Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,509: Doctor Aphra (The Vintage Collection)

DOCTOR APHRA Fan's Choice Winner
The Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Set - Doctor Aphra Comic Set
Item No.:
  No. E1628
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: Blaster pistol, 3 figures, removable panels
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $54.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra comics

Bio: In a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader.  A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.   After a brief checkered partnership with Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra escapes from the control of her dark supervisor and his clandestine agenda.  Free of her obligations to Vader, Aphra ventures out with her assassin droids, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan in search of new opportunities, leal and otherwise.   Though unafraid of using whatever means necessary to get what she wants, Doctor Aphra is careful to avoid additional entanglements with Darth Vader, understanding all too well the vast reaches of his unflinching power.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: A Fans' Choice winner, Doctor Aphra is a pleasant surprise.  We don't get a lot of women in the action figure line, and it's worth noting that when none-male-types are up for Hasbro Fan's Choice polls - including Transformers - they tend to win most of the time.   The interest in women in toys is strong, and it's usually best when there's one big toy line instead of "girls" and "boys" splits within a brand.  

26 points of articulation makes this a winner.   Hasbro has really been upping its game with super-articulated figures since The Black Series, especially since Jyn Erso and the like introduced the now popular thigh cut joint.    She doesn't have bend-and-swivel wrists, but given how tiny they are I have no problems with that.  They swivel, and they're jointed at the gloves.  That's good.  I love the articulation range on this one, because I was able to easily get her to ride some toy dinosaurs I just bought.  You see, I like a nicely articulated figure, but what usually matters to me the most is if something is a fun toy.   We've had so many super-articulated toys that can't sit on a toy monster that I'm usually pretty ho-hum on them.  Knees and ankles don't mean much if the figure's hips can't budge enough to sit in a vehicle, so a figure with pretty much a full range of movement is always welcome.  What's more, the removable vest does a good job covering the waist joint under her breast - which is kind of an eyesore.  Remember when they used to just joint the figure at the belt?  Wasn't that great?  Anyway.

Deco is good - the colorful figure has a fun hat with goggles, a sporty haircut, and a nifty circuit pattern tattooed on her arm.  It looks great, and it makes the figure look like she could have inhabited the same early-Empire, pre-Star Wars times of Thall Joben and Jord Dusat.  She's kind of a colorful not-quite-punk character, and her face sculpt is perfect.  The eyes are painted on precisely right, with on-mark lips and eyebrows.  These are hard things to do correctly, so while this figure costs more I'd say it's certainly better-than-average.  She even has a working holster for her blaster, which I should add has a silver barrel.

I don't get to say this much, so take note - Aphra's about as good as it gets.  Hasbro does good 3 3/4-inch work when working from existing stories and reference, rather than brand-new top-secret movie things.  It shows how much they really do care when they have the ability to give us the very best, and I'd say they've done it this time.   Her gloves are painted better than some toys I've bought.  They sculpted stripes on her pants, and painted them too.  I wasn't super pumped over Snoke, so this second new entry in The Vintage Collection has me giddy with the possibilities for the future.
Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro as a sample, but it was sold at San Diego Comic-Con and also HasbroToyShop.com.  It will be sold on The Vintage Collection packaging later this year.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,509: August 21, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,508: 0-0-0 (Triple Zero, The Vintage Collection)

0-0-0 (Triple Zero)
The Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Set - Doctor Aphra Comic Set
Item No.:
  No. E1628
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: Blaster pistol, 3 figures, removable panels
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $54.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra comics

Bio: In a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader.  A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.   After a brief checkered partnership with Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra escapes from the control of her dark supervisor and his clandestine agenda.  Free of her obligations to Vader, Aphra ventures out with her assassin droids, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan in search of new opportunities, leal and otherwise.   Though unafraid of using whatever means necessary to get what she wants, Doctor Aphra is careful to avoid additional entanglements with Darth Vader, understanding all too well the vast reaches of his unflinching power.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: A simple redeco, 0-0-0 is something fans have been asking for over the last few years.   The last time we saw this mold was in 2010 as C-3PO [FOTD #1,515].   Black protocol droids are nothing new, and some like I-5YQ [FOTD #1,382] had nifty things like a hidden compartment.

The figure is the same as C-3PO, minus colors, for good and for ill.   This time around the removable face mask, back plate, and chest plate are somewhat loose.  The back plate fell off as I was taking it out of the package, and the face flung off on the floor while I was examining it for the first time.   Take care when opening the package and playing with it - it would not surprise me at all if you lose a piece in the carpet.  A fourth panel on the thigh comes off without much fuss, but it doesn't seem to be as loose.  0-0-0 has over 20 points of articulation, can't sit very well, and looks superb.  The eyes aren't as bright and as red as they frequently appeared in the comics, but it's a good representation of the skinny cybernetic psycho.
It's a black repaint - and we've already had dark grey or black protocol droids.  This is a good one, and a new take on this mold, but you might already be covered for the whole black droid thing.  Given the opportunity to buy this set cheaply, it's worth it for Aphra and BT - 0-0-0 is no slouch.   It's just not as exciting as an all-new figure or a droid with new optional parts.   If you do get this figure, take care to not lose those panels.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro as a sample, but it was sold at San Diego Comic-Con and also HasbroToyShop.com.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,508: August 16, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,507: Tobias Beckett (The Black Series 6-Inch)

TOBIAS BECKETT Scoundrel
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1205
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: 2 blaster pistols
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Beckett is a survivor, always quietly working out angles to come out ahead.  He's assembled a team of specialized scoundrels to carry out risky but profitable heists.  (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: If you told me that I would some day be getting mega-poseable figures with photo-realistic likenesses for $20 and it might start to feel ho-hum, I'd say you were crazy.  With Tobias Beckett, we get Woody Boyd as an old man with a pretty good - if slightly waxy - likeness and a ton of articulation.   27 points of articulation, working holsters, and twin painted pistols make this a decent figure - but the sculpted snaps and buttons really make it look great.  He stands, he poses, and he has great cut joints in the elbows allowing for a greater range of motion than all but the very best double-jointed elbows.

Deco is good - the costume is amazing with a jacket, suit, rank pins, boots, straps, ammo, and so much going on that it's pretty amazing we're still getting it for about $20.  The face is good, but needs work.  While we get eerily realistic glossy eyes, the mouth is a little dirty and the facial hair doesn't feel quite right.
The problem with collector lines, and Star Wars in particular, is that enthusiasm from fans usually comes from two places - awesome new bad guys, and nostalgia.   The new humans (for good or for ill) are rarely causes to celebrate, even if they're good.  Unless you get in too close, this is one of the better Hasbro heads, with a good costume, great trigger fingers, superb texture, and wonderful articulation.  And yet, it's just another figure.  Without the hazy mists of time, these figures can't become icons.   Tobias Beckett is fine, but it's not his or Hasbro's fault that this is the fourth movie in as many years and fans can barely catch up.   This is a fine product - and if you like the character, you should get the figure. Otherwise, well,  you know the drill.  Hasbro makes good figures in The Black Series, consistent and sturdy.   Nice job to team Hasbro, although my old fartness would have loved an action feature, or something unexpected -  you know, something antithetical to the product.  It's perfect for what it aspires to be, though.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,507: August 14, 2018

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,506: BT-1 (Beetee, The Vintage Collection)

BT-1 (Beetee)
The Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Set - Doctor Aphra Comic Set
Item No.:
  No. E1628
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: Blaster pistol, 3 figures, removable weapons
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $54.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra comics

Bio: In a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader.  A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.   After a brief checkered partnership with Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra escapes from the control of her dark supervisor and his clandestine agenda.  Free of her obligations to Vader, Aphra ventures out with her assassin droids, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan in search of new opportunities, leal and otherwise.   Though unafraid of using whatever means necessary to get what she wants, Doctor Aphra is careful to avoid additional entanglements with Darth Vader, understanding all too well the vast reaches of his unflinching power..  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Even though "everything is canon," licensed fiction is still licensed fiction - contradictions will happen, events will be ignored.  But what we can't ignore is how awesome the figure for BT-1 turned out.   The idea in the comics was to bring Vader a sidekick with sidekicks of her own - darker versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO - and they succeeded.  Fans like "dark whatever" a lot, so this was really just low-hanging fruit at which we have seen numerous attempts over the years.  Finally!  An evil black astromech!  The killer robot takes advantage of the recently retooled build-a-droid body (seen last as R2-D2 [FOTD #2,430], but with a new head. 

If you've got any of Hasbro's various "Droid Factory" bodies, you know what to expect as far as the body goes.  The ankles are articulated, the central leg is removable, and so is the dome.  The very dark grey - almost black - is similar to several existing robots, as is the orangey copper eye, the opper panel, and the silver other bits and pieces.   The fact that we got a new dome is in and of itself interesting enough to make it worthwhile, but Hasbro kept going and really outdid themselves.   You see, the guns are removable - and there are panels on the sides so you can cover them up, giving you back a closed-in dome with pop-out weapons.  Pretend ones, but still, the idea that they decided to give you some optional parts is a heck of an improvement over nothing.

As of today this figure is only available as a convention exclusive - but various leaks and winks from Hasbro in San Diego make it seem like they would be likely to consider this figure's release again, somewhere, in different packaging.  I'd say it's exciting, mostly because we rarely get new droids with new parts.   Hasbro could've given us a new dome with no removable pieces and we'd have been pretty happy - this is above and beyond that.   I'm happy.  Go get one.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro as a sample, but it was sold at San Diego Comic-Con and also HasbroToyShop.com.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,506: August 9, 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,505: Rebel Trooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

REBEL TROOPER Fleeting
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1210
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #69
Includes: Blaster Pistol< Death Star Plans Data Card, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Star Wars and/or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Drawn from many homeworlds and species, Rebel troopers were the Alliance's front-tier soldiers in the war against the Empire.  They defended the Alliance's leaders on countless worlds and during many operations, changing uniforms and tactics to meet each challenge.  (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: We've seen this one for a while, so the release of the Rebel Trooper is one of those "it's about time" things.  We first saw it at Comic-Con a year ago, and Hasbro had a whole display of them at HasCon that made it look like they were ready to go - and then we waited.  The data disk is from Rogue One, but I think the human head might not be - I'm not sure.  The costume continuity was great, and if there were any changes I don't know what they are yet.  Vader had some differences, but his documentation was better.

I like this figure a lot.  The blaster tucks in the holster behind the vest, and he can hold the data disk. Getting the helmet on right is a little tricky, and a little uneven - I assume variant human heads might be in the works for no good reason.   The colors and detailing are consistent with the movies, and the hip joints are some of Hasbro's best.  He can kneel!   Hasbro cut this figure up nicely, with so much articulation to ensure he can assume a variety of combat-ready poses.  Hasbro clearly intends on you buying a lot of these, which you probably can't, because you know how "classic" characters get snapped up and tend to go away quickly.   I hope Hasbro does another run of these.
I love the glossy boots and the shiny helmet - the data card is an excellent bonus with printed circuit board bits and some nice gold markings.   Old guy fans want this - new fans might too.  It's one of the best figures in this line with a lot of flexibility and options to army-build down the road, plus an expertly cut vest hiding the one part of the figure I don't like.  That mid-torso joint is ugly and needs to go.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,505: August 7, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,504: R5-PHT (Droid Factory Line Look)

R5-PHT Just Different Enough to Make You Mad
Droid Factory The Last Jedi Boxed Set
Item No.:
  No. 63488
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 more droid figures
Action Feature: Breaks down into 5 separate pieces
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the Star Wars galaxy.  Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors.   These four new Astromech droids are featured in Solo: A Star Wars Story.   May the Force be with you... and your Droids!  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I put off opening these - and buying them - because the set is kind of dull.  Hasbro has made several black R5 droids, and so has Disney within their Droid Factory parts bins - R5-PHT has little new to offer, other than more silver paint and a restraining bolt.  It's otherwise similar - but not identical - to previous releases.

I'm not even going to dignify this with a longer review - it's the same robot with some more silver and a barely-changed dome sculpt.  Wookieepedia says it's an Imperial droid, and I don't remember seeing it in the film in a specific place - so sure, let's go with that.   The set for $30 is reasonable, but if you've also got droid Stockholm Syndrome and have been buying Disney's hassle-of-a-figure-line for the last five years, here, you can buy pretty much the same robot again.   I appreciate there are numerous additional silver details and I would be completely full of crap if I told you I actually wanted this figure.  The others were neat, but this is something that will sit on a shelf until I die or violently exit the hobby in frustration or disgust some day.   But then what would I do with my otherwise wasted life?

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay. Because I'm not driving eight hours and paying for parking to buy robot repaints.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,504: August 2, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,503: C'ai Threnalli (The Last Jedi Line Look)

C'AI THRENALLI Talking Edition
The Last Jedi Force Link Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. C1503  No. E0524
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $10.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: C'ai Threnalli[2] was an Abednedo male who flew in the Resistance Starfighter Corps of the Resistance's military during their conflict with the First Order.  This 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:  This is a figure I wasn't sure if people would want - at work, we picked it up after Hasbro dropped it from the US mainline.  C'ai Threnalli looked like a slightly better Ello Asty at first glance - this time with a removable helmet and no holster.  The figure had a bit more to offer than sounds and new joints, and has proven to be pretty popular.  (I've seen the sales figures.  This should be the first one to sell out.)

The arms seem to be derived from the same digital sculpt as Asty, as do parts of the torso - the vest matches the wrinkles on the older figure in spots quite closely.   It's a safe bet Disney and Lucasfilm are giving Hasbro some digital assets while not being afraid to tweak existing models.   Threnalli has articulated wrists and boots either as a forward-thinking way to fit in future vehicles, or as a cost-cutting measure to avoid having to paint those pieces by molding them in color. I assume the latter.  It's a nice feature though - I'll take articulation any way I can get it!  The helmet is rubbery and is a perfect fit on his head, which is sculpted surprisingly well with a lot of detail.  

It looks better than a lot of the other The Last Jedi figures, which kind of is unfortunate as it had more limited availability.  It's similar, but different, and certainly good enough to warrant your attention with extra flight straps and definitely new legs.  C'ai, along with Maz Kanata, a Flametrooper, and Emperor Palpatine were all bumped from the main line but all found homes somewhere.  (The single Palpatine was sold overseas, and in 3-packs at Target.)  I think they're all decent for different reasons.   If you're a pilot fan, get one.

  "Got 'em."  "Come and get me!"  "Roger."  "We have a mission to complete."  "Come and get me!"  And blaster effects.  The voice is, obviously, not from the movie.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   This figure was originally slated to be a part of the first Force Link line for The Last Jedi but when the final wave got axed, this item was dumped in the USA.  It is a de facto USA Entertainment Earth exclusive.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,503: July 31, 2018