Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
March 29, 2010
1. Could you post a list of the remote control astromech droids that were released? I'm talking about the ones from Japan. I know of the four that were rereleased as Target exclusives, and the "clear" one, but I seem to remember there was supposed to be a Dagobah R2 and a Clone Wars R2. Did those two ever get released?
The only RC Clone Wars (animated) style R2-D2 to be announced as far as I've seen was the oversized one from Hasbro. It functions pretty much the same as the 3 3/4-inch scale ones, but it's closer to 6-inches tall... and is significantly more expensive.
Between the US and Japan, we've had a regular R2-D2, a clear R2-D2, a dirty (not sure if it's Dagobah-specific) R2-D2, R2-Q5, R4-P22, R5-D4, and R5-X2. R4-P17 was also released, but not yet in the USA.
2. I just found my first new Legacy Boba Fett figure (#BD36), and I love it. The only problem is that I noticed after opening it that his right forearm joint seems to be stuck. I've had this problem with a few figures over the years, and sometimes I can get it unstuck by turning it carefully the first time, and other times the joint just breaks apart. I'd hate to ruin such a nice figure, and I'm wondering if you think that boiling the arm and letting it cool before I try moving it again might free up the joint. If not, do you have any suggestions on what to do?
My first advice to you would be to return in. While you can sometimes repair the joint, I've had some figures where you simply cannot. It's much easier to just get a replacement. Now, assuming you don't want to get a replacement?
Sometimes freezing works well. It's sort of like boiling, but not. Take a figure, freeze it, and sometimes the paint will become brittle enough to crack and allow the joint to move freely. Sometimes, it won't-- but on the bright side this method usually won't result in damage to the toy if it really is truly stuck. Be sure to try to twist the joint while it's still frozen.
Boiling works well too, where you boil some water, dip the figure in it, and try to move the joint then. The drawback? The heat makes the plastic soft to the point where it might move even if the joint is still stuck-- it's possible to unwittingly twist a limb right off if you aren't careful. I've had this happen, so think twice about if it's more important to try and force movement or if you might be better served just having a figure with one less moving part. It's generally a surprise, so even if you do try to fix it, be sure to keep the receipt for the figure handy.
3. I loved OTC and VOTC / VTSC, but I think I will love this [vintage 2010] line [of action figures] even more.
Am I wrong (overly optimistic to think this line will be very, very
popular? And re-energize those of us in our 30s?
It's my assumption that merely rebooting the line with a new SKU-- which was last done in 2008-- will help as much if not more than changing the packaging. This allows stores to discontinue the existing line, flush out the old, and start fresh with something new. (Which, I might add, Hasbro has never done with Comic Packs but does with vehicles, battle packs, and basic figures on a fairly regular basis.)
The problem with collectors being the main focus all of a sudden-- which they weren't, until recently-- is that you risk missing out on a lot of sales. The Kenner and Hasbro lines have often struck a balance between new and old, which means that every couple of years you could be fairly certain that specific characters would be trotted out time and again to allow for new fans to buy them. While the hardcore fan has been here for a while and may buy almost anything, you aren't going to sell people on Ulic Qel-Droma, Darth Revan, or Cade Skywalker as their first purchase. They're going to want Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and the stuff that we, in theory, are sick of.
The new packaging may make a difference, and it probably will for a while, but like anything it's a novelty that might wear off. Hasbro has already released several figures on the vintage-style cardback to varying degrees of success, and depending on where you lived, you may have seen some from each batch on the clearance racks. G.I. Joe had a great reboot in 2007 with new old-style packaging, and the line had a lot of heat for a while-- but after a while some figures just didn't quite do as well and fans weren't buying like they were early on.
It's a safe bet that the line will be extremely hot in August, but there are so many X-factors at work, like the inclusion of prequel figures, that the older crew might just throw up their hands and say "nevermind." As long as Hasbro keeps making sure that the figures appeal to more than the people who post on forums or read columns like this one, the line should be good to go for a while. If they're planning on it only appealing to adult collectors at this point, it doesn't seem like that would be good for the long-term health of this very long-running and seemingly invincible licensed toy line.
4. Do you know what the status of the two Galactic Heroes Toys-R-Us exclusive packs "Kamino Showdown" and "Purchase of the Droids" that were shown at the Hasbro Presentation last July is? Cancelled? Postponed?
According to a recent comment from Hasbro, these were delayed and should be out in the near future. The reason given is that Toys "R" Us wanted another run of existing exclusive packs. I'll believe it when I see it-- this has been a pretty slow year for new Galactic Heroes product announcements so far.
5. My question, is that I noticed that all the card backs to basic figures have numbers stamped into them. They are hard to see because I don't think there is ink, just a sort of stamp. Do you know what that is? Do those numbers correspond to the amount of figures made? So if my stamped number is 95,759 does that mean it was the 95,759th figure packaged?
These are "date stamps," although how to decode them may change from time to time. The POTF2 Forums seem to have the most discussion on this very topic, as they categorize what variations or changes were made from week to week. It's pretty remarkable stuff, but not completely known. You can ballpark when a figure was made from this data, so I'd say give it a ready and enjoy finding out far more than you expected! Date stamps are useful to you as a collector because you can identify certain variants without opening the package, which is good as there are some mechanisms you can't see until the figure is opened.
Welp, I got lucky and found those two Wal-Mart comic packs, after wasting much gas and time. Still, I got a nice run out of it, so now I guess all my 3 3/4-inch figure hunting self has left to do is wait for The Force Unleashed packs to show at Toys "R" Us and the new Star Tours sets hitting any day now. Thrilling, I know.
The comic packs were a pretty nice end-of-the-run. I think it would have been nicer had Hasbro managed to not let us know what we were missing, but at least we got a good chunk of comic characters before the line once again starts to turn its back on non-movie storylines for the "realistic" line. Seeing the diverse selection of characters we've been sold since the line kicked off with a shared exclusive way back in 2006, I gotta say, I'm pretty happy how things turned out. Sure, more would have been nicer, but we got a new Mara Jade, two Quinlan Vos figures, a ton of Clones, and a variety of oddball figures that I never would have expected to see again. The fact that Camie and Fixer are still coming is pretty remarkable, too.
So, what's next? Well, those The Force Unleashed sets of action figures should be hitting Toys "R" Us at some point. TRU also apparently has some new Galactic Heroes scene sets hitting at some point, assuming they weren't cancelled and someone forgot to tell someone else. And that's shaping up to be Spring and early Summer right there, unless Hasbro has some surprises for us. Oh, and the Legacy Expanded Universe Wave? Still set to hit around May and June.
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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