Q&A For January 24, 2005

 

1. I was wondering with the new figure packaging if there are still going to be 12 to a case, and how they plan to keep the bubble from being crushed with the new design? Also can we expect to see a re-release Republic Gunship I was unable to get this one for AOTC?
--Shawn

When it comes to the bubble size, one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of companies have managed to make oddly shaped bubbles that don't get crushed-- as such, I'd assume Hasbro has a way to keep these in line, as it were.

As far as the Gunship goes, how many chances do you need? It's been released twice and clearanced at many stores both times... but I digress. Hasbro hasn't been prone to re-shipping a vehicle from one prequel to the next, but so far that's mostly due to the fact none of the vehicles made as toys from Phantom Menace appeared in Attack of the Clones in a capacity big enough to warrant a rerelease of the toy. While we do know the Clone Wars continue in this final film, we don't know what gear will still be used. It's entirely possible they could go for a third redeco of this ship, or that a modified version might appear. And some lists around the web claim a gunship of sorts is coming. But until Toy Fair or some pictures leak, who knows?

2. What is this "Escape from the Death Star" playset I saw on KB Toys? I never heard of it and it's not Hasbro (according to the website).

Any ideas?

Here is the link
--Buntz

This is the Death Star Chasm playset from POTF2. At least the picture is-- the toy was released a few years ago. There was also a Detention Block Escape playset.

3. Nothing to do with toys but I heard a nasty rumor that James Earl Jones will not be doing the voice of Darth Vader in Episode III. What's the word on the street?
--Ryan

Everything I've heard says James Earl Jones will be doing the voice, as necessary, for Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith but you never know-- it could change but I wouldn't bet on it.

4. Hi. You claimed that there was a Œcaptain tarfullč. Well, General Tarfful is a Wookiee general in ROTS played by proffesional basketball player Michael Kingma.
--Christen

This question got a lot of replies from last week-- upon further research, it appears that some sources call him Captain but more recent sources refer to him as a General. I'm also hearing buzz that the Sneak Preview figure isn't him, but is actually a generic Wookiee warrior-- so this, friends, is why we often say that nothing is official until it's in your hands. (And even then, things get the wrong name all the time. Well, not all the time but you get the drift.) So, consider us corrected!

5. Is Gentle Giant ever planning on doing a Darth Maul mini bust? I know they have the bust up figure, but I'm looking at a large bust.
--David

One of the things that any collector brand has to deal with is how much we, the fans, can absorb. The answer is quite a bit, but even then Gentle Giant wants to make sure not to overwhelm fans with so much product that they throw up their arms and say "forget this, I'm going to collect that McFarlane Simpsons figure revival." (No, not a joke.)

As such, many ideas have been tossed around at Gentle Giant and they are fully aware that fans want a Darth Maul minibust-- but with Revenge of the Sith coming in a few months and the usual reaction to prequel product, odds are you won't see him this year. The market is still warming up to Prequels and they're surely going to get this one out as soon as they can as it's an easy sale. But no, we don't have official information on when such a bust will be out.

6. We desparately need a figure case to store the "Galactic Heros" line of figures in. Are there any plans for one on the horizon? My 3 year old son has about 30 of the little buggers it would be great to have a themed case for them.
--Ray

My advice to you: do it yourself. Hasbro isn't known for putting out collector cases these days, at least not "new" ones, and as such you might be waiting a long time for such an item to be released. We advise you look into tackle boxes (as in, fishing) with the little compartments for these, as Hasbro seems to not like producing new product that isn't a figure as of late.

7. Its been awhile,aside from the 12 inch Bariss and Shaakti,why not aayla,any of a new and better palpatine/sidious?Like to see maul,but guess he been scratched,almost non-existence now.
--Luanne

The last time Hasbro released 12" Palpatine figures, they were as the Emperor, in 1998, and released at pretty much the same time-- you could get a regular 12" Emperor, or a 12" electronic talking one packaged with a guard at Target. Clearance ensued, and now Hasbro is most likely wary of going down that route again.

While it's possible Hasbro might revisit the character with a "quick change" outfit for the final prequel (stop pretending like you didn't know, spoiler freaks, it was as obvious to you as it was to me) so it's not unreasonable to see it appear again in some capacity. But as Hasbro is keeping its 12" plans for 2005 close to the chest, who knows?

8. I was wondering, if there is any more information about these "Attactix" figures, or more detailed pictures of them? The carded samples of "Aurra And Friends" you have posted do not show them too well. Are these Attactix figures only going to be available with the Unleashed figures? Unleashed is so hard to find, and I wanna know if the Attactix are something worth collecting. What's the scoop?
--JediTray

From what I've seen, the figures bundled with the Unleashed figures were a Twi'lek from the first set of Star Wars miniatures. Attactix is a new thing, a game, and from what I've seen posted to the Web appears to be Heroclix-esque game figures with exaggerated proportions. It's a neat concept, but do fans need two miniatures games?

9. With the recent announcement and pre-ordering of Super Articulated Clonetroopers (EntertainmentEarth exclusive), we see that Hasbro is quite capable of giving us troop building sets.

In your opinion, why do you think they charged so much? Also, why not offer a case of all white, non battle damaged clones?

I know I would have bought two cases at least of the whites and still got a case of the officers. My guess is that they would have not sold as much of the officers, so they even packed the sets to assure that the officers would sell. Granted they allowed people to purchase sets by themselves, but who really wants to pay close to $40 (with shipping) for 4 figures that they were able to buy for $5 a piece not long ago?

In the future, would you like to see more troop building packs done this way? Or would you prefer that they go back to the plain white box? (It would save on shipping for customers-namely us, as well as save on printing costs)
--RoswellSun

This appears to be an instance of "you can't please all of the people all of the time," but I liked what I saw. Granted, this is because they came to me and said "so what colors would you want, Adam?" and I said "Green, yellow, red, blue, plain white, and battle damaged versions of all." And I kept badgering them to use the super posable molds which they happily managed to do. So, as I had a tiny hand in this (not pricing, of course) I have to say that this is more or less what I would want. Short of adding a GI Joe style O-ring, that is.

The edition size isn't huge-- I'm not privy to the exact numbers but I have been assured that it's not the biggest run ever, and as such these aren't cheap. That, and you never know which issues are a result of Hasbro or Lucasfilm edicts-- a retailer can ask for something, but that can't always be the way it is.

As far as colors go, I'm pretty happy-- the ratio of white to each color of trooper is 4:1, and I seriously doubt anyone buying these doesn't already have a small army of Clones based on the other molds. Plus this is the first-ever correct release of the green Clone, which is, well, nice. I do have a few red Clones, two Blues and some Yellow, but the one green one I have is in a forced pose and in the wrong shade of green... so this is nice.

As far as pricing goes, you say you could buy these for $5 each. I couldn't. I never saw this figure in stores, and I've seen pretty much every basic figure except the Dark Trooper over the years. Since this figure costs more than a regular 6-joint figure ($), is a special run ($$), has special packaging ($$) and new deco ($$) yes, it's going to cost a little more. This is how it works, unfortunately-- when Big Bad Toy Store requested a special run of the fairly rare Battle Unicorn toy from Beast Machines, Hasbro said "you gotta order a bazillion of these and they're going to be expensive," but since the fans wanted them, they got made. Vote with your wallets.

Is the white box or the window box better? Depends on your tastes, really. Me, I rip everything open, but I have to admit it's the kind of box that makes you mad that you have to open it. White boxes are utterly disposable while anything with a diorama backdrop, well, it isn't. At least you can reuse the backdrop.

So is it a good deal? All four sets are $120 in a bundle, or you can get a case for $300. Assuming you're not the kind to split a case, let's say you go $120-- that's for 16 figures which, before shipping, is about $7.50. In 2005, Kmart, Target, and Toys "R" Us charge $6.99 per figure. Seeing as it's an exclusive, but it reuses an old mold, it more or less balances out.

But, as I say, vote with your wallets-- it's a low-run item made for hardcore fans with one specific purpose in mind, to make money build armies. If you're not into repaints, well, that's all this is-- a big box of repaints. Arguably the coolest repaints ever, and ones I wish could have been sold everywhere, but it's this or wait to see what the secondary market will charge you down the road. Or see if Hasbro recards this one again. Collecting's a tricky business since it went from 100% kid's toys to something aimed at adults as well, so spend your money wisely and if you don't like it, there's bound to be something even better just around the corner. (Although this is something I really like and am glad to have on the way. Hasbro dropped the ball on Clones.)

One last thing on this one-- figures aren't all the same price. Figures like Ephant Mon cost a lot more than C-3PO, and figures with more parts, more paint ops, more accessories, and so forth do cost a smidge more. (A Hasbro employee referred to Ephant Mon at a convention panel and said "We lost our shirts on that one.") While this is a recycled mold-- one of the best recycling jobs since repainting R2 units, which I'd like to see done more as well-- it still costs money and odds are Hasbro finally is going to recoup some costs on a mold that didn't see a lot of production. Sure, I think we'd all rather the figures be in stores for $5 a whack, but Hasbro didn't want to, so we're getting an exclusive-- and who knows, if this works we might get some Stormtroopers out of it down the road.

10. I've been around the whole collecting thing for awhile and have seen both the rise and fall of the comic book empire and baseball card hobby as well. Now I understand that most of this was related to speculators who thought they were making the investment of a lifetime but in the end it hurt some nice hobbies. I collect all sorts of toys, comics and what not but my focus is definately Star Wars ( I was 9 years old in 1977). My question is this. Have you noticed that the Star Wars collectible market is seeing a product deluge the likes of what haven't been seen for quite some time? I'm not at all concerned for the so called value of my collection. If I was concerned about money I wouldn't be spending it on Star Wars toys and collectibles. My concern is for the overall health of the hobby. Now granted the movies themselves are coming to an end but I sometimes feel that the end will be signaled not by the end of the prequals but by the overall massive output of product. It's not even that the product isn't quality product. It is. I mean look at the stuff Gentle Giant is putting out. But what you have now is so much quality product that the average collector is looking out there with jaw dropped thinking "Even if I had the money, where would I put it?" Right now I'm having a heyday buying all this cool stuff but I know there are plenty who are just getting disillusioned with it all. The Episode One product deluge almost killed the hobby altogether and while Hasbro at least pulled back a bit on Episode II I think we are right back where we were if not further down the path. I feel like people are going to pull out and bail after this third flick and leave the people who consistantly enjoy this hobby trying to support something that just by mere numbers they cannot. I guess what I'm saying is I don't think things look all that rosy for the future of Star Wars collecting. I think with the number of limited edition, exclusive to so and so, blind packaged items and shear cost of it all we are going to see a lot of people just walk away from it all. Me, I'll probably be here to the end but when will that be?
--Mauricioleyba

Looooong question. Wow. Someone's actually more long-winded than I am, and for that I congratulate you sir!

The "crash" of the market for collecting some Star Wars toys has already happened, depending on who you ask. The people scarfing up figures by the case in 1996 are now left with worthless figures that getting $2 a pop for would be quite the challenge.

Collectors come and go, and prices shoot up and down-- and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. I don't think the glut of product is a problem so much as it is our attempt to absorb it. For example, I love Gentle Giant's product but seeing the cost of it has made me pull back to Hasbro and comic product, mostly. Fact is we can't all collect everything, nor should we-- we have other things to buy, like houses, DVDs, and guinea pig bedding which, I should point out, is damned expensive.

2004 was a good year for the likes of us, with lots of new product and old new product to keep everybody busy. Still, it was a light year-- we barely capped 20 Saga basic figures and had only 38 OTC figures with a sizable selection of exclusives and duplicates all over. And yet, most of them sold pretty well.

Besides, if you really want to complain, allow me to direct you to the 2004 Figure List at YoJoe.com. There's a lot of repaints, but I think the operative phrase here is "just different enough to make you mad." There's well over 100 figures there, exclusives and all, probably closer to 160. (I didn't count it as I decided I wanted to go eat dinner instead.) Now that's a line a market probably can't absorb, yet it's doing really well-- in early January most stores were totally sold out of 4" Joe figure packs here in Phoenix and Scottsdale. If something like this can survive without the support of movies, TV, or really anything but comics and direct-to-DVD animation, surely Star Wars has some spunk left in it.

I don't think Episode I can be responsible for killing the hobby so much as the sudden high price, questionable quality (a lot of those figures weren't all that hot), odd assortments, rampant dealer speculation, and a lot of people just didn't like the movie, and still don't. If anything, it was hype that slayed the beast, Hasbro told everybody they needed to order more stuff, they did, and the market choked on all that stuff.

So anyway, I see a bright future for the line-- just not a blindingly bright one. I don't expect to see some grand finale, nor do I expect to see it fizzle out in just a couple of years, but it is possible that post-movie, the fandom could collapse under the bulk of their collections. At least for a little while.

FIN

That's it for this week-- went out and saw Wookie Warrior preview figures at Wal-Mart last night. Like, lots of them. And nobody else. I currently am unaware of the case packouts, but when's the last time anybody heard of the pegwarmer being the army builder?

If you can believe it we've got a review coming up this week. Sure it's of something you probably bought, but it's cool and you'll probably read it anyway. I mean, what is Galactic Hunter.com if not the means by which to kill time at work before lunch?

Oh, and for next week, just email me with your question and I'll put it in queue. (If you do not put "Q&A" in the subject line I cannot guarantee it will get through due to the high volume of spam these accounts get.)









 
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