Don’t look now but Hasbro is stepping up it’s game with the Star Wars Archive Collection. This isn’t just a re-release of the early Star Wars Black series. The Archive Collection features enhanced paint jobs to better reflect the detailed sculpt work.
Patrick Schneider, senior brand manager, and Steve Evans, design director, spoke with starwars.com about the demand to re-release figures from with the Star Wars Archive Collection.
It’s been five years since SWB debuted. That’s kind of crazy how far the line and technology has come. Sure, you could get Figuarts and other third party versions of 6-inch Star Wars figures, but Hasbro has taken great strides so domestic collectors don’t feel like they have an inferior product.
The Archive Collection figures will be released on blister cards, which is great news for old school collectors.
One change for the figures is Hasbro is incorporating the new Photo Real technology so figures like the Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker will look better than ever.
Evans said the figures will use the same molds and tooling, but the newer paint application process will provide depth and nuance to facial features.
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‘Yoda in particular is a perfect example of where Photo Real really comes into play,’ Evans said. ‘I wasn’t satisfied with the deco previously. It’s Yoda! You have to deliver Yoda really well…. When you look at the puppet or the CG character, there’s a lot more soul in those eyes. I think with Photo Real we can take those images and apply them directly onto the sculpt and therefore give a much more sophisticated palette for the eyes, which as everyone knows are the windows to the soul. For Yoda, that’s really, really important.’
Schneider said his favorite is Anakin Skywalker, who comes with two interchangeable heads. For collectors complaining about the likeness on the SH Figuarts version, Hasbro might have you covered.
‘This one allows a lot more shading so you can shade around the eyes, especially on Anakin,’ Evans said. ‘If you look at when he’s got his Darth Vader/Sith expression, we can get a bit more red around the eyes and get a subtle gradient away from red into the skin tone. Yoda can benefit from having a darker green or sort of a brown in amongst the creases and folds to just make it pop.’
In a surprising acknowledgment of where they were coming up short, Evans and Schneider said they were inspired by collector repaints of figures.
‘The artists that we see take our existing figures and paint them are amazing,’ Evans says. ‘And literally within the studio, we put up a load of those pictures from these artists that do this and the challenge to the team was, how do we replicate that? How do we give that to our collector without handpainting every single one?’