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Scout Report / Re: May the Fourth 2021
« on: May 04, 2021, 08:43:03 AM »
It's 8:41am, and the number of SW nerds constantly pressing F5 to refresh the TRU webpage must be mind-boggling at this point   :rollfloorlaffsmiley:

(myself included, even though there's nothing I really want on their website)

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: March 10, 2021, 01:40:56 PM »
Now if only the deluxe Boba Fett would do the same (ha! fat chance of that)

If collectors can hold off from buying Jar Jar, I think it might drop down as far as $35.  Although usually Amazon's algorithm seems to work in cycles.  The first time it starts discounting, it doesn't ever drop as far down as 30%, I think it usually stops at around 20% before it resets.

My guess is that the algorithm also has a time factor involved e.g. how long as Amazon had this item in stock?  If it's been 6 months to a year, then you'd likely see a 40 to 50% drop like we did with the freezing chamber.  Jar Jar is still fairly new so a 20% drop would take it to about $36.

Maybe by Sept-Oct if he hasn't sold out, then the second or third pass of the algorithm might get him down to $25 to $30.

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: February 17, 2021, 08:33:29 PM »
I was chatting with another collector friend about this just last year i.e. why do some customers get banned by Amazon.  There was an online article that highlighted people who seemingly get kicked off Amazon and who claim that they don't know why, they didn't do anything wrong.

Personally I think that Amazon has an algorithm that analyzes how many times they have to pay for the shipping when you return a product back to them (referring to genuine returns due to damage or some problem with the product), and how often customer service has to do some kind of special refund because you call to complain, and if the algorithm decides that you're costing them more money than they are making from you, they'll just boot you off without any warning.   

They have hundreds of millions of customers, so kicking off a few hundred (or even thousand) unprofitable customers each year, probably doesn't hurt their overall sales, it likely saves them money.

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: February 16, 2021, 04:34:35 PM »
Transport is down to $52. Sounds like a nice deal to me.

Sales must've been good at that price.  It's gone back up to about $64+tax again.  I bought mine, since $52 is probably about as cheap as it'll get (unless Amazon is sitting on a warehouse full of these toys).   

I noticed that the Bespin Freezing Chamber has again dropped down to $47.  How many of these playsets do they have? You'd think at $36 they'd have cleared out most of their stock.

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: February 01, 2021, 02:23:44 PM »
I was excited about the prospect of the Carbon Freezing Chamber when I first heard of it. I got the one that came out with the elastic-y carbonite that you could put your figure in and they were "Frozen". The fact that it was a complete playset, with a jail cell, moveable platform and the cool feature of closing the carbonite on your figure all in one was nice. The only problem I had was with the big gun accessory. I was all WTF. The guard figure was awful but he was a good background filler.

Yes!  I still have the PotJ playset as well and I still love it.  The great things about this set were:

1) as Kale noted, it felt complete and even had some nice play features
2) it came with a Bespin Guard!!!!
3) it has the control panel thing
4) even though it didn't have translucent orange plastic for those vent-things, Hasbro nonetheless have them cut open as holes so that you could still customize it with some translucent orange plastic sheets from the craft store
5) the thing was sturdy as hell, not flimsy
6) I think it sold for the same price as the TVC Bespin Freezing Chamber set (better value!!!!)
7) the underside of the platform was generic enough, that as a kid, you could use it to represent other environments e.g. the engineering room of a spaceship

The only negative was just that the standing platform and stairway were too small. Otherwise it would've been near perfect for its time.

EDIT: for anyone looking to populate their Tantive IV hallway, you can buy some loose Rebels here:

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: February 01, 2021, 02:02:42 PM »
100% agree with you JR.  I said the same thing when I first saw the set... it needed that blue-black cardboard background to really convey the sense of the freezing chamber.  Sometimes just a small addition can make a huge difference in recreating look-and-feel.

I'm torn about which playset is "better".  I agree with Cujo's remarks about how the Bespin set feels incomplete (half a playset) and for sure the Stormtrooper was a lackluster choice.  That said, I think the quality of the Bespin set exceeds that of the Tantive hallway (grey plastic is easier to look nice than white plastic that is for sure, no yellowing concerns either).  I was actually more worried that Hasbro wasn't going to use translucent orange plastic for the vent-things, and were only going to just paint those areas in orange.   

The only thing they could've done to improve it was to have modular foot pegs, because right now, I'm worried that if I just rattle my shelf by accident, my figures are all going to come tumbling down!

Flip side: the Tantive IV is crappier quality for sure, but yes, as Cujo notes, it feels less incomplete.  You don't feel the need to get a second playset (unless maybe it goes down real cheap in price).  And also it's a more exciting scene to recreate since it's a battle rather than just a group of people standing around an open hole  :P

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: February 01, 2021, 11:13:21 AM »
Now if the Tantive IV hallway drops to $35 price in 5 months time, I'll get two  :rollfloorlaffsmiley:

That said, it's unfortunate about the Bespin chamber set selling so poorly.  I wonder if Hasbro had put in the Bespin Guard instead of the Stormtrooper if that might not have made a bigger difference in sales.  Or a Bespin Guard AND an Ugnaught.

If these sell well, you can bet that a vinyl cape Jawa will be released a con exclusive that sells for 3x the regular price.

Ouch, that photo of Ben on the website in his duel pose really looks bad.  Again, blame goes to that awkward cape, but some blame also to the plastic front skirt too for impeding his legs.  This is definitely not a figure that you're going to get a lot of good poses out of sadly.

I was thinking that I'd swap the photo-real head with my retro ANH old Ben body, but the photos make it seem like this Ben uses a more reddish flesh plastic for his head (whereas the retro card Ben was more yellowy-flesh).

I will get Old Ben. He was my first Kenner SW figure as a kid, so by default I will buy a Kenner-colored 6-inch version of him too.  Not sure yet about Greedo or Jawa.  Greedo looks a bit odd with the belt and holster (I assume it is removable though if one was to really recreate the OG Kenner Greedo).

The vinyl cape on old Ben doesn't look so great though, it flares out too much at the shoulders (mine didn't flare out like that, I don't think).  Too bad Hasbro wouldn't spend the money to give Ben a new right arm with a telescoping lightsaber!  That would've been the bee's knees  :rollfloorlaffsmiley:

Shocker for Darth Cujo  :scared0008:. Paul on JTA paid a compliment to Hasbro about the cardback for these figures!

Holy cow. I just realized they fixed the dreadful 6" vintage Kenner card art. They redesigned the card so that the Star Wars logo is centered with the nameplate. And the background looks very similar to the dimensions of the 3.75" card. Good on them for doing this.

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: January 27, 2021, 03:13:35 PM »
The Troop Transport has been at that price before, I think even slightly lower than that at $67-something.  I'd certainly pick it up at $50 if it ever fell down to that level, or at $60 if it had included a pilot figure or something to add some more value.

I have both the vintage Kenner and the CW troop transports, so like you, it's not a must-have, just a "would buy it if it were cheaper".   Looks like a good-quality toy, but not really iconic or essential.   They had a variant of this transport during season 2, which I thought was more visually appealing than this season 1 transport. 

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: January 27, 2021, 01:33:39 AM »
I have no interest in any of the high republic stuff either, Nap. Not even remotely.

Anything new that is coming out of Lucasfilm (and there is a lot of new Star Wars coming) needs to be evaluated by every fan to decide if it will be worth the investment in time. Even if I weren't against it on principle, the High Republic feels very much like it's going to be another Star Wars Resistance-type failure... and unless Disney forces Hasbro to do it, I doubt Hasbro will be supporting the series with much in the way of action figures (though I guess they could reuse existing tooling of Jedi from the prequel era).  I really like Charles Soule as a writer, but the premise just doesn't sound that exciting.

Side note: does anyone else think that the blonde Jedi woman on the front cover of the novel looks a LOT like Kathleen Kennedy?  I'll bet you can't un-see that, now that I've pointed it out!  :mad0218:

@Darth Cujo: okay, if I have to provide any more links to JTA in the future and the article includes a Paul rant, I will try to remember to add a warning/disclaimer.  :)`  Even if Paul gets worse with the hyperbolic complaints down the road, the best solution in my book is to just leave him be and let him silently implode.  I just don't believe that collectors should criticize other collectors since each person's passion for the hobby is going to differ in how they express it; it's perfectly fine to critique Hasbro or Disney or George Lucas, as they are the corporate giants that we have to hold to account since they control the health of the franchise.   

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: January 25, 2021, 07:50:40 PM »
I'm assuming the no-watch Mandalorian thing (which is the first I've heard of it) is part of the anti-Disney mentality which even I agree is silly. Disney did a great job with Rogue One, and to a lesser degree SOLO, and by now I'd hope that Paul recognizes that it's the old-school fans who are raving about Mando, and with good reason.

That said, I personally won't be supporting the Acolyte or the High Republic projects. These come from the Kathleen Kennedy camp, who've been antagonistic towards the fanbase in the past and belittled them for complaining about the sequels. I'm not talking about those who supposedly harassed Kelly Marie Tran, but the more moderate complainers. When a segment of the corporation mocks their customers for making valid points, they won't find me buying or supporting their projects just out of principle.

Again for the JTA/Paul haters, just stay off the website. I never get why people go to that website, then complain about the owner when it's fairly known that his views are radical at times and certainly an acquired taste. As mentioned, there's Yakface and RScum.  It would be like if I passionately hated The Force Awakens (which I do) yet I just keep watching the movie over and over just so I could complain more about it.* Just stay off JTA.  I still contend he's done more good for the 4-inch line and kept it alive, so we'll have to agree to disagree.

To return this post to something about Amazon, I did my return of the Tantive IV playsets today and dropped them off at the post office.  I really wish I were more happy with the product, but it definitely falls more into the $50-ish range for me as an acceptable purchase so I'd rather wait for a sale.  If it goes out of stock, I find that I really won't be so upset any more about not having it now that I've been able to check it out in person.

*I've watched TFA exactly 2 times. The second time was just to confirm that it really was the worst of the SW movies, and yes, it was.

EDIT: has Endor Han Solo at regular price $29.99 for pre-order for anyone who still doesn't have him yet

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: January 23, 2021, 08:03:09 PM »
Regardless of how some collectors feel about him, his fairly passionate articles do get Hasbro's notice and I'd credit him with keeping the 4-inch scale alive (and giving it a bit of a resurgence). 

When fans don't speak up, and speak up passionately, companies tend to push forward with their own perceptions and motivations (especially when it comes to 6-inch which is far more profitable for them than 4-inch).  We shouldn't take for granted that TVC returned just because Hasbro spontaneously decided it should, it took the constant virtual shouting of the more passionate fans to remind Hasbro that people still care about the 4-inch scale and that there's money to be made there if they deliver a quality product.   

The fact is, that most collectors just passively take what they're given and either quietly leave the hobby or are resigned to eat the crumbs that we would otherwise get e.g. 5POA or little green men toys.   While the negativity can annoy some, and needs to be used judiciously, it does spur Hasbro to do a better job or at least make them aware of what areas need to be focused on in the future.  I'm sure Hasbro understands this...  Paul does offer praise when they get it right too, it's just that his haters focus only on his negativity.

edit: here's a recent article from Paul, and yes it's negative in tone but for good reason (and it's not hyperbolic at all). It highlights the reason why SW and GI Joe 6-inch collectors aren't getting much value for their money when they buy products nowadays.  Heck, it probably explains why the Tantive IV playset feels so cheaply made for the cost (in a not-surprising way):

NOTE how GI Joe Classified collectors get screwed over, even though Hasbro owns the brand, simply because Hasbro has to keep the Joe figures unified with their more costly licensed products.

This is the kind of stuff that Paul does a great job at bringing to the attention of collectors.

Online Shopping - Who's Got the Hot Items??? / Re: Updates
« on: January 23, 2021, 05:43:59 AM »
I suspect it's because he knows Hasbro reads his editorials.  I don't have any real grievances with most of his articles, but yes once in a while he has to tone it down lest his criticisms start to fall on deaf ears (one can only listen to cries of the sky is falling for so long).

The site is well-balanced by the fact that the other main contributor to the articles, Thomas, argues his points more calmly and usually using statistics and facts, rather than subjective opinion.

Scout Report / Re: EB Games
« on: January 22, 2021, 11:48:55 AM »
EB is going to become a cross between TRU and your local comic shop as time marches on.  It's the only way they'll survive and even then it'll be precarious.   

I know from talking to a former employee that they don't make any money from selling consoles or new games, it's really just peripherals and used games that get them some marginal cash.  It was never going to be a long-term sustainable business model AFAIC. Geek culture is the only place where they have a shot if they can take business away from Walmart and TRU. 

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