There are some hardcore collector’s out there who like differentiate between chase variants, in-game variants, store exclusives and the like. That’s not me.
As (I hope) you’ve noticed here on SCL, I like to keep things simple. This is why I stick with the label of Variants. These are figures that VARY in some form or fashion from their base figure release with the game. I’m focusing more on the figures and less on their relationship to the game.
With that being said, here's Part 2…
PART 2 – Skylanders: Giants (SG) Variants
E3 Hot Dog
Alternate Names: Bronze Hot Dog, Copper Hot Dog, Color Shift Hot Dog, Color Change Hot Dog
Bronze Hot Dog was handed out to attendees of E3 2013. Although this year, the special figures were not quite as easy to obtain. Activision knows just how rare and valuable these figures are and so they took action.
In order to get an E3 Hot Dog, you had to spin the Skylanders SWAP Force wheel and hope that you matched the correct bottom half to the top half of Wash Buckler.
Even though this is a trade show variant, it is definitely not as hard to find as the 2012 trade show figures. The price has come down significantly compared to the earlier figures.
Employee Edition LightCore Prism Break
Alternate Names: Employee Prism Break, Holiday 2012 Prism Break
Many guess that this is the rarest variant released with Skylanders Giants. It is quite possibly the rarest variant released ever.
The Employee Edition Prism Break was a special gift for Activision employees during the 2012 holiday season. It was never sold in stores. It was not part of a promotion. It was never given away at a trade show. So not only were there very few of these produced, but they were never made available to the general public.
A few of these figures have been seen on eBay and Amazon, but they cost a fortune (as far as Skylanders go) and they’re few and far between.
The Glow-in-the-Dark figures associated with Skylanders Giants are no where near as rare as those from Spyro’s Adventure.
Glow-in-the-Dark Cynder was a Walmart exclusive. He was only available in the Giants Starter Pack.
Although Cynder was re-released in a Single Pack, the Glow-in-the-Dark variant was not.
Glow-in-the-Dark Fright Rider
Glow-in-the-Dark Fright Rider was only released in a Single Pack. Similar to Cynder, it was a store exclusive although never in the US.
Glow-in-the-Dark Fright Rider has been found at Argos (UK), JB Hi-Fi (AU), and Kmart (AU).
Glow-in-the-Dark Sonic Boom
Glow-in-the-Dark Sonic Boom was only available in a Single Pack. As with the other Glow-in-the-Dark figures from Giants, it was also a store exclusive. However, this figure was much easier to come by as it was a Walmart Exclusive.
Gnarly Tree Rex
Alternate Names: Blue Tree Rex
Gnarly Tree Rex is one of those peculiar characters. Reminiscent of Green Gill Grunt, you can could only obtain this figure with the purchase of an entire console.
Gnarly Tree Rex was was available in a Skylanders Giants Starter Pack PS3 Bundle as well as a Skylanders Giants Starter Pack Blue Nintendo Wii Bundle.
If you were in the market for a new system, then this was a great deal. Unfortunately, most people could not justify the expense. Thankfully, you can now find Gnarly Tree Rex (Loose) online for a reasonable price considering that you aren’t being forced to buy the entire bundle.
UPDATE: If you decided to hold off on buying Gnarly Tree Rex, you may be rewarded. In August of 2013 Gnarly Tree Rex was released in a Single Pack. These Single Packs temporarily flooded the market. However, as the Skylanders franchise gained even more popularity and new fans joined in the fun, these Single Packs eventually sold out as well.
Alternate Names: Gold Flameslinger
I’m not sure who signed off on this one, but it certainly creates some confusion for those who have not been following Skylanders since the beginning.
While most people refer to this figure as Gold Flameslinger, I like to use Golden Flameslinger (as per the official Amazon.com listing) to differentiate it from the much more rare Gold variant released with Spyro’s Adventure.
Golden Flameslinger was an Amazon.com exclusive. This means that it was never available in a brick and mortar store. You had to order this figure online.
There seemed to be plenty available during the initial launch. If you were prepared, you probably had no problem obtaining this figure. However, if you missed out on the release, be aware, Golden Flameslinger is getting harder to find on the resale market.
Granite Crusher was a Target Exclusive. As Crusher is a Giant, you already know that he was only available in a Single Pack.
As with many store exclusives, Crusher was readily available during the initial release, but sold out quickly and was not reproduced or restocked.
Granite Crusher is still one of the more popular, low-end variants. So although it is just a store exclusive, you'll probably have to pay a little more.
Halloween Fright Rider
Halloween Fright Rider was part of a Frito-Lay promotion. Inside specially marked packages of chips you could find a game code. You entered this code on the promotion's website to find out if you were an instant winner.
If you were able to get your hands on a code early in the promotion, winning was almost guaranteed. However, about halfway through the promotion codes became readily available for many and Halloween Fright Rider become harder to win.
This promotion was similar to the promotion Frito-Lay held a year earlier for Flocked Stump Smash. For this reason you can expect to see similar prices if you have to buy this figure from a third party.
Jade Flashwing has a story extremely similar to Granite Crusher. Jade Flashwing was a Target Exclusive. When she was released on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2013) there were plenty to go around, but sold out within days or even hours at some locations.
There was only one production run of this variant so you must look to third parties if you wish to add this gem to your collection.
As with the Legendary Skylanders from Spyro’s Adventure, the Legendary Skylanders from Giants are also exclusive to Toys R Us.
Legendary Bouncer is only available in a Single Pack.
Legendary LightCore Chill
Alternate Names: Legendary Chill
Legendary Chill was only available from Toys R Us. This is a variant of LightCore Chill. Legendary Chill is only available in a Single Pack.
Legendary Ignitor is part of a Legendary Triple Pack only available at Toys R Us.
Legendary Jet-Vac is part of a Legendary Triple Pack only available at Toys R Us.
Legendary Slam Bam
Legendary Slam Bam is part of a Legendary Triple Pack only available at Toys R Us.
Legendary Stealth Elf
Legendary Stealth Elf is only available in a Single Pack as a Toys R Us Exclusive.
Metallic Blue Chop Chop
Alternate Names: Blue Chop Chop, Toy Fair Chop Chop
Metallic Blue Chop Chop is another of the very rare trade show variants. Blue Chop Chop was handed out to attendees of Toy Fair 2013 in New York.
Metallic Green Gill Grunt
Alternate Names: Special Edition Gill Grunt
Metallic Green Gill Grunt was originally on the same level as most of the trade show variants. It was given to select attendees of the 2013 GameStop Expo in Las Vegas.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, Toys R Us held a special promotion. If you purchase $100 worth of Skylanders, you could get this Special Edition Gill Grunt for free. It was a messy promotion that ended with many folks spending hours on the phone with Toys R Us customer service reps in order to claim their free figure.
To make matters worse, in 2014, Metallic Green Gill Grunt was made available to the general public at all Toys R Us stores. So basically, those attending the GameStop Expo and those who spent $100 during the Toys R Us promotion, just got early access to a rather common variant.
Metallic Green Shroomboom
At one time Metallic Green Shroomboom was thought to be the rarest variant ever. It was not released until we were well into Skylanders SWAP Force even though it was a Skylanders Giants figure.
For many months only two figures were known to be in existence and at least one of them was through a contact at Activision.
Eventually though, two cases of these figures were spotted at Toys R Us in New York City and within a few weeks they could be found at Toys R Us locations nationwide. Nowadays they are about as common as Metallic Green Gill Grunt.
It is unknown why this figure appeared so late, but theories range from misplaced shipments to the unpopularity of Shroomboom causing panic and pushing out the remaining stock as a variant. We'll probably never know the truth.
Metallic Purple Eye-Brawl
Alternate Names: Metallic Violet Eye-Brawl, Purple Pearl Eye-Brawl, Blurple Eye-Brawl
The Metallic Purple variants appeared very late in the Skylanders Giants production. While exact production numbers are unknown, they appear to be much more rare than your average variant.
Metallic Purple Eye-Brawl is only available in a Single Pack found in random retail shipments.
Metallic Purple Lightning Rod
Alternate Names: Metallic Violet Lightning Rod, Purple Pearl Lightning Rod, Blurple Lightning Rod
Metallic Purple Lightning Rod is only available in a Single Pack found in random retail shipments.
Metallic Purple Wrecking Ball
Alternate Names: Metallic Violet Wrecking Ball, Purple Pearl Wrecking Ball, Blurple Wrecking Ball
Metallic Purple Wrecking Ball is only available in a Single Pack found in random retail shipments.
Molten Hot Dog
Molten Hot Dog was a Walmart Exclusive. He was only available in a Single Pack. While stores were heavily stocked, this figure sold out quickly.
Polar Whirlwind was a GameStop Exclusive only available in a Single Pack.
While store exclusives are generally quite plentiful, Polar Whirlwind is a bit different. Even when this figure was first released it was hard to find due to GameStop's distribution network.
Since they have been sold out in stores, this figure remains as one of the rarer store exclusives.
Pumpkin Eye-Brawl was released extremely late in the Giants cycle. Although it was released in early September, it is marked as a Halloween 2013 Limited Edition.
It was released to most retailers but, like the store exclusives, there is a limited supply.
Punch Pop Fizz
Punch Pop Fizz is a red variant only found in the Skylanders Giants Nintendo 3DS Starter Pack. You can compare this figure to Dark Spyro from SSA. Originally it was only found in the 3DS Starter Pack. Months after the original release it was re-released as a Single Pack, but only in the UK.
Royal Double Trouble
Alternate Names: Double Trouble 1.5
Royal Double Trouble was a GameStop Exclusive. It can only be found in the Skylanders: Battlegrounds Starter Pack. (Battlegrounds is the iOS version of of Skylanders.)
Although this figure has an orange base (meaning it belongs to Skylanders: Giants), Double Trouble is sporting his Series 1 pose. This is why some refer to this as a Series 1.5 character.
Months after the original release of this pack, there have been reports of Royal Double Trouble showing up at Target and Toys R Us.
NOTE: There is also a regular version of the Series 1.5 figure. This was found in all Battlegrounds packs not sold at GameStop. More info…
Scarlet Ninjini is a fairly low profile variant. She’s not too flashy and she’s not exclusive.
There was a time when Scarlet Ninjini was actually easier to find than regular Ninjini. Since then though, Scarlet Ninjini has sold out in stores and regular Ninjini has been restocked.
In early 2014 a few “lost shipments” of Scarlet Ninjini were found. So for a time some stores once again had an abundance of this variant. Some retailers (like Toys R Us) decided to liquidate this figure and quickly put Scarlet Ninjini on 60% Clearance. I know this seems crazy for an in-game variant, but it happened.
If you are familiar with the original Skylanders Sidekicks promotion then this is nothing new. Once again Activision teamed up with Frito Lay to bring you the Skylanders Giants Sidekicks. For the details of this promotion, check out this post.
A few months after the Frito Lay promotion ended, the Giants Sidekicks were made available once again. Just like the original Sidekicks, exclusive rights were granted to GameStop. Through a variety of different promotions, there was a second chance to pick up the Giant Sidekicks for your collection.
Sidekick Eye Small
See Sidekick Barkley
Sidekick Mini Jini
See Sidekick Barkley
See Sidekick Barkley
Sparkle Hot Head
Alternate Names: Glitter Hot Head, Diamond Hot Head, White Hot Head
Sparkle Hot Head could be found in random Single Packs. Sparkle variants are seem to be a bit more rare than the average variant.
Sparkle Sonic Boom
Alternate Names: Glitter Sonic Boom, Diamond Sonic Boom, White Sonic Boom
Sparkle Sonic Boom can be found in both Single Packs and Triple Packs (with Sprocket and Stump Smash) in random retail shipments.
Alternate Names: Glitter Sprocket, Diamond Sprocket, White Sprocket
Sparkle Sprocket can be found in both Single Packs and Triple Packs (with Sonic Boom and Stump Smash) in random retail shipments.
Alternate Names: Rock Whirlwind
Stone Whirlwind can be found in both Single Packs and Triple Packs (with Pop Fizz and Trigger Happy) in random retail shipments.
Alternate Names: Rock Zook
Stone Zook can be found in both Single Packs and Triple Packs (with Ignitor and Chill) in random retail shipments.
White Flocked Eruptor
Alternate Names: Fuzzy White Eruptor, Furry White Eruptor, Snowy Eruptor
White Flocked Eruptor can be found in both Single Packs and Triple Packs (with Stealth Elf and Terrafin) in random retail shipments.
White Flocked LightCore Prism Break
Alternate Names: White Flocked Prism Break, Fuzzy White Prism Break, Furry White Prism Break, Snowy Prism Break
White Flocked Prism Break can only be found in Single Packs in random retail shipments.
White Flocked Stump Smash
Alternate Names: Fuzzy White Stump Smash, Furry White Stump Smash, Snowy Stump Smash
White Flocked Stump Smash can only be found in Single Packs in random retail shipments.
Continue Reading: Part 3 – Skylanders: SWAP Force Variants