Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 19, 2007
1. Remember a couple years ago when Target had TONS of their exclusive OTC
Slave 1s on clearance? Yes, no, maybe? Well, the ones in my neck of
the woods did anyways. It was a repainted Jango Fett Slave 1, painted
in Boba Fett's Slave 1 color sceme...I remember rationalizing myself
out of it at the time, thinking I already had the awesome Shadows of
the Empire one and it looked just fine. Famous last words. Flash
forward to later winter of this past year. My wife and I bought a
house and I start packing up my Star Wars stuff...it's then that I
discover my Slave 1, crushed! It had been in storage in a
Rubbermaid-type container, then stacked. One structural collapse later
and boom, no more Slave 1. Sure, I'm an idiot for not packing it
properly, but still, I'm out Boba Fett's ride. I go on to e-Bay and
look...the same OTC Slave 1 on clearance for $12.99 is now going for
between $50-80. I'm a loose collector, so the "mint-in-box" thing is
lost on me. I waited out the FAO Imperial Shuttle (having missed that)
and was lucky enough to snag one last fall at Target. My question is,
should I spend the money and get a OTC Slave 1 off of e-Bay or just
wait and hope? Knowing how much Hasbro likes to re-use old molds, is
it a safe bet for a future re-release?
You know when I say how it varies from region to region? Yeah, this is one of those. The 2004 Slave I was in pretty short supply in some markets, and a lot of collectors outright passed on it because the entire run was missing Boba Fett's rocket from his backpack. But that's another gripe.
The vehicle was indeed clearanced out in some areas and, well, there you go-- you snooze, you may lose. Given the popularity of all things Fett, a reissue isn't unthinkable-- but when? And what changes will be made this time? These are things we don't know.
Also, keep in mind the Jango and Boba versions of the vehicle are quite different. Boba's has some extra sculpted weapons, and doesn't have all of the action features as Jango's. Both are excellent, and worth owning-- but right now, Hasbro hasn't made plans known for a new release.
2. Could you tell me all the McQuarrie Concept figures that are to come out (including the rumored ones)?
I can kinda give you an answer, but the first thing I need to say is that everything is rumored. Rumors are things fans pull out of their butt as well as things that appear on official documents. Since there's no good word for "kinda but not really confirmed" it all falls under that nasty "rumors" umbrella which is, well, not exactly useful because any idiot can start a rumor. I can make up all sorts of stuff and tell you it's a rumor.
Obviously, you've seen images of the Stormtrooper (in stores now), Boba Fett (due next), Darth Vader, and Chewbacca. Others, like the Snowtrooper, Hoth Rebel Trooper (bugwah?), Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo have appeared on many a list-- some of which are quite exciting, but I gotta say I'm at a loss with a Hoth Rebel Trooper. In addition to this, there's another rumor that Major Derlin/General Rieekan will be resculpted to make a figure of "Pharl McQuarrie," or Ralph in Hoth Battle Gear. (Which, I gotta say, is an intensely excitingly awesome concept.)
Unless it's a red herring, word on the street has it that the Celebration IV exclusive will be R2-D2 and C-3PO. Some rumors say it's a two-pack, others say HasbroToyShop.com's hypothetical booth will sell one while the Fan Club/Official Store will sell the other-- so yeah, you get to wait in TWO 7-hour lines instead of one. Aren't you lucky. But, keep in mind, these are not confirmed.
Beyond that, there's not a lot more expected, which is probably for the best. 8-10 figures is a pretty good first year for concept figures, plus if you really need more, you need go back no further than 1998 when Kenner put out 3 concept vehicles complete with figures. (Although some weren't McQuarrie's designs.) Still, those original Expanded Universe figures should be on your short list of things to buy if you like the concept of conceptual toys, especially since they're what we in the business call "cheap."
3. I was wondering if Hasbro has ever considered making a
documentary on the Star Wars figure making process where
they would show the process from conception to complete
packaging... They could have one of their scultpting
employees start with a concept sketches with the actual
sculpting and the process of approval... this would also
involve the packaging design as well ...then go to the
"factory" where the molds are created and how the plastic is
converted to those figures we love to collect... as well as
the assembley and painting/detailing stages...then onto the
packaging and shipping of the final product... I think this
would be awesome to have... to better appreciate the hobby.
It would be like the documentaries made about the "making
of" found in movie dvd's these days. What do you think?
Hasbro is very protective of its trade secrets, and doesn't like to advertise things like its sculptors and employees for fear of them being sniped by the competition. They're also not big on divulging their factories, although many of the actual factories are quite open about who their clients are, so while these are things we as fans and consumers can discover, it's not something Hasbro likes to chat over. Considering the buzz of how manufacturing in China is, shall we say, not always awesome, there may be some details that they don't want getting out and, frankly, we as consumers tend to look the other way.
Plus a lot of fans really don't care where what they like comes from. As a kid, I gobbled up any information I could get on the stuff I liked-- making-of books, behind-the-scenes specials, and so forth. But now, as an old fart, I can honestly say that I will kill if I see another DVD where the CG animator tells me how amazing it is that they took the actual features and expressions of a voice actor and worked it into the final product. But I digress.
While Hasbro does show us the process from time to time, your best bet on learning more about this is to look up as much as you can on prototypes-- there's a lot out there that you can see on the development of a lot of figures (especially vintage ones) that can give you insight in the toymaking process. The manufacturing process is a harder nut to crack.
4. Do you know if the wal-mart excl. cantina bar sections sets with Ezavan, Wuher & Kitik Keed'Kak were ever released? I've seen them carded but they are also listed on checklists as cancelled. whats the deal? thanks!
Sort of. Basically, the story is like this: the factory said to Hasbro "so are we going to make these or not?" Hasbro said "no, or not yet, wait for us to give you the go ahead." The factory cranked out (by most estimates) a few hundred sets, some of which were packaged up and wound up at Hasbro or in collector's hands, and others were unpackaged and sold on online auction sites to people who snapped them up as they were thought to be "unreleased" figures forever.
So while Wal-Mart never stocked these or received any, these items were indeed produced in very small numbers, basically as factory samples. Fans had the opportunity to snap some up on eBay, and Hasbro even auctioned some of them off in their "Jedi Master Points" auctions a few years ago. For the big variation hound, these are a real prize-- but they aren't likely to be too cheap, and as far as I can tell they really aren't all that different from the K-Mart set released in 2004. (Well, except the packaging.)
5. I have a vintage droids series R2-D2 MOC that I'm looking at selling. Even though the card has a few small creases, yellow bubble, and crack on top of bubble (not enough to remove fig but close) is it worth the trouble of getting it graded? I've seen r2's that are almost as white(sticker wise) loose go for almost $100, should I just sell it as is or grade it, if so what grading company is the best. While I'm on the subject, anyone know anything about the coin variations? I cant find a definitive source of what ones have variants and what the variants are.
First, let's start with one universal truth: collectors are nuts. I've seen a lot of us, when confronted with a figure on a damaged package and a mint loose figure (for more money), they'll often pay more for the perfect loose one. I flat out do not get this. But I've ran a few experiments over the years and well, even if you say "hey, just buy the carded one and open it," they won't. Why? I don't know. It drives me nuts.
I'm also very anti-grading. I think it's bad for the hobby and something that can be easily exploited. But that's me. I've seen the system worked a few times, with an item removed from its box accidentally graded as sealed, or a bootleg graded as the real deal. These aren't common errors, but they do happen enough to make me write asides like this one. While fans most certainly do pay a premium on minty-mint perfect figures, I don't think you're going to do yourself any favors of grading a cracked, yellowed bubble figure. Well, unless you need to be relieved of the burden of $40+ in a hurry, but I can come up with another way of helping you to get rid of $40 which involves you sending me $40.
Anyway, it's my understanding that there's no real variants on R2-D2's Droids coin-- there's a silver "test shot," but that's basically a prototype. You can find more than you'd ever want o know about vintage coin collecting at The Star Wars Collectors Archive.
6. [My] first question is in regard to the question in today's column (March 12, 2007), regarding how to curb the Star Wars Action Figure addiction. First, I gather that everyone has toned down quite a bit. There must be virtually no completists left. Even those exhaustive lists of figures must be pretty muddled now, trying to sort through repacks, repaints and reissues in battle packs. When word of SAGA2 came out that they would be packed with holographic statues, there were folks on various websites talking about how they would have to track down one of each figure/hologram combination, resulting in x-thousand figures. Along the lines of addiction, what is the most insane story you have yet heard in this regard? Did somebody actually succeed in collecting the whole combination business?
--David (1 of 2...)
You're assuming we all have the same definition of "complete," which I would argue we don't. For example, when it comes to the Hasbro 3 3/4-inch line, I most certainly do "collect them all"-- but I typically don't do packaging variations and I don't consider all variations to be valid and worth collecting. (Luke Jedi with the wrong glove on the hand? Yes. Ki-Adi-Mundi with slightly fatter Lightsaber? No.) When you get down to what constitutes a legit variant, some fans (POTF2.com) list everything-- and some people consider "date stamps" variants that are worth of collecting. My point, in short, is this: a complete collection is as diverse as your obsessive notes make it.
I don't consider anything insane just because, well, there's a good chance I've probably done something on the same level. I don't have all figures with all variants, but I do have a set of Hoth Vaders with all 6 blue holographic bonus figures. (I think that's kinda neat.) I'm sure there are collectors out there who want every Ultimate Galactic Hunt figure with every holograph, and more power to them. (Hasbro must LOVE them.) I'm sure a lot of collectors tried, but it seems most fans were happy just to get one carded figure and one opened figure, with the holographs being almost inconsequential. Of course, the whole "must-get-every-variant" crowd has waned significantly since 1996, when variants were really exciting because it was something to do when a year's releases constituted of 15-18 figures in all.
I think we might see more variant hunters in the long run, as fans start to get picky as the line goes on when it comes to "the old stuff." Some people only collect tri-logo vintage, I'm sure some day a collector will make it their life's goal to get all 74 Saga figures with all 6-12 holographic variants, plus UGHs, and maybe even the Heroes & Villains figures too. Part of the hobby for a lot of fans is just the hunt, and proving something exists and can be bought-- it's a sport. And not necessarily always a fun one.
7. Second question and this is a serious one. We live in the age of global warming. Any energy generation, be it for the house or driving the automobile increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, worsening the global warning problem for ourselves and particularly for future generations. Many people around the world, including even Star Wars fans, are making attempts to "reduce their carbon footprint" by, for example, purchasing energy efficient appliances or by combining errands when out to reduce gasoline consumption. So here's the point, driving around going to 12 stores a week looking for plastic toys is an environmentally insensitive (if not downright irresponsible) activity. Yet, as Star Wars fans, that is what we are forced to do by the distribution practices of Hasbro, if we want to maintain the hobby. Surely in this day and age Hasbro must have a corporate statement about being a good environmental citizen of the world. The way for Hasbro to fix this problem is, you guessed it, to make their Star Wars product readily and reliably available online. Yeah, not an original concept, I know. And it has to be as individual items and not bundled as cases, since anyone can already buy cases of Star Wars figures pretty reliably from online vendors and still you hear all kinds of stories of the lengths that people go to make "toy runs". If Hasbro continues to reject a successful, energy efficient online distribution system, then their choice is to promote the environmentally irresponsible current practice of running to multiple stores per day to find product during its short shelf life. So the question is: Has Hasbro ever addressed this issue? If so, what was their response? Is it the unavoidable destiny of a Star Wars fan to be an energy pig?
--David (2 of 2)
Speak for yourself, comrade. (Although I have to applaud you for pretending that a question that's really about you not being able to find toys is really an environmental issue. That's creativity.)
While there's a lot of driving involved in the hobby, this is not something fans tend to consider. If we're out, we drop in a store. If we're bored, we go to the toy store. This is really no different than a "beer run," or driving outside of town to go to a nice restaurant, or anything else people do every day to alleviate boredom.
So when you get right down to it, gas is just a tiny drop in the bucket. There's nothing about Star Wars figures that's particularly environmentally friendly, except maybe you can recycle bits of the packaging.
Would offering figures online be a better alternative? I don't know. It might be. How much energy goes into packing the items, shipping the items, producing the boxes to ship the figure(s) that are often stuffed with packing peanuts and wasted packing materials, the unnecessary invoices, in-box marketing materials, and so forth? And that's not even considering the fact that you might get a figure with bad face paint and want to return it for a better one, or the need for multiple shipments in a fulfillment center. Now that I work at a company that does mail order, I know that sometimes things ship out as they come in-- meaning that 5 individual basic action figures could, potentially, be shipped out in 5 separate shipments in 5 separate shipping boxes, raising your costs, wasting even more packaging materials, and then causing America to lose the war.
Also, you mention individual figures-- those are often WORSE for the environment. A Battle Pack most likely uses less packaging (and therefore, waste) than 5 individually packaged figures, takes up a smaller footprint on a shelf (or in a landfill), costs less to ship (there's less "air" and wasted space in a case of Battle Packs than a case of most basic figures), and I could go on. A Battle Pack with entirely new figures is probably a much better option.
I know we're all irate about figure distribution-- even when it's good, it's bad. I get it. Hasbro gets it. This market isn't set up to guarantee that a few thousand to a few dozen thousand adults can get one of every small plastic man in any given corner of the world, and I can assure you that the minority of us who make toy runs probably won't have much of an effect on the planet. While there are many adult toy fans, the number of collectors who regularly engage in toy runs is probably in the low thousands-- I could be wrong, but I've seen little evidence that there's many other collectors out there as obsessive as me (and a few others I've had the fortune of meeting).
If you really want to do something about the environment, the manufacturing process is a good place to start pointing fingers and asking questions. Ask about the wasteful packaging. Ask about how the figures are manufactured in Asia and travel to the USA by boat over several months. Ask about the incinerators. Or ask about quitting-- action figures for an adult collector are a luxury if ever there was one. Your heart is in the right place, but distribution is probably one of the most minute problems this hobby has on the environment.
8. Awhile back in the Hasbro weekly questions, someone expressed interest in an accessory pack. Hasbro responded by asking the collecting community what they would like to see in an accessory pack. It got me to thinking. I'm no business major, but I would think it would be profitable if Hasbro had an "outlet" section on their official web site. They could sell assortment packs of weapons, for example 10 various lightsabers for $4.00. That couldn't cost them more than $0.40 to make, no extra tooling, and it could be put in a clear bag with no new packaging.
Also, I know they have to have a ton of Early Bird figures and Lucas Stormtrooper left over. My local Wal-Mart has had at least six pegs of the Vintage Han and Greedo sitting there for the past eight months collecting dust. I'm not even sure what Hasbro does with extra promotional figures. I realize an outlet section would be a drop in Hasbro's ocean of profits, but I think it would generate more traffic to their web site, and in turn higher sales. It's a win-win situation for both consumers and Hasbro. What are your thoughts on the idea?
OK, first, I don't believe Hasbro ever indicated it wanted to and could successfully produce another round of accessory packs. I seem to remember them saying frequently that there was very little chance of this happening any time soon, but hey, maybe you saw something I missed.
For those who missed it, accessory packs are bad sellers and, as a holdout of the 1980's action figure toy market, are kinda dead like big playsets and huge vehicles. G.I. Joe had them, Masters of the Universe had them, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had them-- and when Hasbro tried them in 1999 for Episode I, they tanked. Hard. In 2002, they were tried again as Target exclusives. And guess what? They failed, and they were really spiffy accessories too! Hasbro sold a Death Star Trooper-- a fairly hard-to-get figure-- with a pull-back Mouse Droid, torture droid, blasters galore, a gun rack, helmets, belts, and tons of other goodies for a mere $10-- and there were few takers. (Of course, if they sold it with a Stormtrooper, perhaps things would be different.)
While Hasbro does provide some replacements for broken/lost accessories, they're bad business. It costs a lot of money to develop, safety test, package, market, and ship a product. When the product is a niche-within-a-niche, like a bag of lightsabers, you're probably wishing for something that would never, ever happen. There's no way it could come out with "blank" packaging-- they need a product number to categorize it, they may need a barcode just to sell it, there needs to be copyright notices on it somewhere, choke hazard warnings, etc. If you look at the "plain white box" used for the Early Bird Kit figures, you'll see it's covered in warnings, notices, and logos-- there's no such thing as a "clear bag with no new packaging" these days unless you're dealing with a factory sample or an unauthorized product.
The actual cost to make most manufactured products is a closely guarded secret, but let's say, for the sake of argument, the cost of materials for Hasbro to make a bag of 10 lightsabers in China is $1. OK, that's not too expensive, right? Well, there are other costs-- they need to be shipped to the USA, and this is going to cost something. (Let's say $0.10-$0.25 per bag, which may be low.) The item has to be reviewed for choke hazard warnings, there's a Lucasfilm royalty to pay, there are some weird European business logos that I have no clue what they are (other than they cost money), and if you want a UPC on the box-- and you probably do-- that costs money. There's a company you have to pay just to put a barcode on the friggin' box. I'm not even sure where we're at yet, but we haven't factored in product development (at least 3-4 employees of Hasbro and Lucasfilm will be involved in getting this approved, created, etc.)
And how many people really want a bag of spare lightsabers, and would pay for it? I'm a big fan of extras, but I've got no real use for a sack of extra weapons-- with virtually no exceptions, my figures have enough blasters/glasses/lightsabers.
Of course, I've been quite the Debbie Downer today, so let's look at it this way: is it humanly possible for Hasbro to come up with a way to get you more figure accessories? YES! They've even done it a few times. In 1998, Hasbro released a board game with two action figures (Luke and Darth Vader) which had 3 blasters and 3 lightsabers. In 2005, multiple General Grievous toys (well, 2) had 4 lightsabers each. There's nothing preventing Hasbro from making some "deluxe" figures, or a high-concept set. For example, there was a nifty "game" in the LucasArts program "Behind the Magic" in which you could test out a bunch of weapons (rocks, blasters, lightsabers) on a helpless Stormtrooper. Surely, you could make a sort of "Battle Pack" in which you have weapons to test on a Stormtrooper, or a fully-armed figure. (While this is probably a horrible example for getting real sales, a character like Kyle Katarn used tons of accessories and weapons in the Dark Forces games-- why not release a deluxe one with all those weapons for $10?)
Sadly, Hasbro doesn't need to give us the warm fuzzies, and the amount of actual, real revenue generated by this wouldn't be worth it even just to do something cool for the fans-- now, an exclusive figure that fans would fawn over might be a good use of the time and resources, and this whole stands experiment oughta be interesting, but a bag of just weapons might be a very tough sell to a large enough audience to have this kind of product make sense.
At this time I have no idea what's going on with the old mail-in figures. In the Kenner days, they eventually sold them off for pennies on the dollar to collectors/businesses when Kenner offered them to interested parties with a few grand to blow. I expect them to show up somewhere in a similar capacity some day in the coming years.
9. What are the chances of seeing the AOTC Republic Gunship Pilot w/ Turret being reissued! I need more ball turrets!
Hopefully really good-- I need some more, too! I picked up a few extras in 2002 as I assumed we'd be seeing more Gunships some day, but I had no idea we'd see a total of 4 of them! I know I've asked Hasbro at conventions to re-release the pilot and this unique accessory, and I hope you're doing the same (as well as posting on boards so they'll see it) as this is an item that would be great to see return to the market. It was a very nice accessory, and they tend to sell for decent money on eBay-- so why not release more? (Or better still, how about a pilot with extra accessories to make the ARC Trooper Pilot from Clone Wars and two turrets?)
10. MOVIE Q: What's the deal with sith eyes? Anakin gets them when he turns evil but doesn't always have them (like when with Padme). Darth Tyranus doesn't even have sith eyes, Palpatine only got them when his face was messed up but not before (even though he was always evil). Darth Maul had then all the time. Do you know anything about this?? Thanks a lot!
Well, I have an answer: there's no real answer yet. Lucas didn't explore this on the big screen, so you can probably concoct your own theory based on what you saw in the movies and what you read in the books, comics, and so forth.
My guess is that the reason they were used was as a cinematic shorthand-- when you see big flaming eyes, you go "oh, this dude is evil." For the sake of the story, we knew Darth Maul was evil from the get-go, we never really saw Darth Sidious' eyes before Revenge of the Sith, we were (I think) supposed to be in the dark a little with Count Dooku, and Anakin, well, he's Anakin. So for the purposes of story telling, they made sense-- they told you who some of the bad people were.
The best in-universe answer I could track down was that the Sith Eyes are a result of using the Dark Side of the Force, but this was in a Wiki and, well, yeah. I find all sorts of stuff there that comes straight from someone's butt or is flat-out incorrect, so I don't put a lot of faith into it as an answer because, as you pointed out, Darth Tyranus didn't have them. Some fans claim Grievous had them too-- but I think he's just an alien with unique eyes. So this probably isn't a very satisfying answer.
While it sucks the fun right out of it-- and the 10-year-old me would freaking hate this answer-- you'll be best served to think of why the authors, producers, FX artists, and what have you did something and why. Does it advance the story? Was it a concept that was developed after another concept years earlier, and might the "rules" have changed merely to suit the purpose of the story? There are lots of things about the saga that may remain without an "official" explanation, like Palpatine's lack of a first (or last) name, information on Yoda's true origin, and so on and so forth.
The problem with Star Wars and Star Trek and comic books and so forth is that when your story spans over a certain period of time, the story teller(s) sometimes miss fairly important things. For example, it was pointed out to me that in Star Trek III, Spock makes some reference to McCoy when asked what death is like that Spock couldn't describe it, because McCoy would have no frame of reference. Yet McCoy did die briefly on an episode of the original series. While Star Wars has less of an excuse for this sort of thing, as six movies spanning a little over 13 hours isn't hard to keep straight, it's par for the course. As fans, the best we can hope to do is identify these oddities, realize that they don't quite fit, and move on. (Well, maybe not move on-- but just realize that it's wrong, and by knowing that it's wrong, we have an answer as to why something is what it is-- someone didn't fully flesh out a concept.)
This is getting depressing. I'm turning more and more into the old fart who tells you why everything sucks. (Dammit.)
Anyway, on the good side of things, I got my 30th Anniversary Figures wave 1 last week. I am mostly pleased. Here's the quickie rundown of why you should care. Oh, one note: unlike a number of figures since 1999, Hasbro has opted to not paint the soles on the boots of several figures, like Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the Airborne Trooper. With increasing costs, it's unfortunate that paint applications are being dropped given how much of the tooling on many of these figures is recycled. But let's look at specifics.
Galactic Marine: You care about this one. Trust me. New sculpt, good figure. It sucks that the legs are somewhat restricted by the waist coat, but aside from that I love the removable helmet and articulation. Oh, and the color matches Bacara nicely.
Utapau Airborne Trooper: You care. Again, trust me. It has the old Clone rifle and not the thin one used with the purple version of the figure, but is otherwise just a redeco of that figure.
McQuarrie Stormtrooper: Oh baby. If you got the original, throw it out and get this one. The grey stripes and what can best be described as a little Triforce on the back of his helmet are great touches and make it seem like it really is from some alternate universe toy line. I digs it.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: meh, but good. It's the 2005 figure with a new head and accessories. You won't feel you need it, but the figure's articulation lends itself to tons of exciting battle poses. I've been having him duke it out with Aurra Sing, and this is a really, really fun figure if you don't already have too many Obi-Wans.
Super Battle Droid: buy two, they're awesome and probably as close as we'll get in the next few years to perfection. The flames don't snap on as well as I'd like, but if you leave them off it's still a good figure. The holes for the fire pegs aren't too obtrusive, either.
R2-D2: better than you might think. I love the coloring even though it looks like some fanboy with Cheetohs is feeling up your valuable action figures. The snap-on gets and flames are a nice touch, and the basic mold is the wonderful R4-G9 mold we've seen reused many times this past year. If you can see yourself buying another R2-D2, this is the one to get.
Lava Miner: fun, but not too fun. Hard to pose well. Big, beefy. I like it more as a random space traveller than I do as a miner. This is one of the weaker figures in the wave, and sadly, is the only never-before made character (as I consider Clones to be, well, Clones.)
Mace Windu: perfection is still a ways off. Mace Windu heads seem to be getting progressively worse and they look less and less like Samuel L. Jackson-- the Episode I versions were arguably the best. The cloak sucks, the articulation could be less restricted, and the head is a constant source of frustration-- nevermind the sculpt, he has a hard time turning his head to the left or the right. Has a hole in his belt for a saber, does not have a saber to hang on his belt. Mace was not designed to sit, so if you needed a Starfighter pilot, this isn't it.
So for wave 1 of the 30th Anniversary collection, in and of itself, I'd say it's a winning batch. The Galactic Marine, Airborne Trooper, McQuarrie Stormtrooper, and Battle Droid should all be must-buy figures. Obi-Wan and R2-D2 are both excellent and I have a hard time really faulting either of them, and I find myself really digging R2-D2. The Lava Miner is what it is-- not bad, and probably the best it could be. Mace Windu is a sign that Hasbro just can't do Mace Windu right. The 2005 version had a rotten head. The 2002 Arena version with the screaming face was a great likeness-- it was just screaming.
By my tally, that's 4 B+/A- figures, 2 solid B figures, a B-/C+ figure, and a C-. It's a very good wave, it's just that, well, we've been wanting the best possible Mace Windu for years. This isn't it. If Hasbro resculpted the neck and the head, I'd be a lot more forgiving over the likeness-- I just want a head that moves a little bit more normally. (And yes, I fully admit this might be my figure that's crappy and not the entire run, but I've seen one, and that's the one I've seen.)
I also stumbled on a nest of 6 Saga Collection AT-ATs at a Toys "R" Us in/near Fullerton, CA over the weekend. I was quite surprised as these were somewhat hard to get in my travels, and none of them had swapped-out troopers either. So either they're still shipping, or there are stores out there that still have them-- keep that in mind before you hit up eBay for one.
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!
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!