Q&A: Star Wars Gets a New Classic Old Ship, Crowdfunding and You

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 8, 2019

1. On the topic of Haslab, with Cookie Monster and Unicron not pulling in great numbers, what do you think will be the outcome if they don't meet their quota? I'm a backer on Unicron and it'll be bitter sweet if we don't get the chaos bringer. Do you think Hasbro will go back to the well with Star Wars and if so will it be a less expensive item? Not everyone can drop $575 on a plastic toy in a month with little time to budget.

We got an unexpected answer - this question was asked before the "funding period" ended, and Hasbro extended the funding period for Unicron, but not Cookie Monster, when neither met their goals. Hasbro prototypes countless toys that don't make it to market, from their own IP to wholly original ideas to licensed things you will never, ever see or hear about. Books could be written. Cookie Monster will likely never see production, and I'm sure Hasbro is making calls, talking to people, and seeing what they can do to put you in a new 2021 Unicron today.

Hasbro could do a variety of things - for example, they could run the toy with whatever numbers they got. Factories can run numbers much smaller than this - and Hasbro's "minimum" may not be the same as a factory's actual "minimum." This is the number they decided they wanted to run, and it has things built in like shipping costs, probably some margin of error for tariffs, and of course some profit. 8,000 pieces isn't "break even" and big items like this serve as much as marketing as they do actual products from which to make money. My hunch is somebody saw the Barge sold 8,000 with over 4,000 being sold in the last day and said "they can do 8,000, so you're doing 8,000." The Transformers fan base - at least in the USA - is probably not as cash-flush and/or as large as Star Wars. Unicron is not as desirable as a Sail Barge, thanks to multiple large-but-not-as-amazing Unicron toys existing already.

Hasbro could shelve it. Hasbro could try again with a higher cost per unit, if they feel the item needs to make a specific dollar amount. It might also impact what kinds of things it runs in the future, as every brand at Hasbro has seen the concept and supposedly has ideas sketched out on napkins of what might be fun to try with this format. Personally, I think the future should be lower-dollar, weird items like - you guessed it - Vlix. Or Arblus. Or maybe even a U.S.S. FLAGG reissue/revamp that uses old tooling, or a cheaper Marvel Legends Uatu that's all new.

I don't think they'll give it a true second chance at crowdfunding if this round should fail, but the extension certainly allows them more time to sweeten the deal - perhaps with a booklet, or a more exciting small bonus item that could ship earlier than 2021. If tomorrow Hasbro promised a Siege Slipstream or Sunstorm (orange with white forearms) as a bonus, I'd be game. I'm really not fond of prepaying for things if there's a chance of delay and I've got nothing to show for it - most Kickstarters I've done have come through in an acceptable timeframe, but are a) cheaper and b) simpler. There's a record I'm waiting on that's like 3 years late so I assume I'm never seeing that one.



Ad: New New Arrivals and Hot Star Wars Pre-Orders at Entertainment Earth!
Star Wars The Vintage Collection Skiff Vehicle - Exclusive Star Wars Vintage Collection Gamorrean Guard Action Figure Star Wars The Black Series Sith Trooper 6-Inch Action Figure Star Wars The Vintage Collection Action Figures Wave 6 Case Star Wars The Black Series Boba Fett Helmet Star Wars The Vintage Collection Action Figures Wave 5 Set Star Wars The Black Series Darth Revan Figure, Not Mint


2. Is the new Vintage Skiff that is being released this summer, larger or more to scale than the one the Target Exclusive one from the POTF2 line in early 2000? How much different is it? Is it worth getting?

Mine just arrived last week and it's nice. "But is it worth $40?" I think so - it's as impressive as 3-4 The Vintage Collection action figures, if not more so. The rails come off and there's an optional "busted" one. There are numerous opening compartments for no good reason. The paint job is amazing for a mass-produced product. It has a stand, it has a plank, and oddly it has no foot pegs of any kind. I think Hasbro should've tossed in a Vintage carded skiff goon and charged another $10 for the package. You'd buy two.

The 2019 model is made of new parts and it's a bit bigger overall. And wider. Also seemingly a bit flatter. I'd recommend it because it's great and probably your cheapest Skiff option. The original is still wonderful and has charms - but it's a bit pricier.

The Skiff - and a lot of 2019's "classic" toys - are a reminder of how amazing Hasbro is, which kind of hurts because most of the stuff coming out has been pretty middling. The collector-level stuff is pretty spectacular - I don't care what scale you buy, the stuff is good. The kid stuff is a mixed bag, with neat things and bores (and a lot of repetition, like three different Hoth Leias shipping between scales within a few months.) Figures like the Luke 3-pack, Yak Face, Klaatu, and the like combined with the Barge and Skiff show that when they go classic, Hasbro delivers the goods. It's not just "OK," it's spectacular. It's just slow-drip, with lots of reissues mixed in that old-timers already own, and all of us are kind of holding our breath for 2021 and beyond.

We still don't know what the future of the Hasbro and Disney/Lucasfilm/Marvel relationship might be. Between licensing weirdness (three out of five Disney-era movies' names weren't disclosed early enough to be on product), a lack of life-beyond-the-movie (Rey doesn't get to go on adventures like Luke and Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi-Mundi in print), and what feels like toys and collectibles always chasing the unfinished new thing it feels like we lost something. We're still getting great stuff - but when you see K-2SO rereleased in the third or fourth packaging variant, it makes it hard to take stock of the fact there are things like a very affordable vintage-boxed Tatooine Skiff. One of the holiest of molies that was out of so many of our price ranges in the 1990s can be yours - arguably improved significantly, but I do miss the lever-powered bits - if you order it online (or luck into it at Walmart, I'm now hearing.)

I find it worthwhile - but I tend to find good in most things with very few exceptions. Short of adding in the aforementioned switches and levers, there's not much you can do to improve the 2019 Skiff.





Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Bobb, Sean, Shawn, Jayson, Matthew, Stephen, Marco, Robert, Christopher, Timothy, David, Steve, Jeremy, Mario, Fox, and Todd! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



Oh, we got some good stuff this week. Leaks are leaking, but there won't be too much to leak. You can see those elsewhere and I can tell you why in about a month. (Spoiler: you will be able to guess why.)

There are more new NES games coming - cartridges, even. Micro Mages and Nebs N Debs are two very good 2019 games, but Jay and Silent Bob Mall Brawl may be of interest as the first brand-new licensed characters to get a game. Very little is known about the game beyond you can order it and they think it's coming out in 2019. (I would bet it isn't. NES delays are a proud tradition.) If you're of a certain age, Kevin Smith was probably a tangent to your Star Wars fandom in the 1990s and licensed NES games probably delighted and/or scarred you as a child.

Google News seems to be regularly pushing Episode IX speculation as news, which I could do without. I love leaks, art, casting news, and photos. I don't care what some random goober fanfics up for clicks. Especially as other stories going up seem to indicate reshoots, and there have been whispers of changes-on-the-fly during production. I assume some day there's going to be a fascinating oral history on the stormy production of Star Wars under the Disney reign - the end results are mostly good but product and rumors really do make it sound like there might be a fascinating story to be told.

They formerly of 21-inch action figures Jakks Pacific got a buyout offer from Jazwares - which has had a mixed reputation with collectors, despite some pretty nifty (and nicely priced) action figures over the years. With Fortnite and whatnot, Jazwares is having a great year - they even took over the Gentle Giant booth at SDCC!

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was worth watching.

--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, and we're down to 2 questions per week until we get overloaded with questions to re-expand back to 3 or more.



I'm on Instagram! All Pictures from a GameBoy Camera.