Q&A: Star Wars Mail-Away Offers, Logos, and Rabbits

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 11, 2021

1. I look back fondly on the food tie-in promotions growing up like the Han in Stormtrooper with Froot Loops and Spirit of Obi-Wan in Lay's chips. Do you have any favorites? Why do you think these have mostly disappeared?

I asked Hasbro this question a few times, under a few teams, and got the same answer: poor return on investment. It costs a lot of money to tool up or develop a figure for any offer, be it a food premium or something when you buy 5 figures and send off your UPCs. They make more money and can generally sell more units by just selling it like a normal product. I tend to agree with them - if they just put it up for pre-order everywhere, that's a good thing. Hasbro was charging us around seven bucks for some of the last mail-in figures, during a time where figures were around ten bucks, so just selling it seems like a much easier solution for everybody. A person has to open and look at those envelopes of UPCs, which is a lot of added expense when they could just let you pay for the whole thing with a credit card and call it a day.

I really enjoyed those things, the all-time favorites being the 2010-ish Vintage Rocket Firing Boba Fett with Froot Loops Han Solo Stormtrooper being #2 - because both are cool and have some interesting trivia. Boba Fett's is well-known, as the original prototype figure is something of a holy grail and this was a really great product that - if you ask me - was wasted in 2010 when collectors were tuning it out. Running it now, or in the 1990s, would've probably yielded a lot more interest.

The Froot Loops Han Solo stormtrooper disguise figure was interesting because Kenner told me about his blaster. "But Adam!" you say, "he didn't have one!" That's true - from a certain point of view. Kellogg's did not want weapons in its cereal boxes or mail-in offers, so this and other toys were effectively neutered. Kenner did make the double-grip blaster meant for this Han Solo Stormtrooper in 1998 with the Freeze Frame Princess Leia Organa (all new likeness edition), which I always thought was really cool for a toy company to do. We don't get a lot of make-goods, but that always stuck with me as having been a great move on their part for something three years later.



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2. I had pretty much given up on everything but Retro till Jaxxon. What do you make of them finally doing him? Is this the return of fun and weird or just a blip?

There's a lot of fun every year, but new Original Trilogy-era characters as toy debuts are far and few between. I love that they're doing him - he was my #2 lost cause after Vlix, and while it's not how I would have designed it - I think he's a little lumpy - I'll still buy it and I appreciate that they did it. I would've preferred something in the style of 1979 Walrus Man, but honestly, who wouldn't?

The fact that Hasbro is doing a whole wave of four figures based on 1970s-1990s publishing - you know, the stuff we lost in the Disney purge - is certainly a surprise. So is all of the Ewok content appearing on Disney+. I really don't know what to make of it - maybe fans (like me) soured on the whole reboot thing and they're trying to win us back? I think I've only picked up two or three comics since Dark Horse lost the license and I haven't checked out a novel since the Legacy series (because Lumiya = cool, killing Chewbacca = meh.) I think it shows that when there's no new Disney-initiated corporate story to push, we'll get good things - and as gross as this is to say, we probably have COVID to thank for that. With the failings of The Rise of Skywalker as a toy-push-property and a break from theatrical stories, this is the kind of thing we get. And I'm OK with that. I don't think it will last given everything Disney has announced for the future, though.




3. This probably doesn't affect you since I think you open most of your figures, but you probably have an opinion. What's your take on the 50th Anniversary Lucasfilm logo on the Vintage Collection cards? I don't mind it one bit. It's just a logo in the corner. I've never heard anyone complain about the mail-in offers on the original line (and those covered up part of the photo). There seems to nothing but complaining on the other collecting sites.

I am of two minds about it. On one, it's meant to be a nostalgia product and Hasbro has been making the cards look less and less like the Kenner originals, in many cases getting away from the spirit of what we got back then. On the other, this is a new product, and it can be whatever Hasbro wants to do.

For this specific trio, I think it's a pretty ugly choice - the whole point of fans wanting these is, generally, to update the original Kenner packaging with the very best modern action figures. The 50th graphic is kind of overbearing, but it is what it is. We're also getting hideous cardbacks with multiple languages and no upsells, French and English names in the pillbox sometimes, and the ugly-but-necessary small parts warnings. The UK-style "4+" graphic replacing "Ages 4 and up" was where I checked out - these aren't my (or your dad's) Star Wars figures. If you want those, go to eBay.

If it was genuinely a part of an entire new collection - say, the original 12, instead of just 3 random Return of the Jedi dudes - I think it would make a lot more sense. Maybe more are coming that, as I write this, I don't know about. But like most things in life, it really doesn't matter.



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This week's Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest was more or less the Toy Fair New York replacement. Before you complain, Hasbro has a lot of other goodies in store all year long, some of which will excite you, unless you're thinking 3 3/4-inch figures and vehicles will make a dramatic comeback this year. (There's still a lot on the way, though.) If you missed Hasbro's livestream, might I recommend reading the latest issue of the Adam's Star Wars Newsletter reboot? It has a text list of all the announcements and a couple of points as to what's new about the repaints. New issues will happen whenever I feel like it, and if you want more of them and you have a dollar, we have a Patreon that supports this kind of project.

I'm extraordinarily fond of the early dial-up internet (and if you've seen 16bit.com, you know this) and I love seeing other projects that seem to reject the modern bloat. As a kid I assumed we'd get to a point where Photoshop would just run like gangbusters on ridiculously powerful equipment, but then that got more bloated too.

An actual email newsletter is likely as soon as I work things out regarding a listserv. You'll recall, the goal of these projects is to largely be cheap/free and fun to make - the old text newsletters I did in the late 1990s were indeed entertaining to do, although I assume anyone not obsessed with the format on GameFaqs or old enough to remember dial-up internet won't love it. The goal is to get you new information and lists of things you need to remember in a text format that is easy to read with no video interruptions or anything like that. This is because I've seen a lot of people making videos that go for minutes to tell you one thing and it's a staggering waste of everybody's time - I would advise you put the tidbits in their comments or post links or information elsewhere, because your time is valuable. (Nothing wrong with video content. It's just that most of it is a waste of everybody's time and I don't need to sit through anything, I got toys to play with.)

One question nobody asked is that The Vintage Collection Electrostaff Purge Trooper wasn't announced as an exclusive during the stream - but the press release said it's a GameStop exclusive. It is in fact an Entertainment Earth exclusive, although it is possible some exclusives will show up on Pulse in limited numbers because that is how they're doing things now. As always, EE exclusives are available wholesale if you have an account/store and want to buy by the case, so you may see them elsewhere. So that hopefully clears that up.

--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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