Q&A: Yellow Figures, Burned Droids, Missing Vehicles, Tooling, More

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, April 29, 2012

So yeah, Star Tours Build-A-Droid. Let's talk about that. Where is that Naboo Starfighter? Good question. Has it really been 10 years since Attack of the Clones figures came out? Geez, time flies! And how does Hasbro determine when to make a new mold? I thought I knew, but it's getting pretty strange, particularly in Hasbro's other toy brands. All this and how I ruined one of my favorite figures on Sunday when you read on!

1. My question is simple, hopefully there is a simply answer to it. Where is the Naboo Starfighter?! Many sources said it was due out in March and uh... April is just about over so what's up?

Hasbro did indeed give a date and they aren't here yet-- which is nothing new. (They're all estimates, this happens all the time. Those presentations should be taken with a grain of salt.) At this point anything I could toss out would be speculation, all I know is that, well, they aren't here and I have no evidence that they are shipping, nor any evidence that they were made-- but it's possible I missed a forum posting where they showed up in Asia. That's what the comments are for, thankfully!


2. I saw on Yakface.com that it's been ten years since the release of the Saga figures for Attack of the Clones. Time flies. I cant believe its been so long. I really liked the Episode 1 toy line and Power of the Jedi line. The Saga figures however caused me to stop collecting for a long time. I got the first bunch and there were some winners but a lot of it didn't feel like Star Wars figures to me. So my question. What did you think of the saga figures from ten years ago when they first came out? What do you think of them now looking back? And what effect did they have on the line going forward?

At the time, it really was the biggest change we've seen in years. Articulation was simultaneously increased and decreased, with lower prices and better sculpting. Truly, it was a glorious time. Granted, some people hated that some figures were more like statues, and others disliked action features, but it was a notable instance of Hasbro actually trying really hard to reinvent the line. If it meant reduced prices, I'd be all for going back to that kind of a line, and I actually had a blast futzing with all the magnets. Heck, 2002 was a great year with that really great Bespin Luke, Ephant Mon, a concept Darth Maul, and some truly awful Anakin Skywalker heads.

Even though it was an era with few vehicles, the line as a whole was pretty fun and aside from the aforementioned Ephant Mon, easy to find on the cheap.

Not to poo-poo the earlier lines, but I gotta say I don't really get "didn't feel like Star Wars" because the dang line was pretty Star Warsy from where I sat. I mean, if this is secret fan code for "screw the prequels" OK, I can get why you maybe didn't like the line, but it was packed with new characters, new features, new sculpts, and some great features. From where I sat, it was a more exciting year than Phantom Menace (which felt like a media-fueled collecting orgy highlighting some of the worst traits of the 1990s toy collecting market), and Revenge of the Sith felt like we've all been here before. 2002 gave us the first-ever Clone Troopers, the first-ever giant accessories, blast effects, Jango Fett, trooper head variants, and they even went and released a bunch of figures from the previous four movies too. With precious few repacks, the line was more exciting, no question, than many recent years. "Just different enough to make you mad" wasn't exactly on our lips yet, each figure seemed to either have something new and notable about it, or was obviously a repack. I miss those days. I'm also the only person who writes for a fan site who is pretty much over super-articulated figures at this point, too, so yeah: let's see something new and weird like 2002 again some day. If Hasbro's up for experimenting, I'd love to see the line envisioned as a kid's line again. Movie Heroes is doing a good job of this with the precious few new figures in the line so far.

...I will say, though, that 2002-2004 had some of the worst white plastic disasters we've ever seen. Numerous figures turned a yellowish green color, which could be cleaned off, but if you collect package figures you were out of luck. Now that was unfortunate.

3. We've heard in the past how much new tooling effects what Hasbro can and can't do with a toy. What kind of trickle-down effect does it have on a line as a whole when new-tooled figures and vehicles don't make it to retail or if they do in low volume?

How's this for another non-answer: "I don't know."

There are numbers inside every company, and these numbers are things you and I flat-out can't see. Hasbro doesn't talk finances on a SKU by SKU level, nor should they-- I don't know if there's an internal mandate to develop X molds per year that can be reused Y times. I'm sure there's a culture of "how can we reuse this?" as we've seen numerous Vintage figures which are more than 50% recycled parts, and when comparing apples to apples-- like seeing a figure in Vintage next to Movie Heroes, while Vintage has a higher price tag and Movie Heroes has more gear, but is the same figure-- we really don't know what it is they're doing in Rhode Island.

Obviously, Hasbro can do anything it wants to. Heck, we all can point to a few dozen figures where Hasbro could trot them out with no changes and fans would happily gobble them up at full retail price, but they don't. Vehicles are said to be obscenely expensive, and there are things which are hard to see or know, particularly as a company like Hasbro gets bigger and bigger and starts focusing on things like Hollywood. Is there an internal mandate they must sell more of fewer SKUs? Does Hasbro's current MO, which seems to be "let's release a bunch of repackaged vehicles in wave 1 and subsequent waves see reduced distribution," have anything to do with this? I don't know.

Most if not all products make it to retail somewhere, be it online, at a deep discounter, or elsewhere. As seen in Transformers, though, there actually are quite a few molds which have yet to make it out to the USA but were distributed elsewhere in the last year, and Hasbro seems to have no problems making new, similar-if-not-nearly-identical toys at the same price points with 100% new tooling. I don't fully understand it. I assume they do, but for all I know there was a change in management, a mathematical error, or worse: Hasbro no longer needs to worry about satisfying the needs of the US market. These are things we'll hopefully learn as people of our generation start writing books and interviewing former employees, although my guess is that the answer is pretty much boring-- the beast got too big, and as such, the ship is tougher to steer these days.



4. I recently opened up a box with all of my original starwars figures and I could not believe how many white figures had turned yellow and also how many had a sticky coating! Please advise how I can get them back to reasonable condition and then the best way to store.

I'm assuming you mean 1970s-1980s original, and not 1990s original. As ridiculous as this is, every now and again, I get people writing in about their "worthless vintage" figures and then find out they mean the 1995 guys. (Which are not original. But I digress.)

While I have not personally tried it, a bunch of people have done write-ups involving Hydrogen Peroxide or a homebrew gel with H2O2 which can, in some cases, suck the yellow right out of a plastic. I've also heard a lot of anecdotal evidence from people saying it is only temporary, but depending on what kind of light enters a room with your toys, well, you're going to have problems. Sun is bad for toys. Light is bad for toys. And as someone who has worked out of his basement for a few months, I can tell you that I am consistently amazed to see areas of my home have sunlight shining in them at certain times of day, even with the blinds closed.

Basically, it's like when I say "hey, if you don't check a store every day, you probably miss a lot." Sun comes in when you're not looking, just like new toys, and if your toys were exposed to a lot of sun before you packed them away it's possible the damage was done and time did the rest.

At this point, I'd suggest trying H2O2 or the "Retrobrite" gel the kids are making to fix up their old computers. Just remember this: they might turn back to yellow, they might get damaged, and you might ultimately need to replace them anyway.

As for sticky figures? Warm water and a soft rag can do wonders. A mild detergent or rubbing alcohol also works well. Plastic degrades over time, and there's really nothing you can do about it beyond keeping them out of the light-- and I mean pitch dark, if you can-- and keep them in a cool, dry place. They'll still age, but if you've got a room that gets some sun between 9 and 11 AM while you're at work and you never see it? Well, it's possible it might be difficult to keep your nice things nice.


5.I’ve been desperately trying to get hold of a 2008 Legacy Millennium Falcon. Heck, I’d take any Millennium Falcon about now. I’ve been searching on eBay and the prices this ship goes for are through the roof!

Is Hasbro planning to re-release the Falcon in any form(2008 BMF or OTC or POTF)?

Also, can you suggest any outlets I may find the Falcon for a good price?

While I do believe Hasbro will rerelease the Falcon soon, I don't know when. As they could crank it out for the 3D reissues of the original trilogy, I'd expect it to come out again between now and 2016, if you can wait that long. Hasbro did reissue it for internet shops a couple of years back and there's no reason to think they won't do so again. (Heck, this would be a good year to try it.)

I can't remember who said it, and I couldn't read them if it was a joke, but I've heard the classic Falcon mold is shot and is now basically no longer usable. The OTC mold (which was repackaged in 2005 for ROTS) was said to be extremely shoddy by the final release, although that could be pinned on other variables as well. I sincerely doubt you'll ever see another Millennium Falcon based on the 1978-2005 chassis.



Sooooo... the dreaded Star Tours build-a-droid rumor is true. As always my initial reactions were "How much is this going to cost me?" and "Wow, those are some cool hats!" in that order.

This is a horrifying prospect as there are potentially hundreds of parts and I'd be shocked if Tatooine Traders sold these for less than $8-10 per given it's a theme park and gouge, gouge, gouge. And worse, if I went there on vacation, I might have to literally spend several hours sorting through pieces to make sure I have them all if I go there, meaning I'm paying $76 or whatever to get into a theme park just to buy toys for 2-3 hours of the day. This is one of those rare times where, if an eBay seller has complete sets of all (100+?) parts for a fair price (which I am now ballparking at cost + price of 1 day admission to Disneyland) I'd probably just pay it. I know some of you are sitting here shaking your fist at me for suggesting such a thing, but given the actual real world costs of a trip to Disneyland for a non-local (travel/hotel/admission/parking/3+ days of vacation time) I would suggest that this is one of those rare times where it might be to everybody's advantage to say "screw it" and hope eBay comes though.

Hasbro, if you're still reading, this is my way of saying wow, this is a really neat idea and I really like it. And as a collector I want to get all of your astromech droids, as I have shown over the years by supporting them through my employer's coffers at my day job and any other means available to me. And this is going to be extremely frustrating unless all the droid parts at Disney (save for the hats) return in build-a-droid packs in 2013, which, at this point, I am really hoping they will. Then I can just concentrate on tracking down the hats instead, which would be a lot less frustrating I assume.

I absolutely love the idea on paper and the hats are amazingly great. The Yoda hat, the Pirate hat, the Mickey ears, the Indiana Jones fedora, Goofy's hat... this is awesome and incredibly inventive. Just know that when I see you at the conventions this summer, Hasbro, and when I start swearing profanely in your general direction, it's out of love of the hobby. And frustration. But mostly love of the hobby.

...on a semi-related topic, I was trying to see if I could "clear up" my R3-M3's dome tonight. Helpful advice: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE HOT WATER. The dang thing melted and won't go back, which is odd as hot/boiling water has been my cure-all for bent-up PVC and some dirty things. Now I got an all smooshed R3-M3 dome and a heart full of sadness. Oh, and I burned my hand, I forgot that part. So this was definitely a good night.

--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.

Disney Star Tours Build A Droid

The image of those droids is awesome. Supposedly we are going to get for the first time legitimate R6, R8 and R9 droids. The colors are awesome. The outlet (Disney world) is horrible. Someone needs to start a petition to get these droids released outside the amusement park in a single giant (20 figures or whatever) astromech build a droid pack.


I assume r3-m3 is a clear dome?
The hot water treatment only works for PVC, the dome most likely isn't PVC. Though even some clear PVC can become cloudy with the hot water treatment.

If it is indeed a clear dome, for the future, I would recommend using Future floor finish, which is now owned by Pledge, so look for a Pledge tile & vinyl floor finish with the word Future somewhere on it. Mix it with one part water to one part Future, and paintbrush it on, and then put it in a box so dust doesn't get on it while it dries.

Plastic modelers have been using this for decades and it not only clears up cloudyness, it even fills in scratches and the like. It works on PVC, styrene, or any type of clear plastic.

If it isn't a clear dome then ignore this message.

Richard - if you're reading

Richard - if you're reading this, send me your email and we can work something out. I have a sealed BMF Falcon that I was planning to dump on eBay eventually.