HASBRO PREVIEW NIGHT
By Adam Pawlus
SAN DIEGO JULY 14, 2005-- After exhibiting at Comic-Con International
year after year, Hasbro makes sure to hold back some
choice items for your revealing pleasure, bypassing events like
Celebration III in favor of hitting a wider audience
alongside the likes of their other hot brands, which this year
included G.I. Joe in 3 3/4-inch, 12-inch and Sigma Six
flavors, Transformers Cybertron and Alternators, Blythe, My
Little Pony, and a surprising amount of other stuff. If
you have any interest in male action toys, a trip to Hasbro's booth at
San Diego is arguably superior to any trip you could
make to Toy Fair in New York-- and not just because of the freebies.
Not shown: Zoids, Xevoz. Stikfas were in their own booth with
Saizon, and a free SDCC repaint of the Stikfas teddy bear was
Going to Hasbro's booth? There are some top notch freebies which are
so good, we're frankly shocked Hasbro isn't selling
them as part of their HasbroToyShop.com setup. For Star Wars,
people that present their badge are treated to up to
three free figures. From Galactic Heroes, you get the Burger King
promotional pack-- a Yoda and R2-D2, polybagged for your
protection. From Attacktix, one random figure, similar to the ones
given out at Wal-Marts and Celebration III back in
April. Fans of Transformers were in for a real shocker with what may
well be the best booth freebie we've had in years-- Skywarp.
A repaint of the Legends of Cybertron mini Starscream, he's
fully transformable and includes a bonus (and
seemingly exclusive) black Autobot Cyber Planet Key for your other
larger Cybertron toys. But obviously, you don't read
this article for the news on Transformers, so let's Star Wars!
Handshakes and cookies all around to team Hasbro for having some great freebies.
The belle of the ball in 2005 is Evolutions, the subset of Star
Wars that's the spiritual successor to the 2004
Vintage Original Trilogy Collection line. With enhanced articulation
and accessories and poses similar to the toys made from
1978-1986, most fans have been delighted with these new figures.
While no new sets were shown at present, we were presented
with a delightful repaint of the Clone Trooper set. This new set
includes a repainted Revenge of the Sith Clone
Commander in grey, a plain white AOTC Clone, and a positively
filthy repaint of the Sandtrooper. All in all,
delightful-- it's nice to see Hasbro seeing opportunities for running
changes like this, assuming fans can get them all.
The big question on everybody's lips was "will there be more
Revenge of the Sith? What are they?" Well, thankfully,
there were more and as expected, they were pretty much entirely
repaints. While the jury is still out on if these appeared
in the movies or not, there were lots of troop builders, a few fan
requests, and one of our personal favorites, another
Astromech droid. (We can't get enough of them.) Later this year,
fans can snag the following: Holographic Aayla Secura,
Holographic Plo Koon, Wookiee Warrior (now with extra "cloth" parts
and new coloring), 501st Clone Trooper, Obi-Wan's other
astromech droid, silver Neimoidian Warrior, redeco Magna Droid
(General Grievous' Bodyguard), another Wookiee Warrior (cloth
added to Sneak Preview mold), Commander Gree, Passel Argente (redeco),
Shu Mai (redeco) and a properly decorated Commander
Bly. We're pleased as punch by most of the choices given the fact
that most of these we'd buy extras of anyway.
The post-Revenge line was not shown at this time.
In addition to the three previously announced Battle Packs, several
new ones were shown. Rather than start with the best, we
like to start with the funniest. The Toys "R" Us exclusive Hoth
Battle Pack includes the Saga/OTC Snowtrooper with
cannon, General Veers (AT-AT Commander, 1998), and two 1997
Snowtroopers plus a bonus Probot. For $20 it's a good value,
but what's really awesome is the goof-up on the back of the box--
instead of the AT-AT Commmander included with the set, the
vintage 1982 AT-AT Commander is pictured! Even the original
gun is clearly visible, causing a burst of laughter in
The Jedi Temple Assault was a fine item and one that I'm glad to see
released. For $20, you get Anakin, a Clone Pilot, and a
trio of 501st Blue Clone Troopers. Anakin and the Clone Pilot appear
to be similar if not identical to previous issues, but
three good clones for $20 are guaranteed to make this set a hit.
Hasbro: if you aren't already planning on shipping solid
cases of this, we suggest you do so now.
Another set based on the Emperor's Throne Room included two
AOTC Royal Guards, a Stormtrooper (POTF2 CommTech/OTC/Saga
style), and more figures you already have. The Battle Packs are
showing a lot of range, but so far, it seems this is an
item guaranteed to make sure kids can get a great set of figures--
which we're glad to see.
But we really like the Jedi Temple Assault. Too bad it didn't
have Zett Jukassa or a Padawan to mow down, or Anakin
with his hood up.
Shown: the Shock Trooper, Han Solo as a Stormtrooper, and Chewbacca.
Not shown: any hint of things to come.
Now on display: Yoda and the Emperor. A good mix, but nothing you
haven't seen before.
A shock, there were new vehicles. The Toys "R" Us exclusive blue
Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter was on display and we
were very happy to see it. Also exclusive to Toys "R" Us is the
Millennium Falcon from 2004 in a new box-- it is
not the blue-tinted version seen on screen in Revenge of the
Sith. These are $30 and $40 respectively.
Hasbro revealed few exclusives on the first night, but there were some
good and noteworthy releases. The day started with
the official announcement of Wedge Antilles. Providing a real shock
to the system was what it was and what it costs-- the
figure is a repackaged version of the figure released around 1998, but
here's the kicker-- it'll be $13-$16, and a shared
Internet exclusive. Shop.StarWars.com has it for $15.99, but you get
extra free exclusive trading cards. Entertainment
Earth is charging $12.99, and overall, the piece is a weird one. Fans
of packaged figures should like it, as it's on the
OTC-style package you all love. But for toy buffs, you'll
recall that this figure, when originally packaged with the
giant Millennium Falcon Carry Case, typically sold for $20-$25.
It's not a great deal.
Target once again gets a buttload of new exclusives. Repackaged and
repainted versions of the arm-swinging versions of
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are packaged with new and very
spiffy Mustafar bases. We like them, as long as Target
eschews the ridiculous $11.99 price tag-- there's no excuse for a
mass-marketer to charge that for a basic figure. The
"Star Cases" returned to the display, as did the collector cups.
While most fans are still searching for the second batch of
Revenge of the Sith cups, a third is making its debut at the
convention-- now, you can get Stormtroopers, Darth
Vaders, and Princess Leias. Series 2 was Boba Fett, Han Solo, and
Yoda. Series 1 featured General Grievous, Clone Trooper,
and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
More Micro is coming too, as is an exclusive Plo
Koon Jedi Starfighter, previously a wide-release item.
Kay-Bee's collector pack is different than what was previously
announced in many ways. For starters, Hasbro says it's $40,
has a blue Royal Guard, and the Silver Vader is based on the Dagobah
mold from Power of the Jedi-- Kay-Bee had it with
a red guard, $20 more, and in a slightly less cool looking box.
Either way, it's $40, and the only real treat in here is the
third edition of Silver Darth Vader.
In addition to the two vehicles mentioned above, Toys "R" Us is
getting a Holographic Emperor based on the Revenge of the
Sith mold complete with all the accessories and spring-action fun.
As the third version of the Emperor (or Darth
Sidious) in holographic form, he holds the record with Silver Darth
Vader as the most issues of a most redundant concept.
Still, it's cool, and as many fans missed out on the 2000 Holographic
Darth Sidious and the 2004 Fan Club Holographic OTC
Emperor, it's not a bad choice. No Holographic Anakin Skywalker was
on display, contrary to the rumor mill, but that isn't
to say we won't see one.
As far as older exclusives go, it seems the only carry-overs from
earlier in the year are Entertainment Earth's Clones and
Holiday Jawas. This is unfortunate, as a lot of people seemed to
blink and miss out on Anakin's Green Jedi Starfighter and a
number of short run promotional figures from Target, Toys "R" Us, and
elsewhere. We were informed that future exclusive
announcements should be made later this week.
More Series II and the Republic Gunship were on display. Fancy stuff
for a fancy line-- here in Southern Caliornia, most
stores are completely sold out and Hasbro informed us they, too, were
completely sold out-- unless your stores have some
coming in from the slow boat in China, you're out of luck!
Nothing new at this time beyond what was initially shown. Some items
were also on sale at the booth.
Not content to do a few new molds and rehashes from Galoob's 1997
offerings, Hasbro is expanding the line to include 3 3/4-
inch figures, larger Action Fleet sized vehicles, and more.
Looking at the larger vehicles, we weren't sure if we were looking at
repaints of Action Fleet or a new tooling-- which isn't
really a compliment. An obvious desire to grab that Action Fleet
market was present, and it's a start-- new vehicles in the
scale would have had us more excited, like any of the Jedi
Starfighters. While we don't see metal as the be-all and end-all
way to make a great vehicle, it certainly does look marvelous and it
seems Hasbro found out how to give Code 3's $250 toys a
run for their money.
The figures appear to be awesomely detailled figures with limited
articulation-- Boba Fett was on display. While we adore
the concept, the price makes us wretch-- $14.99 is a lot of money for
the size. In this case, a larger figure would soften
the blow to the wallet, but if all you plan on doing is collecting
Titanium, well, the lineup really does look wonderful.
But what about..?
12-inch? Hasbro's done with it. Sideshow announced they had the
license. In their booth was a three-panel announcement with an
illustration of a naked Sideshow body wearing a Jedi cloak and holding
a lightsaber. For anyone complaining, let me assure you it's a huge
improvement-- Sideshow's prices may be higher, but their product is
usually just that much better.
The Clone repaints? No sign of the Black Clone Pilot, Green Clone
Commander, or Red Shock Trooper were on display.
Retrobilia's Pride Displays? While not a Hasbro item, Diamond had
what appeared to be final product of this faux-vintage item and it was
quite impressive. We look forward to handling one up close.
Action Fleet? As mentioned above, the closest thing to Action Fleet
will be the "larger scale" of Titanium vehicles. If these do well, or
don't, we could see pretty much anything happen.
The rumors of Transformers branded Star Wars toys? We saw nothing at
this time. We also saw no Transformers/G.I. Joe toys, which we've
been wanting for a while. Where are those, Hasbro?
More news? Well, obviously, this was preview night-- more
items will be shown as the week goes by. You'll be back, and so will
we-- stay tuned!