Q&A For November 8, 2004


1. ust wanted to add to your answer pertaining to the minatures game. The game's lead designer recently said in a chat that a fourth set will be made and will contain more than four factions. The third set, released next spring will center around Ep.3 and contain a powerful Yoda. The second set released on Dec. 3rd will have mainly Ep.1 and 2 characters. Hopefully we'll get Zuckuss and a Tauntaun with set four.

Well, there ya go-- good news, eh? While anything could happen to prevent future series from being released, it's good to see they're really thinking a head with this line.

2. This question may have been asked a long time ago, but I'll try. Of the remaining Ewok figures from the vintage line that have yet to be remade, only one is reconizable to me in Return of the Jedi, Chief Chirpa. Where do Lumat, Warok, and Romba appear in Return of the Jedi and do anything of importance? Aren't they just generic ewoks? Wicket, Paploo, Logray, and Teebo all have roles to play, but they do not. Correct me if I am wrong.

You dare question if a minor character made as a Star Wars figure does anything important? For shame. You know the answer to that one.

Numerous characters have names but that doesn't mean you'll see them-- look at Pote Snitkin. These figures are more or less generic Ewoks because as of yet, their on-screen appearances are hard to tell. (There's also been some talk that Kenner made them the wrong colors and if you use the figures as reference you'd never find them anyway.) Every character serves SOME purpose, even if it's to fill out the background-- which is the main reason I think most of us would wantt hem as figures.

3.I've seen the Darth Vader Voice Changer Helmet made by Hasbro and it looks very similar to the Don Post, and now Rubies, version. Do you know if it will fit the head of an average adult?

Hasbro's box boasts something like "ages five to most adults," so I would probably see if you could try it on first if this is something that's really important to your purchasing decision. Some stores are cool with that.

4. Unfortunately I work at one of the KBs that is on the list of store closings, and what we have been told is that we will run through the end of January, then close. We are not supposed to have any special markdowns or anything, whatever product remains will be shipped to another store. This is in response to your question in [last] week's Q&A.

Well, there you have it. I heard the same thing last time around from a couple of stores, yet they did a clearance anyway-- so if this is the story this week, odds are you should get while the getting is good. Those $2.99 Star Wars figures won't last forever, it's just that it seems that way with the current selection at most locations.

5. With the recent Trilogy release on DVD, a question has again come to mind, as it does every time a LucasFilm title arrives on the format: why are Lucas' films not encoded with the superior sounding DTS-audio track? Sure, George would like us all to go out and buy THX-capable receivers, but at around $700 still, that's not gonna happen. As most home theater receivers are sold with DTS-encoding included, it would make sense to give the consumer the audio choice upon the purchase of the DVD. What is keeping Lucas from giving us the choice? Even most of Spielberg's films give us the DTS choice... 'cept the doggone Indy trilogy... grrrrrr...

With most movies, the absence of a DTS track has to do with the perceived customer interest and the amount of space on the disk. That, or Lucas made a deal with the devil to keep it off the set. It could even be a Fox decision, unfortunately this is something I have yet to see addressed when it came to this set.

6. Which Jabba's palace aliens are left to make and what are their names?

Sometimes in Q&A I get sent questions like this that require an amount of research that I most likely cannot do for you because the answer is both subjective and hard to get-- I have yet to see a source that really shows us everything in Jabba's Palace up close, plus a lot of people count all denizens of the palace as aliens, even the human guards. Of which we have seen none.

From the original line, at this point it's pretty much just the original Klaatu from 1983, the one with the skirt and the nifty big helmet. Numerous other aliens remain to be produced, from the dinosaur-like Cane Addiss to the other costume for Ishi Tib to a whole mess of other humans, aliens, and other characters. If Hasbro wanted to, they could probably put out one character from Jabba's Palace a month for a few years and not run out of characters-- if they're human.

Your best resource for this information? Decipher.com hosts a complete list of all its card game cards, and this interests you because they made more cards for more obscure characters than almost any other source I could find. Peruse that, and you'll find images and names for more characters than you'd probably have expected to be left to produce-- which is more or less a good thing.

7. Will I ever again find J'Quille in a store? Or OTC Gamorean Guard, or OTC Bib Fortuna, or OTC Scout Trooper, or OTC Slave Leia?

Yes on all fronts-- in Phoenix, I've seen all of these in stores (new shipments) in the last week. Yes, even Saga figures-- as far back as the R1-G4 wave-- are still shipping to stores. OTC keeps popping up at Targets locally, so if you make a few runs over the course of a week odds are you'll find most if not all of what you seek. (It never hurts to expand your search to include... well, everywhere you could possibly look.)

8. Questions regarding the new(ish) Gentle Giant Bust-Ups:

Generally, what do you think of them? I like the detail, but they're so darn tiny! What would be a good way to display them? Riding on top of your monitor obviously, but what about a more long-term solution? You could have a little bitty shelf on the wall for them maybe, but they're so small... I dunno.

I've seen places selling a "case" of 12 and a "case" of 24. I have seen a large box of 24, is there also a large box of 12, or would that just be 12 individual bust boxes?

I understand that in the first series there was a "chase" bust of Leia in a different pose. Do you know if there will be a chase in the next series? Do you know what the ratio is/will be? (I was thinking I heard one per case, but I may have made that up.)

When I first saw these, I thought they were the greatest thing in ages. $5, well painted, and better looking than Hasbro's figures. Now, with the blind boxing (to an extent) and chase figures, I find myself much less excited about them because I don't much care for chase anything.

I believe the cases are 24-- you can buy just 12 bust-ups from some stores, but the case itself is 24 pieces. And if you want the chase Leia, that's how you get it. For Series II, it's going to be a chase Vader, and these will most likely continue to be about one per box.

9. where are the rest of the otc 12" figures?

With the exception of the VOTC 12" Kay-Bee Chewbacca, the 12" line for 2004 has pretty much run its course-- and no, it's not your imagination, 2004 sucked for the large action figures.

A number of items have come up as possibilities for the 2005 line, and as such we fully expect a small assortment of larger figures next year to tie in to the final film.

From what we're hearing, there are going to be several scales of figures sold next year, and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see Revenge of the Sith Unleashed-- we just haven't heard confirmations yet. As such, sit tight-- next year should be good, but beyond that, I wouldn't get my hopes up too much outside the random exclusive.

10. Why aren't you posting my question about a figure I want getting in the Original Trilogy Collection?

This week, I received many many requests asking when a particular modern-era figure would be reissued or recarded, and why it hasn't yet been recarded. First, I should let you know that while I do have the power to see everything in the future, it's only for things unrelated to personal injury and recarded figures.

Repackaging figures is a valuable marketing strategy. Rather than resculpting Vader, Han, or Luke again Hasbro has decided they can probably make a lot of sales by putting the old figure out again, which makes good business sense since it worked in the old days and a lot of kids and collectors don't have them. An old Darth Vader is usually just as good as any other to most kids, as long as it has a cape and lightsaber, so it makes a lot of sense for Hasbro to stop and use the same molds and R&D again and again assuming the market can absorb these revised or repackaged figures.

With figures like Amanaman-- who we've seen a surprising amount of requests for-- you can get him on the cheap on eBay and some stores still. He wasn't what we in the biz call a big seller, or at least a figure that sold out quickly. While I know I keep beating the drum, the best thing you can do as a collector is to realize that the secondary market is a big help in cases like this-- you can buy lots of figures on eBay in a collection for very cheap, often for considerably less than it would have cost you in the stores at first. While I know we all prefer to walk into a store when we're buying toilet paper or a DVD and stumble on all the figures we want, new or old, that's not how it works anymore. (And in the old days, I could never find old stuff here in Phoenix.)

So in this day and age, with modern figures being close to worthless in some cases, seriously, go do some hunting. In my day, we didn't have eBay-- we had Toy Shop, a giant newsprint thing with badly written ads that you had to write a letter to just to get a price. You had to make long-distance phone calls just to see if the item you wanted was still available. Dadgummit, you kids have it good these days.


Well kids, it's that time-- time for the Annual Break. Usually I break from Q&A from Thanksgiving until the New Year, but this year I'm probably going to break a little early, as the week before Thanksgiving I'm going to be getting married and as such, otherwise busy.

So, where does this leave you? Basically, I'm going to try and answer whatever I get before the break-- I might be able to finish an extra column that's posted while I'm out, but this is entirely up to the questions that pop into my inbox before I go. So if you got questions, get crackin'.

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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