Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 19, 2006

 

1. I see the ne cases up for order @Hasbro. My question is... Should I pay over half the cost of the cases to have a set shipped to me or wait to see if they'll end up in the stores or wait for you to review a set and then decide to wait for them to show in the stores? Your finite wisdom should prove valuable in any case.
--Call me Frank

If my wisdom is one thing, it's finite. My magic 8-ball makes me think the new clear clamshell cases may be exclusive to HasbroToyShop.com. I wouldn't hold your breath.

2. I was one of those who had pre-ordered the Lucas Family Exclusive from StarWarsShop.com for $34.99 and later saw it for $29.99. So, I contacted the site and asked for the credit. I was told that I would get the credit on however many sets I purchased. Well, that was several weeks ago and I have sent numerous emails to them. I received a response that said I would get the credit after the first email, but it has never appeared and now they won't even reply back.

This was only my second order through StarWars Shop.com. The first order I placed was for the Covert Ops Trooper and it came damaged, but since they were sold out, I could not get a replacement.

Is this the norm for this site? Are you hearing similar complaints from other collectors? How can they survive with such poor service? Do you have any suggestions on how I could get this resolved?

--Brian

Every store is going to have problems-- it's how they handle them that's the issue. I've never had a single problem with ShopStarWars.com aside from their canceling my Covert Ops Trooper orders and making me panic until they magically got relisted after it "sold out." The number of complaints sent into this column were in the single digits, but they were pretty amazing claims-- and unfortunately, nobody writes in to tell me when there was a massive problem with a store, and then it got solved and how the resolution went. With any online store, you need to be persistent-- if there's a phone number, call. If there's an email address, reply every few days until you get satisfaction, and feel free to give them your phone number so they can call you or ask for theirs so you can get a chance to call them, too.

In the case of the pre-order, supposedly everybody was supposed to automatically get the refund. As I don't know how long your credit card company will take to have this propagate on your statement, it could be already resolved. Mine was reversed on May 12-- so you may want to do some asking of both your bank and the shop, because that way you can honestly say "my bank did not get the refund, what do I need to do to help you give me back my ten bucks?"

3. Hasbro re-used the 500th Vader mold in this year's SAGA Hoth Vader. Why do they even bother making 'crappy' molds with less articulation and hard plastic capes for any figure after they produce an 'uber' model? I have seen the Evolutions and VOTC figures succeeded by inferior versions? What gives?
--Derek

One Vader cannot be all things to all fans, and issues like price and the perception of a "new" figure mean quite a bit-- but as Hasbro is showing, new packaging and a new accessory is often enough to get fans to buy the same item again and again, even if it isn't as good as one they already own. There are production reasons as well-- Hasbro can crank out more Darth Vader figures using multiple molds of different styles while putting less wear and tear on their tooling. Also, plastic capes vs. cloth capes is an argument for the ages-- I can see good reasons for both, as each have different properties that are useful in different situations.

The 2005 Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader was really neat because it could be used to choke Captain Antilles, it had a slice-and-dice action, it could sit in a Jedi Starfighter or other vehicle because of how it was designed, and it was cheap. It's also inferior to other versions, but in and of itself, it's still a very nice figure that as a toy I like more than almost any other Vader figure.

What this all really boils down to is us and the market. If we are sick of inferior remolds or rehashes, we need to wait it out until a good one is made, and buy that one. If you have the "collect them all" bug, though, you're screwed, so complaints more or less will always fall on deaf ears.

4. Does the POTF2 speeder bike fit into the storage compartment of the Republic Gunship?
--nerlar

Sure does-- it requires some fidgeting and it ain't perfect, but as the Clone bikes and POTF2 bikes are very similar, it can be easily done. The POTJ one, though, really doesn't blast apart. (At least mine won't.)

5. I purchased the Clone Wars Republic Gunship. I also pre-purchased the Hunt for Grievous Battle Pack. I was watching Clone Wars Vol. II., and I realized that the pilots were white and blue. What are the chances of Hasbro ever releasing Blue Pilots for that ship?
--Milo

Good, I'd say, but you might not see them immediately. Hasbro could easily make an ARC Pilot mixing and matching current pieces, but I think it may be a little while before we see them-- hopefully fans will realize they don't have a good ARC Pilot and will ask Hasbro at the conventions this summer! I know I will. And I'll ask for some more Gunpods while I'm at it. (Also feel free to talk to them about muffins, pumpkins, wax paper, Caledonia, mahoganies, elbows, and green things in general.)

6. At Celebration they had a pretty darn good copy of all the commercials from 70's on up (Wow the 70's had bad Hair!). So I went to EBay after I got back and the copy stinks it is so VHS grainy and the audio is awful. I grew up watching cartoons every day and wished I could get even half of the cool star wars stuff I saw. Those commercials at Celebration brought me back to my childhood probably more than any toy I pick up. It was the dream of having it all that makes me a collector today. If anyone writes that they got a decent copy of the commercials after this last Q&A please pass it on to us.
--Nick

As stated before, there are many issues surrounding these. Who owns the copyright? Does the music/voice have to be dubbed over? And when you get right down to it... NOBODY for ANYTHING but Star Wars would ask for toy commercials. (We're special, and I like seeing them too.) So, it's not a common thing to ask for and for that reason, there may be several complications in releasing such a thing-- not the least of which is that it puts commercials into circulation for toys that haven't been sold in 30 years.

Video quality is almost a non-issue as it's expected that whatever masters exist probably aged badly. Lucasfilm has made mention of not being thrilled to release grainy, crappy quality video to DVD, although at some point it'll probably happen when it comes time for those old making-of specials. I'm sure there's a decent copy somewhere, but hey, that's not my concern as Mr. Q&A.

If you really want to see the ads, or the holiday special, or any TV thing ever, may I suggest YouTube? Copyright doesn't seem to be an issue with this site (yet) and if you search on Kenner, or Newsradio, or Holiday Special, you'll see some pretty great stuff. While I don't advocate theft (usually), in this case, it's probably the only way you're going to see a lot of these things ever again, so enjoy the Internet to its fullest until someone demands that YouTube take the files down. (I don't like to use phrases like "victimless crime" either. But hey, why not?)

Like many things we demand as fans, after seeing these again myself a few years ago, it was "well, OK, that was neat, move on." I don't think this is something one really wants to enjoy time and again, so really, bootlegs are probably sufficient unless Hasbro decided to be really cool and put a bonus DVD with a figure with something like this on it, or posted it to their own web site. As a "bonus feature" of sorts, the ads would be neat to see make a brief return to circulation, but as stupid as it sounds, I can almost bet on one of the reasons for not wanting to put them out there is confusing potential customers.

7. Why doesn't HASBRO/KENNER(OL SCHOOL)release NEW figures from CLONE WARS ANIMATED SERIES....OR EWOK and DROIDS ANIMATED figures! These figures are very cool and are sought after by collector's ...and get this ...KIDS WOULD BUY em too!
--JAS

Right now, because they don't want to-- and there's not much really worthwhile TO do. Hasbro has found great success in its movie-style Clone Wars line and as such I wouldn't expect too much more for cartoony figures until the new, regular series airs on TV (presumably) next year.

I don't profess to know every thing kids would want. I mean, they're buying electronic lightsabers like crazy. And some of them love Titanium. I don't think "more figure lines" is what Hasbro needs to be doing, as the hobby is getting too huge for most people to keep up with. Although I'd go nuts over Ewoks/Droids figures, that's really a collector thing and not a kid thing-- kids have never seen these things outside the hard-to-find DVDs. Typically with kids, it has to be something they know or something that is, on some instinctive level, seen as being really cool. Now, while I can appreciate the post-punk, quasi-new wave look of Thall Joben and Jord Dusat, well, kids today are smarter than we were back then. I saw eight-year-olds, while on a toy run, savagely ripping in to He-Man for being... shall we say, less than what our culture generally defines as masculine. As such, I wouldn't put money down on kids liking the cartoons unless they at least get a chance to see them, because, well...

Would I got crazy over new figures of the Fromm Gang? Yes. Would I push and shove and use whatever influence I have to get new versions of these gangsters made? You bet! Do I think anyone but me will care? Nope. While I'm a big-ish fan of the Expanded Universe (love: Marvel & Dark Horse comics, Ewoks, Ewok Movies, Droids, selected novels, most games pre-1997, Clone Wars) I also understand that there has to be something awesome about it to sell to the unconverted. For example: Lumiya. She looks cool, and apparently is making a return to the EU in upcoming novels. So she makes sense. Darth Nihilus is semi-obscure and comes from a realm of continuity with no movie ties, but the character is distinctive and is on the friggin' cover of KOTOR II-- so yeah, not an unreasonable request. (Although still an obscure one to may current toy buyers.) But the likes of Morag?

A big problem with obscure Star Wars characters of all kinds is "you had to be there." Since we love certain aspects of all the tales of the saga, if we know what it is, we're inclined to like it and spend money accordingly. The Cantina Sequence was so hot, 30 years later we're re-buying Hammerhead for the fourth time over, and Greedo #6 as well. "Random guy" figures are a tougher but not impossible sell-- I mean, look at G.I. Joe and the recent Beast Wars reissues-- they're overcompensating by handing you the story from which the toy(s) were derived, so everybody wins. Here's hoping someone at Hasbro has plans to reissue the Droids cartoons and figures in sets. And makes them soon, offering them as exclusives to their pals at... well, nevermind. You know where I'm going here.

Still... I'd push hard for Vlix. And will do so. (Tiggy and Sise, too. And just look at that awesome Boba Fett on that page I linked to up there. How can you not love that?)

Of course, this probably goes without saying, but there are 18 figures from the original Ewoks and Droids toons available now from the old days, granted, I didn't realize that they kinda are worth something now. (When I bought these on the cards to rip open in 1990, they were $2 a pop and a tough sell to most fans.) And of course, Hasbro hasn't slighted Clone Wars either, with dozens of figures available when you include all the Clone variants they made under the Clone Wars banner.

8. I swear I read after celebration 3 that Hasbro would be doing one of the tonokka(SP?) sisters in the future. With the new tatooine wave's release I wonder now if I misread or she was scrapped?

In an unrelated question. Do you know if it is cheaper or easier in the end for Hasbro to do a new sculpt for a figure that already exists versus a new never been done figure? Seeing new sculpts of hammerhead and garindan instead of new cantina alien brings up my question.
--Rich

While things that were not official reports circulated at Celebration 3 about the Tonnika situation, NOBODY confirmed it from an official source. Hasbro didn't confirm it, Lucasfilm didn't confirm it. Seeing an actress talk to a toy designer, even to say "yes please make my figure," means nothing until the company comes out and says "OK, we're doing it, hooray!" What I gathered was that some fan sites saw and heard that one of the actresses agreed to have a figure made. It takes a year or more for a figure to get made, and Hasbro tends to work a year or more ahead of schedule, so at this point, it's anybody's guess what's really happening. With Comic-Con around the corner, though, I guarantee you Hasbro will be asked this question and we'll all find out if there's any progress to report. (Which there may not be.) Me, I'm hoping they make her with the curved bar section-- that way they can put two things that people want, mostly because they can't have them, in one handy box.

As far as your other question, it varies. Sometimes Hasbro's old molds are lost, too worn out, or just not exactly as good looking as they could be for the modern toy line. Also, sometimes they know that while fans may balk at another repaint of an alien, they'd be all over a new version. (Greedo, for example.) There's a ton of variables, and while it's usually the most cost-effective to just rerelease a figure, they know collectors: we don't play that game for long, we need something new. And pretty much every figure in 2006 is just different enough to warrant buying again, even General Rieekan with his stand and his gun is new-ish.

So it all depends. That, and "new Cantina aliens" are "unrecognizable Cantina aliens" at this point-- with the DVDs coming out, it makes sense to have Greedos, Hammerheads, and Garindans in circulation so anyone going "I want that" could have a shot at it. And we get new ones like Hem Dazon too, so while the system isn't perfect, well, it's working pretty well for getting us some new figures. Plus, you have to admit, the new Garindan and Hammerhead are spectacular figures.

9. can you please tell me if my carded figures are safe from moisture and everything when stored in ziplock bags (well, the Target brand actually because it doesn't have anything written on it)?
--Phil

No figure is safe from moisture in anything, really. Moisture can seep in or build up depending on the environment, it's really up to you to do what you can to protect them (comic backs with ventilation in a cool dry place, Star Cases, etc.) while keeping them out of direct light as much as possible. There's no perfect way to protect these things for eternity as glue becomes brittle, paint fades, and bubbles yellow-- so as such, I'm not one to give advice about how to keep them pristine through the year 2100. If you're keeping them out of a cool dry place (i.e., your backyard), you're better off unloading them now before they deteriorate.

10. What moron decided this instead of taping them shut ,now to get the lucas pop's you gotta destroy the clam shell,i got mine at target. I bought the luke the sandpeople and the hansolo i opted to wait for the other 2. all 3 are glued shut ala earlybird kit. Any idea how to open without destroying the shell?
--Sifodious34

One of my many pet peeves is "open but not" figures. You can open them, or you can opt to not open them-- once it's open, it's open, it's no longer MOC unless you're the dingbat at the AFA who thinks that a graded Vintage figure does not need the Hasbro-issued clamshell. In this situation, you can carefully slice them here and there to get the tabs out, but frankly, just open them and get it over with. It's just like the early bird kits-- you have to do some damage to get your figures out of there, unless you shop at Disneyworld and they have George Lucas troopers on-hand when you check out.

That, or buy taped ones on eBay.

FIN

So, yes, Fan's Choice: ToyFare edition. If I were a betting man I'd put money down on a Clone. Which Clone, I cannot guess. (And how it will look, I cannot say either. Commander Faie is a Kashyyyk-camo Scout Trooper in the comics but a poncho-clad trooper in some of the artwork.) But right now, that's what my gut tells me, and this is not to say KOTOR won't happen or that Gargan wouldn't have been "better" as frankly, nothing would be better than the world's finest Luke or Darth Maul as far as sales go. But this is just my hunch. If a Duro can beat out Amanaman, anything can happen.)

From that list right now, Hasbro has officially confirmed Kir Kanos and the Galactic Marine (named "Clone Commander" in the article.) While some others have not been confirmed, I would put money down on several of these coming out next year, and it's entirely possible we might see an Ilum version of Padme this year if the rumors are right. (And we'll find out in about a month.) Considering the poll hasn't even had its results announced yet, that's pretty gosh darn exciting to see.

Looking back on the whole ordeal, it's funny-- nobody asked for Vlix, who, with Gargan, should be on most collector wish-lists for the "I want this because I can't have it" award. Me, I want Vlix because I like giant thug characters and watched a tape I had of the Trigon 1 episodes from TV to death when I was a kid. So... no love for Vlix. Damn. (Although I voted for the Mantellian Savrip myself.)

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.)

And since I have space, I'm going to also link to this because a friend of mine did it and I think it's funny. It's a fake Apple ad featuring "Tom Waits."

Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!









 
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