Q&A: Star Wars Selling, Playmation, and Revisit Your Old Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 24, 2016

1. I'm curious if you have any info about the failure or success of the Playmation line? I don't care for most of the figures or the game itself, but there were several characters like MODOK that scale really well with the 3.75" Marvel lines. I know that there were plans for a Star Wars line and a Frozen line this year, but the Marvel line seems to have tanked. They pegwarm badly at TRU/Walmart and they're currently flooding Five Below stores. I had some hope for something cool in the Star Wars line (could you imagine a big, hefty Dark Trooper?) and maybe a big Marshmallow from Frozen, but I'm starting to think this was a failed experiment on Hasbro's part.


"Toys to Life" seem to be having a rocky year - even the popular stuff is on markdown, but I would be willing to bet on the follows-up to this line to never see the light of day. Unless, of course, the whole investment in the supply chain was such that they couldn't turn this around before it got out. I've seen some of these guys at Ross stores for five bucks - interestingly, mostly Black Widows lately - it was a neat idea that was poorly marketing and tough to understand. So it's over. I wouldn't anticipate more of it, the entire endeavor seemed to stack the cards against itself based on how and when it was promoted, mostly because you'd have to be very interested in it to really get what it is. There were markdowns, there was no heat, and I would almost be willing to bet money that Hasbro washed their hands of this one before Christmas last year.



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2. To follow up on a question you answered last week, I am amazed at the level of interest on the secondary market for Star Wars Toys from 1995-present. Due to family situations (new baby), my wife has informed me the "room", as she calls it, serves a better need for the baby then to house "children's toys" (She buys purses, so its the old, "We don't talk about it"). What I am finding is the regular issue toys are going for about what they cost the 1st time around (seriously amazed) but the exclusive packs (TRU, Walmart, Target, KMart) are going for 2-4x what I initially paid for them. Is this people finding out about product they did not know about OR people filling in holes in their collection? As a side note...when you lay out everything from 1995-present (and I tried to be one of those completist) WOW....they did make a lot of stuff for us

They sure did! If you look at all the singles, gift sets, and so on from 2006 and also 2007, each year had roughly 300 figures. (Actually more but I don't feel like counting.) The sheer size of Star Wars is phenomenal, but it was released at a clip that doesn't really make it easy to digest just how much stuff their was. The post-movie, pre-Disney period was remarkable and any fan who was all in from 2005-2015 probably has a very good collection that's not quite as bloated if you have the 1990s and early 2000s stuff. (And I like that stuff!)

Prices on things vary from week to week, item to item, and customer to customer, but the fact that things aren't below retail is certainly a step in the right direction. People used to dump collections for pennies on the dollar, so seeing actual interest from people again is nice. Since Hasbro's output has slowed considerably, it's a great time for any collector with a full closet to make some room with interested buyers.

Due to the size of the line - thousands of figures over 21 years - it's not like the old Kenner line where pretty much everybody knew how many figures there were, if they cared to know, in the early 1990s. Fans don't necessarily know what came out this year, let alone 20 years ago, thanks in part to Hasbro (wisely) hiding the fact that there are thousands of figures out there. You can't put them all on the packaging, and if you weren't following the line since day one (or maybe day 1,000) you're probably not going to be able to keep track of it all.

I'm a packrat - I like toys and having them here for reference. But if you're in a point where you need the space and can actually sell it, you probably should. Characters will be made and remade, and we're staring down the barrel of at least five more movies. Possibly more. If you can thin the herd, it's a great time to do so.




3. Hey Adam. Long time reader first time contributor. A friend of mine recently put me in touch with a collector who was liquidating his collection with no reasonable offer refused. I came into some select exclusive items to fill some holes in my 12 inch Kenner collection from the mid 90's which is great because this included Han in Luke in Stormtrooper disguise, Biggs and Wedge etc.

However included with these items the collector just let me have for no cost all of his 3.75" figures which amounts to close to 150+ figures between single carded, multipack figures and electronic figures. The figures are all in their packages but are not in mint condition by any means. I own most of these figures and as a life long collector I open all my items so packaging isn't that appealing to me. I know that the figures are not worth a lot (they mostly range from the 1995-2000 era).

What am I to do with all these figures that just found their way into my life. You recently wrote about parting with items you no longer needed in your collection whether it be extras or just unneeded items. What is the best course for someone in my situation. I didn't pay a dime for a single figure so any money I do make would be a profit to me. Do I go the eBay route, flea market route or the comic store route. Thanks for your response.

I'd suggest going through everything, making a list, and if it isn't too much trouble also taking some photos. If I just wanted to dump a collection in a hurry, I'd use Craigslist (or its equivalent) and sell the items at a fair price. Most people on Craigslist mark their stuff very high - so if you have figures at $5 or less per figure, you're going to do better than people who don't understand everything isn't worth $20-$30. Selling items as one big collection at a fair price often helps too - you won't get many people willing to shell out $500 for 150 random figures, but it's easier for you (and them) than engaging in multiple transactions over months.

Were I given a 1990s collection to sell off, what I would do is part out any of the expensive items and probably list on Amazon or eBay. The rest of the debris, I'd either take to a collector or comic shop for "see what I can get" (unlikely) or put up a very cheap collection on Craigslist or a collector forum. 1990s 3 3/4-inch figures are not in a lot of demand, so pretty much anything you can get is good. If you listed a collection in iffy packaging at or under retail prices, you'd probably be very fortunate to get that. But it's a good starting point, so give it a whirl.

...heck, if you have the time, you could probably run a Star Wars garage sale and get some decent takers. I'd probably stop off at one if it boasted more toys.




Part of the fun of writing about this for as long as I have, from as early of an age as I have, is I got to watch a lot of people get angry at what the kids are doing. Notably, kids like video games and LEGO sets a lot more than 3 3/4-inch Hasbro figures. But it doesn't stop there - people express themselves differently with the advent of technology. Back in the 1990s, if you didn't like something you might gripe about it on Usenet or use the 5mb that your ISP gave you to set up "Bill's Star Wars Page" where you state your opinion. And then a few years later, we got forums. And the comments directly on the articles. And most recently? Reaction videos. These, I don't get, but I get it - it's just a way to express a reaction to something using video rather than words. I find it a little silly, but that's OK - I can go on about my day not caring about them. I'd rather spend the time and energy enjoying the parts of the world that I like.

Over the weekend I saw something that sort of broke that, mostly because of it being that snake-eating-its-own-tail level of silliness. Rogue One ILM Chain Reaction is a video if Lucasfilm employees reacting to fans reacting to the trailer for Rogue One. This would have been a delightful bit of tomfoolery for April Fool's Day or a great SNL sketch - knowing that this exists sort of makes me feel dirty. As I type this out, though, I realize that what I am writing - a reaction, to a reaction, to a reaction, to a preview of thing - only has the illusion of trying to be dignified. It's not. Were this opinion expressed as a video, it would be the ship that launched a thousand - OK, maybe 6 - eye-rolls. The hall of mirrors that is the video aspect of social media has never really made a lick of sense to me, I'd rather just see what the aquarium person with the otters is doing than see what some guy things of the ad for a movie each and every one of us decided to buy a ticket for already, but whatevs. I spent a chunk of my weekend playing a Zelda game that I've already beaten that's like a Zelda game I beat 24 years ago.

Also over the weekend, we got the first sighting of the next batch of Walmart Black Series figures, or as I like to call it, an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Thanks to an awesome toy blogger I've got Ceremonial Leia from an earlier wave, but I've still never seen her in the wild - and given how restocking seems to go these days, I'm not super duper hopeful I'm going to trip over these in the near term. Maybe at TJ Maxx on clearance in a year. Who knows. Good hunting.

--Adam Pawlus

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