Originally posted on January 16th, 2017.
Retail stores, some of them anyway, are finally starting to recover from Christmas, albeit slowly. Week after week I’m doing my rounds, trying to find what I can. The good news is that a lot of stuff that was brand spankin’ new on eBay a month or so ago has begun to appear in stores.
DC Super Hero Girls – Character Cars
Shortly after these came out, I spotted a couple at the Cary Barnes & Noble (B&N). Then I spotted a few more at the B&N over at Triangle Town Center (TTC). Just recently, like within the last week if I’m not mistaken, they began to appear en masse over at the Toys R Us (TRU) behind TTC: Wonder Woman (the Super Hero Girls version), Supergirl, & Batgirl, all there for the taking! They don’t have a ton of them, but they do have more than one of each the last time I was there.
Marvel Character Cars
Technically the newest Marvel Character Car is Iron Fist, but before him, we saw the release of Elektra. Elektra also marked the change in packaging for the Marvel cars (absent numbers, grrr) along with the re-release of several others, seemingly at random. In almost record time, this new batch began appearing at Targets in the area, particularly the one here in WF and a couple others in Raleigh (I can’t remember exactly which ones, sorry!). Along with Elektra, you can also find Groot (a good chance to snatch him up if you missed the Guardians of the Galaxy wave), Wolverine (blue version, and I swear this blue is from a different dye lot than the original release), Hulk (purple pants / “Avengers Assemble” version), and a few others. I don’t remember exactly who ships with those cases except for the aforementioned and Spider-man, and most likely Iron Man, though I’m not sure which version.
Star Wars Carships
Man, I made an awesome discovery today. I was trying to take a shortcut from the Flea Market over to Crowemag (the only used/collectible toy store in the area) and at one point I took a right when I should’ve taken a left and what did I see tucked away at a busy intersection…? A freaking Walmart that I didn’t know existed! I know most people are hard-pressed to get excited over stumbling across yet another goddamn Walmart, but a hunter like me can’t help but be excited.
As I said this place was kinda tucked away and I could immediately tell that it was one of the old Walmarts, before “Supercenters” were the norm. I instantly recognized this as a good sign – places like this may not get the super duper inventory, but what they do get tends to remain safely planted on the shelf, especially when it comes to toys. Walmarts without the full grocery store nowadays seem contradictory to the entire concept of going to Walmart in the first place! I’ll put it this way: finding a non-Supercenter Walmart is kinda like finding a really nice K-mart where the actually give half a damn about their toy section.
They didn’t have anything in the way of Marvel or DC cars, and the Star Wars cars were the usual – lots of Vader, Zeb, BB-8, and maybe Zeb – but what caught my eye amidst it all was a First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter CARSHIP! It turned out to be the only one they had, but still. A little more searching yielded 3 or 4 Poe’s X-Wing carships, several from the original 4 that were released, a single TIE Striker carship, and a single Partisan X-Wing carship. This was all good news as my son wanted some duplicates for when he plays with them – specifically he wanted an extra Striker, Partisan X-Wing, and SF TIE. Well ok, he also wants an extra U-Wing, but unfortunately they seem to be super-rare, even becoming difficult to find online. And this is why I go ahead and snatch them up early – I’m glad I at least have one!
What’s so strange is that this little hole-in-the-wall Walmart had carships that, so far, I’ve never seen in stores. The best I can figure, the carships were released as such: Wave 1 – X-Wing, Millennium Falcon, Slave I, and TIE Fighter; Wave 2 – Ghost, Vader’s TIE, and TIE Striker; Wave 3 – U-Wing and Partisan X-Wing, and most recently, Wave 4 – First Order SF TIE and Poe’s X-Wing. Those first 4 from Wave 1 are virtually every where. Before Christmas, I spotted the Ghost and Vader’s TIE at a Target here and there, but I have never, ever seen any of the other 5 in stores. Even so, this Walmart only had 1 of each of 3 of them, and there was no U-Wing to be found at all (though I did look really carefully all around the area to make sure).
DC Character Cars
This isn’t as big of a find, but if you’ve got some holes in your collection of DCU character cars, a nearby Target may be able to help. At least 3, if not 4, surrounding Targets appear to be getting in new cases of DCU character cars. What’s weird is that these do not support the new packaging (like the new Deadshot etc. cars) but I’m 100% sure that these stores were not pulling in cases of these cars on the reg. For the first time ever in a store I saw The Flash, and for the first time in several months I spotted Green Lantern, Robin, maybe Catwoman and Two-Face. I’m not saying these are impossible to find, but the DC stock has thinned out over the past few months, with pretty much the only staples being Man of Steel, Armored Batman, the Penguin, Hawkman, and the occasional Mr. Freeze. The Flash is the real one worth mentioning, but like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve seen some of the others, particularly Green Lantern. Check early and often though, because I’m pretty sure there’s only one per case.
Star Wars Character Cars
The character cars in the new packaging have been steadily gaining ground in most Walmarts around here, though I think the only purely new car in that batch is the Jawa. (I could be mistaken.) Anyway, the good news is that Sergeant Jyn Erso, who seemed to trickle out after the main wave, is becoming more widely available. At first I would only spot her in a B&N now and then, but a couple of weeks ago there was at least one at TRU, and then about a week ago I spotted one at my local Walmart, and then sometime in the last several days I counted a total of 4 at the Brier Creek Walmart, and they’re actually kinda crummy when it comes to staying on top of the Star Wars character cars. With a little bit of luck and a little bit of perseverance, pretty much anyone should be able to locate Jyn for themselves.
Star Wars Starships
This is more of a non-report than anything…I still can’t figure out what happened to these things. Walmarts, in general, are the best carriers for these starships. Target might have a few old ones, TRU may have some laying around, but Walmart easily has the largest variety. It’s worth noting that you can get lucky at a B&N though, which I’ll be checking at some point in the near future.
Anyway, finding all the usuals is pretty easy – Tantive IV (us older guys used to call it the “Blockade Runner”), Imperial Shuttle (funny, the Blockade Runner is now known by the name of the actual ship; back in the day, we called this Tydirium, the name of the actual ship!), lots of TIEs, A-Wings, and so on. The Partisan X-Wings do seem to be recovering very slightly; I see one or two pop up here and there, but I have yet to see the Mandalorian Talon Fighters resurface. I’ve only seen the X-Wing / TIE Striker 2-pack twice. I still haven’t ever seen the Millennium Falcon / TIE Interceptor 2-pack, a single Striker, the AT-ACT, or the Chicken Walker (or whatever its equivalent is known as in Rogue One).
So yeah, I don’t know what the hell is up with these guys. You can find pretty much any of ‘em that you want on eBay, but more often than not you’ll pay through the nose. Hopefully supply will catch up with demand sooner or later.
That’s all I got for now! This probably won’t mean much if you’re not local to my area, but maybe it can help point you in the right direction. Just believe me when I say it is 100% worth it to check different Walmarts, Targets, etc. It’s baffling that the toys they carry can be so different, but c’est la vie! Clue me in to your awesome finds and let us know where we can find ‘em if we find ourselves in your neck of the woods!