Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 16, 2007
1. Are you finding/hearing that McQuarrie figures are being 'cherry picked'? Granted, most of them are very nice, but I was making the rounds on Friday and I saw quite a few guys my age (or thereabouts) ignoring all the other new product because they only wanted a "Mc-Q Chew" as one guy put it. Granted, it's one of the best figures all year IMO, but are they really any more scarce or is the demand just higher?
You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Ed. In short, these are quite popular as they're new versions of popular characters, they're new sculpts, there's a built-in history for fans familiar with the designs, and because the packaging is different, people are indeed picking them out as unique/special/collectible. As far as distribution goes, it depends on the case-- there seem to be a decent amount of McQuarrie Fett out there, but he's just crazy popular. I've seen the first 3 McQuarrie figures in the wild several times, but they usually are the first to go these days. I also hear some dealers just snag these because they believe they're rare and more popular, which I guess is true. The numbers for production seem equal or higher than many other figures, but as long as fans are going to be impatient and all-too-willing to overpay a scalper for the "service" of having bought the figures from under them only to sell them for twice as much, well, there's nothing I can say to those people.
2. The other day I saw the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in all of my collecting years. Someone had professionally switched the new Snowtrooper figure from the new vintage line with an older early 2000's Snowtrooper. He somehow got the figure out without creating ANY visible damage and put the new figure in, and then he used an old saga collection packaging clamshell that had "Ultimate Galactic Hunt 2006" with the Stormtrooper sticker on it. That's just sad when people go through all that crap just so that they don't have to pay 10 measly dollars. rbought it up to the cashier and showed her it was a fake and it shouldn't be on the shelves, and I just felt suck because if it weren't for someone like me who knew what they were doing (being a collector and all) some poor kid would've gotten ripped off. That just pisses me off.
And you know what really sucks? There are plenty of suckers who think it's a rare variant. So not only is the guy a thief, not only did he screw the store and his fellow collectors, but he's making my life more difficult because people buy these, write me, and can't fathom why I tell them that their awesome rare collectible is nothing more than a forgery. I hate it because a fan in a hurry might not know until it's too late-- and then he has to go back to the store and try to explain why some jackass swapped out the figure and how it wasn't their fault, which is actually hard to do. (Hey, I got screwed once with the OTC Y-Wing Fighter. I basically said they needed to watch their returns better and then they called another store and had 'em hold a good one for me, so yeah, happy ending.)
While most store employees don't care about swapping, I do. And you do too. Make sure to point it out to them that it's an old product, point at the copyright date and explain that someone did it to defraud them over a few bucks (and how you understand how it's really easy to not notice as the figures are similar. Store clerks aren't collectors. If someone did the ol' switcheroo with Barbie dolls or Littlest Pet Shop animals, you wouldn't notice either.) If we pester them about it enough, maybe they'll do something about it. It's everybody's problem, and sometimes they have decent records of who returned what and might even call them on it. All I'm saying is point it out, be polite, and you'll do everybody a favor. Return policies are getting more and more strict, you can't return items without a gift receipt these days, and people swapping out items are just one of the many ways people are taking advantage of these policies and screwing you. Yes, Wal-Mart may be a mega-corporation and your feelings of if they deserve it or not are a separate issue-- if you still shop there anyway, people returning fraudulently are going to hurt us all and create unsellable product which we pay for in higher prices, lower wages, and other problems. So don't be afraid to speak out here, and make sure to tell your fellow collectors that what they have isn't a rare variant-- it's "Exhibit A."
3. [I] Thought starkiller hero was supposed to be leia?
She is, sort of. A lot of making-of and art books label her as "Luke." No joke. It seems what the most current official story is that the "Starkiller Hero" is the ancestor of Luke and Leia, and through later drafts, this character was split up into the twins. Early on, it seemed plans called for the figure to be named Leia Starkiller, but Lucasfilm changed their mind. It happens a lot, just ask astromech droid fans.
4. I just bought a Kashyyyk Super Battle Droid. I cant help but notice it has a flaw. It wont stand up correctly. I notice that this is the same flaw that other Super Battle Droids have. Why would they continue to repackage the same flawed mold? That is my biggest gripe. I hate figures that wont do what they should basically do. STAND!!! lol I thought maybe I should return it but I doubt at this point they would refund my money. Its not Target's fault that it won't stand up correctly. Even the stand doesnt help. It makes it stand at a tilt. Since the leg that fits on the peg is the shorter leg. The Geonosis Battle Pack Super Battle Droid was the worst. Because of the packaging, the legs became horribly bent. I know you have mentioned about boiling water and dipping them a bit in them. But I dont think I'll try that. LOTS OF PAIN comes to mind. lmao What are your thoughts? Perhaps you already addressed this in one of your Q&A's and I missed it. If you havent, perhaps you can address it a bit. The Rebelscum pics show their Super Battle Droid has the same problem.
I hacked about half of this one off for length.
Not all of Hasbro's molds are perfect. Sadly, they don't design figures for longevity on your shelf, otherwise figures like the Battle Droid 2-packs would never be released. In a warm room, on a display stand, they're going to bend funny thanks to heat and gravity, and figures like this Super Battle Droid have cruddy legs and bad poses that make them difficult to stand up. You didn't get a bum one so much as the figure itself is somewhat flawed. It's not just the packaging, the materials used and the tooling all helped to create the figure as it was released, which is to say, imperfect.
5. I have a question reguarding the Star Wars SAGA (series 1 2002-2004) figures. Many of the lightsabers came with the removable blade. Well, I've managed to break off 2 or 3 of the little pegs inside the handles. Any idea how to get the peg out? I've tried sticky stuff (gum, etc) and I've tried digging it out with needles, but to no avail. Any solutions or suggestions?
My 2002 and 2005 Ki-Adi-Mundi sabers both snapped off (separate incidents in separate states), and I never figured out how to get that peg out. I just glued the blade to the hilt as that was the best option I had. Since the peg usually breaks off clean, it's difficult if not impossible to get out. If any customizers out there have any tips-- and by tips, I mean things that don't require you to be MacGyver-- please send them in.
6. I was looking at the emperor figure with the overly large hood and ruins an otherwise really good figure. So I was wondering how does that get through all the drawings and sculpts with no one saying "that hood is huge!"
The question isn't how it got out like that. The question is how it got out like that, and reissued in a gift set, and then repackaged again in 2006. Bad figures can happen, but at least three reissues? That's pretty amazing.
Things change through the approval process. Sometimes the factory in Asia has to make a change, other times, well, people don't call the Emperor out for his new clothes, as it were. (And yes, that's an unfortunate example.) Sometimes things get out that aren't exactly great-- look at the 1999 Boss Nass, the 1978 R2-D2 (admit it, it sucked), the first Pod Race Announcers figures, the "blow-up doll" Jabba that came with it, and a Hoth Chewbacca in 1998 that looks like it has chunks of feces sculpted throughout his fur. These things happen when you have a massive toy line, and well, if it sells, it's not like Hasbro is going to look at these products as mistakes.
7. in response to last weeks Q&A question about the number of McQuarrie figures, If Hasbro should decide to count the two figures in a pack, as two figures, would that not then throw off their entire count of the line based on what figures they said where the 100th, 300th, 500th etc, etc.?
Hasbro's counts are wrong. This is really all you need to know. Sometimes they count a significant variant, sometimes not. There's no way Han Solo in Carbonite is #100, and I do believe I heard that the hole in the back of the #300 Boba Fett was done to help fudge the tally. It's extremely unlikely that Darth Vader #500 was really the 500th figure, and Hasbro hasn't been entirely consistent with what constitutes a figure in its tally. My advice to you? Just assume that the figure celebrates 300 or 500 figures, and is not actually the figure to hold that designation. The Jawas, Ewoks, and Ugnaughts (1996, 1998, 1998) were never fully explained to be 1 or 2 figures, ditto with the Episode I pod racers with pit droids. So Hasbro is basically wrong here if they're claiming these figures to be the specific number of release, and frankly, with assortments, there's no way to really tell which one is really, actually, that number. Is the number assigned by release date? Completion of concepts? The first one off the assembly line? Heck if I know. It's more trouble to think about than it's worth, and knowing that the numbering is off anyway makes me write it off with no problems. I'm also fairly sure Hasbro didn't count the bonus Pit Droids and Battle Droids from Episode I in their tallies, which is just all sorts of confusing. Just ignore this one, you'll be a happier person.
8. Is there way to fix my yellow storm troopers?
Paint. While many have tried a lot of things, it seems once they go yellow, they stay that way. Just keep 'em out of the sun. You can try bleach and sandpaper and all of those other things, but I'd say you're best off cutting your losses, buying a new one, and keeping them out of the sun.
9. RE: Your problems with your Vintage Hoth Han....is it me, or this more of a problem lately? You mentioned your McQuarrie Boba Fett snapping in half - when I got mine the other day I was very careful with it, but the waist is pretty loose and feels like it could go at any minute. When I opened up my Vintage IG-88, one of his arms was stuck, so I gently started to turn it. Unfortunately, the arm is so damn tiny I didn't realize I was twisting the plastic itself and not loosening the joint until it was too late. Now I've got a (relatively) nifty $10 figure with his arm sheared off. What gives? This seems to be either an epidemic of poor design or cheap plastic or all of the above. And one thing that I've never thought about until this incident - if a figure breaks, can you return it to the store? Is there any recourse? Or do I just need to go back out and get another one?
Problem here is in some cases, Hasbro's desire to meet fan demands for insane articulation don't necessarily connect with what a toy needs to be able to do to maintain its structural integrity. The pegs are too thin and fragile, and when they get stuck, they snap-- and then nobody wins. There is such a thing as too much articulation on some figure designs and unfortunately, their desire to make better figures and our demands that they keep doing them will likely result in more of these.
Some stores take back broken figures-- you'll have to see what your returns desk will do, as it varies from person to person. Also, Hasbro will often replace a figure if you contact their customer service department via their web site. From all of your (the readership's) comments, it seems pretty obvious that many of you are getting at least one or more bum figures this year. So Hasbro, scale back on the articulation a little-- I'd rather the toy maintain its one-ness than break. I've only had one action figure from Hasbro break on me at a joint, ever, until this year. My Hoth Han snapped, and my IG-88 is going to snap if I move the joint-- that's just not cool.
I should also mention that my McQuarrie Boba Fett didn't "snap in half," it just comes apart at the waist-- the difference is I can pop the peg back in the hole and things are fine. With Han, the peg snapped off.
10. Which Nabrun Lieds figure is more movie accurate, white or silver jump suit?
According to photos I've seen, I'd say the silver looks more accurate to the lighting in the diorama between the two. Although it seems a little more silvery than the pictures-- so the most accurate figure is likely somewhere in the middle, but the silver is the better of the two.
It's a somewhat irritating slow period. (To my pal who helped me get the Father's Day set: I thank you and owe you an email. And to my trading buddies: I still owe you big.) Of course, there's a lot keeping me from sleeping or taking a day off, but hey, at least I can skip the toy runs once in a while, unless I get bored on a drive to dinner or something. Wave 4 is not out yet, nor is Saga Legends Wave 2-- but the month is young! Who knows what wonders will show up between now and August 1. I mean, I certainly didn't expect Hasbro Europe to reveal the final (?) wave of 30th Anniversary Figures. The Clone in Training Gear was a real surprise, and I'm not sure what to make of the new Jango yet-- but I'll probably see 'em in San Diego next week. Of course, after this reveal, I'm not expecting there to be much to report on in San Diego, aside from some as-of-yet unseen exclusives. Surely there will be more for Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us.
Plug: the new 25th Anniversary GI Joes are out. The figures are designed with more Star Wars-y features, like the SW peg hole, SW-style arm joints, and so forth. Customizers, you might be interested in getting some of these to bash in to new creations. I reviewed one (so far) at my other site, so read my Cobra Commander review at 16bit.com. (Spoiler: good, but not great.)
I noticed there's lots of chatter about me on the SW forums lately. (Why me? I'm not interesting. Is it because there's no new toys coming out for the past three or four weeks?) Apparently I call myself the "prophet." I did not know this. I'm hoping to find more things about me in the coming days, and if they pimp the column, it's a win-win. See folks, you too should get columns so you can read about yourself. It's fun. Really. (Although some of these people are astute. I really don't give a crap about KOTOR [the games, the comic I have no qualms with].)
So what about that Omega Squad guy? Eh? Eh??? (Well, at least I know like three of your are very excited.)
I'm bad at ending these if I don't have something interesting to share. Obviously, I'm babbling, and yet you're still reading. Good for you. I appreciate it. Please keep reading, tell a friend, etc. With over 27 dedicated readers, this is easily the most popular weekly column on Galactic Hunter, and we thank you for your support!
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