Q&A For November 28, 2005


1. I just got my hands of the Code 3 Collectibles 3D ESB poster. It's one of the coolest Star Wars items I have ever seen. I'm having a hard time deciding which other 3D posters to pick up and was hoping you might have some info on what other styles are in the works.

As far as Code 3's poster line goes, there's quite a bit on the horizon, not all of which has been announced yet. Actually as far as Star Wars goes, none of it has really been announced yet-- but there is more stuff on the horizon. For non-SW, there's some Disney posters and Scarface. We HIGHLY advise you snag any A New Hope based posters quickly if you want them as they seem to move the quickest, and are usually the most iconic.

2. Could you verify for us completists out here if the Wal Mart DVD commemorative packs are just repacks? I know the clones are based on the three packs previously released under the Clone Wars and ROTS lines, but recolored. What about the Sith and Jedi three packs?

They are new, and they aren't. It depends how anal you want to be.

The Clone set is new. Get it, that's an easy one.

The Jedi set has Mace Windu with a different lightsaber than this figure's initial release. Anakin and Obi-Wan are pretty much the same as their previous releases though. So here, you're basically buying a figure because it has a different lightsaber-- one you most likely have, if you have Clone Wars Mace Windu. (Doing some research, I found images of the 2002 Mace Windu Arena Battle figure with this saber, but as you know, the toy was released with a metal weapon.)

The Sith set has a slightly different Vader, while the other Darths are pretty much the same or inferior to previous releases. Here, Vader's removable helmet is glued down, and the head underneath is unpainted. So it is different, but this is one variant I actually took a step back, looked in my wallet, and said "I'd be happier with the $10."

I actually only bought one of the Clone set-- I'd buy more Clones but that's all I could find. The other two, I passed on-- Vader's different, but gluing a removable helmet down doesn't strike me as a figure I need to have open and on my "every figure ever" display. If you leave the helmet on, there's no difference.

3. Is the Tie Fighter that's going to be released next year in the Titanium assortment the same mold that was used way back in 96? How fast did those years pass anyway, damn.

It is indeed the Galoob mold, but with new deco. The bulk of the Titanium releases from ANH through TPM are going to be recycled product, so if you're like me and bought a lot of those the first time around, you may choose to sleep through a lot of these.

4. My question is a safety issue regarding the "Titanium" series of micro vehicles. Many parents that want to buy micro vehicles for their children simply arent ok with giving them metal objects to play with, and far prefer plastic. Target retails plastic micro vehicles which seem perfect for children, yet I have heard no word of this line continuing - wouldnt it seem logical for Hasbro to have both metal and plastic versions of the same vehicles to satisfy demand and safety issues?

First of all, these toys have been on the market since the 1990s-- and off the market, when interest waned. They were meant as collector-friendly items, and Hasbro is pushing Titanium as a collector brand, to try to infuse Hot Wheels-level crazy in our hobby. While I don't like it, the point is, kids aren't really the target audience for Titanium. Target's Micro line may still continue but I haven't heard plans for 2006 just yet. (I'm on the fence. I've never had paint literally flake off in my hands before buying the Invisible Hand, which is on my short list for candidates for worst Hasbro SW toy of 2005.)

As plastic is usually better for kids, well, Titanium is meant for adults. $5 for a single Micro-size vehicle? $15 for a single 4-inch figure? Any parent buying that for their kids has other issues to deal with beyond safety.

So, where does this leave us? Obviously, you may be left saying "well, that's all well and good, but what about kids who want vehicles?" Hasbro isn't putting a lot of thought into that. For whatever reason. If you're like me and consider the 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles and, to a lesser extent, small scale vehicles sold as toys and not as collectibles important, make your voice known, write your congressman, and then take solace in the fact that they will likely ignore it.

5. What do you think of sideshows 12" line now that it has been revealed? What about the price point ($49.95)? And, most importantly (to me anyway) how often will they release new figures? I'm hoping for one (or two AT MOST per quarter) because at $49.95 a whack, I can only budget so much... After seeing the pics, I ended up buying, so if the release schedule is right, I'll be in for the line, but if it is too often, I may have to bail and live with my hasbro 12 inchers instead.

Sideshow is going for the adult collector with money market. Hasbro is going for a lower end, mass market approach. Overall, I prefer Hasbro's pricing system, but if Sideshow manages to make good characters and keep the price at about $50, it might be good-- I mean, Hasbro has yet to deliver a decent Clone or Stormtrooper. So the extra money might mean figures that don't suck. (Although from a business standpoint, their ridiculous allocations makes it nigh impossible for anyone to really sell these but Sideshow proper.)

6. I was wondering....
I noticed your pics of the Covert Ops Trooper show BLUE markings on him. On my trooper, those markings are BURGUNDY.

Just wondered if this was a variation....

Well, mine looks purple. I think this is a trick of the light more than anything else, but if anyone wants to start looking for comparisons, please do so-- it would be interesting if there's a big variation but I'm disinclined to believe there actually is one.

7. Hey Adam, I finally got my walmart early-bird figures today and when I opened them up, Luke was missing his lightsaber. Have you heard of anyone else having this problem? Do you have any idea who would be better to call or e-mail to get a new blade? I guess this is payback for getting 2 guns with my mail-away Boba Fett from back in the seventies

In cases like this, go to Hasbro.com and fill out a missing part report-- I'm STILL waiting for my Obi-Wan stickers, so I'll be contacting them yet again this week myself.

8. I have been out of the Star Wars Toy collecting circle for awhile but seeing Revenge of the Sith got me into collecting again. I was able to collect the entire set for ROTS figures and ships. The only item I didn’t pick up was the Anakin Jedi Starfighter (Yellow Version). I did get the Sneak Preview one and just couldn’t see buying another one just because of a missing “Sneak Preview” sticker. So do you think I should get the 2nd release without the “Sneak Preview” sticker as a variant to complete the set? I was just wondering if you thought it might be worth more or less over time?

I honestly don't think the sticker will be something most collectors will care about in the future. With hundreds of figures, vehicles, playsets, and more to get in to, I think most variations are going to be forgotten and ignored in the long run. (Remember .00 and .01? Well, nobody cares.) Vehicles on the whole are starting to be hot items on the collector circuit because fans are realizing how few there are, and how neat they are. The toy in and of itself should be enough to make it a beloved toy, the box itself will likely not.

9. When the “Revenge” line first came out the Battle Buddies had 5 characters in it. I had found 4 of them at most stores – R2D2, C3PO, Trooper, and Yoda. The fifth one, Chewbacca I purchased at a KB Toys. I have never seen Chewbacca again. I remember reading (internet I think) that George Lucas did not like the way he came out and had them all recalled. What do you know? Is this true? Is this a rare piece? I never see it listed on any websites for sale. I do not see a picture on any sites (rebelscum check lists for example). Let the collecting world know.

According to our Hasbro rep, this item was never released. Then I found one at Kay-Bee. Obviously, something's amiss-- the toy wasn't recalled, but it was indeed shipped in small quantities. At this time, it seems this and the electronic R2-D2 wrestling buddy are going to be (for the time) hard to get, so I would qualify both as being rare pieces. This week. Who knows what may show up in 2006 on a blowout sale.

10. I was really pleased to see the speed at which Sideshow's exclusive 12" Luke went to "sold out," indicating that there's going to be a healthy market for these things. Have you heard any rumblings about future installments (beyond the Expanded Universe figure)? I'm ferociously keen on seeing them do a Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan, since Hasbro never got around to it.

Early rumblings from Sideshow indicated a strong desire to do figures we haven't seen in that size before, as it would be useful to justify the higher price point and Lucasfilm's strong desire to make these figures worth the price tag. But doesn't the fact it sold out in a day or so worry anyone else? There's a lot of collectors that will be left out in the cold, and a lot of money left on the table-- tiny runs like this don't help anyone.


So what else.

I seem to be inadvertently angering people by doing nothing lately. It's quite amusing when you have emails come to you telling you that apparently you're doing things to destroy their way of life and you've had little to no contact with said person. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but it does cast a cloud on the silver lining that's been most of the past few months.

The podcast experiment is going well. I'm answering questions on it from this column (so you can hear me badly read your answers and answer them in a barely coherent matter), and I'm cramming in news from all over as I can find it. It's currently up for download at two places, and it's the same at both-- one is 16bit.com and the other is Entertainment Earth. You might like it, you might not, but what you will like is that I'm going to be using it to tell you toy news from Toy Fair in New York as well as any and all trade shows I go visit from now. That's right folks, I'm going to skip sleep to barely belt out toy news of dubious value to you. Good times. I'm hoping to interview some people in the Star Wars merchandise biz, and if I do, I'll be passing the mic (sort of) and let you know so you can send in questions to ask. (Hey, you'd do the same for me, right?)

I'm working on some more reviews, which have been slow due to my unusual desire to see human beings and not sit in front of my computer after working. So you might be in for one of those this week, most likely for one of the exclusive clones. You might say "that's boring, I don't care." Good for you. But for the fence sitters out there, I hope this might be somewhat useful when they're ready.

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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