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« on: December 22, 2007, 01:02:11 AM »

Here is our roundup of the Hasbro Q&A sessions for the week of December 21st, 2007


JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES


QUESTION:  In a previous Q&A Hasbro responded to our question about larger Basic Figure accessories by saying "we like to do the "bonus" accessories when we can".  With that sentiment in mind, how likely is it that something like an ANH Obi-Wan Kenobi with the Death Star tractor beam control station could make it into the Basic Figure line?

ANSWER:  There is no chance that that would happen in a basic figure line because of the sheer size of the piece.


QUESTION:  The Fan's Choice Figure contests have always been a hot topic of conversation around the collecting community, and there's also been a fair share of controversy around the process as well.  How is the poll process regarded within Hasbro?  And might we see it return some time in 2008?

ANSWER:  We think opening up the voting in a truly democratic manner, where you, the fans, decide, is a fantastic process and we are pleased with the results.  We were surprised at some of the results, but fans did drive the vote and we stand by it.  Overall, we think that it is a fair way of gauging interest among not only the active, vocal fans on the forums and message boards, but also those who may be active collectors but don't frequent the message boards.  While we don't have plans right now to do another Saga Legends-type poll in 2008 (since we don't have a seprate Legends line), we could decide to do another poll on another topic and would probably run it in a similar fashion to the most recent.


QUESTION:  I was watching The Empire Strikes Back recently, and it seems that we're really starting to draw down on new characters that can be made into figures for that particular episode.  Does this kind of shortage register with Hasbro in planning TESB themed waves?  And might it open the door for something like a figure of the Emporer's giant flloating holographic head?

ANSWER:  It is challenging to be sure, definitely the movie that has had more coverage than any other and the shortest "parking lot" list, but there are still some good opportunities with EpV and we think we have some good multi-year wave plans.  As for your latter comment....you are right on the bulls-eye with something we hope to bring out this year.  Stay tuned!






And now to continue through the Star Wars collecting community:

4-INCHES.DE

QUESTION:  Hasbro regularly answers certain-figure questions with the statement "we would like produce this figure or that vehicle but we don't have an appropriate slot for it at the moment." Why does Hasbro set those narrow limits? Within the POTF- and POTJ era the figure production happened just arbitrary and not film- or scene-specific. Why couldn't a Jocasta Nu pair a Gamorrean Guard or couldn't a Bespin Security Guard beeing released with a Yarna d'al Gargan within the same wave? (Marcel)

ANSWER:  Marcel - our strategy since 2005 has been to create waves of themed figures, by movie, and it's difficult to argue with the success of the strategy as the figure line has maintained an unprecedented level of popularity. By theming figures according to wave, it has helped us achieve balance and focus, creating figures that work together well and meet the needs of both kids and collectors. It has also helped us systematically tackle each of the films and EU concepts in turn. We do not plan to deviate from this waving strategy. The reason why we say we "don't have a slot" for something is that we plan a full year's worth of figures at once, looking at the overall balance. It is very difficult, the further we get into a year, to make changes to the plan since it is really all tied together and approved in conjunction with Lucasfilm. What we promise to do is take your input into consideration the next time we have an opportunity to lay out a plan (i.e. the next year's line, or an exclusive, an opportunitistic repaint wave, etc). So keep that feedback coming - it really is valuable to us - and we will take it into consideration for the next time we can shape the line.


QUESTION:  In the q&a-session from 12-01-06 Hasbro made clear that POTF2-figures won't be recycled for the T30AC- or following lines because with the enhanced production methods these figures are antiquated by now. Why does Hasbro then still re-releasing POTF2-figures furthermore like it happens with the Max Rebo Band as repack or the RA-7? And a possible release of an Oola figure recently has been noted as a likely repack of the POTF2-version. Why don't you go any further and only use repacks for the more modern figures while use new molds for re-releases of "older" figures? (Daniel)

ANSWER:  Daniel - we are staying true as far as characters that will be updated with a new sculpt. There are certain figures, specifically very fan-centric figures like many aliens, that we simply will not be updating with new sculpts any time in the next several years, if ever. There are simply waaay too many interesting and new figures to create before we would go back and redo these. In many cases, these figures (such as the Jabba's palace figures) are still quality figures in terms of aesthetics, even though they may not be highly articulated like many modern figures, and there are many new collectors to Star Wars who are interested in adding them to their collections. In these cases, we evaluate the continuing demand of the figures and see whether a re-release makes sense. Since we are not going to be redoing any of the Jabba's palace figures in those sets and doing new ones like Ak-Rev instead, a re-release made sense. As to RA-7, you may not know that it and other figures were determined directly by fan vote for inclusion in the Saga Legends line. We let fans select these, and they determined it was important to bring these back, and we agree it is a good idea since we will not be updating him.


QUESTION:  Just another certain-figure question: What are the odds for a Torryn Farr figure within the next two years? That character still has top rankings in many collector-forum wish lists. Even if she is a female character and for that there will be just a few possible slots she would be a great choice for another Hoth wave. And for this she should be released with a screen and a chair, in my opinion that character really demands for those accessories because she has been seen in that certain film-scene. Even if Hasbro more and more have to deliberate which character deserves bigger accessory because of taking into account rising material costs that figure should be given priority even compared with main characters, isn't it? (Andreas)

ANSWER:  There is a very good chance you will see her in the next couple of years.




ACTION FIGS.COM

QUESTION:  We understand your current stance on playsets, but if you go back to making beasts, would you consider a Sarlacc pit? It's got a big gross mouth, tentacles, and the special editions have added a large beak (which, should you make this figure, we'd hope could be a removable aspect), yet this is one Star Wars creature that's always gotten the short end of the merchandising stick despite being a major part of ROTJ. It could be done as a beast pack, maybe an ultimate battle pack, or even part of a boxed set with a Tatooine Skiff.

ANSWER:  Wow….multiple questions on the Sarlacc this week! All we have to say is that the challenge of making and marketing basically a hole in the ground with teeth is a pretty stiff one indeed. It is a beast, but doesn't look like one. Kids won't get it. How would you display it? Not to get any hopes up, because it is a cool idea, but the challenges might be impossible to solve.


QUESTION:  A few Battlepacks have featured Jedi, a Clone Commander, and three Clone Troopers. Will we see this concept applied to more sets in the future, perhaps something like Ki-Adi-Mundi, a grittier repaint of Commander Bacara, and three Galactic Marines? What about extending this idea to the other films beyond Ep III?

ANSWER:  We have been looking at continuing this very popular format and there is a chance that the Ki-Adi-Mundi pack will come out this spring. It's too early to confirm that it will be shipping, or how different (or not) the Clones will be, but the Mygeeto battle is a good concept for this. As for other films, we have been doing different concepts since the leader/troops idea works so well for EpIII. It's possible for EpII, but we will have to look at those ideas to see if they are compelling given all of the choices we have available for battle packs.


QUESTION:  In the past, Hasbro's stated that main characters should always be available to casual collectors, which makes sense, and Lucas has stated that the saga is about Darth Vader. That said however, there are currently at least 9 different Vader figures available on shelves - TAC Vader, 2 Saga Legends figures, 2 different battlepacks, the TAC coin album, 2 different comic 2packs, and the McQuarrie Concept version. Out of those, all but the McQuarrie version are pegwarming in many areas; some areas also have older Vader figures from as far back as 2005; and there are more Vader's on the way. Have you considered that such oversaturation may be problematic to the line, as collectors are less likely to buy the same character over and over (especially when most are rereleases of earlier molds) while casual collectors (who might only need 1 or 2 Vaders) might find the sheer number of them confusing?

ANSWER:  Looking at data at local stores may reveal an area slowdown, or may not even be a problem as the inventory can turn over at a rapid rate. In any case, we are not seeing a slowdown at all on any Vader and he continues to be, by a great stretch, the most popular character in Star Wars in all forms. We do try to make each new Vader purposefully differentiated whenever possible, and weigh all of our release decisions against the collector market when they are targeted as such (McQ Vader or the Leia/Vader comic pack) to make sure these are weighted appropriately.


QUESTION:  With our questions, we also sent in these images from ROTJ regarding the Sept 28th Q&A about Luke Jedi's cloth vest - or lack thereof. Here's what Hasbro said about the matter:

ANSWER:  Also, thanks for the image. We have had some differences in input, and this helps tell the story. This would make a great update to that Luke figure when we have a place to slot it in. Thanks for sharing.
 



BOBA'S BOUNTY

QUESTION:  Toy Fair is sneaking up on us...any hints you can give us on what you will be showing?

ANSWER:  Mark - we can't offer any sneak previews of any Toy Fair items right now, or even comment on the line list rumors that have been floating around except to say that it is not accurate.  You will have to stay tuned, but trust us, it will be worth it.


QUESTION:  So do you guys have one of each figure that's been made lining your offices?

ANSWER:  As for this year, yes, a lot of the team members have a wall devoted to the current figures as well as popular sublines like Galactic Heroes, comic packs, and Vintage.  As the new lines come in, they tend to displace the old, which either gets taken home or packed away. As for one of each figure that has ever been made?  There are at least three of us here on the team who have near-complete loose collections of the Kenner/Hasbro 3-3/4" line either on display or packed away for easy access when we are brainstorming ideas.  That's why we are able to work on some ideas quickly, especially exclusives - we sometimes devote our own personal archives to the task!


QUESTION:  Are there any vehicles from the 2 trilogies that haven't been done yet that you would LIKE to do (but they keep getting shelved or postponed for one reason or another)?

ANSWER:  Great question.  In the Titanium series, we hope to cover pretty much everything, and nothing is off limits, so we assume you mean 3-3/4. Looking over the six films, we have to say that we are very happy with what we have been able to bring to market.  Of course, there are still classic vehicles we would like to re-do when given the chance.  We talked about a few of them with our team and picked a few of our favorites, which may or may not ever happen or be possible, but it's good to dream. 

Here goes:  One person really wants to see a Star Destroyer (!). Another has as a wish "wish" vehicle the Clone Turbo Tank, a mock-up of which we have built but it is just too expensive to consider without animation support. A couple of us would like to complete the Pod Racers, but the likelihood of that ever happening is very, very low given that they are cool, but just too niche to justify their development and tooling. Perhaps one day, when an influx of fans nostalgic for Episode I comes into the collecting fold, we will have that opportunity.  Bottom line is that all of these have the odds stacked seriously against them of ever seeing the light of
day.  So they remain on the "wouldn't it be cool if someday we could get to these?" list.




CREATURE CANTINA

QUESTION:  Are there any times you want to pimp-slap the askers of some of the more obnoxiously smug and self-important "Why didn't you do it like THIS?" questions in these forums? YOU know the ones I mean.

ANSWER:  It's all cool. We wouldn't be having so much fun ourselves making Star Wars rock along if there weren't equally passionate fans there to share the excitement, speculate, debate, and just talk Star Wars in general. So we keep it all in perspective. Besides, if things ever get really nasty, there are plenty of Bounty Hunters at Chalmun's, and some of them work for peanuts.


QUESTION:  Any chance you guys could STOP packing your figures in their bubbles in "action poses" with their weapons in hand to prevent the type of warping as seen below (please refer to images), please? The amount of water I've had to boil lately to get my figures and accessories straightened out again is frightening. Thank you!

IMAGE 1 LINK

IMAGE 2 LINK

ANSWER:  This is a tricky thing. One of the best on-shelf innovations that has helped our Star Wars figures continue to excite has been the engineering team's work on posing in-pack for a very dynamic presentation. It is highly unlikely we will ever go back to the "old way" except probably for the Saga Tin/Vintage style executions, but we will continue to look for ways to improve. Thanks for the comment.


QUESTION:  Would you ever consider offering a Christmas Taun Taun exclusive that plays the Christmas Taun Tauns song? That would be AWESOME!!

ANSWER:  That would be awesome! But, alas, we don't have plans.




GALACTIC HUNTER

QUESTION:  What are the odds of single man swoop/speeder vehicles (i.e. the $9.99/Deluxe) price range coming back in 2008 since there won't be a "Vintage" premium line?

ANSWER:  We will not be introducing a "deluxe" $9.99 price point next year. Past results of this format combined with costing pressures have made us look elsewhere for the solution of getting gear/accessories out.  Instead, we will be infusing speeders into the Battle Pack format, starting in Spring. "Mini vehicles" like these are something we plan to keep in the line for a long time.


QUESTION:  With the Clone Wars television series hitting our TV (and potentially other multimedia concepts) next year, are we going to be blessed with some television commercials for the toy line? (A lot of us are fans of the vintage toy commercials, which we pray Hasbro still has somwhere. Not to squeeze in another question, but we'd like to see them in some digitized form someday - even just on StarWars.Hasbro.com as flash video.)

ANSWER:  We ran a continuous loop of the toy commercials in booth at Celebration last year, and they were a big hit…..with countless requests to do just as you have asked, Adam. Unfortunately, rights issues prevent us from doing much more with them at this time.  Regarding your first question, we tend to guard our advertising strategy very closely since it reveals competitive information. We will be revealing the CloneWars line at Toy Fair, and your question will probably be answered there.


QUESTION:  Was the Commander Gree figure shown at a recent convention a prototype, or was it the final product? If it is indeed a prototype, do you have plans to make any changes to the decoration in the interest of enhancing its accuracy? (The tampo painting/camouflage is off a bit, and our "accuracy checkers" note that the color for the helmet and his suspender straps aren't quite right.)

ANSWER:  The Commander Gree shown at the Dallas Fan Days show was, in fact, a pre-production and the final product image is attached.


***EDITORS NOTE:  See THIS GALACTIC HUNTER POSTING FOR THE COMMANDER GREE IMAGE***




To be continued in the next post.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 01:18:25 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 01:10:49 AM »

Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of December 21st, 2007 - Part 2



IMPERIAL SHIPYARDS - FORUM REGISTRATION REQUIRED - NEW ADDITION!

QUESTION:  Any chance we'll see a revised edition of the Rebel Troop Transport from the Vintage line?

ANSWER:  Sorry to say it, but no. This has come up a few times in the 18 months or so we have been doing the Q&As, and our answer is the same. This vehicle just doesn't have kid appeal, and our vehicle slots have more iconic (and higher priority) vehicles waiting for their turn. It's highly unlikely this guy will ever be revisited.


QUESTION:  With the release of your latest waves of titaniums, are there any plans to release a full size black shadow AT-AT?

ANSWER:  At this time, we do not have plans, but that would certainly be a possibility at some point. The "shadow" cadre of Republic and Imperial troops does appear to be very popular.


QUESTION:  Hasbro, with all the clones released over the past couple of years what are the chances that the aotc clone trooper pilot will be released?

ANSWER:  While we don't have plans right now, this is something that we will be looking at since it has been a while (2005's first Clone Trooper Evolution set) since we have produced a quality articulated version of the pilot. We would not go back to that specific AOTC version but would likely re-release somehow the evolutions version.




JEDI INSIDER

QUESTION:  Reader question from Joenubb: Hasbro, great job with the Target exclusive Ultimate Battle Packs! Great toys at a great value. I especially like the suprise Hoth Rebel gun turret. Please keep the playset-like toys coming!

Have these battle packs been successful to the point that they can be an outlet for playsets or environment pieces? Jabba's throne dais could be released this way as well as a Sarlaac pit. Create some Hoth trenches this way, or an Endor forest or tree to hang the cargo net packaged with TAC #46 R2-D2. I know I'm rambling now, but you guys get me so amped up for Star Wars toys!

ANSWER:  Thanks for the great thumbs-up on these, Joenubb! We were glad we could surprise folks like that while at the same time delivering some new things in this bigger format. And therein lies the rub - "some new things." As has been well-documented, playsets are backbreakers from a tooling and product costing perspective, and their return on investment is still not justified relative to the higher level of interest in figures and vehicles. That's why there were new elements to these sets, but they were not the sole focus of the sets themselves. By using a considerable amount of existing items, we were able to justify some tooling expense, which we spent on the turret and the logs. So the sucess of the UBPs (and they have been very successful) does not mean a change of format to more playset-dominated sets, but it does open the door to opportunities that have a similar type of format - i.e. some newness mixed with a good dose of existing to keep our costs down.


QUESTION:  Reader question from Hamsterboy: Any chance we'll ever see Clones in Imperial Officer uniforms like the ones shown near the end of Revenge of the Sith?

ANSWER:  Great question. We had not considered these, concentrating instead on doing the on-screen Commanders from EpIV-VI every so often. Now that you
bring it up there are some interesting possibilities, and we will discuss it on the team and see if any opportunities present themselves down the road.


QUESTION:  Reader question from ARBCOToys: Any chance we might see some Expanded Universe Galactic Heroes? I'd love a GH version of Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Quinlan Vos and Aayla Secura would make a nice looking 2-pack as well.

ANSWER:  Hey, awesome screen name, ARBCOToys! We can confirm that Aayla is on the way - here is a sneak pic shown below. Look for the Aayla/Bly pack on shelf around 3/1. While Aayla was born of the EU, she is the only one of your wish list that we are looking at as of now, preferring to work our way through on-screen characters before we turn our attention to the EU proper since kids still make up a sizeable share of the GH audience. We don't rule out the possibility of Quinlan or Mara eventually finding their way into the line because of their continued popularity with fans.




JEDIDEFENDER

QUESTION:  In 2008, the pack-in stands will make a come-back. We've already seen pictures of at least 10 of the 2007 figures re-carded with stands. The carded complete-ist collectors out there are wondering just how many of the 2007 figures will get re-released this way? 25%? 50%? 100%?

ANSWER:  As of this writing, which is pretty much the end of the tweaks we are able to make to the contents of Spring 2008 case pack ratio, there will be 16 2007 figures that "carry forward" into 2008 and will be revised to have bases swapped into where the coins would have been. A good number of these are the late Wave 7.5 & 8 figures which were on the cusp of late 2007/2008 and will straddle the pack-in changeover.


QUESTION:  A few folks have noticed something in the backgrounds of the recent box sets. It appears that the backgrounds feature custom-made set pieces, and not just paintings or drawings. They seem to be actual photographed custom dioramas. True or false? If true, where do they come from? And what do you guys do with them after the photo sessions?

ANSWER:  That is certainly true. It is a technique that has been in place for years in our photo studio, starting with the GI Joe line and expanding into other brands as time went on. Once the sets are struck, then the components go back into racks in our photo department where the components can be repurposed for other future sets. We do not keep dioramas intact.


QUESTION:  OK, Indy toys. What are we looking at for the launch? Are we talking a "street date" with a big push, including store exclusives (similar to the last few movie lines you’ve done)? If so, any idea what that date will be so we can mark it on our calendars to be sure we have the day off work?

ANSWER:  There will be a tight on-shelf date for the IJ product line, which will be a few weeks before the movie (the theaterical date is 5/22). We can confirm that there will *not* be any store exclusives at the movie launch for IJ... we are focusing on the mainline assortments. The complete lineup will be announced (along with the on-shelf date) at Toy Fair.




MOUSEDROID.COM - NEW ADDITION!

QUESTION:  With Australia being the “Home of Star Wars Episode II and III”, I would like to know if any more of our local actors will be getting figures made of them in the near future. We have had several Aussie and Kiwi actors such as Bruce Spence as Tio Medon, and Jay Laga'aia as Captain Typho, would it be possible to produce some more Aussie Actor/Characters? Character such as Owen Lars, (Joel Edgerton), Beru Lars (Bonnie Piesse) and Cliegg Lars on hoverchair (Jack Thompson). Maybe even a box set of the Lars Family?
 
ANSWER:  Welcome to the Q&A! We look forward to hearing from our pals down under on the directions we're going. The short answer is that we have looked at ways of bringing more of the "early" Lars clan to the shelves, but they won't be out in 2008. We are optimistic that we will be able to do them at some point, though.
 
 
QUESTION:  I am thrilled that we are able to purchase more Jedi and Sith action figures. The variety is great, the sculpts are superb, but what I really love are the unlit Saber hilts. What I do find annoying, is that there's no way to attach these hilts onto the figures belt. (Malak, Revan, VTSC Bespin Luke etc). I've noticed that some figures have a hole in their belt, where the hilt should go, but there's no 'peg' on the hilt to attach it! (Foul Moudama). Is it possible for you guys to fix that, so all Jedi and Sith may have their unlit Lightsaber hilts hanging from their belts please?
 
ANSWER:  It may not always be possible, given that some tools are used/shared by other figures. We'll definitely take your comment into advisement for when we do figures with unlit hilts. Thanks.

 
QUESTION:  I thought the 2007 Ralph McQuarrie figures were all brilliant. Great card designs and the translation from sketch to figure was well executed. Is the concept figure line to end with the McQuarrie figures or were further artists works to be explored? Maybe Doug Chiang could be done for an Episode I concept figure design series?
 
ANSWER:  The McQuarrie signature series will end with the Rebel Trooper (#60) this year in Wave 8. There will be no concept figures in the line for 2008, but we are looking at the success this subline has enjoyed this year as an opportunity to bring it back in some way in a future year. No decisions have yet been made on what artists we would focus on, however.
 




To be continued in the next post.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 01:24:17 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2007, 01:19:10 AM »

Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of December 21st, 2007 - Part 3


RAVING TOY MANIAC NEW ADDITION!

QUESTION:  Will there ever be a Galactic Heroes figure of Princess Leia as Jabba's prisoner (i.e. wearing the metal bikini)?

ANSWER:  Yes.


QUESTION:  Will we be seeing Guri (Shadows of the Empire) in the new comic packs?

ANSWER:  Not yet. We have only one SotE pack lined up for 2008/2009 with some of the more compelling characters. She is a very interesting character, though, and has appeared in a lot of other sources so her popularity among fans is pretty decent and is in her favor. We would not rule her out for "some day," but not in the near term.


QUESTION:  Any plans for more vehicles in the Galactic Heroes line?

ANSWER:  Yessir! First up, we will be getting the Millenium Falcon back into circulation in a special "Cinema Scene"-inspired window-boxed style package with Han, Chewie, R2-D2 & C-3PO. Look for this exclusively at Wal-Mart in approximately February. After that, we have plans to continue our popular Cinema Scenes format with some more sets in '08 featuring some new takes on existing vehicles along with some new vehicles *and* creatures. The GH goodness will really be amped up next Fall.




REBELSCUM

QUESTION:  Is the modern "Vintage" line pretty much done? We know there isn't a wave planned for 2008, but to be honest, the basic figure line has pretty much caught up to the Vintage line in terms of articulation and soft goods. Plus, with the return of the Evolutions sets, the high-quality standard is maintained with an opportunity for an even greater choice of characters. With all of this in mind, the only reason to continue the "Vintage" line is for nostalgic packaging in a protective case, which raises the price.

ANSWER:  Thanks for the good word, Dan. We love the Q&A and are glad that we are able to have great dialogue with fans.especially as interest heats up for 2008. Keep bringing the Q and we'll supply the A.

Regarding Vintage, the concept is probably over as far as a high-end, premium clamshell packaged line consisting of 100% new figures, for the reasons you mentioned (a welcome overall trend toward articulation) as well as the fact that there are few really iconic main characters left to do that would be strong anchors for future waves. We do not rule out the possibility that vintage could return in the same format, but we are also looking at other ways where we can harness the great nostalgic power of that very iconic line look. We don't have a timetable for when we bring it back, but know that we are looking at it for farther down the road.


QUESTION:  We've heard rumors earlier this year that The Clone Wars line will see the return of action features, which are primarily targeted toward a younger audience, and the results are often not esthetically pleasing. While "quick-draw" and "lightsaber slashing" action is great for play value, many collectors prefer the see added articulation and detailed sculpts instead. Is it too soon to talk about this yet? If they are returning, how extensive will they be?

ANSWER:  Dan - we hear you and think you will be very pleased when you see the lineup. While we won't get too specific at this point, we will say that we are developing the line so that it achieves both objectives - the figures have feature play (although it won't be built-in in all cases) and also meet the sensibilities of collectors. Stay tuned...!


QUESTION:  With the popularity of the McQuarrie figures this year and their impossibility to find on peghooks, I know you are good at getting more out in later wave revisions, but have you considered releasing a wave of nothing but McQuarrie figures? There's enough out there to put only 1-2 of each per case...

ANSWER:  What you suggest would be a poisonous mix for the kid fan who is focused on the main characters. While you might say "that's what Saga Legends is for!" it's vital that each and every case pack of both lines offer attraction for the kid audience. Instead, we'll be chasing the figures, to the best we can...but with demand running even hotter than we can chase, the basic figure line basically wrapping up at the end of June to make way for the new Fall 2008 basic figure line, and three great waves of basic figures still to go in Spring....the slots in which we can re-pack and chase the McQs are not going to be as great as hoped and some of these figures are probably going to remain scarce. There are still quite a few figures and waves shipping, and we're not deliberately shorting any
figure, so we're hopeful fans can still find what they need.




SANDTROOPERS

QUESTION:  Looking at some of the figures of minor characters that were made years ago, I started to think about how cool they could be if some of them were brought up to today's standards. Some examples that come to mind are Boshek, Tessek, Adi Gallia, Takeel, Dr. Evazan, Prune Face and Ree-Yees. Most of these figures looked nice in their day, but they just don't hold up to today's standards anymore. I understand that remakes of minor background characters can't happen very often, but I'm wondering who, if any, is one minor character that the Hasbro team would really like to have another shot at?

ANSWER:  Great question.  As we have produced "definitive" versions of many such backgrounders lately and added them to our shelf displays, we, like you, have noticed that many of these old-timers, while great in their day, do look a little soft around the edges.  We would say that of the seven figures you single out, we have plans to update three of them over the next couple of years, and will probably get to a couple more of them as well before too much longer.  Of the remaining ones, it's unlikely that we'll update Boshek or Takeel for a looong time, if ever, since we would be more likely to spend that "slot" in the lineup on a new Cantina figure.


QUESTION:  In a recent thread on our site I mentioned that a dream figure for me would be a remake of the shirtless training Darth Maul in a super articulated format. Another member mentioned that that figure was scheduled for release in the new Sith Evolutions set. I had totally forgotten about that! I was so focused on the Mandalorian Evolutions set that I spaced the others off. So here's my question... it's almost 2008. The 3 new Evolutions sets (Mandalorian, Sith and Jedi) are already announced and confirmed by you. Any chance we can get some more/better pictures of these figures? Include what all accessories will be included, confirm the SA and removeable helmet status of Jango? Clearer pix of Mandalore, Nihl, Bane (does that silly glow in the dark helmet come off? How about Boba? He looks a little rotund, maybe too much uj cake or does his chest armor come off? I'd love to see some updated pix, maybe even packaged if available.

ANSWER:  We are glad you asked, and will share what we have. Four pics are attached - three higher-res pics of the same images we showed at Comic Con.  These are all of the pics we have available as of yet, but the sets are shipping soon so more images will be hitting.  Also, there is a more detailed rundown in this month's copy of Lee's Toy Review (#182) with The Sith legacy set on the cover.  As far as accessories go, all of the accessories that come with the figures are shown.  This is important for collectors toknow, since there won't be as much extra stuff as the last line, except for the three reissues which will be the same as before.  The new sets will not have all of the extra gear, and the explanation is simple....as we looked at the components, we felt we added the accessories that the characters would need and that we could afford to add while not compromising the articulation, soft goods and deco on the figures themselves.  As our costs have risen since we last did Evolutions in 2005, trading out extra pieces to deliver high quality figures was the right one.  As for the details you asked about, we can confirm that Bane's mask is removable.  Regarding Jango, we can confirm that he is SA with swivel articulation at wrists/forearms, ball & socket elbows, swivel upper arms, ball & socket shoulders, ball neck, ball & socket waist, swivel hips, ball & socket  knees, and ball & socket feet.  And his helmet is removable. Wow!  Boba looks great in person, his armor is not removable.  We can also confirm that there will be one more special surprise set in this wave....centered around The Force Unleashed.  Look for more information on that after the new year.


QUESTION:  Will Canada be getting any figures from the TAC line past wave 5 or have we seen it all up North. One of the  sites said they would not be getting wave 6 on CDN card, so does that also mean we wont be getting anything past wave 6 at Canadian retail?

ANSWER:  We have confirmed with our Canadian pals that all waves are indeed planned to be dsitributed with the Canada-exclusive Vader-head packaging. According to the marketing team in Canada, it may take a while into Spring before they all make it out but that is the plan as of now.  Good news!




SIR STEVE'S GUIDE

QUESTION:  With collectors clamoring for playsets the last few years and Hasbro's take being that there's no market for them at this time, might the Ultra Battlepack concept be used to get us a little closer to playsets by including larger environment elements instead of vehicles? We could have Dagobah with Yoda's hut and the tree (where Luke battles his demons); and a Death Star with trash compactor, corridors & doors, and cellblock. So, might the Ultra Battlepack line be purposed for this need?

ANSWER:  We certainly look a the Ultimate Battle Pack concept as a way to deliver more play features but at the same time not weigh down a product with a massive tooling burden. As has been well-documented, playsets are backbreakers from a tooling and product costing perspective, and their return on investment is still not justified relative to the higher level of interest in figures and vehicles. That's why there were new elements to these sets, but they were not the sole focus of the sets themselves. By using a considerable amount of existing items, we were able to justify some tooling expense, which we spent on the turret and the logs. Surprisingly, the turret did not take up that many tools and was very efficient from that standpoint compared to some of the other suggestions which are more intensive from a tooling and piece price standpoint. The exception might be Yoda's hut, which is a pretty good suggestion and one we should look into. So the sucess of the UBPs (and they have been very successful) does not mean a change of format to more playset-dominated sets, but it does open the door to opportunities that have a similar type of format - i.e. some newness mixed with a good dose of existing to keep our costs down.


QUESTION:  Back in October, Hasbro said that getting a Corran Horn figure in the comics 2packs line was unlikely because he "only appears in one comic series (X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Family Ties) as a security officer, well before his most iconic stores in later novels." However, that's not accurate as he's in the SW:Union mini-series, in at least 3 different outfits - training gear, civilian clothes, and trademark green robes during Luke & Mara's ceremony (which would also be a great way to sneak in a Cilghal figure). Does this up the odds at all for Corran Horn?

ANSWER:  It still doesn't change our belief that the comic packs might not be the best place to deliver a Corran Horn figure. He's still high on our wish list with some other prominent figures, but we'll have to wait a while longer yet before we can look to do something with him.


QUESTION:  With Commander Neyo from the Treachery on Saleucami set being among the winners of the Saga Legends fan choice poll, would you please pack in a second, generic belt with him the way you're doing with the Gray Clone Commander figure in the Saga Legends line? That way, the Neyo-style troopers could be represented by this same figure (remove the pauldron, swap the belt, voila), leading to more sales of the guy.

ANSWER:  Excellent suggestion, but too late to impact this figure, which is being built now for shipment soon.





To be continued in the next post.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 01:26:46 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2007, 06:57:39 PM »

Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of December 21st, 2007 - Part 4


THE JAWA

QUESTION:  Will any of the figures from wave 5, especially Darth Malak, Darth Revan, and Pre-Cyborg Grievous, appear in any future TAC wave case assortments?

ANSWER:  They will not be repacked into any other assortments.  Since your question centers on additional supply, we have checked and confirmed that more of the original ratios (case packs) have recently shipped to retail with the last planned releases against these going out in the next couple of weeks, so there is more supply on the way.


QUESTION:  Hasbro did a magnificent job with the sculpt for the Galactic Marine, however there has been one negative aspect to the mold that fans have mentioned over and over again which I'm wondering if Hasbro is aware of. The base of the marine's feet is slightly curved and this makes it difficult to stand him up (he tends to fall over onto his back) unless you pose him in a very specific way. Typically this has been in a semi-walking pose. Some fans have made this adjustment and had no problems, others have tried and never had any luck (I have 9 marines and read all of the tips from various fan forums and have had absolutely no luck in getting them to stand no matter how I position the ankles or legs). Is there any chance that you might flatten the feet so that any future reuse of this mold won't suffer the same issues?

ANSWER:  We actually didn't know about that issue, so will make it known to the design team. Thanks for passing that along.


QUESTION:  The 2008 Obi and Anakin figures seemingly were retooled so that both could sit more easily in their Jedi fighters, the 2008 Gree has ball-jointed hips... and this got me wondering if, now with the Clone Wars TV show looming and the possibility of more kids getting into playing with Star Wars again, is Hasbro looking at making sure more figures down the road will be able to easily sit in the vehicles that are being released in your $20 price-point line (V-Wing, Starfighters, etc).  This would be great news if so since I fondly remember as a kid playing with the Kenner vehicles and always knowing that any figure at any time could fit inside any vehicle (or beast, like the Dewback and Taun-Taun) and this is one of the aspects that I'd love to see more of.

ANSWER:  Yes.  We are making sure that our core characters (the ones kids will likely be playing with) will fit inside vehicles.  It won't be possible to make sure that every character can interact with every vehicle (like for instance, Hermie Odle) but there should be a much greater fit.




THE PRIVATE UNIVERSE

QUESTION:  Despite the strong showing of single carded figures in 2007, there seems to be an ongoing format trend towards multi-figure packs (Order 66, Battlepacks, Comic 2-packs, 2008's Force Unleashed 3-packs and new Evolutions). What's the rationale behind this?

'Cinema Scenes' were popular in the past, so are we seeing Hasbro trying to increase playability by giving the consumer several characters which can interact, balancing obscure and mainstream characters so that more 'fan-favourites' get made, or justifying re-releases with the inclusion of newly-tooled sculpts?

ANSWER:  Basic figures still remain the heart and soul of the 3-3/4" collection, and it's important to maintain our focus there to make sure there are an ample number of new figures released, and that this "collection" maintains the core of the movie figure lineup. However, the Star Wars universe holds so much potential and fun that we have actively pursued a variety of alternate means of delivering new figures from both the films and EU sources.

We work closely with retailers to match the opportunity (such as an off shelf display in the checklane register, or an end-cap or promoted item) with an idea that we may have been thinking about. That is how the Order 66 2-packs came about - an idea we had had for a while centering on the relationship between Jedi and the Clones, to an out-of-aisle placement that made sense. So the impetus for more multi-pack offerings is really a product of having a brand that is still in very high demand with story opportunities that lend themsleves to trying many different things to complement the core line.


QUESTION:  So, action figure stands are back in 2008 - something we all seem to agree is a great move on Hasbro's part. However, do you have any plans for that vintage / early modern classic - the carry case?

We've seen C-3PO, Vader, Chewie's Bandolier and even a Rebel Troop Transport in the past. With the number of collectors who like to open their figures (they do exist), surely there is a place for a new storage system from you guys? We don't all have abundant shelf-space!

ANSWER:  The stands will be back for Spring. However, we have no plans to bring back the figure cases at this point (or make new ones). We *have* looked at it but the cost is just too prohibitive to make it work, and previous sales (in 2005) have not really shown that the demand is high enough to make continued efforts worthwhile. Not to say we won't look at it down the road, but right now it's not a high priority for us.


QUESTION:  Star Wars toys obviously go through various proof-of-concept stages between initiation and production. What percentage are discarded during initial (paper) design due to cost constraints, licensing issues etc? How many make it to sculpting but don't progress due to design constraints? Can you give us any examples of figures that have been abandoned?

ANSWER:  We don't have many modern examples for you because our design team has been in place for a while and has an exceptionally well-developed sense for what can/cannot be done in different segments. As a result, we are very efficient when it comes to ideation and implementation, especially when it comes to basic figures, battle packs, vehicles, and role play.

The area where, quite frankly, we have spent considerable effort at brainstorming and model-making, but have been stopped at the costing stage, has been the area of playsets. Our challenges with mock-ups of Death Star-type playsets have been well-documented, but we have found it's not just 3-3/4" playsets that are a challenge - any set that used a substantial number of parts and plastic is going to present a costing problem, and ultimately has a high risk of getting bumped from the line when the price point proves prohibitive.




YAKFACE

QUESTION:  In the last session of the QnAs, you confirmed that there will be a ROTJ-themed wave in Fall '08. Can you confirm if one of the figures in the wave is a female or a droid?

ANSWER:  Yes, consider it confirmed.


QUESTION:  A few e-tailers, Entertainment Earth and BidBadToyStore.com for example, have pulled their pre-order listings for the Indiana Jones case assortments. Are these still "on track" for an April 08 release?

ANSWER:  The specific assortments and method of shipping were changed up, so that caused some retailers to have to redo, but we are on track for them be on-shelf a few weeks before the movie.


QUESTION:  Dear Hasbro, the first pictures of the Force Unleashed commemorative collection sets have surfaced and it seems that the Emperor Palpatine figure is a straight repack from the 2005 Evolutions set. I really like this version in terms of sculpt and articulation, but the color of his skin seems off. Is there any chance that we’re getting a color corrected - ghostly white - version of this figure, since a lot of collectors are desperate for a SA movie (and game) accurate Emperor Palpatine.

ANSWER:  We did a straight pick-up, as this was the approved direction. In hindsight, we could have done a different yellow-gray or ghostly-white shade, but it won't happen for this release. Next time we do the Emperor, this will be considered.




YODAS NEWS

QUESTION:  Will you continue with Expanded Universe figures in 2008? Although we love figures such as Luke and Han and the others of the original movies, new characters would be a nice change of pace from the same old, same old. Also, any plans for new vehicles that haven't been released before?

ANSWER:  The comic book 2-packs will continue throughout 2008. As has been our strategy for 2007, we will continue to make sure that there is a mix of core characters and introductions of characters new to the 3-3/4" scale. By keeping core characters in the mix, it ensures that we have traction with kids, too, who are looking for familiar favorites and a comic book with them in it. This strategy has been very, very successful for us this year and we will continue that plan. Also, by keeping core characters in the mix, we can fill some of those with repaints and dedicate our tooling to new figures, which is what you are asking for. It will be a happy balance. There *will* be new vehicles in the 2008 lineup that have not been released before, as well as some great exclusives that are off-shoots of our existing tooling library. However, it is too early to release details on these yet. Look for some news at Toy Fair, the rest around Comic Con.


QUESTION:  I love the different weapons that come with the figures and the effort made to make them the right size. Some seem to be a bit soft. Is it possible to make the guns a little stiffer so that they don't get bent in the figure's hands? Also, would it ever be possible (as a special run, or even as an UGH / chase figure) to get "titanium" blasters included with the figures? Those die-cast versions that came with the titanium figures were awesome and they look great with the figs!

ANSWER:  The softness/stiffness of the accessories is something that we have been aware of and have spoken with factories about. However, there is likely to continue to be varying degrees of stiffness. The reason is that factories often shoot black parts (like accessories) with plastic that has been recycled, a process that we encourage for certain items. As plastic
becomes melted down and reused, it loses some of its integrity, so if weapons are shot with a recycled mix they will be softer. By doing this, it keeps overall costs a bit lower in the long term. As for the Titanium weapons, that is a very interesting question. The weapons are, of course, much more expensive to produce, so they wouldn't be part of a basic figure run. They do look sharp, so we'll look at possibilities.


QUESTION:  Any High Resolution Images of The Force Unleashed Basic Figures Carded that you can share? Some low resolution shot have surfaced in the last few days online and we have seen the loose High Resolution ones but we would love to see the figures and cardbacks in beautiful High Resolution for the Holidays!

ANSWER:  Sorry - these images have not been made available to us yet. Generally, as soon as they're made available they are sent out to the outside world, so we aren't any faster or more efficient on these sorts of requests. Since you asked and we don't have them yet, we will dig around and forward as soon as we get some high-res to share.





Please keep checking back for more updates.  And be sure to see our HASBRO Q&A HEADLINES where we sift through the flotsam and serve up the hard news!
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 01:29:25 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 04:43:04 PM »

Updated at 1522 ET.  The Private Universe has been added.
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2007, 01:27:19 AM »

Updated 12.29.07 - Added Creature Cantina, Raving Toy Maniac
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