Saturday, August 26, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 112: Captain Fordo

CAPTAIN FORDO The Hunt For Grievous
The Saga Collection Toys "R" Us Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87116
Number: n/a
Includes: Blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: Summer 2006
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Leader of the task force known as The Muunilinst 10, Fordo is known for his aggressive fighting tactics and prefers to employ firepower over finesse. Fordo was once awarded the Chancellor's Service Medal, which he refused and transferred to a fallen member of his task force. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Almost perfect, but not quite. The second "red ARC Captain" was this figure, Captain Fordo, part of the Hunt for Grievous Battle Pack. Rather than sculpting a new figure, Hasbro took the head of the Super Articulated Clone Trooper (Clone Wars, Entertainment Earth Clone Troop Builders) and the body of the Episode III Clone Commander to make a fairly good quick-and-dirty Fordo. The problem is that while it looks OK in the box, it loses lots of points for authenticity. And when you're making a figure to look like a flat, simple drawing, that's a bad thing.

So, what's good? Well, the figure has an excellent range of articulation, a blaster rifle, and two tiny pistols to call his own. He's colorful, and looks fantastic. The problems are, well, problematic. The shoulder pauldron doesn't fit well without the aid of the infamous clear rubber bands used to hold the figures in the box. The figure has no rangefinder on his head. As it was an Episode III Clone body, the armor isn't at all accurate to the unique armor used by the regular ARC Troopers, and Fordo is little more than a red ARC Trooper with a few other tiny tweaks. Also, the weapons don't match the dueling pistols seen in the cartoon as they're too tiny. This is a good figure. Compared to the red ARC Trooper from 2003, it's a lateral move. But as this figure needs a rangefinder to just be merely OK, it's a bit of a disappointment. It's not that it sucks, it's just that it's obvious this was cobbled together quickly despite fan wishes for a new and improved ARC Captain.

So, in short: it's OK. Not good, just OK. There's significant room for improvements, but for the cost and the packaging, it's an OK value. (The Hunt for Grievous set includes 3 blue ARC Troopers, 1 blue Heavy Gunner Clone Trooper, and Fordo for about $25. As current figures sell for $6.99, that's a decent deal.)

Collector's Notes: Fordo's a fun figure, and his boxed set, The Hunt for Grievous, was hugely popular. Due to Amazon's divorce from Toys "R" Us, lots of backorders were cancelled, and fans were worried that their orders would be dropped. Sure enough, they were. Given the rampant, crazy popularity of the Clone Wars ARC Troopers and anything related to them, this item got a lot of undeserved hype. It's a fun figure with almost a full range of motion, but it's just so unfortunate that fans were treated to this and not a new mold. Of course, the good news for Hasbro is that it seems a lot of fans missed out on this set and an all-new ARC Trooper mold (in blue or red) is something fans would still really want. Although if I can just chime in to any toy developers out there, can we wait for 2008 at this point? I just got a black Stormtrooper and I'm a little clone-d out right now.

Despite the griping, the figure is still lots of fun, and for a kid, would be a delightful item to have. Despite a litany of fan complaints, my only real problem with the figure is the lack of rangefinder. That's a key aspect of the character and without it, it seems incomplete. It's still lots of fun to mess with, but, unfortunately, these sorts of things leave the door wide open to revisit this figure for a third time. None of this matters, though, as the item is presently so popular that most people are worried about getting to see one, and not so much worried about how it looks when they find it. Heck, I hit Toys "R" Us stores daily for a few weeks when I got wind of the fact that my Amazon order might not have come through, so for me, I'm always going to think of the amount of time I spent getting this toy more than I will about the toy itself.

Day 112: August 26, 2006

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