Q&A For May 10, 2004


1. A couple of years ago, Steve Sansweet produced (along with others I can't remember) a Star Wars action figure archive book that was really very nice. A great book, quality printing stock and so many pictures of vintage and current figure lines, it would make you giddy with delight. The figures only went up through the Bigg's Darklighter wave I believe and I always thought it would be nice if they would now produce an "update" version with all of the stuff since then and maybe show some classic stuff they missed in the first volume (was there anything they missed?) Have you heard any reports that they may actually be doing this and if not, do you suggest any other Star Wars figure archive type pictorial or history book that dosen't have 1/2 devoted to price guides? (any similar books for G.I. Joe for that matter?)

On the whole, the market doesn't seen as interested in books that aren't about prices, which is sad, because I'd like to write some myself. Right now, there are no plans for a sequel or a revision of The Action Figure Archive book, which really was great-- especially if you got a copy on clearance for four bucks a few years ago. It was a translation and update of a Japanese mook (not book) and odds are if they made a new one for Japan, we'd see another one here.

Considering just how many figures came out between now and then, I'd say we're about due for another installment were they to make it a series.

There was a guide to G.I. Joe toys from the 80s and early 90s like this, possibly two. It showed every figure from the front as well as all accessories, but I can't recall who put it out or if it's in print. A few guides of this nature were made for TransFormers as well, but none of them had the lavish treatment hoisted upon the Star Wars one.

2. I was wondering if you know anything about the details on the '95 Luke Skywalker (buff tattooine version) from Europe. I have a SS/LT variation, but I have not been able to discover whether or not this is an error, or one of the official variants. I know that the US one is around, but I wondered if you had ever seen the tri-lingual version?

Well, depending on who you ask, all Short Saber with Long Tray figures are technically errors-- it wasn't something Kenner said "hey, we should do this" so much as it was an issue of "oh crap, we have all these trays to use up and now we're making short Lightsabers." There is indeed an official version of this figure, though, so what you have most likely isn't a fake or anything like that.

3. After all these years, why is Hasbro still not releasing solid cases of Stormtroopers and Scout Troopers? Or that SA Clone? Come on, Hasbro, what's the problem?!?

Making solid cases of figures was a real rare happening, and supposedly a few got shipped to stores during POTF2 and others were used for samples for conventions. (For example, I myself has an empty case that was used to ship Slave Leias.)

The main issue is that stores don't want these. If you ask Target if they want a big box of 16 of one figure, or even 12 now that the cases are smaller, they'll ltell you no because they don't want to get stuck with a bum figure.

It would make sense if Hasbro could put out a "trooper case" that just had Battle Droids, Stormtroopers, Clones, and the like in it. A case like that came out during Power of the Jedi with Coruscant Guards, Gungan Soldiers, and the like. So if Hasbro offered online retaillers a box with 12 good army builder figures (like a couple of TIE Pilots, a couple of Clones, etc.) I think there'd be an easy sell there.

4. With the impending release of a special 500th figure from Hasbro, I can't help but feel that I have a void of sorts. We know that Han(Carbonite) was the 100th, Mara Jade the 200th, and Boba Fett the 300th. Who, or what, is the 400th? It has to be a Saga figure, but which one? I would really like your help on this one.

As discussed previously, it looks like there will not be a 400th Edition Figure although there are still rumors of a super-special Darth Vader next year with every bell and whistle you could hope for. So maybe he could be the 500th. Since Boba Fett, there's been over 100 Saga figures plus preview figures, multipack figures, and so forth, so we're probably getting close to the next big milestone. The 400th one is nigh impossible to determine because you'd need access to Hasbro's documents for that and, also, I would say that their tally as used on the back of the 300th Edition Boba Fett is probably less than accurate as I don't buy that Han in Carbonite was #100.

5. With the takeover of the Fan Club from Star Wars.com happening does this mean we have to subscribe to Hyperspace now to renew our Star Wars Insider subscription & membership?

As they changed publishers again and I still haven't got my membership kit, frankly, I don't expect to ever see it-- again. (You see, I've never gotten anything save for one of the free MicroMachines packs and the Insider from the Fan Club.) It looks like they're forcing Hyperspace on Fan Club members and reducing the number of Insider issues from eight to six, which, frankly, is not cool. Some fans get the Insider because they don't have the Internet, and lots of people are fans that don't necessarily have a computer, so even if Hyperspace were free it wouldn't make a lot of sense to bundle. For the moment, it seems the only way to renew is in that $40 package, which doesn't seem all that hot. But hey, such is life.

6. What's the deal with the 12" Chewbacca that's due for 2004? Will he be part of the OTC, or part of the "Vintage" styled packaged 12" figures?

This one came as a surprise because we were told there would be only three 12" figures in 2004 and that they would be "Vintage" figures. We'll know more as the year goes on but keep in mind a lot of rumors on the rumor mill take a long time to get there and things change before our eyes and ears get to see and hear them, so for all I know he got axed or shuffled until 2005. If he comes out, it'll probably be "Vintage" just because there are no OTC 12" assortments planned and Hasbro isn't one to make an assortment for just one figure if it isn't an exclusive. Which brings us to this point-- we don't know if it's an exclusive. Plus as you see, things get axed all the time, so for all we know it won't happen. It should, though, and we'll keep you posted when we hear more.

7. With all the TIEs we keep getting, do you think it is possible that we may get a WHITE/GREY TIE? (Instead of all the blue ones.) I always preferred the white/grey TIEs. Possibly as a TIE scaled to the Red Leader/Dagobah X-Wings?

There are no known plans for either a white/grey TIE or a scale one, but talk of both are in the rumor mills. I wouldn't be surprised to see one as an eventual exclusive, but when I don't know. A properly scaled TIE would probably be pretty huge and require a big box or wings that come in pieces. Either way, it takes a new mold and Hasbro has made-- what-- maybe four new molds for classic vehicles since 1995? (Lesse... I got a Skyhopper, a Darth Vader's TIE Fighter, TIE Bomber, and the larger X-Wings.) While they could retool the wings and reuse the cockpit from the 2003 Kay-Bee TIE Fighter, I don't know if they would.

There are rumors of still more TIE Fighters for 2004, though, so who knows what they'll show us at Comic-Con International?

8. Hey Adam, Are the OTC figures going to be numbered in the same style as Saga? If so, a new set of numbers or continuation of the current 04 numbers? This may affect mine and a few other collectors I know decision to keep going, especially with ALL THOSE RETREADS.

I think OTC was developed so collectors that don't keep figures packaged-- like me-- will start. The numbering system starts over at one when the new assortments hit, so it's like the line is being rebooted again. Since the figures themselves are nothing new in most of the assortments, it's easy to say "oh, I have this, so I'll just buy these new ones." This seems to be a big push for kids and collectors this Fall, and obviously, the recarded figures are meant for both of us. (Is anyone out there really not interested in more Scout Troopers? Even if you don't want any, your fellow fans most certainly are happy at the prospect.) For packaged collectors, well, who knows-- I like the new artistic direction enough that I'll be buying retreads to keep packaged, and I rarely do that. So hey, looks like they did a good thing here.

9. You mentioned a tattoo on Jabbas arm on the vintage figure and was curious about it. I can't find a picture of it and was wondering what, if any, significance it had.

Can you tell from yours what it is? Is it a picture, a design, an insignia, gibberish?

The tatoo, according to some sources I've read, is just Jabba's insignia-- he has it, and in the comics, so do some of his underlings. You can see it in the Shadows of the Empire comics (collected and easily flipped through at bookstores everywhere), on the vintage figure, and on some other places. It looks a little like a couple of anchors from a boat, and if I had the toy out and handy I'd snap you a picture. Because I don't want to swipe the picture, you should look at this auction for a shot of the tattoo in pin form.

10. Where are the new figures? All my store has is Aayla Secura and that wave.

A number of stores are being shipped new cases of these older figures, and why, I don't know. The newest guys like the Hoth Trooper, Hoth Luke, and R1-G4 sell out quickly while these lag a little. Hopefully this is just a pit stop before new figures hit shortly.


Q&A queue: empty. All questions in the backlog have now been officially answered, so if you didn't get a response to a question that wasn't like "trace the development of R2-D2 as a toy from 1978 to the present," you may wish to send it in again.

It seems the likes of Bossk and friends are even hitting Kay-Bee now, so it seems that unless you order online, you really gotta hit everywhere to try and find all the new guys. Which, well, I guess keeps your heart rate up and keeps you moving, right? At least the stuff is hitting.

That's all for this week. So get those questions in for next week, and if you could put "Q&A" in the subject line, that would greatly help my email filters find your message. Just email me with your inquiry, and we'll see what we can do.

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