Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 535: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Moisture Farmer
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87277
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #3018
Includes: Lightsaber, Lightsaber hilt, Moisture Vaporator, Coin
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 2007
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio:  On a desert planet like Tatooine, water is a precious commodity. Moisture farmers earn a living extracting water from the air to use or resell. But Luke was never happy with the life of a moisture farmer and dreamed of leaving home to attend the Imperial Space Academy and become a pilot.   ( Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Some fans would tell you this figure is only worth buying for the accessory.  I think they're wrong.  Luke Skywalker gives you a fairly decent figure for your money, and in some respects this is one of the better Luke figures we've had the fortune of getting.  For example, unlike the 2004 "Vintage" release, the belt doesn't split open and the shirt doesn't sit awkwardly when you pose the figure.   Of course, this 2007 figure has reduced articulation, but as it holds together nicely, I'm OK with that.   The figure has 10 points of articulation, and its sculpt borrows from the 2005 "Early Bird" Luke Skywalker except this one made some significant improvements.  Not only is the figure colored correctly, but it has super-poseable arms, a tweaked torso with a hole on his belt for a lightsaber, a ball-jointed neck, and a head sculpt which you can probably argue if it's better or worse.  I like it more-- yeah, the hair is a little darker, but that's OK.   Hasbro hasn't yet perfected Luke's hair color in the 3 3/4-inch scale, so I'm totally fine with seeing them experiment with colors to see what looks right, even if it's not perfectly authentic.  Depending on the angle at which you view it, the figure may look like he has wind-swept hair or a receding hairline.   In person, I feel it looks great, and I liked the figure so much I got a spare on my desk at work.  It's just a nice piece.  Ball-jointed knees and ankles may have made it better, but I'll take what I can get-- the entire package is a good one.

Accessory Notes: Due to its massive size, it's worth devoting special attention to the moisture vaporator.   The accessory has to be assembled, and can be broken down into 7 smaller parts for storage/battle damage/custom fodder.    It's over twice the size of an average action figure, and I have little doubt Hasbro could have sold this online or at a convention for $7 or so all by itself.  It's weathered nicely, full of incredible detail, and a fantastic piece of scenery.   I've got two of them up on a shelf near my Sandcrawler, and it really does add a lot to the display.

Notes to Hasbro: 1. Big accessories are great.  Even if you have to make them convention exclusives, I'd pay $10 for, say, a decent Dianoga, or perhaps the Cantina Drink Dispenser, or some similar bit of scenery.  2.  Good improvements here-- the Early Bird Luke figure was a fun toy, but this makes it better.  Still, there are some small tweaks you can make to this figure in terms of leg articulation, accessories, and possibly the head.   Why not go for a third stab at the mold with a few more tweaks, perhaps a training remote accessory and a blast shield helmet?  (Would you believe that after 30 years, the only 4-inch scale training remote we've ever had came with the vintage Millennium Falcon and also sucked?)

Collector's Notes: This figure, being new, has not yet been repackaged.  I have no doubt we'll see this figure again in the not-too-distant future.  While it's by no means a groundbreaking figure, it is one of my favorite releases of 2007 so far.  Good job, Hasbro!  (Oh, the head also fits on and looks good on the 2007 Stormtrooper body-- however the helmet doesn't quite fit.)



Day 535: October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 534: Qui-Gon Jinn

QUI-GON JINN Jedi Training Gear
Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84445 No. 84559
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Spring 2001
Appearances: n/a

Bio:  Qui-Gon Jinn is a Jedi devoted to maintaining order and justice in the galaxy. He, like most Jedi, feels it is his duty to pass on what he has learned to the next generation of Jedi. He does so by taking a Padawan to mentor. During the training process, Qui-Gon often wears his Jedi training gear for protection when sparring with his trainee.   ( Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Supposedly from a cancelled subline (and definitely from concept artwork), this Qui-Gon Jinn brought non-movie figures to the regular action figure line in a very "Batman" way.   We saw some bonus accessories with deluxe figures, and we've seen some comic and concept figures sold as such, but integrating these into the main line by combining it with movie designs and actors' likenesses was something new.  This particular figure combines Liam Nesson's head-- or at least a decent facsimile-- with a body loaded with armored detail and very limited articulation.  With six joints there really isn't a lot that die-hard figure junkies will like about it, but it's a remarkable design and it showed that Hasbro people had some interesting and marketable ideas to expand the universe after the first prequel was released.   I'd love to see more original concepts like this in the line, as it does seem to seem not entirely removed from the spirit of Star Wars.  Now if I saw Pod Racing Obi-Wan Kenobi, that'd be a different matter entirely.  The figure's outfit is unique to this figure, and while there is an armored Obi-Wan as well, they don't seem to go together too incredibly well. This figure is probably best kept for collectors or for kids looking for something truly different, after all it's not like most Jedi go through a large number of costume changes.

Collector's Notes: This figure has never been reissued, and it's worth noting it is pretty cool as a toy.  There's so little buzz surrounding this figure it's almost not funny, so if you want one you better start trading or looking to eBay.


Day 534: October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 533: Darth Maul

DARTH MAUL Sith Lord
Episode I Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84247
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, removable blade, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: One blade is removable from the lightsaber
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Spring 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio:   Wielding the power of the dark side, Darth Maul confronts Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a deadly clash of lightsabers inside the Theed generator complex.   ( Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: For a figure with little screen time and even less dialogue, Hasbro wasted no time cranking out multiple versions of Darth Maul in a hurry.  The final version of the Sith Lord to be released in Episode I packaging, this figure bucked trends and opted for reduced articulation when compared to previous releases.  This all-new sculpt had a cloth "skirt" piece,  one of the first in the basic line, which granted him the ability to sit without distorting the look of the toy when you return it to the full upright position.   The sculpt is on par with other figures of the time, but the articulation is on par with figures from 1995-- that is to say, it sort of sucks.   The figure's unique "reveal" pose makes it ideal for use in dioramas or playsets, plus its lack of articulation makes it a nice visual piece.   As a toy, it's pretty good, but the awkward positions of the arms prevent it from doing too much other than what you see in the picture.  If you like this pose, or enjoy the notion of owning the first-ever figure with a removable blade in its lightsaber, this is the figure for you.  But you probably already own 20 Darth Mauls so hey, your call.

Collector's Notes: This figure has, to date, never been repackaged after its initial run.   International fans take note: this is one of the first figures packaged with the bonus Pit Droids.   So you might end up with a few of them if you want those original release bonus Pit Droids, and if you're me, you most certainly do.



Day 533: October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 532: Jango Fett

JANGO FETT Kamino Showdown
Saga Deluxe/Ultra Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84950 No. 84859
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pillar, blasters, backpack, firing rocket
Action Feature: Magnets in arms cling to metal pillar
Retail: $9.99
Availability: 2003-2004
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio:   While trying to escape to his waiting ship, Slave I, Jango fights off the persistent Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Kamino landing platform. The tough and resilient bounty hunter uses his jet backpack to take flight and attack hs enemy from the air.   (Taken from the figure's Saga cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: This Jango Fett figure is based off of a 2003 sculpt, but with some changes.   The forearms have been retooled heavily, now featuring magnets in them so the figure can "fly" and grasp the included piece of Kamino scenery (pictured).   The claw on the gauntlet has been removed, and the helmet is glued down-- other than that, it's pretty much the same as the 2002 release.  It has working holsters, a great sculpt, a firing backpack, and the best thing: the "flight" feature actually works well.

How it works is simple: you put Jango on this launching pad.  You push a button.  He flies up and grapples the telescoping tower.   Repeat as desired.  It's a lot of fun and I think kids would like it.  Unlike other jumping/flight features, it seems to work fairly easily once you figure it out, which doesn't take too long.   The display base also connects to one included with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Kamino Showdown), so it's in your best interests to buy both for awesome scene fun time.

Collector's Notes: This figure was issued in 2003 in limited numbers, but was repackaged in the "Ultra" assortment in 2004.   Both versions were parts of the ends of their respective lines, and were somewhat difficult to get.  The products are identical.  Also, the head under the helmet is unpainted, and the helmet is glued down.



Day 532: October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 531: Padme Amidala

PADMÉ AMIDALA Geonosian Arena
The Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87347
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 067
Includes: Battle Droid blaster, display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2007
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio:  Padmé is taken prisoner along with Anakin Skywalker when the pair go to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi. All three are sentenced to death but are saved when Jedi forces arrive. Padmé fights courageously in the ensuing battle, proving she is as fine a warrior as she is a politician.   (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.  (Also: Han Solo called, he wants his eyebrows back.)

Commentary: She doesn't look this bad, I swear.  Padmé Amidala, in this photo, may have the worst looking eyebrows I've ever seen.  In person, she doesn't look this bad-- maybe it's the light, or the angle.  I even ran up to check the figure again, and while the eyebrows on my sample do seem to be unusually mannish, others turned out a little bit better.  But anyway, what's the deal with this figure?   From 2004-2007, at least one wave near the end of the year was made up entirely of repaints of figures made of existing figures, and this one was no exception.  The head is from the 2002 version of the figure, and the body mold was from a 2003 release.  The weapon, from the Battle Droid.   Put it all together and add some new paint, and the end result is a figure that is both new and interesting, yet not entirely based on how she appeared in the movie.

She has a clawed-up back (insert joke with the word "kinky" here), torn knees on her pants (repeat the joke here for emphasis), but is basically the same figure from a previous release.  With 12 points of articulation, she may be one of the most posable versions of Natalie Portman you can buy, but she's far from perfect.   The two figures which make up this figure are far better than this release, so if you're going to be picky, skip this one.  The sculpt is very good, but the deco and accessories leave something to be desired plus well, she really doesn't bring much new to the table.  She is, however, obviously different, so collectors will want to get her anyway.

Collector's Notes: While somewhat limited in distribution, the figure's popularity was fairly low-- so she was easy to get.  I got this sample at a Wal-Mart for $3.50 as the whole assortment was mismarked for some reason.  I have no doubt this will be a figure most fans will ignore for a good long time, but hey, if you like Amidala stuff, get one.



Day 531: October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 530: R2-D2

R2-D2 Ambush on Ilum
The Anniversary Collection Target Exclusive Battle Pack
Item No.:
No. 87213
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Four other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: January 2007
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio:  Though foul weather and cold can sometimes endanger astromech droids, Artoo did not hesitate to rush to his mistress' side and warn her of an impending attack.   (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Commentary: Do you like snow?  So does Hasbro.  They've done a few snow planet-specific versions of R2-D2, such as this one.  It takes a previously released figure and adds a slightly blue tint to the lower parts of the figures, which suggests the look of wading through snowy terrain or a blue paint factory.  The figure is the same mold used for the 2003 "Sail Barge" R2-D2, meaning he has articulated ankles on all three legs, a retractable third leg, a rotating dome, articulated shoulders, and a hole in his head for a drink dispenser (not included, of course.)   The detail is OK, but better molds exist and this isn't the finest R2-D2, although it does use what was the standard astromech body type from roughly 2002-2004.   It serves a purpose as a low-cost figure, and the eye sculpt really bugs me-- but for kids, it's fine, and the unique blue on the bottom is something you won't find on any other R2-D2 figures.

Collector's Notes: When you get right down to it, this gift set is a "sum of its parts" kind of item.   Each figure, by its lonesome, is merely OK.  Another R2-D2 and C-3PO with a snow Padme with limited articulation and two Chameleon Droids for $19.99 is a spiffy deal at just $4 per figure, but at $6.99, this R2-D2 would be a little disappointing.  After all, the 2006 Hoth R2-D2 took a previously released $10 Vintage figure, added some extras, and it sold for a mere $7-- so this figure would need more to be really exciting, but as it is, there's nothing wrong with it.   It's just those looking to thin their collection could probably live without it.



Day 530: October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 529: Emperor Palpatine

EMPEROR PALPATINE The Republic Falls
Revenge of the Sith Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 85553 No. 85727
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, optional Sith Lightning hands, cane, Sith cloak, Sith brooch
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99-$29.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances:  Revenge of the Sith

Bio: After thousands of years, the Sith reveal themselves to the Jedi. Witness their evolution with these Sith figures! Darth Maul attacks the Jedi, revealing that the Sith are still a threat to the galaxy. Then Count Dooku, a former Jedi, comes out of hiding as a Sith Lord to attack the Republic. Finally, the Emperor, who should be fighting to save the Republic, is revealed as the most powerful and menacing Sith of all!   (Taken from the figure's Evolutions box.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: I want to like this figure, I like this figure, and I also want it to be better.  Conflicted emotions are what this Emperor Palpatine figure is all about.   Some things work incredibly well, some are very good, and some need work.  Let's start with the good, shall we?   The figure's body is made of plastic and cloth pieces, all of which work together to create an action figure fully capable of assuming nearly any pose you could reasonably expect out of a Star Wars action figure.   The figure has 14 points of articulation, with ball joints everywhere you would expect to find one.  The figure can stand, hunch over, fight, and can even sit.  I'm not sure if he could sit on a throne without significant work on your part, or slight retooling, but he's a very good figure and the first-ever Emperor to have significant use of cloth on his person.  He may be the only 3 3/4-inch Palpatine in any costume to feature extensive cloth costume bits.

The sculpt is both good and bad.  Good, because all the details you want are present-- he's got a mean face, they painted his hair so it isn't flesh colored, his hands are gnarled and deformed, it's just a solid looking figure.  Unfortunately, the face looks very little like the character in the movie.  It's more or less stylized, so you can tell who it's meant to be, but it's not a perfect replica.   He is the meanest Palpatine, though, and that counts for a lot in my book.

Like the Count Dooku in this set, his hands are easily removed and replaced with Sith lightning hands.  These are excellent as well, fairly sturdy, and are a great accessory.   The figure also has a cane, a removable Sith "necklace," and the first-ever Palpatine lightsaber.  As such, the figure was quite exciting in 2005.  The necklace is where the figure starts to break down, though, because it's far too large for the figure and is as wide as or wider than the head.  Also, the cloth cloak's hood is poorly designed and it's difficult to get it to rest on the head properly, even with the necklace over (or under) it.  If Hasbro tweaked the head a little, as well as the cloak and Sith  brooch necklace thing, this may be one of the best figures ever.  Instead, it'll be another figure that reaches for the stars and is one of Hasbro's finest, but falls just short of being a perfect example of their work.  I still love it, though, and you probably will too-- so get one now and if Hasbro does go back and redo him, well, at least you can enjoy this one today.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been available only in this one set so far.  It's coming back in early 2008 in the Evolutions reissues, so be sure to get it if you missed it before.



Day 529: October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 528: Count Dooku

COUNT DOOKU The Clone Wars
Revenge of the Sith Evolutions & 30th Anniversary Collection Commemorative Tin
Item No.:
Asst. 85553 No. 85727
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, optional Sith Lightning hands
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99-$29.99
Availability: Fall 2005+
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith

Bio: After thousands of years, the Sith reveal themselves to the Jedi. Witness their evolution with these Sith figures! Darth Maul attacks the Jedi, revealing that the Sith are still a threat to the galaxy. Then Count Dooku, a former Jedi, comes out of hiding as a Sith Lord to attack the Republic. Finally, the Emperor, who should be fighting to save the Republic, is revealed as the most powerful and menacing Sith of all!   (Taken from the figure's Evolutions box.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Darth Tyranus, better known as Count Dooku, received a surprisingly large amount of figures given he had one costume over two movies for about a grand total of maybe 40 minutes of screen "life."   From his introduction to his demise, he was seen as a strong man with a firm focus and the ability to destroy those who dare oppose him.  (Well, some of them anyway.)   This figure represents the most articulated of them all, with a soft goods "skirt" and cape allowing him to sit and enhanced articulation which allows him to sit in nearly any pose.  His face is much meaner and more focused than other releases, and he has that full range of motion you'll want in your duel dioramas.  His cape has two colors (a nice touch), and overall, this is probably one of the best-overall versions of the character.  His outfit is simple, but he can do pretty much anything you would want.  The normal basic Revenge of the Sith version is also excellent, and between the two, you could probably cobble together a perfect figure any way you see fit.  They're both good for different reasons, but this one is probably the most fun to play with and has the best cape-- so be sure to get one.  As Hasbro seems to be intent to rerelease it once a year, this should not be a problem.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been available on the market in numerous different ways.  The first release was in the Evolutions set with Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine in 2005.  In 2006, he was released in a boxed set with Anakin Skywalker, a Clone Trooper, and Jango Fett.  The first release is getting reissued in late 2007/2008 in new packaging.  So if you want it, you have no excuse for missing out on it.



Day 528: October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 527: Han Solo (Hoth)

HAN SOLO The Empire Strikes Back
30th Anniversary Collection Commemorative Tin
Item No.:
Asst. 87154 No. 87204
Number: 5 of 6
Includes: Mask, lightsaber, blaster
Action Feature: Removable mask, push button for slashing action
Retail: $19.99-$29.99
Availability: Fall 2006+
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Though he is determined to return to Tatooine and finally settle up with Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo keeps getting pulled back in to the Rebellion. This time, it's Luke, missing in the freezing waste with night falling, and the Imperials on their way. (Taken from the figure's inner cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Based on a mold from 2003, one might think there's not much reason to buy this figure yet again. The third variant of this Han Solo in Hoth battle gear makes some pretty serious changes, such as the addition to snow. Wearing a brown coat, the figure has 10 points of articulation, a holster, a lightsaber, and pretty much everything you need to rescue Luke from the wilderness. Han's action stance was seemingly designed so he can ride a Tauntaun with little to no problem, which is nice if you want a modern-ish Han on a beast from 1998. (And, for the record, you probably do.) The detail is good, the figure holds together nicely, and the off-white gloves are a nice touch. The likeness is acceptable, and given how the Vintage Hoth Han was kind of a stinker, this one is almost a superior figure. Were it not for the lack of leg articulation and the action feature, this would easily be the best of them.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been available on the market in numerous packaging and paint variants. Dare you track them all down? The first toy release had a blue coat. The second, a brown coat. They were both quite dark so it might not be immediately obvious which is which unless you're comparing them. This is the third release, and so far there are no known plans for a fourth. The two colors of the first release were both a joke and a throwback to Kenner days. The original toy in the 1980s wore a blue coat, but there's some debate on what the actual color of the prop is. Galoob was once told it was black. Kenner went with blue, as did a few other licensors. Hasbro was told it was a brownish color, but we also saw a purple one. To add to the problem, a lot of old costumes-- especially blue ones-- discolor with age, so the world may get to argue this one for a good long time. (Although for the record, the current official Lucas stance is that it's brown. I respectfully argue.)


Day 527: October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 526: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA Return of the Jedi
Original Trilogy Collection Vintage Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85213 No. 85269
Number: n/a
Includes: Bowcaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2004
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Chewbacca (or "Chewie", as he was known by his friends) was a legendary Wookiee from Kashyyyk and co-pilot of Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon. He also played a significant role in the Battle of Kashyyyk during the Clone Wars as well as during the Galactic Civil War. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Considered by many to be the best Chewbacca figure of all time, this 2004 release is pretty gosh darned good. Not only is he super-articulated, but he features multiple waist joints which allow for a number of poses previously unseen (and unthinkable) in Star Wars action figures. Sure, his bowcaster requires minimal assembly, but the end result is a Chewbacca figure that has received precious few complaints. This is no small feat. Sculpting fur is difficult, and as you can see, Hasbro took this into consideration. Fur hangs off his limbs, which helps you see how Hasbro probably intended him to be posed. Unless, of course, he's in zero gravity. The face is good, the fur is good, the only thing I don't know if I really can praise is the deco. As you can see, there are these brown streaks in it. Depending on how it's lit, you might not notice, but I notice these things and it looks like he smeared some brown substance into it. For some reason, Hasbro has no problem getting the dark browns in his fur, but it's the light brown that continues to present a challenge. This if a very tall figure, he has great articulation, and probably qualifies as the definitive Chewbacca. Buy one, buy ten. You'll be glad you did.

Collector's Notes: Fans voted for this figure for the Saga Legends Fan's Choice, but Hasbro opted to use a different mold. This figure is coming soon in a Betrayal at Cloud City Battle Pack. A "snowy" version was sold in a collector tin from 2006-2007, and a retooled version was part of the Early Bird Kit mail-in of 2005. The first release was designed to look like Chewbacca in Return of the Jedi, which is interesting if you consider the packaging. You see, for ROTJ, Kenner often used two different photos for the cardback-- and for this figure, they used the Star Wars one and not the one from Endor. Why? No idea.


Day 526: October 14, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 525: Anakin Skywalker

ANAKIN SKYWALKER Jedi Knight
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87335
Number: #3033
Includes: Lightsaber, robot hand, robot hand stump, coin
Action Feature: Swap robot hand for battle-damaged stump
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2007+
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to the planet Nelvaan to find General Grievous. While there, Anakin is sent on a quest by a village shaman. In a cave decorated with primitive drawings, Anakin sees powerful visions of his future. To carry the memory of this experience with him, he has the drawings tattooed on his body. (Taken from the figure's bio.)

Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: While based on his appearance on Nelvaan, the figure is merely named "Anakin Skywalker" on his packaging. And it's a good one. For whatever reason, Hasbro has never made a truly super-articulated Anakin Skywalker action figure, and this is no exception-- it's very good, but some of you are bound to be upset. You get an articulated right wrist, ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, neck, and knees, cut joints at the waist and hips, and that's about it. Only one hand has a joint, and neither ankle does. So it's very good, but as many fans grow wary of figures where Hasbro doesn't go all-out the first time, well, it might be worth waiting around to see if it happens again, I guess. I wouldn't-- after all, the Expanded Universe doesn't get retreads very often.

The sculpt is one of Hasbro's best, and the deco is mostly great. Actually, personally, I think this is one of the better figures of 2007, as the articulation is more or less good enough. Anakin's hair seems to be the right color, as does everything about his person-- except his pants. Yellowish tan pants? Really? In the cartoon, they're dark brown. The color certainly looks good on the figure, but it doesn't exactly work for authenticity's sake. Still, it's not like you have a pants variant you could get instead, so it's pretty good. The figure looks muscular, but not too muscular, and the robot hand more or less fits in with the figure's design quite well. The one real problem is that I've had a few reports of the hand peg literally snapping off when fans try to switch the hands. As such, be very careful when you do this-- mine felt like it almost tore off the first time I tried to switch them, so I don't plan on doing that any more. I suggest you also not do that. It's a good design, and a new take on a core character. As it doesn't suck, you should probably buy it. Oh, and that thing on his belt that looks like you can plug a lightsaber into it? You can't. So don't bother trying. So, to review: good figure with oddly colored pants, close-but-not super articulation, and a hand peg which suffers from a fragile design. I loved the cartoons, so I totally dig this figure.

Collector's Notes: As an entirely new sculpt, this figure hasn't been released in any other configurations yet. So you can buy this one knowing that, as of today, there's no known gift set coming out in a month with the same figure again.


Day 525: October 13, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 524: Lando Calrissian (Jabba's Sail Barge)

LANDO CALRISSIAN Jabba's Sail Barge
Saga Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84743
Number: #0407
Includes: Blaster, vibro-axe, helmet, display stand
Action Feature: Removable helmet, holster for blaster
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Spring 2004-2007
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: As part of a daring mission to rescue Han Solo, Lando inflitrated Jabba the Hutt's palace by concealing himself in the armor of one of Jabba the Hutt's many skiff guards. When Luke Skywalker sprang his rescue mission over the Great Pit of Carkoon, the skiff guards were startled when one of their own turned on them and revealed himself to be a Rebel infiltrator. Disposing of the guards, Lando piloted the rescue skiff that spirited away the Rebels. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy room.

Commentary: Hasbro sure likes this figure-- and rightly so. Lando Calrissian's penchant for disguises in the early comics comes into play in the movies with this figure, which is the third action figure based on his "Skiff Guard" disguise. As a kid, the 1983 version was one of my favorite toys, and this one is pretty good. As far as articulation goes, this is the best version of the figure you can currently buy. He has a ball-jointed neck, a pretty fancy feature for 2004. He also has cut joints at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, and hips. While he has a "skirt" piece over his legs, it's flexible enough to allow Mr. Calrissian to sit, which is very important to people like me who operate under the delusion that people buy these figures to sit inside ships still. While Hasbro could reintroduce the figure with ball joints everywhere in the future, if they don't, at least this one can assume most poses that you would hope for.

The sculpt is mostly excellent. The face, to me at least, seems a little off but at least you can cover it in the best-ever Skiff helmet. The holster is a little chunky, but hey, it's a holster. The sculpt and overall deco is excellent, as the metal is a little weathered, and the look of the pants is just perfect. Since they painted the pants rather than molding the legs in tan, they reflect the light in such a way that looks a kajillion times better than it might have otherwise. The figure could stand to be a little dirtier given that it's a character from the desert and from Jabba's fairly filthy palace, but hey, you can always add your own dirt. This is a solid, fun figure that you owe yourself to buy if you're a fan of Jabba's Palace. I'd almost suggest getting two or three and leaving the helmets on to use as generic guards. It's slick, get one.

Collector's Notes: This is a pretty good figure, so Hasbro keeps it in circulation. In 2003, it came out in a Saga package. Later in the year, it was rereleased in Original Trilogy Collection packaging. And later, in 2007, it came out in a Battle Pack for what seems to be the final release. The individual carded ones have better paint jobs and a display base, so if you have to pick, go get one of those.


Day 524: October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 523: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS Sneak Preview!
Revenge of the Sith Sneak Preview
Item No.:
Asst. 85172 No. 85382
Number: 1 of 4
Includes: Blaster, cape, lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Spring 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: General Grievous is a brilliant military fighter and commander of the droid armies. He was trained in lightsaber combat by the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus, making him a particularly deadly opponent for the Jedi. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy room.

Commentary: Sure he's short, and yes, he's the wrong color, and no, he can't stand up too well. But he's the first General Grievous, designed before the movie was done and before anyone really got to see him in action. With swivel wrists, ball knees, and some of the typical articulation, it'd be a good figure-- but not great. The cape tends to fall off, and the same sculpt has been used for several other, better painted versions of the figure. As such, the main reason to get this one is because it was the first release. The sculpt is very good, as the figure looks mean, has a great cape, very good deco, and pretty much all the parts you'd need for a good toy. Unfortunately, by not standing well or holding together perfectly, it stops being fun real quick. As a display piece, if properly propped up, it's great. As a carded figure, it's a good item. But as a toy, and your only Grievous? Keep looking. Hasbro still has a lot of room to improve this one.

Collector's Notes: A nearly identical (but slightly dirtier) figure was rereleased in the Jedi vs. Sith Battle Pack in late 2005. It's a fairly solid figure but, sadly, is not the perfect, taller, super-poseable, cloth-caped figure people wanted.


Day 523: October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 522: Emperor Palpatine (Holographic)

HOLOGRAPHIC EMPEROR Toys "R" Us Exclusive
Revenge of the Sith Toys "R" Us Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 85992
Number: n/a
Includes: Force lightning, Force blast, lightsaber, removable hood
Action Feature: Spring-loaded firing projectiles
Retail: $9.99 or gift with purchase
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: A scheming, cold, and calculating Sith Lord, Emperor Palpatine rises to power and all but eliminates the Jedi Knights. His pupil, Darth Vader, communicates with his master via holographic image transmissions. Together, they strive to crush anyone who stands in the way of their new Galactic Empire. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's toy room.

Commentary: One thing particularly interesting about this Holographic Emperor figure is the name-- on the front of the package, it just says simply that. No "Palpatine," no "Sidious," just simply "Holographic Emperor." The figure is nearly identical to the 2005 Emperor figure released just months prior, but this one is completely clear and devoid of paint-- in other words, a great way for Hasbro to make a buck off of us with little to no new development costs. The figure has decent articulation, and so far, it's been fairly sturdy. I haven't seen any discolored figures (which does sometimes happen with clear figures, especially Kenner's Ambush Predator mail-in) nor have I heard of much in the way of breaking. It's a solid product, but it's also the third holographic Palpatine. Hasbro did one in 2000, another in 2004, and this one in 2005. The detail is decent for a holographic figure, although some painted details couldn't hurt-- those holographs weren't totally transparent and without definition. There were dark spots and light spots, too, and a little paint could have made this a totally awesome figure. However, let's not kid ourselves-- holographic figures exist mostly to be a cheap, quick-to-develop product which is both "new" and uses no new tooling. For that, Hasbro did a great job here-- but yeah, as always, it could've been better. And there's the issue of price.

Collector's Notes: This was both an excellent deal and a crappy deal. If you're a collector who is patient, this was a good one-- if you spent about $20 at a Toys "R" Us store, and these were in stock one week, they'd give it to you for free. You also had the option of paying $9.99 for it, or ordering it through Amazon back when they were paired with Toys "R" Us. It's more or less worth tracking down, as you're going to want this character in one of his holographic forms for your collection. This one has the added bonus of having a strong sculpt and even an action feature with weapons, although it's unnecessary for the fact it's an electronic transmission. Snag one if you're so inclined!


Day 522: October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 521: C-3PO with Battle Droid Head

C-3PO with Battle Droid Head
The Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85982
Number: 017
Includes: Blaster, stand, backpack, spare head
Action Feature: Head can be exchanged to create Battle Droid
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Spring 2006-present
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: R2-D2 has always had a knack for getting C-3PO into trouble. Such is the case when the two droids stumble upon the massive droid factories on Geonosis. An impatient Artoo accidentally knocks C-3PO onto one of the conveyer belts, where he is filled with a new droid head. The usually cordial Threepio briefly takes on a new, more aggressive persona until Artoo makes sure that his counterpart doesn't lose his head anymore. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: This figure started life in 2002, when it was part of a larger "deluxe" set. The sculpts were identical, but both heads included a magnet so you could pull them out with an included "playset" which allowed you to "build" droids. The deco was similar, and the set also included a full body for the Battle Droid. Overall, it was a great set for the money, and its legacy lives on in this set. Hasbro keeps shipping them to stores, much to the disappointment of collectors, but kids seem to enjoy buying this one because it's a really fun figure. The deco seems to be cleaner on this release, so if you're all about the paint job, this is probably the one for you.

The figure can be taken apart (the head, arms, and legs are removable) and its parts can be switched with the Battle Droids in the two-packs currently on the market. Mix and match them to make your own freakish droid! Or don't. The main selling point for this figure is that it's configurable and actually gives C-3PO a battle function, which, nearly a decade after the announcement and non-release of the "Attack C-3PO" action figure, is something most fans probably wouldn't think about. Still, it's C-3PO, and he has a gun, so he can do more than just whine for once. If you don't have any version of this figure, you should totally get it. And if you do, well, it's up to you-- it has a nice package and the wires on his torso are painted well, so I'd buy one, although it is going to be in an upcoming Battle Pack so you'll no doubt have several more shots at it.

Collector's Notes: There are several variations of this figure. In the Saga Collection packaging, the figure is configured either with the C-3PO head on the body, or the Droid head on the body. The C-3PO head one has a "good guy" hologram, and the battle droid has a "bad guy" hologram. Also, the figure is available with blue or red holograms. As an added bonus, the figure was rereleased in Saga Collection packaging, resulting in yet another variant, this time with a coin. As far as variations on a single figure go, I believe this one has the most-- are you up to the challenge?


Day 521: October 9, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 520: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT Animated Debut
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87296
Number: 30-24
Includes: Blaster, coin, backpack, lance
Action Feature: Holster for blaster
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Holiday Special, Star Wars: Droids

Bio: The first appearance of Boba Fett was in an animation short in the Star Wars Holiday Special, whose first and only televised airing was on November 17, 1978. In the cartoon, Fett's clothing and armor are much brighter, more colorful, and much less battle-worn than how they will appear in The Empire Strikes Back. While he still wears his jet backpack, he carries a twin-pronged weapon instead of his now-trademark blaster. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: Because I love anything remotely associated with the Droids TV show, I just adore this version of Boba Fett. Technically, it's based on the infamous Holiday Special, but since they reused the same design for Droids, it'll do. The figure's mold is essentially the 2004 "Vintage" Boba Fett, but with all new forearms & hands as well as a brand new belt with a working holster. The rest of the figure's mold is pretty much the same, and even the figure's body suit is essentially the same color as the 2004 release. The figure has 16 points of articulation and meets the standards of what most fans consider "super articulated," which is, of course, a good thing.

The figure acts pretty much the same as the previously released Fett, except it also has a holster. The hands are in the same pose, but have smoother gauntlets and less detail on them. The Wookiee scalps are still present, the backpack comes off easily, the head pops right off, and the cloth cape is still cloth, except now it's brown. If the figure could benefit from anything, it would be smoother coloring (perhaps more like the upcoming Animated Boba Fett Bobble Head from Funko) with less "realistic" detail. The bumps and scrapes are OK but the silver over it seems like a bit much when you're dealing with a brightly colored figure like this one. Still, I love it, and odds are you will too.

Development Notes: At Toy Fair 2007 and in Hasbro's print ads, this figure features a completely different helmet sculpt. You can tell because the visor shape is different, and there's a little line sculpted over the visor rather than the two back-to back arrows you see there now. I have no idea at this time if we'll ever see this other mold or why it was changed, as it was pretty slick and made this figure stand out even more. The prototype/ad figure also features Boba's chest emblem, and has slightly different shoulders.

Collector's Notes: There are two versions of this figure: one has a silver coin, one has a gold coin and comes with an "Ultimate Galactic Hunt" sticker on the package along with gold foil elements. The gold one is much tougher to get.

I've opened two of these so far and have found some things you should keep an eye out for. One has a very loose waist joint, which is something you might not be able to identify until after you opened it. The other had too much dark blue on his helmet on one side, which made it look like someone smeared it with a blue Bic pen. This, you can see before you open it.


Day 520: October 8, 2007

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 519: R2-D2

R2-D2 with Extension Arm
Original Trilogy Collection Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85213 No. 85270
Number: n/a
Includes: Removable panel, gadget panel, two gadget arms
Action Feature: Removable third leg, light-up eye port, twist dome and sensorscope pops up
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2004
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: R2-D2, also known as Artoo for short, was an astromech droid, the most famous unit of the R2 series, and long time friend of Protocol droid C-3PO. Along with his resourcefulness, R2 had many tool-tipped appendages that allowed him to be a great starship mechanic and computer interface specialist. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: On the "Early Bird"/Vintage shelf.

Commentary: This one is not as "vintage" as it should have been. R2-D2 takes the packaging used in 1983 and 1984, but puts an R2-D2 figure on it that never existed in the original line. For accuracy, it should've been a recreation of the Sensorscope figure. While this figure has that feature, it doesn't pop out as much as it did in the films, and the added arms are a nice touch. The sculpt has been reused for many figures since this one, so by now you've no doubt seen it more than once and probably own it four or more times over. The figure's most notable feature is a pop-off panel that can be replaced by an "open" panel in which you can plug a claw or a data arm, both of which are excellent features. For whatever reason, all future releases of this mold had the panel glued shut-- so if you want the awesome arm action feature, you have to buy this one. The figure had the first-ever "wires" coming out of the feet, which was a nice touch, plus brought back the questionably popular metalized dome. Some love it, some hate it, but here it is.

Collector's Notes: Hasbro loves this mold, period. It's been used to make R2-R9, R5-D4, R5-J2, R5-F7. It's also been used to make the Early Bird R2-D2 of 2005, the Hoth R2-D2 from 2006, the upcoming Endor R2-D2 of 2007. It's pretty good, but the metalized dome isn't so hot-- frankly, I wish they'd do away with it, but that's what we get some times.


Day 519: October 7, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 518: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Jedi Duel
Episode I Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84073
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Although young and headstrong, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi will become one of the greatest Jedi to ever protect the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Back in 1999, fans were thrilled that Hasbro upped the ante with tons of articulation and in many cases, better sculpting and deco than we were used to. We got figures which seemed great, like this Obi-Wan Kenobi with a whopping 10 points of articulation, a display base, and a lightsaber which had multiple colors of paint on the hilt. Eight years later, it's still pretty good, and for better or worse it's probably the best Episode I-themed Kenobi for this costume Hasbro ever made. It certainly has the most articulation and the most range for poses, but it could certainly benefit from a less squared-off set of shoulders, a new head, ball joints, and of course a lightsaber hilt. The old likeness is decent, the texture is OK, and the inclusion of wrist joints-- uncommon for the time-- was pretty gosh darn cool. You probably want this figure, just because Hasbro has yet to do much better.

Collector's Notes: While fans are out there hoping for a new set of Obi-Wan Kenobi figures, like an Evolutions pack, it doesn't seem likely in the short term. While I'd flip out over super-poseable versions of this figure, the Episode II version, and a Clone Wars armor version, well, I've found it good not to get too excited for such things. Who knows what the future holds, though?


Day 518: October 6, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 517: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA Death Star Escape
Power of the Force Toys "R" Us Exclusive Cinema Scenes
Item No.:
No. 69737
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Stand, manacles
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: Summer 1997
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The Rebel Alliance has infiltrated the Galactic Empire's most powerful battle station, the Death Star! posing as stormtroopers escorting a prisoner, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca attempt a daring rescue of the captive Princess Leia. Can they escape the dreaded Death Star, or is the Rebellion about to suffer the loss of its newest heroes? (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Behold, the first-ever Cinema Scene! Featuring Luke and Han in Stormtrooper outfits as well as Chewbacca, this new product segment was both exciting and maddening all at once. The figure is basically a barely-changed version of the original 1995 Chewbacca, except his arms have been repositioned so you can "cuff" him. It's pretty cheesy, but it gets the job done. The sculpt is, in this day and age, antiquated. It doesn't have the charm of the vintage 1978 figure, nor does it have the modern flair we've all come to love. No, it's just an old figure. There are a few shades of brown to make his fur look more realistic, but when you get right down to it his waist is too small, he's too short, his head is off, and he just won't do the job right. As part of the boxed set, it's pretty cool, and as a packaged toy this item is probably worth owning. With the backdrop and scenery, it's pretty cool. As a loose figure all by his lonesome, it's not too hot. For packaging fans and completists only.

Collector's Notes: This was just the first of many versions of Chewbacca in chains in this scale. Kenner did one in 1998 based off of Jabba's Palace, and another in 2006 based on the same scene. A "Death Star Capture" Chewbacca has never been revisited outside this original release, meaning we're probably about due for a new take on this old figure.


Day 517: October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 516: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT Battle of Carkoon
Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87052
Number: 006
Includes: Stand, Flames, Blaster
Action Feature: Push down rocket for quick-drawn action
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2006
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: A fearless, cunning and ruthless bounty hunter, Boba Fett delivers the carbonite-frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, when Luke Skywalker and friends attempt to escape the jaws of the almighty Sarlac, Fett must use his rope-firing wrist gauntlet to capture the crew. His jet backpack accidentally activates and Fett rolls into the clutches of the Sarlacc, where it seems as his bounty hunter days have come to an end... (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: As the third (or fourth, if you count variants) attempt at a Carkoon-specific Boba Fett, one would assume this would be the best. It's pretty great, as it combines some good parts of older figures, adds in some good deco, and fixes an eyesore from a previous release. The overall figure is decent, but what it is in actuality is two previous figures with a new rocket in his backpack. From the waist down, the figure is the 2004 Vintage Boba Fett figure, which means it has a normal pose, ball-jointed knees, ball-jointed ankles, and normal hips. The waist joint is nothing special, and from the waist up, the figure is the 2003 (and 2004) Boba Fett with the quick-draw attack. The end result is a figure that looks good in dioramas, is a decent toy. The sculpt is good, the deco is excellent, and that little flame stand is fun to futz with-- however, if you were a die-hard collector, you more or less had the parts of which this figure is the sum. Snag it if you're a Fett fanatic, otherwise you can probably give this one a miss.

Collector's Notes: This figure shipped throughout 2006 and was not hard to get. Seeing as many fans saw it as a step back, it remains fairly easy to get for a good price, especially in light of the more collector-friendly Saga Legends version hitting stores now. It's a neat figure, but it didn't really advance the science of toys or collector-friendly figures ahead much, it just cobbled together some good parts of two toys to make a decent, but not fantastic, new toy.


Day 516: October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 515

HAN SOLO Carbonite
Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85802
Number: 002
Includes: Stand, Carbonite block, Force Pike, Bonus Holographic Figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2006
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: After Han Solo is captured by the Empire and put into carbon freeze, Boba Fett delivers his prize to Jabba the Hutt. Trapped, but in perfect hibernation, Solo is freed from carbonite by Princess Leia. Jabba, however, has other plans for Solo and orders that he and his friends be executed in the Pit of Carkoon. After a harrowing battle and a close call with the almighty Sarlacc, Solo and friends escape and set their sights on taking down the Empire. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Commentary: As one of those legendary 1980s figures that was super rare, Han Solo in Carbonite is and will always be something special to fans of the original Kenner figure line. This particular release is awesome, as all modern Carbonite figures, in that it offers something genuinely new. Not only is the figure a 100% new sculpt, but the Carbonite block is the first-ever one to be released in a mid-melting state. You can even put a light behind it and it looks like it's glowing-- it's pretty damned sweet. It's also more authentically proportioned than many other blocks, however the front panel doesn't quite fit perfectly with the rest of it, and it was not designed particularly well if you wanted the figure to be fastened inside the accessory. In a way, it's like getting two figures for the price of one because you really can't use both of them together, but then again, by themselves, each piece would be a disappointment.

The Han figure itself is notable in that it does something a lot of figures can't do, and that's to be a good toy. Han can stand, sit, turn his head, fit inside a vehicle with no problems. These are all things most modern Han figures are incapable of doing due to holster-related issues, but as this figure has no holster, he can do pretty much anything that doesn't involve bending knees. In a lot of ways, he's like a hyper-modern 1980s figure-- his shoulders and hips are very old school, as is his pose. He has a ball-jointed neck, a waist, cut elbows, and normal wrists to round out the figure, making it an excellent toy and a pretty good collectible. The texture is good, the proportions are excellent, the "muck" on his costume is pretty cool, and the only real gripe I have about him is that the head could be a smidgen better. Still, everything else is cool-- the icing on the cake would have been variants, or a pistol, but it's still a decent figure for the money.

Collector's Notes: This figure shipped throughout 2006 and had at least three major variants (plus a few others): First release had a bonus blue holographic figure, Second release had a red figure, and there's an Ultimate Galactic Hunt release that came with a silver figure. It's pretty slick. Also, it's worth noting that, to date, Hasbro has never made a Han Solo with Carbonite designed to be specifically from The Empire Strikes Back. On, and Han's pike? Very similar to the one that came with the original Barada, so you might want to lend it to other Skiff Guard figures in need... like the modern Barada.

Revisiting This Mold Notes: This part is for Hasbro, if they're reading today. You have a great mold here: so trot it out some more. A rerelease of this figure could be incorporated into Saga Legends, but with the Carbonite painted in the full-silver color. The mold itself could be altered as well-- toss a vest on this figure and you have a great Han Solo figure that can actually sit inside the canopy of the Millennium Falcon quite easily. All I'm saying is that if you're going to reissue and rehash figures anyway, there are some decent changes you could make to this one to make it fundamentally more exciting to re-buy.


Day 515: October 3, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 514: Mace Windu

MACE WINDU General of the Republic Army
Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84848
Number: #0348
Includes: Lightsaber, removable gauntlets
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Fall 2003
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: Forced by the sweeping tide of events to put aside the art of diplomacythat he favors over art of war, Mace Windu reluctantly wields his lightsaber to repel the dark forces that are undermining peace. A man of great wisdom and experience, Mace in nonetheless a skilled and formidable opponent as he is one of the best lightsaber fighters in the Jedi Order. As a General, Mace leads Clone Troopers in ground battles across the galaxy. Also an accomplished pilot, Mace takes part in space battles during the Clone Wars, piloting a Jedi Starfighter in skirmishes against the Separatist forces. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Commentary: Seemingly having "got it," Hasbro expanded the universe in 2003 by designing its own costumes for several figures during the Clone Wars, or at least enhancing other designs. Mace Windu was part of the second wave, and was quite popular at retail. And of course, why wouldn't he be? With added armor, some of the best (at the time) articulation, added armor, and appearances (more or less) in part of the biggest multimedia project of the year, he was a hit. Sure, his face didn't really look like Sam Jackson. Yeah, the leg articulation sucked and the robes prevented him from sitting down easily. The figure has ball-jointed shoulders and elbows, plus one of the first-ever ball-jointed necks. Sure, it kinda sucked-- but it was significant, dadgummit. If you take off the figure's removable gauntlets, you're left with an above-average sculpt with decent articulation that almost looks like he could have come straight out of the movies, plus he comes with the first-ever purple Windu lightsaber with a plastic grip. (Look it up.) This is feeling like a very schizo entry, but since this figure is both awesome and awful all at once, that seems to be fitting. For fans of the films, you can skip this, but for lovers of unique toys, you can't miss this.

Collector's Notes: Like many Clone Wars figures, this one never saw a second release-- after 2003, he was gone forever. There's no good reason to reissue him given the unusual armor on his outfit, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him-- or parts of him-- again somewhere.


Day 514: October 2, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 513: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Star Wars: Republic
30th Anniversary Collection Comic Book Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87519
Number: #07
Includes: Alternate head, lightsaber, ARC Trooper Alpha, comic book
Action Feature: Swap head for capture mask
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Summer 2007
Appearances: Several Star Wars Comic Books 2002-present

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi is sent to the rain-soaked world of Jabiim, where the war is going badly for the Republic forces. The AT-AT walkers are mired in mud, the opposition leader eludes capture, and much-needed reinforcements will not arrive in time. With the support of the ARC trooper Alpha and Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan launches a major attack... but will it be the last battle he ever fights? (Taken from the cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Taking a cue from its G.I. Joe range, Hasbro finally introduced the comic book plus figure set to a galaxy far, far away. For most of the first two waves, though, the products were redecorated figures or flat-out repaints, leading to some unique designs like this Obi-Wan Kenobi figure based on the Clone Wars. The figure itself uses a body and legs from a 2002 release, but adds soft goods, retools the belt, adds new arms, a new head, and a new robe. The end result is a figure that's practically all-new and super-articulated. Sure, the hard cloak keeps him from sitting, but it also helps him stay standing in any Jedi kicking duels you might be setting up. The figure's sculpt is top-notch, with wonderful textures throughout his garments and the kind of articulation you wouldn't expect as part of a value priced two-pack. As an added bonus, you can swap his head with the "prisoner hood" head included or with the head of the 2005 Obi-Wan Kenobi from which this figure was designed. A little head swapping made easy never hurt nobody, and it makes this good figure even better.

Collector's Notes: Very easy to get and priced right, this is a can't-miss figure. It's packaged with a Clone ARC Trooper named Alpha, which has a removable helmet and is also essentially super-articulated. For the price, you won't do better, and I can't say I expect Hasbro to ever do a better non-armored Clone Wars version of General Kenobi. If you like the Clone Wars premise, you absolutely need to own this comic pack.


Day 513: October 1, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 512: Darktrooper

DARKTROOPER Expanded Universe/Fan's Choice #1
Power of the Force Expanded Universe
Item No.:
Asst. 85205 No. 84753
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster rifle, Removable Backpack
Action Feature: Positionable jets on pack
Retail: $5.99-$6.99
Availability: December 1998 & September 2007-present
Appearances: Dark Forces, Empire at War, Star Wars Tales

Bio: The goal of the darktrooper project was to create better battle droids. These "super stormtroopers" were used against the Rebels after the Battle of Yavin, but the project came to an end when an Alliance mercenary destroyed the production facility. (Taken from the Saga Legends Cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray. On the left: 1998 release. On the right: 2007 release.

Commentary: In 1998, Kenner ended its "Kenner Collection"-branded sub-line with a bang bringing fans nine never-before-made characters (and outfits) from the Expanded Universe. The final wave proved to be very difficult to find in many markets, making figures like this Darktrooper nearly instant-collectible status which reduced the discussion on the quality of the figure and changed the focus to "so, who's seen this thing?" Overall, the figure is a perfect example of how figures were in those days, except bigger. The robot has six points, the neck is a little stiff, plus a removable flight pack with shoulder pads that don't always stay put where you want them. He's very tall and very wide, and quite cool to look at. Modern fans and picky fans may not appreciate the limited articulation, but this was the first Star Wars villain and trooper to be made from exclusively video game appearances.

Compared to the 3D renderings from Lucasarts, the figure is pretty much spot on other than the lack of metallic shiny car paint. The armor is big and bulky, the hands are huge, and there's a fair amount of paint coloring to make the figure look a little more menacing, although Hasbro could stand to redecorate the mold to look a little closer to the game appearances and, dare I say it, more "real." It's still quite good and an excellent trooper, and Hasbro can't really improve on the sculpt much outside of making the backpack fit better and adding articulation, so you might as well go out and buy several to torture Rebel forces across the galaxy. Nine years after its release, I finally got my army up to two of them.

Collector's Notes: A personal note: the 1998 Darktrooper was the only modern carded non-exclusive action figure I never, not once, saw in the wilds of retail. (I saw its casemate, the Spacetrooper, once.) For this reason, I'm pretty stoked they brought it back, but both versions are worth snagging. The 1998 POTF2 version has a pop-out display built into its packaging based on a first-person view of Kyle Katarn in the game Dark Forces. As a game collectible nerd and a Star Wars fiend, I consider this to be the absolutely single most awesome pack-in/packaging gimmick ever created by a toy company on any toy line. EVER. (Bring it back, Hasbro.) The 2007 version lacks this pop-up diorama, but it does feature an exclusive gold coin representing the Expanded Universe, showcasing Durge, Aurra Sing, and a third character I have a hard time identifying. It might be Thrawn. Either way, you're going to want the coin, and if you're cool, you want the diorama too. And don't tell me you aren't cool.

The figure was changed slightly between releases: original release's feet say "KENNER CHINA" and "© 1998 LFL" while the new release has "HASBRO CHINA" and "© 2007 LFL." The sculpts are unchanged and the deco is nearly identical-- the 2007 release's paint seems a little smoother, but it could just be our 1998 sample wasn't perfect.

The action figure design (and another toy or two) were seemingly used as models for the Star Wars Tales #4 story "Sand Blasted," in which case a Darktrooper winds up on Tatooine and is battled by some of Jabba's swoop gang members. The cardback of the Saga Legends release features art from this comic.

A final note: the figure's 2007 release has a big sticker on it reading "Fan's Choice #1." What the packaging doesn't tell you is that the figure's status as grand plastic poobah means it was voted as the #1 most-wanted figure in a bracket voting tourney hosted by the mighty Curto at Rebelscum, a fan site that you probably already read at least three times a day. As of now, all releases of the figure include the gold sticker and gold coin, making this the only non-"Ultimate Galactic Hunt" figure to include a gold coin. Oh, and the coin itself is notable because none of the three figures on it are really in circulation outside of Aurra in a Battle Pack rerelease.


Day 512: September 30, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 511: Clone Trooper Lieutenant (Blue)

CLONE TROOPER Lieutenant
Clone Wars Wal-Mart Bonus Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 85205 No. 84753
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster rifle, Anakin figure (with his gear)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.96
Availability: September 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars

Bio: Clone troopers were identical, genetically-modified soldiers bred and trained to serve in the Republic's army during the conflict that came to be known as the Clone Wars. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Back in 2003, there weren't many Clone Trooper action figures to be had, so this one was a real treat. By taking the (at the time) most articulated Clone Trooper on the market, Hasbro whipped up a plan for surefire success. With this Lieutenant (and two others), Hasbro created Wal-Mart exclusive "double" packs that basically stuck together two basic carded figures for $4.96. So you got a Clone, and another figure, for dirt freaking cheap. Since we were all starved for Clones, this proved quite exciting, as the value was (and still is) unmatched making it the deal of the year. Two newly released and exclusive figures for five bucks? You'll never see that again.

This figure was the one of the first-ever blue Lieutenant figures, which made it quite exciting. Your white and blue friend here had articulation at the shoulders, wrists, elbows (swivel), waist, hips, neck, and knees. So 12 joints was pretty cool, but nothing compared to the super-articulated sculpt we'd get just months later. The figure's construction is nothing spectacular, although it's worth noting that the white plastic used in some figures during 2002 and 2003 was prone to discoloration via a weird film that would grow on the figure-- this can often be wiped off, but not always. It isn't "yellowing" but some other oddball process I've seen on clone figures, Padme, and at least one R2-D2. A little water and a paper towel can fix the discolored helmet and arms easily, but for fans of packaged figures, well, that's just the way it's going to be. Kudos to Hasbro for seemingly since having found a better grade of white plastic, as discolored troop builders makes the hobby seem like a bit of a waste. Still, it's unfortunate that the materials used had to suck. Oh, and the visor is nicely glossy. I really like that. Hopefully we'll see more glossy visors on Clones as I don't care for the matte ones so much.

Collector's Notes: This was one of the exclusives that I turned tracking down into a holy quest, and even then, I only saw them twice. (And yes, one time I bought the whole freaking case. Sue me. You'd have done it too.) Surprisingly, the figures never really shot up in value. I don't generally set expectations for the secondary market but the fact these often had times struggling to sell for $10 surprises me-- the set in and of itself is totally worth $10. You get two figures, that's a $10 value, right? Apparently not.


Day 511: September 29, 2007