Q&A: Star Wars Vehicles and Droids - Hasbro vs. Disney

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 4, 2022

1. A few years ago one of Hasbro's senior designers, Mark Boudreaux, retired. Since then we also had a pandemic where I'm guessing they lost some more of their designer talent. Since Mark's retirement we have only had two new ships (Imperial Troop Transport & Razor Crest) and a couple repainted ships. There have been a few playsets and, it seems to me, most figures are now repaints or kit bashes. There doesn't seem to be much new. Do you think Hasbro has the talent/resources to create a fully fleshed out Star Wars line anymore? Do you think we will ever see things like a TVC Blurg , Outland Tie, or Black Series Momar Nadon?

While he has worked on so many of Kenner (and Hasbro) vehicles that matter to kids of all ages, I don't know if it's him specifically. Maybe vehicles lost a cheerleader, but if you look at Star Wars as a whole there's plenty of parts reuse and reissues and precious few new things coming out. The loss of the kid lines probably had a lot to do with our getting few ships - in Rebels or Solo we had some pretty spectacular fleets lobbed our way. I'm not a fan of all this high-end collectory stuff only because it prices out a lot of fans, and while the very expensive Troop Transport no doubt bolstered its success given the run was likely smaller, I don't think it was all that much more fun than the $20 Rebels one.

Given the slow-drip of cantina aliens in The Black Series, I assume we'll get Momaw Nadon/Hammerhead eventually if for no reason other than you get at least one or two free retool variants with Kenner/Bad Batch-style versions. Having said that, for years the only Cantina alien we had was Greedo. I'm rather surprised that we don't get at least one per year because there's a wide enough (and weird enough) cast to keep fans buying and instead, some of us are just looking at the budget-friendly Carbonized and Credit Collections and repaints of troopers and are increasingly over it.

Since we didn't get a Blurrg as a stretch goal for the Razor Crest, I assume its not being available is the way it is. There's not really a place for a $20-$30 creature in the line right now, even though it would make a great exclusive - particularly with a bonus carded variant Mando inside. Also fans (cough) have been asking Hasbro for a Blurrg for years, given the appearances in The Clone Wars and the animated series was probably the best time to get out something weird given their massive midsize vehicle line-up. I guarantee you that most fans forgot how many mini-rigs, bikes, cannons, speeders, and other weirdness we got in that brief but amazing line of toys.

We are still getting "new" vehicles, but using old tooling - and that's a drag. An Outland TIE Fighter could probably be cobbled together using the existing body, but I know of no plans to do one. Honestly I'm kind of surprised they didn't reissue the X-Wing with Jedi Master Luke and some more Battle Damage, given we're getting an obscenely expensive $200 Slave I with one new figure in the box. It's not a great deal, but we saw the same thing happen with the AT-ST's myriad reissues over the past decade or so.

Hasbro absolutely has the talent to do things like vehicles, I just don't think they care to do it at mass retail. With Celebrate the Saga came out around 2020, it was meant as the end of the kid's line - the last time you'd see that kind of mold. I have no idea if they'll stick to it, but in theory that means they just cut loose an entire swath of fans (and price points) that we'll never get back. I'd rather have "kid" 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles than nothing, and right now, Hasbro thinks the Mission Fleet is the way to do vehicles. Unless it tanks, we're not getting back more 3 3/4-inch non-exclusive non-HasLab vehicles short of the occasional exception. I don't expect it will go away completely, but it's going to be a desert compared to what we got when they were theoretically selling these to children.



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2. Disney's droid factory/build a droid line has really seemed to embrace the beloved background characters (at least the robots) that makes Star Was standout as a action figure collection. They seem to really embrace the droids we have seen in the Disney+ shows. Can we expect Disney and not Hasbro to offer those droids going forward? Neb B was a retro figure and was seen first in a articulated 3.75 scale as a Disney figure. I am curious to know if there is a set strategy that unique droids will be the domain of Disney over Hasbro.


As far as I know, unless I missed a memo or a presentation, there's no license-based thing keeping Hasbro from making droids. It's possible Disney is dictating which figures Hasbro does, but it's not like they share this information with anyone who would be in a position to tell the rest of the class.

Hasbro seems to be very keen to focus only on troopers, main characters, and things that can be repainted/retooled from existing designs right now. I may be a little harsh, but if you look around at what we're getting from Obi-Wan Kenobi it seems old molds help push out Jawas and troopers while all-new designs like Leia or Flea just aren't happening. Hasbro has made surprisingly few droids, and I'm still kind of scratching my head that we got Ned-B in Retro and not Vintage. I'm also annoyed that Disney's non-park distribution is what it is, because it's real easy to miss stuff.

At this point I would not wait on Hasbro for anything - if Disney made the item you want and in the size you wanted, you should buy it. I don't know of any specific Droid thing - it's possible Disney staked a claim on droids but I somehow doubt it - and I assume they just went that route because they were embracing repaints for their line nearly 12 years ago. I assume for theme park merch they can do whatever they want, and it's nice someone is putting out droids.





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PulseCon and Andor are coming up later this month! Will they be exciting? I hope so. But, I'm probably just getting old and impatient. Amazon's The Rings of Power dropped last week and I fell asleep on the couch a few times and we just kind of shrugged 45 minutes in. (Maybe it gets better, and I was happy to see comedian Lenny Henry show up.) Obi-Wan Kenobi was well-cast and delivered a long-desired premise, butI admit I haven't rewatched it and am a bit more interested in the making-of special at this point. With 12 episodes, I hope Andor is the very best thing ever - it also seems to be taking up a lot of 6-inch scale figure slots and, typing back to my oldness and impatience, I'm kind of thinking I might be done with collecting non-classic 6-inch figures. I've got neglected (and in some cases, unopened) figures dating back to 2017 that I assume aren't going to get played with any time soon.

I think I can blame The Retro Collection for pushing my "hey, remember why you are interested in this hobby in the first place" buttons. That's why Figure of the Day on both Galactic Hunter and 16bit.com this month will focus on 3 3/4-inch scale action figures that are more or less retro styled, including new figures, old figures, and even some bootleg figures. I assume some people will be cranky about that, but let's be honest, there aren't a heck of a lot of people reading my stuff today compared to 10 years ago. If you're still here, I hope you like what I have on deck - and if not, well, hopefully next month.

What matters now is we as fans get to say "wow, there's so much stuff I don't have to buy it all." In the very early 1990s, your choices were garage sales for old Kenner stuff, go to the mall and maybe you can get those 10-inch In Character figures at Suncoast Motion Picture Company, or you could get Bend-Ems from JusToys. And those things were not pretty - but they sold, because for several years you had no other options. If you don't like Amazon's Lord of the Rings, you've got six Tolkien movies. Or Sandman, or Harley Quinn, or She-Hulk, or Tuca & Bertie (which just wrapped up its third season), or Star Trek: Lower Decks (which just started.) Hasbro now sells a whopping four scales of action figures plus other sized toys and collectible figures, and there's so much stuff that you as fans can ignore it with impunity if you want. They're expanding The Bounty Collection to include L0-LA59. Do you remember? (Do you care?) If not, you can get the one from The Vintage Collection, or electronic ones, or none at all and still have hundreds of dollars of other stuff at your fingertips from Hasbro. And this will continue until, most likely, Generation X starts to die off. This my guess, at least.

I do miss the less manic, not constant and rarely always-on announcement parade of toys and genre stuff of the 1980s and 1990s, where your attention and financial participation on a weekly (if not daily) basis felt required. But, there's also so much stuff now that I'm wondering how much of it I can just skip and ignore, or come back to when the market for this stuff dries up and I'm wanting something else new-to-me to watch or collect. Maybe I'll buy your Andor Imperial Officers off of eBay or at the second-hand shop in a few years at a fraction of the cost. The sheer volume of things demanding our attention has never been greater, so I certainly don't feel bad about shifting gears to maybe just enjoying the new Star Wars show instead of ponying up several hundred dollars on toys sight-unseen for once. (And having said that, if they do Kenner-style figures, I will buy every last one.)

So here's hoping Andor doesn't suck.

--Adam Pawlus

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