Poe’s Point > Star Wars Black should refer to the 6″ line alone

Hasbro 2013 Star Wars Black Series logo

Somewhat lost in the excitement around the 6″ figure announcement was the fact that the name “Star Wars Black Series” would encompass both the 6″ and a 3.75″ line.

This has already lead to confusion among collectors as new figures in each scale are announced, revealed, or leaked. I’ve already been involved in at least one Twitter conversation where someone thought an announced 3.75″ figure was coming in the 6″ line. And you can’t tell me that some parent is going to do a search on Amazon for Star Wars Black for their toy-savvy kids’ birthday and buy something that will leave that kid very disappointed.

Maybe Hasbro was afraid of angering their bread-and-butter 3.75″ collectors by focusing all their attention on the new scale, and the 3.75″ line was a way of trying to show they hadn’t forgotten about them. But I think having both scales under the same name dilutes the unique identity of both, particularly the new 6″ line.

I understand Hasbro’s thinking was to create a collector-focused brand for both scales, but I think they’re doing themselves a disservice by not distinguishing them. The 6″ line is bringing in a lot of collector interest they weren’t capturing before. By making Star Wars Black refer solely to the 6″ line, they can capitalize on the line’s buzz while delivering the 3.75″ figures under a different name (or perhaps just slotting them into the popular Vintage Collection).

A good toy line needs a good, brief acronym. Continually typing SWB6 and SWB3.75 seems ridiculous. I think the 6″ line should get to own SWB.

Comments now closed (26)

  • I agree. I’ve heard people saying, “oh they’re making so & so in swb” & it’s the 4″ line. On a side note, the sleeper hit of wave 1 is darth maul. I thought he would be a peg warmer, but they knocked him out of the park! Then they knocked the stuffing out & it’s in orbit! SWB6 has replaced my ravenous appetite for neca! my most wanted figures that haven’t been announced are jango fett & captain rex. I hope we get ‘em!

  • YES! It's so dumb that there's two lines with the same name. Especially since the sculpting is so good on the smaller ones that it's sometimes hard to tell at a glance which Star Wars black they're supposed to be for.

  • Retailers and fans complained about this from the start. They wanted to create the perception that their SW figures were "High End", "exclusive," and "luxury"- a common tactic with collector toys for over a decade is to raise the price and refer to the toys as "Luxury Items" and push this angle hard, so customers don't get upset and feel more of a perceived value from their purchase. Credit cards, fashion, cars, even food gets this "Black" moniker and then re-branded as a luxury item. Again, another sales tactic from the early 00s Japanese scene gets used in mainstream toys.

    I have noticed that 3.75-inch fans seem to be using the acronym "SWB" much in the way they used "TVC" or "TLC" for the previous Star Wars lines, and for the 6-inch, "SWB6"- it seems in online sales no one's been using -any- acronyms and just using "The Black Series" and the figure's number and letting customers figure it out themselves.

    • As far as I can tell, there's nothing particularly distinct about the 3.75" Black Series aside from the name. Is there anything about those figures that wouldn't have worked as part of the Vintage Collection? Do they have more articulation, a different character focus, more accessories?

      • Not really. It's pretty much the same product as they've done since 2008. Since 2007 the figures have slowly improved, and there's not much difference between the 2009 figures and what's out today, overall. A few have ball hips or ball wrists, but those are features they've brought in since 2008 and not unique to the Vintage Collection.

        It's kind of "leftovers" waves, of figures that were meant for the cancelled 2013 Droid Factory line, Vintage Collection holdovers, things meant for the Attack of the Clones 3D release that didn't happen, re-releases of older figures, and repaints, with a few do-overs and new figures that fans have been asking for over the years.

        It's definitely catered to the hardest of the hardcore, and filling out a faction or completing a diorama or playset scene. A Sith guy from one of the books and Mara Jade from the comics are the two most interesting figures they're doing. That says a lot ;) An Amidala figure from AOTC that completes the final battle scene in the arena, a pilot, more clones, etc. Interesting if you are a prequels fan, or into the comics and books I guess.

        It's kind of funny, collectors in 2010-11 were saying "slow down!" to Hasbro as they released so much great stuff you couldn't keep up. 2012 people asked for re-releases and repacks of all the stuff they missed. Now in 2013, they've finally listened a bit to the collectors, and really slowed down the line, added the repacks, but what is coming out is so same-y and prequel-y that people are just not that interested. I think I'm getting maybe 5-10 figures of what's been announced so far, compared to 2011 or 2012 where I got like 30-40+ new figures a year. They'e not offering much compared to previous years (good) and what they are putting out there is not very compelling.

      • Smaller cards :) Honestly, is there much more they can do at this point in 3.75' that isn't collector-focused? I feel they should focus on SWB for the collectors and do the retro/Saga figs for the kid market. At least until new movies start hitting.

        What would have been really cool is if they put the Saga figures (5pt articulation) on Vintage cards to truly recreate that Vintage feel.

      • I suppose they thought the Vintage Collection had run its course. It was out for three years, which is kind of long for a Hasbro 3.75" Star Wars line (you have to go all the way back to Power of the Force 2 to find a line that lasted more than a year or two). So while it would make perfect sense to continue with the fully articulated 3.75" Vintage line, I'll wager they were going to re-brand anyway.

        Perhaps part of the problem is that for a while now there were three different 3.75" lines out there; a situation that might also have caused some confusion (or at least consternation among retailers): Clone Wars; Movie Heroes; and the Vintage Collection. With the cancellation of the Movie Heroes and Clone Wars lines here in the States, and the introduction of the 5 POA Saga Legends/Mission Series, what Hasbro has set up is a simplified two-tier product assortment. But yeah- not giving each scale of the Black Series its own name seems pretty boneheaded. I guess they thought they were simplifying things by branding the higher-end lines with the same look and name? Presenting a unified design might work well at brick and mortar retail where the difference between 6" and 3.75" is clear; but for online sales – or the internet discussions that drive much of the sales of these collector lines – the lack of distinction is confounding.

  • This is how I've felt since Hasbro announced both a Star Wars Black 6" and 3.75" lines. There's no reason to have a Black 3.75" line when it's largely comprised of the same figures Hasbro has been selling for the past few years. Like others, I was also initially confused on which SWB figures were the 6" and which were 3.75" because much of what I first saw just stated that they were a part of Star Wars Black. Black should only be the 6" figures.

  • It wasn't a great move to name them the same, and man, those 6" are damned hard to find!

    • It sucks but it's par for the course for the last decade. The first stupid name was calling the Kenner-style cards "Vintage Collection" in 2004, and the subsequent variations on the "Vintage" name. It just makes things so damn confusing. So naming both lines "Black Series" was not a surprise.

  • AGREED! I have all but turned my back on the 3.75" gang and will happily plunk down for a good smattering of the Six-Inchers. In fact, my daughter of 17 months has been playing happily with my old POTF Rebo Band this week, and much to the surprise of "Me From 10 Years Ago," I'm totally cool with it! I have my Six-Inchers (or SWB), though I still need Luke.

  • Why should it be the 3 3/4" line that should change names? Besides, you know, a sense of entitlement from 6" fans?

    • Ah, be cool man. It's not entitlement. Most of us use that term because that's what Hasbro called it when they announced the 6" line via USA Today. It wasn't until months later that "Black" was used to cover both 6" and 3 3/4" figures.

      • Both scales are specifically mentioned in the original article. Maybe "entitlement" isn't quite the right word, but it's the least inflammatory term I could come up with to describe the general attitude 6" collectors seem to have towards 3 3/4" product.

        • I don't think I was dismissive of 3.75" in my article. As for why Star Wars Black should refer to the 6" and not 3.75", it was because Hasbro themselves made a bit of fanfare with the 6" line (such as the Boba Fett SDCC exclusive). Meanwhile, the 3.75" line has had any number of names over the years.

          But frankly, if they wanted to leave Star Wars Black for the 3.75" line and rename the 6" line something like Star Wars Legends, I'd be fine with that. All I want them to do is make them distinct lines. The current state of affairs is pointlessly confusing.

  • There is no Star Wars collector who is going to be more excited about the black packaging than the vintage style packaging. Sales were slow due to distribution issues, not brand names and package styles. The confusion is totally unnecessary, you just dont give two separate lines the same name…

  • I agree… A line needs a good acronym. DCUC, MOTUC, ML… How about Star Wars Black (SWB) and Star Wars 'Lil Black? (SWLB) ;-)

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  • Yeah, this definitely a weird issue. My wife and I do refer to them simply as Star Wars Black and the 3 3/4 inch Star Wars Black. I like the name but agree that there should be two different names for the lines simply because with the 6 inchers being such a radical and new departure for the line, many new or previously unengaged fans are jumping in and simply calling the line Star Wars Black without regards to scale. I love the look of the black packaging with the 6 inchers, but it seems a little dull with the smaller guys. I wish vintage had stuck around as the cards themselves were part of the sale, at least to me.

    Also, the only reason I would imagine that Star Wars Black would be viewed as belonging to the larger figures rather than the smaller guys is that it seems more likely for Hasbro to rebrand the smaller line sometime in the next year or two rather than to rebrand the 6 inch line. That just seems to be the way lines go.

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