Thursday, November 14, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,638: Wedge Antilles (The Black Series 6-Inch)

WEDGE ANTILLES Luke with New Head
The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E6058
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #102
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: A talented young rebel pilot from Corellia, Wedge Antilles survived the attack on the first Death Star to become a respected veteran of Rogue Squadron.   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Can you believe Hasbro gave us Wedge Antilles before a second Cantina alien? I'm stunned.   The figure is a reasonably clever rehash of Luke Skywalker [FOTD #2,553] that mostly works.  Denis Lawson is actually an inch shorter than Mark Hamill, so the body reuse makes a lot of sense.  For my sake I would have loved to have seen a new jumpsuit, but I suppose a photo-realistic Wedge is better on an old body than Biggs on a short body.  What I'm saying is that this is good enough and I assume may have been made as a hint as to the next movie's casting.

If you bought Luke, you know what to expect.  The body is pretty much the same, which means some of the switches on the chest box don't quite match the color reference of the movies.  (Or at least, they don't match the photos I'm looking at from Return of the Jedi.)  Also odd, we never saw Denis Lawson with his helmet off in the original Star Wars, so here he has his ears covered by his hair.  In Return of the Jedi, he has two haircuts - you can see his ears in the briefing.  During the Endor party, his ears are slightly more covered but not completely covered.  Does that mean Disney/Hasbro/Lucasfilm had reference of Mr. Lawson that we've never seen?  Possibly!  All I can say is that this isn't authentic to any reference materials I have at my disposal - but since the helmet covered his hair in that first movie, I don't know that it's necessarily incorrect.

The helmet looks great and fits nicely, and the pistol is a tight fit in his hand.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm also fairly confident we've never seen Wedge with a blaster - but this blaster is consistent with most of his previous 3 3/4-inch releases.

When it comes to classic characters, Hasbro has had a good eye for keeping the 6-inch line's authenticity.  I am hesitant to say this is a perfect figure - I'm amazed we got it, but since it's just a new head they could just as easily have made it as an exclusive for a retailer.  The worst I can say about it is that it's good enough - the new parts are excellent, and the execution is nothing short of perfectly fine.  I would have loved to see what a new body would look like, but given the size requirements there's no reason for Hasbro to invest tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on completely new figure molds.   Get it and push your nostalgia buttons, while also considering that this could well be a hint as to a The Rise of Skywalker cameo as has been hinted/rumored/confirmed depending on who you ask.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,638: November 14, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,637: The Mandalorian (The Black Series 6-Inch)

THE MANDALORIAN Probably 2019's Must-Have Figure
The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E6959
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #94
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: Pistol, rifle, cape, bandolier
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: His body is shielded by beskar armor, his face is hidden behind a T-visored mask, and his past is wrapped in mystery. The Mandalorian is battle-worn and tight-lipped, a formidable bounty hunter in an increasingly dangerous galaxy.   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Premiering tonight (and as I write this, I haven't seen it yet) The Mandalorian is the first streaming-only Star Wars series.  With The Clone Wars and Rebels (and maybe the last 4 episodes of season 1 of Resistance) the serialized format seems to work well for the saga.  After all, afternoon serials were a big part of the inspiration.  From the look of things The Mandalorian TV show spared no expense to lean on all the fan nostalgia buttons while casting incredible fan-favorites alongside mega-talents to direct and create the show.  It's a supergroup of a project, spoiling us with riches.  What could possibly go wrong?

"Make another Boba Fett" seems to be a recurring theme inside Lucasfilm, with "Babe Fett" (Aurra Sing's hand-written notes), Jango Fett, and so on.  Each time we got just a little too much backstory, which tends to miss the point of what made the debut of Boba resonate for so long. For years, his origins were conflicting, contradictory, or subject to the whims of the times. Parts were true - were they all true?  We didn't know, until 2002 at which point we got the raw dump of everything.   As of now, The Mandalorian is this character's name and for all we know, we'll never find out more.   Maybe he'll just be a cool guy in the center of tons of adventures.  Or maybe we'll find out his entire story and negate a desire for a second season.  At least the figure is good.

The figure's armor says a lot - I haven't seen a full teardown of it, but there are some familiar landmarks. The helmet and chest plate look like classic Boba Fett-inspired gear.  The right shoulder armor looks like a Shoretrooper.  The figure certainly seems like it has gone through a lot, thanks to damage and bullet holes and other evidence of wear and tear.  The blaster looks nifty, fitting in the hand or the holster.  A rifle also looks awesome, containing elements from the Holiday Special prod weapon.  The rifle plugs in to a hole in the figure's back, which itself goes through another hole in the figure's bandolier.  Everything fits together nicely once you get it aligned, with the cape hanging a bit off to the side.  The only thing missing is some sort of backpack - everything else seems descended from Boba Fett's basic look and feel.

One thing you'll love is that the figure has those new shoulder joints that go forward and backward as well as the standard movements.  One thing you'll hate is the rifle's painted peg starts to scrape when stored in the back.  If you open it and want to keep it mint, don't use the storage on the back.

You don't need to tell me that you want this figure, or that you want to see the streaming show.  This is pure fan fulfillment, giving people a heaping helping of the kind of stuff they want - so the expertly decorated and textured figure is something that you know you want already.  (Or don't.)  Even if the show is terrible, this is a wonderful figure with bend-and-swivel wrists and rocker ankles.  If you can find him, go ahead and get The Mandalorian - you won't be sorry.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,637: November 12, 2019

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,636: Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Galaxy of Adventures 5-Inch)

KYLO REN Supreme Leader
Galaxy of Adventures   5-Inch
Item No.:
Asst. E3016 No. E3812
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak
Action Feature: Force Attack
Retail: $9.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker

Bio: Kylo Ren, a Force-sensitive human male, was the Supreme Leader of the First Order and master of the Knights of Ren during the New Republic Era. Once a promising student of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, the former Ben Solo was neither Jedi nor Sith, but a product of both sides' philosophies. Though trained in the ways of the dark side by his predecessor, Supreme Leader Snoke, Ren still felt the pull to the light and consequently struggled to overcome the conflict within himself. Ren idolized his grandfather, the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and aspired to become just as powerful. Driven by ambition and the desire for greater power, he believed it was his destiny to rule the galaxy.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Much like Rey, this Kylo Ren from Galaxy of Adventures is a decent, 5-inch stylized figure smooths over some of the details from the film, but is a pretty good recreation of what we've seen as the movie costume so far.  It's basically a hooded cloak over The Last Jedi costume with a fixed-up helmet and a lightsaber - it's a good, recognizable figure.

Like Rey, Kylo Ren has 23 points of articulation.  His wrists are a little tilted, so they swivel but don't bend beyond their molded position.  This is pretty good for achieving nifty lightsaber duel poses, especially since the arms also have a great range of motion and the lightsaber itself is pretty striking.  The exaggerated energy crackles really look awesome on this version of the weapon, which comes complete with a chunkier-than-usual hilt.

The lightsaber is more or less perfect, with a thick  black hilt and some nice wiring painted on the grip. The cloak has a hood, not unlike 1990s Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker figures.  It's fine.  It's not fancy, it won't do much to hurt the figure standing on a shelf.  I can't say I would miss it if it were gone, but it's good to have to add some heft to the rather skinny figure.
Kylo's ankles are a little more difficult than Rey's, meaning you might have to take some care to get them just-so.   The rocker motion and general range of movement are good, but getting things to get in place just right so he doesn't fall over may take some work.  The results are striking - he looks awesome swinging his blade, and I find myself wishing this is the format we got in 1995 instead of 3 3/4-inch redux at times. Could you imagine hundreds of these guys, with vehicles and playsets?  It's a pity that will never come to pass, but at least for now we have some very good, nicely-priced toy figures.  I can't believe I'm saying "you should buy this Kylo Ren figure," but it's good enough where I can't dump on it.  Good size, good quality, good price... but if you're avoiding new scales, stay away.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus

Figure of the Day

Day 2,636: November 7, 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,635: Rey (Galaxy of Adventures 5-Inch)

REY Now in 5-Inch Size
Galaxy of Adventures   5-Inch
Item No.:
Asst. E3016 No. E3804
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, blaster
Action Feature: Force Attack
Retail: $9.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker

Bio: Rey, a Force-sensitive human female, was a scavenger who lived on the forlorn frontier world of Jakku during the New Republic Era. Toughened by the harsh environment of her homeworld, Rey lived in solitude until events drew her into the galaxy-wide conflict between the First Order and the Resistance. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: You don't need a new scale, but these Galaxy of Adventures 5-inch action figures are pretty great.  $10 gets you a figure like Rey, which feels like a real toy.  She has 23 points of articulation, which is kind of painful when you compare her range of movement to a 3 3/4-inch figure which costs $13 or more.  And those don't necessarily have rocker ankles, either.   The more stylized figure doesn't have the level of detail as the "realistic" collector-targeted figures, but as far as how it plays?  It's just as good if not better than the other sizes.  The "Rey" likeness is there, but there's not a lot of Daisy Ridley in this otherwise spectacular toy figure.

The figure has a lot of the same movement that you see on a typical super-articulated figure - if you've got a 2003 Clone Wars Super-articulated Clone Trooper, Rey is pretty close.  There are some changes and improvements, plus the waist joint is now a spring-loaded attack mechanism.  The hands have no problems holding the oversized weapons, and the blaster tucks perfectly in the holster.  Her head is huge, and has two neck joints for optimal movement.   The ball-jointed hips have a marvelous range of movement, but what really stuns me on this series are the rocker ankles.  Wrists swivel but don't bend, but that's OK - you can pose this Rey better than most The Black Series figures.  This is not OK, given the costs.

If you are a Star Wars fan, odds are you're already invested in the other scales and don't need this one.  If you just want some cool, cheap figures that are fun to futz with you would do well to give these a shot.  They're great action figures, but they may not be the figures you want due to your collecting history.  I hope Hasbro does a decent run of these and digs into the past to give us aliens, bounty hunters, and a mishmash of more.   The sculpting and articulation is a little simplified, but it's also much cheaper with a bigger bang for the buck.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,635: November 5, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,634: D-O (Galaxy of Adventures 5-Inch)

D-O with BB-8 and R2-D2
Galaxy of Adventures   5-Inch Droid 3-Pack
Item No.:
No. E3118
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker

Bio: D-O was a droid who befriended the Resistance droid BB-8 some time after the Battle of Crait. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: You could probably sneak in this 5-inch scale D-O with the 3 3/4-inch figures.   It looks a lot like the movie model, and the robot Cousin Oliver is basically fine. There's a ball-jointed neck and three ball-jointed antenna which are like wily hairs on the back of the head.  The design of the wheel is clever as little ridges were added to keep the figure standing upright while maintaining the integrity of the wheel-with-a-cone design.

It's a nice, simple figure that is more of an accessory.  The neck moves, it stands, and it's cute - if you want a D-O, this is nice and cheap.  I'd recommend it only because I'm a fan of the format, I'll be curious to see what else they do for D-O toys and how it will work in the canon as older fans eschew adorableness as a franchise goes on.  

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,634: October 31, 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,633: Maz Kanata (Holographic, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

MAZ KANATA Holographic
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Exclusive 5-Pack
Item No.:
  No. E2262
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, also Kylo Ren, First Order Snowtrooper, Rey, Captain Poe Dameron
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: ???
Availability: Late 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Maz Kanata was a Force-sensitive humanoid female who was born over a millennium before the brewing war between the First Order and the Resistance. Living in an ancient castle on the planet Takodana, Kanata gained a reputation as a "pirate queen" by allowing traveling smugglers to reside in her home—as long as they honored her prohibitions against politics and war. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  Things don't go as smoothly as you hope.  This Holographic Maz Kanata was going to be US Toys R Us exclusive. Then Toys R Us closed - so Hasbro offered it to Entertainment Earth.  They neglected to ship it there, so then they just kind of filtered out and showed up - a friend of mine found them in those seasonal calendar stores.  I never saw them anywhere, so I got my set from a UK eBay seller.

Given how over the sequel movies most toy fans were - in part because of the repetition, repetition, and repetition in the line - I bet a lot of people don't know and don't care they're missing this set. The only truly new figure in the set is Maz, a holdover from The Last Jedi that saw release for Solo which was recast here in blue, with no paint.  This would've been a better carded exclusive - the detail is great, and the blue is darker than a lot of the holographic figures from the heyday of the format from 2005-2009.
She has 5 points of articulation, and has no problems standing or sitting.  It's a quality figure, the engineers of the old Kenner line would be proud of this one.  The backpack isn't removable, and I'd go as far as to say that this is a pretty nifty figure in a style we rarely get these days.  I probably paid too much for this set, so if you get it at a good price, you're a winner.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "I am no Jedi, but I know the Force."  "I assume you need something.  Desperately."  Blasters. It's not much new here.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,633: October 29, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,632: Emperor Palpatine (with Throne, The Black Series 6-Inch)

EMPEROR PALPATINE with Throne
The Black Series   6-Inch Figure - Amazon Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E6125
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 heads, 2 lightning hands, throne, cane, cloth robes
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: September 2019
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio:  Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order.  He slowly manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor - and eventually Emperor -- ruling the galaxy through fear and tyranny.
(Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  This was a significant improvement. I didn't see much reason for Hasbro to bring back Emperor Palpatine (with Throne), but I'm glad they did.  I'm not thrilled at it costing twice as much for a chair and two heads, but that seems somewhat consistent with how Hasbro does these things.  (For $10 less, I'd say it's essential.)  It's really neat, though, and it's better than Hasbro made it out to be.

Hasbro gave us some new parts with this one - the cloth robes seem to be a new pattern, with new cloth lower robes so the knees can bend. The original release had plastic robes over the lower legs, preventing seated poses.  The other plastic elements all appear to be very similar, with a somewhat bulky clasp on the robes and some wonderfully expressive bend-and-swivel hands plus rocker ankles.   This is a figure that just plain works perfectly with the throne, too.


The Emperor's default head is the same as before with an all-new paint job. The 2015 edition had mostly unpainted skin and yellow eyes. The 2019 edition has more realistic eyes plus much more texture  highlights - almost dirty - over the skin to simulate older, decaying cells.  The Dark Side definitely hit this figure hard, and you can see it on all three faces.  There's a standard one that's great, an angry one, and an absolutely perfect smiling/cackling one that I have on his neck as I write this. They're all excellent for different reasons, and it's almost a shame I have to choose which one gets displayed.  These are marvelous options and as Hasbro rarely gives figures alternate heads, it's a real treat.

The hands are about the same - one gestures with pointed finger, and the other is designed for the cane.  New this time, though, are bonus hands with Sith Lightning shooting out of them. The sculpting is good, but like many sets of Palpatine's hands they share the same shortcoming. The paint of the fingers merges into the bolts, so it looks like he has weird morphing hands instead of hands shooting out energy. 

It's a hard look to get right, the 3 3/4-inch line was usually successful by making plug-in lightning with hands (or sleeves) with a hole in them.  This gets the job done, but admittedly, it's a weak spot on an otherwise sharp figure.
 
 The selling point is the throne itself - a very big chair with a base. It doesn't do much other than look cool.  Hasbro hasn't made a lot of these, so seeing painted detailing like control panels and little tidbits on the top of the seat were a surprise to me.  Mine had some weird silver slop on top and on the back, so it's a perfectly good accessory but it's so odd to get a brand new toy that I pre-ordered and parts of it look almost used.  Unless the scuffing was by design, in which case it's amazing - but I doubt it.  It's just a little off for a mint-from-the-box accessory.

I'd recommend you get it for an Emperor Palpatine that's probably as good as you'll get at this size around this price.  I'm sure there's room for a Darth Sidious with Lightsaber some day, but for now this is a top-notch figure and a shining example of Hasbro's capabilities.   I can't imagine we'll get too many more "deluxe" figures like this, but I hope we get a few more gems at a slightly better price.  I mean, the Speeder Bike with Biker Scout wasn't more expensive than this and I'm confident there could be a lot of fun with Deluxe Admiral Ackbar or especially Max Rebo.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,632: October 24, 2019