Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
November 12, 2007
1. What is the deal with Attacktix? I remember seeing new one in the pictures from conventions, but I haven't seen any in stores. Did Marvel and Transformers kill one of my favorite sublines?
Well, here's the rub: toy companies very rarely say "this toy line is dead." They use words like "resting the property," "taking a break," "exploring other lines this year," and so on. While Hasbro has directly denied many times that the line is dead, I also work for a large toy retailer online and can tell you that absolutely no new Attacktix items have gone up for pre-order since... maybe February or March? It's been a while, which in my book translates to a dead property.
I don't blame Marvel or Transformers, it was just an idea that was ahead of its time and a ton of product won't come out. I hear the last two "Starter Sets" (with G1 Megatron, Hoth Han, and some other kickin' figures) are being blown out at T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, so keep your eyes open there. Also, the 99 Cent Only chain has boosters for... wait for it... 99 cents. I picked up a bunch the other week but 4 of the 6 Star Wars Boosters I got were Stormtrooper & Boba Fett. True story. Very irritating.
2. Do you collect any of the sideshow (or other high-end 1:6 scale) Star Wars figures? If so, which do you have or think are the best? I personally think that the Marmit Boba Fett from way back and the Sideshow Darth Maul are two of the best 12" (Star Wars) figures I've ever seen.
I took a big step back from 12-inch around 2000, and dropped it entirely when Sideshow got it-- I don't need to pay $50 for figures that will go on a shelf. Since face paint seems to vary, I'd say the best ones are the ones you can examine up-close. I haven't been overly impressed with the line much lately, but Hasbro's 12-inch scale vehicles and beasts were something special. I mean, who ever thought we'd see a 12-inch Tauntaun or Speederbike? That's some amazing stuff right there.
3. What are the chances of Hasbro making a pack of all the clone commanders?
Because I missed Commader thire and Etc.
About zero is my guess-- Targets sat on the Order 66 collection this Spring in a lot of locations, so the demand to crank them out again is pretty low. It's possible they might reissue the popular ones again some day but a boxed set is very unlikely-- there's not much reason for Hasbro to repack a bunch of collector-only figures because, in theory, collectors already have them all and the percentage that skipped it the first time might wait for clearance again. I should note you can "buy it now" on eBay for $10 before shipping, which is what it cost at Target. If you want it, $10 is a fair price for it-- I wouldn't pay more than $16 shipped, but you might be able to buy the whole Order 66 collection for a fair price. (Actually, you can for about $60-- which again is what it cost in stores.)
4. When are target exclusive Battle packs shipping?
According to Hasbro at the summer conventions, we expected most of the officially announced exclusives to be out by now. This includes the TIE Bomber, ARC-170 with "Space Whale" deco, the ARC-170 Battle Pack, and the AT-RT Hunt for Yoda set. (And one guy on a forum found the ARC-170 pack over the weekend.)
Now, if you mean the Hoth and Endor Ultimate Battle Packs, Hasbro is under some crazy Target contract to not say anything about them, it seems. But between you and me and the wall, they seem to be en route now and will likely show up a few days before Thanksgiving. (Last year I found Shuttles about a week or more before the "official" date because a Target I visited had dozens of them out in the overstock, so score.)
For you readers who missed the memo, Target is going to have two GIANT Battle Packs at the end of the month. One is Endor themed and includes two Ewok repaints/headswaps, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Scout Troopers, a Stormtrooper, and AT-ST Driver, an AT-ST, a Speederbike, two logs, and a nice backdrop. The Hoth one also has an AT-ST, a Turret, a Derlin repaint, a blue Hoth Han repaint, Luke in Hoth Pilot gear, VTAC Snowtroopers, and a lot more. Basically, it's about $80 worth of toys in a $50 box, which are probably going to be easy to get because they're so gosh darned expensive. ($50 is expensive to mere mortal non-collectors, you see.)
5. If, as you say in the column [last week], the Leia in the [Betrayal at] Bespin Battle Pack has superior deco... why does it say at the bottom that loose, complete collector's can pass on the Bespin set? Is the Leia different deco or not?
Superior may have been a bad choice of words. "Competent" or "proper" sounds better. It's the same basic paint job, but the face paint is a whole lot less sloppy-- so it looks better than the 2004 release, but it essentially is the 2004 release. As a loose complete collector, I wouldn't consider it to be a new release, but a "nice to have" or maybe even a low-level variation. If you showed me a table with 50 Bespin Leias from the 2004 OTC release and the 2007 Battle Pack release, I could tell them apart but it's a pretty minor change. I would not advise buying the set for just this figure, but I would advise buying it if you missed any of the other figures in the set-- Bespin Han is awesome, 500th Darth Vader's codpiece isn't, erm, erect, and Vintage Chewbacca is a fan-favorite figure worthy of most of the accolades he gets. For $20 it's still a worthy purchase if any figure in the set qualifies as new to you, plus you get some blue glasses which you can use in your cantina or something.
6. I emailed Hasbro about the coin replacement policy they alluded to in one of their previous Q&A sessions but I never received a response. Hasbro said they would have something in place by the end of the summer. Have you heard anything regarding this? I have a good handful of coins that are pretty scratched up and I'm afraid I might be missing out.
I haven't heard squat-- has anyone out there found out anything yet?
7. I have read your comments on how unpopular the 30th Lando is. I am wondering if this is actually due to sloppiness on the part of Hasbro. I returned the first figure I got due to the eyes looking up like Lando was rolling his eyes or maybe about to faint! I have seen the majority of these figures looking goofy like that. I can forgive a slight sloppiness on, say, clothing, but the face is such a focal point it just plain looks bad. Also his leg stance is a bit - "off". Could this be putting off potential purchasers?
There's nothing "wrong" with Lando that hasn't been "wrong" on several other popular figures. I've got one on my desk in front of me now and it's actually one of my favorite figures for some odd reason. You say "eyes rolling" and I say "looking up." Lando is traditionally a very unpopular character in many markets-- the Vintage figure sat around on pegs for over a year after the line was done, and he just tends not to sell well unless he ends up appearing in a hard-to-find assortment or was intentionally shortpacked. (Which has happened and worked.) Of all the figures in the wave, he just seems to be the least popular probably in part to the fact that your average fan who isn't hardcore will see it and go "oh, Lando's head on Han's body. PASS!" Even though it's not the case, a lot of people who aren't really into this line don't get why this figure exists or why they should care. Plus compared to General McQuarrie, a Concept Snowtrooper, Han on a Torture Rack, and 4-LOM, wouldn't you pass on Lando too?
8. What's the best way to put a bug in Hasbro's ear to promote a particular figure or vehicle. I emailed the customer service group, the only email I could find on their website, to try to persuade/beg for an Indiana Jones tank only to have my email returned "unread" because Hasbro does not accept new product ideas!!! WTF?
Depending on the success of Indiana Jones past 2008, you might (or might not) be able to. If I were you, though, I'd save your breath-- begging Hasbro for ANY vehicle is going to be an uphill battle if they don't already want to do it. (But hey, a tank would be cool, especially since G.I. Joe can use it too.) But since you're not me, I'd advise yammering to death on any and all online forums to see if you can get anyone to join your crusade. (It won't work but hey, if it does, you get to tell me I was wrong and lots of people really do want a tank for this line.)
By and large Hasbro often indicates they don't want to take fan ideas for a few reasons, one is to cover their butt legally. The design team's recent comments of "let us know what you want" are a little counterintuitive compared to how they usually act, and I think when it comes to G.I. Joe and Star Wars, they really mean it. But if Indy is a one-year wonder, well, then the whole line is pretty much finalized and that'll be that.
The best way to communicate with Hasbro directly is by their biweekly Q&A columns, at conventions, or grassroots interest. If enough fans talk about an item (BoShek, Willrow Hood, AT-TE, etc.) it gets their attention-- buzz is good, but the problem with your request is that it's kinda not a thrilling or unique item. I might advise you look into the G.I. Joe vehicle archives and get one of those tanks if Hasbro doesn't crank one out in 2008, and I doubt they will.
9. I could swear that the new droid factory battlepack Jango is actually a rerelease of the Jango we got from the episode 2 tin from a while back. That Jango had the pilot Jango body with quick draw action and the kamino Jango head with removeable helmet. Is the Jango from the battlepack not the same one? Also it looks like the upcoming evolutions Jango has a purplish bodysuit whereas all previous releases had a navy blue bodysuit. Do you know why the change of color and which one is more authentic to the character? Oh, BTW I'm totally on board with the idea of making figure cardbacks with fold down paper "playsets" like the EU line from '98.
Good for you! Cardboard is a good thing on a bunch of levels-- especially since it can be made easily from recycled materials and has almost no tooling costs. Hasbro, see? It's a good idea. Perhaps for 2009?
As far as Jango, goes, nope-- Battlepack Jango Fett has the quick-draw action feature, which so far has only been used on the Pilot Jango from 2002. 30th Anniversary Collection Tin Jango Fett is basically a tweaked 2002 removable helmet Jango. If Droid Factory Capture came with a different figure, you may be the victim of a swap-out. As far as coloring goes, Hasbro tweaks items along the production process so we don't know what any final figure looks like until we see it in our hands. So that 2008 Evolutions Jango Fett be more purple, and it might not be.
10. [Might there be] pre-determined shelf release date that Hasbro stipulates for all their releases (not just movie tie-in specific), prior to which the store can't put it on the shelves?? Or, maybe, it's only as you suggest - some bloke just forgot to enter the barcodes into the computer. Poor Scott [from last week's Q&A], TC-14 was hard enough to find the first time around. I don't think I would have let that puppy out of my greedy little mitts.
I'm glad to say that I know there are no "street dates" on Saga Legends figure waves. There are times Hasbro has dates for movie product, but I can give you my word as someone who wastes your time every Monday that there have never been any street dates for the Saga Legends line. Employee misinformation can work for you and against you-- sometimes they just say "whatever, this is a buck right?" and sell it to you for that. (I've had this happen a few times-- I say "no, but I'll pay that if you want to sell it to me for that.") Thankfully TC-14 will be shipping for quite a while and even though I haven't seen one in the wild yet, I did get one elsewhere and I gotta say it still looks like a great action figure despite being released originally nearly eight years ago.
So, Battlefront II figures. I got mine last week and it's OK. Not great-- most exclusives are great or at least very exciting-- but this seems less so just because I think the enthusiasm one can muster for more Clone Troopers and Battle Droids wanes with time. They're fun, unique figures, but there's a finite number of times you can be thrilled by them unless they're startingly different. Thankfully, there are some really good, cool figures to be had here but they aren't as exciting in the context of a boxed set for some reason. (Maybe because a Battle Pack with 5 figures would be $20 and these sets are closer to $40 each for 6 figures.) Still, I got it, and I'd buy 'em again-- but if we keep seeing tons of sets like this every year I can see Clone and Droid fans turning on the line in a hurry. There's several hundred dollars worth of exclusives shipping between now and January 1, so if you're being picky, well, vote with your dollars. (But the Clone Set's production values are mostly good, so I'd vote for that one in a heartbeat. If the Droid set were $25 or so I'd vote for it too.)
I'm all curious to get the new Target and Wal-Mart stuff. I scored a Masterpiece Starscream on Saturday and that bad boy is something special, let me tell you.
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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