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Messages - Nicklab

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Gentle Giant / Re: Gentle Giant Busts
« on: May 18, 2005, 05:16 PM »
I checked in at my local comic shoip, and the guys there told me that Diamond Previews will have the Darth Vader and Yoda mini-busts available for pre-order in the next issue.  Good news if you get these through your comic shop.

Mosnab, as many in this thread will tell you, I'm a big advocate of ordering these through your local comic shop.  If you can hook up with a good comic shop you can get these for less than they're listed at SWS, BBTS or EE.  And you won't pay shipping either.  That being said, if you don't have the benefit of a good comic shop in your area, I would recommend any of the three e-tailers that I mentioned.

My point has been completely missed.  Go to EE and check out all of the case assortments.  Almost every case out there has Clone Troopers of one sort or another in it.  And cases continue to ship to stores EVERY DAY.  Add in the fact that sometimes anecdotal evidence just doesn't carry that much weight since things can be regionally skewed by how collectors collect in a certain area.  One city or region does not necessarily reflect the rest of the country.  No Clones on the pegs in one city?  So.  I saw plenty on the pegs in my area last night.  My area just so happens to be one of the biggest metroploitan areas in the world.  The two things don't seem to correlate, do they?

If you look at things with a measure of reason, you can see that there are some important trends that have developed.  Such as the fact that Hasbro has put the bulk of their Clone Troopers in Collection 1 cases which happen to ship in higher quantities than Collection 2 cases.  Does that leave the AT-TE Tank Gunner and the Royal Guards out in the cold?  Yes, but those figures continue ship in over half a dozen different case assortments if you look at what's current and move on from there.

As for which characters SHOULD be on pegs, I would argue that it's Anakin Skywalker.  It's HIS movie.  And despite that, Hasbro has recognized that there is a demand for army builders and told collectors so at their Q&A session in Indianapolis.  They have plans for more army builders.  Some of the sets I mentioned are due out within weeks of the movies release.  THAT, I argue is the prime time for any sort of collectible.  Once the public has had the opportunity to digest the movie I think overall interest and sales will actually continue to rise.  Add in the fact that Star Wars will have a little longevity in the theaters and not be gone from the local multiplex within three weeks.  The movies have traditionally had some legs, and with the reviews being as favorable as these have been, this one could last longer than TPM and AOTC did in theaters.  That combined with the all-out marketing effort that's going on mean that we're going to have plenty of product offered to us by a range of Lucasfilm licensees.

Hasbro being one of those licensees sees the need for longevity and have to provide a continuous attraction to fans and collectors through the course of the summer and into the 2005 Holiday season.  If we were deluged with even more product now it might be more than the market and Hasbro's retail partners could take.  Product needs to be spaced out for the benefit of both collectors and retail.

As for some REAL evidence, I have spoken at length with some people at a major retail chain.  They say that sales are actually up from the 2002 line launch.  This is genuinely encouraging, as the better sales numbers mean that Star Wars will continue to have a good shelfspace presense at retail through at least the holiday season.  More shelfspace means more product.

I think our current society has more to do with the ugliness I've seen here than we all know.  We've become a culture of instant gratification, and if it isn't here now then how the hell is it good for?  I see a buildup of reports of people trying to find figures, outraged that they can't find them at their earliest possible convenience.  Then they find them and the ranting stops.  Until they start to get impatient once more and start wondering "Where's the Tarkin wave, these Wookiee Warriors are pegwarmers now!"  I see far more of this than good discussions of the pros and cons of the figures that we have in hand.  If only people would wait three weeks before running off at the keyboard, I think we would all be much happier.  The negative energy that it all evokes is rather troubling at times.

Now, as for my own credentials which you've seen fit to address, let's see if our creds match up here, okay Jesse?  I have covered the following Hasbro events:  Celebration 2, Celebration 3, Wizard World Chicago in 2003, Hasbro's Collector Media Day in 2003, Toy Fair 2004, and Toy Fair 2005.  I've gotten to know these people somewhat, and they've offered interesting insights into the line.  I also cover a couple of other licensees as well.  Add in some good contacts at one of the country's largest toy chains and I have a little bit of a feel for the toy industry.  Please make an effort to know who you're addressing before you start talking down to them.

Frankly, I don't see a lot of core characters warming the pegs.  When I was looking for the Anakin with Dooku saber variation, I was very surprised to see the LACK of Anakin and Obi-Wan figures on the pegs.  These figures are continuing to ship so that the more casual fans can buy them.  The truth is that it's not all about collectors, but kids really DO factor in.

As for getting the newer figures, you've basically got two routes to go:  persistance or patience.  Persistance demands that you show up at the store at opening and wait until they put out new stock.  In a movie year that could be as many as three times a week.  Where patience factors in is how long are you willing to wait?  Two or three weeks ago people were talking about Clone Commanders and Clone Pilots and how it was tough to get them.  Now you see them on a fairly regular basis.  The same thing goes for Clone Troopers.  They ARE continuing to ship.  I walked into a TRU store last week and saw at least a dozen or more #6 Clone Troopers.  A few days later they were gone.  There's turnover.

What I notice sticking around a little longer are the Collection 2 figures.  They don't move as quickly as the Collection 1 figures.  And you know what?  They don't ship in the same quantities that the Collection 2 figures do.

I think Hasbro has learned more than people give them credit for.  This is their third toy line launch for Star Wars accompanying a movie release. This is a much better situation in terms of the overall availability of figures than 1999.  Let us keep in mind the natural inclination of the American collector to complain.

I can appreciate the frustation, but there is one factor that has not been discussed here at all:  TIME.  The toy line for REVENGE OF THE SITH is only about 6 weeks old.  In that time there has been a great deal of buzz and attention on the line.  That makes some things tougher to find (for a little while) and other things seem to be pegwarmers.  Give it time for things to settle out.  I took a good look at some of the case assortments that are current or upcoming.  There are still a good number of the figures that have been mentioned here on the way.  All you have to do is check out some of the case assortments that EE or Newforce Comics have listed.  I think the long term trend is going to work out much more favorably.

You also have a couple of artificial factor that's being applied on stock levels at stores.  Those are the speculators/scalpers and the army builders.  Add in fairly zealous collectors who are at the store every morning and you've got a tougher environment for collecting.  Give it time.  Army builders are going to buy their fill, scalpers will move onto other items, and collectors will find what they're looking for.  Give it time.  Seriously, patience is the most obvious answer to so many of these kinds of posts and you'd think that people would learn it's only a matter of time before you find some things.  There are 40+ basic figures out there along with 8 Deluxe figures.  You're going to find them eventually.

Thus far the distribution seems to be much better than that of 1999 and 2002.  There doesn't a glut of first wave product clogging shelves to the point where orders for future waves are being cut back.  However, Toys R Us stores are still getting a number of first wave cases to keep the core characters like Obi-Wan, Anakin, Vader, Yoda, Grievous, Palpatine & Clone Troopers out there.  I went to a store last week and saw 7 cases worth of just such an assortment going out.  These things are going to wind up being more favorable to both collectors and the casual fan.

As for the comment about a lack of Clone Trooper multi-packs...HELLO.  The Evolutions 3-Pack?  The Deluxe 3-packs that are modeled on the Clone Wars 3-packs?  What are those?  And once again...we're only 6 weeks into the line. GIVE IT TIME.  Do you seriously expect Hasbro to blow their load all at once?  Why don't we at least give Hasbro until Comic Con (otherwise known as the Summer Toy Fair) before passing judgement.

It's this kind of impatience that really makes the collecting community seem like a dog chasing it's tail at times.  Hasbro has the master toy license until 2018.  Let them space it out a little bit in order to keep it interesting and vital for years to come.

Revenge of the Sith / Re: Wookiee Army
« on: May 17, 2005, 07:22 PM »
Oh, and strangely enough, my brown Wookiee doesn't have any problem with his arm falling off, but the tan Wookiee, as Gatillo said, is apparently seeing Dr. Nick Riviera for his surgical reattachments.  :)

Really?  This makes me think that this may not be a running change then.  It's entirely possible that these were manufactured in different factories, or they were seperate manufacturing runs.  The paintjob Anakin #2 with Dooku saber is markedly different from the original issue.

The parts issue is the main issue that makes me think they were seperate production runs.  But only Hasbro knows.  Oh well.

Other Collectibles / Re: Unleashed Again
« on: May 16, 2005, 03:26 PM »
I'd love all 6 bounty hunters, but how would you do a 4-LOM Unleashed?

edit: LOL, Nick and I are sharing a brain today.  Too much time on ;)

Hope it's not your brain we're sharing, what with all the brain cells you've been killing!  ;)  Oh, if we only had Molson Bradour in the US.

Other Collectibles / Re: Unleashed Again
« on: May 16, 2005, 03:13 PM »
The concept for Unleashed definitely has some room for growth.  I could see Hasbro doing some sort of an Unleashed box set along the lines of McFarlane's 2-packs.  Bring the price point of those up to say $20 - $25 and include a larger piece.  Perhaps Jabba the Hutt, Biker Scouts or something else along those lines.

I think there are still a number of possibilities for main characters in the line.  I think you just need to be a little open to different ideas.

Other Collectibles / Re: Unleashed Again
« on: May 16, 2005, 01:54 PM »
Well, for you Unleashed freaks, FWIW, I have an extra Yoda Unleashed for trade.

As for the secondary market, Brent is right on the money.  It does nothing for Hasbro other than raise the profile.  In fact, the low availability of helmet-less Vader and the original slave Leia reminds me a lot of what McFarlane has done.  They make some things very tough to get and it generates a lot of buzz.  Some of it's negative and will drive people away, but a lot of it's positive and will draw people in because all of a sudden the line seems that much more collectible.

I'm genuinely excited to see what Unleashed figures ROTS generates.  I'm hoping for a Wookiee ripping a Clone Trooper's arms out of his sockets, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Gentle Giant / Re: Gentle Giant Busts
« on: May 16, 2005, 11:57 AM »
Sounds cool, Scott.  Are you going to go for Koto Vader 2?  It might be cool to bookend your Vader focus area with both Koto pieces.

When it does clearance, typically it goes really fast.  But TRU has been very slow to do this as ruthlessly as Target.

Middle Earth / Re: LOTR Trilogy Figures
« on: May 16, 2005, 11:51 AM »
The new Fellowship assortment includes the following figures:

Galadriel Entranced
Flaming Ring Wraith (electronic)
Weathertop Strider (electronic)
Council Legolas
Weathertop Frodo (a reissue of the first Frodo)

Gentle Giant / Re: Gentle Giant Busts
« on: May 16, 2005, 11:45 AM »
Well, I ordered first and only steps into this line :-[

You won't be disappointed with these.  After seeing them a couple of times in person I have to say that they're among the best pieces Gentle Giant has ever offered in the mini-bust line.

The Prequel Trilogy / Re: "Evolutions" assortment...
« on: May 16, 2005, 11:42 AM »
It just seemed so appropo!  ;)  Besides, I gave up discussing politics with knuckleheads on the internet a long time ago.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: **** UPN- 'Enterprise' cancelled.
« on: May 16, 2005, 12:27 AM »
They seriously did that?  What, were they watching that season of "Dallas" where Bobby was killed off, only to have it turn out that the entire season was a dream?  What a bad joke.

The Prequel Trilogy / Re: "Evolutions" assortment...
« on: May 15, 2005, 05:02 PM »
Nope, you're wrong.  The one with the macrobinocs is Bly.  You know it too.

Not only do you know the future, but you read minds too?  Uhhh.... NO.

Scott is completely right.  The only thing that will settle this is Aayla Secura addressing a specific Clone Commander IN THE MOVIE as Commander Bly.  Until then it's all questionable.

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