Your Help Needed...

The background.
I think I’m in heaven. The day after meeting Mike Edmonds, a publishing client of the creative agency I work for has approached us for our thoughts and ideas on a collectable Star Wars product!!! They are planning to launch such a collectable onto the UK market under Lucasfilm licence. The problem is they are having trouble establishing what the ultimate Star Wars collectable would be! This product will be collected monthly and probably contain somewhere in the region of 60-90 issues/parts. Various ideas have been talked about from coins/figures/cards/magazines etc but we at the agency and our client themselves are struggling to know exactly what us true fans would like to buy/collect on a monthly basis.

The reality
This is a serious request and any comments you may have would be gratefully received. We feel that by approaching the community on this forum we will get honest feedback and possibly your idea may go into production!


Dark Lord of the Typos
That's a difficult request. I've been collecting so long that the majority of items that come out...I have to stop and think....why would I want to collect that? Many of the various collectible items have all been done recently, and they usually just come across as an attempt to get my money. The quality is also usually sub-par, or at least does not live up to the price.

I'm not sure what types of products, or quality/price range, your agency is capable of producing/having produced. My suggestion is, whatever the item, it needs to be of good quality (not solid gold, but not gumball machine toy quality either). If it's paper or coin, the artwork needs to be of good quality then.

It also needs to be affordable, so that the average collector can reasonably afford to buy it on a monthly basis, without giving up another collectable.

My final suggestion, is that IF it is character driven, the characters need to include a variety of characters from all aspects of the movies. We don't need another Luke, and Han, and Leia, and R2, and Vader, etc. Every single collectible line starts off by getting the basic characters done with. There are hundreds of items out there for main characters. Example, action one gets excited about figures of any of the main charaters anymore. It's the unque alien Senator, or Amanaman, or a Quarren Soldier, that keeps the fans interest. Yes, main characters are essential, but will not keep colelctor interest for long.

In the past few years, companies (in the UK, I believe) have produced both ceramic collectibles (mugs, cookiee jars) and collectible coins. If you look at vintage collecting, coins and ceramics are two of the hottest SW collectibles. These modern collectibles tapped into that, but not completely successfully. The coins are expensive (at least in the US). The Mugs are neat, reminiscent of Sigma and Applause mugs. The cookie jars have a few neat ones, but a lot of them are very static in pose and appearance (CLone Troopers come to mind). Not to mention, they painted the same CT jar in 4-5 different colors, milking the variant cow, which is disappointing.

If you go the paper route, such as magazines, it should focus on many aspects of Star Wars. Collecting articles get my attention, as do "In-Universe" Facts, talking about how things work in the SW universe if they were real items. These are great for kids too because i gets their imaginations going, gets them into the SW universe. Also helps them out with collecting knowledge. A suggestion on articles....customizing dioramas, etc. If a kid could learn to make their own hoth or dagobah environment with craft supplies, that sort of thing on a monthly basis as how-to article. Admittedly, you would need knowledgeable SW writers to pull these off.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your educated comments and expert advise is much appreciated. Any comments gained from you guys are going to be assessed and discussed in meetings over the next couple of weeks. Thanks again.

Darth Boru

Celtic Sith
I'd agree wholeheartedly with everything Skel said. Quality counts, first and foremost.

Personally, I've given up collecting anything except the high end, great quality items like Gentle Giant Busts. They rock. Too many figures have been re-hashed and 'warmed over' through the years. Quality may have remained, but originality disappeared.

If the items you mention are indeed to number as high as 90, then I'd think about scale and maybe having some mechanism whereby they can hook up / interact. Take a look at some of the die-cast figures that came with playsets for example, or the slightly larger 'action masters' line. These are small, solid, reasonably detailed for their size and great for making dioramas without needing an aircraft hangar ;)

Buzz Bumble

Furry Ewok
There has already been the bi-weekly collectible magazine series called Star Wars - The Official Figurine Collection by italian-based company De Agostini (UK website) that included a metal figure with each issue. This series was released in the UK Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I'm not sure how many are in the complete series since I'm still collecting them (currently up to issue 53). :)

I see on the UK website they have another new series called Star Wars - The Official Starships and Vehicles Collection launching on 24 September there which has a free metal / plastic model on the cover. De Agostini also had a previous Star Wars collectible magazine called The Official Star Wars Fact File (140 issues plus Index issue, with nothing free on the cover). They actually publish many other collectible magazine series with various models, and DVDs on the cover with vaious topics of interest.

The main problem with these on-going collectible series is that the popularity fades pretty quickly with the short attention span of Joe and Jane Public, so shops usually stop getting issues after only a few months. Serious collectors will subscribe anyway, although the postal service can often damage issues, so you should expect a few returned for replacement.

Collectible coins free with the figures have been done by Hasbro, twice now, as well as pre-recorded microchips and printed mini "Fact Files", as well as collectible parts for a "bonus" figure. I don't think any of these have been a huge success.

Then of course there are the "bumble gum" cards (that now no longer have bubble gum) and Dark Horse comic books, although neither of these are mothly issues.

Something fairly small that doesn't take up much room once the collection is complete is probably a sensible idea.

One thing I would advise is that if you start such a collectible series then you MUST be prepared to finish it, even if there are only half a dozen collectors still subscribed towards the end of it's run. There's nothing worse than a half-finished collection. And, NO silly "exclusives" that are only available in certain places / countries. :(

Do we get free subscriptions to the entire series?? ;)


Galactic Groundpounder
One thing I remember from the late 70's that I don't think there is a modern equivalent of (correct me if i'm wrong) is the star wars necklaces. They were simple, yet nice looking pieces. Basically just the front of a helmet made of metal and painted or powder coated in the correct colors and hung from a simple chain. I remember them fondly because, before there were Star Wars figures (yes that time did exsist) I would use silly putty to stick the Darth Vader and Stormtrooper neclace helmets onto the faces of mego dolls to make my own Star Wars characters. A new line of these would be small, affordable, collectible and would get a lot of exposure since people would wear them.