Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
October 30, 2006

 

1. I just saw the first images of the battle packs from 4-Inches and was wondering if the stormtroopers seen in the photo of the Tantive boarding are new or retooled sculpts of the VOTC stormtrooper. I ask because the trooper closest to us in the pic is posed in a way that I can't get my VOTC trooper to pose unless maybe it's a clean version of the sandtrooper that has his legs a little further apart. Also, it may be the angle of the shot or the quality but it looks like the holsters are bigger. Do you have any extra info on this?
--Psyclonetrooper

Much like with you, that was my first glimpse at the figures. It looks like the pose is mostly a trick of perspective, but it could very well be a mistake, a trick, a newly bashed together figure, or something else entirely. It really does look like it could be either the VOTC Stormtrooper or the ROTS Evolutions Sandtrooper sculpt (with modifications) so I guess we're going to have to wait and see what it is we'll really get. For those of you who look at it and say it's obvious what the final figures are, let me just toss out there that in 2005, Hasbro put a Vintage Vintage AT-AT Commander on a Hoth-themed battle pack. Oops.

2. I had speculated about [The Return of Micro Machines] some time ago, but apparently I was too early to verify anything. Looks like Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast division is (sorta) bringing back the micros, if this picture is any indication...

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=starwars/article/SBPreview2

They're doing other things in the line...capital ships that are much larger than the old micros...but there will probably be new ships added as well, which means new Micro-sized vehicle goodness, no?

It is obvious to me, at any rate, that they're using micro molds for these two ships. Do you have any more info on these, or do we just have to wait-and-see?
--Jeff

While small ships do look alike to a lot of people, these are not reused Galoob molds. The sizes are probably going to be similar, but no, these aren't recycled molds. (For the record, I think the only time Galoob's molds were repurposed were for downsized Mexican candy premiums and for Applause's line of danglers, but I'm probably forgetting a big one.) These are indeed new sculpts, but it could be a replacement for those of us still pining over the loss of MicroMachines. Or rather, an irritant, as they're blind boxed and sure to be a colossal hassle to get. I'd totally collect the game figures with its Expanded Universe wonderfulness if it were possible to do so without plonking down $20 for a shot at a toy I want.

3. I don't remember Kit Fisto flying a fighter in the Clone Wars cartoon, so is Hasbro's new fighter from something else? A comic or something? Or did they just make a green fighter (which I remember seeing in the opening of the cartoon) and slap Fisto's name on it?
--Brian

As far as I can tell, Kit Fisto was never shown flying this ship in the cartoons. I may have blinked and missed it, but I don't believe I saw it with this deco anywhere on screen. Most likely, it's a new design from Hasbro to extend the life of a mold from 2002.

4. I am big fan of the wildlife of Star Wars. I enjoy the beasts that the modern line has provided us with so far and I was wondering if Hasbro had plans for more Star Wars animals in the future?

I know that we have been offered most of the main beasts already, but seeing more would not be a bad thing, in my opinion.

So, what's the deal? Are there plans for more beasts in the near future?
--Jeff

While there are absolutely plans for beasts in the Titanium line (because nothing says living breathing animal like cold metal), there are no confirmed plans for more beasts in the 3 3/4-inch line as of yet. There seems to be a lot of requests for a rerun of the Eopie still, so I wouldn't be shocked to see it or another brought back.

Actually, we have not been given a lot of animals as far as the Episode I is concerned, at least not in a larger size. Hasbro released a series of "Battle Bags" in 1999 with about 16 unique critters from Episode I and of those, I think most of them that weren't already action figure scale weren't released in the main figure line. (But a few were.) So there's potential there, plus the nifty Felucia beetle thing, the Aiwha, the Episode I version of the Dewback, all of those Utapau creatures that got cut, and whatever those things were at Padme's funeral. As far as Original Trilogy goes, there really aren't many things left to do, but I'm sure someone out there is going to want Scurriers or, if we go slightly EU, Baga or Yoda's kybuck. But the problem is that Beasts are a lot like vehicles-- they cost a lot more and a lot of people are cheap/have a few already.

(But we're doing OK for beasts overall. Eopie, Opee, Kaadu, Tauntaun, Rancor, Wampa, Bantha, Dewback, Ronto, Acklay, Nexu, Reek, Can-Cell, etc.)

Of course, I'm still bitter I never got a giant Sando Aqua Monster. That's a nifty critter if ever there was one.

5. I know you've said enough with the Endor troops, but I want just one more. We're getting a 12" one, so when do you think hasbro will get off their duffs and give us our "Old Dude" rebel commando?
--Joseph

Boy you people are greedy these days.

At this point I think that it's a very safe bet that Hasbro is going to try to make sure anything Sideshow does, Hasbro does in a 3 3/4-inch scale. However seeing as we're getting three "new" Rebels from Endor this year, I would be shocked to see a new one before 2008.

6. Which comic anthologies do you recommend? I got Crimson Empire with my Jax/Kanos 2-Pack (good stuff!) and have Dark Empire from way back when it was originally released. I ask because graphic novels are easy to put on an Amazon wish list for those gift-givers who don't feel like spending their days trolling the toy aisles in search of actual figures, the slackers.
--Doug

Whatever you can get cheap is where I'd start-- you can get bundles of Graphic Novels pretty cheap on eBay, and if you go to Comic-Con International, the company Things from Another World blows out used copies on the cheap. ($6 each. I got the entire line of $30 Marvel collections there.)

Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command are worth reading just so you know more about Thrawn and Mara Jade, and I was a huge fan of Tales of the Jedi (and the many spin-offs/sequels.) Shadows of the Empire was very good, but my personal favorites were always the slighly-out-of-continuity collections, like the Star Wars Tales series and the aforementioned Marvel reprints. Oh, and everything with Boba Fett on the cover just tends to be interesting. It's hard for me to really jump on too many others because it's really going to vary by your taste. Some people will insist that the X-wing Rogue Squadron collections are the best things ever, or that Vader's Quest was readable. (X-wing was good, the other one, not so much.)

If I were you, I'd just snag anything I could get on the cheap OR anything that has a toy associated with it. If you read current comics-- and you should-- I would heartily recommend Legacy due to its high fanboy appeal. It's nothing that'll rock your world, but as far as licensed fiction goes, you can do a lot worse.

7. Adam, since you are in the position to explain this proficiently, (I'm sure you already have before), What is your opinion on the "glut" of product released by Hasbro in a single year of Star Wars product compared to years gone by when we were able to look forward to just a few new products in a given month/year's time?

I want your personal opinion, and not the "business answer" of which I think I know the answer.
--figureaddict

I think it's basically a situation where you can't please everybody. In the vintage days, you could collect all the figures on a modest allowance-- after all, absorbing 12-20 figures a year isn't exactly tough between birthdays, holidays, good report cards, and so forth. The modern line grew slowly, too, because it seems nobody really knew how much stuff we would want to buy, ourselves included. I mean, how many figures a year does a collector want? A dozen? Fifty? A hundred? I don't think that's something that has ever really been addressed, and I don't think it's something we've ever really thought about. Those of us who still buy "everything" don't usually keep a running tally on what we're buying in a year, and we probably should. (2006 is probably close to a $2000 year just for 3 3/4-inch stuff depending on how "complete" you are.)

It's all too much and not enough. Look at the line-up for this year: I'd say that, ignoring the Episode III repack assortments and just focusing on the 74 basic figures (plus variants where appropriate), what did we really end up with this year? Maybe 50% of the products are really new, but the rest were just different enough to make us mad? Only 23 figures were 100% (or 90%) new sculpts this year, and that's counting Mars Guo and Dud Bolt as 2 figures. That sucks. With artful repaints and clever retools, the number goes up a bit, but can anyone really say they're as excited about holographic figures in a year where we get three of them in the main line? And the Clone Trooper repaints are starting to get stale, too-- don't get me wrong, they're nice and all, but it's OK to spread them out a bit. Counting commanders, we're getting *7* in the next two waves, bringing the basic assortment total of Clones to 10. Spread 'em out a little, already.

Long gone are the days that any kid could possibly hope to "Collect Them All" or even come close, unless allowances are huge these days. That's going to be a bit of a problem because kids really have no clue how big this line truly is, and I don't mean the last 11 years either-- I mean just this year. It's not like you can pick up a cardback and get a good idea of what might be in circulation, or what's "current," outside the current wave and some stragglers.

My ideal year was something closer to 1997 or 1998, where we were given a good mix of repacks, some new vehicles, and not so much product I feel like I'm choking on it. Although 1998 came close. I think 2006 is one of my favorite years for the line just because of the variety of product, but damn, how much of this crap do they expect to sell? Do we really need 4 basic Darth Vaders in circulation in a given year? Even collectors are going to have to have help to keep up with everything. I saw some Titanium ships in stores and couldn't remember exactly which Swamp Speeders I had and still need! It's getting ridiculous if I can't remember which toys I own, and this never happened to me before this past week.

Next year's "reduced" line has me both pleased and upset. It's too bad the line will be smaller because that's fewer opportunities for new items. But you know what? They could take another six months or a year off and I'd be pretty happy. (Hey Hasbro: how about six months of no new product, just repacks?) I'd be very happy if the pre-exclusive cap on the SRP of a year's worth of the basic line-- just regular 3 3/4-inch figures, multipacks, vehicles, and playsets-- was kept below $500. This year's 74 basic figures, before tax, is close to $520. Add in 6 tins, 3 Battle Packs, 7 new/repainted (but not repackaged) vehicles, 5 Vintage figures, and you're at about $928. And keep in mind, this is just 3 3/4-inch stuff, and this is not including any exclusives, shared or otherwise. When you take a step back and look at your collection like this, it's enough to make me think about taking off a year, or six. It's just too much, I think pretty much all of us can agree that we love the line but this is getting ridiculous. At least last year, figures were about two bucks cheaper.

(And if you live overseas? Man. I don't envy your wallet's pain.)

2006 is probably going to be a pretty close model as to what 2007 will be like, and how the line will be until a TV show starts. Of course, the way Hasbro is talking in their Q&A sessions, it's like they're considering branching the line out beyond 3 3/4-inch to be like 2.5-inch Sigma 6 toys (which is BAD), or some other new kid-friendly scale. Of course, that's where my line gets drawn. Keep in mind, the above numbers are all just for 3 3/4-inch stuff-- no Galactic Heroes, Unleashed, li'l Unleashed, Titanium, Force Battlers, Customs, Transformers, plush, backpack danglers, lightsabers, guns, and so on. It's impossible for kids to keep up and pretty gosh darn hard for a collector with nothing better to do to keep up, too-- if I miss an item, there's a really good chance it'll be a few years before I try to pick it up again.

8. Code 3: Dead or what?
--Scott

Well, I just talked to people there last week so they seem pretty not-dead to me. They did just move offices, though, and there haven't been any new Star Wars announcements in quite some time. The company seems to be doing quite well (as they're part of a bigger company, Funrise) but it does seem that new announcements are a little quiet. (Although I think their fire engine line's still doing quite well. Have you seen those? Man, they're neat.)

9. I've discovered something kinda interesting about a current figure that is out now. The Endor Rebel Trooper is no longer nameless. I discovered that he is not only the gunner aboard the falcon during the battle over the Death Star II, but he is also known in the SW galaxy as General Aieren Cracken, one of the top members of the alliance mentioned a vast many times in different books of the Expanded Universe. SO, does that mean that this figure is actually more of EU figure, than a Episode 6 figure? Hmmm...
--RollaJedi

When I got mine in my hand, I was thinking the exact same thing-- that we got the gunner from that famous publicity still. (Well, famous amongst us.)

As far as how you define your figures, well, that's your business. As it's a design (not character, as that came later) from the movie, well, you can do whatever you want with it. I haven't seen a good shot of the uniform of the actor from Return of the Jedi, so it might be a "close enough" situation. Obviously, making a specific name for him on the package would cost more and require more specific packaging, and we wouldn't get the variant troopers.

And for the record, if you're reading Hasbro, I freaking LOVE what you did here with the variant Endor Rebels. New sculpts? Added accessory? Repainted uniforms? Awesome. You've outdone yourselves.

10. In [last] weeks Q&A you mention the [snow]speeder has a slight retooling, can you explain please
--Richard

Every new release of the Snowspeeder has a few changes. This one has added air brakes, no spring in the landing gear, and holes in the bottom of the ship so it can be wired to the packaging. (Which is why window boxes suck, as they sometimes dictate toys' features.)

FIN

Wow, this was a pretty good week. Was anyone else as excited as I was to see those Battle Pack preview images? I really hope Hasbro starts putting those out as posters or at the very least, as hi-res images that can be used in magazines or mail-order catalogs. *cough hint* Plus it's not like one of them is nearly identical to a tin released at about the same time, either. The funny/sad thing is that the Tantive IV set seems to have 2 VOTC Stormtroopers (or modified Evolutions Sandtroopers) in it and will be about $20. But hey, we need troopers. Even if Hasbro seems determined to never let fans build an army easily at retail.

I finally built up some more of a backlog for Figure of the Day, which is surprisingly easy to get distracted from. For example, my old Super Nintendo got hooked up recently and let me tell you, Link isn't going to save Hyrule all by himself. But I digress.

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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