Galactic's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
September 28, 2009


1. Big Slave 1? Or BMF'nS1 if you prefer... New mold? On the horizon? Any tidbits of intel? When's it comin'? What do the prophetic droids predict? Something roomy, with a carbonite block or jail cell... oh the possibilities.

At the time I am writing this column, I have no intel whatsoever on Hasbro's next big vehicle release beyond the tidbits they dropped in their own columns. A Republic vehicle of some description seems more likely, but given the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back and the strength of the previous Original Trilogy Collection toy over the past few years, it's certainly not something I'd dismiss. I just don't have any actual dirt yet, so kudos on Hasbro's people for keeping mum... until they crack... and that should hopefully be in the next four months.

2. The Legacy and KOTOR comics are my favorite to read in the Star Wars line. As far as video games TFU, Old Republic are totally creative and cool. I can't wait to see Hasbro dish out more figures of these in the coming year along with the SW expanded Tales series that are also being released. Expanded Universe seems to be the theme for the coming year or two. My question is how come Hasbro seems to get excellent sculpts for comic and video game figures but when it comes down to OT movie characters with all the technology - they crank up poor accuracy and detailed figures. I mean sideshow figures are awesome for 12" and 3 3/4 figures have not improved since Saga Bespin Luke w/ bloody stump - what gives ? Why doesn't Hasbro crank up OT vintage figs scales with today's technology (adding articulation, detail, color, size proportion to the old scale)?

I think the answer here is, on some level, "you." As fans, we're not as harsh on non-reality-based characters. Harrison Ford looks like Harrison Ford, but Cade Skywalker looks different depending on who is drawing him. It's sort of like the Galactic Heroes-- those figures just need to look like Han Solo or Princess Leia, not specifically Carrie Fisher. Comic and video game figures just have to look like their digital or pen-and-ink counterparts, and the variety of ways they are presented allows fans to be a little more forgiving. Thrawn has been illustrated so many ways that there's definitely some room for what would be considered imperfections on a Tarkin or an Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Personally, I'm not so sure about Sideshow-- some are great, some aren't. Just like Hasbro-- not every human likeness is perfect, but some are great. Some aren't, too, like the first Kyle Katarn figure from 1998.

This might be a "grass is always greener" issue more than anything else. As to "Hasbro figures not improving since 2002," uh, wow. You're wrong. In 2003, we saw the first-ever super articulated figure with the Clone Trooper. In 2005, we saw mechanisms integrated into action figures without visible buttons or dials. In 2006 we saw Hasbro create tiny accessories that can plug into a hand or a belt. In 2007, Hasbro experimented with some truly massive accessories like a moisture vaporator, dead Obi-Wan's cloak, a huge drum, and shields for a Destroyer Droid. 2008 gave us lateral leg articulation on several figures plus added wrist joints on some animated clone troopers. And in 2009-- have you seen Giran in person yet? Because holy crap, that may be the best figure Hasbro has ever done. If you're serious about Hasbro not improving, I'm going out on a limb to assume that you aren't getting the new stuff with the best deco, sculpting, and articulation in years. Even the new Rancor Keeper Malakili has been resized to be much smaller than his very tall 1997 incarnation. Clearly, they're doing what you ask.

3. The new red [2009 Hasbro action figure] packaging is smaller. Are the carded figures still considered the traditional 6x9 format that has been so successful for all these years or is Hasbro breaking tradition? Thanks

They're "breaking tradition" in a very loose sense. Unless there's some OCD lucky charm involved with the 6-inch by 9-inch measurements, these are effectively the same size as before. They just finally realized they could save tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials and freight by shaving off fractions of an inch when it comes to packaging, and kudos to them for wasting less package materials. (More kudos to follow if they can shrink the size of the bubbles-- which, if we're no longer getting figure 2-packs or big bonus accessories, is totally doable.)

4. Do you know if the upcoming mailaway Nahdar Vebb action figure promotion for 2010 will require the very same proof of purchases from the three lines (Saga Legends, Legacy, and Clone Wars) that are at retail now, or will they possibly be from 2010's rumored black and silver carback styles?

Right now we have no way of knowing if Hasbro plans to keep the same 5-digit SKU for 2010 or plans to reboot it. The same SKU has been used for the animated line since July 2008 and for certain, we know it's going to be used through the Hondo wave later this year. I would suggest hanging on to extra animated-style The Clone Wars UPCs if you have them.

We do not know what changes if any are in line for 2010 yet, but we'll probably know soonish. There's no set date for the Nahdar Vebb mail-in offer, so I would suggest saving all your UPCs all the same. Not just because they might be valid, but because the people that handle redemption programs do not examine these as closely as you might think-- as long as the check is there, they're not as picky about things like UPCs or receipts, depending on the nature of the offer. (I've sent in restaurant receipts back when Hasbro used to demand those. So someone got my rice bowl receipt from Edo Japan or something.) I would suggest watching the hi-res packaged images for The Clone Wars or the cases for sale on the various internet shops, if the SKU changes, there's a good chance they will require you use new figure UPCs.

5. My question is about the Republic Gunships that have come out for the Hasbro 3 & 3/4" line: How many have been made so far, how many are being put out this fall, and what are the chances well see one as in the new CW series with doors that seperate left and right upon opening? I thought there were 5 Gunships so far and I know the "Crumb Bomber" is coming in the fall, but am I wrong- does both TRU and Walmart have Gunships coming? As far as the last part of the question, it would seem logical that the door variant one would be made when a Gunship is up for re-entry into the line up. Note that I don't know that I need, want, or have room for so many Gunships, but being a Star Wars fan this was just on my mind.

Considering we got a whopping five Republic Gunships before any retooling started, I'd say that any newfangled doors are going to be a few years off. Only one retailer-- Toys "R" Us-- has an announced Gunship for this year. (Wal-Mart had one last year.) If and when Hasbro decides to totally redo it "BMF" style down the road, which could happen if they want a higher price point or electronics integrated, this is one of many features we might see included. Personally, I think you're more likely to see a feature like this included on a Galactic Heroes ship than on a 3 3/4-inch figure vehicle just because there's nothing wrong with Hasbro's current molds, in their eyes, that a significant retooling investment would be worth their while. The fact that we're finally seeing one that can close completely this year is pretty amazing, really. (Not "AMAZING!" amazing but "Wow, Hasbro spent money retooling this thing finally?" amazing.)

It'd be a neat feature, it's just that it seems highly unlikely that we'll see it. There's a lot of retooling needed to change up the mechanism, or so my feeble armchair engineering would see. But if what you're asking is "should I buy this sixth Gunship or just keep waiting?" I would suggest that you simply keep waiting.

Finally, the existing gunships are as follows:
2002 Saga (Blue Box) Republic Gunship, non-exclusive
2003 Clone Wars (white and red box) Command Gunship, non-exclusive
2005 Revenge of the Sith (Flame Box) Republic Gunship, non-exclusive
2006 The Saga Collection (Black and Silver Box) Republic Gunship, Toys "R" Us exclusive
2008 The Clone Wars (White and Blue Box) Republic Gunship, Wal-Mart exclusive
2009 The Clone Wars (White and Red Box) Republic Gunship, Toys "R" Us exclusive

If you bought these al in the USA when originally released, the fleet would have set you back about $260. (The first three releases were generally quite cheap.)


Fun fact: You can depress yourself by tallying what you spend on one of every Hasbro item you buy over the course of a year. Fun fact #2: Gha Nacht is my new favorite animated figure. Holy crap. If you told me that I'd love Bossk more if they dirtied him up, made him fatter, and gave him a bad eye, I'd call you a filthy liar. The Vulture's Claw-themed Battle Pack is pretty great, especially if you're new to the cartoon series. The deco on the IG droid is slightly better than the carded one from last year, and seriously, Gha Nacht rocks my socks. I love these aliens that Hasbro is slowly filtering in to the line.

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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