Q&A For July 7, 2005

 

1. I have recently bought the entertainment earth exclusive clone troopers without battle damage . The yellow trooper does not have the dots on his chest .Is this common or a variant ?Also I found the VOTC C3PO at Once Upon a Toy downtown Disney ,I never once seen this figure in any stores. Do you think these will show up in next year's VOTC ?
--Shawn

With any mass-produced item, there are going to be some errors-- and it appears you found one of them. Of the thousands of clones that saw production, a few are going to miss a paint app here or there, and it looks like you managed to get one. There's probably a few out there, but obviously, errors are not intentional and to many collectors, not desirable. So if you dig it, more power to you. If not, well, put that sucker up for trade and someone might be excited to get it.

Hasbro told us that the 2004 Vintage figures were for 2004-- a few got out late in 2005, but the plan was not to make more of them going forward. (Obviously the molds are still seeing use, but that's how the business works.) There are currently no confirmed plans for 2006 "vintage" figures so I'm going to say no, there will not be a 2004 vintage C-3PO in 2006 as of yet. The figure hit several stores, albeit briefly. So, good find!

2. Did Hasbro use the same body for Captain Antilles as they did for Bail Organa? If so do you think we could see the other pilot(played by Jeremy Bulloch)?

Also, since Bail played a bigger part in this movie, do you think we will see multiple figures of him(Senate, Alderaan)?
--Sean

While there may be some shared parts between Captain Antilles and Bail Organa, they don't share all their parts. For all I know, they may not share any-- I have yet to see final production of Mr. Antilles.

As far as more Bail figures go, I'd certainly not hold my breath. Hasbro's a little gunshy of prequel figures, even though it looks like they will be sneaking out a few more before the line switches over to the next theme. Or so I hear.

3. Back in the days, before eBay and before the internet was commonplace, I used Wizard and Toyfare magazine as a checklist, and also as a means to try and keep track of what is obscure in the world of SW action figures and toys. Now, with all the selling done on eBay, do you think it's a fair call to assume that eBay itself could be used as a pricing guide for figures?

I chat with a collector, who buys off eBay, and (for example) bought a bunch of POTF2 figures for $2.00 a pop, but he then insists on quoting me the "book price" I don't know what book he means, but It can't be current. He'll insist that they "book" for something higher than what he got them for on eBay, and to me, that does not seem right. I've always seen price guides as something just that; a price GUIDE

I view eBay, as the most current guide and truly reflects the market as to what's hot, and what is not. I've given up trying to convice people; what advice can you give me/us?
--Mike

Price guides are a tricky thing-- as you say, it's just a guide. That's one thing. The other thing is the market doesn't jump around too much, and that if you're a magazine listing prices for hundreds if not thousands of figures, there's going to be some errors. As such, I'm a little bit wary of any printed price guide.

For my money, there's no finer indicator of the market than eBay. Prices can jump a lot more, though, and a few freak bidders can overpay for a few items and make them seem infinitely more valuable than they really are. That, and each country may have a different eBay with different prices-- eBay US and eBay Germany have wildly different prices on some Playmobil items, for example.

When buying with collectors, or stores, or dealers, remember that a lot of people aren't interested in the most perfect price as much as the most perfect deal. I've been to stores that have figures for double or triple what they go for on eBay, and much more than what most price guides list them at, but in some cases this is necessary-- if you're a store, you've got to include extras in the price like health insurance, electricity, rent, and so on. When it comes to private collectors, though, I take my ball and go home if I don't like your price. There's really no point in arguing over a price with anyone if you can do better elsewhere.

When it comes to POTF2 figures-- which are probably almost never worth what you paid for them in the stores-- well, you've got a special case. A lot of people bought these at a point in time where most collectors believed, as many still do, that all their toys are worth money. With so many figures from 1995-1998 that were blown out for $2 or less each, these "investments" were basically trashed, and given the huge quantity of these widely available, you're dealing with figures that are really worthless. If these things were still in Kay-Bee discount bins, $2 is about what they'd go for. As such, screw the guy who wants to do "book price." Toys are worth what you're willing to pay for them, if the market suddenly decided that AFA Graded Darth Vader figures from 1978 weren't interesting, they'd be selling for $50 or less in a matter of days. The 1997 Special Edition Theater Giveaway Luke Skywalker used to be a $300 figure... and now? Not a chance.

The best advice I can give you is stop trying to convince people-- sadly, people will learn what their toys are worth when they do (or don't) sell. I think it's going to be very difficult to convince people to sell figures for the dollar or two they're actually worth when they paid $5, but the other thing to remember is that eBay is a big garage sale. While some people put stuff up there to make money, others put it up there to make it go away, and that's why we see lower sell prices in some cases, or higher on others. For my needs, I go by eBay. If I can get something cheaper on eBay (factoring in shipping), I'm going to go that route.

4. I was reading your answer to Ric's question in June 23rd's Q&A regarding Palpatine and his background being addressed in the Prequel Trilogy.You said that "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", in my opinion, however, the Sifo-Dyas 'mystery' was resolved in Episode III. The fact that Palpatine/Sidious had control over the Clonetroopers as seen by the implementing of the infamous 'Order-66' confirms that their original commisioning on Kamino was Palpatine's doing, Sifo-Dyas merely used as a pseudonym to obscure his identity.Want evidence? Try removing the 'fo' from Sifo...and what remains? Si-Dyas...Sidious?

Perhaps this also sheds some light on Palpatine's history: according to Obi-Wan, Sifo was killed "almost ten years ago"...just before the events of Episode I and that before his convenient 'death', Lama Su reveals that Sifo was a "leading member of the Jedi Council". This all seems very fitting with Palpatine's mysterious roots before his emergence during the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. Perhaps he was indeed the infamous Sifo-Dyas, using a disguised form to infiltrate the ranks of the Jedi Order and once he had amassed enough Jedi powers, skills and knowledge he feigned death only to be reincarnated as Darth Sidious while continuing to use his true identity to act as a Senator of Naboo, slowly garnering more and more power in the Galactic Senate. That's my humble opinion on the matter...what do you think?
--Ultan

Theories are fun, but essentially worthless-- we don't know what Lucas wants to do. Before Attack of the Clones was finished, the character now known as Sifo-Dyas was Sido-Dias (or Dyas), which, obviously, looks and sounds a lot like Sidious. For this or other reasons, they changed the name. Were it left as Sido-Dias, it'd be obvious that the Clone army was in fact made by Darth Sidious. As it stands now.. who knows? It's a safe bet the whole thing was an elaborate ruse with strings being pulled by Darth Sidious, but we don't know for sure. There's a comic that had the frozen Sifo-Dyas which told a somewhat Elseworlds/Infinities origin of General Grievous, but what's that worth? I have no idea.

Based on everything we saw on screen, it would seem we have enough material to create numerous arguments. My money's on Sifo-Dyas not being Darth Sidious because of the stories surrounding his death 10 years prior, but you never know what was intended-- when you change names and make a lot of edits, the true nature of some plot points become muddled.

5. After reading your column today,I take it there will be more 12 inch characters?maybe. We never got the max rebo set either,any chance of obi wan 12 inch riding Boga?I love that creature,what a cool set that be I think. The evolutions maul is that articulated too? will there be more of him next year or so?I heard maul won't be done anymore according to a ebayer. Thankyou for your time.
--Luanne

Sometimes I guess I'm not blunt enough.

12-inch is dead. There are no more plans for 12-inch figures in 2005. Probably not 2006 either. The chances of you seeing a Boga in the large size are about zero, and I think it's a safe bet that the large scale Max Rebo is now in the same boat. The Unleashed line more or less took over for 12-inch, and despite selling fairly well this year, Hasbro doesn't seem to want to give props to the line. If you want, it, start complaining to Hasbro, on your own web sites, on message boards, and anywere that can cause a big stir. Not here, though.

As far as Evolutions Darth Maul, yes, he will be a nicely articulated figure and odds are the best of the bunch. Will there be more Mauls? Well, we keep asking Hasbro and they keep quiet. The character has been mined for pretty much every outfit they could do at this point, and short of a Naboo arrival version with his hood up in a non-action stance, really, what more can you do with him without tackling the Expanded Universe? I forsee a reissue or two of Darth Maul in the future, but I will be astounded if we see more than one new Maul mold every year or two.

6. Does anyone know if hasbro plans on releasing a Darth Sidious electronic lightsaber?
--KSweenmom7

Despite the insane popularity of Hasbro's electronic lightsabers, there are no known plans for Darth Sidious at this time.

7. Are the colored clonetroopers from the 3 packs going to be available all together. In other words should I buy each 3 pack (red, green, and blue) or should I wait and just buy the colored clonetrooper 3 pack (1 pack with all 3 colors). I appreciate the help. I would save some money to just buy one in lue of three.
--David

We have been told that yes, there will be an all-colored clones Revenge of the Sith three-pack. So here's hoping. If you can find them with all the colors individually, I'd buy them-- I can't even find the plain white ones to buy here in LA!

8. I am a young collector and started my collection in 1999 with Episode 1. Because of this I have never seen an AT-AT in stores because to my knowledge the last one was during Power of the force 2. Are there any plans to have a new AT-AT coming soon or even releasing the same AT-AT for a new line. I am starting my job teaching soon and I would love to have an AT-AT on my desk. Right now I can't fathom spending over $100 for a used piece? Any thoughts...let me know?
--Jake

There were a number of AT-ATs that hit the market around 2000 that were $19.97, but if you didn't hit the stores at the right time, you missed out. Right now there are no known plans for a rerelease. In 1998, the toy sold for $79.99-$99.99-- and as such, that's what you should expect to pay for one now, or somewhere near that. The going rates on eBay tend to be around that for a sealed box one, and if a reissue happens, there's no chance of it being much less than that. So start saving and buy one.

9. Ok, so the ROTS toys have been out for three months now, and the movie out for half that time, and for all figures up to #44, life was grand. Everything was easy to find, and very plentiful. Enter the Tarkin wave. In the metro Atlanta area, for as best as I and the rest of the Atlanta Star Wars Collectors Club can figure, the Tarkin wave has only made one appearance at two WalMarts in one month. I'm pretty hardcore and hit at least two to three WalMarts and Targets each every day before lunchtime. So I guess what I'm asking is what gives? Is the sudden slowdown sue to Hasbro trying to catch up to demand, or are the retailers reallocating funds to Batman and Fantastic Four lines and ordering less Star Wars merch? Pegs in these parts have lots of Palpatines, Mon Mothmas, and Bail Organas, as well as Nemoidian Warriors and too many Polis Massa, and you can't find a main character if you tried. It doesn't even appear that stores are getting any stock. Is it time to hit the panic button? (Yes, I know I can always order from EE)Thanks,
--Darth Omen

Well, here's the thing with collector clubs-- you can cover lots of ground. But all you need is one or two slightly luckier collectors to totally demolish your ability to determine what's hit.

I used to have people tell me all the time in Arizona that figures never, ever once hit. And yet, I found them, frequently. (I shop at odd times.) It looks like a lot of figures tend to be hanging, and popular figures sell quickly-- instantly, really. One person can eat up a whole case worth of new figures and you may never know that they were there because of this-- but good for you, Hasbro has reshuffled new assortments and Tarkin and friends will be shipping for a while longer.

Since the end of Episode I, aside from Ephant Mon and the Clone Wars Clone Trooper, I've never had a problem getting a basic figure on the shelves. This said, I haven't seen any of the Tarkin series in stores yet-- so I wouldn't panic. These things are made in tens if not hundreds of thousands and if we aren't seeing them, that means they aren't all at market yet. Some are being scalped, and it's possible stores aren't ordering heavy on Collection 2 because of currently unsold stock-- which means that you may have to order online at some point.

The question of the panic button really depends on your patience. Can you wait to see what happens? If so, wait. If not, then grab 'em before you have a reason to panic. In the long run, minor characters (even rare ones) don't tend to hold on to their value for more than a few months. Look at Ephant Mon-- fans are fickle. If you can wait it out, you'll get these for a great price. If you can't, well, prepare to cough up some dough.

10. Is it just me or does it seem like there aren't many characters from ROTS that would be good figure choices? Except for Clones(any variation), Aliens(Utapau;short and tall), a few more Wookies(Merumeru, Salporin), Senators, and a few Main Character variants(Padme, Bail Organa) who would you like to see?
--Sean

When it comes to Revenge of the Sith, I want Padmes, Droids, and Clones. Not necessarily in that order. While Natalie Portman tends to be scenery in the flick, she makes for good scenery-- so she should be made as a few more figures. There were plenty of nifty robots, many of which can be easily created through the power of the repaint. Hasbro has no excuse for not cranking out more, and I must say I'll be shocked if we don't see at least one more from the movie this year. Rather than rattle off all the Clones Hasbro can do, I'll just say I want Commander Gree.

Salporin wasn't named until after the movie was shot, and now that I look at pictures of him, I think we have him-- the Sneak Preview Wookiee Warrior (again, named before Salporin really existed) looks a lot like Salporin. So as far as I'm concerned, we have Salporin.

Looking at 2005 on the whole, we got 56 regular Revenge of the Sith figures, four Sneak Previews, and many others in other forms. So that's like almost 70 or 80 in a few months-- so the only figures I want to see new versions of right now are ones that are fundamentally flawed. Hasbro really screwed up with the rubbery plastic this time, the Battle Droid, Super Battle Droid, and some General Grievous figures will bend and become misshapen if you have them standing up on a shelf or on a stand-- there's no excuse for that. If safety requirements make a figure melt into the wrong shape, don't make that figure. Of course, we've seen Episode I Battle Droids that don't go all bendy on us, so obviously, Hasbro can do better and has done better.

I also think that the added articulation could be a problem-- most of the new Jedi, if just slightly off balance, will tend to fall over on their joints over time. Sagging sucks.

Given how the line turned out and the quantity of new figures, I'm ready to go back to a unified line covering all six films. There's still figures I want from each and every movie, except for The Empire Strikes Back. Aside from like three or four droids and a couple of background aliens, (oh, and some imperials and rebels) there's really not much left to do there...

FIN

So it looks like more Sith figures are pretty likely before the line reboots-- which is good. I am pleased.

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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