Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 3, 2006

 

1. I am a collector whose collection is going into storage and as such I have placed several hundred loose figures along with playset pieces, vehicle parts and the alike in plastic Ziploc baggies. I have seen conflicting info about the long term effect of having Kenner and Hasbro toys in plastic Ziploc baggies. Some reports say that its fine, other say it causes a residue to form, and still other says to avoid it at all costs. My best friend Joel read that punching holes in the baggies allows them to Breath and as such will decrease the likelihood of damage occurring in the long run. As most of the stuff will be housed in a shed I am wondering what is the best cost effective choice for their long term storage?
--Jamie

Even when properly cared for, figures can get wacky. For example, vintage Death Squad Commander figures grow fuzz on their helmets. Keeping figures in an improper place, like a shed outdoors, is a fundamentally bad thing to do. While nobody wants to hear it, this is the point where you should take a big step back and go "how long before I can see these again?" If they're going in the shed for your kids to play with down the road, to (gag) sell, or just until you move in to your next residence, things might be OK. But with the summer approaching, air-cooled storage may make sense, but you have to ask yourself if $40/month is a good "collection tax" and if it's really better off just selling the figures before they get damaged to the point where you can no longer get them to a good home.

Punching holes in plastic bags (or using paper lunch bags) allows the figures to "breathe" a little easier, but that still doesn't mean they can't get hurt. Floods can screw with them, as can bugs.

2. Do you have any Idea if the Shocktrooper bust will be sold on Starwarsshop.com, or hasbro.com like the Blackhole Stormtrooper bust was? I as well as many, many others i'm sure missed out on that one. Will it be split up again 500 and 500? Also do you know if that may apply to the SDCC exclusive 501st trooper? I live in the Pittsburgh area and I can't make it to the show and I was just curious if there was another way of acquiring it as opposed to $450 on Ebay. Thank you.
--JT

As far as I know, the Black Hole Stormtrooper was only sold through Gentle Giant directly, but with some real problems. As such, it's not obvious what we'll be seeing them do for the next one as they seemed to apologize profusely for how things turned out. Keep checking back this site (and the Gentle Giant Official Blog) for new information on this, because right now it's a wee bit tough to tell.

3. Do you think we will know the identity of the Mystery Figure being packed alongside Kir Kanos, before it becomes unavailable through ShopStarWars.com? I am only somewhat interested in characters from novels and comics, and although he is a pretty cool looking figure, I would not pay $20 for him. The mystery figure, on the other hand, may be a different story. If it is a figure I want, I would probably buy the set, and look at Mr. Kanos as a bonus pack in.

If you were in my shoes, do you think you would buy the set now, not knowing if it will turn out to be something you even want, or risk missing it at a relatively low price in order to see what it is. I am strongly leaning for the later choice, as the idea of spending money on an unknown product feels most unwise to me.
--Vallis

Well, the good news is you're going to know who it is in about two weeks. The figure does not come out until September.

I can tell you it's selling fairly well despite one of the two figures being a complete unknown. If you're worried, though, consider this: it's for sale at HasbroToyShop.com, ShopStarWars.com, and EntertainmentEarth.com for the same price, so you have three places to choose from in case one sells out. As soon as one sells out (or presells out), consider that a warning shot.

BUT-- a lot of stores let you cancel preorders. (Amazon/Toys "R" Us did, Entertainment Earth does, I presume ShopStarWars.com and HasbroToyShop.com as well.) So you might be able to place a preorder just to get in line at one of these stores and cancel it as soon as you find out you don't want it. (Or keep it if you do.) It's risk-free shopping-- you can always preorder something and cancel later.

If you don't like Kir Kanos, this might not be the set for you. Or, more accurately, you might be better off watching eBay and the forums and buying just the "mystery figure" if that's the only one you want as surely someone will only want Kir Kanos and not Figure #2. Don't forget, in this hobby, you don't have to feel forced to buy something you don't want. Someone's going to break it up to sell on eBay or elsewhere eventually. (If all you want is R2-X2, you can GET R2-X2.) So at this time, your options are wide open-- preorder if you like, you can cancel and never waste a cent. Or just wait.

4. What ever happen to the star wars fan club presidency race? Was a winner ever declared by the fan club? It's like it ended in complete silence from those sites and candidates involved.
--Paul

As of today, neither the Fan's Choice ToyFare poll nor the Fan Club President contest have been finalized. ToyFare should be announcing its results any day now (the next issue has it), and the Fan Club thing I didn't really follow once I saw campaign ads mixed in daily toy news, so I figure it, too, has to be announced any day now. (I guess Comic-Con would make sense.)

5. I just read your recent issue and someones question made me think of a great idea (IMO). A Sarlaac Pit Battle Pack. You could through in a repainted Pote Snitkin, Weequay, Luke Jedi, Nikto Guard and a Sarlaac Pit ala Senate Pod. It doesnt have to be to scale, just big enough to swallow a couple of figures. Small bendable plastic teeth (child safety) and a few long bendy tenacles to suck in a character or two. Maybe you could use the back of the battle pack to cut a hole in the middle and make the rest of the "pit". The great thing about this is that it would be no more difficult than the Senate pod to make and you could use any of the many and various figures (repainted) from this scene. Aside from the ones mentioned above, you could also use Lando Skiff, Boba Fett, Han, R2 pop up saber, Chewbacca, Barada, Klaatu..or maybe retool or make a new one. What do you think, is this a feasable idea?
--Orbles

Well, two things here. One, they showed a Sarlacc Pit Battle Pack at Toy Fair in February which, rumor has it, will be called "The Demise of Boba Fett." The only new component that we've been shown is a redeco Weequay with the 2004-style Force Pike.

Thing the second, though, is box size. It's a little known secret that box size often dictates what a toy looks like more than price point. Think about it-- you've seen giant rotocast Marvel figures for ten bucks, and Marvel Legends for $8 or $9-- and there's a huge difference between them. Now, pick up a Battle Pack box (any will do, they're all pretty much the same size.) In addition to 4-5 action figures, would a Sarlacc that you could fit in this box really be acceptable? And would Hasbro want to play origami with the design to make it fit? That, I don't know-- they've really shied away from cardboard even though we've seen that it can make for some lovely display pieces.

6. One question that repeatedly comes up is about vehicles and/or playsets. I've found your answers re: the state of the toy industry, cost effectiveness and potential to make mold more long lived through repaints.

With all those factors as considerations, and the recent announcement of new vehicles in 2007: What new vehicles do you hope to see in the line?
--Kon

Seeing that Hasbro has recently stated that its starfighter vehicle line-up will see new sculpts (and reissues) in 2007, I think it makes it very easy to narrow down what we can expect. So, I expect nothing more than "midsize" vehicles that might make sense at the $19.99-$29.99 price point that we don't have yet.

At this point, it's really hard to determine what's a legitimate market interest versus a small vocal minority as to interest. So from an industry standpoint, all that makes sense is what we read on the rumor list for the time being. So because of the rumor list-- and let me reiterate, it wasn't a list that Hasbro put out-- it seems the V-Wing from Revenge of the Sith and the Sith Infiltrator from Episode I could be real possibilities. Now, if you put 2 and 2 together, this means these will indeed be scaled down to fit in that assortment. This is, assuming of course, 2 and 2 are what we think they are. We could be full of crap.

As for me, though, I'm actually pretty happy as of now. There really aren't a lot of vehicles that I want that I would expect at a sub-$50 price tag. I'd go nuts over a Sail Barge or the Blockade Runner, but beyond that? Vehicles that appear in but one shot in the movies are really cool, but I have my doubts that fans really want a Cloud Car. Sure, they want to see all the old vehicles updated. And yes, it'd be nice to have a vehicle to go with that superb Cloud Car Pilot figure. Still, it's a small-size vehicle and could probably be cranked out cheaply. (And then fans would whine that they got it, but that's another tangent.)

Given unlimited finances, I'd ask for the following 5: blue A-Wing, General Grievous' Starfighter, Blockade Runner (EIII and EIV variants), Sail Barge, and a Star Destroyer of some sort. But that's me.

7. The Action Figure Archive written by Stephen Sansweet in 1999 is a great resource. However, it has become dated. Is there a new version in the works? Are there any newer publications of comparable quality and where can I find them?
--Joe

There's a series of guides coming out in Japan as we speak-- although to date, there's no known plans for a US release. If you know Japanese, though, give this a look. And cross your fingers for a US release.

8. A few quick questions on OTC figures. Specualtion is that with the release of the original, original trilogy they are going to release more OTC figures(this also due to the fact that the Naboo wave is supposed to be it for this year).

How soon was it last time that the OTC figures showed up before the Sept. release of the trilogy?

How many of the figures were original sculpts and how many were repacks?

Do you think they will call it the OOTC(original, original trilogy collection)?[HAHA]
--Sean

At this point, I think whatever Hasbro does next would probably either be more of the same (think the 2005 "Post-OTC" range, a new SKU with the old design) or the 2007 design, whatever that may be. The original OTC figures were in our hands as early as July, 2004 with the DVD released in September, 2004. Right now, we're scheduled to be getting the final wave of The Saga Collection proper in September, and odds are Hasbro is going to want to get a couple of months out of case remixes for Q4. I mean, sick as you are of old figures by then, a lot of kids are going to ask for these for the holidays and hopefully these will still be shipping. (It's not like all of us have our Scorches and Codys yet, anyway.)

With the crazy popularity of Episode III and the Clone Wars, I personally have my doubts they'd abandon non-Trilogy product for the holidays, but hey, they've gone long periods of time without selling Vaders, so who knows.

9. Adam, do you know if the stands that come with the ROTS Tarkin figure as well as several other figures are supposed to connect to some kind of playset?
--Phil

It's possible they may someday, but today, these stands only connect with one another. The only Episode III figure bases to connect to a playset are the Battle Arenas, which connect to the Mustafar playset and the Chopper Droid which connects to the Deluxe Operating Table with Darth Vader.

10. I was curious about one thing you wrote in the wrap-up to your most recent Q&A: "We got a rerelease of Action Fleet, we didn't support it." It's true that Action Fleet returned, but honestly, can we really be blamed for not supporting a line which offered little we didn't already buy the first time around? All of the Classic Trilogy ships were reissues, and there were only two AOTC vehicles that most of us saw. One of those was a small, crappy toy of an extremely minor vehicle: Dooku's Solar Sailor. By the time the Republic Gunship, Republic Cruiser and Jango Fett's Slave 1 came along in the poorly-distributed second AOTC wave, the line was effectively dead. If Action Fleet had come out strong with popular vehicles like the Gunship and the Jedi Starfighter and still languished on shelves, I think it would be fair to suggest a lack of fan support. But is anyone surprised that the Solar Sailor and the umpteenth Snowspeeder repaint didn't sell?
--David

During the second coming of Action Fleet, there were very few new vehicles, but there were quite a few decent releases like the AT-TE, Acclamator-class Star Destroyer, the Gunship, and so forth. Depending on where you lived, some of these sold very well, and in others, they sat. (I was shocked on a regular basis to see the final wave sitting at a couple of local Wal-Marts.)

The "classic" Action Fleet of 1995-1999 fared so-so, with countless repaints and (potentially) hundreds of thousands of dollars of product blown out in 2000 because stores didn't order enough of it when it was released in 1997.

I agree that its best days were ahead of it, and the Jedi Starfighter is a toy I really want to see. Unfortunately, Hasbro's big picture is one that doesn't exist to make us happy all the time. Vehicles like the Snowspeeder were (supposedly) reissued because kids recognized them, because they were aiming for a "whole saga" line instead of a one-film line, and of course to save a few bucks. One of Hasbro's reasons for reintroducing some concepts is that the 7-year-old child of 2002 wasn't even aware of action fleet toys in 1995, and it makes sense to release a strong toy a second time. (In other words, "collector support is worthless.")

The Episode II relaunch of Action Fleet featured the Falcon, X-Wing, Darth Vader's TIE, Jango's Slave I, Republic Gunship, Republic Assault Ship/Star Destroyer, AT-AT, Snowspeeder, Solar Sailer, Naboo Fighter, and AT-TE. (Plus Target's exclusives.) With admittedly few new ships, the idea was to get kids and collectors back into the line after a two-year hiatus, and, well, it didn't work. But it did have the best-ever paint jobs on the rereleased vehicles, adding the X-wing's missing yellow stripe, removing the firing rocket from the Falcon, and painting up the Snowspeeder and AT-AT in some very awesome ways. Unfortunately, no toy line can survive on new molds alone these days, especially if it's from Hasbro. Bean counters require repaints, but thankfully Galoob managed to better make ones we'd want to buy, by and large. (Off the record, a former employee of Hasbro once remarked that when it came to Galoob's vast array of crazy repaints, they could never get away with that. I mean, this person was right, that Rogue Squadron Snowspeeder was FUNKY.)

This lineup was actually a really good one, and at the time, Hasbro was very much afraid of the prequels in many respects, hence its non-Attack of the Clones "Saga" line which included everything. Which, in hindsight, was probably a mistake as a line of Clone Wars stuff right off the bat would have likely done very well. But hey, like most things, we can blame it all on Episode I.

I always feel Action Fleet was a great line that, after Galoob folded, had weak direction. In the First Waves, we saw two figures per ship, spring-loaded rockets on the likes of the Skyhopper and TIE Bomber, and pretty much every vehicle we could reasonably expect save for maybe a few big guns. With Episode I, a figure was dropped. Episode II, no figures. They went from being toys to models, and today, we're getting the same basic thing with Titanium Ultra which seems like it's probably not going to be doing too well either-- probably largely for the same reasons as before plus the fairly unpleasant $19.99 price point.

Right now, I'm hearing that the regular mini Titanium line is doing so well, I'd pretty much give up hope for a return of Action Fleet. At $5 a whack, these vehicles are flying off the shelves in most markets and that's probably the nail in the coffin for Action Fleet for a few more years. Collector support is not enough for a line, so if they picked up Action Fleet where it left off, odds are we'd be in the exact same position we're in today: with nothing. (If collector support was everything, I guarantee you we'd have never seen Choppers.)

FIN

So, weeeee, it's almost summer convention season! Last year, fans had a huge pile of information that got leaked early that Hasbro couldn't yet confirm, like Star Wars Transformers, the 2006 bonus holographic figures, and so on. I'm not saying this to rub salt in a wound, but I am bringing it up to remember that you shouldn't be expecting Hasbro to confirm every last thing that's been leaked in recent weeks-- some of it may be bogus, and any not-bogus stuff might be so far off, they don't want to announce it yet. So don't be shocked if some things remain a mystery after the show.

Figure of the Day is turning out to be read. I'm shocked-- I figured people would get sick of it past week 3. Right now, I'm writing waaaay ahead of the game and as I write this on Saturday morning, just put the finishing touches on number 79. (I'm hoping to be scraping #100 by week's end.) So at this rate, you can expect brand new Figure of the Day updates for months to come, even during Comic-Con when you'll see them and go "screw this, I'm gonna read the new Hasbro panel update!" (Hey, that's what I would do.)

I've been on a Zoids kick lately. When Kay-Bee blew out the line a few years ago, I stocked up big time-- I've got hours of robot dinosaur building fun around the house for like 75% off as a result. If your local stores have any left, I advise you snag some-- I just found one at Toys "R" Us the other week for about $0.50, which to me is a price that I dare not pass a toy at. (I mean, even a crappy Zoids kit is worth a buck.)

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. "Q&" don't cut it-- a surprising amount of emails leave off the "A.")

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









 
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