Galactic's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 17, 2006


1. Do you know if the last 3 Target Exclusive figure with cup sets (Vader, Stormtrooper, Leia) are "new" or repacks? And if repacks, as I suspect, do you know of which previous releases? Any paint updates or other variants, or are they just straight repacks? I can't seem to find any info on this at ANY of the other online sites or their databases.

ALL figure-with-cup sets to date are repacks, either with the same or fewer accessories than on a previous release. Sometimes there's a minor paint tweak here and there, but by and large these are identical to previously released figures in the main line or as exclusives. And if you can't find them online... uh... really? You've tried typing "star wars figure cup" into Google, right?

2. I'm thrilled Hasbro seem to be keen on giving us plenty of cantina aliens at a fairly regular and steady pace (not counting the break for ROTS of course). Some of these are among the nicest figures out this year and, speaking for myself, I could never get enough aliens- Tatooine stuff in particular- I love 'em. I am curious to see though, that, despite their prominence in the scene, the Saurins have not yet popped up in any assortments or rumour lists. And it's not just Hasbro either. Wizards of the Coast have quite noticeably ignored the Saurins with their RPG books, the TCG and minis line as well. I can't think of any Saurins appearing in licensed SW merchandise since the Decipher CCG back in the nineties. I wondered whether this was simply an oversight or whether these guys are victims of a new policy from Lucas perhaps? I wondered whether you had any knowledge to share or opinions on the subject?
--Reverend Strone

There's a lot of things that, by and large, it's odd Hasbro hasn't yet made-- with the depth of the character selection, it makes sense. I know some of you are rolling your eyes, but really-- there's enough unique characters and designs to populate a few hundred CCG cards, and even the hottest line can only support so many products at once.

So, why no Saurins? Probably just haven't got to them yet, or maybe there's some other mandate we just don't know about. (As Bossk is pretty close, it's possible someone said "these look pretty much alike, let's stick with the one people recognize.") I'm pretty sure there have never been any Saurin toys, but there might be a micro figure or a model kit extra I'm forgetting-- it's just something that hasn't happened yet. We're still without a number of great aliens and droids, so it's hopefully just a matter of time as fans start asking for this particular species.

3. given the "success" of hasbro's hall of fame line would it not make sense to do a "greatest misses" line comprised of a dozen or so figures collectors complained about never seeing on the pegs? ephant mon, mcquarrie trooper, gree, bly, shock trooper, 501st trooper, sio bibble, tc14,r2b1, scorch, cody, and the darktrooper-this would make a great line.

As I may have mentioned before, this is a sort of "Oh crap we need more product quick!" kind of line to get the most out of the love by kids (mostly) for the last movie. As such, a line devoted to reruns of popular collector figures might be a bad idea-- rereleasing a Clone Pilot and Kit Fisto makes sense, cranking out Ephant Mon does not. Hasbro short-shipped some figures for good reason-- a perceived lack of real interest. One aspect of the business of Star Wars I've found frustrating is that companies know that a lame item, if produced in small numbers, suddenly becomes exciting. The Blackhole Stormtrooper bust is a fine example, were it produced in a number of, say, 8,000 pieces there would be tons of unsold stock. Ephant Mon's lower numbers were largely due (from what I heard at panels) from the costs to make the figure combined with an understanding that the previous Fan's Choice figures weren't the biggest sellers for one reason or another.

And Cody and Scorch? We're not even done with them yet. I have no doubt we'll see some of these again, but the 501st and Shock Troopers are already coming back-- others too, if you believe the rumors. And as always, check eBay-- some of these, like Ephant Mon, are pretty cheap. If a figure is basically retail price on the secondary market, there's probably no real collector demand for it. (Kid demand, maybe.) With troopers, Hasbro needs to hear repeated demands that we want more Battle Droids, Darktroopers, and other unique characters so they understand the interest exists. Who knows-- maybe there's a place in the market for 30,000 more Ephant Mon figures. I have my doubts, but he would make a nice big part of a gift set.

4. I need your help. I'm finally getting around to setting up a Cantina display. I've got all cantina figures to date. The only thing I'm missing is the "Cantina At Mos Eisley 3-D Display" which looks great but looking at the pictures I see of it, I am not sure if Wuher the bartender will fit behind the U-shaped bar. Or if he does fit, it seems like it will be a tight squeeze as Wuher does have a bit of a weight problem. Do you know if he'll fit comfortably back there?

Indeed he will-- there's plenty of space for almost any figure to fit back there, so don't worry-- Wuher will have plenty of space behind that bar!

5. Hi I was wondering if when Hasbro mentioned looking more at the expanded univers if that would mean they would be looking at the Marvel Star Wars line of comics? there are so many characters & outfits on main characters I would think thay could make plenty figures from that source. just wondering what your opinion was on this.

I know what you're thinking when you say "Marvel," and it looks like the answer may be yes-- but keep in mind, issues #1-#6 were the movie. It's something Hasbro's obviously looking at these days but they're keeping everything under wraps, so for now, well, stay tuned! The Marvel series is positively stuffed with great possibilities for figures, and if the rumors of $10 2-packs are true, there's really no reason for Hasbro to not consider cranking out these things by the dozens. I mean, it's a great deal and you can get kids a core character and a wacky figure at a fair price.

The concept is a sound one, as Hasbro did it with G.I. Joe and I, for one, collected them all. (So far, the article's out of date anyway.)

6. Was the Zev pack in for the upcoming snowspeeder the most generous surprise ever from Hasbro? While it seems they started with Dutch Vander's legs and torso, it has a ton of add-ons that would qualify it as a stand alone cardable "new" figure. I just wondered why you thought Hasbro went the extra ten miles with this pack in when they could have gone POTF2 - and also maybe why they didn't pop a Luke head on it and include it with the similarly impressive effort, the Dagobah X-Wing?

While I'm gonna hold off parts-analyzing until I see it up close, it does look like a modified figure. My guess is they're aiming for a way to get collectors to buy this-- as we'll buy anything with a new figure, even if we have it by and large. And as you said-- there's recarding opportunities here! Fans are going to be asking for a Luke now, which Hasbro will no doubt give us with a smile over the next two years. So they're making the most out of their old and new tooling, no doubt!

As for the Dagobah X-wing, I guess they wanted to mix things up-- if you could get the same figure with one of two vehicles, it makes the line look a little stale. Plus, hey, it gives us something else to ask for later.

7. I know it's not even a year in, but I was wondering what your assessment was of the Sideshow Star Wars effort so far? While the quality overall is really gorgeous (soft goods especially), surprisingly, several of the key character sculpts and paint apps have been pretty off. Anakin's lipstick issues aside, Han's likeness they seem to have had as much difficulty capturing as Hasbro did and Jedi Luke works great in some regards, but in others seems really - odd. I really, really hate to diss a great company and a mostly great line, but for the price I'm paying and the company pedigree, these should all be the definitive 12" and 18" versions of these characters, right? It may seem early to voice a few complaints, but it's already approaching a thousand dollars paid out so far by the loyal Sideshow Star Wars collector.

At this point, I hate to give a cop-out answer, but hey. It's never a good idea to buy items sight unseen if you're looking for "definitive" editions, especially given Star Wars might have another two decades of product on tap still. Someone will always do a better job, and when Sideshow's license is up, Hasbro or someone else might do it differently, possibly even better. Gentle Giant made a nice 1:6 Willy Wonka with a cloth outfit, perhaps it would be something they would do-- thus rendering the entire Sideshow line either great, or as an also-ran.

It may seem counterintuitive, but at this point, waiting isn't necessarily a bad thing on some of these. Prices do go down on some items, mostly because they can't go up anymore, and there's no good reason to drop that kind of money on something you aren't sure you want. (Or if you do buy it, make sure the store has a good return policy.)

8. A lot of people, not unlike myself, try their hands at customizing star wars figures. Some seem to be better than others, of course. Many of us use more professional and difficult ways to achieve our product, like molding and casting. To me, this is an art form and a way to express your talents. Most artists that make art, sell their art at auctions. So, what is your take on people that make custom figures for the purpose of selling to the highest bidder on ebay?

If you were looking to buy a custom figure from ebay, what things would you look for that would prompt you to buy said figure?

And finally, do you have any requests you'd like to see someone attempt if they could do a reasonably good job?

eBay: I like the free market. If someone has the skills to make a work of art, the value of this art is what people are willing to pay for it. Until it becomes a copyright violation, in which case, well, you're on your own. That's my main concern here-- if money is changing hands, you might be in violation of Lucasfilm's intellectual property. But when it's one figure, well, it's really hard to say what's an issue and what isn't, and as I am no expert, I leave this to the academics.

I won't buy customs on eBay because I see custom figures as a dangerous place. Not for legal reasons, but for Hasbro one-upping the custom. Let's say I wanted a Kir Kanos-- last year, I could have asked someone to make one using a Royal Guard and GI Joe parts, and it'd be pretty cool. Today, I can preorder one. Ditto with the likes of Foul Moudama, or differently ranked Clones. I might have wanted one at one point, but Hasbro still cranks out figures every day, so there's no need for me to pay a premium for one yet. When I start hearing the line's ending, or definitive "we will never make this figure for these reason" statements... I'm gonna start thinking about it. And, sadly, price is what I'd look at first. After you buy a few hundred figures, it's not easy (or sensible) to pay a premium for a fan made figure when the real deal could be six months out.

Right now the only things I doubt we'll ever see are some of the oddball Marvel characters, so yeah, I'd love to see all the Lumiyas, Jaxxons, and Hoojibs I can. But, that's me. One of my favorite customizers over the years has been Gary Weaver. I dunno if he's still doing anything, but man, his stuff was AWESOME.

9. I love the EpIII clones but I also would really like to see another release of the EpII clones again. If I could get ahold of several in the super articulated sculpt in white along with the various rank colors, I'd snap up dozens of them up in a heartbeat.

How are the chances looking?

Pretty good I'd say-- it's just a matter of time at this point. They might be a little different, but after the TV show's coming, and they need to get our money for Clones again. It's something I'd bank on.

10. Hasbro has already re-released several of the Revenge of the Sith vehicles, and has repeatedly gone back to the well with the Republic Gunship. So what do you think the odd are of an ARC-170 re-release, or better yet, re-decorated (re?)release?

Right now, Hasbro's rumblings for 2006 seem to indicate they want to keep pushing the current assortment/size/sku/price of $20ish vehicles. As such, I'd say there's no sign of anything like this in the regular line, but as an exclusive? It seems like it's not far off from the direction Hasbro's going with repaints and rereleases. Here's hoping!


Comic-Con this week. Prepare to be disappointed-- not because of Hasbro, but because of leaks. In the past few weeks, we've been given a glimpse into what may be the future of the line, and Hasbro doesn't like to give too much information too early. If you recall last year, Hasbro gave us a sneak peak at the first Saga Collection wave, and the final 12 Revenge of the Sith figures. In other words, about 5-6 months worth of product. I say this in advance because I'm trying to head off the complaints you're bound to send me early. (Yes, I understand, a hundred figures a year plus awesome exclusives isn't enough to make you happy. Got it. You have fun stewing.)

I also got my mitts on the Hoth Unleashed Battle Packs and Battle Bases. I'm getting a real MicroCollection vibe from this series, except for the action poses. The playsets are fantastic. The new tiny Snowspeeder is an all-new design, not an Action Fleet rehash. With its base, it looks absolutely wonderful-- I had it hovering under my monitors at work, it's just that cool. The spring-action recoil of the turrets and the snow bases which can connect in multiple configurations are also lots of fun, making me a little sad that Hasbro still hasn't announced a second wave of Battle Bases.

By and large, I think the Unleashed Battle Packs got screwed. Wave 1 came out in December of 2005. Wave 2 was, what, January? And we're just now getting wave 3? I don't care how good or bad the line is, it's plenty of time to get bored and move on to something far more available. I initially thought the Unleashed packs were... uh... unique. Which moved on to boring, and now I'm at "curious for the future." I'm easy to please when you hand me boxes of Hoth toys, or something like that. So here's hoping we see more things like this because I don't think anyone could honestly fake an interest in a box of Utapau's troopers.

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.) I may be taking a break fairly soon-- for how long, I'm not sure-- so please get those questions in before my next vacation. Much thanks!

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