Author Topic: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?  (Read 858 times)

Offline Snively Bandar

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Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« on: August 11, 2003, 07:15 PM »
So some of Hasbro's recent moves really have me wondering if they're creating some intentional variants, or if they're really just honest mistakes that we should thank them for fixing.  If it's a case of the latter, then they're still technically to blame just for having poor quality control and a crappy overall review process.

These are the figures that have been changed part way through their production run, thus reigniting this idea in my head:

Boba Fett (Pit of Carkoon) - changed from a blue jumpsuit to the more accurate green one

Jedi Luke (Throne Room) - changed the black glove from his left hand originally, to the corrected right hand

Elan Sleazebaggano (not yet released) - GH is reporting that Hasbro originally didn't include antennaes on this figure, but noticed the error at some point and made a running change to to include antennaes on him later on in the run (blaming it on Lucasfilm for the change)

Previously:

Bespin Luke - From "Bloody Stump", to metal peg, and finally to plastic peg.  What's the deal with all that?  And yes I've already heard their excuses for the changes.

Endor Han (Saga) - from the white commlink/lever on his belt, to the more accurate grey one

etc.

I'm sure there's others, but with the current Boba Fett and Jedi Luke alterations, and the announcement on the Deathsticks dude yesterday, I just have to wonder what the hell is going on over at Hasbro.

What do you guys think?  Should we be thankful for the fixes, or is Hasbro trying to milk the variation hunters and completists in this line?  If you wouldn't mind, please don't start with the "If you don't like it, don't buy it" routine either.  That's tired!   ;)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2003, 08:00 PM by Snively Bandar »

Offline CorranHorn

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2003, 10:51 PM »
Most of the variations we have seen over the years, especially the Saga variations are not intended to be variations, just continued "accurate and efficient" improvements on figures. For instance the Bloody Stump Luke was altered to remove magnet attachment since the Hasbro magnets could be flaky and kids could more easily lose the hand than with a plastic peg that would hold nice and tight. The Boba Fett coloring issue is probably that the original paint scheme seemed to be of a more greenish hue to the Hasbro developers, but they looked back and said no its more bluish, we should make sure that the figure properly represents the outfit and thus the running change there. Now the Jedi Luke, that's gotta be just a big screwup, there should have been no way that it got passed QA without anyone realizing the wrong hand was painted black. You would think that if it the person who sent the sample to QA for approval didn't know which hand was which, that the QA tester would have, as they should have had much sample photography available. Something went wrong in communications and the factories started spitting out screwed up Luke's until finally someone caught on and they made the change there. As for the antennas on Elan, if they could go back and add them for him, how come the Aurra in the Bounty Hunter 4 pack didnt get an antenna, grrrr

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2003, 11:03 PM »
Elan Sleazebaggano (not yet released) - GH is reporting that Hasbro originally didn't include antennaes on this figure, but noticed the error at some point and made a running change to to include antennaes on him later on in the run (blaming it on Lucasfilm for the change)

Hasbro also gave him ears on the figure, which he didn't have in the movie.

Good points, I actually have a "Jango's Jargon" for next week concerning this very topic.

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2003, 07:17 AM »
As for the antennas on Elan, if they could go back and add them for him, how come the Aurra in the Bounty Hunter 4 pack didnt get an antenna, grrrr

That's exactly what I was thinking the other day when I bought the Bounty Hunter 4-pack Jason.  I was really hoping Hasbro would squeeze out a nice little (cheap) upgrade to Aurra there and give us her accurate antenna this time around, but oh well!

So it sounds like your on the side of "honest mistakes" then.  I probably am as well, though sometimes I really do wonder, since you just know that Hasbro must know that a lot of us will buy one of each intentional manufacturing variant, especially when it's usually a more accurate upgrade from the previous version.  I prefer to think that they wouldn't take advantage of us like that, but who knows...  They are in business to make money!

That said, I can't really blame Hasbro for the method in which I choose to collect my figures.  If I buy both Jedi Lukes just to make sure I have one of each, that's my decision, which I can't really blame Hasbro for.  Granted they're still the ones that sloppily let the incorrect Luke out the door in the first place...

Offline SiteC

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2003, 02:02 PM »
the thing that pisses me off is, Elan isnt even releaed yet (possibly not even through production yet) and there is still going to be a variant.  What they should have done was made the correct version from the get go....we've known for over a year now Elan has antannae, H must have missed the memo..

As for the Fett jumpsuit, it may be an issue with the plastic...different plastics used in each run,....

But I believe the Luke variants are all intentional....

Offline Thomas Grey

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2003, 03:31 AM »
I think there are two answers to you quandry.

1. Hasbro is finally starting to listen to the fans and is attempting to make figures as authentic as possible. Take the Hoth Han Solo for instance. The 2 colors his coat comes in are the vintage model color (blue) and the accurate color (gray). I am not sure it was intentional, but they probably receive a lot of fan input and obviously want to make as many happy as possible. The same probably applies to Boba Fett. I also think all the head variations for the Rebel Trooper and the Imperial Officer are to please the army builders and the diarama creators. The Clone Trooper 3-Pack has several different Trooper rank colors for the center Clone Trooper: I know there is a white one and a blue one has been confirmed and I recently saw an ebay auction for a green Trooper, but no image was provided.

2. The factory people, and the figure creators are really lacking some quality control. Many of the 2003 figures have been found with conflicting #'s printed. Han Solo (Flight to Alderaan) has the title card with the figure # as 25 and the card back is printed as #27 (which in fact is the correct #). The Luke glove is a real doozy! And Elan is definitely a big oversight. I can't imagine it is cheap to stop the presses and implement a card correction or change in sculpt or paint scheme. Hasbro is probably paying a lot to make these changes happen and they are most likely not too happy about doing it.

I guess that it all boils down to Hasbro doing these things for the most part, on the fly. To have to change a figure 3 or 4 times just can't be in the blueprints unless we are talking about the Rebel Trooper or Imperial Officer.

The thing that seems curious to me is they do not release the production runs of each change. So we do not know which is the more rare variation. We can assume with a few that they are small production runs (bloody Luke, the first 16 figures with background inserts...). But which Hoth Han, Throne Room Luke or Boba Fett is the more rare? For those that collect for values sake, this can be maddening.

Sorry that I did not chime in sooner. I'm trying to polish the missing JD.com checklists up and update our Saga lists, so I'm a bit swamped.
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Offline Jedirhino

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2003, 07:19 AM »
for the variant collectors this definitely rocks...but I for one will be happy to find the figure...don't get me wrong, I WANT accurate looking figures, but I want better distribution MORE...

Offline MisterPL

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Re: Honest mistakes, or intentional variants?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2003, 09:42 AM »
I WANT accurate looking figures, but I want better distribution MORE...

Hasbro's distribution to retailers is fine. It's the retailers themselves that are like gluttons when a movie's released, cramming the pegs for over a year with the same first two or three assortments. It's their fault, not Hasbro's.

As for Bespin Luke, going from a magnet to a metal peg to a plastic peg actually makes sense from a production "damage control" point of view. Hasbro simply made the best running change it could while retooling the necessary parts for the figure.

The closer it is to a movie's release, the more "honest mistakes" occur in product development. When a movie THIS dependent on last-minute visual effects has a toy line that requires a YEAR to develop, changes happen. The 2-headed announcer in The Phantom Menace is a great example of "Whoops, George made another change!" The first Artoo with booster rockets is another. And licensees have to react.

Then there's the approval process. Everybody knows how debateable color is (Hoth Han). Hasbro uses style guides provided by Lucas Licensing for many of its color choices. But sometimes those colors change. Early in Star Wars licensing, someone would just look at an uncalibrated monitor and try to figure out what a costume color looked like to them, sometimes studying only one scene. Years later, someone else might stumble across that particular costume in the Archives and think, "Oh my, that's not brown, it's blue!" Style guides change and once again, licensees react.

The Luke with black glove on his left hand could have been a simple miscommunication at the factory. That's a pretty small part, and unless you're privy to the BIG picture, to Lee Factoryworker, it's just another little action figure hand. Someone transposes an "R" for an "L" and you need a production change. When you see the final product in context, it's a VERY noticeable error. But sitting in a bin with 20,000 other little black hands it's easy to miss.

Yes, Hasbro makes intentional variants. They make more honest mistakes, though. Fortunately for them, such mistakes become valuable variants to many collectors, so they don't have to worry as much if Luke's eyes aren't quite the right color.

I'm sure if Hasbro could get everything perfect the first time, they would. With licensed product, so much of the development is out of your control, it's amazing that these toys even make it to market at all.
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