Jan 5, 2016

Star Wars - Pining for Plastic


WARNING
** This post may contain The Force Awakens spoilers **

As a kid in the 70s, the toys of Star Wars were every bit as important as the movies themselves. They helped us get through the three year intervals between films at a time when there wasn't much else. When you're still in single digits, three years is for-ev-er!

There wasn't much in the way of an Expanded Universe, so playing with figures of background characters allowed for creative story telling. Hammerhead was usually a bad ass when I played with him because he was my favorite figure. And then there was the magic of the mail away Boba Fett. Getting him before the movie, you had no idea who he was or what he could do (non-rocket firing disappointment aside).

Image from Galactic Hunter
The point of all this waxing nostalgic is getting to my current lack of faith with Hasbro. First was the Force Friday debacle. If you weren't there at midnight on Thursday, you probably didn't see any movie figures for months except the Resistance fighter. To this day, I still haven't seen a 3.75" Phasma or Rey in the wild. In the months leading up to the movie, I started seeing figures here and there but they just didn't do it for me.

As a kid, seeing new figures had a certain magic to it. Before the movie, I read a story with Sarco Plank having a major role in it so I was a little excited to see the figure to find out what he looked like. Turns out, he wasn't as cool as I pictured and the design is kinda meh. He has no real face or features, just a helmet (?) and a big red robe. I don't know why so few of the new figures are exciting me. It just feels like they made the wrong figures. Constable Zuvio has a 3.75" and 6" figure but is he even in the movie?

Zuvio (L) and Sarco Plank (R)
 Zuvio has a stand-alone e-book short story that takes place before the film but isn't connected to the events in it. At least he looks kind of cool (although he's an enemy in Disney Infinity!). I think my problem with a lot of the characters I have seen in the store is they look more like costumes than characters. If you look at the majority of Jakku-based figures, they're faces are covered. Not that completely covered up characters don't rock, these just look kind of Mad Max-generic instead of Star Wars. Also, given the lead time that Hasbro needs to create the figures it's possible the script at that time had these characters doing something in the movie.

My first viewing of The Force Awakens wasn't until the Sunday after opening so there was a small window where I was hoping to recapture that childhood magic of finding new (and cool) figures in the store. I don't know if you heard all the hubbub about the WalMart that put out a mildly spoilerish Rey figure before the movie opened but that kindled a spark in me. I had a hunch Hasbro would be unleashing a whole new wave of toys after opening day and the thick curtain of secrecy was lifted from the movie.

Nope.

I went into all my local stores looking for something, anything new that hadn't been peg warming for the past couple months and found Absolutely Nothing new. I mean, there have to be movie versions of Han, Leia, and Chewie at least, right?

Here's the card back of that Rey figure.

Image from Star Wars Action News Facebook page
This is what I want!
I had no idea what a Hassk Thug was but I want that guy! He looks interesting.

It feels like Force Friday all over again with no new stuff before Christmas. The movie has been out for a couple of weeks. Shouldn't I be able to walk into any store to find main characters and troopers readily available? Not only is this a problem for collectors, but what about all the kids that want the toys? There's so much vying for kids' attention nowadays, if they don't get the toys after seeing the movie, they'll probably move on to something else.

If there's a bright center of action figures, I must be living in the city that it's farthest from. I know they'll be coming...some day. It's just that this is the primo time to have them out there.
Hasbro, I want to give you money but you have to give me something for it.

Has your Force Awakens figure experience been the same?

13 comments:

  1. I haven't picked up any of the 1/18th scale Star Wars figures from TFA yet and I doubt I will (I have been buying up the Black Series, though). Oddly enough, while I live in an area with fewer stores than many folks have access to I think I've seen every 1/18th scale figure numerous times before Christmas except for the Resistance Rey wave. I've also seen the first two Wal-mart waves on a couple of occassions. The only Black Series figure up through the third series I haven't see in stores is Phasma. While places like Wal-Mart and K-Mart have been wiped clean, places like Walgreens Kohls, and other non-traditional toy retailers seem to have lots of figures in stock.

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    1. Oh, and I love Sarco Plank. I really hope he makes it into the Black Series! I've loved him ever since reading The Weapon of a Jedi.

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    2. You're luckier than I am! I do keep checking the secondary retailers and come up similarly disappointed. Maybe I'm in a high volume area, lol!

      I like Sarco in the book, just how he actually looks is kinda boring.

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  2. It's hard to go back home again and with this new Star Wars movie i was hoping to recapture the magic of my childhood but with these new action figures i really only seen a couple that i have any real interest in...maybe if i had seen the movie but i have moved on to Dawn of Justice now which has me excited.

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    1. I just saw the new Hot Toys for DoJ and they look awesome. Haven't seen much else from it except for a LEGO set.

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  3. I am still wishing for Meco to put out an album for the new movie. I think my magic was more about the music than the action figures. I was 14 in '77 and didn't get many of the toys, other than the "flashlight with a plastic tube on it" light saber.

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    1. Ah yes, I fondly remember my inflatable yellow tube on a flashlight saber.

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  4. It's interesting you bring this up, because I stopped at a Target hoping to pick up a few of the 5 POA figures from the movie. They were completely out. Not a one hanging from the pegs. It doesn't look like they've had a restock since Black Friday.

    So, I don't know if Hasbro isn't producing enough, or stores aren't ordering more product. Either way, you can't sell what people can't buy.

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    1. Exactly! When they first announced they were doing 5 POA I was less than thrilled. But lately I've come around to the "throwback" of 5 POA figures.

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  5. I want Phasma and Rey but haven't seen them in the wild yet. I haven't seen much in the wild yet, to be honest. And I agree with you that a cool looking character goes a long way even without much screen time. I feel bad for the kids, I think a big component of characters like Phasma not being available is collectors and re-sellers buying them all up. That wasn't happening when we were kids!

    Fortunately someone was able to find Rey for my daughter's Xmas gift, so we got lucky in that department!

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    1. I do remember my dad having to take me on a 45 minute drive to another state to get my ESB Yoda when he first came out. But that's the only time I remember having a hard time finding figures back then!

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  6. I'm totally disappointed in the new figures. Haven't gotten any b

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    1. What gets me most with the new figures is the "normal" ones we're used to with more than 5 points of articulation are now around $14. Or you could spend an extra $^ and get a 6" figure instead.

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