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Messages - Nicklab

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G.I. Joe isn't overly interesting to me either, but the fact that line has outsold Star Wars in terms of profit during a movie year (For the past several years actually) is pretty stunning.  G.I. Joe handily rules the boy's toys market these days.

As for the other military lines in 1:18/3.75" scale not being impressive to you, that's fine...  To each their own.  BBi, Dragon, and 21st Century figures sport crisper sculpts though, accurate scaling across the board, and for 2 of the companies (Dragon for some odd reason does not support lots of articulation but rather interchangeable limbs) have figures sporting 14 to 20 points of articulation each.  Pretty hard to top that...  

I mean, BBi figures can even see the weave of the fabric in their clothing.  Texture is something Hasbro just recently decided to start trying to bring out in sculpt (Well at times, other times their often poor paint applications don't accentuate that).

Hasbro's still a couple decades behind in those regards though, but maybe they'll pick up the pace on articulation and such since they're more than capable of doing it well, but just choose not to do it often.  Be nice for the toy line to be fun AND look good like the other toy lines in the same scale.

BTW, check out Dragon and BBi for the best face sculpts in history.  I'd love to see Dragon's 3.75" sculpts of our favorite Star Wars characters.  It's darn near a guarantee they'd be mirror images of the actors themselves.  Dragon dominates everyone in sculpt...  Got to admire those Japanese Toy companies for innovating the industry.

I personally think that this is an extremely unfair comparison.  Just from a business model standpoint, Hasbro and these other companies are completely different animals.

First, licensing.  Star Wars is a license that is paid from Hasbro to Lucasfilm Ltd.  So right off the bat, Hasbro is operating at a loss.  The SW license cost them plenty, including a 10% stake in the company that George Lucas now owns.  

So, they've got to try to bring something to market that meets several levels of expectations:  marketability to the retailers on a mass scale, a broad based appeal to the fans, but first an approval from Lucasfilm's licensing division.  Oh, and did I mention that they also have to try and pay back their licensing fees AND generate a profit?!

The smaller companies making military lines don't have half of these concerns.  Do they have to pay licensing fees?  Probably not.  Likeness rights?  Nope.  Do they have to go through a long approval process with the Pentagon?  Nope.  If they did that, you would probably never see these toys.  The fact is, the small companies like BBi, Dragon, 21st Century, etc don't have anywhere near the cost factor.  Let's face facts:  it's far cheaper for these companies to do business than it is for Hasbro.  As a result, they can offer a somewhat superiro product at about the same price points.

Regarding GI Joe:  GI Joe is able to make more money than Star Wars because Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe.  As a result, they don't have to pay any licensing fees, and has free reign over this property.  A very different business model.

Bearing all these factors in mind, the savvy collector has got to realize that Hasbro cannot do everything perfectly.  We can't get an entire line of Ephant Mon's, otherwise Hasbro would drop the SW license to save their skins, and some craptacular company like Mattel would make terrible toys.  We've got to settle on some pieces that are sub-par, some that are alright, and some that will be great.  Expecting greatness from every single piece while considering the business agreements that Hasbro has to operate under is frankly unrealistic.

The only complaint I can see is in movie the figures lack that special-ness than in non movie. POJT was a tremendous line general... next year looks to top that...
One thing most don't take into account is in a movie (sad as it may sound) it's usually quantity over quality for Hasbro.

They are looking to crank out the most product they can and thus figures tend to suffer a little less... but even then we still get some of the best 4" scale toys out there.

Actually, this is an incredibly valid point regarding the 2002 line.  Just think about it.  Hasbro had to prep some 25 figures for that initial SAGA release.  Some of them were great, and some were just short of garbage.  Witness the first EPISODE II Padme figure, Anakin-Outland Peasant Disguise and C-3PO with removable plating.  I think that some of the line suffers initially in the movie years because of the high volume of the initial release.  It truly is quantity versus quality.

Thankfully, as we get further and further from the movie release blitz, we get better and better figures.  There's been nary a stinker in the bunch for 2003, save "I've been impaled with a lollipop Mace Windu", and Droid Factory Flight R2-D2.  Thankfully, there have been more high points than low points in 2003.

Late 2003 looks great, IMHO.  And the linups for 2004 so far look equally good.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  it's like Power Of The Jedi all voer again!  That was one of the best lines we've ever had, and it appears that it's going that way again in 2004.  I have high hopes especially since this will be the last In-Between movie year that we have.  For someone who's usually a pessimist, I'm happily optimistic about 2004.

Dare I mention the D.G. as a possibility for the Clone Wars line, as a kind of sneak peak?  Those who've been reading TF.N may know what I'm referring to.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: OT 3 Packs for 2004 Suggestion to HASBRO
« on: October 15, 2003, 01:38 PM »
A New Hope

Death Star Troopers
Imperial Officers
Imperial Gunners

Rebel Fleet Troopers
Rebel Pilots
Rebel Honor Guard
Rebel Hangar Techs

Tusken Raiders

The Empire Strikes Back

Hoth Rebel Troopers
Hoth Rebel Hangar Techs
Snowspeeder Pilots

Star Destroyer Technicians

Cloud City
Bespin Guards

Return Of The Jedi

Jabba's Palace
Assorted henchmen

Endor Rebel Troopers
Rebel Pilots
Rebel Officers

Biker Scouts
Royal Guards

I know, we are getting about 60 figures each year. That is a alot.  I thought these were gonna be on different cards though.  But oh well, they are still hottt!!! I must say these are some of the hotteset 2003 figures, yet!!!!
I sure can't wait for Entertainment Earth to ship these cases.  But you know what i noticed EE is really slow on shipping out figures now.  The WA-7 wave was pushed up to December 2003, i mean i know they are shipping cases out of that wave cause i recieved mine, but when will the Pre-Order part finnally say "In-Stock".

The reason it's taking EE longer to ship is because mass retail is finally placing figure orders.  Toys R Us and KayBee are finally ordering new Basic Figures, and their ordering power draws allotments away from online retailers who order in smaller quantities.  So, it might be worth checking your local stores now.

JD Sports Forum! / Re: Batter up! The JD Baseball Thread...
« on: October 15, 2003, 05:53 AM »
I really thought with Prior on the mound that the Cubs were gonna clinch tonight.  I'm cutting some of the highlights at work right now, and it's almost surreal how they blew game 6.

JD Sports Forum! / Re: Batter up! The JD Baseball Thread...
« on: October 14, 2003, 07:45 PM »
Yankees Win!  Thu-uh-uh YANKEES WIN!

My core sentiment on the Clone Wars line is this:  Don't Batman-ize Star Wars.  Hasbro made so much garbage in their Batman line, and it's going to be warming pegs for years to come.  Thankfully, I think the licensing people at Lucasfilm will play an integral role in what does and does not get produced.  So, we may be safe from the line turning into pure dreck.

As for the line expanding?  I would expect other members of the Jedi Council and other high profile Jedi to get some recognition.  Count Dooku is another key character that you would expect as well.

As for some of the Republic and Seperatist forces?  I could see some of the following as possibilities as army builder sets:

-Battle Droids
-Various Seperatist Troops (Geonosians possibly)
-Clone Troopers (new poses, variations on the ranks)
-ARC Troopers
-More Jedi

In the vehicle department, I'd be interested in seeing more.  The AT-TE would be a dream come true.  There's also a Seperatist Droid Tank that didn't make it into Attack Of The Clones that's pretty cool.  It is in some of the animatics that are part of the EPISODE II DVD, though.

Saga '02-'04 / MORE NEW FOR 2004!!!!!!
« on: October 13, 2003, 06:18 PM »

My comments were mainly focused on the aforementioned Sir Steve.  Based on his actions following Toy Fair 2002 and other accounts of some dubious incidents that have made their way around the collecting community, I think I have a right to form my own opinion regarding Sir Steve.  I've made no accusations.  There are plenty of those going around, and there's no need to retread that.

Are you free to associate with whomever you want?  Certainly.  That is your choice and your right.  Just as I am free to make my own choices.  Do I have a right to make some character judgements based on the company people keep?  I think so.  Is it the wisest thing to do?  Sometimes.  Sometimes not.  I'll continue to exercise my own personal judgement.

I'll do that just as I'll continue to pursue good Star Wars toy reporting for for the collecting community.  In that same regard I'll continue to cite all of my sources whenever possible, and followup for the fine details.  Like getting release dates, exclusive retailer information and other details accurate as often as possible.

I'm not interested in getting into the various minutiae and disputes that go on in the collecting community.  Are you free to draw inferences from my post?  Sure.  Just as I'm free to say that yes, you operate a good site, or form any other opinion.  I'm not interested in getting into this.  That's why I declined to further comment on page one of this post.  I get the feeling you aren't interested in getting into it either.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: MORE NEW FOR 2004!!!!!!
« on: October 13, 2003, 03:59 PM »
I can update this with info from Jimmy soon....

___  #04/tbd  Hoth Rebel Trooper
___  #04/tbd  Luke Skywalker - Wampa Cave with ice ceiling
___  #04/tbd  R-3PO - Echo base counterintelligence droid
___  #04/tbd  R1-G4
___  #04/tbd  Luke Skywalker - Jabba's Palace
___  #04/tbd  R2-D2 with drink tray
___  #04/tbd  Shawdda Ubb - Rappertunie
___  #04/tbd  Lando Calrissian - Skiff Guard
___  #04/tbd  J'Quille
___  #04/tbd  Elom
___  #04/tbd  Luke Skywalker-Hologram
___  #04/tbd  Captain Antilles
___  #04/tbd  General Dodonna
___  #04/tbd  Dengar with backpack
___  #04/tbd  Cantina figure TBA
___  #04/tbd  Jawa/rig4
___  #04/tbd  Admiral Ozzel
___  #04/tbd  TIE Fighter Pilot
___  #04/tbd  Cloud Car Pilot
___  #04/tbd  Leia Organa - Bespin Gown
___  #04/tbd  Lobot
___  #04/tbd  R2-D2 - Dagobah
___  #04/tbd  Dutch Vander - Gold Leader
___  #04/tbd  Han Solo - Endor
___  #04/tbd  Sly Moore - Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's aide
___  #04/tbd  Yarua - Wookiee Senator
___  #04/tbd  Pablo Jill - Jedi Knight
___  #04/tbd  Luke Skywalker - Reissue
___  #04/tbd  Darth Vader - Reissue
___  #04/tbd  Princess Leia Organa - Reissue

___  Anakin Skywalker
___  Obi-Wan Kenobi
___  Mace Windu
___  Assaj Ventress

ULTRA FIGURES 7items, available Spring 2004
___  General Rieekan with tactical plot
___  Wampa with tauntaun bone & base
___  C-3PO with escape pod
___  Jabba the Hutt
___  B'ommar Monk, Bubo & Wol Cabbashite 3-Pack
___  tba
___  Ewok 2-pack with catapult


___  Jawa Sandcrawler - TARGET EXCLUSIVE
___  TIE Fighter with rescaled solar panels
___  Y-Wing - Gold Leader
___  X-Wing

Saga '02-'04 / Re: MORE NEW FOR 2004!!!!!!
« on: October 13, 2003, 03:43 PM »
Jimmy, you the man!

1:6 Scale Figures and Collectibles / Re: 12" Clone Wars
« on: October 13, 2003, 02:13 PM »
While I'd like to see movie versions of some of the Jedi you mentioned, I don't know that I can say the same about all the others in "Clone Wars" garb.  The 12" line seems like it might not be doing to well, and it might be best not to tax it.

Saga '02-'04 / Re: The Emperor
« on: October 13, 2003, 02:09 PM »
The Emporer is shipping in cases other than the one you mentioned, Boba Binks.  I know I've found it in multiples froma single case.  And truth be told, it is a decent figure.  I like the way the force lightning attaches to his wrists.  But the cane is a different story.  Hang on to the rubber bands so that you can keep the cane secure in his hand.

Other Toy Lines / Re: McFarlane Sportspicks
« on: October 13, 2003, 09:47 AM »
Doh!  Here I was hoping you might have a white Alstott, black McAllister or blue pants Alexander.  Drat!

Other Toy Lines / Re: McFarlane Led Zeppelin & Jimi Hendrix
« on: October 13, 2003, 09:41 AM »
Yeah, I think you're right.  I'm pretty sure Mitch Mitchell played with Jimi at Woodstock, but I think Noel Redding had left the band by then.  I think Billy Cox played bass with Jimi at Woodstock.  Still it would be sweet to have the entire Experience band as a set.

I'm also wondering when we're going to see the Led Zeppelin figures.  I hope they do the whole band, and don't just do Page and Plant.  That would just suck.

I've got most of Hendrix's catalog.  But don't be advocating downloading, Brad.  It is stealing after all.  And as a musician, I'm acutely aware of just how much money downloading costs artists who are just scraping by.

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