Questions for April 17, 2001

Welcome back... Here's our Question 10 recap:

It looks like this one was way too easy. Judging by the amount of email on this question, it would appear Joe and I are the only ones that had no clue about this item. Thanks to everyone who wrote in (and I do mean EVERYONE), I think we have this one nailed.

Recently at a garage sale I picked up what appears to be an R2D2 Clothes Hamper. Its actually size, and made of a sort of cardboard with a removable plastic dome top. It doesn't appear to be a bootleg as it does say "Star Wars" right across what would be R2's lower chest. The labeling is a bit worn on the bottom but it appears to be made by a company called American Furniture. I've searched eBay, and the net, but have yet to see anything like this. Any ideas what it is, or where I can find more info? -Joe

From your description, and the amount of mail on the item, it sounds like you have an R2-D2 Toy Tote. Apparently two versions of the toy box were made, both released after Return of the Jedi, commonly sold through the Sears or JCPenny Catalogs. The differences between the two include a smooth dome as opposed to a 'molded' dome, and either 'R2-D2' or 'Star Wars' printed along the bottom. One reader suggested you look at this recently completed auction at eBay (#576251213), and another reader noted this link at The Star Wars Collectors' Archive. If all else fails, there are a number of collectibles price guides at your local bookstore or comic/toy shop. Between all these sources, you should be able to find anything you'd like to know about this particular item. Good luck!

On with the show:

I have a question, a couple of questions, I was hoping you could answer. Does the character that Luke sells his speeder to in A New Hope have a name? Has there ever been a push to make this character into a figure? -Walt

Pretty much every character seen in a Star Wars film has been given a name at some point. This particular character's name is Wioslea. According to 'her' Decipher card, in addition to purchasing Luke's landspeeder for Spaceport Speeders, the Vuvrian has gotten herself into debt with Jabba the Hutt (but then again, who hasn't?). While Wioslea shows up on a few lists, here and there, there's never been a big push to get a figure made. In the greater scheme of things, it's possible, but with so many other figures in demand it's hard to say if Hasbro will have a chance to do this one.

Bespin Luke is my favorite figure. I was hoping we'd see the resculpt at Toy Fair, but I guess not. Any idea if this will still come out? And do you think the hand is removable? -Josh

According to Hasbro, this figure should be released sometime from mid to late 2002. I haven't heard any specifics about the figure itself, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it make the comic/collector circuit this summer. Hasbro has said they plan to take their show on the road, and to add items not seen at Toy Fair along the way. Hopefully we'll see and hear more about this one soon.

I am setting up a "Star Wars room" and I was wondering if you or any of the readers know about whether incandescent or florescent lights are better or worse as far as fading and damage goes on star wars toys? -Marco

Two of the biggest killers for any collection are heat and light. You definitely want to eliminate any sunlight getting at your toys. Your next concern, with whatever artificial lighting you use, is the amount of heat and UV light it produces. Museums and art galleries tend to use halogen lighting to showcase their wares, it stands to reason that this would be an option to consider. Depending on you requirements, the size of the room and your collection, it's a toss up. A general rule of thumb would be to keep the toys as far from the light source as possible, and when you're not viewing your collection, keep the lights off.

Okay, so the B-Wing is in the Target computer system. Any idea when it's hitting stores?

According to what we've been able to dig up, the B-Wing should hit stores in June. That said, it's important to remember Target is ultimately responsible for how and when they're put out. In the past, some stores have been known to hold stock for a particular date, while others put them out as soon as they come off the truck. As more information becomes available we'll be sure to let you know, but it might be wise to start making regular stops from late May on.

I wanted to know why the new Tessek wave has not been made available to the majority of Wal-Marts and Targets throughout the country? Do you think this wave will be had to find like the Ree Yees wave, or will it just take some time before every collector will be able to find it?

It's not that they haven't been made available, it's that they haven't arrived yet. These figures are showing up now at the tune of four to five cases per store. If your local store hasn't gotten them yet, they should soon. There shouldn't be any shortages of these figures at all.

My question is short and sweet, do you think there's any chance of the big "H" ever re-releasing the famed RC Jawa Sandcrawler? Just can't afford those secondary market prices. -Rick

Hasbro actually spilled the beans once in one of their on-line chats. At one point they had considered re-releasing the Sandcrawler but for some unknown reason ended up passing on the idea. There was no mention if it would've been the RC version, or a scaled back model, but it was looked into. With that in mind, and more action figure scale vehicles becoming store exclusives, I have to think there's at least a chance we could see this someday. Personally I'd like to see the old toy given a new playset/carry case features, something akin to the old Rebel Transport. Throw in a couple droid or Jawa figures, maybe a 'build your own' droid set, and I think collectors would be chomping at the bit.

When is an exclusive not an exclusive? When you can go to Toys'R'Us and get the Wuher figure for 1.97! While this is great for those who don't shell out money to belong to the Star War Fan Club, it sucks for those of us who have. An exclusive should remain an exclusive otherwise it's not exclusive. What is your opinion? -Ira

Had matters gone differently for the Fan Club, I don't think we'd be seeing Wuher figures on sale at Toys'R'Us. Unfortunately, necessity put them on clearance and collectors that bought into this figure when it was new can't help but feel a little sting when they see it marked down to two bucks. Either Wizards of the Coast wasn't offered, or declined to take that inventory in, and Hasbro or Fantastic Media had to find another source to sell it. Regardless of the details, it's still better than letting the figures sit in a warehouse.

That being said, my feelings on exclusives are this: If a company is willing to purchase enough units to supply demand and then some, then the item should remain exclusive to that company. If a company is only willing to purchase enough units to supply a fraction of demand, then the item should be made available by other means. Wuher aside, the Fan Club traditionally did a good job of keeping their exclusives available to fans and collectors. On the other hand, Target did an awful job with the Skiff. Had Fantastic Media maintained control of the Fan Club, there would probably be no reason to see Wuher at Toys'R'Us. However, considering the way Target handled the Skiff, I'm pretty sure most collectors would love to see it offered at the Fan Club, or elsewhere.

When cruising websites and E-bay I have noticed the tri-logo items are much cheaper and in little demand. Why is this? Are these items released in even greater quantities overseas or is the quality of the items poorer than here in the USA or is there some other reason all together? -Phil B.

The phenomenon you're seeing probably has more to do with the fact that there are more Star Wars collectors in the U.S., than it does with the actual figures themselves. While some collectors will track down every carded version imaginable, including tri-logo, most stick with what's readily available to them. Not that there aren't collectors in other countries, but the ratios tend to be higher in the U.S. Uneven distribution also effects the tri-logo market. Canadians will be the first to tell you, they stand a better chance of tracking down a complete collection on U.S. cards than they do on Canadian tri-logo cards. Again, this devalues the tri-logo and creates more demand on the standard U.S. carded figures. As far as I can tell there's no difference between the figures, it's just a matter of more people looking for one version than the other.

Has Kenner/Hasbro ever given a reason as to why the original vintage R2's head looked nothing like the one from the film? They had plenty of reference photos to get it right. Heck, they even had a chance when they put in the Sensorscope and the Lightsaber feature. What gives? -Jeff

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone from Kenner/Hasbro to give you an official explanation about this one, but here's a little food for thought. When the original line was created, it was looked at as a child's toy line. As children's toys, much of the detail was left up to the imagination of the child. Once they had a basic model that worked, they must have figured, if it ain't broke, why fix it? Jump ahead to 1995. Recognizing there was a huge collector market, and the focus for action figures had turned to more realistic sculpts, Hasbro/Kenner knew they'd have to come up with a more detailed toy to win over the market. Thus Power of the Force II was born and despite the 'he-man' appearance, the figures were given much more detail. In the end, it's not that Kenner couldn't have made a better R2 figure, rather the focus on detail wasn't what it is today.

Tenth Question:
"This one's for you..."

(One for the Brits...)

As a UK Galoob fan, I am often frustrated at the lack of new products from Episode 1. We only received the first wave of Micro Machines and Action Fleet over here, and then nothing on general retail. Can you recommend somewhere that sells some of these items (possibly UK dealers) such as the Royal Starship Repair or the Micro Machines/Action Fleet Theed Palace sets from the later waves? -David

With your help, look for the answer to David's question in the next QM!

Corrections & Amendments:

In addition to emails answering last weeks Question 10, I received a number of emails regarding Question 4, on action figure accessories. Those looking for an on-line source for vintage action figure weapons and such, be sure to check out, or I hear both have an excellent selection. If anybody spots 'em, I'm looking for a few vintage snowspeeder tail guns, with or without harpoon...

I was also reminded that the Ewok Adventure movies where first shown on Network Television here in the U.S., and then went to video. My bad.

Until next time...

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