Q&A For June 23, 2005

 

1. So I'm cruisin' around the web and checked out the photo archives of one site and saw that the ROTS Republic Gunship had no "kill mark" stencils applied. I went on over and looked at my Gunship and, hello!, no kill marks. The box it came in clearly showed those kill marks applied next to the Republic logo. What gives? A notorious variation or pre-production photo for the box gone awry? Anyone out there get a gunship with kill marks?
--Tony

Right now, nobody I know has seen one with the "kill marks"-- as "product and decorations may vary," and often will, this seems to be a case of Hasbro changing the item through the creation process. This means the only Republic Gunship widely released with kill marks is the somewhat pricey Clone Wars model. While it is possible someone out there managed to get one with kill marks, or a test shot got out, it does not seem that any mass-market releases ended up with these nifty extras.

2. So what are your job responsibilities at EE Adam?
--JD

Officially, I have two roles-- "Director of Marketing" is one, "Merchandising Assistant" is the other. What does this mean to you? Not much. I'm privy to lots of awesome things surrounding all Hasbro's toy lines that I can't talk about, and I get to "help" develop exclusives. I use the quotes because I really pretty much come up with the whole concept and it gets passed along as-is, until Hasbro or Lucasfilm says "uh, no." And I've had input in one that isn't going to happen and another that's possibly going to be announced in the not-too-distant future that is something I'm very interested in and based on email from you guys, you would be as well. More on that as I'm allowed to blather.

So in short, I basically am in the business of trying to get you to buy toys and making sure that Entertainment Earth has everything online so we can sell it. So, uh, please go buy some toys so I can feed my wife. Thank you.

3. Just a quick question. Are we ever going to see a ROTJ Luke DS II figure that is what weve always wanted? I mean, they released the TRD one, but that looked like a monkey, and was really aimed at kids with the action feature. Ive waited for a long time (nearly 7 years now) for this figure, trying to find out if we could ever get one made, or if they would. If the swami is correct, 06 seems like a great year, doesnt it? But you seem like you have greater knowledge than most, so whats the word on a new, collector friendly ROTJ Luke DS II figure?
--KingNothing

Always in motion is the future, blah blah blah. So far the only really good Death Star II Luke wasn't all that great, and it's the Final Jedi Duel version. The action-attack one isn't particularly good on numerous levels between it having the glove on the wrong hand at first, a horrendous head sculpt, and an action feature that doesn't work especially well. With Hasbro always looking for ways to make good core characters, and ways to make sure they can make a good core figure that they can recard, rebox, and sell you later, it's something I think we'll see eventually, but my own personal crystal ball doesn't see anything beyond what you know on this one. And I can say that '06 is looking very good, especially given that in the toy business, the new year tends to start early.

4. Do you know anything about those 12 "mystery" figures zhasbro has in store and if you do are any of them going to be another Padme figure? I have all the senators posed at a mini diorama table I made and I keep thinking I need a Padme figure. If you can't help I'll give Yoda a call and see what he says.
--Luke

"Do I know anything" and "Do I value my job" are unfortunately things that could make this column a little less interesting for you-- but can I drop a hint? I will say is that I'm not entirely sure where some of the current buzz is coming from, because as far as I can tell, the notions of "12 more all-new figures for 2005" and "all from ROTS" seems to be coming from. I know the information I have regarding this "only 12 more figures in 2005 and they're all from ROTS" doesn't necessarily match up... doesn't mean it isn't true or isn't true from a certain point of view. But I'm highly skeptical of it... and if I'm wrong, well, no big deal, because that means a lot more figures are on the way for the year and that's good for all of us.

But you never know where these things go, or come from, or what has changed and will change since a piece of information got out. I'll also throw out that at this time, I have no information on anything related to new Padme product. Doesn't mean we won't see any, I just don't have any idea when it might happen.

5. How old do you think Emperor Palpatine is? I doubt he is as old as Yoda becasue I am sure he would be aware of Emperor Palptine's presence.
--Ric

The least satisfying thing about the prequels for me as a fanboy was that all of the things that were mentioned as being addressed by these movies wasn't. What do we know about Palpatine? About as much as we did before these movies. And Yoda? Same thing. We got a few tidbits, such as the former Sith Master's name, and the home planet of ol' Palpatine, but we still don't know his first name, where he came from (really), or anything like that specifically. So unless someone taps this for a future piece of the Expanded Universe, I would assume what I assume now-- that he's about as old as he looks, probably about 60 Earth years as of Revenge of the Sith.

As far as awareness and all that goes, I think this is the part of the column where I get to go on about how I see these movies-- think of them a little less like sci-fi and a little more like a tall tale in space. Paul Bunyan was said to have a giant blue ox, with arms like tree trunks, etc. It's a legend, and for Star Wars to make sense, think of it as a story that's being told to you through some sort of wacky exaggeration filter. It makes for a better story to have weird things happen that leave a mystery, such as the fact we never saw this whole Sifo-Dyas thing resolved on screen.

6. Can you explain to me the logic behind the distribution tactics of Hasbro? Clones are hot, so hot, that I can't find any! From what I've read the SA clone is packed 3 per case and the new deluxe 3 packs are packed 1 per case!

Hasbro has to realize that they could sell solid case packs of both aforementioned items by reviewing the past history of the CW SA clone and the CW 3 packs....

Must be the whole cost average theory we've heard so much about!
--Travis

The whole attitude regarding Hasbro's production of Sith Clones is a little baffling. Namely, I'm seeing so many white Quick-Drawn Clones appear en masse at Toys "R" Us stores here in LA that I'm assuming that there's some new assortment out there shipping that nobody else is getting because I'm now seeing these things all over the place!

Super-articulated ones are making the rounds, but not quite as much-- and I have yet to see a three-pack in stores. Future remixes of the Deluxe assortment, though, proves Hasbro is at least trying to meet demand by bumping up the three-packs to two per case and then three per case, meaning these will likely be some of the most highly produced figures in the deluxe line. I don't think we're seeing an issue of case cost quite so much as missed opportunity-- you never know what'll be hot. A lot of people thought Battle Droids would be insane for Episode I, and they weren't. Looking at Targets around town, it seems Hasbro had a lot of faith on the Neimoidian Warriors being hot stuff despite only two of them appearing on screen in the movie-- and these things happen.

What matters is that it appears Hasbro is making up for it by making more now. These guys are an easy sale, because people like you or me will buy a three-pack on sight. Now, to actually see one...

7. I was just wondering if anyone has received their 500th Vader figures yet? Amazon.com says "Has not shipped yet" when I go to "Where's my stuff?" but it says it should have been shipped June 1st and I should have gotten it June 6th - June 7th. What's the deal on these things?
--John

At the moment it seems the item does exist in final packaged form but has not been shipped to stores just yet. Frankly I don't get the hype-- this figure is essentially the Vintage OTC Vader with a new head, a new hand, a fancy box, and a very high price tag. The version from the Evolutions set seems to be better with more articulation and only a slightly higher price point, plus two extra figures.

8. Did I read correctly that the Cloud Car has no chance of showing up in '05 or even '06?? I thought it was suppossed to be "on the short list" of vehicles Hasbro was considering.
--Pedro

The vehicle is still on Hasbro's short list, it just needs to find the right market to release it. The production run on an exclusive vehicle isn't exactly small potatoes and releasing it at the wrong time could result in a situation like the POTJ B-Wing Fighter in which you have a vehicle everybody claims to want and harbor perverse sexual lust for, yet it just ends up eventually going on clearance because fans balked at the quite reasonable price of about $40. (Which seems to be the going rate anyway.) The Cloud Car has virtually no chance of showing up in 2005 unless it's an as-of-yet unannounced exclusive, and from everything I've pieced together, I wouldn't bet on it. 2006? Who knows.

9. I was wondering if the Silver Darth Vader that is packed in the up and coming KB Toys exclusive collector 9 pack is the same figure that Toys R Us sold on the card last fall. The set is not available until September of this year, and will sell for $49.99, but with the possible exception of the Silver Vader, the rest of the figures are repacks.
--EJ

This is a rare kind of exclusive which seems to be best defined as "crappy." For $50, you get eight figures you already own, plus the third silver repaint of Darth Vader. The photo appears to be the one with the lightsaber swinging action as sold in Saga and the OTC lines with the cape and helmet that won't stay on if you try to push the button. Unless the production run is low, this is clearance fodder. While I dislike saying "just wait for clearance," I think it's OK in cases where the product is one you don't feel is up to your standards as a collector-- the "just don't buy it" rule is hard to follow if you like having a complete set, so I'd hold back on this one because it sucks.

10. GAH! EntertainmentEarth says the Plo Koon starfighter is cancelled! Was this item exclusive to them? Or are they just not getting it, but it will be available other places? I was REALLY looking forward to that one. I love Koon. :(
--Brian

I'm not sure if it has been made official yet, but I can say this-- the item is no longer available at Entertainment Earth because Hasbro has made it an exclusive to a specific retailer. (Hint: not Entertainment Earth.) The item has been removed from seemingly all open-stock listings so anyone still taking preorders on it except for they who will have it as an exclusive will probably disappoint you come Summer. And as an added bonus, the person that seems to have it as an exclusive does not have it up for preorder.

FIN

In yesterday's Shortpacked, a great strip from David "It's Walky!" Willis, they tackle an issue I've frequently mentioned here which has flared up on a few message boards recently-- toy swapping. If you are not familiar with the term or why those who do it should be beaten, please do read the strip for the most concise possible way of explaining it.

Ah, now the fun begins-- I have to dance around some things, and for that, well, apologies in advance. But in my defense, a lot of people out there know stuff and would be fired for saying it, but at least I'm owning up to it. :)

The remainder of 2005 and 2006 is shaping up to be potentially very interesting and very frustrating, depending on how things pan out. All I can say is gas up your cars and start saving your pennies, because it looks like you're going to need to be prepared for the delights coming down the pike.

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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