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« on: March 18, 2010, 03:33:08 AM »

HASBRO STAR WARS Q&A HEADLINES - WEEK OF MARCH 17th, 2010


Check out the news you can use from the latest Hasbro Q&A session!  We've distilled down the Q&A process so that you can get right to the heart of the matter.  There's a lot of news from this particular session, so read carefully!




HEADLINE - A NEW HOPE FIGURES TO BE SPACED OUT ACROSS 2011 BASIC FIGURE WAVES

JEDI TEMPLE WAR ROOM


QUESTION:  Indications from recent Q&A sessions show that The Vintage Collection will feature one wave representing each movie. And after that we've been told to expect unthemed waves. Additionally, news out of Toy Fair indicates that we should see four waves of the Vintage Collection in 2010 and another two
 movie themed waves in 2011. Can we expect those A NEW HOPE & THE  PHANTOM MENACE waves in the Spring of 2011? And can you give us an  approximation of when the unthemed waves may begin to appear?  There has been a pattern of a spring lull the past couple of years that's been making some collectors anxious.

ANSWER:   The EpI will be an intact wave in Spring 2011, but the EpIV wave has been distributed across the rest of the year. Because the Vintage packaging won't change going from Spring 2011 into Fall, there will no slowdown or interruption in the waves so if everything runs as planned, new Spring waves will be out every 6 weeks or so.


GOLD 5:  Hasbro has mentioned a number of A NEW HOPE characters that are slated for release as Vintage Collection basic figures.  Contrary to prior statements, it turns out that Episode IV figures will not be part of an ANH wave, but spread across unthemed waves.  Additionally, since the Vintage Collection is slated to run for at least 2 years without a packaging change there will be no Spring 2011 lull.





HEADLINE - EMPIRE DECO AT-ST EXCLUSIVE IN THE WORKS WITH NEW AT-ST DRIVER

JEDI TEMPLE WAR ROOM


QUESTION:  The AT-ST seems to have been extremely well received by the collecting community as a whole. It was an amazing advance from the vintage vehicle. This version seems to have been specifically geared towards the Battle of Endor in RETURN OF THE JEDI.  But with this being the 30th anniversary of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (the first place we ever saw the AT-ST), is it possible that we could see the AT-ST reintroduced in 2010 with Hoth deco? And might this be the venue by which we see the new AT-ST Driver that was mentioned back in a September, 2009 Q&A session?

ANSWER:   We're glad you appreciate the AT-ST. We agree - it sailed way past our expectations to be one of our favorite pieces of 2009. There were a lot of them actually, but that one was fantastic. Now, your question....yes, to both parts. The plan was is bring the vehicle out as an exclusive late in the year and details will likely be announced at Comic Con or CV. The exclusive line still has a bit of an unsettled nature to it this year, so we can't say with 100% certainty that it is definitely coming. Stay tuned for more info later in the year.


GOLD 5:  An AT-ST in EMPIRE deco seems like a very distinct possibility for late 2010 as an exclusive.  Hasbro does not seem prepared to announce a retail partner at this time.  And it also seems clear that the new AT-ST Driver may be packaged with this exclusive.





HEADLINE - FIRST LOOK AT VINTAGE COLLECTION GENERAL GRIEVOUS

JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES


QUESTION:  The Vintage Collection was no doubt one of the highlights of the 2010 Toy Fair. And the Empire Strikes Back wave pays great homage to the 30th Anniversary of Empire. But we were also enthused to hear about seeing prequel era characters on the classic black and silver cardback for the first time. Can we please get a look at some of those Revenge Of The Sith wave offerings that were teased at Toy Fair but were sadly absent? And is it possible to get the figure numbering for those first couple of Vintage Collection waves?

ANSWER:   Attached is one image from an upcoming figure – an update to General Grievous. The rest of the figures will be released at Comic Con.



GOLD 5:  Hasbro announced this General Grievous at Toy Fair last month.  And Hasbro obliges us now with the first look at a Prequel character that will appear on the classic black & silver packaging.  This version of Grievous is a new take on 2008's BD25 Grievous, now with a softgoods cloak (featuring lightsaber hilt pockets), a blaster, lightsaber hilt and 4 lightsabers.






HEADLINE - SCANNING CREW & UTAI RUNNING CHANGES STILL IN LIMBO

JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES


QUESTION:  There still seem to be some lingering questions about some running change figures that were hinted at and seen in 2009. Many are excited to see the Hoth Rebel Trooper coming in the mysterious exclusive Hoth battle pack. But what about the running changes of the Imperial Scanning Trooper or Utai? Is it possible that either of these will see the light of day within the next year?

ANSWER:   Neither of these will be coming to the shelves in 2010. Their fate for 2011 is also uncertain. The Imperial Scanning Trooper will not work on a Vintage card because of the accessory, so that relegates him to the exclusive realm and makes things a little tougher. He's a possibility for a 2011 Battle Pack, though, and that's what we'll concentrate on.


GOLD 5:  Not good news regarding a pair of running change figures that were first seen at 2009's San Diego Comic Con.  It seems clear that Hasbro may attempt to get the Scanning Crew into an exclusive battle pack for 2011.  But the basic figure line seems to be out of the question since the scanning accessory is too large to fit in a Vintage Collection figure blister.





HEADLINE - NEW ASTROMECH DESIGN PENDING

ASM ZINE


QUESTION:  A while back, Hasbro said they were making an all-new Astromech mold to replace the G9/VOTC/Droid Factory versions, and they claimed the new mold would be even better. Can you give us any clues as to just what you could possibly do to improve on these versions?

ANSWER:   The R4-G9 body is a good body, but we have really taken a close look at the details and are pushing to make the new one the best version ever. For example, the movie versions of the astromechs do not have recessed areas on the dome. The panels are actually flush with the head and are outlined with scribe line details. The panels on the body can also be improved. We are also adding some other fun play into the droid...stay tuned!


GOLD 5:  Hasbro has indicated in a number of venues that a new astromech design may be incoming.  Prior statements have mentioned a possible new lightsaber launching R2-D2.  Keep checking back for more on this story.





HEADLINE - LUKE SKYWALKER FORCE FX SABER DUE IN 2011

ASM ZINE


QUESTION:  In our January Q&A, Hasbro told us to expect an announcement about the Force FX lightsaber line at Toy Fair, and they delivered! Removable blades are something that we have been wanting for a long time and are ecstatic that they're coming. In your presentation, you showed Darth Vader, Anakin, and Obi-Wan's lightsabers. But where's the lightsaber of everybody's favorite farmboy, Luke? Is there a chance we could get his Return of the Jedi lightsaber with new removable blade? Right now it appears that the line is going to be filled with red and blue -- green would complement this line quite nicely, we think.

ANSWER:   We agree, and we can let you know that Luke will be coming in 2011 along with a few more great sabers. Stay tuned!


GOLD 5:  Hasbro confirms with this response that a Luke Skywalker Force FX saber with removable blade will be due out in 2011.  And the way the question and answer were phrased, it seems likely that this might be Luke's green ROTJ lightsaber.





HEADLINE - NEW AURRA SING SLATED FOR 2011

ECHO BASE FORUMS


QUESTION:  The upcoming Aurra Sing in the Clone Wars line looks amazing! When can collectors expect to see a brand new Aurra Sing figure in the realistic format?

ANSWER:   If the schedule holds, there will be a new basic carded Aurra Sing in 2011.


GOLD 5:  Hasbro confirms a new Aurra Sing for 2011's Vintage Collection basic figure lineup.  Will it be in the Episode I wave at the beginning of 2011?  That remains to be seen.  We wait with bated breath for more news.





HEADLINE - WEEQUAY SKIFF MASTER ON TAP FOR 2011

GALACTIC HUNTER


QUESTION:  Would it be safe to surmise/guess/wish/hope that — with Jabba The Hutt, Wooof, and maybe even a new Oola on the way — a Return of the Jedi Weequay will be in the mix? Which dry-skinned thug gets priority, the "classic" Weequay (Queequeg) or the Weequay wearing a tan quilt over his torso? (One is LONG overdue for an update, and the other hasn't been made yet. It's hard to believe, but there are characters that haven't been made yet.)

ANSWER:   We only had the first wave of Vintage at Toy Fair; that was all we needed to wet the whistle and get the juices flowing for the August release! Seriously, we will be showing the rest of Fall, with a taste of Spring 2011 at Comic Con and Celebration V, so stay tuned. As for which Weequay to do next, the Weequay Skiff Master will be the first one up, out approximately the middle of 2011.


GOLD 5:  The Weequay Skiff Master has been on a number of collector wishlists going back some time.  And this particular skiff guard ranked 11th in ToyFare's 2009 Fan Choice Figure Poll.  Hasbro seems to be taking a cue from the poll as they did with the prior Fan Choice Figure Poll when it comes to character selection.  How many more Fan Choice Figure Poll contestants are destined to be made into figures?  Keep checking back for more on this particular topic.





HEADLINE - SENATE DUEL DARTH SIDIOUS CONFIRMED

HAN'S HIDEOUT


QUESTION:  You know us collectors - we're never satisfied. We get a whole pile of goodies lavished on us at Toy Fair and most already can't help but wonder what's next? We know you want to keep things under wraps until SDCC, but can you at least give us the mix you're expecting for 2010 Vintage Wave 2 - how many "new" figures and how many repacks will we see in the second Vintage Collection wave?

ANSWER:   EpIII is the theme for Wave 2 of Vintage, with eight figures will be brought in (seven from EpIII and one from EpIV). Of the seven, four will be upgrades of previously released characters (including an all new Senate Duel Darth Sidious) and the others are "greatest hits" style figures.


GOLD 5:  Hasbro confirms the much sought after Senate Duel Darth Sidious in this response to Han's Hideout.  Also confirmed in this response are the following:
-Eight figures in the wave
-Seven from REVENGE OF THE SITH
-One from A NEW HOPE
-Four figures will be upgrades of previous releases
-Four will be Greatest Hits release.

Let the speculation commence!




HEADLINE - CLONE WARS WAVE 3 REVEALED...SORT OF

HAN'S HIDEOUT


QUESTION:  In the Toy Fair showroom, we asked about the nifty Mace Windu that was on display with the Clone Wars basic figures (the one with the Mando Helmet accessory). No one seemed sure to which wave he and the repainted ARF trooper (the one with the camo deco) belonged. Can you confirm for us if the new Mace and ARF Trooper repaint are in Fall 2010 Clone Wars Wave 1 or did they get bumped to Wave 2 as was suspected during the Toy Fair collector event? Since they weren't shown in the slide presentation, we're a little confused at where they go in the line.

ANSWER:   Neither. Both figures are actually in Wave 3. The Clone Wars waves for Fall are spaced about 1 month apart if all goes as planned.


GOLD 5:  All of these figures were something of a curiosity to those in attendance at Hasbro's Star Wars booth during Toy Fair.  You can check out images of the figures in question HERE.  Hasbro indicates that these figures will be part of the third wave of Clone Wars figures from the line relaunch.  That should have them released around September/October 2010.





HEADLINE - VADER WITH THREE PIECE HELMET REVEALED

JEDI INSIDER


QUESTION:  We wanted to follow up about two of the Vintage figures shown at Toy Fair earlier this month. First, you mentioned the new version of the Vader figure would have the ability to take the figure’s helmet off in 3 different parts? Can you provide us with images demonstrating this feature since we were not able to see the figure without the helmet at Toy Fair? Along those same lines, you confirmed that the new Hoth Leia would have a removable vest so she could appear as she did in ESB before she changed to the Bespin Gown and then after. Can you provide us with a look of the figure without her vest?

ANSWER:   Attached is an image of Vader with the three-piece helmet. Unfortunately, we don't have a picture of Leia without her vest available at this time.

DARTH VADER WITH 3-PIECE HELMET REMOVED

DARTH VADER WITH 3-PIECE HELMET ON

GOLD 5:  Hasbro attempted to deliver a Darth Vader with three piece helmet back in 2008 with the Legacy Collection's BD08 Darth Vader, but the factory didn't get the removable collar right.  This release includes that feature (as seen in the Jedi Insider images above).





HEADLINE - FUTURE BATTLE DROIDS TO INCLUDE FIGURE STANDS

JEDIDEFENDER


QUESTION:  The new Battle Droid sculpt used in the Target Arena Showdown 2-packs was Great! But, (you knew there was a but coming, right?) unless you have a pile of those nifty new 2-peg stands, they are pretty droopy from the same soft plastic disease that other Battle Droids have. Is there any way to engineer future re-uses so they are a bit stiffer maybe? And maybe get that left hand so it can cup a blaster rifle better? (you are planning to re-use it, right? A Legends release would be great for army building).

ANSWER:   We can't make them with stiffer plastic, so the only solution is to widen their legs (similar to the Security Battle Droids which seem to work fine). We don't want to necessarily retool them for thicker legs as personally we like the narrower legs for screen accuracy. The 2-peg stands work like a charm to fix the problem. We do have plans to reuse that figure again; we'll look into making sure that they are only released with a stand.


GOLD 5:  Hasbro seems to have been listening to collector complaints about the ability of Battle Droids to stand on their own.  According to this response future Battle Droid releases will also include a figure stand.  This might be an indication that the Battle Droid is slated for the Saga Legends line, as all figures in that line come with figure stands.





HEADLINE - VINTAGE COLLECTION FOCUS WILL BE CORE CHARACTERS

REBELSCUM


QUESTION:  Obviously we love the return of The Vintage Collection, and we're pretty excited about what we've seen in the line-up from Toy Fair. That said, there seems to be a disturbing trend (for some of us) that we'd like to give you an opportunity to dispel.

So far, it appears that TVC will be nothing but upgrades on existing characters, and that there will be very little "all-new" figures. This seems contrary to an answer from a Q&A session last year where you indicated that you'd be going more and more after the all new items, and less after the re-hashed subjects. But so far, that seems to not be the direction that you're going.

Looking at the line-up so far....out of the 11 figures shown for the TESB wave coming in August, only Dak feels "a little bit" new, the other ten are all straight updates on existing subjects (yet even Dak is an update from the POTJ Snowspeeder figure).

When we look forward on the line, we already know a number of the other figures planned:

ROTJ: Admiral Ackbar, Gammorean Guard, Wooof (Vintage Klaatu), Wicket, AT-ST Driver, R2-D2 w/ Pop-up Lightsaber,
AOTC: Zam Wessell, Count Dooku
ROTS: Anakin Skywalker, General Grevious, Clone Trooper (care to provide specifics?)
ANH: Dr. Evazan, Ponda Baba, Bom Vimdin (perhaps the one all-new subject we know of so far)
TPM: Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn

So based on that list, it looks like we have almost the entire line-up coming that will be updates. Granted, some of them are SORELY needed updates (Ponda Baba and the good Doctor, for example), but we can't help but wonder where the "all-new" stuff will be. Obviously it makes sense to take advantage of the vintage packaging and release main characters on that packaging style, but at the same time, we need to see some "all-new" stuff to help keep the line fresh. Will there be any "all-new" figures in 2010, and then once we get through the six movie waves by early 2011, will we see more "all-new" subjects figure into the line-up once the mixed waves start in 2011?


ANSWER:   The strategy for Vintage is to ensure that we have ample representation of core characters, whether by repack or resculpt (when we feel there are improvements that can be made in previous versions).

For 2010, there are few new (and almost by definition, more obscure characters) as we are making sure that we have lots of great "core" characters out in the early waves of the line. This also means upgrades or redos to characters who have been previously released, even if a decade or more ago.

For entirely new characters, in 2011 you probably won't see that many more all-new characters as a percentage of the whole than you did in any previous line (the last two years of Legacy, for example). While these characters are in there - such as Cantina denizens, Jabba's crew, the occasional new Padmé or Podracer, etc - we need to make sure in absolute number terms these characters don't hang us up by either eating up our tooling budget or forcing us to over-ship them to nail our forecasts.

Either one of these would be bad news for the line, so we continue to make sure that our hero quotient is solid first, before we tackle the more obscure guys.


GOLD 5:  That was certainly one of the more lengthy questions in the history of the Q&A Roundup & Headline Report.  But the essence of what came from this question is about FOCUS.  Hasbro will be focusing the character selection for the Vintage Collection on core characters.  This is already apparent in the figures that were seen at Toy Fair, and it's equally evident from some of the other characters that have been officially announced for later waves.  Obscure characters may have to take a back seat for a while as Hasbro attempts to regain some of the traction in the action figure market that was lost to the economic troubles of 2008/09.





HEADLINE - WEDGE ANTILLES FINALLY A MAINLINE BASIC FIGURE RELEASE

REBELSCUM


QUESTION:  As for the 10 "Greatest Hits" figure repacks in 2010...we've already seen Boba Fett & 4-LOM, and you also mentioned Zuckuss, which it's assumed will fall into this category. While we naturally want to know the rest of the GH figures in this repack series, the most important question is this....can we please get a Wedge Antilles in this series on a single card? Wedge needs to have some respect, and putting him out on a Vintage-style card would rock! If you want to add some "newness" to him, a kit-bash of the Luke X-Wing body with the Wedge Comic Packs head would be a great "new" figure. Please?

ANSWER:   This Fall, you will at long last see a basic figure of Wedge on a Vintage card.


GOLD 5:  Wedge Antilles is no doubt one of the great fan favorites of the OT.  But oddly enough, while there have been a number of Wedge Antilles figures released over the years, none have ever been released as mainline, single basic carded figures.  Hasbro seems poised to right this wrong, and will release Wedge as part of the Vintage Collection's basic figure line in the fall of 2010.  Specific details are still TBD.




HEADLINE - TRU GETTING LIMITED NUMBERS OF EU WAVE

SANDTROOPERS


QUESTION:  It's pretty much a fact that the last wave in any series before a cardback change usually proves to be the most difficult to find. Now, for the upcoming last wave of The Legacy Collection before Vintage cardbacks start, you've made it doubly hard to find by making it an exclusive wave. How can you hope that TRU orders enough of this wave to satisfy all those that want to purchase it?

ANSWER:  TRU will not have enough quantity to satisfy all those who want to purchase the wave - that's why the Internet retailers will have the balance of the wave.  We actually instructed the factories to build the wave before the holidays, so we were committed to the quantity we forecast.  Softer than expected sales of the Legacy have led us to a situation where we needed to make the wave exclusive to ensure that it got distribution to brick & mortar stores at all.

GOLD 5:  WHOA!

Hasbro's response here is very telling.  They state in no uncertain terms that while the Expanded Universe wave will be exclusive to Toys R Us stores, they do not expect the supply at TRU to satisfy the collector base.  The EU wave will also be available through online retail, so if collectors have doubts about being able to get this wave at Toys R Us, they may want to get their online pre-orders in soon.





HEADLINE - PONDA BABA OR WALRUSMAN

SIR STEVE'S GUIDE


QUESTION:  It's awesome that we're getting an update of Ponda Baba in 2011, but this does bring up two burning questions. Will he be sold under the name "Walrusman" on the card just like in the vintage days, or will that be updated to the modern "Ponda Baba"? Also, since the character is seen in the film with flipper-hands but every modern version of the figure has been sculpted with the more human, furry hands (as shown amputated by Obi-Wan), are we finally going to get a screen-accurate "flipper-hand" version of Ponda Baba? If not, would you consider packing him with interchangeable hands so collectors can choose which version they want to display?

ANSWER:  We haven't gotten to the stage where we have drawn these up yet, so no decision has been made. That is a very interesting suggestion you make and a good way to solve an interesting problem. We'll make sure the design team takes a good look at it. Thanks. As for the name on the package, we'd love to see Walrusman ourselves, if not in the pill then as a secondary name.


GOLD 5:  This is an interesting discussion for purist fans of the Kenner vintage line who would like to see every original release faithfully reproduced in the modern line.  And it begs some questions about what the ultimate design for this cantina denizen will be.

However, it's curious that some of these details have yet to be nailed down.  Hasbro has stated in the past that it can take approximately 18 months for a figure to go from the drawing board to the retail pegs.  Previous Hasbro statements in this February 2010 session with Dewback Patrol indicated that Ponda Baba was indeed on the way in 2011.  But with an on-shelf target of Fall '11 it seems that things are still up in the air.







Keep checking back for more Q&A Headlines as sites continue to post their sessions with Hasbro!

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