Q&A For April 11, 2005

 

1. ayway I was happy and angry at the same time today when I saw the "rumored" clone 3 pack is actually coming out. Happy cause I love this set but angry because the second set with the "binocular's clone" is IMHO far superior. Any word on if Hasbro's gonna release this set as well? If so please tell me they are not gonna do the whole colored sets thing again I went nuts trying to find all the variant sets the first time around.
--barbara

The Clone Wars Clone Trooper Army three-packs from which the Revenge of the Sith sets are derived are an interesting beast, to say the least, and as of yet we really have no idea what Hasbro will be giving us for the new movie. Originally, Hasbro had four unique body molds and five unique color schemes, with a grand total of eight varieties of Clones spread over five different three-packs. While we have no idea if Hasbro plans to ship cases of just Clones (and they should) or if there will be two, three, or seventeen variants, fans everywhere are hoping Hasbro doesn't make this a "chase" item of any sort, or if they do, at least offer full sets by the case online.

As of now, the figures to be included in these sets are unknown-- they could easily tweak these to include the binocular Clone or even something new, so all I can say is patience, and let's hope Hasbro has everybody's best interests in mind when it comes to variety.

2. I was just wondering why I can't seem to find the clone commander, clone pilot, exploding grevious, AT - TE tank gunner, polis massan, or vaders medical droid. I live in the Houson area so I would think these figures would be around here somewhere, but they are not. I first thought they weren't released yet, but I have seen them on e-bay and on other shopping web sites. Have you seen these figures yet?
--Donald

Despite the April 2 launch date, some figures are considered "new"-- these ones, for example, are "new" while the first 24 (or 32) are "old." I saw them over the weekend but most stores received fewer of them up front, and they're coming later-- so stay tuned to stores, you will be able to get them.

3. Every night around 3:00 AM this week I have been rummaging through the palettes of incoming toys at the local Wal-Mart. I am searching for the coveted cases Ś85173000 Mą and Ś85173000 Ną, which both hold Exploding Grievous and Clone Commander. Making out which boxes hold basic figures has been easy enough, but not all of them clearly state the assortment number. Tonight there was one box that had Ś85173000 Dą stamped on the side in bold letters, but there were at least 5-6 other boxes holding 12 pc. that I assumed were basic figures, but they didnąt have any discernable assortment number. I didnąt feel bold enough to rip open the boxes, so I decided to hit up old GH.com. Howąs this case assortment numbering work?
--Justin

This time around, I don't really know for sure because the cases aren't all the same-- the Wal-Mart cases are different from the Entertainment Earth cases, and the unopened cases I saw at Toys "R" Us looked different from both of the other kinds. As such, I'll open the floor to this one.

4. Are the figures in the Battle Arena two figure sets different sculpts or the same as the carded figures? What about the Anakin & Clone Trooper on the Darth Vader case? Finally, what's the deal with the three Battlepacks coming out? (Jedi vs. Sith, Jedi vs. Seperatists, ect.) Are all the figures the standard 3 3/4" size? New sculpts or rehashes?
--Jack

The Battle Arena packs are indeed new sculpts, but not exactly great new sculpts-- these are meant more to be playthings and as such, have poses and weapons made in suh a way where you as a collector may be less than pleased.

The five-piece figure sets take a cue from the G.I. Joe Ninja Battles set in more ways than one, namely in their use of existing parts alongside new bits here and there. The Sith sets seem to have a mix of new and old parts to make figures in a gift pack so that yes, you will get some reruns-- but you get some new ones, too, and it looks like they may be a fairly good deal for the money.

Finally, the Anakin and Clone Trooper from Wal-Mart's exclusive Darth Vader case are what I would call a very rare "skip" in an otherwise fantastic line. The Clone Trooper is the same one you get from the single super posable Clone Wars pack, or from the upcoming Entertainment Earth packs. Only with no gun. Anakin is the same as the basic Revenge of the Sith figure, but minus the two Lightsaber hands. It's a nice piece if you don't have the Clone or the case, but if you're like me and you open your toys and you have the figures and the OTC Vader case, this is something you can skip and not be missing out on anything. But kudos to Hasbro for getting that Clone in another distribution channel.

5. I just received my entertainment earth catalogue and noticed the price for the clone trooper 4 pack was set for $35. It seemed to be advertised as their exclusive; Any chance someone else will have these for cheaper or should I just bite the bullet and spend the $8+ they're asking? Also, are these different than the ones being packaged individually (other than the color schemes)?
--thomas

What makes this pack special is a chance to build your armies quickly and a shot at a hard-to-find figure without resorting to eBay with the added bonus of all-new deco. If you have the Clone Wars version, don't like repaints, and don't army build, this is a no-brainer-- skip it. (And yes, I was one of a few people to have a hand in it, so consider this biased.)

If you're a "collect them all" guy I'd advise you probably go ahead and buy a pack of each type, or if you're cutting corners and are otherwise caught up, get the colored packs and see if you can split the dirty "white" pack with someone else. While a few other channels will stock this item, the prices will be about the same-- and it's a fairly low run from what they tell me.

As of now, there are ways to get an individually carded AOTC red Clone, but not with this super posable mold-- and the only way to get Green, Yellow, or Blue Clones were in hard-to-find multipacks. Obviously, these aren't the same ones, but they are from the best Trooper mold so far and this is the only way to get battle damaged Clones of any sort, short of doing it yourself.

Is it worth the money? Depends. One four-pack for $34.99 means $8.74 a figure, but if you buy one of each set it's $7.49 a figure, and if you get a case, it's $6.24 a figure. Obviously, if you don't army build, a case of 48 Clones will not be of much use to you except as future trade fodder.

Seeing as how I paid $13 for a less-than-wonderful Lava Vader repaint and $25 for two Holo Yodas via Amazon, the price isn't bad-- a basic figure is usually $6 these days, after all, so I'd say that biting the bullet isn't a bad thing-- there won't be a cheaper way to get these in the immediate future, and as far as exclusives go, it's pretty good. It's not like a Vader from 2002 with a new voice chip for $15, a Vader from 1997 in a questionable deco for $13, or the umpteenth X-wing redeco.

I was lucky enough to see a preproduction sample (fully boxed set) and I can tell you I liked it a lot, if that's worth anything. I'd say just grab three of the four sets (damaged, and colored in damaged and clean) to save money but it's just another $15 for the white set, so if you have the means, you might as well snag 'em. Unless you don't like Clone Troopers, or would prefer the new style, in which case you should probably not bother with these.

6. ive got a question concerning the OTC Jedi Council Sets. Scene 3 has Adi Gallia in it and Scene 4 has Stass Allie - but i cant find ANY difference between these figures - is there any!?! and what is the storr behind these two characters - I believe they are the same!?! Are they both in the official council?
--Josh

One is just a little bit lighter and one is just a little bit darker. For whatever reason, Hasbro totally cheaped out on these packs and the first real Stass Allie will be coming out as a deluxe Revenge of the Sith figure this year.

7. you had mentioned a Diamond exclusive announcement. Did you ever hear of anything??
--Mike

Yes-- Wizard is selling it on their online store too. Ready to be underwhelmed?

Their "exclusive" is that they're selling cases with 12 unique figures per box, no duplicates. At first I thought this was a joke-- as that's the same assortment everybody can order. Apparently, no, it is not a joke and they honestly think this is a big deal. If they can keep this up as the Clone Pilot wave hits and so on, OK, then that might be something special-- but this so-called "exclusive" was a lame way to get attention and frankly I hope their marketing person had a lunch hour revoked because of it. And a Friday lunch hour, so they'd have to pretend to be working while their co-workers got to have a decent time.

8. Hi Adam, I was just wondering if I missed the chance to buy the Unleashed set that included the Stormtrooper and IG88. I never saw them at retail and none of the usual on-line stores seem to have them in stock either. Do I need to resort to ebay, or are there cases sitting around waiting for ROTS to clear the shelves?
--Jay

While I did see these at one Wal-Mart last month, that's all I've seen of them outside of online stores. I fully expect cases to be somewhere in the distribution system waiting to be revealed somewhere soon, but when and where, I do not know. I would check around online to get these if you're in a hurry, but the demand is still so high that I don't believe we've seen the last of them.

9. Hey Adam, having read through the ROTS comic adaption this weekend, and comparing it to advance photos of EpIII, it looks to me like Anakin never actually uses a red lightsaber [removed-- ed.] anywhere in the movie! If so, then why in the heck do the Anakin figures come with red sabers? Was this ever planned, or could it be a last-minute edit to the film which hasnąt turned up in photos yet?
--Adam

I decided this wasn't a spoiler since it has nothing to do with plot. So...

The comic is made before the final cut of the movie-- if I'm not mistaken, something happens in the movie that doesn't happen in the first part of the comic series, but I don't currently know for sure. As such, it's possible the comic was just plain off. However, from movie trailers, it seems very likely that this is the case unless we were treated to an unfinished effects shot.

So what's the deal? Hasbro's goofed on pre-release figures before, making something before the final cut of the movie and therefore making a figure that, while right at the time, is ultimately wrong. It's also possible this was an added value thing, so now you can pretend Anakin is "evil" with his red lightsaber. For the time being, it looks like one way the toys and movies won't jive.

10. Now a two parter: First with a possible pg13 rating do you think the marketing for ROS is targeting the right market? It seems like we are getting a glut of products like we saw with TPM. Other than the figures it seem like a lot of the products are geared for 11 and under.or are they betting that fans will buy one of everything.

Also I hate to say it but either retailers are keeping the shelves stocked due to incredible sales, or dare I say it I am seeing peg and shelf warmers already. Do you see the same thing? will this impact the future line? And wy are we starting to see repacks: ooops I mean battle packs?
--Kevin

As far as movie marketing goes, who is the "right" audience? Look back at Jurassic Park, Batman (1989), Congo, Waterworld, and so on-- they all had toy lines aimed at little kids for them, yet none of them were movies for little kids. So regardless of the rating of this movie, the merchandising is almost always aimed at kids-- and kids usually like Star Wars, so hopefully they'll buy into the lunchboxes and silk screened kiddie shirts.

Shelf warmers? Well, congratulations, Kevin, you noticed the pattern! Every time there's a new big release movie, there's usually a lot of product on shelves-- some is hot, some is not. Hasbro's new gambit of everybody at one-per-case in most assortments was an interesting one and one that ultimately doesn't work as well at retail as it would on the Internet. The chance of someone buying a Darth Vader, sadly, is not equal to the chance of them buying a Super Battle Droid or Clone Trooper, so yes, you are indeed seeing figures not sell. Such is the way of things-- Hasbro gives you an equal case pack-out, and we complain. Are we never happy? Remix assortments are on the way, though, so don't worry too much.

Will this impact the future of the line? But of course. The lack of Royal Guards and Clone Troopers in some markets will cause a light bulb to go off at Hasbro and you might see troop builder sets or more product of this nature in the future. Hasbro gets it: fans like human, armored army builders, not droid ones. (I had no problem scoring some Battle Droids to get my Holographic Yoda on Sunday... even found a blue Royal Guard while I was at it.)

FIN

It looks like a good week-- Hasbro either saw my plea or coincidentallyn posted the figures from the Early Bird Kit this week and it seems to be a great set but for many, it'll be a mixed bag. Me, I'm giddy over the pictures. Luke looks either all-new or new-enough with a retractable lightsaber, new hair color (I think), what may be ball jointed shoulders, and so forth. Chewie seems to be the VOTC version with a new head and a rarely used closed mouth. I'm still squinting to figure out R2-D2, but Leia seems to be a mishmash of new parts and bits off the CommTech figure. Too bad they didn't give her the right gun, though! I'm still very happy, though, as if it means we're going to get more OT guys in '06, hey, I could do worse.

I was in Los Angeles over the weekend looking for a new place to call home. While there, I hit up a TRU with the Mrs. looking for a Holo Yoda (my Amazon ones weren't here and I wanted another Blue Guard and some Battle Droids) and was frankly amazed and freaked at what I saw-- for starters, there was a line. Mostly guys in Hot Wheels shirts and people talking about the Ugg Boots and Elmos they've scalped during Christmases past-- and lo and behold, they all run to the Yodas. By the time I get there, the cases were down to 5 figures and after I got mine, some employee walked up, grabbed the remainders, and told another employee that they were now all gone. Wow. Is this what I have to look forward to, collecting in a different state? This does not bode well.

I'm also not seeing many (any?) red Guards around town-- just blue so far. Ah well. I want extras for the inevitable custom Kir Kanos that everybody's bound to be doing.

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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