Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
September 18, 2006

 

1. Hey. Do you know if the Hunt for Grievous Battle Pack is still shipping? I never even saw a place on the shelf for it at any of the TRUs around my neck of the woods. Today I saw the new TIE, X-wing, AT-AT, and the CW Gunship. The whole action figure section was recently reset, so did I miss it?
--Brian

As far as I know, it's still shipping-- I still see one here and there, it's just very popular. I would, however, advise you to order one online if you haven't yet seen one because odds are your luck isn't going to get much better as time goes on. It's possible you missed it, but Toys "R" Us has very unique shipping patterns which are hard to decipher, with new items suddenly appearing after a long absence. If you aren't hitting your local TRUs once or twice a week, odds are you will continue to miss it.

2. I'm kinda torn on the new Slave Leia statue from Gentle Giant. While the body, pose and detailing are perfect, I couldn't help but look at the photos coming in from the con and be very creeped out by her dead eyes and vacant expression. I pretty much decided not to buy the statue because of this. Then there was a rumor floating around that the Slave Leia statue was delayed because Carrie Fisher had problems with the statue's state of undress. I wonder, if changes were made to the outfit, could changes have been made to the face as well? The recent pics from Gentle Giant look better than the con photos did, but we've all been burned by deceptive photography before. Now that it is up for pre-order could you confirm whether or not any changes were made to the production model compared to the show model?
--Grendelspyce

When it comes to Leia merchandise, people love to make stuff up. Padme, too, if you'll recall the Unleashed figure. Every Leia has some wacky rumors about Carrie Fisher raising Hell, and we can date this back to Hasbro's (Kenner's) first figure in 1995. The statue, when I saw it in person, looked great. And yes, changes do get made between prototype and production all the time. With its release date in 2007, though, what gets changed and how much remains to be seen, although as it is, it's a very nice statue.

3. i was wondering what yuo thought of the chances of the Star Wars films being continued by someone else? Like, for nstance, movies based on the Heir to the Empire series . . . did you read those? I'm not even done with them yet . . . but I know how they end (darn internet!) and it's too bad how Thrawn dies . . . he was pretty cool . . . the coolest villians always die. But anyway, so what are the chances of these becoming movies, do you think?
--Tyler

While the concept of post-Lucas films is very likely (we got post-Roddenberry Trek), it seems unlikely it would revisit old territory like Tim Zahn's novels. Usually, it's best to do something new instead, just to get more interest going. Still, such films are very hypothetical and depending on how the TV show goes, unnecessary. I'm not too keen on post-ROJ films just because if they try to keep the same characters, they're going to have to do a bit of recasting here and there if they wait long enough.

4. From reading your Q&A, I can understand why Hasbro is not making big box items such as AT-TE's or Turbo Tanks but, do you have an idea why they haven't made smaller vehicles such as clone tanks/stormtrooper tanks, like the ones in Battle Front I & II, or the Tie Mauler as in Empire at War (PC game)? I've noticed that other toy companies have tanks out on the market that fit 3 3/4 inch figures. They range from $9.99 to $19.99. The clone tank wouldn't be much bigger than a Jedi Starfighter and a Tie Mauler would be about the same size if not smaller than a Jedi Starfighter.

The reason for my question is that many of us army build. We all know about the craze for clone troopers, so you would think that Hasbro would capitalize on this and make vehicles for clone armies. I've sold and seen custom tanks (geared towards clone troopers) sell for $35.00 to $45.00 on eBay but these aren't as cool as the real tanks.

My last question is, if I wanted to pass this idea on to Hasbro (even though I'm sure they've thought of it already), what department do I contact?
--Chuck

One of the things I find hard to comprehend (and harder to convey) is that Hasbro is packed with fans. The engineers, sculptors, designers, and marketing people over there sit around a big table, and come up with all sorts of ideas for anything we might think up of. Vehicles, playsets, you name it-- remember, these people all saw the same movies we did and many of them have better access to props, photos, and other information we would kill for. So when we ask "why don't you do XYZ?" someone at Hasbro has, more than likely, already suggested it years ago and was shot down by the bean counters or poor sales of a similar, pre-existing item. Hasbro first tried pushing for a TIE Bomber around 1996, and it came out in 2002. I heard Sandcrawler concepts were being kicked around since 1997, and we finally saw one in 2004. So. With that...

Why no Expanded Universe vehicles? A lot of people say that "anyone who played the game would buy it." First, not true. Second, I've never played the game, and as far as kids go, not every kid has the opportunity to play real-time strategy games. These aren't recognizable to your average fan, and with Hasbro's resources going toward things like Marvel and Transformers in 2007, they want to stick to things that are an easier sell-- like figures. Smaller scale vehicles like the ones seen on screen would be welcome, and I think it's a big mistake that Hasbro is selling fans armies of Clones with nothing to do and no ships to pilot. Some sort of tank, mini-rig, or even a reissue of the Imperial Troop Transport would be nice just to give something to some of our favorite figures. And with nearly 70 varieties of Clone Trooper made since 2002, it takes up a significant percentage of the line-- and these figures really do need something to do other than fight droids and Jedi.

A custom vehicle selling on eBay isn't the same as 30,000-50,000 (or more) selling in stores. You can sell a few hundred of any cool item with no problems whatsoever.

To pass along ideas to Hasbro, well, they read this column-- so odds are they'll see it. Otherwise, just send a letter to Hasbro HQ or let them know next time you go to a convention.

5. Now that the Star Wars website has FINALLY updated their databank with a Cane Adiss entry, this question has really been burning on my mind. When a movie character (and yes he is in the movie, you just need to know where to look) is included in the databank, does that possibly make it any more likely that they will have an action figure made? I know Cane Adiss is a long shot, but in the entry it said that his size is app. 2.4 meters tall and 4.5 meters long, not much different in size than Ephant Mon OR Hermi Odle. Come on, you know you want a Cane Adiss!
--lowtek

There's no connection between which figures Hasbro will make and the databank of the official web site, especially when that databank entry is pretty much 100% made up by fans through a Hyperspace contest. As stated before, Cane Adiss is tricky-- it's a unique design, but an incomplete design. I believe Creature Shop designers never assembled a body, and to use an oft-used refrain from Hasbro, "there's a lot of other things people want to see first." While people do make jokes about the likes of Gargan, people did vote for her in the recent Fan's Choice poll, and Ephant Mon was another winner. And we've heard about Hermi Odle being requested for years. If fans want Cane Adiss, I say start making a big stink about it. Make customs, write letters, and make sure to include it in the next Fan's Choice poll.

6. whats the idea behind the vintage line (VOTC,VSTC)? they are super articulated, highly detailed figures? the original figures that they are supposed to be replacing - the real vintage figures are really very basic figs (1977-1983)
--Yaacov

The idea was to make new figures on classic style packaging that collectors will pay a premium for. Hasbro (and all toy companies) like to make "basic" and "deluxe" figures, so you can basically charge more for a very similar product. The Vintage figures were designed to appeal to a higher price point fan (i.e., collector), and it would be hard to sell enough units of a very simple, very expensive figure. The "vintage" comes from the packaging, not the toys, because it would seem unlikely that under-articulated, simple figures would be an easy sell at $10-$13.

7. My question concerns the upcoming "Elite Corps Trooper/ Kashyykk Scout Trooper" (whatever he's called these days). While I appreciate the big H trying to get out one of the coolest and requested Trooper figures from the prequels, and the VOTC Scout Biker Trooper figure is an absolutely beautiful sculpt and a great figure in it's own right... Why would they just slap some green paint on him and give him a rifle instead of tweaking the very excellent and movie accurate BARC Trooper statue that came with the BARC speeder to have a bit of articulation? Does it really just all come down to the almighty $$?
--Joshua

Yes-- Hasbro is in business to make money. Just like whoever you work for. It's infinitely cheaper to repaint a figure than to make a new one, especially if they want to get it out in a hurry-- and these tail-end Saga Collection figures were 11th-hour additions to the line. So if you want them now, this is how it's done.

It takes a lot of effort to tool up a new figure. The BARC Speeder's driver figure requires a lot of work and modification to make it into a viable figure. As it stands, it can be made with a minimum of molds because there really aren't many moving parts. Every joint adds a lot of work and production costs, and there's a lot more to making a figure than just hoping a joint is where it needs to be. Sadly, this results in a lot of "close enough" with a lot of figures, like the AOTC Clone body with a ROTS Clone helmet for Target's two exclusives last year. To get a lot of product out quickly, it's easiest to repaint, rerelease, and repeat. It's not optimal but it's not like Hasbro isn't thinking about remaking it again later a few years down the road, either. I assume.

What amazes me is NOBODY seems to be angry that the once $10-$13 Scout Trooper is being rereleased with more complicated deco mere months later for $6-$7.

8. I know my milage may vary,but do you think leaving those tiny rubber bands that hold the figures weapons in their hands on will degrade the figures after a while?
--ABarra9721

Well, YMMV, and yes. Hasbro using the bands to ship figures to the stores can ruin them, resulting in "band hands" when a figure's weapon is rubber-banded in his grasp, especially in 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe figures. But, if you leave the bands on permanently, it doesn't really matter.

9. As a man in the know, is there any talk of Clone Wars Superstar Roron Corobb making a 3 3/4" appearance to team up with Mr Moudama. Seems crazy to have one without the other. With the increase in EU figures, how much coverage can we expect the Clone Wars cartoons to get off Hasbro?
--Dave

Chances are good, just not today. I expect this character in the next year or two, because it's getting a release from Gentle Giant (eventually) and fans know it. Although in some markets Foul Moudama was a slow seller, so it's impossible to say for sure. It was weird to have Scorch all by his lonesome, but I would say that turned out for the best.

10. Any word on a Christmas set/exclusive? They can't let the series die with red light Vader!
--JediNed

Sure they can-- and they should! The series started off with a fairly good R2-D2 & C-3PO for a good price. It continued with Yoda-- for a crappy price. Then we got the Jawas, which are good, but not screamingly exciting. Finally, we get Vader with crappy red paint, and he was like what, $13, and didn't even have very special packaging? It needs to stop, I hope it stops, and I'd rather the line keep to things that are plausible within the Universe-- even the Expanded Universe.

It was a cute idea, but I'd rather see resources spent toward something else. Given the option of another movie-based item and a new holiday item, I'll take something from the movie.

FIN

Well, happy Monday. Hopefully everyone's having a good week so far, as we gear up to the craziest exclusive season ever.

I managed to find my TIE Fighter and AT-AT too, so if you hit up Toys "R" Us you might find up to 5 exclusive vehicles as the Gunship is still shipping, the X-wing is now available, and some stores even still have leftover Millennium Falcon vehicles. So Toys "R" Us has 5 exclusive vehicles, and as of today, the main line has 6. Oh boy.

A lot of people are asking when we're going to see case breakdowns and official lists for 2007. More than likely, we aren't going to see pre-orders until closer to October or November, and that's most likely where the first case pack-outs will leak unless we're really lucky. As far as "official" lists go, I wouldn't hold your breath. We saw a few leaked lists and unofficial lists for 2006, but still, there was never any big giant complete list that had the whole Saga Collection (and/or Heroes & Villains and Greatest Battles), not until Comic-Con when we got the poster. So, again, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

There's probably going to be some other interesting stuff announced in the coming weeks, but that's just a guess. Here's hoping. Thanks for reading!

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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