Q&A: Star Wars Starships and Displaying The Really Big Stuff

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, December 23, 2018

1. Any ideas for what to use to display the HasLab Sail Barge that isn't a piece of furniture? I've been looking for a floating wall shelf online and with Etsy sellers. The length is available (50") but no luck on the width (16"). Other thoughts for a centerpiece display?

I would encourage you to prepare for furniture, for the safety of the ship, your pets, and any figures that may be on board the barge.

I don't know the final placement of the ship's "legs" and how much girth it will take, I'm at a loss so far. Given it's the biggest vehicle of all time, I'm currently trying to unload my excess debris to make room for a piece of furniture of some sort to give it a home, along with the Millennium Falcon which has been docked on the floor under a shelf with high clearance for almost a decade. We can do better.

Right now I'm wondering if there's a good HDTV stand that might do the trick given it's kind of short, has a large base, and should have ample room for storage underneath. As much as I would love a floating wall shelf, given the weight I don't know if I would trust a $500 vehicle with a cloth sail that can be torn with anything but the sturdiest display possible. Between IKEA and Goodwill, I hope to stumble on something cool - but before then, I have a lot of cleaning to do to make room for this monster. And maybe only a couple of months to do it.



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2. I very rarely have an issue finding something if I'm patient enough, but I seem to have finally hit a road bump with my pursuit of Hot Wheels starships – particularly the second Concept wave of Star Destroyer and Landspeeder. With the loss of TRU, and Target clearancing out the SKU this year, that leaves only one brick and mortar to get them – Wal-Mart. I'm trying not to make this a "Why can't a find X?" question. My more pertinent question about these little ships is why the online collector toy market, namely those companies like the one you work for, don't stock these regularly? I feel like if Wal-Mart doesn't have these, there is no other place to find them. They seem to be in a place in the Star Wars toy hierarchy where they aren't thought of that highly, or perhaps the market isn't there. Maybe it has something to do with Mattel's relationship with stores? I'd love to hear your insights on this.

I found the first wave of Concept Hot Wheels to be scarce - I saw them in GameStops, and at one Walmart. Once. These are not common things yet. With that in mind, the second wave not getting full distribution is kind of typical - if assortments are languishing on shelves, the next wave doesn't make it out. A great example of this is Jakks Pacific's World of Nintendo figures - especially at Walgreens when it comes time for an exclusive. The exclusives are mixed in with the waves, so if 2-3 old waves are backed up on pegs a store won't get new ones. There's really nothing special going on here other than people didn't come in for Solo Hot Wheels, and that has an effect on the great toy industry food chain.  The 2019 Black-packaged Starships ship in the same 5-digit assortment as yellow Solo ones, so those will need to clear out.  You know how this works, it's a real drag.

It's not hard to find some waves of these at deep discounters after the fact, as I've picked up a bunch for less than half price on weird closeout stores. There are also numerous starships I've never seen in person.

As far as stock goes, it has to do with what dash codes Mattel offers, and what they feel like shipping. Sometimes a wave may be made, but stock is allocated for a specific customer - so nobody can have that stock until a deadline passes, at which point it's freed up, and sometimes it goes to other customers and sometimes it goes somewhere surprising. Actually ordering product is a tricky thing, mostly because different vendors behave differently, and relationships change depending on your pecking order. It's entirely possible that a lot of stock is on hold for a big box store who isn't reordering, so there may be a flood of it in a few months. We won't know for sure until the flood, due to things like transparency and what I don't know as of yet.

Titanium Series and Starships, for whatever reason, have large collector interest but seemingly low turnover. There are lots of ships I don't have and want, but can't find while others just rot on the pegs. I've had almost more luck finding things after the fact on markdown than when they're new - and I'm willing to pay full price.



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We are out of questions. Well, we have one set for next week - so I'm letting this one go short. After all, who's gonna read when they're goofing off at work on Christmas Eve?

As fans, we know good stuff comes in when a licensor lets people play in the margins - it's not for everybody, but it is for us. Weird figures, odd comics, and maybe even more off-the-beaten-path movies could be on the docket as people start to play around more with budgets for movies and expectations for performance. The side story movies will struggle to succeed in a big way, but making something less epic - possibly in another genre - could be exciting. Rogue One and Solo were both chatted up as heist movies, although the former really wasn't and the latter tried to be a bunch of things. Might we some day see a real creature feature? A movie just following around a droid? A thriller? The Clone Wars dabbled in these spaces to what I would generally call some level of success, so perhaps there's something out there if they can recycle a few costumes and sets.

For now, it seems like we're at a point where kids aren't excited, where Hasbro competes with themselves by dumping old lightsabers for $5-$8 at Big Lots, 99 Cents Only, or the like against $30+ ones at normal stores. Those canned "Galaxy of Adventure" figures aren't exactly a better product, and they're at a higher price. There's little new for long-term fans to pick up. I'm not down on it - it's certainly the best time to innovate, especially if new movies are about to slow down and open up the playing field for new and weird projects and products. Of course, it could also follow G.I. Joe and go away for a few years.

Seeing the tube canister reissues at Walmart on pegs near reissues of Transformers Minibots for two bucks cheaper has certainly been a painful experience, and with Resistance starting to hit shelves I do wonder who will stay and who will jump ship. --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.