Kinder Surprise Attack of the Clones Twistheads

A couple of days ago, MattG over at the SWNZ Message Boards gave us a heads up that the "arguably weird" line of Star Wars-themed Kinder Surprise Twistheads were turning up in New World Supermarkets in New Zealand. As you know, I'm currently out of the country, but my partner went on the hunt and managed to find a box.

I was hesitant about these at first, but - having seen them in more detail - I've got to say they've won me over completely. They're incredibly cool little collectibles, and guaranteed to make for interesting conversation pieces. Stock seems to be severely limited, but I was lucky enough to get three of these to add to my collection: C-3PO, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

There are ten figures in the series, all of which (except Vader and the golden C-3PO) are based on characters from Episode II. Each figure comes with an attachment that allows them to serve as a pretty nifty keyring. The slightly more curious feature is the way in which their heads hinge open to reveal a number dial that changes value when connected with another figure. From the wrapper, it seems that the intention is for two opposing players to connect their figures and compete for the highest number. reports these collectibles as only being available in Germany and Russia, so I've no idea how they wound up in New Zealand. Whatever the reason, we're incredibly lucky. The rarity and quirkiness of these is set to make them highly sought-after. I certainly won't be parting with mine though!

Why There's Every Reason to Have Hope in Episode VII

It's incredible to think that almost eleven months have passed since we first heard that Disney had bought Lucasfilm, and was putting an entirely new series of Star Wars films into production. For those of you who were following this blog back then, you'll remember my initial reaction was anything but positive. As the news sunk in, however, I began to accept these earth-shattering revelations - describing myself as "cautiously optimistic" about the new trilogy.

(Image courtesy of

In the months since then, this optimism has grown into full-blown excitement. Why? Well, let's start with a roll-call. As executive producer, we have Kathleen Kennedy - the woman responsible for bringing us E.T., Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Hook, Jurassic Park, and almost every other childhood-defining movie of the '80s and '90s. In the writer's chair we have Michael Arndt, whose ability to write deep and heartfelt scripts is clearly evident in films such as Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3, and Brave. Added to this, we have the recent announcement that John Williams - composer of the incredible soundtracks for Episodes I through VI - will be returning to score not only Episode VII, but the entire new trilogy. Finally, we have the director. This role is by far the most important for any film - but particularly for an entry in the Star Wars saga. With the original Star Wars, George Lucas created one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of the 20th-century. But, as HelloGreedo recently noted, Lucas never seemed to fully understand what it was that made Star Wars so special. The fact that the second two installments in the original trilogy were so successful is most likely due to the fact that directing duties were handed over to others. It's probably no coincidence that Episode V (directed by Irvin Kirshner) is one of the most beloved films of the franchise, while Episodes I, II, and III (directed by Lucas) are some of the least well-received.

Given this, the decision as to who would direct Episode VII was  an incredibly important one. When J.J. Abrams was announced for the role, I was absolutely elated. I spent my early college years obsessed with Lost, and to this day have yet to find another series which engages me in such a deep and moving way. I could spend paragraphs providing you with all of the reasons as to why Abrams is the man for the job, but for a far more enjoyable experience, I simply suggesting watching this:

HelloGreedo hits the nail on the head here. Not only is Abrams an exceptional film maker, but he also gets what it is that makes Star Wars so special. You can see the passion and respect he has for the franchise when he discusses his own first experience of Star Wars:

There are many who will remain unconvinced - and it's true that even the best production, writing, and directing team can make a monumental disaster of a film. But, for now, there's every reason to have hope in Episode VII.

How do you feel about the upcoming films? Send me your thoughts at, or tweet them to @Archon_Revuge!

WeLoveFine T-Shirts

I've been admiring the t-shirts over at for some time now, so last week I put an order in for one of their Battle of Endor Veteran's Associations t-shirts ($25.00US / $30.42NZ), and an embroidered Imperial polo shirt ($28.00US / $34.06NZ) for when things get fancy.

The great thing about the products from WeLoveFine is that - while still officially licensed - they are, in fact, created by fans. This opens the door for all sorts of badass designs like the ones you see above. The quality of the stitching, embroidery, and screen-printing on these two items is absolutely impeccable. I couldn't be happier.

If you feel like wearing your love of Star Wars on your sleeve (quite literally), WeLoveFine are the people to help you do it!

Dark Times Ahead for 3 3/4" Figure Collectors?

There's been a huge increase in the quality of 3 3/4" Star Wars figures since I began collecting back in 1996. At that time the Power of the Force line had brought Star Wars figures back to stores after an almost decade-long absence. While incredibly well-made, these figures offered roughly the same amount of articulation as their vintage predecessors.

A 1995 Power of the Force Darth Vader - the first Star Wars action figure I ever purchased. (Images courtesy of

It wasn't until the introduction of the Episode I: The Phantom Menace line in 1999 that things began to change, and by 2005 it was common for most figures in the Episode III: Revenge of the Sith line to come with numerous accessories and up to fifteen points of articulation (a huge increase on the five- or six-point articulation figures of earlier lines). These improvements haven't come without a cost. Back in 1996 a 3 3/4" Star Wars figure would set you back $12.99NZ. Now, a figure from the latest Star Wars line can cost up to $24.99NZ at some retailers. Inflation is a factor, but there's certainly a line past which it becomes difficult to justify such expenditure on a single action figure. In my mind, we've now reached that point.

A few weeks ago, my buddy Reverend Strone posted the following on the SWNZ Message Boards:
Change is upon us friends. I can't help but... think we are witnessing the last gasps of the 3 & 3/4" SW toy as a collector targeted line. Rising manufacture costs and increasing collector apathy are drowning the US$10 super articulated SW toy. Beyond the occasional exclusive, I predict 2014 will see the 3 & 3/4" Black/Vintage style figure disappear as Hasbro positions their new 6" line as the preferred collector targeted sku... It was in everything that wasn't said at Comic con this year and I could see it in the eyes of the Hasbro team as I sat through 40 minutes of hot and heavy Angry Birds marketing during the 1 hour SW action figure panel. As evidenced by the saga legends reveals, 3 & 3/4" will remain, but it is clear that the future of this scale is a kid-focussed toy line with 5-point articulation heroes and troop builders occupying the US$6-10 price range, accompanied by various vehicles and accessories. 
With a number of contacts in the industry, Strone is the man-in-the-know when it comes to matters like this. Observing the market since I've returned to the US, I have to say that all evidence points towards his predictions coming true.

Hasbro is currently continuing its series of super-articulated 3 3/4" figures with the new Black Series. In addition, the Black Series contains a series of 6" figures more directly targeted at collectors. The former currently retail for $9.99US each, the latter for $19.99US. At the other end of the price spectrum are the new Saga Legends figures. While still in the 3 3/4" line, these figures are restricted to five points of articulation, a single accessory, and less detail than their Black Series counterparts. Essentially, they're a return to the kinds of figures that were being produced in the 1990s and earlier. The trade-off is that these figures retail for only $5.99 each, so are perfect for kids simply looking for a Star Wars toy as opposed to a high-quality collectible.

  A sample of Hasbro's current offering: a 3 3/4" Saga Legends Stormtrooper, 3 3/4" Black Series Stormtrooper, and 6" Black Series Stormtrooper. (Images courtesy of

Hasbro is targeting the child market with the 3 3/4" Saga Legends line and the collector market with the 6" Black Series line. Where, then, does this leave the 3 3/4" figures collectors like myself have come to know and love? Here, I side with Strone. It seems likely that Hasbro has deliberately diversified now in order to test the market before the release of Episode VII. If the 3 3/4" Black Series continues to sell well, we'll see it (or some other similar line) continue into the new trilogy. If not, it'll be quietly phased out in favour of the two new lines released this year. Unfortunately, I'm betting on the 3 3/4" Black Series line failing this test. While cost is a factor, I don't think it's enough to put collectors off just yet - particularly here in the US where figures are still priced at a very reasonable $9.99US. The death of this line will instead arise from the simple lack of variety in new figures. This isn't necessarily the fault of Hasbro (though, admittedly, Hasbro has made some terrible production and distribution decisions in the past), but rather a result of the fact that everything has already been done.

A 1995 Power of the Force Luke Skywalker with his 2009 "super-articulated" Legacy Collection counterpart. (Images courtesy of

When super-articulated figures first began hitting shelves, we all went out and re-bought those characters we already had. The vast improvement in sculpts, articulation, and features was enough to justify this.Now, however, almost every conceivable character has been produced in this updated form. The vast majority of "new" figures coming out are repacks, repaints, or - at best - resculpts of characters released numerous times before. This will remain true until at least the release of Rebels in late 2014. Sadly, I'm not sure the traditional 3 3/4" line will survive to see this.

What will this mean for collectors when new Star Wars media finally hits television and theatres? For myself, the centrality of 3 3/4" figures to my collection will leave me incredibly reluctant to make the transition to the 6" scale. Given this, the only alternative will be to instead move my focus to the Saga Legends line. It's a move I may have to make, but the quality I've come to expect from current 3 3/4" figures will be sorely missed.

How do you feel about the changes to Hasbro's offering of figures? Send me your thoughts at, or tweet them to @Archon_Revuge!

Han Solo in Carbonite Figure Bank

A few weeks ago I spotted a Han Solo in carbonite figure bank back in New Zealand. It was an awesome concept, but far too pricey at almost $60.00NZ. Fast forward to today, and I came across the very same figure banks at my local Toys'R'Us for only $21.64US ($27.45NZ). I couldn't say no to that!

The bank is made of a hard vinyl, and finished with a really impressive paint job.There are four other banks in the series, including Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Yoda - but this one really takes the cake insofar as coolness is concerned. If you're looking for somewhere to keep your loose change, I can' recommend this highly enough.

HelloGreedo's "In J.J. We Trust" T-Shirt

You might have seen me briefly pop up in the launch video for HelloGreedo's new "In J.J. We Trust" project. Yesterday I received my very own t-shirt from RedBubble to help advertise the cause.

It's an awesome design, and a sure-fire conversation starter. Head on over to HelloGreedo's online store to get yours now!