2013 was a chaotic year for Star Wars action figure collectors.
It was a transitional year, a year of recovery from poorly executed distribution by Hasbro, a year of cancellations, and a year where it became clear that toy runs
are a thing of the past (at least until Episode 7 comes out).
2013 felt bad, emphasis being on FELT, because overall it was a pretty good year for quality Star Wars action figures and vehicles.
Let's take a look at what happened in 2013.
Early in the year we all learned of several cancellations, which was troubling. First the theater releases of Episode II in 3D and Episode III in 3D were cancelled. This of course caused problems for Hasbro, because now they would have Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith toys on the shelves for the Holiday season without the support of Lucasfilm marketing. We then learned that The Legacy Collection toy line for 2013 was cancelled, and together with it one of the best pack-ins Hasbro has ever included with figures: Build A Droid parts.
We also learned that the The Clone Wars TV show was cancelled, and of course the Clone Wars toys as well. The Movie Heroes toy line was cancelled too, and the last four figures from the 2012/2013 series in "blue/red Darth Maul packaging" (light-up lightsaber Anakin Skywalker, Battle Droid, Boba Fett, Sandtrooper) were only released outside the United States.
The good news was that the cancelled, and originally planned first wave of Movie Heroes and Clone Wars figures (in green Yoda-style packaging), were released outside the United States. This gave collectors the chance to add them to the collections (at a premium price of course, because the figures had to be imported, but at least they were made available).
If you wanted to add the first wave of figures from the 2013 Movie Heroes line to your collection you had to track down ten figures. All of them were either straight repacks or very slight repaints of previously released figures:
If you wanted to add the first wave of figures from the 2013 The Clone Wars line to your collection you had to track down nine figures. This series
offered more newness than the Movie Heroes series.
More good news was that Hasbro was able to offer some of the cancelled 2013 The Legacy Collection figures in an Amazon exclusive 6-pack (plus 1 Build-A-Droid figure) later in the year. This was truly fantastic, because fans had the chance to add the cancelled card design
and never-before-done figures like FA-4 and TC-70 (in realistic style) to the collection.
At New York Toy Fair in February we were introduced to SAGA LEGENDS packaging (the basic assortment and the Mission Series 2-packs), a toy line aimed at children with figures that have no more than five joints. We also got a look at the very first wave of 6 inch and 3 3/4 inch Star Wars figures from The Black Series toy lines. The big announcement at Toy Fair 2013 was certainly the addition of a new 6 inch scale action figure line which would co-exist next to our favorite 3 3/4 inch Star Wars action figure line.
Then it was quiet until May, when Star Wars Weekends was held at Disney World's Hollywood Studios. Disney celebrated the 30th Anniversary of
Return Of The Jedi with an impressive selection of exclusive ROTJ-themed park merchandise. Among the items released were two park exclusive Star Wars action figure sets titled Star Tours: Sector 2 Security and Star Tours: Search For The Rebel Spy. Both
sets were based on the popular Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attraction.
Then during the Summer, right around the time that San Diego Comic Con 2013 was held, rumors began to emerge that Disney was buying Hasbro. There were also rumors circulating that the 3 3/4 inch Star Wars action figure line was going away completely, and that it would be replaced with the new 6 inch line of figures.
At San Diego Comic Con (July 18–21) Hasbro sold the first 6 inch Star Wars action figure set, which included an exclusive Boba Fett with Han Solo in Carbonite action figure. The new 6 inch line was well received and at the time, the set went for $150 to $200 on Ebay. Hasbro also granted a look at the second wave of 6 inch figures which included Han Solo, Greedo, Slave Leia and Boba Fett (this time without Han Solo in Carbonite).
One week after San Diego Comic Con, Celebration Europe II in Germany was held. There Hasbro gave us a look at the 3rd wave of 6 inch Star Wars figures. We also got a look at wave 3 of the Black Series 3 3/4 inch figures, which included Darth Plagueis, Commander Neyo, Mace Windu from The Clone Wars and Vizam (Nikto Skiff Guard).
Around August 1st, 2013 The Black Series and the Saga Legends series debuted at retail. The figures sold pretty well overall, except for the Mission series 2-packs, which seemed to move slower. The first two waves of figures had packaging problems, where the bubbles weren't glued onto their cardacks well enough and were falling off.
The most important news from New York Comic Con in October, was that Hasbro will indeed support the TV show Star Wars: Rebels with toys and action figures in 2014. It was mentioned that the figures will be aimed at children and will have no more than five joints.
The packaging design features a cracked Stormtrooper helmet with a spray painted Rebel symbol over the trooper's left eye.
And there's 2013 in a nutshell! Did I forget anything to mention? Please let me know in the comments below! Now, let's take a look at some of the available Return Of The Jedi toys, the Top 10 figures of 2013 and a prediction for 2014!
2013 was the 30th Anniversary of Return Of The Jedi, and Hasbro released some great toys based on Episode VI.
They released a re-painted AT-AT vehicle in beautiful vintage-inspired packaging exclusively at Toys'R'Us (it was originally to be released in 2012 in the U.S.), we got a fantastic, newly sculpted Ewok Assault Catapult with two new Ewok action figures, a Tie Interceptor in Return Of The Jedi vintage-style packaging, plus a single carded Biker Scout and a newly sculpted
Vizam Skiff Guard action figure.
Many Toys'R'Us stores still carried the brilliant Biker Scout with Speeder Bike set from the previous year along with the Y-Wing Fighter, which came in a vintage-style Return Of The Jedi box. So, if you really wanted a "ROTJ fix", you didn't have as many options as you did during the 30th Anniversary for The Empire Strikes Back, but there was some awesome stuff available nonetheless.
2013 didn't really have all that many new figures to choose from. The Black Series figures were all very well done, with the exception of the horrible Stormtrooper from the second wave.
Here are Jedi Business' picks for BEST STAR WARS ACTION FIGURES OF 2013!
TK-421 won because of several reasons. Most notably, Hasbro tried to match the belt of the movie counterpart, which not only has the hook (non-removable) on the back, which Luke Skywalker
and Princess Leia used to swing across the Death Star shaft, but it also has a working comlink holder and it's painted brown in the middle, mimicking the discolored tape which held the belt
together in the back. It also has the correct belt boxes on it and a working holster for the blaster. TK-421 is super poseable and comes with a 3-piece Imperial Blaster. It's not absolutely perfect, but it's about as perfect as it gets
in such a small scale. It shows how much Hasbro can get out of an OLD MOLD when its done right and attention is paid to details. Besides the figure, the vintage-style Star Wars packaging, the box with all its details inside and the second figure (Scanning Crew Technician) round out this set perfectly. And lastly, this set was on sale for several weeks at about $12, which brought the price down for each figure to about $6 (a steal compared to the regularly priced $10 for The Black Series figures).
Honorable mentions go to the two Toys'R'Us exclusive The Battle Of Geonosis: Jedi Knights 4-packs. Six of the eight figures had never been offered before, and they
were sculpted beautifully and super poseable. This is the kind of quality which long-time collectors can appreciate, especially when the characters have never been released before as action figures.
By the end of 2013 there were only eight 6 inch Star Wars figures available.
One of the coolest vehicles released in 2013 was Boba Fett's SLAVE I. Fans had been asking for a repainted version of the Clone Wars Slave I vehicle for a few years, and in 2013 Hasbro managed to release this beauty in The Empire Strikes Back vintage-style packaging exclusively on Amazon.
Amazon also carried the Tie Interceptor, which was well worth the sale price of $24.99. Toys'R'Us carried the ROTJ AT-AT vehicle (which came with an AT-AT Driver with black gloves), they also had the beautiful Biggs Darklighter X-Wing fighter in vintage-style Star Wars packaging along with the Attack Of The Clones Gunship, which included both side turrets this time.
2013 was a strange year for Star Wars action figure collectors. The Phantom Menace wave of the Vintage Collection is still lingering around on shelves almost two years after its debut. Some stores here in the Seattle area didn't even put
The Black Series 3 3/4 inch line on the shelves until the middle of December. Walmart didn't even carry the new 6 inch Star Wars figure line and Target's shelf space was dominated by Star Wars Angry Birds.
There was almost no reason to go on toy runs. The only time it was worth going on a run was around the time The Black Series and The Saga Legends series was released, and when the K-Mart exclusive 2-packs came out.
Hunting for the Ewok Assault Catapult and the two Imperial Scanning Crew 2-packs was actually a lot of fun, until I stepped into K-Mart, and I came to realize just how much I don't like K-Mart stores. For some reason their toy aisles always look as if a bomb had gone off.
I've also come to realize that it's been more than half a year since I last stepped into a Walmart store, even though the nearest one is less than a mile from my house.
And how about Amazon and $2.64 for TBS Biker Scouts? $2.69 for Gunship Pilots? About $3 each for Biggs, Anakin and Padme? Even Jedi Master Pablo Jill and
Luminara Unduli from the second wave could be found on Amazon for less than $5 apiece. And when
the price dropped from $59.99 to $14.99 on the 2013 The Legacy Collection 6-pack, we all couldn't believe our eyes.
The Mission Series 2-packs, which retailed for about $10, were marked down to about $3.50 each, bringing the price down to about $1.75 per figure. Amazon had very aggressive pricing last year for various the Vintage Collection figures, but I have never seen such low prices for NEW FIGURES, ever.
I don't think the Amazon pricing reflects the market accurately when it comes to Star Wars toys because many other toy lines were marked down with deep discounts as well. To me it looked more as if Amazon wanted to bully their way into the toy market in general.
The new 6 inch line is fantastic overall, but it's no replacement for the 3 3/4 inch line. Let's hope they stick with main characters and don't release more than 10 to 15 figures a year. The eight 6 inch figures released so far take up already a considerable amount of shelf space.
So, I'd say that 2013 was boring. The quality of the figures released was very good, but the character selection was not.
I wish Hasbro would figure a way out to release figures on a regular 4 - 6 week schedule again, hitting the "add to cart" button is just not as
exciting as finding figures at a retail store.
2014 will be better than 2013, because Hasbro knows where Lucasfilm is headed. Star Wars: Rebels will be out in the Fall, and new toys with it. Tie Fighters will have smaller wings which
would be a great opportunity for Hasbro to dust off the original vintage mold one more time and re-release the oldschool Tie Fighter. And while they are at it, I wouldn't mind seeing a re-release of the vintage X-Wing fighter, and bring the electronics back! Kids love it when toys make sounds.
Lucasfilm's Dave Filoni has announced that the Imperial Troop Transport will be in Star Wars: Rebels, or a variation of the vehicle at least. So Hasbro, how about a re-release of the vintage Imperial Troop Transport?
I predict that the SAGA LEGENDS line will end, and morph into the Star Wars: Rebels toy line. It's already been confirmed that Star Wars: Rebels action figures will have only 5 points of articulation. The Black Series toy line will likely be around until the middle of 2015, I don't see a reason why
they should change the packaging.
I would guess that we have about 1 3/4 years to gap until Episode 7 toys are being released. This is a fantastic opportunity for Hasbro to look at their parking lot of figures and give us a more Cantina aliens, Jabba's Palace denizens and obscure background aliens. How about a Clieg Lars with hover chair? I also would like to see
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia based on the "Splinter Of The Mind's Eye" novel cover. This is our chance to
get Original Trilogy and Prequel figures before the Episode 7 and spin-off movie madness.
So far, 2014 is already shaping up nicely for fans of the Original Trilogy. Wave 4 of The Black Series will feature figures of Luke Skywalker (Dagobah Jedi Training), Yoda (Jedi Training),
Wedge Antilles (Snowspeeder Outfit), Toryn Farr, Snowtrooper Commander and Darth Vader from Episode III. There are also whispers that we
will see a new Princess Leia in A New Hope outfit, a newly sculpted Ree-Yees and a realistic version of Captain Rex
from The Clone Wars.
2014 looks like as if it will be a good year for fans of the new 6 inch line. We know that a Bespin Luke Skywalker, a Stormtrooper, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker based on Episode III are being released. A Biker Scout has already been announced along with a Speeder Bike. A 6 inch Jabba The Hutt is rumored.
Overall, 2014 could be a pretty good year for Star Wars action figure fans!
THANK YOU for reading and MTFBWY!Chris "Criz Bee"
Now it's your turn! How was 2013 for you? What were your favorite figures? Your favorite vehicles? What are you looking forward to in 2014? Leave your comments below!!