Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,729: Wicket (Ewok Redux, The Vintage Collection)

WICKET 2020 Redux
The Vintage Collection   3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. E9578
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #27
Includes: Pouch, green hood, brown hood, spear
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Fore be with you! (Taken from the figure's packaging. There is 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: I am unsure what prompted the reissue of Wicket the Ewok.  When the pre-order was announced last year he wasn't prohibitively expensive... but he has shot up since then. Despite a much cheaper new release.   The 2010 release of Wicket [FOTD #1,622] was a whopping ten years ago, and while this one does seem to have largely different paint masks it didn't take advantage of what kind of fun you could have with a rerelease and new deco - but it's still one of the great Ewok figures.

What made the 2010 release so impressive was the alternate hood and pouch, colored in season 2 Ewoks cartoon colors.   Hasbro has largely ignored the 1980s television projects when it comes to action figures, with a literal handful of releases based on the likes of the Holiday Special (OK that's the 1970s), Ewok telefilms, and the Ewoks & Droids cartoons.  You can bet that I was thrilled to see that green hood, which looks pretty much exactly the same in 2020.   If I didn't have it next to the original, I wouldn't know there was a difference.  If I had my druthers they'd have done it in the cartoon season 1 tan color - it'd really set this figure apart while making the original release unique and special, and obviously a different figure.

The brown hood is quite different - the 2010 version was lighter, and closer to the photo and movie.  It was also molded in green and painted brown back then.  The 2020 version appears to be molded in brown, which means it feels thinner and it's a bit more flexible.  But it's not true to the movie - so why make the change?  It fits just fine, and Wicket can look around and tilt his head in this good. 

The satchel is pretty much the same with more pronounced stitching.  It just pops more.  The spear is a bit different with the string wrap now painted a much darker color, and the wood lighter and less glossy.

Wicket himself has a lot of changes - he still has 15 joints, but the deco is a lot different.  The toes and fingers are a lighter brown, the belly paint is a little more splotchy, and the face has a lot of minor changes. The eyes are entirely different with brown shiny paint and a more subtle brushing of light fur around the face.  Is it better? Well, it's different - it's not closer to the movie look.   It appears a lot brighter on film, and the original Kenner figure from 1984 may have gotten both Wicket and his hood the best overall.

As it is I wouldn't necessarily say you need to get this Wicket unless you want a second one, so one can be in the green cartoon hood and another can be in the brown movie hood.  The other changes aren't too significant, but more importantly, it's been 10 years.  If you missed this figure for $10 10 years ago, you can get it for $13 now.   Unless you hate Ewoks, and if you do, we can't be friends.  I'd recommend this figure if you need a spare or missed it the first time, but if you're happy with your current Wicket you don't have to worry too much about missing this one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,729: September 29, 2020

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,728: Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios (The Black Series 6-Inch)

GARAZEB "ZEB" ORRELIOS 6-Inch Debut
The Black Series   2020 Line Look Purple Star Wars Rebels Packaging - Deluxe Figure
Item No.:
No. E5213
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #01 - Star Wars Rebels
Includes: 2 blast effects, Lasat Honor Guard Bo-rifle
Action Feature: B-rifle telescopes and can be mounted on figure's back
Retail: $29.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: Meet the muscle of the Ghost team. Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios was a cunning Lasat Honor Guard who adopted the cause of rebellion against the Empire.   (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I was immediately taken by how good Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios is - but also taken aback by the fact he costs $10 more than Chewbacca, K-2SO, and other larger characters.  There may be an extra part in the body with extra ankle peices, and sure the weapon is more complex - but $10 more complex?  Maybe.   I'll also say that it's a big, satisfying, and generally good figure whose joints move smoothly to the extent that it's $10 better than most Hasbro offerings.

Zeb's about the right size, a head taller than Boba Fett and eye-to-eye with my movie Iron Man figure.  He's taller than the rest of the Ghost crew, and his "realistic" face printing is always a little unsettling, as it is on other aliens.   The printed-on face has a lot more detail than the animated model, but the same can be said of his skin - the stripes look as good as if not better than what we saw on the TV show.  His colors and proportions are about the same, but some places - like the belt buckle - look colored a bit differently.   As a "realistic" figure, Zeb stands out as an oddity given his bright colors and decidedly less bland costuming.   The green and yellow costume looks like something out of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, but that's also exciting from the perspective of a collector.  I mean, I've got tan figures, grey figures, black figures, and white figures.... yellow and green and purple?  That's a rarity in Star Wars.

 In terms of size and build Zeb has more in common with Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics in that he's a big, beefy barbarian build with similar - but I daresay better - articulation.   Hasbro hid the waist joint perfectly, and it's just one of the 31 joints on this figure.  A lot of that are in the ankles, thanks to rocker ankles and another set of rocker leg joints right above it, but you still get the usual great range of motion that Hasbro normally gives you.  It's just better - the elbows are well-hidden and can bend at a deeper angle.  The figure's body looks like a costume, and generally a lot of the best aliens do.  The mouth is closed, unlike the usual teeth-gnashing smiles we get from Zeb, and the eyes are looking around almost thougtfully.  His pointy ears and beard look perfect, and he's got the nifty face flourish on his shoulder armor.

The staff itself is an impressive piece with multiple telescoping parts in addition to two pop-off energy blasts.  It might be one of the most ornate weapons we've ever seen, and I imagine Disney Consumer Products was hoping Rebels to be a bigger hit so they could sell kids a full-size Nerf gun of one.  You have to contort it a bit to have him hold it, and his hands don't love holding it like he did on the show.   Mounting it on the back is far easier, but you don't have to do that either.  By stretching it, shrinking it, or shoving it out of the way, you're granted considerably more options than the usual hold-it-or-holster-it decision we usually get.

Comparing it to the other more expensive deluxe figures, this is one of the better releases.   It doesn't necessarily feel heavier or more expensive, but the joints move more gracefully and it seems like he's ready to be posed in a much more exciting action sequence.  I would've liked a stand - I am concerned about those double-swivel-rocker-ankles holding up to time and gravity.  Aside from that, this could be a new unreasonable standard to which we can hold Hasbro.  They've come a long way in engineering elbow joints, and these are much more subtle with better integration of the pins than other relatively recent releases.  As a shared "fan channel" exclusives you'll want to order it online or from a local comic or toy shop - it won't be offered in big box stores.   If you've been buying the Ghost crew you'll need Zeb - and getting him is going to make you ask if we're going to get Kallus plus important variants of Sabine, Kanan, and Ezra.  I'm guessing no - but I'm glad team Hasbro waited to do him until they could do it this well.   And also after the series ended.  (Rebels took a while to get better.)



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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,728: September 24, 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,727: Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper, The Vintage Collection)

LUKE SKYWALKER (Stormtrooper)
The Vintage Collection   3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. E9396 as a single and No. E4072 in the SDCC 3-pack
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #169 dudes
Includes: Blaster, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2020 (single card), July 2019 (3-pack)
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Aboard the Death Star, Luke Skywalker, disguised as a Stormtrooper, staged a rescue mission alongside Han Solo to save Princess Leia Organa from Darth Vader.   (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I had the 2019 release of Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper) on my desk for a year, but wanted to wait for the rumored-to-be-coming single-card version before reviewing it to see if there was a difference. And indeed there is - and it's minor.   Other than the SKU and date markings, the butt of the blaster is painted silver on the single-carded release - it is not decorated like that in the 3-pack.

This figure is an updating (using new parts) of existing old figures (which also used new parts,) but none of which was a wholly new figure.  It's new enough - this is another one of Hasbro's improved head figures.   The legs are similar to The Vintage Collection Sandtrooper (also the Dewback pack-in Sandtrooper from 2009).  The head is new.  The belt is similar to the TK-421 figure from Kmart - remember Kmart?  They're still open, despite the fact there's not one anywhere near you anymore.   But I digress.  The helmet and head seem to be new for this release, and that's what's the most interesting about this one.

 The Luke Skywalker portrait is a huge improvement of figures like the 2009 Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper) [FOTD #1,277] which was no slouch at the time.    This 2020 release is a huge improvement over that, and while it boasts one of the best Luke heads and Stormtrooper helmets yet the body is very 11 years ago.    The proportions and deco on the not-rubbery helmet are sure to please even the grouchiest fan with a look that fixes the problems with so many previous releases.  It probably won't be the final one, but it's so good you'll want more just like it.

Underneath is Luke's head, which has a separately molded hair piece which is pretty much perfect.  The hairline looks great, and having a plastic toupee on a peanut-sized head fixes a lot of the recurring paint problems we've seen at this scale.  The face printing is also excellent, but the eyes on the 2020 sample look a bit better than the 2019 3-pack one.   the figure has a blaster that's a tight squeeze in the holster, plus a belt clip for the commlink that you're no longer able to remove - so no chance of losing that.

On a card, it's the best-looking Stormtrooper Luke to date with a photo similar to the 1984 The Power of the Force figure which was one of the very last I tracked down when collecting in the 1980s (and early 1990s).   Had Hasbro given him bend-and-swivel wrists and some sort of thigh-cut joints I'd probably say this is as good as Stormtrooper Luke could ever get... but after last year's amazing Rogue One trooper body, I'd be lying if I said there was no room for improvement.   Still, it's better than any other Stormtrooper Luke figures in this size to date - and arguably 6-inch too - so I'd say get it if you have the means.   You can put it in that Death Star Hasbro playset that we'll never, ever get.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,727: September 22, 2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,726: Clone Commander Wolffe (The Vintage Collection)



CLONE COMMANDER WOLFFE Phase II Armor
The Vintage Collection   3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. E9395
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #168
Includes: Blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Clone Commander Wolffe served under General Plo Koon in the Clone Wars as a commander of the tight-knight unit known as Wolfpack.   (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: At first glance I wasn't sure if Clone Commander Wolffe was any good or not - I'd say it's pretty darned good.   The legs and kama and arms have been used before, you might've seen these as parts on Commanders Fox or Doom or the other The Vintage Collection and The Black Series 3 3/4-inch releases you bought and forgot about over the past decade.   The helmet is new, the head is new, and it looks like the torso is new too - the head and neck have one of those "barbell" connectors allowing additional range of motion.   This means he looks a lot like your other Clone commanders, but what you might not like is that the figure doesn't enjoy any enhanced hip articulation.  It's the standard swivel-forward joints that we've had since the 1990s, without the lateral movement or thigh cuts to which you've become accustomed.  Since the figure has a plastic kama it's not like it matters, those legs aren't moving anyway.

One of the problems with this figure - indeed, with all super-articulated 3 3/4-inch figures - is that it's hard to find a good center of gravity when posing the figure on a shelf or desk.  It'll shift a tiny bit and topple over, seemingly with a mind of his own.   The extra articulation is nice, but it doesn't do anything in the service of your getting the most out of this one - the leg can't really swing forward too well, and the ankles don't do much other than get in the way of keeping him upright.   Holding blasters in his small hands is a challenge, mostly because the Rex-ish blasters are big and Wolffe's hands are rather small.   If you're just having him stand around with the guns in the holsters, you won't notice a problem.

The newly-sculpted elements are where Wolffe shines.   You can see Hasbro came a long way with an incredible facial expression, expressing some element of doubt and disdain with a crooked half-smile and a scarred eye.  There's a lot of weariness on the relatively young Clone, but the hair is totally black and the skin seems a smidgen lighter than I would have expected.  It's good for showing off an exceptional amount of sculpted detail, and directly beneath the neck is a new collar that is just a tiny bit imperfect - it looks like he's been wearing it for a while.  The armor is completely clean, which is a pity but it's not like it looks bad.  I'd rather the deco go to making the head look as good as it does.

The last new element is a new helmet with a pivoting rangefinder.  It's tough to get moving at first, so be careful but rest assured it is indeed articulated.  The grey plastic is rubbery and slathered in white paint, looking just like the TV show.  Plus or minus a few liberties to make it "real," of course.  It fits on the peanut-sized head perfectly, making it the perfect cap on an old figure body.  Hasbro is getting a lot of mileage by making new, next-level heads for its 6-inch and 3 3/4-inch figure lines, giving fans an excuse to rebuy a figure from a few years ago or pick up a release for the very first time.  I'd love to see more figures with this bump in head quality, but it wouldn't hurt to see the same love and attention given to the Clone body - after all, you can re-sell everybody again once that happens.  Recommended!

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,726: September 17, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,725: K-2SO (The Vintage Collection)


K-2SO Better!
The Vintage Collection   3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. E8089
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #170
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance, K-2SO is an alarming sight standing within a secret Rebel base.    (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I admit, I did not see the point of doing a new K-2SO now.  I still don't - the line ended 3 years ago and this droid stands as an island in a shallow sea of characters.  The previous 3 3/4-inch figures were fine - but this is better.  It stands  as a testament to just how good Hasbro is at making 5-jointed figures, and how good Hasbro is at hiding joints in super-articulated figures, that it's not obvious that one is at all an improvement over another.  It probably won't help sales either - in-pack, they look essentially the same.

This time around, Hasbro made hands that better grip the included pistol - that's a big plus.  Subtle dirt and damage appear all over the figure, from the silver you can't miss to browns you might not see unless you have this figure brightly lit.  With 25 points of articulation, this is a big step up from the 2016 figure and its many later variations, but you're probably going to be OK with what you have - for now.  If more Rogue One creations get toys, you'll want to make sure to get this upgrade.  Or a bunch of this upgrade, for future army-building and diorama-stuffing experience, if we ever get an Imperial capital ship or another installation.  Which I assume will not happen soon.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,725: September 15, 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,724: Power Droid (Lars Family Homestead, The Vintage Collection)


POWER DROID Still not the one in the cardback picture
The Vintage Collection   3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. E9393
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #167
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable top
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Little more than walking batteries, power droids trundle along as directed by their owners or their programming, recharging vehicles and machinery.   (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: For years there has been question as to what the original Kenner Power Droid was.   This is Hasbro's first attempt to do it on the 1979-style cardback... and it's clearly not the same robot.  The one in the picture has a different face and some different greeblies on the side of the head, but this absolutely is the Lars Family Homestead Gonk Droid we see tooling around Beru when Luke makes his first appearance in the original film.   This is absolutely a new on-screen droid and that's a huge blessing.  But it it in any way a replacement for the original Kenner figure?  Not a bit.   It's still essential and you will want it.

When you see it walking around in the movie - easily found on Disney+ streaming version - you can see where the original Kenner robot's colors probably came from.  (Certainly not from the photo used on the cardback.)   The grey can be easily mistaken as blue, and the white stripe around the belt area made the cut.   Everything else seems pretty fanciful creation from Kenner's imagination - and it was a good one, too.   It would be nice if Hasbro made a new Power Droid as a tribute to the Kenner original, but until then, this is another droid you can add to your collection.  The 1999 The Power of the Force CommTech edition is probably the closest you'll get to the original cardback from Hasbro, but they could redecorate their tan one and give us a better taken on both it and the Kenner one.
That aside - what matters is what this figure does deliver.  It's exceptionally rare that we get a new droid from the original trilogy unless it's the result of a handsome, smart toy buyer from some online toy seller.   It's even rarer that we get one that has managed to keep out of the prop books and didn't stand out to fans as actually having been in the movie, despite taking place during a prominent scene introducing the entire saga's most important character not named Darth Vader.   The figure has the same lower body as the previous Hasbro releases since 2012, and that's pretty great.  There are some painted symbols and what appear to be grease stains all over, plus lots of faux weathering and paint chipping.  The only deco thing I don't like is their decision to put the date stamp and SKU in silver in plain sight on the figure's lower back.  Why not under the removable dome? Or on the foot?  Or generally out of sight?   But I digress.
The new "head" is amazing with tons of radar dishes, wires, doodads, and thingamabobs.  It's right out of the junk heap aesthetic during that early era of Star Wars where science fiction was transitioning from Flash Gordon-style rockets to a grimier, used look.  It's all here - this figure looks like a bunch of junk got slapped on a couple of Rubbermaid bins, and the result is perfection.  The figure also has bend-and-swivel hips and bend-and-swivel ankles - neither of which are necessary, but for $13 that's the very least we should get.  It would have been nice if Hasbro included an alternate "head" or other accessory to up the value of this one, but given that it's a supposed update of one more of the original 21 it's something I think you're going to buy with a smile.  On the card, it's a fine collectible.  Off the card, it's a necessary addition to your dioramas.

Figures like this are the reason I still collect this figure line in 2020.  It's from my favorite movies, it's new, and it showed me something in the movies I didn't really notice until now.  It's kind of expensive, and yes it's just an existing figure with a new hat - but that's all it needed to be in order to be perfect.  I hope you can get one.   And I'm glad Hasbro gave us a brand-new, we-don't-have-this action figure from the original trilogy.  It's been a long time - and we'd love to see some more like it.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,724: September 10, 2020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,723: Kit Fisto (The Black Series 6-Inch)


KIT FISTO First 6-inch attempt
The Black Series   6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E9329
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #112
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2020
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: As a part of a Jedi rescue mission to Geonosis, Nautolan Jedi Knight Kit Fisto fought Separatis droids and saw the first shots fired in the Clone Wars.   (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: This Kit Fisto figure is OK.  It's also off in the way a lot of first draft, half-baked figures were, sharing tooling with an existing Obi-Wan Kenobi so his costume is largely wrong, the boots are wrong, and even the lightsaber is wrong.   I can understand sharing Jedi robes because most fans won't scrutinize it - but the lightsaber?   Hasbro made an amazing FX Kit Fisto lightsaber, so I can't imagine how they got this one wrong.  (Other than they picked one of the 4 Grievous lightsabers... and it was the wrong one.)   They got it right in 2002, so why is it wrong now?

Hasbro did a good job with a half-baked Kit Fisto. The colors are spot-on, and if you saw a small or blurry picture you wouldn't realize some layers of the robe are missing, or that the belt is wrong, or that the boots are wrong.  Had Hasbro thrown in cloth Jedi robes, you might never have noticed.  It's a decent figure with typical Jedi articulation, it stands, it can hold a lightsaber, but the only new parts are the head and hands - everything else is leftover Kenobi shared parts.   If this figure were cheaper or Hasbro were doing low-price repaints for lower-demand figures I could see the need for shortcuts, but The Black Series is supposed to be the most authentic figures we can get - and this is what I would expect from an A+ custom figure.  The head is good (if slightly off in color), and the hands are perfectly nice.

If you just want a Kit Fisto on your shelf, it's fine.  If you want the best one, know that there's a green skin color variant.  You might want to chase that one down - or wait and see if Hasbro does a full upgrade, with robes, or a new costume, or a lightsaber hook on the belt, or the right lightsaber.   I have no problems with the overall quality here, so I absolutely appreciate the head sculpt and the tooling shortcuts that saved a few bucks.  I'd rather they just charged us more and did it right the first time.  (Or did it with a bonus smiling head, and charged us more.)

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,723: September 8, 2020