Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 22, 2010
1. So we finally got our Willrow Hood. I'm almost afraid to ask, but do you know if Hasbro is pleased with his sales? Another Yarna situation may permanently damage our ability to campaign for these obscure characters.
It's tough to say without them actually-- you know-- saying, but how many are you seeing hanging around? My guess is that it did well enough, but sometimes Hasbro will make a figure because it's a short run at the right time and they can use whatever slide rule/abacus they employ to determine it should do OK. As we really don't know how much of his wave has truly shipped, I'd put the guess at "it's doing just fine." It's really up to fate, because if enough fans are in on the joke odds are we'll see figures like this more often than every few years. And remember, this figure had a fairly significant, well-seen campaign from numerous fans on many web sites increasing the character's awareness from pretty much zero. So if you guys want to pick your next target, get cracking, it might take a few years for Hasbro to notice.
2. Do you think [vintage 2010] waves 1-3 will be available WITHOUT the Boba Fett stickers? I want that Fett, like anyone else most likely, but I don't like my Vintage cards (have 4 old ones, AFA 90) cluttered with Kenner or Hasbro offer stickers -- so I want to buy original waves without Fett stickers, if possible
I think Hasbro confirmed the stickers peel off easily, for what it's worth. Future repacks may well be shipped without the stickers, but there's no way to know for sure until they show up-- after all, we heard a lot about the green carded figures from 1997 shipping without the stickers, and few showed up during the initial runs.
So it's possible you won't really get a say in this, but such is the fun of the vintage line. Odds are it's going to ruffle a lot of feathers, despite Hasbro trying their best to deliver exactly what fans want-- we're a picky crew.
3. Whatever happened to the live action Star Wars TV show? Wasn't it supposed to start in 2009? Has the casting even been done?
Security has either increased, or interest has dropped, in Star Wars as a TV franchise. Actually, it might just be TV in general that doesn't have quite as feverish a following. Few rumblings of The Clone Wars get out ever, and the live-action TV show has had some rumblings that preliminary casting started but clearly, nothing big or official has happened, and now it's 2010. It seems they're going to milk the existing show a little more before the next big announcement, and it's entirely likely that we'll see something at Celebration V this summer. Or they're just going to want to shut up and hope we pay attention to the cartoon until it finishes its run of four or more years.
4. Imagine this: A year might come when the realistic figure line has 37 figures (great) 10 of which are repacks (what?—isn't there a repack line called legends already?) and the other 27 of which (from what we have seen thus far) are resculpts! Maybe added articulation (bleh). The selling point of the line is a packaging variant. When you are trying to sell figures based on the vintage packaging variant, your goose is cooked. 2010: This is where the "collector-based" line dies. I am a collector and I see nothing of interest in the 11 ESB Vintage figures shown. The main attraction of the line is (1) a mail-order figure! It is almost unbelievable that Hasbro could imagine this would work. I can only say: WTF! The feature figures include Bespin Luke and Hoth Han. Did anybody tell Hasbro that Bespin Luke and Hoth Han on Vintage cardbacks were pegwarmers in 2007. Let me repeat that in case Hasbro wasn't paying attention: Bespin Luke and Hoth Han on Vintage cardbacks were pegwarmers in 2007. How can this be anything but the end of the line? I hear Hasbro in the forthcoming Q&As already. "The vintage line didn't meet our expectations..." I wonder why? Could it be because Hasbro based the heart of its product, the 3 3/4 inch figure line on a packing variant that is only interesting to that subset of collectors who don't open their figures?
In other words, I cannot see this working. I know that you think that collectors are diverse group. Do you think that a large fraction of collectors will warm to this? Will kids warm to it? Does the new vintage line have the higher price point like past vintage figures?
You have in the past expressed your reservations against continuing the vintage line. Are you going to be able to warm to it?
First, I think you misunderstood what a lot of us meant with "vintage." I'm against the idea of $9.99 basic figures, which evolved into the idea of $12.99 figures. Are you saying you're for being overcharged for figures because Hasbro recycled a popular style of package and added in a nickel's worth of plastic for a clear clamshell?
The big problem with the "collector-based line" is the very notion of one. Star Wars isn't a collector-based line-- it has collectors, but since the beginning Hasbro made sure to include a pretty decent number of figures for new fans young and old alike, because nobody is excited to jump on board when the only options in a line are Sarcastic Man, Luigi, and Homer the Devil. Every year Hasbro managed to keep a decent mix of new and old, with The Saga Collection and The 30th Anniversary Collection both doing well-- despite being roughly half old versions of figures we own. Love them, hate them, they sell. If Hasbro keeps mixing in broad selections with the obscure, the line does well. When Hasbro shifts it over to 100% collector figures, and then releases large amounts of them in a single wave, we start to see a decline-- and for all we know the build-a-droid concept was off-putting to people who couldn't assemble a set. (I'm speculating on that last one.)
That Hoth Han is probably going to be a stinker, and Bespin Luke does feel like "too soon"-- but they might work if the marketing efforts for the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back works. I don't expect it to grab the kids, but if this is where the line dwindles, it's not like we didn't have a good run. There's never been a more successful movie-based toy line, and 15 years at the same scale is certainly a huge hit. Personally I would like to see it be kid-driven, as The Clone Wars has benefitted from a smaller number of quality figures, but that's me.
5. Something recently happened which has left me quite perplexed and I was hoping that you could maybe shed some light as to what is going on. This week, the week of March 14th I purchased Plo Koon (BD45), Imperial Scanning Crew member (BD32), Gugna Warrior (BD07), Willrow Hood (BD53), Agen Kolar (BD43) and Wing Guard (BD50). This is the first time that I have seen any of these figures in a store. Now here is the odd part, all came with "build a droid" pieces for HK-50. Only the Wing Guard and Willrow Hood are supposed to come with these pieces. Agen Kolar and Plo Koon should have come with peices for YVH-1, the Scanning Crew member should have come with a leg for R3-A2, and the Gungan with the body piece for L8-L9.
I know that Hasbro has been changing the "build a droid" parts on re-releases of "older" figures, and though disappointing I can sort of understand that occurring with the Gungan Warrior, though that wave didn't hit my area (Mid-Atlantic USA) until late October/early November and then in limited numbers. The other three though are still "new" (at least to my mind, as it normally takes at least 2-3 months for figures to make their way through the system to my area). Did Hasbro only send one shipment of figures with the original droid part and then switch over to HK-50 parts? If so this will make it next to impossible to complete a droid, as I'm still missing figures from wave 8 on.
To make matters even more confusing by dumb luck I happen to notice that some Plo Koons (BD45) came with HK-50's head and others (notice the plural, so it wasn't just a unscrupulous person swapping out a part, unless they bought multiple figures) with an arm? What's going on? Should not one figure always come with the same peice? If the parts change should not also the number change? In addition all the figures came with offers for the Opie and Qui-Gon and not the newer Nadar Vebb mail-in offer, indicating that these are "older" figures or does the Nadar Vebb offer only come with Clone Wars figures? I haven't paid enough attention to notice if different offers come with different "lines".
Thank you in advance for any insight you can give into what is occurring here?
This appears to be a case of you having a lot of bad information.
In this case, it appears you missed a key piece of information: Hasbro constantly changes droid parts on figures when they ship with subsequent waves. For example, if you see a Gungan Warrior with the L8-L9 part, it means it shipped in Wave 8 cases. If you see him with HK-50 parts, that means he shipped in Wave 12, revision 1. In order to allow customers to build a complete build-a-droid, they make sure that the droid parts are distributed in each case so you can make 2 or 3 robots rather than have a bunch of random parts. Agen Kolar and Plo Koon both shipped with waves 11 and 12, so you can see those with both. The Scanning Tech also shipped in Wave 12 Revision 1, along with the Gungan Warrior, Episode I Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke (Jedi Knight), a Stormtrooper, Commander Cody, etc.
No The Legacy Collection figures have shipped with Nahdar Vebb stickers-- only the Darth Maul sticker advertising the Eopie and Qui-Gon Jinn. So if you see one with Nahdar, it's either from the future, or fake. Probably fake as the offer is set to expire and Legacy is set to end soon.
I have not yet seen any droid part swap-outs, and due to the label I figure it's unlikely. Generally speaking, people just steal them.
Off to go look for those Wal-Mart comic packs! I've wasted a ton of gas and so far have only seen them at 2 stores, and the only one I see is the General Weir (or "Weird" if you sell on eBay) set, none with IG-97 so far. Ah well!
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