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Messages - Muftak

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The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: 16 Most Useless SW Figures
« on: November 20, 2013, 12:18 AM »
Hmph. Except for that last Star Tours guy all his picks were unique sculpts. Those are always worthy in my mind.

My list of the 16 most useless figures would all be clone trooper repaints. Oh, and Pax Bonkik. He ruined Star Wars collecting for me. It hasn't been the same thing since they made him.

You're absolutely right...when they went back to basics with the Avengers line it still didn't explode off the shelf. Another line I would have said was perfectly executed was the Star Trek 3 3/4 line...and it tanked horribly. So all I speak from is arm-chair toymaking and looking back on a line as far as its overall kid/collector appeal.

We do approach this through the prism of 1977 Star Wars, where it was the biggest movie ever in an age when movies didn't come home with you except in the form of something else. Oh, and those toys didn't even make it to the shelf until a year after the movie hit. When Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica tried to repeat the success the next year with the same bunch of non-video gaming kids, their toy lines failed too. So maybe its a historical truth that big movies/TV shows have toy lines that bomb, and we are just blinded by the solitary exception.

If you look at how previous Marvel movie figure lines have performed, it seems very likely that Hasbro over-produced product for Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America - The First Avenger.  Even though those movies did very well at the box office, their action figure lines didn't really follow suit.  Witness Hasbro scaling back on the figure line for The Avengers, which had some of the biggest box office numbers of all time.

I would argue the point that Hasbro went too far afield in the IM2 and Cap film lines...there was far too much non-movie product too early. They need to get a grip on the established play patterns. You need the bad guy available on the shelf to help sell the hero. You need a line that lends itself to collecting them all. 50 versions of one character available on day one or 50 characters available for a movie that only highlighted six of them show Hasbro has forgotten the formula. 10-20 figures as the movie necessitates. When the line is a success you come back to the table to add depth. Repeat until you can't sell anymore.

Part of the reason the Skylanders have been successful thus far is they have been comparatively less expansive and reward the kid who collects them all. Hasbro can compete on that level.

I do wonder what Star Wars will morph into, Skylander-wise, to survive. Will Hasbro retain their license? Or will the action figure line be killed by Disney in favor of phasing the characters into Infinity? It will be interesting to watch.

I really think the happiest spot we could be in, the ideal situation Big H should be aspiring to create, is one in which there are about 52 unique figures a year that ship in multiple waves and in quantities that would allow the dedicated collector to pick up one new figure a week.

The closest I've come to being able to pull this off was in 2007, and even then I had to cheat by banking figure purchases on weeks I couldn't find anything new for the day I would find a whole new wave. Wouldn't it blow your mind to be able to count on a figure being available the next time you go to the store instead of having to grab them all the first time you see 'em for fear of never finding them again?

The Wookiee Arcade / Tiny Death Star app
« on: November 9, 2013, 04:17 PM »
Loaded this app on my phone when it popped up a few days ago.I couldn't resist the name.

Very goofy and tongue in cheek. I am up to ten levels now, and enjoying the EU character name shout-outs and the random tweets by the "bitzens."

A fun distraction. Anyone else download it?

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VII
« on: October 24, 2013, 06:57 PM »
Honestly I just want to smash my head through a sheet of glass thinking about the fact that folks would have lined up like this to script the prequels for George too. Frank Darabont was supposed to ghost write at one point...why couldn't George have retired before 2012? (Oh yeah, it was 2012 that made it happen.)

Kind of amazing that we don't have a script but we're confident it'll be ready in 2015. Star Wars movies are supposed to take 3 years to make, period. Maybe I'm just too used to the Lucas house style of making the movie in the editing booth.

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VII
« on: October 24, 2013, 04:20 PM »
Trading up Arndt for Kasdan and the director is fine by me.

I look forward to seeing their movie and later reading the comic based on Arndt's script.  :-*

My 4-year old son has been a big Angry Birds fan ever since he started getting rewarded for good jobs with time on the iPad. He calls the Star Wars version "Space Birds" and loves them almost as much. It's been my way of getting him into the movies...he knows the droids, Chewie and Vader on sight now thanks to the Birds versions. Neither the standard toys nor the Clone Wars stuff ever really caught his interest. The other day at Wal*Mart he found a clearanced Early Bird set that he really wanted to take home, it's the first time he ever picked out a Star Wars toy. He looks at TelePods in the aisle, and has asked for the ABGo! Toys.

That being said, we've only ever downloaded the free apps and there's really no way I can justify bringing home any of the TelePod stuff with his 15-month old brother running around ready to eat/choke on them.

All in all, I can see how this could be the driving force of the Hasbro toy line right now. Certainly the action figure lines are not kid-friendly in their current formats.

Power of the Force 2 / Re: Time Flies
« on: October 15, 2013, 09:44 AM »
What's the hands down worst

There are so many candidates to choose from, that whole first wave or four was mostly stinkers. Only Threepio and the Jawas made it out alive.

Obviously the R5D4 and Fleet Trooper...even the day I got him I thought he looked like a mid 80s Fisher Price Adventure People toy.

Uncle Owen is a drunken disheveled mess with a tiny useless fist.

The "best" dancing figure has got to be the Death Star Trooper.

It even ended badly. Bouushh's Prisoner Chewbacca was one of the turdiest Chewies ever, almost as bad as Snoova disguise.

But let's show some love, too. We got some really good figures in the mix, articulation be damned. I never passed up a POTF2 Jawa 2 pack. The 1997 Bossk figure still holds up, and was 100% accurate. Pote Snitkin fits right in today. Max Rebo and his organ is all kinds of awesome...even with the diaper. No, especially because of the diaper.

And think of all the characters that only came out as POTF2 figures. Pote, Ishi Tib, Lak Sivrak, Muftak. No vintage versions, and nothing in modern times, not even a reissue. I tell ya, the most complete line ever.

Power of the Force 2 / Re: Time Flies
« on: October 13, 2013, 05:09 PM »
Wow. Hadn't made that connection yet.

Looking back at them, POTF2 really does show its age, much the same as vintage did in 95. That being said, it would be real hard for me to feel the same kind of nostalgia for these as I do the vintage guys I played with as a kid...I was a college-age toy collector for POTF2 and that was a whole different beast.

I love the line though. As far as character selection, the run from 1995-99 has never been surpassed, even if some of the figures were comically bad out of the gate (R5D4 and Rebel Fleet Trooper pop right off the top of my head.) It really started cranking them out in 97, too, that has got to be the high-water mark for ease of collecting. It seemed like every week I found something new back then, and with the primitive Internet there were so few resources to go to, every new find was a pleasant suprise.

Maybe Hasbro will commemorate it with a four pack of repros...lets say Monkey-Face Leia, He-Man Luke, Goofy Short Chewie, and the funky Stormtrooper.

What's the most awesome pose you've gotten a figure into?  The one you called your wife in to see, and she rolls her eyes.  The one the kids went, "That's awesome!", when they saw it.

Back in the day, I put the VOTC Chewbacca in a one footed pose, with his other foot kicking straight up over his head. He stood all by himself, and mind you he doesn't have foot holes to cheat. That pose merited the "Honey, come in here, you gotta see this!!"

Prior to that, circa 2002, I had an office space with this long twelve-foot shelf on it. I set up an epic war scene, combining OT and PT figures, Luke and Leia side by side with Obi-Wan and Anakin. Highlights of that one were an Imperial Sentinel/Atha-Prime commanding a squad of clone troopers, and POTJ Bespin Han with his blaster pressed to the bucket of a kneeling, arms-splayed CT Stormtrooper. When my then 6-year old nephew saw that set up, it made him want a Star Wars collection of his own.

So yeah, I'm in the pose them camp.

The Black Series 3.75" Figures / Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« on: September 13, 2013, 05:31 PM »
My predictions for the next two years:

We see some new well sculpted figures (exclusively from the OT), all 5POA, in the movie heroes line.

TBS continues in 6" format with three more waves, including a cool ROTJ biker scout. Still no Vader.

TBS 3 3/4 stalls out with several waves planned but none show at retail. No one cares, because the figures are all clone repaints and slight upgrades of existing figures.

For the holidays target gets a gift set of repacked movie heroes from 2013. TRU gets a TBS 6" speeder bike/biker scout set that they sell for $45. Kmart gets a couple sweet TBS 3 3/4 sets including several Jabba's Palace characters and a scaled-up skiff from out of nowhere. Amazon gets a set of "retro-packaged" 5POA Prequel figures that were developed for the movie heroes line but pulled in favor of OT figures. Walmart passes on selling any gift sets.

The year starts off with a wave of three preview figures from the new Ep7 line. One droid, one alien, one trooper. It will eventually turn out that none of these characters even have a line in the movie.

Ep7 line (3 3/4, 5POA) hits in May with a "double wave" of 14 figures, made up of: 2 versions of main hero, 2 versions of his sidekick, 2 versions of cool villain ( who is not main villain but is the visually more interesting one.), 2 versions of R2D2 (both of which are old sculpts,) and 6 versions of troopers resculpted from the preview wave in various color schemes (some never appearing in the movie.)

Two more waves are announced. Wave 2 (containing the main villain) shows up sporadically late in the summer. Wave 3 (containing the cameo versions of Han Luke and Leia) fails to make it to retail.

TBS 6" continues with Vader announced at toy fair for wave 4! The line shifts to a mix of two Ep7 figures and 2 classic figures per case. Surprising no one, the classic figures sell while the new movie ones fill the shelves. The third and fourth wave never reach retail, blocked by new movie stuff.

We get two terribly under-scaled versions of the main vehicles in the movie in May. By August they are joined on the shelf by an equally under-scaled big vehicle and a cheaply made (not cheaply priced) cardboard playset.
Five below and other discounters get the 2014 TBS 3 3/4 figures. Collectors shrug and go out to dutifully clear them out.

For the holidays/DVD release, Target gets a gift set of the main characters from wave 1. TRU gets a boxed set of troopers. KMart gets the cameo OT character gift set. Amazon gets a huge box with all the popular characters no one could find from wave 2, and charges twice the price of the other stores for it. Walmart passes on selling any gift sets.

I find myself agreeing a lot with what Dan says. I'm 39 and I've been collecting these guys since 1978. I remember looking forward to finding the holdouts of the'82 line (Tie pilot was really hard to find.) all the way through stuff like the anticipation of the Shadows of the Empire line in '96 as golden times.

In my old age, I really look back fondly on that Potf2 era as the best we've ever had it as far as line consistency, depth, and availability. I no longer have most of those toys, but I could see that set being a collection I would put back together if everything OT comes to an end someday and the collecting bug starts biting. But right now it jut isn't biting, and from all I read I feel fortunate because lately things would be maddening. There are plenty of figures from the past 3 years I would buy if I ever saw them, but I'm not going out of my way to look.

2007 was definitely a turning point in the line and how I collect. I set myself a master list of everything I might ever want, rather than feel obliged to buy stuff just because it got made. I have since only been suprised a couple of times by hasbro's selections to the point that I needed to add a figure to my list ( I think Jacen and Jaina were the biggest nice suprise I've had since then.) That being said, in 2007 I was able to go to the store once a week and buy one figure or so with very little stress in finding what I wanted. 2008-9 stuff was not as easy to find, and by the time vintage rolled in and the price hit 10 bucks I pretty much lost the compulsion. It may not be a coincidence that I lost that drive just after my first son was born in late '09. Now we look at toys for the boys and even though I still look in the Star Wars section, I haven't seen anything to interest me in quite some time.

The Original Trilogy / Re: Does the Emperor Get Haircuts?
« on: August 5, 2013, 09:48 PM »
I wrote a short fan-fic story about the subject of the empire's anti-alien bias a few years back. You can read it here if you're interested in a different perspective on the possibility.

TV-9D9 / Re: Star Wars Rebels - Coming Fall 2014
« on: July 29, 2013, 11:04 PM »
This is still not what I want* but, meh, I'll certainly watch it. I was not excited about CW either but the first season and a half were a lot of fun.

The designs they showed look great but none of that means much if we wind up with stories about one-dimensional senators or school lunches. Keep it action-focused, give us a (very) few main characters we can get emotionally involved with, and give them a real character arc that doesn't have all the growth loaded into the final episodes.

...oh, and don't rely on Vader, that's a cop-out. He can appear, but give us a bad guy that can have just as much growth and revelation as the good guys.

* = What I really want is cartoons that follow young Luke Han and Leia in the years between ANH and ESB. I don't care what EU we've gotten from that era in the past, there will never be enough and I don't care if it all jibes with each other. Scratch that, it already doesn't so its a non-issue. I really scratch my head when some other non-movie series project is announced and its not set in this ripe area. [/end rant]

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