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« on: August 10, 2009, 07:39:31 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF AUGUST 10th, 2009


Thanks for dropping by and checking out JTA's roundup of all of the Hasbro Q&A sessions from around the web.  This week's answers come in a little late as Hasbro has slid back the time to answer.  The roundup is continually updating as we get more and more responses posted at the participating websites.  If you know of a site that's participating in the Q&A's but isn't represented in our roundup, please drop us a line with a hyperlink to that site's Q&A.

You can check out each site's postings by clicking on the website title.  And please do, as some of these websites need the traffic.  The Star Wars Q&A's are posted alphabetically.

Also be sure to check back as we distill the Q&A's down to the real nitty gritty with out Q&A Headlines.  That is where we give you real news that comes out of the Q&A:  newly confirmed items, assortments, exclusive details, etc.  And feel free to post about what Hasbro is saying in the Q&A process here in the Jedi Temple War Room.

That being said, let's start of at home:


JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES


QUESTION:  Just saw the figure two-packs for the Clone Wars. Could we ever see something like this for the Legacy? Maybe an Imperial Officer (named) and a trooper? Same idea with the Rebels: named officer and basic trooper. Or, maybe just Troop builders.

ANSWER:  It's certainly possible.  We have experimented with several different 2-pack configurations in Legacy in recent years, mostly as exclusives (Order 66, the continuing Wal-Mart exclusive Droid Factory packs , and the upcoming Target-exclusive Geonosis Arena).  We would like to keep these "themed" pack ideas going as they are fun to do, can create a great program for our retailer partners, and allow us to get to some interesting characters we might not otherwise get to for a long time.  One of the key things with these two-packs is to make sure we are delivering some core heroes to keep the segment interesting for kids as well.  Whether we will get to what you suggested remains to be seen, but such an idea has been on our list of possibilities.  We'd like to do it, but only time will tell if we can get to it.


QUESTION:  In a recent Q&A you stated that from now on, battlepacks will be straight repacks. Does this mean main characters or could secondary/background characters be packed in as well? If secondary characters (i.e. troopers) are repacked, will they be straight re-releases or could they be modified? For example, lets say a Echo Base/Battle of Hoth battlepack is to be released. We get a General Rieekan, Major Derlin, Han and Echo Baste Trooper. Would the Trooper be one of the two versions that are currently in the Legacy collection or could it possible have a new head sculpt?

ANSWER:  The mainline battle packs will be taking a turn away from the beast and occasional collector-targeted set and will be focused on figure-based, kid-targeted sets effective for 2010, with a return to the original packaging depth next Fall.  Since these are often holiday or special-occasion (reward or birthday) purchases, we want to make sure that we are providing as much value as we can and as a result we can't keep put significant tooling into these sets right now.  We'll be concentrating on either pure re-packs (as we have been doing each of the past several years) or sets that all have something new to all the characters with minor changes (such as the upcoming Resurgance of the Jedi, which does hit a duel kid/collector audience).  It's unlikely that in the mainline we'll be doing collector-targeted sets like you suggest.  We don't rule out the possibility that exclusive battle packs could have a composition like that, but we were responding to a question about the mainline battle packs when we answered that.


QUESTION:  We got our first look at the new package artwork around Toy Fair, and that has prompted some questions that seem to arise any time we see a transition between package art looks.

-First, will we see a hard street date for the new look as we did in 2008? If so, what is that date?
-Will provisions be made to get decent ammounts of the last waves of the current collection to retail? There's been historical evidence that suggests that the last wave(s) before the transition sometimes get shortchanged.

ANSWER:  There is no hard shelf-date for the line this year.  As a result, each of the ongoing assortments will "change" to the new look when the new look is ready to ship from our warehouse to fill orders (i.e. when retailers are selling down on blue/white and need fresh inventory).  This will vary by item, with Saga Legends and Clone Wars already out at retail as this is written, and some other assortments trailing a little further behind.  As for the latest waves of Legacy, one of the reasons why the red/white line look is slower to get in to retail is because still have a decent amount of blue/white inventory that we are trying to get out there, but with the slowdown in a few figures it makes it tougher to control. At a certain point we need to go with red/white and this may mean that the last wave - based Attack of the Clones - will likely see shorter distribution at brick and mortar stores than previous waves.  However, with retailers like Entertainment Earth and Brian's Toys as a solution, collectors have a way of getting complete waves even though they may be short at retail. We recommend going this route if there is any uncertainty in finding the Epi I wave - or even the EpV wave that preceded it - at your local retailers.

NOTE:  These questions were submitted back in June/July, predating the appearance of the new red packaging at retail.




And now to continue through the A-Z of the online Star Wars collecting community:


16BIT.COM


QUESTION:  We do so enjoy seeing our figures whenever possible, and often buy multiple extra pilots just to outfit the ships.   Now it seems there's no longer a need to do so.   Over the years Kenner and Hasbro have generally made vehicles with clear or light grey, but still clear, plastic windows.  Since the release of the Darth Vader Sith Starfighter, we've seen a few with virtually opaque canopies, thus negating the need to buy pilot figures.  (Other candidates include the 2008 Clone Wars Republic Gunship and the fairly dark recently released Anakin Delta 2 Jedi Starfighter and Magnaguard Droid Fighter.)  Is there an aesthetic decision in making the vehicles impossible to see inside, is this an oversight?
 
ANSWER:  The tech of craft in the Star Wars universe does not have to conform to conventional viewpoints, like the viewpoint that all canopies must be clear.  The real world is no different - who hasn't seen cars with opaque windows using polarized filters? Yet these are perfectly functional vehicles.  For each of the craft you mention, it was just an aesthetic decision on the part of the designer. It makes it harder to appreciate what we may put inside, but could also lead to different choices for display - is the fleet in space, or in a hangar where I can put the pilot in front?  Either way is valid, although there is something heroic and chaotic about the pre-battle chaos of the hangar that evokes both the team-oriented yet deeply personal nature of the Star Wars conflict.  That's one reason why we have been going after more pilots - both Imperial and Rebels - recently, because these largely unsung film-based and EU pilots need to have their day in the sun.  We can't wait to see the different ways folks will use set pieces like the vehicle from Scramble on Yavin, or even simply the ladder that comes with the Comic-Con Luke Skywalker exclusive.   
 

QUESTION:  If we recall correctly, there was some mention for the Battle Pack box form being changed in the very near future, thus making it so this next wave of Battle Packs will be very here today, gone tomorrow.  Assuming this is true, will any of the final 4 Battle Packs from that wave find homes in the new assortment, or perhaps put into other assortments like the new figure with vehicle assortment 91349?  (Naturally, we're awkwardly getting at the big Republic Gunship pod, of which we all want several.)
 
ANSWER:  The same package size will be used for the new red/white battle pack versions, and it will go back to the older, narrow, figure-based footprint for Fall 2010.  The Geonosis Assault (Gunship pod) will be re-released, so it *will* be coming out in the red/white line look this Fall.   
 

QUESTION:  We just got the yellow Anakin's Delta 2 Jedi Starfighter, and it's great-- R2-D2 is sitting in the droid socket, and everyone's favorite future psycho is in the pilot's seat.  We've had Obi-Wan's for months, and love it-- but there's no astromech droid specifically for Obi-Wan Kenobi just yet.  Is one planned?   We're all ears when it comes to new cartoon astromech droids.
 
ANSWER:  Great question.  With as many cool things as there are to keep track of in Clone Wars, we sort of lost sight of our little mechanical astromech companions in the line planning (other than R2 and goldie, of course). We are indeed looking at getting out more of the cool cartoon astro droids, but we don't have any details yet on who/what/when will be added.  We're hoping that we can get some more out - and Obi-Wan's R4 tops the priority list - by late next year.           




ASMZINE   NEW Q&A PARTICIPANT


QUESTION:  Admiral Natasi Daala is a prominent character in the new Star Wars novel series.  Since we have gotten more Expanded Universe characters over the past few years, what are the chances of getting a Daala figure, either by herself or in a comic-pack?
 
ANSWER:  Unfortunately, the list of novel-only characters who have not yet found a home in the lineup is a long one.  Corran Horn and Whistler, some of the Mandalorian figures from the exclusive set a few years ago, and the upcoming Jacen and Jaina Solo figures pretty much comprise the contingent so far.  The simple reason if one of reference; if they appear in a comic, they have a much higher likelihood of being made into a figure since we have reference and a segment dedicated to the comics (for example, the X-Wing series has a good showing for a novel since may stories have been adapted).  If Daala, or any other novel-only characters make strong showing in the Fans' Choice poll, we will certainly take consider them for the mainline or another opportunity as it may arise. 
 

QUESTION:  Along the same line of thought, any other EU characters you can confirm?  I know that Comic-Con is just around the corner, and you may not be able to reveal anything until then, so if that's the case, can you at least hint at characters or, at least, how large a presence the EU will have?
 
ANSWER:  One of the drawbacks of having his batch of Q&A due *after* Comic-Con is that some answers have already revealed themselves.  We hope that you were pleased with what was shown for the EU - both in the mainline wave with Jacen and Jaina, K'Kruhk (finally!), the new Shaak Ti from The Force Unleashed, Space Trooper, and Dark Trooper Phase I.  We think it's a sensational wave.  In addition to this wave, we revealed some of the next comic packs, including Exar Kun and Ulic Quel-Droma from Tales of the Jedi, Master Tholme and Tr'a Saa from Republic, a Black Hole Stormtrooper from Classic Star Wars, as well as 2010 previews of Jarael and Rohlan Dyre from Knights of the Old Republic, and Darth Nihl and Delia Blue (our first Zeltron) from Legacy.  All in all, we think it was a strong showing for the EU at Comic-Con.
 

QUESTION:  With the release of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", was there ever any talk of ramping up more Star Wars/Transformers Crossovers to ride the hype and excitement of the sequel?
 
ANSWER:  We actually don't expect much of an effect, positive or negative.  Our experience from the first Transformers movie, in 2007, showed us that during the movie window kids who might have otherwise been into Star Wars Transformers seemed to show interest in the "real" Transformers personalities, but this was to a small degree.  This did not last long, and kids found their way back to the Star Wars Transformers play pattern after the movie window, but not to any greater extent because of the huge new awareness and interest in Transformers brought about by the movie.  They have their own kid fan base, pretty much, who stick with it reliably.   




COLLECTION STATION

QUESTION:  C-3PO needs new figures from across the saga, it's sad but true. The original Ep I Threepio figure was quite good, but he needs knee and ankle joints, perhaps the ability to hold the Anakin Skywalker podracing flag, and a little more accurate deco with yellow eyes and slightly toned-down wires. Episode II Threepio's removable parts gimmick hampered this figure's design, and since then we've gotten the fantastically-sculpted U-3PO Build-a-Droid figure, so that mold could sport the Ep 2 Threepio deco. And then there's the OT Threepio, which you've recently said is hampered with vac-metal bodies because LFL is stuck on the concept over a painted look. However, your team has produced some great-looking shiny silver protocol droids lately without vac-metallizing, and Hasbro's Marvel Universe team has been able to produce 2 different tones of shiny, metallic-looking gold colors on a few Iron Man figures, which are still super-articulated. Is something of those qualities still not to Lucasfilm's approval, or might we finally be seeing a truly super-articulated Threepio soon?

ANSWER:  Back when we added knees to the OTC C-3PO, we were happy with that because it added pretty much all of the articulation we ever thought we'd need in a C-3PO figure. It never seems his poses that require anything more than knees for sitting down, and his arms remain inactive most of the time. But you do have good points on all versions, especially EpII, which we hope we are covering for you in the Target-exclusive Geonosis Arena 2-packs this Fall. We'll take a look at future updated versions of the others for down the line. Thanks for the thoughts.


QUESTION:  Are there any plans to make an R6-series Astromech Droid, either as a build-a-droid or a basic figure? This would be the realistic-styled droid with the unique head, not the Clone Wars version that's visually just another R2. We currently have R1 through R5 and then R7, but no R6. The only new tooling for R6 would be a new dome, as the body is the same as the R2 and similar. And while we're on the subject, what about R8 and R9 droids?

ANSWER:  We would like to do R6, R8, and R9 droid domes at some point to really complete the astromech series. While we don't have them slotted into the Legacy/Droid Factory basic figure lineup, it's possible that we'll do them in the future in some way or another.


QUESTION:  This might seem like an odd request, but would you re-issue the old Kenner X-wing, specifically the POTF2 version, with some modifications? There's no X-wing at kid pricing anymore, the only OT vehicles at the Starfighter pricepoint are lonely TIEs with nobody to fight, and that classic X-wing had some decent sculpting, strong wings, and was fun to whoosh about. As well, the POTF2 version had a pretty decent deco (though pre-applied stickers would be nice), and that version also had the best sound effects in any X-wing (aside from the Power FX X-wing, but the sacrifices there are numerous), those sounds alone would sell another batch to collectors. To modernize it a bit, the ship could use a tune-up on the cockpit interior, the canopy exterior, the dedicated R2-D2, and the blaster cannon tips need to be reoriented to the proper upright position to get it ship-shape. Don't you think the kids today deserve an awesome X-wing fighter?

ANSWER:  Our hope is that kids who do want an X-Wing will respond to the Wedge version out this Fall. We think most collectors like this more accurately-scaled version as well, so we plan to keep it in rotation every few years with a different pilot/droid combo and accurate paint. We actually hadn't thought of it, but you bring up an interesting point, and that is that we don't have an X-Wing solution for an "everyday" price like the Starfighter vehicles. If we did decide to look at the PotF2 tool, it's likely we run it without too many modifications since it would be largely kid-targeted.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:54:18 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 07:44:44 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF AUGUST 10th, 2009 - PART 2



DEWBACK PATROL NEW Q&A PARTICIPANT

QUESTION:  Now that we see packaging for the 501st Clonetrooper 2 pack can we expect to see 2 packs of current and older production Imperial troopers and Rebel soldiers. Like Gen Veers in armor with a Snowtrooper, or AT-AT driver. Even 2 packs of Stormtrooper & Bikerscout. For the Rebels we can have 2 packs of Hoth Rebel soldiers and Snowspeeder pilots- you get the idea but it be a great way to fill the ranks out.

ANSWER:  It's certainly possible. We have experimented with several different 2-pack configurations in Legacy in recent years, mostly as exclusives (Order 66, the continuing Wal-Mart exclusive Droid Factory packs , and the upcoming Target-exclusive Geonosis Arena). We would like to keep these "themed" pack ideas going as they are fun to do, can create a great program for our retailer partners, and allow us to get to some interesting characters we might not otherwise get to for a long time. One of the key things with these two-packs is to make sure we are delivering some core heroes to keep the segment interesting for kids as well. Whether we will get to what you suggested remains to be soon, but such an idea has been on our list of possibilities. We'd like to do it, but only time will tell if we can get to it.


QUESTION:  Hasbro, you recently expressed interest in redoing all the Kenner figures that are in need of a refresh. Does that include figures from multipacks such as: Max Rebo, Sy Snootles, Droopy McCool, Uncle Owen, Oola, Labria, Nabrun Leids, Dr Evazan, Klaatu, Nikto, and Barada? These figures really have not stood the test of time as well as some others and could use the update.

ANSWER:  Most of these we do see as needing an upgrade and plan on getting to them a bit at a time over the next few years. First up, in our books, would be Dr. Evazan, followed by Jabba's skiff guards. Of lesser importance would be the Max Rebo band. We honeslty don't see updating these guys, since articulation isn't the be-all end-all for all figures, and they already have some very nice sculpts.


QUESTION:  With the success of the Scamble on Yavin battle pack (it flew off the shelves) has any more thought gone into producing more quality sets based on the OT?

ANSWER:  Yes, but it will not be in the mainline since the Battle Packs are going back to their roots of tooling-light, value-based sets. We will be looking at some of these ideas for exclusive Battle Packs, however, and if they do make the lineup we'll have details on those next year at Toy Fair or Comic Con.




GALACTIC HUNTER

QUESTION:  With Pons Limbic, Hasbro now has the tooling for Cantina tables. If the team simply put together the existing table; VotC Han Solo, VotC Greedo (with a plastic vest this time), and the seating for the booth, you'd have a cool Battle Pack for a Cantina shootout. How about it? Or what about adding a little battery powered table lamp to the table? It would  enhance the Greedo-killing mood (yes, I can dream...). You would of course have to call this Battle Pack Cantina Encounter: Han Shoots First!?!  Diorama builders would definitely like to get more seating for their Cantinas.

ANSWER:  It is one of our dreams to complete this scene, but the trouble is really in the large tooling needed to complete the alcove back and bench. This would be a sweet accessory to do some day, but first we want to figure out how to deliver the "distillery" section seen behind the bar. That is our #1 "dream piece" when we will be in a position to offer a Cantina Battle Pack some day.


QUESTION:  The modern Star Wars line  from Hasbro/Kenner has been dominating the toy aisles for almost 14 years, and yet we still don't have an accurate and complete representation of the iconic Jabba the Hutt and His Dais from Return of the Jedi. What is Princess Leia [as Jabba's Slave] (which leaked last week) going to sit on? C'mon guys, don't hold out on me, and please send photos of Big Daddy Jabba the Hutt in honor of Father's Day or something. 

ANSWER:  We did design Leia to be "forward compatible" with a Jabba and throne if we did make one. While we started the figure without having a plan in place, we can confirm that we are looking at a new Jabba, which would come with or without the throne depending on costing and tools. We would expect to have an update next year around Comic Con timing.  Stay tuned!

[Editor's Note: Comic-Con 2010? Watch out San Diego — I'll be there with bells on.]


QUESTION:  Since you probably have most of your 2010 lineup planned by now, and you indicated last year that we might get a Sandstorm Leia and Sandstorm Lando in 2010 to round out the sandstorm group, can you give us an update on that projection?  Is a sandstorm version of the upcoming Slave Leia in the running for the 2010 line? — Shabby Blue

ANSWER:  You are right in that 2010 is done and has been locked in for some time, even if we are getting to the final waves of sculpts. Unfortunately, these two did not make the cut for 2010.  We are starting work on 2011 very soon, and there is a strong possibility one or more of them will make it into the 2011 lineup.




HAN'S HIDEOUT

QUESTION:  It was sort of an after-thought when we asked about the Ugnaught variant in a previous session, so we'll ask this time. We're assuming that what you said about the Ugnaught variant (saving him for a "seventh" figure in a future wave) also applies to the Hoth Rebel Trooper variant (saving him for a future wave). Correct? And can you shed any light onto exactly which wave that will be?

ANSWER:  Actually, the alternate rebel *is* shipping with the final wave of the blue/white Legacy/Droid Factory wave. He is tough to find though, since not all of the figures in this wave are the clean-shaven version. Even though we want to re-release him, we have not slotted him into a future wave of the new red/white packaging. The reason is that the Droid Factory waves are very complex to balance out, and once they are set in motion it's very difficult to move things arounnd. We will make this pledge: if we cannot get him into a future wave of red/white, we will look to release him on some other way to make sure that everyone gets a chance to get (and troop build) this great Rebel.


QUESTION:  My boys love the Galactic Heroes line and they really love the ships and beasts that have been added over the past year. One thing that we're missing in the line though to truly give them that Kenner-esque Star Wars experience is carry cases. They need a Star Warsy way to lug those GH figures to Grandma's house! Here's an idea - drag that vintage Hoth Rebel Transport out of the mothballs! It's a carry case; it's a ship; it's perfect for the little guys!

ANSWER:  Great comment. We have not been looking at carrying cases in a while simply because they are not as productive as other SKUs, and can carry a stiff luggage tarrif that can drive the price up. In the highly competitive boys' aisle, an expensive, slow-moving item can be a real liability. However, we are looking at some different ways to do carrying cases, and our first priority is 3-3/4" fgures. If we can figure that one out, we'll look at Galactic Heroes as well. Thanks for the suggestion.


QUESTION:  Since fan polls and wishlists are all the rage these days, we thought we'd pass along our Han's Hideout "Top Five" list for your consideration:
1) Super-Articulated Bespin Han Solo
2) Bollux/Blue Max (Han Solo at Star's End)
3) Jolli (Marvel Comics)
4) Crimson Jack (Marvel Comics)
5) Bom Vimdin
Having seen our list, should we be super-excited for 2010, sort of excited, or bracing ourselves for disappointment?

ANSWER:  It's interesting that you have chosen, aside from the on-screen Han and Bom Vindin, three figures that commemorate the very earliest EU storytelling and are remembered fondly by long-time fans. In the scheme of what's happening today, however, these are a little obscure and probably not high on most fans' wish lists, but we'll see when the next Fans' Choice Vote nominations conclude in August (be sure and get your top 30 votes in!). From your list, at least one of those will be out in 2010 (you can probably guess which) and one more is almost a certain "lock" for 2011. As fo the rest, well, we hope that the comic packs have a long and fruitful life and we can get to one or more of them. As for our personal choice, it would be very cool to see Bollux/Blue Max some day.




IMPERIAL SHIPYARDS


QUESTION:  We are all really liking the new Hoth Rebel Soldier from the Legacy Empire Strikes Back wave. Several Shipyards members have noticed a rather wide stance in the leg portion that makes him a no brainer to ride a taun taun. Would there be any likelihood that we will see a new taun taun as a battlepack or multifigure pack in the future, perhaps similar to the gelagrub battlepack  that is coming out?

ANSWER:  We did not design the Rebel Soldier with a new Tauntaun in mind.  By now you have seen our update on the Dewback, and we hope that it meets your approval.  We would like to take a similar approach to the Tauntaun and are indeed working on one for 2010.  No details yets on how it willcome out, but odds are that it will be an exclusive.  Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  We have seen pictures of the new Y-Wing prototype. Does the droid socket fit a regular size droid completely?

ANSWER:  Yes, the new Y-Wing will fit a droid completely.  By now, you have seen the pics from Comic-Con and we hope that this amazing vehicle meets your approval and will find a place in your collection this Fall.


QUESTION:  We  have seen pictures of the upcoming TRU exclusive Crumb Bomber gunship and I was wondering if you could give us a clue or a pic of the paint apps on the upcoming Walmart exclusive gunship?

ANSWER:  By now, you have seen pictures of this one from Comic-Con, from multiple angles and better than we can supply - we hope they meet your satisfaction.  If not, let us know and we'll see what we can do.  Thanks for the interest!




To be continued.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:55:06 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 11:52:23 AM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF AUGUST 10th, 2009 - PART 3



JEDI NEWS

QUESTION:  We know that a lot of exclusive products are not being taken up by UK retailers.  Is there any way that we can get Hasbro/UK retailers to change their minds over these products - what would we have to do to convince you/them?  In these difficult times all the sales for these items are going to eBay sellers instead of helping to prop up the UK economy which seems crazy, especially when the high street is suffering so badly.

ANSWER:  Every attempt is made to get retailers in all regions to carry everything we do - including making sure that the production window is aligned so high minimum run quantities are not an issue.  There are various reasons why retailers might pass, and once they do we offer it to additional customers if possible.  Sometimes it may not be possible to offer it to anyone else if a UK retailer is aligned with a US retailer; for example, ASDA is aligned with Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart exclusives can only go to ASDA and nowhere else.  Toys 'R Us exclusives may only be offered to Toys ' R Us globally, but not all regions or countries may take every exclusive depending on how well the buyers think it will sell. It is frustrating to us that not everything has global distribution, but it's something we hope to be able to better address as we achieve success in the UK and more broadly in Europe with this year's batch of exclusives.


QUESTION:  We've seen some great pictures of the new Galactic Heroes Slave I and some great new Scenes as well (Max Rebo Band, Medal Ceremony etc) will these products all be available in the UK?  Also, you've told us previously that the AT-AT, seen at the UK and Canadian Toy Fairs earlier this year, will be delayed until 2010 - is that to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of Empire, if not will it definitely be coming next year?

ANSWER:  The Galactic Heroes AT-AT was not delayed into 2010 because of the 10th Anniversary of ESB, but it's a nice coincidence!  The real reason is that we could not fit it onto the planogram with everything else we had going on this year, and double facings were needed for some of the items we had this Fall.  So with nowhere to go, it went the only place it could go - off into the future.  We think we shouldn't have a problem for 2010 at this point.  We would prefer it remain "mainline" (available to all retailers) but should we have difficulty with planogram space, then we will look to make it an exclusive with a key retailer.  It's an awesomely cool vehicle.

JN: Having seen it at the UK Toy Fair, we'd have to agree - we can't wait to get our hands on it!


QUESTION:  We're finally getting a new Slave Leia and one that reclines too (with swappable legs) and it looks amazing!  We're getting LOTS of e-mails asking us again and again when we'll finally see a new Jabba with throne from Return of the Jedi - it's the final piece that people are waiting on to complete their Jabba dioramas/environments.  How long will we have to wait (it's been around 25 years since the last release)?

ANSWER:  We did design Leia to be "forward compatible" with a Jabba and throne if we did make one.  While we started the figure without having a plan in place, we can confirm that we are looking at a new Jabba, which would come with or without the throne depending on costing and tools. We would expect to have an update next year around Comic Con timing.  Stay tuned! 

JN: Please, please, please include the throne!!!




JEDIDEFENDER


QUESTION:  A lot of the new Clone Wars Clones have been been getting some nifty wrist articulation. What are the changes of seeing that wrist joint on more figures outside the realm of the armored guys?

ANSWER:  What you are referring to are insert-molded wrists. We use them on a case-by-case basis, and make most sense when characters have wrist armor because of the thickness of the joint needed. This particular joint is very expensive and we cannot afford to do it on many figures; to include it on more figures would mean that we would have to compromise on some other aspect of our figure waves.


QUESTION:  In an earlier Q&A, you mentioned plans for the VOTC Chewbacca to ship in the Saga Legends line this Fall, but the figure that we're getting appears to be the Legacy Sandstorm Chewie sculpt instead. What happened? Are there any new plans to get the VOTC or the Early Bird Chewbacca versions back onto the pegs somehow?

ANSWER:  Yes, that was an error and we have made a change to the figure. It will be the VotC version, not the Sandstorm version.


QUESTION:  Can you explain to us a bit about the injection molding process that is used to create the ball/socket joints on knees and things? It seems like the pin is molded with a more rigid plastic and then the accompanying body part is cast in a more soft PVC-type plastic OVER the pin itself somehow. Anything you can share on how those joints are built?

ANSWER:  That is essentially how some of our ball and socket joints are created. The process is technically called "insert molding" and involved first casting one element, of a stiffer plastic with a higher melting point, and then inserting it so another component can literally be molded around it. This results in a greater degree of movement in a smaller space. It does not come without cost, though, as labor costs are relatively high for this joint so we use it as often as we can, but not as often as we'd like.




RAVING TOY MANIAC

QUESTION:  With Wal*Mart cutting its shelf space for toys, what is going to become of the exclusives that the retailer has picked up? My local store is already overflowing with old product without the aisle reduction, and I'm concerned if they'll be passed over because of it.

ANSWER:  The exclusives will still be coming in, targeted for end-caps whenever possible so they do not hit the main aisle space with their full force of volume when they arrive in store. It does not mean that your store will be getting all new exclusives, though, as Wal-Mart creates a distribution strategy based on the current landscape at the time with the stores they feel will be strongest for sell-through. As for older stock, it's possible that those items are not perceived as a "national" problem since there is little or no remaining inventory for the most part, and so do not get closed out. The next time you are in the store, if you could point out to a department manager the issue with older inventory and it's possible they could target them selectively to deal with them; they are motivated to keep the shelf attractive and productive, but do not know the nuances the way you and the rest of the knowledgeable fans do. You can also let us know your local Wal-Mart store # and we can look into it if it's a real problem.


QUESTION:  It has been strongly hinted that new mini-rigs are coming. Would these be based on the old Kenner designs or brand new ones?

ANSWER:  Well, we announced the new "deluxe" figure/figure assortment at Toy Fair so we suppose this is what people are talking about regarding mini-rigs (that and the fact that Mark Boudreaux, creator of the original Mini-Rigs concept, is leading this assortment too). The philosophy of the line is provide lower-cost, single man vehicles to add excitement to the 3-3/4" play pattern. We plan to match the entertainment as much as possible Speeder bikes, Freeco bikes, etc. will be the typical focus. However, if we need variety Lucasfilm has certainly given us flexibility to go beyond the entertainment in a way that is true to Star Wars if we don't have variety in the entertainment. So from this standpoint, it is possible that Mini-Rig type ideas could find their way into the assortment down the line.


QUESTION:  The upcoming Leia as Jabba's prisoner figure features separate removable legs which allow her to be displayed in a lounging position. Is a "Return of the Jedi accurate" Jabba the Hutt (and his throne) currently in any stage of planning or production to display alongside Leia? How about Jabba's throne?

ANSWER:  We did design Leia to be "forward compatible" with a Jabba and throne if we did make one. While we started the figure without having a plan in place, we can confirm that we are looking at a new Jabba, which would come with or without the throne depending on costing and tools. We would expect to have an update next year around Comic-Con timing.




REBELSCUM


QUESTION:  A new Barriss Offee...how about it?

ANSWER:  We agree she is long overdue in the Legacy lineup. Within the next couple of years there is an outstanding chance of seeing her either in basic figures or an exclusive.


QUESTION:  Would you ever create a figure based on the original stand-in Jabba the Hutt from ANH deleted scenes? I'm talking about the fat guy in the furry vest! Since we have gotten some figures based on deleted ROTJ scenes, this version of Jabba would be a nice addition.

ANSWER:  This figure, Mosep, does show up in the Marvel run of Star Wars comics. While he's not high on our list, it's an interesting possibility and we could get to him some day.


QUESTION:  Now that Hasbro has sculpted an Ugnaught that seems to be based on him, have you thought about releasing a Yoxgit figure any time soon? The costume you've sculpted matches his pretty closely and you've even put an altered photo of Yoxgit on the front of the package! All you need to do is repaint the suit red, gloves black and use the tusked head and you have a perfect Yoxgit. Perhaps because of saved tooling costs, you could include another small Jabba's palace denizen (such as Attark, Wam Lufba or the fan-waving Jawa) to get us closer to completing the palace scene!


ANSWER:  Well, we Star Wars collectors certainly are a patient lot. We waited 25 years for Yarna, and there are still so many other cool Jabba's palace denizens (and skiff/barge guards) to go. We promise that we won't take our eyes off this area, with new or upgraded figures in the lineup every year.

We can't promise you a timeframe, but Yoxgit can indeed be used as you suggest than it does make his likelihood of making it closer to realtity. We'll look into for when we have an opportunity and need a repaint. Thanks for the suggestion.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:55:53 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 11:57:29 AM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF AUGUST 10th, 2009 - PART 4



SIR STEVE'S GUIDE


QUESTION:  There's been a great focus on troop-building with prequel- and Clone Wars-themed battle packs, especially lately, with even more on the way. Reasonable, after all, it is "Star *Wars*". However, this tactic hasn't been done all that much with the Original Trilogy troops, there are no squad packs or anything of that nature (except perhaps for the Tantive IV pack). Understanding that there is more troop-oriented storytelling going on with the Clone Wars era, there are still plenty of kids and casual collectors who want to set up battles with Stormtroopers and Rebel Troopers from all 3 OT films, the battle packs themselves can help do the storytelling to guide play. So why aren't we seeing more troop-building Battle Packs for the OT?

ANSWER:  The focus has been on the prequel-era and Clone Wars because the heat has been here in recent entertainment. We also felt some of this need went filled with some of our Evolution sets this past year. One of the challenges with OTC-themed battle packs is the need to put recognizable characters in with them to ensure that they succeed; it is unlikely that just trooper-themed sets will suceed on their own. That said, next year is a special year with the 30th Anniversary of EpV and we do have plans for a couple surprises next year. Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  Having worked on the modern line for some time now, you've no doubt had to look back at the original Kenner line's grand history many times when deciding what the future of the modern line will be. So you've seen it all and made yourselves familiar with figures, vehicles, accessories, cards, boxes, and even baggies from the '78 - '85 Star Wars line. With that in mind, what does the current team consider some of the most oddball, head-scratching entries from that original Kenner line? What types of things do you guys look back and you can't even imagine doing with the modern line? (And should we give Mark Boudreaux a free pass since he actually DID work on that original line, or pull a "Sophie's Choice" and make him take sides?)

ANSWER:  Thanks for the interesting and different question. It actually required some thought to get the answers since we have nothing but respect for the Vinatge Kenner line! When it comes to the 3-3/4" figure line, we actually don't have any obvious head-scratchers, just a few things that were a bit odd. Everything seemed to be very well thought-out and blended nicely into a coherent system of play. We did ask Mark what he thought, and he had a few comments, not surprisingly all figure-related since he worked on the vehicles! "I always felt that the wrap-around labels for astromech "deco," as well as vinyl die-cut figure capes, were all odd design choices even though they were standards for the time." In addition, Mark thinks the original 5-point Kenner articulation was a curious choice at the time, even though it became the Kenner "standard" for years afterward. A couple team members singled out the 3-3/4" Rebel Transport as an oddity. Neither a very good vehicle and an awkward carrying case due it's size, it's one item that seems to not really hit either mark. Oh yeah - one of our designers singled out something else from the vintage Kenner line that almost made it out but got cut - the unproduced Luke and Leia fashions for the 12" figures. Those designs were crazy funky (especially Leia's giant clear tarp!).....a shame they never made it out just for the sake of novelty.


QUESTION:  Recently, pictures surfaced of a few Clone Wars two-packs based around specific episodes, including characters from "Ambush" and "Rookies". While these look to be great ways to expand episode-specific collections, they also cover existing or already-planned ground. Why were some one-off clones like Thire and Echo chosen for inclusion in these sets when they're also being released via other avenues? It seems like it would make more sense to keep these characters unique to one release so that collectors wouldn't have to choose between releases. Will we be seeing more of these screen scene-type 2-packs, and will they be covering more types of characters beyond just clones? Out of the 4 two-packs we've seen so far, the only non-clone is Yoda.

ANSWER:  It came down to need. Due to our retailer relationships, we actually needed to create multiple clone-focused 2-packs for a promotional window, and we had exhausted all other clones from Season 1 when we made the selects. Additional 2-packs will cover different sub-themes and characters, as this format is expected to continue into the future.




SNOWTROOPERS

QUESTION:  Everyone has heard stories about toys being manufactured in Asia with manpower working in despeacable conditions, as some factories often employ children to minimize their costs overhead. With people being more and more sensible about these questions, and sometimes willing to change their buying habits based on such matters, how does Hasbro ensure that the toys produced by their overseas factories meet the basic human rights? Is this even a concern at all for your company?

ANSWER:  It sure is.  Setting - and following - the highest possible standards for our employees and suppliers is of paramount importance for Hasbro, and workplace conditions have been a key focus of our management team.  We have a rigorous process by which we vet and regularly monitor compliace in all our warkplaces.  Incidentally, these are the same standards that have been in place for years and enabled Hasbro to stand tall among the volatile issues that have plagued the industry in recent years.


QUESTION:  THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for the 'Build-A-Droid' figures. I LOVE THEM ALL!  Will we see this continue into next year and maybe the year after?  Will Hasbro ever consider releasing a pack of just re-used, re-painted droid parts so fans can make up their own droids?  Yes, I LOVE my DROIDS!   And how about a re-pained R4-G9 with clean R2-D2 colours and a silver (not chrome) dome?  THANKS AGAIN!

ANSWER:  We're glad you love them.  We certainly do too.  There is still a ton of droid excitement in front of us, both in the mainline and upcoming exclusives (assuming that the Wal-Mart Droid Factory assortment is successful this year, we would like to see a similar set again for 2010).  While it will likely not go on forever in the mainline basic figure SKU, it's very likely that we'll continue to use the library of droids parts in exclusives, and in ways like you suggest where we either use the parts as basic for new figures or even in multi-part sets.  As for R2 using the R4 body, we have that version coming this Fall.  Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  I love my Clone Wars Obi-Wan Delta Starfighter but, dang it, all I have is an R2-D2 or R3-S6 to navigate. When can we expect to see a Clone Wars R4-P17? Obi-Wan refuses to go on any missions without R4 despite his claims that he never owned a droid.

Also, seeing as you are re-issuing the Clone Wars General Grievous in the new red packaging, do you consider this to be the best, most accurate effort given to getting his likeness to the fans? As one of the most imposing villains in The Clone Wars his current figure seems rather petite and non-functional. Any chance Grievous will get the treatment he deserves soon?

ANSWER:  Yes, Obi-Wan does throw is a curve with that phrase.  Could it be that he believes he could never truly "own" a droid, and thus the statement is truthful?  We could debate for hours….the R4-P17 question ("When? When? WHEN!?") seems to be the most popular question from the last few weeks.   We are planing him into the lineup, but it will take some time to get him
in.  As for the Grievous, we were quite pleased with the way he turned out, and judging by the demand, he is one of the top five figures in the entire line.  Since the Clone Wars line is kid-targeted primarily, we don't see a need to update him for now but will take your comments into account for when we ge a chance for a new take at him.




SW ACTION NEWS


QUESTION:  We're seeing a trend (especially in the last AOTC Wave of Build-A-Droid) of figures from the Evolutions or Order 66 series of figures making their way to their individual cardback releases. This includes:
 
BD #29 327th Star Corps Clone Trooper (from Evolutons: Clone Trooper to Stormtrooper)
BD #50 Anakin Skywalker (from Evolutions: Anakin to Vader)
BD #51 Jango Fett (from Evolutions: The Fett Legacy)
BD #52 Clone Pilot (from Evolutions: Imperial Pilot Legacy)
BD #53 ARC Trooper (from Order 66: Anakin & ARC Trooper)
 
Are these considered to be Greatest Hits figures, and can we expect to see more of these types of repacks in future lines - perhaps with more specialized figures like Mandalore, one or more from the Padmé Amidala Legacy, Darth Bane, Darth Nihilus, or perhaps even Tsui Choi?           
 
ANSWER:  Yes, we consider these "greatest hits" figures even though they received their own BD # in error. We have since abandoned the GH numbering since it proved to be confusing overall.  We do plan to keep some of the high-demand figures in rotation, especially core characters and troopers which are high kid-demand figures.  Some of the more specialized figures like the ones you mentioned are likely to be interesting only to collectors, and there only to those who did not get them the first time (which we hope is nobody!).  We don't rule it out, but right now we do not have plans to re-release these.  It's also possible that we will do another Saga Legends vote down the road; if we do, these are great candidates to include in the re-release voting (along with Darth Revan and Malak).         
 

QUESTION:  The Qui-Gon Jinn Mighty Mugg has a decal on the back showing his green lightsaber accessory.  As the word "Lightsaber" is printed on the box, I'm guessing perhaps the wrong color is underneath the decal?  As I cannot remove the decal without destroying it, can you tell us what is under the saber decal, and if it was a wrong color what color it was?
 
ANSWER:  Actually, we released the packaging with a blue lightsaber and added the label to show the correct color.         
 

QUESTION:  I don't know if anyone on the team involved in the Q&A at present was involved with the relaunch of Star Wars figures way back in 95, but if so I was wondering if you could share with us what the mindset was to provide the overly-muscular depictions of the Star Wars characters, such as the "He-Luke", etc.  Was it a trend in toys at the time, an attempt to make the toys more relevant, etc?
 
ANSWER:  There is a strong element of fashion to the toy business, and that is exactly what one of the prevailing trends was that influenced the sculpt of the first waves of the figures.  Fans spoke out, however, and the design of the figures was subsequently toned down and pretty quickly became the movie-real proportions we enjoy today.     




SW COLLECTOR


QUESTION:  As a person who grew up during the original trilogy era, nostalgia plays big part in my Star Wars collecting, as I'm sure it does for many other collectors in my age bracket. Things like the Kenner line, the Ewok craze of the mid 80's, the first Star Wars animated cartoons and even the Holiday Special provided lasting and cherished memories of the first 10 years of Star Wars. Now I know that those times are long gone, but as great as the modern line is, isn't it about time for some sort of 'blast from the past' salute that just screams 70's and 80's Star Wars? There are lots of possibilities for things that you could try: retro packaging, modern takes on some Ewoks or Droids characters, a character or two from the Ewok movies like Kaink or Chukha-Trok, or even an exclusive never before released vintage figure like this Luke: http://theswca.com/index.php?action=dis ... m_id=39715. I'm sure you could come up with something great!

ANSWER:  You are right that there are ways to celebrate our heritage and that we can do more, either with special packaging or a subtle change to characters from these other venues that have not been seen before. We remember the same engagement that we had with Star Wars in all the formats you have mentioned, and we want to capture that feelng of fun and excitement that we all had collectively playing with our toys; it makes the present seem so much more enjoyable when it is connected to those times. The good news is that we are looking at all of these options for the future. We expect to have some of them announced next year at Toy Fair, and another surprise or two around Comic-Con.


QUESTION:  It was announced since Toy Fair that Shaak Ti and the other "The Force Unleashed" wave 2 figures would be released as retailer exclusives. What are the other figures, and which retailer will they be available through? Any images yet?

ANSWER:  Actually, Shaak Ti is in the wave prior (the EU wave, recently shown at Toy Fair). The other figures, which were a new wave, were pulled from mainline and adjusted for the exclusive packs. The packs will now be five-packs, and will be either all new sculpts, or all new deco when we have used a previously existing sculpt. Included will be several trooper variants, including a jump trooper with newly added jump pack. Across the two packs, there will be two versions of Galen Marek, Proxy, and a twist in Juno. More information will be available as we get close to launch later this Fall.


QUESTION:  With so many Cantina Aliens getting new sculpts or their first figures, isn't it about time for updated versions of that pair of ruffians, Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba?

ANSWER:  We agree. While not slotted into the lineup yet, these two are high on our sights (along with Wuher) and should be in the line within a couple of years.




To be continued.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:56:46 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 12:13:23 AM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF AUGUST 10th, 2009 - PART 5



YAKFACE


QUESTION:  Images have shown up online giving us a glimpse at the new Slave Leia and her interchangeable leg accessory allowing her to sit by Jabba's side. The execution looks great and I think this is an excellent way to create a scene specific figure and it also give collectors more options on how we display our figures. Are there any other plans for an accessory of this type (legs or arms) to be used with other figures? The first one that comes to mind is the possibility of creating a true "Kneeling Darth Vader" as seen in The Empire Strike Back during his communications with the Emperor. It would give us (collectors) a new take on the Dark Lord while keeping a top tier character like Vader available to kids.

ANSWER:  The reaction does seem to be extremely positive to the new version of Slave Leia and was pretty much the main reason for wanting to do a new, "ultimate" version of her.  While we don't have any additional figures planned with swappable torsos, it does give us encouragement that such features would be welcome for the right character.  Your suggestion about Vader is interesting, although we think that the super-articulated Vader (also included in the Disturbance in the Force set last year) can already achieve this pose, albeit with a turned boot versus a toe to the ground.


QUESTION:  Any chance of seeing a Blurrg in the deluxe or battlepack line from the Clone Wars 3-part storyline that takes place on Ryloth? Blurrgs have been seen in the Clone Wars cartoon, video games, and even the made-for-tv Ewok movie! See image attached...

LINK TO IMAGE

ANSWER:  It's unlikely we'll do one, unless they show up again in future episodes of Clone Wars.


QUESTION:  There has been some confusion in regards to the second version of the Ugnaught to be released later this year. Will he include the same accessories as the first run Ugnaught or might he have a different pack-in? How about a repainted version of the Han in Carbonite block without the thawing effect? I think the inclusion of this accessory would advantageous from a cost standpoint as there is no new tooling, it gives an a "new" version of an existing "core" character and its slim enough to fit in the new form factor packaging. What say you?

ANSWER:  The second version of the Ugnaught will include the exact same accessory as the first one.  The carbonite Han is a very interesting suggestion, but is too late to actually impact the production at this point.




Keep checking back as more sites file their Q&A sessions.


« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:58:00 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2009, 11:58:13 AM »

Hasbro has posted their official roundup HERE

And we have added a number of new sites with this round:

16 BIT

ASM ZINE

DEWBACK PATROL

« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 12:00:26 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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