Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
November 5, 2007
1. As far as paint goess the Saga Legends Destroyer Droid much different from the previous releases of the figure?
While if you put a bunch of figures side by side you can always find minor differences... but no, it's not really different from the 2005 release (Revenge of the Sith) or the 2006 release (Heroes & Villains).
2. How do you feel about Hasbro re-releasing new versions of the Kashyyyk Trooper and Commander Gree? Obviously, most of us are happy that we're getting much more accurate figures. However, I do feel somewhat duped that I bought several TSC Elite Corps Troopers earlier this year and even multiple Commander Gree figures in 2005 to use as regular Kashyyyk troopers (since we had no regular Kashyyyk clones at the time). We knew we'd eventually get updated versions of both figures... just not so soon. Had I known they were coming only a year later, I wouldn't have gotten so many Elite Corps Troopers that will be obsolete after only a number of months.
Well, it's not really a rerelease if it's a new version, right? (I'm smiling, but you can't see it.) Hasbro did both of those figures as repaints in an effort to bolster the end-of-the-line in 2005 and 2006, and fans demanded new versions almost immediately. In the case of Gree, I'm actually quite pleased-- we're seeing Hasbro up the ante as far as articulation is concerned and this is the first-ever figure to feature... what are we going to call it? Mega articulation? Hyper articulation? (It still has 14 points of articulation, but the wrists and hips are both ball joints... or close enough to ball joints.) I prefer Hasbro do its articulation experimentation on new versions of existing characters, personally, and I'm always glad to get new Troopers-- but for me the 2006 version qualified as "close enough" so I almost don't care about the new release, but I am glad the visor flips up. When it comes to troopers, I don't ask for a lot when it comes to a new version-- one decent upgrade and I'm happy to buy one or two.
I don't feel duped because I collect the whole line-- especially the bad figures. But I think most army builders will find some use for the older versions, I know I sure will. New versions of old figures is a fact of life in this hobby, and one of the reasons I advise a lot of fans to just wait until the line ends and go back and collect your favorites. It's the cheaper way to go-- but if you want to collect as it goes along, it's one of the prices we have to pay.
This is also the reason why I don't "army build" like I used to. Why buy a dozen of any one Sandtrooper when there will be a dozen different versions of the Sandtrooper available in a year? You can get a whole army in a variety of colors instead.
3. I was recently lucky enough to find a Ralph McQuarrie Signature Series Concept Snowtrooper at my local Walmart. Unfortunately, after I opened it, I realized that the dome portion of the helmet had been glued on to the figure's head off-center. It obscures one of the eyes and makes what would otherwise be a very cool figure look rather silly. I tried to pop off the helmet but it seems to be attached very securely. Do you have any advice on how I can either fix this or get it replaced?
I think you just got lucky-- your best bet is to either ask your favorite customizer board what to do, or just spring $7 on another one if/when you find it.
4. I recently saw Ken Burn's WW2 documentary and I saw a reference to a group of soldiers formed of the native born Japanese Americans. The group was formed by of Hawaiian and mainland individuals and called the 442 Regimental Combat Team. Is there any connection to them with the issue of Clone Trooper 442 Seige Battalion figure #057?
I wouldn't say there's any significant connection other than someone probably aped the name from the real-world group-- there's a lot of little references like this throughout the saga, and while I haven't seen it explicitly stated that this was indeed the point, it's most likely the case.
5. Do you know when the stormtrooper evolution re-release is scheduled to hit stores?
Very late in 2007 or January-ish-- I'd expect it to show up post-holiday, personally.
If you want them now, the original 2005 versions are pretty cheap on eBay-- you should be able to get them for $20 or so shipped, which is about what it will cost you in stores next year. (I'm seeing closed auctions for this set at $9.99 + $10 shipping-- you can't beat that.)
6. I found TC-14 at the local WalMart today. When they scanned it, they said it came up Item not available for sale. The manager proceeded to tell me with absolute certaintly that the item had been recalled. I checked when I got home and was shocked to find that there was NO such recall on hasbro's site.
Is this BS? Or what? I have never been denied a purchase...I try really hard to find these and when I finally do, I cant buy it??? Whats up with that?
Sometimes the individual barcode for a figure isn't in a store's computer-- I've never seen people denying it before, but well, you have to remember that store employees aren't particularly educated on most of the thousands of products in their stores. In this situation I would say "I've already bought one as a gift for my niece's kid, I want to see the recall notice" or something to that effect. It's BS-- recalls are no small problem, and I guarantee you it'd be all over the news if Hasbro had a figure recall. It's not like Mattel's because we have hundreds if not thousands of figures in our homes and finding out they're toxic would be a huge, enormous news story you wouldn't miss. It'd be on TV, talk shows, news, web sites, everywhere. Hasbro has, to my knowledge, never recalled a Star Wars action figure product (despite fan rumors to the contrary every few years).
7. Is Saga Legands driving you crazy
like it is doing to me? I like getting the different 501st clones, pit
droids, sandtroopers, imp officers and clone officers, but having to check
each package out for colors, head sculpts, body sculpts used and dirt
markings is getting old quickly. If Hasbro never releases another
Sandtrooper after this year, you won't get any complaints from me. But
then again, I have every Sandtrooper from POTF2 to TSC.
It's been more or less problem-free. I like the variants, but it's difficult to find the ones I want, and some of the variants are getting to be a little much. Still, it adds to the hunt and makes things just a little more interesting when it comes to building armies. Ask me again this time next year, and if there are any I couldn't find, I'll be sure to spew venom accordingly.
I have to disagree with you on the Sandtrooper. If you go to this page you can see that the bulk of Hasbro's Sandtrooper figures aren't as authentic as they could be. I know it's nitpicky at this size, but the lenses, mouths, knee armor, and other details on Sandtroopers are rarely presented correctly. What's more, there's room for improvement on articulation. Personally, I won't be satisfied until they improve the articulation to the point where a figure is poseable to the point it can stand normally or sit on a Dewback without problems. The Evolutions Troopers are very close-- but there's still room for improvement.
8. Some collections are massive. Others, more focused.
I eventually plan to have a movie room in the house, all 6 (plus) posters up on the walls and shelving, or recessed in the wall, whereupon dioramas can be displayed, X-wings chasing TIEs on the wall or hanging from the ceiling... you get the idea.
What do you envision as your ultimate display... the likes of Mr Sansweet's Rancho Obi Wan... in or around the house? Or in the basement? Or the bonus room? Or does it require a seperate building?
Put it all out there or recreate the story? Do the entire house....
While my trading stash has grown to preposterous sizes (seriously, if you guys have a wish list let's make a deal), storing a complete collection of modern figures isn't as hard-- just get some shelving units and you're good to go. I have almost everything from the modern line on display in a room, and there's still room for some other items. (Although 12-inch figures and a few side lines aren't out right now.) If you buy everything, yeah, forget about displaying it unless you're rich.
My eventual plan is to take a room and line the walls with shelves about 6-inches apart, give or take. The way I see it, that's more than enough space to set up several thousand figures, especially when you figure a wall is probably 9 or 10 feet wide by 8 or 9 feet tall. By my estimates, that's 16 or so shelves, and on a 9-foot long shelf you should be able to cram (on a modern display stand) about 43 figures side-by side, and closer to 85 if you double it up and have alternating rows. So on one wall, that's roughly 1,360 loose figures. ON A SINGLE WALL. (I never did the math before just now so I'm kinda surprised by this-- maybe I won't go the full height of the wall.) There are of course some bigger figures, but there are also some smaller ones like the Pit Droids so you might be able to fudge this a bit. Ideally, there'd be some sort of glass in front of the shelves to keep dust out... but even if the line runs another decade, it should be easy to cram all the figures in a room if you design it properly.
For me, it's the figures that pose the biggest problems. Vehicles have never been a problem (yet) because I bought a whole mess of shelves on clearance at Target several years ago for about three bucks a whack. Right now, I'm covered, and at the rate Hasbro cranks out new ones I don't see a future problem. 2 new ones a year, tops? I can manage. If all you do is Hasbro, and you have a room you can modify, it should be fairly easy to get everything into a single room if you put a little bit of effort into it. Right now I don't plan on doing anything significant until a) I get the money for a house, or b) I finally settle somewhere permanent. Basically, I just want to create the world's largest vintage cardback-- a giant wall of figures with name tags. Before I had a pyramid design in mind like Kenner used at conventions in the late 1990s, but the sheer volume of figures has rendered this impossible. Well, not impossible... impractical, maybe.
9. Hi Adam, I've been thinking about this for a while and its really starting to bother me. Which Star Wars Celebration in 2007 do you think was better? Because I have the sneaking suspicion that Celebration Europe was way better. They got both Luke Skywalker AND Senator/Emperor Palpatine to appear, both of which has never appeared at any Celebrations. They also had that giant AT-AT and speeder bike to take pictures with. It seems like their collectable store merchandise was WAY better too. Was it made by a different company? Those stormtrooper shirts are enough to make me jealous. We didn't even get to see George Lucas and we were in his home state. Perhaps I'm just jealous that I couldn't go, and I am thankful that I've gotten to go to the Celebrations here, but their event had a lot that's been missing from the Celebrations over here.
P. S. Has there been any news about CV? A friend told me they were thinking of Indianapolis again but I've heard no such thing, thanks
I sat the 2007 Celebrations out because, well, frankly I don't much like fan gatherings other than for the toys. (I don't get to enjoy the show-- I'm there to work, either for my bosses or to report for you guys. I don't get to have a lot of fun there.) I've seen people in costumes, I've seen props, I've seen massive collections... unless they're going to debut a new movie or something thrilling I'll never see again, I think the best way to celebrate your love of the hobby is to write about it online so other people can use it as reference material. But as you may have guessed, I tend to have an aversion to leaving the apartment except for food, work, and toy runs.
I think both Celebrations shared some of the same management, and as far as guests go it's pretty exciting to get a free trip to Europe-- so if the convention paid for someone to go there, they might be more likely to appear at the show. The guys in Europe seemed to be more aggressive about getting the best possible stuff, and hopefully some of their scene recreations will make it to future US conventions.
(Personally, all I need to be happy at a show is Steve Sansweet, a Hasbro booth, and exclusives I can easily get without too much hassle and zero worry. If Steve ain't there it ain't a legit show.)
As far as Celebration V, the rumor is Los Angeles in Fall, 2008 to tie into the TV show. It seems too soon if you ask me, and unless they show the TV show there, I'd probably be disgruntled. (My biggest beef about the first 3 Celebrations was they were to promote a movie nobody who went had seen yet or would be able to see at the show. Do I care what Jar Jar Binks has to say before seeing the film? No. I don't. After I see it? Absolutely. Let me see what I'm "celebrating" before I go to the show, please.)
10. I have been very fortunate lately and have managed to find all of wave 4, 6, 7, and most of the greatest hits figures. However, I have yet to see any trace of the much anticipated wave 5. Is it possible that I have simply missed it every time I hit the stores, or is it more likely that the stores simply have not gotten this wave in yet? Waves 4 and 6 are in pretty good supply around here, and wave 7 I just picked up today. I'm just hoping wave 5 hasn't come and gone in a flash.
While they haven't all hit stores yet, there are four different revisions of Wave 5 shipping, some of which just started to hit. These figures are still showing up, and I too saw Wave 6 in the wild before I saw most of Wave 5. Keep hunting, you'll find them!
Also, keep in mind the Wave 5 case ratios. These 9 new figures are essentially one per case in almost every case, so all it takes is one collector to buy out the entire shipment and you'd never be the wiser. With wave 4, there's a lot of figures people leave behind (Umpass-Stay) and with wave 6, it's not like Lando is a hot seller. Wave 5 is hot, hot, hot, and hopefully Hasbro might make a few more assortments in this fashion in 2008. (I mean, apparently the hottest thing you can ship are Return of the Jedi figures mixed with Expanded Universe.)
So, where was I last week, you asked? I had a lot going on last weekend, my time was mostly booked, and it boiled down to two options. I could...
a) Write this column, despite only having 4 usable questions from the readers, or...
b) Join up with Richter Belmont to stop Dracula and wait until I got 10 decent questions to write the next column
I picked the second one. While a lot of sites say things like "we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the support of fans like you!" I really mean it. Without your questions, there are no answers, and without no answers, there's no column. I want to be sure to provide you all the best (or at least most adequate) column I can, so I didn't want to waste your time with a mere half column.
OK, so that's over with.
I got a bunch of new Battle Packs over the past few weeks from the corporate overlords and I gotta say, I'm more than a little impressed. How impressed? Let's evaluate.
Betrayal at Bespin. This set, in my opinion, justifies absolutely every thing I've ever said about Hasbro charging whatever they please for "premium" figures. You know how I say that they charged more for "Commemorative" and "Vintage" items just because they could? (Not that there's anything wrong with it-- it's good business.) Well, this set is more or less proof positive that there's some room in the budget for bigger and better things. Why? You get the 300th edition Boba Fett (minus the firing rocket and smaller gun, formerly $13), the 500th edition Darth Vader (complete with hand, but missing the meditation chamber, formerly $15), Vintage Chewbacca (formerly $10, as good as the previous release), OTC Bespin Leia (better than previous release in terms of deco, $5) and Bespin Han (ditto, $7). So depending on how you do your accounting, this $20 box set nets you $50 worth of previously sold product (minus a couple of pieces). Wow. For a new collector, this is a pretty attractive item-- plus it has three little glasses for no good reason. Truly, one of this year's best bargains as far as specially priced reissues go. Hopefully they don't keep doing these because they start to make you feel like a chump after a while.
Hunt for Grievous. Reconfigured Toys "R" Us exclusive from 2006, now an open release. TRU's version was $25, this is $20 and up depending on where it's bought. Also, it's a lovely set-- well worth getting unless you can't stand the idea of a Fordo sans rangefinder.
Clone Attack on Coruscant. Formerly a $20 Target exclusive from 2005. No significant changes-- get it if you missed it before. Nice packaging.
Droid Factory Capture. This one's kinda odd. What's cool is you get the Evolutions Episode II Anakin Skywalker and a kitbashed Jango Fett, so that's one cool figure and one new enough figure. Rounding out the set is an Episode I Destroyer Droid... which kinda is OK and kinda sucks. You also get the 2006/2007 C-3PO with Battle Droid Head as well as the Droid Factory R2-D2 from 2003. R2-D2 is missing his string and magnets and other gizmos, and C-3PO was retooled to have the magnets taken out of the heads. So while it would, in theory, be awesome to put these figures together it's less awesome because the neat thing that connected them in the first place was removed. But still, for a new fan or a kid, the set is totally worth $20. Easy.
Jedi vs. Darth Sidious. New box. Still an awesome deal for $20 if you need 3 or more of these figures. (Boo on Hasbro not fixing Eeth Koth's lightsaber.) Get it if you need the figures, otherwise move along.
Jedi vs. Sith. New box, new configuration-- for some reason, Obi-Wan Kenobi is holding Grievous' lightsaber and is also packaged with the Trooper armor on. A neat variant, surely, but not new if you already have this set. If you don't have this set from 2005, consider getting it-- the Anakin is neat enough, Obi-Wan Kenobi is OK (for now, a new version would make this one junk drawer fodder), and Asajj Ventress is awesome. Again, $20 well spent-- plus you get a Yoda and a Grievous.
...so if you're a person with that hankering for a loose, complete collection of all significant figures plus significant variants, which should you buy? Just the Droid Factory Capture set, most likely, and mostly for the Jango. The Bespin set is very nice, but there's nothing new here-- even the glasses come from other figures. The rest are repacks. So the one you absolutely, positively need to get for a complete set of Jango figures is the Droid Factory Capture... after all, he has a quick-draw attack. That's worth a lot right there. If you're a packaged collector, they all look awesome in their boxes. As usual. So cough up some dough and get them all.
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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