Thursday, November 30, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 208: Dexter Jettster

DEXTER JETTSTER Coruscant Informant
Saga Collection Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84866
Number: 0216
Includes: Cleaver, knife, saber dart, energy accessory
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: A cook in a Coruscant diner, Dexter Jettster picks up plenty of information as he's serving his patrons. An old friend of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he's always willing to share his information for a price. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Before Attack of the Clones was released, I was enamored with one rumor I heard-- that George Lucas was working in a diner sequence, with some alien short order cook guy. The end result was Dexter Jettster, a lively creation that really didn't get to do a whole lot other than look cool, sound cooler, and act as a constant reminder that extremely interesting people inhabit the Universe outside the focus of the main story. With four arms, ill-fitting pants, and sharp objects, how could this figure possibly disappoint? Well, he's based on an early maquette-- the figure is very close to the movie, but not perfect. It's still very good, and with four jointed arms and all the normal joints, as well as a lot of unique paint applications like tattoos on the hands, it's a gorgeous toy. It's just not 100% perfect to the film. Little details like a filthy apron and a shirt that seems designed for another species give this toy a lot of character, and he'll be right at home with your other figures.

Collector's Notes: He was fairly common, and he's somewhat cheap. He was only released once, so other than packaging variants and an unproduced "pipe variant," what you see is pretty much what you get. He's not what you would call loads of fun, and a new version would be nice to see someday-- but the character on film was just so gosh darn likable that it's hard to not want to own this guy. Of course, I'm biased-- I've always been a fan of sci-fi oriented characters who have extremely mundane jobs. (Garak? Yes.) You'll probably have no other shot at a toy of an alien short order cook, so you'd better get this one.

Day 208: November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 207: Pablo-Jill

PABLO-JILL Geonosis Arena
Post-Original Trilogy Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85172 No. 85159
Number: 0501
Includes: Lightsaber, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99-$6.99
Availability: Winter 2005
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: The heroic Jedi Knight Pablo-Jill is stationed at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. He is one of the courageous Jedi who go to Geonosis to help rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi from the evil Separatist forces at the first battle of the Clone Wars. Like all Jedi, he uses a lightsaber for defense and combat, and is skilled in the ways of the Force. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: In 2002, this figure was tops of many fans' wish lists. In 2005, Pablo Jill made a too-brief appearance at retail, and looked like a figure from 2002. With a "unileg" of sorts-- as in, he's one piece from the waist down-- it seemed obvious this was a figure where Hasbro cut some corners. Sure, his arms are nicely jointed-- you get a swivel elbow, wrists, and shoulders-- but aside from the waist and neck, that's all you get. What we have here is essentially a statue, and given the character had very little time on-screen (and zero dialogue), well, he's a second-class citizen. He's really not capable of a lot of poses, but his freaky design, unusual face, and relative hardness-to-get makes this figure very popular with some collectors. (Mostly ones who don't yet have him.) He's really nothing to shout about, as he didn't live up to the standards of his time. But he's neat enough as alien Jedi go.

Collector's Notes: He might go for a few bucks on eBay, so if you see him for a fair price, odds are you should make a quick decision to buy (or to not buy.) There are no currently known plans for a reissue, and as a short-run figure, it really doesn't seem like Hasbro has a good reason to trot out a new version or a second run of the old one. Were I you, I'd buy it if I saw it-- unless you're reading this in 2011 and a super-articulated version is coming, in which case you should ignore this and just get the new one.

Day 207: November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 206: R2-D2

R2-D2 Electronic Lights & Sounds
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85581
Number: III-48
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Press button for electronic lights & sounds
Retail: $5.24-$5.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith (technically)

Bio: R2-D2 accompanies Padme to Mustafar as she tries to persuade Anakin to return to the side of good. The loyal astromech droid witnesses a tragedy that has monumental consequences for the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Initially solicited as "Mustafar Sounds," this particular R2-D2 has sound effects from the original trilogy instead. More specifically, Return of the Jedi, making it a really awesome figure for fans of the original trilogy. (You'll probably recognize some sounds from Jabba's Palace.) Like previous releases, he lights up and beeps, but the sound chip tends to get better with every new figure based on this mold-- and there have been many. The figure has articulated feet, and arms-- so five points total. The dome does not rotate, and the main reason to buy this figure is the lights and sounds because other R2-D2 toys give you a lot more play for... well, about the same price.

Collector's Notes: This figure is also available in the 2006 Saga Collection-companion "Greatest Battles" line in far superior packaging. You may find it in stores now. This mold was used in 1998 for the Power FX R2-D2, in 2002 for the only R2-D2 for Episode II, and was retooled in 2004 for Dagobah and the Original Trilogy Collection. The OTC and ROTS versions have the two best sound chips-- the others are basically worth skipping.

Day 206: November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 205: Zutton (Snaggletooth)

ZUTTON Cantina Alien
Power of the Jedi Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84661
Number: n/a
Includes: Blsater pistol, blaster rifle, glass
Action Feature: Pistol is held in holster on ankles
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2001
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Zutton is a Snivvian artist who turned bounty hunter by chasing down Thalassian slavers. He was given the nickname "Snaggletooth" at the Mos Eisley cantina, because of his pronounced fangs. His exceptional bounty hunter skills have caught the attention of crimelord Jabba the Hutt, who has put his services on retainer. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Snaggletooth, or more specifically, Zutton, has vexed fans since the modern age of collecting. The character's distinctive belt buckle, business card logos, numerous scrap photos, the vast array of aliens, and mistakes in the vintage line confuse fans to this day. There's a Snaggletooth vintage figure that's quite similar to this one, but not exactly the same. There's a POTF2-era member of the species which wears red, but the costume is different. And there's the legendary blue figure, which was remade in the vintage line. But we're going to stop dwelling on that there.

This modern Zutton figure is what it is-- a great figure. If you look at the photo, it captures the look fairly well, although it seems the action figure is actually much uglier than the photo. There's a lack of contrast in the face, as the figure seems a little too peach colored compared to the brownish photo. His distinctive belt buckle is back, and his glossy gloves and boots really shine against the dull red and blue coloring on the jumpsuit. Not to be stuck with the standard six points of articulation, Hasbro added knee joints to this figure so that he can sit at the bar, were he so inclined. How thoughtful! The figure also sports two blasters (a first as Hasbro dropped the second, larger blaster from most figures in the late 1990s) and a removable clear glass. The glass being a first for Cantina aliens, as previously Wuher the bartender came with one that was not removable from his hand. So with Zutton, what you have is the heir to the vintage Snaggletooth figure with great detailing, subtle creases in his costume, and of course, a winning smile. If the face was a little darker, and perhaps the interior of the nostrils didn't match the color of the face, it would be a slightly better figure. But as it is? It's worth getting.

Collector's Notes: Sure he's short, but he's a figure with enough detail that you won't feel you got ripped off. You can get a Zutton off of eBay for four or five bucks, or in a lot with other figures for under $10 if you're lucky. As there are no known plans to reissue this one, we would give you the blessing to buy one on the secondary market. It really is a nice enough figure that we don't feel you'll be sorry.

Day 205: November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 204: Clone Trooper

CLONE TROOPER Jedi Temple Assault
Revenge of the Sith Kmart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 85837 No. 85838
Number: n/a
Includes: Blsater pistol, blaster rifle
Action Feature: Squeeze legs for quick-draw attack
Retail: $24.99-$29.99
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Clone troopers were genetically engineered soldiers that served as the Grand Army of the Republic until the secret execution of Order 66. They now serve Darth Vader and the Emperor and are ordered to hunt down and destroy all of the Jedi. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's coffee table. The trooper with the dirty legs and battle damage on the stand is not the figure profiled in this review.

Commentary: In 2005, for some reason, Hasbro really liked Kmart-- or so we thought. Hasbro game the once mighty retailer the Jedi Temple Assault Battle Pack with the Clone Trooper from Darth Vader's own personal legion of Clone Troopers. Which also included the Jedi-turned-Sith as well as a completely random Clone Pilot. The three 501st Clones had blue markings similar to the film, but were missing the stripes on the sides of the legs as seen on the big screen and later versions of this trooper. Not surprisingly, the figure was a repaint-- a quick-draw Clone Trooper was sold in early 2005, and this redeco glued down the shoulder pad. Aside from that, there's not much different aside from paint, so what you see is what you get. Squeeze the legs, the hand goes up, and they fight. It's pretty cool.

Collector's Notes: Initially, this set was hard to get to the point where some collectors, yours truly included, haunted Kmarts daily after hearing it might be in circulation-- and during 2005, I saw a grand total of two of this set. It was easier to get in other markets, though, and in 2006 Hasbro and Kmart had a second run of this toy. And not one to waste a good opportunity, Kmart jacked up the price by five bucks. For 3 501st Clone Troopers, the Clone Pilot, and Anakin/Vader, $25 was a stellar deal, $27 wasn't bad (our Kmart charged $27.49 and it wasn't a sale, the store just charged 10% more on everything across the board). But $30? Well, it could be worse given the $7-per-figure prices of today's figures. If you see this set, you should probably consider getting one, be it for the figures or for the nifty window box packaging.

Day 204: November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 203: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine

The Saga Collection Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84808
Number: 0239
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: June 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Currently presiding over the Galactic Republic, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine maintains that negotiations are continuing with the Separatists. Peace is the objective, he assures the Senate, not war. However, Palpatine subsequently takes a more aggressive approach when the Senate grants him absolute power to commission an emergency army to end the civil strife. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Before Episode III, it was unthinkable that a character like Supreme Chancellor Palpatine would get mutiple figures, although having a "secret identity" sure helped. As the only Palpatine from the Episode II era, this figure came out as a real improvement over the Episode I version which itself was considered a very remarkable toy. This new version was said to have been sculpted based on 3D scans by Gentle Giant, and the deco on the costume is absolutely stunning. (As it should be, as the figure has no accessories.) Due to the ornate costume, the articulation is quite limited. The wrists, shoulders, neck, and elbows move-- and that's really it. He can gesticulate, he can put his hands together a little bit like Mr. Burns, and that's about it. He's one of the better versions of the character, but like a lot of figures, he can't actually do anything.

Collector's Notes: This wasn't a figure that sold so well. It didn't do poorly, but the sad fact is that a lot of people aren't all that excited about an old man who sees no action and has no accessories. Oh, and can't interact with ships really. This is the ideal Palpatine for your Clone Wars shelf (as that's where mine lives), so get one. Oh, an abandoned concept for this figure was to include a holographic Count Dooku figure, which was significantly different than the ones sold in 2006. Here's hoping Hasbro considers releasing that as a bonus item some day!

Day 203: November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 202: Imperial Sentinel

IMPERIAL SENTINEL from Dark Empire Comics
Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69887
Number: n/a
Includes: Axe
Action Feature: Light-up eyeport
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Dark Empire

Bio: At the doors of the evil Emperor's palace, giant Imperial Sentinels, twice the size and power of other Imperial guards, await their prisoner - the Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Back in 1991, I could only dream that some toy company would make characters from Dark Empire like the nifty Imperial Sentinel, even if they did come out as being a little short. With only 4 points of articulation, this is a figure for hardcore fans only. There's not a lot of action here. The deco is very simple with red and gold, but hey, how many other Imperial Sentinels has Hasbro given us? None, that's how many. As such, for fans of the Expanded Universe, this is a figure worth tracking down because of what he came from more than what he is, as what you see is largely what you get.

Collector's Notes: Many fans have noted that this figure is heavily inspired by abandoned concepts. It looks a little like some of the concept art for the Emperor's Royal Guards from Return of the Jedi. A design very similar to this one was proposed for a character named "Atha Prime" for the 1986 line of Kenner Star Wars toys. While not dirt cheap, the figure can be had for a fair price on the secondary market and it's cool enough that fans of good non-movie designs would be well-served to track it down.

Day 202: November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 201: Ki-Adi-Mundi

KI-ADI-MUNDI with Lightsaber
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84123 No. 84105
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: As part of the twelve-member Jedi Council gathered on Coruscant at the temple of the Jedi, Ki-Adi-Mundi must help must help make many fateful decisions as the council is called upon to consider the invasion of Naboo and the future of young Anakin Skywalker. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Before you say Ki-Adi-Mundi has the wrong colored lightsaber, let me say both that you're right and you're wrong. Before Episode II, for some reason Lucasfilm Licensing allowed Jedi Masters and Knights to have a whole rainbow of lightsaber colors, as seen in the comics and video games. Plo Koon had a yellowish green weapon, Saesee Tiin also had a purple one, and even Mace Windu's was blue. Ki-Adi-Mundi and his purple lightsaber debuted in 1998 in the Star Wars ongoing series (which eventually was renamed Star Wars: Republic) so in the context of Episode I and its merchandising, this is totally 100% correct. Like many other oddities in the mythos and its licensed stories, George Lucas changed his mind and this altered a few other tidbits as time went on.

The figure itself is on the lower grades of what was available at the time. A large number of Episode I Jedi Knights had articulated wrists, elbows, and other "new"-to-us joints which really made the then-new figure line sizzle. Unfortunately Ki-Adi-Mundi was given but six joints, making him not so much a step forward as he was simply more of the same. The deco was good, the paint typically turned out nicely, and the figure aged well-- there wasn't a lot of "paint molting" problems, stability problems, or other annoyances of time. Ki-Adi-Mundi hasn't really had any bad figures, and since this one ties in more to the Expanded Universe than the films, collectors may wish to track it down.

Collector's Notes: In 2002, a revised Ki-Adi-Mundi was sold using this mold and a retooled arm with a magnet and added articulation, as well as the now "corrected" blue lightsaber. In 2005, an all-new super-poseable version of the Jedi was released for Revenge of the Sith. In between, a Jedi High Council version was produced which was, well, OK.

Day 201: November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 200: Kir Kanos

KIR KANOS Crimson Empire
Expanded Universe Internet Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87264
Number: 1
Includes: Staff, blaster, removable cape, removable helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2006
Appearances: Crimson Empire

Bio: Trained secretly in the art of echani and fanatically devoted to the Emperor, the Royal Guard from which these two men rose was the most feared group of warriors in the Empire. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: In front of Coruscant's Jedi Temple from the Mace Windu's Battalion Battle Pack.

Commentary: Hasbro's newfound commitment to the Expanded Universe begins (again) here. The Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax 2-pack is the first in a series of 2-packs that each feature a comic book and two action figures for a decent price. This particular figure fulfills a common fan request: that Hasbro convert a Royal Guard into the characters from the Crimson Empire comic books. While fans largely expected a minor tweak to the neck and a new head, it was a little surprising just how much actual new work Hasbro put in to the creation of this figure (and its sibling, Carnor Jax, which is pretty much the same figure except the paint and head.)

Kir Kanos has been requested for years since his first appearances in the comics, and today fans finally get a crack at him. He's a somewhat limited release, but that's part of the appeal. The figure is very similar to the 2005 Royal Guard mold in terms of articulation with ball-jointed shoulders, knees, and head with additional joints at the wrists, hips, and elbows. You really can't go wrong here as the figure is pretty much everything you could hope for except for the fact that his blaster really doesn't like to stay in the holster on his hip.

Since there are precious few figures from post-Return of the Jedi stories, this one is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is finally seeing the figure made as a toy nearly a decade after seeing him in the comics. The paint on this figure, though, isn't as good as its sibling-- there are some sloppy parts on the legs of all figures I've examined on the sides (you might not notice it), and I've heard reports on the helmets being hit-and-miss, but mine are all fine.

Collector's Notes: The first samples of this figure had slightly different stitching on the cape and a different helmet. Before, the helmet had a visor you could see through. For the final release, Hasbro painted it over. It is not known if any "see-through" visors escaped into the collector's market. Aside from this, there are no known variants. This figure is exclusive to Internet stores Entertainment Earth, ShopStarWars, and the Hasbro Toy Shop. (It's also available wholesale via Entertainment Earth's EE Distribution division, which is why you might see it elsewhere.)

Day 200: November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 199: Rebel Alliance Pilot (Y-Wing)

Power of the Force Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 26457 No. 26459
Number: n/a
Includes: Y-Wing Fighter vehicle with bomb
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Summer 2000
Appearances: The Star Wars Trilogy

Bio: During the Battle of Yavin, the Y-Wing Gold Squadron assisted in the assault on the Imperial Death Star. In a desperate effort to safeguard the Rebel Alliance base and eradicate the Empire's space station, the Y-Wings mount a heroic, yet futile, first wave attack to target the thermal exhaust port and start a chain reaction in the Death Star's power generator core. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: It's a cheap figure, this Rebel Alliance Pilot, as it uses a fairly generic head (which has been reused time and again) and the Biggs Darklighter 1998 body (which has also been reused time and again). The figure has the basic six points of articulation and is about as generic as they come-- the face seems sculpted to as close to a 1980's toy face as they can get, so your imagination is left roughing in all the details that don't have to do with race, facial hair, or gender. He wears the typical orange flight suit, has no visor on his helmet, and basically exists solely as someone to fill a seat-- this isn't that great of a figure in hindsight, but it performs a function. Unfortunately, it's exclusive to this now somewhat hard-to-find vehicle and as such, the figure is actually worth something. If you just want a Y-Wing pilot in your collection, you'd be well served to just buy a Dutch Vander as he's cheap and easy to get and a little more distinctive-- but if you're getting the vehicle anyway, this is a great pilot figure to add to your army. Er, navy. Whatever.

Collector's Notes: This exact mold was repainted for the OTC Y-Wing released in 2004, but it was pretty much the same kind of thing with new helmet deco and glossy gloves and boots. The head was reused for the Red Leader X-Wing pilot in 2003, but that figure had the Power of the Jedi Luke Skywalker pilot body. Today, this figure will cost you a pretty penny due to the high interest in the vehicle he came with, which isn't surprising as it was somewhat hard to get and arguably underpriced when released in 2000. Still, beyond serving a function, there's not a lot to say nice about this figure.

Day 199: November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 198: Obi-Wan Kenobi (General)

OBI-WAN KENOBI with Stormtrooper* Armor
Revenge of the Sith Battle Packs Jedi vs. Sith
Item No.:
Asst. 85554 No. 85667
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, removable armor, lance
Action Feature: Squeeze legs together for lightsaber action!
Retail: $19.99, part of a gift set
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Primarily The Clone Wars

Bio: Obi-Wan accompanies Qui-Gon Jinn on a mission to Naboo and encounters the deadly Sith for the first time. Later, Obi-Wan agrees to train young Anakin Skywalker and uncovers dangerous secrets that threaten the stability of the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's Clone Wars shelves.

Commentary: I wanted to like this figure so bad, it hurts. Unfortunately, the distance of over a year since this Obi-Wan Kenobi came out proves that the truth is while it was a wonderful idea, applying "quick change Batman" style accessories to a figure this small doesn't work. The Obi-Wan Kenobi figure by itself is pretty cool-- with loads of articulation, a squeeze-legs-for-saber-slash action, and an entirely new sculpt, it's quite good. Were it released sans armor, I'd probably have a lot nice to say about it-- but it didn't, so I don't. The figure is covered in holes for the armor to plug on to and due to molding problems, in some pieces, it doesn't quite plug on properly. Also, the figure has some problems sitting, no doubt due to the mechanism gumming things up. (Anakin has the same problem.)

The snap-on armor is where the real problems start, because if you look at the show or Gentle Giant's statue, you can see that the figure is supposed to be basically just a regular Clone Trooper with some Jedi robes and a removable helmet. That's it. All Hasbro had to do to make it perfect was to take the 2003 Clone Trooper, retool the torso, slap on a new head, sculpt a removable helmet, and the figure would be perfect and hold together well. As Hasbro did design this for kids first, the play feature of snap-on armor was more important and as such, didn't please collectors. And as someone who opens these, I didn't much care for it because it looks sloppy and you can't get the armor to stay on, that and the sculpt of the helmet wasn't so hot either. Also annoying: the lance's plastic is so bendy that I don't think I've seen one out of its box that can remain straight. It's just so poorly made you may as well forget it came in this set, because, well, you'll probably toss it in a box somewhere.

In short: as of today, this is the best armored Obi-Wan you can get. However, I'm holding out hope Hasbro revisits this with an armored Obi-Wan that holds together well and maybe even throws in a Speeder Bike with a less bendy lance for good measure. I know I'm not the only person who'd buy one or two or three.

Collector's Notes: Sometimes the ideas work and sometimes they don't. This box set is an excellent value because you get 5 figures, one of which is excellent, two you likely have, and two that are just OK at best. There are no known plans for a rerelease or new versions as of today, but with the upcoming Clone Wars TV show I fully expect the concept to be revisited and hopefully actually work a little bit better. I'd rather be sold two separate figures than one that doesn't really do a good job of either mode, which is really how this one turned out.

* - Yes, I know it's wrong, that's what the box said.

Day 198: November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 197: Ishi Tib

ISHI TIB with Blaster Rifle
Power of the Force Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 69705 No. 69754
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Spring 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The Ishi Tib cahracters come from the planet Tibrin, where they live in the cities built atop coral reefs. Ardent freedom lovers, several Ishi Tibs offered their talents in service to the Rebel Alliance. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves, again.

Commentary: Return of the Jedi has so many aliens, fans at first didn't know what to expect out of the Ishi Tib figure beyond it being from Jabba's Palace. Shockingly, it wasn't-- it came from the Rebel Briefing. The figure has a sort of "clamshell" cloak that covers its body, a watermelon-esque head, and the traditional six points of articulation. The cloak sometimes hangs open (a frequent problem from this type of plastic garment), and really can't do much other than stand. The costume's texture is quite good, although the paint is very simple and for its day, was pretty good. A redeco of the mold could result in a truly spectacular looking figure, but that won't change the fact that this good-for-1998 figure is basically still just that-- a good figure for its day. There aren't a lot of fine details over which to dote, but like most aliens, collectors will no doubt wish to make sure one is in their private collections. (Especially as the species has yet to be revisited.)

Collector's Notes: It's notable to say that there are multiple members of this species in the films, and this one is a Rebel version. A Jabba's Palace-specific costume exists as a tiny Galoob figure but Hasbro has yet to revisit the species as an action figure, despite its reputation as being somewhat rare. (It's not really-- it's quite cheap on the secondary market.) The figure was released alongside the very first Darth Vader with Removable helmet (at 4 per case), Captain Piett (2 per case), Zuckuss (2 per case), and of course 2 Ishi Tibs per case as well as some retreads. This is a figure worth owning, but it's going to be more famous for its being hard to find rather than its being excellent for its time.

Day 197: November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 196: Myo

MYO Cantina Encounter
Post-Original Trilogy Collection Transitional Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85172 No. 85324
Number: 0507
Includes: Blaster, glass, display base
Action Feature: Holster stores blaster pistol
Retail: $5.99
Availability: 2005
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Myo spends a lot of time in the Mos Eisley cantina, hoping to get into a fight. His species, the Abyssin from the planet Byss, are primitive, violent and can re-grow lost limbs. Myo is very fearless and with his one central eye, he can spot trouble as it is about to happen—when he isn’t finding a way to cause it. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves, again.

Commentary: In early 2005, fans received quite the assortment of action figures from Hasbro-- some of which were hard to get, and there were only eight new sculpts to be had. One of three new Cantina aliens was the first-ever action figure of Myo, a cyclops-esque alien we all first met in 1977. The figure is stunning. It has that "vintage" pose we all love-- basically standing at attention-- and is loaded with articulation. The figure featured ball joints at the neck and knees with normal joints at the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, and waist. In short, it's just barely perfect-- ball elbows and/or shoulders would have made this one of the best figures Hasbro has ever done. The sculpt is exquisite, the detail in the hands and costume simply shames most of Hasbro's other offerings, especially those based on this particular film. I'd daresay that the figure might be more detailed than the costume used in the film. It's hard to coax a lot of personality out of a figure with a very basic pose and a hard rubber face, but the figure does have a certain sense of mystery about it, unfortunately with but one eye you really can't exploit his eyebrows to get a lot of personality out of him. The figure provides a great base for custom figures (or so it seems), it's a great addition to any alien-filled diorama, and frankly, it's one of Hasbro's best figures. If you don't have one, go get one-- there's no excuse.

Collector's Notes: The figure was a pegwarmer in some markets, and super-rare in others. It's currently one of the harder-to-get Cantina aliens as it has not yet been reissued, but Hasbro seems pretty big on making sure to kill the secondary market for these things. (A mixed blessing depending on who you are.) As it's unlikely that this figure can be improved upon, you best buy one now. This figure makes the previous decade's alien figures look like garbage. Currently, it goes for a fair amount and will probably cost you $10 before shipping. If you found the 2006 Garindan, Hem Dazon, or Greedo figures to your liking then you simply must snag Myo, Feltipern Trevagg, and if you have money left over, Dannik Jerriko.

Day 196: November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 195: R2-R9

R2-R9 Astromech Droid
The 30th Anniversary Collection Tins
Item No.:
Asst. 87154 No. 87220
Number: 1 of 6
Includes: Removable third leg
Action Feature: Twist dome to raise/lower sensorscope, glowing central eye
Retail: $29.99
Availability: 2006
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: One of five astromech droids assigned to the conveyance of the royal personage of Naboo, R2-R9 displayed the characteristic bravery of his model when he trundled out onto the exterior of the hull of the Royal Starship, only to be obliterated by a turbolaser blast. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's coffee table.

Commentary: R2-R9 was previously made as a toy whose mold had never been re-used, and was the very first "new" astromech droid to be made as a toy since R5-D4 in 1979. This new version is a repaint of, technically, the Early Bird Kit R2-D2 which itself was a reissue of the Vintage 2004 figure with the door glued shut. The figure has rolling wheels, articulated ankles, and everything you can basically hope for out of a droid of this nature. It's a little disappointing that they didn't go with the R4-G9 sculpt, as the glued-in-place panel isn't very aesthetically pleasing.

Collector's Notes: The original "Royal Starship Droid" (which was initially nameless) was sold with a $100 vehicle, and by himself, commanded a princely sum on eBay. Even though this tin set is a little expensive, it's probably a better solution to fans wanting this droid in their collection. It also comes with Darth Maul (Evolutions), Obi-Wan Kenobi (POTJ with a new cloth cloak, communicator, retooled belt, and blue lightsaber) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Jedi Master, with new cloak and a different head.) As far as "bank for the buck" goes, this is one of the better Prequel-based tin sets. The droid itself is the biggest reason to pick it up, with Darth Maul a close second.

Also notable was the bio-- this is the first I have read of only five Astromechs serving on board the Queen's ship. I'm not entirely sure if this is correct. Finally, this is the first-ever release of this mold with a "brushed" silver head and not the vac-metal version. Here's hoping this means R2-B1 and R2-D2 will be made this way soon, too.

Day 195: November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 194: Chi Eekway

CHI EEKWAY Lucas Collector's Set
The Saga Collection Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 80060
Number: n/a
Includes: Removable cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99
Availability: 2006
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: This Twi'lek Senator from Wroona is extremely wary of Palpatine's intentions and growing power. She works quietly behind the scenes to oppose him. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's TV tray. I actually took this around the first week of the column and just never wrote it up.

Commentary: While I was initially thrilled when I heard Chi Eekway was coming out in a nifty exclusive box set, most collectors seem to disagree with me that this was a good thing. Sure, the figure has limited articulation and little in the way of accessories, but she may well be the first non-half-naked Twi'lek female, which is surely a dubious distinction but a distinction either way. If you like the picture, that's what it's like to own the toy-- she can't really sit, but she has excellent deco, a good sculpt, and managed to make the exclusive set not feel like a rip-off. I don't ask for much, just give me something I can call "new" without laughing. For augmenting your displays, this is a must-own figure. For those looking for cool aliens, don't pass this one up. If you're on a budget, though, you can probably live with waiting on this one a while longer.

Collector's Notes: This item was expensive, but more or less worth it-- $35 for 4 figures with 3 new sculpts is up there, especially for "collectors" who bought Zett Jukassa in 2005, but at least there are some interesting figures here to make it a little less painful. So far, it seems the item hasn't been a spectacular seller, and you can get it in a bundle with the Republic Commando set on the cheap-- and it isn't a bad deal. The set is worth it if you're a fan of the prequels and like figures with a good back story.

Day 194: November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 193: AT-RT Driver

AT-RT DRIVER Human Clone
The 30th Anniversary Collection Tins
Item No.:
Asst. 87154 No. 87221
Number: 3 of 6
Includes: Removable damaged armor, blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: 2006
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Equipped and conditioned for the humid environments of the galaxy's swampy places, these clone troopers helped repel Separatist forces on the Wookiee home world. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's coffee table. (I don't know why but I really like this picture.)

Commentary: Three cheers for Clone repaints. The AT-RT Driver proves what Hasbro knows to be true-- throw a new Clone with anything and fans will buy it. In and of itself, the figure is very striking and I daresay is more interesting to look at than the original camo 2005 release. I'm not sure the all-white one ever appeared in a movie, but it does look very cool and is basically super-articulated. It has the same smaller rifle from the original release, and a removable "blasted" armor chest plate so if you're crazy and buy multiples, you can display them in several different configurations. The figure itself is a real winner and looks so cool, you'll probably consider choking down your shame and buying this set for its high price. (Or wait for clearance.)

Collector's Notes: This item was released as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection, which came out several months early. The AT-RT Driver came in a four-pack with ROTS Yoda, Evolutions Episode III Anakin Skywalker, and a ROTS Mace Windu. Given that the AT-RT Driver, Mace Windu, and Yoda each cost about $5.25 in 2005, this set amounts to "highway robbery." If you somehow got through 2006 without purchasing and re-purchasing the Mace Windu and Yoda figures a few times over, it's a neat set and the AT-RT Driver itself is very cool... but the only other "new" item in the set beyond the tin is the fact that this Yoda wears the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection robes. But if you have the chance to just get this one figure, you should-- it's worth it.

Day 193: November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 192: Shadow Stormtrooper

The Saga Collection Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87140
Number: n/a
Includes: Stand, blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: 2006
Appearances: Crimson Empire

Bio: Armed with a powerful blaster rifle and dressed in black armor designed to increase sensor-stealth, these stormtroopers loyally serve a mysterious agent of evil named Carnor Jax. Trained to fight without mercy for any opponent, these stormtroopers obey Jax's order to locate and eliminate an Imperial Guardsman named Kir Kanos.

Image: Another tasteful shot in front of the Jedi Temple for no good reason.

Commentary: On paper, the Shadow Stormtrooper was an awesome idea. It's an Expanded Universe figure from a popular series. It's a troop builder. And it uses the best-so-far Stormtrooper mold. It really does look nice, but there are problems (see below). The figure is an excellent release, and looks basically like the guys in the comic. Except for the gun-- Hasbro decided to take it easy and use the same gun that was packaged with this figure when it was white, rather than the larger rifle seen on the packaging and in the comics. (Booooo.) Still, it's a great little figure and I have to say that despite the price, I'm quite proud to have a little squad of them to go with my Carnor Jax figure.

Collector's Notes: This figure costs too much. Usually I'll make a case for something but in this case I was really insulted. I wanted the figure, I bought the figure, but $15? I didn't need the mandatory clamshell case combined with the shipping upcharges, taxes, and already higher price of an online exclusive. I ordered 5 of these in one order, and with tax and shipping, it came to close to $20 a figure. That's not right. (But as it seems is still sitting on these, at least I know other people with self-restraint also realized it isn't right.) Also, this is not to be confused with the Blackhole Stormtrooper-- that one has silver/white lenses and other small changes.

Day 192: November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 191: Clone Trooper

The 30th Anniversary Collection Tins
Item No.:
Asst. 87154 No. 87222
Number: 2 of 6
Includes: Helmet, blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: 2006
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: The clone troopers identified by this characteristic, blue armor highlighting came to be known and feared by Separatist forces as one of the most effective fighting units of the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback. Yes, there's a little cardback INSIDE the box. And yes, I realize it looks like it may be the worst written and potentially incorrect bio I've seen in ages. The pack also lists "special equipment" as rocket pack, and I don't see no rocket pack.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves. Whoopee.

Commentary: Who loves more of the same? This Clone Trooper is the Evolutions mold from 2005, but with new paint. That's pretty much it. The figure has excellent articulation, mostly good deco, but if I had to pick nits, I'd pick three. One, the mold has no waist articulation but is otherwise super-poseable. Two, the figure's head (on my samples) have questionable paint on the hair and face. And three, the helmet is still too tight. Due to the super-soft plastic, when you press it over his head, sometimes you can make out his nose pushing through. This is what we in the business call "crappy." (It's an industry term, so I can understand why it may be confusing to hear at first.) But this sort of thing really sucks. A pilot needs to sit in a ship, a weapon needs to be held in a hand (I'm looking at you, Foul Moudama), and a removable helmet has to be able to be placed on a head so it can be removed later. As a helmet-free figure, it's pretty awesome, but it's gosh-darn disappointing to have to fidget with this thing to minimize the nose poking through the face of the helmet.

Collector's Notes: This item was released as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection, which came out several months early. The Clone Trooper came in a four-pack with Evolutions Count Dooku, Evolutions Episode II Anakin Skywalker, and a retooled Jango Fett with a similar helmet problem. Given the obscene price of $30-$35, it's a hard set to advise you to buy unless all of these figures appeal to your collectorial (new word?) needs.

Critic Notes: I just want to take a moment to say that I absolutely adore the concept of the tins. The packaging is gorgeous, the packing-within-the-packaging is genius, the tins are awesome, and the overall look and feel is just magnificent. But the price point is insulting-- most of these take 3 previously $4.99-$5.99 figures with minimal changes and charge a whopping $30 for the set. If the set had all new repaints or a larger emphasis on "new" items, these would be my absolutely favorite items of the year. (For example: an Astromech droid, 2 Battle Droids, a Clone, and a Jedi of your choosing.)

Day 191: November 13, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 190: R3-D3

R3-D3 Star Tours
Star Tours Collection 1
Item No.:
No. 21091
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $10.00
Availability: 2002
Appearances: Star Tours

Bio: Whenever your plans call for intergalactic transport, call on STAR TOURS for state of the art travel excitement! Tour the galaxy aboard the STARSPEEDER 3000, the most advanced transport vessel of its kind, and experience the expertise of the sector's newest and most reliable Droid pilots! Reservations are limited, so book your STAR TOURS adventure today! (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves. Whoopee.

Commentary: When first rumored, the Star Tours line was said to be a bunch of R2-D2 and C-3PO repaints and Captain Rex. What we got was a little more diverse, as seen with R3-D3 which was part of the first series of these figures. The figure was a revised version of the very nicely designed R2-D2 from Power of the Jedi with a retooled head and, of course, new paint. The figure is jointed at the "shoulders" and "neck," and that's it-- he also has wheels. His coloring is actually fairly incorrect compared to the model used on the ride, which didn't have the red paint on the eye and, well, there's more wrong too. Basically, this figure isn't what you would call authentic, just neat. For those looking to add yet another astromech droid to their collection, this is a good one. It's also unique in that it's the only clear-domed droid to use this body, at least so far.

Collector's Notes: While initially somewhat hard to get as a theme park exclusive, interest has cooled significantly in recent years. (Which is a little surprising given how hard these were to get if you didn't have someone who could do you a favor.) A number of Star Tours figures got closed out and appeared by the case on eBay for very cheap, and as such, the going rate of these little guys is about $10 or less-- so $10 plus shipping is about as high as you should go. Due to the figure's lack of accessories, articulation, etc., you might be left feeling $10 is too high. And it is. But it's not like you can buy one at Wal-Mart.

Day 190: November 12, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 189: Luminara Unduli

The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84833
Number: 0226
Includes: Lightsaber, removable blade, blast effect
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Cloaked in dark robes, Luminara Unduli is a female Jedi master noted for her tranquil beauty and most disciplined presence. Her striking blue eyes punctuate her angular face, and intricate, diamond-shaped tattoos decorate her chin. After returning from a mission to Ansion, Luminara and her Padawan Barriss Offe must contend with Count Dooku's massive armies in a full-scale battle on the red rock planet Geonosis. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves. Again.

Commentary: It's basically a statue. Luminara Unduli came out alongside some nifty figures when Episode II hit, some of which had significant articulation. Luminara is basically just articulated at the arms-- she has a few other points of articulation but it really doesn't help her much. This figure's extreme pose makes her look significantly shorter than she is, but she has a very striking stance and as a 3 3/4-inch Unleashed figure, she would be very cool. Her deco is good, her sculpt isn't bad, but the figure was outclassed in 2005 with a Revenge of the Sith figure. What you see is basically what you get-- she makes a wonderful statue at a great price. As a toy, she's horrible. That's really all you need to know.

Collector's Notes: As a launch figure (barely) for Episode II she was pretty hot at first. Some of my friends (who aren't collectors or really toy people) picked up this one when she first came out and really dug her. She works as a sculpture, and this is the kind of thing adult fans should enjoy. Should. She goes for basically nothing on eBay, a couple of bucks tops. (Also, a lot of you have been writing me saying that the prices I quote you are wrong. And I immediately check eBay and it looks like I'm 100% right. Am I missing something here?)

Day 189: November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 188: Clone Trooper

CLONE TROOPER Mace Windu's Attack Battalion
The Saga Collection Target Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87110
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster Pistol, Antenna Pack, Shoulder Armor
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2006
Appearances: The Clone Wars (in theory)

Bio: These clone troopers follow their Commander's orders and fight to protect the Jedi Temple. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Inside the backdrop from the box for Mace Windu's Attack Battalion.

Commentary: The figure's construction may not be immediately obvious, but it's 100% recycled Clone. The body of the figure is the Revenge of the Sith #41 Super-Articlated Clone Trooper. (The mold has since been re-used for others such as the Covert Ops Clone Trooper, Shock Trooper, and Utapau Clone Trooper.) The shoulder armor belongs to Commander Bacara, and was also used for a "lunchtime special" black market Clone Trooper that was frequently seen shipping out of China on eBay last year. The figure's decoration is actually quite snazzy, just like Mace's starfighter-- there's two tones of purple coloring. If you look at the "U" on the belt, you can see a metallic shine to the color. This metallic paint is also used on the helmet in places, and on the shoulder armor. (It looks amazingly good on the shoulder.) While some have said that the figure is just a Shock Trooper with purple markings, this is not correct-- some added deco points are on the figure, and some of the markings are grey, and not purple. So it's a little more ornate, but still, the figure is basically what you would expect-- mostly.

The main flaw in this figure (ATTENTION HASBRO/COLLECTORS) is that the packaging actually hurts the figures. Each figure has rubber bands on each hand-- so all three Clones have a rubber band on both hands to hold the gun in place. While Hasbro may have thought it would make the figure more stable during transport, the opposite is true, and an extra problem is created. First, the figures frequently have the hands pop out of the arms while still in the box. While they can be popped back in after opening it, it looks stupid if you're a boxed collector-- I mean, who wants a mint in sealed box toy with a clearly flawed figure inside? Second, the "band hands" problem that were frequent in many G.I. Joe products return here, and take the guns with them. The figure's hands are often malformed, and the gun is equally messed up. In short, the packaging is literally ruining the figure. Visually, the packaging is a gorgeous box and one of the better Battle Packs we've seen so far-- but the rubber bands don't do the toys any favors. Hasbro, this is a real problem. Collectors, this is a real problem. Nobody wants to open a box and realize the toys you just bought have already fallen apart. (For the record, I bought two of these fresh from the case, they're the only ones I've seen, and both had this problem on at least two clones per set.)

Collector's Notes: The Episode II and Episode III hammock is largely called Clone Wars, so it makes sense that any Clone Trooper with the Revenge of the Sith helmet design and any relation to a character killed in that film would be, by default, Clone Wars. As far as I can tell, no fiction has shown a visual representation (or even a mention) of Mace having his on squad-- but hey, here it is. The box says "As Seen on Cartoon Network" but does not sport a Clone Wars logo like on other recent items from the series. Which is funny, because it would make more sense to say that this is a toy from the Clone Wars because it could be, yet I do not recall seeing it on Cartoon Network at all. Also, this set includes three of the Clone Trooper I just profiled, one Clone Commander, and Mace Windu in the boxed set.

Day 188: November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 187: Ody Mandrell

ODY MANDRELL with Otoga 222 Pit Droid
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84105 No. 84117
Number: n/a
Includes: Removable Helmet, Pit Droid, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: For unbelievable speed and hair-raising action, there is no better sport than Podracing. At the Boonta Eve race, Ody Mandrell's luck runs out during a pit stop when a pit droid gets sucked into his massive engine and shot out the back. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: With Episode I, fans assumed that we would quickly see the entire selection of Pod Racers and Jedi Masters in short order-- after all, with such rich designs and nifty concepts, surely Hasbro would release all of Ody Mandrell's associates, right? Wrong. Other than Ody, Hasbro only made figures for Sebulba and Gasgano (and Anakin) during the film line's initial run, with others trickling out over the past couple of years. They were good figures and a decent value-- Ody has excellent detailing, lots of color, and six points of articulation. Oh, and a second figure packed with him. While the character received little screen time and no real Expanded Universe stories of note, he's distinctive, colorful, and quite the chatterbox. The figure sold fairly well at first, which is a good thing even though it's one of the lesser figures to come out of the Pod Race sequence. It's excellent, you should get one.

Collector's Notes: Who knew this is pretty much where Hasbro would draw the line? After Ody, a carded Sebulba would follow in Power of the Jedi. And then there was Teemto Pagalies in 2002... and then you don't see much for a while. The bulk of Episode I product is now dirt cheap, so if you want one, it's not going to cost you a lot.

Day 187: November 9, 2006