Q&A For May 24, 2004


1. Is hasbro going to make an otc of Han Solo in carbonite chamber

or is hasbro planing on making a newer one?

Surprisingly, Hasbro has yet to make any plans known for a new Han Solo in Carbonite, or a repackaged one. I'm a little surprised this iconic piece hasn't been given release in plastic since the Jabba's Palace diorama had a thawed Han in 1999, and it seems like it would have been a great piece to include in the recently released Skirmish at Carkoon set as it also included Han after the thaw. Hopefully Hasbro will package one with the OTC Slave I that has surfaced.

2. I've seen a lot of customizing and "custom carded" figures sold on Ebay, and thought I would check the opinion of an expert. First of all... I would assume that most of these are just novelty items, but I can't imagine why people would buy them. Secondly... I wondered about the legality of the whole thing. Isn't this some sort of forgery or copyright infringement or something? I wouldn't think it would be legal to take the Star Wars name and sell things based on it. Even fan art that has drawn depictions of characters owned by Lucas and Co. are covered by copyright aren't they?

This may not be your area, but I was just wondering because I've done some customizing and would like to know my rights in selling if I should choose to later.

I find this to be a bit of a grey area-- on one hand, Hasbro paid a lot of money to get the license to make Star Wars toys, and as such, their rights are protected. But at the same time, you paid your money and the figure is yours to do with as you please.

For the most part, it seems fan art and fan creations are left alone because on the whole, they don't hurt the sale of the real thing. If someone made a custom Tonnika Twins set out of a pair of Slave Leias and sold them, odds are there would be no problem. Now, if a fan set up a factory and cranked out thousands of figures, then there's a potential lawsuit waiting to happen.

Infringing on someone's copyright is always bad, but some people are OK with it and some countries don't mind. There's a lot of fan-manga in Japan to the point where they have conventions devoted to it, and LucasFilm encourages fan films-- although I'm fairly sure there are limits to what you can do with their characters before they put their foot down.

I have yet to hear of Hasbro or LucasFilm shutting down a customizer, and I doubt we'll see the day where they will-- the cost of taking someone to the cleaners to recoup a few dollars made on a custom toy just isn't worth it.

3. With Star Wars weekends in full swing, I unfortunately won't be able to head south to Orlando, however, I was wondering what some of the prices of the exclusive items such as Plush Mickey Jedi, Collectors Shirts, & pins, and mugs. I will be looking to aquire these items on ebay and wanna make sure I am not being taken for a ride.

Check out our Star Wars Weekends coverage for the scoop. However, like most collectibles they're worth what the market says-- and sometimes you can order them through the DelivEARS service through Disney. Actually, that may be your best bet because a lot of the items at Disney parks rarely make it to eBay... not because they're rare, but because they're common at the park.

4. Do you know if any photos of the "Star Tours" figures for the Disney Weekend 2004 are available? I remember seeing the prototype photos some time ago but nothing since then.

While prototypes of new Star Tours figures surfaced quite some time ago, it should be noted the first Star Tours figure prototypes showed up early, too. As of now there are no packaged samples available for them, no official announcements for their release, and right no, no expectations that they will arrive soon.

5. Will we ever see the 12" Biker Scout and Ewoks again?

Yes-- some Toys "R" Us stores continue to receive these.

6. How come the European Big Photo Cards or LPC (I'm not sure what the "official" label is on these) haven't taken off in popularity? I was fortunate enough to get a whole set back when they came out (Bespin Han, Bespin Luke, Ewoks, Snowtrooper, Admiral Ackbar, Endor Soldier, Tarkin, Royal Guard, Weequay), and am surprised that these haven't soared on the aftermarket.

Star Wars collecting has experienced a big shift in recent years. When it started, I knew people that were buying solid cases of all the figures to store in the basement for the future, and every little variation was a goldmine to fans. Right now, a lot of fans got rid of their packaged collections and are only buying loose figures, and buying packaging variants-- cool as they may be-- doesn't make a lot of sense. They're neat, and while I hope to someday have a set myself, it isn't something I'd pursue when faced with dozens of new figures in the domestic market every few months.

The only figures that soar in the aftermarket these days are usually specific rare figures, and even then they rise and fall all the time. Modern SW collecting has yet to mature and probably won't for another 15 years since you never know what might show up in a rerelease, or when.

7. We keep hearing that Hasbro doesn't release its lists of figures for one reason or another.

For example, all the confusion as to what really is the 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th and 500th figure.

Since some sites, including yours, I believe, have some contact at Hasbro, has it ever been flat out asked: What's the deal?

I mean, why WOULDN'T they give out an exhustive list of every figure they made? Do you think they wouldn't want to create a 'frenzy' listing older figures that people may not have or know of? And on the other hand, wouldn't it be a GOOD idea so people would have a definitive check list once and for all? OR do you think it's now a matter of they screwed up with the numbering (as is pretty evident) and they don't want to "acknowledge" it?

In 2000, I did, in fact, flat-out ask what the deal was surrounding Han Solo in Carbonite being #100. I was told that this is what their records show in terms of development order. Of course, if there was an error, there's a giant gaping hole in the back of Boba Fett #300 to help smooth over an error on the part of the copy writer or their records, and it's a sore spot. When compiling a definitive list, there's always going to be some arguing here and there.

As far as why Hasbro isn't releasing an exhaustive list to tell us why they're right and we're wrong, well, that's not their job-- they're in the toy biz, and their job is to sell us plastic. It's possible we may see such a list in an eventual officially-sanctioned collector book, but for now, there's little to no chance Hasbro will use their resources to compile such a list to shut us up.

8. Do you know where I might locate a Tiger Electronics Sith Speeder with Darth Maul figure? Any help would be appreciated.

eBay is really your only choice unless you happen to be in a trading forum in which one comes up for grabs.

9. Are the OTC vintage figures supposed to be limited, or more limited than the plain olą non-vintage figures?

Vintage OTC figures are going to be more limited than basic figures, but that's in part due to the fact they're going to be out this year and this year only while basic figures will continue for the forseeable future. Vintage OTC Figures also cost more, $10, instead of roughly $5. The production run on Vintage OTC Figures is currently unknown.

10. Just wondering if you know what figures are included in the TRU Jabba's Palcace 4-pack, and do you know why hasbro decided not to improve the Bib Fortuna figure?.... I'm pretty sure the Gamorrean Guard has a great sculpt, but Bib is just not right.

The Jabba's Palace four-pack on Amazon/TRU right now is just the Skirmish at Carkoon under an alternate name.

Hasbro opted not to redo figures in the OTC because, it seems, the OTC was a bit of a surprise. The DVD announcement came at a time where Hasbro was knee-deep in Episode III development and needed to put their resources there, and because of this we're getting repackaged figures instead of new figures. Bib Fortuna is a fairly inadequate figure, and next to the Imperial Trooper scanning tech, probably the worst of the bunch. Still, if you already have one, at least you can pass on this new version without too much internal debate.


Good questions, folks! Keep 'em coming!

Good week for questions, and for news! This week we have some more OTC features on tap as well as some more reviews, so stay tuned for more.

Over at 16bit.com, the authors have posted a new arc of the hit comic .stereotype. This week is the Lawrence of Arabia story arc.

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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