You've seen the best, now see the rest! Another commentary on Toy Fair 2011, from me? Why yes! You asked, so I'll do my best to give you a quick rundown of this year's amazing coverage. There's not a lot of pictures, but look on the bright side-- there's a TON of reading.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... I've written thousands upon thousands of pages on Star Wars from Hasbro over the past 16 years and it's starting to be more of a challenge to write new things about their action figure line. "Well, it's a huge success, there will be another 60 this year, and they're improving the sculpts, accessories, and articulation." I could trot that out at every Toy Fair with a new picture gallery and none would be the wiser.
The Vintage action figure line was confirmed to not only continue this year, but to continue through 2012. With price increases and soaring popularity-- my guess is they're cashing in this year before a price drop with the theatrical 3D rerelease of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 2012-- it's nice to see they're doing weirder stuff with more accessories. An "Expanded Universe" logo will debut with Nom Anor and Bastilla Shan, meaning that we're going to see a lot more than just movie figures. I was elated to see the ARC Trooper Commander, better known as Fordo, on display. He has multiple helmets and underneath them is a fauxhawk which you can sorta make out in the pictures. (It was crowded.)
This year's big "chase" program, similar to previous Ultimate Galactic Hunt lines, will be Revenge of the Jedi-- so instead of "Return," it'll say "Revenge" and, most likely, will be so subtle fans will miss a lot of them. If previous lines are any indication, this means you can expect 4 "Revenge" figures per case of 12, but if that doesn't work for you there will be a Comic-Con Death Star Boxed Set of all 12 figures plus two bonus "mini" figures of Salacious Crumb and a Mouse Droid. I was told that these would be rereleases, and not repainted in any significant way. (And since some asked, the Vintage B-Wing Pilot Keyan Farlander was indeed released before in 2008 in the Legacy Evolutions packs. So it's not a new figure.)
For the vintage line, the mail-in will be a new Concept Boba Fett based on the first full-size build of the all-white armor. Hasbro said that the figure would even retain a hint of the bath towel cape from the original design, which should mean this is yet another winner. (Although I must say, two mail-in Boba Fetts in a row?)
While Savage Opress was on display in sign form, no action figures or lightsabers were shown. LEGO has a Savage, and Rubies does too-- but not Hasbro. It's surprising, and a little uncomfortable to think that the core line of Star Wars is missing its new posterboy. Other new animated figures were revealed a few months back, so it's no real surprise that El-Les and Barriss Offee are coming, but the new ARC Trooper Colt and Riot Clone Trooper were nice surprises.
Fans of vehicles had a lot of Clone Wars additions, with Hasbro seemingly going whole-hog on the Mini-Rigs concept from the 1980s. Six new small ships were shown, all of which seem to take inspiration from the show but few actually appear on the show. I consider this a huge plus, because it's better than no ships at all and I like the toy-originated stuff a lot.
The big vehicle of 2011 is the Republic Attack Shuttle, which will transform from a vehicle to a playset. The wings unfold to reveal various battle stations, so it seems Hasbro packed a lot of play options in this one. There's also a new RC version of the Republic Fighter Tank, but oddly no vehicles of any kind from the Original Trilogy and none of the $20-$25 vehicle assortment were on display as new, either.
The kids might be interested in the "Ultimate FX" Lightsaber, which seems to be a pared-down $40-$50 toy version of Hasbro's high-end FX Lightsaber line. The new smaller (cheaper) version looks great and has great sound effects, plus the blade lights up progressively just like the really expensive model. Speaking of the expensive model, a Kit Fisto Removable Blade Lightsaber is also on deck for the FX line this year, and a Luke Skywalker Removbale Blade FX Lightsaber just got announced today.