Q&A For May 17, 2004


1. I think it's greate that Hasbro got on the ball with a Checklist for the OTC figures. I went to their website (http://www.hasbro.com/starwars/) and was hoping to find a latest downloadable checklist for ALL of the other 3 3/4" figures that they've released. The only item that I've found was a Printable Checklist "3 3/4" Action Figure Checklist - 2002". Do you know if Hasbro or anyone else has a complete list of what Hasbro has released. It would be great to have one, so the collectors, or general public, can see what's out there and what they would want or need to stay up-to-date with their collections.

Back in the day, I created and maintained a series of checklists from my old newsletter, which I brought to Rebelscum, and intended to launch at Yakface.com and never did. I've got a whole mess of them on my hard drive that could be updated and posted, but so far, I haven't. Why? Because nobody really seems to agree on what a complete checklist should have.

For example, there's the Episode I Battle Droid. He comes in four colors-- is this to be listed as four unique figures? Or perhaps one figure with a footnote of variations? The same can be said for the Endor Rebels of 2002 with unique heads, and not everybody can agree on how repackaged figures should be listed.

Would you, as of today, list Wuher, Kitik Keed'kak, and Dr. Evazan from the second wave of Cantina Sets? While they are still rumored to be coming later this year, let's say for a second that they don't show-- would you put them on your list since they did make a very small production run? How about Trophy Edition Obi-Wan Kenobi and OOM-9? Odds are you wouldn't, but some collectors would-- and this is where it gets tricky. Since I have Kitik and friends, they appear on my list for my personal use-- but OOM-9 and Obi-Wan are nowhere to be seen on my Episode I pages.

If you take these factors into account, there's really no single grand way to determine if you have, in fact, collected them all-- mainly because we have yet to iron out what "all" is. Should you include the bonus Pit Droids? Would you include rare vintage figures like Yak Face or the super-rare Vlix? The Nexu is a beast, but it was sold in an action figure assortment-- so how do you tally it? To me, the answer is obvious-- it was sold as an action figure, so it's an action figure. But it is a beast.

There's a lot of questionable things because every collector wants a checklist to be tailored to how they collect, and when you have over 500 figures and thousands of collectors, not many will agree on the right way to assemble a set. As such, it's very difficult to put a document of this nature together. I've been asked for a list by movie, by character, and with a wide variety of variables and damned if it isn't difficult to think of the best way to do it. You may say "But Adam," and then observe "that would probably take a very long time." Yes, yes it would... but, as you've undoubtedly learned from reading this column, there's a lot of benefit that you can gain from looking things up-- I mean, I was amazed, when looking up prices of items on eBay to advise people to go by them, how much things dropped as of late.

For my own use, I use Excel spreadsheets and I would advise a new fan to assemble a document themselves for a variety of reasons. One, it lets you sort it any way you so desire. Two, you learn a lot by doing the research. When I got into Beast Wars, I put together a list and in the process found out quite a bit about what was out, what was coming, and where to find information. While it may seem like some sort of academic cop-out, at this time, it's hard to say which one ultimate checklist is right to use, but if you look around, you'll find plenty of them which may or may not require tailoring to suit your needs.

If I had some grand knowledge of databases, I'd love to make a list that can be sorted by cardback, character, film, year, or whatever parameters fans see fit. At this time, though, that doesn't seem doable and as such, we're on our own. (But my vote is always to a DIY spreadsheet.)

One final note-- after months of negligence, I went back to my own personal spreadsheet over the past week and updated it for 2004, what I neglected in 2003, and a couple of things from 2002. As of now, it's still needing a few entries (Hall of Fame, Screen Scenes & TRU four-packs, for starters) and I've got just over 200 figures listed. Sure, there are some repackaged figures and duplicates by my tally, but my list also counts most multipacks like the Clone Trooper Army and Droid Army as one figure and intentional head variants (Elan Sleazebaggano, Imperial Officer, etc.) as two. So if you really want to get down to brass tacks here, the size of the collection is entirely up to you because it's highly arbitrary.

2. It looks like the new OTC packages will have backgrounds behind the bubbles. Will the backgrounds be inserts, or will they be printed on the card itself? Iím hoping for inserts. The episode II inserts were cool because you could display them with the loose figures.

The samples we've seen appear printed on. During Saga, Hasbro axed the removable backgrounds due to their being somewhat ungainly looking in the package and the curved look was apparently not what they were going for. If you like the backgrounds for your displays, the important thing is that you can always cut them out yourself for personal use, with your parent's help of course.

3. With the recent release of Jabba Wave figures, we can easily recreate a more accurate diorama. I want to know which C-3PO action figure is the most movie accurate for the Jabba's Palace and Jabba's Sail Barge.

While we have received an R2-D2 for nearly every scenario, C-3PO has not been given quite as wide a treatment. In the film, you may have noted what appears to be some green substance on the golden droid, and no figure has yet been released to look like that except, by accident, the "green" Japanese C-3PO from POTF2 way back from 1996. (You may recall this was the "beefy" sculpt, although it must be said he's aged well.)

Looking over my grand list, I would probably vote for customizing the version that's currently shipping in the "Hall of Fame" packaging, which originally shipped as a Millennium Minted Coin figure and will ship once again as part of the OTC (Original Trilogy Collection.) That is, until the "Vintage" version comes out later this year-- then I'd use that. It may require some dirt from you, but it works. Also good, the Purchase of the Droids three-pack version, just because it's nice and gritty.

4. I know there was supposed to be an exclusive 12" ARC trooper for KB toys this year. Since KB went bankrupt, will this figure be made? and if so do you know which retailer will pick it up?

The financial woes of the toy company do not necessarily mean that the fate of the exclusive was tied to it. You may have noted a number of exclusives over the past year were delayed or just plain not happening, despite sculpts and other advance sample images happening. This is the nature of the beast, and as we never saw a boxed sample we don't know how far along in production this piece really got. With the third season of Clone Wars only a rumor, I would not hold my breath for this piece in 2004.

5. Now seeing the pic of the new Boba It looks good but it does have a blue jump suit. Now I know it isn't the finished product and is a prototype but after seeing some of the things Hasbro has done with the 12" line I can't help but worry. Please tell me Boba will have the correct gray suit.

The 12" "Vintage" figures coming later this year all have colors that, in official photography, seem a little off. It is assumed that this is in error, but we won't know what the final figure will look like for a little while longer. Hasbro will most likely correct it before the final version comes out, like "party" Slave Leia. (For those not in the know, the early samples of the 1997 Slave Leia action figure were made with the crotch piece under her skirt in flesh color before being molded to a more modest purple hue.)

As the packaging says, product and colors may vary, and as you may have seen they goofed up on Fett's color last year with the Carkoon edition. Of course, the original 3 3/4" figure was blue, so who knows what kind of nods they're gunning for?

6. I know that this is just a rumor, but with the extreme possibility that Star Wars Clone Wars Part three coming out before Episode Three, do you think that there is the possibility that Hasbro will release a new wave of Clone War Toys?

Hasbro's plans for the months leading up to 2005 are unknown, and the product planned to build up to the final movie are completely unknown. As of now, there are no known plans for any new Clone Wars product in 2004 since the big marketing push is for the original Trilogy, but it's possible they may revisit the series before the movie hits. If nothing else, it would be nice to see a General Grievous and a General Obi-Wan Kenobi in armor, no?

7. Hi,does the new x-wing come with a pilot and or droid?And the new Falcon,Will it be able to hold Han and Chewey in the cockpit?Will it have a hundred stickers?

Final samples of these toys have yet to surface but some things we know. The X-Wing Fighter being released in the open stock OTC packaging will include no figure and no droid, at least not in the traditional sense. It's a revised version of the 1978 X-Wing Fighter, which was revised in 1995 for POTF2 and includes a "droid" button that causes the wings to open and close. Hasbro has stated that the plan for the newly tooled figures and cockpit for the Millennium Falcon were designed so that the figures could actually be used with the ship, unlike the releases in 1995. At this time, it's assumed they mean "Vintage" figures only, as many recent Chewbacca toys are unable to sit. It should have fewer stickers than the previous release but as of today, we don't know what the label sheet will look like.

8. Ive seen the Jabba's palace Luke with both "hood up" and "hood down". Is this a true variant or just a packaging error?

This is what we in the collecting game call a "non-issue." When mass-producing figures, a lot of little changes happen from figure to figure. Sometimes, eyes may be painted slightly differently, or a figure's limbs may be moved slightly differently from one piece to the next, or from one run to the next. As Luke's hood is meant to go up and down, and is easily moved around, this is just one of the many little things to happen in a figure's production run that's really no big deal. Back in the day, I got a bundle of questions about that first Yoda from 1996 and how his head was turned a little from figure to figure which, well, is nothing of great consequence.

9. Ive followed your work since the old email-list days back in 1995-96. I enjoy your columns etc etc. Nicely done! Anyways, I wanted to give a better answer to the ever-asked question, "What happened to the 400th figure?" I see this all the time, and try to answer it whenever I can.

I keep an exhasutive list of every individual figure ever made since 1978, originally compiled by someone on the RS boards, Ive added many things to it, including a flag for basic, single-packed figures, which is what Hasbro used to calculate the 300th Boba Fett figure. While I still can't figure out why Han Solo in Carbonite is #100, Mara Jade is dead on 200 (at least in the same assortment, depends how you order the figures within the assortment). Boba comes in at 302. And I would say that is close enough!

Going by the rules Hasbro has set for this list, figure number 400 was the very well loved (not!) R2-D2 Droid Factory Flight. Even though, overall, that was the 622nd figure released.

The last of the Endor wave is #467, so the 500th figure is quickly approaching. Considering what we know about the OTC/Neo-vintage line, that would get us to #486, so we would still need 13 more figures before a 500th.

This does answer a question, but it goes back to another-- what do you count as a figure, and why? Jason's extensive list includes the two sculpts of the Bonus Pit Droids, for example, but doesn't include all colors. Also, the numbering system does not necessarily represent the order in which a figure was conceived (Han Carbonite at #100 would mean he was developed in the midst of the Ewoks and Droids cartoon figures, for example) or released. In 2003, the Clone Wars figures, which are numbered in the 40s and 50s, started to see release before the remaining Saga toys.

I'm not privy to how Hasbro IDs things, or what makes a figure a new figure. The Hall of Fame R2-D2, for example, is the Naboo version from Power of the Jedi missing the dirt and with a new name. Is it a new figure? I don't know, depends on the collector. (For me, it is.) So because of this, I don't make a big fuss of figuring out Hasbro's numbering system because as far as I can tell, their records aren't precise, either. (And that's OK.)

10. Do you know if the new OTC Tie Fighter will have the POTF2 or Saga cockpit with or without the battery compartment?

What's your feeling on the OTC Y-Wing with the red paint scheme? Why did Hasbro go with an EU paint scheme with trying to stress the OTC line which focuses specifically on the movies? If they were to stray towards EU, why wouldn't they make a two-seater version of the Y-Wing? Would this stray too far from the idea of re-issues?

With modified versions of the Power F/X X-wing being released at TRU over the years as Luke's Dagobah X-Wing and now Red Leader, why would Hasbro decide to release, in my opinion, the inferior POTF2 X-Wing mold for OTC? I can see the cost point (the POTF2 version was 19.99 in 1998 and the Saga version now at 29.99) but does the toy line deserve an X-wing toy with so little when a better mold is out there already?

As of now, I am not completely sure which TIE Fighter is being released in the OTC. We haven't seen many shots of the piece, so it could go either way. It definitely won't be electronic, though.

The Y-Wing with the new paint scheme is a neat idea which I'm more or less glad to see. Like the green A-Wing, it's different, and it lets them reissue an older mold without upsetting collectors too much. (Frankly, I'm all for upsetting collectors if it means reissuing a modern-era toy.) If the fans like it, I'm happy. A lot of people never saw the Y-Wing and this should help them have one. If the fans don't buy it, well, I'm not so happy. Since fans snapped up the green A-Wings, I'd say this will probably sell well. The reason we see no two-seater is that Hasbro is not looking to make too many new molds at the moment.

X-Wings are a funny thing. Stores like Toys "R" Us want an exclusive product, and by gum they'll get one. Since they have this piece, and Hasbro wants to market an X-Wing to the masses, they opted to release two different toys-- one $20 model and one $30 model, the $30 one being almost entirely superior except for sagging wings. The OTC is a line that Hasbro is really aiming at both kids and adults, which is tough to do, considering that it's mostly reruns. As such, they had to rerun a mold they had, and they opted for the small X-Wing. For $20, it isn't a bad price-- and I should note that the POTF2 version was $29.99 from 1995 up until the clearances, not $19.99. The OTC one is $10 cheaper due to the presumed removal of electronics and the fact that it's in the same assortment as the TIE Fighter and at some point Hasbro decided two midsize vehicles can't have their own assortments.


Good questions, folks! Keep 'em coming!

Scored a red Unleashed Clone Trooper at a Sam Goody last week, so now these have been spotted at least three places. Still a pain to get though since it's easily the best one in the set and one of the best Unleashed figures yet. How can you tell if you missed it? Look for unsold Unleashed Chewbaccas and Lukes. Mostly Chewies.

In Mesa, I stopped at a used book store (also stocks records, comics, etc.) and they had a healthy toy selection. So healthy, in fact, that I daresay I've seen few collector stores with a better stash at a better price. POTF2 Zuckuss for $6, three POTF2 Skiffs for $30, numerous packaged figures for $3, lots for $6, and some stuff that was priced a little high. These guys used to have no more than a dozen figures for $10+, so it's obvious when you see something like this that the market has definitely taken a nosedive, meaning it's a heck of a good buyer's market.

This week, we got a FAQ for the OTC on tap which breaks down how each flick is represented and all sorts of good things to know, such as which figures you should really just buy in their POTF2 incarnations. We've also got a review of the new Han Solo (Endor Strike), an undescriptive name for Han's one second in an AT-ST Driver outfit.

Some people have written in asking "Where can I get a Tanus Spijek?" To you, I say "I'll let you know when I find one." I'm still jonesing for another one myself... it's a marvelous little figure, I must say. Here's hoping Hasbro tacks it on to the year end OTC assortments. And J'Quille, since reports are he's still a tough find too. (Speaking of the OTC, where's Tarkin, the Emperor, or Ephant Mon? I can see neglecting the Imperial Officers, but it'd be nice if they were in there too.)

(Does anyone out there have the second batch of Bonus Pit Droids open or packaged and is looking for, amongst other things, the Tiger Electronics Darth Maul game with the Action Figure?)

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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