Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
May 22, 2006

 

1. The TRU in my area sucks.If they get a shipment of product in,it will be on a day I have to work.I am concerned that TRU will get a limited run of the Gunship.This one is cool.Do you think TRU will get more of the gunships.I am worried that they will only get 2 shipments of them and that it.
--Chad

Given Hasbro's minimum production runs that we HAVE heard (allegedly), it would make sense if there are many, many units coming down the pike. The TIE Fighter from Target in 2005 is a similar item that people (myself included) went batty over and ultimately came out in very healthy numbers. (Unless you live in one of those freak towns with 1.4 Targets and you visit them every third week. In which case, I don't need to hear about it.)

To set your minds at east, I will play The Math Card.

According to Toys "R" Us corporate, 587 stores in the USA still stand. (Internationally, exclusives are counted differently, tracked differently, and distributed differently-- for example, TRU Germany carried the Celebration III Darth Vader. So for the sake of this answer, we're going to ignore Europe, much like Hasbro Europe generally does.) So we have 587 stores, and most stores seem to have received 1-2 shipments as of when I write this. So assuming (key word) 2 shipments with 2 ships per, that's about 2,400, plus whatever Amazon got. That simply cannot be the entire run because Hasbro isn't that generous when it comes to exclusives-- these things are made in the tens of thousands, if not twenties, thirties, or in some cases, beyond. (Or, as I say, so I hear-- I don't have hard data on this as Hasbro does not give it out, I have hearsay, conjecture, and what employees post on forums.)

So I firmly believe you will have many opportunities at this ship, partially due to its high price point. I mean, they're still shipping Millennium Falcons, and the blue Obi-Wan Kenobi Starfighter from last year received multiple shipments and numerous stores had them sitting for a few weeks. (Though the green Starfighter, not quite so lucky.) More than likely, this will go through the phases through which most TRU exclusives go-- rarity, the first real roll-out, and then an eventual glut. (Followed by a sudden, immediate evaporation.) Most non-individually-carded TRU exclusives have sat a bit here and there, even the TIE Interceptor and AT-ST/Speederbike set in many markets. As such, I wouldn't worry about quantities.

Now popularity, that remains to be seen. I hear from parents who have kids who live Clone Wars and obviously collectors are really loving the heck out of this ship, which is somewhat shocking and from where I stand, a huge blessing for the future of the line.

Of course, I'd still say that it wouldn't kill you to order at Amazon. They don't bill you until it ships and you can cancel your order. Think of it as insurance, the worst that can happen is you get a second one you can sell on eBay, trade, or return for a full refund. (Or hang from your ceiling. You know you want to.)

2. I was wondering if, now that the REAL original trilogy movies are coming out (finally), hasbro will consider doing figures of characters cut from the films like Arliel Schous and the original Spirit Anakin. (I know you mustve gotten alot of questions about the latter). Hasbro must realize that this figure would sell. And I'm a huge fan of aliens, and Arliel has been on my wish list for some time. A two pack with Arliel and Melas would be an interesting set would'nt it? (ive got Ketwol and Lak Sivrak dueling in my cantina diorama)
[additional questions sent in a second email later]

I know i just sent you a question, but I just remembered something. I've been thinking about 4 of the characters on my top ten wish list, Cane Adiss, Dice Ibegon, Loje Nella and Kal'Falnl C'ndros. These are the types of characters that noone really knows what they look like below the neck(s). I was wondering what kind of process they would have to go through to get body designs for these characters to make figures of them.

In the Secrets of the Sisar Run book, Kal'Falnl C'ndros is actually pictured (page 30). (She looks like a giant ostrich.) And on the cover of the Jedi Apprentice book "The Shattered Peace" (# 10) a member of Loje Nella's species is pictured, showing that they are probably bipedal. Ive also seen a custom of Cane Adiss that was dragon-like.

Would Hasbro go through the trouble of researching like this if they found that fans really wanted these characters? And do you think that theyd be characters that would sell?

--lowtek

Section 1:

First, allow me to translate for my readers some of the names mentioned here. (While many of you are hardcore encyclopedias, not all of us are.) Arliel Schous is a werewolf from the Cantina that was cut, he was the one with the glowing eyes and his species is known as the Defel. Melas is the backwards-mask frog based on Ketwol from the Special Edition Cantina scenes.

Now, how about Anakin? Well, I'm writing this answer a bit in advance, by now you've possibly seen my FOTD (Figure of the Day) column in which I look at one of two pre-SE Anakins based on the likeness of Sebastian Shaw. In 1998, a spirit was made that was clear blue, and based on the original Anakin design. In 1999, a figure, essentially a non-spirit version, was released in stores complete with Lightsaber for reasons on which I am still not completely clear. So if you want Spirit Anakins, you're covered. No, they're not as good as the 2004 Spirit of Obi-Wan, but I don't like to make cases for upgrades of characters with no real screen time and no dialogue. (Plus a new Spirit Yoda would be a better seller first.)

OK, Section 2:

Translations return: Cane Adiss is a two-headed giraffe alien from Jabba's Palace-- don't worry if you missed it, so did everybody else. Dice Ibegon is a lamprey-ish snakey alien from the cantina, who sat around Lak Sivrak (the other wolfman.) Loje Nella was originally known as "The Toadstool Terror" (for all of you who remember the TV special Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi) and basically looks like a mushroom. Kal'Falnl C'ndros is a pair of legs, little more than a special effect that, over a decade after the movie was completed, was given a real backstory and a name.

While these may be some of your favorite characters alien designs, do keep in mind that a) most fans have no idea who they are and b) no seriously, most fans have no idea who they are. Not that the designs which we have seen aren't striking, nor that they aren't better/more interesting/whatever than toys we DO have, but I'd say at this point we're probably reaching. I mean, we still don't have Geezum, the Snivvian (Snaggletooth) from Return of the Jedi, and countless other figures. When it comes to obscure aliens, I have a hard time really saying why any one is better than the other, because, let's face it, at this point it's a crap shoot anyway. While Hasbro has been much more conservative with new alien sculpts as of late, I don't believe that, aside from the Neimoidian Warrior, and of them really seemed to be much of a liability at retail. (Still, Hem Dazon's going to be an interesting case to watch.)

When it comes to designing the "rest of the figure," there's a rich history of phoning it in. In the old days, Kenner would make something up and it'd get rubber-stamped, which resulted in some most curious looking figures for Greedo, Hammerhead, Walrus Man, and both versions of Snaggletooth. When Hasbro makes a figure based on a head, I'm not sure the exact process, but if they want to do an alien, they'll do it. Hem Dazon is nothing more than a head on a stick, and we're getting a figure now. A few years ago, Galoob designed a mini-figure for the character that looked significantly different. What I'm basically getting at is that by the hand of Lucasfilm, there's room for interpretation-- as you've seen in a few books. If fans demanded a character through, say, Fan's Choice, then yes, Hasbro would indeed have to get a design made/approved/found to make the figure. But, it's all very hypothetical, and as such it's difficult to speculate as to what we would actually get.

I don't like to say "good idea" or "bad idea" too much because things get out of hand, result in an in-joke, and then get made as an action figure. Anything can happen, as we've seen over the past nearly 11 years, but I wouldn't get my hopes up over anything that doesn't have a complete (or nearly complete) design or some history behind it.

3. Recently there was a post with scans of and advertisement for the titanium series. Under the Ultra section there was a jedi starfighter listed. Do you know if this will be the Episode II version that was never produced as action fleet but has a prototype? Or will it be the Episode III version that would offer them numerous variations on color schemes?
--Jay

As of right now, there's no information as to what this ship will look like. Outside that little advert and a mention on Hasbro's own Titanium Series web site, this hasn't even been discussed-- so, we're going to have to wait and see.

4. I was reading the last Q&A and question 10 was about imperial officers. I was just thinking it might be a good idea to do a big boxed set of all the imperials we have. Not troopers but anyone not in a helmet. There's a handful of them now( as you said "To date, we've received 3 generic officers, a Scanning Tech (POTF2 case and OTC versions), Tarkin (ANH and ROTS), Thrawn, Piett, Ozzel, Motti, Veers, and Jerjerrod's on the way." Throw in a Vader and Emperor figure and maybe even an imperial dignitary and it would make a decent exclusive set for EE or wal mart or something. I hear that army building is popular now so wouldn't this fit in well with that? I'm not really sure how popular the officers have ever been. I've generally skipped them because I didn't care. I have a couple of them though. (This could also be done for the Rebels I'd imagine Ackbar, Mothma, Madine, Dodonna, etc.)

Even more, why not do a trooper multi-pack. There are the evolution packs but those only have 3 figures. I'm thinking something with like 7-8 or more. Marvel Legends has those multi packs with the Fantastic Four or Spiderman villains. This would be great for collectors who like to army build and it would be good for kids who like to actually have their armies fight (I would think). Is Hasbro afraid of "flooding the market"? I don't see many troopers on the shelves but there are plenty on eBay so as far as Hasbro is concerned they are selling.

I know this is one of those speculative hypothetical type questions you get so often but I'm just curious what you think of these ideas.
--Dan

Define "popular."

Diamond/Previews got an exclusive set with six bounty hunters and Darth Vader. When this was announced, I groaned. For once, someone made an exclusive that I can ignore! (Yeah, I got one, sue me.) But the point being, it was boring and it was boring with the most fan-crazy popular characters they could do. Short of doing a set with Vader and his personal squadron of Clones/Stormtroopers/whatever, there aren't many opportunities for doing a new, exciting box set of 100% existing product. That, and I think we all can agree that ultimately, it's more important to see new, exciting figures than repeats.

Marvel Legends' multipacks are generally very well priced ($30 or less for 4-5 figures that are ordinarily close to $10) and are, especially at Wal-Mart, pushed at kids. These exist not only for collectors as much as a stab at a mass-market audience, so it's an apples/oranges situation most of the time. (Although there's no doubt collectors buy the hell out of these, too, but these are often bought as gifts for young 'uns.)

Evolutions were an especially special case. They took "vintage" quality figures, of core characters which collectors, kids, and parents would recognize, and pumped them out at a fair price with scores of accessories. This is a core character issue: the best-ever Darth Maul figure, the best-ever Darth Sidious, the best-ever Anakin (E2 and E3), and tons and tons of other best-ever figures were put out in sets with 100% new sculpts that were virtually never complained about. These were foolproof gift sets that appealed to everybody, and many stores were irate Hasbro didn't have more variety and quantity to buy. (See also: Battle Packs 2005.)

Also, kids don't traditionally army build. Think back to your childhood: how spoiled were you? Me, I think I had one Stormtrooper until I started collecting. (Although people kept giving me Lograys and Chief Chirpas. Dammit.) While I have no doubt that there are some kids with piles of troopers, they're a minority. Kids are more likely to have a dozen Leonardos than they are a dozen Foot Soldiers.

I don't see this as a safe item as a gift set, although throwing Officers in other packs with other figures (i.e., 3 Stormtroopers & an officer) or individually packaged ones make a lot of sense. And, as I also said, we've got at least two all-new Officers in 2006 alone. We're not doing bad, and so far, we're seeing great sales out of the wonderful General Veers figure. Keep supporting the line and pestering Hasbro, buuuut a big box of more of the same is something that, while possible, appeals to a very specific audience. An audience, by and large, that probably owns those figures, and they can all be had on eBay. And, as you know, I'm generally going to point to eBay before praising yet another reissue.

5. those Senate Pods from the Skirmish in Senate set are great, and I wondered if you thought (if demand for these was crazy) that we might see a Deluxe line that includes a re-released Senate Pod with one or two pack-in characters. These could be new characters (if they were feeling adventurous!) or an obvious repack (Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, Senator Padme, Shock Trooper etc). This would satisy fans who need these characters; would be an easy-ish repack win for Hasbro; and allow more die-hard diorama builders the chance to get their hands on more Pods for - ideally less bucks than the cost of the full battle packs. They would also take up less shelf space in stores. What do you think?
--Findlay

At first, I thought there would be. It was great to get a new quasi-vehicle and somewhere to put my senator action figures. A few weeks after I got mine, it's starting to look unlikely. A lot of collectors are buying extras of these for the clones and aren't sure what to do with their extra pods. (HINT: Please contact me regarding trades if you're one of these people. Thank you.)

I think that's a great idea and one I've batted around a little as well. I think it's going to boil down to the figures included, and to the price. This might be better saved for the TV show-era, or as a low-cost exclusive. A pod and a couple of figures for $10 or so would be ideal, but with the rising cost of figures, that seems unlikely. Although the potential for greatness is there: do the other Wookiee senators. Make some Twi'lek senatorial vixens. (For added sales, use "vixens" on the packaging.) Heck, this would even let them crank out another Padme and Bail Organa-- which would be cool with new molds. The problem is, all of the action sequences in the senate-- all one of them-- have been represented as toys with the gift set. Still, one can hope!

Repacks-- as stated above-- are worrisome. I think Mon Mothma + Pod = $10 is a nightmare waiting to happen. I mean, look at the 2002 Wal-Mart Cantina Packs... those were $10 for essentially a repaint/retool plus a bar. That's what this would likely be, though, and with no new figures these would be quite boring. New figures, though... heck yeah.

6. Apart from EBAY, have you seen the Utapau Shadow Trooper sold anywhere? I think I can safely assume its been off the shelves of TRU for ages, so that leaves me online or with collectors shops. How much is it selling for in the secondary shops?
--Derek

This figure was (fairly) widely available in late 2005, with most collectors being able to find one with little problem. It was available at Target (not Toys "R" Us) in the USA and, I believe, other stores internationally. It sold for about $13 in the USA, and on eBay, goes for about $16. As such, to eBay with thee!

7. Why does the Target exclusive General Greivous' packaging has Kenner molded into the plastic shell (on the back). At first I thought it was because it was the same clamshell used for the Vintage Saga figures but they don't have Kenner on them.

The second question has to do with the Galactic Hunter editions of the figures. I was in Wal-Mart last night as they were unloading a delivery and they were putting out new cases of waves 2.5 and 3 (as written on the boxes). I was very excited, thinking that I would be able to get a couple of the figures but when I looked in the boxes there weren't any from the galactic hunter. Plenty of Scorch, Commander Cody, and everybody else. My question is if there is any way of knowing if a certain box/wave has the silver edition figures without opening them up.
--Peter

Hasbro has yet to say why there's a Kenner logo on the Grievous. It's possibly a rejected concept or a sign of things to come, I'd assume the latter is fairly likely. Heck, they brought back "Galoob."

8. Call me dated and even old-fashioned, but I do still like my old POTF2 figures. Buff Han, Chewie, and Vader look good to me, and I cant help but think that my daughter will appreciate their durability when she is four years old and mixing playing with them with chewing on them. That said, I must concede that their articulation is a significant shortcoming. Having missed out on the VOTC collections (the definitive figures, I am told for all figures that have been made), can you tell me which are some of the other good incarnations that have come out for Vader, Solo, and Chewie? Is the new vintage Endor Han as good as VOTC? Are they the same? What about Vader? Having missed him in VOTC, what is a good second choice?
--dlarner

It's largely subjective-- no matter how good something is, someone else will tell you it's rubbish. For example, I think the 500th Darth Vader (reissued as Hoth Vader in 2006) is crap and costs too much when compared to the similarly priced Evolutions set, which has the best Darth Vader figure ever. Which, again, is up for debate as some fans hate the removable helmet and cannot afford Krazy Glue.

The new Endor Han from the Vintage Saga Collection line is, essentially, the same as the Original Trilogy Collection Vintage figure with some tweaks and a coat. His torso is completely new, and while many of his parts are newly sculpted, they are going to look very much inspired by the older figure.

Chewbacca was a huge upgrade during the Vintage line, and the same sculpt was reused for the Early Bird Set. Arguably, that's the better one to get as he has a ANH-head and foot holes.

Also, the going rates of many Vintage figures on eBay is pretty low-- with a little looking, you can probably score the entire set in a single auction on the cheap. Which is worth doing, as these are largely good figures and, if nothing else, an interesting subset unto themselves.

9. I purchased the Vintage Luk Skywalker X-wing Pilot and after I opened it I noticed that the proof of purchase tab wasn't there. do you know if I can send in the proof of purchase on the bottom of the SAGA insert instead or will I have to buy another one?
--Josh

You might want to consider sending an email to Hasbro customer support on this one-- they're pretty adamant about getting the stickers on the order form (which may also be missing from Luke) and as such, they should know about this. Actually, I would hope everybody that finds a "stolen" sticker lets them know-- otherwise, they're going to assume the reports on the forums are isolated incidents. (That, and maybe you can get George.)

10. Adam, will hasbro ever go back to the light sabers we got from 1995-2001(action figures)?ever since AOTC's line came out, i have had nothing but, problems with light sabers breaking and all i do is display them. clearly hasbro must know that the little piece that goes into the handle has no strength in it. any chance will see some stronger light sabers in the future? thanks
--Troy

I assume you mean two-piece lightsabers? If so, yes-- they vary from figure to figure. Sometimes Hasbro makes them with one piece, and others, two. Since 2002, some of the many figures that are all one piece include: 4-armed General Grievous, Battle Pack Clone Wars Anakin and Obi-Wan, Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader, Vintage OTC Darth Vader, Vintage OTC Luke X-wing, Vintage OTC Obi-Wan, Vintage OTC Luke, Jedi Luke (Saga/OTC), and I could go on. Basically, some do, some don't. As stated above, report all breakage to Hasbro, otherwise they won't know about the problem and won't be able to go "hey, maybe we should do something else" at the next development meeting.

FIN

Oy. Busy week. Bad week. It looks like my car is dying and... let's just say that all the people who put up "please send me $2 if you like this web comic/magazine/whatever" Paypal "tip jars" make a lot of sense to me now. I should've capitalized on that 10 years ago when people actually read my stuff and liked it.

Speaking of tons-o-fun, Figure of the Day is shaping up nicely. As stated elsewhere, enough people read it to make me glad to do it. Not tons of people, but enough that I think showcasing modern figures on a daily basis is something that's actually worthwhile. The column will end after I've looked at every unique, modern 3 3/4-inch action figure. With Hasbro pumping these out at about 60/year plus exclusives and multipacks, I think I might have this going through the end of 2008. (I expect significant quantities of figures for the TV shows, I should add. Well, at least 6.)

For the record, I'm going out of my way to include more and better information and trivia when it comes to dull figures. The Rancor Keeper, I believe, was my strongest entry-- yet, nobody wanted to read it. For shame.

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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