Q&A For March 7, 2005

 

1. In response to Jeffs question regarding the 'current' price guide for Star Wars, couldn't eBay be considered as a kind of price guide? These books (Tomarts etc) are usually expensive, and can never be up to date, as more and more product is released each month.
--Mike

If one is feeling up to the task, absolutely-- it's what I do and have often told others to try as well While some people want a big ol' tome to lug around because they can refer to it and it's a big list of product, too. For my money, though, nothing's better than eBay for figuring out about what I can get for something.

While I would like to see a complete guide to figures (or a second volume to it), fact is a price guide is something that is almost instantly out of date, mainly because Hasbro releases so friggin' many figures in a year.

2. Not really a question here, just my two cents on the 1995 POTF2 red carded figures. Yes they are overly muscular and a tad ugly (honestly, what gym would a protocol droid go to!?!), but after a decade of drought, I was happily surprised to see them. They filled a void and if they did not appear and do reasonably well, we would not be seeing the continually improving work coming out of Hasbro.

Yes, 2004 was a banner year for collecting. I purchased enough Star Cases in advance....knowing I had to have ALL of the OTC line. (Which BTW is probably more responsible than anything for de-valuing most figures that came before it. Who wants a "Hall of Fame" version when you can have the same figures displayed on a cool cardback?) And you know what I did with the extra few cases...I pulled my old POTF2 Red carded figures out of storage and proudly mounted them on a sky blue wall across from the OTC collection and a few choice vintage carded figures I've collected over the years. I have saved very few figures MOC. Not POTJ, green carded, EP I, EPII, or Saga or any other figures. But the red-carded POTF2 figures will always have a place in my heart and my collection.
--Christopher

Thanks, Christopher. While all the figures Hasbro cranked out are quite nifty and some better than others, it's still fun to go back and see where we came from-- if it wasn't, well, people would be pretty disappointed as some figures aren't really available any other way yet. (Stormtrooper Luke still hasn't received a good update, for example. As such, it's a great mini-collection, but it doesn't have much of a wow-factor. But hey, if everything about this hobby was about getting only the best items, why would any of us be buying the OTC X-wing? The older molds still have some value, but just not what they had a few years ago.

3. Are Force Battlers and expansion of Jedi Force? If they are has there been any mention of Clones?
--Washington

Nope-- Force Battlers are just yet another bite at the toddler market pie. Jedi Force is its own thing, and will continue with new releases through the year, like Han, Anakin, and a weird yellow repaint of X-wing Luke.

4. I know a big argument in the past has been the EU is not canon. With a pretty much all of the Clone Wars taking place in books, comics, video games, and TV doesn't that throw that argument out of the window? And since LF is doing a GREAT job in ensuring (almost) everything lines up between the films shouldn't Hasbro and stubborn "fans" realize that there are some great characters that could translate well into toys (Quin Lon Vos, Republic Commandos, Clone Starfighter) and admit that the statement only the films are canon irrelevant?
--Washington (again)

All Expanded Universe is as official as you want it to be. For all intents and purposes, it's NOT official so that Lucas can contradict whatever he wants. Each new round of EU tries to tie into the movies and not directly contradict too much, because the long-term value of it drops if fans read it and go "well, Anakin became Vader in that movie, so why does this book have the two of them fighting one another?"

As far as what "deserves" a figure? This is a long argument that will probably go on long after I retire, but my feelings on the matter are that the movies come first, and while I LIKE the comics and such, most fans don't read them. Less than 100,000 people read Star Wars comics every month. That's really a tiny market. Sure, most collectors will buy anything with the SW brand on it, but most fans don't WANT to see figures based on KOTOR, or Starfighter, or whatever. They want to see figures based on the original trilogy or, to a lesser extent, the prequels. Usually.

Me, I want to see every movie design done, and some concept figures. And maybe 1-2 EU figures a year, tops. Kids will buy Vaders, Hans, Lukes, and Clone Troopers-- but will they buy Darktroopers or Kyle Katarn? We really don't know for sure, the 1998 versions sold well but were also so scarce most fans never saw them in stores.

Clones Wars and Shadows of the Empire got a big push because they were huge marketing vehicles. With Clone Wars, you had a solid year with many stories and TV shows and comics and other stuff telling the tales of these battles, and as such kids (and more adults) could figure out what they were and want to buy them.

Hasbro wants to make product that sells through immediately if they can help it. You never know when something in a future movie or TV show will render a story out of the continuity, like Splinter of the Mind's Eye and its fight between Luke and Darth Vader, or the goofiness of the Hoojibs basically making most fans forget they ever existed.

Will Hasbro do a year of non-movie figures? If the TV show takes off, I think so. I don't think you'll see more than a few comic or novel or game figures per year, though, because on the whole the market just isn't there YET. It's entirely possible Star Wars will become a much smaller line and the market could support a run of just Jedi Academy figures or Dark Empire toys. But for now, I'm going to say Hasbro should keep being stubborn and do movie stuff-- because it isn't being stubborn, it's good business.

5. Since 06 sounds like it will be more collector focused do you think Hasbro will look to delve into EU or give us some of the more demanded fig from the films (General Veers etc)?
--Washington

Right now we don't know anything about 2006. What we know for 100% certain is that 2005 will be mostly Revenge of the Sith and after that is anybody's guess. Hasbro might decide to put it on "hiatus" like they're doing with G.I. Joe in its two traditional sizes this year and like they did with Zoids the year before. Nothing is a sure thing at this point. Even though Hasbro no doubt has several dozen products in varying stages of completion at this point, they've been known to axe things at the 11th hour. So with that in mind...

We have no clue what we'll get in 2006. Looking back, the year-after-the-movie has not always been collector friendly beyond basic things like fewer action features. 2000 saw a lot of good figures in very short supply including core characters from Episode I, and the following Power of the Jedi line was pretty much core characters for the first several months. There was also a six month gap with NO NEW PRODUCT because stores wanted to get rid of what they had. With Saga, 2002 was a great mix of characters for everybody, as was most of 2003-- we got new Lukes, Hans, and Vaders as well as Coruscant Night Clubbers, Padawans, Dignitaries, new versions of Padme, and Anakin. In other words, it was a solid year too.

For 2006, we have a lot of things that might happen. We might see another glut of product that has to go away and Hasbro will cut back. We might see the line sell like hotcakes and infuse new blood into the line, giving it a few more good years. We might see more Trilogy stuff because the OTC did so well. We might even see a TV show and toys from that. I think the chances of Hasbro delving deeply into the Expanded Universe are zero-- sorry guys, KOTOR can't support a line-- but with television, anything is possible. If the show is KOTOR, then OK, why not?

6. hey there adam, so i just came across this gentle giants bust ups figure of boba fett but when i opened the box he is all silver. does this mean anything? if it's rare how rare is it? thanks as always. btw, will you be at C3 in a booth?
--JosephG

This is a chase figure-- one I was not aware was currently available. It's rare-ish, it's the shortpack in the case. I will not be at a booth at Celebration III unless someone invites me to one and as a perennial outsider insider, this is probably for the best.

7. I read the column regularly and so I already know that no "official" list has been released from Hasbro regarding what figures will be available on April 2nd. But I also know that you (and also the swami) posess keen "insight" on such matters and I respect your wealth of knowledge. I would greatly appreciate your response to my question. Do you believe that the ROTS Unleashed wave of General Grievous/Anakin/Obi-Wan along with the Deluxe Grievous and Deluxe Palpatine figures will be available on April 2nd? Any information you can provide would be of great help. Thanks.
--Jedi Knight Valorius

We don't know because we don't know-- period. It's a safe bet that you'll see at least one assortment of each Galacitc Heroes, Jedi Force, Force Battlers, Collection 1, Collection 2, Deluxe, Unleashed, and 12" figures. You might even see two, but there's nothing definite there yet-- it will vary from store to store. You could go to two or three places that night and you'll likely see different product, and also keep in mind that there are still no official plans for Midnight Madness style events.

8. Is the talking feature of the Celebration III Vader embeded in Darth, or in his base?
--paul

From the look of the photos, the figure isn't all that special-- the packaging is. The figure itself appears to be (read: I squinted and this is what I saw) the 25th Anniversary Darth Vader from the two-pack where he fought Obi-Wan Kenobi. As such, there is absolutely no room for electronics in it. For the electronics to be accessable from the packaging, odds are it will be either a base or something in the actual cardback. (Hopefully the latter, as you can change the battery.) Based on what we know now (or have guessed), it will not be in the actual figure.

For all you figure openers, this is potentially a good thing-- as that Vader isn't really hard to get.

9. I was wondering if you could give soem sort of definitive list of, at least, SRPs for the various toy categories coming out for e3. Of course we all the figures will be $5.99/$6.99, but what about things like the Boga, the ARC 170, the Battle Arenas? Will other, exisitng lines like Galactic Heroes and Unleashed also see a price jump? I basically need something more concrete in terms of what I should have saved up for April 2nd than "a hell of a lot," if you know what I mean ;)
--Rustin

We don't know for sure yet. We can guess, but it's really anybody's guess at this point. Figures will likely be $6 or $7, the big vehicles (Gunship, etc.) are supposedly going to be $30 (which isn't bad), smaller fighters are $20ish, and a lot of these we just don't know about yet because retaillers aren't really listing their prices yet. Just figure that you'll need $20-$30 per large vehicle, $7 or so per figure (with at least 22 figures, possibly as high as the mid 30s), and a buttload of deluxe stuff, it's still going to be "a Hell of a lot." We are not expecting price jumps but each store charges their own price-- you'd be best served to visit a few stores on April 2, bring some paper, and write down what costs what where. Some stores are charging $25 for the Sneak Preview Jedi Starfighter, some are $20, and others have it clearanced to $15 already. Odds are there are going to be sales and stuff too, so any price jump might be offset by waiting just a few weeks for a sales circular in the paper (it's happened before) or shopping around.

My advice to you if you want one of everything? Ramen is a cheap meal, and you could probably stand to eat in more anyway. If you're currently in a position where you don't know if you can afford everything, assume that you can't and start raising some money through whatever means you can if you want everything on that first day.

10. I recently obtained the new post-otc sandtrooper. I was under the impression that the paint deco on him was different than the POTJ version. But, upon further review, it seems to the be the same as before. Was I mistaken or was this a case of final version of the product may vary from what's pictured (which means, it will look exactly like it did a few years ago).
--Eddie

Pre-release buzz was that it'd be different but from the look of things, it isn't all that different-- any changes could probably be summed up to the machinery seeing more use over the course of a few years.

Odds are you didn't get a bum one or a return as the one I have looks pretty much the same as the POTJ release.

FIN

That's all for now! Come back next time (either Thursday or Monday, we dunno yet) for more!

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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