Q&A For November 21, 2005

 

1. I read a while ago about an X-wing with Wedge figure coming next year, now that the new figure is about to be released does this mean this idea was dropped or is something that never got past the rumor mill? I would like to know so I can start looking for an X-wing for the Wedge figure. I normally wouldn't care but I'm a big Wedge fan.
--Martin

While it's always hard to say what was and wasn't considered for production-- especially as some wings of Hasbro deny that something exists even though a prototype has been shown-- this is an item which I was informed never made it far along enough to happen. Most of my sources seem to indicate that it wasn't meant to be, and since Wedge was in the pipeline for at least a little while, it seems redundant to also offer Wedge with an X-wing. Or so goes the rumor.

2. I'm excited at the rumored return of the Unleashed line as I have zero interest in the new minis. In my opinion, problems with sales of the line would have a lot to do with damaged card backs. I'm an 'opener,' but when they switched to the new artwork, I wanted two each of many of the figures. I had abysmal luck finding any of the figures without those famous rolled-in sides (check eBay, most every honest listing includes a disclaimer about the sides). Ordering a case vs. hunting locally made no difference in card quality. Openers would've been fine, but I'm guessing a lot of carded collectors left them hanging on the pegs.
--Steve

Well, everybody has an opinion on this one. While I know some carded collectors are EXTREMELY anal on matters like this, I have to say, I don't consider this a valid argument, but I would also go out to remind you that my name appears on the column and a good chunk of it is just opinion. Minty-mint figures and packaging are something that you (as a collector) have to work toward, and it's always going to be difficult to find a perfect specimen. Due to the weight of the figure, and the size of the package, dinged corners are going to happen-- so if Hasbro really wants to make "perfect" packages, the Best Buy exclusive Darth Vader may be the way to go. As it comes in a GIANT canister which is quite durable and does a bangup job of showing off the figure. Fans wanting a 100% perfect carded figure are going to be disappointed no matter what, because it's easy to find fault in a figure if you're looking for one. This is why I don't have many figures to keep in the package-- I always can point out something that I find unacceptable, and it makes it easy to say "not worth keeping MOC."

Hasbro's reasoning for killing the line was poor sales. Those whose opinions I listen to tell me they heard the Wal-Mart factor-- the items sold too slowly for the amount of profit they generated-- lead to them going away. The return in 2006 is NOT a rumor-- Hasbro is indeed planning on bringing them back. (Yes, this is what they told me.) Plans change, of course, but that's the plan this week.

I personally think character selection had a lot to do with it. For Wave 1 of the ROTS assortment, we had Anakin, Grievous, and Obi-Wan, and while it did take a little bit longer for the Jedi to sell over Grievous, they all sold out quickly after the movie hit in most, but not all, markets. For series 2, Vader sold out instantly, Yoda & the Emperor sold out almost as quickly, and right now, I can find all the Assaj Ventress figures I can carry at a local Target for $3.74 per. No joke. THIS probably had something to do with the massive delay of wave 3-- every assortment had 1 or 2 figures that could have been a little more popular, even last year. The line presently seems to work better as a collectible than as a "toy," which is the idea, but I do know their popularity is freaking crazy-- at work, we constantly sold right through them. Money is being left on the table by not doing more of these at this size.

Mini Unleashed is better than you might think-- but it's a different beast. It's unfortunate the same name had to be used for both as it will no doubt lead to confusion, but as its own thing, I daresay it has potential. (But my money's still going to the big guys first every time.) My hope is that Unleashed moves to a model where they do something to make it a bit more attractive to all customers, which may unfortunately mean more retreads of characters you have. Of course, I doubt any of you cats would complain about an ESB-themed Boba Fett Unleashed figure or something like that, which I would very much love to see. That, or multiple Unleashed figures forming a diorama of sorts. C'mon, let's see some reasons to buy an entire freaking series all at once, even if one of the three figures is a steaming pile.

3. Southwestern Connecticut has been enduring a dearth of repainted III-06 "Shock Troopers." The aforementioned Mike just told me he's only seen one, while I, also a frequent checker, have seen none. However, the repainted Clone Commander and Clone Pilot have been easy to find and, most surprisingly, the regular, unpainted version of the III-06 Clone Trooper has found renewed vigor, mostly on Target pegs. What do you think is up? Will Hasbro continue shipping the Shock Troopers? I'd rather be surprised and find one unexpectedly in some store than have to bid for one on eBay.
--Edward

It looks like for now, this guy has more or less run his course-- old cases are still shipping to some stores, but not all stores, and obviously this guy is not packed heavily in them. As such, fans need to start griping-- this is a figure that needs to return as an exclusive or elsewhere, as the demand is nowhere near filled yet. I mean, who doesn't want a few of these to help rescue Darth Vader on their Mustafar playset?

4. Are the Lava Obi's and Anikins from Target shipping at the same time?
--ABarra9721

The cases I saw at Target were split down the middle-- half Obi-Wan and half "Darth Vader." I've seen some stores sell out of one, but not the other though-- popularity or scalping speculation probably has something to do with it. Anakin/Vader is probably going to be more popular because the other basic versions of the character are a little tough to get and he's probably the more interesting of the two, all things considered.

5. I purchased an R2-D2 w/ Mustafar sounds a while ago and I wanted to keep it in its package. However, due to inevitable battery leakage, I wanted to open the figure, remove the batteries, and then put it back in its packaging. I have heard this is much easier to do with the new packaging and I was wondering what was the best way of doing it. I have tried this earlier with another figure but ended up ripping the card back pretty badly when trying to slide the figure out from the bottom. Any suggestions?
--Chris

Button cell batteries and their lifespan are a topic of debate, as are the lifespans of all battery-powered toys. A few years ago, I bought and opened a sealed-box G2 Laser Optimus Prime. He's from about 1995. His batteries, to this day, function perfectly. Meanwhile, at my place of work, the batteries in the Simpsons playsets have died in some, but not all, units. Why the difference? I have no clue.

As such, what do you do? Try-me packaging, I feel, is the worst thing to happen to the MISB collector since the introduction of the concept of time. Things age, and degrade-- tape dries up and cracks and peels, toys yellow, or the oils break down and become greasy. And now, you get to worry about batteries and people sticking their greasy dirty fingers on your otherwise pristine action figure. But there's an added issue of the battery-- what do you do?

In some of Mr. Sansweet's wonderful columns, he suggests opening some toys, removing the batteries, and putting them back in the box. (I think. My stack of Insiders are in a box.) With carded figures, though, it's not as simple as cutting some tape and removing a battery, you have to remove the whole insert, take out the figure, and when it's all said and done, you've basically violated the MOC figure. My opinion is to just leave it be-- don't take out the battery. Just make sure it's stored in a cool, dry place and keep your eyes open for corrosion and posts about these problems. Or if you're really concerned, buy two-- remove one's batteries as carefully as possible, but keep in mind once you cut that tape, the figure is no longer MOC. Even if you retape it, it's still an opened item.

6. Have you reviewed the Revenge of the Sith Clone Trooper three packs? I have looked and can not find it. How many different color variations are there for these sets and what are they?
--Derrick

I have not reviewed it, but there are only four flavors of Deluxe three-packs available. 1: All white. 2: green kneeling clone, otherwise all white. 3: red standing clone, otherwise all white. 4: blue "sniper" clone, otherwise all white. A fifth set of these figures was released in a window box, minus a kneeling variant, for Wal-Mart in a special squad color scheme.

You may say "Adam, I saw a pack with all three colors. You are stupid. Even though you said this before anyone else did in an old Q&A, you are still stupid." (This is what I see people saying quite often. Well, the middle part.) That was a Hasbro mock-up and wasn't released-- if you see one, it's likely to be a fake. I say "likely" because you never know if Hasbro decided to suddenly make some, as I pretty much only know what I see and what they tell me, and what they DO sometimes differs from these things.

7. I read in some site recently that there is Titanium series ARC fighter in the Action Fleet scale that will be released. Have you heard about this?
--Robert

Yep-- the ARC fighter and a Droid Tri-Fighter are both due in around January. They're currently available for preorder at finer online retailers and should be available at most, or all, toy stores that stock Hasbro SW product.

8. Is the yellow Clone commander from the evolutions pack just a variant invented by Hasbro or is it based on a movie clone? It of course looks like Commander Bly as the previous question, which is more like the movie version? By the way, looking at the whole group, which of the ROTS clones are not from the movies?
--Rob

The ROTS clone from the first Evolutions set is based on the Star Corps design, the guys who hung out with Bly and blasted Aayla Secura during Order 66. Some have the shoulder pad and other gear flipped, but that's basically it.

As far as which Clones are and aren't in the movies, the jury is still out. It does seem, however, that none of the 3-pack colors were used on-screen, and I'm not convinced the grey Clone with all the gear from the second Evolutions set was, either. The green and red Clone Commanders I didn't notice on the big screen, nor did I see the blue Commander Bacara. I did see what I believe were plain white ones, though, and as far as I know the black pilot was never seen on-screen.

9. I'm a big fan of the Xbox game Republic Commando and I was very happy to see the Scorch - Republic Commando figure coming out with the Battle of Geonosis wave. I'm sure he'll be a popular figure since he can be customized into his other teammates or as a trooper builder. Considering Hasbro's track record of trooper variations, I would assume at some point soon we'll be seeing the other three Commandos (Delta 38, Sev and Fixer) soon, perhaps as an exclusive set through the SWShop or Entertainment Earth? Anything in the pipeline so far that this will happen?
--Mike

I love the designs, as I'm a sucker for Clones and anything that vaguely reminds me of Metroid. It might be difficult to do repaints as there are differences in the accessories and suits to some extent, but I'm sure Hasbro could do it and we'd buy them happily if they did. Absolutely nothing is known to me about this happening, although I can say it'd be something I'd happily buy.

10. Who, or what is 'Tado'? Ever since he was first listed in Entertainment Earth's catalog, Zett Jukassa has been listed as 'Zett Jukassa (Tado)(EIII#52)" and it's only been at EE that I've seen this listed along with his name. Any idea what it means? Was this originally his name somewhere before it was changed? Is it an acronym for something? It's kinda been driving me nuts here for awhile.
--RJ

There was an article on the official site explaining lost parents and all sorts of crap to tie up Jett Lucas' cameos in Episode II and III. "Tado" was the working name for Zett, and that was the name on all the lists Hasbro solicited to vendors-- like the one I work for. (Along with "Flea Rider" instead of "Mustafar Sentry.") So the backstory as made after the fact was that the character as seen in AOTC is Tado, who discovered his family and true identity through some adventure or whatever and is now Zett Jukassa. As far as the toy's name and all goes, it looks like a simple case of trying to explain away two mistakes with one simple off-screen back story.

FIN

Not finding the Utapau Shadow Trooper at Target? Well, we had the same problem. Especially as Target has been, shall we say, less than forthcoming with collectors. So we saw the shelf tags for the figure, but no figures-- and said "hey, how about getting me one of those?" Long story short, we tried this at two stores, and both gave us Clones. So, be sure to ask as it seems a lot of stores aren't putting these out as one seemed to think that they were on the shelf due to unsold Lava Obi-Wans clogging the pegs.

Mario Kart DS is the bestest thing to happen in games in quite some time. Any time I can use a portable system to play against my friends via wireless internet, I will be most pleased. Capcom, if you're reading, I will pay good money for an online edition of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Or maybe a decent Star Wars shooter. Or Spectre. (Remember Spectre? Spectre was awesome and I'd like to see it again.)

Also, I goofed in my haste last week-- the Ewok with Glider is not based largely on the Wicket mold. This is what happens when you don't sleep.

So 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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