Hasbro Q&A Part 2THE JAWAQUESTION:
Given that there are only so many SW vehicles that you can do for the Titanium line, is it possible that Hasbro will revisit certain vehicles again and make improvements on them? You've mentioned already that there are plans on doing a new X-Wing mold with wings that will close. What about a Falcon and Shuttle Tyderium with working landing gears and door ramp, or Gunship with working doors and ball turrets (detachable, so the gunship can be displayed without them as well) and this time painted the correct color to match the full-sized Gunship vehicle, or an AT-AT with actual usable knee and neck articulation (given that the first release could barely move either). Even the eps3 Jedi Starfighter could be improved by actually including a tiny plastic Obi (or Anakin, or whomever) pilot actually sitting in the cockpit rather than just the empty seat or windows painted black to hide the lack of a pilot.ANSWER:
Those are interesting suggestions, Troops, and good ways of "coming back around" to the core vehicles. We have taken a hard look at Titanium to make sure it gets the support it needs in terms of new tools (including some great EU vehicles) and think we have a *great* lineup for 2008 that will keep the collector base highly engaged. So while we think we have a bunch of great vehicle opportunities ahead of us, and Clone Wars has given us even more, we'll keep your suggestions handy when we want to update the classics and keep them fresh.QUESTION:
While I do like the latest mold for the Super BattleDroid in the TAC line, I've avoided buying any because quite honestly the two holes in its chest used to attach the "flames" annoys me beyond words. Will Hasbro eventually plug up these holes and re-release the SBD again? (BTW I noticed that some early photos of the SBD in the forthcoming comic 2pack with the white Rep Commando show that in some photos he has no holes, but in others the two holes are back again...)ANSWER:
Yes, we will plan to reuse him and fill those holes down the road. Hey, maybe you can look past it as we have for our shelves - those could be blaster shots (only Clone Troopers be that precise...). By the way, we did ask our factory to make the change to fill the holes for the comic pack, but the production samples we have seen do not have this. We will ask again, but it is probably too late to affect much of the run.QUESTION:
Hasbro has obviously had a lot of success with the SA clonetrooper mold in all its forms (Clone Wars SA, RotS #41, Evolutions Commander, Clone Commander, Galactic Marine, etc etc). It's well known that the tooling is very expensive and with the clonetrooper tooling you've obviously gotten a good return on your investment by being able to reuse that tooling over and over by just doing inexpensive repaints and/or tweaking minor parts of the figure to make "new" figures. And the fans are more than happy to buy them up too, so it is win-win for all involved.
So why has it taken so long for Hasbro to adopt the same policy for other army builders? Why not dive in and produce tooling for SA bodies such as the Tantive IV Rebel, Hoth Rebel Soldier, X-Wing Pilot, Hoth Snowspeeder Pilot, Mon Calamari officer, Imperial Officer (black/olive/whatever), Jedi Knight (human/humanoid), etc. After which, you could vary the heads, the ethnicity, the ranks, gender (maybe), or what not and get the same kind of ROI that you've gotten with the clones. So long as every "template" body is SA, has neutral leg pose (i.e. no more Codys or spread-legged puffy-knee Death Star Troopers please), has either ball-jointed elbows or if angled-cut swivel elbows then at least the arms can be posed straight (and not bent like the AT-TE Gunner), you can reissue that sculpt again and again.
One speculates that if enough thought is put into it in advance, you could even build into the tooling extra leg or arm parts that would let you produce figures of different heights as well so that the soldiers don't all feel too generic. By now it should be fairly obvious that kit-bashed figures that are based on less-articulated molds like Dutch Vander or Major Derlin aren't being greeted too warmly by collectors, we'd all rather wait until Hasbro makes the "ultimate" mold and then happily buy up all the variations churned out from that mold.ANSWER:
Thanks for the comments. We will say that it would always be our hope, eventually, to create ultimate versions of all of our figures but this is simply not possible all of the time and we have to balance out the line to help us meet our own targets. The expense you talk about - tooling - is a 1-time expense for the most part and that is a factor when we initiate products. But the more lasting implication of "super-articulation" all the time is the labor cost to produce, deco, and assemble each one - and that is a cost that increases in proportion to the number of parts and increases with time (as labor rates go up) and it's one of the areas of biggest challenge to us to keep cost-balanced. If we went SA for everything, it would probably put us up to vintage-type pricing....which collectors might not mind, but this would be hard for kids. So, we pick our spots and evolve the line gradually....granted, not a sea change like some would like, but a good overall trend. Stick with us...we have some nice surprises planned for next year and beyond.
We've recently found the SAGA LEGENDS Sandtrooper figure finally being changed to the Evolutions body, although it's been found with the "less dirty" orange Squad Leader pauldron. Can we still expect the "super dirty" white Sergeant pauldron version coming (the figure that fans actually voted for) as a running change? Speaking of running changes to the Sandtrooper, can we get a list of them all (figure changes, not FC sticker changes)? Finally, it seems that the "clean" black Corporal pauldron has been painted to white...is this the case and we won't see the black at all, or is there something else going on here? ANSWER:
Well, this one has been the most confusing of all, because we are also working in the figures mistakenly produced for the initial Capture of the Tantive IV first production batch. So here goes.
1. 1st version is the TSC "super-dirty", gray pauldron, with Bantha staff.
2. TSC body, "dirty" version, with orange pauldron and Bantha staff.
3. TSC body, "clean", with white pauldron, and Batha staff.
4. Evolutions body, "dirty" version, orange pauldron, with blaster rifle.
There has been one more version requested, but we have not seen samples - and that is
5. "Dirty" with black pauldron. This *should* be using the Evolutions body, but because of the original body switch, it may be issued using the TSC body.
We have not personally inspected this pre-production version though, so can't say with certainty which it will be. A possible sixth version, super-dirty using the Evolutions body, will likely not make the line unless we re-release additional quantities for a last shot next Spring. If we get that chance, we will....until then, we will likely have just the five.QUESTION:
The upcoming Commander Gree figure is top-notch, and easily in contention for "best figure of 2008", even at this early stage. While we were able to handle him at Star Wars Fan Days recently, we neglected to get a photo of him without his helmet. So in keeping with the Q&A tradition of asking for a photo of a helmetless clone, do you have any shots of Gree that you can share with us?ANSWER:
Sorry, we do not have an image to send at this time.QUESTION:
News of an AT-TE release next year spread like... well it spread really fast. Can you elaborate on this? Most of us have taken this information as gospel and already thanked the Almighty, but some are hesistant to get their hopes up. Any chance of an official announcement in the immediate future? Will this be a wide release or exclusive? We've heard it's big, that's outstanding news, but how big? How 'bout some rough measurements/dimensions to whet our appetites? How 'bout electronics, yay or nay? How much over $100 should we expect to pay? I suppose it's too early to expect any photos, but I'd be remiss not to request some. Also, what pack-ins are you considering?
We're hungry for info about this, and especially with regards to size and price, it'd be great to know as much as possible as soon as possible so we can budget for it, the kiddies can start saving, and those of us with space constraints can prepare to accomodate this.
Last little question, how well would this have to sell to convince you to crank out a Juggernaut Clone Turbo Tank or an MTT, or some other large vehicle in the years to come? ANSWER:
We have not officially confirmed (despite reports from the Dallas show) that there will be at AT-TE in the line. We merely said that if we did it, it would have to be pretty big. Folks are reading between the lines at what we have said earlier, and that's fine, but it's a big vehicle to tackle and it's not 100% certain yet that we will be able to deliver. So....until we have officially confiirmed, which we hope will be Toy Fair time, it's still a wish list item.
There are so many uncertainties with cost, etc. that we would also have to see what is left for a budget to see if a new driver could make it in or whether we would look to do a driver in a different pack.
Dear Hasbro, With the release of the Battlefront - Renegade Squadron game can we expect to finally see a super-articulated Rebel Commando figure in 2008? Since you can use the legs, backpack and helmet from the 2006 Endor Rebel Trooper you only need to sculpt a new upper body, arms and head. There could also be a running change including the rodian and the sullustan heads based on the customizing feature from the LucasArts website.ANSWER:
No plans for 2008, but we have a more articulated Rebel Commando on our longer term "to do" list. Your idea for a figure set is really cool - we will look into it.QUESTION:
Will the AT-TE come with some new type of clone driver?ANSWER:
We have not officially confirmed (despite reports from the Dallas show) that there will be at AT-TE in the line. We merely said that if we did it, it would have to be pretty big. Folks are reading between the lines at what we have said earlier, and that's fine, but it's a big vehicle to tackle and it's not 100% certain yet that we will be able to deliver. So....until we have officially confiirmed, which we hope will be Toy Fair time, it's still a wish list item. There are so many uncertainties with cost, etc. that we would also have to see what is left for a budget to see if a new driver could make it in or whether we would look to do a driver in a different pack.QUESTION:
Dear Hasbro, I know you don’t like to comment on rumors or speculations, so … if you were to produce new X-Wing or Snowspeeder pilots in 2008 … would you use the existing mold from 2004 as you did with Biggs Darklighter, Hobbie Klivian and Lt. Lepira or a completely new one with more articulation? Ball jointed shoulders and (at least) swivel elbows would make a major improvement.ANSWER:
Here's the skinny. We are looking at various pilots next year (confirmed in previous Q&As) and it does look like we will be able to deliver at least one upgraded "classic" rebel pilot next year in some form (mainline or exclusive). It is our desire to advance the articulation eventually on all the rebel pilots in the manner you suggest - but it's not confirmed that we will be able to just yet.
SIR STEVE'S GUIDEQUESTION:
If Hasbro feels that mid-sized vehicles is the way to go, then will we be seeing more airspeeders and landspeeders in the forseeable future? Some of the airspeeders are pretty much snubfighter sized. (side note: this question was the second-oldest question still on our voting list, it was there since round 7, July of 2006!) ANSWER:
By now, fans have seen more of our vehicle direction as we have announced the AT-AP and the Grievous Starfighter. We prefer aggressive vehicles for the new tools, and unfortunately airspeeders are pretty much not the coolest and most aggresive vehicles. So we'll be focusing on other opportunities that Clone Wars (and the films) have given us for the foreseeable future. QUESTION:
With the inclusion of KotOR charaters Darth Revan and Darth Malak in the TAC line, and Darth Nihilus in one of the upcoming Evolutions packs, is Hasbro considering including KotOR vehicles in the Titanium 3" line such as the Ebon Hawk, Leviathon, and Sith Fighter? ANSWER:
They are not in the plan - but we are looking at EU possibilities for future waves, and it's possible someday they could make it into the line. QUESTION:
In the Art of Revenge of the Sith book, there was a detailed piece of concept art from Aaron McBride of the Mon Calamari Female Dancer. The concept is applied in ROTS as the dancers in the Squid Lake scene (yes, it's really called that). What are the chances of seeing this Mon Cal Dancer design turned into a figure, especially using the striking design from the concept art? And if you were to make her into a figure, would you give her a name? ANSWER:
Long-term chances are not too bad - but it may take a few years. Actually, this exact figure has been "on the bubble" (not a bad pun) for a few years now, on our wish lists we draw up for a given year, but has been put off in favor of other figures.
To be continued in the next post.