The Force Guide had the opportunity to participate in a Q & A session with the Hasbro Star Wars Brand Team after their Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest Livestream event to discuss their reveals.
TheForceGuide: The new Black Series Koska Reeves has a fantastic portrait sculpt under a removable helmet. You’ve been taking a number of different approaches to helmeted characters lately: Vintage Collection figures have either removable helmets or swappable heads; Black Series figures have removable helmets OR unpainted heads glued into helmets, frequently leading to great helmet designs being misaligned and misshapen. What is the design process like on these, and how do you determine which method to use on each figure?
Hasbro: It’s kind of different for each figure that we develop, so any of the ones that have the unpainted head underneath the helmet are normally those characters that we either know going forward that we want to be able to have it be removable, Boba Fett’s a great example of one that when we were originally developing that Return of the Jedi figure we knew that that helmet was going to be making appearances in the new season [of The Mandalorian] and it was going to be removed, so we knew that that was going to be on and off we didn’t want to have to retool that helmet, but because Return of the Jedi version of him never took that helmet off, we kind of just had the generic head underneath there glued on. Just so that we had that option later to be able to have that helmet be removable, so that’s kind of the design process of why we are doing that with certain figures and certain characters. It’s all a matter of, if on screen they did remove their helmet and if they’re like a named character that did remove their helmet, we make sure to have that option be there; but for the characters that are, say, a little bit more generic, or do not have a name or do not take off their helmet, that’s when we have the generic head underneath. And then obviously if it’s a character like Koska Reeves, she’s a known actress who does take off her helmet in the show, so those are elements we take to have the helmet be removable. When it comes to the misaligned and misshapen helmets, that is something we’re aware of and we’re working to fix to make sure that doesn’t happen going forward, because it is a new process we are constantly making sure that is improved and does not happen going forward.
TFG: The newly-revealed Black Series Tech from the Bad Batch has opaque (solid) yellow lenses on his goggles and visor, while in the animation those lenses were transparent (clear) yellow, will the production version of Tech have the opaque lenses, and will the visor be movable?
H: So for Tech, the goggles will be the solid yellow; we did update it to a bit more of a metallic instead, so it won’t be quite as banana-yellow. That helmet in particular was a very complex helmet, to mold it in clear would mean painting quite a bit of the helmet itself — there’s a lot going on with it, we had to kind of prioritize what we did with that. And the visor, he does have a movable visor that can go up and down on the figure itself. It was ultimately kind of matter of priority, and that’s kind of unfortunately where we landed for that figure in particular. We’re really still very happy with how that figure turned out, we think at least the update to switching to metallic will give it a bit more nuance as well.
TFG: The Vote from the Vault is giving fans the opportunity to vote on bringing back one older Vintage Collection figure, and all the choices are highly valued and wanted by fans, most selling for hundreds each now. Is there a chance that all five can work their way back into the line, or is this their only shot?
H: That’s a good question, right now there are no current plans to do any of them beyond the one that wins the fan vote. I’ve seen comments from the forums online about making them into a single repack wave, and I think we’ve said this a few times and it gets lost: those kind of repack waves are intended for the newer fans, with main characters to bring new fans into the hobby. We do have some repacks throughout the main line, but we try to reserve those for figures that, for the most part, are new to The Vintage Collection [or] on The Vintage Collection card for the first time. That being said, it certainly is something we could consider for the future, it’s definitely not a hundred percent out of the scope, but for right now the plans are to just do that figure that wins the fan vote. But, as always, it’s good to receive the feedback and we’ll take it into account.
TFG: With Black Series General Lando Calrissian, the figure’s cape employs soft goods cloth with a plastic “chain” piece closing off the collar, was this a challenge to design when some fabric-and-plastic combinations have been prone to tearing? Will the plastic chain be movable to make the cape removable?
H: It is always a challenge, obviously, with making sure that things do not break on the figure. It’s something that every figure does go through that testing to make sure that elements like that don’t rip and tear, especially one where we have combination pieces like that. It is definitely a challenge in certain ways, and it is something that we’re aware of, something we look to improve on everything. At the moment, the chain is not removable but I believe the cape can be kind of like lifted up over the head — I’d have to look to see when we actually get in the samples to look at it directly, but you can remove the cape; it might be a little bit difficult in certain cases.
TFG: As the recently-reissued Vintage Collection Battle Droid was softer and more bendy than the original release, will there be an attempt with the Gaming Greats Heavy Battle Droid to correct this issue?
H: Yeah, so pretty much every figure that we get, even if it is a re-release, we are given samples for us to do a little bit of a review in-house and take a look at. In things like that, especially when it’s more of a plastic softness issue, it’s something that we will make comments on and ask for them to increase the durometer [the international standard of hardness for plastics and other non-metallic materials] of those figures, so it’s definitely something I can bring to the team and make sure that they are aware of it. But, most times, it’s something that the minute we get it in-hand, we’re like “ooh this is really low durometer” and we feel like we need to fix it and that’s something we can definitely look to update.