Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 9, 2009
1. You remember the TAC Saga Legends Sandtrooper "glut" from 2007-2008, so tell me: Was the "Clean Corporal" version ever released in TAC packaging? I never found it, but today I purchased the latest TLC-packaged version. What's the real scoop? Is the TLC version supposed to "make up" for the absence of the Clean Corporal in the TAC?
The 30th Anniversary Collection Saga Legends Sandtrooper does exist with a clean body and a black pauldron, but there's a catch. As far as I can tell, only a small number of factory samples were made and at least (or perhaps, only) one of these made it into the hands of the collector media (specifically, the Rebelscum photo galleries.) I have never seen one at retail, I've never seen one in a sealed case-- trust me, I've had the opportunity to look, and I've never seen one in any private collections (yet). So short of someone swapping pauldrons and re-sealing the figure, the number of the variant described here is essentially a no-show. I've seen people paying a premium for loose clean-with-black-pauldron Sandtroopers, which strikes me as odd considering you just need to swap the accessory from one figure to another and presto-- two new Sandtroopers.
I wouldn't say it "makes up" for it so much as it's just yet another version of the figure for fans to buy. Hasbro is aware of our variant-purchasing inclinations, plus the fan interest in such a version. It was easy/cheap for the factory to "make up" for the previous "slight" so there you have it-- one now exists for your purchase. (I just swapped pauldrons in late 2007 with my extra figures as soon as it was obvious that it wasn't going to make the cut, but as a loose fan, that's how I roll.)
2. What is your first impression of the turbo tank? Looks lame to me, but I guess I just feel like the AT-TE is hard to beat.
Well, I have an AT-TE and I can tell you I didn't play with it much after I got it. Keeping the six legs in a position so it was stable is tricky, and that's not counting the potential issues with the legs falling off. (Which, for me, has not been a significant problem.) There were a few neat places to put figures, and a lot of clever weapons storage areas, but I can say with no doubt that I think the Turbo Tank looks like more fun.
Ten rolling wheels are going to be more stable than six gangly legs. The AT-TE had wheels on its feet, but that's nothing compared to the let's-run-over-some-droids monstrous Goodyears on the Turbo Tank. There are also a ton of places to store figures, a periscope thing, removable bunkers, and other legitimate toy features whereas the AT-TE seems to be less a toy and more a toyetic model by comparison. I applaud the wacky additions Hasbro engineers add to toys if they don't get in the way of the look and feel of the ship's movie authenticity, so here I'm actually pretty jazzed for this new addition. It looks like it'll be sturdier, meaner, and able to fit as many if not more clones. What's not to love?
3. I recently purchased the 212th Clone Trooper from the Clone Wars line, expecting it to be a repaint of the excellent original. And from the neck down it is. The head, on the other hand, is an oversized monstrosity. It's at least twice again as large as the original's head, the fin is oddly shaped and oversized, and there's a weird slot at the jaw. Do you know why Hasbro did this? My theory is they reused the head from the space-gear trooper, hence the slot, which is presumably for the breath mask.
I've been sitting on this one because I didn't have all the figures in front of me.
As our math system has failed us, I can assure you that the head of the 212th Clone Trooper (carded release) is certainly larger than that of standard clones, but only slightly. It's obvious in that the mouth is smaller, the crest/dorsal fin is larger, there's a slot as you mentioned, and it seems the forehead is huge and the visor is pointy on the sides. This is not the same head Hasbro used on the recently released Space Trooper or, as far as I can tell, any other Clone Trooper action figure. The Space Trooper's breathing masks-- I've opened two so far to check-- do not have any sort of tab which plugs into the helmet. It's possible you have discovered a factory screw-up on Hasbro China's part, because as of today this unique head sculpt doesn't seem to make any sense.
It's possible/likely that a future figure will make use of the slot, and that this head was designed for another purpose. Hasbro probably just wants to make the most out of its Clone Trooper tooling, which has resulted in various varieties and mold changes in the past, particularly with the 501st troopers from Revenge of the Sith.
For those keeping score, the Target Exclusive 212th Clone Troopers form last year's Battle Pack do not sport this unique head sculpt. So the carded version is noticeably different from its multi-pack release, and I'd dare say that the boxed set version is the superior one.
4. I was in Target last night and saw the Darth Revan and shirtless Maul Mighty Muggs. Seriously, Hasbro? IÕm starting to give up hope of ever seeing a Jawa. Why do you suppose they have been so reluctant to produce this character this deep into the line?
Simply because they haven't yet got to it, really. All reports indicate Mighty Muggs will slowly become exclusives, meaning that they're going to end soon. Seeing as Hasbro has been pushing for adult-friendly characters and has largely stayed away from all nameless aliens until just about now, it seems like something they might get to between now and the time the line ends. I don't think it's a knock against your personal preferences, but simply just something Hasbro hasn't managed to get to during the line's one year and change of life.
On the bright side, there will be Galactic Heroes and animated Clone Wars Jawas on the market later this year, so there's something.
5. What are the chances that Hasbro will eventually start putting some beasts into their twenty dollar vehicle assortment? It seems like they should. They keep making the same Darth Vader's Tie Fighter and repainted Jedi Star Fighters again and again. The Qui Gon and Eopie that they featured at Toy Fair make it seem like they are aware that us fans would like more beasts. It would just be easier if they added them into the twenty dollar assortment. I would gladly pay $20 for an Acklay by itself. I just never wanted to fork over $60 for a boxed set that contained several figures I already have. Also, I want to see them make a Boar Wolf from the Ewok movie Caravan of Courage. I know you dont have control over what they decide to make or not make. I also know that not every fan is going to get every obscure character/monster/vehicle they want just because they say "hey make this," but maybe if I mention it here others will read it and say yeah I want that to and we can get the ball rolling this way. A boar wolf would make a great addition to any Endor set up one may have going in their collection. Lastly, I want to say that the Republic Fighter Tank looks incredible. I've been waiting for that one. Surely it will run in the $20 assortment, right?
First, a public service announcement. You won't be calling them $20 vehicles for much longer-- that's going to end real soon. Take my word for it, short of a lucky sale or clearance find you will not be getting the Republic Fighter Tank for $20 in the USA.
So, beasts. Where to begin? The Eopie was a legendary difficult-to-find item and has been for nine years. I'm sure Hasbro tried to find a home for it elsewhere and this whole 10th anniversary of Episode I was the best fit. I have little doubt Hasbro figured out how to profit from its mail-in offers, so it's pretty gosh darn likely that you'll be paying a good $10 or so for the piece in addition to the UPCs.
You say you want an Acklay? Let me start off by saying I don't know how old you are, but you could've had one for $20 or less in 2002. Some of the boxed auctions on eBay are as low as $20, too. There's nothing stopping you from owning an eBay in the next few months if you monitor a few eBay auctions.
As to the Ewok movies, keep dreaming. There have been, and this is fudging it, about one 3 3/4-inch characters from those if you count the Wicket painted up like Widdle. There won't be any boar wolves unless they make some other appearance. As those movies are out of print and many fans haven't seen them, they most certainly qualify as obscure. Without a strong Ewok promotion, these simply don't make sense right now. With the likes of Noa, Teek, Marauders, and Chukha-Trok on the wish lists of many a fan after almost 25 years, I wouldn't get your hopes up. (Unless the Clones go to Endor. And even then.)
Beasts certainly do have a place in the line, and we'll be seeing some like the Can-Cell come back this year. Without significant face time it makes it a little tougher to move them in the main line, and I would have to assume at this stage that Hasbro has reasons for not putting the midsize vehicles and creatures into its vehicle assortments. Surely there's a good reason the Dewback and Landspeeder weren't repackaged, perhaps they were weak sellers like the Acklay seemed to be in many markets.
That's it, sports fans. I got a $5 copy of Virtua Fighter V and a $15 copy of Soulcalibur IV this week, one of which is a real pain and the other has Yoda in it. For that cheap, I suggest you buy Soulcalibur if only for a glimpse at the bonus "guest star" Star Wars elements which exist merely to taunt you and remind you that LucasArts proper will never, ever make a decent Star Wars fighting game nor will they try. The PlayStation 3 version is on clearance at Target stores as well, although it seems pricing varies a little by location-- so Xbox 360 SCIV could be $15-$30, and the PS3 version seems to be around $30 most places. Just a heads-up. (Don't forget if you get either version, they each have Yoda or Vader. If you want both, that's a downloadable extra that they're going to charge you for.)
...I'm still trying to figure out if I got taken for spending $5 on Virtua Fighter.
Oh, and as some of you have asked, I have still not yet found a decent arcade stick. As such, I expect my hands to be little more than claws in a matter of no time, meaning this column will be significantly tougher to write. Ah well, such is life. Screw you, Hori and/or Mad Catz for not meeting demand.
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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