Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 15, 2010
1. Do you think Hasbro can put hanging tabs on top center back of card - like Disney cars, dc classics, and so many others - bend over the back of the tab and hang as opposed to punched and unpunched?
They can but odds are they won't. And if they did, there's still an issue of what constitutes a "mint" card. For example, I saw AFA graded figures from the 2004 Vintage Original Trilogy Collection which they removed from their plastic cases before grading them. Now, I consider that plastic clamshell as much a part of the packaging as I would the tab, so in your case, wouldn't damaging the plastic hanging hook or bending it be equally as much of a violation as punching the card?
Clearly, the answer will vary from fan to fan, but there's definitely a sliding scale as to what constitutes "mint." I mean, to some collectors, a punched-out hole is just fine, and to others it's a fatal flaw. I've even met collectors who believed that a figure removed from the packaging (but with the packaging) still qualified as mint on the card. (These people are nuts.) It's going to vary from fan to fan, so no matter what Hasbro will likely incur the wrath of the MOMC perfectionists.
...unless they just did a J-hook like they did with the G.I. Joe anniversary line. (Which nobody complained about.)
2. After losing my entire vintage collection of figures in a house fire back in '85, I have to say that I am super-stoked to see Hasbro offering up the vintage styled Boba Fett with firing rocket later this year! I know many of the vehicles that came out early in the modern collecting era were actually from vintage molds but I was wondering how many figures, since '95, have been entirely from vintage molds, if any. I'm pretty sure the scanning crew figure that came with the Falcon carrying case a while back used the same head as the vintage imperial officer. I don't remember if you have mentioned any vintage tooling on any of the figures you have reviewed from FOTD. The one I'm really wondering about is the first modern IG-88 released in the SOTE 2-pk. Was he from the vintage mold? Thanks!
If you asked Hasbro/Kenner's design team, very few (actually, none) us legit vintage molds. The 1995 Classic 4-Pack of Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader were cast off the original figures, which accounts for some strange imperfections like one leg longer than the other or height issues. IG-88 and EV-9D9 were astonishingly similar to the 1980s originals, but according to Hasbro these were completely new sculpts. I'm not sure if I totally buy that, but there were some retooled elements so if nothing else, they're not really "vintage" figures in any pure sense, as IG '96 has a waist joint and EV '97 has an entirely new head without the opening mouth.
The Imperial Trooper with the scanning equipment from the Millennium Falcon has a new head-- it's just a pretty cruddy one, as the sculpts out of Hasbro's Rhode Island division for Star Wars products (there were a couple of teams working on the brand in the 1990s) were typically inferior. The same team did the playsets and some other low-cost TV-driven products. Most of the 1990s development was done in Ohio.
This year's Boba Fett appears to be a new mold inspired by the original-- close enough that your average fan probably won't know the difference, but we'll know for certain after we get a chance to compare them side-by-side. For starters, the back of the figure has had some serious work, as the fake "trigger" can attest to.
3. Do you still buy every single Star Wars figure/ship/etc. that Hasbro makes? The reason I ask is that it just seems like Hasbro is starting to make new versions of figures and ships that are really unnecessary. Meaning, the previous ones are "good enough." Take the new, larger AT-AT for example. I think it's pretty cool, but I am pretty happy with my late-'90s AT-AT, and really can't see shelling out $100 or so for a new one. Sure, the older one has the goofy string thing that doesn't work well, and the side cannons are drooping a bit, and the included figures are "bulky and out of date," but I still think it's pretty darn cool. IF I bought the new one, I'd have to spend over $100, buy an additional AT-AT Driver, and perhaps the new AT-AT Commander, and then figure out what to do with the old one (display and storage space is seriously becoming a problem, despite an entire bedroom devoted to the hobby). I'd either have to box it up and put it downstairs, or try to sell it. And the new Snowspeeder - doesn't look much different than the 2002 version. Other than the "bulky" figures that came with it, it still "does the job" for me.
On the figure side, who in the world needs another Dengar? Or another AT-AT Commander? What's wrong with the ones that were released just a couple years ago?
I understand Hasbro needs new products to sell to kids and new collectors, but I'm really surprised they haven't just re-packed some of these figures - the previous Dengar and General Veers are great in my book.
I've always collected via the "pick and choose" method - I only buy what I like, which is not everything. I have upgraded some of my older figures, when the new ones far surpass the older '90s-style figures, and have upgraded a few select ships lately (the AT-ST and the Big Millennium Falcon, although I waited until it was half-price last fall to buy the latter). I guess I just wondered how you are collecting now, and if you will still buy everything, or are you cutting back? How do you store your excess ships? Do you ever get rid of older, less realistic figures and ships (I have sold some of my older stuff from time to time)?
I still buy everything, but my reasons are more for the purposes of these columns than it is my own collection-- I'm going to have to write about it, and I basically like it, so I'm going to get it. Naturally, I don't expect that most people do this.
I agree that we have a lot of items that are basically good enough, but these new versions aren't necessarily aimed at us. The new 2010 AT-AT being a fine example-- Hasbro is making a new one because there's consistent demand for AT-AT toys and a new generation of kids has come up without access to one of the saga's signature vehicles. So rather than repaint and re-sell the old one, whose tooling might be in rough shape by now, it makes sense for them to make a toy that will appeal to kids and their parents because it's recognizable and can sell.
To some extent, a lot of figure releases are this way. Dengar isn't a figure that most of us old farts are going to ask for, but there are a lot of fans (especially those who weren't here in 1995) who are chomping at the bit for figures with perfect articulation, and anything less is an insult. (They're the reason we pay more for figures now.) I see the AT-AT Commander (not Veers) as a waste of plastic, but again, that's me, and I'm cranky. Dengar isn't the most popular bounty hunter but with the new packaging and the generally consistent interest in the Bounty Hunter sub-collection, it will probably do just fine. Dandy, even.
4. So why do you think vinyl capes never made a reappearance in the modern line? Sure, they were easy to rip and didn't look good on most figures, but if used sparingly they might have made it easier for figures to sit in vehicles or would just have looked more like the actual costumes. I think of the snowtrooper, and how much better it would have looked with a 1980-style skirt on the VOTC sculpt. Same with the weird rubbery-type covering on Zuckuss (or rather, vintage 4-LOM).
Some figures are just impossible to recreate just right. Zuckuss (Kenner) is a fine example-- that weird robe was just about perfect, the look and feel was dynamite. The vintage Yoda's cloth garments were great too, and as annoying as they were, the vinyl capes were basically OK back in the day. I can't recall many (any?) other toy lines to have ever used these, so my guess is that they just figured out early on that these ripped easily and weren't conducive to heavy play or vehicle play.
I agree that some figures could benefit from the vinyl skirts and capes, in some ways, but in others that old Snowtrooper skirt didn't like to stay put. So no matter what, you're going to make somebody angry, and the cloth one used for the "vintage" and subsequent modern Snowtroopers certainly works for me as good enough. They can sit, that's what matters.
5.I was just wondering if you might have heard if Diamond Select is going to be coming out with more of their quarter scale figures? I hope they do make a quarter scale Boba and Jango Fett with IG-88, Snowtrooper and for giggles and grins a blue snaggletooth. It seems like there is nothing new coming out from them.
Also do you know if the retro vintage cards for the figures that Hasbro is bring out, is the back of the card a retro style as well or it is only just the front of the card?
Diamond Select will indeed be continuing its 1:4 scale line of figures, but for how long it's hard to say. I don't see any evidence that they're stopping, and the pre-orders for Darth Vader just went live. Hopefully they'll get to the Fetts soon, as those would probably be great pieces to bring people on board to this surprisingly well-priced but not too popular line. I wouldn't expect to see IG-88 ever, though, as they seem focused on things they can build off a normal adult male human body type.
As to the new retro vintage card line, the backs of the packages I have seen mocked up look like the 2004, 2006, and 2007 vintage backs-- a few figures, a shot of the original 1980s figure, and that's about it. None of the awesome "collect all 43" stuff or anything like that.
The new Wal-Mart comic packs supposedly hit last week, I'm still looking for them myself. It may well be that these are the only new figures for a while, which is pretty good and bad all at once. I mean, we've had a few really crazy years, so it's strange to wake up in the morning and go "oh, I don't need to go looking for anything before work today." I mean, other than this, I could probably skip the toy stores for a few months, but won't, as is the way of my people.
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!
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!
Follow me on Twitter! You could have read this yesterday!