Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
April 14, 2008

 

1. How many posters have been produced depicting Hasbro action figures? I know there were posters for the POTF2, Saga, and TAC lines but were there any others?
--Joe

Depending on what you count, quite a few. Topps tossed one in one of their publications during Episode I showcasing most of the first batch of figures, there were multiple posters in 2002 for those first few waves of Saga (Heroes/Jedi/whatever), and Hasbro has been giving them away at Comic-Con the last few years too. I've seen at least two versions of the 30th Anniversary Collection poster (reader Philip in the UK sent me a Toys "R" Us exclusive version), and I'm positive I've seen a Revenge of the Sith one but dang if I can find it in my place. Hasbro's OTC poster was more of a movie poster with vintage figures posed in the Style C poster design. There's also a few that I know were announced but may not have been released. I believe a Durge one was in the works for Kay-Bee, for example, but never hit. Hasbro also did a number of posters for Transformers (especially during Armada) as well as G.I. Joe. If you were wondering if you can show an entire collection through posters, no-- the 1998 Kenner POTF2 poster is incomplete, and subsequent posters rarely show anything but carded basic figures on them.

2. I've been a pretty avid collector of Star Wars now for some time. I've noticed that Hasbro has re-released a number of the same vehicles over the past years, but I have yet to see the release of the Classic Twin Pod Cloud Car to complete my collection. Do you know why Hasbro has not released a new version of the Cloud Car? Did they forget about it? What is going on?
--Oscar

The short answer is "because it sucks" or "crippling lack of interest." The toy is lacking in action features and doesn't really do much, plus the original is essentially worthless-- most vintage ships actually shot up in price, but it's not much of a challenge to get the original Cloud Car for under $20, or under $10 in many cases. Most fan interest in this item comes from "because I don't have it" rather than "because it'd make a great toy to have."

They didn't forget-- basically, they know better. This wouldn't be a hot toy at this point in the line unless the edition size was supremely limited, which I don't think anybody really wants to see happen-- including Hasbro. It's possible it could work as a $20 basic vehicle if Hasbro gets hard up for new cheap options, but it does take a lot of money to restore an old mold to working order and to do safety tests and everything. At that stage, Hasbro may as well just make something new, and if they make something new, it may as well be more compelling.

3. Okay, so you brought it up. Have you heard about any "The Force Unleashed" pre-order bonuses or retailer exclusives in the wings for the September 2008 release?
--Gabriel

Only very incomplete things. Right now, it looks like that blue Felucia Stormtrooper Commander is some form of exclusive but it's unclear what. My guesses are a GameStop preorder bonus, a Toys "R" Us "gift with purchase" (spend $X get the figure), or some other completely different thing nobody's even thinking of. Preorder bonuses for major releases aren't as common as I'd like, and nobody's coming forward to say who's getting what. I'm considering pre-ordering one at GameStop (*spit*) just to make sure I'm in line if there is a figure, but there's no confirmation as to how it'll be distributed. Heck, in 2002, Best Buy shrinkwrapped a game with an Unleashed figure in a big box and bundled it in their stores, and Best Buy has been pretty chummy with Hasbro lately-- what with their exclusive toys and all.

4. After seeing the pic of the BMF Falcon I am truely excited! I am normally a strict figure collector, however, I will be purchasing this. It looks like the Han and Chewbacca are previously released figures, is that the way you see it? Also, do you thing that if this one goes well, we might see others? I would LOVE to see a Slave 1 done up like this Falcon! Press a button an hear "Put captain Solo in the cargo hold", what ya think? One last question; any indication as what figures will be in the ANH wave of Legacy at the end of this year (I'm starving for ANH figures)?
--Jeff

Han & Chewie are indeed previously released figures. There may be minor changes but I don't yet see them. Han Solo is the 2007 basic carded figure from wave 2, and Chewbacca is recycled from the 2005 Early Bird mail-in set. Most fans consider this to be the best Chewbacca figure money can buy, so it's a good pick. I'm especially pleased to see that figure fans aren't being asked to plonk down $150 to complete their sets, duplicates are A-OK with me in cases like this.

I think in a way this has to be a test. Gentle Giant, Sideshow, Master Replicas, and Attakus made a business model of selling high-dollar, limited edition items. Fans spent hundreds of dollars on a single piece, dropping a few thousand a year to collect an entire line (or just parts of it). Hasbro may be thinking that it can get a piece of this pie, too. I don't own more than 2 MR pieces and 0 Sideshow/Attakus items, but when it comes to Hasbro I'm happy to pay for something good and have done so.

I'd love to see *some* vehicles enhanced and pimped out but, like few of you, I actually have my modern-era ships mostly all on shelves where I can see them. I'm already looking at the SOTE, AOTC, and OTC Slave I, multiple X-Wings, 2 Falcons, and more TIEs than I can shake a stick at. If Hasbro wanted to repeat its hypothetical success at this price point, they'd probably want to go for something big which would allow for a lot of toys to join in on the fun. So I'd wager good candidates could be the Death Star(s), as technically it's a vehicle on one level, possibly a Star Destroyer (CW or OT), or if Santa got my letter, a Blockade Runner. Man I want one of those SO BAD.

The ANH Legacy wave hasn't been whispered to me yet, if it has I wasn't paying attention. It wouldn't surprise me to see VOTC Leia or VOTC Luke with the helmet based on what we saw on the box, though. If they aren't in the ANH wave, I would probably bet money they WILL be in one of Target's many holiday-time exclusives. Word has it (I think it was Rebelscum) that a Death Star-themed Ultimate Battle Pack is coming, which would be a great way to supplement the BMF with the necessary figure(s).

5. hi adam i have just one question whats the chances if the hasbro's at-te sales well that they would do a clone turbo tank i know it would allso be big. thats the one thing i would like to see come out from ep3 dont get me wrong i love the at-te but what do you think and i have just i thing to say to your readers BUY THEAM AT-TES UP make hasbro glad that they made it and so we can get more big toys thanks jason
--SithLordGrievous

Well, it's hard to say. The last few years, we've seen a lot of experiments. Target got a $60 exclusive shuttle that was a big hit. Then they got two exclusive $50 figure gift sets which were not only huge hits, but actually command a premium on the secondary market now. Today, we're seeing the advent of two very expensive vehicles-- and I'd say it's clearly a test.

Hasbro has determined that we will eat nearly any figure they throw at us. We're not picky, we'll buy it. Few figures are stinkers these days, and after over 12 years, nobody seems interested in skipping over a figure even if it totally sucks (see: red holiday Darth Vader.)

The Turbo Tank, AT-OT, SPHA-T, and numerous other vehicles are on fans' lips now that Hasbro decided to make an AT-TE and a big giant Millennium Falcon. I'd say part of it will be determined by fan reaction. If Hasbro determines that we will buy any large vehicle, no matter how big or expensive, then yes, they will probably make all these and more. With The Clone Wars, it's a fair bet that all of these vehicles will eventually get some screen time and as a result, fans will actually recognize them and start to ask for them. The AT-TE has been in demand since 2002 and has had a lot of lobbying, plus leaked details of the toy's development caused fans to be even more vocal in their demands. But, as you say, it's up to us-- if we don't buy it, the dream for more big ships will end here, and if it's a big enough failure it could help to greatly reduce or even kill off the line over the next few years. Retail isn't forgiving to toy lines that lose it a lot of money.

It's a little weird to hear fans repeating the phrase "buy it at full price," because it's pretty counter to what the group at large tends to say. (Granted, that's just the vocal folks.) What really amazes me is how many fans are saying they want a few of these vehicles, not just one of each. I mean, wow, that's a lot of space. It's great to see Hasbro make some toys that really qualify as legendary again. So few big, impressive, shock-inducing playthings have been made in the past decade. It's nice to see Hasbro doing something that's really big and exciting rather than another round of figures and vehicles that don't advance the fun you can make with a good toy. Figures have evolved to the point where nobody seems to want play features or actions, just a lot of detail and articulation. Vehicles have been strangled down to a $20 price point which itself is mostly repaints. To see something like these new big ships is almost unthinkable given what kind of items we've seen since Episode I ended, and I'm glad to see that these items are really grabbing the attention of new and old fans once again. Here's hoping that the item does really well, it'd be a shame to see this whole big vehicle initiative end as quickly as it started.

6. whilst moving my collection around to make space i rediscovered flipping obi-wan from 2002 (the horror). Do you know why hasbro made an action feature that doenst work even after 1,000,000 tries? This leads me on to ask you what your top 10 worst action features are? rich
--StarWarsSims101

My only real problem with action features is when they don't work, or when it ruins the figure in some way. Hasbro basically explained away the Force Flippers as sort of a game-- the idea was that you had to futz with it to make it work. I don't know if I entirely buy that. The line was relatively gimmick-free until 2002, at which time we saw a lot of magnets and other oddities introduced into the line. So here's my picks, with love.

8. R5-D4's firing rocket (1996). Don't get me wrong-- I had a lot of fun with this figure, and that's the idea. As a stupid toy, it was brilliant. Lots of big guns, and a firing rocket. The real problems came from the fact the scale was off, the legs were too rubbery (and connected together), and there wasn't a way to make it look normal. While most fans balk at it, I'd be lying if I said I didn't really like it. I'm glad we got it, I just wish the better R5-D4 didn't take until 2006.

7. Force Blasts (2002). In 2002, Hasbro brought a lot of new stuff to the line. Some of which made a lot of sense, magnets were a way to "use the Force" with figures, and spring-loaded attacks were standard since the 1980s in other figure lines. But the Force Blasts were largely baffling. Some, like Mace Windu's from his deluxe figure, actually fired and served a purpose. Others, like Saesee Tiin's and Plo Koon's, were just confusing. What purpose does a fireball from their hand serve? This isn't Street Fighter II and they're not doing a Dragon Punch. The idea seems to be that they were somehow using the Force, but unless this was an abandoned film concept, it just seemed like a waste of plastic.

6. Force Flippers (2002). These are basically just worthless-- three figures were made with this feature, which honestly wasn't all that fun to play with. I know Hasbro likes to try new things, but unfortunately these weren't very fun after you got it right once or twice. Future figures with a launcher and a magnet, like the Deluxe/Ultra 2003/2004 Jango Fett on Kamnino, would go on to fare much better with similar gimmicks that not only worked, they worked well.

5. Anakin Skywalker with Swoop Bike (2003). This is on my short list of worst Star Wars figures of all time, mostly because of the bizarre face sculpt. He looks like he belongs as part of the Scooby-Doo gang after they just got scared off by a ghost, and his pose makes him essentially worthless unless he's sitting on the bike. A button activates a lightsaber slash attack, but as a vehicle rider, it was totally unnecessary. The figure was over-engineered, and while I can appreciate Hasbro trying to make more toy for your buck, it just didn't click. The Darth Tyranus counterpart, though, wasn't half bad.

4. Anakin Skywalker with Secret Battle Damage (2002). Released with the feature more or less merely hinted at on the box, this 2002 release was a bit of a turkey. A magnetic peg held Anakin's right arm in place, and if you so much as looked at it funny, it'd fall out. If you assembled it on a shelf and didn't touch it, it would be fine, but if you picked up the figure and placed it gently down it would be a given that the arm would fall out of the socket. Eventually, Hasbro would retool the figure to have a big, sturdy plastic peg instead, and that would work out just fine. This is one of the rare instances where Hasbro not only identified the problem, but fixed it and improved on the overall design.

3. Anakin Skywalker (Tatooine Attack, 2002). Hey, another Anakin. This one had a "Jedi Kick" that really didn't work. Basically, you push a button and the legs kinda sorta barely move. As kicks go, it was pretty freaking weak.

2. Saber-Slashing Darth Vader (2003). Man, this one sucked. The idea was sound-- Darth Vader could swing at the push of a button, throw his lightsaber, and attack Luke. The problem was that the figure was a little too ambitious and also included a removable helmet and a plastic cape. If you activated the button, the figure's cape would knock off his helmet every time. It didn't work, and it made it seem like Hasbro didn't really take a lot of time to play test their toys. I've given a few of these away as gifts to friends who can appreciate a truly bad toy-- there's not much to redeem this one.

1. Exploding General Grievous (2005). I hate this figure. He's supposed to explode at the waist-- this is a mechanism Kenner perfected in the early 1990s with its Scorpion Alien from ALIENS. This Grievous couldn't even stay together long enough to hit the switch. If he wore his cloak, the top half of the figure would just topple over. The legs were incredibly weak and bendable, and the figure couldn't really even stand up. It's also lacking in detail. There's really nothing nice I can say about this one. Seeing as an exploding Super Battle Droid from 2002 worked just fine, I don't get why this newer figure couldn't be at least as good as the big blue bulky 'bot.

Your mileage may vary. Most of Hasbro's features basically work-- that is, they do what they're supposed to do. Not everybody loves a firing rocket or a slashing arm, but as long as it functions I'm pretty forgiving. Some really are fun to mess with, but that doesn't mean there aren't several that just fall flat. I actually more or less dig most of the gimmicks, at least on a level of "this is a toy and this toy function works properly." I can't fault Hasbro for adding "Wookiee Rage" to Chewbacca, even if it isn't an ideal feature for someone like me who might enjoy figures with more articulation and less "action." Hasbro has also came up with some wonderful features, like the Astromech droids and their bad motivators, their sensorscopes, and their third legs. The joystick on the 2003 Mace Windu figure was pretty neat, and I had a lot of fun with most of the magnetic features, weak as some were. I personally don't mind a few action features here and there as long as they function properly. I don't like to look at a figure with a failed jumping action and think to myself that some poor soul went to engineering school for years to develop a mechanism that, most likely, was foiled by bean counters or a schedule that didn't allow them enough time to fully work it out and be loads of fun.

7. Why does everyone want to make a big deal about clone troopers being different sizes? It seems like this is easy enough to explain. All the clones weren't born on the same day were they? No, some were fully matured while others were still children. Its only natural to assume clones may not reach their full growth until sometime after they have already been serving in the GAR.
--DARKPOWERS

Well, given the nature of most human adults, it makes sense that most of the Clones in service would be fully grown and therefore really close to the same height when in combat. We can make arguments about growth spurts, diet, and various influences on their ages, but it would make sense (if memory serves) that most 10-year-old clones (20 normal years) are roughly the same height as that's "adult." You might shrink a little as you age, and depending on your shoes, you might appear taller/smaller. But that's almost a separate discussion.

Inconsistencies in Clones have been around for a while-- removable helmet figures often have bigger helmets and heads ranging from the size of a pea to a melon. There's a lot of little height quibbles from figure to figure, it's just that the 2008 Kashyyyk Trooper is the most obviously a different size. Depending on the nature of how one collects, it could be a really big deal. If you're a carded collector, not so much. If they're going to be pilots, it's no big deal. And I think in some diorama settings, it wouldn't matter either-- but if you mix the 2007 model with the 2008 model in some sort of military salute, yeah, I can see why it might be annoying. Still, it's got a lot to it, so while this is a bit of a nuisance, it's not the end of the world. Plus if you consider that Hasbro cranked out-- what is it by now-- maybe 100, 120 unique clones, one slightly shorter one isn't going to bring down the hobby. (Although it may make that 2007 Elite Trooper look a little more attractive.)

8. I was wondering what are the chances of Hasbro releasing new-sculpt Rebel troopers (Tantive IV, Hoth or Endor) in the next year or so as part of the Legacy Collection? I've noticed that while the line has gradually increased in detail and articulation for pretty much everybody else, the Rebels are stuck with old POTJ sculpts (Tantive IV guys) and guys with weird articulation and fairly pre-posed stances (the Saga Hoth trooper and the more recent Endor Rebel troopers).
--FFN

When it comes to the Rebel Trooper from the Tantive IV, I think Hasbro has officially obliterated any and all goodwill that mold had. It's had an issue with POTJ in 2000, two head variants and new packaging in 2002/2003, a boxed troop builder set around 2003, the comic pack, and the battle pack. And I might be forgetting one. I don't think anybody wants to see it again. Fans have been asking for a new version for years, and rightly so-- the sculpt has gone from innovative and (for the time) somewhat cutting-edge with its unique leg articulation to dated and hokey. Those arms just don't work. Hasbro is aware that fans want more and have made references to considering a new version, and there is an ANH-themed wave coming up. But Hasbro isn't known for too many early confirmations. With any luck, they'll do one soon, hopefully in conjunction with a Blockade Runner vehicle. (Which I want.)

Hoth? Who knows. I'm convinced the Hoth Trooper is Hasbro's whipping boy. Every version of the generic Hoth trooper by today's standards sucks and by their own day's standards weren't too great. Thankfully the Major Derlin body was pretty good, but there's still room for improvement and, of course, head variants to inspire multiple purchases. When it comes to Endor I wouldn't expect anything for a couple more years.

9. What's the big deal with Hasbro's secrecy in regards to new release toys? I mean, the whole clandestine approach to the Tagret Shuttle was a little stupid in my eyes and now the denial of the BIG Falcon has left me scratching my head. With large expensive items like these, I prefer to start saving my hard earned shekels early, so i can go out and pick one up when they're made available at retail. I can't and don't understand the secretive aspect of Star Wars toy releases when we know what they look like and there's no new movie plot to be given away. Perhaps you can shed some light on this
--Mike

Marketing is tricky and annoying-- it's part of my job, so I know where they're coming from. There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to keep something under wraps. But first, the butt-covering statements: Hasbro hasn't confirmed anything yet. What you've seen are a trio of photos that are very likely to be of a product that may well be something you can purchase in the next several months. Toys can (and do) make it to the final packaged production phase and never see release in stores.

1. Contractual obligations. You might be under contract to deliver an item for a sale for a client that's a big surprise. This seems to be the case with the 2006 Imperial Shuttle and 2007 Ultimate Battle Packs. Target (and many stores) consider their upcoming sales to be top-secret stuff, so if you develop something for said sale, well, it too needs to be a secret. Also, there was a time where Hasbro wasn't as big on announcing a store's exclusive, often that was up to the store to decide how and when it got announced. (Generally by accident.) Finally, some toy companies make deals with magazines like ToyFare or Lee's to announce an item in their pages. As such, to get the most and best publicity, it's in Hasbro's interests to control information release.

2. Product life cycles. When a line ends, sometimes a street date is employed so on date X, all the old stuff is out, and date X+1, all the new stuff is out. This is done to flush old product from Hasbro's warehouses and encourage people to buy what's out now. New products aren't announced because fans are very easily distracted. If a fan knew that, for example, Transformers Alternators were making a comeback (it's not, just for example) they might say "then why am I buying these crappy movie/cartoon/etc. toys?" and just focus on the new, upcoming stuff. Hasbro's worst competition for your money is its own products-- the next thing always looks shinier and better, and it's entirely possible that you may not buy a number of their other items if you know what's coming out for the full year. A lot of fans-- especially collectors-- buy fairly compulsively and if they knew they had to save for a $150-$200 megaFalcon, this might hurt Hasbro's business before that point. This is, of course, partially speculation and partially overheard conversations with Hasbro over the past several years. (I gots big ears.)

3. Competition in the marketplace. If another licensor hears that Hasbro is making an X, they might decide to jump in and offer a similar competing product-- perhaps a model kit, a LEGO set, and so on-- which could hurt sales. It's really good when you're the only game in town. Also, other companies may see what you're doing and try to compete with their brands. Perhaps Mattel will see the Falcon and say "We have to put out a ridiculous Batmobile, Batcave, and a Hall of Justice." Also, it's a shift of focus in Hasbro's market-- originally, the plan was to sell vehicles with the figures as accessories. Then, figures became the apple of our eye. Now, we're seeing what may be a shift back to vehicles-- if "vehicles" are the hot toy and Hasbro has them and Mattel/Zizzle/Playmates doesn't, well, obviously Hasbro is in a good spot.

4. Surprises can be fun. I don't adhere to this, but Hasbro certainly does-- they like to come up with things and surprise us. They really do enjoy it when hearing us just experience a new toy rather than speculate for months on end on if it will be good or bad from a tiny JPEG from an Asian auction site. From talking to them, I get an attitude similar to that of my parents on Christmas-- they want to see us discover a big surprise and just enjoy the heck out of it. It's a perfectly reasonable desire, but I'm still that kid-- I don't like to wait, and I want to know now. We have conflicting interests, and some fans would rather let Hasbro have the surprise and some wouldn't. I'm in a position where I have to keep my mouth shut on a lot of things, so thankfully, I can sit it out on the fence much of the time.

5. Secrets serve a purpose. I do a tiny bit of toy consulting here and there-- there's a lot I can't go telling people because I don't want someone to steal my thunder or come up with a competing product. That, and there's always a chance an item might get delayed, or won't get approved. Could you imagine the fury-- and I mean the flaming, hateful, "I'm-gonna-kill-you" FURY-- if word of the new Millennium Falcon got out there and it for some reason never made it to stores? Hasbro's SW team would have to go into hiding for a few months until this blew over. They would never be able to live it down-- if you think fans asking for those lost Episode I figures was annoying, fans would never let them live this down. See also: every Apple product introduction since 1998.

As fans-- and let's face it, if you read this column, you probably are or want to be the kind of person who breathes this stuff-- we do feel a certain sense of ownership over this line. Nevermind the 63-year-old with a beard who actually does own the rights, Star Wars is something we're all pretty much in to. Communication with Hasbro in 2008 is pretty good overall-- compare it to Kenner in 1995, or 1999, or even 2005-- other than the odd convention appearance or occasional web site update, there wasn't a lot of chatter. Today, they're getting to be more and more open, but we as fans can't fault them for wanting to keep a secret here and there. After all, it's their business (as in "business" business), and if we're all still buying then it seems the boys and girls in Pawtuckett are doing their jobs correctly.

10. I recently picked up the Evolutions Jedi Legacy set (these are hard to find, and to make matters worse, Wal-Mart is not, nor have they ever, carried the Evolutions line - at least the ones in my region don't carry them), and noticed that Luke's lightsaber handle is incorrect. He has his Ep. IV & V version (Anakin's lightsaber), but with a green blade. The picture on the back shows his correct Ep. VI lightsaber handle, with green blade. Do you think this will be corrected, as the logo error on the Boba Fett will be?
--Doug

Lightsaber correctness-- especially as far as Luke and Darth Vader are concerned-- is a very big (and common) source of errors in the modern line. The 2004 Hoth Luke came with Vader's saber hilt, yet few to no people complained. (Although there was much complaining about last year's Ceremonial Luke, but much less about the Heir to the Empire one.) The 1999 Anakin Skywalker came with Obi-Wan Kenobi's saber, but again, few people complained about it. This Luke figure has gained few complaints, I think mostly because a lot of people aren't paying attention to it or simply don't care.

Since this new Luke is based on the novels-- which really don't have much in the way of visual representations-- for all I know Luke built himself yet another Lightsaber. (He made a bunch in the Marvel comics, after all.) I wouldn't necessarily call this one "wrong" because, well, it's a novel. I haven't read much of New Jedi Order but can anyone verify that the actual handle was described in the books? As far as I know, typically only the blade color gets mentioned in novels. (And I don't count the book covers-- those are interpretations of the book loosely based on its content to use as marketing to sell the book. It's not gospel, and even within the pages of the various novels, errors are made as to things like the color or descriptions of clone armor and what have you. The toys themselves are merely interpretations of these stories too, so well, it's as "correct" as you want it to be.

FIN

Did you catch the trailer for The Clone Wars that leaked over the weekend? Three cheers for the Polish. This link should still have it unless it got puled again.

I lurked in an IRC channel over the weekend-- because that's what I do, to spy on people-- and the reactions were mostly either "wow, that's awesome" and my favorite comment was "wow, that's so incestuous." There's a definite ring of truth to that-- but probably with good reason. Star Wars used to be a pretty small little universe, with three (or five) movies, a handful of novels, and 107 comic books. And two TV series which nobody but me apparently dug. And then 1991 came around, so we're drowning in (I would have to wager) roughly 750-1,000 comics since then, plus dozens of novels, games, role-playing adventures, and so much more. Depending on your interest, it's starting to get inaccessible unless you more or less just stick to the movies-- that alone is a 12+ hour piece of homework-- so in a way, it makes sense that Star Wars is a big snake devouring its own tail. At least this way, anyone can go to the theater and go "oh, I remember Jabba, and I remember those Clones and everything." Rather than "Who is this Quinlan guy and where the Hell is R2-D2?"

Me, I'm positively giddy. My two favorite things as far as action figures have gone lately have been Clone Wars "realistic" stuff, and Return of the Jedi stuff-- and it seems I'm going to be seeing the best of both on the big screen this August. Seriously, this thing has Jabba the Hutt in it. Jabba! Finally! Mr. "I was killing your kind when being a Jedi meant something" himself! (If you read the novel, that is.) I'm still not jumping at the thought of getting a whole separate line of animated everything, but with any luck this could mean good things for vehicles and playsets. Perhaps if they're in The Clone Wars, there could be good reason to do Jabba's Sail Barge, a new non-cruddy version of the Skiff, or who knows what from the entire saga or Expanded Universe.

But yeah, this year is looking good-- certainly a lot better today than it was a week ago. Even though things are slow (except the surprise TIE Fighter I bought on Friday out of nowhere), it's a good time to get my business in order. I've been cleaning up my toy room and trying to get stuff boxed/unboxed/thrown out accordingly (I'm a bit of a packaging pack rat) and also trying to fill in the last few gaps here and there. I never did get a set of all the silver bonus figures from the 2006 "Ultimate Galactic Hunt" and-- lo and behold-- it seems the prices dropped. Score one for patience. Now I just gotta find someone selling a bunch because, you know, shipping. (That and eBay sellers don't seem to identify *which* silver bonus figure you're getting. Yes, it matters, dammit.)

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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