Q&A For May 31, 2004

 

1. I seem to be having clarity issues when it comes to Snaggletooth (Zutton, Takeel, et. al.) What new figure is supposed to be the modern replacement for the vintage figure? Do you also feel that POTJ Zutton is EU (Holiday Special) and not in the original movie, as Rebelscum.com has him listed this way. (I haven't seen him, but you never know what could be missed in the Cantina.) I always felt that Zutton has the original Snaggletooth's outfit, but Takeel (POTF2 - Cantina Aliens cinema scene) had his head. In other words and ironically, it seems that classic Snaggletooth is a hybrid of Takeel and Zutton. Lastly, do you think a neat choice for the 500th figure, or a figure for OTC would be a remake AND re-sculpt of the Blue Snaggletooth, or even a 12" Blue Snaggletooth?? That would totally pay homage to hardcore fandom and collectors. I'm enamored with this figure/character as you can tell.
--Paul

This has always been a tricky issue, especially seeing as how the alien appears in Bespin and on Jabba's Palace.

In the vintage line, legend has it that the original Snaggletooth figure for Sears was sculpted blue and taller as the result of a B&W photo supplied to Kenner. Zutton in POTJ most definitely looks like the alien from the Holiday Special, and the photo on the vintage cardback looks a heck of a lot like it. Seeing as how the vintage figures from the Cantina weren't exactly true to their movie appearance, it would seem that Zutton is, in fact, the remake of the vintage Snaggletooth.

The Snivvian species made an appearance in all three films, and they all have excellent costumes that would make even more excellent toys. The Return of the Jedi version is Geezum, a particularly striking chap with ammo belts and a brown costume-- plus he's tall. From Empire Strikes Back there's Wiorkettle, a little blue costumed version that looks neat but isn't exactly a comon sight. Takeel, according to lore, is Zutton's brother. The original Snaggletooth costume, much like the orignal Kenner Greedo and Hammerhead and Ponda Baba, did not appear in any of the films.

If it were up to me, I'd have Hasbro crank out the remaining two versions from the original trilogy because they are very striking costumes. Cloud City has had very, very few figures made for it, and outside of core characters you could probably carry them all in one hand. As far as Geezum, I've loved the design since I've seen it and think it would make one awesome figure.

2. I am a big fan of the two-piece lightsabers that came with the Episode II/Saga Jedi figures. The ones where the blades detach from the hilts. I thought it was a really awesome feature. I was wondering if you could please tell me if the Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi/Darth Vader figures from the VOTC line wll come with those two-piece lightsabers.
--FSB

As of now, nobody has opened these to let us know, but it seems unlikely. The regular OTC figures, except those with metal handles, seem to have all reverted back to the much less breakable one-piece versions. Samples are expected shortly, so tune in for more.

3. What is the difference between Hasbro and Hasbro Direct??
--ifett

Hasbro and Hasbro Direct used to be two parts of one whole. In short, Hasbro Direct was the cheap, advertising-free wing of Hasbro that made the four POTF2 playsets (Death Stars, Endor, Hoth), the 12" figures, the carry cases, and a lot of the things fans usually don't like. They used to be dubbed "Kid Dimension" and other names.

They used to be in Rhode Island while other SW development happened in Ohio. Now, they're all in Rhode Island and it seems there's much less in the way of low-grade product.

4. With all of the various costume changes, I expected to see more Padme figures, before Ep 3 rolls around. Plus, Padme figures aren't peg-warmers, so why is Hasbro so slow to deliver more Padmes?
Also -- any rumors of any of the Pod Racers in the works?
--Guy

That's a good question. Aside from the original Padme from AOTC, which arguably was overshipped and not very good, it seems the subsequent releases all did very well, and the Tatooine version is one of the best. So far, we've had at least four from the second movie, which is pretty good considering she's not much of an "action" character. Seeing as many of her outfits had little screen time, it might be a while before we eventually see them all. After all, we're still missing a few (minor) costumes from the original trilogy, like "Scoundrel" Lando, Ceremonial Han, and Leia and Luke in their end-of-ESB costumes.

There are no rumors of any Pod Racers, pilots or vehicles. Not a one. Actually, rumors for any Phantom Menace toys are sadly few these days, aside from more Jedi which nobody has been asking for. I would expect to see one more Pod Racer in 2005, if not maybe two, but those are figures that fans really don't seem to ask for a lot.

5. I've heard some nifty ring tones over the years (main theme, Imperial March, Catina Aliens...), but I can never find them to download. I'm entering my fourth year of having a cell phone and am on my third carrier. I did get the Imperial March on my first service with Cingular, but the file was damaged and would hang when it went to repeat. Customer service just told me to download it again which didn't help, and then *poof* it was no longer available. Then I had Nextel which didn't have anything for my phone. Now I'm on Verizon. It has several sellers of tones under its Get It Now program, but I didn't find any SW tones. Do you know of any major carrier that has SW tones available for download, or if not, perhaps a third party service?
--Michael

A number of software packages for your PC allow you to convert MP3s or other sounds to be used as a ringtone, which is especially handy when you have the songs in your collection. If your phone supports PC connectivity, my advice is to look into the software to do it yourself-- it's usually around $30 in many cases, and seeing as a single ringtone can be upwards of $3, it's a no-brainer.

6. Do you know if hasbro plans on making a new version of General Veers w/removable helmet? And on a different note I'd like to see a Yuuzhan Vong action figure made, how likely is that to happen?
--Shawn

Star Wars toys before the final film are, believe it or not, still not completely known to us. It's expected that another two or three full waves of figures from all five films will come before the Sneak Preview assortment and as such, anything could happen. Almost.

Hasbro has stayed away from the novels since 1998, so I wouldn't expect much from the New Jedi Order. A General Veers makes sense to do, it's just a matter of when at this point. As he's been rumored, it could be very soon.

7. I've not written to you since your days on Scum but after seeing the question posed by Kevin in today's Q&A (question #2) on GH I thought I'd write to you to help give both Kevin and yourself some insight on the matter of selling customs from the pov of a customs community member.

To start off with the selling of customs is generally accepted as taboo in the community, as the whole point of the hobby that most of us believe is to make something you want for yourself. And then if you're involved in the community, assist others in making that something for themselves by posting how you made your custom and/or answering questions about the custom. Occasionally there will be a time when a customizer winds up having to sell their customs along with the rest of their collection on ebay to earn money for an important reason, say for example costly medical bills. When that has occured, there's never been a debate that I've seen, just the hope that all will be ok for the customizer. However, we find that a problem can arise when this person's customs go for high selling prices, as now we have precedent for other customizers to surmise that if one person can get X amount for their custom work, then another can get 2X for theirs. What we wind up getting there is people who are producing customs for the sole purpose of selling them which often brings a bad name to customizers and can also bring down the wrath of LFL upon them (more on that in a moment). Though how they begin is not always the same, the majority of people selling their customs fall into this category, just people making customs for the sheer benefit of monetary gain and they are just not welcomed by the community.

Someone might say that those producing customs just to sell them are providing a service to those who may not have the creative juices to make their own customs. That may be true, but often these customizers are inflating the price of their customs to well beyond the costs of parts and labor and this winds up being a disservice to the purchaser. And when such customs occur often it winds up getting the notice of Lucasfilm's attorneys. At least three times in the last 4 years, Lucasfilm has contacted eBay in efforts to stop the selling of customs on the auction site under infringement violations of copyright law. It seemingly started as a way for LFL to just stop those who were producing and selling a mass amount of customs, but it quickly spread to instances where a person was just selling one lone custom for a buck or two. The purge of auctions would last for a couple days, then die down, then start up again a few months down the road and cycle through once more. I've not heard of any specific contact from LFL or Hasbro to a customizer, but I've heard of people being contacted by eBay and being informed that their auction violated the intellectual property rights of LFL/Hasbro and thus the auction was being shut down.

What this all boils down to is fair use. As purchasers of Star Wars toys we have the fair use right to do with the toys what we wish, so long as we do not in anyway benefit financially from it. That's where LFL/Hasbro can at their desire prevent the selling of customs. Sure it may seem inconsequential to the outside observer, but it has several times been deemed important at some corporate level and as such those selling customs should beware the wrath of LFL and if they're doing it just for profit will do best to distance themselves from the good folk of the customizing community.

There's more to the whole "selling customs" debate, such as selling upon request and only to recoup costs (which sometimes is accepted depending on the situation) and the practice of selling the custom work of others as your own (which is not accepted and sometimes is considered worse than selling customs in general), but those are rants for another day. Hopefully, some of this will help Kevin, yourself, and any of your readers understand the general consensus of the community and perhaps answer any questions they may have.
--Jason

Thanks, Jason!

8. With all of the images of the OTC figures on the card popping up on the internet these days, do you think someone will post images of just the cards without the bubbles? I know this is a strange question, but people have figured out how to do it in the past for customizing. If only Hasbro was smart, they could have done it. I really liked the backgrounds that came with the Episode II figures because they were not part of the blister. Unfortunately, Hasbro finally gave us cool backgrounds, but I donąt see how you can open the figures without the background getting damaged. I have images of all of the vintage cards in jpeg form, but unfortunately I cannot find anyone who is willing or has scans of all the cards without the blister from 1995 to the present day. .
--psnitkin

It's possible, but as of yet, most fans don't have these figures so it's unlikely. The bubble seems to be attached to the silver parts of the cardback, so odds are people could easily trim it and scan it.

As far as finding cards sans blisters from 1995 on? Not likely. Considering how many there are, finding someone with a scanner, those cardbacks, and that much time could take some doing.

9. I am really digging the artwork on the new SW Unleashed figures! I bought the new version of the Slave Leia just for the artwork. My question is, do you think there is any chance Hasbro would make copies of the new artwork available to the public, such as in an 8"x10" format? They truly are fantastic works of art, and you really can't enjoy it on the card, and of course if you tear off the blister to open the figure, then the artwork is ruined. I know I would love to purchase copies of some of the artwork to hang on my wall. Do you think anyone else feels the same way? What do you think? Can you use your powers of persuation to convince Hasbro to make these available?
--Greg

Hasbro has given away posters at conventions of Unleashed figures, so here's hoping they get wind of this column and go for it.

10. Hay Adam, What is the difference between the gungan warrior that came with the fambaa and the potj aside from the color, and which one do you think will be released with the theed 4 pack? Speaking about toys r us 4 packs don't you think an episode 1 (naboo royal starship) based pack with r2b1, the red r2, potj r2d2 and a new painted one (there are plenty of colors to chose from) would be a great idea. It would give Hasbro a chance to get some of the more difficult figures to find out to the public again.
--David

The POTJ and Fambaa Gungans had totally different sculpts, and side by side, they're two totally unique figures. So there's a big difference there. My gut would say that when we see it in a four-pack, it would be the POTJ version.

One of my favorite things Hasbro's done lately is make a lot of R2 units, and I wish they'd do more. I would love to see those droids again, but I'd prefer a new R2-B1 based on the new, improved sculpts we've been getting. I don't know if fans would go crazy with a giant four- or five-pack of Droids, but I'd sure as heck buy a couple.

Actually, if it were up to me, there would probably be an R2 unit in every possible multipack and assortment from now on. There are dozens of awesome designs and these make great figures, even though they're repaints. And, of course, I'd very much like to see R5-D4 redone and the Imperial repaints, too!

FIN

Good questions, folks! Keep 'em coming!

Good week for questions, and for news! Next week will be even better, with OTC reviews and more surprises!

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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