We are gonna take a quick break from The Vintage Collection recap (you can read part one here, and part two here) for this edition of OF&NA so we can talk about Toy Fair 2018 and some the great stuff that we got hit with during the show. Spoiler warning… it was a lot! Solo, a Star Wars Story was the focus in most of our minds and we weren’t disappointed. It mostly dominated the toy reveals for the show. In addition to those, we got a lot of new info on what is upcoming in The Vintage Collection by giving us looks at things we knew were coming and a few surprises. I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna miss some of the announcements so If I don’t cover your favorite, sorry.
If anyone was worried that Hasbro was going to lose a step by bringing back The Vintage Collection was proven wrong by the reveals at the show. They also gave us our first real look at the new toys coming from Solo and there is really some great character design in this movie that translates pretty well into the toy world.
In the 3 ¾” inch line, the best reveals were focused on the release of Solo. It was good to finally see what some of these characters were going to look like in the movie but ultimately it was pretty common fare with nothing really groundbreaking. I continue to be impressed with the sculpting for the smaller figures lately and am glad we don’t have to have a reduction in quality just because the figure is smaller scale.
What I was most impressed with in the smaller scale line was not a figure, but was just as important a character in the upcoming movie, the Millenium Falcon. The pointed front end design is great and the is coming with some cool features. It showcased motion-controlled sensors to control real lighting and sound effects. The new Falcon even has a rumble pack inside to help simulate traveling through hyperspace. It looks to be sturdy build with some real weight and quality to it. Lastly, we finally got to see what the new nose was all about with a new dropship that can be detached to reveal the traditional look we are all used to. I love this because it gives the new look some kind of functional reason for being there that makes sense instead of just a random change for no real reason.
The 6” Black Series had a ton of new reveals at the show from a lot of different eras of SW canon. Obviously, this is the line that we are going to look at the hardest because it gives us the most detailed look at the upcoming character designs and costumes for Solo. The Lando and Han figures look fantastic, but the new character figure, Han’s mentor Tobias Beckett, is my personal favorite. We also got introduced to two new stormtroopers: the Mimban Stormtrooper (Wal-Mart exclusive) and the Range Trooper. We don’t seem to be at risk of running out of interesting designs for Imperial ground troops anytime soon. I’m really pumped for this new movie and these figures and the designs only added fuel to the fire!
Amilyn Holdo from The Last Jedi is making her 6” debut in a real-goods covered figure with a dead-on sculpt. The OT is also getting some serious love with Zuckuss, a Lando in Skiff Guard Disguise and a Gamorrean Guard (a Target exclusive, that from what I heard the pictures don’t do the figure justice. It looks amazing.).
One of my biggest shocks was the Clone Commander Wolffe figure. Quality-wise it seems to be right on par with Captain Rex from last year, which was certainly a standout. It occurs to me that we could be getting a lot of clone characters in the future. The new face printing tech that Hasbro is using isn’t cheap and this could be the best way to get the most mileage from a single face. I’m not complaining at all as long as they all look as good as Rex and Wolffe.
We also got a look at an astromech three-pack that will be an Amazon exclusive, and a 6” scale set of Porgs which we all love and will own, because at this point I think it’s a law now that we all have to chuckle and grin when we see those things from now until the end of time!
Finally, we were treated to a lot more of the plans for The Vintage Collection’s return in a few months. Wave 2 and 3 were announced and shown which included the Combat Assault Tank Driver from Rogue One and a Han Solo figure from Solo. Wave three will be when the fan’s choice winner Dr. Aphra will be released. I admit I know nothing about this character so I can’t really comment on whether they did a good job bringing the character into the figure line from the comics, but most fans seem to think she’s a home run. They also gave a sneak preview of Yak Face (Saelt-Marae), which will debut in 2019. The first vehicle from the relaunch made its first appearance in all its glory. The Imperial Combat Assault Tank was a fan favorite from Rogue One and Hasbro has done a great job creating this vehicle. With so many details and features packed into it, Combat Assault Tank will have amazing play value but will work just as well for a display piece.
Wal-Mart is getting two exclusive figures, Island Journey Rey (#122) this Spring and a Mimban Stormtrooper (#123) this fall. This a departure from the original line that offered very few exclusive single packed figures except those that were reserved for mail-aways and conventions. So far, the figure assortments are a nice combination of repacks and new stuff and it all looks great.
The shocker of the Toy Fair show for most and the thing that is generating the most talk and buzz has got to be the Sail Barge from Return of the Jedi from Haslab – Hasbro’s new crowdfunding division. It comes in at 4’ long and being true 3 ¾” scale it will be the largest Star Wars playset/vehicle ever created, with real goods sails and a new Jabba the Hutt figure included. Modeled after the original plans from the set builders, it also comes with removable panels and tons of other play features. It carries a $500.00 price tag but what is unique is the crowdfunding angle that they are using to see how the community will react to such a high dollar piece. They are looking for 5000 backers to move into the next phase of production and at the time that I’m writing this article, Hasbro is already over 2000. If Jabba’s Sail Barge gets funded it will be a historic milestone in the Star Wars collectible market and will certainly open a new door for high-end collectors who are looking for truly special additions to their collections. With Haslab, Hasbro has entered territory that is unprecedented for a large-scale toy company. They have done the initial legwork on a massive piece and are asking the collecting community to partner WITH them to bring this to completion. This is a huge step in proving just how much Hasbro is investing in the Vintage Collection relaunch, making good on previous statements that they want to build this line with fans and not just for fans. I have been looking for more of an outreach to fans and I can’t think of a better start than asking us to partner with them to produce the toys that we love.
Now, I realize that the massive price tag put this thing out of a lot of people’s reach, mine included, but there’s a lot bang for your buck with this thing as a toy and a true investment piece if you are on the fence about getting one. If this does go into production, you can bet there won’t be many made at all. Another positive aspect is that this a start and could lead to more and more of this happening with smaller playsets or vehicles in a lower price range. If you follow LEGO, they have had quite a bit of success with a model similar to this, minus the crowdfunding, upfront $$$ commitment. The way I see it is that they are telling us to put our money where our mouth is. Historically, as collectors, we ask Hasbro for these big playsets and collectibles, and we all have ideas on what should be produced. But often when these pieces are made we walk away from the larger prices or find something wrong with it so we don’t have to let go of the money, then cry that we don’t get what we want. I have been guilty of this too, and the truth is that this overextends the companies that make the piece and take all the risk of investing huge money before it goes to retail. When it fails the manufacturers are left holding the bag, taking a financial hit in the process, often times learning a lesson that it is not worth the effort and money to produce the big pieces that collectors beg for. That hurts the collectors in the long run, as all we see are the safe collectibles moving forward, and rarely ever the truly special and unique vehicles and playsets.
So there we have it, my rundown of the highlights from Toy Fair 2018. It was a great show with a lot of interesting reveals to keep the collecting community busy and broke for the foreseeable future. It really is an exciting time for collectors with Solo, a Star Wars Story releasing in just a few months, and the film’s toys set to release about a month before that. After that, we have a long hiatus before the next movie and I think Hasbro is going to use this time period to catch its breath a little and put some really great pieces out to fill our collections. Next time I’ll finish up the recap of The Vintage Collection, and that should be just in time for us to start seeing the new stuff in the stores. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments, hit me up on our Facebook page.