Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
April 30, 2007
1. Do we really need removable helmets for all of the various forms of clone troopers? If a trooper includes a removable helmet and the helmet is placed on the head, his head is too large and out of proportion with the rest of the figure and once the helmet in removed, there's this tiny little shrunken head underneath that is also not in proportion. Why not just include an extra head with these figures so they can be interchangeable?
Oh... I forgot to point out that all of the clone commanders look ridiculous when wearing their helmets with their chins hanging out of the base of the helmet. Am I alone in thinking interchangeable heads are a better solution to this problem?
It's funny because about five minutes after I had a thought about this very subject, Rich, your question hit my inbox. I've always been a fan of removable helmets because they made me feel I got more toy for my money, but with the advent of ball-jointed necks, I think removable helmets are something we need to eliminate. For example, I just got the comic pack with the ARC Trooper Alpha in it. The helmet is so snug that the head pops off when you remove the helmet, thus making it pretty worthless-- you have to fidget with a toothpick to get the severed head out of the helmet, which, in the end, makes it a pretty rotten toy. And while we're all collectors here, folks, the most important thing a Hasbro figure can be is a good toy first and a collector's item second.
As such, I think alternate heads are a splendid idea if Hasbro is willing. Sure, it might be easier to lose a spare head than a helmet (after all, with the helmet, you can have all the parts on a figure at once). The new Obi-Wan Kenobi from the aforementioned comic pack has an alternate head, which actually fits the bill better than a giant, pliable hood. So Hasbro, how about it? Alternate heads seem to work better than removable helmets because they don't get misshapen as easily and the heads don't get stuck in them when I'm trying to remove the helmet. What would it take to make this happen?
2. I was looking at my Imperial Probe droid from ESB and was thinking...
Since we are in the age of super articulation...and awesome paint aps...
will Hasbro consider revisiting this droid with a to-scale-for-3 3/4 super
articulated figure...that would be able to stand on its own without being
too awkward....and maybe a clear stand (post) to give it that floating
I'm right there with you, brother. The 1997 Probe Droid was pretty slick for its time but it's about time for a new one, perhaps one with less orange. It might be difficult to do in today's assortments (given that other than Battle Packs, a figure this large may be hard to pull off) but I'm confident that after this year's line of Vintage figures tanks, we might see a return to $10 figures with more to offer than packaging. Not to be Debbie Downer once more, but it seems fans love the vintage figures but well, they do tend to stick around for a while. Perhaps we might see the reintroduction of the "deluxe" or "ultra" price point-- after all, we used to get a $10 figure like a Wampa, or a Bacta Tank Luke, or something that really said "hi, I'm a larger toy and totally worth ten bucks." I guess the equivalent today is the Comic Packs, so maybe Hasbro could scare up that "Death Probe" Marvel issue with some giant Probot fighting Luke. That'd be pretty slick.
3. Adam, has Hasbro said anything about the possibility of releasing hyperspace
rings for the 3 3/4 inch line of jedi starfighter, either the first or
second generation starfighters.
All signs point to "maybe." It seems painfully obvious that Hasbro is exploring the concept of releasing a deluxe Jedi Starfighter with a ring (but not separately) as a potential exclusive, but the buzz is a little non-specific. I'd say that they're aware we want one, and are looking to find a partner to get something like this on the market.
As some of you have complained in the past that Hasbro is grubbing money by selling you a whole ship instead of just the upgrade parts you want, let me start off by saying I somewhat agree-- but let's look at it from the marketplace's perspective. If you go into a store and see a complete TIE Fighter vehicle for sale, the potential customer for it is pretty much anybody who likes Star Wars, young or old, kid or collector or gift giver. On the other hand, a set of larger scaled wings or a hyperspace ring will only appeal to people who have already purchased a TIE Fighter or a Jedi Starfighter, limiting your sales significantly. That and you'll probably lose parents-- after all, the past few years have been beating it in to us that accessory sets and "upgrades" tend to fare poorly in the US market, although it seems there's limited interest when it comes to the Japanese hobby market.
So, in short: expect Hyperspace rings in the next couple of years, or expect a leaked prototype of one that was never meant to be. If Hasbro does it, I hope they put them with either an all-new Jedi Starfighter repaint or a reissue of something fans keep clamoring for-- like the green one from ROTS (or to sass it up, Saesee Tiin's Clone Wars Green Jedi Starfighter with a Hyperspace Ring and a "Clone Pilot" armored Tiin figure. C'mon, that's a damned sexy gift pack.)
4. Why do you suppose Hasbro is still bulk-shipping TSC - yes, TSC - to Southwestern Connecticut? We're seeing more of the old figures than TAC (Wave 1). It's unbelievable! TRU, Target, Wal-Mart ... they're all living in the past?
In the Order 66 collection with Darth Vader and Commander Bow, why does Bow have an orange "splotch" on the mid-thigh of his left leg?
In the Order 66 collection with Emperor Palpatine and Commander Thire, why is Palpatine's painted left cuff splotched with black?
In my line of work, I have access to special information. And I post it to the internet. The Saga Collection has new cases that are just starting to ship. "New" figures include Jango Fett with a red holograph, and before you keep complaining, there seem to be 5 or so revisions shipping about now because there is still demand for these figures in many markets. While you may be sick of these figures, I've never seen a Commander Appo on the pegs-- and I can't imagine I'm the only one. (Sure, I got one, but like I said-- I have an interesting line of work.) Kids and fans are still gobbling up those tail-end figures, and the TSC SKU (assortment 85770) will ship through the year. This may be getting too much into shopspeak, but here's the deal: stores order figures by a five-digit number which you can find on all figures and their assortments. The Saga Collection and Saga Legends share the same number-- so not only might you see TSC figures ship for a while, in the eyes of most stores' purchasing systems, the two are no different. The line has legs, if you want it to or not.
The Order 66 Commander Bow has the spot to represent some form of damage/dirt like many trooper figures have. Just because it's there doesn't mean Hasbro did a good job at it. Palpatine, well, some figures don't turn out perfectly, as you can see.
5. I read your post in the Q&A about the new MR helmets and how MR wanted them
to look like the riddell (SP?) helmets.
I was wondering if they will be the same size as the riddell helmets? I
bought a vader and c3po and could never find a stormy or fett under $100.
These basically are the old Riddel helmets in new boxes with new stands-- so if you got the old ones, save your money. And if you didn't, well, there's no excuse for not picking up the awesome X-Wing Pilot Luke helmet-- I have one from the original run and love it. You will too.
6. Since there is a ROCKY Tooth Tunes brush, was wondering if there are any plans to produce a Star Wars (theme or themes) "Tooth Tunes" brush? For those that arenŐt familiar, Tooth Tunes are musical toothbrushes which play authentic music clips of favorite pop artists, classic hits, and theme songs. Sound waves are streamed through the bristles and travel directly to the inner ear. As a hygienic incentive, kids are able to hear entire song simply by brushing their teeth longer.
I have no idea how this line is doing, but with the likes of the Blackeyed Peas and a bazillion Disney Channel pop tarts, it seems unlikely that more movie themes are on tap. However, Hasbro does skim this column, so it's possible However, I don't believe they have the license to produce Star Wars oral hygiene products, and I'm sure licensing the theme for such a product might cost a pretty penny. As such, it'd be cool, but Hasbro hasn't announced any new Tooth Tunes products, as far as I know, for a few months. But if you like Smashmouth, well, you're in luck. (And you have bad taste in music.)
7. Usually I like to purchase my Star Wars collectibles at my local stores.
Sometimes that is just not to be, so I turn to websites. Of course, there is
always eBay, but what other on-line sites do you think are the best? I am
referring more to secondary distributors like brianstoys.com and
alterego.com, not company websites like the ones for Sideshow, Hasbro, and
Gentle Giant. I was just wondering if you had any opinions on which are the
most safe and reliable. Thanks
Well, I work at Entertainment Earth, so you should buy there and enter "Adam Pawlus told me about you, you are great, please give him a raise" in the order comments field. (Hey, I don't get paid to write Q&A, and if you asked me to do the same for you, I totally would.) In other words, this is a very biased answer.
Companies like EE, Brian's, D&S Sci-Fi Toy World (who has been very good to collectors over the years), and ShopStarWars.com all buy some or all of their Hasbro products direct, just like Toys "R" Us or Target. The reason they cost more there is because Target makes their money on batteries, toilet paper, and diapers, while online specialty stores have to make it in the toys they sell.
If you want to buy stuff that's in stock now, Entertainment Earth is sometimes a good choice but usually, they're best for pre-orders. Some assortments of figures go up about 3 months before they ship, and it's first-come, first-served. I hear that most people who get their stuff in a timely manner dig the assortments and the prices aren't too bad-- cheaper than Target in some cases.
When KBtoys.com has products available, people usually applaud their service and availability. Ditto with HasbroToyShop.com. The problem is that a lot of stores won't take backorders/pre-orders, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. Brian's sometimes charges more for hot figures-- depending on your coffers, this could be a problem. EE only sells by the case-- depending on your desire for extras, this could be a problem.
For legal reasons, I'm not going to slam anybody. Honestly though, most online stores that have been around for five years or more are pretty good about customer service and delivery, so it usually comes down to price and filling orders. Since all are subject to the whims of what Hasbro decides to ship them and when, there's really no one better than another because there's no apparent pecking order for Hasbro filling any one customer's order before another. Sometimes Wal-Mart gets it first, sometimes it's a crappy drugstore with five locations. You never know.
So I like EE because they pay my rent, have a mint condition guarantee (if you don't like it they'll replace it), a 90-day money back guarantee, blah blah blah. I hear wonderful things about Brian's being great for hard-to-find items and items generally arriving as advertised and they do have a really nifty catalog filled with old toys and one of the best selections of new and old toys on the planet. D&S Sci-Fi Toy World has been my go-to store for hard-to-find items because they usually have things I cannot get elsewhere. I have not personally had any dealings with Alterego.com. It all boils down to what you want and who has it-- sometimes it's worth trying a new place out to see how it goes. If a place has been around a few years and doesn't have a horrible rap, I'm not too picky.
I like eBay just because it's a great example of supply-and-demand. If a figure is rare, and nobody cares, you can get it for a good price. That's not something you'll see at any legit store. Of course, people also act stupid-- McQuarrie Boba Fett was selling for over $50 for a couple of days. And when you can get a whole case for $84 or so, well, that's just kinda dumb.
8. Have you noticed that the figures this year, not that this
makes me think less of them, have large hands in comparison to
previous years? With POTF2, it was the buff style and now they have
this. What is your opinion on this? Thanks!
A big head and big hands are common features of action figures, because you get a lot of personality from the face, and the hands are necessary to hold weapons. Of course, some have very tiny hands too-- those Imperial Officers come to mind. Hasbro employs a great many sculptors, some freelance, some internal, and they all have different takes on what a figure should be, what it should look like, and how big the hands are. This is a great thing to bring up, but frankly, I have no opinion on the size of hands as long as it doesn't get goofy and figures can properly hold their weapons. (Playmates' Star Trek line's developers were big on larger heads and hands because they felt it made the toys better.) I expect proportions to be off or exaggerated to fit the need of the figure, so as of right now, I'm usually fine with whatever Hasbro decided to do here. And since we're on the subject...
9. Is there any chance that Hasbro would consider changing the type of plastic used in figures with articulated wrists? Specifically figures like the Stormtroopers and Clonetroopers. Some of them have plastic that is so hard that you can barely get the weapon into them. My nephew broke his red ARC Trooper (Grievous Battlepack version) because you had to force the gun in there so hard that the peg that kept the hand into the forearm eventually weakened and broke. The Sandtrooper (black pauldron) has a staff type weapon and you cannot get that thing into his left hand. Heck you can barely force the blaster into his right hand. Help!
Fragile figures are the single worst thing about modern Star Wars. In the old days, a figure had five joints max, and as such there was little concern about frequent breakage like you describe. Little thin pegs, and new safety requirements which pop limbs right off the figure can be quite a nuisance, and the problem is that Hasbro is trying to make collectors, fans, and kids happy and sometimes that's quite a trick. So what can you do?
Well, if it's broken, it's broken. You're screwed. If it isn't broken, though, you may wish to try boiling some water-- by making a figure's hands soft and pliable by quickly dipping them into heated water, they sometimes reshape on their own to a more pleasing form, or you can insert the accessory you wish them to hold and the hand will re-form itself around the weapon and hopefully permanently stay this way. It's worth a try, right?
10. I love droids, and glad to see that TOMY is doing R5-D4, but
disappointed in R5-X2 as a re-paint. I would love to see Hasbro do
R5-X2 and R5-A7, but with a new head sculpt. (Squatter and pointier
than the current R5 head sculpt.) What are the chances?
Hasbro seems pretty uninterested in more Astromechs this year-- so I'd say expectations for a Hasbro-made R5-X2 are pretty low, period.
Also, Hasbro has made it known that they love to repaint when they can get away with it, because it's a great way to offer more products with lower development costs. When you have a figure mold that exists today, and it's certainly close enough to another figure except for paint, it's not in Hasbro's best interests to redo the figure unless, for some reason, they need a whole new mold. (Like wearing out an old one through overuse.) If you ever get the R5 repaints you crave, I would not expect you to get them without disappointment. Sometimes close enough is good enough-- I'd say when it comes to background droids, asking for a change like this is probably unrealistic.
Ah, a good week this was. No doubt you saw the haul of stuff posted over the past few days. I found a chunk of "red" Tusken Raider Battle Packs, and I gotta say, it's the better of them. The different material used for the VOTC figure looks great and I hope Hasbro repackages it outside the $45 Battle Pack in the future. Quinlan Vos turned out really nice, and well, it's nice to have a flood of new product for once rather than the trickle of one thing here and two things there. Even if it is a bit much for one week.
So after all that new stuff, the question remains: what's next? According to Entertainment Earth, the release date for Wave 3 of 30th Anniversary is May, 2007. Since I posted that release date there, I am assuming it is true. Saga Legends Wave 1 hasn't hit yet, and as 3 cases of new mixes of The Saga Collection are just now shipping, it might be a little while still-- delays, you know. (That and Saga Legends and TSC are the same SKU. I know I said it above, I'm just repeating it for emphasis.)
I'm still curious what's next for vehicles. I mean, we've seen what's next for Vintage, Unleashed Battle Packs (Rebels & Imperials, FYI), basic figures (through wave 4 anyway), Galactic Heroes, even Titanium. So why is Hasbro so quiet on vehicles? Will it be August or September before we get another new one? Or are there no new ones planned? Based on Hasbro's Q&A answers, it seems pretty obvious we're going to see a V-Wing repaint before long but other than that? I gotta assume something is planned, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were no NEW new non-exclulsive vehicles until 2008. Or Comic-Con. One of those.
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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