Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
October 2, 2006
1. I find the new Naboo soldier to be useless without the red
overcoat he has in the movie. What gives?
It sounds like your standards are too high.
2. Do you think Hasbro is trying to start a trend with the "Mace Windu's Squadron" battle pack? With that "Battle Of Felusia" battle pack as a rumor, is it possible that more Clone/Jedi battle packs are on their way?
As Hasbro has discovered that fans will buy Clones pretty much no matter what they are, I would say that more "Order 66" packs and special, original concept squadrons are very likely in the coming years. As to what they are, well, who knows-- but when Hasbro said they're aiming to make exclusive Battle Packs very friendly to collectors, there's little that's more friendly to collectors than Clones.
3. I've been looking for definitive figures for two characters, Mace Windu and Darth Vader, and could use your advice.
- Mace Windu: That new 2007 MAce looks damn impressive, is that a super-articulated body I sense under the soft goods? The face sculpt looks damn BMFish too. Is this figure going to be better than either of the battle pack ones? (I will probably end up getting the pack inundated with clones regardless...)
- Darth Vader: Am I right in assuming that the Evolutions Vader was the best Vader thus far? Sadly, I passed on that set. Will the 2007 album one be comparable? Any suggestions? In particular, I'd love one to seat in my new Vader TIE (fighter, not neck).
P.S. Were you intrigued at all by the 4 Horsemen's FANtastic Exclusive program? It's a pity that the Toyfare fan figure for Star Wars couldn't work as well...
Right now, there's really no reason to worry about "definitive" because it's a temporary distinction. The best figure ever is only good until the next best figure ever comes out, so it's hard to worry about it. Right now, the best Darth Vader is, arguably, the Evolutions one and the best Mace Windu is, arguably, the unreleased 2007 one. But this can all change in the blink of an eye.
Plus, what purpose will the figures serve? For my money, the best "pilot" Vader is the Revenge of the Sith version-- he can sit in vehicle quite well with no problems. The Screen Scene Mace Windu also is quite capable of sitting due to his soft goods "skirt," and this mold is also being reused in some upcoming Battle Packs. So don't worry there.
If you want an Evolutions Vader, tons were made and are still available on eBay, so you can get one if you want one, no problems.
Finally, the FANtastic figure exclusive is a neat situation, but it's also a little short-sighted. The Four Horsemen are incredible talents who sculpt the finest toys in the business. (I was a huge fan of their Mattel Batman and He-Man offerings.) But with this line, all they have to do is make one figure, repaint it eight times over, and sell a couple hundred units of each. It's a unique way to get a glimpse at the creative process, but I think that Star Wars wouldn't work nearly as well in this format. If you were to whittle down characters by, let's say, movie-- so you'd have six films and "Expanded Universe" for good measure-- odds are it could always be EU (which is good) or the most popular film with fans, The Empire Strikes Back. While I love The Empire Strikes Back to death, it's a bad toy movie and we've more or less got all the good stuff from it.
But to backpedal slightly... was anyone really upset by how the ToyFare poll turned out? We can bicker all day long about our favorites, but it seems the process is about as good as you can expect given the level of interest (high) and passion (also high) every fan has for his or her favorite character(s). If we were developing a brand new figure/character from the ground up, though, I agree-- the Horsemen's format would be ideal. (And if Hasbro ever wants to allow a fan-made Jedi/Clone/Droid/whatever, hey, I'd love to see it.)
4. Now that we have seen the hi-rez of the coins, what is your take on them, or have you heard one way or the other? Are they plastic or metal? The hi-rez makes them seem like vac-chromed plastic. Have we heard what they are from the Mighty H?
These are supposed to be aluminum, just like the originals. Plastic would be pretty disappointing, and everything's subject to change-- and lighting can make anything look a lot different than the final product, too.
5. With the new thirtieth anniversary collection, will all figures come with coins?
Right now, the plans call for all basic carded figures to include a coin. This is subject to change per Hasbro's whims, as they dropped the Force Files from Power of the Jedi near the end for whatever reason.
6. I just picked up froma friend the ROTS Supreme Chancellor figure and thought that he looked familiar. Do you think this is the same guy as Darth Sidious or is that just a coincidence? Kidding. My question is did Hasbro use the same exact head for this figure as they used for the AOTC/Saga Supreme Chancellor figure? Just looking through photo archives, these two look like they have the same exact mug. Thoughts?
I put these two side-by-side and after a few minutes, am less sure of the answer I initially was going to give. It seems that both are derived from the same sculpt, with very similar wrinkles, hair patterns, facial expression, and so on and so forth. However, it seems the AOTC Supreme Chancellor version of the head may be slightly larger-- but I'm having a hard time determining if this is due to mold shrinkage, a trick of the light, color trickery, or so on. They are very, very similar if not identical though.
7. Hey Adam, I've been reading your stuff since all we had to look forward to were Micromachines and Star Wars bendies. Years later, I finally have a question. Is it just me, or is there no love for Alec Guinness? All of Hasbro's face sculpts seems to be based on the original POTF2 Ben Kenobi, which was okay in 1995, but today it's just lousy. Even the VOTC Ben was very reminiscent of the POTF2 head.
The only one that seems to be a completely different sculpt (because even the hooded Bens look like the POTF2 head was the base) was the OTC "Spirit of Obi-wan". Do you know if this figure was ever release in a non-translucent form? If we got a better head sculpt, do you think that the ROTS Agen Kolar body would work well for old Ben? Perhaps with one of the more recent soft goods cloaks? The robes seem similar.
First, thank you very much for the kind words! (I usually cut stuff for length but eh, why not.) While a lot of fans felt the very first POTF2 head sculpt in 1995 for Obi-Wan Kenobi was very good (myself included), it didn't age well. And as time went on, interest in Old Ben has really diminished-- after a blitz of figures before Episode I, we've had the OTC Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, POTJ "Training" robeless Kenobi, OTC "Vintage" Kenobi and... uh... repeats. The head sculpts have been pretty good, but I think part of the problem was that they were good to start with and there's not a lot of room for improvement. Sure, you can make it a little more Alec Guiness-ey, but how much more? I'd say we're hard pressed to expect much more out of the character, but there are definitely opportunities to make the sculpt just a little bit better.
I'm hoping Hasbro cranks out an all-new one soon because like many, I wasn't satisfied with the awkward, bulky Vintage figure and I really did like the Spirit version (which was the POTJ sculpt with new parts.) It hasn't been released in a non-translucent form yet, but I have hopes that Hasbro will see the opportunity, and seize the opportunity.
8. Here's more annoying alien questions for you... Since Hasbro stated that they planned to complete the Cantina scene, would that include the human characters and also characters from the holiday special (like Ackmena and Ket Maliss, who are actually part of continuity)
The issue of what is and isn't continuity when it comes to the Holiday Special is up for much debate-- I don't think there are lots of fans who would, in all seriousness, argue Bea Arthur is really part of the saga. Yes, it's funny, yes, it'd be cool to buy a Bea Arthur figure, and yes, I'd buy one too-- but do you think George would agree? Probably not.
We will probably continue to see aliens from the holiday special released because they're good designs and it's up for a lot of debate with some stills on who's who. Like Zutton, supposedly he's only in the holiday special but I'm not entirely sure of this.
9. I had read in a few places that 'super' articulation was the reason
that the VOTC figures cost more. Is this correct or is there more to it
than that? The reason I ask is because I noticed that the Saga
Sandtrooper is currently selling at retail for less than a VOTC
Stormtrooper yet they both appear to have the same articulation and the
Sandtrooper even has more gear.
There's more-- and less-- to it than that. The real reason as far as I can tell is that Hasbro had demand for a "premium" product, and stores wanted to have $10 figures in addition to $5-$7 figures. As such, premium packaging and supposedly superior construction resulted in this line. You're right-- there's no reason for them to cost $10 or more, as seen with the VTSC Scout Trooper getting more paint ops and a cost reduction later this year. Basically, they cost more because Hasbro and stores know they can get it. The Target-only Grievous On Fire is just as cheap or cheaper to make than some other products too, it's just what they want to charge for things. They're all made in China and it's a real safe bet the cost-to-manufacture difference between a regular figure and a Vintage/Deluxe figure is less than a dollar. But that's the way things go. Sucks, doesn't it?
10. Just a quick question (though maybe a heavy one): What the heck are most of the Hasbro action figures and vehicles made from? I mean, what type of plastic are the final products composed of? I'm no expert on types of plastic but words like "PVC" are floating around with supposedly horrific potential side effects. So, please please please tell me that I've not just invested a couple thousand bucks on what is essentially a blob of plastic slowly leaking toxic fumes into my living environment! (Please?)
Well, I got good news and bad news. Plastic tends to break down over time-- that's just the nature of the material and there's not too much you can do about it other than keeping them in a cool, dry, and dark place. I'm no expert on types but these things aren't toxic-- unless there's some grand government conspiracy to cover it up, there'd be a safety recall and it'd be all over the news. If they're going to go on about how Spinach will kill you, they're going to go bonkers when every kid's toy ever made is poisonous. (Which, for the record, they aren't.) So right now, just take care of them and realize that they won't last forever. Some vintage figures from when I was a kid are starting to get a little sticky and squeaky, and they've been properly cared for since I got them years ago. It's unfortunate, but it's true-- nothing lasts forever!
I found a huge cluster of questions from July that got misplaced and never answered. (Oops and sorry.) I'm making sure to answer all the ones that haven't been touched upon or made obvious by product releases.
So. Who's ready for the slow season? Q4 is always a dull time because announcements are few, products are many, and you spend all your time running around for exclusives that you'd probably just as soon order online in the first place. But hey, such is the fun, right? Oh well. Next year ought to be interesting.
Oh, and I got my latest wave of figures from you-know-who. Some interesting points: Mars Guo & Dud Bolt's guns are from the deluxe Durge figure. The new Obi-Wan Kenobi is actually the POTJ figure with a retooled belt and the Soft Goods figure's head from Episode I. (And in my case, the cloak has rotten awful stitching.) The new Endor Rebel (I got the black ones in my case) have all-new legs complete with ankles and holsters for the blaster. It's a good batch all around I gotta say.
Although the holographic figures? The big ones? Kinda tired of those. I mean, there hasn't been a regular carded Darth Maul on the market since... how long has it been? Maybe 2003? They could have probably sold a lot more figures if they just released the same plain Maul again, but I'm armchair quarterbacking here.
It's a very good wave. You'd be well-served to pick up many of these. Kudos to Hasbro for revisiting Episode I and doing such a good job at it, too.
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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