Q&A For February 14, 2005

 

1. I don't know if you have anything confirmed on this, but do you know what basic figures we will be getting for ROTS on April 1st, or at least how many?
--Christen

This has yet to be made official. With Attack of the Clones people weren't really sure what to expect either as Hasbro was ready to go with multiple waves mere weeks after the initial launch of the movie product. Since preorders are verboten before the line's launch-- which is somewhat ridiculous-- we really won't know what will be out unless somebody leaks it. With AOTC it was expected that we'd probably only see the first 16 figures, but as many as 25 were available that first night if you were lucky. As such, keep watching your favorite sites, it's possible a menu will be made available at that time.

2. I don't know about you but I'm pretty excited about the upcoming Ertl models. Any word on when we might start seeing them, and in which stores? I loved those things when I was a kid. I'll try to refrain from blowing them up this time around!


--Joseph

While all the major online stores should have them, we expect to see them at better Targets, Wal-Marts, craft stores, and perhaps Toys "R" Us stores as well. But this is not confirmed-- you never know who will carry what when you're looking at a "new" product line like this.

3. Are there any more new figures hitting stores between the four Sneak Preview figures and the big Episode III rollout?
--PT

Nope-- what you see is what we get. There are rumblings that the list we saw for the remainder of the year's product barely scratches the surface, though, so odds are the rest of the year will be great. But much like the first quarter of 1999 and 2002, 2005 if going to suck before the new line gets here.

4. Can you give us a conclusive answer on whether or not the OTC Falcon's cockpit will fit Han and Chewie (VOTC versions of both) at the same time? I've heard several reviewers split on the topic; Rebelscum says they'll fit, but it will look like coach on an airliner.
--Chewbacca

Can you get them in there? Sure. Does it look natural? No. It's very awkward and hard to get them both to sit side by side, and as such I would say it was somewhat pointless for Hasbro to retool it. Sure, it fits the other Chewies better, but "better" is a relative term-- it still doesn't fit well.

5. I have yet to find the repackaged Unleashed Darth Vader. That wave hit around here in early December, but every single time I came across it, which was usually around opening time, I never once found Vader. There were almost always two Maces and two Dookus. At one Wal-Mart, I saw ten Dookus and ten Maces. What happened to Vader? Was he part of a later wave? And at this point, would my best bet be to order him on eBay?
--Geo

Vader is the good figure in the wave. When he was first released in 2002, people saw scores of Padme and Anakin, the Vaders always sell first since Hasbro distributed the figures in the cases evenly. As such, you're seeing supply and demand at work-- minus an accurate estimation of demand, that is.

Figure distribution is often assumed to be done overnight-- stores have eschewed overnight stocking in favor of restocking all day long. I've pulled things out of cases in front of the aisles at 2 AM and I've seen fresh cases put out at Toys "R" Us during my lunch break (comic Joes with the Oktober Guard, Alternators, etc.) The stuff is out there, but it sells out quickly-- if you don't hunt, odds are it'll be tougher to find.

6. I feel we are long overdue for a new Darth Maul and Jango Fett. any chance we might get them later this year?
--Certified93

For whatever reason, Hasbro backed away from prequels in 2004. As such, I'd say "maybe." It seems foolish to have a big push on Star Wars without covering all the core characters, so maybe in time for Christmas you might see some more older characters. For now, though, there are no known plans for these figures very soon, but "soon" is yet another relative term and Hasbro does so much enjoy surprises these days.

A lot of fans-- myself included-- are hoping Hasbro will apply their Vintage aesthetic to the prequels, even for just one or two waves. Is there anyone who wouldn't be excited to see a super-awesome Jango, Maul, Dooku, or even Anakin? Hopefully Hasbro will toss out a new Maul, Jango, and Luke for the holidays, after all, variety is good and kids didn't have many opportunities to actually see a Luke in some time. OTC did fairly well, no?

7. Ok, I really want to put this to rest!! What is the formal release date for ROTS figures and which stores (if any) will be having a midnight madness sale??? I have heard that the release date is April 2nd which surprises me since that is a Saturday. I thought new stuff usually went out on a weekday.
--Christen

This is a tricky question. For the preview figures, this time around the cases were stamped "do not sell before February 1" and some stores actually did this. (Not here in Phoenix.) As such I think the stores should have their crap together enough to crank out a launch day, but nobody is talking midnight madness yet. Odds are Wal-Mart will do something by their very nature of being open at night and reasonably supportive of fan-based midnight events for select DVDs, but stores on the whole aren't very vocal about their plans for the big day.

8. I have been collecting Unleashed figures in the package since they first came out. But ever since the artwork improved on the packaging, the figures in my area have had heavily damaged cards. Is this specific to my area, or are lots of people having this problem? Should I give up, and just start opening them to display? On a side, I notice you mention Transformers a lot, is there a site similar to this one with Transformers information?
--Russell

When it comes to toys and toy packaging, on the whole it's rare that an entire run of toys gets damaged before arrival. (Although the first batches of the Saga Yoda & Younglings tended to be crushed more than most figures.) With Unleashed, I have yet to see a heavily damaged release of anybody. So if I were you, I'd either keep looking or just open them and enjoy!

TransFormers sites are many, and like Star Wars there's a lot of them all doing a lot of different things. I do some reviews of the toys over at 16bit.com, Ben's World of TransFormers offers a little bit of everything and is a great archive of information on many things, and there are great discussion boards with advance photos and tons of surprises at TFW2005 and The Allspark. Also very good for news, resources, and sightings is Dave's TransFormers Page, which is an invaluable resource for catching up and really getting a grip on everything that's out there. For an archive of very nearly everything, you can see buttloads of photos at TFU.info, which is like what YoJoe.com is to GI Joe. The smaller ones anyway.

9. Thought I'd ask for your take on the new RotS packaging now that most of us have them in hand. Here's my two cents. On the plus side. The curved bubble seems to prevent a lot of the denting problems common to the Saga/OTC style. The lightness of the package seems to mean less stress on the J hook. They look pretty good in person.

On the down side. I don't like the use of tape. The sticker affixed inside the bubble (The one hailing 'Preview' or the 'Action Feature'.) Almost every one I've seen had major bubbles and didn't lay smooth. It seems that Hasbro fixed one problem for Keep on carders and created another.
--Anthony

As I've stated previously, I have a problem with these due to theft. Call me Chicken Little if you so choose but fact is the amount of theft in G.I. Joe is insanely high around these parts and "error figures" are rampant. Say what you will but I know for damned sure that the G.I. Joe Comic Book Packs were never packaged with Headman, or for that matter Street Fighter II's Blanka.

Witht he new packaging, tape, as you say, is the problem. What's good is that error figures are now going to plummet-- while you could probably get a nice little premium for a figure missing a weapon before, or mispackaged, that's over and done with now. It's so easy to forge a (if you catch my meaning) fake fake that this whole market segment will go away for these particular figures. Which is good and bad.

My big fear is we're going to see a rash of POTF2 Vaders returned on the Saga cards, or other similar things with C-3PO or whatever figure some cheap swine decided to "return." Anyone that doesn't have the seven bucks for a figure can live without it or be happy with the ones they have.

10. All right, so we're not getting the stands we thought we'd be getting with the ROTS figs. With that lovely morsel of information and the fact that I'm trying to organize my sizable collection in some nifty shelving units I got at Ikea, I ask you, what do you suggest is the best selection of and place to buy some stands?
--Naboo81

Depends on what you want/need.

A lot of fans would probably be willing to sell their spare rectangular stands if you ask on forums or watch eBay. So there's one solution that, while not cheap, works.

One solution that ain't bad are the stands from P&P Products. (In the interest of full disclosure, these were produced by my father.) I use 'em around my computer so I can move a cluster of several figures at a time and for this purpose they are most certainly very useful. That and you can slide a background into them. Each holds 7 or so figures depending on what you do-- obviously, you can cram a lot of Battle Droids on these and due to the large size, they can fit pretty much anybody. But, as I said, I have good reason to be biased here.

My favorite individual figure stand were the small black round discs from Action Stand from US Forces. I saw these for sale at a number of online stores but could not find the URL for the manufacturer itself. These are durable and tend to look great mixed in on some displays. Prices vary from store to store so shop around.

There are several other stands, but those are the ones I currently use when Hasbro stands are unavailable. Frankly, I think Hasbro should sell packs of stands in the basic figure assortments. 10 stands on a blister pack for $5? I'd buy some.

FIN

It looks like I may have to thin the herd soon and my trading stash will have to go, so on a lark I looked up random items from recent years to see what was selling. Did you know the price of Ephant Mon has since gone down the crapper? $8 on eBay, carded. That pretty much kills any need for a reissue at this point, and like most requests for "please reissue so-and-so" that I get, obviously time put the price's fire out.

You guys sent in so many questions, we're going to do two updates again this week. I'm not sure if I should be thanking you for the extra work or not. But as you did what you were asked to do and sent in more questions, you get a bonus column this week too.

A lot of you have written in on two issues-- Palpatine's first name (Cos) and Padme's knockers. To get the boob issue out of the way, I am officially declaring there to be no variation on the Unleashed Padme piece. Please prove me wrong if you have photographed evidence and not "my friend said" or "I read somewhere." I'm not saying I'm right and all of you are wrong, I'm just saying that in the face of the evidence I'm seeing, I can't believe that such a variant exists.

As far as Palpatine, I believe I read the name Cos in behind the magic and possibly in something relating to the early script drafts. Cos Dashit was also tossed around as an early name for the character, and as such I'm going to keep saying if you want to give him a first name, Cos is as good as anything else until something official comes up. Of course, so's Frank, Ernest, or Horatio.

Finally, I added some neat crap to 16bit.com over the last week. None of it is Star Wars, but apparently a box of Godzilla valentines was produced in the past year-- based entirely of the films from the 1970's. Pictures, as always, are included.

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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