Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 3, 2008
1. I'm confused regarding the upcoming Build-A-Droid line revealed at
Will Build-A-Droid parts be exclusive to the Droid Factory 2-packs?
Or, will the Build-A-Droid pack-in also be included in the Legends
line (a piece of droid will come with Sandstorm Han, with Sandstorm
And a quick Droid Factory follow-up question - are the figures in the
line repaints or re-releases, or will they also include new sculpts?
Droid fans this year better start saving, because there's going to be a lot of this action. First, Wal-Mart will have six "Droid Factory" sets similar to Target's "Order 66" sets-- each one has two figures (one of which is a droid) and one piece of the Droids comic book character C-3PX. Collect all six, build the figure. Each comes in a boxy package.
In addition to this, the upcoming "movie" line will also sport build-a-figures-- so instead of coins or stands, you're going to get a piece of a droid. Collect them all, and you can make your own astromech droid, protocol droid, or whatever Hasbro comes up with. It seems these are going to be mostly (entirely?) new sculpts due to the figures needing to be redesigned just so you can put them in the packages as separate pieces. It's also good news for the droid consistency front, as we're finally going to see a high-domed R4 unit with feet that match the standard model. The R7 units seem to be newish, or at least new enough to warrant a purchase.
2. So whats the deal is on the new/repack A-Wing we're getting this year. It looks like the paint job is the same one we've seen twice already. Not something new like one would hope for. You've mentioned a nice blue concept art deco before why couldn't they do something like that?
One of the good-- and bad-- things about collecting an ongoing line is that there are going to be needs that have to be met for the newbies which are annoying to us old farts. For example, we have red A-Wings-- possibly several-- in our collections, just like X-wings, AT-ATs, etc. Hasbro wants to keep recognizable ships in circulation as it does them no good for an item to become a "collectible," really, so here we go again. I've been wanting a blue one for years, and I'm hoping Hasbro does one some day soon-- very soon. But nothing has been confirmed or even seriously rumored yet for that model.
3. With the recent Toy Fair confirmation of the ROTJ Sandstorm figures, several people began scratching their heads wondering why these particular figures were envisioned and produced. Same goes for the TAC Toshe Station Biggs. These seem like odd choices, even in light of the McQ. series of concept figures. Many have been waiting some time now for an ultimate six movie boxed set of discs and some of the hype floating around stems from inevitable tweaks and/or updates to the films (spurned, in large part, by the announcement and video evidence of a newly digital Episode I Yoda in the Episode III DVD extras). I myself wondered a while back, based on a comment made by Hasbro in one of the early Q and A sessions as well as by Hasbro's steady increase of colorful clone variations, whether such a film update might include the addition of multi-colored stormtroopers digitally added to the Original Trilogy for continuity's sake and to bridge the two trilogies.
The question: What are your thoughts on the likelihood that, when a new boxed set is finally released, previously cut footage will be reinserted and/or that modern digital enhancements and additions will be made to the Original Trilogy such as adding at least a few colorful troopers as well as other potential background characters for flavor.
There is precedent, obviously, with the Special Editions (inserting the ANH Jabba scene, adding the Outrider to Mos Eisley, etc...). I'm just curious what your thoughts are on the likelihood that such changes will be made as well as your opinion of new releases featuring still more changes to the films we grew up with. As far as I'm concerned, as long as we can get clean discs of the original films in their original versions, then I'm for any changes in future releases.
Due to the coy non-announcement of changes on the original DVD and Lucas' love of tinkering, I think it's a very safe bet we will continue to see changes made to the original trilogy every few years. I don't expect to see all the deleted scenes inserted as supposedly many of them weren't fully filmed and voice-overs weren't done, but the footage will probably show up somewhere, some day, in some capacity. (Heck, I'd even pay for Hyperspace if they put stuff like that on it.)
As to what to expect from the ultimo grande boxed set, it's hard to guess anymore. Lucas hasn't made many changes in the prequels after the DVD cuts came out aside from Yoda, so for all I know he's done with it since he's busy working on a new TV show and a new cartoon. But hey, a round of tweaks, and he'll sell another million DVDs. Who knows what the 40th anniversary might have in store for us? (Here's hoping not too many more changes. They're pretty distracting when you're used to seeing one thing and something else comes up.)
4. Check out this Ebay auction from Asia. It looks like we may finally be getting a Jedi Knight Anakin without the cut-joint elbows. Do you think this may be the upcoming comic pack figure (with Durge)? Regardless, I thought you would find this interesting.
I'm sorry to say that this appears to be an unpainted Spirit Anakin figure from last year. It's possible we'll see Anakin with ball-jointed elbows soon, but from my squinting, I don't believe this is it. If you look at his other auctions, a number of figures are mislabeled or named somewhat incorrectly. (For example, Tycho Celchu is called Luke and an Anakin figure is labeled Obi-Wan Kenobi.)
5. I am curious if you know what has happened to the Gentle Giant Star Wars Bust Ups? This is a line that had a lot of potential but seems to have been abandoned. I seem to recall even seeing pictures from last years Celebration or SDCC of some new Bust Ups, but they have never been released. Even the animated Clone Wars collection was hard to find at retail. So what have you heard?
Well, they're still shipping, and these were made and available-- but new stuff? Nopers. They're retooling the line, no doubt as a result of some licensing fine print. (There's a fine line between statues, figures, figure kits, and so forth depending on what does or doesn't have a display base and other details.) I know these barely edged into retail, but they didn't seem to do so hot-- but supposedly the non-Star Wars properties are doing well enough, so odds are we'll see something soon enough. Gentle Giant's own official blog was very optimistic about their return but offered no specifics at this time.
question today is concerning the Stormtrooper Commander. We got
pictures of him from various sites, carded shots and loose, this
being the Stormtrooper from Force Unleashed with the blue markings.
I noticed he had a unnumbered card, is this an exclusive or what? I
never heard anything about him from toy fair coverage. Toy Fair did
have news about the red ones that come in the Wal-Mart 3 packs, but
no word on this dude.
Hasbro has yet to reveal how this one will be distributed, or even officially confirm that they're doing it. Obviously we've seen unpackaged samples, and packaging samples, but we don't yet know where it's coming up or how-- and unfortunately I don't know either, so we're going to have to wait and see. Lame, I know, but that's all I got.
7. What do you read into
the absence of a new falcon after Hasbro's cryptic Q&A
answers lately? First they said something like "No
falcon questions!" then a couple weeks later it was
something like "If there is one, we'd have to show it
at toy fair!". Seems like they're up to something.
Personally, I'd be surprised to have seen this in New York. We haven't heard much official out of Hasbro yet (or anything, if memory serves) and all we've seen are whispers, rumor lists, and an astonishingly suspicious listing from Target. Hasbro has given many misleading answers for items they just don't want to talk about yet, so as annoying as it is, we're just going to have to wait for them-- or some incriminating evidence-- to reveal something new. We've had delays of announcements before, I'm sure we'll have them again. Remember the denial of Delta Squad just before it was announced? How about the non-comments on the Sith Infiltrator and the V-Wing? It happens. We find out about this stuff early, and they don't want to talk about it yet. So you can go on pretending that it's a "rumor" or you can look at the evidence we've seen in Target's computer and elsewhere and figure out that we're very likely to see one soon. Sometimes these things are preliminary and end up not happening for one reason or another-- as I said before, this is the repetition answer-- so every rumor list you read is subject to change. I could list a dozen items on here that are 100% in development at Hasbro HQ today, and it's possible a chunk of them might just not end up seeing production. It's happened quite a bit over the years.
8. I write this in much disappointment...
Last year, it was the clones on the 'Rock Star' tour that had many loyalists blogging on that site how disapproving they were, to the point of vulgarity. That blog was shut down. Now another collectible site, with very good work, has added armour to their ranks of 12" figures. This armour mold can hypothetically be used for many figures, almost limitless. The price also went up to almost double where it started less than three years ago. There is much dissatisfaction and they have started to limit the number of negative blogs to their boards. Most do not understand how a $20 figure sublet to them by another maker (then started at $50) is now almost $100. I coin this limit of opinion and new control of our obsession 'Corporate Fascism'.
I will not even go into the main line of 4" guys that have started to be exploited to the point of repaints and repacks that (as you say) 'are just different enough'. I read your Q+A every week, I respect your opinion. I also understand that you have to be a little PC at times when it comes to your advertisers...but you still say it how it is.
I just see so many paths taken that can potentially destroy the fun of this grand field of collectibles. I am not an armageddonist, the end is not near. But come on...
I just cancelled almost $1500 in pre-orders from the two high end sites I am disappointed with. It's not even March and that's how much I was already going to spend this year! WOW! I've got the funds, but an alarm went off during this lackluster Toy Fair that said...'Wait, are you serious...this much for toys?'!
So. Is this how we top a great 30th anniversary year? Someone needs to let this be heard.
Gregory Whiny Emo Fanboy
One of the problems with the hobby-- one I get dinged on by all sides-- is how seriously we take it. Obviously, as someone who has written about it online since 1995, collects it obsessively, and makes a living working with it, yeah, I take it pretty seriously. If there was a monastic order for this sort of nerdity, I'd probably be a founding member. But well, some things go a little far, like the size of the hobby. There's just so much stuff that I'm at a point where I don't think that, on my salary and living environment, I'm in a position to be able to really get everything. Few are, so really, anybody complaining about the fact that they're having problems buying lots of $50-$100 high-end releases is one fortunate bastard and I wish I had that much scratch to spend.
If you want to talk about the evils of corporations, fine, please do-- but this isn't it. These are statues made in China that are sold to movie fans with too much cash. I understand the frustration that sets in when you want to buy something and you can't (see below), but let's be realistic here. So Sideshow wants $80 for a 12-inch figure. Good for them. Diamond wants $80 or so for an 18-inch poseable talking figure. Also, Sideshow used to want about $50 for a 12-inch figure, while Gentle Giant charged $50 for a torso with a head. This is just goofy stuff to buy for fun, Corporate Fascism would be something else entirely.
It's a fine line. For example, I'm annoyed when a company-- ANY company-- is not interested in my business. If I have $50 (or whatever) to sink on a product, I personally feel someone should be willing to take that money and give me the item I want. Unfortunately, some companies have a business model which doesn't benefit from there being ample supply, but rather benefits from people not being able to get stuff. As a student of the 1980s I've always been told greed is good and more is better. When did we lose our way, America?
But seriously, I do think it's unfortunate when fans can't chow down at the trough of their choosing. But I also don't shed any tears over it-- the number of fans who buy everything are far and few between, so (as much as I hate to say it) one fan calling it quits is no big deal as long as there are other fans who pick up the slack. And it looks like there are a lot of people who want to get these high-end items who haven't been able to do so due to many smaller edition sizes, so if anything, you've just done your fellow collector a solid, and good for you.
So I'm not sure what to say to you, or if you're being facetious. (If you are, hey, ya got me. If you aren't, well, this is why people think we're nuts.) Yeah, the stuff we're being sold and how it's being sold is not always 100% fantastic-- but that's life. All we can do as fans is-- repeat it with me folks, I've said it before-- buy what you like. I don't relish the concept of paying $50 or more for anything, unless it's freaking huge, and it's generally best to collect a line after it's done-- it can't disappoint you if there's nothing new coming out, after all.
And before you say "hey Adam, of course you don't care about the non-Hasbro stuff" let me point out that if Hasbro made the line difficult for me to personally collect to the point of head-explosion, I'd quit. I've got better things to do-- oh who am I kidding, no I don't. I'm answering questions like this one and not being paid. Obviously, there's something wrong with me, because I really enjoy the bulk of my hobby. That's why I'm still doing it. I've done a lot of other things over the years and quit, because, well, I stopped enjoying it. It's really easy to not buy stuff, if you're having a real big problem, I suggest you give it a try. (And maybe write some letters to the manufacturers informing them why you quit.)
9. Do you know when (or if) the Saga Legends variants, the "sitting" Pit Droids and the "Clean" Corporal & "Super Dirty" Sergeant Sandtroopers are expected to be released? I hate hunting for figures that aren't even out yet. And for the purposes of getting my collection insured... and for a little bit of curious fun... could you make a very rough estimate at what a complete "new era" collection of 1 sealed, mint of every figure from 1995-2008 might be worth?
I have found all three "sitting" Pit Droids, so those are out-- but if the Super Dirty Sergeant Sandtrooper is the Evolutions mold with the grey pauldron, I don't even know for sure if we're going to see it since it's in Evolutions again. I haven't seen the new 501st Trooper yet, but I have heard claims of it being sighted.
As to your collection, here's what I'd say: $2 for every carded figure from 1995-2000. $3 for every carded figure from 2001-2003. $3.50 for 2004, $4 for 2005-2006, and $7 for 2007-present, give or take. The older stuff on average isn't worth much of anything these days (try and find a buyer for a 1995 anything) and the newer stuff seems to gradually lose fan interest over time. There are exceptions in variations, of course, but everyone's definition of "complete set" is different and I don't know what yours is. If I were you, I'd just insure it at what you paid for it, as you'd be pretty freaking lucky to get it on the secondary market. Seeing as how Hasbro just announced a new Xizor figure, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them do the remaining Shadows figures, thus making every single release pre-1997 worth ignoring for new collectors.
I'd like to follow up by saying this isn't meant to be some snide answer, either. Have you seen what this stuff sells for on eBay these days? Not much. It'd be much cheaper and easier to buy about 90-95% of your collection today than it was to buy it when it was new and at retail.
10. How many figures have been put out by Kenner/Hasbro over the the 13 years? Im talking about individual original figures, ones considered different enough to warrant figure of the day status. Since Mr. Vader 500 came out a few years ago we might be treading closer to 1000.
Part of the reason I started Figure of the Day was to find out, and then I got bored. So it's hard to say, but I'd wager we're close to 1,000 at this point. It's hard to tell because some "different figures" are barely variations when you get right down to it, and it's pretty annoying to say "well, figure A with figure B's head... does this count?" Heck if I could tell anymore. I would just leave it at "lots." If a head-swapped Anakin counts as new, we're at "tons" but really, how can you take a tally when the "different" figures are so similar? Since we were officially (and I use the term loosely) at 500 in 2005, we're at 800 at the least now given how much more came out in 2005, 2006, and 2007. But, as I said, I don't know how Hasbro does their counting. Does a Pit Droids set count as one figure or two? How about Jawas, or Ewoks? Is the LIN droid a separate figure from its companion Jawa? I dunno. All I know is that Hasbro's counting in the past for the 300th and 500th 3 3/4-inch figures and the 100th 12-inch figure seemed way, way off and that if Hasbro wanted to charge us $20 for a $7 figure in a new box and say "1000th Figure Edition" it'd probably still sell pretty well.
I thought last year was gonna be the nuttiest, given that it seems Hasbro pushed back a lot of the main line stuff to "Fall." I guess I was wrong-- the exclusive schedule for early 2008 is fairly extensive. Wal-Mart has three comic packs, a figure-with-vehicle, and six "Droid Factory" two-packs with bonus build-a-figure pieces. Target has a battle pack, an exclusive beast, six Order 66 2-packs, and then some. Toys "R" Us has a couple of Battle Packs, and there's a whole mess of Galactic Heroes and other goodies sprinkled in for good measure. So while I know a lot of you are annoyed that "Wave 3" for 2008 is now Wave 4 (the Clone Wars "real" style figures)-- at least there's no shortage of decent stuff to get. (Arguably, I guess. I'm personally doing cartwheels over the new Order 66 and Droid Factory figures, these are right up my alley, assuming they're going to be ten bucks a whack.)
A lot of you have written in asking my opinions on the new stuff. And on various forums, many of you have let me know that you personally do not care for any of my opinions. Seeing as I get to tick someone off merely by stating my opinion, well, how can I give up that opportunity? (Oh, and go here to see pictures of this stuff.)
2008 Wave 3: Return of the Jedi seems to be pretty good overall, but it's hard to get genuinely excited about it piece-by-piece. It contains the obligatory refresh of Darth Vader, this time with a two-piece removable helmet rather than just one. Generally I can find something to like about each new Vader figure, but I gotta say, they're really reaching. The three deleted scene figures of Luke, Han, and Chewbacca from the lost Sandstorm sequence appeals to Adam Pawlus ca. 1996, the fanboy who thought the single best thing that could happen to Star Wars would be for the world to see all the lost scenes. And then to make toys from them. While we're basically treading existing territory, it does allow us to get Han with ball elbows, Chewie with battle-damage (which I guess is cool?), and Luke. Luke, I'm still not sure if I'm going to like or not yet since Hasbro goofed up the 2007 version but more or less nailed the 2003 version. It takes some real effort to do that, and it seems it's inauthentic too. Luke had his vest on pretty much through his time on Endor, or so it seems, it doesn't look like he ditched it until later in the movie and this figure lacks the vest part. Boo. Gargan is as good as you can hope for, as is Bane Malor. I'm happy to see these (or any new characters at this point), although it does feel like we're really reaching when it comes to some of the background characters. Oh, and those new Ewoks? Totally cool. More, please.
2008 Wave 4: Clone Wars is right up my alley. If you want to make me happy, offer me stuff from ROTJ and Clone Wars. I've touched on this wave before briefly, so I'll make it short-- loving the Mon Calamari and Quarren warriors, Obi-Wan and Saesee Tiin r0x0rz my s0x0rz, the Scuba Trooper and Snow Padme both look good, and it's great to finally get the quad cannon with that clone. Seeing as Hasbro botched it last time, along with Fordo. I could take or leave the lancer droid. So yeah, I like this wave lots, and I'm crapping my pants with glee over R7-T1. It's just so damned weird, I want it lots.
I'm very happy to see the Wal-Mart Droid Factory wave. I'd be happier if Hasbro put a little more work on the non-droid figures, but here's the lineup: Plo Koon & R4-F5 (reissue, repaint), Darth Vader & K-3PX (reissue, new mold), Luke Skywalker & R2-D2 (redeco?, repaint), Kit Fisto & R4-H5 (repaint & repaint), Watto & R2-T0 (repaint & repaint), and Han Solo (Hoth) & K-3PO (resculpt & repaint). Each has a piece of a build-a-figure, C-3PX. It's awesome if you like droids, and if you don't, well, too bad-- I'm happy, don't ruin my day because these are some figures I didn't expect to ever see.
Anyway, more crap next week in 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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