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  1. #1

    SSG's 2013 Year in Review

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    OPENING REMARKS

    I think 2013 can be charitably described as a transitional period for Star Wars. As new and exciting projects come to fruition behind the scenes at Lucasfilm and Disney, just as many had to come to an end, lending the year a bittersweet feeling. We lost The Clone Wars, but we’re gaining Star Wars Rebels. We lost Star Wars 1313, but we’re gaining Star Wars Battlefront. We lost Attack of the Clones 3D and Revenge of the Sith 3D, but we’re gaining at least five new movies. More than any year in recent memory, 2013 was a significant test of patience.

    On the Hasbro collecting front, things weren’t any better. The awful distribution, poor character selection, and head-scratching decisions that have plagued the line since at least 2011 weren’t improved upon this year whatsoever - in fact, they were only compounded by newer problems. Hasbro hoped to reengage the collector market with the 6” Black Series collection, but that line proved to be far from immune to the same issues.

    LUCASFILM, EPISODE VII, AND LUCASARTS
    This time last year, the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney raised a lot of questions. A year later…we still don’t have many answers. We know the major crew members for Episode VII, including JJ Abrams as director, John Williams as composer, and Ben Burtt as sound designer. We know it will be released on December 18, 2015, and that R2-D2 is the first and only confirmed character. And…that’s about it. The news has moved as slowly as a drunken Hutt, and even truths we thought we knew (Michael Arndt is writing!) weren’t exactly set in stone (just kidding it’s Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan!). With shooting scheduled for Pinewood Studios sometime in Spring, we’ll be getting a deluge of production updates in just a short amount of time, and the rumormongering will only get more intense.

    As the company moved under the Disney umbrella, some divisions faced significant changes - none more than LucasArts. With its last big hit (The Force Unleashed) five years in the rearview mirror and its apparent next big hit (Star Wars 1313) nowhere near completion, it isn’t like the video game division was operating at peak efficiency. Still, its restructuring as solely a development house came as a surprise to longtime video game fans. But it certainly didn’t mean the end to all Star Wars video games, with fun apps like Angry Birds Star Wars II and Tiny Death Star coming out and both Attack Squadrons and a Battlefront reboot in the works for the near future - the latter under the announced agreement with EA games for future Star Wars titles.

    At the dawn of the new year, we've found out that 2013 was actually Dark Horse's penultimate year with the Star Wars license before it returns to Disney's Marvel in 2015. I'm not a big comics reader, but the most-publicized releases were Star Wars and, uh, The Star Wars. The former, an apparent soft reboot of the era between Episodes IV and V; the latter, an adaptation of George Lucas' first-draft screenplay. Both Dark Horse and Del Rey have been dealing mostly with the time periods set during the films lately as Lucasfilm calibrates the story for the new wave of entertainment (along with what it means to be canon).

    LUCASFILM ANIMATION
    The Clone Wars kicked off the year with its 100th episode, fulfilling George Lucas’ long-stated goal for the series. Furthering the exploits of Colonel Gascon and D-squad, the installment dealt with a lost Republic Commando and, er, a burger restaurant - thankfully the out-of-place cartoonish antics concluded the following week. The next two arcs exceeded the show’s usual high standards for visual storytelling and shocked longtime viewers with the deaths of several high-profile characters. Darth Maul’s unexpected reign as ruler of Mandalore met its abrupt end at the lightning-charged hands of Darth Sidious, who claimed to have other uses for his unruly former apprentice. Even more shocking was Ahsoka Tano choosing a path apart from the Jedi Order following a fundamental shaking of her beliefs. Her final descent down the Temple steps provided a nice coda to the season, and as it turned out, the series as a whole – well, at least its time on Cartoon Network. As we found out, production continued on the series until October (even after massive layoffs to the production staff) to wrap up a handful of episodes that were already nearly completed. Dave Filoni promised that the bonus content would hit in early 2014, consisting of at least two arcs; from the sound of it, we’re in for at least half another season, as well as a limited Dark Horse comic series adapting what would have been Darth Maul's final story arc. We still don’t know much at all, but we know that the bonus content will somehow deal with Order 66, an important mission for Yoda, and at long last, the mystery of Sifo-Dyas.

    The cancellation of The Clone Wars was coupled with news of the postponement of Star Wars Detours, the comedy series that was first previewed at 2012’s Celebration VI. It didn’t seem that too many fans were waiting for the show with bated breath, but Seth Green noted that the series is still planned for release…eventually.

    Instead, Lucasfilm Animation’s efforts are turning towards Star Wars Rebels, focusing on the planet Lothal as it adjusts to Imperial rule around five years before A New Hope. Dave Filoni will be executive producing along with Simon Kinberg, who currently has his fingers in several Star Wars pies, and Greg Weisman, a television animation giant. Again, we don’t know much, but we know it will involve the crew of a ship called the Ghost, a Jedi-hunting Utapaun Inquisitor, and lots of references to Ralph McQuarrie and classic Kenner toys.

    So with one series winding down, another just ramping up, and a third somewhere in limbo (oh yeah, and some Lego specials I didn’t watch), 2013 didn’t have a ton to offer in the ways of Star Wars animation. But with The Clone Wars bonus content in the first half of the year and Star Wars Rebels in the second, 2014 is already looking much brighter for Star Wars on TV.

    THE STATE OF HASBRO
    Lucasfilm wasn’t the only one making big changes to already-announced plans. Hasbro’s relaunch of Legacy Collection’s Droid Factory - just about the only thing collectors would have been happy with replacing The Vintage Collection - ended before it began due to budgetary issues, with the figures reassigned to The Black Series or exclusives. The Vintage Collection “greatest hits” repacks were nowhere to be seen, and any backlog seemed to consist of more Episode I figures. After the final wave of The Vintage Collection was sold exclusively online in late 2012, the final waves of The Clone Wars and Movie Heroes were sold everywhere but the United States. The Class I vehicles were laid to rest after one wave in the Spring, leaving the simplified Class II ships to pull up the slack (spoiler alert: they couldn’t).

    The year then continued the pattern of holding back most of its releases until Fall, but unless you were a huge Angry Birds fan, it was kind of a wash. New lines are always plagued by over-ordering and relatively uninteresting choices for wave 1, but at least we typically could have expected Hasbro to glue the bubbles to the cards properly. While I applaud their continued efforts to be more environmentally conscious - this year’s plastic packaging has the universal recycling symbol for the first time ever - it can’t be coupled with figures falling off the cards in the store, or the hideous tape, staples, and shrink wrap that many stores had to resort to. And as if distribution and case assortments weren’t bad enough on their own, the stores weren’t helping matters: Target listed The Black Series under the same DPCI as The Vintage Collection, so you just had to pray your store sold out of Naboo Royal Guards and Qui-Gons; depressingly, many Walmarts chose not to carry anything but role-play lightsabers, and didn't offer any exclusives whatsoever. Toys R Us and, surprisingly, Kmart turned out to be collectors' best hopes at retail thanks to their actually stocking product and offering interesting exclusives. Heck, even Barnes & Noble entered the fray with its limited selection of 6" figures. Online, Amazon stepped up in a big way, offering exclusives and basic figures and continually slashing prices, though early on it was a crapshoot as to whether your boxes would arrive mangled; HasbroToyShop finally came through by keeping individual figures well stocked and offering multiple holiday sales. If Target and Walmart can't get their stuff together, at least there are numerous other options now.

    BEST 3 3/4" FIGURE OF THE YEAR
    The Black Series probably isn’t going to go down as anyone’s favorite 3 3/4” line, but its first three waves have nevertheless offered a handful of amazing figures. The highlight of the first bunch is undoubtedly Padmé Amidala, a long-awaited and much-needed update; her mismatched elbow joint is unfortunate but forgivable. Pablo-Jill is a hulking, stupendously articulated version of the Ongree Jedi Master that turned out cooler than he had any right to be. TC-70, sold as the build-a-droid in the Amazon multipack, is the most interesting-looking protocol droid figure so far, way more accurate than her 2009 animated release. And while I don’t yet have Darth Plagueis, every other figure in wave three is a knockout. For some reason, the figure that struck a chord with me this year was Clone Commander Neyo. He builds on the 2011 Vintage Collection Clone Trooper - one of my all-time favorite sculpts - by adding gear, his unique helmet, and a new portrait based on The Clone Wars concept art. Sure, the grimy wash could be more even (especially on the belt), but Neyo’s sheer cool factor makes it easy to overlook. We got too many clones in too short a time this year, but if they were all as fresh as Neyo, I don’t think anyone would mind.

    WORST 3 3/4" FIGURE OF THE YEAR
    Many collectors would simply say “all of Saga Legends and Mission Series,” but I find those lines to be pretty charming and fun for what they are: simple, low-priced toys. (If five points of articulation is the way the entire line goes, though, we would have a problem.) The worst figures of the year, however, tended to be ones that came out looking worse than they should have, either by a factory error or poor planning or a combination of the two. There’s Yoda from his Jedi Attack Fighter - a fun concept bungled by melty-eyed paint applications. There’s Mara Jade, who had her severe eyebrows and ‘80s mane positioned incorrectly in early shipments; later releases have everything in place, and she’s not bad overall, but she’s still not the version that fans voted for in 2011. You could even mention Que-Mars Redath and Khaat Qiyn, otherwise fine Jedi who somehow got their left hands noticeably mixed up. But the top honor has to go to the 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper. For no apparent reason, his armor is missing the vast majority of its paint applications, as seen in the film and on the multiple previous releases of this design. Hasbro has stated twice that the applications would be fixed, but so far, it’s just a boring white clone with a few subtle gray stripes, and at this point nobody should be asked to drop $10 on an incomplete figure like this one.

    BEST VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
    The final wave of Class I vehicles - including two figures each - brought us the last American animated Clone Wars figures, a mini-rig dropped from the MTT, and Yoda’s Jedi Attack Fighter, which was pretty fun aside from the wonky figure. Class II was downsized this year from the bloated $30 repacks of 2012 to the $20 under-scaled, hollow shells of 2013. The Episode III Jedi Starfighters are probably more in scale than the 2005 mold, and the whole group of eight works well as toys, but the line could be better served by featuring vehicles that are already small instead of just scaling down bigger ships that we already have. Toys R Us and Amazon both brought us a nice selection of Vintage Collection vehicles - continuing the year's theme of upgrading stuff everyone already bought. Slave I (Boba Fett's Spaceship) resurrects the 2010 Clone Wars mold in Episode V colors and looks incredible, but the flight stabilization feature doesn't work as well as it did three years ago. It's nice to finally have Biggs Darklighter's X-wing Starfighter, using the upgraded mold that was last sold as Luke's vessel in a 2010 Toys R Us exclusive. Call me crazy, but I think the overall best vehicle of the year is the Vintage Collection Republic Gunship. The set started out overpriced, perhaps a reaction to the fact that the original 2002 Gunship (and the only release aside from this one that's based on Episode II) has skyrocketed in the years since. In a year where paint was the only difference on most vehicles, it was great to finally get the gunner pods included with the ship (they were sold separately in 2009 or as tiny accessories in 2002). We had several big vehicles this year - I haven't mentioned the fine-but-not-mind-blowing TIE Interceptor or Endor AT-AT - but here's hoping that 2014 brings a new BMF-class ship.

    BEST 6” FIGURE OF THE YEAR
    Distribution woes, rising prices, and a general sense of malaise have driven a great number of collectors away from the hobby, and Hasbro decided to alleviate the problem by fixing these problems and releasing long-requested figures… No, of course that didn’t happen. You FOOL! Instead, they started a brand-new line in an entirely different scale, branding it as a collector line and releasing eight figures across two waves. The launch was sadly screwed up thanks to widespread paint and quality control issues, but it seems these problems have improved as the months passed.
    But how are the actual figures in and of themselves? Pretty dang awesome. Boba Fett was first released with Han in carbonite as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive, but proved to be just as popular and hard to find when he made his individual debut (I don’t yet have him). R2-D2 is the closest thing to a stinker in the bunch since he’s clearly under scaled, but aside from that and some standard paint issues he’s very cool. Not counting Boba, the second-best figure in this line is Han Solo. With a strong likeness, expressive articulation, and a ton of swappable accessories, he sets the standard for human characters in this line (even if that so far only includes the Big Three). If there’s one complaint to be made, it’s that his wrist articulation doesn’t allow his wrist to rotate up and down, limiting some shooting poses, but it’s not awful. The best, though, would have to be the Sandtrooper. The armor sculpting far surpasses anything we’ve seen in the 3 3/4” line, looking just like a miniature costumed actor and finally recreating the details that set the Tatooine-based squad apart from the standard Stormtroopers. As with Han, the Sandtrooper includes numerous accessories, which would be nice to see with more figures in the line (even if the trend in wave three indicates the opposite). I wasn’t initially thrilled with the idea of this line, but the execution on my samples has been brilliant and I’m greatly looking forward to the progression of this line.

  2. #2
    This has been a meager year, hasn't it?

    Black Series 3.75" was heavily weighted toward clones and resculpts early on, with a lot of quality control issues. Many people still haven't even seen a sign of Wave 2, much less Wave 3. A lot of collectors also had little or no interest in any of Wave 1, and most of Waves 2-3. Wave 4 looks amazing... I just wonder if it will ever be produced.

    Black Series 6" suffers heavily from quality control issues, with just the relatively small sample size here experiencing more than the usual share of major issues. The waves are a little wonky, and it's not helped by the plans to only carry over one figure, one of the least popular. The only figure most people seem to care about is pretty much nonexistent. Also, it doesn't help that Walmart chose not to carry the line at all, and, instead, over-ordered those giant Vader figures (which are still rotting in huge numbers, and I expect to get one for my son for $5 or less in a few weeks).

    The Ewok catapult was pretty cool, and, surprisingly for a K-Mart exclusive, there seemed to be enough of it and the Scanning Crew sets to go around.

    Games-wise, wasn't this the year we all learned that 1313 was, indeed, what we'd all anticipated, and no longer in production?

    In comics, there's been The Star Wars, which seems to be getting lackluster (at best) reviews all around. There's also Brian Wood's somewhat confusing Star Wars ongoing, which arrived to huge hype and failed to live up to it, being, at best, a mediocre rehash of stories handled better years ago in Rogue Squadron. (Many characters are way out of character, particularly Chewie and Leia, and it really doesn't help that no one will admit this is either an alternate universe or reboot of the EU, because it simply cannot coexist with what's come before.)

    So, yeah, one of the worst years for Star Wars collecting in recent memory... but one of the best years for a Star Wars collector's wallet.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  3. #3
    With books, there were some great ones (Zahn's Scoundrels, Rinzler's Making of ROJ, Miller's Kenobi, Doescher's Shakespeare's SW are some I recall now), and the rest were so-so. The comics I read just amounted to the in-progress The Star Wars early Lucas script mini series, which has been decent overall to me.

    Some cool-looking Lego sets, but as I age, I find less interest in this line (no fault of the producers of the toys, of course).

    Trading cards had a good one (second series of Galactic Files) and an awesome (and for me, unexpected) one (SW Illustrated, based on the SW Radio Drama story).

    I really had very little interest in figures and found even less product in stores.

    The end (maybe?) of the Clone Wars cartoon (and Cartoon Network itself) at least ended on a great run of episodes.

    STILL NO NEW MUSIC RELEASED. There has GOT to be some out there we haven't had the privilege of purchasing, right? (Ultimate Editions of the other 5 films, perhaps?)

    Something else I'd add: this year's Hallmark ornaments were pretty good (especially the Limited Quantity Boushh and the Ewoks pair; AT-ST with sounds was nice, Jabba... uh...).
    'It is always nice to see you, says the Besalisk at the counter... And instead I pour blue milk...' From "Dex's Diner" by Su-San Vega

  4. #4
    First off, I want to thank JabbaJohn for taking the lead on this, great job! Thinking about your comments, I wouldn't even say 2013 felt like a transitional period for Star Wars, it felt like a lost year where most everything fell apart and then just held its breath to see where it got put back together. The final Clone Wars episodes are still in flux. Writing on Episode VII changed hands. Dark Horse seemed poised to lose the license to the brand's new owners and their Marvel Comics brand. And then there was Hasbro... 'nuff said. Wait, was that too Marvel? Ok, not quite 'nuff said.

    Remember when I said in last year's YIR article that 2012 was bad, and in the one before that how 2011 was bad? Well, apparently Hasbro decided "bad" needed to be redefined, so they dug a hole under the bottom of the barrel until they got to the sewer, and that's where they set the bar for "bad" with 2013's Star Wars collecting debacle. Between the months and months without a new product line, a meager 5 all-new main line 3.75-inch figures for the whole year, an uneven new 6-inch figure format, significant distribution issues (again!), no new vehicles of note, an aggravating licensing tie-in with Angry Birds, and a big focus on lowering costs that ended up with a lot of controversial stuff which aiming exclusively to kids, it's a miracle Star Wars collectors didn't just climb into their beds clenched in a fetal position for the whole year. So what was good about 2013 in Star Wars?

    Good things in SW in 2013

    From Hasbro, I liked the 6-inch Luke pilot and Sandtrooper, and to a lesser extent Han ANH and Leia slave. 3.75-inch brought us a decent Padme and Mara Jade (if you were lucky enough to find one and find a well-executed one). The big Boba Fett's Slave I came out and was cool. There were some great sales and clearances from Toys R Us and Amazon. K-mart had some cool and affordable multi-packs including the long-awaited release of the "other" scanning trooper.

    The Making of Return of the Jedi came out, and ushered in digital-format versions that included a veritable treasure-trove of multimedia contents for each of the 3 Original Trilogy Making Of Star Wars digital ebooks, and they were considerably less expensive than the physical editions.

    Kotobukiya had another good year with ArtFX+ and the silicone ice trays, I really like my Jango Fett ArtFX+ and Death Star ice ball. Sideshow did a really good job with the 12-inch Snowtrooper, even if the price dictated a lot of scrutiny. Gentle Giant's huge Kenner Vintage line continues to impress, who else would imagine selling a life-sized Kenner-style Stormtrooper? And eFX's Legends Maul saber hilt looks fantastic, as does their upcoming Stormtrooper armor replica, Y-wing studio replica, and Boba Fett helmet. And Super7's '70s-style Alien line, even though it wasn't a Star Wars release, came out and paid loving homage to that '70s and '80s Star Wars collecting style with a line based on Kenner's original concept.

    And while Dark Horse's "The Star Wars" comic book developed by JW Rinzler based on George Lucas' original draft of Star Wars has had its ups and downs in the storytelling department, the idea of peeking into an alternate universe where that other Star Wars came out is tantalizing and the art has been impressive.

    EA and DICE are developing a new Star Wars Battlefront video game. George Lucas got engaged, married, and had a 4th child in 2013. The announcement for 2015's Star Wars Celebration Anaheim hit. Star Wars Detours got detoured away from audiences. Ok, I know, I'm struggling for positives in this hobby in 2013.

    So what wasn't that great?

    Not-so-good things in SW in 2013

    Um, everything kinda sucked. There, you're done, you can go now.

    That's it.

    Trust me.

    You sure you want to really hear it?

    You realllllly sure? Alright...

    I'll start with Dark Horse Comics' The Star Wars, where the writing was like the prequels on angel dust in the first issue and then someone took a shotgun to the plot in the second. In 2013 it was chiefly a clumsy comic book as well as a clumsy Star Wars item.

    Force FX Lightsabers are essentially on life support thanks to Hasbro's business model that doesn't work at all with the smaller retail outlets that used to be the line's bread and butter.

    LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles were a trio of specials that tried to recapture the fun of the first 2 hilarious LEGO Star Wars half-hour specials and just went downhill too fast.

    Sideshow's pricing has gone through the roof on 12-inch-scale figures, pushing edition sizes down to justify insanely higher pricing to the point where it's actually competing with their Premium Format line.

    Hasbro - pretty much nearly everything sucked: Distribution was abominable. Product was middling. Quality control was mediocre. Value was awful. Even the excellent recent Biker Scout was executed poorly. Character choices were weak. Vehicles were uninspiring. The new kid-focused lines misfired. Angry Birds Star Wars swallowed up many retailers' Star Wars sections as well as the Hasbro Comic-Con panel. Packaging that fell apart in TBS and Mission Series. Almost everything that was lame pegwarmed and then got repacked into later cases ensuring wave 2 would get choked out by the same pegwarmers.

    The 3.75-inch Kiddie-line figures, Saga Legends and Mission Series 2-packs with 5 points of articulation, have a bit of the Kenner classic charm but that doesn't quite do enough for most collectors, it seems, as these are languishing. The sculpts and paint at first blush look good, but up close the cheap materials used leave them limited in appeal. The 12-inch line, hoo boy there's very little to say there for anybody over the age of 6, hopefully the younger kiddies at least can enjoy those. And the stripped-down vehicles, do these ever sell? Not around here, they've shelfwarmed hard and hit clearance brutally.

    The 6-inch collector-focused line had a very high pricetag compared to Hasbro's other similar licensed line, Marvel Legends at $5 less. The majority of the figures have not moved well, and have suffered a myriad of quality control problems. I was going to do a bunch of ranting, but let's just say the line is woefully uneven and wave 2 has taken a step down in quality from wave 1, and that darn R2 figure just has so many issues that it couldn't help but pegwarm even if distribution in wave 2 wasn't a separate disaster. Then Walmrt pulled their support of the line entirely.

    The 3.75-inch collector-focused line, The Black Series, hasn't worked so well with its poor choice of characters, few new-mold figures, tremendous pegwarming problem figures that got carried into wave 2, a wave 2 that almost nobody can find and a wave 3 that only exists as legend to most collectors. The packaging is dull and got even worse after the initial shipments. The value is mediocre. Is there anything particularly good about TBS? They took the fantastic new Biker Scout figure and rendered it in middling paint and warped plastic. It's nearly all prequel-focused. And there is just 1new character in all of 2013's hypothetical 3 waves (I literally couldn't prove wave 3 exists), and in all of 2013 there was just 2 new characters thanks to Darth Plagueis in TBS and FA-4, Dooku's chauffeur droid, in the Droid Factory exclusive set - I don't mind remolds, but COME ON! That's ridiculous.

    Then there was the exclusives with the forgettable multi-packs at Target and TRU, the Republic Gunship and X-wing and TIE Interceptor, and the aforementioned Droid Factory set, each exclusive delivered something interesting but not nearly enough excitement, even before the woefully-high pricetags were factored in.

    I'm not going to bother with a "best figure of 2013" award this year, there was almost nothing to pick from and what worked wasn't particularly stand-out quality in 3.75-inch, and 6-inch is still so new a format it feels not ready to call a true line.

    Overall

    2013 wasn't just a bad year for what it didn't have, it was a frustratingly bad year for what it did have. Hasbro took a lot of gambles and lost on each one, to one degree or another. Star Wars doesn't currently feel like the brand it did 2 years ago, no vitality, no vision, no idea what the market wants and doesn't want, no direction. Sure, the cancellation of the 3D release of AOTC caused a shift, but Hasbro didn't use its time wisely even when it gave itself a 9-month extension period, and now it feels like the brand that has been named top licensed boys toy brand year after year has lost more than a step. Collectors have been walking away more and more because Hasbro, and to a lesser extent Sideshow, are making it easy at the brand's weakest time since the 1985 post-Kenner era - now The Clone Wars is gone, the horizon's new projects are far away, there are no video games or big events coming in 2014, and news coming out of the new movies is a mixed rush. Sorry, but Star Wars was a huge bummer in 2013.
    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.

  5. #5
    2013 in Review
    I remember when I was still collecting at a completest level and every toy fair preview would come around and I would be ticked off with all Hasbro's store exclusives, because I would always worry about whether or not I would find them or how much I would have to pay on Ebay for them. The past two and a half years have felt like every figure Hasbro released has been store exclusives. I said this before but I have never seen any other vintage wave outside of the Phantom Menace wave, in fact, most stores I visit still have the wave rotting on the shelves. Only my local TRU and Target have had the Black Series, all other stores, i.e. Walmart and Mejier, don't even have shelf space for them. Amazon has become my go-to Star Wars Toy store.

    The Good
    I hate to admit this, but the 6" series is pretty good. I disliked the idea from the beginning, and the pre-production pictures didn't help the cause. They have quality control issues and I'm not too impressed with their figure selection, but I have purchased 50% of the Waves 1 and 2 so far and enjoy those figures immensely.

    Other than those 4 figures, I picked up Slave 1, which outside of the shipping issues, was a great addition to my collection.

    In Movies and Television, I wasn't ecstatic that there would be more Star Wars movies, but it is growing on me. Disney is hit and miss with it's franchises, but I enjoy how they have handled Marvel, so I will have faith... for now.

    In video games, we didn't get any console titles, but we did get Star Wars pinball, The Force Collection, and Little Death Star; all great, free titles for tablets and phones (although you only get 1 pinball machine with the first title).

    In Lego... everything is good with lego. The sets keep getting better, more imaginative designs, figures that people want...

    The Bad
    2013 was the year of devastating disappointment. How is it in 2014, in the greatest technological society of our generation, and we are either overpaying for our figures or not finding them completely? And then if we actually get lucky and find them, they are constructed poorly? If I hadn't backed off collecting years ago, 2013 would have made me quit altogether. Now I'm not placing all the blame on Hasbro, as there is no reason for Walmart and Meijer to still have the Phantom Menace figures on their shelves. But if you know there is distribution problems, make your product more accessible on your HTS web site.

    In Television and movies, cancelling Clone Wars was the first big mistake Disney mad. It only had a year left anyway and you could have easier transitioned into Disney's second big mistake, Star Wars Rebels. That show had somewhat potential, until they introduced the Inquisitor. The whole point of the Jedi purge was to rid the universe of force users, and now anyone with a goofy face can use a lightsaber? Disney decided to make an accurate depiction of a universal time line, which is good, but it might mean the extinction of the Thrawn Trilogy, which is bad. Just remember, chances are that this guy Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Star-Wars-Rebels-Inquisitor.jpg 
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ID:	28151will be consider a part of Star Wars lore, while Grand Admiral Thrawn will be removed.

    In video games, we lost 1313, and then worst of all, they showed us what exactly we missed. That's like telling a child your going to buy them a toy, then deciding against it, but buying a poster of that toy and hanging it from the ceiling of the child's room...

    In Conclusion
    While I still enjoy Star Wars, I find Star Wars no longer fun; it no longer feels like Star Wars. I've even stopped reading the novels, something I'd never thought I would do. I'm hoping that Disney restores the fun that was Star Wars, but their first year of ownership hasn't exactly been helpful. Hopefully, with the new script finally finished, we will get some solid spoilers that brings back the Star wars charm.
    Nowhere in your incoherent ramblings did you come anywhere close to the answer. Thanks to you, everyone in this room is now stupider having heard you. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul. -Billy Madison-

  6. #6
    I don't know if people wondered if I would say anything or even cared.

    I bought BobaFrett most of the Black Series 6 Inch. He has not opened them to my knowledge and I don't know if they're any good.

    I'm going to get Darth Plagueis when they release him.

    6" Luke, Obi-Wan.

    The year could have been so good with Jabba's sailbarge, never made clone wars and expanded Universe figures, Clone Wars vehicles... new figures of padme they never made.

    I just have no further comments really I think.
    BAD Pts Need: R5-C7 lf leg (x2), , R4-P44 right leg BAD Pts Offered For Trade: PM me - I have lots of parts now including BG-J38!. New Kyle Katarn is also available.

  7. #7
    I don't have much to say that already hasn't been addressed. As a Star Wars fan I am miserable and while I wish you all the best, it kind of feels good I am not alone in my frustration.

    I'm excited for the Battlefront news. It's still a game I play occasionally with my two boys. As far as the movies go, I'm crossing my fingers that Johnny Depp doesn't get a starring role and that Disney doesn't decide to just completely remake the last six films. Continuity, I don't mind the minor tweaks here and there, what gets my goat is investing in something for thirteen years or more and it can be a little heartbreaking when you are so passionate about it. I even came to like the last couple seasons of The Clone Wars cartoon. I'm looking forward to Rebels because I have always been curious about the time frame between ROTS and ANH. I was looking forward to the new books featuring Jaina Solo and so was my daughter but they seem to be on indefinite hiatus.


    Merchandise. Since 2011 I have found myself being more picky in what I purchase as prices have gone up and we are offered less product, less quality and if not TVC TPM figures still cluttering pegs, re-packs of the same figures we all have. Dear Hasbro, if you are going to repackage old figures, how about ones some of us may have missed and refuse to pay $80 for on Amazon like Darth Krayte. Or if you are going to limit figures to five points of articulation add the light up sabers and blaster features. Even offers that were tempting such as Padme' and Mara Jade looked distasteful, and that's if you were even lucky enough to find them. As JT said, some figures like Darth Platypus might as well be a myth. Ordering online is fine if you don't have to buy a case and you can find enough odds and ends to justify shipping or qualify for free shipping.


    The Yoda Starfighter was tempting but I couldn't pull the trigger on the purchase. The 6" Black Series looked neat but for the price and size it seemed like the exact same figures I have in 3.75" scale. There just wasn't anything new and why not pay a few bucks more for ArtFx quality. Granted they had accessories and are poseable but there is little play value in such a limited selection that will likely never have any vehicles or play sets. New Slave-1 might have been cool but I thoroughly enjoy the AOTC one I picked up from the comics shop for $20. The cat enjoys chasing the missiles. I also found the new mold Naboo Fighter on Amazon for a reasonable price but with little to look forward too, why waste $37 on a line I think I may be done collecting because the lack of anything new and exciting.


    I bought 1, ONE new Star Wars product this year. And I'm counting it for 2013 because it was delayed until January. The Bishoujo Jaina Solo statue for my daughter. It's a very nice looking art piece though soft plastic and the hands have trouble staying attached so it required some super glue. Never the less, I look forward to getting the Mara Jade one this year as well.

  8. #8
    Neuro's 2013 Year in Review

    The good:


    The black series 6 inch sand troopers where hands down the best thing I got this year.

    The bad:

    ...

    Just about everything else, really. There was almost nothing that I was interested in during 2013 that came out, and very little that I'm interested in that's been announced so far for 2014 as far as Hasbro stuff is concerned.

    The up side to the bad:

    For the last several years Hasbro's prices have gone up, distribution has gotten progressively worse, there have been less and less figures that have caught my interest, and the ones that did are usually also the ones I never found. All of that has lead me to very nearly completely stop purchasing Star Wars figures from Hasbro.

    This has been great on my budget. I'm also working to take a long hard look at my collection to decide what out of it that I wish to keep, as over the years it's started to outgrow its designated allotment of space so it's time to pear down on stuff anyway. Not buying much last year, and from what I can see also not buying stuff for 2014 means it'll be much easier to find space in my collection in the near future.

    I'm also considering not collecting action figures anymore all together and instead focusing on one really nice purchase from a company like Sideshow, Hot Toys, or Gentile Giants and calling it good. I'm starting to think I'll enjoy my collection a lot more if I go this direction. Purchasing from Hasbro has gone from something I used to love doing as a cheep hobby to being way more trouble than it's worth.

    Due to severely cutting back on collecting stuff for 2013 because of price, lack of interest, lack of space, and lack of product distribution from Hasbro, I'm able to afford the new Darth Vader from Sideshow, which will be the first sideshow figure I've purchased directly from them new. I'm excited about it ... but since it's arriving in 2014, that doesn't really count for 2013 does it?

  9. #9
    I really don't have too much to say about 2013 in terms of Star Wars collecting. I do know that I finally found my quality-control threshold when it comes to super-articulated "premium" toys and Hasbro definitely fell way below that threshold this year.

    The bad:
    Pretty much all of Hasbro's "premium" lines. The 3.75" Black Series figures ranged from barely passable to worthless junk. Too many shortcuts taken with paints apps. Also, the mismatched joint colors are becoming epidemic and I've lost my ability to tolerate them. If that's the price we have to pay for super-articulation, then I'm no longer interested in super-articulated figures.

    My interest in the 6" line burned pretty hot when I got my hands on the Sandtrooper, however, nothing else in the line even interests me at all. So that interest burned itself out almost as quickly as it started up. The fact that Hasbro seems to have totally fumbled the Stormtrooper was my breaking point. I'm done the line. Hasbro might be able to draw me back in if they create an absolutely amazing TIE Fighter Pilot figure; but most likely I'd just buy that one figure and continue to ignore everything else.

    The good:
    The resurrection of 5-POA in the Saga Legends and Mission Series lines. Nothing in recent years has revitalized my love of Star Wars figures like these two toy lines have (not even TVC). That's not to say that I'm collecting the lines, however. I've only bought about 4 figures and currently only plan to pick up the Stormtrooper and then will probably bide my time until we get a 5-POA TIE Fighter Pilot.

    I walked away from collecting in 2012 and I fully intend to stay away as much as possible. That doesn't mean that I won't pick up the odd figure here and there, but I'm definitely not committed to amassing a huge collection of Star Wars figures anymore.

    Best figure of 2013:
    I can't really say which is the best, but my favorite figure that I purchased this years was the Saga Legends Shock Trooper. Even though it's a Prequel character and I'm not a fan of the PT films at all, it's just a perfect Star Wars figure in my mind and I've always had a soft spot for the design of the Shock Troopers. Some people are upset about the lack of articulation in these figures, but I think it makes them more appealing. Also, the stiff "Kenner-esque" poses that they are sculpted in makes them feel more iconic to me.

    The 6" Sandtrooper comes a close second, but that figure simply suffers from too much articulation and it ends up feeling brittle and unstable. It's fallen off of the display shelf more than once, so I put the figure in a box a few weeks ago and have kind of forgotten that I even own it.

    Worst figure of 2013:
    Again, it's hard to say considering how much I didn't buy this year, but I can say that the most disappointing figure of 2013 was the TRU-exclusive Biker Scout with Speeder Bike which was also released single carded in the Black Series. Those shoulder joints were pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I'm done with supporting super-articulation if this is the kind of "quality" we can expect.

    I guess I could say that Black Series 3.75" Stormtrooper is one of the worst pieces of crap to ever be released in the Star Wars line; but I haven't actually seen one in person.

    In conclusion:
    Honestly, if not for the 5-POA line, I probably wouldn't still be here talking about Star Wars figures. I even let my Skiffguards.com website expire last year because I simply couldn't generate enough interest to bother to renew the web-hosting account. I think with the purchase of LFL by Disney combined with the overabundance of low-quality merchandise, I simply see now as my best chance to walk away from Star Wars for good. Turning 40 in 2013 might have had something to do with it, too.

    In fact, there's an idea that's been floating around in the back of my minds since about 1986 and that's the idea of a "minimalist" Star Wars collection. Basically, can I boil down my entire Star Wars collection to just one action figure? Not one character or one action figure focus, but just one solitary action figure that represents everything that I love about Star Wars. I think I will make a serious attempt to work towards that goal in 2014. My current collection only consists of 11 action figures, so most of them (maybe even all of them) would have to go. It's a idea that seems almost incomprehensible right now, but it's one that I haven't been able to shake in almost 28 years. So, even though I still plan to buy 1 or 2 figures in 2014, it will also be a year of some very painful and deep cuts in my Star Wars collection.

  10. #10
    2013 was definitely the year of "BS." I think the 6" Sandtrooper was the only post-Vintage Star Wars figure I bought at retail for all of 2013. Some of that was by choice of not being interested enough to pay $10 for any of the 3 3/4" Black series and not wanting to collect the 5 POA figures, but mostly it was because... well, barely anything happened this year. Of the two Walmarts closest to me, one completely abandoned Star Wars during the Summer and the other has finally sold through enough blue-carded Saga Legends and TPM 3D & Vintage figures (all still at $9.99) to get ONE CASE of the 3 3/4" Black Series' first wave this month. I think two figures have sold, it's hard to tell because all of their SW figures aside from the Mission series are tossed like trash onto an endcap far away from the action figure aisle.

    The only non-comic book store I've seen the 6" at is Target, but the shelf space allotted for them was taken over by Angry Birds playsets throughout the Christmas season. Only the Mission series/Saga Legends seem to be a consistency as the Christmas season finally brought sells to the dust collecting first waves of each. Toys R Us has kept the first 3 3/4" Black Series wave well stocked, whereas Target hasn't had any of them since they're also still full of Vintage figures at full price.

    So, that's been my perspective on Star Wars in 2013. The only one thing I can possibly comment on is the Amazon exclusives which I'm bummed to have missed out on the deep discounts of the TIE Interceptor and Slave 1. I almost pulled the trigger on the Droid Factory set when it hit $15, but even at that price I just couldn't muster interest in those figures.

    It's just been sad.
    "Hokey packaging and ancient gimmicks are no match for good detail on your figure, kid."
    "I am a Klingot from Oklahoma in human boy form."
    "We came, we saw, we conquered... We, woke up!"

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