Three years after the licensing and marketing juggernaut known as Episode I, Hasbro faces the daunting task of coming up with a brand new assortment for the next installment in the Star Wars trilogy, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Gaining a little more understanding of their target groups, especially the collector market, and needing to add even more authenticity and detail to keep up with trends in the industry, the team from Rhode Island not only employs the use of Real Scan technology, but also adds neat play features that make sense. This time, instead of Commtech Chips and Force Files, we get movie authentic accessories and action features like the innovative Force Powers activated by a magnet found in some Jedi Knight figures. With Star Wars, youll see our scanning technology put to use which enables us to inject a lot more realism to the product, but youll also see a product line thats full of action. says Hasbro U.S. Toys Group President Brian Goldner, Action is back in our action figure business.
Hasbro definitely got the action started when they unveiled the new Star Wars collection at Toy Fair 2002 in New York City. With a bevy of collector and print media on hand for the preview event, the Star Wars showroom was abuzz with activity. Anakin Skywalker, Jango Fett, and a squad of Clonetroopers greet you upon entering. Video monitors play the AOTC trailers and the walls are adorned with images and art from the film. A Jedi spokesmodel exhibits the flipping action featured in the new Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku (Darth Tyrranus) Deluxe figures. The main wall is a virtual retailer store display, with packaging representations of the various assortments pegged and shelved accordingly. The right side of the room features the regular Boys assortment, which includes basic, 12 inch, and vehicles, displayed loose and packaged. To the left of the room are the Playskool, Tiger, Milton Bradley, and Role Play categories. 2002 is a landmark for the Star Wars franchise, with the new movie and the celebration of 25 years since the saga was released in theaters, fans as well as licensees look forward to a great year for The Force. To offer something special for the occasion, Hasbro gives a nice gift for their Toy Fair guests in the form of a vac-metalized Darth Vader in a retro-inspired card back. Although the Vader is the older Flashback version, the chrome-like finish makes it a truly unique collectible to honor Star Wars Silver Anniversary. The lightsaber protruding out of the bubble also adds a nice touch. As Hasbro unveils its impressive new line, you cant help but feel a little nostalgic. Revolutionized by Kenner and a tradition carried on by Hasbro, the Star Wars toy legacy takes center stage in 2002 and Toy Fair acts as the perfect dress rehearsal.
The basic assortment is astounding in its detail and accuracy. Its evident that Real Scan works in the hands of Hasbros talented sculptors. AOTC figures dominate the display with new versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, C-3PO, R2-D2, and of course Anakin Skywalker. The figure based on Christoper Lees charismatic separatist, Count Dooku, is almost real life accurate. The facial features are captured right down to the last wrinkle.
Jedi Knights and Council Members wont get caught sitting down on the job in these dynamically sculpted versions. Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Saesee Tiin, and a meaner, leaner, and greener Yoda are returning with an attitude. The facial expressions captured with Mace Windu are an example of the wider palette that Real Scan allows. From screaming to grimacing, the new Episode II action figures capture the emotion of the characters in the film. New additions to the Jedi order include Shaak Ti (Sneak Preview), Luminara Unduli, Kit Fisto, and a Nikto Jedi. The new "Force Power" play features are included with Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, and Luminara. Because of the magnetic properties of this feature, the saber handles are metal and look very cool and realistic.
Episode IIs newest villain, bounty hunter Jango Fett, has several versions displayed, including a Sneak Preview and Collection 1 version with removable helmet. Other baddies include a Battle Droid, exploding Super Battledroid, 2 versions and rankings of the Clonetrooper (the preview white and a new version with red markings) , a winged Geonosian Warrior, and a Geonosian with a mean looking Massif. And you thought your neighbors pitbull was bad!
Not to be left out, the members of the Galactic Senate are also represented starting with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who looks like he could use some anti-aging cream and has taken a liking to wearing darker colors. Also shown are the Twilek Senator Orn Free Taa and AOTCs version of Jar Jar Binks. Other "officials" include Padmes head of security Captain Typho and a cool looking Emp errr Chancellors Guard all decked in red with nice elbow articulation and a fully sculpted body underneath the robe.
Although not as numerous as the Episode II offerings, Original Trilogy figures and one figure from Episode I are represented. And when I mean Episode I, I mean Episode I. Hasbro has decided to single card the unproduced Qui-Gon Jinn from the Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Battle Droid 2 pack. Whats odd is that hes wielding a blue lightsaber (Qui Gons was green). Was this a slight oversight in the display set up or is there a spoiler or plotline were unaware of? Hopefully this will mean that theres a chance Hasbro releases the unproduced Trophy assortment Obi-Wan Kenobi with breathing apparatus.
Star Wars odd couple gets another figure made of them. A Han Solo Endor, sans trenchcoat, was previewed with dead on likeness and a magnetic detonator. A new Chewbacca comes with a disassembled C-3P0 in backpack as well as a new sculpt and articulation. Joining Han are new Endor Rebel Commandos with 2 head variants to carry out that attack on the Death Star shield generator. Since we havent heard anything about the proposed trooper head variants for the Imperial Officer or Rebel Fleet Trooper, the showing of the Endor Rebels gives hope that Hasbro plans to go ahead with them. Its interesting to note that one head variant looks an awful lot like legendary Kenner/Hasbro designer Mark Boudreaux. Hasbro is known to throw these kinds of Easter Eggs once in awhile so it could be a nice homage to a guy whose career spans as long as the Star Wars movies themselves.
Last but certainly not least is a first ever issue of Djas Puhr, the black skinned Cantina patron from A New Hope. This figure takes collectors one step closer to completing their hive of scum and villainy, especially with the rumored Cantina sets coming up.
They really flip really! A table demonstrating the new somersaulting feature of the Deluxe Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku was a hit with the guests. Each figure is packed with a platform allowing them to be launched and land on a base. Its nifty play, especially if you succeed in having the figures land on their feet. Mace Windu and Jango Fett round out the Deluxe line. Mace features Force action (and a metallic saber), a Force blast, and is packed in with a Battle Droid. Jango comes with removable armor, accessories, and electronic features.
The first and second waves of AOTC 1/6-scale figures are shown. The use of Real Scan on the heads worked out really well for these. The first wave consists of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a Clonetrooper. Count Dooku, again with an amazing likeness to Lee, and the Super Battle Droid are also displayed. It looks like Hasbro has finally heard collectors pleas and used a G.I. Joe body for the Dooku figure, including the famous Gung Ho grip. The new Bounty Hunter II wave is finally unveiled, featuring all new sculpts of Dengar, Zuckuss, and a gray uniformed Imperial Officer. The Imperial Officer has a less generic head sculpt than the previously released Death Star Trooper and also comes with the new Joe grip, which allows him to hold the blaster much better.
Spring loaded and multi articulated, the new 12 Ultimate Jango Fett comes with a collectors box and packed with a chockfull of accessories similar to the 100th Luke. The Ultimate Jango box had an unpainted prototype packaged inside.
The new 12 Electronic assortment kicks off with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett. These figures use authentic movie voices and feature cool battle sounds and light up action. With better voices and improved sculpting alone, these are already a step up from the previous 12 Episode I Electronic figures, which didnt fare to well on retail.
The vehicle of choice for clone armies, the Republic Gunship features some nice detailing and blast mark battle damage. The transforming Jedi Starfighter and Jango Fetts Slave I were also on display. The Slave I features new tooling and mold from its vintage and POTF2 predecessor and comes with a hidden missile launcher, while the Starfighter can transform from flight to fight mode in a few quick steps. Finally, Anakin Skywalker and Zam Wessells Coruscant Speeders round out the vehicle assortment.
Episode II has its share of vicious monsters worthy of the Star Wars saga, and Hasbro, keeping in the tradition of their Jurassic Park line, adds a touch of movie inspired ferocity with their play features. The Reek lets out an electronically activated battle roar and has a stomping action feature when you press his underbelly. The Acklay has razor sharp teeth and appendages that make it a formidable foe. It also comes with pink innards that spill out when you take off the panel in his belly. Now thats what I call just deserts.
The Geonosis Arena playset is humungous! The two tiered environment features a main façade with an intimidating entry gate, pillars, and other contraptions that Im sure has SPOILERS involved. Hasbro set up the display nicely with action figures posed in a battle royale. From the Reek crashing through the gates to a yellow astromech operating in what looks to be a section of a factory, the Arena set is a refreshing reintroduction of big molded environments for the Star Wars line like the vintage Death Star.
The Star Wars Unleashed sculptures are a new category for Hasbro featuring aggressive and dynamic styling. Shown where Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul, a Darth Vader on Bespin Gantry coming later this year, and a sample packaging card for the Jango and Boba Fett set. Although not action figures per say, the statuettes are certainly captured in a state of action. These will come packed in with a promo card from the new Star Wars Trading Card Game from Wizards of the Coast.
Fans wanting to wage their lightsaber duel while standing in line for AOTC will have brand new electronic versions with FX sounds. On display were Anakin Skywalkers blue bladed lightsaber and Count Dookus red version with the unique curved hilt. If blasting your way in a good fight is more up your alley, then youll appreciate the authentic styling of the Jango Fett and Battle Droid blasters, which come with light action and electronic sounds.
The Jango Fett Action set comes with his trademark double blasters, a holster, and ten suction tipped NERF darts to hunt your bounty. The Jedi Knight set includes a belt and a lightsaber that extends up to 20.
When the Micromachines and Action Fleet line took an extended vacation in 2000-2001, fans of the mini assortment eagerly awaited the announcement of its re-launch. The wait is over and Hasbro plans to get things started with Classic vehicles featuring an X-Wing Fighter, Millennium Falcon and Darth Vaders TIE Fighter. Each vehicle comes with its own unique battle damage detail and authentic styling. Vaders TIE was presented in mock-up packaging.
STAR WARS JR./ALL IN ONE ADVENTURES
Since images of these have surfaced on the web a couple of months back, collectors have been enthusiastically awaiting Playskools foray into Star Wars. Although primarily meant for preschool children, the cute design has won over the bigger kids as well. Each set is based on a film in the saga and comes with magnetic play features similar to their older counterparts, like the "Force Power" for Jedi Knights. Featured where the X-Wing Adventures and Duel with Darth Maul, which come with a larger vehicle, and the Stompin Wampa and Fast Through The Forest sets. Also making its debut in Toy Fair is the new Millennium Falcon Adventure set, which includes a neat electronic hyperdrive repair feature.
R2-D2 INTERACTIVE ASTROMECH DROID
You too can have an astromech droid to save the day (or at least carry a soda can for you). The 18 Interactive R2-D2 comes with speech recognition and sonar navigation to obeys your commands. With the ability to recognize 40 spoken phrases as well as play games and sing a few tunes, this R2 unit will never run on a bad motivator. There was a smaller room dedicated to showcasing the various features of this toy and the audience present was simply amazed at the innovative features. At a $100 price point, this toy isnt priced for everyone. But getting the closest thing next to the real deal is well worth it, especially of youre an Artoo fan.
Tiger offers some cool stuff in the electronics category starting with the Palm Pilot for aspiring Jedi scholars. Featuring an encyclopedic database of over 60 characters from the Classic Trilogy as well as organizer functionality and a trivia game, Jedi Dex is the perfect companion for any fan wanting a fun electronic reference tool.
The Jango Fett room alarm sits prominently in the center of the Tiger counter. With a 4 foot light sensor detection and authentic movie sounds and phrases, Jango will ensure that youre room is secure from unwelcome intruders.
Need to reach out and clone someone? A two way Jango/Clonetrooper Walkie Talkie allows you to keep in touch within a 100-foot radius.
Clip a Star Wars vehicle on your backpack with Force Links. Flashing LED lights and battle sounds make these a fun bauble for fans. Choices shown were the Jedi Starfighter, Slave I, and the two Coruscant Speeders as well as weapons assortment featuring Jango Fetts blaster, Zam Wessells blaster, and Anakin Skywalkers lightsaber.
You sunk my Blockade Runner! With Hasbro clearly reintroducing classic Milton Bradley board games with Star Wars inspired themes likeStratego, Life, and Monopoly, it seemed natural to produce a new version of Electronic Battleship. Featuring a laptop design and 10 ships to choose from, you can play solo or with another player.
Other new games displayed were Jango Fetts Target Game and Jedi Unleashed, both due out later this summer.