Q&A For February 10, 2005
1. Will the ROTS figures come with stands like the OTC figures have or will I have to order more Action Stands?
Hasbro's policy on stands is difficult to tell. In 2004, every figure had one except for Boba Fett. With G.I. Joe in the 4" size, sometimes you get a stand, and sometimes you don't-- usually you don't. Looking ahead to ROTS, some will have stands and some won't-- it looks like most won't, and the nifty grey rectangle stand is a thing of the past-- at least for now.
If I were you, I'd stock up on my favorite stands just to be ready for such a thing. Here's hoping Hasbro takes some initive and releases some stand packs, even if it's just a basic figure package stuffed with stands for the price of a figure packed at like one per case. (Hint, hint.)
Please look into your crystal ball and venture a guess on the caseload
of Episode III figures hitting toy shelves.
We all remember the overflow of Episode I product, and Hasbro didnąt
seem to learn their lesson with the release of Episode II ‹ I can still
find figures from the inital Attack of the Clones rollout (C-3PO with
detachable plating for one) for sale in our area Wal-Mart.
In a small town like ours too much initial product clogging the shelves
has delayed or eliminated later waves making an appearance. Do you
think the first assault of Episode III figures will be scaled back to a
more reasonable level, or will we again be awash in a surplus of
With Episode I, all the toy companies were told to hype this because people were chomping at the bit for this stuff. Everybody overordered. With Episode II, a lot of figures were in huge supply at launch while others were not-- Luminara Undili, Count Dooku, and Yoda were all things you probably didn't see at Midnight Madness at every store, but some stores were lucky and had them out.
As far as leftover figures go, a lot of stores in my area are still loaded with POTJ Duro & Ketwol with a few Bespin Guards at full price while Saga stuff is really going away-- OTC has dried up at most regular retail establishments, too. As such, I'm going to take the "post-movie glut" question with "your mileage may vary."
If you live in a small town, yes, you may see a lot of stuff stick around. That's how a small town works-- things sit there for long periods of time. It's a lot like shopping for toys at Walgreen's, you know what you find will probably be old, but it might be there when you can't find it elsewhere. Which is, to say, a mixed bag.
The first assortments from Hasbro are allegedly very collector friendly. While I cannot confirm them, I've seen numerous assortments list Wave 1 of Collections 1 and 2 to both have 12 unique figures each at 1 per case. Personally, I think this is a bad thing-- it isn't possible for an entire figure line to be equally popular... so odds are this is either wrong, or just one of many assortments we'll see come April.
Stores may order too much-- it happens. Stores may get picked over-- this happens a lot too. If there's one thing I've learned when it comes to toy hunting, it's that sometimes you get to wait. A very long time. I didn't see Ephant Mon on a store peg until 2004. Still haven't seen a Clone Wars super posable Clone Trooper or a POTF2 Darktrooper in stores.
I have doubts that the first cases of the Revenge of the Sith toys will be a huge burden like Padme and C-3PO were from Attack of the Clones, but you never know what kids will turn their noses up at. It's a huge surprise to me that the assortments being leaked-- if true-- don't have two Clones in a box, or an extra Anakin or Obi-Wan or more importantly, Darth Vader. (I personally believe that Darth Vader's popularity for this movie should rival or surpass that of Darth Maul from Episode I. I have non-collector friends already asking how many Vaders there will be and which one(s) will be best to buy for their desks at work>)
Now, the glut aside, did anyone have any problems getting any of the 2002 regular figures (save for the variant Imperial Officer and Rebel Trooper and Ephant Mon) at retail? I mean, seriously? These things hit, and quickly, and often. Djas Puhr, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Bespin Luke... none of these were hard to get here in Phoenix, and a lot of our Wal-Marts had pretty close to everybody except the red Clone all the time. As such, I wouldn't worry-- those first cases from Clones were pretty evenly packed, too.
In short, there are going to be duds, and these duds are going to make you angry because they won't sell. It happens. My advice to you is to start ordering online, make trading buddies, or start liking the concept of a toy run road trip (which is more fun than you might think.) I'll spare you the details of how many stores I hit in January looking for a specific G.I. Joe comic three-pack... it's all part of the game unless you cave in and order online.
3. Don't you find surprising the amount of ROTS stuff that has leaked, between your coverage of basic figures and other stuff, rebelscum's coverage of all the lego sets, yakface having pics of pretty much anything (btw, the lightsabers are looking really good, obi-wan's hilt from ANH and now ROTS has always been my favourite), not too mention summaries of the novel and the trading cards. I remember three years ago photos of the battle arena Padme were quickly taken offline, but now it seems Lucasfilm and Hasbro are ok with it, why do you think they've been so careless this time?
Also, I know you probably hate this type of questions, but do you know if Hasbro is making that cool X-wing looking fighter from ROTS, I really like that design.
Well, what I really find suprising is what has leaked and what hasn't. If you were around for Episode I and in the right crowds you had pictures of unpainted Darth Maul in September of 1998. (I did.) And if you were paying any attention at all, you probably saw the first 18 figures packaged around November or December. For Clones, a lot of it leaked but I can't seem to find my information as to when this was-- a seller had a bunch of packaged stuff out to us pretty early if I recall. Right now I'd say we're at a level similar to what was happening during Episode I, and I have no idea what Lucasfilm or Hasbro officially think about this. (Nor do I want to hear it because I don't like potentially bad news.) There are a lot of nuisances surrounding who can show and/or sell what and when that are, to say the least a pain in the neck and to say the worst potentially illegal. Can a company dictate that you can't sell a toy before a certain date, or that pictures of it are breaking some law? I'm not sure, nor do I pretend to know how one would find out such a thing. So I'll drop that there.
(...and yes, looking forward to it as well.)
4. Adam, In your last Q&A you mentioned that you swap your weapons to make it look like you have more, different figures. Do you have a web site with pictures of your displays/collection?
Second question, when I was just a young boy I had a dream that the tree in front of my house was completely filled with Star Wars figures (hanging like fruit). It was mainly made up of different Ewoks, one of which was a female Ewok with a wokling. My question is this, have you heard if Hasbroplans to or do you think Hasbro would ever produce a female Ewok with wokling? I really hope so, because this is a figure I truly have dreamed of for years!
At this time, I don't have any of my stuff photographed because I moved a few months ago and it takes a long time to set up. (That and new stuff tends to take over very quickly and I'm not entirely sure if I'll be at my current residence as long as I had originally planned... long story.)
Hasbro's relationship with Ewoks is an awkward one. In 1997, they swapped the Ewoks out of the assortment in favor of getting Grand Moff Tarkin out early, and this pretty much says what they think of the furballs. While fan response is pretty constant, and we get a lot of requests at the collector sites for them, Hasbro maeks-- at most-- 1 or 2 a year, if that. We've had three "different" Ewoks based on Wicket (one nameless and Paploo), a Logray, Teebo, and the one on the glider-- also based loosely on Wicket. While there was a set of Woklings made as a character eraser from Return of the Jedi that's not too far out of scale with Ewoks, no, Hasbro has had no plans to make these little guys yet.
5. Hi Adam, I am a 3.75 inch completist (all loose and on display together). I like to have one of each figure, including any major variations (I'm talking real variations like long sabers or tan vest Luke - black vest Luke not silly variations like hand painted shut figures). Anyway, I'm looking to slowly fill in the cancelled figures that actually exist. I was wondering if you have a complete list of what's out there and actually obtainable. Also, could you give any advice on the likelyhood of any finding their way to the mass market? I've shelled out cash for CD-Rom Luke Bespin because I figured he's worth it. They retooled him, and distributed him (twice) so I think the idea of Hasbro selling the prototype version is very slim. I've also buoght a few others because they were cool, or the price was fine, but I'd rather not sweat it if they are probably going to hit the mass market eventually anyway.
This is a tricky one because "obtainable" is a relative term. Sure, anything's out there, but a lot of these cancelled figures showed up recently, and there's a lot of suspicion that these CD-ROM Lukes and Vaders may or may not be from Hasbro's factory. It's a grey area.
That said, a lot of figures have surfaced, like a Holograph Obi-Wan, Nute Gunray, and Padme, Trophy Obi-Wan & OOM-9, POTJ CD-ROM Luke and Vader, some two-packs, and there's a lot of others that will probably start causing arguments. Some people say the Skeeto was definitely prototyped and a final mold pull exists, but everything I've seen looks vaguely like Kenner's Snake Alien from ALIENS tweaked a little.
Anything can eventually find its way to the mass market. Lott Dod was a cancelled Episode I figure, and word on the street has it that the whole Yarua wave was made of once indefinitely delayed figures. I think that the bulk of the "unproduced-but-samples-exist" stuff falls under the Phantom Menace banner and as such, it might be a while before Hasbro warms up and cranks these out for us-- but weird things happen. At one point Kitik Keed'kak was never coming out and samples of him were selling for over a hundred bucks. So, tread carefully, true collector! The final outcome of Star Wars remains to be seen and frankly, unless the price was right, I'd rather wait for the line to end (and possibly pay a little more) than freak out just yet.
I have no idea at which stage of production these were at, but rest assured that if Hasbro has a gap to fill in the line somewhere, these will eventually have to fill it.
6. Is it true that when Hasbro took over Kenner they got the molds to ALL of the Vintage Star Wars figures? If so, would this include unreleased prototypes like Gorgon and the DROIDS/EWOKS Series 2 figures?
If this is the case, and Hasbro does have these molds, why aren't we BEGGING Hasbro to use these molds as the "EXCLUSIVE FIGURE" for things like the annual Star Wars Celebrations, Toy Fairs and conventions. How about Previews or Entertainment Earth? I don't know about you but I would gladly pay $20-$30 for a Vlix with a 2005 date stamp. Is there any chance on anything like this EVER happening?
Most of the molds were lost. The POTF2-era reissues of the four vintage figures were cast from the original figures, not molds. I've also heard that the vehicles were based on a mix of old molds and new molds created from vintage toys. Is it true? I do not yet know-- but it's likely. I know Mattel had to buy mint samples of a lot of things off of eBay to put together the packaged reissues of its 1980s Masters of the Universe range a couple of years back.
Hasbro said they would not go back and do new figures from the vintage molds. Frankly, this is a good thing in most respects, otherwise we'd be drowning in reissues and damned sick of them by now. However, I wouldn't have a single problem seeing a new Vlix, Gaff, Paploo, or otherwise unreleased animated figures. Problem is, even if the molds are out there, I cannot honestly say that I believe collector interest is high enough to prop up a market for Morag, even though I'd go nuts and buy them all before I'd buy more prequel stuff-- and don't get me wrong, I like prequel stuff. It's possible it will happen some day, but I have a feeling that hardcore vintage collectors may not necessarily approve, and as they're the guys with the VSPs, carded samples, and hardcopies, well, who knows if Hasbro would need their help to get these out there? I don't expect to see them, but I feel ya-- I want these too.
7. is the day's of the "Fan's Choice" voting dead and gone? I know that we will probably never get a character like Hermi Odle made because of Hasbro's complaints about the cost of Ephant Mon, but there are so many other's like Commander Willard, new TPM & AOTC Amidalas, all three members of the Larrs family, additional Cantina creatures, creatures from Jabba's Palace, Pod Racers & other obscure characters.
Also, I thought that the Imperial Scanning Trooper was considered the latest "Fan's Choice" figure? How come it wasn't labeled as one?
I've asked and was told that it's on hold. The Scanning Tech was not an official Fan's Choice, just a way to fill out the OTC. I think that fans would love a chance to vote on seeing another Padme, a concept C-3PO, Hermi Odle, and countless other characters-- but not this year. 2005 is all about Revenge of the Sith and the kids that are sure to go crazy over Vader as their parents will most likely say "I remember that, sure you can have one." Next year will probably start the reign of the collector in Star Wars figure releases, so I expect to see a lot of Fan's Choice type things in maybe 2006.
Hasbro has started doing Fan's Choice G.I. Joes (the first two-pack came out in January, the first three-pack is due later on) and mentioned doing it with TransFormers. So the concept certainly holds water over there still.
8. I just got the Sneak Preview figures here in Cincinnati and upon opening them was surprised to find that they do not have figure stands. Was this a cost cutting move? I know the figures are much more articulated, hence the $6.99 price point, however, it took some manipulating to get General Grievous to stand up on his own with that long cape. Do you know if this will be an issue with all of the ROTS figures? Not having stands for some of these figures would be disappointing.
The decision to drop the stands surprised a lot of us, especially given all the official Hasbro photography showed us that we were getting stands. But, such is life. It appears that only some figures in the new line will include stands, so I'd say be prepared to shell out a few bucks for some stands if you plan on not having your figures attack your floors from the shelves.
9. I picked up the Episode III preview figures today and noticed that all
of the bubbles are more or less scotch-taped to the card backs.
Is this something that came from the manufacturer like that?
The tape seems to be just thrown on, fill of bubbles and fold overs.
Or was this something Toys R Us decided to do to 'protect' the figures?
I'd like to know if I was robbed of $6.99 per figure..
Have I got a funny story for you. But first, an answer to your question.
Hasbro has experimented with "bleeding" packaging off the edge of the card, so there's no cardboard "border" around the bubble with G.I. Joe and they apparently believe it worked well enough to pass on to Star Wars. They are taped shut by Hasbro, not glued, and one reason for this is believed to do what the Japanese do-- take a figure out, or slide it back in the package for storage. It's supposed to be collector-friendly and striking at retail.
What's fun about this is that I suggested this to Hasbro in 1997 after I got a Final Fantasy VII Cloud from Japan and they said it wouldn't happen due to the large liklihood of in-store pilferage. That made sense, so I didn't think about it again until I started seeing dozens of G.I. Joe action figures last year stolen or "replaced" with other figures-- generic Cobra guys were often replaced by $0.97 The Corps! figures or other, less desirable Joes. (People do this with Star Wars too, but often try to reglue the package shut-- taping it makes it easier to get to.) To me this is the worst crime you can commit against your fellow toy fan, but that's a rant for a different time.
Get used to tape-- it's going to be here for a while. If enough fans steal and return figures with swapping out parts, it's possible we might get something secure, like McFarlane's or Palisades' plastic clamshells which require a knife to open.
Were you robbed? Depends, did you like them? The lowest price I've seen is at Wal-Mart, orbiting $5.88. Everybody else wants $6.99 for these if not more. As such, I'd say you did OK.
10. Why does the sneak peek Grievous have an unpainted left bicep? The back of
the left arm is painted while only the front of the right arm is painted.
What's up with this? Thanks
Well, it seems that this is just how they made him. It matches the photo of the toy on the cardback, and it's possible this is just part of the good General's design. One of the unfortunate things about figures like this is we have a lot of time to look them over but nearly zero ability to determine how accurate they are. Grievous has multiple configurations, and it's possible he's just asymetrical-- for the time being, this unique design choice will remain a mystery to us all. Or at least to me until someone points out the right answer and I can share it with the rest of the class..
Haven't had much new to come up with since Monday.
We've been having a great response to the column as of late, and I'm glad to finally be able to give you cats another column to read during the week.
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.)