Bask in the searing heat of summer answers with Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for July 6th, 2007.Thanks again to Hasbro for the answers, to all the folks who sent in questions and especially those who voted on them.
Hasbro Q&A for the week of July 6thQ: Undersized heads are becoming more and more common with the 3¾-inch figures. For instance, the Vintage-style Biker Scout and Han Endor figures both have heads that are scaled just too small in proportion to their bodies. And it's not just limited to Star Wars, some of the figures in the upcoming GI Joe 25th Anniversary line seem to be suffering pinheaditis as well. What causes this issue? Is this a conscious design choice, and if so, why?
A: Since there is no one standard scultping "buck" that we use, each figure is created independent of the other. Variation is possible right from the outset and over the course of the hundreds of figures we have done, there is an acceptible range of both head sizes and overall figure proportions that we try and hit. In the natural course of scultping, it is more often easier to make adjustements and tweaks by taking away material, rather than adding more on, so the tendency, if all figures started equal but some needed a little more work, is to have some end up a little smaller than others. Sometimes we do plan future uses for heads (such as the possibility of fitting into helmets if there is a chance for it, like the Hoth Han).
Q: Many collectors would like to see modern-day updates of the original Kenner figures from the '70s and '80s. Hasbro has made great progress in redoing those figures and, by any count, there are not many left needing updates. However, collectors don't always agree which Kenner figures are left to be done, nor what counts as a remake of an original figure - for example, Kenner did 2 separate Klaatu and Bespin Security Guard figures, but only 1 of each is currently represented in the modern line; or the Imperial Dignitary where we got a different dignitary character altogether in the modern line. We understand that Hasbro's stance on the remake issue is that, while it is not a stated specific goal of the line, it will likely happen in the line organically over time. That said, what classic Kenner figures does Hasbro consider have not been redone in the modern line yet?
A: The obvious ones would be the dignitary (Sate Pestage-like character) and some of the Ewoks, as well as the ones you cite like the black Bespin guard and Klaatu ceremonial dress figure. As it happens, we have been looking at these because we know the fan demand is there (especially for some of the Return of the Jedi figures) and because they would be interesting to see re-done. It may be a couple of years before we get to most or all of these, but we are pretty confident they will find their way into the line either in basic figures, Vintage, or perhaps another avenue.
Q: Why is there a slowdown for Titanium Series 3" vehicles? There's only a handful of new vehicles from Spring till the end of the year, and based on what you told us in the last round, only 2 more waves for the entire second half of the year. The line still has a lot of great new ships to do, and that's not even including entries from Battlestar Galactica.
A: We hear you. Quite frankly, the ramp-up for other Titanium lines (figures especially) caused us to divert some of our resources and tooling dollars to these other lines, but now that the Titanium Series picture is more clear, we are back and in full development of the next year of Titanium 3" vehicles, and the future is as bright as the past has been for the vehicles we have coming. Hang in there, using this Fall as a time to fill in holes as we re-release some vehicles that have been scarce (both Star Wars and Galactica), and get ready for a great 2008.
And the questions at ActionFigs.com:
- - Two awesome sets released recently were the Death Star Conference set and the Rebel Commando set, and both had 7 figures. ROTJ offers another potential cool set like this, the Ewok roast scene with perhaps Chewie, Han and Luke (on spits), R2-D2 (tied up), Leia, Chief Chirpa, a Logray resculpt, and a mother Ewok with Wokling would be a wonderful way to get several figures that may not be as feasible if individually carded. Similarly, from AOTC, Shmi's funeral scene with Cliegg & Owen Lars, Beru Whitesun, Anakin, Padme, gray C-3PO, and R2-D2. Any chance of getting more sets like the Rebel Commando and Death Star Conference sets, as well as these new ideas?
- - On the upcoming A-wing Pilot figure, he is packed with the incorrect helmet worn by Y-wing Pilots in Return of the Jedi. This error was also made on the Arvel Crynyd figure included in the '98 Rebel Pilots cinema scene, and that figure was repainted and repacked with the green A-wing a few years later. Is it possible for the new figure's helmet to be changed to the proper one (as seen, for instance, on the vintage figure), or if not, why is the error continually being made?
- - Recently in Q&A you said that figures in Battle Packs can be sold cheaper in large part due to savings made on packaging multiple figures together and due to the tooling for most Battle Pack figures already existing. Many collectors, both adults and kids alike, take their figures out of the packaging to jump immediately into play and display patterns, sending the packaging into the garbage chute. In the past, we've seen troop builders and mail-away figures come in simple white cardboard boxes, which have logically cut down on your costs. While that would not work for mass-retail, what about setting aside figures for online sales that would be packaged in simple baggies and cardboard boxes, without the printing and pack-in complications of the mass-retail figures to offer them at lower prices? Please consider this for both individual figures where they could be sold individually or in a set with a few other figures from that wave, and army-builders where the tooling already exists and those costs can be exploited in greater numbers.