Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
July 19, 2010
1. I was looking at the [Diamond Select Toys] Darth Vader 1:4 scale figure that talks,( am seriously considering purchasing) when I noticed that he is holding an Obi Wan lightsaber with a red blade. Do you know if this is what comes with the figure or was this a mistake in the production photo? I am hoping for the later but wanted to be sure before ordering.
I did actually ask Diamond this very question when the picture first got out-- it was just a mock-up. The final one is going to have the corrected hilt. (Unless of course the factory makes a mistake, but the plan is to have the right hilt.)
2. I'm a big fan of the Star Wars novels and have almost every one of them. My question though is why does Del Rey choose to wait so long between the release of the hardback and the paperback versions? I have just recently purchased the 1st three books of Fate Of The Jedi in paperback although the books started coming out almost a year ago. And I have to wait until January to get the 4th issue? I can't fathom what logic goes into this. Surely Del Rey must realize that we are in a down economy and $25 for a hardback book is a luxury many people can't afford. Especially when you factor in that you can get 3 paperbacks for the same price. They did this same routine for NJO and Legacy. I could understand 2-3 months between releases. Is there any method to this madness?
The paper pushing business is a lot like the movie business (and every business) in that there's a product life cycle, and that's more or less what you're seeing here. Del Rey (and any book publisher) can often get premium pricing on their new hardcover product, which is very cheap to make, when it's both new and in hardcover. It's clearly a higher-quality product, both in freshness and presentation. There's a limited window (often planned ahead, but it may vary on popularity and sales) where you can squeeze out maximum profits on a hardcover-- and then that audience probably is exhausted, so you can go on to other avenues, like book clubs or-- as you're after-- paperbacks.
There's another good thing to try, which is what I used to do (and am required by law to mention as the Mrs. is a librarian) but have you considered the library? Can't knock reading it for free, and you can buy the book later.
If you do video games, there's a similar business model in place. A game comes out, it's $60, and they sell a bunch. When sales level off, the price is dropped, and sometimes the game is given uglier packaging and a "greatest hits" designation with the lower price. It's a different-- arguably inferior-- product which allows a vendor to keep producing the same thing in a different format. Think of paperbacks and Greatest Hits game packaging like the "Saga Legends" of the entertainment business.
3. Just wanted your take on what the deal is with the last few Clone Wars waves. The wave with Hondo Ohnaka and Aayla Secura as well as the wave with Darth Sidious, TX-20, Firefighter Droid and so on. These have been next to impossible to find in my area, and from the chat on line I'm not alone. The "new" Clone Wars check list does not have any of these figures listed, so I'm guessing no re-packs on the Blue-Rex cards. Any ideas what happen and do you think they will show up someplace like a Big Lotts?
Do you go out to the toy store more than twice a week? If not, well, that's probably why you can't have these.
These figures were indeed produced in decent numbers, but depending on the area in which you live (and who else is buying) you may have missed them. The remainders from that wave are indeed out there, and I've actually seen the new guys several times. You will likely not see these at Big Lots or on closeout, but we've been surprised before. The run on some may be less than huge compared to the kid-driven figures like Anakin, so when it comes to these, it's probably a good idea to jump on them. I would say that if you aren't haunting your toy aisles, you should probably start soon. Odds are this isn't the answer you wanted, as we don't know the full extent of blue repacks, but generally speaking Hasbro is good at exploiting their molds. Keep an eye out, and don't be surprised if they make a return appearance in a gift set or exclusive box somewhere some day.
4. I've seen complaints on some collecting sites about Hasbro using a "much thinner" cardstock for the Vintage Collection and that this will create a "nightmare" for collectors. I compared a Vintage card to a Legacy card and couldn't see much of a difference. Is this just another example of collectors needing something to complain about?
The last one. hey're certainly thinner than 1999 CommTech-era cardstock-- those things could survive a nuke blast. I put a 2010 Vintage card next to a 2009 Legacy card and I would say the differences are imperceptible or imaginary. Odds are the cards may feel flimsier because there isn't a large plastic bubble supporting them, gving them the illusion of strength. As far as I can tell, they're no worse than Legacy cardstock.
5. I haven't seen many coments about the newer vehicle packaging that "converts into a diorama" that seems to have started with several of the mid-size vehicles about a year ago. I personally think it's a great and very welcome addition. Any idea what type of feedback Hasbro has gotten on this from the collecting community? Is the feedback positive enough to hope that these additions might continue into the future?
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at beyond "I like this thing that they do." Apparently they're going to keep doing it as it doesn't seem to add too much cost to the product, which is, of course, welcome. I was initially excited until I realized they take up a lot of room and were generally prequel-oriented, so I stopped caring pretty quick. That and I didn't feel like buying vehicles again to get the other backdrops. I suspect you will see them for a while, but I doubt we'll see them expanded on, say, figures. Although if they start including small diorama props with them, I think they would get really interesting really fast. A sandy Geonosian hive backdrop is about as exciting as the nearly all-black space backgrounds. I don't think they're remotely fun.
I know I come off as the irate old crank sometimes in here, but this past week on eBay I saw a listing for a Jedi I didn't know. I take pride on knowing all sorts of crap from Star Wars, or at least being familiar enough with elements to know where to go look it up or which movie it came from. Nicanas Tassu showed up via an Asian auction and I'll be damned if I ever heard that name anywhere. I assumed (correctly) he was a cannon fodder Jedi from Attack of the Clones and I'm not sure what he is-- a new basic Vintage figure? A new Arena 2-pack exclusive? Something that got canned that we weren't supposed to see? I guess the point is, and this is rare for me, I really don't care about this one. I can get behind 3 different red V-Wing paint jobs, yet this figure-- which is a Mace Windu body with a new head-- is devastatingly boring. Admittedly, I didn't care about the last two new Geonosis Jedi either. Generally names stick, but I can barely remember Roth Del-Masona or Joclad Danva, probably mostly because human Jedi are boring and Jedi characterizations are one of the weakest links in the entire Expanded Universe. Flawless forces for good are BORING. At least give one of them a bum knee or something. Are Roan Shryne or other not-there-but-there characters on deck next?
I know some of you are pretty anti-Expanded Universe but this sort of thing always strikes me as odd. Sure, the Yuuzhan Vong aren't known to all fans, nor is Kyle Katarn, nor is Guri. But you can actually point to things these three figures did in the stories, which I always felt had a little more weight than "if you freeze frame a movie, maybe you too can pretend to care about Bairdon Jace."
It's almost a shame Hasbro doesn't stake the movie line and just focus on the television project(s). There may be a few good choices left for the prequels, but it seems the best choices are from the Original Trilogy, the TV shows, and, yes, The Phantom Menace. Pod Racers? Arguably interesting. Alien senators? They may have something there. I could even be interested in Neimoidians. But if I see another boring white male human Jedi I'm gonna drop dead of boredom. I get that there are new characters you can do with existing tooling, but Hasbro making up someone new based on an employee would be more interesting than this. Let's make Brian Parrish a Jedi figure instead. I'd have a fun anecdote to share, and he's a pretty nice dude.
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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