Force Friday Rants & Raves — Old Fossils and New Acquisitions

Well, Force Friday II has come and gone and hopefully everyone had a chance to get out and get a good look at all the new toys and product and even take home some new toys and goodies for their collection. So the big question is “Did HASBRO do better this time?” Well, it’s not an easy answer and like Obi-Wan said, “depends greatly on your own point of view.” Also, make sure to check out the podcast Todd and I did wrapping up Force Friday II and the state of Star Wars retail as we saw it last weekend!

Two of my friends and me all did toy runs this weekend, at different days and times and came away with three different opinions. One friend did the midnight launch at the Toys R’Us in Chattanooga (this is also where he was at for FF I) and was really underwhelmed when compared to two years ago. He didn’t feel like there was as much product as last time and felt like the quality was all over the board with very little really standing out to him. My second friend did toy runs on Friday evening and Saturday in Chattanooga and the surrounding area and came away feeling that there were very little differences between FFI and FF II, and to put it in his words, “Meh”. He liked the figures but felt like the assortments were strange and filled with characters that were peg-warmers for TFA (I agree with that point completely).

Now I didn’t do the midnight launches because I had to work that day and on Friday so that put me out for the whole first day, but I was able to hear the stories and see the pictures of those that did and to be honest, I was really confused. I was seeing a lot of conflicting reports from folks that were able to pick up everything to some that were really let down again by the midnight events and lack of product so I didn’t really know what to expect when my wife and left the house Saturday morning headed for Knoxville. I was worried that by the time I got into the stores that there would be nothing but scraps but that really wasn’t the case at all. That’s not saying that by Saturday there was still a ton of product left, but because we went to so many stores, I was able to get a look at most of everything that came out. I will say that I never purchased more than one thing at any store so the five things I brought home were from five stores. That’s still better than two years ago when scraps were all I had to look at.

Three Wal-Marts, two Targets, one GameStop, Toys R’ Us, Build a Bear, and Disney Store later, I was very happy with what I saw and was able to pick up probably 90% of what I wanted and was able to see most everything except a few of the 3.75” and the entire Second Wave of The Black Series. One benefit of coming to the party late was that I got a chance to see what the peg/shelf warmers are going to be and frankly I was surprised. I’ll break that all down in a bit.

So, I would have to say that my weekend was much more positive than it was for FF I. I saw more, bought more and felt like the quality was much higher in the product. That being said…. There were reports all weekend long of some store getting one wave but not the other and some stores not getting any at all. I believe that my Wal-Mart didn’t get any figures because there was no evidence of even the peg-warmers or leftovers. I complain about distribution a lot but the fact is that this was a major rollout of new product that has been planned and promoted for months in an effort to get our money. Why in the world would you not want to make as much product as possible to make as much money as possible? HASBRO should focus on figure production for the initial launch with a steady release of vehicles, cars, accessories, and niche products in the months leading up to the release of the movie. Oh well…

Here are just a few more thoughts that I had as I walked away from this weekend, as well as some bullet points:

  • The 3.75” line has not looked this good in a long time. I was blown away with some of the sculpts I saw. Faces and clothing were detailed, paint applications were tight and I really like this smaller, brighter packaging. No more build-a-weapon garbage in the single packs, thank goodness! Stand outs for me were Kylo Ren, Rose, and C-3PO. Keep in mind that I never found Luke, Leia, and the Stormtrooper. If I have an issue with this line it’s the choice of characters in the waves, admitting that Poe and Finn are not characters that I find all that interesting in the first place.
  • 6” TBS figure were still great. Thrawn and Hera were my favorites and were just as impressive as I thought they would be. I did see the Luke and Rey figures, and they were nice, but I’m waiting on the exclusives coming next month with more soft goods. The two vehicles were great but the figures that were included turned me off the head sculpt on the Luke was just strange and I really wished the goggle on Rey had been removable. Also keep in mind I missed the entire second wave.
  • The Centerpiece line was never anything I was looking forward to until I saw that Vader in the store. It’s very sharp looking and changed my opinion about that line; I just don’t think it has much life in it.
  • Playsets are back! Keep them coming! Enough said.
  • Pegwarmers are already making themselves known. The Rose, Paige, Finn, and Poe 3.75” figures are just hanging and will continue to do so. Speaking of Finn and Poe – why produce new figures of those characters in pretty much the same costumes when they didn’t sell the first time? Ugh! Both speeders in The Black Series line didn’t seem off be flying of the shelves and that’s too bad because I want a podracer in that 6” scale. Those Centerpiece light up statues were not heading anywhere either. I’d be watching the clearance isles in case you are waiting for price drops.

In the end, I enjoyed this FF, and in my opinion there were improvements from two years ago. Here’s hoping that they get more product to the store shelves quickly so we can all get our fill. I hope that you all had great experiences this weekend also. Send in some pics of what you picked up or tell your story of FF II. Don’t’ forget that specific store exclusives will be released around the first of October. I’ll put something up soon to let everyone know what’s coming.