Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
August 13, 2007

 

1. What is the likelyhood of Hasbro adding a re-modelled AT-ST and an improved Skiff?
--Thomas

About the same as it is when Hasbro is asked in their Q&A, which is "anything is possible." They're aware of the demand for both vehicles-- either reissues, or all-new versions-- and here's hoping we see them someday soon. Hasbro is in a unique catch-22 situation with vehicles, not making new tools because ships aren't the runaway hit that figures are, but vehicle fans have a hard time getting excited because, at best, we see maybe two all-new vehicles a year these days. Hopefully as they introduce more variety, interest will ramp up and we'll see more things like this. We did, after all, get a brand new Landspeeder in 2002 and an X-wing in 1998, plus the Darth Vader's TIE Fighter in 1997 (with other tweaked vehicles here and there).

2. I know your Q&A is primarily Star Wars-related, but I wanted to know your thoughts on these things, so here goes:

I bought the 25th anniversary G.I. JOE 5-pack a few days ago and I have to say, I'm more than a little disappointed. As a collectible in the package these things look awesome. As toys, they are quite craptastic.

In fact, they suck the big one. They don't stand worth a flip, even with the figure stands. Both Gung-Ho's and Scarlett's weapons fall apart if you look at them funny. And, NOT ONE of them can hold their weapon without those clear rubber-band-thingies holding them in place. These puppys looked like they'd be a lot of fun, but I found mysef getting more and more frustrated every time I tried posing them.

My knee-jerk reaction is to put everything back in the package as best I can and return it. Knowing your views of what makes a "good toy" I was wondering if you found these to be as abysmally disappointing as I did. 'Cause, frankly, I feel like I just got bamboozled.
--Joseph

As toys, wave one sucked. One of the first things I did at Comic-Con was actually speaking to some of the Hasbro people, most likely looking like another deranged fan, asking why they made it so the figures couldn't sit. For me, that was the big deal-- I can deal with iffy accessories, some questionable proportions, and hand issues. But I'm totally not cool with a figure-and-vehicle line with figures that can't sit in vehicles. They said future waves will have better articulation, but yeah, by and large wave 1 needs work. I got all 15 regular figures plus the two Destros, and right now I'm pretty close to abandoning collecting the line. (Which is a pity as I was looking forward to it.) Some of the figures I liked for what they were-- for example, the Cobra Commanders, the 5-pack version of Storm Shadow, Destro, and... well, that's it, really. I didn't much care for any of the good guys after the initial fantastic newness wore off, and as someone with over 100 of the previous Joe lines, I was surprised that I've spent far less time with these new figures than I did the older ones.

In short, buyer beware-- if they retool the figures a little, I'd say SW fans might dig them, just to have another somewhat compatible line to customize or play with. But as they are today, buyer beware. (The Cobra 5-pack, though, was fun enough that I wasn't sorry I got it. It's very much imperfect, but still fun if you like the characters in a way that lets you overlook some engineering foibles.)

3. Minor question in light of all that was revealed at SDCC, but a quick one is the new Saga "Greatest Hits" Fett exactly the same as the VTOC one from a few years ago? I'm asking because somehow I managed to lose the backpack, and I'd rather spend $6 or so for a replacement than the $15 that VTOC averages on eBay.
--Ed

Since there were over two years between the first release and this release, you might find some minor changes between the two-- but for your purposes the Saga Legends release is identical and will make a fine replacement. (Or you can just write Hasbro Customer Service and ask for a Saga Legends Boba Fett Backpack since yours was lost/broke/whatever-- sometimes they'll send you the part, or sell it to you for a very low price [a buck or so].)

4. Just a quick question here. Do you know if a different upgraded version of the Darth Vader Tie Advanced would be released by hasbro any time within the next few years? (3" 3/4 scale). There were earlier pictures of a boxed "new" TAC version with the "ejecting panels". I saw this again at Target last week, and there was a sticker covering the "ejecting panels" note. After a closer look, the Tie pictured in the front of the box is very different from the one on the back of the box, which is the older POTF2 version. You can tell by looking at the base were the wings connect to the body of the ship. In general the design is very different. The "new" version seems to be way more movie accurate. Any words on if this was an actual prototype and a possible future upgrade?
--Jorge

If you look at the new-for-2007 boxes for older ships (notably the Jedi Starfighters and Vader's TIE), you'll notice that the picture of the toy is no longer that, now it's an illustration based on the prop or some other source. The V-Wing's guns look totally different on the front of the box, for example, and there are many changes in the Sith Infiltrator. Toy companies have always taken some liberties with presenting the product on the front, but usually it was obvious-- you could tell it was a painting, or it was a photo on a nice background. In this case, some very toy-like digital illustrations are confusing fans a great deal, so don't expect what's in the box to differ from what you already bought-- it's just a pretty picture and nothing more.

At this time there are no known plans-- and frankly, no need-- for a new mold for this vehicle. It's still selling very well, and despite the box mess-up, it's probably going to sell well to kids and collectors all year. Love it or hate it, it's a popular ship and people still want to buy the modern version. If you want an all-new one, keep bugging Hasbro when you get a chance-- I personally will not do this because I'd rather Hasbro spend their mold-creation budget on something I don't have in multiple versions. (I got a vintage Vader's TIE, the 1997 one with blue missiles, the 1997 with green missiles, the 2004 OTC one, and a 2006 TSC one-- and all are different, a little. I don't need another and neither do you. Here's hoping we can get them to make something all-new, preferably Clone related, as far as vehicles go.)

5. A little while ago i noticed numbering on the bottom of the ep1 comtech chips, when i viewed a couple i realized that there was basicially a figure for the first 1-45 then random ones up to 100. What do these wierd numbers mean as the ep1 line had no numbering!
--Rich

Well, basically, Hasbro did number the CommTech chips for some reason. I don't think there's much more to it, they just did it for some reason. As far as I know there's no huge significance to them.

6. The picture on the back of the Saga Legends Battle droid cards show them with bent elbows to hold the gun. But they only have 5 points of articulation. So you really can't position them like that. Is that correct?

The 2IB coming out later this year is from E3. So I'm assuming it Vader's medical droid. Is that also the same 2IB from Hoth or are the legs different?
--Scott

As far as Saga Legends goes: Hasbro frequently uses the right figure on its cardbacks to show what's inside, but not always. (Cases in point: 2006's Hoth R2-D2, 2006's multiple Heroes & Villains General Grievous figure, 2006's Sandtrooper.) It happens, because the package photography is done long before the final product is ready and is often based on prototypes-- as such, the factory may have had to go with a different mold from the original intent, or they just used a mock-up because someone was in a hurry to get the boxes done. The actual figures have only 5 points of articulation each, so the photo is somewhat misleading.

2-1B, as far as I know, is a different droid because 25 years of design can change a droid, even if it's meant to be the same one. (Every prop I saw of 2-1B from the original film had no feet, just a board. The new one's illustrations show feet.) The figure itself will be a different sculpt, seemingly an all-new one. So you can buy the new one and not feel like you're just buying a droid for new legs, unless you're a leg man, which is cool by me.

7. My friend is going to sell off his collection, with loose, and boxed items. How can he remove or neutralize the cigarette smell on the items?
--Chris

I've said it before, I'll say it again: smoking is always bad for toys. You can smoke all you want-- I'm not going to tell you what it can or can't do to your body, because at this point, you've made up your mind one way or the other and frankly, what you do to yourself is not my concern. But I am concerned for your toys, as they are innocent victims of your friend's habit.

All together now: if you collect toys, don't smoke. If you do smoke, do it outside and away from your toys. Smoking has helped make glue brittle, caused tape to peel, caused labels to flake off, and in some cases, causes white plastic to yellow. I've seen some nasty stuff from my stint as a register jockey at a Phoenix-based toy store. (On that note, when in Phoenix, visit Toy Anxiety. Ask for Ron, tell him Adam says hi and may be visiting soon.)

In short, you can't-- the discoloration (yes, discoloration) and odor from your smokes is very unlikely to ever go away, although if you quit smoking and let the toys air out, the odor may lose its power over time. It's just like anything else-- it's probably always going to have traces of the odor, so there's really not too much you can do to restore it to its pristine scent. Of course, maybe farts will do the same thing to it, I haven't yet seen collections for sale from the chronically flatulent.

8. Can you do me a favor and tell me about the EE (Entertainment Earth) Exclusive Star Wars Elite Forces of the Republic set? I thought I was up on my EE (Expanded Universe) but I can't say I've ever heard of any of the 14 figures coming out, though I do concede that they look really frakking cool. And all from the company that was formerly extremely squeamish about making even the most popular EE (Expanded Universe) characters. I for one am happy to see the change of heart, but seriously... what did I miss? Are the EE (Entertainment Earth) characters from something awesome that I missed out on reading/seeing/playing?
--Stephen

Some of the figures are original Hasbro creations, some are to appear in upcoming novels, and the rest, well, you may have heard of them. Omega Squad is from a few of the novels that are out today. I have heard that Rav Bralor will be developed more in future books, as will some of the other Mandalorians. (Which I find really cool-- it's sort of like the prequels, you get the figures a few months before you see the movie and backstory, so you get time to play with it before finding out what it's all about.) I don't have access to the full publishing schedule, and I don't read the novels-- so to me, they're all more or less "made up" as I don't know the full plan for the characters beyond a few notes here and there. (I'm a comic dork, you see.)

The Clones are original designs inspired by Boba Fett designs from the 1970s. The ARC Troopers, as far as I know, are all about the black clone repaint fetish.

9. Thanks for the great coverage of Comic Con 2007. I was just noticing the display of the "R2-D2 Endor Capture" and was noticing it was the "third-leg-deployed" version. It was only the two-legged version when he was tied up in the movie (or not tied up in some shots if you look closely), and R2 even stayed in two-leg (Kenny Baker) mode when he was cut free and started zapping the furry buggers. Any chance the Comic Con version was just a mock-up and the release version will be corrected to two-legs only? Obviously, you can tell, this will be keeping me up nights : )
--Jim

This R2-D2 is based on the 2004 "Vintage" mold, which has been reused for other releases. All of these releases have one thing in common: that third leg pops out quickly and easily, so you can choose to display the figure with all three legs, or just two. This figure will most likely be no exception-- you may configure it at will. Unless having it in the packaging disturbs you, in which case perhaps you should invest in some sleeping pills.

10. Hey, Adam...ok, pleasantries aside, MY DAY HAS COME!!! Thank goodness for Comic-con! Qui-gon is coming at long last...but when? When? Please, come on, be nice, for old times sake, for anyone's sake, for the sake of me who has waited through how many other people's favorite characters getting upgrades before my ship finally comes in!

Ahem...sorry...must take better control of myself. Um, if it would not pose an insurmountable execution of your time and energy, could you tell me if the Qui-gon, Bultar, and NOJ Luke evolution set is coming in 2007 or 2008, and in which month in either case?
--Derek

Since there will be a wave (or waves) of reruns of the 2005 packs first, it might be a while for legit NEW sets to hit stores. So far, Hasbro has given my corporate overlords no solicitation materials on the new Evolutions revival, which I'm starting to think will take the place of Vintage in 2008. If there's no solicitation materials, that means nobody can order them (i.e., they aren't on the site to pre-order) which means that wave 2 is even longer off.

My guess right now is "Spring 2008," which means post-Christmas at some point. It seems unlikely Hasbro will burn through a full wave of rerun Evolutions and get a new series out in the next four months, especially given how far in advance Hasbro tends to start allowing presells on things before release. (For the record, 3 or so months is what I'm noticing). I'm thinking Spring.

For those not keeping track, the new Evolutions packs are super cool, but are a bit more of a catch-all than before. It's not really something evolving so much as it is three somewhat related figures in a set together. For example, Evolution of the Jedi includes Episode I Qui-Gon Jinn, Episode II Bultar Swan, and New Jedi Order (Expanded Universe) Luke Skywalker. Evolution of the Fetts includes Mandalore (seemingly from Tales of the Jedi, which means Santa got my letter) as well as Boba Fett (ESB deco, removable helmet) and Jango Fett (super articulated). Finally, there's also another Evolution of the Sith with Darth Bane (Expanded Universe), Darth Nihilus (KOTOR II), and Darth Maul (Shirtless comic version, super-articulated). So for those keeping track, of the 9 Evolutions figures, 5 are pure Expanded Universe with Boba Fett being somewhat Expanded Universe.

FIN

The most interesting thing I learned this week-- aside from Hasbro confirming a fourth Saga Legends Sandtrooper in Wave 5, Revision 1-- was just how wrong every Sandtrooper has been so far.

I knew the POTF2-era ones were off, from the 1996 Sandtrooper on the card to the 1997 Dewback rider to the 1999 pop-up Cantina pack-in. They were muscular and missing some things, so we weren't at all surprised. The 2000-or-so Power of the Jedi one was considered good, if lacking in articulation. So were its Saga descendants, which were released clean with four different pauldron colors. Since then, we've received what was considered to be the be-all Sandtrooper from Evolutions in 2005, and another decent one in Saga and Saga Legends which was just the 2004 Stormtrooper with some tweaks.

Turns out, there are plenty of other details we never noticed. After being a fan for so long, I'm really surprised I didn't notice before-- but I am lazy, as you know. This link shows a TON of details I've never seen before, and after poking through stills from the movies, it turns out they're pretty much right on the money. We all more or less knew about the helmet, the pauldron, the belt, and the canister on the rump. But the knee? The stripes on the helmet? The belly plate? (And the helmet details Hasbro missed?) I had no idea. It turns out that despite fans getting a ton of super-articulated Sandtrooper love this year, it isn't the best-possible figure. Hasbro still hasn't made it yet-- there's still plenty of changes to make to the figure's sculpt that they could do and come out with another round of multiple Sandtroopers in the future. I for one hope that they do, and after they perfect a new Joe-style hip, they could remake them so they could ride a Dewback with no problems.

Just after I finished writing that last sentence there was a 4.5 earthquake, which I think might be the biggest one since I moved to LA. A bunch of my figures nose-dived off my shelves and well, uh, that's bad for lightsabers. Nothing looks to be broken (that wasn't already), but I'm thinking there's a good chance I'm going to start to store everything in boxes now rather than have them out. I'm from Arizona, where it's hot and the ground doesn't want to swallow me, you see. So I think I might be converting the shelf displays to storage in the interests of non-breakage, which is somewhat crappy.

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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