Q&A: Star Wars Starfighters, Sci-Fi Retro Figures, and Paint

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, October 30, 2016

1. Hi Adam, got a question regarding Hasbro's painting of the recent SA figures. The Black Series Rey figure had a blush applied to the cheeks, and with close inspection you can see it has an almost "printed" quality to it. I noticed a similar application used on the weathering of the new SA Shoretrooper figure. Is this something that Hasbro has used in the past, or is it a newer technique?

The halftone pattern - dots, tampographs, what have you - have been around for a while but they're not obvious. I stumbled on the dots on Rey as a surprise when working on Figure of the Day, but as you've mentioned Finn's The Black Series 3 3/4-inch blaster has them as do a few 6-inch action figures. Take a look at the "damage" deco - usually there are signs of dots in there. You can see things somewhat like this dating back a few years, but it's not something that's terribly common. I'm scratching my head to name an appearance of it on a Star Wars action figure prior to the debut of The Black Series around 2013.

Hasbro has been experimenting with different kinds of printing over the years, and you'll see them employing some interesting techniques with Transformers to replicate faction symbols and painted versions of "labels" - the exclusive Liokaiser coming out in a couple of weeks is a fine example of another interesting paint technique with printing a more complex design on a figure rather than the typical paint masks.



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2. Not a Star Wars question but...
The Playmates Star Trek line (1992-1999) I didn't like this line when it was current but have gotten interested in it lately. The line had some really great figures with incredible sculpts and then it also had some figures that seemed to be phoned in. So anyway my question is that with the movies doing well and Star Trek coming back to TV, what do you think are the chances of Playmates brining back the line?

The 1990s Star Trek line was a fantastic series showing how you can sell a line to both collectors and kids all at once. A lot of it was left sealed in the package and can now be bought for the original price or even cheaper, but it was the standard sci-fi toy line of its day. Fans even hoped Star Wars would be produced the same way before its 1995 revival... and Playmates sculpted prototypes for more than a few figures in this style, too.

As of right now we're not quite sure what - if any - license Playmates still has for Star Trek. Hasbro released some Fighter Pods for the second Abrams movie and had at least one or two other items that never saw the light of day. (Don't go Googling for it, they were never shown to the public.) There was buzz that I could never confirm that Hasbro may have had an action figure license that they just never activated - which would mean Playmates is out. But we don't know for sure because these things are hard to get confirmed without product.

I'm assuming you won't see more figures in this style for the sole reason that you haven't. No other line has gone for that 4 1/2-inch scale other than seaQuest DSV that I recall. It would be absolutely great to see someone bring back Star Trek in that scale and style - and don't think I haven't nudged people in the biz to that effect - but I wouldn't anticipate Playmates to do it. Hopefully they would, but that line was a great symbol of the 1990s action figure bubble - I can't assume they'll ever bring it back. The last movie got virtually no merchandising, we haven't seen any new classic stuff out of Diamond Select Toys in a while, and a new figure line for a TV show seems like it should be a given - but we don't even know the cast list yet. I'm just not hopeful. I'd love it to happen though.




3. Do you know if anyone has put together lists of all of the [3 3/4-inch action figure scale] Jedi Starfighters and @-Wings? I'm pretty sure that there have been 4 Y-Wings, 3 B-Wings, and 3 A-Wings but would like to confirm better. And the Jedi vehicles are genuine pains to figure out. There are 8 of the Mark II variety by my count (not including the small scale ones) - have become frustrated counting Mark I's.

Normally I don't do research questions that you can do yourself, but this one has been in my mailbag for a while and it's a long one. I'm very happy you didn't ask to do X-Wings.

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Y-Wing Fighters: Vintage 1983 ROTJ, Target Exclusive Power of the Jedi Yellow, Toys R Us Exclusive Original Trilogy Collection Red, Toys R Us Exclusive 30th Anniversary Collection Yellow, Toys R Us Vintage Collection Red

Jedi Starfighters (AOTC Mold): Obi-Wan Red, Obi-Wan Red with Hyperspace Ring, Clone Wars 2003 Blue, Saesee Tiin Orange, Kit Fisto Green

Jedi Starfighters (Clone Wars Mold): Anakin's Modified Jedi Starfighter

Jedi Starfighters (ROTS Mold): Anakin Yellow, Anakin Green, Obi-Wan Red, Obi-Wan Blue, Plo Koon White/Yellow Stripes, Darth Vader Black, Aayla Secura Blue, Mace Windu Purple

Jedi Starfighters (TCW Mold): Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, Kit Fisto Green/Red, Mace Windu TRU Exclusive (Slave I set), Blue/White Stripe Plo Koon

Jedi Starfighters (Downsized AOTC Mold): Obi-Wan, Anakin

Jedi Starfighters (Downsized ROTS Mold): Obi-Wan Blue, Obi-Wan Red

Jedi Starfighters (Mini): Yoda Green

...I might've left one out. If you go down the Titanium Series and/or Hot Wheels and/or MicroMachines route, there are many additional ships which exist only in that format - including a swell "hot rod" Jedi Starfighter with flames on it, my beloved blue A-Wing Fighter, and Yoda's Season 6 Jedi Starfighter.




So the big reveal last week - off topic, of course - was that not only has Playmobil gotten a taste for licenses, but Germany's #1 toy company has decided to make toddler toys based on a 33-year-old-comedy that's age-inappropriate. Maybe the German dub is a lot more kid-friendly. If you aren't a fan of Playmobil, I always suggest a look - they're already doing NHL and How to Train Your Dragon is next. They're generally super-durable, and while they're more or less sticking to a single buck the figures, vehicles, and accessories have been fully compatible for four decades. Like LEGO, there's a lot of history in there plus tons of opportunity for other licenses. I'm just wondering how much the whole "dadvertising" thing will work out when getting kids on board with a toy line, especially as LEGO seems to have wholly embraced it with LEGO Dimensions while Hasbro seems to be steering clear of dads with their last couple of years of action figure product. Older fans and nerds, sure, but you know how these things go.

I'm sitting here with a decent spread of Playmobil amassed from sales and freak clearance finds, knowing that most special themes last about a year. LEGO usually had a couple of years back in the day, but unless something was a permanent fixture you'd probably get a year out of it and it'd go away. It's my guess that Playmobil already has post-Ghostbusters plans, and it wouldn't stun me if DC Comics (Batman) was on deck. Failing that, I'd love to see Star Trek (unrealistic) or Star Wars (very unrealistic) in the format. I assume Hasbro has the Jedi and Sith pretty locked up, unless there's some loophole. I'd say "I doubt it" but we see Mattel's Hot Wheels and Hasbro's Titanium Series delivering fundamentally similar - I daresay identical - product in terms of licensing. Perhaps there's something in there in terms of baby toys on construction or who knows. I can dream! That or Nintendo. That'd be fun.

There should be some new things of interest going up for order soon - take that as you will - get those credit cards ready and such. Supposedly Target's 3-pack goes up for online ordering today. We shall see.

Also my mail bag is completely empty - if I missed your questions, please re-send it. If you have a new question, send it my way!

--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.


Jedi Starfighters

The Jedi Starfighter list is very close! Here are the ones that slipped through the cracks:

AOTC Mold: Plo Koon Blue/White Stripes

Downsized ROTS Mold: Anakin Yellow

There was not a yellow/white striped Plo Koon one from ROTS. In that film, he flies the blue/white AOTC-style starfighter.

As to the Y-wings, there was also the TCW version with all the panels still on, as well as the two Y-wing scout bombers — one with Warthog, one with Kanan. They're obviously different, but for the sake of completeness...