/4-Inch Figures, Hoarding

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, December 3, 2017

1. I can't help but feel like "plastic hoarders" like you and I are a dying breed most days. And yet, I bring home an AT-TE with no legs, where the doors and sounds still work and a few figures from a garage sale and my kids (6 and 4) spend every moment they can playing with it just like I used to with the Death Star and Falcon. They don't even really know Star Wars beyond the fact that 'Daddy really likes it'.

So I pose this question... Where do you think is the disconnect? Is it Hasbro being fidgety and feeling like for some reason they have to reinvent things even though what they have is really good? Is it a lack of imagination or perhaps memory that causes them to repeat things that didn't work before (Unleashed / Centerpiece - Infinity / ToyBox - Fighter Pods / Micro Force) * and I liked Unleashed too btw.

Is it a lack of advertising? Is it somehow missed that kids still play with GOOD toys? Is it economics? I just cannot for the life of me figure out what is so hard for Hasbro to grasp. AND they're putting out the Vintage Collection for "collectors" with figures collectors already have... It almost feels like we are being Punk'd.

I absolutely agree it's lack of advertising.

It's a little more complicated than that, but the whole deal is basically putting this stuff in front of people and making them want it. In the 1980s (and 1970s) Hasbro, Kenner, Mattel, and the rest were experts at this with comic books (which you could advertise during a "toy ad" cartoon when you couldn't plug the show's own toys) and keeping kids' attention hostage with Saturday morning television and a few morning or afternoon programs.

If you want to keep going, toys-as-culture were a much bigger deal - Star Wars toys were a way to own a piece of the movie before everybody had VCRs. Now everybody has streaming and digital, so if you want to keep Chewbacca or Darth Vader in your pocket you're already doing it on your phone.

Hasbro wants to find a way to maximize its brands while also keeping its SKU count down - it's a strangely contradictory mandate. They understand that one size doesn't fit all (which is good) but they also want to not produce too many competing products (also good, but it means our figures-per-year go down.) Hasbro has to make these other figure lines so it doesn't give a Mattel or a Jakks Pacific the wiggle room to say "give us a new license, we have an idea Hasbro won't do" too - so the Hasbro people are also covering their bases so nobody steals their lunch.

The Vintage line of 2018 is sort of like how I feel about Centerpiece. It's a bad idea, the execution, and it needs to be stopped (or changed) before it just comes out and falls flat on its face. Sure, I want a super-articulated Snoke... but I'm not willing to re-buy Kylo Ren to get it.

To continue down the path of the "plastic hoarder" we really do need to consider just how much Hasbro has given us in the past couple of decades, and now no kid could ever possibly hope to collect them all unless the line stops dead and the kid spends 30 years on it. Back when there was only the original line, a complete collection of opened figures could fit in a couple of shoe boxes and you could probably put every vehicle and playset in a room with room to spare. Now we're approaching 200 6-inch figures - it just keeps going, and for people who were sticking it out until the end you have to really ask yourself if it ever really will come to an end.

Kids do like playing with good toys - like LEGO. Hasbro's vehicles don't offer much bang for the buck, and while some are really cool and fun (A-Wing!) others disappoint (waxy X-Wings of the Resistance.)



Ad: Star Wars at Entertainment Earth!
LEGO Star Wars 75190 First Order Star Destroyer Star Wars: The Last Jedi First Order Stormtrooper Blaster Star Wars Black Series Elite Praetorian Guard Figure Star Wars Forces of Destiny Chewbacca Adventure Figure Star Wars The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure Wave 13 Case Star Wars Rogue One Shoretrooper and Bistan Action Figures Star Wars: The Last Jedi Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer Vehicle Star Wars The Black Series Centerpiece Darth Vader Statue Star Wars The Black Series Rey's Speeder Vehicle Star Wars: Last Jedi Luke Skywalker Pop! Bobble Head #193 Star Wars The Black Series Poe Dameron X-Wing Pilot Helmet


2. Through the most up to date lists of 6" figures coming, do you happen to have a list of 6" figures that have been made that do not exist in the 3.3/4" line? For example, Jaina Solo is different, I also noticed a TFA Leia, and there is a crimson red Stormtrooper. I became curious as to a list, and as to why Hasbro would make these in 6" without making them in the dominant and traditional 3.3/4" scale. Thank you for all that you do.

Sadly, this has been happening for years - take a gander at 6-inch Unleashed figures (loaded with "realistic" takes on The Clone Wars,) Action Fleet (Tonnika), Galactic Heroes (unique Clones), and so on. It's kind of disappointing.

You might be interested to know that the Crimson Red Stormtrooper was put in the 6-inch line because we asked for it at work - I've been asking for a 3 3/4-inch one for years. Why this one got approved, I couldn't begin to know, but hey - it exists now!

In addition to it, the 6-inch line also sports the Inferno Squadron Specialist, Battlefront Imperial Shock Trooper, Jaina Solo, General Leia Organa, "generic" First Order Officer, and if we're splitting hairs the Shadow Stormtrooper Commander all come to mind. And if I'm forgetting any, well, you know. It happens.

If you really want to get upset, go down the rabbit holes of 1990s MicroMachines Epic Collections as well as Wizards of the Coasts' Star Wars Miniatures games - there are dozens, if not hundreds, of characters you will never see as a full-size figure in any other line, ever. I wish we'd see a definitive line that encompasses everything, but this will simply never ever happen unless Lucasfilm gives the license to a company I work for and I make it a specific point to put out at least a dozen of those dudes every year.




3. I rewatched Episode III a couple of times recently — is it my imagination or are there no plain white Phase 2 Clone Troopers?

Wookieepedia is nowhere near as useful as TFwiki and I couldn’t find any stills from the actual movie to confirm it. The closest I saw were the ones with gray shoulders and shin guards.

And a one-month-to-go question: Favorite new figure since Force Friday 2?

I agree - and am pals with some of the TFwiki people. (Good people.) There are no signs of all-white Phase II Clones in any of the movies so far. Maybe there's a deleted scene we've never seen, or it's just a concept thing that nobody realized wasn't actually used.

As far as Force Friday - probably Jedi Master Luke Skywalker or Bala-Tik, just because I'm happy to get something new that I already knew I wanted. I can't complain!



Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: Todd, Timothy, Stephen, Shaun, Seth, Robert, Matthew, Mario, Marco, JT, Joel, Jeremy, Jayson, Fox, and Christopher. Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



Hey, a poster! While no trailer has hit yet, Solo: A Star Wars Story got an uninspired black poster with a yellow logo on it making the rounds. This is, quite possibly, the very least they could do. Merchandise based on the earlier incarnation is no doubt nearing the molding stage right now, but as we mentioned before it's not impossible for the toys to be ready while the movie gets kicked down the road. It's unusual, but not impossible. If there's no trailer by the end of the year, I'd expect either a harried postproduction or a massive delay. The thought of two movies between now and summer is a bit exhausting.

New exclusives are hitting! I found Target's Deluxe Luke Skywalker, a 6-inch The Black Series figure with different soft goods, more face paint, and a die-cast metal robot fist. The fist doesn't add much to the product, and while the display base is nice it doesn't add much to the equation, either. Rey at Toys R Us is the same sort of thing, but she has a bit more going on with dirty garments, more soft goods, a metal Lightsaber hilt, and a metal blaster. I'd say neither is essential, and Hasbro giving us a lot of exclusives that are merely plussed-up versions of existing characters is a step in the wrong direction for maintaining completists and keeping old farts like me happy. I just want something new and different - preferably a new character or new costume. If it's functionally no different, why are we doing these? On that note, we'll be looking at these in Figure of the Day this month.

Supporters - thank you! I really appreciate your putting a few bucks into the Patreon. I mean that. Not having to worry about how to pay about keeping the servers on has helped wonders when I stay up all hours writing reviews and taking pictures.

--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.