Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 12, 2006
1. I'm still kicking myself for passing on a General Grievous "Invisible
Hand" Trade Federation play set I found at Target about 6 months ago.
Now, I'm looking for it but can't seem to find it anywhere, at any
price, including ebay. I'd really like one of these for a diorama I'd
like to put together (not to mention some core ships.) I have 4
titanium Republic Assault ships ready to deploy for it. What's the
deal with the complete lack of ships from the battle over Coruscant
anyway? Any advice where I can get one of these?
Short answer: eBay. I know I keep saying it, but a lot of people seem to forget that the secondary market (read: not Target, not Wal-Mart, not Kay-Bee, not ShopStarWars.com, not Entertainment Earth, etc.) is very important to collecting. Things go out of production, and you need to actually hunt. I don't mean "hit a bunch of stores," but you have to network, call around, trade, and bid-- that's how it's done these days.
Long answer: don't kick yourself. This is a rotten vehicle where the blue paint flakes off if you touch it. I bought the entire Micro line from Target (as they were exclusives), and to date, have only opened this one to have it fall apart in my hands. As such, I would say no Invisible Hand is better than this one, unless you can get a screaming deal on one. Even if you were to find one, and open it, be extremely careful with it.
Also, keep in mind that Revenge of the Sith is still reasonably new so Hasbro still should get a grace period before we call them out for not making anything. With that in mind, in the past year, from the Battle of Coruscant, we've received the Invisible Hand micro set (as well as Jedi Starfighters, the Droid Tri-Fighter, and other micro ships); Titanium Republic Cruisers, Vulture Droids, Droid Starfighters, ARC Fighters, and so forth; action figure scaled Tri-Fighter Droids, Jedi Starfighters, Buzz Droids, Vulture Droids, ARC-170... wait a minute. Nearly a dozen toys total isn't exactly a "complete lack" of items in my book, it seems there's more vehicles, action figure scaled, from the Battle over Coruscant than there are Ewok figures in the modern line.
You're all are just messing with me now, aren't ya?
2. Do you think Gentle Giant is shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak, only releasing 1,000 of the Black Stormtrooper busts when SURELY they can sell much more than 1,000 units. Ditto for the upcoming Shock Trooper & Mara busts.
Yes, and no. Yes, they could sell more, but the problem with all limited edition items is that to keep the line's momentum, they have to stay limited-- there has to be a demand. Making fewer items and charging more for them is one way to do this, and it's hard to determine the real demand for these things. You might say "make one for everybody that wants one," but that's an unsafe number. Stores cancel orders, and lots of dealers buy these up and have their friends join in with the hopes of reselling them later. What's the real demand for Black Stormtroopers? Hard to say.
Gentle Giant isn't in the business of mass-producing busts for everybody-- they want to make a limited edition collectible. That's the point of the product, really, because when you get right down to it, if this WASN'T limited, would you care at all? It's a tight line to walk. If they cranked out 5,000 units, that might be too many, and too many units on the market doesn't do anybody any good. I would say 1,000 is a little low, but when you get past the scalper factor, that's probably very close to the real demand for an item of this nature.
3. I heard that there may be 10 more UGH figures for the Basic line later this year. Have you heard any rumors about this?
While fans are speculating that this may happen, it's largely coming as part of a complicated game of "telephone" where it passes through enough people and it's "confirmed." I've heard ZERO buzz confirming this, although it seemed successful enough to see Hasbro doing it again, after all, they didn't make enough product to fill all their outstanding orders for these figures.
With all of this recent talk of the Original (original?) Trilogy (OOT?!) DVD release coming up, I was suddenly reminded of a question I've had for some time. Anyone out there have any idea why my laptop computer's DVD player reads all of my other DVDs as their given title but lists ROTS as "Charlotte_Disc1"?? I rent a lot of movies and every single one of them comes up on the DVD menu as the title of the movie. What gives with Sith being called Charlotte? Any ideas?
I believe I heard this was due to an authoring red herring-- to throw people who looked at the disc off from what it actually was. I can't remember if I got this confirmed, though.
5. So it's become very apparent that collectors can't get enough of clones. I am definitely one of those collectors who can't get enough (although I am very upset that I have never seen one Gree or Bly figure EVER) and I think that Hasbro has probably caught whiff of that by now. My question is, since everyone loves clones so much, why is Hasbro so hesitant to make different types like Bacara's or Grees troops, or even some vehicles? I want to put my clones to work. All they have is a gunship, an arc 170 and the weapons they come with. I'd like to see a V-wing or a torrent fighter hit shelves at some point, or maybe a couple walkers would be nice. An army is only as good as it's equipment, and so far it looks like they're going to be on the loosing end of any fight unless we get them some stuff.
I wouldn't say Hasbro's completely neglecting Clones. About 30 unique Clone figures were made since 2005-- 30! That's a lot! And as far as vehicles go, two of the three most expensive Prequel vehicle designs in the modern line are devoted to Clones. The "flagship" vehicle for the last two movies was Clone-based, and really, that's more than I'd expect in the way of focusing on Clones. We're spoiled, basically, is what I'm getting at. It's slow in coming for vehicles, but that's true for the entire line. My Ewoks haven't gotten any new vehicles either. I'm not seeing any new Star Destroyers, capital ships, Gungan subs, Coruscant Taxis for my Senators, etc. I can say the same thing about Jabba's Palace-- dozens of aliens, and only one cardboard diorama and a crappy rerelease skiff vehicle. See where I'm going with this?
While we all love Clones, Hasbro's gone from all but ignoring them in 2002 (except for 3 Clone figures and 1 vehicle) to overcompensating in 2005 (2 large vehicles, the AT-RT, and close to 40 Clones if you count the exclusives based on AOTC.) Yes, I agree, I want more vehicles too-- but just take a step back and look at the pacing. Unless Hasbro does another "Clone Wars" line (and I expect them to with the new TV series), it's never going to be 100% Clones, which is what I expect the bulk of you really want but won't ask for directly. Frankly, I don't even want an all-Clone line, but I don't see harm in new Clone toys.
In the modern line, the Jedi seem to be getting the best treatment, although many would likely debate this as well. Most of the major (read: speaking role or appears for more than 4 seconds on film) Jedi have toys, plus there's multiple Jedi Starfighters and the Council Screen Scenes. But after that, it's all Clones-- there's no other division in the line that gets as much love from Hasbro as the Clones do. Every day or two, someone says "Hasbro needs to do more Clone stuff!" and I post the question here and I'm not sure if a different answer is expected or if someone thinks I can do something about it. I'd love to see more toys made too, but this year is already pretty jam-packed with figures. We're going to get over a couple of dozen Episode III reissues, a couple dozen exclusives, more new vehicles, and likely another 60 basic figures. Hasbro can only release so much product, and they're making items from SIX movies. They're doing a good job trying to cover all the bases and not ignore any of the films, but the market can only support so much.
I'm not debating the Clones do well, but there's a limit to how well they can do. Kids do buy them, but not like us-- even at 2 per case for several cases, it's only now where a lot of us are seeing unsold Utapau Clone Troopers on a regular basis, and I've never seen Scorch or Cody in stores. To guarantee Star Wars has steam to run for years to come, Hasbro has to hold back on some figures so we have something to clamor for later. (I mean, they waited a year for Cody, after all.) By giving us most of what we want immediately, the line would die, or turn into a 100%-kid-friendly line until they give up, then it'd die.
While I would love to see some Clone fighter vehicles, it's going to require lots of pleading and probably an opportunity for a repaint to happen. That, and it's going to require you asking them-- *not* me-- so they know what it is you'd like to see. I've had numerous times in the past where I mention all the stuff you guys are asking me about to them and they go "oh, we've not gotten many requests for that."
6. Hi I love these Q&A keep up the good work. What's up with the ToyFare Star Wars Fan Poll? Have you heard in more about it?
No announcements have been made on this as of yet. At this rate, I would almost wager they're waiting to announce it at Comic-Con in July.
7. Just wanted to ask you if you have heard anything
about the re-release of the large interactive R2-D2
remote figure. The one that retailed for something
like a $100.00 to $125.00 depending on where you could
Hasbro has made this item available to numerous accounts but as of yet I haven't seen any evidence of Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Kay-Bee, or Kmart picking it up. Last year, it was rereleased, and sold at ShopStarWars, Entertainment Earth, HasbroToyShop.com, and a couple of the warehouse stores. (Costco, what have you.) It is indeed coming out again, and stores just received shipments a couple of months back but most sold out due to presales. But, just because there's no word of heavy brick-and-mortar distribution doesn't mean it won't happen, but if you aren't visiting warehouse stores, watch your favorite online toy stores for availability. There's been numerous opportunities to get this one since late last year, so just be vigilant and don't hesitate to whip out the credit card when you see it next.
8. I'm a fan of the Galactic Heroes line; it seems to be doing pretty well, I'd just like to get your forecast on its growth potential. I'd really love to see some more secondary characters made (which doesn't seem unrealistic, as they made Zuckuss and 4LOM). Any chance we'll see some more representation from Jabba's palace (Jabba himself, Ree Yees, Weequay, 8D8, The Max Rebo band, etc.)? Not to mention the cantina patrons or more Jedi council members, and wouldn't Admiral Ackbar or Nien Numb look great in this line? What about a rancor?
Anything's possible-- they're making a Wedge Antilles for the kiddie line, so I would say the chances of a figure appearing in Galactic Heroes is just about as good as it appearing in the regular line. It's just all up to Hasbro as to what they want to do with it, and of course, your requests. The songs you want to hear. "Caravan" with a drum solo? Not a problem.
9. I understand the whole stance on playsets, but doesn't a sarlaac monster seem like the biggest no-brainer of the series? It could have a little bag or something sewn underneath to hold the victims; made proportionate with the standard figure size, the whole thing wouldn't even have to be that big! Everyone, kid and collector alike would buy one, no question! Has this ever been considered? I'd love to know the answer.
Too many fans make a big stink about items that they'd buy "no matter the price" only to back out the second it comes on the market for one reason or another. As such, I can see why Hasbro hesitates on higher dollar items. A few years ago, Transformers fans saw a prototype for Unicron, a giant (well, 13-inch or so) planet eating robot that turns into a planet itself from Beast Wars Neo and tons of them swore they would pay $500 or more for it if it saw production. (Word was going around it might be made as a limited edition kit.) When a $50 Unicron came out, most fans balked at the price.
We've seen similar situations with Hasbro. Fans cry and demand for Amanaman, he goes on clearance. Fans demand a Clone Wars Gunship with the "space whale" markings, and I still don't hear the end of the complaints about the price. (Although, as of yet, I've never seen these stick around for more than 1-2 days at retail so he may be an exception to the rule.)
In this day and age, there are no "sure things" aside from some of the action figures. So Hasbro has much reason to worry about higher-dollar items and for this reason, we're being given little more than repaints. (Some nice repaints, but still.)
So let's look at the Pit of Carkoon. On one hand, sure, it'd be neat and fun and I've always wanted one. On the other... what exactly is it going to be? A hole? Will there be a Sail Barge or Skiff attached to it? Will it be nothing more than a hole that you dig in a sandbox with a mouth? Ideally (to me, at least) it'd be part of a Sail Barge playset so you'd get a complete play pattern by itself. Without a Barge or Skiff, it's just a hole in dirt, unfortunately, and most kids (and many collectors) don't have a Skiff to interact with it. So while I agree that it's a great scene, one of my favorite parts of the movie series, and something that I would buy, it might not be the right thing to do right now. If Hasbro had Skiffs or Sail Barges on the market, it might be an easier sell.
Galoob's Sarlacc from the MicroMachines line was great, and pretty much what I would like to see but in a larger scale. It's a mountain with a hole in it, and a "trapdoor" of sorts for figures to be eaten. There were also places to park a Skiff, or Sail Barge, on top to complete the scene. Problem is, when you balloon that up to figure scale, it's going to be BIG. (Or we're going to complain that it's too small and protest by not buying it.)
It's my understanding that a toy Pit has been considered for the action figure line, but not made for whatever reason it is toy people have for not doing them. As a fan, the only reason I can really think for them not doing it is because as a stand-alone product, a dirt hole with a mouth at the bottom is a strange toy. Without more toys to go with it, I can see why they might not do one for a while. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't make one, take some pictures, and show us your creation. (Actually, you might be better off and happier this way.)
10. Due to the current lack of playsets in the Unleased and Miniatures lines, is the Star Wars Micro Collection close to any of these? I cannot seem to find any side by side comparisons.
Well, they're close, but no cigar.
Micro Collection is about the same size as Action Fleet or MicroMachines (give or take a few millimeters), with Star Wars Miniatures being much larger and the new Unleashed larger still. As such, there is no real "best fit" toy playsets for those, but if you've got modeling skills, you might have a few options.
I wrote this in May, and it was meant to be posted on May 29. Because of goof-ups in planning and file transfers, it was not. So, if it seems a little out of date, there you go.
Boy howdy, this was an exciting week, no? Hasbro answering questions, new figure announcements (and presales), and images out the wazoo.
The most shocking thing this week was the image of a rumored Target gift set for the Fall-- Mace Windu, and a squad of purple Clone Troopers. Could it be? Hasbro has finally given up on movie authenticity and is making a proper Star Wars line of toys that are, essentially, toys first? (If so, let's start with Mace Windu's Troop Transport, please.) It's not that the market won't buy vehicles, it's that they aren't being given a fair chance.
What's next? Yoda's Squadron? A bunch of new green troopers? (Man, I'd be all over that, too.) So to date, Mace Windu has a posse, as does Anakin, Darth Sidious, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here's crossing my fingers for Ki-Adi-Mundi's Mygeeto squad. Maybe Stass Allie with Commander Neyo and friends, too. Or, if I am truly blessed, Kit Fisto with scuba troopers.
Plus vehicles! Word on the street from Hasbro is now that we're going to see new vehicles in 2007! Aren't you now all glad we spend six months complaining about the topic here, and hopefully elsewhere? Hasbro reads the Internet and your letters to them, and everybody, finally, got on the same page about an issue within the hobby. Here's hoping we see some really cool stuff. This year's repaints are nice, but I can't wait to open a box and see a brand new vehicle again. (I mean, it's been like a whole year now.)
The best part is that people are complaining that we're going to get more vehicles now. "Waaah, no playsets!" There's no pleasing some people, I guess. Just remember: you asked for vehicles. So kindly start saving so you can put your money where your mouth is. We got a rerelease of Action Fleet, we didn't support it. (Thankfully, we are supporting Titanium it seems.) Hasbro is in business to make money, and I want to be sure they're in business long enough to get some of my money for a Turbo Tank or some clone-based vehicle. (As, frankly, I'm getting a little sick of having more DIFFERENT clones than any other figure and 4 of essentially the same vehicle to go with them.)
Oh, and a question for you all. I just came from my toy room and I noticed that my Unleashed Episode III Obi-Wan, which has been left untouched for months, has apparently "warped" and the metal peg has horribly misshapen the base. As in, it doesn't plug in anymore. My question to you: has this happened to any of you guys, and if so, how can it be fixed? This has me EXTREMELY worried about the rest of my Unleashed figures and as I'm an "all or nothing" guy it's making me think about dropping the line as something worth collecting going forward.
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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