I’m going to warn you now, this post is a bit of a rant. About toys. Hopefully it won’t reach JTA levels of petulance, but it’s a rant none the less.
Let’s start this back at the beginning.
Hasbro has been not-so-subtley nudging us towards either 5POA, the 6″ line or GTFO for the last two years. However as the 3.75″ Black Series carried on over that period (giving us some much sought after repacks and new releases in the process) there still remained a bit of hope that we would get some super-articulated 3.75″ figures for The Force Awakens. The price points were the main thing that gave me this hope, because after all – Hasbro wouldn’t be bat-shit stupid enough to charge £15 for a single 5POA figure, right? As the leaks started to hit in the weeks leading up to Force Friday however I started to realise that I may have underestimated just how dry Disney intends to milk this franchise.
As we found out more about what we were going to see on Force Friday my enthusiasm dimmed, and my biggest concerns about the enforced secrecy leading up to September 4th were confirmed. The early leaks gave me enough time to take stock, let the excitement wash off and realise what it was I was actually looking at.
I’ve already gone on record with my reservations about the new figures, but at that point we still weren’t clear on the price point. And over here in the UK these things are an almighty rip-off.
The main point about the re-launched Saga Legends, we were told all of two years ago, was to bring the prices back down and make the toys more affordable, something I was happy to countenance – these are kid’s playthings after all, so kids should be able to afford them. With new films on the horizon Disney and/or Hasbro have reverted to price-gouging of the most gregarious magnitude, and I think that there’s a very good chance that it’s going to bite them on the arse. And as a toy collector and Star Wars fan in general that would be rubbish.
I’ve tried with the 5POA line in the same way that I’ve tried with the 6″ line, repeatedly, with different figures, using them for display or photography, but it’s all to no avail. 5POA is not for me. I grew up playing with the vintage figures but POTF2 is where the Star Wars line got good in my opinion, and the addition of elbows with the Episode 1 line was unreal! The thing is, I’m fully reconciled to being nostalgic about POTF2. With the new films however I want to see action figures doing what they can do in 2015.
And for that we have the 6″ Black Series line, which, as mentioned above, I really have tried to love. And it’s strange, because I love McFarlane’s Halo and Assassin’s Creed figures, pretty much anything from Play Arts Kai, Transformers of all shapes and sizes, but as far as Star Wars goes I just can’t break out of the 3.75″ scale. And as I finally held a 6″ Kylo Ren in my hand last Friday, and inspected it closely before putting it back on the shelf, I realised that I am completely OK with that.
I’m not going to go into the sparse availability of any decent figures anywhere as that’s been covered enough (but just as a primer, short-stocking the figures drives up demand, with later re-stocks drip-feeding customers so that panic buying overtakes objective reasoning up to the release of the film, when we finally see Luke, Leia and Han on the shelves); but with a horrendously overpriced basic figure line, a not-quite as badly priced but unappealing 6″ line and no middle ground, I’m essentially left in the GTFO zone.
And Disney/Hasbro – I’m sorry to say this, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do as far as The Force Awakens toys are concerned. Of course I’ll watch the film, multiple times no doubt. But for toys from a galaxy far, far away, it’ll continue to be all about Star Wars Action Figures 1995 – 2000 for me.