After an extra week delay from Toy Fair, it's Hasbro's answers to SSG questions for February 27th, 2009. 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 February 27th
SSG: Star Wars seems to be doing ok at retail, we're seeing more figure lines surviving, more $20 vehicle sales, more battle packs, and more vehicle exclusives. With this in mind, might Hasbro try pushing the $30-$40 vehicle pricepoint on retailers again? It would be a good way of getting larger vehicles such as the X-wing, B-wing, Republic Gunship, ARC-170, and even stuff like Jedi Starfighters with Hyperspace Rings into heavier rotation, and add opportunities for more new vehicles that would be considered too big to work out at the $20 pricepoint. So, any chance for the return of this pricepoint to mass retail?
Hasbro: Steve - by now you have seen the announcement at Toy Fair regarding the return of a higher price "mainline" (non-exclusive) segment. The intent is to use this higher price to introduce new vehicles such as the new Clone Wars Y-Wing as well as other vehicles down the line, either from Clone Wars or other sources. As far as other vehicles go, we will still keep them in regular rotation in the line for exclusives. One thing is for certain; Star Wars vehicles have never been more popular in the modern Star Wars line. As far as pricing - the days of larger vehicles like we are talking about being under-$40 are unfortunately well behind us (not to mention that we do not control retail pricing). We do promise to put as much as we can into each one, and bring you a commitment to keep vehicles an important cornerstone of the line.
SSG: In the Titanium Series line, the prequel-era fleets have a few vehicles that would really flesh them out. The Acclamator-class (aka the Republic Assault Ship) and the Munificent-class Frigate (aka the Banking Clan Frigate) appear notably in AOTC, ROTS, The Clone Wars series, and a number of popular video games like Battlefront II and Republic Commando. What are the chances of seeing those 2 prequel-era capital ships produced as Titanium Series vehicles?
Hasbro: There are no plans for those vehicles in the 2009 Titanium plan.
SSG: Ever since the VOTC Stormtrooper back in 2004, you've sculpted Stormtrooper figures' hands to 2-handed hold the blaster with its left hand holding the grip and the right hand holding the barrel. The wrists and fingers are angled very specifically for this, the left hand can't hold the barrel without bending it severely. While there is an unusually high number of shots with left-handed stormtroopers in the OT and its related still photography, the right-handed pose is still more common. So why choose, and stick with, the left-handed design for the Stormtrooper figures? Any possibility of either getting new hands with a more universal pose, or even putting ball-hinged wrists on this ubiquitous Imperial warrior?
Hasbro: We have used hinged wrists on a few TCW clone figures but due to escalating production costs we must continually evaluate such articulation. As we strive to constantly improve our figures, we will look at refining the hands on new versions of troopers in the future.
And our questions at CollectionStation.com:
- With the Droid Commando now confirmed as getting a figure from Hasbro, we were wondering, what types of accessories might it be coming with? In their premiere episode, the Droid Commandos carried multiple accessories - blaster, stun baton, fusion cutter, even a vibrosword for the leader - dare we hope to see all, even the leader with the sword? What about getting a Droid Commando in clone trooper disguise, also seen in that episode?
- The Comic Packs are great since the addition of the comic books give these characters much-needed context, as the average kid and collector who mainly know the movies will likely not know these characters without seeing them in some sort of action. That said, there are still several other expanded universe products that have no context other than the small bio on their packaging. Would it be possible for comic books to also be included in EU multi-figure sets or vehicles as well? For instance, fans of Crimson Empire are liking the look of the upcoming Crucible set, while those who are unfamiliar with the work think it looks more like a cross between Star Wars and Power Rangers.
- As fans of Hasbro's lines, we've seen this for years: official Hasbro images for retailers and on packaging that employ a dark look as if photoshopped to enhance shadows, surfaces and edges. This gives the overall look of the toy increased realism, but often the production deco of the toy can't really live up to that. While there is a fine-print proviso on the packaging about such things, it's still a little unusual. Why does Hasbro employ this tactic so often with their official photography, and why not simply give each toy a subtle, simple paint wash to actually bring those lines out and give them the realistic look which the packaging shows could be possible?