AP - I'm curious to know why you disliked the set. I thought it looked pretty neat for what it was and yes I'd pay $30 for this.
After finding my first release in the modern line for 14 years this week (8/1/1995 Hantrooper Froot Loops box!), the last thing I want is premium priced figures. Particularly if they're things that I may already have. This is just another "Disturbance in the Force," which, IIRC, struggled to sell through and now goes for less than issue price on eBay. ($15-$20 for Darth Vader I Have plus Display Stand I Don't is a dull product.)
If we didn't have over 1,000 different modern-era figures, or if this happened to be the "2,000th Figure Gift Set," or something that might make it special-- as someone opined, even as a Celebration exclusive-- sure, whatever, this might not be terrible. But as a standard release without significant fanfare or some event to *make* it special, it's just another very expensive exclusive. Between now and the end of 2009, we're looking at over $640 of Hasbro 3 3/4-inch exclusives. Compared to that new AT-ST, Dewback, TIE Interceptor, and everything else, this simply does not compare unless Hasbro goes out of their way to make it special by tying it in to an event (Celebration V), an anniversary (ROTJ's 30th is 2013), a milestone (are we at 1,750 yet?), or *something.*
I have spare Darth Vaders from countless gift sets I bought to get *other* figures, and a box of matches. I can totally make this scene happen in real-time without shelling out $30. (If it had a unique Ewok or Rebel Pilot, I'd get excited. But it don't. So I'm not.)
Keep in mind I open and futz with my figures-- I am not won over by unique dioramas in the packaging if the figures aren't exciting or present a unique change. If I were to write a FOTD column about either, at least from what I saw at the show, it would be "this is the same release as X, except now it has a torch" for Luke or "This is the Darth Vader figure from this other release" for Vader. A pile of wood doesn't make for an interesting accessory if the price is too high. I'm not saying Hasbro won't sell a few thousand units to some very eager fans-- because of how I treat the hobby, I'd take one to make certain that it is indeed the same thing when it comes time to write about it-- but unless they market this right, I don't expect that you're going to see a lot of traction with the typical fan, the person who *doesn't* post on forums.
Wow, that was long.
Conversely, I don't understand what's so great about it and why everybody all of a sudden loves it. Unless you don't have a lot of Lukes or Vaders yet, in which case I can get where you're coming from.
If this were announced as a $25 Target exclusive or $30-$35 ShopStarWars.com item, I assume I'd be seeing total silence from those who like it or the opposite reaction, with a similar amount of posts hating on it. Over the years-- and I have been keeping track-- every time Hasbro announces a product and a "we might not make this" comment gets out, people start freaking out about this marvelous item they will never be able to have, even if it isn't necessarily all that great. I myself had the same reaction when I first found out about all the unproduced Kenner toys from 1977-1986 in Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible
and other books, specifically all those Ewoks and Droids cartoon figures plus, yes, the original Gargan action figure. And again when those Kay-Bee exclusive 00M-9 and Obi-Wan Kenobi figures got the axe.