Did you get enough of the vintage-style 3-packs? How about figures from the original 2003 Clone Wars TV show? We look at these, Tauntauns, and much more in this week's Q&A!
1. My son likes the Tartakovsky Clone Wars show from Cartoon Network. I'm wondering how many figures have been made of characters from that show.
Is there an easy list somewhere? I know a bunch were made that weren't released in the animated figure line...like the clone trooper with the brown poncho, and the character we call "doggy Jedi."
You guys have good taste! As far as I know, no such list exists-- but I assume "doggy Jedi" is Voolviff Monn. Others like Roron Corobb, Foul Moudama, Swimming Kit Fisto, Fordo, Padme in her Ilum gear (twice), Anakin in his Nelvaan outfit, and even Yoda with his Kybuck have made the jump into the realistic action figure style.
Basically, you've got a bit of a research project a head of you and several of the figures are probably going to be debatable-- there are more than a few instances where figures might qualify as "close enough." Since 2008 Hasbro has indicated that Lucasfilm asked them to stay away from that older show, although we have seen a few figures-- including an entire 2008 wave with a Mon Calamari lancer, a Quarren soldier, and several others-- show up from the show here and there. (And Jousting Obi-Wan and an IG Lancer Droid and Durge and Saesee Tiin in his armor and the Quad Gun Clone Trooper and a Clone SCUBA Trooper.)
A Battle Pack based on the Ilum episode exists, but it's a mixed bag-- it includes two Chameleon Droids, both of which are both owning, alongside a more statue-like Ilum Padme and snowy redeco figures of R2-D2 and C-3PO, the latter of which is painted in an incorrect gold color scheme. (C-3PO wasn't gold until the final few episodes of the series.) Another Battle Pack, Hunt for Grievous, exists with an early version of the quad gunner and Fordo alongside three light blue repaints of the ARC Trooper.
2. I would like to see hasbro re releaseand make new figures of the original 12 figures from 78 that where onthe vintagestar wars cardback's in the vintage collection line. Aswell as having new characters like Tarkin and Chewbacca on the vintagecard. Collector's who collect the vintage collection figures would liketosee that. If hasbro plans to continue the vintage collection linepast 2012 and beyond that needs to happen.To me the original star warsfilma new hope is the most over looked movie from the vintagecollectionof all 6 of the films. Why has hasbro not done that yet andwill we ever see them out in the near future?
Part of the problem is when you're dealing with things like special packaging and roughly 16 consecutive years of this hobby, I would like to put forth the position that nobody can say "collectors want to see _____" any more. We want everything. I can find you two collectors who will ask for any crazy idea, even bad ones. So let's stop using the phrase "collectors want" because really, all it makes me want to do is say "yes, of course they do." I've seen long, thoughtful treatises for a TIE Crawler and Z95 Headhunter.
The original 12 have come up and Hasbro seems to be making an effort to getting them done, more or less. Part of the problem is going to be logos-- Vintage Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Stormtrooper, and C-3PO already exist, in some cases two or more times over, but not on "Star Wars" cardbacks just yet. Some appear to be coming, but you might have to be waiting on a few of them. I don't expect we'll see Chewie any time soon.
So far, we've got a Tusken Raider, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo. It looks like the 2012 Darth Vader and Death Squad Commander/Star Destroyer Commander will likely be Star Wars cardbacks. The Jawa, C-3PO, R2-D2, Stormtrooper, and Chewbacca are unlikely to come out on Star Wars cardbacks in the near future, although I kind of do hope Hasbro tries experimenting with more reruns and logo/photo variations on Vintage packaging. I'm sure a few of them would be easy sellers but it's not something that's probably going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things... is a $10 Jawa something fans really want to buy right now? Particularly after so many $5-$7 2-packs with a sizable droid accessory? I can't say that the packaging is enough to get me excited about significantly overpaying for a figure of which I have an entire clan by now.
While the Star Wars logo has been overlooked in Vintage, the line as a whole over the past decade-and-a-half has been very Star Wars-centric, with the bulk of the first 18 months of the line focusing on the first film. I understand your desire for the packaging-- but I personally am glad they're trying to do new and other stuff before ticking packaging variants off the to-do list. Particularly since we haven't had updates of the original 92 (or 96 but hey who's counting) Kenner action figures yet.
3. I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I recently picked up both of the Tauntauns from Target (I guess I'm the sucker you referenced in a previous column LOL) since I saw them there and I rarely have any luck finding anything I want at retail. I got them home and looked at them both; I noticed that there was a ovular "plug" on the bellies of both beasts. Do you know if the design team at Hasbro was planning an "open belly" feature on one of them, but abandoned that feature at the last minute? The design seems to suggest that.
I noticed this and was wondering the same thing-- and thankfully, someone else did the hard work already.
Yakface.com revealed that the engineering does not support this kind of a feature due the size and shape of the Tauntaun's belly. However, this doesn't mean that the figure can't be altered to fit the specifications of the creature! If Hasbro were so inclined, a Luke figure could be cut apart at the waist so he could be "placed inside," effectively fudging the feature by removing Luke's legs-- but Hasbro just confirmed that they sadly will not be doing that with the next release of Luke.
This sort of thing isn't unprecedented in toys, although it seems that dismembering a figure for any kind of play other than actual dismemberment is usually frowned upon.
4. How hard is it to head-swap between Hood-up Hoth Han and Hood-down Hoth Han? I wanted to frankenstein the new Han included in the Search for Skywalker pack so Blue-boy won't freeze before his tauntaun makes it to the first marker. I know that the paint app won't match but it would be hard to touch up afterwards. Not to mention that one of the only readily available figures in my area happens to be the saga legends Hoth Han, so the material is there for the switch if I want it. Oh, and while i am checking in, how does the old action packed Hoth-Lunging Han sit on the new tauntaun? Anyone saddle this up yet?
Short answer for Vintage: it's easy if you got paint. The Hoth Han body used since the Vintage mold's introduction uses essentially the same torso, meaning heads may be swapped fairly easily. Coloring is, of course, an issue but the 2008 Wal-Mart Han Solo from the Droid Factory is your best bet. If the room is light, but not TOO light, it might be a close enough match for you.
I scoured my boxes for my 2003 Saga Hoth Han Solos to see if they will fit the new Tauntaun, and it doesn't really fit. After about 10 seconds I decided not to continue, but the new 2011 Hoth Han takes longer than that to get situated so maybe I wasn't being fair.
5. What is up with Hasbro's plans for the Clone Wars line in 2012. A total of 19 carded figures for the entire year (as stated at NYCC and reiterated in this month's Q & A) has me perplexed. It seems like a good way to damage a line that has seemed quite successful. Any insight into what is happening?
There are dozens of possibilities, not the least of which may be the show's ratings declining. The show itself is, in many ways, an ad for toys so with that in mind, if nobody's watching the show, it's going to dig in to sales. Based on how much stuff still gets made-- we've seen a fair amount of new vehicles and lots of product cycled in and out-- I'm assuming it's doing well enough, otherwise we probably wouldn't be seeing as much as we're seeing.
In 2010 we got a number of new figures, but it was still basically only in the 20s for carded figures. Some years are better than others and the release schedule for The Clone Wars is highly unusual-- most years seem to have a massive release around August, with 1 or 2 or 3 other waves throughout the year. Hasbro hasn't been doing much in the way of a steady flow of new product, so it's possible people simply aren't looking and if that's the case, it isn't worth Hasbro's time to invest in more new product when the old stuff is, in some areas, doing just fine.
So for now, 19 seems like not much-- but it also depends on what that means for the whole year and that we don't know. If Hasbro does 19 new molds, that sounds pretty slow-- like 1980s slow. With 19 figures, it's my sincere hope that we'll see many more figures cycled in and out, because there are a fair amount of older figures needing another shot at retail like Aayla Secura, Commander Bly, the ARC Troopers from the 2010 Battle Pack, the TX droids, and so on. Really, Hasbro could do a pretty solid year just playing catch-up and we're seeing a tiny bit of that now with a much-delayed and welcome new run of Hondo Ohnaka. Seeing more Darth Sidious would be good, particularly since we're in a Phantom Menace year.
So yeah, 19 new figures-- I can't imagine it'll be 19 in total, because after the line relaunches, that means the old stuff will probably be flushed out of the retail system somewhat quickly and they would need new product (old figures in new packaging) to have something to sell. But that's just a hunch, we won't know for sure until cases show up or Hasbro flat-out explains it. But 19 figures in total? I just can't fathom it being that small, unless the emphasis on new product in the other two lines grows significantly. (After all, Movie Heroes is going to have new products, and Saga Legends-- the line it's replacing-- rarely had more than a few repaints, if that, in a year.)
Subsets! Some love them, some hate them. I love them. One of the nice things about this hobby going on so long is that there are dozens of groupings to specialize in, or buy as a set on eBay. Last week a guy asked about 10 great figures to buy for one's collection, and I dug out a great example-- the 2008 Droid Factory set. This is the one with the build-a-C-3PX plus 12 other figures, and when it first came out the entire collection was $60 before tax. eBay sellers are letting it go for about $50 now.
Why should you get it? 10 of the 12 figures were "new enough" as of this set, with 2 more having since been reissued this year. Basically anything from 2008 onward is going to be pretty good-- Hasbro has basically since given up on using most of the late 1990s or early 2000s molds, although some will reappear next year in Movie Heroes. This line, though, has six really cool droids and five of them have never been reissued-- plus the best Watto ever, the best (to me) Han Hoth so far, and enough unique paint jobs to make most of the rest interesting enough to track down. It also spans both trilogies and the Clone Wars, making it an ideal set for people who like everything.
The 2009 set isn't nearly as exciting-- the figure decoes didn't quite match what was originally planned, they cost a lot more ($85 for 10 figures + build-a-Darktrooper) and due to the popularity of the Darktrooper, may cost you more. I'd still suggest getting it if the price is right, but the 2008 set really does feel like an awesome figure fan starter package. If I had more money, I'd buy them up to give to anyone wanting to start collecting as a hobby... after they buy a few figures on their own. I've seen people fall out of love with this hobby fast, after all.
I was going to go on hiatus for the rest of 2012 but dang if a couple of you didn't send in some fantastic questions. There's room for more-- so I'll keep going until I hit the bottom of my mailbag. And then it's break time. Don't want me to take a break? Well, you know the drill.
Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now!