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  1. #1

    Hasbro Q&A over Action Fleet

    It's been over a month since Hasbro cancelled the Action Fleet line, and while we've actually been sitting on most of this interview for that whole time, we finally have the final pieces to it. So here is all 4 pages of this: http://www.sirstevesguide.com/news/?m=show&id=29598

    Please feel free to comment on this.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  2. #2
    I like how they just avoided issues with a form answer. Like the paragraph about the figures and such, they just gave a very brief answer about consideration.

    Just as predicted when the line launched and the first pics of wave 1 showed up, they would release half-baked ideas, shrug it off as they tried but it didn't catch and ignore it.

    Bah, I know they realize releasing rehashes was a mistake, but as those answers show they don't care.
    "Hokey packaging and ancient gimmicks are no match for good detail on your figure, kid."
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  3. #3
    They don't care at all. AF was never prmoted like the action figures. And Hasbro thought AF line will destroy somehow the action figures or at least will reduce the sales.
    Collecting has the permanence of herpes, it mutates but doesn't go away
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  4. #4
    Those lying hefty bags full o' poo!!!!! They claim no ships after the gunship wave were produced??????? What about sicqnus' & the other speeders we've seen?

    Their contempt for AF collectors in general, and their fan base at SSG in particular, is outrageous and inexcusable. If there's any Asian & Rhode Island chapters of the ELF, may they PLEASE read this post and PLEASE torch all Hasbro facilities*.


    JT, what would it take for me to persuade you to give me the contact information to the person(s) at Hasbro who you were in touch with for that "interview"?

    I promise I will not in any way give away that their info came from SSG.

    I want to send them the text from THIS post (with any ssg-identifying content removed).


    P L E A S E!!!!!! PLEASE give me the contact info!!!!!





    *SWAFMAN and SSG in no way whatsoever endorse arson, or violence against people or property. Any references to the ELF are intended solely to demonstrate an overwhelming, incontainable fury over Hasbro's decision-makers and interview-answerers being a bunch of rings-of-Saturn-sized sphincters.
    {{{r2dee2}}}
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    _____________________________________
    "We have enough youth. We need a fountain of SMART!"

  5. #5


    we all saw this coming ever since they announced that they were re-releasing common action fleet without any play features.

    if i look back throught the archives, i will probably find a post that indicated exactly, after which wave the line would demise due to hasbro's indifference.

    what has me baffled by the interview, is when they say that the action fleet design began in the uk, and then was shifted to the us

    i don't recall glitch mentioning anything about uk involvement in the design. da heck is that about????

    look, we all saw it coming, and hasbro delivered exactly like we thought.


    i doubt we're gonna see any new af's until 2005 when ep III comes out. and watch, it'll end up being another release of the same re-hashes we got last year to celebrate the upcoming release of the ot on dvd

    i like how they say none of the new vehicles were produced, yet they've shown us tons of photo's of these phantom toys, telling us to expect em any day

    and one more thing, if their mm expert "andy" can't see that the aftermarket interest in mm's, particularly st has been stedily going through the roof for several years now (not to mention the hard to get due to low production shipping of certain action fleet vehicles), ol' "andy" should probably find himself a new vocation, cause quite frankly, he sux at this one
    Last edited by good shot jansen; 09-22-2003 at 08:39 AM.
    0 /// /// F=MA~~~~~~~~~~~~
    what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding

  6. #6
    First, I want to commend JediTricks on an awesome and thorough interview!

    That's the way to do it! I think JT got the questions answered and his follow-ups to any vague answers clarified things for me so Hasbro got specific enough to make their answers sound coherent.

    Their answers were good enough for me. Now I'm not an AF Collector. I have the Gungan Sub, the Millennium Falcon, and the Republic Star Destroyer for background deco for my 3 3/4" scenes. Granted I don't have my heart into this as much as the rest of you.

    But what I don't understand is how you want them to produce stuff that people are not buying? (by this I have to first mean the retailers)

    What I saw from the whole article was that some repaints shelf-warmed and stagnated sales in some areas. I also understand that you feel some ships like the Solar Sailor could have been better - however, the Gunship, Jedi Fighter, Coruscant Speeders, and more all looked promising - so it wasn't a LONG TERM quality problem.

    What I think should be done is more letters should be sent to Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us' home offices (see the letter writing campaign on the home page) and encourage them to order these vehicles the next time Hasbro brings some to a Toy Fair (2005 for the movie?)

    I agree with you that I do think they should be selling, as how else can the kids be getting all the ships? Capital ships may never see production in the 3 3/4" line. Profits from 3 3/4" ships probably do NOT go up or down depending upon availability of AF ships for the simple reasons that there are inherently different offerings.

    I'm not sure what else could be done. Hasbro is right about the costs of production having to be equated with sufficient orders to hire the laborers and set up their tools and assembly areas for these specific toys rather than other ones. Crazy exclaimations of exasperation bounce off Hasbro because they do not govern the laws of economics. I doubt they don't care. There is just simply nothing they can do.

    Anyway, it was a great interview by JediTricks and I found it interesting enough inspite of not being an Action Fleet Collector, that it still prompted me to make my first post in this forum.

  7. #7
    i would love to be able to put this in to persective, so that non-galoob collectors could understand our angst.

    in 1993, lewis galoob toys began selling star wars vehicles in the micro machines scale. the detail for such small ships was amazing, far superior to any other produced star wars line when it came to vehicles.

    as a parent, the larger 3 3/4" line proposed a bit of a storage problem when it came to buying star wars toys for my children. the larger ships were not easily played with and manipulated in the small hands of child, and quite frankly, where to store em was a big problem. if you put the larger kenner (now hasbro) toys into a toy box, they were sure to come out in a broken heap, with pieces falling off, and soon the toy was no longer desired by my kids.

    however, with the micro machines, my children were able to play with them, and when done, store them within the confines of their room.

    galoob began to make metal die-cast vehicles which were larger, and even better detailed than the micro machine versions, and from there introduced a very interesting line called x-rays, which were based on the old "see thru" model airplanes which used to be displayed in travel agencies, and airline offices.

    the only problem with the micro machines, is that there was no proper way to interact the play between the ships and the fugures. r2d2 was twice the size of the x-wing he was supposed to fit into.

    galoob addressed the situation in 1995, with the introduction of the action fleet line. these ships were no bigger than 6" in length, and were sold with 2 figures that were properly scaled to the vehicles, and allowed full scale interaction between the ships and the characters. To insure that the line prospered and grew, galoob began selling battle packs. these bp's contained additional figures (between 5 and 6 characters), as well as lesser ships such as the lars family speeder, and the escape pod.

    to further enhance the line, galoob released playsets, which included more figures, as well as really fabulous play features. as a bonus, each of the playsets included battle damaged versions of ships which had been previously released.

    a new wrinkle, was added to the action fleet line called series alpha's. actual toys of the original concept vehicles, as designed by joe johnston. this line is without a doubt the most original of any star wars toy.

    the action fleet world grew, and in fact contains more ships and characters than were ever released in the 3 3/4" line. the larger ships of the hasbro line would sit on my sons shelf gathering dust, while endless battles involving the action fleet raged on.

    but what really made galoob unique in the toy game, was their web site. they had a full featured bulletin board known as the buzz board which permitted micro machine fans to talk about their favorite galoob toys. James Fong, the lead designer for galoob micro machines, posted often, ran contests, and gathered input from all the boards participants regarding what new ships should be made. the interaction between toy company, and their customers was unheard of before (or since). each new quarter, new action fleet and micro machine sets were being released, eagerly sought out and purchased. in fact, action fleet became the flagship line of galoob. they began to branch out the line into additional franchises (aliens, predator, starship troopers, etc.).

    everything was going great, if you had trouble tracking down a particular galoob toy, you could always call their 800 number, and order the toy directly from galoob. they used to post quaterly on the buzz board, what items they had in stock to purchase directly from them. not just vehicles, but also spare parts, such as laser cannons for the x-wings, just in case you broke or lost one, spare missles, etc.

    when it was announced in 98, that galoob was being bought out by hasbro, the changes were felt immediately. the newly released product was not reaching the stores (this is why the tie defender and e-wing wave command so much money in the aftermarket), nobody was able to find any new product. this problem was felt all through the galoob line. last waves of battle packs, micro machines, x-rays, die-casts, all of em, were nearly impossible to find. all of a sudden there was no galoob product to be found.

    when hasbro finally did release new action fleet vehicles under the hasbro moniker at midnight madness for ep I, the 1st thing everyone noticed was that there was now only one figure included with the ships. this may not seem like such a big deal, but the situation was felt immeidately. the naboo fighter came with only an anakin figure, which led to many people not buying more than one. who wants an army of anakins piloting a bravo one force? in fact, a naboo pilot figure wasn't even released until a year later with the very hard to find alpha series naboo ship. and to make matters worse, the pilot wouldn't even fit into the tiny cockpit of the original naboo fighter.

    these 1st 4 vehicles were the mtt, republic cruiser, sebulba's pod, and the naboo fighter. the detail was lacking when compared to the origianl galoob action fleet, and the fact that there was only one figure included, this prevented people from buying more than one as army builders. now if they had released battle packs like galoob did, with 5 or 6 characters and a lesser vehicle, that would have helped the line. but instead of battle packs, we got mini scenes, which did not contain any vehicles (with the exception of a stap and mauls speeder), but instead came with little dioramas of scenes from the movie. and instead of containing the 5 or 6 characters, contained only 2 or 3.

    and to make matters worse, this new lesser toy masquerading as action fleet, cost more than the original line.

    hasbro completely missed the boat, they over produced that 1st line (i'm sure you can still find a stray mtt or 2 still sitting on a toy shelf somewhere), tons of merchandise remained on the shelf, so when the 2nd wave was released (which actually was a good wave consisting of desirable vehicles from tpm), stores didn't line up to buy em, the only store i could find these in, was walmart. i saw em one day, and picked em up. good thing i did, cause i never saw em again.

    and with the recent re-introduction of the line, hasbro has repeated the very same sorry history that hurt the line before. they release re-hashes of previous commonly obtainable ships. this time, there's no figure included (how would the 3 3/4" crowd like it if no characters were released this year, and the only vehicle produced was an inferior x-wing, vaders tie, and falcon....not very much i'm sure), the paint job is botched, the materials used are flimsier, oh and just to complete the full hatchet job, the price for these really inferior toys (actually hasbro called em display pieces not toys)have increased once again.

    when they finally get around to releasing ships that are new, and that people want, the retailers aren't ordering em, cause they still have the 1st horrible wave sitting on their shelves. i never saw the republic gunship in stores.

    galoob was doing quite well with the action fleet line, the product was selling, with 6 to 8 new vehicles released each quarter, along with battle packs to accessorize the line. hasbro had to see something good in it, why bother to buy the company if there's no consumer interest in the product?

    the line was profitable for galoob, they participated in discussions with their consumer base. they relased ships and characters that were requested, they helped consumers to purchase toys that were hard to find,they produced new and origianl toys, not just copies of vehicles seen in the movies. galoob ran their company in a very different way than hasbro, and consumers bought and enjoyed the toy. i'm rather appalled at hasbro, after killing what was once a great line with a retooled inferior product, they blame it on us consumers, saying that there is no demand.

    hasbro has never had very much interest in the galoob line, and it shows in the lack of quality of the product that they are now no longer bringing to market............................................ ...again.
    Last edited by good shot jansen; 09-20-2003 at 09:14 PM.
    0 /// /// F=MA~~~~~~~~~~~~
    what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding

  8. #8
    Great Post Janson!

    That did explain a lot. I'd copy that exactly the way it is and mail it off to Hasbro.

    You made a clear case as to how they ran the line into the ground.


    Do you think it was done intentionally so that the 3 3/4" line was the only flagship line with vehicles that interacted with figures so that everyone would have to play with the main line?

    It doesn't make much sense because many of you probably collect BOTH lines.

    I myself got into Playskool Star Wars for exactly the same reasons you described above. They're even better for kids than Action Fleet since kids can't lose the tiny figures with Playskool.

    But Action Fleet does have some darn good detail. I bought the Falcon because it is my favorite for all-time ship and I made up the excuse that if they make 3 3/4" recovery room figures of Leia and Luke, I can make them and the droids watching the Falcon's departure of the medical frigate by using the Action Fleet ship. But I really got it because it was irresistable.

    I've seen the AT-TE and the Republic Gunship in the stores. They did a great job with some of the CLone Wars stuff.

    It's really too bad Galoob was acquired. They sound like they kicked some butt when they were independent.

  9. #9
    Hey JT

    I agree with Tycho - GSJ's post is PERFECT.

    IS there any way that you can send it to somebody who gives a c*$p @ Hasbro?

    BC3

  10. #10
    A consumer's story-

    Or why I stopped collecting Action Fleet.

    (Bare with me- we get to AF but we don't start there )

    Unlike most here, I had everything from the Star Wars 3 3/4 line and that was all I cared about from the beginning. I got into the Playmates larger Star Trek ships, which, eventually, lead me down to their smaller cousins- the MicroMachines. I started collecting the Trek ships when they were on their way out, and I was kinda' bummed because I loved the way they had all kinds of ships you'd never see in the larger Playmates line, and they complimented my big ships as well (the 1701-A MicroMachine was very close to scale with the Playmate's Galaxy Class 1701-D ship- and I LOVED that fact ) The MM Defiant worked fairly well with my Playmate's Deep Space 9, too).

    So, I saw Action Fleet for the first time and was like "Nah. Never last." Then my friend, Jason, bought Darth's TIE and the X-Wing. When I saw them out of the box and on their stands, I thought "OOo- could be wrong…we’ll see."

    It wasn't until Shadows of the Empire in 1996 that I was hooked into the Action Fleet line, and all of it was indirectly caused by a Hasbro mess-up!

    I loved Shadows- a LOT. I ate it up mercilessly- getting everything I could find (and though I am selling my collection now, I am probably not going to sell my Shadow's stuff- ever!). After getting the disappointing Outrider 3 3/4 toy from Hasbro, I was hoping that their planned Xizor's Virago would make up for it.

    It didn't, for Hasbro's planned Virago for the 3 3/4 line was cancelled. I was disappointed, and all that any of us are left with now are pictures in a book of a paper model that never happened. I watched Ebay for a few months, hoping some corporate spy or ex-employee would sell a prototype 3 3/4 Xizro's Virago, but it never happened. I was bummed.

    I wondered where I would get my Virago fix. The ERTL model looked cool, but I wasn’t into cementing and painting all that much.

    So, one day, perusing the Action Fleet out of sheer habit, there was Galoob- all over consumer demand having made a Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Action Fleet Virago, along with a Swoops Battle Pack which had a Swoop Pilot, Guri, Leebo 2D-9, Dash and Xizor himself.

    I thought to myself "BADASS!" So I bought the Action Fleet Virago, and it was everything I had wanted in the 3 3/4 line. The opening wings made it look menacing; the opening cockpit was secure. The rotating cannons into “battle mode” were just neat, the minor paint detail was just enough. Xizor’s Virago, not even one of the best Action Fleet ships in most people’s minds, convinced me that the Action Fleet line was a great product, and around for the long haul.

    Not too long after that, I saw the TIE Defender and the E-Wing and thought "That E-Wing looks like something I designed as a kid!" So I bought them, 'cause they were damned neat. Once again, I was getting Star Wars ships from Galoob that Hasbro would never make for the 3 3/4 line- mostly because these two ships were from comics and books and we all know children don’t read those! Why would they want toys of them for their action figures? It’s not like literate, intelligent 20+ year olds buy toys with the money burning a hole in their pocket!

    Whoops- sorry- “Hasbro” thinking. Anyway-

    After seeing these two new original ships, my collection snowballed until the inevitable day I had all of the Star Wars Action Fleet ships- variations and all- the Silver Logo boxed ones and the Gold Logo boxed ones- a few of the Battle Packs, too, for I opened up all my Action Fleet to display back then and the packs complemented the ships nicely. Ask anyone I used to work with- the Action Fleet ships were displayed on the rims of my cubicle, and half of the office staff at the Gateway call center I worked at knew my desk out of 300 or so . It was my own museum- and my personal homage to Galoob for making a great toy.

    Set the fast-forward machine to Episode I and 1999. I thought "COOL! MORE!" And when I saw the first ones, other than the MTT, I wasn't too disappointed. 2 figures versus one didn't really matter to me at first because I was just displaying them. I got the first wave and then waited...

    And waited...and waited...for the rest to disappear, because damn, they were there a LONG time…

    Finally, the new wave came out and I was extremely happy! I gobbled up the Sith Infiltrator and loved it, and then the Alpha’s came around and I thought that Hasbro making the prototype ship the bigger one and the movie one smaller was just a grand idea, so I got all 4 of them (took forever to get the Series Alpha Naboo Fighter, but more on that later) and hoped for more. Hec, even though I didn't play with my Action Fleet, I still got the remote control AAT and Fambaa for the repaint and display value. I was happy!

    ...Then the Episode I line officially died. "Why?" I asked myself, "They had a great thing going!" Hence began the "Consumer demand" stuff. The second wave came in and out while there were still first wave ships sitting there! Then the second wave was gone- kaput- and the Series Alpha Naboo Fighter was never seen on the shelves (got mine during the massive Episode I toy clearances that happened on a lot of dot-coms after Christmas of '99.) These, though minor things at the time, started a trend. The line started to die again because no one was buying the first ones continually clogging the shelves.

    I pondered and, like many, came to the same conclusion as to why the Action Fleet line died the first time. Let me put it succinctly here:

    -Galoob released each of their ships with at least 3 play details and 2 figures. Relatively low price! Awesome!

    - Hasbro's Episode 1 line had ships with at least 2 play details (the Pod Racers had a rolly thingy and you could adjust the seat tethers) and 1 figure. Same price as the old Galoob ships at most stores, but here and there, the prices were higher. Ok I suppose. Not cool, but ok- I mean getting less for your money is never good but the ships looked neat.

    I mean we, the collectors, weren't happy with the play details, and the scaling was getting kind of weird (esp. on the Pod Racers), but the ships were cool. The Episode 1 Series Alpha ships were some of the best ever made, IMHO. So we, the consumers, kept buying the new stuff until stores were choked with stock left from the first wave ('cause we didn't want them anymore- we had them already! How many Sebulba’s did we need?), and then the line sank. Still- I got them all and was still happy for a time...

    I decided to stop collecting somewhere between the old line and the most recent one, but, even though I was starting to “uncollect,” I didn’t sell my Action Fleet, and when I heard about the new line, I thought I might at least stick with the Star Wars Action Fleet line because they were so neat in the past, and only maybe $10 a pop now and then.

    I saw my first new Action Fleet from the this last line (Episode II) at K-Mart here in Montana, and it was the re-hashed Naboo Fighter. I was a little excited at first because I liked the new packaging. Then I took a closer look at the toy and that emotion changed- a LOT.

    The “Battle Damage” wasn’t all that great. In fact, it was laughable. Now had they “chromed” the front of the Naboo Fighter like they did with the whole body of the Naboo Royal Starship, that would have been a marked improvement on the old design and I probably would have bought the new Naboo Fighter on the spot. But no- the ship was fronted with dull silver paint…again…like the last one...so why should I buy the thing?

    Then, I found myself staring at the new stand for the ship in the box wondering where the single figure was going to fit on the base before I noticed- NO FIGURE! Now, granted, I was a little taken aback with no figure- why make a cockpit open (did it open?) when there would be no figure for it? Oh well.

    All in all, I left the toy on the shelf and found myself feeling disappointed. All that excitement for a dull repaint. A lot like McFarlane stuff all of a sudden. O_O- sorry- sidetrack- anyway-

    I soon heard of New Action Fleet designs, so I got excited and kept an eye on the line. I saw the new X-Wing, Darth’s TIE and Millennium Falcon finally appear at Wal-Mart, but they weren’t really anything to me I didn’t own already, thus I still wasn’t convinced I would get back into the Action Fleet line just then. So, I waited to see a new design before I would go back in and get the other ships.

    The first new AF I saw was the Solar Sailor, and my heart sank. It looked like ***. Hardly any detail, the sail was too small, no figure…dumb toy, in my humble opinion. Needless to say, I was bummed, thus I never did not rekindle my Action Fleet collection.

    After that, I continued to see the re-hashes everywhere. The AT-AT’s paint job with snow on it was laughable, and the Snowspeeder without pilots? Don’t get me started. Out of the new stuff, I only ever saw the AT-TE and the wannabe Star Destroyer Republic Cruiser thingy (this tell you how much Ididn't care about them? You bet!) in later releases- and while those two were neat, without a Clone Trooper or two, there seemed to be no point.

    I never saw a Republic Gunship on the shelves, let alone a Jango Fett's Slave I...hmm…Jango Fett’s Slave I…think about this for second...

    Jango Fett's Slave I. How can you release a ship named after a guy with no pilot in a small toyline? Esp. when that little figure would probably cost less than $.01 to make? How is this playable for kids? How is this cool for me, the adult collector? I wanted a little Jango for the cockpit when and if I ever found the ship on the shelves- and I never did.

    *Stares at the Hasbro employee reading this- yes- YOU!*

    Hasbro- it's the little things- both figuratively and literally- that made the Galoob Action Fleet line so great- get it? LITTLE figures. LITTLE play features. LITTLE prices! DUH! WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT? >_<!

    *Pant pant...Deep Breath*

    Anyway, it was from a lack these and other little things that I could tell the current Action Fleet line was going to die now. It came to no surprise to me because of this simple fact:

    -Hasbro's recent re-launch had ships with maybe 1 play-detail, NO figures, and a higher price. For a toyline that was made up of mostly re-hashed ships we all bought 6-7 years ago (at least, these were the only ships we could find, anyway), less detail, no figure and a higher price was unacceptable- and we, the consumers, thought so too!

    And here we are. Left knowing that 2 more Episode I Pod Racers were made- and some ex-Hasbro Employee or corporate spy made a killing off of them on Ebay. We know that there were some nifty Zam Wessell and Anakin Skywalker speeders made and ready for the Episode II stuff- but without a little Ben and Anakin, or a little Zam, would we have bought them? Maybe. Probably not. I wouldn’t have, though I think that the battle damage feature on Zam’s Speeder was ingenious.

    In the end, we're left hoping that the Death Star and Star Destroyer we have been promised for ages might finally stare back at us from the tops of our computer monitors. Maybe the concept art paint job of the A-Wing will join them, too. Alas, though rumors abound, I don't expect this to be. Especially now. And some Corporate Spy or ex-employee will make a killing on Ebay with their prototypes, too. Sad.

    So I am left with the ghosts of my Action Fleet past- I loved the ships, but even now I am selling them. Why? Two-fold- because it pains me to see how hopelessly cool they were and how they were abandoned (just like George did with his movies…), and to give some other collector a chance to marvel at a toyline that Galoob truly did right. Sure, the profit doesn't hurt, either, I'll admit...

    ...but I'll never forget the day I opened up that Virago, and was proven wrong about the Galoob Action Fleet line. The toys were a great product and a good buy for all involved. I'll never forget getting that Hasbro Series Alpha Naboo Fighter from a dot-com for $9, and how I was at least happy to find the thing- and how cool it was next to my other Episode I Series Alpha ships!

    Unfortunately, though, I will never forget seeing those poor, decrepit excuses for Action Fleet toys- the re-hashed Naboo Fighter and Count Dooku's Solar Sailor (another toy made without the less than $.01 figure it's named after)- with which Hasbro destroyed the toyline for me. I hoped maybe a new ship would rekindle that interest, but you read what happened after I saw that Solar Sailor- it became clear to me that Hasbro got Action Fleet all wrong...

    And even if they start Action Fleet again- I doubt they'll ever get it right.

    Hasbro's Action Fleet is dead- Long live Galoob!

    And that’s my $.02.

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