Q&A For February 24, 2005


1. Any official word on what we can expect to pay for individual ROTS figures in April? I think everyone's pretty much been expecting $6.99 since that's what we've been paying this year for POTC and Preview figures, but the Toyfair press release said $5.99. Are we going to get a break on this one after all?

The long and short of it is that Hasbro can say what SRP is, and stores can set it. So this is why a lot of stores were overcharging for figures during Power of the Jedi despite Hasbro doing everything in its power to deliver a cheaper product. As such, the price will be whatever they think they can get for it-- for all we know there may be a sale, it may be $5.99 everywhere, or Wal-Mart will be a buck cheaper. These things are sometimes done on a spuf-of-the-moment basis and as such, it's difficult to predict. (Wal-Mart DOES fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to pricing, so who knows?)

We probably won't get a price break-- but it did eventually happen for AOTC, so I can't say for sure. The reasons to go from $4.99 to $6.99 to $5.99 in less than four months are beyond my comprehension.

2. Just saw the press kit from Toy Fair. I want one, but not for the $2000 they are seeking on Ebay. It's not even about the figures either, I think the packaging is a very novel concept. Any chance of these being sold through the Fan Club?


I've yet to hear what the deal is and I want one too-- as I did not get to go to Toy Fair, I did not get one. I think Hasbro is crazy for NOT simultaneously offering these through Shop.Starwars.com or as an online exclusive elsewhere, but I do believe the price of these will probably be about the same as the Silver Vader from '02 once the hype wears off. The figures are nothing special, so it's possible it could be even cheaper.

3. Like many others I can't wait to see ROTS and the figures look great. However I am also a fan of the OT(more so than the Prequels). Do you think we will see any OT product this year or will we have to wait until '06 for anything(even bad)? Maybe you can ask the Swami?

When asked last year at the conventions of the summer, Hasbro said that the OT might get "a rest" for a good chunk of 2005. They would not elaborate on this. Seeing as how 12" and 3 3/4" GI Joe are also being given a rest and going "on hiatus" for a while when Hasbro introduces G.I. Joe: Sigma Six and Zoids is STILL on hiatus, most likely permanently, I would go out on a limb and say you shouldn't expect any new non-exclusive Original Trilogy figures before late Fall. Do I know this to be fact? No. But based on lists floating around the e-ether, I wouldn't hold my breath. Hasbro will most likely show us everything we want to know come Celebration III.

4. I was wondering which is the more common of the two hoth mutli packs the one with lukes broken horn taun taun ur the non broken horned hans taun taun. Or is it just best to get which ever you find?

I found lots of both. I still need to get a non-broken one for my own collection (this is what happens when you wait), but for you, I'd go with whatever you find first at a good price. If you want it to be a Tauntaun for Luke to ride, you should go with the cracked one. For Luke to be stored inside (or for Han to ride), go for the full horn. Or just get 8 of them and tie them to a white Snowspeeder, throw Santa Yoda in the driver's seat, take a picture, and you have a lovely Christmas card.

5. How about some Gentle Giant "holographic' mini-busts that light up(like the Matrix line). Any chance.

Gentle Giant is looking into all sorts of new and interesting items to do with Star Wars so I'd say it's possible. Actually, I take that back-- let's go with "likely." There are only so many things you can do to get an exclusive, so at some point I would expect something like this. (I'd buy a light-up holographic Emperor, Darth Vader, or Darth Maul, wouldn't you?)

6. I thought I read in your column that the ROTS preview wave is the last until April, is this true? Will I now have two months of no hunting (I already got the two out of the four that I wanted)? I donıt know how Iıll handle this, as Iım already planning to stop at the close-to-work walmart at lunch even though I donıt need to find anything! (yep, Iım a junky for the hunt!)

I, too, am a junkie for the hunt-- this is why I've expanded out to something I admire but rarely buy to the fact the sheer size of the line is daunting. But I digress-- more on this later.

For the time being there are no new basic 3 3/4" scale Star Wars figures expected prior to Revenge of the Sith's launch, and with all the leaks who knows if they decide to move it up. (Numerous online and offline stores have product and lots of them have accidentally leaked it-- including Hasbro Canada!) By comparison, the first leaked figures for AOTC showed up in March of 2002, so big oops here.

Hasbro may decide just to lift the gates early. They should, given that we're getting reports almost every day of SOMEONE finding SOMETHING in a store.

If you like hunting, might I suggest a quick diversion line? I've started (and will be sticking with) the G.I. Joe comic book three-packs. Lots of great figures here if you're in to such things. Ninjas and Russians. Awesome.

7. Why do you think the value of our collected toys is in the toilet? I mean, prices are so low on eBay that it is almost not worth selling pieces of ones collection. I know itıs all supply and demand, but do collectors all have their red carded figures, do new collectors not want or need these? A few years ago these could go for cost or slightly above, now one is lucky to get ½ the price that they paid for them. I am just seeing this now as I have to move to a smaller place and wanted to thin out extra figures, etcŠ

Well, the value isn't in the toilet, really... it's more or less correct now.

Since 1995 people have been keeping multiple sets in perfect condition. The problem with this is that it means that the demand of the market which resulted into a stellar few years for the line early on, and probably helped make it what it was before the prequels hit. So speculators and scalpers, I thank you for faking the industry out into thinking that the market needed hundreds of figures and a bazillion characters. If it weren't for your buying up everything, it just wouldn't happen.

So now what? Figures are worth about what you paid for them. Almost every collector in 1995 had at least one complete carded red card set, and a lot of people started buying Star Wars until another line that the REALLY wanted came out. (As I often point out, I did this-- I bought Playmates' Star Trek line for a few years.)

If you are a kid or a collector, things are good for you. If you're a store, things MAY be good for you-- you can buy collections cheap (sometimes less than $1 per figure) and sell some of them for a few bucks while the others... well, good luck. The bad thing about this for all of us is that a lot of collectors don't collect for love of hobby, but for expectations of dividends down the road. There are quite a few collectors that have spoken of buying the whole set for the entire run, then turning the whole deal for a huge profit. There's one problem with this, though-- collectors don't typically buy entire collections. We don't have the money. If we did we'd be buying cars and yachts and movie studios.

So where does this leave the secondary market of tomorrow? Well, I think we're going to see vintage stuff start to climb into the realm of the ridiculous. C-10+ stuff will be worth more than you are, and everything else (vintage or new) will slowly become worth less. Not worthless, mind you, but fact is a lot of collectors turn their noses at anything that isn't perfect and this attitude will cause a big shift in how things are done over the next few years. Without new blood in the hobby-- and there is none now-- there's not going to be a market for a lot of this stuff, so the prices will continue to fall, which is good if you're me.

8. has there been any word of a release date for the wave four of the star tours figures?,,possibly the upcoming star wars days at the parks? with all the rots stuff,,this little tidbit must seem unimportant,
--Ome Wan Adooby

Still no word. Odds are it'll be coming out soon if it happens, there's no better time than "new movie season" for new figures at a theme park. Hasbro doesn't talk up Star Tours much on their own site, so I don't expect them to talk much until convention season. (Or they can write in, we love it when that happens.)

9. I was remembering toy fair last year and that Hasbro had slated a second Han (Bespin garb, I think) instead of the Stormtrooper for the vintage OTC line's ROTJ wave. What happened to that figure? Did it get made even as a prototype? I realize that many things Hasbro plans do not come to fruition, but I just thought they changed it very close to the release date and the figure might have been in "ready-to-go" status. Thanks.

When asked last year, Hasbro indicated that list was filler-- it didn't specify which Han it was, and we were told it probably wouldn't be exactly what we saw on the cardback. So this was just a filler name, it seems, but it's entirely possible one or several vintage-style figures are in varying stages of development.

10. Given what seems like an insane push of Star Wars merchandise coming out ahead of Episode III (Darth Tater, for instance) do you think we are seeing the beginning of the end of Star Wars toys? I get the sense that Hasbro is cranking out as much as they can while interest is peaking in the movies, and I wonder if there will be much for collectors and/or kids to look for, beyond 2005 or 2006. I know they have the license well into the next decade, but how long can they reasonably expect to see a return on their investment when it comes to new Star Wars stuff? I've always thought you had a unique insight into the business/hobby, so I'd be interested in what you think.

We aren't looking at the beginning of the end, but we're probably looking at the beginning of something different.

Right now, the best case scenario for the line is if they do a TV show and it takes off. Kids buy the toys, collectors buy the toys, and everybody's happy.

The worst case scenario is if Revenge of the Sith fails to ignite audiences and makes less than a $200 million domestic box office. Given the lower take of AOTC it isn't unthinkable, but it isn't likely either. Should this happen, the TV show would probably not happen immediately (if ever), and the toy line-- if it survives-- would go into collector-only mode.

I think Hasbro will eventually realize that they're squeezing blood from a stone and something big might change. This isn't meant to be derogatory, but most collectors without mucho space have decided to collect carded OR loose-- there simply isn't room in their homes for both. This will continue to be a problem because even at their small size, these things take up lots of room which people may not have. I don't expect the line to continue at the same level it's been going forever, and to be honest, I'll be surprised if we see 50+ figure years ever again. A lot of people out there still want to buy this stuff, so it can probably go for a long time-- but fans are going to start being very selective when they take a step back and realize just how much crap they have.

What I'd like to see would be quarterly assortments of Unleashed and bimonthly new releases in the basic figures.


Q&A's parade continues and we're actually trying to go a little further back into the backlog to answer some questions from January before they get answered by virtue of it becoming obvious. So please keep sending in questions and I'll get to them as quickly as possible!

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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