Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 14, 2008
1. I like the Mighty Muggs. I've collected the core characters from the OT and they make a nice little niche collection. Once there is a classic Obi-wan and possibly an Artoo mold I don't see myself collecting the line any longer. This is a problem for Hasbro! What can they do keep me buying Muggs??? The answer is Mini Muggs! These would be half the size, half the price, and possibly blind packed. The possibilities are endless for chase figures and variants! I don't have the space nor desire to collect all of the Star Wars universe in Mighty Mugg form, but if they were mini I would love a Bossk, Wicket, Ponda Baba, and many more. I think this is a great idea for Hasbro to exploit us! (If you use this idea, Hasbro, you owe me a case or two!)
Mighty Muggs as a concept seems to be a way to bridge the whole Urban Vinyl craze with pushing people who aren't normally toy buyers to buy into toys. As such, Hasbro's key here is to focus on major characters from all of its licenses, or even new ones. It's a great low-cost product to develop, as many of the figures use no new tooling and rely on new paint from release to release.
I admit these turned out to be much more popular than I expected, and turned out a lot nicer too. Minor characters would be great, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Admiral Ackbar act as a test for more minor characters. Additional bounty hunters seem like a sure thing for a future exclusive, if not the regular line. I'd expect to see the line go at least another year or three, but hopefully they'll slow down a little and keep the majors in circulation because really, why the heck not sell more Darth Vaders? Ponda Baba might be a tough sell, but I don't think I'd pass up a chance to buy, say, a Jawa. There's a lot of opportunity here and I sincerely doubt Hasbro is going to ignore it. (But blind packed? Mini figures? Man, I hope not.) Size isn't a huge factor to cost, but deco, tooling, articulation, accessories, things like that can add a lot to a figure. You can make a 24-inch rotocast figure and retail it for about the same price as a 6-inch convention exclusive. While volume can have an effect on freight costs, the size of a figure doesn't have a huge impact on the price of the figure, but the little complex bits of it certainly do. I think a $10 Mighty Mugg is a good fit, a "mini mugg" would probably cost $7-$8 and be significantly more irritating to collect.
2. So I haven't bought any of The Force Unleashed figures (except the rancor) on the off chance I don't like the game. Are these going to be available in later waves around the time the game is released?
First of all, run, don't walk, to Target. Numerous stores (but not all of them) have basic figures for 30%-50% off, and this includes a number of the Force Unleashed basic line. You won't get a lower price on these, so you should track them down today. Seriously, as figures go, they're pretty cool-- and for four bucks, you can always throw them at a sibling if you decide you made a bad buy.
It's possible Hasbro will release more in the future, but so far we've only seen Darth Vader (damaged) and the Evo Trooper in Legacy Collection packaging. It doesn't mean we can't expect more-- frankly, I'd be shocked if they didn't double-dip the Secret Apprentice-- but it's hard to say what will ship. As Hasbro is not officially releasing that information just yet.
3. In reading the most recent Hasbro Q&A, Hasbro states we are well over a 1000 figures and as such it is too late for a 1000th figure. Is it possible, and even more importantly appropriate, we could get an 1138th figure?
Depending on how you count-- and Hasbro's counts have been very inconsistent-- we're long past 1,400. Sometimes Hasbro included multi-packs, and sometimes not. It's something Hasbro could celebrate, but I think as the numbers go up it isn't in Hasbro's best interests to remind people just how big the line is. Saying to collectors "buy this to celebrate the 2,000 other figures you've bought" seems like a recipe for disaster. 300 isn't bad, neither is 500... but saying "oh yeah, you've got 1,000 of these" seems like it might remind fans how much money and space is going to their hobby, which may cause them to rethink their hobby. I think it'd have been cool to do, but a 1138th figure is very in-jokey. Granted, it's a big in-joke which most fans get, but since Hasbro sells tens or hundreds of thousands of these things, it may not be the best move for their budgets.
4. I'd really like to collect the VOTC figures to display in their carded and cased glory but some of the first releases were so poor I cannot bring myself to really get going on it (Obi-Wan, Tatooine Luke.) Do you think it's possible that Hasbro would just do a mulligan on those, ignore they were ever made, and make better ones and release as replacements with the same card and all?
Also, regarding the VOTC figures, I find that the warning sticker right on the insider front of the case about small parts and what not ruins the aesthetic of displaying these and unfortunately the only way to peel them off is to bust into the case, probably destroying any value the figures might have if in 20 years I feel like selling them. Do you know what possessed Hasbro to put these in such a conspicuous spot?
The vintage line was a scam. Charging $10 for a $7 figure-- and in some cases (C-3PO) the figure isn't even good enough to justify $7-- just goes to show that Hasbro can dress things up and we'll line up and fork over the cash. Seeing as we got Wal-Mart exclusives of Hoth Han (the vintage figure, with an extra droid and droid parth) and X-Wing Luke (ditto, plus superior paint on the costume), I really hope fans agree that they are a rotten deal. That said...
The 2006 and 2007 Vintage lines didn't do so great. I can still buy figures from both around my rounds, and I live in a fairly populous area. The line is a terrible value, especially when compared to the Evolutions pack or the $7 basic figure, and a lot of fans figured this out. The whole jewel-case-with-overpriced-figure-thing seems to have not worked, and it's my hope that retailers demanded they not bring them back. There's practically no long-term value here due to the hoarding and the fact that they shipped in mostly even cases, so it's not like any were really all that hard to get. Sales didn't warrant a 2008 line-- Hasbro rarely "rests" concepts that are a license to print money-- so I wouldn't expect much from Vintage in the near future unless the entire line took on a "vintage" look, like the spiffy 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe packaging. Which rocks, and is cheap.
If you're really that concerned about mucking up your existing figures for display, buy another set. They're really not that expensive on eBay these days. I can appreciate not wanting to damage a carded figure to present it in a pleasing way, but there's really not much you can do without slicing the tape/cutting the seals and going from there. I think Hasbro wanted to be sure to design the packaging so that fans wouldn't confuse it for a genuine 1980s product, but who knows. I'm glad the tray is there to distinguish them in a blink of an eye.
5. What do you think our chances are of Hasbro making a super articulated Episode 3 Darth Vader? I'm talking of course of the iron lung Vader. I know I'm in the minority of people that want this version (probably), but I really like the look of the suit used in Episode 3 and we have yet to get a screen accurate Episode 3 Vader with super articulation. I also know that we've been flooded with Vaders and most are more than excellent, but I know I'm not alone in my Vader obsession(Lucas could have told me the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker with sock puppets and I would have been pleased!!!). I just really want a Vader to display proudly on my Episode 3 shelf instead of the sub par version with the stupid action feature. You think the Big H will ever get around to this?
Without a doubt, it's something we will one day see. Hasbro is really hard up for new Vader concepts, and seems to be milking its current tooling library to its fullest extent. Since 2004, we've seen a few molds milked nicely. The Vintage mold from 2004 has been reused at least 4 more times, the 500th Vader mold has been reused for no less than 4 more uses, the Evolutions Vader has been repackaged and tweaked many times, including the 2008 basic carded release. Eventually, Hasbro is going to have to do a new mold, and since those three basically cover the original trilogy we're going to need to see a super-cool Prequel Vader eventually. It's going to happen, but I don't know when they'll get to it.
I got some new droids. Perhaps you'd like to see them.
I must say, I really like these little buggers and hope they crank them out for a while. Providing, of course, they can cycle in new and old pieces so people can actually build all the droids. The most surprising thing to me were the extra sockets on the astromech body. Not only are there a pair for the normal attachment of the legs, but there's an extra set, so you can give the barrel-shaped body arms AND legs for a change. What's more, C-3PX arms will fit onto the body, which now means I kinda hope I can find some of those $5 Wal-Mart Droid Factory sets the kids are talking about for those extra arms.
More next week. Or during the next week. I'm trying to get something special ready for you all on Friday.
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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