Q & A Archive for the Week of October 30, 2000
Agency to triple facilities for the aged

Questions for October 30, 2000

did the the second wave of "invasion force" vehicles ever come out - you know, Obi-Wan with one-man Bongo and Darth Maul with Sith Probe? I don't believe I EVER saw these suckers. (Not that I'm all that psyched about more Mauls and E1 Obi's in my collection.)

While most brick and mortar stores never got them, tons of online stores like Entertainment Earth, DNS Toys, Amazon, and more got these. I still need to order them, myself. The Darth Maul speeder is a fun little toy, even if it is the 57th Darth Maul figure.

I recently scored the 12" Han and Chewie figures (took a while to get Down Under) - Han won't stand - easily fixed using Wedges stiffer boots, but why would they mould Chewie in a way that he can't hold his bowcaster? Both arms are done in a way that they both should hold it....and I don't think I should rip his arms off.....

Well, actually, if you can make it work by taking the figure apart, I say do it. Hasbro's really goofed up the bulk of their 12" releases in some form or another, so swapping bodies or modifying stuff seems like a must if you want a really nice figure. I think a really nice Chewbacca is something that's beyond the 12" divison's capabilities right now...

Why can't Chewie hold his bowcaster? I dunno. Why did they design the first POTF2 Han and Chewie so they can't fit in the Falcon's cockpit? Why did they release the C-3PO carry case so that most figures don't fit inside it? Why did it take them five years to release a real Boba Fett resculpt? It's just part of the whole "I dunno, but I'm glad when they do something really awesome" part of the hobby.

Hi Adam, I was wondering what is the best way of knowing what POTJ figures have been released.

Our checklists area is kinda nice. I like it.

If you could create your own Star Wars video game, what would it be about?

Some ungodly amalgamation of Shenmue, Final Fantasy III (or VI to you Japanese readers), and Metroid (or CastleVania: Symphony of the Night to those unfamilliar with Metroid.) As far as the story goes, well, something that doesn't involve main characters in key roles, doesn't involve any new Imperial doomsday weapons, and doesn't involve a miraculous finding of a new Jedi hopeful. (And yes, I would include Jar Jar, and no, not to be killed.) Actually, my dream job would be to write a console-based Star Wars RPG-ish type of game... that'd be a ton of fun, and a great way to tell a story in a unique way. (Actually, I've got a few really nifty SW short stories I've been kicking around that'd make a good comic or RPG or something. If I ever wrote 'em down, that'd make it easier.)

I'm sure alot of people know by now that if you remove the blue cloak from the Senate Guard you get a nice little surprise. Nothing weird or anything like that. Geez gutter minds. But his outfit underneath is strikingly similar to Kir Kanos outift from Crimson Empire. Do you know the story behind this? Was this a little gift to Customizers from Hasbro or is this a harbringer of more EU action figures? What is the deal?

Believe it or not, Hasbro has been doing stuff like this for a while. Zuckuss, EU Emperor, and a variety of other figures have fairly well designed... erm... undergarments? It is weird, really, and why Hasbro would go to the extra effort to make a good figure great is a mindblowing thought... but a welcome one. I don't think this has anything to do with upcoming figures or customization, just Hasbro making one of their not-so-common A+++ figure sculpts. Except for the face under the helmet, that's a little funky.

OK I realize that you have mentioned several times in the Q&A section that no Freeze Frame figures will be released in the POTJ series and that we should get off our butts and get out there and hunt for them because they are on special at all the local clearing houses. Now my question is that even though I have spent the last four months hunting for these elusive figures - what is the best way, in your opinion to find them? See I live in Canada and there are no Freeze Frame figures to be found here - am I stuck using ScalpBay.....er Ebay? Are there online sites that have these available at a decent cost? Please don't think I am whining, it's just that I am pulling my hair out trying to complete my collection, and am at a point that I am willing to through good money at these plastic men....aliens to get them.

Well, just the other day about a dozen cases of the Mon Mothma wave hit my local Toys "R" Us at $1.97 per. A steal any way you slice it. No Collection 2 or 3 figures in the mix, though, but the fact that these guys just showed up after there being no FF figures there for a while leads me to say this: keep looking. The secondary market is a great way to get these guys, but it's not impossible to assume we will see some more RH Vaders or Ishi Tibs some day soon.

As far as Canada is concerned, well, you're screwed, more or less. Take a road trip to Michigan or something, maybe you'll scare up some goods... but buying from collectors elsewhere is probably your best bet.

Did you like the "Epic Force" line? I sure did, I thought they were some of the best figures I've ever seen, and wish they had done the rumored "Episode I" Destroyer Droid befor the line bit the dust.

As far as figures go, Epic Force was incredible. Boba Fett was just a killer figure, Vader was OK, Luke was pretty great, C-3PO was an "A" figure, I loved the Leia and Stormtrooper figures... but I still haven't got the FAO set and most of the E1 guys. (I got Maul for $3, though.)

As far as a fourth rumored figure, I never got word of who would have fleshed out the E1 assortment, but a Battle Droid and Destroyer Droid were both mentioned. Maybe we'll know some day...

At $15, the line was without hope. Fans always obsess over the 4" guys, and to a lesser extent, the 12". We don't want a new scale, as cool as it might look, we just don't. But that Mega Action Destroyer Droid is looking mighty groovalicious.

Do you know if the TV series Droids or Ewoks was or is available anywhere on DVD? Also did you get a PS-2 yet?

Nope, I wish it were, though. VHS sets are hard to come by in North America, but I've been told Japan and elsewhere has had sets made available. (Word to LFL: Make Ewoks, Droids, or the two Ewoks flicks on DVD and *WE WILL BUY THEM*.)

Haven't got a PS2 yet, no. Not that I didn't look, I'm actually quite amazed it sold as well as it did, but I guess I'll be waiting quite a while before they're made available in my neck of the woods. Random story: I was looking for a cheap used copy of Crazy Taxi yesterday ($15, yipee) and I encountered a variety of people returning PS2 games to the store... like two each, about four or five people. Which is kinda disturbing this early in a console's life, but then again, the first PSX's library sucked for the first year as well.

So, if, as you said "Fan demand is there for more Ewoks", and "I don't think I've gotten a letter over the past five years that said 'man, I hate Ewoks.'", then why, in your opinion, haven't we seen more Ewoks in, not only action figures, but comics, novels, etc.?

While people are interested in Ewok figures, I don't think anybody wants more new Ewok stories all that much. While the figures would probably do well, I don't think anybody wants an Ewok PSX game, or a Wicket's Adventures comic mainly because... well, we got lots of Ewok stuff before, and well... you know where I'm headed.

At the end of today's Q&A (Thur, 10/26), you comment about people who feel they are being made to buy another version of a figure.

My question is, who exactly is holding a gun to these people's heads? What heignous criminal is making them buy figures? What do you think the presidential candidates positions would be on the issue?

Well, great questions all around.

I think Gore is for a collector's right to choose. He'd say "The toy government shouldn't have the ability to force an unwanted child like Anakin on a young collector, even an older one. Oh, and I invented the action figure."

Bush would say "Well, I've done a lot of soul-searching on this topic and I don't think you can break apart a toy family. The Republican Party is all about inclusion these days, and breaking up a complete set seems like something we shouldn't see in today's America. This is something we'll be tackling in my edumacation programs, and God willing, it'll start when I'm sworn in this January!"

Nader would probably go with something like "If the fatcats can afford a complete set of figures, then we need a maximum wage so that all Americans can enjoy some Star Wars figures and not allow the top 1% to have a complete set. And buckle up on your toy runs."

This, folks, is why I don't write political humor anymore. That was probably incredibly painful for you to read, and this will be the first and last series of jokes on the topic.

As far as it goes... well, there's something to be said about having a complete set, but the definition of a complete set is something that varies from person to person. Some say it's a complete set of every figure on every package variation with every figure variation and even some minor things that are only variants to the obsessive basement-dwelling toy geek. (Like you or me.) Others say "one of every different figure." Some might just want one of every main character. Right now, the second one seems to be it, with each new Maul and Anakin taking the name of new figure, as similar as they may be to older ones.

Got questions? Send 'em in.

Gah. Ugh. Wheeeew. That was awful.

The megathon continues Tuesday!

Questions for October 31, 2000

how do I get my hands on a copy of the famous "Star Wars Christmas Special"?

Well... you don't. This "special"-- well, "special" might be appropriate for it given the word's current connotation-- was never released commercially, so the only copies left in the world are from old videotape copies made when the show aired.

It both sucks and blows. It is possible. While decent quality copies exist (I own one), well, fact is you aren't missing much. If LucasFilm were to release it in some sorta SW DVD box with the Ewok flicks or some making of specials, I think that'd be great... it'll never happen, but it'd be cool.

As far as finding a copy goes, your friendly neighborhood video bootlegger probably has a copy or two for sale at a typical sci-fi and/or toy show. It probably won't be worth the price, but hey, I didn't heed the warnings when I bought my copy either.

I'm an old-school vintage collector, don't care much for the POTF2/POTJ stuff but some of it is cool. I have been trying to assemble a full collection of carded 12 backs. Do you know anything about fakes on the market?

I have never really heard of a plague of carded fake figures (or fake carded figures [or figures on fake cards]) all that much... I'm sure it's been known to happen, but you can usually tell a fake pretty easily if you've handled the real thing.

What is Hasbro using as the justification for the current batch of Maul and Obi-Wan resculpts? My TRU has a shelf full of Mauls that aren' t moving at 1.97.

Well, I've only answered this question ten thousand times since 1998, what's one more?

The resculpts, according to Hasbro, sell well. And to an extent, this seems to be true-- most stores in my area who did NOT get upwards of 6 cases of POTJ Collection 1 seem to have sold through most if not all of their figures, except for a few Obi-Wans which always seem to sit. Any store that gets these in what I would consider decent numbers seems to get stuck with them. So the whole "how many people are buying these because they think they're rare?" thing comes into play.

Old figures are old figures. New figures sell, regardless of suckitudeness. At least for a little while.

I don't want to waste too much space here so a simple reply of: "cancelled", "delayed", "unknown" or "what the hell are you talking about?" for each one will do.
1.Luke with Bacta Tank
2.Leia-Rebel Briefing
3.Naboo Soilder
4.Watto's Junk Shop
5.3 3/4" Take Apart C-3P0
6.Holographic Obi-Wan
7.Holographic Amilidala


1. Never confirmed by the big H in the first place.
2. Same as Leia (General). Just a name change.
3. Well, two Naboo army guys are out now...
4. Eh?
5. I saw it on a list, but I don't remember if it was one of Hasbro's.
6. & 7. Appeared online at Yak's (methinks) but never confirmed by Hasbro. Meaning that they could either show up very soon or we just happened to be very lucky to see these never-produced toys.

I, myself have gone from 1995-looking all over desparately for a Boba Fett 1/2 circle variation. To 2000-not going out of my way at all to look for any of the dozens of variations that are out there. My question is, do you see the collecting community less interested in variations these days, or do you still see the same demand? And if you still see the same demand, what variations seem most popular?

The community as a whole seems very jaded right now. Believe it or not, a collecting buddy has referred to me as one of the less jaded people who is still buying the stuff. Scary, no?

Variations still interest a few people a great deal. Significant ones tend to interest many collectors. Fett's always a popular little bugger, but most fans these days just want the "correct" version of a figure. Me, I'll take any variation that interests me. (I should probably get the Ki-Adi Mundi Saber variant, but I'll be damned if I can remember what it is.)

New variations are the most popular. Period. Old stuff dies quickly. Even the "transitional" orange/green carded guys from late '96 are selling for about regular retail. So a lot of collectors are now able to afford to fill holes in their collections, assuming they don't want an insignia-less Boba Fett.

What happened to the 12" Classic/Episode I Obi-Wan 2pack was that postponed or scrapped.

I wasn't aware this product was ever confirmed.

do you see the price of the toys r us dewback coming down soon? $80.00 just seems too high. also most toys r us seem to always have a good number in stock which seems to take up alot of shelf space.

Well, there are dozens of unsold lizards at my local store, and I assume many of you have noticed a similar infestation of the overstock. If TRU really wants that shelf space back, those suckers are getting marked down. Personally, I think it'll be a while. Even though the cost was reported to me as being around forty bucks (thank you Paul) I have my doubts they're in a rush to unload them, given the time of year and all it might actually sell to the passive shoppers looking for a unique gift. (Yes, I know I'm full of crap.)

I expect some sorta drop after X-mas.

You mentioned figures that are coming out that haven't appeared on an official hasbro list yet. Who is there besides a New Luke X-wing, New Lando, Squid head and Amanaman?

Amanaman is not among the figures listed for a 2001 released as far as I've seen so far. (And no, Hasbro hasn't said to me "oh, we're doing it, just don't say anything" or anything like that. There are flat out no official plans to make the guy yet.)

As far as figures that have appeared on Hasbro lists go... there are a few. Including a new Bespin guard, a new Sandtrooper, another Maul, a mechanic Chewie, basically just enough to keep you sorta interested until Episode II.

Recently I came across a small time dealer who was selling a bunch of loose Dewback Troopers ( the Sandtrooper variant with the grey rank and bendable knees) for a low price without their weapons or backpack. Seeing an opportunity to expand my army without having to buy the additional Dewbacks, I bought three. When I took them home and compared them, I noticed the Sand deco ( to make 'em 'dirty') was not present on my three new troopers. They are clean! The Black paint is present, just not the 'sand' paint. What gives? Are these prototypes, Variations ( whoopee), items stolen from a Hasbro factory before final deco stages could be added? No way are these knockoffs, they look identical to the painted trooper I have.

This is news to me, but I'd assume they've been stolen before completion or were some sort of rejects.

I'm curious, From the "allies & enemies" section of the new Force Files, the pictured characters that I've seen thus far have been released in figure form or are scheduled to be released. Well tonight I found Gen. Leia and inside the Force File two of the enemies pictured are Imperial officers and Moff Jerjerrod. Have you heard any speculation on these showing up in plastic form in the near future?

Well, speculation, yeah.

ANY character is pretty much fair game to be released as an action figure. I would assume that Hasbro would not list characters of which they have no intent to mold in plastic, but they do weird stuff from time to time. I'd love a shot at a Jerjerrod figure... but no plans have been sent my way, Imperial or otherwise.

Questions for November 1, 2000

I've noticed that the 12" Star Trek line has head sculpts that are strikingly like the characters, while the 12" Star Wars line basically kinda sucks when it comes to head sculpts (O'course the best ever has to be that Toys McCoy Indy). Why can't Hasbro come up with better looking head sculpt? It can't be that much more expensive.

The bulk of Hasbro's 12" line has been pretty average, at best. While there are shining stars like the Speederbike with Scout, R2-D2 (if he is a bit small), and the Pit Droids, most of the toys seem to be made pretty cheaply. In other words, a poor face sculpt doesn't seem to be something that concerns the 12" team right now, despite a nice face being what makes or breaks most figure purchases for me these days. (21st's Xtreme Detail figures and the Ash Movie Maniacs figure were pretty easy to pass on for this reason. Not to mention most post-1998 12" SW figures.)

Customizers have shown that a little paint can make these below average headsculpts look spectacular, and that shows that some of the sculps are OK, but deco is the issue. That said, some heads are beyond help, with many of the 12" Qui-Gons being lousy and with 12" electronic figures not selling for the price of $4.97, it's obvious Hasbro needs to do some more work when it comes to making the newest 12" assortments.

It's weird... this segment of the line contains both the very best and some of the absolute worst product to be associate with the brand. Since the new Bounty Hunters assortment turned out particularly well (or so says the pictures), I'd say that I have high hopes for the line. But as much as I bag on stuff here, I'm an optimist when it comes to next year's Star Wars toys.

It seems the company who produced and marketed the "Toys McCoy" Indiana Jones figure is not a toy manufacturer after all-they make leather goods. But the owner of that company has a real jones for Jones and petitioned Lucasfilm for the rights to produce a limited number of these guys and distribute them in Japan. Needless to say, Lucasfilm gave the thumbs-up, and there it is-one kick-ass figure that puts EVERYONE (Hasbro, Dragon, Lego) to shame. If this is true, then it would stand to reason that anyone with money enough to pull it off, and someone high enough in the Lucas camp could produce their own highly detailed, super-duper, all-the-bells-and-whistles Star Wars figures-assuming Lucasfilm gives 'em the okee-doke. Now, is this just pie-in-the-sky, or did this guy give the straight dirt? Just thought it was something that sounded a little to fruity to me. What's your take? Thanks, Obi-Adam.

I think the existance of this product is an example of how to both do things right and tick off a whole bunch of people all at once. While hi-end, expensive, nice, collector dolls are the norm in Japan, and there's nothing to stop such an item from being made over here, could you imagine the fan uproar here?

It's one thing if it's foreign, but American fans seem to feel entitled to purchase every toy produced in North America. (I know I do.) Well, with some exceptions. Y'know that $800+ FAO Amidala doll? There's a fine example of this happening here, with most fans complaining about the price (my mother included, she wanted a doll of that outfit and that price is a little much), but ultimately, most fans ended up not caring. Be it the outfit, the character, or the price, I don't hear a lot of buzz on this item anymore. If it were an Indy for $800 that was this limited, though, I would imagine a considerable amount of angry letters being sent to me-- because ALL angry email online pertaining to Star Wars tends to end up in my inbox-- and then I'd be even more cynical, bitter, and sarcastic until it stopped.

I don't think America really wants that sort of product right now. When it tops $100, well, we scoff. The Marmit guys are nice, but I think that's about as far as most fans are willing to go.

Hey Adam here's one for you. Which of the original line of figures do you think will never see the light of day in today's line? Imperial Dignitary? FX-7? Snaggletooth? What are your thoughts?

Snaggletooth came in the Cantina Aliens set in early '99 (Takeel). Just FYI.

I think that a dignitary COULD be packaged with the shuttle, should it ever be decided that this is a vehicle to be made for stores. I think FX-7 could happen because he's distinctive, and if Bacta Luke ever saw production, it'd make sense. Personally, I think Madine is about the only vintage character other than a few of the Ewoks to never see a revised version, which is too bad really.

What do you think would happen if all collectors quit buying the resculpts?

They'd stop making them, or make them so good you couldn't pass them up. (Say what you will about resculpts, but Cantina Han is nothing short of incredible.) My guess is if the typical 6-points of articulation figures stop selling, we'd see some more "special" versions before the whole resculpt idea goes out the window, even though many adult collectors are not especially interested in them in the first place.

Adam, I had a feeling this was going to happen, and damnit I was right. I knew that Hasbro was making a mistake by rehashing Maul, Obi-Wan, and Anakin in the POTJ series. These are the 3 of the biggest peg warmers I have seen in a very long time. Now I have a feeling that the next wave of figures is going to be much more difficult to find because retailers will be afraid to order more figures. Why does Hasbro keep doing this? When will they learn?

I think this has to be my next "I'm not talking about this again" topics along with Holo Leia R2s and Pepsi cans from Episode One.

In some stores, they sell and sell well. In others, they don't sell at all. So far, it seems there's no reason to NOT do these, but if they continue to sit in stores come the holidays, we might see some changes.

Ya know what would be way cool? A 12" STAP with Battle Droid! C'mon Hasbro- this could be almost as cool as the 12" Speeder Bike-if done right. It would take an all-new super-detailed Battle Droid sculpt, along with an equally detailed STAP.

I'd buy one of these if they got it out around forty or fifty bucks. Neat idea!

Question.....in the last star wars collectors insert in lee's(?) magazine there was a picture of a japanese toys-r-us exclusive called mos eisley cantina...it came wrapped in cardboard and include 10 figures or so...i was wondering what the story behind this item is...have you ever seen one up close and personel...and where can a person get one?

Well, it was a specially packaged set for Toys "R" Us in Japan. It's really nothing special beyond that. Ebay's a good bet for this sort of item, but as it's nothing more than a special packaging variation, not having this item in your collection wouldn't necessarily be a huge deal.

Why do stores do exclusives of 12" figures when they could just do an exclusive of a particular kind of packaging in one store (eg, deluxe graphic doodahs, maybe a film cel, or production art, limited and numbered), and the figure in more common packaging for other stores? There are lots of openers like me who just want the figure, and then maybe I could get a 12" sandtrooper with orange pauldron. The Han and Luke Stormtrooper 12"'s are a pricey exclusive with that KB logo on them - but the foreign version, which is identical (minus KB logo) is far cheaper and easier to get. This is great for people like me who just want the damn figures.

Variations attract a specific kind of collector, so new packaging as an exclusive would be somewhat dull, not to mention kinda expensive. Since you (and I) open the figures, the box doesn't matter, and making new boxes would not entice you to buy the same figure two or three times. The idea of exclusives is to get you to go to the store and buy this special toy (or so I've been lead to believe), so this sort of thing would probably leave most fans cold.

Since the end of '98, most exclusives (12", anyway) have been available. While the Wal-Mart Maul set is a little tough to get (only saw it once at one store, kinda wish I bought it), everything else seems fairly easy to come by. Well, now that the Speederbikes were blown out, not so much, but if one paid full price, one could've had one.

In order for special packaging to work as an exclusive, it'd have to be pretty damned special. And that's something I don't think we'll see anytime soon.

Is there anyway you can do 2 columns in a row with the word "heignous" in it?

Isn't it "heinous"? I haven't seen a Bill & Ted flick lately. (Speaking of which, where are those two films on DVD???)

Are there any figures that you would not buy?

As of today, there is no 4" figure that I would not buy. But with all the resculpts, well, this could change in the next year.

Got questions? Send 'em in.

The other day, I made note of the fact that I saw people returning what seemed to be quite a few PlayStation 2 games to the store. Please note that a game and a game console are two entirely different things. If the actual console was being returned, well, that'd be all over the national news. The fact that at least a few local stores were getting two-day old games back was kinda surprising.

Also, someone asked if I could be any more random. Well, I can try.

Yesterday I found something quite special. An MP3 of the Aquabats playing Oingo Boingo's "The Controller." Man... it's cool. It was on a Boingo page... along with some other great stuff. My question to you all is this: are there any resources of MP3s of live or otherwise commercially unavailable Aquabats stuff?

The megathon continues tomorrow!

Questions for November 2, 2000

I'm a little confused, I keep hearing different things about the Bespin Guard. Is it going to be exclusive to the Freeze Chamber set or is it going to be available carded as well?

As far as official, made-public-by-Hasbro info goes, there will be one guard packaged with the playset. According to a list from Hasbro-- a price list, which often contains items that may never actually see production, a carded figure will be available as well. While many people seem to complain that Hasbro prints items on list that may never actually see release, please keep in mind that you and I are never meant to see these lists, they are created for retaillers and buyers. Not us.

Do you think there is a possibility of there ever being a 12" Bantha with Tusken Raider?

Man, I hope so. I dunno how big it'd have to be (probably what, two feet tall?), but I know I'd be interested in one. (Heck, I'd even shell out some real dough for it if it was any good.)

How do you think the "younger" generation views SW these days? One thing I think made SW so collectible to begin with was that when I was 6 in 77' EVERYONE had to have SW toys! These days, there is so much more to choose from(pokemon for instance). Do you also see SW, and SW collecting, becoming more adult oriented. Do you also think this is why Jar-Jar saw so much screen time? Possibly to bring the "young uns" into the movies and possibly into collecting?

While there are kids who collect, they aren't many in number.

As far as Jar Jar goes, one could wax intellectual for hours about the various decisions made surrounding the character, like the addition of the accent late in the story's development. I don't doubt that he evolved to please younger fans, buuuut there's a bunch of crap we could talk about when it comes to him.

Today, kids act very differently toward toys. There are next to no good villain toys, kids seem to buy mostly only heroes, and, well, too few new toys really seem to be a ton of fun to play with. Video games are slowly replacing typical toys in the hearts of kids, it seems, which as a die-hard old skool game junkie is kinda weird to see. (I own the CART for Bubble Bobble, dammit!)

Toys are becoming stand-along more and more these days. Long gone are the days of buying 6 small vehicles to form Devastator, to buy a jet for the USS Flagg, or even added accessories for your action figures. Today, Hasbro definitely seems interested in selling a complete or near complete play pattern in a box. Anything extra you might have is, of course, great, but the toys can often stand on their own to some extent.

Personally, I think collecting toys should be a fringe thing when it comes to kids. The idea of kids buying toys with the sole intent of NOT playing with them is kinda weird. A friend of mine commented the other week that as kids, I was the first person he ever met that took toy buying seriously. When other kids talked about what they got for their birthdays, I sat down the classified ads from the paper looking for people selling their junk, or later on, an issue of Toy Shop. It's neat to see kids doing that as a freak thing... but the very idea of this sort of hunting for toys becoming normal for kids is kinda sick. Nevermind the fact that they have to do it for new stuff anyway as it is...

For you, what's more important, the license or the toy? If you see a cool toy from a license that you have no interest in do you but it? If you love a license dearly, will you buy the toy regardless of coolness?

Well, it goes both ways, really. Ideally, a toy should be perfect, regardless of the license attatched to it. Anyone that has bought a Hasbro or Kenner figure knows that this is usually not the case. (Jurassic Park humans, Batman... I could go on.)

As far as action figures go, try and find one not related to a license. Other than 12" army figures-- and even there, some don't fit this-- there aren't many original characters just for toys. Of course, there's the toys/shows from Hasbro, but those are kinda on the edge, as many TransFans are more interested in the TV show than the toys. (Which I find unusual, but hey, I don't understand the appeal of most pop music either.) Other than Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, Barbie, and... hmm.... all those "Baby goes crap in her pants" dolls, toys sans licensed characters are far and few between, so finding a toy that's cool in and of itself seems a thing of the past. (Well, there's Playmobil, and that awesome robot they put out...)

Personally, I will buy a toy if it's cool, regardless of what it's from. I've never seen MicroMan/MicroNauts TV or Comics from the toys, but I really do like the toys. DinoRiders and M.A.S.K. are cool toys that happened to just have an animated series made to promote them. So yeah, those I buy/had bought because they were cool as they were.

Licenses tend to make toymakers lazy. Compare... say old Star Wars and old GI Joe. Star Wars was surviving on its brand name and its characters, while the 4" Joes had to innovate to ingratiate themselves into a child's letter to Santa. (And Snake Eyes is the man. But I digress.)

I can't think of many toys that I bought recently that weren't related to a license. There's the Playmobil Robot... the Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes Comet the Space Monkey... other than a coupla Joes, which are arguably character based by some fans, I can't think of anything I snagged that was a truly original toy. (Other than Zoids, of course. Zoids are awesome.)

Still, there are toys I buy that I think are neat if I don't understand (or like) the license. I found a Beetleborgs figure/cycle set for a buck and a quarter that looked pretty cool, and it was. And the 12" Speederbike is cool. There's no way anybody could tell me that this is a lousy toy other than the weak wires around the handlebars. It's a big vehicle, a nicely articulated figure, and the dumb thing just looks cool.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the 12" Dewback, proving that an item from a license doesn't always work. Collectors love imperials, kids love lizards, and that first Dewback sold great for a long time. So even a good license can't save a bad toy. (Look at all the Toy Story 2 crap.)

Lastly... I will not buy a toy solely because of its license. The Ash figure from Movie Maniacs didn't look as good as I felt it should have, so when I saw one-- and only one so far-- I passed on it. But I did buy Lisa Simpson, even though she has the worst face sculpt ever. While a license will make me take a good long look at a toy, it's not enough to make me fork over the eight bucks for a lackluster figure (unless it's the only lackluster figure in a line that I've already bought everybody else.)

What are the chances we will get a 12" Max Rebo Band? After seeing the packaging on the speederbike I thought it would be cool to get Max, Droopy, and Sy in that format. A huge window box with those three would be beautiful. What kind of price would you guess it would carry? I think about $80 would be fair, but I'd pay $100 no problem. Would you buy one?

If they put out the band in their pre-Special Edition forms, I would buy the trio so fast it'd make your head spin. At $60, no problem. $75 would probably be fair, considering the original sculpts involved and what would most likely be a small production run. $100... no, unless it was nearly perfect. (And that last 4" Max Rebo was pretty damned good.)

If FAO had the set for $100... I'd probably cave. I mean, it's Max Rebo!

How many more Cantina aliens and Jabba's Palace denizens do you think we will get? There are so many I am dying to have.

I think we'll probably get about a half dozen a year or so, tops. There aren't that many high- profile aliens, a low-profile group as it is, left to make. For next year, we've got the Duro, Squid Head (not Face, dammit), annnnd... well, off the top of my head, that's all I can remember from the list. Amanaman is heavily rumored, but Hasbro said it wasn't on tap for '01. Here's hoping the Fan Club gets a cool alien or something. (At least we're getting some alien Jedi, the Mon Cal guy, and a few other random critters.)

I try to keep up with what figures Hasbro is coming out with but I wondered with all the talk of rumors and lists of what might be coming out - has Hasbro ever managed to surprise us with a figure (other than say Sneak Peak figures like Mace Windu) that nobody knew was coming out?

As far as who is coming out in stores, no. As far as pictures go, yes. Back in the day, when Matt Rardon & Randy Matthews & I all had our little sources of info on our web sites (waaaay before Yak Face and Rebelscum), we knew about Dagobah Luke long before its release in February of 1996. None of us, and I mean NONE of us had a picture of the toy until Joe Leung sent me an image of it a week before I got my figure at a local store. (I remember this because I attatched the .BMP file to my newsletter and all sorts of people cursed me out for sending them "this crap" even though they signed on the list themselves. But I digress.)

A figure has never showed up in the assortments without our prior knowledge that it was coming. HOWEVER-- the Froot Loops Han Solo Stormtrooper in Summer of '95 was a HUGE surprise. When I first heard the reports, I thought it was a joke. I even called Kellogg's on the phone, and they refused to confirm it... weird folk there. No toy mags knew about this, and since it happened before there were 12,000 websites on the topic of POTF2, it was hard to confirm, and most people believed it was a joke for a long time.

Right now Qui-Gon is a main character, because he was in the latest movie, but probably won't be in the next two. My question is: Do you think the lable of "main character" will change for Hasbro after Episode III?

A main character is a main character is a main character. We probably won't see as many Qui-Gons, but he is still a main character. It'll probably be like Obi-Wan in POTF2, who hasn't seen a new figure from between the Flashback figure and the upcoming robeless version.

More Qui-Gons are probably gonna come. That's just life. But I'm sure that the character's lack of appearance would mean fewer figures.

Is it me or did a few waves of figures from the Episode 1 assortment never show up in any kind of quantities? Sio Bibble, Amidala w/grappling gun, R2-B1, TC-14, Swimming Jar Jar, Pit Droids 2 pack? These figures stopped arriving almost as soon as they started to show up. What's the deal?

Well, I *did* see most E1 figures in stores eventually. The only ones I never saw were the final wave of Collection 1 with Soft Goods Qui-Gon, Swamp Jar Jar, and the damaged Destroyer Droid. I actually saw quite a few TC-14s and the Collection 2 guys... after I bought 'em elsewhere online. (A big thanks to all of you who helped there, BTW.)

As far as them showing up again... watch your local stores. Don't ask why, just do it.

1) Do you foresee a problem with the current pack ins, the Force Files. What I mean is when the next Chewie resculpt comes out, what will it be able to say, will it list all the same information, such as allies, weapons, skills etc... How different would a Tatooinne Maul Force File be from a Jedi Duel Force File, see my point...

2) Do you think that Hasbro realizes that they have dragged their feet too long on the Jedi Master Points? Most of us are all now Jedi Master Point Millionaires (I know I still have all my cards, just waiting for an offer) and any offer they put out will be besieged with replies from anxious point holders, or do you think they will just have outrageous costs, like 3000 Jedi Master points for an exclusive sticker, and 10,000 for a mail in figure?

On the first one, any monkey can crank out something to make a slightly different Force File for a character like Darth Maul. It's doable. I don't think there's any concern of overlapping information.

As far as number two, lemme try putting this into perspective. I started buying the Galoob Star Wars toys since they first came out, I believe in January 1993 (or was it 1994?) Those first three vehicle 3-packs had Galoob points on them. G'head and ask me how many of them I sent in for a mail-in. Any guesses? That's right. ZERO. Not one Star Wars promo, ever, at all. Points don't mean they have to do a mail-in offer. I want a mail-in offer, I'm sure you want a mail-in offer, and I think mail-in offers are the absolutely super-funnest things you can have for action figures. You send off something in the mail and park in front of the mailbox until they show up. I think it's the coolest thing you can do with a toy line in addition to having a cool line in the first place, and I hope they return some day. An accessory pack, a figure, I don't care. Anything.

Got questions? Send 'em in.

Many folk wrote in to mention the STAP/Battle Droid model kit is scale to the 12" figures. A nice piece for anyone who wants one, but keep in mind that when it comes to painting, many of us are about as talented as dirt and need a prepackaged toy for our Droid needs. Still... good to know.

Also, some folk have asked "hey idiot, why haven't you answered my question yet?" Well, three guesses.

The megathon continues tomorrow!

Questions for November 3, 2000

I have seen 1 or 2 Lando Bespin figures around here on Green Cards. Are these legitimate figures or has someone made customs? The main reason I ask is that I couldn't see this variation in Wedges Collection Engine or Priceguide.

I don't run the Wedge engine, and to be honest, I have no idea who is responsible for its maintainance. Yes, green card Lando DOES exist, and I can personally vouch that at least ONE of this figure shipped to stores outside the warehouse club three packs.

I am just wondering if you think there will ever be an Episode 1 Radio Drama?? I loved the first two and Jedi was o.k.

I don't think there will, and if there is, it won't be for a while. With the passing of Brian Daley, Star Wars scribe extraordinarre, it just seems better left unmade. Plus some of it would really suck. "Hey, look, it's Anakin! Oh no! Sebulba's trashing his racer!"

I really like the Protech Star cases for displaying my figures, but I was wondering what ( if any ) kinds of cases people use to display the band pairs and some of the figures with larger bubbles. Do cases for the Starting Lineup figures work, or is their another brand that might work better for figures with larger bubbles?

I'm fairly sure some SLU cases will work for those, yeah.

Adam, what was Hasbro's intention with the tan vested Luke variation? the only explanation I can think of is that since this figure came out during the shadows of the empire novel and comic book,Hasbro made this variation to coincide with the comic book, where Luke's vest was actually tan.( or brown). am I correct or is there another reason?

I'm fairly sure it was just another trademark screw-up. The vest is supposed to be a lighter color, but not THAT light. The vest doesn't really resemble what he wore in the comic, so I'd say no, it was not an intentional commemorative variation. If it was, we probably would've heard some sort of anecdote about it by now like we did about the unused Froot Loops Han blaster and the "projecting" bubble in the CommTech R2-D2.

I think we're all familiar with the standard bloopers in Star Wars. The storm trooper bumping his head, Chewies bandolier switching sides, etc. My question is, do you know if they have, plan to or maybe conceivable that they'll put out a tape or DVD on bloopers where the actors forgot their lines, broke a light saber, a piece of the set fell, etc. I know I'd love to see them if they are still available.

While something might be out there on the convention circuit, nothing official has been released. A few flubs (or moments of levity) are shown in making-of specials here and there, but for the most part, no, no blooper video exists. It'd be nice to see on the DVD, but I doubt the footage exists.

I am looking to find out about/maybe buy a (rare?) Special Edition collectable. It is a large Rebel Medical Frigate window cling from Taco Bell. I saw it in a local Taco Bell when I saw the SE trilogy. I have searched eBay for it, and asked a Star Wars collector, but no one can help me so far. Do you know anything about it? Thanks!

Welp, I dunno anything about this one. Anybody wanna help this AOLer?

I have noticed that some sites are reporting that the next Darth Vader is the "Bespin" Vader where as others are saying "Dagobah."

I had always heard the Dagobah Vader was next and it got me to thinking, just what the heck is the Bespin Vader? Are people accidentally calling the Dagobah version Bespin, or is there another Vader figure on tap for the future?

If you know anything about the Bespin version, could you please explain how it differs from previous Vaders, and what the projected release date is for it?

The current ghostly Vader with Luke's face under the helmet is Dagobah Darth Vader. The CD-ROM Darth Vader coming next year is Bespin Darth Vader. The information surrounding the CD figure is unavailable as of my writing this to you. My guess is it will be a modified, non-ghostly, non-severed-head version of Dagobah Vader, but considering that the new Bespin Luke is such a nice new figure... maybe not.

with the sudden attention given regarding Vlix via Rebelscum posting one on auction, how about making another of him????? It's prolly 1 of the many figures out there that 99.999999% of us WILL NEVER afford to own as a Droids figure.

Hey, I'd love one. Give 'im a waist joint or some other distinguishing feature so nobody who sold their first born for money to afford one will be too miffed, it'd be neat.

Actually, I'd love to see a new Droids line, but I don't think there's any justification to do it. I was never overly thrilled with the original R2-D2 and C-3PO Droids figures, and a distinctly animated looking Fett would be awesome. Heck, they could do animated versions of all the ANH characters based on the Holiday Special Animated Featurette designs... I know I'd be interested in those. It'll probably never happen, but a dork can dream, can't I?

I've got what I think would be a great idea for Hasbro to make. It seems that almost everyone loves "army builders". So why don't they come out with some 2-packs of army builders? For example, wouldn't it be cool if there was a 2-pack of resculpted Rebel Fleet Troopers where one could hold a blaster with two hands, and the other could kneel down or something? Or two different positioned Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers, Bespin Guards, Gamorrean Guards, etc. I know that the Princess Leia Collection sat on pegs for a while, but I think this is something that Hasbro could work with and would be very appealing to collectors and kids. Seeing that they have scratched the Cincema Scenes for a while, why don't they try and experiment with something else?

Well, they did some two-packs that should have been made as exclusives but got axed... the rumor mill and prototypes that surfaced indicate these would have been a Damaged Destroyer Droid/Gungan pack and a Qui-Gon/Damaged Battle Droid pack. I saw the second one, and lemme tell you, it was suh-weet. I saw what was allegedly a VSP of the Destroyer, wasn't overly thrilled with it.

Army packs would be great. It's not like there are fans out there who don't want more Pit Droids or Stormtroopers, or even Battle Droids. It just doesn't seem to be the direction in which Hasbro is headed.

This nags me: Vintage "large format" figures were of varying heights. Current 12" figures are 12", as long as the character is humanoid, male, and older than Jake Lloyd.

Boba Fett used to be taller than C-3PO, and Darth Vader and Chewbacca were both taller than Boba Fett. Doesn't that sound right to you, instead of Kenner/Hasbro now making every humanoid character the exact same 12" tall?

Does it have something to do with packing? Cause I remember how the boxes in the '70s would stack next to each other, and some would be shorter or taller than others. Now, we have "Small" Action Collection figures like Pit Droid sets or R2-a6. Meanwhile...Sebulba, Theed Hangar Anakin, and Watto get packed in posh 12" packaging( with pricing to go with them). I'm so confused. Please tell me what's going on, and that it will be okay.

Well... welcome to modern toy business. Reuse those molds, that's the mantra. Of course all the characters aren't the same height, but the boxes are, and cramming those guys in the box is necessary for the current (CRAPPY) system of assortments. The same bodies are often reused as well, crappy as they often are. That GI JOE 12" Grunt body is a POS and should never have been used in Star Wars, but hey, welcome to the toy biz.

Basically-- and this is what I always say-- the 12" line is treated poorly, as are its fans, and the product suffers. For every 12" Speederbike or 12" Sith Speeder there's a $24.99 Anakin with Droid or a $49.99 Electronic R2-D2 & C-3PO. That's the way things are, unfortunately, and if you're like me, you're thinking that it's better to have one or two really awesome Marmit figures than a dozen third rate Hasbro guys. While there are good ones, they're the exception.

Got questions? Send 'em in.

Are you experienced?

The megathon continues Monday! Yup, I'm a glutton for punishment. But I guarantee it will be over by Thanksgiving. (American Thanksgiving. Not that lousy Canadian holiday.)

2018 International Toy Fair Coverage
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