Q&A: Vintage Vehicles, Mail-In Figures, Hutts-A-Poppin, and More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 28, 2010

So really, should you expect a Rebel Transport vehicle any time soon? And how long do mail-in figures take to arrive? And what is up with the Hasbro vintage cardback design team? All this and more, including Hutts, in this week's Q&A!

1. Just curious, but has there been any clamoring at all for a Rebel Transport to be released? I have always liked this vehicle, and would definitely be interested in Hasbro updated it. Thoughts?

There has been a mild clamor over the years, but I'm not sure how much of it is genuine interest and how much of it is "hey, didn't they make one when I was eight? They should make a new one now." The original toy was a wonderful way to transport a ton of figures to grandma's house, but as a toy there's not too much there. A trap door, a gunner station, some hidden compartments... it's a poor man's Millennium Falcon.

If you read between the lines in Habsro's Q&A columns, their response is-- in more diplomatic terms-- "when Hell freezes over." Aside from Mini-Rigs there are very few vehicles the toymaker seems to be actively avoiding in the modern line, one of which was the Cloud Car and the other is this particular entry. Of all the vehicles Hasbro could do, I'd rather see the tooling budget go somewhere more interesting-- an all-new Skiff, perhaps Anakin's Twilight vehicle, Princess Kneesa, Vlix...

I wouldn't be optimistic in this one, but for all we know it could be an internal team member holding out. I personally doubt it, due to the size of the vehicle, which essentially makes it harder to pull off. In recent years, we get about 1 or 2 large vehicles every year-- and without some big push behind it, this one will probably be one of the few things left untouched in our modern toy line.

2. Mail Away Boba Fett. How imparative is it to get him now as opposed to the secondary mark up looming on ebay. Save my Christmas dollars, or regret the paypal payment later? Is he worth it?

Generally speaking, Hasbro has been exceptional as of late when it comes to delivering on mail-in figures. They're even making additional production runs, and actually actively communicating delays. With that in mind, any mail-in Boba Fett figure you order on time (key words: ON TIME) should be something you don't have to worry about. As such, you should order one now-- if you sent for him back in June when they first hit, you'd have one already.

Is he worth it? Well, that's up to you. Personally, I'm less of a fan due to some aesthetic changes (the faux "button" not being painted red and the helmet sculpt not keeping the traditional awkward seam) but hey, let no one say Hasbro doesn't try to right past wrongs. It's essentially a vintage Boba Fett figure-- if you have one, do you need two? Maybe? Generally speaking if an item doesn't speak to your soul, it should be an easy figure to skip.

Secondary market prices vary wildly from figure to figure as mail-ins go. Ensuring you get one will cost you about $7. I'd say just order one and get it over with-- the offer accepts every basic figure since 2008. Surely you've got a few UPCs laying around?

3. Hutts, I love 'em, and it seems so do the makers of the Clone Wars if all the new Hutts appearing in the show are any indication. Not so much Hasbro though, and that's not hard to understand, given they are probably not the most action oriented or kid friendly of subjects, nor easy toys to squeeze into an existing assortment. Perhaps they could fit into the current figure with vehicle range, but other than that, I would imagine any future releases would almost certainly have to be exclusives of some kind. It's taken Hasbro an age to get around to updating Jabba in the realistic line (though I have to say it was worth the wait), and Ziro seems to have been on the 'almost gets made' list for a few years now with the Clone Wars, but has yet to make it out. What do you think our best hope for more Hutt toys is? Will we ever see Gardulla in either Clone Wars or Realistic form, or any of the Hutt council members from these latest episodes? If so, where do you think they'll show up? I needs me some more slugs.

You're singing my song! I think the last few episodes of The Clone Wars have been a gift from above as Expanded Universe fans go-- it's like some lost ROTJ-era stuff just got dumped out of nowhere, and here it is! We got one episode that was essentially a new Droids episode, and then "Hunt for Ziro" which was one of the most delightful things I've seen on the show.

A lot of leaked information and half-truths got out about Ziro, who I would assume would be the most likely of the new Hutts to get made. Some stuff says he was going to be an exclusive, or a main line item. (At one point a "Ziro" item showed up on Wal-Mart's computers.) He was also rumored (which I rounded up to "top rumor that's not a rumor") as a 2010 mail-in, but that didn't happen either. I'm not banking on Ziro and Hasbro's seemingly inconsistent focus on The Clone Wars line makes me think more Hutts are pretty unlikely. They're high price points and they don't do much, so unless collector enthusiasm for the line shoots up-- and eBay seems to say that it has-- I would not be hopeful for a second Hutt in Star Wars any time soon.

...except maybe Ziro. I'd put Gardulla, Marlo, Gorga, Arok, and Oruba as very, very unlikely. I would gladly buy every one they made, though-- gangsters (specifically the Hutts) have been a pocket of Star Wars I'd love to see more of. Maybe even Ziro's mom-- well, OK, not that.

4. So I picked up Vintage Jedi Luke over the weekend. After missing it several times, I finally picked up on the fact that his card's name capsule border is plain white! I just look at the GH picture gallery - and it's white, too! Just an initial-run mistake? It's such an important figure (and package; at least to me). Any word that it will be corrected before the big H switches over to alternate card art for this figure as they alluded to recently?

I have no idea-- presumably, it was a Photoshop layering issue, I just don't know when or if they planned on correcting it. If they really did do an alternate card photo-- which would be a stroke of marketing genius, they'd sell twice as many figures-- I'm sure it will be fixed at that time.

5. I know you're a big Droids fan and have been bugging Hasbro to make some figures based on those adventures for some time now. Since most people nowadays haven't been exposed to that show to know where the figures came from if they ever did get around to making them and they're no longer making comic pack tie-ins do you think maybe they'll ever get around to releasing the entire series on DVD and Blue Ray? I have the disc from back in '97 {?} with the "pirates and the prince" and "the treasures of the hidden planet" but I want the whole collection With Size Fromm, Vlix, Boba Fett and the Mobquet C/L 82 White Witch {I cheated there I got the manufacturer and model number from Wookieepedia} perhaps then they could do a combo pack with the discs the White Witch vehicle the Fromm Gang, Thall Joben, Jord Dusat and a color coordinated and stylized Boba Fett, C-3PO and R2-D2. Or would that be too much like heaven and we'll be relegated to new releases like Slave 1 that didn't even have Empire deco on it in it's anniversary year? I have the droids A-wing, the box alas is now most likely a recycled happy meal, but I thought that Kenner at one point had designed and maybe even made a prototype of the White Witch, or I could just be imagining things. It would be great to incorporate these characters into the "realistic" movie type or the stylized Clone Wars type, or heck while I'm dreaming, re-release the figures from their original molds. Except Artoo and Threepio which were the same as the regular vintage line save for some color changes, I want new sculpts to match the cartoon for those two. Oh yeah, I forgot, I'm just dreaming….

Like the great Don Van Vliet, Hasbro's gonna do what Hasbro wants to do. Their reasoning and surprising choices in the line seem to come from nowhere, with figures like BL-17 and this year's cartoon-style Wicket making me happy in ways no adult male should ever feel.

For whatever reason Lucasfilm seems to be deliberately avoiding the issue of Ewoks and Droids as season boxed sets on DVD-- back in the 1990s we got those terrible edits with new music and none of the original theme songs, which I found pretty depressing. Do you know what the Snorks would be without its theme song? Still crappy, but a crime nonetheless.

I don't necessarily think that Hasbro will go out of their way to do figures from the show except as the odd (and I do mean odd) exclusive, but we've seen representatives from nearly all the 1980s and 1970s TV projects in the last few years-- the 2007 Target-exclusive Wicket is clearly painted up like The Ewok Adventure's Widdle. Star Tours' Teek is also a character from Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. The alternate hood in the 2010 Wicket is a nod to the season 2 incarnation of the character on ABC-TV's Ewoks animated series, and an idea so good that I hope someone at Hasbro gets a raise for it. You made me feel good about paying $8 for one figure-- kudos. And then there's BL-17 from Droids and Boba Fett from the Star Wars Holiday Special, the latter of which we all know will most likely never ever see home video release in its entirety. So, on paper, Hasbro has been doing a mighty fine job of incorporating TV characters into its live-action offerings. But as to your question-- how do we show them to kids?

Simple: streaming. I assume that Lucas owns the rights to the show, so it should hopefully be a simple matter of just making some .swf files and putting them up on the official site. Streaming video is cheap, plus "hey kids, free TV episode code inside!" is a pretty nice incentive to buy a toy. While my preferred focus was and always will be the Trigon arc with the Fromm gang and the hot rodders, well, I'll take what I can get.


A lot of people write in asking me for stuff I want to see from Hasbro-- I try to avoid these unless I'm cleaning out a mailbag because it eats up space from actual questions you may have. This week, I'll include 5 Unreasonable Demands for 2011 below!

5. An actual new Darth Vader sculpt would be nice. We're overdue. I don't think I'm being too unreasonable here-- Hasbro hasn't made a new non-EU Vader mold since late 2006 (the tin figure, which got recarded in 2007 and wasn't at all bad. The 2005 (the basis for the 2008/2010) one has terrible hands, a removable helmet which seems to have increasing difficulty staying on with each new release, and nowhere to plug a lightsaber into his belt. I'll be happy if I get new hands and a non-removable (or more secure) helmet. I'll be ecstatic if they can toss in a "wire cape" that can hold a pose or maybe a ball-jointed neck for the non-removable helmet figure, too. The last completely new basic carded Darth Vader figure sculpt was in 2008 with The Force Unleashed Battle-Damaged version... and before him was the McQuarrie one.

4. Exploit Boba Fett's conceptual pre-history with new figure(s). There's a concept prototype white armor used for screen tests. There's a "proto Fett" suit with uniquely colored gauntlets and a distinctive hook-shaped rocket which serves as the photo on the 1978-1983 Vintage Kenner cardback. And there are more-- and when you do them, please drop the horrible peg for the jetpack. It will not stay on. Bring back the 1995 t-slot, or something new that won't fall off the figure if I breathe on the shelf. (Look at your Boba Fett sales records. We will buy it. I promise.) I'll even buy one more releases of the ESB "Evolutions" mold, but please, fix the dang backpack connection issue first. It's no fun if kids have to pick up the baddest bounty hunter's gear as he chases after Han Solo. (Could you imagine what it would be like if Darth Vader's dome kept falling off? Oh yeah, it does that doesn't it?)

3. Logray 2011. If Hasbro likes us, they'll include his unique cartoon-style staff. If Hasbro loves us, they'll include an alternate blue cartoon-style outfit. And if Hasbro adores us, they'll find a way to make the TV-movie Logray too.

2. Find a way to get Ziro the Hutt out there-- maybe with Sy Snootles. I'd spring for that Battle Pack, or send away for it, or overpay at SDCC. Just give me the chance. (Keep in mind that as soon as I get Ziro, I start asking for Gardulla and Marlo-- but not in that order. Fair warning/guarantee.)

1. Vlix. Do it. I'm waiting. (Fromm Hench 4 Life.)

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with Q&A in the subject line.

Mail aways/Jedi Luke

I just recieved my 4 mail away Boba Fetts today! The great thing is I sent out the redemptions on 11/01/10 and got them in 29 days!!!!!! Double boxed and all are in mint condition. I've seen these on some sites for as much as $79.99 each so I would definately send away for yours. I noticed the Vintage Jedi Luke card issue when I placed it next to my real Vintage Luke I have on display. That Luke was the only figure I didnt have when I was a kid, I did however have an extra Bespin Luke that I painted black and put Prune Face's robe on it, hey it worked at the time! So now I have one in original packaging in a beautiful display box.