Q & A Archive for the Week of October 16, 2000
I Call Him Dr. Acula!!!


Questions for October 16, 2000

1
I was looking at my coupon booklet (the one that came with the video release of EP1) and noticed a "Anakin Skywalker Podracer Test Flight" Transforming playset! Was this ever released? I dont remember this anywhere but with so many Star Wars toys never making it to the shelves, I thought I had better ask.
  -Michael

I have never seen one, but then again, I never did keep as close tabs on Galoob E1 product as I did on the Galoob Classic stuff.


2
A DVD question: Do you suspect, as I do, that all the stuff on the Behind the Magic and Episode I CD-ROMs will end up on the respective DVDs for those movies? Seems like it would all be pretty much ready to go, or close to it. But I do wonder what *else* will end up on there. I don't mind waiting, unlike most people it seems. I'd rather wait for a huge special edition than buy just the movie now and then have to buy a spec. ed. later.
  -The Larch

Well, lemme preface this novella with a warning: I have absolutely no idea what is actually going on the upcoming Star Wars DVDs as 100% fact and neither does anyone else. (Well, maybe a few, but you get where I'm headed.)

Based on the ramblings of Rick McCallum and others in the Lucas camp, it seems a feature they're quite big on is a "bluescreen" version of the film(s) as well as an animatic version.

Personally, I could care less. No, that's not true. I couldn't care less. Unless the characters, sets, and vehicles had vastly different looks at earlier stages, this is something I honestly cannot fake an interest in. I mean, ooh, look: instead of the background, it's all blue. Yipee. It's just like the real movie, only crappy. While I have no doubt they could do this for Episode One if they were so inclined, I have my doubts that there's enough surviving film from the originals to pull it off. While I would like to see a few animatics here and there, and it might be cool to use the dual angle features to see some differences on SOME scenes, it seems a waste of time and space to do the whole film that way.

As far as Behind the Magic goes, while I constantly talk about how great it is and how it is probably the best single resource on the films, I'd want more. The four cut scenes out of ANH are must-sees, and I would love to see them at a higher resolution, perhaps even completed if at all possible. All the anecdotes would be nice to have on-screen as a subtitle track, but some scenes had so much stuff that it may not be entirely possible. Although it'd be cool to have a way to have, say, BTM with a function where you can do a "view scene" type of thing. If it's doable. That way all the anecdotes and such would be visible. I think some of the stuff from that marvelous, little seen set of CD ROMs should be on the DVDs but I think it'd be totally unlikely that they would make up all of the supplements.

As far as waiting goes, well, like many I hate waiting. I do it a lot. Odds are I can't get a PlayStation 2 at launch, it took me almost 15 years to get my Optimus Prime toy, and I had to wait until 1999 for an official US release of Final Fantasy V in English. (Of course, I tried playing through it in Japanese with a translation printed out from Andrew Vestal's ex-Square page.) Considering that my VHS copies of the SEs were bad from the get-go, I want new copies on DVD soon. While I would rather not buy them twice just to get more supplements later on, I personally see no reason why they can't release one film at a time over the next few years as a fully loaded Special Edition. Since the buzz is-- and this is just buzz-- that TPM will be on a two DVD set next Spring/Summer, well, odds are they're working on something. Six years is too long, but if it's spread accross the next six years, I don't think I'd have a problem.

(Plus LucasFilm knows darn well that if they released movie-only discs at a SRP of $19.99 they'd sell like crazy and people would line up for a fully loaded box set down the line.)


3
1)why doesnt hasbro do more playsets (seems like back in the days there was a playset for just about ever major scene)...especially ones of this calibar...this set looks really cool to me.

2)why are they still taking pictures of new items with the older (buffed out on steriods) figures and not using the newer better made ones?
  -marco

On the first one, well, cost & sales. For POTF2, we've gotten 2 Death Star Playsets, 2 Dioramas of cardboard, and a pair of other playsets: Endor and Hoth. The response was never overwhelmingly positive for any of these items, although the dioramas got pretty decent marks from most fans. Considering that most of these wound up on clearance-- even the Jabba diorama if you went to K-Marts or looked at almost any online sale-- their reluctance to do more is easy to see. Especially considering that the Carbon Freeze set was set to come out in 1998, dropped due to retailler interest waning, offered as an exclusive, and just finally picked up by the Fan Club for this year.

On number two, more often than not, Hasbro Rhode Island likes to include production figures in their box art if at all possible. Or so it seems. Why? Well, I know the two departments typically work independantly of each other, so odds are the RI folk don't have access to the new goods being made in Ohio. But with the upcoming massacre-- er, I mean consolidation-- this will probably change.

4
How crazy is it to plan a whole Jabba Palace array of figures in the 12" format and NOT include the big guy himself? Sold with his throne room pedestal, I'd buy that for $80 as a TRU exclusive over that stinking Dewback any day.
  -Michael

Not very, considering that Gamorrean Guard and Weequay have since been removed from the list and I believe Lando Skiff might be going as well.


5
Does it cost Hasbro more money to license the name and likeness for a new character (figure) as opposed to a resculpt of a pre-existing figure? Could this be a reason why we see more resculpts than new figures (besides the BS about main characters selling well -- they don't sell well in Canada)? I know we would like to think that everyone at Hasbro are idiots, but there has got to be a more "business related" reason for there extensive amounts of resculpts.
  -Duane

When Hasbro shelled out the big bucks in '98 or so to get Episode One, the alleged $500,000,000 to $600,000,000 covers ALL characters from ALL LucasFilm-owned characters from the movies through Episode Three. In other words, there may be an alien here or there that can't be made (i.e., E.T.) but most others are fair game.

Main characters ship in huge numbers compared to most secondary characters. The Wal-Mart near my home in Phoenix has no less than 20-30 pegs full of POTJ Collection One. And absolutely no Collection Two, Vader/Maul two-packs, or Mega Action Obi-Wan. Most toy stores I visited this weekend have no more than 5 Collection Two left, but tons of C1. So something is up, but it has nothing to do with licensing.

Hasbro is still under the impression that main characters sell. Do they? It sure seems that way, but much of that has to do with the fact that no figure from the TC-14 wave to the Swamp Jar Jar wave tends to be easily available due to their being in warehouses, unsold.

Looking at next year's lists, it looks like we're in for a slightly better time than we were this year, but while there are some choice new characters, Hasbro's discovered what Playmates has known for years. And that is that there's no reason to not reuse old limbs. The same arms on the vintage IG-88 and SOTE IG-88 will be on the POTJ IG-88. (Different color and deco, but you get the idea.) With the newly released POTJ, some torsos are reused in addition to the traditional reuse of the heads. So if anything, I'd say the reason we're getting more resculpts is that a) most are of popular characters and b) old molds are being employed.

(Although I have very high hopes for the new Bespin Lando.)

6
you never did say if the "black" r2 unit would be considered a "Classic" figure, or an Eposode 1 Figure
  -Ruxpen

As I understand it, it's an Imperial droid, meaning it's gonna be classic. (Make all the arguments you want for E2/3 preview figure, I won't listen.)

7
So as a child, what was teh first Star Wars character you went out for Halloween as? Me, I went as Han Solo, but the effect was diminshed by my glasses.
  -Randy

Would you believe I never dressed up as anybody from Star Wars, ever? I did have an Ewok costume, but it was never really used for Haloween as far as I can remember.

8
Who would you name as the *lamest* Star Wars figure ever?
  -Pete

Wow. Tough.

As far as the vintage line in its entirety goes, I would have to go with Prune Face, becauseI never knew what the heck he was supposed to be until a few years ago. Most fans believed he was one of the "Bothan Spies" everyone was curious about, and it made a lot of sense considering nobody knew what the heck those were either. I kinda wish it stayed that way, but Zahn kinda killed that in 1991 with Heir to the Empire. For POTF2 in its entirety, there are a lot of really questionable resculpts. I could go to town bashing most of the Mauls, but let's be frank: they all sold well, and we all like Maul to some degree, so let's bash on somebody else. In terms of quality: Rebel Fleet Trooper. An anachronism if ever there was one, as he was pretty much the only beefed-up, too-tall figure released in 1997. He was released after figures like Endor Han, Bossk, 2-1B, and the Hoth Trooper, all of which were proportionally a little more normal.

In terms of character, I give this award to the as-of-yet unreleased Porkins. And to many complaints, I'm sure. Why? Well, there's many reasons. Rebel Pilots don't seem to be huge sellers, as evidenced by the droves of Rebel Pilots sets at Kay-Bees everywhere and the relatively slow selling Biggs figure. I liked all of these figures, and Ten Nunb is one of the best alien figures available (just look at his head!), but then we come to Porkins. Porkins is being made for one reason and one reason only, and that's because he's really, really fat. This is not meant to be a comment about our culture or anything, but if Porkins was a thin guy, I can almost guarantee you there would be zero interest in the character. He's fat, therefore he's distinctive. If he's packed fairly and his assortment ships in good numbers, he could be another Rancor Keeper. (The POTF2 Rancor Keeper was very close to being named lame, but they did make a POTF2 Rancor about six months after his release, so it makes sense they made one.)

In terms of overall low quality, right after Rebel Fleet Trooper I'd throw the pop-up saber R2-D2. The paint on the dome kinda sucked as did the proportions. At least R5-D4 has an excuse for looking weird as the result of the "we have to make it do something" spirit behind the figure, which I found kinda endearing. (I actually like the figure.) But that R2's got his share of problems.

If I had to rip on one more vintage figure... hmmmmmm... would you believe this is hard? Walrus Man is ripe with errors, but I actually really thought he was a neat figure as a kid. But I think he'd have to be it, just because of the webbed feet and the wetsuit.

9
I really want an Amanaman figure. Is it worth shelling out the cash for a vintage one, or should I cross my fingers and hope Hasbro makes a new one?
  -JC

Hasbro wants to give you your Amanaman. And me my Amanaman. Why aren't we getting one? Because a lot of fans don't understand the idea of "vote for the one you want the most, period" versus "vote for the one you don't think will ever be made." (Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for that Duro figure after seeing the control art and everything, but I was genuinely surprised by the results. And from what I heard from talking to Hasbro, they were too.)

Will there be a new one, you ask. Remember Star Wars figures will probably be made through Episode Three, which means that figures will probably be available through roughly the end of 2006 if not longer. It all depends on Hasbro's assortments and character selections, retailler interest in the line, and our purchasing patterns.

But more specifically, Hasbro seems to have liked the idea of polling fans on their next alien figure. My advice: be careful who you vote for, should this ever happen again. Just because Hasbro hasn't made General Madine, FX-7, the silver Death Star Droid (CZ-3, whatever), the Imperial Dignitary, Paploo, Lumat, Warok, Romba, Teebo, Chief Chirpa, the Rebel Commander, Klaatu (regular outfit), a black Bespin Security Guard (although one could be on tap), and a regular B-Wing Pilot doesn't mean they will. (Note Squid Head wasn't on that list. Make of that what you will.)

While people don't seem to get this, I tend to say it anyway. There is no plan to make every classic Star Wars figure for POTF2. There just isn't. Not a one. If it happens, it happens... but with Madine and the Dignitary, I've got my doubts. I'd like it to happen just so there can be a side-by-side comparison of old toys and new toys, but it probably won't. (Although it'd be real nice if Hasbro did some kinda box set and finished it off for the 25th anniversary for the line in '03. )

So sit tight, your Amanaman has yet to be ruled out. I want one, you want one, and probably most of the 2000+ daily readers of this column want one. (Yup, 2000+. Advertisers inquire within.) So never say never.

10
[Last week], you mentioned you've raided storerooms in search for toys. So I have to ask:

1) What was the employees/manager's reaction
2) Isn't this the bottom of the barrel of SW geekdom that often send us in the same pack as vulcan-ears-wearing-trekkies ?

I mean, when I go to TRU and ask politely, I have no problem getting a clerk to go look for what I want. Some clerks have even given me the release dates of some product and day they were gonna put them on the shelves (for Mcfarlane toys anyway, cause hasbro as not yet found Canada on the map)
  -Dan

Excellent inquiry.

In each instance I've actually entered a storeroom-- something I don't advocate-- a box was clearly visible within feet of the entrance. I almost always ask an employee for "help", but fact is after spending five to ten minutes asking for help and being ignored, I'm not exactly of the mind of "golly, I should just leave that case there even though it's sealed and I know its contents via the assortment number." I have never been accosted for entering "employees only" territory, although I have actually been yelled at for opening cases that were not only sitting on the floor, but right in front of the pegs on which they were about to be placed. (And while I did apologize when I was younger... well, I'm a pretty bitter man for my age and I can dish it out as well as take it. If it's on the store floor, it's fair game, open or not.)

Trekkies aren't known for their collecting habits, so no, it doesn't put one of us at the bottom of the barrel of geekdom. I have money. I want to give this money away to someone for a little plastic man. It's a pretty good deal for them. I want ten seconds of their help to hand me the small plastic man. They refuse. I help myself. Considering the almost always crappy attitude of most stores toward anyone who resembles a collector (i.e., any adult between December 26 and the day before Thanksgiving), I don't feel bad about giving a store my business.

At TRU, though, since the whole remodeling thing the employees have not only been helpful, but seemingly knowledgable as well. Recent trips to the store have been good most of the time, but not always and I like to see the attitude of "we want to sell toys" and not "we want to sell toys, just not to you."

Again, I do not advocate raiding store rooms on a whim. It's bad. But if you can see the product and well, it's RIGHT THERE... it's your call. (Or WWAD?)

If this was medicine in war-torn regions of the world, food in an area where bread is a scarce commodity, or some other chunk of life-giving materials, I can see your point. But these are toys. Dopey, small, fun chunks of plastic the for some reason make me, you, and thousands of other people happy. So enjoy.

FIN
Got questions? Send 'em in.

Latex: I've heard the way to preserve latex collectibles is Armor All. I've also heard it's sealing them off from the elements in some sort of casing. So... the jury is still out. But the one thing everybody seems to agree in is to keep the stuff out of direct light-- ANY light-- if at all possible. Sealing them away from the elements-- again-- seems to be very important as well. Keeping it in a virtual vacuum in the dark may be your best bet. (Thanks Rick, Tony, and everybody else who wrote in.)

More Tuesday, if you send in more questions. I got about 100 notes over the weekend and most of the good ones are in this update. (There still are old questions to be answered, though, so if you still haven't seen yours, don't worry yet. I will announce when the backlog is empty.)

Questions for October 17, 2000

1
Almost afraid to ask, but if you had an Ewok costume and didn't use it on Halloween...... what *did* you use it for?
  -Sean

Scaring the neighbors.


2
You have probably answered this question years ago,why was the power FX Obi-Wan's lightsaber green.
  -ABarra9721

Green LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes, IIRC) are pretty cheap and plentiful, while blue ones aren't. That's what they told me. Why they didn't use blue plastic and a white bulb (not an LED), I don't know.


3
In reguards to the Action Fleet Tie Defender, Jabba's Barge, and E-Wing: What stores were they sold in and where?
  -SIENARtestPILOT

Wal-Mart & Target, if I recall. They were pretty hard to get and delayed for quite a while due to packaging issues. Galoob sold unboxed ones direct as well.

4
What do you think of the new Ultimate Soldier Xtreme Detail figures? If you aren't familiar with these toys, they are 4" World War II action figures. Interestingly, they're in perfect scale with Star Wars action figures. The detailing is incredible. In fact, unlike Star Wars, all of their vehicles are in SCALE with the action figures. The airplanes too! These also make great customizing fodder. day.
  -Peter

Figures? Suck. Vehicles? Pretty good. A bad face equals a bad figure, and these guys have some pretty badly painted mugs.


5
A while back I wrote in to ask about the lack of CommTech chips in the latest batch of figures. I'm not a collector anymore, so I'm not up on the figure buzz as I once was. Reading your column revealed your thoughts on CommTech: "They sucked."

Still, I liked them and was wondering what was the prevailing thought that made Hasbro get rid of them?
  -MG

You and six others. I also said some were really great, but for the most part, I stick with my original conclusion.

The reason for the drop was to make figures cheaper for us. Theoretically, they're $5.99 now.

6
When the inevitable happens, and either Hasbro kicks the bucket (an event that seems more likely in light of the current "consolidation"), or when Hasbro's Star Wars contract runs out after Episode 3, what do you see in the cards for star wars toys?
  -jcavie

For most of you, another dark age which will probably adversely affect all of figure collecting.

For me, this means fun-o-rama and cheap collections on the market for my army building fun.

When interest dies, so will the line. And Episode Three will probably be it, even though Hasbro's contract probably goes beyond that. (I think I read 2009 somewhere, but that's probably wrong.)

7
The Walrus Man from the original Star Wars line is basically who we know now as Ponda Baba right? Second, is it me or is there some controversy over the Cantina scene that involves Ponda Baba and a warewolf man or something? Was the scene changed in the SE and I am so out-of-it I don't remember it? Can you clear this up for me?
  -Stephen

Walrus Man is the name of the figure that was named Ponda Baba in POTF2. The Ponda Baba name did not exist until the SW RPG came out in the late 1980s, though.

Controversy? Well, it was a generic modified off-the-shelf wolf mask which legend has it was kinda embarassing amongst the myriad of intergalactic beasts. Personally, I think it was a waste of time to change it, but as far as I know no legal reasons exist behind the change, just George's mind saying "y'know, I think something else could go there."

8
Adam, I checked out the latest Episode I Action Fleet Checklist you posted on rebelscum.com. At the bottom of the page you indicated the E1 marks the end of all AF product for the 'foreseeable future'. Does this confirm that E2/E3 will not see any new AF vehicles?
  -Pete

Galoob is gone as of December. As in "for good" and not "in name."

While there are unused Action Fleet prototypes that were finished, well, odds are they won't see production despite their potential to be some awesome exclusives for ToyFare or the Fan Club or somebody. Other than very few items, there were very few unproduced items in the line that we're aware of (i.e., the MicroMachines Lobot figure in early photography of the Vader/Bespin set.)

Now, does this confirm anything permanent for the future? Of course it does, because I can see into the future and I know absolutley everything that will ever happen. (By the way, vanilla ice cream won't stain your white shirt today.) But seriously, no, I don't know the future of the brand but the rumblings I've heard outside of what I just wrote are pretty bad. The line's dead. Wrapped in plastic.

9
We have a question about exclusives. How is it that KB toys are getting exclusives that were once from JCPenny and FAO Schwarz? I thought that exclusives were exclusive to a specific store. Will we eventually see Target exclusives like the Y-Wing, etc., selling at KB for half the price (Like Leia and R2-D2) ?
  -Steve

"Exclusive" means "first person to have this for sale." I can buy one and sell them at a store I made up. You can sell them on ebay. If a store doesn't want more and someone else does, they sell somewhere else. They gotta go somewhere...

10
I know that as far as the expanded universe goes, Lucas has said that only canon is the films themselves, and nothing else written matters. So I've got a two pronged question ( "..use the fork, Luke..." God! I kill me!!!). The first prong is this: Why would Lucasfilm bother to OK all this stuff about the past and characters if he was just going to flame it all anyway with Episodes I-III? Why not just say "...No, steer clear of that, we got something else in mind...", or something to that effect? Wouldn't it save us fanatics a lot of headache and confusion? Along those same lines comes the second prong of my question: Seeing as how Lucas has said that he's abandoning the whole Star Wars film "thing" at 6 total movies, should we take that to mean that what's in the many books, novels and stories that take place after Return of the Jedi is now canon, since there are no movies made to contradict them?

Oh, and one last thing. Should I worry about indirect sunlight on my Icons sabers? Also, is there anything out there that might safely remove some tarnish (careless jackass at the factory, no doubt) from the pommel of my Obi-Wan saber without damaging the finish?
  -Donald

Excellent inquiries.

Fans want novels and comics. They just do. More stories are pretty welcome in fandom, I myself have been buying the comics from Dark Horse since they started new ones in 1991. It doesn't matter that they don't affect the films, they're just fun to read, contradictions or no. (Plus... Exar Kun's saber. C'mon. They do have positive ramifications y'know.) Lucas also said there would be 12 movies at one point. Things change, and it's pretty obvious he's relying on EU innovations to further the prequels.

As far as metal goes, well, plastic and rubber are easily altered by the sun. As far as the metal goes, perhaps there's some all-purpose metal cleaner out there. If anyone writes in, I'll post it at the bottom of the column. If you want to try something, though, be sure to try it in an out-of-the-way spot first before the damage is done to the entire piece. But since there is the issue of damaging the finish... hmm... well, dunno. Let us know what happens.

FIN
Got questions? Send 'em in.

New Squirrel Nut Zippers CD comes out today. (Yeah!) No Tom Maxwell, though. (Boo.) 's pretty good, though, very different sounding (mostly because almost the entire band has since been replaced.)

More Wednesday.


Questions for October 18, 2000

1
In ESB, the whole thing about Luke going into the cave on Dagobah and seeing his own head under Vader's mask, what does it all mean?
  -LZ

It's called "symbolism."


2
I was watching Empire Strikes back last night and couldn't help noticing how fast Luke was trained. I'm assuming the Falcon & crew spent some time on the asteroid and it took even more time to fly at sub-light speed to Bespin, but still it couldn't account for more than a month or so on the outside.

Continuing with that, do you recall what the time frame is supposed to be between end of Empire, Shadows of the Empire, and Jedi? I was thinking Jedi took place shortly after Shadows, but It seems strange that Luke would wait so long before building a new lightsaber (which he did in the beginnings of Shadows).
  -Michael

Length of ESB? Quite often a topic of debate, this doesn't seem to have an absolute definite answer with which fans are happy. My guess is a few months if not longer. SOTE takes place right after ESB, ROJ takes place after SOTE. SOTE's comic starts with Luke & Leia on the medical frigate and ends with Darth arriving at the second Death Star.


3
1) Which do you want to see as an Episode 2 preview figure? 2) Do you think we will be able to redeem the worthless Jedi Points for such a promotion?
  -Dave

Well, it all depends on what Hasbro's plans for E2 might be. Most of you know Christopher Lee is in E2. As a villain and an old guy, he's not exactly a guy that jumps out at you as an action figure. So making him a mail-in could be good, just because, well, we'd get one for sure. (And those of you who have just had your lives shattered by the mention of this casting decision as some sort of spoiler... nyah nyah nyah.)

As far as my "if I could have the figure tomorrow" thoughts go, I want a Jango Fett. I just do. I like the sneak pics I've seen and well, I'm a sucker for cool armored and masked figures.

I think that if (IF) it happens as a mail-in, Jedi Points or something new would be employed to get one. Of course, Hasbro does ask for receipts. And receipts are a) pretty easy to fake and b) not usually checked. (I sent in a receipt from a Japanese restaurant at the mall to get my Mace Windu.)

4
Is the carded fan club AT-AT driver the same as the AT-AT pack-in? day.
  -James

Same outfit, new pose. The carded one's got a gun and a Freeze Frame as well.


5
I find this rather frustrating. This is in regards to characters who need to be repackaged, and figure lines that they said will not continue. I remember Hasbro saying they would not make any more Expanded Universe, and that greatly saddened me, especially considering the fact I still had not found Mara Jade or Dark Empire Leia. Then I learn this new Wookie scout figure is coming out. What the hell is Hasbro doing? First they say they are not making any more EU, and out pops a character that is in no movies, no books and is already making a figure debut alongside an RPG card deck. I haven't even gotten a decent Dash Rendar re-sculpt yet and they're doing this?
  -Michael

Well... the truth is kinda weird, but basically Hasbro has a different definition of "Expanded Universe" than we do. Rwoooorryururrryr is EU to us, and looks like he could be the first of many non-film characters. But the key words are "looks like" and "could be." Forget I said anything.

6
I enjoy searching flea markets and antique stores for vintage Star Wars vehicles and playsets. The only problem (besides the occasional inflated price)is that most pieces are incomplete. Can you direct me to some internet site(s) that have good vintage photo archives, so I am a better informed buyer? I recently located an Imperial Shuttle for $95, but it appears to be missing several pieces, most notably the front loading ramp. Also, in your opinion, do you consider this a fair price?
  -Dave

If it's in overall good shape other than one or two missing parts, well, no point in waiting if you can afford it. Check out links on Toysrgus.com for more, there's quite a few sites out there that fit the bill for what you need.

7
How long do Star Wars figures last? What I mean is, if they become antiques (as opposed to being just collectables), and end up being passed down as family heirlooms, will they still look okay in a hundred years time, like tin soldiers do. . .or are they made in such a way that their appearance will inevitably deteriorate over time, even if kept MOC?
  -Amanda

Well, we don't know yet. Theoretically they're supposed to last for a while, but not forever. I think they will eventually deteriorate (some vintage guys have spontaneously gotten sticky), but it could take a long, long time. But who knows?

8
After much thought I finally came up with a question to ask you. I personally found this a little odd, so I thought I'd ask for your ideas on the matter. Why is it that Hasbro takes the time to produces lavishly designed packages for products that are going to be an exclusive that can't really be bought in a "store". Specifically, fan club exclusive toys, such as Wuher, the Carbon Freezing Chamber (this I understand, since it wasn't officially planned to be an exclusive), and the Chancellor Valorum 12inch two pack, while other figures come out in plain boxes, such as the Stormtrooper Han, or the Bith Band members, or B'Omarr Monk.
  -Adam

Wuher was gonna be a regular carded figure, and we even received a few reports of people finding him-- or so claiming-- at Wal-Mart. As far as the 12"ers go... well, sometimes exclusives are developed before deciding who gets them. Two guys in a white box ain't goin' nowhere at Target. But then again, there's mail-in Mace Windu... and I say, why not? So it looks cool. Good.

9
Hey Adam, I remember years ago when Playmates Toys released their 1701 series figures caused quite a stir among the Star Trek collectors resulting in some Playmates executives losing their jobs over this I believe. My question is, is the release of short-packed Star Wars toys like Holo Leia R2, Swimming Jar Jar and others causing a similar stir in the Hasbro corporate offices as well? Can we expect a re-release of these toys in different package forms in the future like the Star Trek 1701 series figures.
  -Mark

With Star Wars, the "rare" figures were produced in pretty big numbers. Like 30,000 or more as of yet unsold. That's much different than 1701-3000. We can still expect more of the original figures to show up, it's just a matter of when.

10
When you think of a figure being loose and complete what do you consider that to be?Would a POTJ Coruscant Guard minus the Force File be complete?How about an R2-D2 w/Holo Leia sans Commtech chip?Basically,do you consider pack-in extras...freeze frames,force files,flashbacks,commtechs,etc. to be a necessity in determining the wholeness of a figure?
  -Rob

With the classic figures, it was pretty much all parts of the figure-- weapons, helmets, etc.-- but not the coin. With the new guys, it seems to be basically the same thing. CommTechs, Flashbacks, etc. are usually considered extras, but each collector has a unique definition of complete. A lot of fans believe that a figure WITH its card is worth about as much as a figure sealed on its card. Nutty, eh?

FIN
Got questions? Send 'em in.

More tomorrow.

Questions for October 19, 2000

1
Since we are getting a 12" IG-88, Bossk, & 4-Lom, What do you think are the chances of getting Zuckuss & Dengar down the road? I know Dengar kind of bites , but I would like to have him for a complete set. Any insight?
  -Scott

With the 12" Gamorrean and Weequay not happening for now, it's harder to say for certain, but I think they'll show up somewhere, someday. Unless these three sell so poorly that there's reason not to finish the set.


2
The prequels are the 'backstory' to the classic trilogy, but do you think the prequels themselves will have a backstory, hinted at/explored in the next two films? For example, like Anakin turning out to be a test tube Sith (just where was he born?) or Shmi or Qui-Gon being not what we thought they were? And just how did Palpatine become a Sith?
  -Amanda

Well... there's a lot of potential discussion here. But I like to keep it short.

Every story has some form of backstory. Obi-Wan had to come from somewhere, but the issue of where is pretty much up to future comic book and novel releases. I'd say there's about zero chance of pre-prequels ever being made... given that Lucas has now officially decided that Star Wars is about Anakin/Vader and not Luke.

Will we ever know Palpatine's Sith roots? Hopefully. But it isn't really necessary to the story, like knowing Yoda's race, so odds are we won't find out until after Episode III in the EU. But what do I know?

Pretty much everybody has an explaination for Anakin's origin that's "just so obvious," yet no two are alike. Right now, the themes of the movie point to immaculate conception. And for the purposes of the story, it might just work out. No one knows, so let's find out.


3
Will we ever see a Dianoga figure, or will I have to start an internet campaign to get one? (Hey, it worked for Porkins)

What, in your opinion, are the "greatest figures never made?" -- one oversight from each of the four films (resculpts count)
  -Jones

Unfortunately, there is no official design for the Dianoga, so I'd say chances are kinda slim outside an eyestalk and a tentacle being thrown in a playset. There was something that I believe Anthony Daniels was quoted as saying either he or someone else saw and said looked like "a big brown turd," but well, it never did have an on-screen appearance and while there may very well be pics of the "turd", I've never seen it. An original Kenner design exists that was packaged with the legendary Death Star Space Station playset, and West End Games had some of their own renderings as well. So... while I'd like one, well, just what would it look like? If they still made CommTech chips, it'd be cool to have the tentacle plug the hole like Palpatine's Camdroid and have the eyestalk sit on the foot peg. But alas, they are gone. And that figure would be the worst value since a really invisible version of Mrs. Richards.

A petition couldn't hurt, but odds are a playset is the only way we'd see a 4" scale version of the critter again.

As far as figures go... my favorite unmade characters (unmade including vintage) are the following (2 per film): (Keep in mind a lot of figures I want aren't on here due to their coming out in the next year.)
ANH: Biggs Darklighter (Academy outfit), Gotal (cantina alien)
ESB: ...uhh... there aren't any must-haves here, really
ROJ: Rappertunie, Gamorrean resculpt with the pike
TPM: Wald, Wookiee Senator

...and somebody asked who the lamest figure Hasbro could do for Episode One might be. My answer: Ben Quadrinaros. A giant face with arms does not a good alien make.

4
There is a picture sometimes used on various collecting websites, as well as in the Star Wars Visual Dictionary, which shows bounty hunter Bossk standing next to Boba Fett in Jabba's Palace. Do you happen to know that the genesis of this picture is? Does Bossk appear somewhere in Jedi? Is he on the cutting room floor? Is this some strange marketing-only photo set up to plug a comic book line or something?
  -Christopher

I know that pic was around in '83, but I'm fairly sure it was a publicity still taken on the set. I've never seen that exact line-up on screen, but I'm fairly sure I remember seeing Bossk in ROJ last time I watched. (Heck, I found Pote Snitkin, I must've.)


5
Any idea when and why adults started collecting toys?
  -Chris

A loooong time ago. SW fans as kids bought them, and they wanted them again as adults. But as far as toys go, there were collectors in the first 12" Joe line, but before that, people collected tin toys, dolls, and a variety of items for who knows how long. Granted, it wasn't as commercial as it is today. If you can imagine a commerce based activity not being commercial.

Actually, collecting "modern" action figures was pretty frowned upon in when I was buying the then still "new" Star Wars figures from '78-'85 at toy shows in the late '80s. The whoel phenomenon of collecting current toys is relatively new, I'd say other than a very few individuals, less than a decade. Otherwise it was just kid's stuff. (But I *liked* buying kid's stuff. Because you could buy it and it was durable.)

6
I have always wanted a Shuttle Tydarium and I finally have enough money. I was wonderinf of I should go for it or I should wait.
  -bigv99

Lots of people want shuttles these days, it seems. You say you have enough money. Assuming you can afford to eat, why not? Any hypothetical new one would have some changes made to it, so if you want one, what's stopping you from buying it?

7
I am curious about the green potf2 regular xwing. I know I never saw one in stores, nor at any toy shows; I did however finally see a picture on one of these interent sites or ebay. What kind of distribution did the green potf2 boxed regular x-wing get.
  -MC

It's a hard-to-find box of an easy-to-find toy. I never saw one in stores, but then again, I don't really collect boxed toys so I wasn't looking. If you can find one cheap and you want one, snag it. Otherwise... well, it's green. Whopeee.

8
I am a little confused here on thge topic of what retailers pickup and pass on. Its been mentioned alot lately that retailers don't want certain items or pick up certain action figures I.E. Eopie & qui gon.

Is hasbro telling me and other collectors, that the heads or executives of places like target & walmart are knowledgeable enough to make decisons on what figures they want and think will sell?
  -tony

The problem is pretty much what you say. Since the Beast Assortment contains items like the Eopie, Opee, Jabba, and Kaadu sets, well, a store has no reason to order more if the initial batch doesn't sell. Since you never know what'll sell, well, figger this:

A store orders 6 cases of the Beast Assortment in May. They now have 18 Opees and 18 Kaadus. A few sell, but most of them sit around unsold. Jabba ships in the Fall, but the store still has over a dozen unsold Beasts. Their computers show them to be well stocked in Beasts, and they continue to sit. Now, to get rid of the Beasts, they clear them out. Later, the Eopie would have shipped. But nobody orders because they still have plenty of beasts.

So there's a few problems here. If Hasbro were to move away from assortments, stores could order just the toys they want. It really wouldn't kill them to move away from assortments for anything non-figure related, heck, figures too. It's a nasty system.

9
are there any new 12"ers of Ep1 coming anytime soon?
  -chris

None we're aware of other than the Target set of Tarpals and the Kaadu.

10
I can't seem to recall where K-3PO showed up. Do you know which SW movie scene he/she/it was in?
  -rss

Hoth, ESB. Maybe you can't see the droid without the widescreen set. (Don't much want to pull out the ol' P/S set to check.)

FIN
Got questions? Send 'em in. Not getting many new ones lately...

More tomorrow.

Questions for October 20, 2000

1
We've been hearing over and over again how downhill things are going. Hasbro is closing division it aquired in takeovers, and the third quarter sales look sluggish on Star Wars. So how bad is it for Hasbro and everyone's favorite line of toys? Are we talking a drastic reduction in product? Or a cancellation of product 'til E2? Or maybe cancellation?
  -EVILCHUK

Actually, last I heard there was enough product in the wings to more or less fill out the next year or so. So cancelling that much stuff, especially considering it'd probably sell well, would be a big mistake.

While Star Wars sales were down in the last quarter, there's a lot of questions one should ask when reading that statement. WHOSE sales were down? Those from Hasbro to stores, or stores to us? Since Hasbro had no new product available to stores for the summer, it's not surprising that their sales were down. Since stores had no new product, it's not surprising their sales would be down either. So it's a loaded statement.

Star Wars will not be canned next year. Not that we know, anyway. They paid a lot for the license, and while a break might not be a bad thing, it just isn't in the wings right now.


2
I remember collecting the ROTJ vintage toys as a kid that Prune Face (Orrimarko?) was always considered a villain, a "bounty hunter" from what I remember. Why is it now he is part of the Rebel Alliance? When did this change of allegiance take place ? The first time I noticed this was the POTF2 FF figure. Any help on if this was mentioned in a novel, etc. would be appreciated.
  -Mario

Prune Face was always a Rebel. I just never noticed him in the Rebel Briefing room until... well, a few years ago. I think everyone just assumed he was in Jabba's Palace somewhere... I know I did.


3
Okay, my ignorance is showing. Was there ever a 4" scale Tie Interceptor made? Is there one in the works?
  -SIENARtestPILOT

There was a vintage one, and no plans exist to release a new one anytime soon.

4
Care to speculate as to why the 12" Speederbike is on clearence already?
  -Joshua

Some stores got dozens (if not more) of 'em, and they take up a lot of space. My guess is they want the space and they want it now.


5
I have a distinct memory of a scene from the Cantina, which is not in the films, and no friends can confirm with me, it just lasts a few seconds. I think it may have been from one of the TV specials that came out in the 70's. The scene is of the bartender serving a drink to an alien with a funnel shaped head, the funnel shaped head alien is telling the bartender his woes, and pours his drink into the top of his funnel head rather than drinking with his mouth. If this is really a scene, do you have any idea on how to obtain the special so I can prove my sanity?
  -Mike

Never heard of it. You're just nuts.

Addendum: Some evil people brought up memories of the Cantina sequence in the holiday special, which I paid lots of money and spent years in therapy to forget. Thanks a lot.

6
Another strange memory is 4-Lom and Zuckuss, I remember owning my 4-Lom and Zuckuss, but 4-Lom was not the droid, he was the alien in the tan trenchcoat, the bug eyes, the double layered barreled gun, and Zuckuss was the Droid. Have these figures had an identity crisis? Or am I just flat out loony?
  -Michael

The vintage figures had the names swapped, and with the figures being the main form of reference in those days, those names stuck until the RPG changed 'em back, much to the bafflation of yours truly. So the error was in the original Kenner line, and it continues to confuse many collectors to this very day.

7
The new force files included in the POTJ line are probably the best pack-ins Hasbro has done yet (well, the best in this hemisphere that is). My question is this: do you have any idea what Hasbro will be doing about these when E2 comes out?
  -Los

Sure. I am, after all, psychic. (But I'm not gonna tell you.)

8
I know direct sunlight will fade the packaging,but what about figures and playsets?I'm running out of room on the mantle and my treehouse of horror gets hit by skylight sunshine for maybe twenty minutes a day.My Naboo fighter too.
  -ABarra9721

20 minutes a day? Heck if I know. I had two red lightsabers turn almost clear by being in indirect sunlight. Still dunno how that happened, but it did, and now I've got a clearish saber with my Removable Helmet Vader and a very pink saber with Dark Empire Luke. (Which are two of my top 5 favorite figures.)

If you're that worried, move them. If you aren't, don't.

9
How and where do scalpers and internet dealers get their supplies of stuff? And why can't a regular old collector like me tap those same resources some how?
  -Rhonda

Many of them have no lives. Less of a life than I have, even. It's not unheard of for people to camp in front of stores and go to every toy store, every day. So you too can be an obsessive toy geek.

10
Why can Toy Biz and McFarlane toys ship to Canada in about 2 weeks after the US release while Hasbro takes months to send a single item ? We got all the new Movie Maniacs, Spawn & Kiss figures in the last 2 weeks. And we had the X-men figures the day the movie opened. From Hasbro ? 99$ Dewback and the 25$ Batman figure (who's the mental case who came up with THAT price). And the HASBRO factory is only 30 minutes away from Montreal !!!
  -Daniel

Some times there's just no good answer.

FIN
Got questions? Send 'em in. Not getting many new ones lately...

More Monday.

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