Q & A Archive for week of January 24, 2000

Questions for January 26, 2000

How does an internal combustion engine work?

It works very well, thank you.

What can I do about scalpers who buy all the new stuff, have a 200% markup and then sell them in their own neighborhood store? Is there a law or something because this doesn't seem fair.

Welcome to the unfair world of collectibles.

I just got a Wampa and Luke beastpack on Ebay. When I opened it, I immediately noticed the wampa did not look a thing like Toyfare magazine's image. The one in Toyfare was a LOT more evil and menacing looking than the real thing. Plus, his fur is gray, has huge paws, squattier,.... Its not the same figure! So, what is the deal? Are there two different wampas out there or what?

The same image was shown in a few mags (Go Figure!...), but I never saw the "ferocious" Wampa prototype in person. Hasbro did bring the proto of the version that actually came out to a toy show in Arizona in late 1997, though, and I'm pretty sure the mean ol' Wampa didn't get printed until 1998. So to answer your question, there is only one Wampa from POTF2's 4" line available, and the story behind what happened to the really cool looking Wampa remains a mys tery. But it'd make a killer exclusive.

If you were named head of the Star Wars line for Hasbro and thus could guide the future of the Star Wars line, what would you do with the product line, etc? Remember though that the key is to make a highly profitable line, so you would need to make high quality products that sell well. Not just what would be the coolest things to produce.

Easy. Behold... the 10 rules of an Adam-ran SW line.

1. Follow McFarlane's pattern of releasing SPAWN figures. A few series a year, 6 or so figures per series, and rotating shortpacks, which is probably the single best way to handle less popular characters.

2. The Internet Exclusive figure would be voted on by fans on the internet. Since Star Wars has some of the most verbal (and picky) fans out there, this could help the line gain interest rather quickly.

3. Never, ever, never again make a figure where anyone but the most die-hard collector with the keenest eye for detail and a skill for "Hocus Focus" like no other can tell the difference between it and a previous version.

4. Nuke CommTech in favor of the Droids. (If they cost the same to make, I could use some more Droids.)

5. Better communication with fan sites. The days where Hasbro would either post new stuff on a regular basis or send it to a fan site for them to post are missed. We like being talked to, and we really like it when people acknowledge the (oxymoron) priceless free advertising we give.

6. If a store doesn't offer mail order or online ordering options, then they can't get an exclusive. Not as a matter of "fair/unfair" to people who don't have a Target or whatever, but just to avoid a real problem in stores with the things becoming the hairs that clog the drains that are the action figure aisles.

Also, if they would find a way to make exclusives available outside the USA, that'd be great. Appropriate shipping would have to be charged... and nobody gets to complain when they find out how much it costs to ship something big to England or Australia.

7. All "pack-in" exclusive figures would be available bagged directly from Hasbro for $7 per plus shipping (about $10 shipped.) (Because I, you, and everybody else would like to buy extras of the red R2 unit from the Royal Starship.) It's expensive, yes, but considering the low quantities and that most fans would not know about it, the prices would probably have to be kept a little high.

8. If there is still significant demand for a figure-- and by significant, I mean being able to sell at least 15,000 more units-- make a few more, and sell them as specials through a JC Penny or Sears catalog like they did in the old days. I think Sears had a 4-pack with the original Luke, Han, Leia, and Vader figures in Kenner baggies around 1984, when it was nearly impossible to find the former 3 anywhere. (Well, it was for me.)

9. Hide the "variation" number. (.00, etc.) They did it in Canada, and I'm convinced that a lack of obvious knowledge about this sort of thing would cut down on the fever some people seem to have over something like adding a comma to the back of the package. It worked great in the vintage line. Ignorance is bliss... the number makes it look like we're missing something even when a figure starts on .04.

10. Last, but most certainly not least, resculpt Boba Fett. C'mon, they'd be insane not to. (And R5-D4.)

But that's just me. Odds are there's a lot of reasons why these ideas wouldn't work... I know there's a lot of hassles involved with American companies selling things online to countries outside the USA (licensing, etc.), and #7 is more or less just to keep people like me happy. But I think the rest of it would be pretty good, at least until Episode 2. I don't mind a glut of totally new figures, ever. However, flooding the market with things I bought last year... well, it's not going to work for very long.

If Hasbro can't or won't make further Expanded Universe figures or Classic Cinema Scene sets because the current state of the retail market won't support them, what about releasing them as Fan Club, or HasbroCollectors.com exclusives?

I don't think it's the market so much as it is Hasbro not really wanting to make them. Frankly, I think they're nuts not to do a new Mara Jade now that they've got a whole bunch of publicity surrounding the character... just be sure to do a better face, and the customers will buy it.

As far as Cinemascenes go... look at the 3 Episode One scenes. A grand total of two new characters were made available out of nine possible slots. If it wasn't for gems like the two classic ones that nobody could find, I'd say good riddance. It's probably not worth doing since a lot of people just want one or two of the figures in the set, and at $20, well, it's not as easy for some people to drop $20 for 3 figures today as it would be to buy one a week.

Since hasbro is shipping older POTF2 stuff to ToysRUS do you think they will be shipping any Freez Frame figures?

It was my assumption that all TRU was doing was clearing out old stock or stuff from their wherehouses... the stores in my area didn't get anything new, just markdowns on stuff they had. Meaning the Rancor Keepers that nobody wants for $3 are now the Rancor Keepers nobody wants for $1.97.

But I could be wrong... although most reports seem to correlate with the whole "just get rid of the stuff we have" idea.

Recently, I saw the term "given the state of the hobby" in your Q&A section. I've also heard several others use this phrase. I was wondering just how bad things are going for Star Wars. Has the purchasing base for SW toys dwindled since 1995?

Thing is, POTF2 is an anomoly in the toy world. It's a line that has done very well for itself in collector circles, and it's lasted longer than many other toy lines in the 1990s. There is a sort of retail "life cycle", and the only line that's seemed to perform especially well in terms of longevity and strenght is Batman, in all his incarnations. Star Wars went from a pretty small line to a line where there was too much stuff and not enough variety very quickly... while making fewer toys and more variety sure as heck couldn't hurt, I think most fans are fed up with most aspects of the hobby and probably won't be happy with it unless it just flat out ended.

People grow out of things... and a lot of people grew out of Star Wars.

And that is the final question on the "life of the hobby" that will be published for a few months, thank you.

Yo Adam,I just saw the pic for Proto Pokins and I was wondering because he has bulky legs,I was wondering, Is hasbro making a new X-Wing or Just hoping that he fits in the one we have.

Heck, X-Wing Luke barely fits in the first POTF2 X-Wing without at least a little struggle. There are no plans for a new X-Wing toy, Hasbro's just giving the market what they want: a really spiffy Porkins figure. And for that, I'm pretty glad. I'm sure there was no intention to get him to fit in the X-Wing, because to do so, we'd have a very spindly Porkins.

A while back, I saw a Shadows of the Empire Leia (Boushh disguise) in a green box, as opposed to the usual purple.? I have never seen or heard of anything like it again.? Should I be kicking myself for not buying it?

I wouldn't kick myself over a packaging variation, really. I saw quite a few of them, and while some people make a fuss over it, it's not that big of a deal. Like most POTF2 figures today, they're worth about what they cost when they came out-- the secondary market for this stuff is virtually non-existant with a few exceptions here and there. There's a few of 'em on eBay right now, only like eight bucks each... if you like it enough, it's probably worth getting. (Me, I'd rather save my dough for Wuher next month.)

Just got my Clone Emperor from the Fan Club. Kenner has done great with likenesses as of late, but this figure looks nothing like a young Ian McDiarmid. Is this the fault of Kenner, or the comic illustrators on Dark Empire? They should have know McDiarmid was the Emperor, right??

Truth be told, most of us fans never got a really good look at McDiarmid before the Episode One stuff started floating around... and the figure was sculpted in (and correct me if I'm way off) some time in mid- or early 1997... a bit before the images of him sans Emperor make-up were widely available. I know, it IS possible to do a lot of research and find it... but there is another factor to consider first.

The figure was based off of Cam Kennedy's artwork in the Dark Empire comics, who does not appear to be based off of McD's face as far as I can tell. So while there is room to do a new version (or a custom job) of the actor as the Young Palpy, technically the figure is an accurate depiction of the Clone Emperor in what appears to be a muu-muu.

You've got questions, I've got bad answers. C'mon spuds, send 'em on in!

2018 International Toy Fair Coverage
April 13th, 2018, the big day for Lucasfilm's International Solo: A Star Wars Story product launch. Our reprogrammed Imperial Probe Droid has been tasked to see where all the stuff is. You can help by let it know how successful the day was for you.
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