Pocketmodel TCG Ground Assault Game Packs

Today I found a pile of the Pocketmodel TCG Ground Assault Game Packs had been added to the stock of Order 66 packs at Super Target, Houston. These packs were also reduced to $0.99US ($1.23NZ) each, so I picked up ten to give me a variety of the models from this series.

A Recap of Celebration VI

Yesterday (US time) Celebration VI wrapped up in Orlando, Florida. Although tantalizingly close, I was unable to make it. I figured that skipping the first week of classes in my new PhD program probably wouldn't have been received all that well by my department. Assuming there's another Celebration some time in the next five years, I'll be doing everything I can to make it to that one!

(Image courtesy of wired.com)

Fortunately, however, a number of the members of the SWNZ Message Boards attended and have been kindly supplying the rest of us with news and updates.

It seems that Hasbro is definitely moving towards a reduction in production in 2013 - most noticably with the suspension of the Vintage Collection action figure line. Some vehicles will continue to be released in Vintage Collection packaging however, including the larger 3 3/4" X-Wing of recent years. I think that for most collectors this is a mixed blessing. While it's disappointing that the volume of new items will be greatly reduced, it's also an opportunity to turn our collecting focus backwards and look to filling gaps in our current collections (something that is very difficult to do while also keeping up with the latest waves).

We just have to hope that this isn't the beginning of a downward trend in Star Wars goods. In September, The Clone Wars will be entering its fifth season. So far, there's no confirmation of a sixth season, and since the series only has a limited period of time in which to fit its content (the three years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) we can't expect the series to continue indefinitely. With Star Wars: Underworld (the long-waited live-action series) currently postponed, it seems likely that there will soon be a time without any new Star Wars releases. We just have to hope that this won't see a loss of interest in the franchise by manufacturing companies as it did in the dark days from 1985 to 1995.

In the near-future, however, we still have the 3D releases of the saga to look forward to. It was announced at Celebration VI that Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith would be released back-to-back in late 2013. This is great news for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we no longer have to wait for a year between each release, and secondly we'll be getting to the Original Trilogy much quicker. While the reception of the The Phantom Menace in 3D was lukewarm, I've no doubt that the chance to see the original films on the big screen again will bring the crowds in their droves.

The Hunt Is On - Movie Heroes 3 3/4" Yavin Pilot Pack Found

Luck was once again on my side today when I visited the Houston Toys'R'Us and managed to pick up the last Toys'R'Us Exclusive Yavin Pilot Pack they had in stock.

The price was a little on the steep side - $43.29US ($55.12NZ), but not too bad considering that it contains 5 figures which would ordinarily retail for $19.99 each in New Zealand. I'm absolutely rapt with this pack, and can't wait to add these figures to my Rebel Pilot display back home!

Houston Toy Store Tour - August 2012

Having safely arrived in Houston, I've spent the last week doing a tour of my local toy stores. First up was the Super Target store on South Main Street - the first Target I'd ever set foot in. I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. While everything was considerably cheaper than in New Zealand, the range of Star Wars products on offer was more or less the same. I'd hoped to post some pictures, however Target has a strict policy against photography in-store.

Next up was the Galleria Mall Lego Store. While their prices were the same as - or slightly more expensive than - the likes of Target, their selection was much more comprehensive. I imagine that this'll be a great place to secure those harder-to-find exclusives.

Finally, I visited the Promised Land of Star Wars collectors - Toys'R'Us. I certainly wasn't disappointed. The Houston store is absolutely massive, and seems to stock pretty much every Star Wars toy item available at the moment (with the exception of a few of the harder-to-find Vintage Collection figures). The shelves are well-organised, and while prices are slightly steeper than Target, they do stock a number of exclusives not available elsewhere.

I've no doubt that, over my next few years in Houston, this trio of stores will yield all sorts of wonderful additions to my collection. Let the hunt begin!

Pocketmodel TCG Order 66 Game Packs

My hope had been to find Star Wars items in the US that were (1) unavailable back in New Zealand, and (2) easy to transport back. Yesterday I stumbled across an item that easily fit both of these criteria.

Super Target is currently selling Order 66 Game Packs from the Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG at a ridiculous $0.99US ($1.22NZ) each. These packs were released back in 2008, so I can only assume that this is a way to clear out old stock. Each pack contains four to eight styrene pocketmodel vehicles, six game cards, and two micro-dice. The models themselves are surprisingly robust and very cleverly designed. I bought four packs for starters, and was so impressed with the quality that I went back today and bought another six packs. This should give me most of the vehicles and cards from the series.

Lego 30053 Republic Attack Cruiser Mini Building Set

Those of you who are regular visitors to this blog will know I have a particular soft spot for the Lego mini building sets. It was by a sheer stroke of luck, then, that by the checkout at Target I found one lonely Lego Mini Building Set 30053 Republic Attack Cruiser for $4.29US ($5.29US). It's not a very complex model, but a cool (and rather hard to find) addition to my expanding collection of Lego minis.

Star Wars Plastic Travel Mug Set

My first Star Wars acquisition in the US came when I was decking out my new apartment. While looking for something to drink out of at Super Target I came across this very cool Mug & Plastic Travel Mug Set depicting artwork from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The set cost me $12.99US ($15.97NZ).

Cubeecraft Star Wars Figures

In order to provide some decoration for my new apartment I've printed out and constructed a handful of Cubeecraft Star Wars figures - Boba Fett, Han Solo in Carbonite, Darth Vader, and a couple of Stormtroopers. These are great little figures, and I definitely recommend them - especially since they're completely free!

The Hunt Is On - Toys'R'Us Exclusive Yavin Pilot Pack Update

TheForce.net has reported that the Toys'R'Us Exclusive Yavin Pilot Pack is now turning up in stores. I'll soon be heading to the local Houston Toys'R'Us for the first time to see if I can track down one of these sought-after packs!

Making the Move to Houston

This Friday I depart for Houston, where I'll be spending the next few months making a start on my PhD. While I'm in the US I'll be continuing to look for the last few items on my Vintage Collection huntlist as well as a number of US exclusives I'm hoping to track down.

Never fear though, as I'll be posting on this blog just as often! This will, however, be my last update until I make landfall in Houston. Once I'm settled I'll begin scoping out the local retailers to work out what's available. Keep an eye out for updates very soon!

The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play

In an effort to boost subscription numbers, Bioware's Star Wars MMO The Old Republic is going free-to-play this fall - and I, for one, couldn't be happier. Regular visitors to this blog will know that I'd been anticipating this game for some time. The monthly subscription was really the only thing holding me back. It's not just about the cost, but also a time issue. When you pay-to-play, you feel an obligation to get the most out of your subscription. Going free-to-play gives players the option to come and go from the game as they see fit - something I'd much prefer to do.

I'll be very keen to sign up when the game goes free-to-play. In the meantime, however, Anaria over at the SWNZ Message Boards has generously offered to send me an invite to the free trial (allowing you to play the game up to level 15). I'll be sure to post updates soon!