Galactic's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
September 11, 2006


1. A recent Hasbro Q&A I read has lead me, once again, to write to you. The whole Jedi Master Points thing from a few years back, was in my opinion, THE WORST SCREW UP HASBRO HAS EVER MADE!!!!!!!
[edited for length]
Why doesn't Hasbro step up to the plate and let collectors, like myself, who still have the points, be able to use the points to redeem a figure or multiples of mail away figures and those that threw them away can use, like Hasbro suggests from the [deleted] statement, fresh new points on new Star Wars packaging. It wasn't right for Hasbro to have all these points available for fans and then not back it up.
[edited for length]
Sorry for the length on the email, but I had to vent. Anyway, what is your opinion on all of this??????????? --JP

As I am often known for saying, I don't know if this is a joke or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know whati ts like???!???!??? Anyway, I'll try and answer it fairly.

Over the years, toy companies have put special "points" on the packaging. G.I. Joe had Flag Points, Transformers had Robot Points, and even MicroMachines from Galoob had their own points. While Hasbro was very fond of using those points early on for redemption items, it petered out. Galoob never used the points for a mail-in offer that appeared on the Star Trek and Star Wars items it produced, yet pretty much every single item for over 5 years had points on them. And let me tell you, I bought a lot of those.

The points were placed on the packaging from 1999-2004ish, and they were put on the packaging just in case Hasbro decided they needed/wanted to run a promotion. During this period of time, there were pretty much no mail-in offers, because it didn't make sense for business. (In case you didn't notice, it isn't just Star Wars. The mail-in offer premium figure is pretty much a dead marketing tool in all toy lines outside of, I hear, My Little Pony, and that supposedly just expired. Oh, and they did a couple of G.I. Joe mail-ins. Plus there was the whole Moss Man debacle at Mattel.)

Mail-in offers exist to spark interest in a toy line that isn't living up to its full potential, to get excitement going about something new, and to help clear stock of product stuck on the shelves. The Mace Windu offer, for example, was a great way to move unsold figures-- and in 1998, there were a lot of them-- while getting up the hype machine for the new movie.

So the Jedi Master Points are worthless? So what! Did you buy the figures just for the points? I mean, I bought tons of toys. I kept the points just in case. But I didn't buy the figures just for the points, and the points didn't cost me anything. So I'm out exactly nothing, so I, for one, don't care. I want a Transformers mail-in figure, it doesn't look like I'm going to get one. Even though I may feel Hasbro should do something to delight me for the hundreds of figures I buy, well, it's not like they're obligated to do so.

So what's the solution? Get over it. Hasbro being unable to sell you products you want to pay them for is the worst screw-up they can make. Leaving money on the table is a real problem. Not allowing people get free figures with the thousands of points they kept means, really, nothing. I've gone over this issue so many times I can't fake an interest at this point.

2. Hello. I'm not one to really care about variations, but there are two in particular I was curious about. The first is with the Greatest Battles C-3PO. In the pre-release photos, he was shown with a lava base, which I thought looked absolutely ridiculous with the background shot of the Tantive IV. I was pleased when it actually came out that it had the more appropriate gray floor tile, ummm, thing. A friend of mine pointed out that there were some that shipped with the lava base. I was surprised as I've seen a LOT of C-3PO figures, all with the gray base. Sure enough, when I had a couple cases brought from the back at a Toysrus, one case had the version with the lava base, the other did not. So what's the scoop on these? A 50/50 split between the different factories?

Also, concerning the new large wing Tie Fighter TRU exclusive (which is now in the Chicago suburb area), I had read that it came with the newly sculpted Tie Pilot, and this is shown on the back of the box (which I know doesn't mean a whole lot). When I was waiting in line to pay, I noticed that mine had the POTF2 era Tie Pilot, with no articulation, unlike the retooled one they were packing in with some of the various Ties. An employee brought out the remainder (2 per case) and another case which he opened in front of me. All four of them had the POTF2 Tie Fighter Pilot. And these came straight from the truck, and again, were opened in front of me. Now, this variation does not excite me in the least, especially if there is a version out there with the newer Pilot. I don't feel the need to have both versions, and would prefer to have the newer pilot, but not at the expense of A. having to find it again, and B. finding another one in as good of shape as the one I found is in. Are both figures shipping? Is it a factory thing, or what?

Ah, the never ending question about variations. In this case, the answer out of Hasbro is likely to be that of a running change. That's Hasbro terminology for, usually, "fixing" a product during production, leading to a variation to the likes of us.

The first release of the Toys "R" Us TIE Fighter seems to be the POTF2/1996 figure without the knee joints. This remains to be confirmed as the item goes on because, for all we know, it could be a 50/50 split, but it looks like it could well be an intentional, permanent change. We won't know for certain until it plays itself out, the sample I found had the POTF2 pilot.

C-3PO is more or less the same thing, except first releases had the Mustafar base and later ones seem to have the other one. Hasbro decided one base made more sense and went with it. This, of course, could change as we saw in the vintage line more than a few times that the first release sometimes would show up later. Shipments, warehouse cleaning, factory oddities, and so forth make it impossible to say "this will never show up again," but from what we've seen so far, this is what it looks like.

As always, you know the drill: buy the one(s) you want when you see them, or trade.

3. Okay, so I don't do an unnecessary amount of complaining about Hasbro. If they make something I don't like, I just don't buy it. Yes I've seen good things come and go ( I really dug the 7 in. Unleashed line and I do miss it) but, as I said before, I will never have enough money to buy everything I want even with lines ending and with my picky tastes. I collect the basic figures and open MOST of them for display purposes (I've been told that my wife's grandmother would roll over in her grave if she saw what I was storing in her antique curio cabinet--but it keeps the dust off the figs!). I feel that Mace Windu is seriously under represented in the line. Yes there are a lot of figures of him but I would really like a good figure in a lightsaber action pose WITH his cloak on for displaying the battle with Darth Sidious. Which one do you think is best for this scene? I know there is one with a soft cloak coming out but those soft-goods never really appeal to me in my displays (the Troopers rock though!). Then there is one from the Clone Wars line (which I am in the process of kicking myself for not buying it when I saw it) and the Arena Confrontation one from Ep. II with the voodoo bar sticking out of his back and out through the hole in his chest (I never got a real good look at this figure, however). Which one of these would/do you use for your display of this scene?

When in doubt, you can always wait. If you look at a bunch of figures of a main character and say to yourself "well, they're OK I guess, but I want one that does this and that," odds are Hasbro will grant your wish. We're probably around Luke #40.

With Mace Windu, each figure has its pros and cons. The Clone Wars one is a little wonky when you open it. It's nice, sure, but it isn't perfect. I happen to like the Arena Confrontation one as it's a pretty nice figure, but you'd want to use a display stand with it. I have serious doubts you'll be seeing a Mace Windu with a plastic cloak in an action pose in the near future, but anything is possible.

So, what would I use? Whatever I had handy. I don't know the nature of your display so it's really difficult to say "oh, this one, it's awesome." The one in the upcoming Mace Windu's Squadron is likely to be the best articulated with the best accessories, so my vote would likely swing his way. (Plus you get more Clones.)

On another comment, I feel Mace Windu is over represented. For Episode I, you have two. For Episode II, they made at least four. Factor in another for Clone Wars, another for Revenge of the Sith, and yet another head-swap for a Battle Pack, and you're already clocking in at 9 figures. This doesn't include Wal-Mart DVD repack, the "Heroes & Villains" repack, the Mace Windu Squadron repack, the Sith Attack repack, and whatever it is I'm forgetting. Mace Windu really only had one costume, arguably two (with cloak, without cloak) and on top of that, there's the slice-off arm thing which, so far, they haven't done. I'll add in Clone Wars as a gimme, but that still only brings us to about four different versions... and we're at nine. And I believe we have a super-poseable one coming in 2007 unless I'm mis-remembering Hasbro's Q&As.

4. Ever since 2002, the only Republic Gunship turret that was every made known to date was created. To this day, Hasbro hasn't mentioned a new version of the turret (or a re-pack) as a possible product that could go with a new Clone Pilot figure or a new Gunship. So my question is "Do you think they will make a new Republic Gunship turret?"

I'm a little surprised they haven't already done so. There's a market out there for ANY clone figure, and I know I'd buy four more gun pods to deck out my new Gunships. I think it's a matter of time before Hasbro rereleases it, but how much, I dunno.

5. Now that the movies have wrapped and we will have some television shows to keep us going what will it take to keep this toy line going? Obviously buying the stuff is the bottom line. Do you think Lucasfilm has a long term vision to keep the franchise going? I think of Star Trek and it's demise, so to speak, over the past few years. That franchise I think has suffered from a lack of vision overall. The Playmates toy line was really nice considering what was out there in it's day and was pretty extensive. I think overall it just didn't appeal to kids and as a toy line which was maybe the ultimate downfall. I also think Hasbro's toys have evolved a great deal over the ten plus years we have had it. Maybe I am comparing apples and oranges here. But I think kids have to be the number one factor in dec! iding if a toy line lives or dies. The Mattel Masters of the Universe line was gorgeous. But did you ever hear kids talk about it? I think Hasbro could sell lightsabers for the next hundred years to kids. Is there something else to the equation?

Kids like it, and if stores support it, kids will probably keep buying it. And if kids keep buying it, stores will want to carry it. It's that simple. Collectors make up a large part of the equation, and if we were gone tomorrow odds are the line would end a little bit faster. But right now? It'll probably keep going for a while.

Star Trek as a toy line died because Playmates killed it, combined with a decline of the overall franchise. The current Art Asylum/Diamond line is great, but who wants to pay $15 per figure? Plus... do kids like Star Trek? Growing up, I thought it was boring. In high school, I did enjoy it. I'll watch it now, but I was really shocked when they made a toy line for Trek aimed at kids-- especially classic Trek.

And He-Man? Every kid I saw pick up a toy in toy stores thought it was stupid. (I bought 'em.)

Our line is a special case. It might die out, but it ran from 1995-1999 on nothing but fan love and interest in a movie nobody saw yet. If Hasbro made the toy line a little bit more fun, it could probably last a few more years even without a TV series. It's so popular and beloved that not even the supposed loathing for Episode I could kill it off. It's got legs, and I think that even without a series, if Hasbro keeps up the line like it's doing (about half reruns and half awesome new figures) it could even squeeze a few more years out with absolutely no new tie-ins..

6. For those of us who enjoy the current line of SAGA packaging, can you tell us which items -- particularly vehicles, cardbacked figures, battlepacks, multipacks, etc. --are left to hit the shelves for 2006? I'm wondering if it's possible to determine where the so-called "line" will be drawn between the end of the current packaging and the 30th anniversary packaging for 2007.

While it looks like some exclusives are going to be coming out in the old-style boxes, obviously, we haven't seen them all yet so it's hard to say. But all regular line vehicles and tins are going to be in 30th Anniversary packaging. The exclusive vehicles are expected to be Saga Collection, as are, obviously, the regular carded figures. (Basically, everything numbered as Saga Collection is expected to be in that style packaging. When the numbering starts over, expect new boxes.) Battlepacks will probably all be in the standard Battlepackaging. There's no line to be drawn-- some items were developed one way, the others, another. One thing I can say, though, is that none of the figures up for preorder are 30th Anniversary figures-- these are supposedly all Saga figures.

7. recently i was rereading my crimson empire comic books, and in the last issue (crimson empire II, council of blood, 6 of 6) where the letters are it said "well, everyone, I guess this is it- for now. Crimson Empire III is soon to begin production and should hit the stands in late fall." now I realize that that was published in 1999, but I was wondering what ever happened to it? how far into production did it get? and more importantly will it ever get made? I am a huge fan of the series and I would love to see it continued

While word online indicated that it should have focused on the showdown between Luke Skywalker and Kir Kanos-- which would've been awesome-- it seems the story currently has no plans to be told. I have no doubt someone somewhere has a decent plot outline, but there are really no plans to release another volume as far as I know. (Who knows, maybe the figures will spark an interest! Here's hoping!)

8. One of the upcoming figures listed for next year is Darth Vader's Astromech droid. Do you have any idea which movie this droid appeared and where?

This is an Expanded Universe item which did not appear in any of the films.

9. The information Hasbro has released on the Battle Droids 2-Pack coming out this winter has left me confused. The description Hasbro gave indicates that the Battle Droids appear in these camo colors on Kashyyk, but I have no memory of ever seeing them there. Are they part of the expanded universe or do they actually appear in Revenge of the Sith in the camo color schemes?

See above-- basically, Hasbro gets to make up stuff if it so wishes now. I like this because we're going to get some more, new, and different toys that didn't necessarily ever appear on screen. In the old days, Kenner made small vehicles that looked like they were just out of range of the camera. Today, Hasbro is applying this to action figures.

10. I'm new to the titaniums game. I love this line now that I'm in it, but I have a question. I know that they've released multipack gift sets of these and I WAS planning to get these instead of the single pack versions of some of the ships. I know there obvious differences in the single versions and some of the ones in the sets (green swamp speeder vs. red), but then there are others in there that dont look different from the singles (x-wing to name a few). However, I noticed you made mention of the fact that you could only get a 'battle damaged' tie advanced in the multipack set, so that got me thinking: what is the differences between the singles and multipack versions? I tried to find comparison pics on all the major collector sites, but nobody has any! (hint, hint). Can ya help me out here?

Aside from the obvious "raw" ships...

1. The Raw AT-RT Collection. The red Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter and green Republic Gunship are (or at least were) unique to this set.
2. The Raw TIE Bomber Collection. The blue ARC fighter and green Swamp Speeder are this collection's special pieces.
3. The Raw Millennium Falcon Collection. The X-wing has deco unique to this set (and it's the best), and the red Y-Wing is unique to this collection. The new red Y-Wing is colored to match the vintage Kenner die-cast vehicle, while this one more closely resembles the OTC version of the ship Hasbro made.
4. The Raw Death Star Collection. The Star Destroyer has special grey markings around certain panels, and Darth Vader's TIE has some battle-damage. It appears the Star Destroyer is seeing a carded release later this year, and the dirt on Vader's TIE is somewhat subtle-- you might be able to skip this set.


So, what's new? Obviously, I took last week off. (Technically, I took this week off-- I wrote this about two weeks back. But I spent the weekend writing FOTDs so I didn't get anything off. But I digress.)

I saw Idiocracy, the film from Mike Judge that is basically going with zero publicity. It's pretty funny. Not genius, but certainly not bad. If you can see it, you might as well.

To answer a common question, I do not presently know the best deal (or "the one you should get") for the DVDs coming out this week. I'm actually somewhat reluctant to pick them up given the high cost, the high chance I'll be buying the saga again next year, and the best online prices for the movies seems to be about $18 per, and Circuit City seems to be asking $15 per. This makes the $45 box set from a few years ago look like quite the bargain, especially since it was blown out for $15 in 2005 in some markets. Still, $15 per... that ain't too bad. I don't need tins, glorified trading cards, or another reprint of a comic I bought six times over so that's the way I hope to go.

And if you're interested in Transformers Classics (the revamped G1 toys for later this year) visit today for quick rundown on some things you might not have seen yet.

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.)

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

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