Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
February 22, 2010
1. I'm going to risk going against the grain with the collecting community here, but I think we're getting to the point where "less is more" meaning fewer features built into our figures would probably make them better figures. As an example, I just opened BD #45 & BD #55 and struggled with a removable Snowtrooper helmet/headdress and the "quick-release breathing apparatus" (read as easily falls off) of Plo Koon. Seriously, these toys are NOT better because of these extra features. Once you remove the headgear of a Snowtrooper, guess what—it's not a Snowtrooper anymore. And honestly, I do not need to see Plo Koon without his breathing apparatus. I'm not sure if he's ever been depicted not wearing his breathing apparatus, but frankly without out it, he's a little creepy. I'm in the process of storing these figures at the moment, but when I pull them out again, I'm likely to glue Plo Koon's face mask back on anyway. I'm all for SA, but dropping some of these "useless features" should improve the affordability of these things, no? I know—define "useless", right? Thoughts here?
If you've been reading my Figure of the Day feature, this is definitely something that has come up more than once. Fans demand more accessories and more articulation, but these things often add to the cost and don't necessarily add to the figure. Granted, every fan is going to have a different take on what makes an accessory good and useful, or not. When it comes to Plo Koon, I'm with you-- the Fall 2009 figure has a breathing mask that sits on the face funny and tends to fall off. It doesn't add to the toy as a plaything, and is less a useful feature than it is a soon-to-be-misplaced piece.
On the other hand, I find the various Snowtroopers with removable helmet quite appealing, but that's because Hasbro has made a couple of different versions of the mask (specifically, repaints of the 2007 Vintage helmet and the 2006 "tin" helmet) which can be swapped to make "different" troopers. Much like the Sandtrooper's pauldrons and weapons, I appreciate the ability to make a more diverse army if I'm so inclined, although the issue of the faces under the helmets are a subject for a completely new discussion.
I'd agree with you that Hasbro could probably tighten its belt a little when determining what to include (or not to include) on figures. The addition of hip articulation on The Clone Wars figures so that they can better sit on bikes or vehicles makes me really happy, as these are toys and as such, should play together well. But do I need a removable helmet on every clone, knees and ankles on figures with restricted hip joints, or blasters with figures who never held a blaster? Not necessarily. To some these are a value-add, something to make the item more appealing at retail, but if Hasbro is really serious about this being a line for collectors than the most important thing for the movie figures are to be able to keep it together better. Like Plo Koon presently can't.
2. I expect we will see the new Hasbro Tie Fighter released with a dark tinted window and canopy instead of the SOTE red ones. Are there rumors? What are the chances of a new head and saddle on the Dewback to give us an ACCURATE version on the beast as seen in the original version of Star Wars?
There are rumors suggesting pretty much anything. I haven't heard any specific TIE Fighter revisions announced as of yet, but it's likely that you will indeed see a new deco TIE Fighter in the next several years.
As to the Dewback, you're more likely to see this one remade with Episode I gear than you would be to see a resculpted "trilogy" version. It's extremely unlikely you'll see a 1977-accurate version ever again, but it wouldn't stun me to see a version based on the 1997 Special Editions or whatever hypothetical Dewback may appear in an upcoming television production. (Were they so inclined.)
3. It seems like most of what we've seen in recent development for Galactic Heroes has been 1 or 2 new figures battle-packed with a bunch of old ones for resale. I know that's the nature of the Hasbro beast, but what's your forecast for Galactic Heroes? There are still a lot of great characters I'd like to see in this line. Any feel for whether we'll see much further development of this line this year (especially original trilogy characters)? What about repacking 'exclusive' battle pack figures (wicket, glider ewok, medal ceremony luke and leia) for separate sale?
If you look at Galactic Heroes (and its predecessor, the Playskool line) over time the company does tend to mine old exclusives and hard-to-find sets for reissues when so inclined. The Millennium Falcon has been brought back multiple times, as has the Geonosian, the Tauntaun, and even the Jabba's Palace "scene" pack-- which started life as an exclusive. It's very possible anything can show up again, and with Hasbro doing Republic Commando characters in the line I can't say that I really understand where this supposedly kid-driven line is going. Figures from an adult-marketed game from an older generation of video games seem surprisingly out of place in this toddler-friendly line, so perhaps Hasbro knows something about this line's customer base that we wouldn't guess.
I personally doubt you'll see Ceremonial figures, or Leias, on regular packaging in the near term. But hey, Hasbro confirmed those Galactic Heroes screen scenes are going away so maybe they will dump formerly exclusive figures in 2-packs just to milk more out of those molds. There's no reason for them not to.
4. With the AT-AT coming this fall you think Hasbro might bring back those Hoth turrets from the [2007 Battle of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack] Target set somehow?
Hasbro rarely lets new tooling go un-reused, but in this case I think it may be unlikely that this set will make a return. The big, chunky, deep boxed sets seem to be a thing of the past with the Rancor being the last really beefy box, and it seems unlikely that Hasbro will give this item a second chance in the near term unless for some reason we saw another new Hoth Battle Pack. And hey, we might-- throwing it in with a Snowspeeder redeco makes good sense.
The going rate of the turret by itself is about $20, so I'd say go ahead and grab that if you want some more of them. WIth the increasing prices for Hasbro products these days, odds are it'd be cheaper than waiting for a new issue of this nifty military piece.
5. I noticed the other day that Hasbro has done an excellent job upgrading just about every figure from the 'original' EU line in '98/'99 (aside from the wonky red Imperial sentry, who I really liked anyway). Is there anyone else from the older (pre-14 joint era, lets say) period you can think of who is just screaming for an upgrade and who wouldn't also clog up the shelves (aside from Jabba, who we're apparently getting)?
I'm personally not a big fan of upgrades-- Jabba being an exception, as Hasbro never did a proper modern-era Return of the Jedi Jabba since 1995. (The 2004 one was a repainted and slightly retooled 1999 Phantom Menace toy.) If "less than 14 joints" is your definition of old and worthless, that means that literally everything before 2004 and the bulk of figures since 2004 are still in need of work. While I like a nicely articulated figure as much as the next guy, I'd rather see something new than something I have with ankle joints added. It costs the same, we may as well get something new out of it.
While there are some minor upgrades I'd like to see, it has less to do with articulation than it does accuracy. For example, Max Rebo wasn't made with his "speaker" on his organ. Sy Snootles was never made in the modern line in her 1983 incarnation... and likely never will. Oh, and I've always felt that the 1998 Wicket the Ewok was a little weak-- so maybe he could use a new figure. As could an original Dark Forces-specific beardless Kyle Katarn. I wouldn't complain, is all I'm saying, but generally if Hasbro instituted a "no more resculpts" policy I don't think I'd mind in the slightest.
There's one big question raised at Toy Fair 2010 that I fired off to Hasbro and am waiting for an answer on, specifically because it might change how and/or where you buy your figures come August. (Or may just put you off them entirely if you're a packaged fan.) We'll see how that goes.
While there were some new things at Toy Fair that were indeed exciting, I'd say they were mostly The Clone Wars. Their small vehicle-with-figure line ("Mini-Rigs") looks superb, as do the new action figures based on that cartoon. On the other hand, the "Classic" stuff is sort of a drag. Sure, the packaging is nice, but this is the third Dengar sculpt. It's Dengar. He can only be so good, and the figure doesn't exactly seem a step closer to how he looks on the packaging photo. I'm sure there's a lot of work that went into it and there's more detail than ever before, but I really don't need "perfect" versions of everybody. Then again, I'm one of the few people who thought The Empire Strikes Back was basically good and done as far as action figures went in the mid-2000s, and everything since Derlin was basically gravy, but that's me.
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