Q&A For August 25, 2005


1. I was wondering if the ROTS #28 Anakin Skywalker w/ Sith Eyes variant figure was a Wal-Mart exclusive. If it isn't, it certainly seems that way. I have checked the toy reports in the forums and it seems that the variant figure is only being found at Wal-Mart stores. What gives? Was the case assortment exclusively availabe to Wal-Mart or is there a chance we'll see the figure at Target, TRU, and KB stores? Since the "Sith Eyes" is a running change on the figure(I think), I was hoping you could give me (along with my fellow collectors) some hope that we'll find this variant figure. Otherwise let us know if we should hit eBay for it.
--Jedi Knight Valorius

This variant, and all others, are not exclusive to any one chain. I have been checking Target after Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Kay-Bee, etc. for this one and I can't seem to find it either-- I have, however, seen a few in cases that have passed through Entertainment Earth. It seems to be in a few assortments and this figure-- either a running change or a variant-- is still showing up in new shipments. Just not everywhere, and not all at once.

2. Do you know if the Shocktrooper, Green Clone Commander, and Black Clone Pilots will be shipping in future assortments (Like, say, with the final twelve Revenge of the Sith figures)? I can't seem to find any of them and I'm hoping they'll be shipping again in the future.

While these assortments have not been officially announced yet, I can safely say that Hasbro is constantly remixing these cases and a great many of the remixes-- including some brand new ones not including the Final 12-- include a Clone Pilot, Shocktrooper, and Green Clone Commander. There will be a great many assortments in the coming months as Hasbro gets out more C-3POs, red Royal Guards, and other popular figures-- so don't lose hope yet! Also don't forget that we have yet to see a movie year that didn't result in massive close-outs at bargain basement prices. It's possible that many figures will end up in 2 for $3 bins in six months to a year-- there's no telling. Hasbro is very conscious of our reactions to intentional variants (i.e., we like them and want to buy them) and with the exception of some Clones, tends to make them in nice big healthy quantities.

3. I have yet to see a single RED royal guard (Episode III version) anywhere in person. Will this figure be released in future assortments? Does Hasbro know how much this figure is in demand?

As stated above, yes-- they definitely do. They're also aware of the popularity of the Blue Guard, but it's my understanding (which may be wrong) that blue guards aren't on a lot of the short-term delivery menus. With 2006 having a lot of older figures mixed in, it'd be great to see these guys again. Or a simple head swap. You know, for Kir Kanos. And maybe a Force Pike too.

4. What's the likelihood of seeing some new molds in the Galactic Heroes line? New molds such as Aayla Secura, Asajj Ventress, Plo Koon, Luminara Unduli, or any other Jedi?

Hasbro is pretty wishy-washy when it comes to this line. When the predecessor to it appeared in 2002, fans ate up everything they saw and at least in my neck of the woods (outside Kay-Bee), they sold like crazy. So Hasbro still claims that their success catches them by surprise, and if it's true, we should see new sculpts in 2006-- we're getting some repaints this year, and next year means they have time to do more. Or drop the line, like Unleashed. I have my doubts that Assajj Venress is a good choice for a line aimed primarily at children, and I'd say the same about Aayla Secura-- but who knows? Fans are still begging for reissues of the AOTC two-packs, so anything is possible.

5. on the Anakin Skywalker evolution pack I saw Anakin from episode 2 & 3 & Darth Vader. but where's the Anakin Skywalker from episode 1? & then i saw a picture of Han Solo in carbonite red version on your website are they going make it like that or are they going to do a repaint?

For whatever reason, Hasbro decided the Evolutions sets should be three-packs-- as such, they picked the three best figures for the set. There's no room for Anakin from Episode I with this template. Also, yes, the Han Solo in Carbonite for 2006 is currently scheduled to look like it's "melting"-- this could change. For all I know it'll be a solid color with a red LED behind it to give the melting illusion, Hasbro's been very tight-lipped about these so far.

6. Besides Commander Cody ,will there be any other clone commanders next year? Like Commander Appo , Neyo or Fox ? Will there be any Commander Cody's clones or Commander Bacara's clones ? I think these figures should get made as well. They were cool looking in the movie as well as the other clones were, especially Commander Bacara's clones. What other clones do you think should get made ?

Right now, Commander Cody is the only confirmed Clone for 2006. The rest of the year is up in the air. My main concern now is that Hasbro get out the Clones that are already in production in good numbers, and after that, I'm happy to take any commanders they throw my way. I'm not picky, some of the "original" concept Clones are pretty sweet!

7. I know it's only August, but I was wondering if you know what the Holiday figure will be this year or if there will even be one?

The rumor is that it will be a holiday Darth Vader, but it's just that-- a rumor. For the 2003 Fan Club Yoda, the Fan Club announced it for Comic Con. For the 2004 Jawas, Entertainment Earth picked up an abandoned Fan Club exclusive (it says so on the box), and the 2002 Droids Holiday Exclusive was also a rejected Fan Club exclusive. See a pattern emerging?

Right now, if it truly IS a legit thing, it means that it's probably the Fan Club's, or ShopStarWars.com's. This may change-- for all I know it could be offered to everybody, or a "market 6" item, or it might go to Target. My hopes are that it ends up at ShopStarWars or online so I don't have to track it down.

8. The First of my questions is really asking to clearify lines, b/c these are bland. First is the Battle of Endor. Is this going to include the space and the DSII battle as well as the planet battle, or is it when they first arrive? If they do an Endor Poncho Luke then, wouldnt it be incorrect b/c during the actual battle of Endor he was on the second Death Star. Same goes with the Battle of the Death Star. Is this just the DS from ANH, or is ROTJ included.

Now, for late '06 and into '07, what battle waves do you think well see? Prehaps a Battle of the Second Death Star? Would we then prehaps get our DSII Jedi Luke collectors have been asking for? You have the insight my friend, shed light! Thanks!!!

Hasbro hasn't announced anything about these guys yet, and I don't (unfortunately) have ANY divine insight into what they're going to be just yet-- I've heard what you've heard, so this is a wait-and-see kind of thing.

9. Hasbro said around c3 that with the DVD release we would be getting a new release of Animated Clone Wars action figures, but that they wouldn't be new figures but variations of old molds with new heads. Looking at what we've got right now I'd say that a Clone Trooper, Obi-Wan and Anakin rehashes are a given and fit that idea but have they said anything else about who'd be included in this or how they will be released (Or if they'd be released still?)

Hasbro has been silent here-- as such, I don't know what we can expect. It might be another exclusive, or a tie-in with the upcoming DVD for the next batch of episodes. What I do know for sure is that if it were coming out SOON, we'd probably see some images by now.

10. Can you explain why Hasbro canned Action Fleet? I think this was a line that really appealed to many fans and allowed us to get ships that weren't made in the regular scale. Titanium is okay but it really is the poor man's AF with shoddy paint and bad detailing. With so many capital ships in ROTS and Hasbro's insistance that new molds for 3.75 vehicles cost to much why not dust off this beloved line? At leat then we could get a Venator, Turbo Tank, V-wing, Greivous starfighter, and other ROTS ships?

The official answer was "sales." I think a more accurate answer is "Wal-Mart, TRU, sales, and profits"-- a few of the vehicles sold very poorly, but with the others being repaints, there was some different money being made here. The reason we're going to see Titanium versions of some vehicles-- and despite what Hasbro says, they're obviously modeled after Action Fleet, the X-wing's engines give it away-- is that there's more money to be made on a $20 vehicle and the whole metal thing is perceived to be a highly desirable thing for collectors. I don't know if it'll work out, but if it does, Titanium could be the new Action Fleet. I seriously doubt the line has legs past a couple of years, but then again, that's typical.

Going back to the first part of the answer, one thing you may not know-- but should-- is that Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, and similar stores dictate the flow of the toy world. If the big stores say "stop making cases of 16 and give us cases of 12," Hasbro does it. If Toys "R" Us says "stop making 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe" around 1993 only to bring it back as an exclusive around 1997... well, that's how it works. The big buyers make a big difference, and sometimes the buyers aren't known for their foresight. Hasbro supported The Clone Wars with a nice line of vehicles, one actually about as impressive as that which we got for Revenge of the Sith-- but OTC didn't see quite that level of support, and it seems the DVD release of the film isn't going to be like that either. If the retailers say "hey, we want something totally different," then by gum, that's what we get.

So why Titanium? From a retailer perspective, it's pretty attractive. Low development cost (mixed with old Galoob ships), tiny footprint (shelf real estate is quite important), and a low price point-- at some Wal-Marts, they're five bucks a whack. You can't get a basic figure for that. If the giant size Titanium ships take off (pardon the pun), that essentially is a return of Action Fleet... just at a higher price point and possibly much higher quality.

It's not an ideal scale for vehicles and of all the Micro lines in recent years, I'd be lying if I said they were my favorite. (Or my least favorite. That distinction is held by X-Ray Fleet.) It's nice to see small vehicles with some moving parts-- and, sad as I am to say, better than nothing. I much prefer the Micromachines (1994-1999) scale, or the Action Fleet (1995-2003) scale... well, actually I really prefer the 3 3/4-inch scale. But sometimes I'll take what I can get. If Titanium works, I hope Hasbro sticks with it long enough to make it a "definitive" line with all the major and minor vehicles from all six films-- there's nothing that gets my goat more than a constant rebooting of a line to result in numerous new scales that don't go anywhere.

...and if you collect Japanese Transformers, you know that there's someone that has it about as bad in that capacity.


OK, so some questions you haven't asked yet but might want to know about.

Wal-Mart Exclusive Revenge of the Sith 3-packs. Yes, these look iffy. Why? Well, they're not all comprised of top-notch figures. In the past, these have been $9.99 for 3 or 4 figures-- an insane price which we forsee will continue. All we've seen are the mockups, and here's what you get: Anakin, Mace, and Obi-Wan are all from sets such as the Battle Arenas. These are cheaper figures with less articulation and fewer paint ops. The set with Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Count Dooku are all basic ROTS figures-- which makes it a good set. The Clones are tweaked versions of the 3-pack Clones, which means they're basically statues. Is this a criticism? Not at all. It's still a great value and we're big fans of low-cost entry-level items like these. They make great gifts for youngsters and give fans a great way to get some more figures on the cheap.

Also, did some digging on the rumored Toys "R" Us Clone 3-packs. Not happening and seemingly never were happening. But as at least one set of Clones is coming as an exclusive, could more be developed after the fan reaction toward these other sets was pretty positive? Heck if I know. I'm not on Hasbro's payroll.

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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