Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 31, 2006

 

1. I would like to know your take on all of the upcoming trooper releases sporting flip visors and removable helmets. I think it was great the number of clones that have been made with removable helmets, but I don't like troopers from the Original Trilogies made this way, especially since they are now considered clones. I figured the upcoming T.V. series would address the switch from Jango Fett clones to average joes for troopers. This now means that Han Solo chased a group of highly skilled clone stormtroopers in Episode IV by simply yelling at them. It doesn't make sense to me.
--Gomez

Well, it's a funny thing. The toys should probably be considered a continuity unto themselves, much like another Expanded Universe or even another series entirely. The toy line has Kitik Keed'kak as brown, but he's really green, and back in 1977 the concept of cloning Jango Fett and having him be the face of all Imperial Troopers, no doubt, wasn't the plan. (Although there was talk of trooper legions including clones from way back when.) So it's weird. But the toys are toys, and their own thing really. The movies are their own entity, think of each little aspect of Star Wars (radio dramas, movies, comics, toys, games, etc.) to each be their own interpretation of the story. So it's like Rashamon, but not.

But as far as trooper behavior? Well, Han did "chase" Stormtroopers right into a trap-- maybe that was the point. So score 1 for smarts there. Hasbro's take on the toys-- and remember, toys are an interpretation of what you see on screen, just like fan art-- there's room for mistakes. So as of today, this is the "best" interpretation we have, or at the least, the most current.

The debate of all troopers being Jango's clones, or not, or a mix, is probably going to last a very long time. I'm all for saying "well, that's how the toys look, the comics show them another way, and we've never seen anything on screen" and letting that be that-- but that's me. I think it's a fine play feature for the toys and as it connects the two trilogies, it'll probably boost sales. "Clone Collectors" might branch out to Imperial troopers, and vice-versa. Who knows? Either way, it's another play feature on an action figure, and as they're essentially mini-statues, it's nice to see I think. But that's me.

2. Where the @#*& is Code3 at comic con? We got the mini exclusive but I have seen no word or pics of the upcoming Episode 1 and 2 posters, or anything else. I've gotta finish the wall where two empty spaces exist!
--Kyle

Lucky for you, I called my pal at Code 3 last week and asked him. And he told me I can tell you that both of these pieces should be available by year's end. (And I can also say that they look awesome.)

3. What's the point of releasing a holographic Darth Maul if his arms don't fold like in movie, when he appears as Darth Sidious says "this is my apprentice, Darth Muawwwwlll, he will find your lost ship"? This is just a cheap repaint of one of the old episode 1 DMs. What a ripoff. I want one whose arms fold, and who has a smug look on his face like in the movie!
--Phil

Well, Hasbro did release an arms-folded one a few years ago (now available at rock-bottom prices) so in this case, in your perspective, it is a ripoff-- and if that's what you see, you shouldn't buy it. (I see it as lame as he didn't have a lightsaber as a holograph, but hey, I'm here for the ride at this point.) Hasbro makes holographic figures because they sell, so as always, if you don't like it, let them know by way of your wallet. If we'll buy anything, they'll make sure to keep that in mind when deciding the next year's line.

4. I need a decent Anakin figure from episode II, do you know of any that don't have a stupid expression painted on their face? The one with the wheel on his back has an angry look, the one that comes with the speeder bike has a worried look, and the one in the deluxe pack with the Geonosian warrior has a crazy look. I need a good, normal facial expression ep2 Anakin with straight legs, no action stance. Does one already exist? Any idea if we'll get one any time soon? And speaking of straight legs, how bout a Boba Fett and a Jango too!
--Cody

Oh, the immortal question: with so many choices, which is the most adequate? As of yet, it's a hard choice. I personally think the best Episode II Anakin, overall, is the one from the Secret Ceremony, with the droid hand. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty gosh darn good and has above average articulation. (Which in 2003 was about what you could hope for.) If these don't meet your fancy, I'd say wait-- Hasbro's doing lots of head swaps and resculpts so waiting is good. The best one for stance is the Evolutions (and now tins) figure.

As far as Boba Fett, both the VOTC version and the 2006 Saga Collection version have straight legs, so it's a start! Jango, well, we wait some more. There hasn't been a newly sculpted Jango since like 2002 so we're gotta be due soon.

5. I've read about Kenner rehashing some of the ewok toys from their SW line for use in a Robin Hood line in the late 80s or early 90s. Which toys were they? I'm fairly confident there was the ewok village and the battle wagon but were there any more? Also is there a quick and easy way to tell the two releases apart? I have an Ewok village that I'm fairly sure is actually the Robin Hood version (not that I mind as it look very cool with a load of vintage woks) but it was sold to me as the star wars release and I'd rather not get caught out again!
--Ed

In the case of Robin Hood, there were a few. Friar Tuck was based on the Gamorrean Guard, and there was a couple of others. The Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Battle Wagon was based on the vintage Ewok Battle Wagon, and the Sherwood Forest Playset was the original Ewok Village. Read all about it in this great article by Ron Salvatore entitled The Recycling of the Force.

6. I don't think I read your review of the "greivous attacks" pack, but after getting mine I have two questions.
1.The back calls the red arc captain "Captain Fordo," but isn't that actually "Captain Ordo," from the famed republic commando books?
2.Why does the aforementioned captain have a rangefinder on his helmet in the cartoon, but not the toy?
--Richard

As far as the Clones go, Wookieepedia says Fordo is Fordo, so I'm going with that one. The toy's name is its proper name, even if it's wrong, in my book-- so the vintage robot bounty hunter is Zuckuss and the bug alien is 4-LOM. Ordo's in the novels, Fordo's on TV (and is a toy). If there's a mistake, well, I'm going by what it says on the official site and in the toys until a correction is made. In short, there should be multiple red ARC captains.

As far as the rangefinder, easy-- Hasbro's too cheap. They made this item of recycled parts and could just pop an Episode II Clone head on the Episode III Clone Commander body-- that's why he has, arguably, the wrong guns as well. A lot of answers are "Hasbro is cheap," and I don't mean it in a bad way-- repaints and head swaps are the order of the day in the toy industry these days so I expect this sort of thing to happen. I still want to see a brand new Fordo with the rangefinder though. (Or Ordo, why the heck not?)

7. You mentioned recently that you "would have liked to" have made R3-O1 part of the very cool EE astrodroid 10-pack, but "it wasn't possible." Was this because Hasbro is reserving the right to make this one in the future? If so, are there any other astromechs that they vetoed for the set which we might see carded?
--Droid...or Astro Droid?

In short, stuff happens-- this set was created at breakneck speed, and well, it is what it is. The other droids on my master list were basically "any droid with a name", and some of them are still in play and as such, well, I can't say too much more. Anything might happen, any figure might be seen carded some day, as Hasbro is proving with 3 new Astromechs due between now and 2007.

If the "speed" thing sounds like a cop-out answer, most figures take several months to a year to get out. I was hired at EE in May, 2005, quickly developed the item from my notes, and the exclusive was in homes by January, 2006. Not a lot of time to change stuff up there. But hey, if these droid packs sell out, wouldn't everyone like to see more of 'em?

8. I'm totally excited about the Imperial Conference set that's coming out the fall from Diamond Comics! I've been wanting this from some time! My question is when is coming out ? From what on saw in the cards it said October and then someone crossed it out and had hand written September , and how can I get hold of one? Will it be available in comic shops only or will Star Wars shop offer it like they did with the Bounty Hunter set that was a Diamond exclusive?
--Bill

It should be exactly like the Bounty Hunter set from last year as far as distribution, and if it says September/October, that's what I'm gonna go with until we see a correction. Although I frankly doubt we'll see it too much before 2007, that's just me guessing and I could be wrong. Your favorite Internet stores and comic shops should have this item, so be sure to get your name on a list to show support for this kind of item, which is awesome beyond belief. I mean, wow, an Imperial Officer set-- who'd have guessed?

9. In response to your statments recently, I'll say this. You said that there was a silent group of fans that is more or less hapy with things. I count myself as one of them. Sure, sometimes I wish a figure had an extra couple of points of articulation, or maybe an additional gun, but it's nothing to get hung about, and I still get enjoyment from the toy.

Personally, I am THRILLED with this and next years upcoming Star Wars line ups. A rerelease of the McQuarrie Trooper, a bunch of clones (Galactic Marine and Utapau Airborne have been on my list before I saw the movie in theatres), mustafarian lava miner, more clones, TARKIN (a new EP4 version has been on my list for ages), did I mention I like clones?

All I want for Christmas is a new (read: vintage articulated) snowtrooper, but you know what? Even if we don't get that particular item this year, you'll hear no complaints from me. Hell, I already (like the rest of you) preordered the Commando 7-pack. Yes, it would've been nice to of had some knee movement. But like I said, it's nothing that I really try to focus on; I still got a lot out of Scorch, and I am absolutely delighted that the other three are coming out. If Hasbro can take a sculpt, repaint it, give it new accessories, and make it work (which so far, it appears to be) then GREAT!

And I laughed my ass off at the GREATEST WAVE EVER!! joke. Classic, and it shows people that Hasbro really is listening and knows what people are saying.

There will always be the haters (but you knew that). Screw them. I'm not going to let anyone who bitches about a PLASTIC STAR WARS FOUR INCH TOY ruin my fun and my hobby.

Hmm....I need to ask a quetion, now don't I? In that case, why do fools fall in hate?
--Bob

I've got a lot of hate mail about my comments, so I want to clarify by showing I'm not totally alone with the above, unsolicited email. Yes, the "Greatest Wave Ever" prank was mean on Hasbro's part for the people that really wanted those figures, although I do believe that a lot of people want those figures largely because a) they think they're funny figures that would be fun to have (and I agree here) as well as b) the fact that they can't have them. I've seen a lot of threads on forums say something like "haha, I'm voting for the ice cream guy because it's FAN'S CHOICE and I don't care if Hasbro chokes on it," which, well, geez. That's harsh. While I am a little miffed that I'm not going to see Gargan any time soon, nor any Jabba's Palace characters before 2007, well, I'll live. I mean, I got Kir Kanos, Mace's astromech, and a comic-specific version of Aurra Sing all coming my way. It's a good year.

I'm kinda in a weird position. As some of you know, I'm an awkward guy. I get pretty bent out of shape when it comes to my little plastic men, and I never meant to say anything like "get a life." If anything, I spend more time hunting through shelves and pegs than most people because I'm there for Transformers and Pirates and other things too. I am a little baffled, as I've been since the beginning, over some of the things that get panties in a bunch and more importantly, why my name has to be attached to them and people need to go on about ME. I don't matter. I'm just some goofball who writes columns. You should ignore me, I just comment on things.

I'm not of the "love it or leave it" crowd, but I do find it baffling that people seem to hate so much of this and pour hours into letting the world know what they dislike, giving Hasbro, forums, and fans like me no idea what they LIKE. Nobody picked up the Clone Wars Gunship and wrote and said "wow, this is great!" but I got dozens of letters asking why the hell the rockets weren't red like on the box. It's hard to please a lot of fans because after 11 years, we all just assume everything is fine if we're quiet but we have to scream at the top of our lungs if there's a problem-- and at times, it's a good thing, like letting Hasbro know our dissatisfaction with the lack of vehicles. We got vehicles again-- that's a good start!

And to join the complaining, I kinda hate the cup figures. Bought a bunch of 'em on clearance, but still, I don't think much of them as a concept-- we don't all have to like anything but I'd rather spend time letting Hasbro and the world know why I collect and why I'm still writing after 11 years (tomorrow being the 11th anniversary of my first newsletter) rather than complaining and then constantly asking myself why I'm throwing away money and time in the hobby on things I don't even like. Lucky for me, I love wacky colors on comic figures and droids and such.

10. I'm really pissed over how HasbroToyShop.com handled the 501st SDCC exclusive figure. I had started hitting their site before 8 AM, and the SDCC link wasn't active yet. After that, they had finally made the link active. As soon as I clicked it, the site went down. For nearly an hour I couldn't get into the site. The few times I was able to get the page open and tried logging in, it went down again. This continued for almost 2 hours. I was at work and had a fiber-optic connection, so the problem wasn't on my end. I emailed them about the site problem during this time, here's their reply:
"Dear Customer,
Unfortunately, we are unable to place any orders at the current time due to a technical error. Please keep checking the website. As soon as the error is rectified our websites will be updated.
Sincerely,
HasbroToyShop.com Customer Service Center"

Their incompetence really irritated me. Did they honestly not think this would be a popular item?
Is their some chance that more of the 501st troopers will be available on the SW shop.com site? At least their servers can handle the traffic, and they have never crashed when I ordered exclusives from it.
This whole ordeal was just pathetic. May they never be entrusted to handle another exclusive.
--Tom

I kinda agree with you on a lot of levels. I'm a big Transformers fan and it pisses ME off to no end that they reserve con-only exclusives that, even if you pay full non-attendee admission prices, you can't get. It's a freebie at the show and you can't even get the option of buying it. And a convention set is about $300, for 5 figures, which are repaints of about $60 worth of toys. The arguments of the promoters usually sounds like "well, these are for people that come out to and support the show" and "get someone to pick them up for you" which are both things that I, like you, do not care to hear. I just want a big box set of Beast Wars characters as they appeared on Cybertron without having to enlist a buddy as a packmule.

In this case, Hasbro Toy Shop-- a new store-- made a big mistake. They didn't make enough, and fans get angry. And guess what? We go through this every few months with a new exclusive. I hate to sound like a broken record, but when you collect a modern toy line, things like this can and will always happen. To avoid frustration, toy collecting is best done on dead lines. You get a lot more perspective, prices have cooled after the new-item-crazed-scalping ends, and it might be available for less in a few months if you can wait it out. I've done that with a few exclusives I missed, and it worked.

HasbroToyShop.com is a separate store than ShopStarWars.com. One is an entity within Hasbro, and it wanted its own exclusive and the profits that go with it. (And Nemesis Prime, and those fans have a heck of a lot more to complain about as of this week with pricing and problems-- Hasbro sold units to some retailers and they're charging $28-$45 for an item Hasbro most likely intended them to sell for around $25-ish.)

Your complaints will be heard, and if you keep making sure people know you're unhappy, all the better. Frankly, I think EVERY exclusive should be pre-ordered online for at-the-show pickup, with a select quantity (maybe 10%) set aside for non-attendees. I know, some of you are shouting "Adam, you idiot, there should be NO exclusives, ever!" I disagree. Some exclusives guarantee better distribution-- have you ever had a problem getting a Fan Club Store exclusive, or an Entertainment Earth exclusive? (OK, there's been a few foibles, but you know where I'm going.) ShopStarWars.com had an order online/pickup at the show option for Holo Leia in 2005 and it was PERFECT. Flawless. No complaints. I hope HasbroToyShop.com considers a similar method of will call orders in the future, and I implore Lucasfilm's fan relations department to do the same for Celebration IV. The Fan Club Store at the show just doesn't work, at Celebration II, people got screwed out of figures, and at Celebration III, I still hear of the 8-hours-in-line tales from nearly anyone who didn't have a buddy let them cut in line (or who got in early for whatever reason.) Let fans order exclusives with registration, and you'll hear lots less complaining and there will be no reason for people to buy tons of extras for eBay.

But back to the issue of this trooper-- con exclusives cool off. Always. Jorg Sacul can be had for $20-$30, which isn't the $10 at the show but is still pretty good when you consider the cost to get IN the show, travel expenses, hotel, and so on. If anything, the people that are scalping these things aren't really making much of anything after eBay fees. To push this forward, the Celebration III Vader is about $20 tops (was $15 + $3 or so for the case), OTC Holographic Leia is about $18 or so (was $13 or so), Silver Boba Fett is as little as $5 (was $15ish), Silver Sandtrooper is about $13 (no real change). In short, it seems pretty much all convention exclusives can be had for the cost of the figure plus the cost to park at the convention center, which is really quite marvelous for fans that want them.

At the end of the day, Hasbro may have done you a favor-- you might be able to trade for this figure for next to nothing in just a few months! I've waited a few exclusives out, and some other rare items, and if you're like me and want everything, well, it'll all work out. Eventually. You can't win them all when there's 100 figures a year. (Yes, I know, I'm Mr. Sunshine lately and that's a bad thing.)

FIN

After 11 years of writing about toys on the Internet, I don't think I can continue this hobby without keeping in mind why I started this and why I'm going to keep doing it. I wanted to find stuff out, and make sure other people knew what was going on as best I could. It was 11 years ago tomorrow that I started my little Internet newsletter on Star Wars toys, so now I can safely say that I've wasted more than a decade on this fine hobby with you fine people. I expect to be here for at least 11 more. Bwa ha ha, ha ha, ha ha. (Hey, what else am I gonna do? Retire?)

So... what else is new? Not much. But you should go to Target for their clearance racks.

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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