Q&A: Star Wars Surprise! Direct from Toy Fair

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 17, 2019

1. How long do you think the current run of Vintage will run for the 3 3/4" line?

Hasbro has discussed The Vintage Collection as something they do for a few years, rest, bring back, and repeat.

The real variable here is the figure selection making it look "dead." Walmarts near me have largely exorcised this line and indeed most of Star Wars from stores, and it would seem fans aren't so crazy about reruns. I assume it has at least another year in it, but that's going to depend on what Star Wars looks like in 2020 - will Hasbro pick up the license? Where will the marketing shift - Resistance, The Mandalorian, or Classic? I don't have any insight into next year yet, but I assume Hasbro will want to keep 3 3/4-inch Vintage around just because it's a way to keep stuff coming and shut us up. If they dropped it - especially given current offerings - I doubt that Hasbro's range can keep the old collector interest for long.

At least we've got 6-inch.



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2. How is it that after 40 years, some 3.75” and slightly larger figure lines (dc multiverse, aliens, thundercats) have issues with brittle ball joints that cause legs to fall off from even gentle use? Does Hasbro have a patent on good leg design?

If you ever get in the figure-making game, you might see progress long the way in the form of painted prototypes and pictures, and sometimes you'll get in-hand samples just to do the typical destruction tests. With the advent of "Adult Collector" items - many of which are graded differently than toys for children - you lose something. In some cases the toys are subjected to the exactly same safety tests as everything else, and sometimes not. The real-world application of toys to play is different than a safety test too, so even some kiddie toys crumble without a second look because someone made a wall too thin or picked a kind of clear plastic that just isn't going to stand up to being touched by humans.

I can't vouch for every toymaker and every company, but I do know it's all over the map. I've seen figures with "frozen joints" due to paint effectively gluing them in place. I've seen torn pegs. I've seen cracked and ripped pieces. I've even seen excess plastic in there. There is a cure - but it's going back to simple swivel joints. Ultimately I think there's really a benefit to doing it if the companies don't do what Hasbro did for Galaxy of Adventures, and that's put out re-re-reissues out for $10 next to nicely-jointed Mattel Jurassic World humans for $8.

The old figures held up well because they were designed a way that just plain worked. Before we got to those "Kenner-style" figures, we saw some really cool experiments that worked (12-inch G.I. Joe, Micronauts) and a lot of things that just weren't as durable (bendy figures, figures with rubber bands holding together their interiors.)

If you want a figure that will hold together forever - and I do - you're going to need to settle for less articulation or simpler articulation. As a collector with decades of toys, this is what I would prefer - extra articulation today that crumbles in a few years is going to drive me away from the hobby pretty quickly, or at least encourage me to sell off a lot of stuff before decay sets in.




3. Good coverage of ToyFair so far... but nothing from Haslab?

Nope! Hasbro spent all its commerce energy on its new web store.



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Once again, the mailbag is empty! Send in your questions today.

I wrote this before Toy Fair, so. What's new? Toys R Us is rebranding as Tru Kids, which I assume is going to be like the Toys R Us kiosks almost nobody saw and the Kay-Bee brand being applied to new stores that also failed to materialize. It'll go right up there with the Hyperkin Ultra Game Boy and Retro-Bit Super Retro Boy in recent vaporware, I assume - it's kind of depressing to see Toys R Us things make all the headlines. It's dead. The stores are mostly gone, dismantled, with only a few signs left up here and there. My closest store is a giant, empty void where you can look in the window and see the bathrooms off to the side and the storage room way, way in the back. Everything that made Toys R Us great is gone, and the world has moved on - and probably won't remember in a couple of years, once those empty storefronts go away.

I wrote this at Toy Fair. So not a lot, eh? That's how things are going. I have heard some amazing not-Star Wars things that are for 2020 or later, and boy howdy am I excited. I can't tell you yet. Sorry man. But it was a good year - it's crowded here, and I have a lot more meetings to go. I need to get back to working on stuff, so enjoy and send in your questions for next time!

--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.