Q&A For October 31, 2005

 

1. There's been a number of posts going around about a variation of the Attack on Coruscant Battlepack that's out. Instead of having 4 gray clones and 1 Bacara repaint, it has 5 gray clones. Have you heard anything about this or do you know if this is anything more than a rumor?
--Lee

Surprisingly, this one appears to be appearing quite a bit and from factory-fresh cases-- unless there's a massive hoax, this may well be the first widely-reported legit error and not a direct result of figure swapping theft. ("Figure swapping" sounds weak. Henceforth, it will be referred to as "figure swapping theft.") It's a nifty error, one I wouldn't mind finding myself because I don't need a huge number of Bacara repaints, but I'd take a few more Grey clones.

2. Okay, I completely understand where you're coming from when you say that if we want more non-movie clones (and I do, I want every clone Hasbro can throw at me) then we need to buy all the clone repaints they can make. Solid logic. Except that I feel like a jilted lover with the carded 501st Clone and the Attack on Coruscant Battle Pack.

My long-suffering wife was resigned to these guys coming home to join the other legions of clones taking up every shelf in the living room, except that all my clones get down on the floor and play with my kids and their figures; if the carded 501st figure and the Attack on Coruscant Battle Pack clones get down on the floor, all they can be are wounded half-arm amputee clones, or I can make little slings to accomodate all their little permanently-bent arms. These guys and the AT-TE Gunner can sit around the campfire and swap stories about what it used to be like to tie their shoes or count to ten on their fingers - but as far as holding blasters, forget it - they're too easily disarmed.

So I'm not buying them. I understand Hasbro needs to make use of all the available clone molds so we get this mold (Removable Forearm Action!), but if I buy it I'm just telling Hasbro I'll buy any old crap they put out.

I guess my question for you is: what's the best forum you've found for letting Hasbro know they've missed the mark and just teased me like in the car after Prom?
--Lee

When it comes to many things, it's important for us, as fans, to support the things we like to ensure Hasbro listens and makes more. Although there are things-- like Clones-- that don't need a lot of help.

Fan reaction to the AT-TE gunner went from glee to the super-poseable legs and removable helmets to disgust when after a few minutes, they realized the figure's arms would fall out of his sockets BEFORE losing a round of Dejarik to Chewbacca. While I've been lucky with my Deluxe Clone mold-based Clones, well, that's me. Going forward, I'm sure Hasbro will look back and go "oh, this mold falls apart, let's not use it again." They're aware of these issues and the toys are designed so it doesn't happen-- but sometimes it does, and figures like the Shirtless Darth Maul come into being.

When it comes to molding issues and figures that jumped the shark? Make a stink about it. Make cute little photoshop cartoons showing arms falling off or being eaten by Rancors, or articles about "most dismemberable figures." While I'm not a fan of making a federal case out of it when they release Han Solo with his gun cast in all one color, times like this are usually worth griping about, especially when the figure is otherwise perfect. I've had some Chewbacca arms pop out a little too easily, but nothing beats the AT-TE Gunner mold for quickest falls-apart action. These things can't possibly hold up to play with kids.

3. Firstly I must say that having seen the provisional lists of figures for 2006 on a number of websites that Hasbro has finally done the fans proud. It almost reads like a fan's wish list. How long have we been asking for C-3PO with bending knees or a new R5-D4? There are also a number of very cool figures that many fans would not have realised they needed. The Hoth power droid is beautiful and a clever reuse of an old mould! It seems that Hasbro are going for the sensible option of releasing a good proportion of new figures mixed in with re-releases of core characters. Firstly is there any hope that the rumoured Episode 1 Obi Wan figure will be a new sculpt? Its been six years since the last figure and frankly all the previous versions of this character are laughable. Also what do you think the chances are of Hasbro re-releasing some of the old vintage Kenner vehicles with updated decoration? The two obvious vehicles are the Cloud City Pod Car or the Rebel Transport. I know its ridiculously under scale but so was the sandcrawler and it still manages to be an impressive model. Imagine that level of paintwork on the old transport mouldings. I know they'd have to be an exclusive but if the moulds are there why not use them!
--Ed

We are no longer in the 1980's, so the toy lines we see reflect that. Back then, you could have a line spanning dozens if not hundreds of characters, over several years, with vehicles larger than those old enough to purchase them. In 2005? Not so much.

The tentative listing of figures-- which, as far as I know, is a very possible and very likely list of candidates which may be out of date and could either be entirely right, could have been right at one point, or is dead wrong-- is cool. REAL cool. Almost too cool. It's a sensible list, though-- every wave has at least two core characters and, as the rumors said, about half of every assortment is fanboyish glee. While I would have never asked for Sun Fac myself, hey, the more bugs the merrier. But remember, it's just a list-- don't assume too much from it. C-3PO "Ewok God" may just mean he's preposed sitting, or colored in a way that makes it look like he's sitting in leaves on Endor. All I'm saying is don't be too disappointed, you never know what we'll get, like the shockingly cool new AT-AT Driver and the much-requested Major Derlin.

I am very hopeful that fan questions like yours (along with my pestering) will result in some of the "lost" Episode I figures coming out-- I mean, it would be WONDERFUL if the rumored 2006 TPM Obi-Wan was the unused Kay-Bee exclusive. I have zero information on the availability of the mold or rumors to indicate what it may be, although I really wish I did.

Now... vehicles? I'm under the impression vehicles aren't dead, they're just going to stick with what's ready-to-go. Before you complain, keep in mind today's marketplace-- and the kind of hassle Hasbro toymakers go through when proposing new, expensive products. As a modern kid, would you buy a garish orange vehicle that holds no core characters, was glimpsed at only briefly, has no weapons or firing action, and is based on a toy that sold poorly 25 years ago? Or a giant cigar-shaped blimp with zero action features and isn't capable of storing modern figures with equally limited screen time? These aren't super-safe vehicles. As far as redoing all the vintage vehicles goes, I think you can more or less forget it-- but I'll be first in line to start demanding a Blockade Runner.

Another thing to keep in mind is size and price. The Cloud Car would likely be about the same size as a Jedi Starfighter, $20 or so. Hasbro would surely package 1-2 figures with it, raising the price by another $10. If it's an exclusive, the seller may decide they want to sell it at a premium-- so let's say that's another $10. Right now, you're looking at a $40 Cloud Car, when a vintage one can be yours for as little as $12. If this sounds ridiculous, keep in mind the going rate of the Sandcrawler was $50-$70. Next, the Rebel Transport is very big-- huge, even. Could you imagine this going for under $50? I sure couldn't.

Now, this isn't to say these should never happen. The Cloud Car is a great opportunity-- with ethnic variant pilots (or Bespin Guards) as well as a few variations on the paint scheme, Hasbro and someone else could probably do a decent job selling whatever the new minimum quantity is this week for a decent price, especially if it went somewhere like Toys "R" Us. It's just with no movie support and questionable retailer support, it's not always in the best interests of Hasbro (or you, the collector who may or may not be on a budget) to reissue an old boring vehicle when time and effort can be put in making something new and big and worth $70. (It takes a lot of work to prepare and clean up old molds for production.)

4. We know how Hasbro needs to reissue a Tatooine Luke every so often (for the kids and newbies), and of course how collectors always complain about it. But why not meet us halfway and release a Tatooine Luke with the white stormtrooper belt. That is a variation we have not gotten (aside from the 25th Anniv. set) and it is very prominent on the film. I would include a lightsaber and a blaster rifle with such figure. It makes sense right?
--Venepe

In 1998, Kenner released a Millennium Falcon Gunner Station with a Luke with a stormtrooper belt-- and headset radio. So it's been done, technically, twice so far. I have hopes we'll see a super-poseable version based on the "Death Star Escape," as Hasbro hasn't yet made a carded "Death Star Escape" Luke. (Although we got a good Han out of it.) Snap-on Stormtrooper armor might be cool too, as long as they avoided the whole pegs-and-holes thing of the Obi-Wan in armor.

5. I remember reading somewhere that Kenner modified some figures, vehicles, and playsets from the Ewoks line into some Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves toys. Do you believe Hasbro would be keen on the idea that they could tool up for new Star Wars toys with a mindset to reuse these molds, with slight modifications, for other toy lines, say like G.I. Joe? I can see this happening, with the Turbo Tank, Swamp Speeder, Death Star and Hoth playsets, and just about any trooper (SA Snowtrooper PLEASE). It could be a good way to justify the cost.
--Arturito

Would you believe Hasbro beat you to it? The 2002 Geonosis Arena playset has been transformed into the G.I. Joe Spy Troops Cobra Island playset. (I have one-- $8 well spent.) The floor and a few other bits are recycled from the Star Wars toy, complete with dead Battle Droid bits on the floor! So, as you can see, it has been done, and will continue to be done in the future. However, 3 3/4-inch toys aren't exactly at the apex of popularity and as you no doubt know, Hasbro pulled that size G.I. Joe from all retail stores (for now) to focus on something else. The allure of new, big vehicle molds for Team Joe and Cobra may not be enough for them these days, plus a lot of vocal Joe fans (although not all of them, many of them are nice people) believe Star Wars is and has always been responsible for their brand getting the short end of the stick. (Although if you see how many unique Joe figures came out in 2004, you will no doubt ignore that.)

But yeah, I'd flip if Hasbro did a Turbo Tank and then did an about-face and remade it as a big Joe or Cobra vehicle-- I'm a bit of a Joe fan myself and I'd surely buy any toy from Star Wars done up as a Cobra vehicle. But that's me-- would the Joe fans follow suit? Would Lucasfilm allow the use of a fairly iconic design? Reusing a fairly generic tree village playset and an original forest wagon design is something that's easy to get away with, as is reusing the playset mentioned before AND the 1990 Dark Knight Collection Batman Sonic Neutralizer. (Which was a reused Stormtrooper gun.) And personally, I am willing to believe we will never, EVER see figures jump from one brand to the other-- for a variety of reasons.

6. Ok, so I saw pics of the Animated Clone Wars figures that are coming out this holiday season. I was wondering, are any of these new sculpts? The commander cody looks like the same old animated clone trooper sculpt that we've been getting for years. Why didn't Hasbro actually take on a new sculpt this time since Cody doesn't have the same shape as a normal clone trooper. I really wanted all of that cool armor on the figure . . . but i guess we won't be getting that. Is there any chance that what we are seeing are prototypes, and we may get something better by December?
--Scott

Hasbro, at Celebration III, said we would be getting some new sets of figures with new heads and minimal new tooling-- and these are them. Each figure is based on an existing figure. Grievous is a straight reissue. Commander Cody and the Clone have new helmets, Obi-Wan has a new head, Saesee Tiin is Obi-Wan with a new head, Anakin seems to have been given a lot of new parts, and that's it. Six figures more than we were expecting.

With rumors of Foul Moudama and the Clone Commando in 2006, it's not over yet-- heck, the Jedi vs. Sith Battle Pack is just a Clone Wars gift set. There's still lots of hope!

7. Do you have the Utapaun Warrior yet? How the hell do you get him to hold his shield?
--Brian

Awkwardly.

8. What is the skinny on the new lifesize Gentle Giant Yoda that was shown at the Comic Con? It looks super sweet. Here is a link to the image in your image bank - I haven't heard about this and couldn't find anything on the GG page. What is the price? When can it be pre-ordered, and through whom?
--Dave

As of yet, there's no information available to the public. While I didn't ask about this item specifically, I did get a chance to chat with Gentle Giant's Eric Lyga briefly and was informed there are many items in development, and that sometimes things are shown too early. (Some fans say "they ship too late!" but it turns out actually they were shown too early. Certain point of view, you know.) So this seems to be one of those things we got a sneak peek at and as of yet, it's not yet know what its fate will be.

9. at c3 master replicas showed off their SW poker chip set and mentioned this was due for a fall release, but i havent heard anything else since then... There is nothing on their website about the product. do you know if this still going ahead? Any idea of release dates (and i heard rumours of a limited edition han carbonite set too....) Also do you know of any other Star Wars poker inspired products??
--Nick

A number of items from Master Replicas have been postponed. It's possible this was postponed or cancelled, like the infamous jacket shown at Toy Fair 2003... as of yet, no word on it has been given to me.

10. Do you know where I can find a website that has downloadable copies of the original stickers for vintage and new ships and playsets? I used to check gadders.com and starwarsinserts.com but neither site seems to be operational.
--Doug

I'm at a loss. Anyone?

FIN

I got nothing this week. Although 2006 is looking might interesting, ain't it?

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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