Q&A For March 28, 2005

 

1. Hey Adam. Was on a toy run and saw something interesting. GI Joe Valor vs. Venom is offering a mail away figure(Storm Shadow Unmasked). Just send 10 points and S/H and he is yours. What's up with that? Why is Hasbro offering GI Joes for points but not Star Wars? Is GI Joe more popular? Are they trying to boost popularity of GI Joe? How can they find something to use their points for but not for SW?
--Sean

What you're seeing is the toy market at work. 20 years ago, mail-away figures served many purposes, one of which was to inspire loyalty in customers. If you buy a few figures, and you stick with the brand, you'll get some more-- cool stuff. Another reason was to help clear out old stock-- if stores want to get rid of figures, this gives people an incentive to go out and buy things the previously passed on.

Today, mail-away figures are primarily used to get rid of old stock. Way back when, you got sneak previews in the mail, low-run variants, or other awesomeness. Today, you get a figure you have with a new head or a repaint. Not that this is a bad thing-- I mean, Storm Shadow is hardcore, and the figure looks more or less good-- but it's not like getting an old school Anakin Skywalker or, to a lesser extent, an exclusive Mace Windu.

Right now it's not in Hasbro's best interests to do a mail-in offer because the liability is very high. How many of you have bags and bags of UPCs, Jedi Points, or what have you? Lots, I'll wager. Such an offer could cost Hasbro a lot of money if they weren't careful, but as they now charge for the figure too (Storm Shadow is $2/figure and if you see it, that sounds about right.)

2. I have 2 questions. First, and I know this is a weird one, is there a Widescreen Episode II VHS? I love the DVD's, but still display my 3 sets of OT VHS. I have the Widescreen OT:SE that has the same box format as the Episode I widescreen boxset. I don't watch VHS unless absolutely neccessary, but I like my collections to be complete.

My second question deals with cards. I got out of the Army last year and my massive toy collection is in storage. I have about 1000 loose figures of all kinds(SW, Transformers, McFarlane,etc.), but right before I got out, I started getting more into collecting carded Star Wars as well as loose. My loose figures are good, but some of the carded ones didn't travel from Alaska to Florida as well as I had hoped. So I was wanting to know if you knew the best way to "flatten" them back out. Will Star Cases help straighten them out? Or will I just have some less than flat figures hanging in my shop one day? Thanks for your help.
--JediTray

While all the movies were released on VHS, widescreen versions of Attack of the Clones were not released to my knowledge-- not in the USA, as far as I know.

If you're dealing with bent cards, Star Cases can help, but depending on how patient you are, they might not help. If it's creased, forget it, you've got a long re-bending process ahead of you. If it's just a little bent, or a little warped-- like, it's possible to put it into a Star Case without ripping, leave it in there and will eventually correct itself. Just be very very careful when dealing with this because it isn't uncommon to have a bubble rip right off if the situation is carried out in an abrupt manner.

3. I thought George Lucas was to have Gary Oldman be the voice for General Grievous. Now I'm reading that it's some guy who played Bib Fortuna in Episode I? What happened??
No offense to the guy who played Bib but Gary Oldman would have been the equivalent to James Earl Jones.
--Rich

There were many, many voice actors up for the role, and apparently it was given to someone who isn't widely known. As far as I've read, they just had a bunch of people do it, they modulated all the voices, and George picked his favorite. I've also heard John Rhys-Davies and many others were up for it, and while it's unfortunate we don't see a new celebrity join the ranks, well, it's not like we need a new reason to love Gary Oldman.

4. Hello sir. Any chance we will be getting AOTC and ROTS ultimate edition soundtracks? We have the classic trilogy and a version for TPM; where's AOTC?
--RT

My guess this is on the same to-do list as the AOTC manga, which I've been waiting for on pins and needles. As long as it isn't done by Kia Asamiya. (I like Nadesico as much as the next guy but his noses don't do it for me.)

It's probably something that'll come later-- frankly, I just hope they do ROTS right the first time, but if they don't it's in their best interests to wait. Those that want an Ultimate version will probably buy it later.

5. I kind of thought the potj figures were neat,some should have been pumped up while others no,but I think they are much stronger than these newer ones,which are softees and smelly. Anyway my question, when are those 12 inch Bariss and shacti coming out? I saw them once,I guess not on April 2?
--Luanne

Many sources indicate these will be "launch" toys, meaning you could see them as early as April. As these are second wave figures (from what I hear) though, I wouldn't hold my breath but I would keep my eyes peeled.

6. Was the TRU exclusive OTC Y-Wing cancelled? I have four TRU within a fairly short distance that I visit routinely and I never saw one. Not even a shelf tag.
--Thomas

I got one, it was on eBay, and I think it was on Amazon... as such, no, not cancelled. When you see it show up in photo archives and elsewhere, it's out. It was a very popular vehicle and lasted a very brief time, so if you didn't hit more than one or two stores on a very, VERY regular basis it's likely it was there and you missed it.

7. I've never gotten into the Kubrick line (They're expensive for a glorified Lego man) But the upcoming series featuring Bespin Luke and Han Hoth caught my eye. Problem is, it seems to me that if you pre-order these they're 'Blind packed'. Do you know if that's the case? I'd hate to pay $8.50 wanting Luke only to get stuck with Dengar or something.
--Donald

"Blind boxed" is not necessarily an obstacle-- while many of these figures are (especially the chase ones), there is a solution-- and it's called eBay. Buying identified figures from eBay or pre-opened ones from convention sellers will solve your problem. The figures are often still bagged, only the box has been cracked open to show you what it is you're getting. So, a little hunting should be able to get you whatever the heck it is you want. (Me, I still want an Oscar the Grouch to go with my Count.)

8. Although Padme is a Senator, there was no Padme figure wearing a senatorial robe. Well, do you know if we can expect a new Senator Amidala figure for ROTS, who's wearing a senatorial robe?
--Manuel

As of now we haven't seen the entire 2005 line, and as you no doubt remember, we didn't get a lot of Senator Padme figures from AOTC. Actually, I take that back-- we didn't get any. We got the white outfit in two forms and we got a wedding dress, and that's really about it. As such, I would not hold my breath just yet but it's something I believe Hasbro will do between now and when the line finally becomes unprofitable.

9. Something I never noticed til I was watching the new DROIDS DVD with my nephew, was that Jann Tosh (or Uncle Gundy) has a wheel-bike that aside from the walking-legs (but they might just be 'hidden') and the side-guns, looks an awful lot like General G's mean machine in the upcoming movie. I wonder if we can get some 'official' word as to those cool similarities, or at least this can be something others can see for themselves.
--Heath

Lucasfilm borrows from itself on a regular basis, and while I have yet to hear "oh, we ripped this from Droids" anywhere, this sort of thing is pretty common. For example, there were Boonta races in the cartoon as well as Episode I, and the double-sided lightsaber made its debut in comic books long before the films came out. As such, I'd say there's probably some connection there-- just nothing official yet.

10. when i cannot find a certain star wars figure i turn to ebay for a last resort. for awile now i have noticed that the epIII merchandise is already on there before official release date. my question is does hasbro know that the figures are being scalped on ebay?
--paul

Hasbro knows, and they aren't happy. Then again, we saw items sold early on Amazon, at Wal-Mart, and at countless other stores-- heck, even a few online stores broke street. Do they know? Sure. Can they do anything about it? Hard to say. If a guy sees a figure in a store and buys it, it's no longer Hasbro's business-- Wal-Mart should get their hand slapped (if hand slapping is to be done), but the scalper, in my opinion, most likely did nothing wrong-- sure, it sucks he's scalping, but what can you do? It's not like he stole it. If someone buys a figure from a store it's theirs to do with as they please, street date or no, and I doubt any toy company would do anything to a seller in a situation like this one.

FIN

I wrote this like a week and change ago, so if anything seems grossly out of date you can blame my work travel schedule. Tune in next week for the harrowing tales of trying to find Lava Vader(s) and Holo Yoda(s)-- just remember that the quantities are likely to be in the 40,000s or higher. These are not gonna be rare toys, but they will likely be scalped early on. My advice to you? Take advantage of the glut of them when they appear on eBay and lowball the scalpers. Nothing shows the world what collectors are made of more than saying "I like that $13 figure you have, and I will gladly give you $4 plus $7.50 shipping for it."

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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