Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
November 13, 2006

 

1. I had a question about the new Mace Windu Battalion Battle Pack. On the back of the box it says that the Clone Commander has two pistols, but I've only found one, the one that can be inserted into the bag. Yakface.com and rebelscum.com both have photo galleries of the set and neither one has shown an extra pistol, nor a mention of the typo, if it is one. Do you have an information on this? Did we all miss the pistol in the packaging somewhere?
--Bryan

After checking my sets, doing additional research, taking apart the box, and asking around, it looks like we're suffering from a typo. It's not unexpected that typos happen, although when it comes to what actually comes in the box, it's really not something that should happen-- but it does.

2. Now that we've seen hi-res shots of the three upcoming Battle Packs (Geonosis, Tantive IV, Dagobah), can you tell if there are any "new" figures in these. None look all new to me, but wondering your judge of repaints, kitbashes, or straight re-issues.
--Dave

While I hate to say "the jury is still out," I need to preface this answer with such a statement. The 2006 R2-D2's first official out-of-package shots clearly show a figure based on the R4-G9 mold, and the "Greatest Hits" C-3PO had a stand that, at this time, has three variants to it. So no matter what you see, if it looks fishy, it might still change. (Case in point: Darth Vader's blue lightsaber in the Tantive IV set.)

So with that in mind.

Battle of Geonosis: This set appears to be 100% repacks, although battle damage levels or things like eyebrows MIGHT be just different enough for you to care. It does not seem like anything in this particular set is new or exclusive.

Capture of Tantive IV: This is the one that's causing the most confusion. The Darth Vader with Interrogation Droid is the one from 1999, and did not include a lightsaber-- but the loose shots show him with what seems to be Aayla Secura's lightsaber. The two Rebel Troopers seem to have new heads with removable helmets, but this remains to be seen. The "Stormtroopers" are, of course, Sandtroopers from the Evolutions set. Specifically, the first "yellow" set, and more specifically, they're the second release of the trooper-- the dirt changed over production. In the Hasbro photos, the belts are on the figures backwards. Since the Evolutions' belts are removable, this can be easily fixed.

Jedi Training on Dagobah: Darth Vader is the 2001 "Spirit" release, but with added dirt on the boots and cape. (So it's different.) R2-D2 is either the R2-Q5 or 2004 Jabba's Sail Barge R2-D2 release (you can tell by the very flat eye sculpt) with added dirt. Either way, it's different. Obi-Wan Kenobi seems to be the same as the 2004 Spirit release. Luke Skywalker is a mystery as it seems to look like the 2002 release, but it's not apparent which hand mold variant it is, or if it's actually going to be different in the way of the dirt deco (which it no doubt will be). If nothing else, Luke is the 2002 deco with the 2004 head-- so again, it's "different." Yoda seems to be pretty much the same as the 2004 release.

So there you go! Assuming what we saw is truly what we'll get, the Rebel Troopers are really the only things I would define as "new" due to the new heads. Everything else is a repack or a variant. Other changes may exist (like the Darth Vader head from Dagobah), but it's not easy to tell from the photos.

3. Has this offer been [the George Lucas Stormtrooper, as I decided to leave out the subject of my question in my question] pushed past the end of Nov. like the early bird set was pushed to the end of the year??
--Richard

Right now there are no known plans to extend the offer, but given how few people seem to be sending them off, you never know.

4. Is Hasbro serious with the Capture of Tantive IV battle pack? I figured the early pictures were prototypes so it was no big deal that the Stormtroopers were dirty. Seriously, the capture of the Tantive IV is the first time that you see a Stormtrooper and they're all nice and shiny. What is Hasbro thinking?
--Johnny

The real question is "are these final?" (And if the answer is yes, then yeah, it's "what is Hasbro thinking?") In the past, early Hasbro engineering has resulted in a Ponda Baba missing its black paint apps, a Slave Leia with the area under her dress in flesh color (i.e., nude), and so on. Variants happen, too-- it's possible the first batch out of the factory is going to be "wrong" and therefore the rare version, and then it gets fixed. We don't know yet, but obviously, this is a mistake, and hopefully everybody's mentioning of it to death will result in someone at Hasbro going "oh, let's check on this and see what's what here." Which I'm sure they are already doing.

5. I have one big problem. Recently I purchased Obi's Toys R Us Starfighter via ebay and it didn't include the correct set of decals. I live outside the US but have a shipping address over there. I have tried several times to contact Hasbro US and they haven't responded, and Hasbro from my country doesn't seem intrested in helping. What can I do ?
--Bruno

In your situation, assuming your US shipping address works, here's what I would do. First, go to Hasbro.com and fill out a complaint through their customer service department. (This eventually worked for me in your situation, as it seemed all of them had the same problem.) If this is exhausted, send them a letter saying "I bought this, the stickers are wrong, please fix it." If that doesn't work, well, you might be out of luck unless someone out there scanned them so you can print them out and make your own.

6. On the heals of Chris last week I want to complain about the quality of the titanium figures. This whole thing seems like a debacle to me. Overpriced figures in vastly too big packaging with horrible paint applications (mostly) and limited articulation. Ok, so it's made of metal? Big deal. You can't even tell the difference between it being metal or painted to look like metal. Now, I haven't seen every single release yet but the only normal ones seem to be the sandtrooper and IG-88 (with IG-88 being the only one so far deserving of this treatment.)

Here are some suggestions:

1. Do only droids for the titanium figures. Droids are smaller (generally speaking protocol droids and astromechs are thinner/shorter), have limited articulation, and are actually made of metal to start with.

2. I'm assuming these are aimed at collectors and not kids based on the packaging and pricing. Wouldn't it be better to just stick with the online exclusives through EE or Shop.Starwars and give us really awesome and obscure characters instead of wasting time on these things?

3. Or perhaps make really high end 3 3/4" figures with really high quality materials like polystone or gold plating or something (I'd buy a gold plated C-3PO figure or a polystone R2-D2). Just keep the collector stuff online so Hasbro doesn't have to deal with the big retail stores.

What do you think of the titanium figures and these alternatives?
--Dan

Originally I wrote a big answer. And then I thought just writing "They suck (all of them)" but that's too cheap a shot. And then I wrote another long answer, but that one sucked. So let me try this slightly shorter one.

Why is everybody so interested in Hasbro making "premium" 3 3/4-inch figures that cost twice as much? "Vintage," I can get behind. Fancy retro packaging, top-notch sculpts, it makes sense. But the Titanium Series figures are just not a good product. It seems they're designed to bring in new adult collectors, but I don't really think they're doing anything interesting.

The figures are $15+ because stores have to make money on them and they're not cheap from Hasbro. Characters like Darth Vader are an easy sell. Droid repaints for $15? Not so much.

And as far as online exclusives go... uh... no. Sorry. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

7. After reading all the Hasbro Q&As over the past several months and seeing the same questions regarding the AT-TE getting the same response of "if it has a prominate roll in the animated series we might consider it", should we start asking Lucasfilm to give this vehicle a serious role in the series so that Hasbro is forced to make one at some point?
--Troy

The AT-TE hasn't seen a lot of action outside a few seconds of film-- sure, you could see it in the comics once or twice, but beyond that, well, not so much. Given the first of two TV shows will focus on the Clone Wars, I'd say you're probably 80% guaranteed to see it, the Turbo Tank, and a number of other vehicles in some capacity. The narrative will dictate how much screen time it gets/needs, and since we don't really know the focus, well, we don't know how much time it would get. I'd say the important thing is to be vocal, to keep asking about it, and to take every chance you get to bug someone at Lucas at Comic Con or what have you about it. (Oh, and Celebration IV too.)

Hasbro will never be forced to make one-- they can make what they damn well want do or don't please when it comes to deciding what to make. I mean, it's 2006, and we're just not getting a Tagge figure, and he had dialogue in a movie from 1977. If it makes sense for Hasbro, they'll do it. MY worry is that with the success of the 2.5-inch scale of vehicles for Sigma 6, that Hasbro will eventually go and say "oh, let's do Unleashed Battle Pack scale vehicles instead." So remember kiddies-- NOTHING is ever a sure thing, screen time or no. If screen time really guaranteed toys, wouldn't we have some really nice Star Destroyers, Blockade Runners, or even a Death Star by now? I mean it's been 30 years. It's been in two movies in two decos. Where the heck is my freaking Blockade Runner?

8. Was any of the talk about a 2007 release of the Original Trilogy (and/or the Prequel Trilogy) actually based upon any factual information? Were people just assuming that this would be released because it will be the 30th Anniversary? Or, was there ever a statement made by Lucas or a leak discovered? I know that the ROTS DVD had images of an updated Episode I Yoda but there was no statement that we would see this in 2007 nor was there any mention of further changes being made to the OT. I'm just wondering if these claims of a 2007 release of a New and Further Improved Star Wars were founded in reality or just guesses. Also, I'm wondering if any further changes are really in the works as far as anyone out there knows.
--Dan

Real official solid information is hard to find, but sales slicks from Europe (and other tidbits) seem to indicate that a Saga Box Set of all six films will be sold on DVD in 2007. What this set will contain remains to be seen, for all I know it could just be the "Disc 1" from all six films and no extras. There also may be 3D releases of the films in theaters, but it's starting to look pretty unlikely.

Supposedly Lucas keeps working on little changes here and there to all of the films, so yeah, it's a pretty safe bet there are still more fixes to be made, like with the lightsabers in the first movie, and all that stuff. It's a cash cow, they know it, so expect something else on DVD before whatever takes over (Blu-Ray, HD DVD, or "other") down the road.

9. I'm trying to decide if I should get the new "Emperor's Wrath II" Vader. I'm one of those guys that doesn't like having two similar/redundant figures, but I'll buy a new version of an old figure if it's more accurate or what have you. So do you like this new one, or the old POTJ one better? Not which one you think I should get, I wanna know which one YOU like better.
--Brian

I like things that glow in the dark a lot. As such, the first version of the figure is superior because he can indeed glow. However, the new one was removable snap-on Sith lightning, a better paint job, a display base, and a retooled arm that looks a lot better. So to further confuse you: the first one is cooler, the second one is better. Take yer pick.

10. Hey Adam... I read your Q&A today and saw that someone purchased a Mace's Attack Battalion Battle Pack that smelled awkward. Well, I bought the set last week and have yet to open it. I decided to pick it up after reading about this and see how great mine smelled. Oddly, I discovered that my own set also has a unique sent that seems to vent from the flap on the right. It's very plasticky (sp?) smelling, and my guess is that it's fresh off the line, so it has retained that factory scent. Who knows.
--Victoria

Well, there you go-- some people are getting lucky on this one. And "some people" are me because mine doesn't stink. I also noticed (and posted this last week) that the price varies by store, as some have it for a buck cheaper than other Targets. So if you're really cheap, there you go.

FIN

So I spent another big chunk of the weekend working on Figure of the Day. (Although what I wanted to do was play more of Final Fantasy V as it just got a rerelase on the GameBoy, and you know how much I like 16-bit era games.) Things are going well, and it seems that it's going to be able to keep going without missing a beat. Which is freaky as I usually get bored and move on to something else by now.

The subject of the Expanded Universe is one that's sure to get a lot of discussion over the coming year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is new (and old) fans going to stores, picking up the items, and going "...what?" I've sent around the image of the blue Darth Vader from the Marvel reprint to some friends of mine (good people if you can get past the fact none of them really collect this stuff) and there was a lot of confusion as to what it was they were looking at. (Which is what I was expecting.) I'll be most curious to see how fans will react to Quinlan Vos and Villie, both of which I'm somewhat excited to see but befuddled as to what people will do when they see them. (I'm even more crazy curious as to which issue of the comic will come in the set.)

Rumor has it that upcoming waves of the figures will include a set with Luke in a Stormtrooper outfit and R2-D2, and yet another set will be Clone Wars based and feature Obi-Wan Kenobi and an ARC Trooper. Obviously, we're not treading a lot of new ground here so far as with seven rumored sets, we're getting a grand total of two new characters. But as I also collected the G.I. Joe sets, this is pretty much par for the course and makes this a great jumping-on point for a collector wanting to "collect them all" when it comes to a subset. There's no way I can spring enough scratch for a decent Cobra trooper collection, but I can certainly pick up a dozen or so comic packs with the best figures over the past two and a half decades.

What would make a good future for Star Wars comic packs? I've got a few picks of what I'd like to see in 2008 if the line continues that long, which I expect it to-- I mean, it's $10-$12 for two figures and a comic book. Figure each figure at $6 or $7 and the comic at $3 and you've got a screaming deal here.

There's a lot of potential here. Just pack "Tag & Bink" in a set together. We get two Stormtroopers, Kevin Rubio gets another royalty check, everybody's happy. C'mon. It'd be awesome and we'd get more Stormtroopers.

(This one seems really long this week. And I spend like 20 minutes hacking it down 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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