Thursday, December 1, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,317: R2-C2 (The Black Series)

R2-C2 Ziro the Hutt's Astromech Droid
The Black Series   Entertainment Earth Exclusive Gift Set
Item No.:
No. B8671
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Sensorscope, glasses, harness, 5 more droids
Action Feature: Sensorscope pops up, third leg retracts
Retail: $79.99
Availability: October 2016
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: R2-C2 was a purple and grey R2-series astromech droid serving the Hutt crime lord Ziro Desilijic Tiure at his palace on Coruscant. It primarily served as a drink trolley at the palace's bar. Along with its blue coloring, it had a red Black Sun symbol on its back. On its right leg, text written in Basic is visible that says "Ziro," indicating the owner.  (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

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 liked this one.  Along with Jabba's Bartender, R2-C2 was a robot I just had to have.  Part of the reason was that it shared a mold with another bartender droid - why settle for one when you can have two for twice the price, right?   There was some weirdness with the name (which I believe was RC-C2 on some paperwork) so there were more than a few references to RC Cola in the marketing. (Also, I like RC Cola.)   This droid was in The Clone Wars movie as one of Ziro's stooges - and one of the most nifty examples of coloring outside the lines you've ever seen.   I loved the idea so much because it's the kind of designer thing I've been wanting to see for years - I was hoping to put out blank white astromechs as an exclusive in the '00s but such a thing was "against the spirit of the brand" at the time.  Oh well.  At least we're getting some fancy weird designer droids now under Disney, although I'd say Ziro's drink dispenser out-weirds them all.

Hasbro did a great job translating the animated design to the "realistic" style of the movies.   Ziro the Hutt doesn't yet exist as a figure, but if and when he does get to see plastic at least you've got a few of his robots ready to go.   The figure is about half grey and half blue, liberally covered in an even, thick coat of grey.  Red spot color brings him to life with eyes, projectors, and of course Black Sun tattoos!  I believe this may well be the first (or only) astromech droid to feature any sort of faction markings in the world of toys.  Considering how partisan a lot of the hardware looks in Star Wars, it's kind of surprising more robots aren't marked with the political leanings of their owners.

Each glass is completely removable and the figure is outfitted with an opening chest compartment with a flip-out arm. The compartment's ability to close seems to vary from sample to sample, so you may need to do some customizing to get it to fully close.  Or if it's closed when you get it, go ahead and leave it that way.   It was my hope that this droid set would be ultimate 2016 buy for the pre-Disney-era fan who has everything, although there were numerous challenges when it comes to making something for everybody.  I hope you like the set, and I also hope Hasbro has more up their collective sleeve for additional super-articulated exclusive figures and figure sets from the original six movies and older television shows.  It's still a rich universe with lots of amazing stuff - and I hope the dollars make sense enough to continue to wallow around the alleys of Coruscant and the palaces of strange far-off worlds.   And if they don't go there, well, we got Ziro's custom robot drinking buddy.  We'll always have that.   Can you think of a better eggnog delivery mechanism?

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth, where it is an exclusive.   I work there and was heavily involved with this exclusive... so please do buy a set.  Also, I need a break!  We'll be back after I see the movie.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,317: December 1, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,316: Darth Maul (Rebels, Rogue One Line Look)

DARTH MAUL vs. Seventh Sister Inquisitor
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B9854
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 2 lightsabers, rocket launcher, hood, 2 rockets, mini probe droid, mask
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: October 2016
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: Driven by revenge against the Sith and consumed by a personal obsession to turn Ezra Bridger to the dark side, Darth Maul faces off against the Seventh Sister Inquisitor, a cunning mastermind who uses a group of mimic droids to track down the Rebels and capture the Jedi.  (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: After his two-pack companion figure, Darth Maul looks good by comparison.   Perfection is a request I don't think any of us expect from Hasbro, but there are certain minimal considerations that would be helpful when getting a new figure.  I love the sculpt, the deco, the design.  Hasbro did another good job giving me a figure that looks good.  It can stand... just not with his ridiculously unbalanced backpack rocket launcher.   Two big rockets, springs, and switches all on his right-hand side are going to throw his spine out of alignment, and it's going to mean you'll need some sort of aftermarket display stand to keep him upright.

This is a good toy of a figure from the TV show.  He's sculpted nicely, with good paint and enough details that you won't feel that you got shorted. He's got gloves!  A bandolier!  A removable hood that actually fits well!  Hasbro did a good job with the figure itself, and even the eyes look pretty good given how much paint is going on in there.   Without considering accessory compatibility, Hasbro really knocked this one out of the park.

Holding his lightsaber is a little tricky, as the accessory's durometer doesn't mesh super well with that of his fist.  (Stiff tight fist with thin/flimsy bendy accessory equals frowny face.)   You can get it in there if you glide it down blade-first, and the hilt seems very thin where it touches the red bits.  It's also striking to note that Hasbro continues to leave off the flared base, which were basically standard issue since late 2001.  Except on Qui-Gon Jinn.  Look it up.  I love how perfectly the rubbery hood fits, and he has no problems wearing his backpack.  Standing with it, that's a challenge.  But he can absolutely wear it, no question.


I will say the backpack rocket launcher mechanism is clever and works - I've seen similar things in Playmobil.  There's a groove on the backpack that actually easily glides when you move his arm on the controls.  It's almost magical - but since you're not going to be able to have Maul standing when you do it, it's functionally not particularly valuable.   You could just aim the rockets.  I'll say I'm really amazed that Hasbro pulled it off, though, as it is sort of magical seeing it actually work.  The rubber-tipped rockets launch a good distance, and have some weight to them as they fly across a table or small room.

Of this set, Maul is the clear winner.  I really dislike the decision to give him a weapon which prevents standing, but at least it looks neat.   And at least the mechanisms all function.  It doesn't look like Hasbro left anything on the table here, so know that you can buy it and you can enjoy what I assume will be the best/only season 2 Rebels Maul that we'll ever see in action figure form.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,316: November 30, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,315: Seventh Sister Inquisitor (Rebels, Rogue One Line Look)

SEVENTH SISTER INQUISITOR vs. Darth  Maul
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B9854
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 2 lightsabers, rocket launcher, hood, 2 rockets, mini probe droid, mask
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: October 2016
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: Driven by revenge against the Sith and consumed by a personal obsession to turn Ezra Bridger to the dark side, Darth Maul faces off against the Seventh Sister Inquisitor, a cunning mastermind who uses a group of mimic droids to track down the Rebels and capture the Jedi.  (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: I'm pretty forgiving.  Generally speaking my bar for success is somewhat low, as things like "can hold accessory while standing" are an easily achieved and important goal.  The Seventh Sister Inquisitor looks like she was undercooked.   The sculpt is good - the body and form look good, the head is pretty good, and the removable mask fits like a glove - it's one of Hasbro's finest applications of such interaction at this size.  But her legs don't really move.  And she can't stand so good.   And there's a thing on her back that looks like it was sculpted to mount an accessory which Hasbro neglected to include.

This figure has no foot peg holes.  She has very thin and spindly legs.  Her hips - at least on mine - seem fused, with a skirt piece that restricts movement were one wanting to apply head in a way that might remedy this.  Her lightsaber is too short to use as a cane to prop her up.  Her hands aren't even very good about gripping the lightsaber - it's unusually thick and her hands are unusually small.  The Seventh Sister's arms are also quite spindly, so with time they're going to sag under the weight of anything she may be holding.   There's really no sugarcoating it - this is a poorly engineered figure.  A display stand (especially with the hole on her back) could be useful in keeping her upright, and at least mine isn't capable of sitting.   So what good is it?

 She's painted well, with glossy armor and matte grey soft bits, with enough flourishes and line art to bring out some of the cooler bits of the costume.  I love the hat and mask, and as a figure you leave in the packaging she's really great.  As a toy?  I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say she's the worst since Disney took over... if not longer.  Hasbro's factory did a good job of making this figure look good, but I think we'd have been better off with a non-articulated figure or something that was super-articulated.  Five joints don't do her any favors, nor does her center of gravity.  I assume Rebels fans will want her due to being one of very few collectibles of this character, or because she comes with an acceptable Maul.  If Hasbro ever sold her by her lonesome, I'd advise skipping it unless I just got saddled with a bum one.
One nifty bonus is her sidekick mimic droid - a tiny probe spy.  It has arms that look like they could have been meant for the hole on her back, but the form fit isn't there and the shapes don't match.  It's also small enough to be easily lost.   I wish I could say that I hope Hasbro tries again, but the character's fate on the series combined with a lack of figures from the show would have me think that this is it for this size.   Perhaps the future holds something brighter, but I feel terribly for any kid who saves their money to get this one.  Upon opening, it's just going to be depressing.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,315: November 29, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,314: Princess Leia Organa (Rebels, Rogue One Line Look)

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA (Rebels)
Rogue One   Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7072 No. B9845
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, zipline
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2016
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: As Princess of the Royal House of Alderaan, Leia was tasked with the delivery of relief supplies to the needy citizens of Lothal, a useful cover for her true mission of covertly aiding the efforts of the growing rebellion.  (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: So far it seems that Rogue One has more women in it than the entire vintage line from the olden days.  Princess Leia Organa is one of five in the first two waves of the basic figure line - and I do believe this is unprecedented.   Star Wars Rebels has been coming up short on women as toys, but at least we got this one.  Leia appeared in exactly one episode, so there's still hope for Lando's multiple appearances eventually yielding a toy or two.  (I'm deluded.)   The high-profile episode "A Princess on Lothal" allowed the character to appear in a concept-driven outfit with almost boring hair compared to what we've seen elsewhere - but it was fun enough, and the figure is pretty good.

The costume is based on concept artwork, which is why it looks pretty familiar.  Rebels mines this area for new-but-similar designs regularly, and it works out here pretty well.  I have no idea what I would expect space royalty to wear while jaunting around the galaxy, but in this stylized and heightened reality it doesn't seem out of place.  It's an efficient outfit without too many flourishes to animate, or any gowny bits to get in the way of posing or sitting.  Finding her center of gravity for standing can be tough, but not impossible.   It's a decent design.

Her weapons include an all-too-familiar Stormtrooper blaster - she must have had hundreds of these - and a new zipline accessory.  It's difficult to get her hand wrapped around the grip, and once you do it's a peculiar design.  The other ziplines in this series go back and forth on the string with no real fuss.  This one goes forward well, but due to the angle at which it was sculpted she can't go back terribly easily.   I suppose it makes some degree of sense, but as far as play goes you can't just have her zip back and forth.  You have to put more effort in to reset it.

Thanks to this being one of very few basic carded Leia figures, I'd say go get it. I doubt she'll get another animated figure based on this appearance, plus it's a wholly-original sculpt.   You've got no reason to skip it, especially if the paint job on the sample you find looks good.   It's not going to change the world, but it's certainly good enough to warrant wasting some time, or gas, or dollars on buying it online.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,314: November 28, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,313: QT-KT (The Black Series)

QT-KT Aayla Secura's Astromech Droid, D-Squad
The Black Series   Entertainment Earth Exclusive Gift Set
Item No.:
No. B8671
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Sensorscope, 5 more droids
Action Feature: Sensorscope pops up, third leg retracts
Retail: $79.99
Availability: October 2016
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: QT-KT, often referred to as Qutee, was an astromech droid and a member of D-Squad during the Clone Wars. She belonged to Jedi Knight Aayla Secura. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Here's a good one.  The notes to make the Entertainment Earth went through many revisions before being sent off, but QT-KT was a droid I just had to have.  OK, I wanted to have all of D-Squad because I loved those episodes, but this one made sense for a variety of reasons - not the least of which was the fact we've only had one other pink droid, and it was a) a convention exclusive and b) highly coveted by fan members of the 501st Legion.   It's expensive - so what are you to do if you just want a pink droid?  Well... I guess the boxed set is about the same price as just R2-KT.  But at least it has 5 more droids in it.

Crafted in "movie" style using the Vintage 2010 R2-D2 mold, you'll notice that she has a sensorscope that pops up when you push in the central leg.  She has the same articulation as the other robots, so really she's interesting only for her colors.  This is the "upgraded" version of the droid, as you can see with the yellow and black stripes on her dome.  If you watch the episodes, you'll note that they spot these colors after they get their new parts and pieces.   Because I wasn't entirely sure if R2-D2 himself would appear in the set's final cut, the markings seemed prudent for D-Squad.  I hope they also lead to demand for the other members down the road.  Also she's a shout-out to a friend because of the color.

Her deco is great - molded in pink, she has a nifty jagged pattern down her torso with magenta markings on her opening arm compartment.  There are some great paint jobs in the set, but this one is probably tied with Ziro's droid as the most detailed.   It's a great figure for fans of the saga - doubly so if you loved D-Squad's adventures like I did - but my sample has a slightly loose sensorscope.  As such, be wary that there's always a chance it could - or could not - slip out if the droid falls over.   Caution is advised, but she's just fine when she's sitting on a shelf.  Hopefully she'll be joined by her squadmates some day, but I can tell you that I know of no such plans to make these happen any time soon.  Disney, this one's in your court.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth, where it is an exclusive.   I work there and was heavily involved with this exclusive... so please do buy a set.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,313: November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,312: Snowtrooper Officer (White, Rogue One Line Look)

SNOWTROOPER OFFICER vs. Poe Dameron
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B8612
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 2 rifles, 1 backpack, 1 backpack rocket launcher, 2 projectiles
Action Feature: Opening mouth
Retail: $14.99
Availability: September 2016
Appearances: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Bio: The latest generation of cold-weather assault Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers wear advanced insulated armor helmets that reduce the glare of icy terrain.  (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: Of all the troops to build out quickly, Hasbro wasted no time giving us nearly every possible version of the Snowtrooper Officer.  There are orange, white, and black pauldron versions - and I have no idea what the rankings are.   It's virtually the same as the other releases, with one very obvious change - the stamp on the boot now says "Vietnam." Previous Snowtroopers were stamped out in China.  The rest are more subtle.

On a side-by-side comparison, you can see that while the backpack is similar to the previous release the actual shapes of the objects on the backpack are a little different, particularly on the sides.  The buttons are in the same configurations, but the sizes and how raised they are seem to be clearly changed.   The bottoms of the backpack are also quite different - this white pauldron officer has a much smaller vent on the bottom than previous releases.  The "soft goods" on the arms look a little different, and the chest ornament - a holdover from old McQuarrie art - is now higher on the chest.  It tends to move.  The feet - and seemingly the whole figure - are imperceptibly  larger, mere millimeters taller compared to other releases.  Without holding them next to one another, you'd never notice - it's even impossible to tell in photos.

Due to the sculpt changes - it looks the same, the same details are there, but in different sizes and places - this is almost "just different enough to make you mad."  It's like two figures were made from the same set of instructions - you can see the similarities, and you can see that different factories probably interpreted the files slightly differently.  No normal person would probably notice, but the differences are just minor enough that it's notable.  And, of course, the rank pauldron qualifies as significantly different and alone would warrant a purchase.   Buy this set because it'll be different enough on your shelf, but be aware that there could be all sorts of surprise minor changes as we get some of our product from Vietnam now.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,312: November 23, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,311: Imperial Death Trooper (Rogue One)

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER vs. Rebel Commando Pao
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B7259
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 2 rifles, 1 backpack, 1 backpack rocket launcher, 2 projectiles
Action Feature: Opening mouth
Retail: $14.99
Availability: September 2016
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized Stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.  (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: It's sort of a dorky name - and one that was used for the "zombie Stormtroopers" in a novel (and mini-busts) a few years ago.  This Imperial Death Trooper is one of three we've seen so far - there's one with sand on it for Kohl's, and Walmart has a super-articulated version with extra weapons and armor/gear.   In other words, this is the boring one. He's unusually tall - almost Vaderish - and very skinny, with long legs.

The design, like most Imperials, looks like a remix of things you've seen.  The helmet looks like a Biker Scout and a Stormtrooper mated with Boba Fett's rangefinder.  The armor borrows heavily from the standard Stormtrooper, adopting a more symmetrical look with Darth Vader's belt buckle, some shoulder buckles, and lots of extra grooves in the Stormtrooper-ish arms.   It's almost fanfictioney in how it jumbles so many familiar elements into a new design with a very 1990s name, but it looks cool.    The lenses on my sample aren't as green as some of the other products, but maybe there's a variant coming later.  I hope so and hope not.  

He stands fine, and holds his new blaster rifle without a hitch.  The look of the figure and weapon feel like they could have been floating around in a higher budgeted version of the original trilogy, with a giant rocket-launching backpack that feels like it's 1990's finest Kenner design.  It plugs over the shoulders and makes the figure a little too top-heavy. Standing unassisted is a challenge.  The clear green rockets look great and the distance is good - but it's a ridiculous accessory that doesn't exactly do wonders for making it look like a real weapon.  Moroff, Poe, and Baze Malbus each have weapons that look heavy - and their gravity can be seen on the designs, with the heavy parts lower to the ground.  The Death Trooper must be ridiculously strong, too.

Given that there are supposedly six of these guys in the movie, I'm a little annoyed that they're sold in multi-packs and as exclusives when a single carded version would probably sell like hotcakes.  Right now you'll have to find Walmart's exclusive if you want singles, or shell out for a $15 2-pack or a set at Kohl's that, due to its crazy pricing, could be $24-$50.   Get yourself a few Death Troopers because they're neat, but if you're a member of the one-of-everybody club you're going to find yourself with at least three as it is.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,311: November 22, 2016