Q&A For June 21, 2004
1. Hi, is the POTJ Tie bomber a new ship or is it based on a vintage mold?
Also do you know where I could get a copy of 'the art of starwars the special editions' book from Delrey without going to ebay?
The TIE Bomber was only available as a small, die-cast metal with a few plastic parts in the vintage line, and it's actually one of the rarest vintage toys. A full-size TIE Bomber wasn't made until the POTJ version in 2002, but before that, there were a few smaller scale versions of the ship. The TIE Bomber does reuse some tooling, though-- the modern Darth Vader's TIE Fighter has very similar wings.
eBay is the answer to most shopping questions-- even if you're not a fan of the auction site, it's still one of your best bets. If you're looking for a book that just compiles the Special Edition supplements from the Special Edition art books, I'm currently clueless where to find one. You may wish to just buy the whole Special Edition volumes for each of the three movies, and those can be found at comic shops, used book stores, Half.com, and even Amazon. Also, if you haven't already, try calling or checking your local book stores. You'd be amazed the things they have collecting dust on their shelves.
2. When IG-88 was first released a few years back, I remember thinking that he actually carried two weapons: rifle and blaster. I remember the original 1980 Kenner figure coming with these 2 weapons. So, recently I went and looked at a pic of him/it from ESB, and sure enough I did remember correctly that he is holding 2 weapons, one in each hand. So, with all of Hasbro's recent amazing attention to detail, how did this one slip past them? Now with the 3rd release of this figure on the way, couldn't have someone over there at Hasbro caught the mistake and just thrown in a blaster? Was it just too expensive to add that second gun? Nothing specially made for the figure..just throw in a Stormtrooper blaster or something.
That's a great point. The Vintage figures, both 12" and 4", both came with two weapons as did the 1996 version in the Shadows of the Empire with the then-awesome ESB flavor of Boba Fett. The Galoob MicroMachines figure has two guns, while the Action Fleet version has only the longer rifle. Official LucasFilm photos show two weapons on the Databank entry and this is enough to make me say that IG-88 does, in fact, have two weapons. (Just in case it needed to be debated.)
So why did the POTJ release, and all subsequent releases in this scale, have only one gun? I honestly don't know. But at the time, a Bespin Escape Leia included two small size Stormtrooper guns, and since she couldn't hold them both, I gave one to IG-88. If you need an extra weapon for your opened figure, I suggest you do the same since it appears this one gun slight will not be changed. I expect that during POTJ, it may have been due to cost... but that still doesn't explain double-weapons Leia.
3. I'm going to keep my question short: Have you heard anything about the Cantina Wave 2 set? I remember someone reporting that they will be coming in OTC packaging in a three pack. Thanks!
A rumor continues to float around that we will see this trio in a box set, but as of now there hasn't been anything official... or anything but the mock-up. Stay tuned, hopefully there will be something by the end of July via Comic Con in San Diego.
4. All of the OTC packaging I see has the original Star Wars silver bars around them, even around figures from ESB and ROJ. I was wondering if the vintage OTC figures that are eventually coming out from those other two movies will have the packaging based on each of those particular movies...
We're told that the subsequent series of Vintage OTC figures will be in ESB and ROJ packaging, but I should also note that Hasbro wrote in the Insider at one point that the Vintage OTC 12" figures would as well. Packaged samples of these large figures have surfaced and all have been in Star Wars packaging. Hasbro should be revealing the packaged Vintage OTC Darth Vader on their site shortly (as indicated the other week via their updates) so hopefully they'll show us soon.
5. Can you tell me why Clone Troopers are so damn popular? Any type of product with them from single carded figures to unleashed to multipacks seems to disappear quickly. I have a hard time finding any product on the pegs.
This is an outgrowth of the fandom's love of all things Imperial. Because Lucas and his artisans made incredible, wonderful designs for all Imperial armor, uniforms, and vehicles, fans love to buy each new release and army build. The love has transferred to the in-Universe prototype for the Empire's army, and as such, people like me will buy Clones when we see them and many of them have received poor distribution to boot. (Did anyone see all five flavors of the three-pack in stores last year? I saw three.)
6. I know that Warner Bros. used to have all the rights to THX-1138, but I've heard that the way that this recent DVD release has come about is that Francis Ford Coppola argued that the rights were still his and was able to help Lucas get the director's cut made. So... any chance we'd see the "droid" cop from THX-1138 as an exclusive or Celebration figure?
Regardless of who owns the rights to the movies, the fact is that it won't be covered under any existing agreement with Hasbro. Hasbro has the right to do Star Wars toys and, to my knowledge, no other LucasFilm properties-- not Indiana Jones, not Willow, nothing. As such, there are absolutely no plans for any characters from THX-1138 to be made as toys at this time, nor is their a potential agreement in place to do one.
7. Since we are rumored to be getting an exclusive SW battlefields fig what chance do you see for figs of KOTOR or Republic Commando? After 2005 do you think HASBRO will finally delve into the Expanded Universe?
The upcoming repackaged Scout Trooper from Battlefields is the POTJ Scout Trooper with the POTJ IG-88 weapon, so it's not really much of an Expanded Universe toy so much as it is a neat repackaging if an existing item. Hasbro could just as easily repackage a Stormtrooper in Dark Forces packaging. It's not like making a new figure from scratch, which is what a Republic Commando line would most likely require.
As far as the EU goes, Hasbro's been touchy with it. Since the end of POTF2, we've received very few figures that could be considered EU... two Darth Mauls, two Obi-Wan Kenobis, a Qui-Gon Jinn, a Wookiee Scout, Jorg Sacul, McQuarrie Stormtrooper, nine Star Tours droids... actually, when you spell it all out, we're not doing too badly. That's like 17 right there, and odds are I'm forgetting one or two... which isn't bad in five or so years.
On the whole, the EU seems to have done really well for Hasbro. The first batch in 1998 sold out in most stores, but came out at a time when most stores weren't getting good product, so I was informed by Hasbro that they weren't really perceived as a huge success, despite the fact I never saw a Dark Trooper in stores and saw only one Space Trooper. The later figures all did very well, exclusive or not, and as such are a good sign that Hasbro is at the very least interested in doing non-movie figures if it suits their purposes.
Despite frequent requests in this column, I don't know if KOTOR would be good for selling toys. I mean, it's not like doing a Rogue Squadron line where you could give fans a much-needed carded Wedge Antilles, or a Splinter of the Mind's Eye set with a new Luke and Leia. Or, to be repetitive, a new Mara Jade figure, which is something I think would be very much welcomed.
Hasbro does read this column, and I'm sure they're seeing the suggestions for KOTOR and other figures from beyond the films... so here's hoping they can give us some information this summer about such items.
8. I've got a Master Replicas FX
sabre. (It's Luke's... I don't brook with the Dark Side.) It still looks
great, but with repeated handlings the hilt is beginning to pick up some
skin oils and lose a bit of its lustre. So... how do I polish my sabre? Are
any cleaners/cleansers safe, or should I just stick to a dry rag?
My advice is to treat it like you would any other object that needs cleaning... just don't use anything abrasive, and don't handle it too much-- these things weren't meant to be toys.
9. My feeling is that one of the major gaps in Hasbro's entire line is
the lack of a Celebration Amidala from TPM, given that they've given us her
wedding version from AOTC and two Celebration Leias from ANH. It's such a
fantastic costume, and would make a great display piece (especially if they
went high-end with it and gave us some soft goods). Would you say that
interest in this figure is just monumentally low, or is Hasbro going to
gift us with one eventually?
Well, we did get a Celebration Padme doll, but it was what-- like $1,000? Since Power of the Jedi launched, toys from the first prequel have been fairly lacking. With Hasbro's increased output of boxed sets and renewed interest in some characters from The Phantom Menace it wouldn't surprise me at all that we will, at some point, see this figure. It's just a matter of when, really, and Hasbro has been keen on making us wait for Padme. She's the new Leia in more ways than one, and it wouldn't surprise me if the line ended without seeing all of her outfits represnted in plastic.
It would be nice to see some sort of gift set... like three or four Padmes in some sort of Prequel Trilogy window box. Think of it like a revival of the Princess Leia Collection. That, if you don't remember, was a series of two-packs that were, if I recall, co-developed by the Kenner Girls division, and all the Leia figures were brand new sculpts with soft goods, and for the most part were really great. I'd love to see a Padme set like these, or something new, if for no reason other than to flesh out some dioramas.
Here's hoping we can see a few more Padmes before the next film... I mean, we haven't seen one in 2004 yet.
10. I'm sure this has been asked before, but what is the best way to store loose figures? I've got so many on display that I've decided to store some. I was thinking of using plastic bags for each figure and its weapons, then place them in cardboard boxes. Will plastic freezer/sandwich bags react with the paint on the figures?
Everybody has their own system, and not every system will work for every figure. For me, I mostly use tackle boxes which you can find at most sporting goods stores and the sporting goods department at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. The problem is that most figures from Saga and beyond are too large for the ones I use, so I just have the figures that are too large on display at present. These allow for clean, efficient filing and prevent figures from rubbing paint off one another.
Guess what? I got some answers from the guys upstairs about my questions!
Silver exclusive figures are going to be phased out. Apparently after the Sandtrooper, we probably won't see any for a while, if ever. I dug the concept, but am glad to see it retired before it grew too much. Of course, this begs the question, what kind of goodness will we see for future con exclusives? (I'm throwing my vote to an OTC repackaged Ephant Mon at some point. Which would most certainly rock.)
There are only 38 figures in the Original Trilogy Collection-- the lineup we've seen is finalized. However, there will be more figures before Episode III and with any luck, we might see a preview during the Summer convention season! So, thanks for the info to the kind soul who wrote in to keep us updated.
Lastly, in my toy runs last week, I observed that some swine has been buying both Imperial Dignitaries, taking the stands out, and replacing them with Freeze Frames in which the character's name was badly colored in with a black sharpie-- and the stores are taking them back. I'm convinced Phoenix is the "cheap swine" collector home, as numerous G.I. Joes and Star Wars toys are constantly purchased, "replaced," from pack-in figures from vehicles to Cobra army builders replaced by CORPS figures.
The freakish sense of entitlement or perhaps just a general lack of pride in the hobby is sickening, and I don't think people understand the consequences of doing this. Namely, some poor kid will probably get stuck with it because his parents bought it not knowing the item is currently defective or missing parts, as the stores seem to rarely catch on and these mispackaged toys sit on shelves for months.
This does raise an interesting point, though-- it seems fans want stands. I'm a little surprised the peg-free Death Star tile stands were targeted over the clear or grey stands being packaged with figures these days, but it does bring home a point-- people want these things. So here's hoping maybe that Hasbro will, some day, offer a pack of stands, even if it's mixed in the regular assortments. (A blister carded pack of stands in every few cases would be awesome, no?)
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.