When the new line of 6-inch Black Series figures was announced last year, it grabbed my interest. I’ve been eager to get my hands on the Boba Fett and Greedo figures in its second wave, and was nervous about distribution.
The first wave was plentiful on store shelves, but it’s common nowadays to miss new waves due to stores being back stocked on initial orders.
I spotted the first batch of wave two figures in my area at Target earlier today. They had about a dozen figures available on the sales floor, the majority of those being Slave Leia. I lucked out, though, and found a single Boba Fett and Greedo.
Whenever Boba Fett is featured in a line, they disappear fast. You could argue this is because Hasbro intentionally distributes lower quantities of Boba Fett, they’re snatched up quickly by fans or scalpers hoard them to flip on third-party websites – I imagine it’s a mix of all three. I wasn’t taking any chances though and picked up the bounty hunters.
The packaging on the 6-inch figures should be commended. The design is sleek and elegant, and featuring headshots of each character with the Star Wars logo gives the package a high-end feel – along with the stylistic back, which features a brief summary of the character’s role in the films and one of their well-known quotes.
The best part of its packaging is it can be easily opened without compromising the box. It’s nice to be able to take the figure out, appreciate the craftsmanship and have the option to slip it back in the box to display like new.
The Boba Fett figure is nearly flawless. The 6-inch scale allows for detail you just can’t get in smaller scale. The paintjob is clean and gives the appearance of being well worn and subtle touches of battle scars. With about 15 points of articulation, he can be posed in any number of iconic stances and stands well balanced – with or without his jetpack.
The Boba Fett sculpt is the exact mold fans saw in the exclusive San Diego Comic Con and Celebration Europe Boba Fett with Han Solo In Carbonite. He comes accessorized with a rifle, small blaster and his jetpack. My only problem with this figure is the blasters are a little difficult to get into his hands – primarily the blaster rifle.
Boba Fett’s helmet does not come off, which is a compliment to the film mythology of the character. It’s also nice to see at this scale that Hasbro can sculpt and paint more detail into weapons. The blasters are firm, so there’s less chances for barrels to get bent, twisted and mangled when removing from the packaging – always hated displaying an action figure who’s pointing a bent blaster into the air.
These figures are well worth the $20 price tag and are even more stunning in person than what you’ve seen in pictures online. Has Wave 2 hit store shelves in your area yet? Are you seeing a fair amount of quantities of all figures?
After nearly a year without new toys on the shelves, Star Wars collectors are seeing the first waves of new products. However, the introduction of 6-inch figures, a schism in 3.75-inch figure lines and the debut of interactive Angry Birds toys have led to speculation on what the future holds for Star Wars collectors.
We spoke with John a.k.a. EngineerNerd from the Action Figure Blues Podcast about his collecting habits and insights into how Hasbro’s changing approach to Star Wars toy production might affect Star Wars collecting and the industry, itself.
Boba Bounty: How did you got started in collecting Star Wars? If you began with the vintage Kenner figures, what kept you going when the line reemerged in the 90’s?
EngineerNerd: I think I’m in the same boat as a number of older collectors. I was around 6 when the first film came out and it really captured my imagination. My first two figures were the 12-back Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. Star Wars was “the thing” I was interested in until the dreaded “girl years” so many of us experienced. I didn’t have all the vehicles and playsets, but as a kid, my Darth Vader Collectors case was overflowing with all the figures up to the 2nd wave of Return of the Jedi.
Like most folks who reconnected with toys in the 90’s, I think the POTF2 figures came along at just the right time. Folks were nostalgic for Star Wars and guys like me now had disposable income. At the time they came out, I had been picking up the odd Playmates Star Trek figure here and there, but Star Wars would soon take over collecting for me. I was trying to hunt down every figure for a long time. I’m a loose collector, so I didn’t care about package variants. However, I really wanted to build as much of the Star Wars Universe line as I could.
BB: The AFB podcast provides a platform to discuss upcoming toys. Has this affected the way you look at action figure lines? Do you look at/for different things than before you reviewed them in a podcast?
EN: If anything, I’m more open to other lines than I was before. I’ve always dabbled, but I’ve really gained an appreciation of different things.
We’ve been fortunate to talk to a number of different guests from the toy and statue world. Each of those guests has taught me something new about the industry. I’ve noticed I’m a lot more forgiving than I used to be when I write a review for TVandFilmToys.com now. I think this stems from getting to know that behind each toy on the shelf, there are people who worked hard to bring it to market. It might not be what they intended, have all the features they wanted or paint applications, but they worked hard to make us happy. Each of these people works hard to try and make us happy, and for the most part, their efforts go unrecognized.
I think putting names and face with the folks behind the toys really does humanize the whole process. I know I don’t like it when folks criticize my work when it’s the best I can do with what I’m given to work with. I think all of us need to keep that in mind before we speak ill of an action figure or statue.
BB: Does podcasting on toy collecting results in a greater awareness in trends or patterns in the toy industry? Do action figures seem to be headed in any predictable direction, whether it’s how they’re articulated, sculpted, scaled or inspired from?
EN: The thing I’ve noticed myself getting hooked on is blind boxed/blind bagged mini figures. It’s odd, but when I see the news for a new line of these kind of things, I’m instantly fascinated. I’m not sure if its cuteness or size, but I just dig that stuff.
I think Funko’s Pop Vinyl series has managed to tap into that. They really are looking for niches to fill in that line. Where they may not make every character, their sheer number of licenses means there’s something from them for everyone. I think folks also look at those types of items as acceptable desktop items at work. Keep a Luke on Taun Taun action figure on your desk, and you’re the weird guy in the office. Pop Vinyl of Ghost Rider? Nobody even notices. I really think if Hasbro were doing Muggs now, it would be more successful.
Most people talk about the focus being between kids and collectors, but I think the minifigures and small urban vinyl type items service a third group I’m going to call “casual adult collectors.” This is a group that wants to collect something that isn’t so kid oriented it’s obvious, nor do they want to pay out the nose for a decent representation of their favorite characters. I think this is the group we are going to lose to other interests.
The thing I don’t get is the lowered articulation for “kids” toys. I don’t know if we’ll see it reversed, but if you listen to folks who collected GI Joes as a kid, you’ll hear one thing. They liked them better than Star Wars figures because they moved better. Hasbro can say it’s what kids want, I think we all now it’s a cost thing.
BB: For a while, collector’s didn’t have much new to look forward to in stores. How do you think this affected the hobby? Do you think this drought was felt the same by U.S. collectors versus the International fan base?
EN: Without a doubt it affected U.S. collectors. You never used to hear about folks ordering cases before did you?
I very rarely buy online. I want to go hunt down action figures. It’s just the kind of collector I am.
Unfortunately, this is probably what caused my interest to wane in Star Wars collecting. Some waves you could only buy online or were barely shipped. There were a number of figures I was really interested in that I never saw. The Gamorrean Guard, for example. I would’ve snapped him up in heartbeat. And this isn’t a new problem. The red space suited alien from Episode 1? Why can’t I remember his name? I didn’t see him and don’t have him. Cripsy Anakin? Only saw him once at a comic store and a kid was buying him.
After a while of not finding figures I was interested in and only finding “new” versions of one I already had, it became harder and harder to stay interested in Star Wars collecting.
BB: What are your thoughts on the Black Series? Has your opinion evolved from its first announcement, to now that they’re finding their way to collectors?
EN: LOL, this is a setup right? I was pretty outspoken on the idea I didn’t like the 6-inch series from when it was announced. I said so on the podcast, it was interesting because four of us were on that episode and two liked and two didn’t. On episode 82, Ben and Scott are reviewing the first four figures. I was asking questions; maybe it changed my thoughts about the line, but not my desire to collect it.
I will say they’re good looking figures. I think they are a shade off from being called great. For folks like Ben and Scott, who collect other 6-inch lines, I think it’s great. Folks have wanted this for years, so it’s good to see people getting something they wanted. I would imagine that some lapsed Star Wars collectors were stirred up by it as well.
For me however, I just can’t stray from the smaller universe I’ve been building for 30+ years. With the small army of figures I have, I could put together a display of almost any scene in any of the films. It would take me years to get to that level with the 6-inch line.
Also, they are going to look like oddities in my displays. I don’t generally collect 6-inch figures, so a few are going to stand out as odd balls.
As for the 3.75-inch side of the Black Series, I haven’t seen anything that has just blown me away. It’s just a continuation of what was out there. Sure it’s renamed. But I don’t see anything special making me want to purchase any of them.
BB: Do you think Hasbro is consciously catering to both, adult collectors and casual consumer, by focusing one line on super articulation and the other, according to Hasbro, focusing on sculpts and limiting articulation? Would this be a good move for both Hasbro and collectors?
EN: Personally? I think it’s a mistake. If you look at a number of previous lines that have tried to do this, they never seem to be really successful at doing both. Look at Pirates of the Caribbean, Dark Knight Rises, Green Lantern. It just really divides folks up into what they collect. I fear with this division, the collectors will only scoop up the higher end stuff and leave all the kid stuff.
We’ve heard the margins aren’t as good on the high end figures nor do they sell in line sustaining quantities. The kids are going to look at the lower end stuff and know that it’s “meh” and pass it by. Stores will be stuck with kids’ Star Wars toys clogging shelves and not want to order either.
When I think about all the stories I’ve heard over the years of kids and parents enjoying Star Wars collecting together, it makes me sad to see the split happening this way.
BB: What direction would you predict Star Wars toys going once the sequel trilogy debuts?
EN: Folks aren’t going to like my guess. Fewer of what we term action figures. A few to keep collectors interested, maybe double the Black line numbers for one year. Few if any kids’ figures.
Instead, I think you are going to see lower end non-articulated figures that are interactive in the way the new Angry Birds Telepods are. I’m really guessing they are using that as a test bed for the technology. I’m basing that on the release of the birds, Disney Infinity and the success of Skylanders.
When Hasbro announced it would be releasing an exclusive Boba Fett 6-inch Black Series figure, accessorized by Han Solo in Carbonite, fans pondered whether that meant they’d see Boba Fett in the regular numbered series. Inside sources said we would.
Yesterday, according to Flyguy.net, this speculation and rumor were confirmed – we will see Boba Fett featured in the next wave of the 6-inch line. It has been reported the next wave will also include Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Greedo, Bespin Luke, Slave Leia, Han Solo and a Stormtrooper.
This is exciting news for Boba Fett fans. For those who cannot attend this years’s Comic Con or Celebration Europe II, the secondary market would have been steep – taking into mind the set is costing nearly $50 at Comic Con and Celebration.
Therefore, knowing we can get Boba Fett for the retail price of around $20 is good news. This is assuming retailers order the figures in fair numbers and variety. The bad news is if you want to get your hands on the Han Solo in Carbonite, you’ll still be looking at a pretty penny on eBay or online stores.
Personally, I’m also eager to see the sculpt for Greedo. Most of the comments I’ve read online point to fans cherry picking this line based on their interests, be that Jedi, droids, bounty hunters, etc.
Flyguy.net also reports this may not be a complete list of the next wave of new figures, but more characters may be announced. If you’re targeting bounty hunters then it would be safe to assume the next couple figures in this category will be Dengar, Zuckuss, IG-88, 4-LOM and Bossk (Now that should be a gnarly sculpt.)
These figures will be released throughout the next year.