Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 4, 2007
1. Is it my imagination, or did Hasbro (at CIV) basically show us everything they have planned (3-3/4 line + Galactic Heroes are all I collect) to come for the rest of 2007? Not a complaint, mind you. Just a question. I thought San Diego might figure prominently in there plans as it always has. Is EE's reveal of all 14 [exclusive gift pack] figures the only TRUE reveal we have to look forward to at San Diego? Your thoughts / speculations appreciated. I am not upset (nor do I think, Hasbro isn't releasing enough stuff for this year). But I am always curious about the horizon.
Well, there's no guarantee more of the EE Exclusives won't be revealed before the show. And there are other stores with exclusives. I think it was smart of Hasbro to reveal as much as possible at CIV (after all, it's THE BIG SHOW for us and why not show everything to the hardcore fans?) but we've still got a few things left. Quasi-confirmed figures (from Hasbro's stand packs) like Voolvif Monn, McQuarrie Rebel Trooper, and Republic Commando (supposedly all-white and from a comic) for example, as well as rumored-but-probably-coming items like a new Padme and Jango Fett. So there's at least one wave left to show, assuming they show them at Comic-Con.
Also, you're assuming we've seen all the exclusives for the year, and I would guess there are probably a few surprises left. Wal-Mart had a ton of exclusives in 2006 so I think it's unlikely that all they're getting this year in Q4 are some comic packs. There are plenty of rumors about what's coming, like another round of Wal-Mart Max Rebo packs, and I'm expecting to see a few new items shown in July. But not a lot, as we got to open all of our presents extra early this year. (Although I for one prefer it that way-- I don't mind having seven months to look forward to something as long as the release date doesn't keep slipping.)
2. What specific 20 coins go in the far right side of the coin folder that comes with Vader (30th Anniversary Collection #1)? Do we know all of the coins now? 1-60 are all numbered on the left and center panels. By my count, I know we have the Toy Fair Coin (available as a Vintage Redemption offer), the Celebration IV coin, a Luke McQuarrie Coin, a 3-PO and R2 McQuarrie coin, a probable Yoda and Obi-Wan McQuarrie coin, and maybe a Grievous Prototype coin. What, to your knowledge comprises these 20 additional coins? Do we know this now? Care to speculate? I love coins, and I can't wait to complete this folder I've only just begun to work on for 2007.
The official line from Hasbro a few months ago was "extra coins and promotional coins," which I believe translates to "there's no guarantee it's 20." In addition to "the 60," there are going to be several "chase" coins in gold (final tally unknown but presumably 10), the seven coin mail-in offer from the Vintage line (includes Toy Fair coin), the three coins from the various Celebration IV exclusives, (I assume) a Comic-Con coin, the Celebration Europe R2-D2 & C-3PO coin, the generic Celebration Europe coin, the Comic-Con Yoda & Obi-Wan coin, and I would assume that'd be it. Oh, wait-- there's seven Saga Legends coins too (one for each movie plus Darktrooper/Expanded Universe.) So of those I listed, there are 20 confirmed non-chase coins and, by my guesstimates, about 31 "extra" coins which should overfill your album if you get them all-- but I assume most fans won't be getting all the gold coins to fill the binder.
It's possible Hasbro is doing some other show with a coin I'm not thinking of yet. Or maybe the StarWarsShop.com site will ask for/demand exclusive coins as an incentive to order items from them. (Hey, they got some Topps cards for that purpose. Anything is possible.)
3. I have long wanted to see a cantina band member on a card! During the Saga Legends voting at RebelScum I lobbied for people to put Figrin D'an on a card (to no avail). Anyway, today on Ebay, I accidentally found five cantina band members on cards. Do a search for "cantina band star wars disney". Apparently Disney has released the set of 5 cantina band members on cards. Had you heard about this? There are five different guys each with a different instrument. If I squint very carefully at the Ebay pictures, it appears that each figure is on a stage and that the stage has electronics for lights and music. Hallelujah! That's awesome!
Want to know the rub? First, I'm not going to Disney. Second, I'm not shelling out over $100 for five figures I already have, just to get Figrin D'an on a card. (I bought five of the Cantina Tins from Wal-Mart when they hit $5—distributed them to the kids and nephews and kept one for myself.) Bids start at $100. This sucks!
What the situation on these? Do you think that these be available somewhere other than at a Disney park or on ebay at some time? If so do you think they will be less than $100 for the set?
Right now, we know these will be at Disneyworld this year for $15 each, and there are five members. From the look of things, everything is identical (right down to the packaging), but the instruments are unique. As such, I suggest that you buy the tin set and just get one Star Tours set to save some money-- they're all the same figures, you're just going to be paying out the nose for the accessory.
In the past, Disney exclusives initially went for lots of money on eBay. And then, after a while, they could be had for less than retail-- I saw cases of nothing but R5-D2s for about half price. (I totally should have bought it.) If you're patient, I can all but guarantee these at lower prices. $75 COST is ridiculous for the set and it seems likely they will get blown out at one of the Disney park surplus stores (which do exist) or scalpers may buy too many and have to let them go cheap because I wager the number of people willing to pay $75 for the lot of them is going to be small. Honestly, $100 isn't much of a markup for a $75 item when you factor in sales tax and all of that stuff.
Right now I'm probably just going to get 1 or 2 members at full price (hey, I want the stage) and then wait to see what happens with the rest. Sometimes prices go down over time, and due to these figures' excessive pricing, I say you'd be smart to wait it out. Just keep watching eBay for a while, and when the price is right, get it then. (Patience pays! Scalpers choke on things, look at the Celebration III Darth Vaders going for less than $15 lately. Several of the Star Tours figures went for under $10 per for a while too.)
4. Are the heads from the upcoming EE multipack based on the staff at EE?
Also, any more news on which kind of characters will round out that pack
since I think it was posted that they're not all going to be Mandalorians?
Llats Ward, so far the only figure revealed from this set of figures (which is NOT all Mandalorians) is not based on anyone I've ever met. This isn't a "well, I haven't met Bob at Entertainment Earth" technicality, I honestly have no idea who the hell this guy is but I have enjoyed reading the theories around the interwebs. I assume he's Hasbro or Lucasfilm people. Under pain of torture, I've been asked not to reveal details of what the other figures do or don't have.
5. What did you think about the New Clone Wars trailer? I saw a couple of interesting ship designs, is it just me or did one of the ships kinda look like a B-Wing? Also, I am sorry if this question has been asked and answered before but to your knowledge has Hasbro ever considered sub-contracting the vehicles out to another toymaker? There are so many ships I would like to see done. I am sure many of use wouldn't think twice about throwing our money down for a nicely made and somewhat accurate Rebel Transport or Imperial Lander.
While there's a lot to look at, I didn't notice a B-Wing.
Hasbro probably doesn't have a need to want to contract out other vehicles to another toymaker. I know a lot of fans are demanding more vehicles, but so far in 2007, we've got word of 4 brand new molds and a lot of repaints. Factor in exclusives and there's like what, at least 18 vehicles in circulation in 30th Anniversary packaging this year (not counting the Shadow Scout Trooper)? That's a lot-- Hasbro is probably not cranking out new vehicles because of cost reasons, but because there's a glut of product on the market. I think we're about on par with the old days, minus the repaints of course-- you can only put out so much stuff in a single year before the market says "screw it" and quits. As such, it probably isn't sensible for another company to make more vehicles unless, for example, it was to make crazy high-end toy vehicles that cost an arm and a leg. And Attakus is already showing us examples of that with $1,000+ diorama sets.
As many of us want ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, it's pretty obvious that no matter who has the license or no matter what gets cranked out, a lot of fans will never, ever be satisfied. If we got the Rebel Transport and Cloud Car (two boring vehicles) then we'd be picking some other new thing to go back and redo. It's a safe bet Starfighters will come and go and anything featured in the Clone Wars cartoon will eventually see plastic, but I think the days of a Rebel Transport working as a valid toy are over. Even back in the old days, I'm told it was something of a slow seller-- it worked OK as a storage case, but as a vehicle, I can say I didn't exactly have tons of fun with mine.*
Now an Imperial Lander could be fun. But it's pretty close to the Imperial Shuttle in overall look and feel, so I wouldn't hold my breath for much other than a $20 scaled down vehicle which would probably result in much complaining.
(*- Doing some more thinking, those two vehicles didn't really last all that long. As far as I can tell, the Cloud Car was released for ESB, as was the Rebel Transport, but not ROTJ in the USA. So it didn't get a lot of time at retail and as someone who's done many toy shows in his day, I can tell you that Cloud Cars are as common as dirt-- nobody even wanted the vintage one back when collecting the old stuff was fairly in vogue.)
6. Awhile ago something was mentioned about a lightsaber with an activation guard, or something similar? Was this a fancy was of describing the new extending blade lightsabers, or is there a new design coming down the pike?
While there is buzz of a Force Unleashed Lightsaber, a Mickey Mouse Lightsaber, and rumored additions to the spring-loaded line, I'm not sure which one has an activation guard. Hasbro's always looking to make new weapon toys, so it's a safe bet more new revisions are coming, but where and when haven't been announced yet.
7. I was expecting to see a poster for the TAC line at Celebration. Do you think Hasbro will have one at Comic-Con?
Well, I kinda think the cardbacks (which I didn't get or even see) and coins were much cooler than a poster. (Actually, the coin was awesome. Cardbacks, well, it's free.) Hasbro had a poster at Comic-Con last year so it's possible they'll do one this year-- it's a good promotional item because it's an ad for their products that you put on your wall and drool over until you find the items you want, so why the heck not? The Saga Collection poster wasn't something I recall hearing much about before SDCC 2006, so we'll have to wait and see. But I think it's likely.
8. Think Kotobukiya would ever do smaller scale statues/figs? Or is that way too similar to Hasbro's Unleashed concept? Obviously I think there would be licensing issues over here. But in Japan? Or does that kind of thing exist there too? I have a few of their pcs but the size kills me rather than the cost. It's seriously quality stuff. Damn near perfect in my book.
While a new diorama scale was recently shown, Kotobukiya hasn't made too much buzz about wanting to do other sizes-- frankly, I think there could be a licensing issue here-- Lucasfilm doles out licenses very specifically, initially granting each company certain sizes, price points, or even materials. (Die-cast, for example. I'm a little curious what happened there with Code 3 and Hasbro, perhaps there was a clause for scale or something.) I don't think Hasbro is really all that concerned about competition for the very nearly dead 7-inch Unleashed line, what with its one new item this year? $15-$25 "statues" are something we'll likely only ever see from Hasbro as they're equipped to crank out pimpin' figure statues at low-low prices. (Well, they were, the prices are going up for the new ARC Trooper Heavy Gunner.)
I'd also take issue with Koto's stuff being perfect. Personally, all of the faces on the humans look off to me, and many of the helmets are iffy. (Although I do have the AOTC Clone Trooper on top of one of my speakers and it looks good, but I think that's in part because it's posed like Samus Aran from the cover of Metroid II.)
9. And an absolute softball - what did you like most of the new toys on display at CIV? I think the upcoming vehicles, both the repaints and the two new ones, look fantastic. Of the figures, I thought the EU wave looked the best, but there's a lot of good stuff coming. Hasbro also seems inclined to include lots of new sculpts in the comic packs. "Huzzah" for the toy makers. Oh, lastly, there's some sort of victory to most of the rest of the convention exclusives being available on-line. I already ordered the McQuarrie Luke on-line, at a discount and with no tax or shipping to boot. Thanks to GH for the tip.
Softballs are great. They let me write the column early.
The Ewoks and Grievous' Starfighter are very exciting, as is Marvel Boba Fett (which I wanted to do for an exclusive myself), Clone Wars Anakin, and that nifty package of Clones, Clone Pilots, and an Astromech droid. That's awesomely imaginative as repaints go.
As far as exclusives being available goes, I'm personally not in this for money/selling stuff-- I just want my damned toys. So I'm glad that hundreds (thousands?) of C-3PO & R2-D2 were sold off to ToyRocket to sell online, ditto with Luke at HasbroToyShop.com. However, I've received emails from some fans who went to the convention just to get the figures and feel like they got screwed out of something special. (The latter is what they pretty much do for the Transformers and G.I. Joe shows-- super-limited, some items are attendee only, and if you don't go and pay $300 or so to get in, you don't get the whole set.) So I'm quite pleased with how Hasbro has done things because I'm a dirty commie hippie who thinks figures should be available to the widest possible audience. Nobody benefits from hard-to-get figures, aside from scalpers-- this way Hasbro can make their money (which is important), and we can get our figures for what can loosely be termed a "fair" price. (I don't think $20 for R2-D2 and C-3PO and $15 for Luke Skywalker is a "good deal." It's kinda expensive, but on par for convention toys so I don't expect to see them any cheaper unless the fans get sick of it or the distributors who bought 'em up start choking on them. Hey, it's happened before.)
Plus going to a con just for the toys is usually a bad idea-- not to you, Dan, but a few have written in complaining about this. To you, I say you have to take into account that what you're supposed to be going for is the complete convention experience. (To me, conventions mean work, so not going is usually a fun experience as I can read the scoops at home and buy my toys elsewhere. If you've seen my place or my office at work, every day is a Star Wars Celebration for me as it is.) If you're doing Gentle Giant and Sideshow stuff, going to the show might make good sense as some of those can be pretty expensive on the aftermarket-- but Hasbro fans, it's probably always going to be much cheaper to just sit back and buy something off of eBay. Parking alone at your average convention is probably enough to cover the scalper markup. (Not that I advocate scalpers, but holy crap, conventions are expensive if you can't figure out a way to split a hotel and/or convince your employers that they should pay your way for some ridiculous business purpose which probably isn't valid but hey, that's your problem to figure out.)
10. With the announcement and showing of the Ewok two pack (#43) due later this year, have all of the original Ewoks from Return of the Jedi and Power of the Force lines now been remade / released in the modern lines? Or, have they not released Lumat and Warok? What Ewok releases (non-animated) would you like to see in the next few years?
My count ---> Wicket (carded individually in OTC / also released earlier as 2-pack with Logray from POTF2), Chief Chirpa (Saga 2), Paploo (POTJ with Scout Walker and Speeder Bike), Teebo (POTJ), Romba and Garak? (2-pack, 30AC #43), Ewok with Attack Glider (Saga 1 line Ultra, generic, does he have name?), and Ewok Bomber (Complete Galaxy Series, generic, does he have a name?) . . . .
Right now, the assumption from the HasbroToyShop.com Stands Pack is that the Ewok 2-pack is in fact Lumat and Romba. (There are at least two Ewoks which have shown up in licensed merchandise named Lumat and it's not entirely known what the whole story is there, but it's assumed to be another 4-LOM/Zuckuss switchup by many fans.) This leaves Warok as the only Ewok name from the vintage line to not have a new figure tied to it yet. (Plus there's the toons, but let's ignore those for now.)
However, obviously, there's the issue of Vintage Kenner Lumat, which has not been revisited in the modern line with a new name or some other sort of release. Glider Ewok (Complete Galaxy) and Glider Ewok (Ultra Glider) have no known names yet, at least as far as Hasbro has been saying.
So, what's left to do? Woklings are rumored for 2008, but I have two things I'd really like to see. One: Wicket & Paploo 2-pack (resculpted). Wicket wasn't a very good figure for 1998-- the 1984 Kenner figure was much more cuddly and fun. Also, Paploo was hard to get, so a new version would be cool. Since these Ewoks had a very prominent role in Endor (first contact, Bike thief) it seems these could make good new figures for the marketplace as they've got a story and are somewhat recognizable. Two: Lumat & Romba repaint set. (Call 'em Peabody and Sherman, I don't care, new "generic" Ewok warrior repaints would be totally cool.)
I'm trying pictures today. Let's see how this goes.
So, what's new? I'm told the Father's Day Wal-Mart set is out but I'm finding in LA that with even daily trips to some stores, that may not be frequent enough to find things. Oh well. With Transformers getting its first major big push (which at many of my local stores was actually pretty pathetic, read more at 16bit.com), it'll probably be a slow few weeks as Hasbro pushes the Robots in Disguise between now and the movie's opening next month. The Robot Heroes (Galactic Heroes of TFs) are pretty awesome-- if you liked the old cartoon you should look into these. I mean, it's a little tiny Shockwave, what's not to love?
I'm totally loving the whole "heroes" idea-- so hopefully we'll see some G.I. Joe sets with Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander. Actually, screw Snake Eyes, just get me Cobra Commander. (And let's get a nice Galvatron too, eh?) It's a real pity Hasbro didn't do DC characters like this-- I'd buy every last Batman villain they did like this. (Of course I also said I'd totally buy the Punisher/Ghost Rider Marvel set and I didn't do that either.)
Well, I talked up the Entertainment Earth Mystery Exclusive with Mandalorian Llats Ward in their podcast, as that is what they pay me for. If you didn't know this product exists, well, there you go. Here's what you need to know right now: it's not all Mandalorians, it has 14 action figures in the set (which is two boxed sets of seven that do not have the same exact identical molds spread over the two sets, but that doesn't mean a mold will or won't be reused anywhere, or does it?), the average cost per figure is $4.785 (before shipping), and I find the whole set very exciting. If you have never heard of Llats Ward before, you're in good company. (I wrote the Wookieepedia page using information from Awesome Inside Sources.) Unless it's going to appear elsewhere and nobody sent me the memo, this was a character created just to be a toy. Which is pretty cool in my book as very, very few original characters in Star Wars started out as action figures. Oh, I also ramble about the Celebration IV exclusives in the podcast. (Thanks for the hookup, Shannon!) The podcast used to be the 16bit Podcast, but I kinda do it on the company clock now so they get the branding. (Such is the way of the middle-class sell-out.)
Either the seasons are changing or I'm getting sick. So I'm gonna sign off and see what color the substance I cough up in the bathroom will be. See you next time!
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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