You don’t know me, but for a good chunk of my life, I’ve known you through your Star Wars 3 ¾” action figure line. Once upon a time, I was a die hard collector, buying at least one (and often times multiples) of everything in that line. Then I started college and didn’t want women thinking I was too weird, and so my collecting went on the back burner until I learned to accept myself as who I am. Who I am these days includes being a casual collector of your action figures: if it’s a new character, I’ll pick it up (especially if it isn’t a trooper repaint). Articulation doesn’t matter to me since I just line them up on a shelf — if I can get a highly articulated figure at a reasonable price, good, but if not, well sculpted and painted characters with fewer points of articulation works for me too.
I’m having issues with you, Big H (do you mind if I call you that?). For starters, I can’t find much of your product in stores in my parts (the middle of Iowa). I see the Command line all of the time, and I’ve managed to see each of the 6” Black Series figures at least once (or more, except for Darth Vader). I can barely find 3 ¾” Black Series, Saga Legends, or Mission Series figures. This is a problem for me, Big H. I want to give you money and prefer to make my purchases at a big box store unless a figure is hard to find, in which case I hit up the online retailers. But what am I supposed to do when they are all hard to find? Only buy online? I would think you wouldn’t want that; that you’d prefer more sell at physical retail locations so that those stores stock more and you have a chance to sell even more figures as impulse buys or gifts. I’d like to support you in that, but I can’t find the damn things.
I walked into my local Target the other night (as the nearby K-Mart, Walmart, and Walgreens just carry the Command and 6” Black Series lines) only to be greeted with nearly empty 3 ¾” pegs once again. And to add insult to injury, the 3 ¾” Black Series pegs had new price tags that said $12.99. Do you really think these small action figures are worth that asking price? I’m sorry, but I don’t. Maybe they are to collectors who are more die hard than I am, but I started grumbling under my breath at $9.99 a figure. Anything beyond that is ridiculous, and ideally these things would be $8 or less. Casual collectors like myself are going to have to really want a character to pay that much for that size, and good luck getting grandma or grandpa to spend that much for something so small as a last minute birthday or Christmas gift.
I think these are some big problems for you, Hasbro, and I’d be stupid to think that you’re unaware of the situation. Normally, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt, but that’s hard for me to do as nothing I’ve seen since The Phantom Menace Vintage figures began clogging pegs three years ago has given me any indication that you’re trying to fix things or even care to do so. I started collecting the modern Star Wars figures back in ‘95 when they first started coming out (wow, twenty years ago this summer), and this is the first time I’ve been genuinely worried about something that has played such a big role in my fandom.
That’s not good. With The Force Awakens coming out this year, I don’t want to be worried. I want to be confident that when those toys hit, I’m going to be able to walk into a retailer and buy to my heart’s content. I wanted that with Star Wars Rebels, but it hasn’t happened.
Please, Hasbro, fix things. Whatever it takes — lowering the points of articulation, merging the two lines, slapping around the big box stores, etc. — please do it. I want to give you my money in exchange for things that I think are really cool. Find some way to make it happen. That’s all I’m asking.
A Concerned Casual Collector