Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 12, 2007

 

1. Have the last two waves of Titanium figures been released in both standard and patina finish? I have only found standard painted versions of IG-88, 501st Clone Trooper, C-3PO & General Grievous.
--Jack

So far, I've only seen IG-88 and the Clone Trooper in the patina/vintage/silver finish. Also, there are two "regular" versions of the Clone-- with and without a bunch of tiny white dots on the blue part of the paint.

So far Hasbro has made no known announcements or solicitations for other "patina" figures. Standard versions of C-3PO and General Grievous have shipped to some stores in the USA (hint: shop online) but it seems the larger mass market stores are passing on these for the most part.

2. Adam, do you know if there will be any ladders produced and or released with this year's vehicles to allow the figures to "climb" in to their fighters?

Also, will there be a new b-wing released this year?
--Andrew

Since the proposed-but-unreleased accessory pack in about 2003, fans haven't had much of a shot at a new ladder accessory for their vehicles. While there have been no confirmations of such an item being released this year (or almost any fan requests), there are going to be ample opportunities to release it. It's just a matter of Hasbro deciding that this would be a good item to throw in with a pilot, a Y-Wing, or some other figure pack.

While there are lots of rumors, there are no known plans for a full-size B-Wing toy in 2007. The last modern release during Power of the Jedi was clearanced out in many Targets, while others sold out quickly. As such, it's hard to get a feel for the market's desire to see another one-- unless you look on eBay.

Keep in mind original retail at Target was $39.99. Today, the eBay going rate is about $50, depending on the auction. Also, a vintage one goes for about the same price-- sick, hunh?

I'd love to see an alternate paint job released for this ship, especially if it comes with a modern update of the vintage B-Wing Fighter Pilot action figure. (We still haven't had an official human modern B-Wing pilot yet.)

3. I was very disappointed about some Clones on the ROTS and TSC collections.

One of my biggest deceptions is Cody. The micro-head and the lack of full SA treatment makes him a "not enough good" figure. After looking the figure every day on my shelf, finally I tried to "customize" him. I put it on marks because all I had to do was to swap the head from the Airbone Trooper (from Mace Windu's Battalion set), and to empty the helmet just a bit to allow it fit right. Then I cut the feet and insert the ones with ball joint pivot. Voilˆ, here is a near perfect Cody (the arms articulation still not being ball jointed). Wow, I'm happy now. Now I'm considering to do the same with Commander Bacara, wich one is even better to be kitbashed, at least that's what I think. And this is my question:

- Can I swap the Bacara's head to put it on a SA#41 Clone's body? And the belt?
--Kunanuk

When it comes to some things, it's hard to please the fans. Ideally, what fans seem to want is for Hasbro to make one sculpt, and modify that one perfect sculpt to death. The thing is that even the best sculpts have imperfections, so Hasbro has a lot of molds in rotation to irritate fans in new and different ways. (Me, I'm pretty happy with most of them.)

I can't complain about the lack of "super articulation" on every figure. That sort of thing costs a lot of money, and while I would certainly prefer it, well, we can't always get what we want-- so I enjoy the figure for what it is (or isn't) and move on. Cody is a good example-- he has a few flaws, but the thing that irritates me is that the fans don't pick up on some of the ones that make it a bad toy. Like the fact that his little jetpack always falls off. On the other hand, the harder plastic used for the helmet, to me, makes this one of the better removable helmet Clone figures. Sure, his head is smaller, but the helmet is less likely to get misshapen and if you leave it on, it looks great.

The Clone heads are often easily swappable, but they weren't designed to be interchangeable. (If they were, Hasbro didn't quite do the job right.) Some have bigger pegs, some have larger head cavities, so while you might be able to make it fit, it might stress the figure in places. So in short, prepare to do some minor modifications in your attempt to make a super-articulated Bacara. As far as the belts go, well, obviously the Super Articulated Clone Trooper (III-41) doesn't have a removable belt-- so if you want to cut it off and let us know your findings, please do share and let us know!

4. In moving my collection from one room to another I'm taking everyone down, dusting, etc., I noticed the battle droids released with episode 1 are all getting Ôtacky' (whilst none of the other figures of that vintage are). Is there any way to reverse this process without damaging the figure? Fortunately whatever plastic was used for them seems not to have been reused on later battle droids (or maybe they just aren't old enough yet). Any suggestions?
--Ed

Well, I checked mine-- and they're fine. So you might have gotten lucky due to environmental conditions (light, moisture, getting peed on by a pet.) A lot of vintage figures I've seen have gotten "sticky," and my advice to you is simple-- just wipe it down. Take some rubbing alcohol (or water) and a cotton square, and a lot of the sticky goo comes right off. Just be careful not to rub too hard or the paint could get scraped.

5. How do I quit (or successfully scale back) this hobby? I got into Star Wars collecting several years ago when I decided that it would be cool to collect the starships, you know the starships that originally fascinated me with Star Wars 30 years ago. Then I decided my starships needed pilots and the whole house fell in. I started 2006 with the intention of only buying the starships and the clones (plus whatever pilots necessary), but somehow bought the first wave and blew my will power before it ever started. Now, I have a storage unit where I end up taking a weekly haul to deposit, most of the time not even opening the shopping bags to see what I have. I couldn't tell you if I have missed a figure, but probably have three or four of each--not including clones where it is just gross. What I am saying is that now, the thrill of the hunt is much more entertaining to me, and I have neither the space or the desire to keep going; but I do.  ; I really like the concept of the 30th Anniv. Collection, but in a way do not want to even get started with it. I am an idiot, and I have to stop, so please tell me how you were able to successfully scale back your hunting tendencies! Thanks.
--nandress

I'm assuming you're kidding. But let's have fun with this and say you aren't.

1. Permanent collection storage unit = bad. This means you're paying a tax on your collection-- it's costing you money. Obviously, you need to pay money to buy new stuff, but paying just to keep stuff is something you should try to avoid. If you're using Star Cases, consider dropping them and storing your packaged figures in the longer comic book storage boxes.

2. Scaling back doesn't work. Quitting does. I don't "scale back" on my hobby-- I drop segments of it. 12-inch? Gone. Transformers (as of the movie)? Finito. I decided to (by and large) avoid anything deemed a "high end collectible," and opening my toys saves plenty of space.

3. Sell your extras. Don't even think about how little you'll get for them, just do it. Most fans bought dozens (or hundreds) of Clones under the assumption that, some day, we would have vehicles and room to display them in big dioramas. It turns out most of us were dead wrong, and now we have vast armies of figures for no valid reason. A lot of new fans are looking to get their Clone collections started, and they just want one or two of each. Consider the same with other figures-- if you bought 2 of every POTF2-era figure, consider getting rid of them unless you have a need to keep one carded and one loose.

4. Consider a storage system. If your collection will simply be 3 3/4-inch scale toys, great-- now you can get things in order. Buy some shelving units, or nail some adjustable shelves to the wall for your vehicles. For your figures, get some tackle boxes from the sporting goods store to store most of your figures and you can "file" them in much less space than they take up on display on a shelf.

5. Catch & release. I heard about this phenomenon a few years back-- collectors would buy very little outside of clearance, but they enjoyed going from store to store and trying to find every action figure that got made that year. (And I mean everything-- Batman, Star Wars, wrestling, etc.) Doing this also provides a service to fans as you'll likely be able to report on what's in stores, giving fans an idea of what's out there first.

6. I haven't stopped hunting. I had to scale back simply because the city in which I live is not conducive to the far more extensive toy runs I could make in Arizona-- Los Angeles isn't exactly swimming in stores within a 30-45 minute drive. I still probably make a minimum of a dozen stops to various stores a week just to see what's out there, and that's a slow week.

After nearly 12 years, the line has no end in sight. I've basically given up on troop building unless I find extras on clearance or get extras in a case I might have been planning on buying anyway. If you're hard up for space, just start paring everything down. Even if you bought a gift set and ended up with extra figures from Battle Packs, keep in mind that there are kids out there, and fans, that might want your spare Anakins or Yodas. Start trading those suckers away! They're perfectly good figures and you probably will never have a legit need for two or three of the same figure in the same outfit.

6. A couple months ago you indicated that Code 3 was still operating, yet it has been at least a year now since their last die cast ship (TIE Advanced) was released. Have you heard if or when we might see something new in this line?
--Nando

Fact: Code 3 has not announced any new Star Wars products in several months.

Fact: Nobody came back from Toy Fair 2007 with any news on new Code 3 offerings.

Fact: There really wasn't anything new shown at Toy Fair 2006, either.

Fact: Code 3 skipped Comic-Con 2006.

From the look of things, it doesn't look good. Companies rarely-- if ever-- issue a big press release to announce that they've dropped a license or that a line has been discontinued for some reason-- the best you can hope for is another company announcing that it picked up these other licenses. I have seen zero evidence that Code 3 is planning on releasing any new Star Wars products in 2007. Star Wars licensees aren't shy about talking to fan magazines or showing off something to fan sites for extra coverage of most of their products-- it just doesn't seem like much is going to happen here again.

7. To what extent do you think customizers influence Hasbro? I know Hasbro claims they have plenty of internal ideas to keep them busyÑbut a common customizer refrain is more or less "Hasbro stole my idea!" From General Veers with removable armor, to Republic Commando variants, to Obi Wan in clone armor, to Quinlan Vos, to upcoming Boba Fett variations, to a million other examples it frequently seems like Hasbro is following trends the customizing community sets. What are your thoughts?
--Rash

Define "influence."

Well, the problem is fans get a good idea and sometimes think we had something to do with something that, well, was in production anyway. I've heard fans say that it was their idea that Hasbro re-release the Sandcrawler with a new paint job, for example. Veers' costume lends itself to a removable armor design-- and yes, fans have been asking for this feature for many years now.

I have no doubt that when Hasbro sees fans repaint a figure, or swap a head, that they go "well, let's see how the fans react to this." Of course, a lot of concepts are things Hasbro was no doubt considering anyway, like Astromech repaints, Clone variants, and characters from the comics. Hasbro has access to all the comics we do, so their desire to do the figures probably has nothing to do with customs and fan-made items so much as it does a vocal demand from the fans and a need they can fill in the marketplace. (Quinlan Vos is a fine example-- he's been in the comics for years, and we're just now getting a figure. And he's not being packaged with a Clone, which probably isn't going to help him sell to prospective buyers who don't already know who he is.)

It's a lot easier (and faster) for a fan to customize a figure and post it to the internet than it is for Hasbro to whip up a prototype and show it to us. I mean, Boba Fett in cartoon colors (or plain white) was something that we first saw nearly 30 years ago-- Hasbro got the idea from Lucasfilm, not us. I'm sure there have been little touches or concepts that have been borrowed from the customization community out there, but I'm unable to identify anything specific.

8. I'm very frustrated with the Gentle Giant 2007 exclusive clone busts. I'm even more amazed that Gentle Giant refuses to comment on the anger of fans, refuses to return emails, etc. What is going on? Doesn't Lucas Licensing realize how bitter GG is making fans with this ill devised scheme, and what horrid customer service they have? And the Collector's Guild, this that just some scam for another $50-the benefits of belonging aren't very obvious. Do we have an idea of how many of these convention busts will be made available to the public via the internet? I hope it is more than the 500 complete sets! And by the way, a person can't call themselves a "rock star", that moniker must be earned!
--Eric

Between this announcement and the leaked photos of the Obi-Wan Kenobi in Clone Trooper Armor Statue, it seems that 2007 is not Gentle Giant's best year so far. But unfortunately, nothing you say hasn't happened before with this or another licensee in some capacity.

When Decipher premiered the Customizable Card Game, rumors swarmed that the license would be ripped from them because Lucasfilm "didn't like the idea of rare cards." This was of course a load of crap-- the very business model for Magic: The Gathering and other card games pretty much depends on rare cards existing so suckers players will buy pack after pack in hopes of getting that one card they want without paying a premium. It's a smart business model.

Kenner/Hasbro had a heck of a bad time early in the modern line with meeting demand and satisfying fans with distribution and quality. And now, 12 years later, we're pretty much in the same place. If you were collecting in 1996, you might remember a lot of fans talking about Kenner losing the license, a big push for a huge display at Wal-Mart, and recall rumor after recall rumor. Dissatisfied fans don't necessarily mean that a company is going to get a license ripped from them.

It looks like Gentle Giant is still figuring out how this whole thing is going to work. I find this frustrating on numerous levels, as a fan, I can pretty much kiss any chance of getting myself a Cody bust goodbye. (And dangit, I want one.) The Collector's Club could be employed to help fans get these distributed, but I wish they'd just be regular products-- I mean, I work at a store. We'd love to sell these. Who wouldn't? They're great. It is a little odd that they'd be trying to cram that much product onto the market at once, though, as Gentle Giant seems to be in the business of making limited edition collectibles and putting out so many busts at once could cause the wallets of the fans to just cave in and people might just shrug, sell off their collections, and move on. You never know. They might also end up making plenty of units and these items will be easily had by fans all over the world-- it remains to be seen. I find it hard to believe that distribution on these won't be much better than before, especially given that their convention exclusives seem just a little more attainable every single year.

9. Were any of the vintage figures(not including Droids, Ewoks or POTF) ever big time peg warmers?
--Jay

Yes, but it varied from market to market and store to store. From my own first-hand experience, I've seen walls of Emperor's Royal Guards when I was a kid. I've heard a lot of end-of-the-line figures tended to pile up en masse depending on the region-- for example, for some reason Arizona got a lot of Power of the Force Ewoks, and you could get Paploo on a coin card dirt cheap for many years. Others said their markets were overflowing with Luke in Stormtrooper Disguise, and I remember some collectors saying how Jawas backed up back around 1979.

I found piles of Klaatu (regular, not Skiff) at a Kay-Bee in San Diego when I was on vacation as a kid for $1 each, along with Ewoks Cartoon Logray and a bunch of Duloks. At ChrisTown Mall's Kay-Bee in Phoenix, we had piles of $6 unsold A-Wings sitting around. Yes, the vehicle. Also, Lionel Play World had piles and piles of Jabba the Hutt Playsets, Imperial Shuttles, and Ewok Villages for a few years. It's quite amazing now that I think back on it. My dad often reminded me about the filled pegs of clearance Emperor's Royal Guards as well.

Depending on who you asked, you'll get a different story. Also remember that some fans have faulty memories (or just really have no idea), and that a lot of us would have memories formed by one or two visits to one store. Few fans went on toy runs during the vintage days, so any story you hear could be tainted, even the ones I just told you. (But seriously, Klaatu, $1, and lots of Royal Guards.)

10. I'd like to get my hands on a Hunt for General Grievous battle pack, but I'm not sure it's quite worth the heavy price it's demanding on ebay. The thing I'm not sure about is that the ARC troopers look kind of "skinny" in their armor, around the waist. What are your thoughts on that?
--Phil

I did a write-up of these guys in Figure of the Day #236, so you can get a good look at the pictures and some commentary. I like it-- it's not a bad figure. Some may find them skinny, but for you, I say wait to see the upcoming comic 2-pack ARC Trooper Alpha. For all we know, that might get repainted and rereleased later-- but for now, your option is limited to this particular sculpt. As it's a non-movie design, it's one of many, many interpretations of the armor design-- it's no more or less valid than Dark Horse's illustrations. So if you don't like it, do yourself a favor and don't buy it. A different version is probably just around the corner.

FIN

OK, so slow news week. Word on the street is that the Darth Vader Figure with Coin Binder is hitting now, although I haven't seen it yet, as well as wave 1 of the 30th Anniversary Collection which, coincidentally, I have also not seen yet. (So don't worry if you haven't seen them either, there's a lot of us in this category.) The Target exclusive Battle Packs are in the process of drying up, with the Felucia sets in short supply here in LA. You can still get them, they're just in short supply-- so if you've been waiting for clearance, I'd advise against it. The Ilum set seems to be around in decent numbers, though.

Next up should be Target's Order 66 packs, Toys "R" Us' Bantha (which might have a variant), and, probably, the Wal-Mart clone battle pack. I hope, anyway. They move things around so much.

On paper, it's shaping up to be a good year. Between the rumored exclusives and the confirmed main line, we're doing pretty well-- I mean, who'd have guessed we'd see a moisture vaporator, the curved Cantina sections, and a customization-friendly all-white Boba Fett? I look forward to more new items like this, and hopefully, you guys do too. If not, well, uh, time to go buy the old stuff?

Got questions? I bet you do. Email me with "Q&A" somewhere in the subject line and hopefully I'll get to yours in the next column!

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