Poe Ghostal here. Look, I’m awesome–no one’s disputing that. But the fact is, I’m just not into every single toy line out there. Therefore, to make sure I’m providing you, the discriminating action figure collector, with the comprehensive toy industry coverage you deserve, I’ve recruited a few special correspondents to give you the lowdown on these neglected toy lines. First up is my respected colleague Paul from ToyBender.
Hello all. Poe Ghostal knows a lot about toys, but since he’s a bit tied up (and safely hidden in the trunk of my car) he’s enlisted my help as a special Hasbro correspondent to update y’all on Star Wars and G.I. Joe. You might know me from my “5 Questions” interview Poe posted a few months ago, or the toy blog ToyBender that is my fiefdom. But enough about me, let’s catch up on Hasbro’s Toy Fair 2008 showing.
During the 2008 Toy Fair Hasbro announced so much product goodness that I believe they were trying to give me an aneurysm. Their tactic almost worked, but I struggled through my overwhelming excitement to provide you an up-to-date list of all the product announcements for Hasbro’s Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Indiana Jones toy lines.
2008 is going to a big year for Star Wars toys. While there isn’t a movie coming out, the upcoming Clone Wars cartoon series is galvanizing the line like in a movie year release.* Much of the line will center on a Clone Wars theme, but don’t worry, some old favorites and variations therein will be released as well.
There will be at least forty figures released through the year on single cards. There are two main lines this year, the Legacy Collection and the Clone Wars line.
The Legacy collection continues bringing out characters from the film that you (hopefully) love. The first wave consists of figures of figures from Return of the Jedi. The second wave contains figures from the first Clone Wars Animated series.
Each wave will contain pieces of a droid for the new build-a-droid program. That’s right, you can build your own Astromech Droid if you get enough of the figures. Waves containing eight figures will have enough pieces to build two Astromech droids (you know, like R2-D2). Waves consisting of six figures will contain enough pieces to build a protocol droid (you know, like C-3PO).
In addition to this, Wal-Mart will have an exclusive wave of these Droid Factory figures. The line will consist of two packs containing one figure and one droid. The droids will have interchangeable parts and each two pack will come with a piece to build a new droid, C-3PX.
Also keep a look out for packages marked with a sticker indicating that you can get a free figure. If you save four UPCs and have a redemption sticker, you can send in for an exclusive Clone Commander Rex figure. Figures with the stickers have already been spotted in stores so keep an eye out and get your mail-away figure.
The Clone Wars series of figures tie in directly to the Clone Wars television series and will resemble their animated counterparts, but will not be as exaggerated as the original run of Clone Wars toys. Some of the figures in this line will feature an action gimmick, so while some of the figures will be appealing to adult collectors, the line appears to be geared more toward the kid audience.
Comic Packs will continue to be a big presence in 2008. Fans of the comics (and awesome) will see the introduction of figures from Star Wars Legacy including the super-cool Darth Talon. Wal-Mart will get a few exclusive comic packs due on July 1 that will most notably contain some comic-colored, non-Boba Fett Mandalorians.
There weren’t that many Battle Packs shown at the show except for two Toys R Us exclusives. One is a pack containing Luke, a tauntaun, a wampa, and a Barbie Ferrari. (Just kidding, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention there.) The other Battle Pack is called STAP Attack and it features two battle droids on STAPs with a super battle droid thrown in for good measure.
Hasbro hasn’t released too many new vehicles molds in the last few years, but 2008 is a little different with a couple of notable new additions to the Star Wars 1:18th scale fleet. So far the new line up includes a V-19 Clone Fighter from the Clone Wars Animated series (both the old and new series) and the Spider Droid. The biggest announcement was that of the long rumored AT-TE. The 99-dollar, two-foot-long behemoth holds twenty clone troopers, has electronic lights and sounds, and makes me wet my pants with excitement.
Some stores will continue to get vehicle exclusives in 2008. A repaint of the Episode III Jedi star fighter will be hitting Target stores on March 23. It’s fan favorite Aayla Secura’s ship, so don’t miss out if you like Jedis with boobies. Wal-mart will get an A-Wing repaint on July 26 in case you missed out on that ship during the last couple of re-releases.
There is no denying that the 25th Anniversary of G.I. Joe was so successful that both Hasbro and retailers were caught with their pants down. This year looks to be different as there’s a whole slew of exciting new Joe products coming down the pipe that promises to make even the most jaded Joe fan cry fat jellybean tears of joy.
There weren’t many single pack figure announced, except for the addition of the classic B.A.T. to the lineup. More figure names will be announced in the upcoming days and months. Since the 25th Anniversary was 2007, the line is undergoing a slight name change and will be known as G.I. Joe vs. Cobra. Don’t worry the, the single carded figures will continue to have vintage style packaging. Each figure will also still come with a display stand in addition to their normal accessories. Expect at least forty figures in seven waves in 2008.
One of the most exciting Joe-related announcements was that future Joe Battle Packs will focus on a cartoon mini-series theme. Not only will there be figures inspired by the classic ’80s cartoon (i.e., you can get an “irradiated” Snake Eyes), but there will also be episodes of the series on DVD, as well as build-a-figure like pieces that will allow Joe collectors the chance to build one of Cobra Commander’s most evil weapons of global domination, the MASS Device. The Battle Packs based on the miniseries theme announced at the show were The MASS Device, Weather Dominator, Arise Serpentor Arise, and Pyramid of Darkness.
The 25th Anniversary line is great, but it lacked the cornerstone of all 3 ¾” G.I. Joe toy lines: vehicles. Hasbro is answering fan demand by making vehicles again, thank the Maker. In addition to the already announced HISS tank and VAMP, there will be a fan favorites like the Trouble Bubble at the show. Better yet, the small vehicles will be sold in two packs that include figures. What more could you ask for?
Hasbro will reintroduce the world to G.I. Joe 12-inch figures. They have a bit more of a realistic look, but with classic G.I. Joe touches. The first wave of figures consists of Dusty, Cobra Trooper, Flint and Bazooka. Fan favorites Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander will hit later. This line of 12-inch figures appears to be separate from the one that Sideshow is working on, considering these will retail for about fifteen dollars.
*Yes, I know that the Clone Wars will be shown in theaters, but a Star Wars cartoon that’s basically a pilot for the TV series isn’t a real Star Wars film. I’m talking about the ones that have Roman numerals in them.