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Hasbro Star Wars Action Figures and Toys February 11, 2012


Nothing but Star Wars! Since about 1994, Kenner (and later Hasbro) have done a pretty good job trying new and different things with Star Wars, and this year there are a couple new market segments for toys. Star Wars Amp'd is more of a quasi construction system, similar to Wheeled Warriors, Legions of Power, or even Xevoz. The smaller figures are sized similarly to Galactic Heroes and can connect with various weapons, and the vehicles are capable of being remade. This one probably won't last too long, but it's pretty neat and looks like it might have stood a chance in the 1980s and/or if it weren't tied to a license with sky-high expectations.

The other new item is in stores already, and it's Star Wars Fighter Pods. There are 48 out now, and they're basically Squinkies. Each soft rubbery plastic figure is under half an inch high, give or take, and spans all the movies-- but mostly the Original Trilogy. Some key characters are underrepresented, while others have an abundant number of releases-- there are three Chewbaccas, and zero Leias. There's a Porkins, but no Count Dooku. Heck, other than Stormtroopers there are very few villains of any kind, with dew other than Jango from the prequels. It's a neat collectible line, and Hasbro has plans for over 100 figures already. Small vehicles are out as well, and while the demonstrator indicating there would be a game component, that's sort of not exactly accurate. You can knock down figures with other figures... that's the game.

The Clone Wars segment is either wrapping up or on a break-- Hasbro confirmed only 19 figures would be made in this segment for the year, including repackaged existing figures. 10 of those are out as of the show, another 7 were shown in the Power Point presentation, meaning only 2 (unless I missed them) are scheduled for the remainder of the year. The only new vehicles were already known, an MTT, a Republic Submarine, and a Republic Attack Recon Fighter are on the way. New midsize vehicles are scheduled for March, but with no preorders online that's starting to seem suspect.

The new/old/new Movie Heroes line didn't fare much better. Only 3 new figures were shown, but more are expected.

Along with the delayed Vintage Collection figures shown over a year ago, 20 new characters were shown including Fan's Choice Mara Jade. Way to exercise that vote, fans. New characters from The Old Republic will be sprinkled throughout the year, as will Vintage updates like Lumat, Prune Face, Nien Nunb, Weequay, the Emperor's Royal Guard, and Nikto from the 1983-1984 line. There will also be a variant packaging this summer-- instead of foil or "Revenge" of the Jedi, a blue-and-black style based on an abandoned Vintage 1980s Kenner design will be employed for at least 6 figures. It's not a bad idea. If everything makes it out, we'll see at least 115 Vintage figures as of this year. Not bad! (And yet, still no Power of the Force cardbacks.)

Other than a Comic-Con exclusive Carbon Freeze Themed Gift Set with six figures and a seventh exclusive Jar Jar Binks in Carbonite, no exclusives were discussed or revealed. That includes the missing Brain Invaders items from last year, there's no update.

Not shown here but revealed in the slide show are 2 more Battle Packs, based on the movies. The release from The Phantom Menace includes new sculpts with limited articulation of Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn. These have a fairly vintage 1980s flavor, so I'm quite keen to get them. A "Bespin Battle" set brings together Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Luke Skywalker with what Hasbro called their "best sculpts ever." Based on the photographs it's uncertain if this was an attempt at a Jobisan Reality Distortion field or not, because those figures have big chests and in Luke's case, yellow hair. It looks like they will be fun and/or interesting action figures, but best ever? That seems unlikely. (As toys though, it might be true-- they all look designed as if they were intended to fit in vehicles, which would be a huge plus.)

Overall, it's looking like an interesting year where Hasbro is putting less emphasis on the 3 3/4-inch line as a kid focus. If history is any indicator we probably won't see much out of the new line extensions, but hey-- what's coming looks good.

--Adam Pawlus

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