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« on: October 23, 2009, 11:20:25 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 23rd, 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:  You have made it evident that sales of the main Legacy figures just arenít at the same levels from years ago. And while you have assured us that the line is still healthy, it makes us wonder a few things. The Legacy figures are still nearly impossible to find. How can you meet and exceed numbers if they arenít in stores to sell? And when we ask retail why the figures arenít in the stores, they blame you. In turn, we go back to you and you say stores are ordering less. There is this incessant circular blame that is leaving the kids and collectors out in the cold. We want the opportunity to purchase them, please give it to us! Along the same lines, we were curious to know if perhaps you have considered the packaging as a direct cause for lack of sales. While this may initially seem silly to you, we hope that you can carefully ponder and admit that the blue TLC line look was anything but exciting. We are sure that Gargan would have sold a whole lot better were she on an OTC/VOTC type card (being that she was one of the original vintage candidates). Figures just look so much more awesome on the silver and black line look. Can you please defend your position with Lucasfilm that a vintage feel is the only way to go with our beloved Star Wars action figures (or an extrapolation of it at least). The 30th Anniversary Collection, Original Trilogy Collection (which you had confirmed exceeded expectations and they were all old POTF2 figures for the most part!) and The Saga Collection had the best packaging yet! We miss that look terribly!

ANSWER:  You have asked a few questions here, so we'll take them in order.  What you see on an individual store level isn't representative of what's happening at a national level.  The way that replenishment should work, since it's all automated, is that when inventory gets low an order gets triggered to send more of that assortment to the stores, either from the retail distribution centers or a new order from Hasbro. Trust us, we have staggering quantities of Droid Factory figures that we are unable to get to stores because of the quantity of figures still in the channel; we are not holding back and in fact doing everything we can to get the new waves out (including a recent pullback of unmoving figures to help us"recalibrate" the brand).  All new waves can always be found through online retailers; if you can't find them at retail near you there are other ways to get figures, and they count the same for us either way. It's certainly possible that some stores get "stuck" but we do not have a way of seeing that other than fans sending us store numbers to check out (which does happen...please tell us about the Wal-Mart and Target stores in question, with store numbers). As for the line look, we take our cue from the direction Lucasfilm has given us as they create the line (we do consult, but ultimately do not decide on the line look). Your comments on preference for the Vintage/Saga/30th line is noted; we certainly know that these were popular lines with collectors. All things being equal since they all had the same line look, Clone Wars and Saga Legends flew while the Legacy/Droid Factory struggled and continues to do so (as have all other assortments with a more narrow collector focus like Evolutions, Comic Packs, and many exclusives).  Our collectors have been hit hard by the economic issues, and we are doing our best to find the new baseline (critical for calling figures such as Willrow Hood), streamline the range so more fans can reasonably afford to collect everything in a year, and look toward key touch points for collectors to re-engage.  It's been a tough year for our collector base overall, and hope that we can reward those who have stuck with us with some outstanding figures and vehicles, and lure back those who may be on the sidelines with an incredibly tempting lineup next year and on into the future. Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  Since the introduction of the larger X-Wing that was based on the POTF2 Power FX X-Wing, we've gotten exclusive versions of Red Leader's X-Wing, Luke's ship and most recently Wedge's Red 2. 

But what about some of the notable pilots who don't have their own ships are Biggs Darklighter (Red 3), Jek Porkins (Red 6), Theron Nett (Red 10), Dutch Vander (Gold Leader) or Davish "Pops" Krail (Gold 5)?  All of these pilots have significant dialogue and something of a following in the collecting community.  Is it possible that we might see some of these pilots presented in exclusive form with their ships?  And if so, are there any hints?  Are we "stay(ing) on target"?

ANSWER:  Great question - we love this iconic ship ourselves and our long-term dream would be to see the entire Red squadron as you outline.  However, we have to be careful about how many we put out and how fast.  There is no large X-Wing planned for 2010, but our 2011 exclusives plan has yet to be crafted and we will look at the next X-Wing opportunity for then. meanwhile, make sure that you show support for this Fall's exclusive to ensure that retailers know demand is high for another.


QUESTION:  Captain Needa is an excellently designed action figure, save for one SNAFU. We understand your logic to have removable rank badges become universal. But is their any way you can revisit this and make it so that it isnít so ďplug likeĒ and bulky? Perhaps you can just create a bevel on the chest of the figure where another think piece of plastic (the badge) can be laid and glued in place. The new convention just doesnít work and while we are thankful you have given thought to the different ranks, we hope you can find a better way of doing so. Thank you for your ingenuity and care to improve the figures. It is so much appreciated, but we feel that this can be much improved.

ANSWER:  Thanks for the comment.  We'll take a look to see if this can be refined for future releases.




And now to continue through the Star Wars online collecting community:


ACTION FIGURE INSIDER


QUESTION:  Just curious as to why the Build-a-Droid pieces werenít made compatible with the C-3PO/Battle Droid set from 2002 considering those two figures have been in circulation almost continuously since that time. Also why was C-3PX designed with a ball-socket neck connection and not the peg-into-torso connection the others have (and why the difference in peg sizes with his limbs, as well)?

ANSWER:  The C-3PO Battle droid set did not have the universal connector that we needed to have to accommodate all figures.  As for the C-3PX, it was designed by a separate design team in parallel with the main line and we did not have solid communication about the exact protocol droid designs and the final peg size the droids would have.  It was a miss on our part.


QUESTION:  What is the status on the unbearded 2nd hoth trooper- we were told that it would be showing up in a later assortment on the new card. But none of the scheduled releases have it listedĖ is it still coming??

ANSWER:  Believe it or not, we still do not have an answer from our factory on this one as to how many were shipped.  We have seen samples, and have been told that they were revised into production, but we know in all of the cases we have sampled from this assortment (at several different delivery stages)that all the figures have been bearded.  So we have yet to find a retail case with the beardless.  It may not be that we will not have the real truth until all of the cases have been distributed and there is a better representation of the whole run.  At this point, weíre hoping it didnít get out, since it is looking like it will be even rarer than we thought.  We are 100% dedicated to getting it back out in one form or another next year, though, so fans *will* be able to get this figure.


QUESTION:  Can we look forward to any Build-a-Droids that arenít "protocol" or "astromech" in the basic line?? Iím meaning that in the sense that you identify the 4-piece droids as astromechs and the 6 piece as protocols, not so much in the literal meaning of those termsÖ

ANSWER:  All of the build-able droids we are doing follow this standard template of either 4-pieces for Astro or 6 for protocol.  We arenít doing any other types, such as treaded droids, as cool as that would be!




COLLECTION STATION


QUESTION:  In Episode I, the Escape from Naboo sequence was a very memorable scene in the movie. Over the last 10 years, you've managed to release all the brave astromechs involved in the scene except for R5-A7 (aka G8-R3). What are the chances that we'll see this figure done in the near future? What format would it likely be done as, perhaps a basic figure, a pack-in from a set, a build-a-droid, or something else?

ANSWER:  You know, that little guy has escaped our notice, as we thought we had done all of them in that scene. We'll take a look at him the next time we have a slot for an Astro droid. Thanks.


QUESTION:  We know you designed the first Evolutions Clone Pilot figure's deco around the Battle of Hypori Rancor-tooth Republic Gunship (TRU-exclusive, 2006) originally seen in Clone Wars micro series chapter 21, but the actual pilot in the episode has significant deco differences, as well as a rangefinder on the helmet, because he's an ARC Pilot. It seems like the wind has gone out of the realistic-line's sails in terms of Clone Trooper variants lately, and while we dig that you're looking to do a Fordo figure, not to mention the Heavy Gunner figure you already made was from that same CW chapter, it seems like a good addition to the line to also do an ARC pilot. You don't have to say "Clone Wars" anywhere on the packaging to avoid confusion with The Clone Wars line. So what are the chances of seeing an ARC Pilot figure? If poor, what specific factors are the holdup for something like this? If it's just Clone Wars cross-pollination concerns, why isn't just releasing the figures without mention of their origin enough of a solution?

ANSWER:  We hadn't thought about that one in a while - thanks for the reminder. There aren't really issues with doing an occasional figure here or there (like Fordo) in the Legacy line, especially when they involve Clones. We like the idea of an ARC Pilot (if that grooves with Lucasfilm). If we do trigger this one, it will be a while before it comes out, simply due to lead times and finding a slot for him. Thanks for the suggestion.


QUESTION:  There have been a lot of Jedi figures lately, even main characters, who don't come with their robes. Ep 2 Obi-Wan, Ep 2 and Ep 3 Anakin, even the new Plo Koon, they are pretty major players and yet... robeless. A Jedi's robe is part of what defines him as a wizard, as well as disguising him as a warrior, it's a signature part of the costume, and right now there are too few Jedi figures released with theirs. While we understand these cloth robes aren't cheap to produce, they're still necessary. Anakin's robes are different from the standard robes but no less important to those prequel iterations of the character. So any chance that when these figures get re-released in some format, be it Saga Legends or Battle Packs or even Greatest Hits-style re-releases a few waves down the line, might they get their Jedi robes included? 

ANSWER:  That would be the idea. We simply can't put in everything we want into the basic figure packs due to cost, but down the road robes are something we would like to look at.




DEWBACK PATROL


QUESTION:  Is the single carded Imperial Tie Fighter pilot slated for release? If not, please consider reissuing this fine figure.

ANSWER:  Right now there are no plans for a single carded release but it's a great one to look at for the future. Thanks for the feedback.


QUESTION:  Given the new Dewback and a possible new Jabba in 2010 has any consideration been given to a new Bantha? While I still enjoy the POTF2 version I've always felt it was lacking some detail due to the "real" fur. For the record, if you produced a new detailed version (like the awesome Dewback), count me in for 4!

ANSWER:  We have not given any thought to a new Bantha, but it's always a possibility down the road. Given how shaggy there are, though - we're not sure that we'd nail it with an aesthetic that did not have soft goods. Worth thinking about, though - thanks for the suggestion.


QUESTION:  I just bought a house with a room for my toys.  I have spent hours putting Star Wars figures on shelves - lots of hours! My wife came into watch and I was showing her how I was putting the figures on these clear stands and on Stand Tall Displays. They look great!  Well, my wife wanted to know how the stands worked and I was showing her the hole in the foot of the figure. As I was showing her I realized what an incredible design it is. Can you tell us a little about how the peg and hole system came about?  I had to buy the stands in 2 different sizes - one for vintage and one for modern. Why did the diameter of the hole change when POTF2 came about? Thanks.

ANSWER:  The figure peg and hole combination was created to allow figures to be posed in dioramas and attach to vehicles, from the very start of the Star Wars line. It was is a consistent presence through both the Star Wars and GI Joe lines, natural because of the number of vehicles and playsets these lines have seen over time, but has also become a standard for many other
figure lines as well. As modern sculpting aesthetics came into the line, many figures that had smaller feet required could not handle the older diameter, and sometime during the POTF2 run the standard size was changed to reflect this.




To be continued.
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2009, 11:31:32 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 23rd, 2009 - PART 2



GALACTIC HUNTER


QUESTION:  We know that you probably can't comment on it too much, but will there be any Ultimate Battle Packs and big warehouse club sets for the holiday season?

ANSWER:  There will not be any Ultimate Battle Packs or warehouse club 3ĺ" sets this year.


QUESTION:  We also know that you don't reveal "numbers", but which figure did you produce fewer of ó Malikili (Rancor Keeper) 3.0 or Willrow Hood (Ice Cream Maker Guy)? It was said (no name mentioned) at Toy Fair that we wouldn't be overburdened with Willrow Hood, but who could have predicted Malikili (Rancor Keeper) 3.0?

ANSWER:  They were both released in the same quantity - the lowest of any fall releases, which is at least 30% lower than the lowest-run figures we released from 2005 until Spring 2008. We think that we have found the "floor" for these more niche figures.


QUESTION:  Since it has been confirmed that Wooof will be out in 2010, is there anything you'd care to share, like one of those cool figure sketches or a photo of the sculpt?

ANSWER:  Sure thing - see attached.

CLICK FOR IMAGES




HAN'S HIDEOUT


QUESTION:  The VOTC Han Solo is a pretty great figure, but one thing still sort of bugs me - his magical floating holster (same goes for the "vintage" Endor Han figure). Any chance we'll see Han updated so his holster is tethered to his thigh like VTSC Bespin Luke and a few other figures have? It would be a cool update to the existing Hans as well as a feature we'd love to see on that 2010 SA Bespin Han you've got cooking!

ANSWER:  Thanks for the suggestion - it's something we'll consider the next time we release an EpIV Han. As for the 2010 Bespin Han, things have changed a bit and he's now coming in 2011 (a different Han will be coming in 2010).


QUESTION:  A quick question on the 2009 line-up from one of our readers - "At SDCC, you guys said we'd be getting a repack General Grievous in the line (BD24, I believe). Well, the e-tailers have posted case assortments through the 2010 EU wave and there doesn't seem to be a Grievous anywhere to be found. Was he dropped? Bumped? Renumbered?" Jim

ANSWER:  He was indeed dropped, leaving a hole in our figuring number system. This was in response to needing to shift a bunch of assortments around - we just couldn't fit him in. As such, there will be no BD24 issued.


QUESTION:  A few of us are still a little fuzzy on the new Imperial Scanning Trooper. Just to confirm, there will be two releases - Head #1 with Scanner Accessory #1 and Head #2 with Scanner Accessory #2, right? Any chance we could get pics of the two different head sculpts with their respective accessory?

ANSWER:  That is correct. The second one will be coming out in the last wave of basic figures - EU wave. Right now, we do not have any pictures to share.




IMPERIAL SHIPYARDS


QUESTION:  Can we expect more ESB figures, vehicles, etc.  to commemorate the upcoming anniversary Of Empire? Some more Hothy rebel troopers, officers, and a re release of the Target UBP turret would be great.

ANSWER:  There will be some more celebration of EpV beyond what we have talked about, including at least one from your list.  Stay tuned!


QUESTION:  Is there a reason designers of the SW figures don't follow the example of the Joe designers and use a standard-sized neck-ball?  Also, with SW arms being *almost* the same as Joe arms, why not make that little design change and give us more compatibility?  Having Joe and SW figures closer in compatibility would let us customizers have a much wider field to play in.  Are there manufacturing drawbacks to this approach that we don't know about?

ANSWER:  The simple answer is that while GI Joe uses a standard articulation "buck", Star Wars is different for every single figure.  As such, the sculptors create the figure with the aesthetics they need to achieve the best results.  We are trying to better control the ball-size for future compatibility,.  It is something we have heard time and time again from the customizing community.


QUESTION:  I am wanting to know why the new Fi Skirata (Republic Commando) in the new Clone Commando Evolutions packs was not given the full superarticulated treatment?

ANSWER:  He was given knee and ankle articulation, bringing him up to what we thought was a great figure.  If there is anything that could be added, it would be ball and socket shoulders.  However, that would have required a new torso and in effect it would be a 100% new figure, which we did not have tooling for.





JEDIDEFENDER


QUESTION:  Harkening back to the old days (2002), what led to the decision to make the Attack of the Clones figures so stylized, preposed and action laden? At the time, there was much nashing of teeth and complaining from collectors about the direction the line was heading and I think most people agree that you've listened and went with a super articulated line of figures. All that being said, there are several figures of the Saga era that could use some updating...most notably and often requested are the Kaminoans, young Boba, Zam Wessel, Barriss Ofee and Outlander Anakin. Any chance of getting updates any time soon?

ANSWER:  The decision was made back then to add excitement to the figures by adding pre-posing; in a way, this compensated for the lack of excitement of the EpI presentation where the figures had very little energy and pop. You have to admit, the EpII figures do look great in package, but when they get on shelf suffer from not being generally posable being stuck in their positions. We do have a plan to systematically update core characters - and of the ones you mention Zam Wessel and Barriss Ofee have the best chance of getting upgraded in the next couple of years. The Kaminoans and Boba, we feel, are generally fine as is (not and not really preposed) so we have no plans to go there. Eventually, we will probably get to a new Outlander Anakin but he's not a priority right now.


QUESTION:  Speaking of Zam Wessel, if you were going to resculpt/update her, how would you perhaps tackle her "shape shifting" feature this time around? Would you do two completely separate headsculpts (Alien and Human) and a removable helmet/hat or would you try giving her a pack-in mask again?

ANSWER:  We'd probably do the alternate head route as we have been doing for several other figures with different modes. It works better, aesthetically.


QUESTION:  While many collectors would like to see that often hinted at Super-Articulated Rebel Fleet Trooper upgrade, there are a few folks out there that would like to see the Fleet Officers get an update too. Any chance of seeing the Saga'04 Captain Antilles figure with some added articulation and perhaps a little more mature looking headsculpt somewhere down the line? He's one of the only Fan's Choice figures that didn't seem to linger on the pegs very long!

ANSWER:  The priority is to get to the Rebel Fleet Trooper, and one should be out within the next couple of years. After that, we could look at Antilles but he is not very high on our list right now - we are still enjoying that '04 sculpt.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 05:55:25 PM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 11:46:44 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 23rd, 2009 - PART 3


JEDI NEWS


QUESTION:  The Comic Packs are a very popular line and enables us to get figures we wouldn't ordinarily expect.  Last year (2008) we saw a total of 19 Comic Packs including the Wal*Mart exclusives; of these only one was a re-pack.  This year (2009) there are 18 Comic Packs scheduled including the Wal*Mart exclusives; of these, 6 are re-packs and so far very few of the Comic Packs shown have been released, the Wal*Mart exclusives are only just hitting.  When will the remaining Comic Packs for 2009 be available?  Will these see a release in the UK and Canada and if so, what about the Wal*Mart exclusives?  Will 2010 see a reduced number of Comic Packs or will you continue like this year with re-packs and new releases - do you have a final tally for 2010 yet?

ANSWER:  You ask several questions here.  The repacks are a necessity because as the volume on the line has fallen, we could not afford as many new tools and need to carry forward the best-selling packs in new packaging.  At this point it's very unlikely that the UK or Canada will be getting any more comic packs. 2010 will also see a sharply reduced number of comic packs.


QUESTION:  Bounty Hunters are especially popular and with Season 2 of the Clone Wars we'll see a spotlight on some fan favourites such as Boosk, Aurra Sing and others.  When can we expect to see these in the Clone Wars line (any chance of some pictures)?  Also, with the Celebration V logo depicting Boba Fett can we expect a special Clone Wars release of this fan favourite, and some would say Ultimate Bounty Hunter, in the Clone Wars line?

ANSWER:  Great question, as we also love the new focus on the Bounty Hunters.  All of them are planned for release in Fall 2010 in the Clone Wars lineup.


QUESTION:  It would seem that there seems to be a shift in availability of products here in the UK away from the conventional Toy Store but towards the Supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.  Has this been a deliberate change or has their demand for product increased?  Whilst it's great to see the products on shelf, we can't help feeling sorry for the independent Toy Stores who are continually losing market share to these huge retailers.  Will we see this shift continue as the line progresses in subsequent years or is it just a matter of whoever will take the line?

ANSWER:  We support all retailers, but the biggest avenues for growth lie in getting wider distribution and increased promotions with the biggest retail partners.  That is why you have seen increased activity in these retailers - they are a great way to get the magic of Hasbro's brands to the widest possible audience.





RAVING TOY MANIAC


QUESTION:  A follow-up question to the protective cases answer on http://www.toymania.com/news/messages/11504.shtml - if you do not plan to have bulk packs made for the new card size perhaps you could share where they got the protective cases for the Forces Unleashed Storm trooper commander and the Luke Skywalker Comic Con exclusive. They both have the correct size protective case that we're all now searching for.

ANSWER:  We created a case for those figures based on the new card size, but we don't plan to make the cases available for sale in bulk packs. The demand for the first ones has been soft, and until those move through we will not be committing to more inventory of protective clam shells.


QUESTION:  You now have an original sculpt of a railgun for The Clone Wars. Any chance of seeing that gun modified to remove the launching missile and given to a Clone Trooper in regular Legacy line? (This would replace the heavy gunner Clone from the Hunt for General Grievous battle pack that came with an old, GI Joe railgun.)

ANSWER:  We could do that, but it's unlikely we'd remove the launching missile. We would likely just tool up a non-functioning version. No plans right now, however, although it's a good figure for the future.


QUESTION:  The Lumiya and Sigel Dare comic packs have been very difficult to find, and even on ebay have been showing up infrequently. Will these hard-to-find packs be shipping in larger quantities in the near term, perhaps in newer case assortments? I have noticed even Hasbro Toy Shop has yet to stock these particular comic packs.

ANSWER:  They will continue to ship until the new waves are ready - so there are more on the way.




REBELSCUM


QUESTION:  This is a two-part question: The list of vintage Kenner figures waiting to see an updated re-release is getting shorter and shorter. From those vintage Kenner figures that have yet to be released in the modern Hasbro line, what are the top 5 character that you would like to see produced?

Also, collectors understand that not EVERY character previously released during the POTF2 and POTJ years is going to have an updated sculpt, but again of those POTF2/POTJ characters that have not been re-released who would be your top 5 candidates to see updated sculpting/articulation?

ANSWER:  Among vintage figures, Imperial Dignitary, Cloud Car Pilot, Death Squad Commander, and Lumat top our list. After looking at the vintage "undone" line again, we concur - it is getting short. But that's a good thing, right?

As for PotF2/PotJ, the highest priority redos for us include Dr. Evazon, Ponda Baba, a Millennium Falcon Nien Nunb, General Lando, and Klaatu.


QUESTION:  Collectors are frustrated. We've been told that sales of the Legacy Collection are down, yet many collectors have been unable to find many of the 2009 figures and battle packs. We know that Hasbro sells to stores (both brick and mortar and online stores) and from there we buy from those stores. Once the figures are out of your hands, we know there isn't anything you can do. here's our dilemma. we go to the stores and see older figures that we already have. There is space for more TLC figures, yet the store employees put the SL or the TCW figures on the legs marked with the TLC price code. When collectors ask the store employees, they always say, "what's on the shelf is all we have" or they ignore our requests for TLC figures because they don't understand the difference between the three different lines. Collectors become frustrated because of this poor customer service and try to find other stores to buy TLC figures, buy online, or use ebay. None of these are good solutions for the line. We would like to stop banging our heads against the wall when we ask you about these distribution problems because we understand that you can't do much about them, but would it be possible for you to suggest a strategy of how we, as the collecting community and not just as individuals, could go about letting the stores know exactly what we want to buy? It seems that store employees and even the toy managers have no understanding that their are three different basic carded lines and they don't know how to get what we really want.

ANSWER:  When a replenishment order comes in, it's up to the department manager to get it out. The actual peg the product goes on doesn't matter, as it's invisible to the computerized inventory system. If the store personnel can't match the Asst SKU (87535 for Droid Factory/Legacy, 87995 for Saga Legends, and 87628 for Clone Wars basic figures) to a case of product in back, then not only are they frustrating you but they are not doing their job to move the merchandise.

We have made it as simple as possible for them to replenish inventory as needed, so we really don't know what to say when they won't put it on shelf. That is, if they have it in the back room - they might be telling the truth and the store may not need more inventory depending on the level....just because there is room on the pegs doesn't mean that the product has been re-ordered if inventory has not sunk below a certain level.

Let us know store #numbers when that happens and we will try to follow up. When all else fails, we recommend sourcing the new figures from Internet retailers who should have the ability to get
any of the new waves.


QUESTION:  The focus of a previous question was to find out if we might be getting more Ewoks and especially about the possibilities of Ewoks from the made for TV movies. Words cannot express how great it was to hear that Wicket, Deej, Logray, Kaink, Teebo, and Chukha-Trok are all on your short list. Now that the box has been opened a little, what are the possibilities of seeing other characters from the Ewok movies - namely the Towanis, some Sanyassan Marauders, Charal, Noa Briqualon, and ESPECIALLY TEEK?

ANSWER:  Teek would be on the short list. The others, however, are very unlikely.




SANDTROOPERS


QUESTION:  Now that you have "tested the waters" with larger scale vehicles like the Falcon, AT-TE and the Turbo Tank... can we expect more larger sized, retooled vehicles? Were these pieces good sellers, enough to continue making one or two every year? They seemed to move pretty well in my area. If so... what's at the top of your wish list? And when can we expect to see a new larger AT-AT Walker?

ANSWER:  The full story is not written yet - we still have a long way to go on the Turbo Tank to determine whether the large vehicle program will continue.  If it does, look for new news at Toy Fair in February.  We won't release any information until then.


QUESTION:  Word is that the new Republic Gunship is going to sell for $70. I was hoping you could shed some light on this price hike since the last last gunship was $50, the one before that $45 and the two before that $30. I see that there are new doors added to close the gunship up completely but how in the world does a new set of doors and a new paint job on the nose justify what is essentially a price doubling. Also, what happens if this ship doesnt sell well because of a huge price jump in a bad economy? Will you then say that this ship is unsuccessful and get rid of it because the price was way to high?

ANSWER:  The $30 price point was four years ago, and it's a different world now. We have not been able to hold the same prices with our vendors due to the amount of materials, labor, and tooling.  Also, the markup may be different by retailer.  Retailers have complete freedom in setting their retail pricing.  If the ship is unsuccessful, it will certainly inhibit our ability to bring that one back out again.


QUESTION:  Why the price increase on Battlepacks?  You said to keep costs down, you would have 1 less figure per pack, which you did, and even more in some packs (Geonosis with gunship turret), but yet the price on these have increased $5 up to $25 at most places.  Since you are charging more, will we get that extra figure back in the pack?

ANSWER:  The definition of Battle Packs going forward will be essentially four figures, for what we hope will be less than a $24.99 retail.





To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:49:31 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2009, 06:00:05 PM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 23rd, 2009 - PART 4




SIR STEVE'S GUIDE


QUESTION:  In light of several answers by Hasbro stating that sales for the collector-focused Legacy Collection line have fallen off sharply in the last year, causing sales bottlenecks at retail, there have been several theories about why this is happening. Some theories include the simple "the price went up too high for the market to bear in an economic downturn" theory; there's the one saying the casual collecting market (kids, parents, casual collectors) have abandoned the movie lines for The Clone Wars line; there's a theory arguing the Build-A-Droid concept has taken the wind out of sails of every type of collector who isn't a completist and knows they will have a hard time completing their droids; and there's another argument saying that the line over the last year has focused on so many redos that don't quite hit the mark, as well as new figures coming in exclusive packs that require buying old figures as well, that it's choked off interest from the main collector fanbase. Does Hasbro subscribe at all to any of these theories as to why the TLC line has run into so much trouble, or if not, why does the SW team think this problem has come up for the line?

ANSWER:  We will address your assertions one by one: 1. The retail SRP increased by $1 with the launch of The Legacy Collection. We did research before we made this decision to understand what impact there would be, and it was minimal. However, we'll return to the downturn shortly. 2. It's not a case of shifting to the Clone Wars. Although some of this may have happened, it's a case of the collectors dollars being pulled out of the Star Wars collecting hobby altogether. We have seen this in all collector targeted SKUs such as Evolutions, Comic Packs, Titanium, and exclusives, all of which hit at the same time, last Fall. The degree to which collectors may have shifted to Clone Wars would only further put Legacy in trouble, though. 3. It's possible the casual fan, who picks and chooses their figures and is not compelled to buy every one, feels "incomplete" when they have uncompleted droid parts and they don't respond to the "pressure" to get figures they may not have wanted to complete their droids. We made the droid parts so they are a bonus and can be combined randomly for fun (unlike other buildable figures) so we discount this a little bit. 4. We have tried to minimize both of these, and don't think this is what has stopped people from collecting. The problem lies in your very first point - the economy. Many collectors simply stopped collecting last Fall and have not yet come back (if they will). We are working hard to get them back, and we think that what we have lined up next year will be our best attempt. As long as the economy is looking better, and the folks on the sidelines feel they can join the hobby again, we promise incredible satisfaction with what we have coming up.


QUESTION:  The new packaging so far has been shelved pretty inconsistently by store clerks, with the coloring differences completely overlooked. This makes for a mishmash of Clone Wars and Saga Legends (with Legacy Collection still not hitting at full strength yet) which collectors have to dig through, and therein lies the focus of this question. The new packaging's J-hook is easily the wimpiest one yet, the hook is so shallow that figures are constantly flying off the pegs as consumers look for their figure of choice, leaving the section a total mess and further mixing up the various lines. Why are the J-hooks on the new cards designed like that, and might you be willing to do something to address this problem?

ANSWER:  It's too late to change anything, as the last of the Spring Legacy figures are being produced and shipped now. We will have a solution next year to more strongly separate the Legacy product from Clone Wars and Saga Legends. We are working to also differentiate the latter two as well.


QUESTION:  In the Sept 10th Q&A, you were asked about a hypothetical lineup for the SW team's own choices for the Fan's Choice poll. Some (possibly insane) fans couldn't help but notice Jaxxon and the Nelvaan Warrior popping up on this list, two figures which a lot of collectors would really love to own, but have thought were at best extreme longshots. Although those 2 figures might not be the biggest sellers, they would really make a lot of people happy, and it appears that includes some of the designers at Hasbro. Realistically, given that you've spilled the beans on your own love for these two, what are the chances we'll see these two figures prior to the end of Hasbro's current SW license?

ANSWER:  It's impossible to speculate about what will be produced before the end of the run. We can tell you, though, that there is little correlation between some of these blue sky wish lists and the lines we actually craft. Just because we can muse about a figures does not mean it will go into the line. Jaxxon, for example, would *only* be put into the line based on fan voting. The Nelvaan Warrior is a bubble figure, one who had made a first pass 2011 figure plan but eventually got cut in the last round. It's possible he could make it some day based on his own merits.




SNOWTROOPERS


QUESTION:  I wanted to inquire with Hasbro if there are any plans to re-release  the Battlepack 'Capture of the Tantive IV' set from a few years ago.  It seems most of the sets from the last few years have been re-released a few times but not this one.  Also, I read a previous Q&A that stated that the two unique Rebel Trooper head-sculpts in this set were based off the likenesses of two 'unnamed' individuals. I am curious to know who they are as the one head-sculpt bares a striking resemblance to me. (which is why I want to know if the set is going to be re-released.. I want one of them .. lol )

ANSWER:  Sorry, we don't have any plans to get back to this one right now.  With the looming prospect of a new Rebel Fleet Trooper in the next couple of years, we'd rather not but more of these out into circulation.  As for the likenesses, we often do use employee reference or in this case "friends of Hasbro" to add some differentiation.  You may notice that these guys also have appeared as Imperials in our Target exclusive Ultimate Battle Packs in 2007, and one has made occasional appearances since then.  You might call these two itinerant sculpts the "Tag and Bink" of the Hasbro line.  As for any resemblance to you, enjoy it!


QUESTION:  Now that you have created an awesome Commando Droid with very nice hip/knee/ankle articulation for the Clone Wars line will we see these upgrades on the standard Battledroid since their legs are pretty much the same? I'd like to build an army of Battledroids but currently they aren't worth that kind of investment.

ANSWER:  There are currently no plans to add any more articulation to the regular
Battle Droids.


QUESTION:  There seems to be a few inconsistencies/errors with some recently  released figures.  The CW Deluxe 212th Troopers with backpacks and the Clone armour with the single carded Mace Windu seem to be made of a different grayish white plastic than the previous bright white used for CW clones. Was there a reason for this change in terms of making these figures stand out compared to other figures, a material shortage/mistake at the factory or is this an attempt at a somewhat battle-weathered look?

The Geonosis 2-pack Battle Droid Commander has painted eyes which look too big while the Geonosis 2-pack Battle Droid has no eyes. Is there a possibility of these errors being eventually corrected with a single card release?

ANSWER:  The intention was to create a more battle-weathered look on the Clone armor.  As for the Battle Droids, this was a factory mistake.  We don't have any plans for a single carded release of these Battle Droids (or Commander) right now but if we ever do release, we'll correct them.




SW COLLECTOR


QUESTION:  Can we ever expect the unidentified sith from the deceived cinematic trailer of SW:TOR?

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/f/f0/SithWarrior-TOR.jpg
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/f/f4/UnidentifiedSithLord-TOR.jpg

And what about the sith warrior in the same trailer? Would be good for sith army building. Like we don't see there faces.

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/f/f1/SithSomethingorother-TORtrailer.jpg
http://nukoda.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/star-wars-21.jpg
http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p179/Nihilus_guy/?action=view&current=firefox2009-07-1711-26-29-54.jpg

ANSWER:  Right now, we don't know too much about TOR so we don't have anything lined up. We expect to be learning more soon. If the characters from the trailer appear in the game in a significant way, then they are fair game. For a game like TOR, we have to have character persistence to consider doing a figure. Right now it's too early to know, but anything Sithy is
going to be high on our priority list!


QUESTION:  Hasbro, I am curious as to why you have said that any figures to be made from the Droids animated series would have to be made in animated style. BL-17 and Boba Fett were made in realistic style, and I have never heard one complaint from a Droids fan about it (yes, many Droids fans really do exist!). Several of the Droids figures in the vintage line, including C-3PO and R2-D2, were made in realistic style. Many characters from the original Clone Wars cartoon were also made in realistic style. Due to the way that many of the main characters like Thall Joben, Jann Tosh, Mungo Baobab and Admiral Screed were drawn, they would pretty much have to be made in realistic style anyway. They were no less cartooney than the Marvel comic characters.

With a number of droids like Proto-One, BUN-Dingo and the unique astromechs from the Great Heep TV special who could also work as possible build a droid options, it would really be a shame if you never pursued any more Droids figures. I'm wondering, is there anything that could change your stance on these?

ANSWER:  It's not our stance - Lucasfilm has decided that this will be the waygoing forward. Occasional exceptions can be made, such as BL-17 and Boba Fett, but the question was posed to Lucasfilm as if we would do a boxed set (or Battle Pack) of figures from Droids and the decision was made that this would have to be true to the roots of the series, i.e animated. The rest of the characters beyond these guys are pretty obscure for most collectors, and it's unlikely we will get to any of them. They did not rank highly on the Fans' Choice vote currently underway, for example, so we aren't planning any more figures for the time being.


QUESTION:  In anticipation of future rebel pilot & astromech sets, I did a little research into the first Death Star assault. What I found is that all of the remaining undone astromechs have domes that match those on droids that appeared earlier in the movie. For example, Porkins droid has the same dome as R5-D4, Biggs has the same one as R2-Q2 from the Tantive IV, and John D.'s astromech has one that matches R4-M9. When you do these figures, would you just reissue the previously made astromechs with new names? Collectors would prefer you get together with Lucasfilm to come up with new body deco and names, while keeping the dome itself as screen-accurate as possible.

ANSWER:  The intention would be to differeniate all of the droids, giving each one new body/leg deco scheme if never seen on screen, and a new name.




THE JAWA


QUESTION:  Now that Hasbro has a more accurately-sized Grievous mold, is there any chance we can get an updated "Demise of Grievous"?  The previous version used the smaller Sneak Preview Grievous, was a pricey Target-exclusive that those of us outside the US couldn't even buy...  A new "dying grievous" with snap-on flames would be a great way to make a more widely available figure to those who missed out on the exclusive and reuse your existing tooling. Maybe you could even put a new interior into his chest so that when the ribcage is opened up there's now a translucent orangey "on fire" effect?

ANSWER:  Thanks for the suggestion.  We hadn't planned on revisting this figure again but ironically we were just admiring how cool the Demise figure was the other day.  We will consider it for down the road when we are looking for a new take on Grievious.


QUESTION:  I wanted to point out an odd aspect to your recent Captain Piett figure. I noticed that the sculpt for his chest is a bit asymmetrical: his left shoulder is lower than his right shoulder, and from the backside it looks as if he's shrugging his right shoulder upward a bit. If you put his arms at his sides, you can see that his left hand is lower down than his right.  While it's not a big deal for a single character, I was a bit concerned that since Hasbro would obviously want to reuse this excellent torso for a ton of future Imperial officers that we might end up with a slew of officers with this same quirk (which, while not that noticeable on just Piett, would become quite irritating when every officer has it too). Any chance of just tweaking this to make both sides symmetrical again?

ANSWER:  We think you are referring to Captain Needa.  We see somewhat what you are referring to, but if anything it's very slight and we don't think it will be an issue for future officers.


QUESTION:  There are some early reports about the new Geonosis 2 packs that the otherwise excellent new red battledroids are still being issued with soft plastic, making them hard to pose and stand.  Why is this still case?  Hasbro already knows from many older Q&As that we'd like to have a harder plastic for the legs (and even arms) to avoid the sagging effect that eventually claims all current battledroid figures (except the thicker eps1 BDs).  You mentioned that aside from harder plastic, one solution you'd considered is a 2-peg stand so both feet can be stabilized (a transparent plastic stand would be fine by me). However, the droids in the 2 packs don't seem to come with this either.  Now I'm sure a few of us are still wondering, how does Hasbro plan to address this continuing issue?  I still am waiting to army build a few dozen CIS droids but only once I know Hasbro has put out the "ultimate" battledroid, which it is close to doing, but not when the legs and body will droop over time in my displays.

ANSWER:  We can't make figures from "hard" plastic due to breakage.  However, we can confirm that 2-peg stands fix the problem nicely and the ones available from Hasbro Toyshop work wonders on figures with thinner limbs like all past Battle Droid, Super BDs, and Geonisian Warriors.  If you haven't looked into these, we really recommend it.





To be continued
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:50:14 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2009, 12:41:52 AM »

JTA - HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A ROUNDUP - WEEK OF OCTOBER 23rd, 2009 - PART 5



YAKFACE


QUESTION:  In light of the recent purge of peg warming Legacy figures by Hasbro reps, do you have similar plans for the comic pack line? In my area, many of the stores I frequent (Target, Wal-mart, Toys"R"Us) are sitting on several of each of the following sets - Darth Talon/Cade Skywalker, Antares Draco/Ganner Krieg, Fenn Shysa/Dengar, Princess Leia/Tobbi Dala just to name a few. I'm afraid that these sets are choking up the pegs and preventing the newest releases from appearing or being ordered by the retailers. Any plans for recalling these to allow for some fresh product grace our aisles before the holiday rush?

ANSWER:  We will not be doing a similar pullback with the comic packs.  Based on national sales data, a couple of those packs are very popular elsewhere and are not an issue, so you might be having a local pocket where there are not a lot of collectors to scoop up the extras.  That has been the issue with the comic packs overall - a little but left of many issues which adds up to a chunk of packs that are slow to move off the pegs. We're hopeful the holidays will help clear it up a bit so we can get to our Spring figures.


QUESTION:  It is quite obvious that Season 2 of The Clone Wars is going to be chock full of potential character and vehicle merchandise for months to come. Also obvious is the prominence the various bounty hunters in Cad Bane's posse (Bossk, Aurra Sing, Cato Parasitti etc.) will play initially in the series. My questions are will we see an all-bounty hunter themed wave in 2010 or will you be spreading out the various hired guns over the course of the year in different waves? Will we see Cad Bane's Xanadu Blood (a repaint of the Magnaguard Fighter) in the starfighter assortment in early 2010?

ANSWER:  You will see the bounty hunters phase in at different times into the lineup, rather than as one big wave.  And yes, look for Cad Bane's ship in the Starfighter lineup sometime early next year.


QUESTION:  After recently acquiring the Legacy Collection's ROTJ wave, I must say that this is a great overall assortment as most of the figures are spot on in terms of being true to their on-screen appearances. That brings us to the DSII Luke Skywalker. Although this version is far and away the best attempt thus far, he seems to be missing the belt that was present on the TLC BD2 "Sandstorm" Luke. He was clearly seen wearing it during the epic duel so was this a factory oversight and is there any plan to correct/improve this figure further either through a running change or a separate release?  Finally, there is one more major version of Luke to be released wearing this particular outfit - are there plans offer one with snap-on Sith Lightning depicting one of the most pivotal scenes in the entire Star Wars saga?

ANSWER:  We do not have plans to update this Luke figure for this run.  That's an interesting suggestion for a snap-on accessory; it could make an interesting future release.  Thanks for the suggestion.




YODA'S NEWS


QUESTION:  I've noticed over the years that the screw heads on vehicles (such as the recently released shadow colored ARC 170 starfighter) are invariably on the right (or starboard, if you will) side of the vehicle, so you can't see them when the ship is facing towards the left . I'm curious...is there a reason why the screws are always on that side of the toy? Is it for aesthetic reasons (more people are right handed and would hold the ship in that hand so they wouldn't see those screw holes in play) or is just plain coincidence?

ANSWER:  The holes where the screws go in are called "screw bosses." Since vehicles may be shown in an open package or window box, designers are cognizant of hiding all of the screws on one side of the vehicle to as to present a more complete side to the consumer. It's not that th screw bosses are ugly, but they detract attention from the aesthetics that the designer is trying to present. Over time, the right side became more of the default, all things being equal on both sides of the vehicle.


QUESTION:  Will we see a Dwarf Spider Droid in the Clone Wars Animated series anytime in 2010?

ANSWER:  The Dwarf Spider Droid made an appearance in the clone Wars movie, but otherwise we are still waiting for one (or more - legions would be better!) in the animated series. Eventually we're sure they will come into play.


QUESTION:  When we visited the Hasbro Showroom this past February we had mentioned that it would be very cool if you released "Sticker Packs" or "Add On Stickers" for the The Clone Wars Clone Trooper Voice Changer Helmet so that kids and collectors could customize it to be other troopers. Has Hasbro put anymore thought into that? It would be great to see sets of Blue, Red and Green to start! Possibly even some "battle damage" stickers as well to add to it. Ideally they would be priced under $10 and maybe even a 3 pack of all the colors? It would also increase sales of the Voice Changer at retail and at HasbroToyShop! Maybe even as a SWS or HTS exclusive?

ANSWER:  We have talked about including stickers with the helmets themselves, but haven't pulled the trigger due to costs (a sticker sheet was included with the Wal-Mart exclusive 501st helmet last Fall).





Keep checking back as more sites continue to file their Q&A sessions!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:50:39 AM by Gold 5 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 01:51:31 AM »

UPDATE - One site added - JEDI NEWS
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