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If you’ve collected Hasbro Star Wars toys at any point in the last five years, then you’ve no doubt noticed a severe drop in both quality and character selection.

Reduced articulation, rising costs and terrible distribution have all contributed to make what was arguably the premier collecting toy line into a shadow of its former self.

To figure out why these things were all happening (and to find someone who might actually be even more infuriated by them than I am), I reached out to Paul Harrison, one of the main people behind JediTempleArchives.com. In addition to being a fantastic resource for figure reviews, photos and information, JTA is also one of Hasbro’s most ardent critics—primarily via Paul’s biting (and well-researched) critiques.

Paul was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss why Hasbro’s Star Wars offerings have gone from the best it had ever been in 2012 to the glut of 5POA figures we have today … and if there is any hope for the line to return to its former glory.ploAiPT!: It seems as though the problems with Star Wars toy distribution and the severe reduction in articulation/total figures produced began around the same time. Were these issues related, or was it simply a terrible coincidence?

Paul Harrison: Distribution has been a nightmare since 2009, so this is well before figures started getting crappy. There had even been some problems before that during the blue phase of The Legacy Collection, but once we reached 2009, Hasbro determined that the collecting community had reduced to a size where they couldn’t produce the same runs (edition sizes) of action figures that they had in the past. It’s why figures from The Legacy Collection, Legacy Collection and The Vintage Collection are some of the most expensive figures on the aftermarket. Their production runs are some of the smallest Hasbro had ever produced to date. The sadly serendipitous thing about it is that these lines produced some of Hasbro’s best products of all time. Collector burnout/fatigue greatly contributed to this, as well.

Hasbro also didn’t change SKUs frequently enough back then, and as you’d expect, this had great impact on what was hanging on stores’ pegs. Hasbro has commented in the past that stores don’t like changing their SKUs frequently for these products, so you can see how awful of a distribution nightmare circle we were in (then and now)—and can’t seem to escape it.

Distribution did become exponentially worse as the lines got worse, too. Hasbro wanted to appeal to a young market again and we saw the signs of less interest in the collectors’ market. While products evidently sold, I know I wasn’t buying Star Wars toys like I used to do, and neither were my fellow collecting friends. I would visit the same stores and see the same products hanging week after week, month after month and stuff wasn’t moving—and the frequency of new products arriving on store shelves came to a screeching halt.

Hasbro declared in multiple Q&A sessions that they needed a line for parents and gift-givers, but I wonder how many of these inferior toys were actually purchased for this reason, and not by an angry collector instead. It’s impossible to prove, but I think it ultimately boiled down to the “lifer” collectors supporting these lines post 2012 with some obligatory purchases by those buying for others (like birthday parties and stuff). Kids certainly weren’t rushing to the Star Wars aisle looking for the latest 5POA figures. I can guarantee you that.

AiPT!: What you’re saying is a hard thing to prove, but I can definitely back it up with my own anecdotal evidence. After buying a couple of 5POA figures for my desk at school, I had kids come up and say that they think the current Star Wars toys “kind of suck now” because they “don’t move anymore.”

Regardless of preference, I think it’s safe to say that the Star Wars toys Hasbro produced just a few years ago are objectively superior to the ones we see now–even from the collector focused line.

Occasionally, however, they still knock one completely out of the park (like the 3.75″ Black Series Kylo Ren). It’s clear the talent/ability to make great figures is still there.

Do you think the people at Hasbro who design and make the current line of products ever feel the same frustration we collectors do?

Kylo

PH: To answer your question, yes, they have the talented ability and skill to make fantastic 3.75” super-articulated figures still. But it’s not a focus of theirs anymore. In my opinion, the number one priority is to make the numbers look good. Let’s face it—Hasbro is a corporation and wants to be a successful moneymaker. They’re also publicly owned and beholden to their shareholders. If a company can keep production costs low and the MRSPs high for lower quality products, your profit margins are going to be a whole heck of a lot higher. I cannot fault them for that.

What I do fault them for, however, is not being willing to produce a half-dozen/dozen all-new super-articulated 3.75” action figures that longtime and hardcore Star Wars collectors (who have been collecting the modern line since 1995) have been dying to see made or updated. They need to keep alive (more strongly) the ancestry of the line and keep those that have been with them since the beginning satisfied, too.

Aside from the all-new characters from The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Hasbro has not given us any Original Trilogy or Prequel Trilogy all-new 3.75” super-articulated action figures in the Walmart-exclusive line to date.

They have managed to repack some great characters from The Vintage Collection back into this line. While some of those were hugely smart choices (I, on behalf of Jedi Temple Archives, annoyed Hasbro about re-releasing the Emperor’s Royal Guard until they finally did), many others (like Admiral Ackbar and General Lando Calrissian) really didn’t need another chance at retail.

Imp

I mean, if things were different, they would have been great releases. But with such a small number of figures being produced for this line, all of the new release slots should be utilized for all-new action figures from new Star Wars entertainment (they’re doing this but just not enough characters), a few of the desperately needed re-releases, and then the rest via a 3.75” SA Fans’ Choice Poll.

Instead, Hasbro re-releases action figures by whether or not they’ll appear in new Star Wars entertainment in one fashion or another. That’s why Han Solo (Endor) is clogging pegs everywhere – if your Walmart is fortunate to even get these figures.

To claim The Black Series is a collectors’ line while producing a list of characters based on if they’re in the new film or not is suicide for the line. Where are the latest Jabba’s skiff guards, Cantina aliens, Rebel pilots never produced? What about all The Clone War characters that have never been produced? Heck, where are the Clone Commander and Clone Captain that utilize the VC45 Clone Trooper sculpt? It’s all so annoying.

troop

A big part of the problem, however, is the buyers at these retail chains. Much of the reason why Star Wars collecting has changed has to do with a retailer’s business decision. Big Box is dictating what they do and do not want on their shelves. A lot of this has to do with profit margins but it also has to do with industry standards. Retail has really made this shift of the line transpire. Most other toys lines are already in 6” scale, and these Big Box stores wanted to have something comparable in the Star Wars line. Shelf space is precious in this day and age, and stores want something in these spaces that is the industry norm. What’s sad is that this is killing the line. These buyers think they know what’s better for their store, and I don’t feel they do. Star Wars always marched to the beat of its own drum. It never copied. It always led. Kenner actually developed a new scale of figures so that they could interact with vehicles and playsets. Now we’re lucky if we get an oversized useless Special Forces TIE Fighter every once in a blue moon to interact with these figures. It’s all such a mess. This is partly the reason I want an independent toy maker to take over the scale. Star Wars isn’t a cookie cutter line. It’s a leading line.

This doesn’t mean, however, that Hasbro can’t approach the super-articulated 3.75” line in a more direct-to-market approach. Heck, Hasbro Toy Shop is out of stock of good products 90% of the time. Why not utilize them to bring a 3.75” collector-focused line back to the general marketplace again?

I think as long as Hasbro is making money, they’re not going to be frustrated like us. They’ve pretty much shown they can survive without collectors, but I don’t know how a company survives when it isn’t a good steward of the highly elite Star Wars license for 3.75” super-articulated action figures.

In my personal experience, I used to buy anywhere from 2-10 copies of a single action figure in lines that had anywhere from 60-75 figures. Add to this multiple purchases of Battle Packs, Comic Packs, Saga Legends figures, vehicles, Deluxe figures … it goes on and on and on. Now I don’t even go on store runs. I haven’t gone on any since 2013. That’s about half a decade without me supporting retail (for the Star Wars toy line). Sure, I have purchased a few things online for the site for the reviews, but I am not buying in volume anymore. And neither are other collectors like me. 6” collectors seem content with about a dozen shoddily painted figures a year. But if they were collecting around my era, they’d realize how they’re getting the shaft right now.

Also, I am already seeing chronic behaviors that could possibly endanger their line. Facebook groups promote finding these figures as cheaply as possible—and to wait for clearance because most figures can be found for a song. This isn’t healthy for a toy line. Sure, 3.75” collectors have been guilty of this too, especially toward the end, but it didn’t happen until YEARS and YEARS later. This behavior is occurring during the 6” line’s infancy. This of course is all anecdotal and very hard to apply across the board. But I am seeing these trends and it has me concerned.hanAiPT!: Playing devil’s advocate here (because I’m on your side about all this), but if collectors constitute such a small and barely profitable portion of Hasbro’s market share, then why should they cater to us at all? Like you said before, they are a corporation that is beholden to maximizing profits for their shareholders.

PH: I would completely agree with you, but they’ve slowly alienated this market every year since 2013. They’ve done irreparable damage to their longtime market to the point they’ll never gain it back. Obsessive collectors I know have completely bailed and are selling off their collections. They’re fed up waiting for Hasbro to bring back the only thing they care about and it’s very, very sad. I don’t think the Golden Era of collecting has any chance of coming back.

Star Wars collecting is something that requires constant stimulation—otherwise collectors get bored and look for something else. This is what has been slowly happening since 2013 and it’s reached critical mass now.clearAiPT!: This could just be my own experience, but whenever I walk down the toy aisle at a big box retail store, it almost always seems to be filled with whatever the latest offerings are from LEGO, Mattel, Playmates, etc. Hasbro occasionally gets there with Marvel Legends and Transformers, but their Star Wars offerings are almost always behind by multiple waves and/or nonexistent. If this isn’t a general problem with toy manufacturers … and it isn’t necessarily a problem throughout Hasbro’s multiple toy lines … then why have Star Wars figures struggled to get on the pegs the last few years?

PH: There is some unknown breakdown when it comes to ACTION FIGURES. Hasbro has also been able to get out the “junk” immediately, but the action figures rarely arrive on time (unless it’s a product launch event). This even happened during the prime Golden Era of collecting. (2006-2012). It’s frustrating and perplexing. And once the product arrives, you almost never see the follow-up waves. It’s exponentially worse now. This isn’t an exaggeration. I haven’t bought a THING of Hasbro’s at retail since Rogue Friday last September. Anything new I have gotten was online. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.clear2AiPT!: I know plenty of folks will disagree with me, but I like what Disney is doing with the Star Wars film franchise. That being said, do you believe the company has anything to do with the toy line issues we’re seeing now, or is that all on Hasbro’s end?targPH: I am on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to Disney. I liked Star Wars AND Star Wars collecting when it was only a sub-culture, albeit a huge one, and when Disney had no part of it. Now that it’s mainstream, there are too many newbies that think they’re experts and it drives me crazy. Star Wars has lost its “subcultureness” and its mystery. Everything is over-explained or underexplained now and Disney seems to be on a mission to link every last thing together. Star Wars feels overloaded at this point. Our hunger for it needs to be reactivated. Whether conscious or not, we’re all taking these new films for granted. I loved Rogue One, but it didn’t leave me with the unshakable Star Wars passion like the Original Trilogy (and even the Prequel Trilogy) did. It’s very passe and fleeting now.

I know that may sound selfish. I am all for new fans (which I’m confident Hasbro wants as well), but as more people have entered collecting, the collecting experience has gotten worse. From discussions with Hasbro and things I am hearing, Disney has way too much say in what licensees can and cannot do now (although I don’t have any concrete proof to this). It’s unfortunate. If you notice, you see the lead characters in every single last stinkin’ format. Who needs 45 Jyn Erso’s? I know I don’t.

AiPT!: But the glut of main characters clogging in Star Wars figure waves was a problem long before Disney came alongfinPH: I disagree. Background characters created the pileups (Yarna, Leesub Sirlin, Sergeant Edian, etc.) Every last repacked Darth Vader, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker and Clone Trooper sold … and sold quickly.

AiPT!: Okay, I will admit to once seeing an entire palette of Yarnas on display at a Toys “R” Us in Charlotte…although I also used to see plenty of Obi-Wans and Qui-Gons clogging the pegs, as well.

But all differences in perception aside, how is this hobby supposed to survive if we don’t get more people into it? It sounds like your issue is more with Disney (which I don’t completely agree with) than people who are excited about buying Star Wars toys.targ2PH: What you’re referencing (Qui-Gon Jinns and Obi-Wans) was The Phantom Menace 3D debacle, or as longtime collectors like to put it, the beginning of the end. 2012 had some GREAT and FANTASTIC products, but the whole TPM 3D event forecasting was out of control. Retailers believed it was a NEW Star Wars film, and the line utterly failed. I think Hasbro and retail are STILL trying to recuperate from this disaster. You can still find these figures at retail today.

Star Wars collecting, while it continually brings in new people, is really for the people who originally grew up with it. The market they’re trying to grab isn’t interested in 3.75” super-articulated action figures. Grown men and women in their 40s and 50s are into this. Younger fans are into this because of The Clone Wars. To a lesser degree, even younger fans are into this because of The Force Awakens. But the old folks like me are not going to be around forever. And we’re not going to be around forever. It’s high time Hasbro finished up the line for us and then they can go seek a new collecting community. Just help us out and we’ll shut up forever. If it wasn’t’ for 40-50-year-old Star Wars collectors, Hasbro wouldn’t have the success they do today.

AiPT!: Is Hasbro’s push toward 5POA 3.75″ figures purely a cost cutting measure, or is there actually a large market for those type of toys?obiPH: It’s purely a cost-cutting measure. Oh, and feedback from parents who let their kids roughhouse their action figures and break them emailing and calling Hasbro that they make crappy action figures. (I am not kidding.)

AiPT!: I’ve read claims that the cost of tooling and manufacturing super articulated 3.75″ toys is virtually the same as 6″, but 6″ offers a higher profit margin. Maybe I’m just completely dense, but it would seem to me that almost double the plastic would mean a much higher cost to make and produce. Can you help shed any light on this aspect of things?

PH: Hasbro doesn’t share explicit detail about this. They have commented that the profit margins aren’t there in so many ways. It’s safe to assume that there is very little difference in price to produce a SA 3.75” and 6” figure. But because they can charge so much more for a 6” figure and for some strange reason collectors of the line see bigger as a reason to pay double the price, it’s all working out in the 6” line’s favor.

AiPT!: Maybe Hasbro’s 6″ Tie Fighter was a “success” selling directly to retailers, but the palettes of them we’ve seen discounted to ridiculous clearance prices suggest it didn’t do well in stores at all. Am I crazy to think that 3.75″ toys offer a much greater opportunity to supplement a toy line’s profits with vehicles and beasts?

tie

PH: Hasbro will say the TBS6 Special Forces TIE Fighter was a success … and it was because they got retail to take this thing.

It wasn’t a success from a retail perspective as very few people bought it at full price—and even more places blew it out for pennies on the dollar. It sat for months at half price on Amazon and even Hasbro Toy Shop’s eBay store. (It doesn’t mean “roaring success” when things end up on HTS’ eBay store FYI.) We also just found out at Toy Fair that a (probably Resistance) X-Wing Fighter almost made it to the plans for the 2016/2017 product year. If the Special Forces TIE Fighter was such a success, what could possibly make them hesitate and pull it from the plan? I have heard the arguments countering my logic, but I don’t buy them. We’re getting further and further from TFA, if the first 6” vehicle was a success then the second one should be right behind it to keep that momentum going. I don’t think retail will take the risk of another large vehicle like that again.

It’s a no-brainer to state that 3.75” scale offers an infinite amount of supplementation with figures, playsets, and vehicles. The original Kenner designers weren’t dumb. They knew how big a Millennium Falcon would be if they brought Star Wars in 12” scale. They cleverly figured out the wide-range of toys they’d be able to complete by shrinking down the scale. It was ingenious and it changed the whole landscape of action figure making. We’re not going to get a fraction of the types of characters, variety of vehicles, or any playsets like we did with the 3.75” scaled line.walkAiPT!: Aside from making the 3.75″ Black Series a general retail item (and not a Walmart exclusive), do you have any suggestions or ideas how Hasbro could fix their distribution issues?

There are so few 3.75” collectors hanging onto this hobby now that I am not sure anything will work. The 3.75” line should definitely be approached with a Fans’ Choice poll first, produced in solid case assortments to prevent any peg-warming (stores would order only what characters they need) and feature` all-new sculpts. There is no way the line will thrive with straight repacks. We’re way beyond that now.walk2AiPT!: Do you believe the kids that the current 5POA toys are being marketed to would enjoy SA figures more? Would they notice the difference (and potentially grow into long-term collectors themselves)?

PH: We have plenty of dads on my site who say their children actually prefer the figures with super-articulation. They find the 5POA ones very boring. I don’t know about becoming long-term collectors, though.

We live in a drastically different climate and culture in 2017 than when we grew up in the late seventies and early eighties. Kids have a short window of time before their attention span latches onto something else. I think it’s rare when a kid would prefer an action figure over anything device related. I don’t have kids, so I can only go by what my nieces and nephews enjoy – and it certainly isn’t action figures.redAiPT!: Do collectors still make up a sizable enough portion of Star Wars toy purchasers to be considered, or have we begun to fade into the economic ether?

PH: I think we did around 2012/2013 (post TVC). But we have been burned for too long by Hasbro not bringing the focus back to us. SA 3.75” collectors are also the most apathetic people I know. They don’t participate in polls or address their concerns. I am actually in the minority. Some let 5POA pacify them. And I know I am going to get major flack for this, but the current hip generation has a large portion of cheaters in it. Just look at the Hasbro polls. They know how to manipulate things to get what they want. This isn’t bitterness, it’s just the reality I see. I would never vote more than once for a figure I wanted in a Fans’ Choice Poll. I suppose you can say polls have been getting hacked for years now, but never to this degree.

It’s a nasty machine taking over the once loved hobby. And we all want different characters. There is no semblance of agreement. I want obscure aliens, while others only want clones, or droids, or none of the above. Hey, I am old now. I definitely resist change. But to see what Hasbro is doing with the line just makes me cringe. It’s time to get back to basics.

AiPT!: Do you think the money that Hasbro has spent on failed Star Wars projects (Angry Birds, Command Series, etc) could have been put toward continuing a collector focused 3.75″ scale line? Would it have been enough of a budget increase to make a difference?angPH: I feel that way, but I don’t do their books and I don’t know if those failed sub-lines hurt them financially at all. It was dirt cheap to make—and they suckered retail into buying it all—so the company made its money … and once again, it was retail that got screwed. Collectors need to realize that retail chains are on the front lines of the Star Wars toy battle. They dictate what they want, but Hasbro also has to sell their buyers these bridges. I wish I could intervene in one of these buyer’s meetings. Too bad we don’t have veteran collectors working as buyers to get us the stuff we desperately want to see again.

I think the reason we see less and less quality products arriving at retail is because of these constant loops retail chains go through. I don‘t think they want to take these risks much longer. I also believe it’s possible that the Star Wars line could one day just stop being sold at retail and be a mostly online thing.

AiPT!: Do you believe that SA 3.75″ and 6″ Star Wars lines could ever coexist (with both providing a large array of characters), or does it have to be one or the other?

PH: They did coexist. The first couple of The Black Series lines (phase I and phase II – orange and blue) both had SA 3.75” and 6” figure lines running concurrently. But they didn’t perform as superbly as they should have because Hasbro once again killed those lines by providing very few new characters, repacks no one asked for, or new versions of characters we had a bazillion times in the past. They weren’t innovative enough with it. They also ignored our requests for characters we were desperate to see released for the very first time like the Lars’ Homestead Power Droid, Sim Aloo (and the other dignitaries), the puppet version of Sy Snootles, the gray Death Squad Commander (which I heard Lucasfilm is rejecting), the many Jabba’s skiff guards and Chalmun’s cantina aliens not made, in addition to MANY other droids and aliens and background characters that haven’t been attempted yet.

Conspiracy theorists say this was done intentionally to kill off the line as a mainstream product—and so they only had to offer it exclusively. This is not something I personally believe, but when you see how it is handled it certainly gives you pause to consider the plausibility of this notion.

AiPT!: Do you think most Star Wars collectors would be content with reduced SA figures like Hasbro is doing with their 3.75″ Marvel line? (I personally kind of hate it).

PH: Yes. We want the Walmart-exclusive line to end and have Hasbro incorporate these SA figures into whatever main toy line is running at the time. Then other characters could have reduced articulation as needed. Troopers would be SA, main heroes SA, but background aliens or pilots would only need minimal articulation. But Hasbro doesn’t appear too keen on a hybrid line like I had once suggested to them.

AiPT!: Without getting specific, have you had any off-the-record discussions with people at Hasbro that indicated to you they are aware of the current issues (distribution, declining quality, etc) and hope to change things?

PH: Yes. The Hasbro guys are great. Despite my strong feelings that they’re “destroying” my hobby by not releasing what I prefer, they are still wonderful people who listen, take down notes, and seemingly want to improve wherever they can with the line. Most recently Joe Ninivaggi from Hasbro wrote down my request to get that cancelled 2013 Legacy Collection Captain Rex (Phase I) figure out once and for all. (My gosh how is this figure not released yet?) I can’t fault them when they listen and want to work for us like this.

AiPT!: Do they show any signs of a willingness to actually try doing something about it, though? I believe so.

PH: They have reiterated now that the return of The Vintage Collection is not a matter of if, but when. This is huge for 3.75” SA collectors. And there are rumors that there is something great in store for those collectors when it comes to the 40th anniversary celebration of Star Wars. So the ball is in their court. I hope they impress the pants off of me before the end of the year, before the 40th anniversary of Star Wars is behind us.

AiPT!: Do you think the current lack of SA 3.75″ Star Wars offerings is a trend that could ever cycle back to how it was before 2012?

PH: I think that approach is dead, personally. There is no going back. We lived through the greatest era and it will never be matched.noAiPT!: When the Hasbro license expires in 2020, what would be the chance of another company like Boss Fight picking up the 3.75″ line? Do you think collectors would pay higher prices for a smaller manufacturer if it meant better figures and greater selection? (My answer is YES, by the way).

PH: I hope Boss Fight Studios or another company would take on the Star Wars license. Hasbro is not a good steward of this license and they shouldn’t be allowed to sit on it like they’re doing now. Why take ownership of something that you’re not going to utilize to its fullest? That’s like owning the rights to a cure and only rationing it out here and there. Why not give it to all who need it?

(Please know I consider Star Wars collecting a luxury, and I certainly don’t equate a cure for a deadly disease with a super-articulated action figure).

We need a mainstream line of 3.75” super-articulated action figures. There are plenty of companies ready to take it on full throttle, and I wish Hasbro would lease it out so that people in my collecting group would be happy again (from a collecting perspective).

AiPT!: To call the reveals from Toy Fair last month a disappointment would be a gross understatement. Even the 6” offerings were mostly repacks (although I did snag one of those massively improved Leias).

leiStarWars.com’s recent Toyfair recap interview with Steve Evans was also painfully tone deaf. How can Hasbro actually claim to be “honoring” 3.75” scale figures by not releasing them?

PH: I think Hasbro has gotten plenty of feedback (even from the 6” collectors) that the offerings so far are severely lackluster.

Do you see how they’re trying to play on the emotions of 3.75” collectors with the vintage inspired packaging? Yet many 6” collectors don’t give two craps about it. They’re trying to reach the wrong audience with the right packaging. They’re not honoring the line. Those are P.R. buzz words to make them look like they’re approaching this anniversary celebration in the right direction. They’re not.

AiPT!: Where do they get the idea for things like the titanium figures? Are there focus groups that could conceivably want something like that?titPH: Titanium figures are nothing new. They made their debut in 2007 and were MUCH better back then. If Hasbro were smart, they should have started re-releasing the ones that were cancelled in 2007 like the Utapau Clone Trooper, Tusken Raider, Han Solo, and Shadow Trooper. But no, they’re making 3.75” terribly painted mini statues that no one wants. What company makes things that no one wants in lieu of stuff they do want? For me, it’s mind-blowing.

AiPT!: Do you think Steve Evans would ever be willing to do a more “confrontational” interview (perhaps with JTA) that would address some of the issues we’ve discussed here?

PH: I would love to, but when I’ve asked more confrontational questions, even in the respectful manner that I did, I was told they wouldn’t answer that.

For example, I have brought evidence to them multiple times how Walmart is the ABSOLUTE worst retailer for the 3.75” super-articulated line. They respond with “Walmart is a great retail partner.” They have to say this. Walmart bought the exclusive figures. And technically it’s up to Walmart to get them out to their stores. I was just trying to make the point that:

  • 3.75” SA figures shouldn’t be store exclusives, and
  • There are other retail giants that would handle the line incredibly better.

I also confronted them with why they’re holding on to a license that they’re not taking full advantage of, and why can’t they license it out to other companies like Boss Fight Studios, Funko, etc? They flat out told me they wouldn’t answer that.

So there is a limit to what they will and will not answer. Lately, they seem very content with those that interview them like they can do no wrong. I mean, I saw this one media outlet rave about the new metal “figurines.” I wanted to puke.

AiPT!: Okay, let’s at least ask a few fun questions so we don’t feeling grumpy. What was your first action figure you owned/received as a kid?

PH: I received Luke Skywalker: X-Wing Fighter Pilot and Darth Vader from the 1979 Star Wars line.

AiPT!: Favorite item in your personal Star Wars collection?

PH: I absolutely adore my complete collection of Sideshow Collectibles’ 1:1 Life-Size Busts line. I have all 15 they produced. They haven’t done any new ones in years, but I hope they reactivate the line. These are some gorgeous pieces.

AiPT!: Star Wars character, ship, or creature that we’ve never gotten that you want the most?

PH: In 3.75” scale I want a super-articulated puppet version of Sy Snootles. I also want Sim Aloo. I also want the Power Droid from the Lars’ homestead. As far as vehicles, I want that retooled Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter released and I would love to see a Rebel Transport made, too.rebAiPT!: Most surprising/rare toy you’ve managed to find?

PH: A friend of mine recently died of cancer. His caretaker offered me part of his collection, part of which contained a large assortment of 1984/1985 Power Of The Force coins from his estate. This was obviously incredibly special to me.

AiPT!: Other toylines you enjoy collecting besides Star Wars?

PH: I love anything from Alien, although I literally just have the one and only 1979/1980 Alien figure. I did pick up the ReAction figures, though. I do love that film franchise very much.

I also am a huge fan of anything Indiana Jones. It was fun collecting that line when KOTCS came out in 2008. I would love to start collecting The Walking Dead figures, but I just stop myself every time I get the itch. It’s currently my favorite TV show.
jtaBe sure to visit Jedi Temple Archives for all your collecting needs … or if you’d like to see how good the hobby used to be before it spiraled down the toilet to where it is now.

  • Good Interview, JTA is a great site and I go there frequently. The news and view of the horizon though, is bittersweet.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Yeah–sometimes I read the old reviews from before 2013 and get sad 🙁

  • Darth Lumberg

    Love the picture of the stack of TFA TBS Tie Fighters @80% off. One box even marked with a SALVAGE sticker. LOL.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Wish they’d really gone for it and covered them all with sand.

    • The photos really tell a grim story, there must be some insulating of truths from the development team coupled with fear. Hasbro I suppose is pro alternative facts.

  • Theater Geek

    So far, Hasbro has even blown the 40th anniversary year. Unless there’s some shocking reveal in the run up to Episode 8, the only decent SA 3.75″ figures will be the one or two new ones we get from Walmart. (assuming we even get any from them)

    • RamblingBeachCat

      I wouldn’t hold my breath 🙁

  • Falcon

    Just my opinion here, but I think one huge fundamental reality (again remember this is my opinion, but I have great faith in it) – it is this, general buying to play with Star Wars consumers and Collectors are not as far apart or a different set of consumers. I think this is the problem, for too long experts have been breaking this down to two groups, but I believe the overlap, and actual reality is that a general consumer and a collector actually are the same people, it is just that they “appear” to be different groups, when in actual reality, they are not.

    I’d like to hear more “experts” articulate in their communications (so Hasbro see it) – that casual buyers and collectors are in the end one and the same for the most part, something I think the Star Wars world of toys/collecting has somehow forgotten……

    For me this is so important that it is recognized, and quickly, so that Hasbro see what I think is the real narrative, rather than what is being though of now as the real narrative….

    As I say, the above is just my humble opinion.

  • BCYa

    The Wal-Marts near me are heavily stocked with SA 3.75 figures. If they are so much in demand by collectors, how come they clog the pegs just like the 5 POA figs and the 6″ figs?

    • Because the same four figures in dozens of shipped cases IS going to pile up, just like the TBS6 figures do. Not enough variety and diversity in a Star Wars toy line reaps horrible pileups. Don’t you remember the days of 6-10 different figure assortments and usually only one or two figures from each wave would peg-warm. Are people suffering from amnesia? 🙂 Peg-warmers will ALWAYS be part of the hobby, but the reason it is so terrible now is because the options and choices are SEVERELY limited.

      • hammyhamster

        First-time typer, long-time creeper. Great insight, Mr. Harrison. I’m really looking forward to a re-launch or re-release of the vintage collection. I hope that in happens in 2017. That is all.

  • darthmo

    Great interview guys.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Thanks!

  • General Hux

    Didn’t even know the RamblingBeachCat worked for a comic book website! Good to know, gonna visit here more often now. Great Insights from the both of you in this interview. 🙂

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Thanks!

  • Kevin Griffin

    This interview might as well be called “middle-aged guy who doesn’t understand how retail works and can’t accept most collectors his age now have kids and have given up their hobby is outraged”

    “they needed a line for parents and gift-givers, but I wonder how many of these inferior toys were actually purchased for this reason”

    Parents and kids have always been a large part of the Star Wars sales base.

    “Hasbro Toy Shop is out of stock of good products 90% of the time. Why not utilize them to bring a 3.75” collector-focused line back to the general marketplace again?”

    Hasbro tried this with GI Joe. Mattel tried this with multiple collector lines. It doesn’t work from an economic standpoint.

    “I don’t know how a company survives when it isn’t a good steward of the highly elite Star Wars license for 3.75””

    That is just what Paul wants. The public voted with their dollars over the years and demonstrated their lack of interest in SA3.75” figures at the price point they cost.

    “I am all for new fans (which I’m confident Hasbro wants as well), but as more people have entered collecting, the collecting experience has gotten worse.”

    No evidence exists that 6” fans are new fans. I bought every 3.75” figure through the BAD waves. It became too much. I sold all but 20 or so off. 6” looks better, fits in better with other collections and isn’t as expansive.

    “It’s high time Hasbro finished up the line for us”

    Hasbro does not owe you anything.

    “But because they can charge so much more for a 6” figure and for some strange reason collectors of the line see bigger as a reason to pay double the price”
    $20 for a 6-inch figure is not unreasonable. Not all collectors are cheap or stuck in 80s prices.

    “It wasn’t a success from a retail perspective as very few people bought it at full price”

    This reveals a complete misunderstanding of how retail operates. They do not expect things to sell at full price. MSRP is set high to allow sales. Retail knows they are going to run sales on an item.

    “We have plenty of dads on my site who say their children actually prefer the figures with super-articulation.”

    Confirmation bias. A bunch of angry JTA SA 3.75” fans saying their kids like what they like means nothing. Most parents hate SA figures because they easily break, as you later state.

    “I hope Boss Fight Studios or another company would take on the Star Wars license.”

    That has no chance of ever happening. Star Wars toys are making Hasbro and Disney huge amounts of money.

    “There are other retail giants that would handle the line incredibly better.”

    Other retail giants didn’t want a SA 3.75 line. That is why it became an exclusive. Again, a total misunderstanding of how retail works.

    “when I’ve asked more confrontational questions, even in the respectful manner that I did, I was told they wouldn’t answer that.”

    There was nothing respectful about your outlandish questions. You are always outrage. You basically told them they suck and why don’t they turn the line over to someone who doesn’t.

    • snowdroid

      now that’s what I call… hostile…

      • Kevin Griffin

        If that is what you want to call it. I don’t see you actually countering a single point I made though. I consider the entire existence of JTA to be hostile. It is ruining the hobby and turning fans against Star Wars for no other reason than its head doesn’t understand how retail operates or want to accept that most 3.75 SA collectors moved on long ago. He profits off enraging people, insulting collectors who do not agree with his narrow view of the hobby, claiming everyone who does not agree with him is a newbie and insulting the hard working people at Hasbro who believe it or not are not out to screw collectors.

        • snowdroid

          that’s simply not true.
          Paul knows that I do not agree with him all the time, in fact I’m probably one of the more annoying readers and users on his site. So why should I defend Paul (he doesn’t need that anyway)? I am not, but he knows more than most collectors and so called colletcors do. No, thank you, no time to go on countering war with you.

          • Kevin Griffin

            How many comments are you going to make where you do not even attempt to explain how a single thing I said was wrong? Typical hostile JTA fanboy.

          • Thanks, but don’t waste your time. There are few people who have hardons for me and Kevin is one of them.

          • Check it out. He couldn’t handle the truth.

          • snowdroid

            how surprising…!

  • I think one thing that’s been hurting star wars collecting for years is all the extra side lines. When they were out the angry birds and green army men took up over half of the star wars section in my stores.

    Now it’s having a 3 3/4 line, along with a 6 inch line, and those crummy $10 12 inch figures, and 16 inch big figures, and 20 inch even bigger big figures, and the $100 3 foot figures, and the little fold out cube things, and black series vehicles, and hot wheels vehicles, and micro machines, and black series helmets that are too big to put on the black series figures, and the figures that you pull the body parts out of, and all the role play items.

    As said above needing to cover the main cast from 8 movies and 2 animated series means we see 10 different Vaders and Jyn Ersos when anyone really would want only 1 or 2 of them.

  • Solid Burn

    So Paul hasn’t been on a retail store run since 2013, but bought figures at retail just this last Force Friday? And Hasbro made a huge mistake re-releasing figures instead of targeting Skiff Guards and Cantina aliens, but later on you state background characters killed the line? And we only got a new ERG because Paul demanded it? What a joke.