Q&A For August 28, 2005
1. How "rare" is the 12" Plo Koon? Who had it online? I know this is a bit of an old figure and maybe you've already answerd this before.
Hasbro has released very few numbers relating to Star Wars, and this is one that they haven't yet released. Plo Koon was supposedly originally to be a Fan Club figure and became a sort of "shared" exclusive, selling at Entertainment Earth, (I think) D&S Sci-Fi Toy World, and other non-big-5 accounts. As Hasbro rarely makes anything under 10,000, I would assume the number to be somewhere around that.
2. Am I the only one who would like an army builder pack of Battle Droids?
Much like Astromech Droids, Clone Troopers, and Protocol Droids, the Battle Droid is one of many figures that easily lends itself to a repaint. Unlike those other figures, the Battle Droid is one of the few figures to have seen its trajectory of quality reverse-- the 1999 versions were super-posable (as they come, anyway), made of a quality, non-gummy plastic, and as far as I could tell, the sculpt was perfect. And since then... well, if you've been buying Battle Droids, you know the deal.
Is this something fans want to see? I have no idea. The demand for it has been about nil. So far it seems the big must-buy thing all fans can agree in are white armored troopers without any exposed facial parts. Like anything, if this is a item fans want, let's see some action-- start asking around! Clone Troopers had a ridiculous amount of people wanting more of them, Stormtroopers are the same way-- there's so much pent-up demand for the questionable quality molds that THOSE still sell out instantly. Battle Droids come and go and tend to sell sort of well, better than some, but could a blue shoulder pilot redeco or something similar be what the doctor ordered? Who knows?
3. do you think we'll see the return of Cinema Scenes next year? We loved the CS -- great packaging and some cool figures that might not have been made if they had had to stand on their own. Would love to see them come back!
Yes, and no. The concept of "several figures in window box with fancy backdrop" is alive and well in the form of Battle Packs, but those are being made with the exact opposite focus-- to make more reissues and repaints available. Hasbro is quite aware that fans liked these sets, and as you no doubt can tell, they're working their butts off trying to make new collector-friendly product. (Heck, the entire 2006 line are sort of mini Cinema Scenes-- diorama backdrops and such.) I currently wouldn't expect to see any new three-packs with (as the old style often had) 1 or 2 new figures with 1 or 2 figures you couldn't care less about, but hey, you never know.
4. Sorry if this has been covered already. I was
comparing pre-order prices for the next Gentle Giant
Bust-ups series, and read on AFX that they're not
blind packaged anymore. Can you confirm this? It
would great to just grab these at a local shop without
getting permission to open them first to avoid doubles.
While I'm not sure about the Revenge of the Sith series, Gentle Giant has informed me that Hoth will indeed come in a new ratio. Every display box will have window packaging and 18 Bust-Ups. There will be two complete sets of six, and six random Bust-Ups-- so if you buy them at a point-of-sale, it's possible you can get a set with little trouble. Then again, by having them easier to identify (and they were already pretty easy to ID), it's possible "shortpack" and "popular" could become issues, moreso than they were before. So, happy hunting!
5. 2006 will be a non movie year. Any chances of seeing the
basic figures going down in price? Maybe back to $4.99?
I'd say your chances are about zero. The only time we've seen prices around $4.99 were for Attack of the Clones (and not even for the whole run), some OTC, and that's been it since 1997. This year, we were mostly at $5.24-$5.99-- and if Hasbro realizes they're going to be selling fewer figures (which they will, probably because kid-friendly figures are never in good supply in a non-flick year), you never know how they'll combat this. Sometimes they say "oh, less figures means we need a higher price!" and other times it's "no, lower price!" So it could go either way, but I wouldn't be too hopeful about a lower price if the packaging becomes more ornate. Then again, there's resculpts. But $4.99, in this day and age, is pretty uncommon to see on the figure aisles.
Do you think the creators of Dark Forces, now that the prequel trilogy
is done, are slapping their heads, Homer Simpson fashion, and shouting
The whole concept of the original game was the Empire was creating a
droid solider, the Dark Trooper, whom they said would be better than the
Stormtrooper, if I'm remembering correctly.
Funny how in the movie the Super Battle Droid (which looks eerily
similar to the Dark Trooper) proved to be less effective than the Clone
Well, one of the hallmarks of the Star Wars Trilogy is that it seems absolutely nobody has any idea what happened 20 years earlier. It's also possible that someone might say "hey, we tried something 20 years ago, why not try it again and see if we can do it right?" You have to remember, the Battle Droids were sort of a lowest-bidder kind of thing... and played for comedy more than once. It's entirely possible (and reasonable) to think that both from a storytelling and in-Universe perspective that it could fit. I mean, if the Empire dropped an idea like a bad habit if it failed once, we certainly wouldn't have had a second Death Star.
There's also the issue of quality of the Stormtrooper. While this area is still a little murky, various books are indicating that while Clone Troopers are all clones of the late great Jango Fett, future clones and stormtroopers are a mix of enlistees, clones of various other people (some chosen for political, not physical, abilities), and older Jango clones. After watching Star Wars through Jedi, it's painfully obvious that the Empire's Stormtroopers aren't exactly the highest quality infantry-- so naturally, a droid might have worked better in that climate (or in the context of those stories).
Like most things in Star Wars these days, you can try and make it fit. There's a few things that have jagged edges, but the puzzle more or less will fit together unless you're dealing with the big issues. Like R2-D2 flying.
7. Hasbro tells us 2006 will be a collectors year. Does that mean we will finally get some figures like Moff Jerjerrod,Hermi Odle,Commander Cody,SA Scout Trooper and R5-D4 (just to name a few)? Do you think Hasbro will surprise us with any figures in the Saga Collection?
When you hear (or if you hear) that 2006 is a "Collector Year," don't get your expectations TOO high. There will probably be like 50-60 figures, half of which are going to be repaints, part swaps, or resculpted limb figures. The other half should be a mix of resculpts of characters that sorely need it (Leia in Boushh, as far as I'm concerned, is a figure I want to see improved) but after that first wave, we don't know much. I mean, at this point, we know we're getting a Sandtrooper, Leia Boushh, Han in Carbonite, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Commander Cody, Bib Fortuna, and a few other repacks. If you're a collector, aside from Cody, I don't think you'll be salivating just yet.
Expect a mix in 2006-- some new stuff, some old stuff. If you look at 2003, you'll see a good idea of what you can expect-- some repackaged figures, some new figures, some ridiculously good new figures, and some resculpts of figures you couldn't care less about.
One of the things Hasbro typically does in a post-movie year is have a knee-jerk reaction to cater to collectors, which I believe (and again, this is just me) is a mistake. Collectors should always be kept in mind so that we're stimulated and not given reasons to skip a few figures, but kids aren't usually kept in mind. Believe it or not, there are lots of kids who are watching Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones on DVD, and they LOVE those movies the same way we loved Empire. Hasbro really needs to (and appears to be starting to) focus on the group of kids out there who MIGHT grow into young collectors if given the chance to buy things like li'l Anakin, Queen Amidala, Jango Fett, and so on.
8. Is there any way to "correct" loose joints? I took out a whole bunch of figures the other night all between 2 and 3 years old, all never really played with (just posed a couple of times) and the joints on almost all of them were super loose. Any idea what might have caused this? They were kept in a storage bin in my basement for the last two years(no excessive heat, moisture or anything). Any way to make the joints tight again?
Got kids? Unless they were loose when you bought them, typically the only thing that causes a joint to become loose is playwear. As far as restoring a loose joint goes, if you can safely dismantle the figure and reassemble it, yes, you can-- a coat of clear fingernail polish can make the peg "larger" and therefore tighter, and is a common repair I read about on the Transformers boards. However, Star Wars figures aren't known for ease of assembly and as such, I wouldn't be hopeful for a fix here.
9. My question is about the Toys RÕ Us exclusive Holographic Emperor. I just saw one posted on E-bay, already. Could someone have gotten their hands on one already, or is it an advance auction kind-of-thing? Makes me wonder if the stores already have them in their stockrooms, and that itÕs a Toys RÕ Us worker posting the figure. I was wondering about the release date, since I havenÕt seen a date reported yet. I know Target screwed-up, BIG-TIME with the Clone Trooper exclusive. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Target Clones, and I donÕt want to miss the opportunity to get my hands Clear Palpy. IÕd hate to see this exclusive go the same way as TargetÕs did with collectors paying E-bay price for them on the 2nd market!
Before you jump the gun, remember that this is the third Holographic Palpatine. Why 3? Someone at Hasbro isn't paying attention. It's possible you saw the older Darth Sidious or Emperor Palpatine, because I've searched through completed auctions (as of when I wrote this) and didn't see a single one.
The Toys "R" Us exclusive gift-with-purchase figures, like this one, have always been sold on Amazon for $5-$10 before their release. As such, stay tuned for that-- you can probably order it online. But another thing to keep in mind is that this is a figure that's been done as a holograph before, and Yoda isn't exactly a rare holo figure-- you can get one on eBay for under $20, sometimes as low as $10. The Emperor will likely end up cheap as well given the fandom-at-large and their disinterest in holographic stuff this week.
10. What do you think the chances are of getting Jedi Council Anakin, or Holo Ki-Adi-Mundi and Holo Yoda? That would make a great three pack, a ROTS Jedi Council set featuring those three characters. They would fit beautifully with the existing Jedi Coucil sets.
Well, a holographic Yoda just came out in April. So there's that one. As Anakin was on the Jedi Council for all of a few minutes, I wouldn't hold your breath-- the Evolutions figure is probably good enough for this purpose, although with Hasbro needing to make more of key characters, it could very well come to pass. Holo Ki-Adi-Mundi? Well, it's possible. I mean, we're getting Aayla Secura and Plo Koon...
But a three-pack? Please no. While there's obvious love for screen scenes, I've had enough of them when it comes to the Jedi Council-- and really, holographic figures can wait for a while, too. I think they're a great way to get a "new" figure out on the cheap, but we're getting a grand total of at least 5 this year, so maybe Hasbro could wait to do more until late in 2006 or 2007...
One of the most common complaints I'm getting these days is one I've got-- I can't find the stuff! I found my Obi-Wan TRU Starfighter weeks after initial sightings (and this was going to at least one TRU daily), I'm still missing the Yoda and Boba Fett cup figures, and I can't find any of the basic variants (clones, Palpatine, Anakin, etc.) to save my life. And you ask me-- "Does Hasbro know how much we want clones?" I say yes, they do, and while they're trying their best obviously it isn't enough. We're rabid.
So where does this leave you and me and everybody we know? Well, it's a little thing I call "sucking it up and waiting it out." Star Wars prices, with few exceptions, are very front- and back-heavy, in that when a figure comes out, it's rare and expensive, and 20 years down the line, the prices tend to be a little up there. Some of you are worried about scalpers and the short-term problem due to the line being successful-- which, I needn't remind you, is necessary if we want figures in five years-- and due to the level of popularity, it isn't possible to get them all right now. It was the same way in 1984 when Power of the Force was dying-- some states got tons and tons of Ewoks, while others may have gotten an assload of Luke Stormtroopers. But for those who stuck it out and kept vigilant, they found their figures, often at low (or at least fair) prices.
Just think about it-- name a few figures you had a really hard time getting for the past 10 years. I remember quite a few, like the 1995 C-3PO and Princess Leia, for starters. Today, nobody cares. Even once frighteningly scarce figures like Motti are cheap now, but some like R2-B1 are not-- dem's the breaks. I know with the vintage line, it took me a few years of networking and collecting to get what I needed. I didn't get my Bonus Pit Droid figures from Episode I until this year, and I'm still needing a few figures like the red Mace Windu Battle Droid set variant, the battle-damaged TIE Bomber, etc. While some collectors are lucky enough to get everything all at once, not all of us are-- it takes time, trading, and sometimes waiting for cooler heads (with lower prices) to prevail.
This isn't to say that some figures don't need to come out again-- prices on TC-14, R2-B1, and the McQuarrie Stormtrooper are high enough to justify revisiting those figures as there's obviously quite a bit of pent-up demand. But overall, most figures will become easier to get and cheaper as the market settles, so stick with this hobby if you like it, and remember that you'll have many chances to get these new figures. It's not like these are 1984 POTF Anakin Skywalkers without a yellowed bubble, or a MISB Droids A-Wing Fighter-- they're new, and made in pretty hefty numbers. For all we know green Clone Commanders could end up being seen as worthless non-movie figures this time next year. So keep doing what you're doing-- bug Hasbro, buy figures you want when you see them, and make sure to raise a fuss over your interest in these guys.
For next time, 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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