Q&A For June 6, 2005

 

1. Target Clone Trooper/Lava Vader: 50,000 units each.
Walmart Early Bird: 50,000 units.
Although the early bird is the more expensive exclusive, it does have 4 new figures. My question is why the hell are the early bird kits still available, and available on-line taboot? I know that Target rarely offers individual figs on their website, but the fact that Walmart still has a large amount of the 50,000 just makes me mad, mad a Target. Is the early bird really limited to 50,000 units?

Also, several Targets that I went to had signs posted saying that in order to ensure that each customer has an equal chance to purchase Star Wars collectibles, they will be stocked at night for the next day. Furthermore, the sign stated that store employees cannot take customer requests to check the stock room for any of these exclusive Target items. Is it me, or does that policy ensure that one person can purchase the entire lot of exclusive figs? Don't you agree that having a store clerk check the stock room would be the best way to ensure that each individaual will have a better chance of scoring one of these figs?
--Peter

Target's collectibles policy is essentially a middle finger to you, the collector. That's the way it's been for years, they even had a brief stint in which they punched holes in the cardbacks of collectible toys at some stores to discourage "collectors," which leads to a lot of unsold Rancor Keepers. This policy most certainly does allow one or two collectors to get very lucky, but then again, the "be here when we open" thing is crappy as well. Most stores I went to in Phoenix were restocked around lunch, which worked out great for me as that's when I did most of my toy running over the past year. Some stores do limit quantities-- they were pretty harsh on the one-per-person limit on Lava Vader-- but that seems to have completely vanished for the Clones.

As far as finding exclusives, well, it all depends on what you think is cool. Most collectors, dealers, and interested parties agree Lava Vader is a well-hyped crap figure that owes its success to a multi-pronged marketing approach that revealed its "limited" edition at a pretty high 50,000. If the figure wasn't advertised by direct mail and wasn't known to the crowd that hangs around the stores before they open daily to buy Hot Wheels and toys of that ilk, it wouldn't be hot at all-- if this was a figure released during the OTC like most exclusives are released, it'd still be warming pegs. And that's with a lower quantity.

Meanwhile, the Clone had next to no hype, the same quantities, and no limits imposed on buyers. This is unfortunate because this is an item that a collector would be happy to buy a lot of. I mean, even at the insane price, I'd probably have bought five or six if I saw them in stores-- as it stands I had to spend about the same amount to get three off of eBay. This was a hot piece because it was an item that should have not been an exclusive, it'd have sold like crazy as an open-stock item produced in the low hundreds of thousands. And yet, it sells for less than Lava Vader. Why? HYPE.

Finally, there's the Early Bird Kit. This is a unique item because it was a total surprise with no pre-release hype, it was expensive, it wasn't tied in to the new movie, stores had some pretty ridiculous policies on selling it, and to add insult to injury, you had no idea what the figures in it were for a couple of weeks. A lot of dealers didn't see this as being a key item, and with Wal-Mart allegedly selling it at only 400 of its stores, I think a lot of people decided just to ignore it. The Early Bird really is limited to, from what I've heard, 50,000 units-- amazing, isn't it? It's arguably better than Lava Vader and depending on your point of view, superior to the Target Clone too. With two of the figures appearing to be 100% original sculpts with one reissue and one old figure with a new head, how can you possibly go wrong?

2. Hi !! I want to know If Action Fleet come back this year !! Why Hasbro cancelled this line? and We know that target has a line MICRO but this serie is of the episodes 4,5 and 6, But MICRO will have a new wave with ships and figures MICRO of the episode 3? Thank you !!!
--Orlando

Hasbro has copped to two Action Fleet sized die-cast vehicles coming later this year, but they're both vehicles you own in that size and they're die cast metal, which sucks, because it's heavy and gets damaged easily compared to their plastic siblings. (But it feels nice.) Hasbro's been mum on its Fall exclusives so far, so when they do speak up, we'll know more of what's on tap for Micro, Titanium, and hopefully more Action Fleet-- that was a superb line and it seems to have sold pretty well, so I know I hope to see more of it.

3. Just curious, I picked up a plush buddy of Chewbacca that does not look like the typical plush buddies of Chewbacca that I see at TRU and other places (the one released under POTF2 label). This one looks furrier and has a mane like a lion. Is this a KayBee exclusive? I havent seen a pic of it anywhere on the net.
--SebulbaJohnny

I saw this guy at a Toys "R" Us exactly once, and it does indeed look like a lion. I'm still in the market to get one, and as far as I know it's not an exclusive, it's just not overly common for whatever reason. Pictures did appear earlier but it seems that most of them were being sweept under the rug.

4. What's the future of the unleashed line? Hasbro gave some cryptic answer to this at CIII. I heard rumblings that they are cancelling the 6 inch line and downsizing it to a 3 inch line. Why screw with something that works so well and which everyone seems to love?
--Barbara

The long-term future of this line is still unknown, and there's still some debate on what the next wave will likely include-- Hasbro ain't talking. This is something that will most likely be revealed at Comic Con in San Diego this July, whatever it ends up being.

Hasbro likes to do odd things with things, that you say, "everyone seems to love." The repeated changing of the status of Action Fleet, for example. Including stands for figures, and then taking them away. There's a lot of business reasons for this stuff and while I can't say I understand all of them, if nothing else, it seems people talk more about this stuff now than they ever did when it was widely available with new product... so here's hoping they have something good on tap. Ending Unleashed just seems like a bad idea, especially given how they could just repackage the line again and it'd sell like crazy for another year or so. (That or they could just give us some Boushh Unleashed action. You know you want it.)

5. Hi adam just wondering what is going to happen to the clone wars figures I only seen one or two shipments of series two do you think hasbro is waiting for the clone wars dvd series two to come out I know we will have to wait to see but I stiil would like your insight THANK YOU
--Zina

Hasbro did confirm they were doing more Clone Wars guys later this year at Celebration III, but from the sound of things it didn't seem like we'd be seeing a lot of completely new sculpts-- so this is something that will be a big "wait and see." Hasbro reissued a lot of the second series figures as part of the "Season III" packaging collection that had the repainted Clones and ARC Trooper, so it'd be foolish not to crank some of these guys out again-- it's not like Yoda or the Clones were ever hard figures to sell.

6. Now that I have seen ROTS again... here is my BIG Question.
Is Mace Windu dead?
Three things that happened to him.
1 He lost his arm,
2 He was blasted with the force lighting
3 He fell
#1 Yes he lost an arm, but so did:
Anakin, Ponda Baba, The Wampa, Count DooKu, Luke Skywalker, Zam Wessle,
#2 People who get blasted with force lighting and Lived
Anakin, Luke, Yoda
#3 The Falling part
Well Anakin jumped out of his speeder in AOTC and fell many stories to follow Zam. Obi Wan fell in that sequence also. both lived
Obi Wan and Qui Gon fell during the Darth Maul fight, but lived and jumped back up to fight.
Obi Wan fell in the Jango fight on Kameno in AOTC.
Padme fell out of a Republic crusier in AOTC.
Luke fell a long way in Empire and managed to hang on to a weather vain with just one hand.
Obi Wan Anakin and Palpatine fell in the elevator shaft in the first part of ROTS. they used the batman line and hooks to stop from falling.
Mace Jumped/fell in the Arena fight in AOTC.
Only 2 people have died from a large fall Darth Maul (who was also cut in half) and the Emperior in ROTJ
With all of the buildings on Coruscant, Mace could have landed on a ledge or a roof top or on his feet like in ATOC.
And one more thing We did not see him die like the other Jedi Masters who fell dead on the ground. Mace just fell out of sight. Hummmm!
If George would every make Movies that take place after ROTJ. An old Wise Mace Windu could come out of hiding to help Luke Skywalker start a new Jedi order. Did Old George hide the Ace up his sleave. Or is Mace Dead!
--Scott

I've been wondering this very thing. For the purposes of comics, novels, and other non-movie venues, I think he has to be alive. In the prequels, George learned his lesson from Boba Fett-- if you want the fans to see someone as dead, cut off their head or slice 'em in two. (Of course, they still found a way to bring back Maul, twice.)

Mace was supposed to die-- a lot of interviews went on about him not "going out like a punk" (or "bitch") and you know and I know that for our point of view, he should be dead. Dead dead. We've seen enough of these things to know that if you don't see someone die, and I mean Actually die, there's a good chance that the character can be brought back again. All George had to do is cut to Mace falling out the window and have a Clone shoot him, or cut to a reaction shot of some character making a face indicating that they just witnessed a Jedi-sized "splat" on the Coruscant sidewalks.

Lucas knows what he's doing usually, and in this case, I'd be downright amazed not to see Mace Windu appear in the Expanded Universe within the next few years. It'd make for a great video game-- you start out on Coruscant with one arm and the need to get the heck off the planet and/or rally your troops. I'd play that game.

And to touch on your last comment, it brings to light another quote which Lucas has denied giving to the Bantha Tracks fan club newsletter waaaay back in the days of The Empire Strikes Back. The fan magazine asked him "so, what's the third trilogy about?" (Paraphrasing.) And his answer? "The character that survives Episode III and his adventures."

While I think there's going to be a lot of argument over if this was a long-planned thing, or if Mace Windu even actually survived, you have to admit, it's an interesting thing, isn't it?

7. will they do a correct version of Palpatine #35 with Sidious' lightsaber hilt? I have the "corrected" version with the red saber, but the hilt looks like Vader's, so it is incorrect as well. I haven't opened my figure yet, in case they will be releasing one with the correct hilt. Barring that, do you know if the "alternate hand with lightsaber" that comes with the deluxe Palpatine figure would work with this figure? I have the deluxe figure and have him posed with the lightning, so I could use his alternate hand with Palpatine #35, IF it is compatible.
--Greg

I was wondering this too-- as Palpatine never once used anyone's Saber but his own. At this time, it doesn't look like you can expect a fix on the basic figure, and the Deluxe saber doesn't fit with the basic figure. Well, it will if you work at it and cut away some of the peg, but odds are you'd just as soon not do that. I know I wouldn't.

8. Have a question for you. I picked up a ROTS clone trooper 3 pack at Target and they look very familiar to the special 3 packs done previously with the white, blue, yellow and green versions. Have you heard if there are any plans for those versions on this ROTS line?
--starwolf21

Right now the only plans for variants on this set are the all white set and a colored repaint. There are no plans at this time to do these with any other molds or paint jobs.

9. I mailed in my early bird certificate and reciept and recall not being able to find the upc to include with it.

I amazingly didnt notice until today it was part of the plastic shell.

Am I screwed or is there anything I can do to ensure I still get the figs?
--Rich

That depends on Hasbro's fulfillment people and sense of generosity. Seeing as how far less than 100% of these will be redeemed and how there's a ton of hoops to jump through to get your coupon in, it's entirely possible Hasbro will let it slide-- but if anyone out there has an answer to this question, please write in and we'll see what's up.

10. Just wondering your opinion on the best version of R2-D2 in terms of detail, materials, and functions (moving parts). I've seen a life-size one on eBay but I would like something that could fit on a desk.
--Dave

While there are countless releases of everybody's favorite astromech droid, it seems R2-D2 items are like pizzas-- no two people can agree on which one is the best. Some people think lights and sounds make the figure the best, while others prefer articulation, and others still prefer gimmicks.

For a desk environment, one of the best items you could probably get is the R2-D2 phone. It looks great, makes a lot of noise, and looks good. It's a decent price, usually around $50 or less.

I also am a big fan of the 6 inch R2-D2 from the "Action Collection," or 12 inch figure line. The standard release has no electronics but is a great, solid little figure with a good sculpt and he's my personal favorite R2-D2 toy to date. There's also a second release that has a bunch of gadgets you can use with it, which is just as good, and an electronic release that was in a two-pack with C-3PO. Frankly, I'd go with whatever you can get cheapest.

Finally, there's the issue of the 3 3/4 inch R2-D2. It's at a point where no one release is superior to another because of some gimmick or flaw. The best sculpt is (arguably) the 2001 Power of the Jedi Naboo R2-D2. This was released later without the dirt damage markings for Saga, as part of the Hall of Fame Collection and again in OTC packaging... and again as one of the four Early Bird figures. The sculpt is great, but he has all three legs out at all times, wheels, and only four points of articulation. After this one, it's a crap shoot-- but this one remains my favorite.

FIN

I'd write something witty but I wrote this and am tired and have nothing else to add.

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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