By now, some or most of you have likely purchased some Rogue One products. If you’re like me, there may have just been a few items you were interested in getting your hands on. After having gone out last year at midnight, to a Target and coming home with a little swag, and overall, underwhelmed, I opted this year to hit a Walmart that I go to frequently since it opens at six AM. Little did I know that this Force Friday would also start off as quite a bust! Walmart #1 had zero Rogue One product on the floor and this particularly irked me since I’d seen 2 pallets of stock three days earlier. I decided to hit a second Walmart on my way into work and came up dry there too. I finally got lucky at a Target before Noon and then yet, a 3rd Walmart where I found all the Funko I wanted and 6” Black series. I hit a few more stores over the weekend including repeated visits to that 0600 opening Walmart and yet, No Ahsoka. Saw, but did not purchase Lando, Royal Guard and Ackbar, but no Ahsoka. By the weekend’s end, I have to say I was a bit letdown and filled with disappointment.
I guess, maybe, I came to realize, that over this newest product rollout, maybe, on the cusp of 45, the thrill might be gone. I know that my son is going to have a great birthday and x-mas, but he’s going to be ten. It really also got me to pondering if action figures in general (not just Star Wars) are a dying product? It got me to thinking about what enthralls young boys these days. If I were to use my own son as an example, then Legos, Nerf, iPod and Wii are his other go tos’. Honestly, I’m not too sure why I grabbed him so much stuff since he doesn’t play with it as much as he did a year ago. I think nowadays kids have so much other stuff to occupy their attention, cooler stuff. Cooler than action figures. It occurred to me that if you walk the aisles at any Target, Walmart or Toys R Us, there’s simply TONS of figures on the shelves and they don’t seem to be leaving those shelves. Marvel, DC, TMNT, GIJOE, The Walking Dead, and even those cheesy cheap knock off ones are all stagnantly collecting dust along with the Star Wars line.
I know as someone who has purchased a ton of Hasbro 3.75” products over the last two decades, their offerings, in particular, have drastically declined both in quality and quantity. Not to mention the variations within their own product line. You have the 3.75” 5 point of articulation figures retailing anywhere from $6.99-$8.99 depending on retailer. Walmart has the exclusivity of the 3.75” Black Series currently selling at $10.99, down from $12.99. Then you have the 6” Black Series going for $18-19.99 each. I know they cost more but based on articulation and detail on the figures, the 6” Black seem to me the ones to grab now. I really balk at the new 3.75” figures that basically using 1977 molds and now cost twice as much.
I think one of the other problems too is that the figures available don’t necessarily reflect the TV show or movie that is out. Last year and this year, the toy line launched 3 months before the movie. I think it’s hard for a kid to commit to playing with something he or she hasn’t seen in action yet besides a trailer. While it also seems as though ‘Rebels’ has developed a rabid following on Disney XD, Hasbro is vastly behind the eight ball when it comes to getting figures out. It’s only NOW that a Sabine and Hera figure are out. I understand that a figure has to go from concept, to design, initial sculpt, review and finalized before even being sent overseas to actually be made; but hell, people are using 3D printers to make their own Star Wars cosplay at home. I certainly think part of the problem IS the enormous amount of time to go from paper to finished product. But again, as I stated earlier, I also think the action figure is a dying market. If only middle aged men are buying figures and even then, cherry picking the ‘hot’ figure, then all that’s left are peg warmers.
Episode VII came out almost a year ago and there’s still plenty of Constable Zuvio’s on the pegs. Plenty of Poe with X-Wing (especially the Jakku white one) and Imperial troop with speeder bike. What’s more is that those 3 items in particular were onscreen only brief moments or not even at all! Yet, the one figure most people want the most is not coming out until NEXT year, Old Luke. I suppose too that the thrill of the ‘hunt’ is gone. My time is far more valuable now and I really don’t have the patience or desire to hit multiple stores a few times a week like I did years ago. Not to mention nowadays, Hasbro isn’t shipping out product as frequently and it is literally weeks or months before you see a new figure on the shelves. I never thought I’d say this, but for me, I think after this holiday, there won’t be any new Star Wars toys added to my shelves or on my son’s floor.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
*I’m a jack of many trades, but master of none; though I excel at drawing, writing and love photography. Aside from this blog I also review movies weekly in my column ‘Film Unfiltered’ for the Valley Breeze in Northern RI. You can find me on Facebook at teburke3, Twitter & Instagram: thomasburke3rd. MTFBWY, Tom