Q&A: Star Wars Droid Pairings, Mailings, and Other Complaints

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 12, 2021

1. How best do we beg Hasbro for a Bea Arthur figure? Or Art Carney? Or Vlix? Or any number of unmade characters? Is there an address we can write to?

Hasbro pays attention to a lot of things, and any sort of big community chatter makes a difference. This can be active campaigns on fan sites, big petitions, massive social media pushes, and so on. If you can do their marketing work for them, they like that - it doesn't always result in a toy, but it helps.

You can also get the same effect by buddying up to Disney - the suits do sometimes lean on their licensees to make specific products for certain launches or fan demand. The very best thing you could do to get absolutely anything made as a toy is to push hard for it to be in a movie or upcoming streaming show - but I have even less idea how to do that. The comics may also work - after all, I've got a Jaxxon figure now. I never would have guessed.

I have no idea who you address it to - maybe "Attn: Star Wars"? - but Hasbro's HQ, which you can find on Google, is 1027 Newport Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02861. (Will they answer? I don't know. But I do know that is a building where magic happens.)

The best way to get attention is a big campaign. If you can prove to Hasbro (or any toy company) that thousands of fans are signing their name to say "we would buy that," that makes a big difference. Not hundreds. It's gotta be thousands. And noisy. Also they love social media impressions.



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2. Adam, Hasbro has been banking on its Pulse site as the one-stop shop to get all its products online, whether it be Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, etc., a place "where fans come first."

How is it, then, that they can't safely package a figure so it won't get damaged to save their lives?

I see pics of collectors who received a limited-edition or exclusive figure from them, only to find it's been shoved into a box 2 sizes too small and is damaged before it even gets shipped.

You'd think if collectors had to pay for the privilege of being the first to order some product from a manufacturer's website, that they should at least expect it to be safely-packed.

Does this sound like they're taking collectors seriously?

If there's a fly in your soup, and you tell me about it, you're still going to have a fly in your soup. I'm a bad complaint department. I'm not going to talk to them for you. Only you have the expertise regarding your order and what went wrong to let them know how they can fix it for you, or fix it in the future.

When you're a business shipping tens of thousands - or much, much higher numbers - of product, a few are probably going to go out that may not be as good as one would like. With proper training you can usually fix this - but still, sometimes a few bum ones go out. I have to say I haven't been made privy to the Pulse complaints of which you speak so I am going to say my few experiences with Pulse have been very good, they're great at replacing missing parts (Barge legs) too. If they're at the end of a shift, and only have one size box left, it would be reasonable to assume they may try another kind of less perfect packaging - but having neither seen nor experienced what you describe, I feel bad even trying to speculate.

While I do work for a competing mail-order toy company, I can say this - not every employee is perfect on their first day. (I had to work in a warehouse in a busy season a bit over 10 years ago. It's a tough job.) The interweb toy business has been growing over the last year, so a lot of new hires are entering the business for the first time - and sometimes stuff goes out that isn't up to the standards of a toy collector. (From my own experiences, I've only had one iffy Hasbro Pulse order - an air pillow shoved in a box shoved in the toy's window real good last week, but the shipping box itself was fine and so was the comic in the box. And the toy was perfect once opened.) I'd go as far as to say Hasbro Pulse (where I buy a lot of exclusives), Big Bad Toy Store (where I buy some imports and exclusives), and Entertainment Earth (where I get almost everything else and also work) have been consistently great - but I won't lie to you, everywhere has a bad day and sometimes the packing isn't as perfect as when I ship gifts to my friends. But we collectors pass along the comments, and the new people learn. I should also say that Target has almost always been excellent too.

To make this shorter - largely Pulse a pretty good job. (I can't say perfect, I don't know what their defect rate is or follow a lot of people complaining about deliveries on social media.) The good news is most places have return policies. With some stores going out of their way to offer free shipping on everything with a low barrier, there may be people looking to cut corners in packing material, but most stores want you to get your stuff in the best possible condition. I would advise you call or email whoever you buy from if the packing isn't up to your standards - even where I work - so they can see how it arrives, research it, and hopefully work on making the next delivery better (and replace it if needed.) No store is going to have 100% perfection thanks to occasional accidents, the odd item that may have been pre-damaged en route from Asia, or other matters I'm not considering.




3. Which astromech droid should I track down to go with the up coming Antoc Merrick vintage collection X-Wing?

As far as I know - and I may have missed the right reference book - it looks like he has a red-bodied droid with a silver dome and what may or may not be red (possibly brown?) panels. As such, R2-R9 or the Disney Droid Factory build-a-droid equivalent may be your best bet for that $105ish reissue of a formerly $30-$50 X-Wing with a $13-$14 new figure in it.



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Be sure you send in your questions for next time. The mailbag is out of on-topic questions, so if you got some, send some in.

Another week, more pre-orders, and we're getting some good ones. I'm of two minds about remakes of remakes - on one hand, I've got a Bib Fortuna. On the other, the last Bib Fortuna was in 2006 - that's 15 years ago. By comparison, Kenner's first Bib Fortuna was 1983 and the next was 1997, only 14 years apart - so we're probably due for a revision. After all, people that bought the Barge may want something a little more modern for their fancy purchase. There's a lot coming down the road, but very little of it would register as new - which is what I find frustrating. As a kid, I loved the vehicles, aliens, and droids - and now there's a lot of remakes and remakes of remakes, joined by repaints of characters with more metallic finishes or paint splotches. They aren't bad - but are they exciting?

From the look of things there will be no new wholly new vehicle this year, an unusual move as most years have something. Antoc Merrick's X-Wing is due at Target soon at least, but 3 3/4-inch fans have had less and less to get excited about as far as vehicles go. (Heck, I'm buying a Playmobil U.S.S. Enterprise. That could've been Hasbro's money.) I'm a little surprised we aren't seeing existing tooling brought out of the mothballs with those nifty 2012-2014 mini Jedi Starfighters and Boba Fett's Slave I and other small ships again. They were neat, cheap, and fun - plus a whole new generation of kids has come up since their last at-bat at retail. (And that AT-DP is still really awesome.)

For the time being, the main hope for ships seems to be Mission Fleet - which have sold well and been popular, just not with the older fans. If history is any indication, that means today's kids will probably want to buy the ones they missed down the road, and none of us will have bought any. Such is life! It's sort of like how LEGO carved off a big chunk of would-be 3 3/4-inch figure fans.

Will there be more this month? Probably not a lot of announcements, but Hasbro is doing its whole PulseCon thing in October. (That's what would've probably been the San Diego or New York announcements.) It should be educational. There are also some other exciting things that I can't wait to talk about, but I have to, so stay tuned.

--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.



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