Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 7, 2010
1. I'm sure I speak for many other collectors in saying that I've never seen the final Legacy EU wave at a TRU (except for one Bespin Guard variant). I don't know if it's an issue of scarcity, or just scalper jerks buying up every single set to flip on eBay. Has there been a widespread fan outcry over this wave? If so, does a large corporation like Hasbro get concerned about that, or is their attitude that sales are sales even if it's scalpers buying them all?
There are always complaints, but the issue so far is that every piece hasn't shipped. Do you think that it has? Then you are wrong. The wave is shared between Toys "R" Us and other stores (read: not Toys "R" Us, not Target) and as such, nobody has seen them "elsewhere" yet. They will show up-- it's just a matter of when. If all the pieces sell, Hasbro is basically happy because that means the product served its purpose. If fan outcry remains constant, eventually, you may see a reissue. On the other hand, some fans complain about stuff for years even though it's under ten bucks a whack on eBay, so sometimes fan outcry can be safely ignored. (I'm of the mindset that if it costs SRP or less on eBay within a year, well, why reissue it?)
A good analog to this wave is the never-seen Temple of Doom wave of Indiana Jones figures. While somewhat uncommon carded, loose samples go for for about jack squat these days.
2. Does it depress you to see super-articulated versions (Mace Windu & Kit Fisto) already making their way into the animated line? I mean what is the point of super-articulation? I thought it was to have super realistic poses. Who cares about realism in an animated character that doesn't look real to begin with? I think it is lame and betrays a lack of focus and imagination on the part of Hasbro. If the animated line is kid-targeted, super articulation is bad for kids' toys (it's harder to get them to stand up & they lose hands when the balls joints pop out of the wrist etc—I speak from experience). Besides, these kids already have Mace and Kit from a year ago. (Kids grow up fast but not that fast.) It seems that there are identity problems heading down the pipe for this line. What do you think?
In a kid-driven line, new versions of core characters is the rule-- not the exception. We're getting super-articulated Mace Windu instead of Arctic Battle Mace Windu or Thunder Punch Mace Windu. It's not about kids growing up and wanting something better, it's about kids like to re-buy the same characters (case in point: Batman, TMNT) and a new crop of kids comes up every year wanting new toys.
I'd personally prefer crazy action figure action features, but most collectors want more articulation-- or at least the vocal ones do. I personally think articulation to that extent is overrated and the source of increasing prices which we all have to pay, from the collector with an unlimited budget to the kid who gets three bucks a week for allowance. Super articulation exists because Hasbro listens to fans, and if you believe most of the vocal fans online, articulation is a dealbreaker-- there are a lot of whiny people who put "if it isn't super-articlated I will not buy it" on message boards and Hasbro sees that and hears similar things from fans at conventions. So really, this is all our fault, not Hasbro's.
As far as I can tell, Kit Fisto and Mace Windu sold well enough to warrant keeping them in the line-- and odds are making new versions will sell more to kids as well as collectors. I'd personally rather see the resources spent on characters I don't yet have, but as long as Hasbro is keeping the line profitable, I can wait.
3. know the subject of reproducing vintage figs has come up your column before but I had another thought. With the Boba Fett mail away coming, you think Hasbro would consider making others? I'm sure there would be a little grumbling in the collector world, but I think three boxed sets of the "last 17" would be awesome. Kinda like the 1701 series that hit TRU as an exclusive from the Playmates Star Trek line back in the day. Or the first set of Hot Wheels Treasure Hunts at JC Penney. Hasbro could even charge a premium for the run cause I'd shell out $100-200 to complete my vintage line. If not all of em maybe just like five to test the waters. To find quality pieces these days that don't cost an arm and a leg isn't easy. Seems like a win/win deal to me. Maybe Hasbro could even put out the feelers for the concept like they did the Vader Funeral Pyre at whatever show it was. Just a thought.
Are you making fun of me?
The original Vintage figures are done. Over. Boba is a one-time item and MODIFIED from the original, a clear tug at your heartstrings (and the heartstrings of pretty much every collector not named "Sansweet," "Semling," or "Lopez"). New copyright dates, the rocket-firing mechanism is completely redone, and it's even colored weirdly-- the ones we've seen so far don't even bother to paint the "button" red on the back of the figure. There's no confusing this for a 1979 original unless you know literally nothing about these figures, and for most of us, it's as close as we're ever going to get to the real thing. To redo any old figures, like the 1984 Power of the Force figures, would take a massive tooling investment and be focused on a very small audience. You might get a few thousand people who want them, tops. These people can suck it up and buy them on eBay. (You too can suck it up.)
It's worth noting that the "1701" box of Playmates Star Trek figures didn't do the line much good-- it didn't quite kill the interest in the individual carded figures, but it certainly annoyed a lot of people and was another kick in the shorts to collectors in this line on its way to the big discount rack in the comic shop in the sky. Replicas are not the real thing, and they never will be-- it's just a cash-in, the originals will always be worth more and replicas really aren't good substitutes for the real thing. They're fake. You'll know they're fake, it'll eat you up inside. If you're willing to shell out $200+ to complete your vintage line, get the real thing loose.
And nobody likes the pyre idea, even those of you who think you do, I guarantee you'll hate it once it gets made. The people who don't care-- and there are many of you-- remain silent, while the 30 or so who are quite interested keep yammering about it. This is true of anything Hasbro shows to us as a group and says "what do you think?" There will always be a group who is quite interested, a very large group that doesn't care enough to say one way or the other, and a very vocal angry minority who will probably not shut up about it until everyone apologizes for wasting his time to even talk about it in the first place.
4. regarding the upcoming Vintage line, there were a few notable omissions in the original vintage line for a New Hope—Tarkin, Wedge, Figrin Dan, Sandtrooper. A couple of these are being released (Wedge, Sandtrooper) in waves for other movies—Sandtrooper in the ROTS wave and Wedge in the ROTJ wave. I almost can feel some nostalgic excitement about seeing these figures on vintage cards, but then I remember I open my figures and these figures aren't going to be new sculpts (in all likelihood) and won't be distinguishable from the figures I already have. I have trouble getting excited about the Vintage line, which looks to be an idea centered around a packaging variation. Now that we know the contents first four waves, are there any figures to be excited about? Woof? Kneesa? (Probably a repaint) Cloud Car Pilot with Moustache! What figures are you excited about?
First, some of those waves aren't confirmed yet. So yeah, this is speculation assuming what you are saying is true. It might not be. I ain't sayin'.
If Kneesa is true, I'm thrilled. That's right up my alley, I don't necessarily believe it's true. Wooof is exciting, but really, at this point anything new is going to be exciting. Giran turned out so well, I'm ready to sit back and enjoy what happens as it comes. Almost everything I could want is in a box in the other room now-- Lumiya, Teek, Ephant Mon-- so we're in pretty good shape. Hopefully Hasbro continues to do what they do best, and that's to make some surprises that weren't necessarily on our radars. I'd rather they delight me with something fun I wasn't expecting than go through a year of figures where all we as a group can say is "it's about damn time."
5. How do toy companies really feel about leaks? Is it sheer annoyance that they don't get to break their own product news first, or do they acknowledge the value of fans getting excited about a product months in advance? I remember the hubbub over the BMF being leaked, yet at times in their Q&As, Hasbro seems a bit playful in confirming other rumors or leaks (usually about particular figures). Do leaks have a legitimate place in the industry?
While the company line is always furor, generally speaking people like it when a "secret" gets out and the reaction is positive. Hasbro was really bad at keeping secrets over the past year, to the point where you could probably figure out what was happening unless you were actively ignoring the facts or denying the "rumors" as they appear in Target's computer systems.
The good thing about leaks? It shows Hasbro they're on the right track if fan reaction is positive. Why are they bad? If they're too early or end up being wrong, fans get angry. If I started a rumor now that I knew for a fact there would be a Sail Barge, and people believed it, Hasbro would be angry and fans would be angry. On the other hand, if I said there's going to be a big Slave I-- AND THERE IS-- who does it hurt? If fans get excited, it's good. There is a less obvious downside, and that's that sometimes people will not buy Product A because Product B is coming down the road-- so it could hurt sales.
In Star Wars, ultimately, leaks probably don't hurt Hasbro's business and other than frustration about employees or partners not being able to keep their damn mouths shut, what's the harm? In their own IPs, it's a bigger deal-- Hasbro does not hold a monopoly on military toys, scented dolls, robots that turn into things, and so on. But nobody else has the license for an action figure-scale giant Galactus these days.
First Q&A out of my Phoenix office! How did you like it? You didn't? Well, too bad, there will be more of them as we move forward. I'm still unpacking my stuff and right now am trying to find my Transformers Universe Ravage. Now where did that little bugger go...
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