Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,335: 212th Attack Battalion Utapau Trooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)


212TH ATTACK BATTALION UTAPAU TROOPER Obi-Wan's Clone Troopers
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Entertainment Earth Exclusive Set
Item No.:
  No. C0495
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pistol, rifle, more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $99.99
Availability: November 2016
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: These clone troopers served with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Grand Army of the Republic's 212th Attack Battalion during 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:  Hello there!  The Phase II Revenge of the Sith Clone Trooper mold was also decorated as the spiffy  212th Attack Battalion Utapau Trooper, complete with the dirt and scratches you love.   The figure has the same great articulation, a small blaster pistol, and great deco.  Heck, you probably even know what to expect - but let's run it down anyway.

The white Clone has now been given a unique paint mask - the green clone and orange clone have similar designs, but completely different white scrapes in their squad markings.   The orange looks fresh, as do the scrapes - which show exposed white plastic underneath.  Added dark scrapes imply dirt or wear and tear, with a healthy smattering on the figure's front.  Even the helmet has been kicked around a bit, which helps it look distinctive and interesting.  I was even more surprised to see Hasbro spent some effort marking up the back as well, as historically this has been something Hasbro wouldn't touch.  If you don't see the damage in the window box, Hasbro would often leave it off - so this is a huge improvement over some older designs.

The design is based on one of Hasbro's finer earlier figures, so you get double-jointed elbows, bend-and-swivel wrists, and a good range of motion that allows you to hold a gun with one or two hands.  Some newer troopers can't necessarily do that, but Hasbro is getting better at making simpler elbows with better ranges of motion as of late.   If you like Clones, and my math says some of you do but not as many as one might hope, get this figure and/or set.     The only thing missing would be more weapons and even more variety, but I like what I got and I think you will too if you're in to prequel figures.  After all, there aren't many.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   Where I ram-rodded its creation.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,335 January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,334: Finn (Jakku, Rogue One Line Look)

FINN (Jakku) vs. Captain Phasma
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B9855
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 1 lightsaber, 1 rocket launcher, blaster, 2 rockets, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: December 2016
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: Finn's conscience and desperation to escape his stormtrooper past propel him down a heroic and dangerous path when he faces off against the formidable Captain Phasma and the First Order's legions of troopers during a devastating night raid on Jakku.  (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: As with Captain Phasma, this Finn is pretty much just different enough to make you mad.  It, too, was cranked out in Vietnam with a different set of tools, meaning it looks different.  At first glance it's the same except his accessory - the blaster has been replaced with a Skywalker saber complete with hilt loop, but to the trained eye it's different.  Very different.   The 2015 Finn figures were made in China.

The first thing I noticed was his coat - it's now darker, a richer brown.   It's less faded, less light.   The undershirt is a lighter grey, with a different texture.   The legs seem closer together, cut slightly differently, and able to swing forward a tiny bit more.   His skin color is darker, the face seems a little sharper, and the hair is a smidgen less fluffy.  Oh, and it looks like his pants have a sculpted zipper - but that could just be a flaw of the molding process.   You'll also notice the copyright stamps are different, with a new country of origin.

Since there are minor differences to the sculpt, deco, and accessory, plus the factory, it would seem this is a new mold rather than a repack.   It seems cast from the same digital files, interpreted barely differently by the person in charge of the tooling.   Given its lightsaber accessory (and curious on-package bio) it's a worthwhile curiosity for collectors who are after it all - but we've also had a ton of jacket Finns by now, and this variant may be one too many.   I would argue it looks better than the other ones - but if you already got the super-articulated one, you probably neither need nor want another.   Recommended if you don't have a Finn (or Phasma), or if you need all the variations.

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,334: January 16, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,333: Captain Phasma (Rogue One Line Look)

CAPTAIN PHASMA vs. Finn (Jakku)
Rogue One   Two Pack Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7073 No. B9855
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 figures, 1 lightsaber, 1 rocket launcher, blaster, 2 rockets, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: December 2016
Appearances: Star Wars Rebels

Bio: Finn's conscience and desperation to escape his stormtrooper past propel him down a heroic and dangerous path when he faces off against the formidable Captain Phasma and the First Order's legions of troopers during a devastating night raid on Jakku.  (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're an accessory completist, Captain Phasma may be your biggest source of frustration.   Last year, Hasbro packaged the same figure with a buzzsaw, a 7-pack of Stormtroopers, and a pair of high-priced armor-up helmets.  The figures are virtually identical, but each had a unique accessory (or accessories) that you couldn't get anywhere else - when you factor in the super-articulated Black Series Walmart Phasma, you've already got four Phasmas in your collection.  And now you're gonna get five, because this 2-pack figure is made from a different mold in a different factory in Vietnam.  To your average fan, you won't notice the difference - you'll probably deem them identical.  Hasbro made new tooling in Vietnam, because moving tooling is expensive, made from the same design as the last one - but as with the First Order Snowtrooper, there are minor differences that are going to make variation hunters buy this one.

First up: the blaster.  The 2015 China versions are a little paler gold.  The 2016 Vietnam version has a more saturated gold, and also slightly cleaner paint applications.   This 2016 Vietnam blaster is also a little smaller, with slightly sharper details and a smaller hand grip.

The capes are basically the same.  The 2015 China versions are a tiny bit blacker, while the 2016 Vietnam one is a teensy bit sharper in the details - it could just vary from sample to sample.  I'm grasping for differences here, they look basically the same with the same red trim.

The figures are very similar - but there are differences if you squint.  The chest and inner forearms have sculpted details that differ ever-so-slightly.  The Vietnamese version from this 2-pack is barely better, just a tiny bit sharper on small details.   The bank of lines on the right side of her chest and the forearms are better on the Vietnamese version, but the area directly under the palm of the hands is better on the Chinese version - barely.  Both have five points of articulation, but the leg joints are cut slightly differently and the Vietnamese one can swing forward more.

When comparing the helmets, the Vietnamese version seems to have more paint and a smidgen more detail in the black areas.  The various sculpted pinstripes are a bit cleaner on the Vietnamese version as well.

Deco between the two is close enough for jazz.  A pouch on the single release is black, while it's silver on the 2-pack here. I'd give a slight edge to this 2-pack version overall - she even stands a couple of millimeters taller!   It's unfortunate that Hasbro spent money making new tooling in another factory for what are going to be viewed by fans as mere repacks - repacks that come five per case, even - but here we are.

The centerpiece of this boxed set is the shoulder-mounted rocket launcher which is so big, it prevents her from standing upright.   It looks a little goofy and is unbalanced, but the handgrip was well-designed.  The backpack connects to a jointed arm, which itself has a jointed grip.  Hasbro made sure Phasma - and maybe even other figures - can use this weapon.  The launcher piece pegs right on, and each rocket is fired from a separate button.   They go a few feet, with powerful springs that I would rate as good by modern standards.

Look, I'm not going to lie to you - unless you collect variants, you should skip this 2-pack.  If you don't have Finn and/or Phasma yet, it's a good set.  If you need deco, sculpt, and accessory variants that absolutely nobody would notice with the naked eye sans comparison, you need this.   However, it's packed five per case - when it shows up, it's probably going to hit hard.  If it sells fast, it could be a success as Finn is largely off the market and so is Phasma.  I'm guessing a glut may be incoming, though so get it if you see it.  And hopefully next time Hasbro just puts out a trooper two-pack instead when they need an (I assume) final wave set.

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,333: January 12, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,332: Princess Leia Organa (The Black Series 6-Inch)

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA The White Dress
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. B9803
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #30
Includes: Stormtrooper blaster, sporting blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: November 2016
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Princes Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance's greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. (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 lost Carrie Fisher the day I wrote this.   I got this action figure a couple of weeks before her death, but she died before I could open it.  Similarly I picked up Bowie's album just before he died.  This is a pattern I never quite expected, but you might guess that the new Princes Leia Organa action figure is already having an interesting relationship with the secondary market.   The 1995 Kenner figure was released eighth out of the first nine figures, resulting in countless untrue rumors about why she was tough to find.  A few years, ago, Disney stated they were going to retire the metal bikini look for merchandise - leading to soaring prices of the existing figures, the most recent of which was actually selling below cost because nobody actually wanted it upon release.   This very figure jumped from about $30 to about $55 within hours of the news of Ms. Fisher's death, which is a pattern we've seen a lot over the years.   It's nice to see people care, particularly since this isn't a shabby figure.

This time around, Hasbro crafted a cloth dress around a pretty spectacular plastic armature.   I assume this figure was prototyped in 2013 or 2014, because she has double-jointed elbows and knees- a real rarity these days.  The likeness is decent, the hair is spot-on, and the make-up is about as good as it often gets.   Perfection is beyond the grasp of possibility, but it's Leia, that's for sure.  The cloth outfit looks good, and as such any sculpting problems are basically masked.   There are no real problems posing this figure, and she can easily grasp her new sporting blaster or the specially decorated Stormtrooper blaster.


This is a good figure.  I hope it's the figure that you want.  She reminds me a tiny bit of Carmine Infantino's comic art, particularly in the eyebrows.

With the loss of a celebrity, people express their grief in all kinds of ways - merchandising is a common one.   Perhaps by now the furor has been toned down a bit, but with time things often and somewhat sadly return to normal.  People forget, people move on, that grief-demand fades a bit as we start getting used to referring to someone in the past tense.  We'll get to see her at least one more time in December, and in case you never saw her on talk shows, or in the first Austin Powers, or with a flamethrower in The Blues Brothers, these are just some of the things you should consider doing this weekend.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,332: January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,331: C2-B5 (Rogue One Line Look)

C2-B5 Black Robot
Rogue One Vehicle Pack-In
Item No.:
No. B7076
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: AT-ACT, 2 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $299.99
Availability: December 2016
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A larger version of the standard combat AT-AT, the AT-ACT walker features a dedicated cargo hold for the transportation of heavy building materials or combat munitions.   It was deployed at major Imperial construction projects, such as shipyards and sprawling research installations. (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:  Just different enough to be interesting! Despite the expensive price of entry, completists will want to somehow get the C2-B5 from Hasbro.  Unlike the Disney C2-B5 [FOTD #2,295], this one has a much simpler build and a different paint job.  Given how I treat droids and troopers, this is different enough for me to see it as a different figure, and as I never saw either in the movie (so far) I can easily make that leap in my collection imagination.

You've seen this mold before at least twice, and I hope you'll see it again.  This is the cheaper astromech mold we've seen used for R4-P17 and R2-D2 from a few years ago, as only the dome and arms swivel.  There are no third leg or gimmick here, but the deco is interesting - and as we now have hundreds of variations on R2-D2 and other similar robots, I can do without all of them being super-duper-poseable.   Granted, at $300, it wouldn't hurt if it were.   Everything moves well, but where it really sings is the paint job.


Rather than a glossy black like the Disney version, C2-B5 now has a gunmetal grey dome with darker grey panels and markings.  The silver parts are still silver, but the Hasbro version changes up the little boxes on the side of the dome to be painted black, and the blue dot under the eye is now red.  Disney's silver around the arms is gone, and the feet are also lacking much of the silver.  The red light is also missing from the back of the dome - but again, this helps the figure to look fairly different from his counterpart.

Supposedly it's on Scarif and I'll need to keep an eye open.   Odds are you missed this figure too, and given that there are a great many black astromech droids now you don't even need to get this one necessarily.  You've got options, unless you're bonkers for completism like I am.   If you see the AT-ACT cheap, get it because you'll want the figures and probably get some amusement from the smartphone compatibility.    Since Jyn is nothing special in that set, it's an expensive buy that doesn't offer a ton for the money especially when you see what $300 can get you.  Like, the complete Hasbro action figure line for this movie.  Why this droid got so much marketing I don't know, as Lucasfilm seems fond of picking an obscure character and making something of it from time to time.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,331: January 10, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,330: Imperial AT-ACT Driver (Rogue One Line Look)

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER Vanilla Shoretrooper
Rogue One Vehicle Pack-In
Item No.:
No. B7076
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, AT-ACT, 2 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $299.99
Availability: December 2016
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A larger version of the standard combat AT-AT, the AT-ACT walker features a dedicated cargo hold for the transportation of heavy building materials or combat munitions.   It was deployed at major Imperial construction projects, such as shipyards and sprawling research installations. (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:  Disappointment.  I know a lot of people were dumping on the AT-ACT even before it came out, because it was expensive.  Now that I have one in hand, I can tell you that it's a disappointment.   One of the reasons is the AT-ACT Driver, as he can't sit.  I'll let that sink in - for the first time possibly ever, Hasbro has bundled a vehicle driver with a vehicle wherein the figure cannot actually sit to fit in the vehicle.  I know some can stand in the driver's area, and that's OK, but this is a one-seat walker.  It's smaller (not larger) than the traditional Kenner and Hasbro AT-AT vehicles too, so really all Hasbro had to do here to make this one acceptable was to make it sit.  The rubbery skirt piece is small and thick, stiff enough to hinder the legs from swinging forward more than a few degrees.  At press time, I don't have the normal Wave 3 Scarif Stormtrooper which seems to share this mold - so I don't know if this problem is unique to the driver or not just yet.

Having said that it fails completely at its mission, it's a nice-looking, well-sculpted, and interestingly painted action figure.     I hope Hasbro tries again.   The figure is effectively the Shoretrooper cast in off-white with grey and white shoulder markings, complete with the red dot on the visor and a new red dot on the back of the helmet and a nifty design on the chest.  The good news is Hasbro could make another one, better, using the Walmart exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper body.  Let's hope they do.    The grey stripes look great against the almost white armor, and I love the belt pattern.  The coloring recalls concept art quite nicely, and the gun fits in the figure's hand without a problem.  The blaster is this almost-perfect silver color, and I hope we see it used on more accessories down the road.


He has 5 points of articulation, 3 of which are worth anything.   The head and arms can move perfectly, the hips cannot.  Anyone paying over $100 for this set are going to feel an air of disappointment, and given that it was $300 I'm sure figure completists are fuming over the high barrier of entry to this driver and a lesser C2-B5 than you can get at Disney theme parks.   While I'm happy to be complete as loose figures go, and this figure will look good on a shelf - where it will ultimately live - at least my sample is a garbage toy.  It could be better and should be better, and hopefully this is just growing pains on a new team or factory.   We've had figure/vehicle compatibility issues since 1995, but I'm unable to name any time a figure was bundled with its vehicle from the get-go having this specific issue.   The good news is that Hasbro's The Black Series program at Walmart affords them an opportunity to make good with minimal investment and maximal sales potential.   I hope they consider it, because I'm not going to be remotely happy until they do.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,330: January 9, 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,329: Captain Cassian Andor (The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch)

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR You Used To Wear It In The Rain
The Force Awakens The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch Figure Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. B4054 No. C0664
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, stock, scope
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.83
Availability: December 2016
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  There are at least three ways to get a Captain Cassian Andor in his brown jacket, but only this one is super-articulated.  5-jointed versions are sold with the U-Wing or with the Toys R Us Cassian Andor and Stormtrooper 2-pack, but this one is sold boxed by his lonesome.   It's a worthwhile upgrade.  I liked the U-Wing Captain Cassian Andor [FOTD #2,282] enough, but it was a little goofier for whatever reason.  The 2-pack has better paint, and this one is even better.  It's not perfect - nailing facial hair seems to be Hasbro's new challenge - but the sculpt is good and so is his expression.

If you liked the improvements made to Jyn's articulation, Cassian is slightly better.  Not only does he have the mid thigh swivel, but he has bend-and-swivel wrists for a whopping 28 points of articulation - all that's left is for Hasbro to cram in double knees at this point, or perhaps a return to rocker ankles.  (Why those were left out, I'll never know.)   As with Jyn, you can swing both legs forward - but the holster is glued down.  This is good for people who stand/pose, but for sitting in vehicles it could result in breakage.  I advise caution.  I'd also love it if Hasbro could use a tab and a hole so you could pin the accessory in place, and un-pin it so the figure can sit.   But what do I know? 

The facial hair is good, but not perfect - Cassian now has a goatee and some scruff.  It's not terrible, but it could be better.  Getting facial hair or any detail at this scale requires careful exaggeration or understating of certain features, otherwise dark things seem too dark or light things seem too light.  It's a perfectly nice action figure, but as many of us buy Hasbro products in lieu of busts or statues we have very high expectations.  I don't doubt Hasbro will find a better way to do this in the next few years, but for the time being I'd say get this one and repaint it if you have the skill.  I don't.  The rest of his costume is perfect, with the jacket represented as a "vest" that's a little loose with sleeved arms.  It's really wonderful.

Most impressive is his  blaster.  In the early hushed buzz days of this movie, we were being told how guns would be a big part of the movie and merchandising with fancy new features that would be great for toys. I think this got downplayed a bit by the movie, but thankfully Cassian's blaster does have cool features which made the cut.   The pistol fits in his holster just fine, and as an added bonus you can add a butt to it and a sniper scope.   It's configurable!  At this scale, that really impresses me.  The deco is good - Hasbro has done a good job on blasters at this scale - although there's nowhere for those extra parts to go if you're not currently using them.  

I like this figure, but I'm fond of the costume - it's like Han and Luke's Bespin jackets.  I'd buy those pants.  I'd wear that jacket.   I'd probably swap out the Rebel rank pins with Iggy and the Stooges or Somerville Speakout, but it's a nifty costume and a great action figure.  I like this one much more than the other versions, including the 6-inch one.  Hasbro got the skin tone right for the size, and the deco is totally on the money.  Nice work, fellas and/or ladies.  We salute you.
 
Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart by way of pal Matt.  Thank you Matt!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,329: January 5, 2017