Thursday, December 13, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,542: Kylo Ren (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

KYLO REN Cape and Helmet
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1244
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

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 era of the New Republic.  (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:  This is a weird one.  Kylo Ren in today's review is the Force Link 2.0 carded release - and it's dang near identical to the Force Link 1.0 pack-in figure from last year.  You can get that one at Ross for a couple of bones, this one has a different sound chip and a green symbol on the foot.  Is it worth it?  I guess?    It has a cape, a helmet, and a lightsaber making it a unique configuration until The Last Jedi figures if you missed it before.

Rilo Kiley has an issue being weighted forward a bit, meaning the cape helps keep him standing upright.  Our not-hero has 5 points of articulation and feels pretty sturdy.  I like how Hasbro made the figure with minimal paint applications - there's the silver on the helmet, the belt buckle, and some gloss on the boots. And that's it.  Figures like this make me think Hasbro could do a "low cost" figure assortment with unpainted or lightly painted figures some day, which would be a change compared to today where the assortment price comes out of a target cost of an average of the figures in the assortment.   Really good figures - like Ephant Mon - cost Hasbro a bit more, so seeing them create this line with a moonshot program of a $5 or $6 retail could be awesome for all of us. (This won't happen.)

This is a good figure with plenty of sculpted detail, whose only real problem is being a figure you may have bought, with a Force Link band, at a lower price, last year.  I love the clean paint job, the wonderful textures, and the pose is no stinker. A wrist joint would be nice, but since his hands match his arms it doesn't make sense for Hasbro to do one in the context of cost.  As of right now, Kylo Ren is one of the most fascinating characters in the saga - a bad guy, a little good, seemingly written as a weird wink and a nod to old-school fans while carrying political weight due to the iconography and the company he keeps.  How will he shake out in 2019? I can't wait to find out.


Force Link 2.0 Notes: "The darkness in me grows stronger." "I will let nothing stand in our way." "I know what I have to do."  Lightsaber hums, clashes, and bolts.  It's a good one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,542: December 13, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,541 L3-37 (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

L3-37 Elite
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1684
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: L3-37, abbreviated L3, or Elthree, or Vuffi, was a feminine custom self-made piloting droid associated with Lando Calrissian who was active during the reign of the Galactic Empire. She was a one-of-a-kind droid, assembling and improving herself with scraps of other droids,[7] including her torso, which she pieced together from an old astromech. Her brain module began as part of an R3-series astromech droid, including data from an espionage droid, custom coding and protocol droid processors.  (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:  I know not everybody loved - or saw - Solo: A Star Wars Story, but scheduling it strangely has given in the benefit of a longer tail at retail than most of the other movies.   We're actually getting all of the planned figures (that I know of, anyway) and seeing L3-37 in stores rather than being sold only overseas or as an online exclusive is a net positive.  Well, maybe not for my business, but my goal in life is to see you get the toys you want - and this time, you should be able to get this one.  According to Blu-Ray bonus features, this droid was a self-modified astromech.  Details from reference guide state her guts are R3 modules, with her arms, legs, and torso all seeming to contain cannibalized astromech parts.  She's also kind of a snot, which is in line with R2-D2 and other tiny robots.

This is a weird figure - her legs have wires hanging down with tabs that fit in slots, but were not glued in.  As such they hang strangely.  Legs swing forward like vintage 1970s Kenner action figures, and the arms also swing forward.  The head has two joints - one on the torso, another at the base of the skull - making it a simple-but-good figure.  She stands, she sits, she comes without weapons - it's a decent figure that could have benefitted a bit from more paint.
I love the design.  Droids that look like they came from a pile of junk hold more than a little appeal to me, and being able to examine her and recognize elements from other robot designs as well as old tech? What a treat!  Her eye looks a little like an old floppy disk drive, and I love how she seems like a remix of off-the-shelf parts.

It's rare that we get cool new droid figures.   Seeing a new design of a new character that's not just a previous droid with a new head or in new colors feels like a cause for celebration, so I'm really happy Hasbro got her out for all of us.  The ramshackle design is the kind of thing that reeks of Star Wars, but then again all of the designs in this movie looked like they belonged in a galaxy far, far away... and my toy box.   Kudos to Hasbro for sticking with it and getting us pretty much all the major players in 3 3/4-inch, and if they'd like to throw a few more our way I'd be happy to pick them up.  I'd also buy another one if we get a "Vintage" one, but for now this makes me very happy.


Force Link 2.0 Notes: "You're beginning to entertain my servos." "Don't just blindly follow the program!" "Rise up my droid bretheren!" "Execute a little free will?"  "Resist the oppressors!  Argh!"  Explosion sounds.  This is one of the very best sound chips - get yourself a Force Link 2.0 reader (on clearance) for this one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,541: December 11, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,540: Range Trooper (The Vintage Collection)

RANGE TROOPER More Joints
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E1649
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #124
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Range troopers were a specialized variant of the Galactic Empire's stormtroopers. They were equipped with helmets similar in design to both the Imperial combat assault tank pilot's and Coastal defender stormtrooper's helmets, heavy armor with fur and a chestplate much like that of cold weather assault stormtroopers, and were armed with E-10R blaster rifles.  (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:  I like this Range Trooper a bunch - the 3 3/4-inch scale The Vintage Collection figure is both more and less authentic than the 6-inch version that came out with the movie.   I'm surprised- the blaster matches the uglier on-screen white blaster, which is no doubt this color thanks to Disney's desire to sell authentic and legal replicas of on-screen firearms.  The deco is quite nice, and largely matches the illustration on the packaging. The layer of filth and wear seems appropriate to the smaller scale, with signs being rubbed down by a mittenful of the deadly yellow snow.  Some of it seems to be natural wear, and other areas were rubbed in with a vigorous circular motion hitherto unknown to the people of this area.

The one area the 5-jointed figure tops this one are the boots.  The Force Link one has some dirt baked in, while the Vintage one is totally clean.  On the other hand, the vintage one has deco o the thigh straps and more painted lights on the boots and chest.  Both figures were clearly derived from the same digital reference file, and for that reason the army builders out there will undoubtedly want some of each to mix up their Vandor-1 displays.

The figure enjoys enhanced articulation, with the thigh cuts and lateral hips you've come to love. The coat has a little flex to it, so you can get him to do some posing. Just not a lot. The arms hold the blaster nicely, and the wrists are well-jointed too.  He won't be sitting, but I assume I probably will need to get over the fact that this isn't a priority for Hasbro and other collectors as much as it is for me.  This is a figure that has a great range of movement and looks awesome on its orange-backed packaging, but you're not going to cram it in a MTV-7 without a fight.      Given that fans that saw the Force Link 2.0 Range Trooper mistook it for a Vintage figure at first, you may not necessarily need both versions - but they're different enough to add something to your dioramas and displays.  I'm happy to have both, thanks to the differing levels of the deadly yellow snow crystals on the costume.  I'm glad it exists.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,540: December 6, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,539: Han Solo (Vandor-1, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

HAN SOLO (Vandor-1)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Mission on Vandor-1 Gift Set
Item No.:
  No. E1093
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 3 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Never one to plan ahead, Han Solo goes where opportunity calls - and a chance for a big score finds him riding across the wilderness of Vandor-1. (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: A decent figure with sensible articulation, Han Solo (Vandor-1) has got a lot where it counts.   Hasbro has slowly been rolling out articulation instead of paint applications - some toys have molded, inset wrists or boots because that way there's no painting to be done.  It also keeps the figure nicer, longer.  The fringe benefit is you get more articulation - the oft-dismissed "5POA" figure actually has nine joints thanks to those boots and wrists, giving it a bit more bang for your buck.  And if you have a Force Link 2.0 band, you also get actual "bang" noises.  (...No, the gun kind.)

Han's molded black  boots do have a dusting of snow, and a nice even finish.  The gloved hands have no problems holding the blaster, which has a brown painted grip this time.  Goggles are molded on the not-quite-Alden face, obfuscating the fudging of the actor likeness quite skillfully.    With the fur coat largely unpainted, Hasbro did take the time to paint the belt on the front and the back, including some of the greebles (but none of the rivets.)   In another economic move of brilliance, Hasbro sculpted - but did not paint - the red bloodstripes on his pants.  Since they're covered by the coat, I'm glad decided to spend their deco budget on elements we could actually see.

I realize this is a very by-the-numbers commentary, but that's what you get with this figure.  It's not bad.  It's not amazing.  But it does show a smarter team at Hasbro giving you a little more for your money, putting in design decisions that seem to have delivered the best possible product with the given budget and resources available to this Force Link 2.0 line.  Without the chip, maybe we'd get a lower price or more gear - but we still got something that looks nice for the size and price.    He won't be doing any sitting, but that's what a nice coat can do for your toys.  Recommended, along with the rest of the set.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Uhh... I've got a bad feeling about this."   "I'm feeling pretty lucky."  "We've got a problem here."  "Admit it - you're impressed."  "Heads up - coming through!"  Blasters.  It's a soundalike, and not a good one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,539: December 4, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,538: Han Solo (Brown Jacket, The Vintage Collection)

HAN SOLO First Single Alden Under $20
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E1639
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #124
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Han Solo, formerly known only as Han until being given the surname Solo by chief recruitment officer Drawd Munbrin, and also known as Cadet 124-329 when serving as a Imperial cadet, was a human male smuggler who became a leader in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and an instrumental figure in the defeat of the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War.  (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:  The 2018 release of The Vintage Collection got us a lot of reissues alongside new figures, to date focusing primarily on the newer movies.   One of the all-new figures is this Han Solo, a marked overall improvement over the Force Link 2.0 pack-in which, it would appear, I did not yet review.  Well then.  Packaged collectors and diorama fanatics should get the Vintage one.  Those looking for a figure that sits, get the 5-jointed Force Link 2.0 pack-in when it hits clearance.  I am comfortable saying that about Force Link 2.0.  It's a magical idea with a lot of quirks baked in to it.

The figure sculpt is similar in both figures, with deco that's nearly identical.   The Vintage figure has dark grey in the shirt, while Force Link 2.0 is all black.   Vintage has some painted silver rivets, while Force Link 2.0 only has 2 on the front and the back of the belt is completely undecorated.  The differences are minor enough that I would not call them overwhelmingly significant.

In terms of articulation, Vintage Han gets the full treatment with 28 total joints on his 3 3/4-inch person.  Getting the legs to swing forward with the separate rubbery belt is a little tricky, as the hips have a bigger range of motion but require more fidgeting on your part.  It's not as simple as the swing-forward classic design of the late 1970s.  The red striped pants are here, the two-toned jacket looks nice, and the elbows have better-than-usual bending on them.  The bend-and-swivel wrists can grip a brown-painted blaster grip, giving you a pretty decent experience as a collector.

This is, arguably, the superior figure.  The likeness isn't quite there, but I still believe the figure was made without that as a consideration.  It's a good Han Solo, and it's not really Alden Ehrenreich.  I guess we can say the same about a lot of human figures.  I like it packaged a bunch, but it might not be your cup of tea.   I liked the movie for what it was, so I'm glad to have it - and I hope you snag one if you see and want one.   You won't be disappointed, but you won't be impressed either.  Vintage figures rarely exceed their mandate.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,538: November 29, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,537: Qi'Ra (Vandor-1, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

QI'RA (Vandor-1)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Mission on Vandor-1 Gift Set
Item No.:
  No. E1093
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 3 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Qi'Ra put her life as a powerless street urchin behind her, and has managed to move up in status and reputation within a prominent criminal organization. (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 is a good one. I really liked the costumes for Qi'ra (Vandor-1) in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the greatest comic book that was actually a movie.  There was a lot nifty in it, but given its scope I've basically just taken it as a really good piece of the Expanded Universe, but in movie form.  We got a lot of nifty stuff, and this is one of the figures I was really hoping we'd get.  (Although I was hoping she'd have the cape, too.)   Hasbro did a nice job translating the costume's awesome jacket and cool pants (with holster) and a pretty wonderful portrait.

The pants and jacket both feel like something out of the 1970s, or what the 2010s think of the 1970s. They're wide-legged, with a jacket that looks sort of like Luke's jacket from the medal ceremony in the original film.  The hair looks perfectly reasonable, as does the jewelry. There's a necklace, a ring, and a bracelet in addition to various adornments on the holster and jacket.  And she can sit!

To the naked eye, the face looks great.  Under a macro lens, you can tell the sculpted mouth does not quite match the painted lips.  My advice - don't use a macro lens when you get yours.  Enjoy the lie that she looks fine when you look with your own eyes.

This feels like a  natural evolution of what a good figure from the 1980s could be.  You get a holster, a good sculpt, and slick paint - but you don't get rocker ankles or anything like that.  Given how figures have moved from being a toy for kids to a high-end collectible and everywhere in between, this seems like a good compromise.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Always stay in the game as long as you can!" "Everybody serves somebody."  "Trust me - I actually have a plan!" "I could use some backup here!"  Blaster shots.  I believe it might be a soundalike, but it's a decent one.


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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,537: November 27, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,536: Stormtrooper (Mimban, The Black Series 6-Inch)

STORMTROOPER (Mimban)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch - Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2490
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, poncho
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $17.96
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A cool and efficient officer, General Veers led the Imperial assault on Hoth, marching his AT-AT walkers across the planet's frozen plains and destroying the massive generators powering the Rebel base's protective energy shield. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary: I admire Hasbro being smart about reusing molds.  This Stormtrooper (Mimban) brings back the same mold we've had for red Stormtroopers, regular Stormtroopers, disguised Stormtroopers, and even black Stormtroopers.  We get a new helmet, a cape that is also kind of a poncho with a hood, some dirt paint, and a new blaster.  It's what it should be - a smart redeco with a few new parts to make it different and exciting.

Articulation is what you've seen before - double knees, double elbows, bend-and-swivel wrists, and enough to make this a good trooper to stock up on if the opportunity presented itself.  The figure has no problems gripping the blaster, and there's even a holster - not painted black for some reason - in case you want it. The revised helmet has the extra forehead protection, and I like the dirty mud pattern with extra glop on the shoes.  While every helmet detail may not be painted in, it's impressive.   The dirt hides the missing painted lines in a few spots quite nicely, and the mud is a cooler paint operation anyway.   I like the cape, even if the hood on this quasi-poncho doesn't quite rest as I would prefer it.  It hangs there and it looks cool.  This is good enough for me.

While nobody truly needs more Stormtroopers - particularly when we're lacking in figures from this specific sequence - I'll never say no to a cool armored figure done well.  Get it if you see it, you probably won't.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.   The box eschews red spot color in favor of a glossy grey.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,536: November 22, 2018