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« on: October 02, 2009, 04:45:17 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2ND, 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:  We are very thankful for the attention you have given to the Ewok species, especially since 2006. It’s nice to get 1 or 2 or more of these fur balls every year. Our tribe is growing and a very fast-paced rate and we hope it doesn’t slow down at all. We would like to know however if two of our favorites (and probably two of the most popular) are in the parking lot. Wicket and Logray were our first modern era Ewoks and are in severe need of a good overhaul (scale and likeness) to meet today’s standards. And Teebo would be our next choice, but we think the 2002 sculpt is pretty cool and want to know if there is there a way to ‘simply’ shrink down the mold to get him to be in scale, or would a new resculpt be the best way to handle if he was going to be considered for the line again? Also, it seems that all of the new Ewoks coming out are borrowing the bodies from 2007’s Romba and Graak figures on a frequent basis. Is there a way to change this up a bit more (and maybe thrown in Chief Chirpa’s body frame) on some? We think the Ewoks could be in danger of starting to look a little too much like each other, especially Paploo – he is a taller and thinner Ewok and looks a little too stocky. (But he is still excellent!) Also, thank you for the inclusion of more obscure Ewoks like Graak and NoAhpaak. It makes for a very awesome mix!

ANSWER:  Thanks for the comments - we're glad you like the Ewoks we've been doing. They have clearly struck a vein with collectors too as they seem much talked about and asked about.  Wicket and Logray are two that we would like to redo, and one of them will be coming out in the basic carded figure line next year.  Teebo is also a strong candidate but has yet to be slotted in.  It's a sure bet he will see an upgrade within the next few years as well.  Good comment on making sure we have enough bodies types to portray the Ewoks as diverse as they are on film.  We'll be mindful of that.  Thanks!


QUESTION:  The conspiracy theorists in us tend to believe that the second Hoth Rebel Trooper from the blue phase of The Legacy Collection was indeed never produced despite your original statements that he will be available in very short supply in wave 7. We have yet to see him in person or even find a photo of him packaged on the web, or even for sale on online stores and auction sites. We are beginning to believe that he was missed altogether. Is there a way you can check your resources again and confirm what the deal is with this figure? And can you do anything to cancel out a repacked figure in the red phase of Legacy Collection and put this one in its place instead?

ANSWER:  The factory does confirm that he was indeed manufactured (we have some samples as evidence), but we do not have the data on what quantity got out.  It's possible that he is stuck in a batch of the wave that has yet to ship.  At this point we will not be able to cancel out any repacked figures as we are well past our art release dates (we are currently working on artwork for next Fall's lineup and are well past Spring).  As confirmed previously, this figure *will* see the light of day in a Battle Pack next Fall.  If those plans change we will look for a way to get him out as quickly as possible.


QUESTION:  Jedi seem to be a significant portion of the Basic Figure line these days. And a focus for some collectors seems to be on the members of the Jedi Council. We saw a tremendous effort from Hasbro in this area with the Jedi Council scene packs as well as via the Basic Figures line. But we are still missing one Jedi Council member from REVENGE OF THE SITH, that being Coleman Kcaj.

Likewise, a number of the Jedi council members that we've seen made over the years came from the more stylized years of 2002 - 2004. Several of whom were very much preposed and as a result were incapable of taking their seats in the council. Can we expect to see these Jedi masters revisited anytime soon with the modern aesthetic of sculpting and articulation that we've become accustomed to?

ANSWER:  Yes, Jedi have been a big focus for us, since they are such an essential part of the EpI-III experience (and the similar time frame in the EU comics, which is why we have been concentrating there as well).  Some of the Council figures from the EpII-EpIII era, such as Deepa Bilaba, are on our list of figures we would like to upgrade with additional articulation. Others, like Oppo Rancisis and Yaddle were recently released and are not on the upgrade list only because they are about as articulated as they will ever get.  Coleman Kcaj however is one character that we have yet to slot in to a lineup.  We will take a hard look at him the next time we have a chance.  Thanks for the suggestion.




And now to continue on through the online Star Wars collecting community...


16 BIT


QUESTION:  In your most recent Q&A you highlighted there will be fewer slots to release Rebel Pilot figures in the line going forward. Giving the modular nature of the figures, have you considered releasing a figure with an extra head and helmet as accessories, allowing the consumer to effectively choose which character(s) it will be? This might help collectors absorb more of the same SKU while allowing Hasbro to get more figures out with fewer in-line variations. An alternate head would definitely encourage us to buy more of the same figure!

ANSWER:  While we have released alternate heads with figures before, it has been alternate heads with the same characters. Since we have been releasing the pilots as characters, we prefer to stick with that model and systematically work our way around to pilots who have yet to see a release. We intuit that fans of the pilots will eventually want to see them all for display, so a pack that would contain multiple head/helmets would not only add extra cost, it ultimately would not solve the long-term desire of providing all of the pilots from the various key battles since bodies would still be lacking.


QUESTION:  Here's a question we'd never thought we'd ask in a post-Batman world-- when can we expect snow suit versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker?

ANSWER:  We are delighted to be bringing some alternate forms of these characters to the line! Look for both of them to find their way into the 2010 Clone Wars basic figure lineup.


QUESTION:  A while ago, a picture got out showing a HasbroToyShop.com Star Wars Stands pack with a new sheet of stickers for, presumably, 2008/2009 figures. Do you have a shot of the new sticker sheet's character names, and are the new stickers (and not the 2007 ones) available at the shop now? And a part II, when will we see "The Clone Wars" logo stands?

ANSWER:  There will be no Clone Wars logo stand released in a multi-pack. The new sticker sheet is the same one that has been shipping for some time with the stands with two foot pegs, the revision that was made available last Fall. There has been no update since then and do not plan on re-releasing stands since there is still a decent supply of this version. If/when these get close to selling out we'll look at a new release. Incidentally, the dual foot peg base was created with Battle Droids in mind. We spaced the foot pegs apart at a solid distance to allow BDs (and Supers, and Geonisians) to maintain a standing position on shelf. By pulling the legs out a little wider, it keeps the joints tight and not loose. We had had great success in getting our Separatist legions to remain upright and looking spiffy in formation.





ACTION FIGURE INSIDER


QUESTION:  Now that we’ve seen some very large vehicles that use a lot of plastic again (Turbo Tank, for example), what are the chances of some playset like the Attack of the Clones Arena a few year back?? Specifically, some Death Star playsets that could possibly link together or perhaps a Star Destroyer bridge set?

ANSWER:  There is no chance of this idea.  The previous playsets did poorly, and there is no consistent playset-type setting in the Clone Wars.  We’ll stick to the stance that the Death Star would be our preferred playset, but we will not pursue it unless it appears in some form of future entertainment.  Until then, there are no plans to pursue large plastic playsets in the line; we’ll stick to vehicles which kids see as both a great vehicle and mobile headquarters.


QUESTION:  What is the status of the Galactic Heroes AT-AT that was briefly seen in pictures earlier this year?

ANSWER:  It was canceled out of the 2009 line due to space constraints at retail. We hope to pick it up and run it in a future year, perhaps 2010.  Stay tuned.


QUESTION:  We’ve got Clegg Holdfast coming soon, and we’ve seen pictures of Ratts Tyerell, further out. As we approach the last few pod racer pilots left seen in the film, I’d like to know if the five pilots who did not appear in the film, Aldar Beedo, Neva Kee, Ebe Endocott, Wan Sandage, and Boles Roor, are on the radar for getting figures. Do any of those pilots stand a chance of being immortalized in plastic in the next few years?

ANSWER:  Ratts Tyerell still has not been put back into the lineup, even though his figure is technically done (the pictures you have seen are probably from our Toy Fair presentation, when we had a picture of the wrong figure).  In any case, he will likely be the next one up, possibly in 2011.  The others are in our sites, but only after we finish all of the on-screen Pod Racers first and there are still a few to go (Mawhonic, for example).





BANTHA SKULL


QUESTION:  Please indulge this strictly hypothetical question. Due to the iconic status of the vintage figure, Yak Face would be an ideal candidate for vintage figure program should that platform return. The problem is that the vintage card only existed as a bilingual Canadian card or the Tri-Logo European card. Strictly hypothetically speaking, have you though about how you would handle that figure as part of the vintage card back series? Would you release one of the foreign card backs in U.S. stores? Would you retcon a U.S style POTF card, or would you consider it as a redemption figure (which would be really cool).

ANSWER:  Good question. If Vintage returns, we would not release bilingual or Tri-Logo cards as part of the series. We probably also would not be doing any POTF-style releases, at least with coins anyway, which seem key to POTF. So our answer is that this one would have to be a retcon, to an EpVI in styled Vintage card.


QUESTION:  The recent Rebel pilot sets have been great. While not as popular, there is growing demand for attention to the Naboo pilots from Episode 1. Is there any chance we'll see an updated Naboo Bravo Pilot any time soon?

ANSWER:  We are looking at systematically upgrading the Naboo forces over the next few years, and the Pilots are a good candidate. Right now, they aren't in any plan but they are on a list of strong candidates next time we select characters for the new lineup. The key question is whether they will be "named" pilots or we'll do a generic one if and when we update the figure.


QUESTION:  With the release of the excellent Scramble on Yavin pack, do you have any plans to revisit the Rebels from the battle of Yavin. Particularly, how long until we see Bob Hudsol and his magnificent mustache in action figure form?

ANSWER:  While we may get to some more Pilots over the next few years, we currently don't have any plans to do other rebels like Hudsol. We do think it would be a shame to pass him over for figure homage, though, and we'll put him into a parking lot of characters should we come up with an idea that works for him.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 03:58:18 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 05:54:36 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2ND, 2009 - PART 2



COLLECTION STATION


QUESTION:  Way back in the day, Hasbro planned a Naboo Pilot figure with a removable cloth coat, it was to come with a handheld LCD game, but the set was canceled. Now that we're at the 10th anniversary of Episode I, it seems like Star Wars collections are lacking only 1 type of pilot from all the films, the brave Naboo Fighter pilots. Any consideration for doing a new Naboo Pilot with removable coat, perhaps also using that body for an update to Ric Olie who taught Anakin about star piloting? These characters seem to have been forgotten with the passage of time, but had important roles to play in the film.

ANSWER:  There won't be a new Naboo Pilot figure in the next couple years, but there seems to be enough fan interest to warrant a re-sculpt of these guys. We'll park it on the short list in the "parking lot" for the next time we plan out a line, which at this point would be the 2012 line. It's too early to tell whether it'll be a generic pilot (more likely), another named Bravo Squadron pilot (somewhat likely), or an update of Ric Olie (much less likely). Thanks for the suggestion to give these pilots their due.


QUESTION:  The upcoming Nikto Gunner you're releasing is a very nifty figure, but is not actually the Nikto Gunner. The Nikto figure we're getting is Nysad, he's the one who pops out of the hatch and shoots 2 shots at Luke only to have them deflected back and kill him. The cannon he comes with was actually used by the other Nikto on the Sail Barge deck, Vizam, who has a different armor design and is basically what we got in the POTF2 Skiff Guards Cinema Scene. How did the mixing of Vizam's accessory and role get merged into the upcoming Nysad figure, and why isn't the character's name used for the figure? Now that we have the proper cannon and a modern Nikto head, are we going to see them reused into the actual Nikto Gunner, Vizam, or are we stuck with the decade-old POTF2 version for that?

ANSWER:  Yes, we realize this but we wanted to offer an all new Nikto Skiff Guard that we had never done before. The cannon accessory just seemed to be a nice added piece to really enhance the value and allow fans and kids to really get into the Sail Barge scene fantasy. It may not be a literal take form the movie but seems like a weapon he would of, or could have, used, and we felt it made him a better figure with it. Eventually, we'd like to update Vizam to add articulation and bring him up to date with the rest of the Jabba Sail Barge brethren, but that will be a long way off and the priority for now lies with figures that have never before been released.


QUESTION:  The upcoming Hrchek Kal Fas figure raises a few questions. First, what's up with his eyes? On the prototype images including the one in the slideshow at Comic-Con, they were black as they are in the film and on the card art, but the actual figure has bizarre painted orange eyes with pupils, which looks odd. It seems like it's trying to represent the backs of the glassy clear eyes as they appeared when they caught a certain light, but the end result seems just weirdly off. What will the final production paint be on that? Also, are there plans to release Sai'torr Kal Fas at some point in the future as well, or would collectors be wise to pick up two of Hrchek, since their costumes are virtually identical?

ANSWER:  Thank you for your support and great attention to detail. We love Cantina aliens too and we do strive to make the figures as authentic and highly detailed as possible. As you can see in the painted image of the figure on the back of the package, we never intended him to have gold eyes with black pupils. This was just a production variant from our China vendor, and we have actually already made a production correction to the eyes to give him black eyes. While Sai’torr is not in our current lineups, we do intend to do him someday. When we do we will consider and discuss with Lucasfilm giving him 4-fingered gloves and boots.





CREATURE CANTINA


QUESTION:  Even though I don’t really collect The Clone Wars figures, I find it baffling that the gigantic tanks or tank-themed battle-packs you’ve been producing come with ONE gunner apiece. Both the AT-TE and Juggernaut Turbo Tank have oodles of guns between them. We’ve seen the upcoming carded AT-TE Gunner and Juggernaut Support Crew 2-Pack (Thank you!) but are there any plans for the Juggernaut to get some more single-packed crew, or perhaps Battle Packs made up of Gunnery Crew Members?

ANSWER:  It always comes down to features vs. figures in the costing out of these behemoths, and we go with features every time since it's highly likely kids (and collectors) will have other Clone Wars figures to man the battle stations. What you suggest is a solid idea. We have made additional figures for each vehicle available in supplemental packs like the AT-TE Assault Squad in the Battle Pack line and Turbo Tank Gunner Crew in the Deluxe Figure/Vehicle pack lineup, but after those packs have passed through a single-carded release of support personnel would be a good idea, even if well after the fact since fans who have these guys will want to keep adding staff for support. Thanks for the suggestion!


QUESTION:  Is the 3¾”-scale Slave I on the block to be re-released (or retooled BMF-style) anytime soon? You know anything Fett (especially ESB Boba) is almost as big a moneymaker as Clones.

ANSWER:  It is high on our wish list, but sorry to say that we would not do it based on the merit of the EpV Slave I alone. We would only consider something like this if there was substantial new Clone Wars entertainment with Jango or Boba to support a release of the Slave I. If it shows up in future seasons in a heroic role, we'd certainly consider it.


QUESTION:  Personally, I focus on the 3.75” stuff. I buy every figure that’s Legacy or otherwise realistic, all vehicles (sometimes two or more for Imperial rides), all playsets, most “realistic”-style Battle Packs, I buy troopers (Clone, Storm, Rebel, or what-have-you) by the squad, and various odds and ends and multiples for customising purposes. I don’t touch the animated-style figures unless I can use parts for customs, like the extra Tank Gunner armour stuck onto a “realistic” Clone. I don’t go for any of the sidelines like Unleashed or TransFormers or Galactic Heroes. And, living in a country (England) where there are NO TARGETS OR WAL-MARTS, I despise the distribution pattern of your exclusives, yet still shell out ludicrous amounts of money to try to obtain them from online dealers because I’m an obsessive completist.

Now, that was a fairly concise reply, I thought. Tresob Yr, however, is much more specific and exacting in his response, and wanted to use his allotted bandwidth to send a worthy and minutely detailed reply, to whit:

Tresob: Before describing my collecting idiosyncrasies, it is perhaps worth considering that I typically justify my purchases on their "usefulness" to my weekly action figure comic on Creaturecantina.com. Most new figures will sit on my shelf for about two months before being relegated to a storage shelf in a closet, where they will await their next photoshoot.

For the last year, I've been mainly sticking to new OT figures; Legacy Wave 5 was probably the most expensive wave for me. I bought everything but the Han/Luke repaints (I already had the comic pack versions) and the Obi-wan (I still need his astrodroid leg). I have not made a purchase from Wave 6, yet (Captain Needa is tempting me, however). I also purchased more than half of the figures back in Wave 2, based on the original Clone Wars micro-series. On a side note, I refused to by Yarna because, well, ewww...but I am very enthusiastic about Willrow Hood. I'm willing to drop eight dollars for what I see as a piece of underground geek culture history. In most cases, though, I'm not willing to pay for better versions of figures I've already bought (I tend to add up total costs per character in my head...Tatooine Luke has cost me somewhere around $43.27 over twelve years). I do, however, appreciate that standard figures are re-released with upgrades for new collectors.

Prequel figures are purchased on the basis of arbitrary coolness of the individual character. I bought the revamped Grievous and a Commander Faie (so that I could remove his hood and pose him as a Battlefront 2 Clone Engineer).

I am a recovering clonaholic.

I skip most of the expanded universe comic packs; although there is usually one figure in any given set that I would buy separately.

I've only acquired two figures from the Clone Wars line: Ahsoka and Rex.

That being said, I will buy almost any individual figure if I find it on sale for under five dollars (except Yarna...I tried to start a "Say 'no' to Yarna" campaign, so I am willing to take full credit for the number of Yarnas still on the pegs).

I do not buy vehicles on account of limited storage space.

I had been something of a Galactic Heroes completist, but I stopped buying them when I switched to Transformers G1 Robot Heroes (with that line dead, I have switched to Playmobil's historically-based warrior toys).

I've never purchased Unleashed sets, but I once purchased a Boba Fett Transformer.

I am a sucker for basic line Star Wars figures that include a "bonus" figure. Pack a droid in with a Jawa, snuggle two ewoks together, or drop alien larvae in with a beer-drinking alien, and I'll snatch it off the shelves. I like the illusion of getting an extra figure for free. Putting parts of a figure in a blister pack doesn't quite have the same effect for me, though.

I hope I don't sound like a cranky-pants collector. You guys are producing plenty of awesome and desirable figures, and pieces that are genuinely pop art.

Still, I find that the figures I most want are often sold-out in my local stores or in multi-packs with figures I don't need or want. For example, I really would certainly have bought a C-3PX or the new droid factory-line Dark Trooper, but I can't justify buying the Walmart exclusive sets containing figures I already own. I would have loved the Walmart Ewok comic pack, but never saw it in the wild. I also would enjoy owning the covetous Rebel crewman (who could also double as a Battlefront 2 Rebel Vanguard), but I didn't buy the "Scramble on Yavin" battlepack because I really didn't need the other figures, and the transport would take up too much space. Almost all of the Evolution sets have contained a single figure I wanted, but at least one figure for which I did not want to pay. And there have been some spectacular online exclusive sets (BF2 clones, Joker Squad, Mandalorian packs) with individual characters that I would have collected piecemeal if they had been sold over time. This does, I'm ashamed to admit, mean I'm often driven to secondary markets to acquire these individual figures separately. Indeed, much of my toy expense is directed towards trying to acquire figures from several years ago at prices below retail.

Anyway, that's probably more data than you needed about my personal collecting habits!

You guys have a great sense of humor about what you do--and I'm partially jealous of your employment.

ANSWER:  Great - that's what we were looking for. It does help us see that fans are in it because they love Star Wars like we do, appreciate the minute, and act on impulse and whimsy. It also makes them tough to pin down and nearly impossible to quantify because of their different predilections and habits, but that also makes it fun. Thanks for sharing, gang.





DEWBACK PATROL


QUESTION:  Any plans to release a Imperial hanger crew set to compliment the "Scramble at Yavin? Lots of potential there!

ANSWER:  There is a lot of potential, and someday we'd like to see that, but right now it's not in the works. Thanks for the suggestion though – very interesting possibilities abound and someday it could happen.


QUESTION:  With the recent re-releases of OT vehicles such as the Tie Fighter and Darth Vader's Tie Fighter are there any plans to bring back other OT vehicles that haven't see on the shelves in many years such as the Sandcrawler?

ANSWER:  There are no plans to bring back the Sandcrawler, only because it is a very specific, non-aggressive vehicle. Our Starfighter re-releases have fared very well because they are iconic fighting vehicles, versus some of the other more "passive" sets we've done. We don't rule out some others coming back, but for the most part we'll be sticking with the more aggressive vehicles.


QUESTION:  A company called iGear out of Japan is producing a high end Ark playset with Teletran-1 for Transformers fans. Is there a chance for high end 3 and ¾ inch playsets made by Hasbro or possibly leased to another company as with Sideshow’s 12 inch line?

ANSWER:  We will not be undertaking playsets ourselves, and right now there are no plans for such a partnership. We did look into this with Sideshow at one point, but that idea was put by the wayside, probably because of the huge tooling investment required and relatively small collector interest.





GALACTIC HUNTER


QUESTION:  Is the release of KRONOS-327 (Ziro The Hutt's IG Assassin Droid) in the Clone Wars basic line a forerunner for getting Ziro the Hutt itself eventually, perhaps as a retool/repaint of the existing Clone Wars Jabba The Hutt? On a related note, are we ever going to get that really nice Nikto Guard that was cut from the Clone Wars Jabba The Hutt Battle Pack? He has army builder potential if you put him on a basic card.

ANSWER:  Ziro has been discussed but currently is not in the lineup for 2010.  We would still like to get him into the line, and there is potential for him to come out as a retailer exclusive in early 2011.  As for the Nikto Guard, he will indeed come out, with a strong chance at a 2010 release. Right now we don't know if it will be as a basic figure or some other means (Battle Pack or retailer exclusive).  His figure is simply too good to not use.


QUESTION:  The new "Mini-Rig" line has great potential for small movie-based vehicles, but so far the focus has only been on The Clone Wars animated vehicles. When might we expect something from the Original Trilogy to appear in this line? Maybe some long-overdue retoolings of the classic Return of the Jedi Speeder Bike with more accurate handlebars and a Luke, Leia or Biker Scout pair to ride them? →→→ Shabby Blue (Boy Racer)

[As a side note, is the "Mini-Rig" line actually going to be limited strictly to animation? That seems to be the message we've heard, and older collectors are a little ticked off - possibly because the "Mini-Rig" nickname seemed to indicate some ties to the Original Trilogy.]

ANSWER:  The Deluxe Figure/Vehicle line is strictly limited to The Clone Wars Animated line.  We will be periodically upgrading OTC vehicles through our exclusives plan, so stay tuned there.  A new accurate speeder bike would be a welcome addition to the plan, but so far we have not slotted it in. We will look at this for 2011.


QUESTION:  Finally (it's 5am as I finish this) with all of the exclusives and wave after wave of figures, do the bean counters realize that we're in a global recession? From what we learn from these Q&A sessions, a lot of insignificant items get "costed out", but is there significant product that is stuck in limbo until things even out economically?

ANSWER:  With Star Wars having a huge collector following, we know that the past year has presented challenges in keeping up with the line. Similarly, the line that we showed at Comic-Con has been in development since the end of 2007/beginning of 2008, and long-lead projects and commitments are difficult to change, especially when the efforts are exceptionally good as they have been this year. Right now, everything shown should make it to retail in the U.S. In some of the more collector-targeted lines, like Legacy/Droid Factory basic figures and Comic Packs, some of the waves may not be out until Spring 2010, assuming that the forecasted quantities move through and that we do not see further collector slowdown.  If that happens, we'll do our best to see that they do get to retail somehow.  It is our intention, going forward, to pull back on the breadth and depth of the offering, somewhat. For instance, we have been working to scale back some on the number of new/refresh figures in the Legacy basic figure lineup (the goal is approximately 40-45 new/refresh figures/year for the basic figure line).  We are also re-examining the number of collector-targeted offerings and exclusives to pare down to the scope of the line for the time being.






To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:39:14 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 10:03:20 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2ND, 2009 - PART 3



HAN'S HIDEOUT

QUESTION:  What was your gut reaction to seeing the raw Fans' Choice Poll data/results from the various websites? Were the choices more or less varied than you were expecting? Any trends that you saw that surprised you or any characters that popped up that were completely off your radar until this initial batch of results came in?

ANSWER:  One surprise was how even the results were - drawing from all six films and the EU. Of the films, though, each of the films has at least 3 votes, except for, surprisingly, EpV which had only one character (Toryn Farr) in the top 30. Given that, EpV is generally acknowledged as the fan favorite, it either points to how thoroughly we have covered the film (unlikely since there are many great character re-dos to go), or that fans want to see as-yet-unmade characters generally over re-sculpts (more likely, as there are only five resculpts on the entire list, and the first one, Dr. Evazon, appears at #10). Of all the selections, the strength of Jocasta Nu surprised us. We do not think she would be a strong or compelling figure ourselves, but if she did win we would draft her into the lineup. Some of the strength of fans' desire for her could be precisely because we have expressed that we would not consider doing her ourselves, so if she does win it's a victory for the fans who wanted her!


QUESTION:  What can you tell us about the upcoming Clone Wars "Anakin Skywalker with Desert Skiff" deluxe set? That wouldn't happen to be a repaint of the 1996 toy that originally came with Luke would it? Or is the 'Desert Skiff' something new from the series?

ANSWER:  We are using the mini-rig from ‘96 but including an ACW Anakin and changing the decoration on Skiff. It is not in the new entertainment. This assortment is intended to be a way kids to get a low-priced figure and vehicle as a complete purchase/play experience. This assortment will have some “mini-rig” type off-screen items as well as authentic speeder bikes and small single person transports.


QUESTION:  Also, some of the retailers are taking pre-orders for a new batch of Galactic Heroes 2-packs. One of the sets listed is a new "Darth Vader & Stormtrooper" set - is this one all new or are they repacks/repaints? And how about "Anakin & ARF Trooper" pack - repacks, repaints, or all-new?

ANSWER:  The former is a resculpt set with more dynamic character poses, while the latter is a repack of a previous set.




JEDI NEWS


QUESTION:  In one of the last Q&A sessions, you said that you'd set something up to let Canadian collectors know what is coming up through the pipe.  Please, please, please can you do that in the UK as well please?  It's very difficult to ascertain what and when we can expect and collectors would rather support UK retailers than having to resort to eBay!

ANSWER:  Thanks for the suggestion; we'll touch base with our UK team to see if we can get a more detailed update for our UK collectors.


QUESTION:  Is something BAD happening?  It would seem that in both the UK and Canada the Legacy Collection of Build a Droid (BAD) figures have been dropped by retailers for the rest of this year and Hasbro UK and Hasbro Canada respectively are not offering these products to retailers.  Please tell us this BAD decision is not true?  If it is, is there anything we can do to get the core line into retailers in the UK and Canada?

ANSWER:  It is true that the collector business has been severely impacted since last Fall, not just in the U.S. but in the U.K. and Canada as well.  We don't have an answer right now on which assortments may be missing or dropped in the U.K.  For Canada, we can confirm that only a couple of the new red/white Legacy/Droid Factory assortments will make it to retail this Fall.  We are working to find our footing for assortment releases; changes that occurred last Fall can really present problems if they depend on collectors to pull them through (as the Legacy/Droid Factory line does) and inventory at retail remains too long.  In some cases, if the assortments don't move off shelf, we can't commit to bringing in the next ones, or else they will get bottled and backed up.  We're working as hard as we can to understand the problem and correct it, but it takes time.


QUESTION:  Will we some more Cantina patrons next year such as, Reegesk (the Ranat) and also some more Jabba's Palace Denizens such as a new sculpt Gamorrean Guard and more?  What are your plans for 2010 for these fan favourite scenes from the Original Trilogy?

ANSWER:  We plan to keep new characters from these iconic scenes in our lineup every year when possible.  2010 will see an EpVI-themed wave with at least two characters from Jabba's palace / Sarlacc battle, but there is currently no EpIV wave (it will instead be the first wave of 2011).





JEDIDEFENDER

QUESTION:  Now that you've upgraded the Republic Clone Commando sculpt with new legs, are there any plans to re-issue any of the former Commandos with the new sculpt? A lot of army builders would like to see them return with the new articulation.

ANSWER:  We have been considering that but do not have plans as of yet. One of the things we're wondering about is whether fans would like to see an update of Delta Squad with the new body, or would rather see new Republic Commandos. We'd love to hear your thoughts on what fans on Jedi Defender would like to see using this new updated sculpt.


QUESTION:  A lot of collectors are really looking forward to the upcoming Walmart Dewback set. In addition to ball-jointed hips and the fantastic new gun, it looks like the Sandtrooper was also given an updated and more accurate helmet sculpt/deco. Can we look forward to seeing this helmet sculpt used on all future Stormtrooper releases? We'd really like to see this version of the Sandtrooper (with his new gun) appear on a Saga Legends card sometime soon!

ANSWER:  While there are no plans for a basic carded Sandtrooper figure beyond this year's Saga Legends figure, it is certainly possible that in future years we could look to use this newly updated body. Meanwhile, we hope fans hunt down this spectacular creature and significant new trooper update. It was a labor of love and one of the exclusives we're keeping an eye on to gauge fan response to all-new sets like this.


QUESTION:  The TIE Fighter Pilot in the Walmart Evolutions set has the "tear drops" on his helmet and a distinctly grey jumpsuit. Since this is a specific pilot from the films (an "Ace" according to EU), will we be seeing a basic all black TIE Pilot that uses the same super articulated sculpt released in the Legends line someday?

ANSWER:  The pilot is intended to be a generic army builder and you are correct in that he sports the "ace" designation. We do not have a regular black TIE pilot slotted into the lineup anywhere yet but it's something that we're keeping our eye on for the future since we think, like this Wal-Mart pack, he will be in high demand.





MOUSE DROID

QUESTION:  We all know that for kids, Star Wars is about Jedi's, Clones, and Bounty Hunters. Given that we already have a lot of role-play toys for Jedi and Clones, the question is not so much are you...but when is Hasbro going to release some cool Bounty Hunter/Mandolorian role-play gear?

ANSWER:  The future is uncertain as to how prominently the Mandalorians will feature in Clone Wars. We're keeping an eye on them, as there could indeed be some role play opportunities there if they have a major role in future episodes of the series.


QUESTION:  Are we ever going to see Darth Malak, Darth Revan or Pre-Cyborg Grievous repacked in the basic line ever again? A lot of people seemed to have missed out on this wave and are constantly on the lookout for them - so any chance of a comeback for these bad boys?

ANSWER:  Pre-Cyborg Grievous is not a strong candidate for return, unless fans vote him in in a future Saga Legends-type re-release vote (we are looking at this as a possibility for next Spring). Revan and Malak are more likely to return in some form or another within the next couple of years.


QUESTION:  Given the amount of time you need to plan upcoming figures, are you looking at doing any tie in figure/s for the Old Republic MMORPG expected in the next year?  

ANSWER:  As of this writing, we don't have any information about The Old Republic other than the trailer that everyone else has seen. We don't know a release date, so we can't comment on if/when there will be figures. It’s very unlikely that any figures would be out to coincide with the launch of the game in any case. Instead, we'll probably follow with figures after the launch.






To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:39:58 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2009, 03:10:10 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2nd, 2009 - PART 4




RAVING TOY MANIACS


QUESTION:  I've noticed that several new waves of Clone Wars figures seem to be hitting stores at the same time. Will the upcoming Legacy waves be released in a similar fashion to ensure they make it to stores by the end of the year? It seems like a pretty tight schedule to release five waves of figures in four months.

ANSWER:  We don't know for certain how the Legacy/Droid Factory waves will flow out, only because sales have really been dropping on this line compared to Clone Wars, and we do not know when (we won't say *if*) all of the planned waves will be able to get to retail. We are doing our best to try and read the landscape and adjust to release quantities to get everything out. We are committed to manufacturing every wave we have shown, so even if distribution at retail is spotty, it should be available through online retailers.


QUESTION:  In the 30-year history of Star Wars astromech droids, there have only been two released without official names. One is the red/blue astromech from the ARC-170 Elite Squad Battle Pack, whose only appearance in Star Wars multimedia is in the Clone Wars TV series. The other is the red/white astromech that is coming packed with Wedge's X-Wing. It is not the astromech Wedge has in the original trilogy, nor is it either of his astromech droids from the Rogue Squadron series (both are R5 units and not R2's). Can you finally solve the mystery for astromech droid fans by giving us the official names for these droids, and also clarify where the droid that comes packed with Wedge's X-Wing is from?

ANSWER:  We based Wedge's droid off actual reference photos. Since we just had his head, we had to create a body to match. It may not line up with what has been published but we did start with source material. This will need to be explored more and we'll check on it with Lucasfilm; even though there is no name on the package we should be able to provide one for both this little guy and the ARC-170 pack droid. When we hear back from Lucasfilm we will let you know.


QUESTION:  I was wondering if you had any plans to release battle packs of regular clones to outfit the great vehicles you've been making. By 'regular' I mean non-animated. I don't collect the animated line, but I've bought the Turbo Tank, the AT-TE, and the Republic Fighter tank. It would be great to get mixed battle packs of pilots, gunners etc. for these vehicles that are geared towards the collectors of the realistic line of Star Wars toys.

ANSWER:  Thanks for the suggestion. We have been concentrating on getting Clone Wars packs out there for the kids (and collectors) who want to outfit those with Clone to match the Clone Wars. We assumed that collectors would have enough "regular" Clones to do the trick but it does seem like there is an opportunity to provide realistic clones as well. We'll take a look at this and see if there is not something that we can get to over the next couple of years (at this point, the 2010 line is put to bed and we're working on 2011) Thanks for the suggestion.




REBELSCUM

QUESTION:  Will you be releasing a true-to-artwork V-Wing pilot at some point using the new helmet (different deco of course) from the "Republic Gunship" pilot in the new Evolutions set, and the gray flight suit ARC-170 pilot from the first version of this set? Seems like an easy release, and one that actually fills a gap. Similarly, can we assume that we'll see the ARC-170 pilot re-decoed as Oddball at some point?

ANSWER:  There are no plans to release another V-Wing Pilot as of now, but it could be something we re-release in future years and your suggestion makes a lot of sense. Oddball still has not been slated into the line, but as a named and on-screen Clone from Episode III who has yet to have his day in figure
form, we're keeping him on a short list of Episode III figures we can do next time we have an opportunity.


QUESTION:  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! Thank you for finally getting around to the Saurin Hr'chek Kal Fas in your rotation through the Cantina patrons. But as has been the sometimes tradition with the release of new figures, we have to temper our excitement over the figure with the fact that the figure is not entirely accurate. The figure seems to have taken on a number of Trandoshan characteristics that are not what we see on screen with the Saurins in the cantina.

The notable differences are the eyes, the Saurins have black eyes, no coloration. The hands, the Saurins have five fingered gloved hands in the cantina scenes. And then finally the feet, the Saurins wear boots in the cantina scenes. Any number of film or production stills easily show these characteristics.

So what are the chances that we'll eventually see a "corrected" Saurin (maybe released as cousin Saitorr Kal Fas) with the more screen accurate characteristics?

ANSWER:  Thank you for your support and great attention to detail. We love Cantina aliens too and we do strive to make the figures as authentic and highly detailed as possible. Lucasfilm has a great reference library of images for us to use but sometimes it can feel like a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because it is such a great reference asset, but a curse because with this vast array of material, their minor discrepancies and scrutinizing details can sometimes minimize the awe and wonder that we all have when entering the Star Wars universe. You are correct about the boots and the eyes.

Regarding the boots, we did make a creative decision to give him alien feet that are in keeping with the species because we felt that if he had been meant to be featured as a main character in the movie Lucas would have probably made prosthetic feet, but because he was never intended to be seen as a main character they just had him wear boots. One of the things we love most about Star Wars is the aliens and just giving them human characteristic - while easy and cost effective in production, minimizes the their potential coolness.

With regards to the eyes, there are two Saurins in the Cantina. One of them has clear dome lenses and the other, in some reference shots, does not and appears to have pupils. As you can see in the painted image of the figure on the back of the package, we never intended him to have gold eyes with black pupils. This was just a production variant from our China vendor, and we have actually already made a production correction to the eyes to give him black eyes.

While Sai'torr is not in our current lineups, we do intend to do him someday. When we do we will consider and discuss with Lucasfilm giving him 4-fingered gloves and boots.


QUESTION:  After the recent (sic) news regarding the 2nd Utai and beardless Hoth rebel trooper., I'd like to make an add-on to my previous question-

It seems that in the past there has been communication issues at the factories regarding changing a figure to a new variant, so instead of having a 2nd variant issued in a following wave (as was planned originally w/ the Hoth Trooper) could the variant figs such as the 2nd Hoth trooper, 2nd Utai, 2nd scanning crew member, 2nd Bespin Guard, etc be placed in a non movie themed wave to them selves much like a repaint wave is done when necessary to do a repaint wave? (In other words instead of a "repaint" wave, release a "variant" wave)

ANSWER:  The problem with this is that the variant would occupy a full-blown product spot, where we have been trying to do variants as "extra figures" within our item count. To do what you suggest would mean actually slotting in those figures instead of, say, a new or wholly different figure. It has become so problematic to track these figure changes and stay on course for their release that we will stop doing them altogether because of the disappointment they cause when they don't stay on schedule or get cancelled. As of now, the Bespin Wing Guard is scheduled for the final EU wave next Spring. The Scanning Crew member may not make it out in red/white line look but we will look for ways to eventually bring him out.




SANDTROOPERS


QUESTION:  It is known far and wide amongst collectors that a Hasbro Wal-Mart Star Wars exclusive is going to be inconsistently distributed. For example, in Portland, OR, I saw the 2009 Droid Factory sets ONE time at ONE store, and only 3 of the 5 sets were available.

In some parts of the country, the WM SW exclusives are overabundant and easy to find and in other parts, NONEXISTENT.

Realizing that Hasbro has little to no control over this problem, I will skip to the next question and ask why, exclusive after exclusive, does Wal-Mart continue to get some of the better exclusives?

We know that you get your money up front once the products ship to the retailers, so it's not really *YOUR* problem, but this continues to be a source of frustration for a lot of kids+collectors after we see something previewed at Toy Fair or Comic Con and then NEVER find it in the stores. Is there anything that can be done about such an inconsistent, horrible, careless treatment of your great product line?

ANSWER:  Wal-Mart is, by a good margin, the #1 toy retailer so it stands to reason that we would partner with them on many of our great exclusives. Wal-Mart has a lot of data which they use to identify the stores that will be better performing and use that as a base for their exclusive distribution. However, a desire for increased distribution, as relayed to us by the fans via this Q&A and forums, is something that we constantly relay back to Wal-Mart.  They are considering some changes, so that is good news.  As to the Droid Factory, all five sets were shipped in the exact same quantity in a shelf display, so the comments about only 3 of the 5 showing up are troubling.  Is it possible that someone else beat you to them in your area?  In any case, it is something that we would really like to address and will be working with Wal-Mart again on the overall exclusive distribution strategy.


QUESTION:  I have a question on three figures in particular.
A) Sometime late last year in a QNA, someone had asked about an "ultra" artculated stormtrooper. Your reply stated that the first you would make was an Episode III clonetrooper.
B) Earlier this year, again in a QNA, someone had suggested a "battle damaged" General Greivous from the Clone Wars Series, with removable legs and a broken mask. Your reply was something to the effect "wait till Comic- Con".
C) In Star Wars Insider # 107, a prototype of Darth Maul from "Visionaries" was pictured. I was surprised that nothing was mentioned on that at Comic-Con. So, what is the status on these figures? Are they (still) going to made? And what format may we see these characters in?

ANSWER:  Thanks for the follow-up, Troops.  The ultra-articulated Stormtrooper is actually coming as a Sandtrooper, with the new Wal-Mart exclusive Dewback. As for the Grievous, we're still hopeful to see an update like this but he has yet to find his way into the lineup.  Finally, the half-cyborg Darth Maul from Visionaries, with the cool lower torso, was a scratch from our coming pack line.  The good news is that he *will* be coming out next year as a Comic Con exclusive (still in the Comic Pack format but with a special treatment). The second figure has yet to be announced and we'll save that for an update next Spring.


QUESTION:  Now that  Hasbro has "supposedly" went around to some stores in some areas and removed the "peg warmers" of Yarna, Trinto Duaba, etc. - how long will it be before we can expect those figures to ship in the Legends line?

ANSWER:  It is not "supposed" - we *did* have our legions of retail folk pull back a number of slower moving figures including Yarna, Ak-Rev, the Organas, and Cantina aliens in order to remove them from retailer inventory and stimulate shipment of new waves. They are being destroyed and will never ship, in any form, again.  Was the comment about Legends just poking fun, or did you think we actually repacked poor-selling figures onto new cards?




SIR STEVE'S GUIDE

QUESTION:  The TSC AT-AT Driver was considered by many to be an excellent figure with the only real minus being the swivel elbow joints. The new one looks great, but why did you feel the need do a complete resculpt when simply changing the arms to accommodate ball hinge elbows would have sufficed? You've explained to us in the past that the more tooling required for a figure, the less budget resources can be applied to other figures in the wave, so some collectors are curious why all that new tooling went to the AT-AT Driver instead of something like a new Bespin Han or Hoth Leia. What's the decision-making process there that results in an all-new AT-AT Driver?

ANSWER:  Doing this figure did not knock a core character upgrade out of the mix, as we already had our core characters for the year lined up. We wanted to do a new updated troop-builder for this wave, and of the Hoth Imperials, it seemed like a solid one to do since the arms of the previous did need an upgrade. We could have probably just done arms, but the design team proceeded with a new sculpt.


QUESTION:  In the last round, we asked a question about the possibilities of a new Jabba's dais, but the answer we received was instead about Jabba himself. While that was good news for fans to hear and we are quite hopeful on the Hutt gangster front, we're also curious about his dais. Our hypothetical question was asking what pricepoint and format might it be released in for all that new tooling, and would the set include the existing railing and hookah or just assume that enough collectors have the piece and leave it out? Would it have wheels? Would you go back and use the Kenner vintage throne tooling? And what are the odds of seeing the hypothetical Jabba's Dais we're discussing here?

ANSWER:  Sorry to have you spend a second question to follow-up; we thought that our answer suggested it would be *all* new, dais and everything. No idea on price point or format, other than this would not fit anything in the mainline so it points toward the exclusive lineup. The odds of actually seeing it depend on many factors: the ability to cost this beast out with the tooling it would entail; a willing retail partner; a successful sell-through of this year's exclusive lineup to merit confidence that such an item would find a receptive audience. We can confirm that we are working on a new set, but the above factors are still not nailed down yet so it's not a guarantee that you will see him in 2010.


QUESTION:  It's been a couple years since fans got to vote for Greatest Hits-style figures. There are plenty of other figures that fans want to see re-released without waiting for them to be remade, but don't fit into the kid-friendly Saga Legends line's focus. Any chance of letting us do another Fans Choice Greatest Hits vote? It's all the fun and excitement of the fans getting to choose figures for the line without the expense of you having to tool up a bunch of new figures.

ANSWER:  Right now, the focus is on the new Toy Fare fans' choice poll to see which as-yet-unmade characters fans want to see in figure form. After that, it seems like a solid idea to run another poll for which figures to bring back, either in Saga Legends or in another format. We'll look to start that next Spring. Stay tuned!






To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:40:46 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2009, 03:16:03 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2nd, 2009 - PART 5



SNOWTROOPERS


QUESTION:  What the heck happened with the distribution in Canada from January '09 to the very end of August '09? I'm going to be specific with the Clone Wars line because you once eluded that it was your hottest selling item for Star Wars merchandise.

There was a huge gap between Wave 3 and Wave 4 of the Clone Wars 3 3/4  figures with the latter finally showing up in late February. Well, now that there has been 6 months of restocking Wave 4 (with the odd Wave 1 case thrown in) and the knowledge that the elusive Wave 5 was never going to show up in Canada I was relieved to hear my local TRU had gotten in a few new cases.

Yay! Wave 6 on the new Red cards!  Not so. It ended up being more Wave 1 and Wave 4.

There has been so much over-stocking of Wave 4 (and Wave 1) that I think every man, woman and child in Canada has one or more of each and every single figure and it would most likely explain the fact that none of this product is moving anymore, especially not like the top-selling line should. The pegs are jammed full of Padme, Goldie, Plo Koon and Assassin droids. I honestly fear that there is no room for retailers to order the new product and we will yet again be left behind. TRU recently had a 2-week long 25% off sale and it didn't even dent the inventory on their pegs.

Why on earth was there a 6-month glut of Wave 4? Could you not have slipped us a few transport trucks of the missing Wave 5 or at least let the supply of Wave 4 dry up long ago?

ANSWER:  There have been problems with the dates of when the Canadian-version packages have been available, so we have had to skip several waves in Canada (for example, the last wave of blue/white never shipped) and there was a delay on the first wave of red/white, but that should be fixed by now.  That said, we are slated to bring the rest of the waves of Clone Wars in for the rest of the year.


QUESTION:  Will we see any of the last waves of Titaniums at Canadian Retail before the line goes on hiatus?

ANSWER:  We will not be shipping any new Titanium into Canada before the line goes on hiatus.


QUESTION:  I have been informed, from a very reliable source, that Hasbro Canada does not intend to offer the Legacy line of Star Wars figures on the Red Card format in Canada and that could be related to the poor sales for this product from previous years. Basically, Hasbro Canada will only offer Saga Legends figures and Clone Wars figures. Could you please confirm this information? And if this is indeed the case, could you explain the reason behind this decision? This decision to not offer the Legacy line of figures seriously threathens (sic) our capacity to pursue our collecting habits, as we are now forced to rely on US retailers.

ANSWER:  There have been some inventory issues that have prevented us from getting every wave, but another issue has to do with tagging onto the U.S. production with the localized package version for Canada.  The U.S. quantities have been scaled back, meaning that some planned production was cancelled and left us without the ability to get Canadian-localized production on some waves.  The U.S. is still getting the new figures, so we are instead bringing English-language packaging out of the U.S. warehouse for at least a couple waves.  We will not have all waves available this way, though.  Right now, we don't have details on which waves will be available in which package version (Canadian adaptation or U.S.) but will make that available as soon as we can.


QUESTION:  The conspiracy theorists in us tend to believe that the second Hoth Rebel Trooper from the blue phase of The Legacy Collection was indeed never produced despite your original statements that he will be available in very short supply in wave 7. We have yet to see him in person or even find a photo of him packaged on the web, or even for sale on online stores and auction sites. We are beginning to believe that he was missed altogether. Is there a way you can check your resources again and confirm what the deal is with this figure? And can you do anything to cancel out a repacked figure in the red phase of Legacy Collection and put this one in its place instead?

ANSWER:  The factory does confirm that he was indeed manufactured (we have some samples as evidence), but we do not have the data on what quantity got out.  It's possible that he is stuck in a batch of the wave that has yet to ship.  At this point we will not be able to cancel out any repacked figures as we are well past our art release dates (we are currently working on artwork for next Fall's lineup and are well past Spring).  As confirmed previously, this figure *will* see the light of day in a Battle Pack next Fall.  If those plans change we will look for a way to get him out as quickly as possible.




THE JAWA


QUESTION:  I like the 'cameo' figures of cast and crew who played a big part inthe making of the saga, and apparently so do the people who put together the Star Wars line. It's been nice to see the Lucas family, Joe Johnston (Spacetrooper), Ralph McQuarrie (Pharl McQuarrie), Anthony Daniels (Dannl Faytonni), Ahmed Best (Achk Med-Beq), and now, if the rumors are true, Jeremy Bulloch being honored with action figures based on their appearances in the movies. Is there a desire at Hasbro to at some point make figures of Rick McCallum (Naboo noble), Nick Gillard (Cin Drallig), Richard Marquand (AT-ST Driver), Warwick Davis (Weazel) and one of my favorites, Ben Burtt as Ebenn Q3 Baobab?

ANSWER:  This is not a stated objective, but by a happy coincidence we slot a new character into the line and it works out that we can use legendary reference for a head-sculpt, as was the case with Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie.  For future figures, we will base them on their importance to the line rather than who was playing that character.  As such, Cin Drallig is high on our list of figures we'd like to do within the next few years, and Richard Marquand stands a good chance as well.  The others you mentioned are very low on our radar screen.


QUESTION:  Even though I normally only collect the realistic line, I did recently buy the CW "Goldie" figure during a sale and was blown away at how many little features the CW astromech mold has compared to the R4-G9 sculpt used for the realistic astromechs. That immediately begged the question: hey, when do we get a realistic R2 that has the same level of features?  I'd love to get a manually adjustable scope, tow rope (with a C3PO head accessory to tow along), drill, and computer link plug... the most we've ever gotten was the attachable drill and plug and that only appeared once with the VotC R2 and never used again.  Can Hasbro not also pimp up the realistic R2D2 at some point too?

ANSWER:  That's a good comment about wanting to see more with R2.  We've often mused about producing a "Swiss army knife" R2 in the realistic line but have instead chosen to go with various scene-specific versions.  Someday it would make a good figure and we'll certainly discuss it.  In the meantime, you should also check out the Clone Wars R2, since he has the same features as Goldie and is a great figure.


QUESTION:  Is the going back to the glued on bubble an attempt to stop the slash and returns that have hampered the lines since the ROTS series? If so, why did it take so long to go back to the glued on bubble?

ANSWER:  Returns have not been a big problem for the lines that have had the taped blisters, at least any more than heat-sealed blisters have been.  Where there is a will, unfortunately, there is always a way with unscrupulous collectors to try and juke the system.  Instead, it's a cost-savings measure compared to the taped blisters.  The taped blisters, while great for giving the figures a lot of room to be posed out with their accessories in-pack, cost more and was a needed concession as we drew up the new line.  It's possible that we'll return to the taped in a future line.





THE PRIVATE UNIVERSE


QUESTION:  With next year being the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, can we expect more figures, vehicles and multipacks from the film and if so is there anything you can share with us as to what we can expect to see? Maybe a new card design to reflect the anniversary?

ANSWER:  Yes, there will be some things next year that will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Empire Strikes Back. For the most part, this will be "in assortment" using the mainline assortments, but there will be a few extra exclusives next year to celebrate as well. However, there won't be any specific packaging for the anniversary.


QUESTION:  When looking at my collection from '95 onwards, there is a huge change in the design, detail, articulation of the action figures. Slowly new sculpts are being done of some figures, and much improved they are, so can we expect that you will remake many more of the early bulky inaccurate and poorly articulated figures to bring them more inline with the newer ones?

ANSWER:  Generally, the design aesthetic that has been employed in the line since approximately 1998 reflects an emphasis on realistically-proportioned
figures, accurate sculpting (realistic likeness for the film and EU-based figures), and articulation over built-in features. Since 2004, there has generally been any movement toward releasing characters with a higher degree of articulation, with the apex being a level typified by the modern Vintage line. While not every figure can have this same degree of articulation, this has generally been the sculpting direction when figuring costing permits.

With so many previous figures with excellent sculpts that have been done since 1998, even if they lack a high degree of articulation, we do not want to commit to updating every figure. Instead, it is our desire to complement, and occasionally upgrade some of the figures as determined by popularity (either within the Hasbro team or inspired by fans via requests or polls), and continue to devote a good selection of the line to delivering new never-before-done characters to continue to expand the horizons of the line.


QUESTION:  Back in August you answered a question sent in by our friends at Snowtroopers.ca... and I quote...

QUESTION:  Is it possible to set up some kind of information feed that would inform Canadian collectors of exactly what is coming to Canadian retail? As things get finalized you could let us know. For example, if a retailer steps up for the Scramble at Yavin battle pack assortment, you could let us know when this happens. Or once retailers place an order for a certain wave, you could automatically confirm this for us. This would save us from asking every Q&A "Is x vehicle or wave coming to Canada"? It would also benefit retailers because we would then not resort to ordering things from the US for fear of them never arriving at retail here. It would basically act as product announcements like Hasbro USA does when revealing new products, but be Canada specific.

And speaking of Canadian retail and SW toys, the distribution of TLC this year has been terrible, with constant reloading (and clogging) of the pegs with wave 1 and barely a trickle of waves 3 and 4 (and obviously the absence of the last two waves completely). So given that Hasbro at SDCC has stated it will ship four waves in only 2 months(!) will ALL of these waves actually be coming to Canada? And what about existing announced blue-white packaged items like: Scramble on Yavin, CW Jabba, AT-TE Assault Squad, Ambush on the Vulture’s Claw, Rancor w/Luke which was said in a previous Q&A to be headed to “smaller accounts” Spring 2009 comic packs These answers are exactly what we hope an information feed would tell us, since this year Canadian customers have been left feeling as if we are fumbling in the dark and no idea of what we can or cannot buy. It loses money for Hasbro and obviously makes collecting incredibly, incredibly frustrating.


ANSWER:  That is a good idea for a list to advise Canadian collectors. We will work that up and use it for periodic updates as different toys ship. As for the ones you cite, none of them will be released in Canada as the blue and white line look is finished. Unfortunately, the retail support for the Rancor fell through at the last minute and we ended up not releasing it. A pity, but we tried hard to get it placed."


I know that UK collectors would relish something like this for the UK so they can plan ahead what they are getting from where and when, avoiding over priced importers and so supporting the UK's retailers big and small.

ANSWER:  Thanks for the suggestion; we'll touch base with our UK team to see if we can get a more detailed update for our UK collectors.





YAKFACE


QUESTION:  I recently acquired the new Darth Sidious Hologram w/Mechno Chair figure from the Legacy Collection and noticed a couple odd things and I have a few questions about it, both regarding the chair itself. First, on the top where the hologram projector is located there are 2 small tabs each with a hole running through them. What are these details exactly? Were they possibly added to make this accessory forward compatible with say a chair back thus creating the walking "throne" that could later be included with a new Viceroy Nute Gunray from The Phantom Menace? And finally, when the entire accessory is assembled and displayed, one can't help but notice that Hasbro's copyright info is prominently, or some might say distractingly, displayed on the chair's front. Wouldn't it have been better esthetically to place that info on one of the legs?
 
ANSWER:  The details you are referring to are actually part of the reference materials we used to sculpt the chair.  As for the copyright line, we're limited to applying it to flat surfaces.  Where it is now is the only flat surface large enough to hold it.


QUESTION:  There have been a few online retailers with a product listing for a "Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker w/Desert Sport Skiff". I'm afraid to ask, is this vehicle a repack of the Desert Skiff from the 1996 Power of the Force 2 days or something new we have yet to see in the Clone Wars series?

ANSWER:  We are using the mini-rig from ‘96 but including an ACW Anakin and changing the decoration on Skiff. This assortment is intended to be a way for kids to get a low-priced figure and vehicle as a complete purchase/play experience. This assortment will have some “mini-rig” type off-screen items as well as authentic speeder bikes and small single person transports.


QUESTION:  In our last QnA, you made the follow statement: "Kids, the primary audience for the Clone Wars line, do not seem to care about super-articulation."

Frankly, many find this response rather dismissive. If kids don't care about SA, why did the clones have it from the start and why upgrade less articulated figures to better interact with vehicles if kids would "settle" for less? Many "adult" collectors say they don't support the CW line because of the limited articulation, especially the lack of knee joints. Wouldn't its inclusion make the line even more successful? Thanks.

ANSWER:  We did not mean to be dismissive, but wanted to explain the rationale for the decisions we have made in the constant pull between features (including super-articulation) and costing.  We did incorporate more articulation into the Clones at the start because, at the time we embarked on the line, we could, and we knew that there would be collectors who would be attracted to the Clone Wars line who would find the articulation pleasing for the Clones.  However, we couldn't do this to all figures and there won't be a systematic upgrade of all characters to more articulated versions, of which would bring more collectors into the line.  Doing so would cause us to displace features elsewhere which are more important to retain kids.  For them, the play features are more important than super-articulation.  Compatibility with vehicles is important though, which is why some figures get upgraded, not for the sake of adding articulation, but to make the play experience better.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:41:45 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2009, 08:25:21 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 2nd, 2009 - PART 6



YODAS NEWS


QUESTION:  Revisiting a question from April, have you given any more thought to the idea of manufacturing a protective clamshell case for the new 5½" x 8¼" card size? Without the means to properly protect and display them, some collectors have stopped buying Hasbro figures (including G.I. JOE and Marvel Universe, also) they would normally keep carded. A "Hasbro Action Figure Case" without branding for any specific line would provide an across-the-board solution for the new standard. With more STAR WARS and now Secret Wars comic two-packs being released, we could really use a clamshell for those, too.

ANSWER:  We're sorry to hear that some fans have stopped buying the new figures because of the lack of a protective case. We hope that fans would enjoy the figures on their own merit and consider storage secondary, but we can understand the desire to keep figures in the best possible condition. We have considered doing a new clamshell, but with the sluggish sales of the previous version we have held up as there is still a large amount of inventory of the previous one left. The collector pullback also gives us less confidence that these would be successful. Until we offer a solution, we recommend sourcing cases from other companies that would fit the new card size, along with the comic packs (for which we are not going to release protective blisters).


QUESTION:  Would you consider a battle pack of 5 figures in a box the size of the Evolutions line boxes or even smaller? By reducing the package size you help the environment with less waste and also would allow for more shelf space for other items in the toy line or other Hasbro toy lines. Even something smaller like the Trooper Army Builder 4-Pack that came in the plain white box years ago?

ANSWER:  The footprint of the Battle Packs will be coming down, but they will be of a size that allows posing in pack. This is a key part of the appeal of this series, and does necessitate that they are in a wider package to accommodate the posing.


QUESTION:  Any chance we can get more diverse Jedi and Sith figures outside of the main figures? A mix of generic jedi knights, masters, padawans and Sith warriors. (for example: Great Hyperspace War, Jedi Civil War, New Sith Wars). Collectors are eager to make a huge fight diorama between Jedi and Sith. But that's a bit difficult with only mainstream figures. Something like the deluxe 3-pks from saga Clone Wars days (JEDI KNIGHT ARMY)? Even repaints/kitbash of previous Jedi Figures if new sculpts would not be possible.

ANSWER:  We won't be doing this route as you suggest (generic figures), but you have hit upon one of our key platforms for the next few years - the debut of new Jedi and when we can, new adversaries. We have been producing a good chunk of new baddies in the Comic Packs lately and are really enjoying the outcome (along with select characters like Darth Maleval in the Jokey Squadron pack). As for Jedi - a bunch of never-before-seen ones, along with some nice upgrades, are coming in the Target-exclusive Geonosis Arena packs (including an cool update of Trebor Coleman). If this format is successful, we hope to sequel it in 2010 with an additional series. Looking farther out, we are excited whenever we see new potential Sith adversaries to produce and will be looking to The Old Republic for inspiration, whenever we get more info. In short, the future for new lightsaber wielding good-guys and bad guys looks very....bright.





Keep checking back as more sites continue to post their Q&A sessions with Hasbro.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:42:30 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2009, 02:36:57 AM »

TWO SITES ADDED!

-16Bit
-Action Figure Insider
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 01:42:56 AM »

There's one late update to this roundup:

Creature Cantina
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