Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
February 25, 2008
1. Quick question about Toy Fair and Galactic Heroes. Is Hasbro abandoning the 2 figure format for the little guys? They only announced one new set of four coming in July. That is only 8 sets for the YEAR?? Don't get me wrong the vehicles and Cinema Scene look great, but the figures are mostly reissues.
With Toy Fair, Hasbro only shows a sliver of the year's line-- they want to save things for Comic-Con and some surprises too. There will be more, it's not like they're going to let the new TV show come and go without new sets, right?
2. Any word on if the 2007 coin redemption has been extended?
As of yet, there's no word out of Hasbro. However, the offer clearly states that your requests need to be postmarked by February 29, 2008-- which means you can send it right now and still be in under the deadline, assuming supplies are still available. Thanks for reminding me, I gotta send for another set.
3. What do you think the chances of seeing a re-release of Target's Ultimate Battle Packs from last Christmas season or just the Hoth Rebel Turret? I was very interested in the Hoth battle pack because I've wanted the Rebel Turret since about 1995 and the added AT-ST was a great bonus. I had planned to pick up 2 Hoth and 1 Endor, but once my sons saw the TIE Bombers, AT-RT Pack, and ARC fighters/battle packs, so Santa had other plans and when the UBPs were back in the budget they were gone. Could the fact that the Hoth Turret was a new sculped give it an advantage in getting released so Hasbro can get some more bang for their buck. I've seen the Ultimate Battle Packs on Amazon and Ebay for $99+ so the demand must be there but I'm not that desperate (yet).
Well, this is hard to say because you never know what Hasbro wants to do. For all I know, they're planning on making a third modern era turret mold and releasing that some day. Hasbro has been pretty good about getting exclusives out again in some form or another once they sell through, and these indeed did sell through. Hasbro seemed pretty keen on doing more Ultimate Battle Packs so it's entirely possible there will be an opportunity for a rerelease or perhaps a second Hoth set down the road-- after all, there are a lot of Hoth figures that could probably stand to be reissued some day. As of right now, though, I'd suggest three things to you.
1. Start lobbying Hasbro. Send a letter, post on forums, and get people to agree with you. I agree with you, so now there's two-- the Turret is cool and could probably stand to come back.
2. Ask around on trading forums-- some people just wanted the figures from these sets, or the AT-STs. You might be able to swap for a Turret at a fair price.
3. Lurk on eBay. Just because most go for $99 doesn't mean a freak one won't show up with a lower buy-it-now. You can sometimes score a deal.
4. I may have missed this, but did Hasbro announce anything about re-releasing some of the TAC waves with no coin? I recently came across a few of the black cardboard displays with a bunch of TAC, but a couple of the figs had a normal bubble with no coin. Do we complete collectors now have to re-hunt figures or waves of figures to get the "coinless" ones? If so, I think this is a shining example of how Hasbro is ruining the toy market with too many reproductions and re-re-re-releases of toys.
This is standard practice for Hasbro-- they refresh the line regularly, sometimes at the expense of the pack-in. For 1997, they used shiny foil stickers, which were removed for 1998 shipments of 1997 product. Freeze Frames were eliminated, figures get packaged on new packaging, etc. It happens a lot. The coins were pretty divisive among fans-- some loved them, some had no use for them. A lot of readers wrote in last year to let me know how mad they were that Hasbro got rid of the stands and replaced them with "worthless coins." So it seems Hasbro is locked in a perpetual damned if you do/damned if you don't cycle.
As far as variants go, well, that's up to the fan. I can see why you're not exactly jonesing to buy another coinless set, but at this point, I put coin vs. stand in the category of a variation. If you collect variants, well, that's your call-- personally I think at this point, given the size of the entire 13 year collection, you're better off not doing it. Personally I'd rather see a rerelease than Hasbro making a just-different-enough-to-make-you-mad new version. I think it's always easier to just reissue a toy with no changes, but that's me. I'm a very lazy person. For all I know Hasbro subcontracted the development of the coins and their contract was up, leaving them no other choice-- I mean, I can only assume Hasbro doesn't have the know-how to keep cranking out coins all day, maybe they do.
5. At a recent visit to a local Wal-Mart, I spied some of the new Titaniums wave, much to my excitement. However, I looked at the price tag, and saw that the price had risen to $6.76, more than a figure at $6.63! I have loved the Titaniums series since it launched and have collected every single one. But, for almost $7 a pop (they used to be only $5) I cant justify the cost, seeing that $7 is a figure, whereas $5 here and there was just shook off. What gives with the sudden, sharp price hike from $5.88?
You can blame your Wal-Mart for that one. Stores frequently adjust their pricing, it seems you just got "lucky" as most Wal-Marts I visit are a penny or two below the $6.99 mark. The chain frequently adjusts its pricing by the competitors in the neighborhood, or on some whim I have yet to figure out. As for the rest of the price increases, welcome to 2008-- there's going to be a lot more along the road.
6. I enjoy reading your weekly Q&A and it is very informative. I have started reading the Star Wars novels the past year and have enjoyed them. In collecting the new comic 2 packs I have become interested in reading the comic book stories as well. However, I was wondering if there are any compilation books that have all of a story arc e.g. Republic, Heir to the Empire in one book. The reason is I do not want to try to spend a lot of time tracking down all of the comic books. Any help?
Yes there are! You can find them in the Graphic Novels section of your local bookstore, at your neighborhood comic shop, on Amazon, and at Entertainment Earth, as well as many other places. Basically, every series gets compiled eventually-- they do one run (or more) of the monthlies, but the real money on the back-end comes from reprints in graphic novels. They keep those things in print for years.
If you ever go to Comic-Con, you can find dealers selling the collections-- not the individual books-- for 5 for $25 if you know where to look. That's where I do all my shopping.
7. I'll try to keep the question brief: are the walmart exclusive Jabba's Palace Musicians and Entertainers sets still shipping? And what is the retail price on these?
These started shipping last November or so, and are pretty much done. Some Wal-Marts get theirs a little late, and others find old stock and returns. It still benefits you to keep an eye open, but keep your hopes down. These sold for about $25 in the stores, and it's pretty unlikely you'll see these unless you luck out on a stash in a rural area.
8. Has there ever been, or do you suppose there ever will be, a figure for the R5 droid that ate it on the Naboo Royal Cruiser? He's been called G8-R3 and R5-A7. It's unfair that R2-B1 has been released twice, but no love for this guy! Do you suppose another astromech set would be released in the future?
There are loads of droids planned for 2008, and we haven't seen them all yet. There are indeed many opportunities to get the little guy out-- especially with the build-a-figure assortments-- but nothing is official yet. It seems they're getting quite close to having the entire lot of droids from the Naboo Cruiser, but in R2-B1's defense, his figures are... not exactly great. The first one's chrome dome didn't match the rest of the set, and the new one's grey dome doesn't either. We still need a new release to get it right. So keep asking-- a lot of fans want it, and Hasbro will probably make it as soon as it becomes obvious that there's a lot of pent-up demand. Of course, I'm still waiting for my R3-01.
9. Are the "Series Alpha" Galoob vehicle sets from the mid/late 90's based directly on Ralph McQuarrie's artwork? Or if this is easier to answer: does the packaging reference Ralph McQuarrie like the POTF2 EU vehicles (airspeeder and cloud car)?
I don't believe all of them were Ralph McQuarrie's, but they do reference the concepts, yes. Ralph was not a big part of the marketing on those older vehicles. I think their names were referenced in the companion sketchbooks, but they weren't "McQuarrie Series Vehicles" or anything. Hasbro really went all-out promoting his name on the 2008 figure line.
10. I've been checking out the pics from Toy Fair and have not seen or heard anything about the rumored B-wing, which I thought was going to be a TRU exclusive. I know they don't always show exclusives at Toy Fair, but they showed a lot from Wal-Mart & Target. Have you heard anything about th B-wing for '08?
Hasbro has all but confirmed a B-Wing with a human pilot for 2008. As I've mentioned a couple of times, Hasbro doesn't present the entire line at Toy Fair. As a matter of fact, I believe this is the first year any exclusives were shown in New York, typically it's just been the regular line. I don't know when to expect to see it, but all signs point to one coming very soon!
By and large, I'm happy with what we saw at Toy Fair-- lots of Clone stuff, lots of Astromechs, lots of vehicles (well, three)-- it's looking good. It's going to be a back-heavy year, unfortunately, which means I'm not sure how I want to handle the cartoon stuff. I was really hoping for "real" style but these look good too-- really good. I'm a little hesitant to buy multiple new versions of Anakin in cartoon format, were that to happen, but they're definitely good enough looking that I'd snag a few here and there.
Anyway, good to be back in the saddle, come back next week for more Q&A!
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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