Q&A For February 9, 2004


1. Do you know when the New York Toy Fair is? Will Hasbro be there this year or are they going to do their own thing like last year?

New York's Toy Fair starts next weekend, as does the Galactic Coverage. A few of us will be there, including yours truly, to see what we can find out for the coming year. As such, there will probably be no Q&A next week since I'll still be in New York. Still, you should send in your questions anyway, because I might be able to get some answers while I'm there.

2. Just wondering is there any place you know of that sells power of the force ( 1995-1999 ) weapons? Ive recently pulled a bunch of these from my attic and it appears I lost several blasters. I know that Brian's toys sells vintage weapons but nothing for POTF.

I've been asked this a lot over the years, but on the whole I've never seen anybody setting up a store with them. With POTF2 prices being as they are (i.e., in the crapper) I can't much imagine there being all that much need for it since you can get pretty much any POTF2 figure for a couple of bucks on eBay. As most people don't let weapons go for under a dollar or two, it might be worth your while just to pick up a whole new figure.

For people going "what, POTF2 figures aren't worthless?!?" I advise you to go look around eBay. Even long lightsaber figures, Ishi Tib, and anything save for a few figures from the CommTech years go for pretty much nothing. As such, that seems to be your best bet.

3. Iıve read about the new Falcon that's supposed to be in ³Vintage² style with "slight" modifications. Will the new figures be able to pilot this Falcon? Also, why did they wait so long to make another Falcon?

From what we're hearing, this is basically a tweaked POTF2 Falcon. Since no clear images have surfaced (not that I've seen), well, we don't know either. Come back for next week's Toy Fair coverage and we'll have more to show you then.

I expect the "new" figures to be specially made to fit in the vehicle, unlike the initial POTF2 offerings.

4. Is Hasbro ever going to release the Sandcrawler?

Right now, we have no official word on it. Lots of exclusives get moved around, like the Silver Clone and the supposedly cancelled Kitik Keed'kak wave, so this may or may not still be happening... we just don't know yet.

5. As you know, the Tanus Spijek and J'Quille figure bodies look to be the same mold for various parts. Were the two movie costumes very similar to each other or is this just a way of reducing the number of sculpts?

Hasbro is very big on reusing parts to reduce costs, which is why we're seeing a fairly high number of figures for a movie line that appeals mostly to collectors in a non-movie year. (I mean, we've got more SW figures in a given year than Lord of the Rings is having a the height of its popularity.) Like the Padawans and Coruscant Nightclub patrons, these two figures share parts because they can get away with it and it really doesn't look too awful. I would have liked my J'Quille to be shaggier, but eh, at least I have my J'Quille coming.

6. Also, the last question may be somewhat unusual or off the topic but Iıll go ahead and ask since itıll interest a lot of readers. Do you ever openly discuss with co-workers, girls, or people outside of your close friends or web audience the fact that you collect toys? Granted, it goes without saying that thereıs nothing wrong with our hobby but you know what I mean. Iım sure a lot of the audience out there has kept their hobby pretty private or have been pretty selective with who they discuss it and have even felt self-conscious or somewhat embarrassed about it. You may say that some are ³in the closet². Can you relate to or understand this?

I consider it on a need-to-know basis. As I wrote for some magazines, ran a newsletter, and so forth, not mentioning my hobby would be a big mistake as it shows what kind of work I'm capable of doing on my own, but, as you say, at the same time one "outs" one's self. If your hobby tells something important about you as a person beyond just an interest, it may be worth mentioning to the right people.

And if you ever saw my place of residence, it's really hard to not see that something is up between the unbuilt Zoids, empty Energon packages, and stacked-to-the-ceiling boxes of Star Wars figures that only a junkie with over two decades of buying this stuff might be able to bring. As such, it's physically impossible to keep my hobby in the closet, mainly because I don't have that much in the way of closets. (I also make it a habit to go out with people rather than entertain at home. But I digress.)

If you'd like to see more what a collector's life can be like, I highly advise you to go rent/buy the recently released American Splendor DVD. I saw it in the theaters last summer and I can safely say that it's a lot like that.

As far as who you discuss it with, I think I can count the amount of people I talk to about toys on one hand, assuming you don't count the readers of this column and all seven regulars to 16bit.com. The reason I don't talk about it much is because, frankly, most people don't care about the fact that Hasbro changed the handles on the Energon weapon on Divebomb, or that there's a rumor that we're going to see new Playskool Star Wars figure two-packs at Toy Fair. Sure, these things interest me to no end, but I can safely say that girls don't care so much.

In short, ask yourself this question: why should anybody care about your hobby? If someone at work is having a hard time finding a toy for their kid and you know what it is and where to get it, well, obviously it would be downright decent of you to help them out and be a nice guy. If someone asks "So, how was your weekend?" you answer "Oh fine, thanks for asking." You don't tell them the truth, which is "I hit six Toys "R" Us stores, a few Wal-Marts, five Targets and a couple of Kay-Bees and didn't find crap." (They don't need to know you do that. I mean, I don't... heh...)

7. The new snowtrooper is an officer, only seen inside the ATAT with Veers, never in the Rebel Base. The costume for an officer is totally different from head to toe from a regular snowtrooper - different helmet, belt, kneepads, boots, gloves etc. - and the distinctive "upside down" shoulder pads the figure has. Hasbro usually being very accurate, why didn't they call it an officer and picture the guy from the ATAT?

Well, let me ask you this: do you consider this to be common knowledge? It's not. Hasbro sees a nice design, sculpts it, and releases it as a toy, sometimes with the wrong pose for the character or with a few inaccuracies here and there. With Hasbro having released somewhere around, what, 50 figures a year, can you really expect perfection out of every one?

We're getting some great stuff here, and unlike Mattel with He-Man, it looks like Hasbro is actually interested in keeping us buying their stuff. (I make more toy runs than just about anybody and I can't find the stuff? MADNESS. And where are my Snake Men??)

Hasbro does a lot of minor differences in their figures, and army builders, to keep the line fresh and interesting for the likes of you and me. So it's an officer... if you don't need a lot of them, hey, great. This isn't something they would notice, and I dare say that maybe 4% of my readership would have this complaint. You got a new Snowtrooper. Be happy, and buy more of the POTF2 one if you want that version. (Lord knows there was the chance to buy dozens for $1-$3 at the end of 1998, and they're going cheap on eBay nowadays too.)

Hasbro has also made figures that never appeared in the movie, but were from deleted scenes. The question is, where do you want to draw the line? There are HUNDREDS of these things, people. You're allowed to pick and choose, and when it comes to something like this-- which I consider to be a minor offense to the point where I wouldn't bring it up-- sometimes it's good just to let it go.

So you discovered what may be a mistake. Have a cookie, congratulations.

8. Once the second wave of clone wars figures hits the shelves, will there be anymore shipments of wave 1?  Or is this a limited run type of assortment that once the new wave is released thats it?  I don't want this to be one of those assortments that hits the shelves once and then I have to pay out the nose on Ebay to find them.

I still see these around town at Wal-Marts, Suncoasts, Sam Goody, Toys "R" Us, K-Mart and a few other places. I believe some shipments of Wave 3 are still trickling in, but it might be worth your while to check these places out as well as the non-standards like Walgreens. You'd also be surprised what some grocery stores have in their very meager toy sections, because at $6.99, they don't move fast.

9. Do you think Hasbro would be kind enough to make a dais for Jabba?

Would you buy it if it came with a new Salacious Crumb?

How about a reclining Slave Leia?

Like most fans, I'm a little surprised Hasbro didn't do some sort of screen scene/deluxe beast/etc. set for Jabba the Hutt. I can excuse the absence of the dais since they technically gave us one in 1999 with the cardboard pop-up diorama. (They close on eBay for $5 or less in many cases, not a one sold for more than the regular price of $14.99.)

I think that the only way they could sell one today is with a Jabba. Would you pay $10-$15 for a Leia and a thing for Jabba to sit on? I can't imagine it being a big seller unless it was a $10 item and the companion figure(s) were amazing. If they threw in a super-posable Leia, sure, this thing would probably sell nicely at $10. Maybe even $15.

(In my best Criswell voice) I predict that there will not be a dais for a few years. If and when Hasbro decides it's time for one, it will probably be a retailler exclusive with the Jabba toy that's shipping to stores right now. (And for the record, Hasbro, a $20 box with Jabba, a dais, and a Leia is something I would like to see.)

10. Did the ANH Luke and Masters of the Dark Side Darth ever come out in the stores? I got mine from Amazon, but I never saw that wave in the stores. The reason why I ask is I've been pretty happy with Hasbro from the second half of 2003 to today. Should I still try to get stuff online first chance I get, or should I save money and wait until I see the toys at retail.

Actually these figures did hit stores, and are still shipping. I just saw more of them in the recently released Hall of Fame assortment from Entertainment Earth and elsewhere, so I'm happy to report they are around. Every basic carded figure eventually found its way to stores, even Wuher, the Death Star Droid, Hoth Leia, Pote Snitkin, and the AT-AT Driver... but if you've ever been to the same store multiple times over a few days, you can quickly see that things can vanish in a day or two to never be seen again.

As to if you should buy stuff online, that's entirely your call. The trend in Star Wars collecting is that things typically decrease in value over time, so if you can wait a year or tow, things can be had cheap. (With a few exceptions, as exclusives are wild cards.) If you have to have it immediately, yes, get it online. The lengths I've gone to just to get stuff in stores is a bit of a hassle, but as of yet I can't find anyone selling the likes of the animated Clone Wars stuff online for a fair price or the Energon line for Target/Wal-Mart prices.

If you can afford it, and aren't also deluding yourself to someday write about collectibles for a living (not that *I* am doing that...), you really should just order everything online. Except for some variations, it makes the hobby significantly more hassle-free. Of course, if you want a brown coat Han Hoth, you'd better get to the stores. (He is still shipping, I found out last week.)


I got a trade for Ed Wood. You guys are the best. Special thanks to J.J. And your questions... superb! My backlog is filled with some excellent material. If I have the time, I'll see if I can't get 10 questions answered for next Monday before I leave for New York.

I'm finding the R1-G4 wave like everywhere. Wow. This is like the polar opposite of this time in 2003, there's new stuff all over and it's just great. Good job, Hasbro and the people at Hasbro that convinced stores to order this stuff again!

This week's reviews: Unleashed Luke Skywalker (Pilot) and Clone Trooper.

Lastly, I've been talking with some folks about how much I totally love Unleashed and where I'd like to see the line go. Here's my short wish list.

Ewoks Mauling Scout Trooper
I mentioned this last week and shortly thereafter, Mike sent me a link to a drawing MisterPL did of it. Too cool. Hasbro, make this happen.
Han Solo melting out of the Carbonite
Tell me that wouldn't be awesome. C'mon. I dare you.
Leia (Boushh Disguise)
Either as a companion to the aforementioned Han or by herself, this needs to happen. The armor is full of detail, plus it gives us a take on a Star Wars heroine in Unleashed that doesn't have oversized knockers or a bikini. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Max Rebo Band Three-Piece Set
This is my own personal unreasonable demand. C'mon... it'd make a great exclusive.

Anyway, get those questions in for next time. Just email me with your inquiry, and we'll see what we can do.

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