Q&A: Star Wars Figure Faces and The New Ship Scales

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, August 21, 2022

1. What's your thoughts on the Jazzwares Micro Galaxy Line? I can see it's aiming to hit an Action Fleet hole in the market, and I think there probably is one, but holding an X-Wing & figures in my hand that feel smaller than I remember Action Fleet being feels.... odd somehow. And I'm not coinvinced they're value for money. My head is saying it's a £10 UK toy selling for £18
Is there any legs to a line like this or is it going to die on it's backside in a crowded market with financially stretched fans?

If I were a new collector and not a 20th century kid, I'd be all-in. But, unfortunately, this is not my first micro rodeo. Also, there are other competing scales on-shelf right now and I certainly don't want to start anything unless it would be (potentially) the most complete scale ever - and Titanium Series and the original Galoob MicroMachines have delivered enough of the goods that I'm hesitant to begin again.

I can't bring myself to buy a new scale - particularly not one with chase pieces. If you want to start a new line with stressing me out, that's great - I will skip it from here on out. I do love what I see, with things like Sabine Wren's custom TIE Fighter, Asajj Ventress' Solar Sailer, and other ships we just don't see as toys very often. The quality seems good, the prices - adjusted for inflation - seem largely comparable to Action Fleet.

Since it's Jazwares and not Hasbro, I bet they'll find a way to make it last. Galoob had a great run (before being absorbed by Hasbro) between 1994 and 1999, covering most of the bases - in some cases, literally, as we got playsets. I doubt Micro Galaxy can ever hope to compete with Titanium Series, Hot Wheels Starships, or MicroMachines if only because scale is going to make it impossible to do great versions of anything bigger than a Millennium Falcon.

Given "classic" Star Wars was only 3 movies in the 1990s and arguably at least 6 (plus TV shows) today, I would assume Jazwares could keep Micro Galaxy going for at least 3-5 years given the much more rapid cadence of releases in the 21st century. Back in the 1990s you'd get 30 vehicles in a line and go "wow, that's a lot!" In 2022 you'd get 30 vehicles in a year and go "that's it?" With precious few new ships per streaming series, there's still a decent backlog of starfighters and smaller freighters to crank out from the small screen shows.

Jazwares could keep the heavy hitters in circulation for years ("just different enough to make you mad" variants), assuming new kids come on board and the vast number of underserved vehicle fans hop on board. 2002 Action Fleet was anemic, Titanium Series Ultra was a tiny line of similarly sized ships, and Disney Store's line of die-cast metal vehicles was largely completely forgotten and was wildly incomplete. There's an opening here, but it all depends on how much fans jump on this - and with the artificial rarity, I just don't have the bandwidth to want to spend time or gas thinking about what looks to be an otherwise spectacular line.

Depending on how long you've been in this - 10, 20, maybe even 45 years - it might not be a bad idea to ask yourself what you've missed that you really regret missing. Anymore I'd say there's more I regret starting to collect than completely skipping, but your mileage may vary especially if this turns into something grand. But even if it does, the chase blind box ships and low-run non-mystery toys are enough to make me say "no thank you." But it's my hope they do well, that new fans love them and make new fan sites showcasing galleries of them all for future fans to enjoy and look back on with joy. I just can't do more of it without someone saying "here's more storage space and a few bucks to do it."



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2. I’ve always been curious about the fine details on action figures; are facial features done by machine or by hand? I would assume that for the sake of efficiency and consistency, producing thousands of figures around the world, it must be an automated process, but how does that account for some of the infamous horrible paint jobs I have seen (endor Han seems to stand out in my mind, in particular). Do the machines sometimes fall out of calibration? Or do the figures’ brackets get ever so slightly off center, and that just mucks the whole thing up? Call me curious,


I have one obscure Hasbro 2019 Iron Man Hasbro 3 3/4-inch figure with a photo-printed torso that is a couple of millimeters out of alignment - so even with machines, calibration issues can still be a problem. It's hard to tell in the first photo, but you can see everything is shifted over a tiny bit to the right (Iron Man's left.) I bring it up because it is possible to get it wrong, although it seems Hasbro has been generally good about making faces painted better since the advent of "photoreal" deco.

My understanding is that things used to be done largely with paint masks by hand - so you put down a stencil of sorts, paint it, and then it goes to the next person who handled the next mask. Today, a lot of these are printed on - there are still alignment issues if the face is printed off-center, but currently most facial details with the "photoreal" heads are done with some sort of printer that can print on three-dimensional surfaces.





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We're a month out from the premiere of Andor, and we really don't know much of how it's going to look in terms of toys. If The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi are any indicator, I expect to be disappointed. The collector lines for those shows have, so far, been more of a souvenir thing than a really good selection of toys and I'd go as far as to argue other than Boba Fett himself, the bounty hunter's show has been made up of designs almost entirely taken from The Mandalorian - at least Kenobi got us some new faces in the first few months. Will we get some Rogue One reruns? I sure don't know.

The Bad Batch season 2 also airs in about a month, and I also don't know much about what's going on there. It's interesting to see the line develop - 6-inch fans can get the main crew. 3 3/4-inch fans can't, but they can get a few secondary characters. All in all it's sort of the problem I've been going through before - but especially for - The Rise of Skywalker in that no matter which scale you collect it will be incomplete and unsatisfying. And there's a lot of that going around - the new Star Trek line hasn't previewed its second wave yet (and I assume there will be one), Walmart's DC Super Powers line looks great and is priced well - under $10! - but it's also just a couple of figures. As touching as it is to see revivals of fan-loved toy lines, so much of what we're getting won't break the bank but also won't keep you on the hook for very long. At this point I'd almost say it's intentional - after all, the 1995 The Power of the Force collection kicked off 27 years ago and in 27 years, they still haven't updated all the original 1978-1985 Kenner figures. (I'm more than a little surprised they didn't push to do it in The Black Series, which at this point has only around 50 - depending on how you want to count Han Solo in Carbonite (block yes, Han no) and various flavors of R2-D2 and C-3PO - out of the original 96 carded movie guys. After 9 years it's kind of disappointing, but it does keep some fans around. Until, of course, they age out.

If nothing else, it's been an interesting couple of years to be a fan with remakes of The Real Ghostbusters and now Super Powers at not-entirely-unreasonable prices. Star Wars has gone from pretty reasonable ($9.99) to acceptable ($11.99) and now seems to be pushing $14 each in $28 2-packs, which is kind of awful unless it's the only line you care to collect. And you've got options - there's no reason a retro Kenner figure should cost more than a super-articulated one.

Anyway, it's reset season so hit your local stores and see if anything tickles your fancy. I'm pretty impressed with McFarlane's DC Super Powers line, and I hope it turns into The Next Great Thing for DC Comics fans with availability made easy and lots of good character choices. $10 figures is really where we all need to be going - heck, cheaper if possible - mostly because I don't think I can make myself pay $27.50 for an exclusive Jawa variant right now. (Good or not, it's $27.50 for a figure that was a stretch at $20.)

--Adam Pawlus

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