Q&A For April 18, 2005


1. Do ya think there's a chance we'll see a Biker Scout pistol from Master Replicas? I hope so.

When it comes to high-end, limited items like this, it's a safe bet that your chances improve the more you bring it up-- so I'd say they just got a little better. It's a very distinctive weapon that, while not presently in production, should be on a little list inside the offices of Master Replicas as a possibility. I mean, there's quite a few guns out there, but few are as distinctive as this one, and since it appeared with the Revenge of the Sith Royal Guard, maybe there's a chance there could be a prequel version too!

2. What are we going to see for figures in the animated line? Cartoon network has really struck gold with this.. Now that the second season has startedŠ(chapter 21 and 22 at the time of this letter) we have already seen a lot of potential figuresŠ. ! I think the figures that are all ready out are great, and I would love more!

While it's possible that there might be another marketing push on Clone Wars when it comes time for the DVD with more exclusives or the sorta-confirmed blue animated ARC Trooper, it isn't currently known if more new sculpts are on the way. As you say, the potential is there with some fantastic new Jedi warriors (who didn't love the bellowing Ithorian?) so this seems like a prime property if Hasbro goes that way. Right now I'd guess that Hasbro might try to revisit the Original Trilogy Collection before delving into the Clone Wars but anything is possible, and when it comes to exclusives, you can get all sorts of things.

3. I've seen the issue with the Aayla Secura Unleashed figure's paint problem pop up on your question and answer column. However, I'm curious if Hasbro issued a reason for using the pink/purplish paint wash? Also, if there was a correction to the figure's paint as I have seen some figures which don't have the pink/purple color at all. I still haven't picked up the figure yet as the ones I've seen look really messy with random pink/purple color on various parts of the character...I'm hoping a retailer stocks more than two of the figure so I can look at a bunch of them. So far, every store always has just two figures.

This is just the color they used-- is it correct? I'm not sure. It looks a little strange, but it does bring out some details. As such I'm currently under the impression that it's correct, but, as you say, there aren't a lot of Unleashed figures on the shelves at once. If you're hitting a convention, I'd say look at the samples in the dealer's room and then ask Hasbro if they're there-- I'd ask for you, but I think it's correct.

4. Does the current repackaged Unleashed Vader have the Alternate Anakin Head or not? Of course, the Anakin version of Vader Unleashed is the only one I am missing. I've turned the package over and over in the store and simply do not see another head. I thought one of the earlier press releases said it would contain the Anakin head also. Any idea?

The 2004 Darth Vader Unleashed (the one with the art card) is the same as the 2002 original release with the black card. The 2003 Darth Vader Redux/Unmasked is a unique sculpt with a bushy eyebrow Anakin alternate head and has not been reissued yet-- it also has a unique base. The 2003 release is the real tough one to get these days and, I hate to use the word, is kinda hot on the trading circuit. It's possible they will rerelease it as Hasbro realizes there's a lot of money in making some of these figures again, but it's unknown when or if it will happen. I'll be sure to bring it up with them next time I get the chance, which, hopefully, will be this week.

5. Do the battle droid, super battle droid, and destroyer droid figures in the ROTS line use existing molds?

The Battle Droid is essentially a repaint of the 2002 AOTC Battle Droid, but it's a really good repaint. I reviewed him and will be posting the review this week, and it has its pros and cons, but I can safely say it's my favorite one in terms of paint so far. My particular figure has problems standing upright on his own stand due to the short peg and weak joints, but here's the kicker-- I tried using some other stands, and stands with a longer peg actually work well with this figure. So if you have other stands from other companies, give them a shot when you buy this one, if the figure gives you any problems. More on it in this week's review.

The Super Battle Droid is a modified version of the 2002 Deluxe Super Battle Droid from the set that also includes Yoda which, it turns out, was inspired by a deleted scene. The new release has an interchangable arm and as far as I can tell, superior plastic. The paint job is different, neither better nor worse, but it qualifies to me as "different enough to care."

Finally, the Destroyer Droid, while as of yet unreleased, appears to have been based off of the 2002 Destroyer Droid with the firing arms. The final paint job has not been seen but it's expected to be a little different. This may be a figure you can pass on, but so far Hasbro has proven they're willing to whip out the paint to give you a reason to buy more of these troop builders.

6. i'm so pumped about C3 because i'm gonna be able to get my first Gentle Giants bust there. i'm taking my collection to the next level. but i wanted to know if you can confirm that it will only be one bust per customer per day. also, are they going to hole punch our convention cards to identify our purchase and if so how will exclusives vendors know the difference. i can probably assume they'll have this all worked out but ya never know and well, i'd like to know upfront.

Badge punching, allocation, and limits have been talked about but are currently not official-- expect them, though. If you want more than one, I suggest you bring a friend or buy an extra pass.

7. Hey Adam! just curious why after more than 20 years of Star Wars figures, we STILL don't have a C-3PO with knee joints?? the new ROTS C-3PO is otherwise pretty sweet (even if he looks like his thumbs have been amputated) but when will we have one with knee joints? he's a main character and has been redone so many times, we need one that can sit properly!

This is most likely a technical issue-- vac metal is easily scraped if you don't do it right, so odds are Hasbro is still tweaking the design to come up with the right one at the right time. Hasbro has also never really paid a lot of attention to Endor, which would really be the ideal environment for a C-3PO with knees. Hasbro, if you're listening, how about a throne, C-3PO, and some Ewoks? If he can't stand up from the throne, I'm OK with that.

8. Just picket up a "General Grievous Wheelbike" at Target here in L.A. Although the box doesn't say "exclusive figure", and therefore I must presume it is the same as the carded one, do you know if there are any differences in this sculpt (i.e. Articulation, paint, etc.)?

This is a unique figure, and on the giant roster of Grievous figures, is at the bottom. His paint is weak, his articulation, limited. This is an exclusive figure, but for whatever reason, Hasbro doesn't seem to be touting these vehicle pack-ins as anything too fancy, in some cases with good cause. The BARC Trooper ain't much to look at as it's more or less stuck in one pose, and while I'd jump at a carded version of the driver of the baby chicken walker, it doesn't look good for the short-term.

I just cracked open the box of mine-- (I'm moving, no time for assembly right now)-- and I can confirm it is a unique figure. If you're collecting the General, you'll want to get this. From what little I've seen of the unassembled vehicle, it looks like Hasbro did a really good job on the wheel mechanism, unlike the goofball hard-to-friggin'-roll Hailfire Droid from Clone Wars.

9. Do any/all astromechs fit into the upcoming ARC fighter? I was a bit disappointed that the Jedi Starfighter doesn't QUITE have a usable slot although it comes close.

The ARC Fighter does indeed have a slot for a droid, as well as three figures. This is great, because the thing that makes the best vehicles is some sort of interaction with the user. Dedicated (read: stuck) figures may look nice in the box but as a toy, they're garbage. The Cruisemissile Trooper would actually be cool if you could take out the pilot, and who wouldn't have loved a removable R2 unit in the Y-Wings? It's a great little set, from what I hear, I sadly don't have one yet.

The Jedi Starfighter has a weird removable droid "plug" which is like half an astrodroid. I'd also rather we had a legit socket, but due to the design, I can see why Hasbro felt it best to make a compromise here.

10. Due to a relocation and several other factors, I put some of my figure collecting on hold. Recently I have been trying to fill in the holes in my collection via Ebay, which consist of mainly 2003/4 POTJ/Saga and some OTC. The prices that people are getting for these figues are astounding for what seemed like "peg warmers" a year ago. Is it just hype for the new movie driving up interest, or is there a genuine lack of supply of these figures? I can justify spending $20 on a McQuarrie Stormtrooper since I never saw one of these in a store, but $10-12 (+ shipping)for Padme-Lars Homestead, Rabe, Luke-Hoth Attack? Since you have always said that recent figures aren't worth much, do you have any idea what's going on?

I had to do some closet cleaning with my spare figures recently and I was shocked at some of the prices they went for-- I just listed 'em at below store cost and figured I'd break even, but in many cases, figures went for much more. I think it has to be some sort of short-term frenzy creating a rare seller's market, so I would say that in many cases, this is a good time to be patient. Some figures, like the McQuarrie Stormtrooper, aren't exactly low in their production run but were popular enough to unfortunately command a little bit more in the way of cash/trade. But Luke Hoth? Not even hardly. I just saw those in stores a few weeks ago-- before you drop the money on them on eBay, check some of your more unusual local stores, like Walgreens, grocery stores, or other non-traditional places to buy toys. You may be in for a pleasant surprise-- and an unpleasant one, because if you find the figures they'll probably be $4.99.

The good thing about eBay, though, is that patience can really, REALLY pay off. Sometimes you can buy a collection of figures with several figures you want (and some you don't) for the price of two or three individual figures, and as they say, what goes up must come down. Were I you, I'd say if the price seems like too much, wait it out. You will most likely end up getting a better deal.


That's the first of two columns this week-- our backlog is so big I had to write a second one just to get through it all! It should be posted on Thursday, so you'll have something to read while waiting for us to get off our duffs and post the coverage from Celebration III. I'll be there, look for a dork with short hair, t-shirts for bands you'll never care about, and a blue backpack with a lot of random pins on the back. If he's bitching about kids these days and how Hasbro should make more Clone Troopers, you've found me.

Food for Thought #1: The Early Bird Kit from Wal-Mart. I don't usually watch forums, but a lot of free time during my work hours and the increased pre-movie activity has compelled me to do so-- and I'm amazed how many people don't like this piece. My guess it has to do with your expectations not being met-- mine were very low, so pretty much anything would have been good with me. I was honestly expecting vintage reissues, and I don't mean 2004 figures either-- I mean something like the infamous 1995 Toys "R" Us exclusive Classic Four Pack (which, and I digress again, seems to be absent from our own archives and the official cargo bay.) If it was a box of figures that looked like they came out of 1978, I would have been disappointed-- but it was something that's a mix of new and old molds, so isn't that a good thing? I'm curious-- I don't mean to argue, but what was everyone expecting? Please write in a short (one or two sentence) answer if you'd like and I'll include some in a future Q&A.

I'm not saying you're wrong if you dislike the piece, I'm just very curious as to what you would want, knowing that this was a replica of the original with "updated figures." As I've said many times, I thought it was a good deal-- you got four figures, a replica of an expensive and very hard to find collector's stand, and a three-month trial on Hyperspace... which is more than enough time to get through their whole backlog, it seems. Between the Hyperspace pass and the stand, I got my $30 worth. (Frankly, I think Hasbro should team up with the Fan Club and sell membership kits in stores every year with an exclusive figure. $40 for a magazine and a web site is, well, OK I guess, but $40 for a box with the kit in stores and an exclusive figure? I'm all over it.

Food for Thought #2: Over the years, I've done various "stunt writing" for reasons too numerous to mention, one of the most popular was the Q&A Megathon. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it's like this: you (the collective you, the 3,000+ that read this) send in lots of questions, one per email. I post a Q&A column every business day until my backlog is empty. If this sounds good, send in some questions and starting early May I'll do my best to answer everything you throw at me. Why May? I got a convention next week and I move the week after.

Food for Thought #3: I am going to Celebration III this week. Odds are you have questions for Hasbro or other makers of SW swag. Send your best questions (please be reasonable, nobody cares that the 2002 Saga Vader was modeled after ANH and not ESB anymore) by noon on Tuesday and I will go through what I can and ask what I can while I'm there. No promises, but hey, Hasbro is good people and it's a fun situation, so maybe I can find some stuff out. PLEASE NOTE: Have your subject line as "Celebration Q&A." Items sent too late on Tuesday or on Wednesday will NOT be seen as I cannot check my Galactic Hunter email from the road right now.

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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