Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
November 3, 2008
1. The upcoming Wioslea figure includes a lightsaber. While I know those backroom geniuses that come up with names like "Momaw Nadon" and the like created some kind of vague jedi-linked backstory for this used car saleswoman due to those robes, does it make any sense? Did Ben ask where she got the robes? Aren't jedi knights hunted by the time of Epiosde 4? So why would "she" wear jedi robes? Post prequels, it never made any sense to me why Ben Kenobi would tool around in signature jedi robes when trying to enter stormtrooper-guarded Mos Eisley. I mean, why not fit a light-bulb lined arrow to the landspeeder reading "Jedi knight over here"? Talk about unnecessarily creating the need for a whole mess of Jedi mind-tricking. My question: does a used car dealer in Imperial-occupied Mos Eisley have any real need for a lightsaber, or does this very minor issue highlight a more major one - Lucasfilm Licensing constantly reverse engineering classic trilogy stuff, and in the process dumbing it down, usually just to squeeze out more dollars? Why attempt to explain - and in so doing make it even more confusing (and dumb) - what was simply a convenient costume for a minor background character thirty years ago?
Hasbro confirmed recently that the figure does not include a lightsaber. It was an error in the photography-- which, when you should thousands of toys every year and aren't a die-hard fan, is likely to happen. Official Hasbro photography showed Darth Vader with a blue lightsaber in the Tantive IV Battle Packs. Hasbro photography also put binoculars with the 2008 Kashyyyk Trooper. If you're taking hundreds if not thousands of photographs every week, a 1% or so error rate is bound to happen. (And let's not even discuss the mistransformed Transformers.)
As far as the Jedi robes, this is a backstory that has existed for years. While you no doubt have already decided you don't care, for those out there reading this, the story was that Ben Kenobi's outfit and the robes of the Jedi in general were meant to mirror everyday garb worn by people all over the universe, rather than fancy-pants armor and military garb. And if Hasbro gave Wioslea a lightsaber, so what? Maybe she killed a Jedi and took it from hi-- sorry, couldn't resist. Figures come with unnecessary extras all the time, and the best thing about them is that they fit real nice into my junk drawer. It doesn't hurt the figure, and if you were going to buy it anyway, well, so what?
2. I've heard that Hasbro is releasing the next version of AT-TE with the fixed legs. Is there anyway I can identify the difference between previous and current versions by just looking on the box ? different feature or number perhaps ?
Hasbro may, at some point, come forth and say "look for this date stamp" but I don't think they will. To identify the item as "not the crappy one" is a bad move on their part-- some people have no problems with the current AT-TE as is, and I only had problems the first day I had it. Since then, I've carried it around, taken it outside, shot videos of it, and I haven't had the legs pop off since. I might be lucky, or not. Hasbro is also offering replacement bits if you ask for it-- so I'd say there's little reason to worry (assuming you live in a region where Hasbro is offering replacement parts) and you should just buy it first and worry later. The item is by no means "ruined" with loose middle legs, largely because it's so bulky you probably won't be moving it much. And I seriously doubt they'll fall off on their own when on display.
For those who don't know, Hasbro stamps a "date stamp" on every product it makes. This is a series of five indented numbers on the back (although this has changed and could change again) which allows you, the consumer, to determine when the item came into being. It has been useful in determining some variations that you can't see with your eyes (like a peg being replaced by a magnet), and in the case of Transformers, certain robot mode variations. At this time I know of nobody keeping track of AT-TE variants or how to tell a "fixed" one if you bought it and opened it.
3. A friend's son and I search stores for Star Wars toys (he likes the troopers, I look for Jedi and aliens). The last few months, the supply of new toys has been fairly nonexistent. I thought it was because a lot of people were interested in the new figures. Wrong. Seems dealers are now calling the stores to learn the delivery schedules. They wait in the parking lots while the shelves are re-stocked, then buy all the new toys and promptly list them on ebay. (I've been told this by people at several stores including Toys R Us.) Now, while I don't want to criticize someone for being able to make a living, this seriously impacts those of us who want to hunt the toys in stores at the normal price Ð as opposed to paying, say $70, for Cade Skywalker's comic pack on ebay or Amazon.
I guess I was just curious what you and others think of this Ð and whether others are encountering this problem or if it's unique to the Philly area.
Well, I have some bad news for you, Shel-- this has been going on since 1995. And before with other toy lines. There are indeed people out there with nothing better to do than to deprive you of toys, because they can sell them on eBay, toy/collector shows, or elsewhere at an inflated price. How can you get around these problems?
First, remember that nothing lasts forever. Dealers get bored, delivery schedules change, and employees quit or get fired. I live in Los Angeles, and there are but three Wal-Marts that are reasonable for me to visit despite there being millions of people here, all shopping at three stores. It makes it difficult to find exclusives, but not impossible-- mixing up the times I go, and going frequently, makes all the difference.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again-- never support these scalpers. Sometimes, items are made available through alternate channels, but if you see something on eBay with a Toys "R" Us sticker on it, don't buy it unless the price is right. I have no problems paying $7 for a $12 item, but I have a lot of problems paying $20 for a $8 item. While discontinued items and certain limited items create situations you can't possibly hope to get around, regular items can be had with patience. Cade Skywalker's pack has shipped, re-shipped, and shipped again. Given the price of gas, people doing this aren't performing a service-- they're usually only kidding themselves. The amount of money you'd make driving to stores and buying rare toys versus that which you would make at a decent entry level job don't compare, so don't make excuses for anyone who's just buying up stock to sell back to you. Of course, older and discontinued items are an exception, once something is no longer shipping or available anywhere, it's a different beast.
Also, consider minimum wage workers a bad source of intel. They will tell you things to make you stop asking them questions, or to stop calling them. Many are good, hard-working people. Others are lazy, lazy people. There's no way to know for certain, so if you're using the telephone to do your toy hunting please stop doing this immediately. They rarely look, misinformation is frequent, and there's no accountability for when they tell you they have an item and they lied. Which happens a lot.
Thankfully, Hasbro makes way more product than they used to, and far fewer people are willing to pay premium prices for things. So if you can wait, and if you're persistent, you likely will get your toys (assuming your town has more than one or two of most stores). Failing that, take a look for any hard-to-find toy from 2-3 years ago on eBay. Some are still retail, and many are worth less than was paid for them- if you can be patient, you'll be able to get your stuff eventually. Or you can order online.
4. So there was a demo or bonus disc with the classic arcade game for I think it was the second [GameCube] Rogue Squadron game? I saw some reviews online and they weren't very good. Are you familiar with this and have any thought on if it is worth tracking down?
There was indeed-- and it's pretty much what you say it is. It features the original Atari arcade game (although it does look a little dark), as well as some bits and pieces for the then-upcoming title. Since it's Wii-compatible, I'd suggest getting it if it's cheap so you can get the original Star Wars game for next to nothing. I got mine when it first came out, but haven't ever noticed one for sale-- I wouldn't pay premium pricing for it, but it's a nifty collectible in its own right.
5. Did you ever find out if anything was different in the Star Tours set? I think I remember you pondering C3P0 possibly being a variant, but I don't recall you saying that you got an answer.
As far as I can tell, there's nothing unique about the set-- but someone out there, please correct me if you know otherwise.
As weeks go, last week was a bit slow in the toy hunting and news racket. I actually had time to open stuff. I gotta say, that Hoth Scout Trooper figure in the Hoth Speederbike Recon set kinda sucks. On the other hand, the Torrent Starfighter ain't half bad. I'd write more here but at this point I've got a few other things to crank out before I go to bed, so see you next time!
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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