Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
November 17, 2008

 

1. do you think that there is anychance of Hasbro releasing a KEELKANA in the future? it is something I am desperate to add to my collection especially now as we have these awsome Mon cal warriors waiting in the wings for there mounts and I amsure a lot of other collectors around the globe would love one to.
--Shaun

No plans exist today for a giant eel, and the way things are going I'd assume it would appear in Galactic Heroes before the basic action figure line, unless it starts appearing in the new TV show. Given the world's affinity for Kit Fisto and his antics, I think there's a decent chance it might. Eventually. But "eventually" means "Hasbro has the license for another 10 years."

2. Is there anything preventing FX blasters, (like the FX sabers-high end props but with lights and sounds) from being made? Are there industry rules about selling guns that could be considered toys that aren't brightly colored?
--joey

In the United States, there are numerous rules and regulations about what a toy gun can or can't be. While it isn't necessary that they be neon, they do have to have-- at the very least-- some sort of brightly colored cap on the end. (Why the criminals just don't paint their guns orange, I'll never know.) It's possible to make gun replicas that look fairly real, but Hasbro isn't very likely to do it. They're very big on keeping up with all the laws even if the laws don't apply to a high-end collectible in the exact same way, even Master Replicas put orange rings around the Jango Fett blasters. Really, your best bet is to hope Hasbro makes a blaster and get someone to customize it for you.

3. Does Hasbro continue production of figures once the original wave is released? I have seen some earlier wave sets, but not as many as the more recent, especially Clone Wars. Also, are the vehicles/exclusives one time release or do they continue production?
--Brian

The answer, in short, is "it depends." Technically, nothing is a one-time release. When Hasbro makes a product, it makes it in huge quantities that tend to trickle out to stores around the United States (and world) for at least a couple of months. When it comes to Galactic Heroes, history shows that patience is extremely important. Hasbro released a Millennium Falcon in 2002, and discontinued it. It shot up to $100, and Hasbro repackaged it with one fewer figure in 2004. It then shot up to $160, and Hasbro repackaged it again in 2008-- and it's been discontinued yet again. The same thing happens with the figures, Hasbro tends to cycle them in and out of production between the assortments, exclusive sets, and so forth and you'll end up finding some figure shipping in multiple cases for months, while others pop in and out and in again.

At the risk of plugging my employer, one great place to see what Hasbro is shipping is Entertainment Earth. The company lists the assortments, so you can see which items are shipping and in what kind of numbers. If you compare all the casepacks, you can sometimes gain information about what will be in shorter supply and what you might want to snag first... or just order the case and be done with it.

Exclusives are tricky as well, as Hasbro tends to do whatever they want with them. The Hoth and Naboo sets from Toys "R" Us shipped, went away, and were re-shipped. Target's Jabba's Palace and X-Wing sets shipped last year and were re-shipped as non-exclusives in 2008. And to wrap it up the two Cantina sets from Wal-Mart were one-time items that a lot of people never even saw once. As such, there are no ways to manage your expectations here-- anything can and has happened, so buy accordingly. I suggest giving early hints to people what they should buy you for your birthday, as few products stick around at retail for more than 6 months without disappearing for a time-- or forever.

4. Why do you think that Hasbro has not revisited some of the more significant back ground character's Nien Numb, Ackbar, Walrus Man all come to mind. I have been collecting since 1995 so I know the ropes but I feel these are pretty important characters to the SAGA and was wondering if you could shed light on why my boys havent been brought back into circulation. By boys I mean toys.
--Jarmarajar

Given the release of the new Millennium Falcon, that's a really good question. To be honest, I'm more than a little surprised that Hasbro hasn't made sure that Q4 2008 became an orgy of products specifically designed to work with it and the AT-TE. The lack of various rebels like Lando and Nien Nunb is a little surprising.

As to the others, well, it's like this. In a given year, Hasbro can only make so many figures. And of those figures that are new, a significant percentage of them are going to be tied to whatever media frenzy is big at the moment, another chunk is going to be remade versions of main characters, and there are a few slots left over for both new figures and remakes of tertiary ones. Nien Nunb, sadly, seems to be in that final category along with Ackbar and Walrus Man/Ponda Baba.

The conspiracy theorist in me firmly believes that the next Ponda Baba you see will be designed for the vintage equivalent series if one is offered. That's a character that has seen no less than four issues with three unique sculpts for his limbs, and the 1998 release was actually pretty great. It isn't perfect by 2008 standards but it's still excellent.

Admiral Ackbar needs work-- and odds are Hasbro hasn't got to it yet. Having just done the Mon Cal Warrior, my guess is it's going to be another 1-2 years. Ditto Nien Nunb, but just because it doesn't seem Hasbro is focusing on the space-battle aspects of Return of the Jedi all that much beyond the pilots. Which is great-- I'd personally rather see more new figures that were never made before than fall prey to the "oh pleez sell me this figure I bought 12 years ago again" request. Sure, it could use improving, but that original 1997 Nien Nunb is still one damn fine action figure.

5. I was surprised to see the tables included in the new carded shots of the upcoming Obi-Wan and Pons Limbic figures after Hasbro told us they were getting yanked because of cost cutting. I sent this question to them for their Q&A but I've never had one of my questions answered there before so I thought I'd see if you know what's up. Are those images early production samples or are the tables back in?

And also on the subject of cost cutting, with oil prices plummeting from a July high of $150+ a barrel to the $60 range, do you think Hasbro will continue to cut battle packs to four figures and raise prices or do you think as their petroleum related plastic costs and shipping costs start to drop over the next few months they'll scale back some of the cuts they've been making?
--Nicholas

One interesting thing in the China-reliant manufacturing economy is that Hasbro will tell us one thing, and that's 100% completely their intention, but China will do something else. You'll note this on repaints especially, when Hasbro says "we're going to make mold X and repaint it and you'll get Y" and China ends up using whatever mold is presently available. (Holographic Darth Vader and the initial Saga Legends 501st Clone Troopers come to mind.) Because of this, items get added or removed from sets and China may not always get the memo-- take the holster for the recent IG-88. As of today I'm in the same boat as you-- confused as to why we're seeing these figures including extras that we were told might be given the axe. It's entirely possible they squeaked in at the last minute. Numerous changes are made to products throughout production, and this could be one of those times where the collector benefits. Hasbro told us Cade Skywalker wasn't getting his lightsaber, either, and now here he is with one.

Expect no price drops next year. Increases, maybe. Drops, no. It's not just oil, but things like Chinese labor, freight costs, and other issues that are going to change the price you pay for manufactured goods across the board. (Things like the news tell me Chinese labor is a big part of it.) So I wouldn't get your hopes up, but I sincerely hope that Hasbro realizes that as the retail price for a basic figure creeps up to $10, a build-a-figure piece isn't enough to offset the increase. We're going to need more extras and tables and what have you.

FIN

So my town is on fire. My best bud in Fullerton (Happy 29th, ZB) and me in the Valley are lucky enough to not be on fire, but neighboring areas here in Southern California aren't so lucky. If you have any friends or family in the area, be sure to call and say hi. Aside from smokey skies, lots of ash in the air, and a smell which has since invaded the inside of my living space, I consider myself to be most fortunate. It's pretty astonishing what can happen with a few flames and strong enough winds. On to other things.

Apparently Target stores are receiving some of their new exclusives right now. You know those Battle Packs with the 4 clones and a Jedi? Those are showing up but are not yet out at most stores. Interestingly, the Ultimate Battle Pack assortment (which I'm presently assuming will contain both the Christophsis and Carkoon sets) has not shown up in any back rooms, but it has shot up to $62.99 at the stores I visited in their computers. Which totally sucks. I don't doubt that the Clone Wars-themed set is worth it, but I don't really think that the Pit of Carkoon has enough oomph-- its figure choice was certainly lacking-- to warrant $50, let alone $63. (And to answer your next question, yes, I'm going to buy one, although I leave it up to you if you're going to do so.) Also, there's a freaking ton of Transformers exclusives going to Target-- two boxed sets of 5, another two boxed sets of 3, and a pair of 2-packs. That's like 20 figures for one store in a month, and while some of them are repacks, that's still damned impressive. I guess the kids are really gobbling up the robots these days.

Oh, and I scored Legacy wave 4. It's not all that great. It's unfortunate that this is the final wave of the year-- despite a massive amount of product overall, plus a new TV show, 2008 seems to be ending on something of a whimper. After last year's parade of lunacy from September until the end of December, I guess I got spoiled.

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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