Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
April 3, 2006
1. So far I have been able to find almost all the figures I want this year except 4. Boushh, Power Droid, Lushros Dofine, and Scorch. Will these figures be included in future assortments or am I screwed? Also, I discovered something interesting with my Foul Moudama figure. The Arms are removable so you can take the cloak off. They just pop right out, and you can have a Muftak if you don't already have one. (Im sure youve already figured out the boots are removable too)
The good news is that the year is just getting started and Hasbro only announces new assortments about 3 months out. The bad news is... the previous sentence. We don't have a firm grasp on how many cases and remixes are coming yet, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Power Droid is still shipping, as is Boushh, and so is Scorch. Lushros Dofine came out about two weeks ago-- so if you don't have one yet, don't worry.
(And yes, you DO want one. He's great. I got my new Grievous beating on his console, it's awesome. Lushros = awesome.)
As far as Foul, that's the first I've heard of it! Cool find! So, who's working on Wiphid Jedi figures now?
2. Do you know if Hasbro is aware that the style of packaging they are currently using on their 3 & 3/4 inch Star Wars line lends itself to stealing and figure swapping? And if so, are there any plans that you know of to revert to a style of packaging that is more Tamper Proof? I personally have seen at least 8 figures, beginning with the VOTC line and culminating in the current Saga line, that have been switched.
This has been happening frequently since about 2000, with Power of the Jedi and the G.I. Joe two-packs. As such, fans such as myself and many of you tell Hasbro almost every chance we get that not a week goes by that we don't see swapped out stolen Hasbro product. (And it's almost exclusively Hasbro product, I should add.) There was a point where I saw at least one swap-out on each and every toy run for a few weeks, which is a sign that fans are jerks and Hasbro isn't using the best possible packaging, too, although nearly any package can be exploited if you take the time.
3. What are your favorite figures from the individual lines (ie POTF2, Ep I, AoTC, Saga, ROTS, VOTC, etc)? What is your favorite piece in your own collection, and what are you most excited about for this year's collecting? I'm highly anticpating the Clone Wars Gunship and the Hunt for Grevious TRU exclusives.
Each line has its pros and cons, but the annoying thing is that good figures keep being rendered obsolete. With very few exceptions, figures just keep getting better and better so last year's favorite is tomorrow's junk drawer fodder. Boba Fett, when released in the days following Christmas 1995, was considered a new benchmark in action figures from Kenner. A high point, truly the best we would ever see. And in 2000, his ass was soundly kicked by the Power of the Jedi version who, arguably, had a butt-kicking handed to him in 2004 in the vintage line. Even the awesome POTF2 Jawas got a new paint job.
So... favorites? Hard to say. But here are some figures you will probably want to keep your eyes out for on the cheap.
POTF2: Max Rebo (from the Wal-Mart sets), Pote Snitkin, Yak Face. Why? Good aliens never go out of style. Pote Snitkin's sculpting quality was years ahead of his own time, and is still one of Kenner's finest. Max Rebo still has room for upgrades, but he and Luke (Dark Empire) were my two favorites as far as fannishness in 1998. So he's cool.
SOTE/EU: Chewbacca in Bounty Hunter Disguise is a huge guilty pleasure. You may have noticed I have an affinity for this figure greatly. (Look at the header. I heart Wookiees.) Dark Empire Luke is also awesome, if you liked the series, you need to get one.
Episode I: This series was a wash, mostly, although all the Pit Droids rock and TC-14 is awesome. It's not that the figures weren't good, it's just that many of them were done better later and some of the materials used to make them were less than great looking. Still good, but Sio Bibble could be done better.
POTJ: Boss Nass. All the way. You will not find a better figure than Boss Nass. No, I'm not kidding, this is one of my all-time favorite toys in any toy line in the history of ever. You need this Boss Nass. (And I begrudgingly admit a fondness for BoShek now that he exists as a toy.)
AOTC/SAGA 2002: Ephant Mon, McQuarrie Stormtrooper, pretty much the whole line was quite good with fewer stinkers than one might expect for the volume of releases. Bespin Luke was also awesome.
OTC/VOTC: VOTC Han Solo, OTC Jawas, OTC Dagobah's sub-set (Luke, R2-D2, Yoda, Obi-Wan). These are must-buys. Also, the post-OTC Trevagg and Myo are awesomeness.
ROTS: Hard to say. Lots of good figures, few great ones, although the new Jedi figures were nicely done. The Royal Guard is a favorite, and I very much dug ROTS Darth Vader because, as a toy, it's one of the best. (He can sit in a Jedi Starfighter, doesn't have a helmet that falls off, and his lightsaber won't fall out of his hand. Screw you if you don't like it, it's a well-made toy.)
Saga 2006: Exclusive Astromech Droids. Because they're all in the movies and they're my babies. Kiss them. Also good: all the rest. Seriously. If you're new to this hobby, buy all the Saga Collection guys. All are really great except Barada can be labeled as merely "nice." The paint jobs are superior, the stands are great, and as far as new figures go, they're fun and well designed in most cases. Foul Moudama makes me happy. The repaint Grievous just looks top notch. Seeing the 500th Darth Vader on a $6 package makes me smile. Basically, the Saga Collection currently offers everything you need to start a good collection, except Luke Skywalker doesn't appear until wave 5 and genuinely new characters are lacking. However, it and the OTC lines may be the best-ever starting points for a new collector who likes the prequels but loves the trilogy.
So, what about this year? Well, the droids are something I'm biased for. Who doesn't love robots? Since only two waves have been announced out, and exclusives, it's hard to pick too many favorites, but R5-D4 has me giddy, but even more so is the new Momaw Nadon/Hammerhead. As a kid, he was one of my favorite toys. When the POTF2 one came out, I had to get one early through an online trade-- never regretted it. I got a trilogo POTF2 one just 'cuz and I got the Wal-Mart one and never regretted it. So the new one is high on the list. I love the Clone stuff, but man, I freaking LOVE Cantina stuff.
4. just finished reading your Q&A and have a comment about the Fan's Choice Poll. I did a test on their website: I voted four times -- from one computer. I did this to see if I could, as Hasbro had this problem with their first Fan's Choice Poll (you may remember that they thought someone had hacked into their system at the time). I informed Hasbro that anyone with cookies disabled could vote as many time as they wanted, and shortly thereafter, cookies were required in order to vote on their poll.
Well, with Toy Fare's website, the problem is worse. From my computer, using Mozilla Firefox and ZoneAlarm Security Suite (both of which might affect this), even with cookies enabled, I can vote multiple times, and it accepts every vote. I notified Toy Fare weeks ago, but thus far, they have not corrected the problem, or replied to my e-mail.
Were I so inclined (and believe me, I'm not), I could download a simple, free program that records and repeats mouse movements and clicks, and have my computer vote hundreds of thousands of times in a day, for one or more figures. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has figured this out. What it means, as I'm sure you are already aware, is that this Fan's Choice poll is crap. Thought you'd be interested.
If you decide to post this, you may want to wait until the voting is over.
I could, but then again, I love a good controversy. I also re-voted a couple of times (two for Kir Kanos, one for Gargan) just to see if I could. It seems I could. So there you have it-- if the figure that wins isn't what you like, there's a good chance it's because one person was more vote-happy than you were.
5. My two greatest wants are POTF2 Han Solo with Tauntaun and OTC Boba FettŐs Slave I. I know the POTF2 Ňbeast packsÓ were ultimately clearanced at Toys R US and other places for $10 each or less, but the Han Solo with Tauntaun was hard to find even then. Heck, before my purge, I had two POTF2 AT-ATs had at TRU for $20 each. I want a loose one, but am not willing to pay over $40 for one and have not been lucky on eBay. The Target Slave I is the same deal. I know they were clearanced near the end, but I was on a collecting hiatus. I am unwilling to pay over $40.
Hasbro re-released the Luke with Tauntaun in that great Toys R Us exclusive battle pack. Why no love for Han? I had a loose one before my great toy purge of 2001 and it was my favorite toy from my favorite film. I also like the OTC Slave I better than the POTF2 version.
I was terribly excited when I saw the rumors for a black Darth VaderŐs Jedi Interceptor and a re-release of the Clone Tank and the Droid Hailfire Droid. Will Hasbro re-release my favorite iconic items soon?
Hasbro has no known plans to release the items in question again, but that doesn't mean you're entirely out of luck. (Well, with the Slave I, start trading.)
The Tauntaun-- depending on how you want it-- can be had. Sort of. The Toys "R" Us Battle of Hoth four-pack has a variant. Some of them have Luke's Tauntaun (broken tusk), others have Han Solo (fixed). I'm still in need of the fixed tusk one, myself. It's more or less a better looking version than the POTF2 release, and if you want a Han that can ride it, the 2003 Saga Collection one works just fine and dandy. It's not the SAME as the POTF2 one, but it's a good "close enough."
As far as the rumors for the new vehicles... it'd be nice, wouldn't it? :)
6. Do you know if Hasbro keeps tabs on how much certain figures go for on ebay
or do they read fan site figure reviews? These questions popped in my head
after seeing the exploding grievous was picked for the "heroes &
villains"(aka rots greatest hits) line. The 4 saber grievous goes for a
fair amount yet on ebay and the exploding grievous was poorly reviewed.
If you mean "does Hasbro keep a database that tells them a figure is popular enough on eBay to warrant a cost-benefit analysis of a rerelease?", the answer is no. But they are aware some items are worth a lot and for that reason (and others), items like the OTC red Y-wing came into being. The price was so high of the original, it made sense to put out a new one.
As far as figures go, a lot of fans-- I assume yourself included-- are complaining that the "Episode III Heroes & Villains" assortment sucks. I won't disagree with you there, it is a snoozefest. The rereleases like this are usually determined by how many they sold (something we CAN'T figure out from secondary market values) and which molds are not presently in use. (Plus, I disagree that sub-$20 is a "fair amount" on eBay. $20+, that's a bunch.) The Heroes & Villains wave is a "oh crap stores want more ROTS toys what can we do that fits in with the current line in six months?" kind of thing. It's not a "this will make collectors happy" kind of product, nor is it likely meant to be one.
7. There are sooo many runners around my area coming out of the woodwork to chase these UGH figs making it very difficult and always one step behind them. How long will the run of these figures be and how many case assortments will they be in? Do you think the value of these figs will hold up to what they are currently on ebay?
It all boils down to fan attention spans. These aren't "rare," just very uncommon. Interest is currently through the roof, but when we get distracted in a week when the next wave goes on preorder and in three or four weeks when Momaw Nadon Redux is in stores, you'll get a better idea of what these are going for.
Each UGH figure is in ONE case. Each case with an UGH figure has two, the same breakdown across the board. I would assume an equal number of each was produced and while I would ordinarily say "order a case at EE," this is a good situation to hedge your bets. You never know when Hasbro will say "well, we want it to be a rare thing, so we're all done, thanks."
I'd be surprised if they aren't somewhat popular due to people like me wanting a whole set of the silver holo figures, even though we know damn well we'll probably never get more than half.
8. I remember a long time ago reading that George Lucas wouldn't allow a figure of himself in the line. Now we've seen him as a Stormtrooper, a XWing pilot, and his entire family as background characters from E3. That's all great, but I really want a figure of him in the flannel shirt and jeans, maybe with a directors chair. Any chance at all?
None yet. The issue was that he didn't want a figure named "George Lucas" that was in the flannel shirt, from what I understand, and that he was OK doing Jorg Sacul because it was a "special thing" and not part of the main line. The fact we're getting Baron Papanoida and Georgetrooper raises some eyebrows, but they do fit the same critera as Jorg Sacul-- it fits in with the movie and isn't a "director" figure which, apparently, he didn't want to do when they last asked.
So... what's left? I think that we probably should've all written in "George Lucas Director" for the Fan's Choice poll in hindsight. I think that's a figure a lot of fans could get behind. Of course, I love those old behind-the-scenes photos where you have George talking to Anthony Daniels in full robo-suit with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth slot. That's just awesome and would be the best two-pack ever.
9. Any word on the rumored TRU excl Endor AT AT? a release date? has anyone seen pictures?
There have been no pictures released as of yet. Word on the street says, if it's coming, it's going to scrape $100 and have no electronics. In other words, the POTF2 one may be a better, cheaper option for those just wanting an AT-AT.
Also, a lot of those exclusive "leaks" from earlier may have been early plans and not the Final Definitive Word, as businesses, Hasbro, and retailers often change their mind on a product before it sees final release. (Not that I've heard anything... or have I?) So don't be surprised if things this year don't end up exactly like you may have heard from the many sources around the web, yours truly included.
10. It looks as if the Firespeeder Pilots also do double duty as mechanics. Check out the attached screenshots.
You only see them for a few seconds, but they're there on the left working and on the right standing around on both side of the V-wing.
I'll be damned. Good catch, Johnny! Although I'm sure I'm not going to be the last one now suddenly somewhat elated and irked that I need to go out and buy more Clone Techs. (I had enough Firespeeder Pilots... but Clones? Never enough.)
So, been doing some work on the ol' toy fun fun room. (Everybody needs one.) Nothing beats having your stuff out so you can see it!
One thing I've often mentioned (well, maybe not as often as I should) is that a lot of crappy figures serve a lot of good purposes. For example, those Battle Arena figures aren't as awful as you might have thought-- for example, the Anakin can be placed on the edge of a Gunship and looks pretty great-- especially if you have a cloth cloak around to give him. Also, as you no doubt know, there's no finer Starfighter pilot in the galaxy than the quick-change Anakin-to-Vader deluxe figure, minus the "skirt." Quite handy.
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.)
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!