Q&A: Vehicles, Future Releases, and More Vintage Vehicles (That Won't Happen)

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, March 25, 2012

So what's going on now that Toy Fair is over? Is it time to pretend the sky is falling again? And what's going on with the Attack Recon Fighter? Good question! Should you expect a reissue of the Imperial Shuttle in vintage packaging? Hahahah no. All this and more in this week's Q&A!

1. Now that Toy Fair (in my opinion it felt underwhelming as far as a Hasbro Star Wars presence was concerned) has passed perhaps it is time for a "state of the hobby" report- if you're up for it. It's been awhile- unless I missed one the past few months. Your responses in the 2-20-12 Q and A suggest what I have also been feeling- the line is winding down- perhaps not because lack of interest but lack of something new- and I don't mean "new enough to make you mad" For $9 and up per figure- I want something new.

Is it just me or does Hasbro seem to miss the boat with their timing? Deleted scenes figures would've been great with the Blu-ray release - it's not like that release date came out of the blue- no pun intended. Why not release the MTT with the movie- it would help drive sales if such a thing is possible.

This may anger many people but perhaps the line should "end" or go on hiatus or something- I don't know but it feels like people complain more than they have fun with the hobby which in turn sours the hobby. Could this be collector fatigue? I would rather Hasbro end with the proverbial bang and leave us hungry for more than limp out with a whisper. 1995 and counting- that's a long continuous run for any brand-

No toy line that I can recall has ever gone out with a bang-- like any franchise, they go until they're no longer profitable. With toys, this usually means awesome items that never make it to stores, and/or the final wave being distributed only in international markets. (I know this may offend the foreigners, but by and large Hasbro's toy lines are developed for the American market. Transformers seems to be a notable exception as of late.) Fatigue? Being bored? These things don't matter-- Hasbro is in business to sell toys, primarily to kids, and as long as stuff sells they'll keep making them. They paid good money for this license after all.

While Hasbro does seem to be slowing down slightly, I can't honestly say if it's a "correction" to the rampant releases since 2005, a sign of their trying not to compete with their big movie brands for the summer, or, as you suggest, actual slowing down. With several new product offerings for kids and dozens of new Vintage figures announced, I think it's going to be here for a while. I'm not so sure about The Clone Wars though... that really does seem to be in the process of being strangled.

Considering what TPM did at the box office, and Hasbro's big push on other properties this year, I wouldn't say this looks like a bad year. We might still get a hundred or so figures, plus the ones you don't know about yet, which is better than we got in 2003 and 2004. (And yes, some of them were repacks or tweaked versions of things you got. That's Hasbro in 2012, though.) I think the days of the line being 50% genuinely new characters, as in new sculpts and new outfits, is over. While there are plenty of opportunities for new and different things, it boils down to how adventurous Hasbro feels. Do Splinter of the Mind's Eye outfits for Luke and Leia make sense in today's market? I'm not sure, especially given that they seem to have given up on the cash cow that is the clone trooper repaint.

While peering over the fence into other lines, the "is it done? Did they kill it?" question comes up all the time. Masters of the Universe Classics seems to have "they are killing the line!" as a battle cry in recent years, while there's plenty of evidence of Hasbro just plain not releasing many figures in 2011 and now 2012 in the US market in its Transformers line. And I think Justice League Unlimited was declared dead more times than Superman. There are always cycles, and it would seem since 2010 things have slowed up a bit. Having said that, it's still going to be a very expensive year for new Star Wars.


2. Now that we have seen that Hasbro has changed up the colors of the paint used on the Attack Recon Fighter, do you think all hope is lost on seeing a repaint in the original color scheme shown previously? I'm really going with a certain motif with my Republic forces.

Possibly, but my guess is this item's appearance depends entirely on if Walmart wants it as an exclusive some day. Given the lack of The Clone Wars in 2012, it wouldn't stun me if someone wound up with it as a quickie easy release when or if there's a surge of interest in the property with no new toys. (Of course, if The Clone Wars ends with season 5, we might just not see it.)


3. One Vehicle I would like to see hasbro re released and re packaged in vintage collection packaging is the imperial shuttle Tydirium from ROTJ. I have not seen it on vintage collection packaging yet and it would be nice if it was re packaged in vintage collection packaging. Do you ever see hasbro re releasing the imperial shuttle Tydirium on vintage collection packaging?

Never say never! Except now, you can say never.

Unless there is a seismic shift in how much raw materials and labor cost, you'll probably never see it again. The item has been released twice so far, and it's my guess-- and I could be wrong-- that the vintage box vehicle experiment was a stillborn concept. It was a clever idea, but Hasbro has only released vehicles which already were on the market, and while the new packaging is a smart idea to grab new customers for existing product, sales are probably going to be a lot lower because more than a few customers see the vintage box vehicle repack as a cash grab. (It is, and I'm OK with that.)

Hasbro put the Imperial Shuttle out in The Saga Collection in 2006 for the insanely low price of $59.99. I doubt it would be under $100 today, and I don't think the market for the vehicle exists to make it worth Hasbro's while. (Also, the vehicle still has 1983-sized footpegs, so I personally never want to see it again unless they retool it.)

I do expect to see some old vehicles back on the market in the next few years, but this isn't one of them. I'll also be very surprised to see new vintage vehicles after this year, particularly since Hasbro has made no rumblings about a second wave at this point. High-end reissues in vintage packaging seem about as likely as a new Sail Barge.


4. When does the new Naboo Star Fighter come out?

This month, if you can believe it! It started shipping to Hasbro along with the Fighter Tank repaint and the Anakin Jedi Starfighter (again) in a new, 3-piece assortment. (This is odd, because wave 1 had 4 vehicles in it.) A few accounts on the internet have received and shipped this item, but I have not started to see any in the wild (nor has mine arrived yet.)


5. I've been perusing the various SW galleries from Toy Fair, and have [a] question. [Is] this all we're getting this year, or just until fall?

It's tough to say, given what they showed. Historically Toy Fair means "here's what you're getting until June or July," as Hasbro holds back announcements for Comic-Con and sometimes, those items make it out before the show. So you might see some surprises, but Hasbro did show items for later in 2012 so that sort of throws a wrench in that idea.

I will be surprised-- but not shocked-- if Hasbro didn't show more at San Diego Comic-Con and/or Celebration VI in Orlando. Hasbro teased 2013 products for its other lines, and we're seeing some bizarre distribution in their other brands as well. It feels like a very different company with very different priorities, and the collector brands in the USA don't necessarily feel like they were as important as they used to be. I hate to say "wait and see!" but at this point, after seeing how many items last year were delayed, I wouldn't be too shocked if everything you saw at Toy Fair did not make it out until at least (or even after) August.

Since no exclusive for Celebration VI was shown, it stands to reason that we're going to have at least one or two more announcements between now and September, plus unless I missed it I think we're still owed one or two more Clone Wars figures. I blame G.I. Joe and The Avengers, but if it doesn't bounce back next year we're going to have bigger issues.



I actually don't have much new to talk about. The big news in the last week were better, clearly "official" unofficial leaks of 2 new figure multipacks focusing on more pilots and Ewoks. The Ewok set was particularly exciting as it featured a Princess Kneesa in "realistic" style for, I think, the first time ever. A new Porkins was shown, as were a few other characters of varying levels of interest, like an improved Teebo and the Ewok currently known as "Corpsey." You don't know who has them yet yet, but I'm certainly interested in getting some more Ewoks. (As you should be.)

As much as I love the 3 3/4-inch line, I'm beginning to wonder if Hasbro is feeling creatively tapped out. We're definitely at a point where it feels the emphasis is largely on updating existing figures, which I'm less crazy about. It's almost time for Hasbro to take a page from Marvel Legends, DC Universe Classics, or Masters of the Universe Classics and do a similarly sized $18-$23 line of figures. Not a huge, full line mind you-- just a few. Like 6-12 per year. The idea of a long-running mega line bothers me, but I really do think Hasbro has reached the limit of what it can do with Boba Fett within the confines of the plastic thickness requirements on a 3 3/4-inch action figure. If you're going to do him right, he's going to need to either grow and be a more involved release, or be simplified and be a better small toy.

I'd hate to see a full line like this, but maybe 30 or so key figures? That might be fun. A really nicely detailed Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Stormtrooper, Han, Luke, Leia, Han, Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, and a smattering of others would be a nice change of pace. I really liked Unleashed as display pieces, I'd be interested to see if we could, somehow, get similarly sized figures with some articulation. I wouldn't even mind if they were buff and crazy like Marvel Legends-- except on C-3PO, of course. Some things are sacred.

--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.

official unofficial news

Adam - Can you further comment on the figure multipacks or direct us to the site where the info is available? I missed it when it was news. Thank you.