Q&A: Star Wars Exclusives, Holdos, Vintages, and Sandcrawlerses

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, December 2, 2018

1. So whatever happened to the 6" Admiral Holdo figure that was shown off awhile back? I thought she was supposed to be in the Dengar wave? Also why are the classic OT black series figures so short packed? The Tarkin, rebel trooper and 4-LOM figures are impossible to find and I don't have much hope of seeing Dengar at retail either. Finally what would you say are the chances of us getting Aurra Sing and Zam Wesell in this scale?

Laura Dern's Admiral Holdo is coming very soon. Due to the date not being made official as of my writing this, I can't say when. But she's coming to The Black Series still, that I can say. While we do bag on Hasbro, one thing they've been real champs at is revealing 6-inch figures far ahead of release so we know what to expect (as long as they're from an existing movie.)

Hasbro and Disney and Lucasfilm communicate what they think will be popular characters and mix assortments accordingly. Tarkin is the kind of figure any suit would short - old guy. Dead. Not colorful, not a cool monster, not a hero. And as such, he's popular - but findable for a time. 4-LOM is an obscure robot who, in the past, has not always performed well. Dengar's still early, so don't worry too much there yet. (And order online if you're worried... it might take a while, but sometimes there are ways of making sure you guys get your figures when you place an order and make your interests known with a pre-order. Cough cough.)

I would put Aurra Sing and Zam Wesell as more likely than a The Phantom Menace Anakin Skywalker. Lucasfilm has recently proven themselves more than game when it comes to releasing more women as toys in various lines, less so with villains, but we've received a few interesting choices from the TV shows. I'm still kind of amazed I can look at my Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Ahsoka Tano, Jaina Solo, and others from the last few years. Fans love bounty hunters and while it may take a few years, I would expect them eventually. We didn't get Jango for a while, and Hasbro really dragged their feet to do the original six bounty hunters. We still haven't had a second Jabba the Hutt thug, or a second Cantina Alien after five years.

One of the biggest problems in Star Wars now would be that of all parties - fans, collectors, licensors - as to the growing scope of the franchise. If you're if you're 30 or older, you probably have a strong perception of Star Wars as three movies (and other material) from your younger days. If you're in your 20s or teens, maybe you see it as six movies and a TV show. Younger than that, it's 10-12 movies and a smattering of TV projects.

Where am going with this?

We're a divided fanbase. In the 1990s, most fans were on board with the entire original trilogy - but some hated seeing Ewoks, anything from Return of the Jedi and/or non-movie sources. When the prequels rolled around, tons of fans split among "new movies" and "old movies" before they even came out - and it was a handy way to specialize your purchases. We see this every time something new comes out, so we get the challenge of trying to figure out how best to appeal to a wide audience. Hasbro made thousands of 3 3/4-inch figures, and you will never see them all as 6-inch figures. (This is a mixed blessing - we don't need 100 Lukes, but I wouldn't mind a second Cantina creature.)

So keep writing those letters to Hasbro and on forums. You might get surprised. Hasbro might also only make 20-30 figures per year, so it might be a while before we get a year of purely "classic" characters. And by that, I mean anything from a movie older than 9 months old.



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2. Regarding the reissue of The Vintage Collection figures, I am curious to see what the re-releases will be. What I mean is; is Hasbro SW Brand leadership going to prove me right, once again, by showing inept decision making? I am not talking about the selection of figures being re-released (overall good but with one or two questionable), I am talking about re-issuing EXACT figures and cards, diluting the overall value of the line.

In my rational mind that allows me to function as a productive and rational member of society, it makes perfect sense in my mind to at least change the card-front with a different picture or create a card-back variation. By doing this, you protect the integrity of this collectible line AND you give buyers a reason to buy additional figures due to the variations - making Hasbro more money via additional sales.

I understand not everyone wants to buy re-issues, and that is fine, to each his own. However, at least this way, the option is there while protecting the integrity, history, and collectability of the line. For those who complain about some figures being too rare and need to be reissued, fine, but change up the card and keep it fun, fresh, and keep people coming back and perhaps not getting so upset about straight re-issues. Part of what makes collecting this line so much fun is the ability to own those Holy Grails, if you take them away, this simply becomes another average line! Am I crazy, or does this make sense?

One thing to remember, it is rare that anything is reissued without some sort of change. In the case of these The Vintage Collection figures, you're going to see new copyright dates on the packaging. New assortment and/or number SKUs. New UPCs. The Disney logo will need to be added to new releases. I would be tempted to bet you money that you will see the character line-up and layout of the package back altered. They will not be identical to previous releases simply because various copyright marks will need to be changed after 6-9 years.

Hasbro's last release of many of these figures was around 2012. A lot has happened since then - we've had 4 new movies, which brought in a lot of new fans. (Not necessarily collectors, though.) We've had a bunch of people get together and make new kids - which also means new customers. Kids have grown up and started to collect - more new customers. We've also seen the toy shelf space shrink a bit, but depending on the competition in 2019 that might be a good thing. Vintage Star Wars is more exciting than Ben 10, at least from where I sit.

Star Wars as a toy line for collectors does best when the movies aren't around. Reissues are boring to us, we get excited by new, novel, and weird things. We got those in 2006-2008. When new movies aren't in the cards, Hasbro and Lucasfilm team up to put out stuff that appeals to the likes of us. When appealing to a mass audience in a movie year, we tend to see more entry-level, watered-down offerings. It's very likely Vintage will come back and go away several more times in our lives.

Right now toys as a whole aren't all doing great, especially boy's action figure lines. Very few enjoy the longevity and variety, and even Star Wars is showing signs of age with line-ups that sort of shake things up a little too frequently while not giving people a crack at classic stuff often enough. The average fan is not really aware of things like package variations - they might know that Vintage is cool, and that they want a Stormtrooper or a Boba Fett. Things like photo changes may not make a difference to selling the quantities Hasbro needs to sell, so if they do it (or not) is more or less inconsequential to the big picture of selling more toys and keeping people who already bought them happy.




3. What happened to the Vintahe Collection Mimban Stormtrooper Walmart was suppose to get in?I know there was a delay with the Black series Kylo Ren Throne room pack. It did hit the stores in my area till this past March. I have not heard anything from Hasbro as to what's going on same with the Jedi Training Rey.

As of my writing this, it has not received US distribution. I can tell you that as of my writing this, the online store at which I work has not been offered this figure. We know it got produced, so it's going to wind up somewhere, eventually. (Oddly, this has been happening with more exclusives in other lines as of late. The Kessel playset is also missing.)

While it may not make you feel good today, you haven't missed it yet. It might show up on their web site, or in select stores, or somewhere else entirely. For example, Hasbro also did Vintage-style carded Transformers reissues - and while I've seen the bigger boxed toys, I've yet to see a single carded minibot in the wild. Will Walmart even take them to their stores? Will they get dumped some place else? I don't know - but we do know they got made, so someone, eventually, will have them for sale. Target dates are kind of meaningless, as sometimes Hasbro gives the consumer (you) the date that the customer (store) takes ownership of the item. Sometimes that's at a US warehouse, and sometimes that's in China, meaning it's at least 4-6 weeks just to get the boat here and through customs and to distribution centers.

All we can do now is wait.



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It took a while, but my Disney Parks Sandcrawler showed up! It's pretty cool. The Power Droid is similar to that brown Target-exclusive Vintage model from a few years ago, but larger, with different joints, and non-swappable removable top halves. The sizes are different, but the sculpts look to be very similar. The Jawa looks like a bootleg of a Hasbro Jawa. It's not pretty, and it barely gets the job done. Keep your Hasbro Jawas.

The Sandcrawler itself is pretty nice. The wheels roll and activate sounds. There are at least five buttons to activate lights and/or sounds, including one that has three different light settings. You get Jawa babble, droid droning, and engine grinding in there. The toy is a big empty box, so it's a nifty collectible and a great item for the adult collector with $100 to blow - but I don't believe it's going to be a beloved children's toy. It may well be the best Sandcrawler of the modern era, but that's a low bar to clear.

I should also note that the figures are both derived from Hasbro sculpts. The Jawa is, as I expected, basically a crappy knock-off. I've seen better bootlegs. The Power Droid is larger, with different articulation and some changes in interior details. I assume Disney handed Hasbro's figures to their factory and said "copy this." That Jawa's a real piece of junk, though, but at least it looks like a Jawa with low standards. This Luke Skywalker figure may well be the worst figure Hasbro ever made. As such, I can't call the Jawa the worst thing ever.

--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.