Monday, April 30, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 359: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER and Landspeeder
Saga Toys "R" Us Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 32511
Number: n/a
Includes: Rifle, Landspeeder
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Summer 2002
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Oh screw it, you know who Luke is at this point.

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: It's a new figure, and it isn't-- this is one of those figures on the edge of what constitutes "new." Luke Skywalker is made from the 1998 "Flashback" Floppy Hat Luke, but has a different waist piece (no hook for binoculars), a newly decorated rifle, and the plastic is different from previous releases. As such, this goes under "just different enough to make you mad." He has a sort of a ball jointed neck, articulated wrists and elbows, and the joints you'd normally expect from Hasbro. So it's good, but not great. He can't sit as well as you'd like due to the "skirt" piece, but the figure itself is almost inconsequential-- the 100% brand new sculpt Landspeeder is why you want to buy this. It looks a lot like the older ones, but it's completely redone and has lots of new bits and pieces I was surprised to see when I first got it. The figure is basically a bonus, and actually isn't a bad Luke-- it just isn't great or particularly stunning, either, just a new flavor of an old figure you likely have in some capacity.

Collector's Notes: You don't need this figure, but it isn't bad. The production values are strong, the deco is good, so it's probably worth tracking down because you want the landspeeder anyway. (Trust me, you do.) If you don't do vehicles or aren't concerned about complete sets, you can pass this one and not worry about having missed anything.


Day 359: April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 358: Royal Guard

ROYAL GUARD Senate Security
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 85714 No. 85295
Number: III-23
Includes: Blaster pistol, rifle, display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith

Bio: The Royal Guard is Coruscant's most elite security force. During his rise to power, Palpatine seized control of all senate security, consolidating the blue senate guard and his own crimson personal guard under his direct authority. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves. And yes, that's the original clear rubber band-- I figured since I had a bunch of them, may as well leave a few on.

Commentary: While it's technically a senate guard or a Coruscant guard, this Royal Guard was one of the most extreme examples of putting two figures under a single item number-- both this figure and the red Royal Guard shared the same packaging, product numbers, and so forth, making it much harder to track them at retail. I mean, how can you tell which one is the stronger seller when they both have the same item numbers? But anyway. The figure is excellent, and is as close to super-articulated as you can probably get without being super-articulated. The helmet is hard to move (by design), and the figure has ball-jointed knees and shoulders, with swivel elbows, wrists, and waist. So if you don't count the head, this figure has 9 meaningful points of articulation. Due to his design, he can easily sit down with his cloth cape, sitting in vehicles, engaging in action poses, and so forth. This figure works both as a great collectible in that it's an authentic recreation of the design, and as a toy, because it can, well, sit, stand, and hold his weapons-- something a lot of figures need to work a little harder at perfecting.

The figure's rifle looks great. His tiny pistol is the same as a Biker Scout's, and it can fit into his holster. Sadly, the figure has no pike or other ranged weapon-- but it's not so much sadly for this figure as it is for his red counterpart, which we'll review later. Overall, this is one of my favorite figures, in part because of the design but also because you saw them in action in the cartoons. You should absolutely own one or two of these, I bought several myself and don't regret it at all.

Collector's Notes: Every part of the figure, save for the head, was redecorated for a red version of the guard. Also, this figure's body was eventually reused for Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax, as well as the yet-to-be-released Shadow Guard. If you like the character, be sure to check out Volume 2 of Clone Wars-- these guards and a bunch of white Clone Troopers saw tons of action while fighting General Grievous, whereas you probably wouldn't notice them in the movie.



Day 358: April 29, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 357: C-3PO

C-3PO Tatooine Escape
Saga Collection Ultra Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84716 No. 84714
Number: n/a
Includes: Escape pod
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Winter 2004
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: When Princess Leia's consular vessel was attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer, the fussy and worry-prone C-3PO was plunged into the center of a Rebel battle. The princess stored vital Rebel information in R2-D2's memory systems, unbeknownst to C-3PO. Then R2-D2 took it upon himself to complete Leia's failed mission, though C-3PO knew nothing of the details. Fleeing the crippled vessel in an escape pod, the two droids landed on the desert planet Tatooine, where they fell into the hands of the Jawas and were hunted by Imperial Stormtroopers. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: I like this version of C-3PO because it reminds me of an obscure vintage variant-- you see, in the late 1980s, the vintage line was released in Brazil but they changed some figures and recolored others. C-3PO got this weird gold color treatment and I always thought it was really cool. (Never did buy it, because at the time it cost a whopping $35, which was about $33 more than I was used to spending on a figure.) But I digress. This unique C-3PO figure was based on the Episode II deluxe version where you could pop off his limbs and swap them with those of a Battle Droid, except a few molding changes were made and, obviously, it was given this unusual Trilogy-based paint job. I believe this is the only modern C-3PO action figure from the Trilogy to not use shiny vac-metal gold paint, which makes this figure superbly unique in a sea of what must be close to a dozen versions of the fussy robot.

The figure has five points of articulation, and every moving limb including the head can be easily popped off. This is cool, but the really cool thing is that it includes an Escape Pod from the Blockade Runner. It's like getting a small bonus vehicle, and at the original $10 price tag, this is an extra awesome item-- I mean, it's the freaking Escape Pod. That's just cool. Plus you can still get it for about $10 before shipping-- that's not bad, I gotta say.

Collector's Notes: Because it technically includes a vehicle, this is a must-buy figure for all collectors wanting a diverse selection of accessories. It's a pity that Hasbro has shied away from $10 figures with mondo accessories, but hey, at least we got a few awesome releases like this figure. Here's hoping for a reissue-- it's one of Hasbro's more fun toy figures from the past few years. This is a pretty good can't-miss figure for the money which, as of now, seems to be in no danger of being reissued any time soon.


Day 357: April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 356: Sandtrooper

SANDTROOPER Yes, the box says Stormtrooper
Revenge of the Sith Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 85553 No. 87050
Number: n/a
Includes: Pauldron, backpack, belt, rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The evolution of the galaxy's most powerful army is captured in these figures! The clone troopers fight for the Republic, to try and save the galaxy from chaos. But secret plans change their loyalties, and they help the evil forces of the Sith to take control! No longer known as clone troopers, they are now stormtroopers, the loyal soldiers of the Emperor, enforcing his harsh will throughout the galaxy! (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: This Sandtrooper is a great figure-- and yes, it's called a "Stormtrooper" on the box. But it's a Sandtrooper, and a good one-- Hasbro took special care to make sure it wasn't merely a Stormtrooper with sand crap on it, but rather a brand new sculpt with a new pose and a new helmet. You see, Stormtroopers' lenses are usually convex-- they're rounded. Sandtroopers are typically given flatter lenses, and this figure tries to capture this distinction. I give big points for this, because in 2006, we got a Sandtrooper that was merely a Stormtrooper with crap thrown on it, and in 2007, one of our Stormtroopers was this Sandtrooper, but without the gunk and gear. So Hasbro is fully aware of how to do these figures right, and this is an example of that.

The figure is almost super-poseable. There's no waist joint, but everything else is as perfect as you might expect. His hands are a little small for his giant gun, though. Still, just look at this guy-- he's filthy! He's the dirtiest trooper yet, and as such, that's a solid reason to track down a few. If it had a waist joint, it'd be as close as we'll likely ever get to perfection-- but as it is, you owe it to yourself to buy one. It's fun, it looks good, and it's about as good looking as a figure like this can get.

Collector's Notes: This is the second release of this mold-- the first had an orange shoulder pad and shipped in two different "dirt" deco variants. Custom-happy fans can also use the various Sandtroopers from 2005-2007 to easily swap parts, making your own unique combinations of rank and dirt and so on. All you gotta do is pop off the head, and blammo, instant army. This figure is supposed to be rereleased in the Saga Legends line this year-- the first version should look exactly like this one, and the second should be, according to Hasbro, less dirty.


Day 356: April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 355: Mace Windu

MACE WINDU Chancellor's Office
Revenge of the Sith Battle Arenas
Item No.:
Asst. 85241 No. 85438
Number: n/a
Includes: Display stand base, Darth Sidious figure
Action Feature: Dueling action, sort of
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Mace Windu served the Jedi Order his entire life. He also trained numerous Jedi. It was Master Windu who led 212 Jedi into combat at the Battle of Geonosis and defeated the deadly bounty hunter Jango Fett. He served the Republic throughout the Clone Wars, often on the frontlines of fierce fighting. During a duel with Darth Sidious, Mace Windu was betrayed by Anakin Skywalker and subsequently killed by Sidious. His death marked the beginning of the Great Jedi Purge. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' vehicle shelves.

Commentary: Despite appearing in three films, several cartoon episodes, and many a comic book, Mace Windu doesn't have a lot of outfit changes. Still, this doesn't matter-- Samuel L. Jackson is crazy popular in the 20something fan demographic, and kids love him too. As such, he gets lots of figures, and in 2005 received several different releases at various price points. This particular one came from a $19.99 Battle Arena, in which you get two figures with, at best, about four points of articulation and a giant unnecessary "dueling base" for a whopping $20. Considering a basic figure was about $5.25, this is a little ridiculous and these arenas tended to be weak sellers, seen on clearance at some stores well into 2006.

Of course, money aside, the figure isn't bad. The sculpt is decent, and the face paint, while cheap looking, is more authentic than the basic Revenge of the Sith Mace Windu. If you need a figure for a display, this isn't a bad choice-- he stands up nicely, has a good pose, and can stay in said pose for long periods of time due to the fact he has virtually no articulation that will merit your re-posing him. The textures are good, the sculpt is good, overall this wouldn't have been a bad figure for $5 or so in the stores if you could get past the lack-of-articulation. At low prices, this is a keeper-- but your average fan would be best served buying another Mace Windu figure as a toy. This one, ironically, is best for looks despite being designed as a figure intended for rough dueling action. Note his lightsaber-- it's molded to his hand so he can "fight" better.

Collector's Notes: This is what we call, in the business, a "stinker." Online stores still have leftovers from 2005, as do some Wal-Marts and other less clearance-happy chains. If you want one at retail, you can probably still get one. I don't advise you shell out more than $20 shipped for it, but hey, who am I to judge fans of this fine actor? He deserved better, and frequently got better. This one just isn't fun to play with, sadly.


Day 355: April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 354: Airborne Trooper

AIRBORNE TROOPER Clone
30th Anniversary Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87239
Number: 3007
Includes: Rifle, Helmet, Purse, Pistol
Action Feature: Removable helmet
Retail: $6.99
Availability: March 2007
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi attacks General Grievous and his droid army on Utapau with the assistance of the Parjai Squad, 2nd Airborne Company, part of the Commander Cody's 212th Attack Battalion. The clone troopers descend upon the droid armies and decimate them while Obi-Wan dispatches Grievous, ending the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: We weren't sure what this Clone was when we first saw it. A medic? A specialist? Well, we eventually got the name of Airborne Trooper and that didn't exactly help specify their function too much since we didn't see them doing too much in the air. But hey, it looks cool, and that's what matters, right? The mold has been repainted a few times, but started life as the Evolutions Clone Trooper from 2005. With new bandoliers, waist coats, and helmets, you get a new figure. Plus, this one has a retooled shoulder, making it more than different enough to qualify as a new figure, especially as it has had more changes than your average Clone Trooper. (Which, for the record, is paint.) So it's a good one-- the waist coat gets in the way of him sitting down, so even though this figure was designed with intense articulation, his accessories will prevent you from taking advantage of this. But you probably don't care, the only pushing most fans need to get a Clone Trooper figure is to find out that it exists.

Collector's Notes: This figure was sold in 2006 in purple as "Clone Commander" in a Target exclusive Battle Pack based on Mace Windu. In 2007, another version of this mold was released with blue markings for the Target Order 66 packs. It's the understanding of fans that the mold was originally meant to be this figure, orange, but exclusive needs accelerated the release of the purple one. This orange Airborne Trooper will be right at home with Clone Commander Cody, the Utapau orange Clone Trooper, and the Order 66 orange AT-RT Driver. (Oh, and the Utapau Shadow Trooper, but that one isn't orange.)


Day 354: April 25, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 353: Combat Engineer Clone Trooper

COMBAT ENGINEER Clone Trooper
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87348
Number: 068
Includes: Blaster, Helmet, Display Stand
Action Feature: Removable helmet
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Late 2006
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Combat engineer troopers are assigned to armored divisions with heavy artillery units such as HAVw-"Juggernaut" turbo tanks, SPHA-T mobile turbolasers, and other massive war machines. Part of the 38th Armored Division, Combat Engineer Battalion, they are sent anywhere armored ground support is needed during the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: While fans love Clone Troopers, some aren't exactly thrilling-- like this Combat Engineer Clone Trooper. Sure, it's super-poseable and based off of the Evolutions mold we love so much. And yeah, it has a removable helmet, plus is based off of concept art most fans liked. But we got this guy's deco in an exclusive three-pack at Wal-Mart from 2005-- this is just the first one with any real decent articulation. There's nothing wrong with this figure, it's just very "been there, done that." There's no battle damage, the belt (cribbed from another mold) is still upside-down, and it's just... there. It's not bad, but what can you say about a figure that fails so totally to introduce something new, fresh, and exciting to a sub-line devoted to repaints? The sad thing is that this would have been a thrilling figure if we had vehicles that required his services as outlined on the figure's cardback. Sure, this would be an awesome support unit figure in a Turbo Tank, or a SPHA-T, or... anything. Since 2002, we've received over unique 100 Clone Trooper figures, with only Republic Gunships, ARC-170 Fighters, and V-Wings for them to really call home. While it's fun to assemble a grand little army, the army's going to need something to do, or at least, somewhere to sit.

Collector's Notes: Clone collecting is crazy popular, but this figure could've used a little more oomph. A new gun. A helmet rack. Something. The figure, so far, has sold very well but that's probably because it's really hard to find.


Day 353: April 24, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 352: Officer Cass

OFFICER CASS Bureaucrat
The Saga Collection Diamond Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87268
Number: n/a
Includes: Imperial Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: January 2007
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: As a high-level communications officer, Cass is entrusted with the most sensitive information and communications between the Death Star and Imperial command. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: For years, fans have begged Hasbro for more Imperial officer action figures-- and it's quite surprising to see this one. Not because "Hasbro listened," but because Hasbro would produce a character that nobody could have possibly asked for like Officer Cass. He doesn't even have a real rank-- someone had to cop out and use "officer." Other figures in the set had a little more fame-- Darth Vader and Tarkin need no introduction. Tagge and Motti had lines in the movie. Bast had a hat. Even Colonel Wulff Yularen gained fame as a CCG character in the Decipher game from a few years ago. But Cass? Well, even the picture on the back of the box is grainy, pixel-prone, and essentially "crappy." But he got a figure-- that's no small feat given that since 1977, Kenner and Hasbro combined have only made about three Imperial Officer figures with a real name, and all of those were released in 1997-2000. (That is, until the Saga Collection gave us this box as well as Moff Jerjerrod and General Veers.) But enough of that-- how's the figure?

Officer Cass is a decent release. Given that it's hard to find a good, clear picture of his rank, it's not too surprising that the figure's pin isn't exactly 100% right. It's not like any but the most anal fans will notice (and yes, this is meant as a compliment.) The figure is a mishmash of the new and the old, with an all-new head, a retooled Moff Jerjerrod torso along with the Moff's arms and Admiral Ozzel's legs. So it's new enough, basically-- I come from the school that new head + new paint = new figure. This is easily the least exciting figure in the box just because, well, he has no real character to speak of. Sure, he may have been mentioned in the novelization, but unlike other Imperials he never really got a decent backstory. For example, the vast House of Tagge, or the whole (and arguably now worthless) Maw Installation. Still, this is a good enough figure-- your Stormtroopers need someone to order them around, and this grey suited old man is as good as any other.

Collector's Notes: This is the first and probably last figure based on this character. With this gift set, Hasbro essentially said "here's your damn officers, now shut up and leave us alone." Well, maybe not quite that harsh, but you get the idea. There are a few Imperial Officials that fans know by name left to do, like Commander Praji or Lieutenant Sheckil. The latter of which, of course, was an Imperial Officer played by Jeremy "Boba Fett" Bulloch in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo from The Empire Strikes Back.


Day 352: April 23, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 351: Clone Commander

CLONE COMMANDER ARC Trooper
Revenge of the Sith Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 85553 No. 87050
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 pistols, rifle, belt, waistcoat, helmet, pauldron
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: n/a

Bio: The evolution of the galaxy's most powerful army is captured in these figures! The clone troopers fight for the Republic, to try and save the galaxy from chaos. But secret plans change their loyalties, and they help the evil forces of the Sith to take control! No longer known as clone troopers, they are now stormtroopers, the loyal soldiers of the Emperor, enforcing his harsh will throughout the galaxy! (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: When Hasbro introduced this figure (and explained it to me), they said that this Clone Commander was decorated in a style meant to be a ROTS-style ARC Trooper. Since it isn't in the movies, OK, sure, I'll buy that. The end result is a very good figure, and one that's quite customizable. The pauldron is removable and you can swap the waistcoat for the belt, creating a grey "Coruscant" Clone Trooper-- so you're going to want to get two or more of these guys so you can have them in both configurations. The articulation is great, the helmet is removable, and well, there's very little to complain about. OK, the helmet is a smidge big. But hey, that's not enough to gripe about-- the end product is lots of fun and lets collectors re-create the figure, and these are both very good things. Kudos, Hasbro.

Collector's Notes: Fans love this figure. So much, in fact, that it's getting reissued in Wave 3 of Saga Legends this year, on an individual package, for $7-- although it's not yet known if it will include the spare belt and other extras, or if the guns will be in gunmetal grey (like the Evolutions release) or black (like all the rest). Fans voted on this one, proving that while we are a clone-crazy fan base, at least we have good taste in troopers. (For the record, he'll be 1 per case in at least 3 assortments-- and likely many more.)


Day 351: April 22, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 350: Power Droid

POWER DROID GNK & Treadwell Droid
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85971
Number: 014
Includes: Display base, treadwell droid, removable sensor array, sexy droid belly chain
Action Feature: Push button for "walking" action
Retail: $6.99
Availability: February 2006
Appearances: Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Power droids are among the most common droids in the galaxy. Both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire make use of these droids to supply power to all types of technology. During the Battle of Hoth, power droids are used to power up the Rebel Alliance's snowspeeders so that they can engage the invading enemy ground forces in battle. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: It's a battery with feet. The Power Droid is a super-dumb character but a brilliant idea-- why not make a battery that can walk over to where it needs to be? It's a genius idea, sadly unexploited on screen and in the toys. They could totally make vehicles and playsets designed to have this little guy plug in to them and activate action features, or just generally look cool-- which this figure certainly does. Based on a figure from 1999, this Power Droid takes the original sculpt of the POTF2 release and adds a sensor array "hat" and a "belly chain" while working in new paint and coloration to result in a figure that is, for all intents and purposes, new. His companion is a redecorated Treadwell Droid from Aunt Beru, and it's not exactly significantly different-- he's brighter and more metallic. Combined, the set is a great addition for any diorama fan's collection, and it just looks nifty. There's really no reason to not buy this one unless you don't like droids, and if you don't like droids, the problem isn't the figure.

Collector's Notes: This figure was shortpacked in early 2006, and shipped later in the year seemingly satisfying demand in most markets. As such, he's not super-easy to get but you might find some in the odd drugstore or the Target less traveled. The two droids are worth the seven bucks if you don't have any other versions, and even if you do, they're still fun. You can never get enough Hoth droids. It appears a third version of the figure is coming in a gift set in the future-- but details on this item's release are still a little scarce.


Day 350: April 21, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 349: AT-RT Driver

AT-RT DRIVER Missile-Firing Blaster
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85664
Number: III-54
Includes: Blaster, firing launcher, projectile, "damaged" armor
Action Feature: Firing Blaster is big enough to bludgeon most large housepets
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Specially trained Clone Troopers operate AT-RTs (All Terrain Recon Transports) on patrol and reconnaissance missions across the jungle terrain of the planet Kashyyyk. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray. Pictured with the Elite Corps Trooper, Kashyyyk Trooper, and Commander Gree.

Commentary: Some scenarios have been treated better than others when it comes to toys-- Hasbro seems particularly keen on Kashyyyk, for example, with figures like this AT-RT Driver, a nicely articulated plaything and a bit of a surprise considering a "dedicated" pilot was included with the AT-RT vehicle rendering a separate figure somewhat unnecessary. Still, I'm quite pleased this figure exists-- mostly. The figure itself is great. You get all the articulation you've come to expect from a Clone, except the waist is a normal joint and not anything vaguely ball-joint-y. He even has snap-on "damaged" armor for his chest, so he can look... well, frankly fat. But fat and battle-worn. Depending on your dioramas it looks like it might be pretty good, and it is a fun added action feature.

The figure has some nifty accessories. Some aren't so nifty though-- sure, that snap-on armor is a neat idea. The firing blaster, though, is about as large as the figure itself-- it's ridiculous. He can't even barely hold it. At least if they made it like a bazooka it might look vaguely natural carrying it, the weapon is so large that it's essentially the biggest and goofiest accessory since the POTF2 TIE Fighter Pilot's larger rifle was made in 1996. Sure, it fires, but it's not exactly sized for this scale of figure. The other blaster-- the one that doesn't fire-- is pretty cool and designed to be worn over his shoulder. However, if the figure actually holds the weapon, the strap... sort of levitates funny. It just doesn't look good. So if you keep the small rifle over his shoulder and the big one in the junk drawer, you'll be fine.

Collector's Notes: This figure was pretty popular in 2005 as it provided fans with yet another trooper to buy en masse. It was so popular that Hasbro invented a couple more color schemes for it-- an all-white version in 2006 and an orange Utapau-themed version in 2007. Both are pretty awesome. They both drop the large firing rocket, but the orange version tweaked the smaller blaster to drop the shoulder strap-- an improvement, if you ask me, so now he can actually hold the thing without looking like he's in some anti-gravity field. Anyway, the original one is still arguably the best, so if you see the Kashyyyk version featured here for a fair price, buy one or two. It's a nice addition to your Kashyyyk forces. I will say, though, that it would be very nice to see Hasbro re-release and/or retool the AT-RT so we have some more vehicles for these brave pilots.


Day 349: April 20, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 348: Galactic Marine

GALACTIC MARINE Order 66
30th Anniversary Collection Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87356 No. 87358
Number: 2 of 6
Includes: Backpack, helmet, blaster (and Mace Windu)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: March 2007
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Mace Windu puts aside his diplomatic mantle to lend his skill as a powerful Jedi warrior during the Clone Wars. He leads a regiment of Galactic Marine clone troopers into battle to stop the Separatist invasions on several worlds. (Taken from the set's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo studio for 16bit.com. Seen photographed with R4-M6, Clone Trooper, Mace Windu, Clone Commander, and more Clones. To date, beyond Mace, Jedi Master Windu has also been granted one Droid and three unique styles of Clone Trooper.

Commentary: Hasbro has been extremely liberal about what is and isn't movie-related and how it's labeled. And when it comes to the Clone Wars, it's even harder to discern-- in the case of this Galactic Marine, though, it seems that this particular configuration of trooper has made zero appearances anywhere outside this product. Not that this is a bad thing-- one of the really fun things Hasbro has done with Star Wars since the saga has (more or less) ended on the big screen has been developing little threads into larger toy sub-lines. Take Mace Windu. In the movies, he had a purple lightsaber-- and this has been extrapolated to give the character a purple Starfighter in the Clone Wars cartoons with a matching astromech droid. Hasbro decided to make toys of these items and, as an added bonus, some Clone Troopers too. So if you like the idea of Hasbro saying "hey, this is a good character, let's give him a big fat squad of toys" it would seem you're in luck. And if not... well, too bad.

So what's the deal with this guy? Well, Hasbro had the mold for the 2007 Galactic Marine (the Mygeeto/Bacara/Ki-Adi-Mundi deco) and said "hey, we can repaint this." And a bunch of other people said "yeah, that's a good idea." The mold is basically brand new and most fans haven't even had the chance to get the first version of it yet, so to have two versions of the mold on the market within days is either really exciting or really annoying. I for one dig it-- although it is a bit of a shame that the figure wasn't sold individually or in some way to buy more than one easily. I'm not saying I want a dozen of them, but two or three would've been nice.

The articulation is good-- he's technically super-poseable but his kama/waistcoat prevents him from sitting or kneeling, really. He can stand and aim and not too much else-- which is a pity as Clone Troopers should be a bit more action-oriented toys that can pilot ships or lay down the smack on Separatists. This guy can just stand there, and look good, which means he should be a much beloved figure by the bulk of the adult fan base.

Collector's Notes: This figure is brand freaking new-- as of the day I wrote this, I've had mine for less than a week. I haven't exactly seen many of them in my travels yet, but it's not too hard to find. Since Hasbro and Target are pricing these exclusive repaint 2-packs at fairly... fair prices, we don't expect them to be particularly common-- so don't hesitate too much.

This is not a Snowtrooper. It's a Galactic Marine. It just looks a lot like a Snowtrooper. The Galactic Marine armor was colored pretty much entirely in white in the comics and served under Commander Keller, who was basically a redecorated Airborne trooper with some cloth robes and a hood for some reason. They served on the cold world of Toola under Kai Hudorra before Order 66 kicked in and gave us all a reason to buy action figures in Order 66 boxes which, as far as I can tell, had absolutely nothing to do with Order 66. Still, this new purple Galactic Marine is a worthy addition to any Clone Army and certainly makes your squad of purple Clones look a little bit awesomer.


Day 348: April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 347: Max Rebo

MAX REBO Max Rebo Band Pairs
Power of the Force Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 69670 No. 84021
Number: 3 of 3
Includes: Red Ball Organ, Doda Bodonawieedo
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi and one episode of Droids

Bio: Max Rebo was a popular musician and head member of the Max Rebo Band. He was a skinny Ortolan, the youngest of five children. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Perfect, he is not-- but he's darned good. Max Rebo sparks a lot of debate because how he's depicted as a toy and elsewhere-- some people say that the original plan was for the character, in Return of the Jedi to not have legs, what you see in the organ is the whole alien. Others don't like the diaper. I like him just the way he is. Max can be easily removed from the keyboard, and if the keyboard itself were a little better, we might never need to ask for a reissue of this little guy. It turns out it's missing the big "gramophone" speaker on the side, just like the 1983 version, so what you have here is a very good-- but incomplete-- representation of Max Rebo. The figure is pretty much as good as you're likely to get him, but if Hasbro ever reissues this figure, it'd be nice to see the keyboard painted up a little with a new sculpted speaker on the side. (And give us a new old Sy Snootles while you're at it, too.)

Collector's Notes: Apparently Max Rebo's "Expanded Universe" name is "Siiruulian Phantele", or, oh ho ho, "blue elephant." I like the fact that everybody has a backstory but can we keep the cheap jokes out, please? This nifty figure hasn't been reissued and isn't exactly worth a small fortune because online seller Entertainment Earth bought up a large number of these and was selling them through some point in 2006. He's totally worth buying, though.


Day 347: April 18, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 346: Lushros Dofine

LUSHROS DOFINE Battle of Coruscant
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85940
Number: 023
Includes: Datapad, console, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Spring 2006
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: The Separatist flagship titled The Invisible Hand was originally commissioned for the Neimodian Separatist leader Nute Gunray. Darth Sidious later orders the ship and the crew to serve General Grievous, the new leader of the droid armies. Lushros Dofine, an esteemed captain, pilots the general's flagship and obeys Grievous' every command. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Behold! The real stinker of 2006. The figure isn't bad, but Lushros Dofine was a figure that reminds me of an amusing quotation from The Simpsons that goes something like this: "The politics of failure have failed. It is time to make them work again." In 1999, Hasbro released 2 Neimoidian figures which, while excellent figures, sold poorly. In 2002, they put out another one. It, too, sat around. In 2003, another one was put in a multipack-- and guess what? The multipacks ended up on closeout. Oh, and in 2005? Hasbro made two Neimoidians, a Commander and a Soldier, and those could be had for less than a buck if you waited long enough. There was even a holographic Nute Gunray slated for production that never came out. These guys are cursed.

It's a bit of a pity because, as I said, this isn't a bad figure. The sculpt is great. For a robed figure, its articulation is about as good as can be expected. He's even got a really big hat. The paint is good, the sculpt is fantastic, the accessories are great-- so what went wrong? Hasbro didn't make too many, actually they haven't shipped any in quite some time. (The figure was removed from the assortments fairly quickly, never making it to the "red holographic figure" transition of wave 5-- and this figure shipped in wave 4.) Today, in many stores, you can still find pegs of this figure that nobody wants to buy. It's unfortunate because it's a good example of how Hasbro can make an excellent figure, but it seems that character wasn't taken into consideration. This figure really can't do much-- in the movie, he stood around and complained a little. There's no vehicle or playset he can go with on the market. Heck, the whole Invisible Hand sequence is actually pretty lacking in toys-- sure, there's a few, but hardly enough to entice people to buy lesser characters like this one. Maybe if we had more interesting Battle Droids, a playset, or some other thing for this guy to interact with-- he stands alone. He needs a friend. Maybe that friend needs to be you.

Collector's Notes: I'm sick of seeing this damned figure at retail. I went to go buy my Order 66 figures at Target, and I'm greeted with rows of this figure nearly a full year after he shipped. I've already bought a few, I did my part-- so when these guys hit markdown, go and do us a favor. Go buy one or two if you haven't already, you could use more Neimoidians in your Geonosis Arena, right? While a lot of fans complain about those Heroes & Villains waves of Episode III figures in new packaging, they still sold better than this guy. Which is to say, they actually managed to convince people to buy them with minimal effort.


Day 346: April 17, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 345: Captain Antilles

CAPTAIN ANTILLES Senate Security
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 85174 No. 85565
Number: III-51
Includes: Stand, blaster, headgear, removable cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Under the command of Senator Bail Organa, Captain Antilles retrieves a Jedi homing device beacon, which may help the Senator as he attempts to warn the Jedi about dangerous events taking place on Coruscant. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Yes, it's a new figure-- it isn't just a retooled Bail Organa. Captain Antilles had a couple of scenes and had a funny little halo thing on his head, and didn't do a heck of a lot else. He's a good figure-- the design is solid, the scars on the face are a nice touch, and the articulation is quite good. He even has a working holster. The problem is that the original design is very bland-- he's a white guy in a grey costume. Not very exciting, really, but if he had a little more action in the film he might be an easier sell. I think he's worth getting-- I mean, why not get one? It's just that, ultimately, the character is somewhat forgettable and without a playset to stick him in, the figure itself doesn't really serve much of a purpose outside being one more notch in the belt that is "collect them all."

Collector's Notes: This figure was somewhat short packed compared to other figures in 2005, however its striking similarity to Bail Organa (and maybe relative unpopularity) caused these to pile up en masse at retail. I saw a number of stores with pegs of just this figure.


Day 345: April 16, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 344: Momaw Nadon

MOMAW NADON with Cantina Bar Section
Saga Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 32539 No. 32544
Number: 2 of 3
Includes: Bar section, 3 glasses
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.96
Availability: Summer 2002
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: On the planet Tatooine, the Mos Eisley Cantina, also known as Chalmun's Cantina, is the hot spot for entertainment and intrigue. Many species intermingle there, spying and conducting shady business. Bounty hunters frequent the seedy joint, hoping to catch their prey in an unguarded moment. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker went to the cantina to find transportation off the planet, which led to their first meeting with Han Solo. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: When the new Momaw Nadon came out, people were pretty excited-- after all, this exclusive version had a better torso and significantly better paint than its 1997 ancestor. (And, for that matter, its 1979 ancestor.) Despite a new version of the character being produced in 2007, this one is still very good-- look at the texture and decoration on the skin, for example. Multiple shades of brown add to the "realism" of this hammer-headed alien from another galaxy, with his tunic being a fairly decent design. The 1997 version seemed to more closely resemble the early concept artwork than the on-screen character. (Note the first-ever neckerchief on this figure-- at least that's what I think it is. It was carried forward on future figures as well.) With six points of articulation, this figure (and future figures) never really broke the barrier of too-few joints, but this is less a figure for playing and more a figure for standing around and drinking. He looks great, and was an early example of what Hasbro could do, if so inclined, with a little bit of paint and a mold many considered antiquated. New fans and picky collectors will likely want to skip this figure for the newer version, unless, of course, they want more bar sections. Then they should totally get this one.

Collector's Notes: The big selling point of this figure was the faux-playset aspect of the bar section. For just $10, you could get an action figure and a big accessory which could link to other big accessories to create a diorama. In theory, this is a wonderful, genius idea that I believe Hasbro should continue in its basic line. (Hell, they should put a piece of Death Star with every figure for a year-- sell hundreds of figures. You can just toss in floor tiles with the bigger ones. But I digress.) The problem is that this design was somewhat flawed as far as I can tell-- take the barstools. Please. The bar didn't have stools around it, the various patrons just stood around. Given that the action figures aren't always designed to sit down properly, not having stools would have made these sections infinitely better. Still, for a fun playset, they're nice-- just not exactly authentic and, ironically, if Hasbro did a little less work they'd work better with our action figures.

A quick aside-- you can link together multiple bar sections to make a nice big bar scene. You can find more bar sections packed with the Wal-Mart exclusive Greedo and Ponda Baba figures, and the Kmart exclusive Cantina 3-packs (Obi-Wan, Zutton, Ponda Baba; Dr. Evazan, Kitik Keed'kak, Wuher.) A second wave of Wal-Mart exclusive packs was not distributed to stores. Finally, the "curved sections" to end the bar are coming out in 2007 in wave 4 of the 30th Anniversary Collection with Elis Helrot and M'iiyoom Onith. (So you'll probably want to buy those.)


Day 344: April 15, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 343: EV-9D9

EV-9D9 with Datapad
Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69722
Number: n/a
Includes: Datapad, Freeze Frame
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: September 1997
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: EV-9D9 (Eve-Ninedenine) was a sadistic droid who supervised the droids in Jabba the Hutt's palace. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: In the early days of the modern line, fans were thrilled that Kenner was cranking out so many updates to vintage figures (as in, 1980s) that were really hard to find. Although it doesn't seem like they were too thrilled when EV-9D9 hit, as the figure was clearly a resculpted version of the original action figure, minus the nifty mouth-moving mechanism. The figure itself is quite nice-- there eyes, dark bronze coloring, five points of articulation, and a true-to-movie look. However, it's modified from a toy sold in 1985, is missing that toy's most distinctive mechanism, and to the uneducated fan, could be mistaken for the vintage figure. (Not everybody out there is as on-the-ball as the likes of you, dear readers.) It's not that it's a bad figure, it's just reasonably unexciting-- it's a fun character, sure. A lovely design. It's just lacking in what makes a figure great in 2007, and even in 1997, it didn't have modern additions like a waist joint. Is that too much to ask?

Collector's Notes: This is one of two EV-9D9 figures ever made-- and the only modern one. As such, if you want one, it's this one or the very expensive original version. Since Hasbro will likely never revisit EV-9D9 in the near future, I can say this is a release to buy-- it's certainly good enough for most fans' purposes. If you care for such things, there's a fairly extensive backstory which was written for the character in 1996 which involved the torture robot being a criminal droid who escapes Cloud City with Lando out to put an end to whatever evil is going on. Whatever.


Day 343: April 14, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 342: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Escape from Mos Eisley
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 86820
Number: 036
Includes: Lightsaber hilt, chest, poncho, binoculars, hat
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 2006
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: When Luke Skywalker discovers that his aunt and uncle have been murdered at the hands of the Empire, he tells Obi-Wan Kenobi, "there is nothing left for me here." Luke agrees to join Obi-Wan on an idealistic crusade to the planet Alderaan. Now driven and focused, Luke is determined to learn about the Force and become a Jedi Knight like his father before him. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: Over the years, there have been many figures of Luke Skywalker from the original film. In 1998 alone, there were four-- and this figure is based on a 1999 version of the figure. They took that body (with its swivel-elbows and jointed knees) and tweaked it into this figure. The good news is that the 1999 version was pretty good-- the bad news is that they dropped a few good features that came from other, earlier Lukes. For example, the macrobinoculars were originally designed to clip on to a figure's belt-- we have the accessory, but not the belt. The figure's head is, in some respects, an improvement, but the decoration gives him unusual looking lips with hair that, by most fans estimates, seems to dark when next to his skin. It's not a bad figure, it just looks... well, like he's wearing a little bit of make-up. (There was a similar problem with the Battle Pack Clone Wars Anakin in 2005.)

The figure, though, is almost inconsequential. You're buying this one for the extras, which are pretty good. He has a lightsaber that plugs into Obi-Wan Kenobi's hope chest, a poncho, the aforementioned chest, a hat, and binoculars. Short of an ignited lightsaber and a blaster, this Luke pretty much has anything you could hope for, even if some of the accessories look better on other figures. It's still a fun figure that offers multiple play opportunities through the wonder of accessories, so if you like figures with lots of gear this should be a must-buy. However, if you already have 10+ unique Tatooine Luke figures, you won't miss this one too much.

Collector's Notes: This mold has been re-released with new accessories many times over, but this version is unique with the new head and added accessories. This configuration of the figure itself, and its accessories, have yet to be rereleased. I especially like the poncho-- especially on the Early Bird version of Luke. It just looks better, trust me. I have a feeling I'll be using these accessories with the upcoming 2007 Luke Skywalker with Moisture Vaporator figure coming out in early Summer. (They're just nice accessories-- arguably the best extras given to any basic figure in 2006.)


Day 342: April 13, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 341: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Acklay Battle)

OBI-WAN KENOBI Acklay Battle
Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84870
Number: 0301
Includes: Pillar, lightsaber, spear, binders
Action Feature: Spear-stabbing action, hand magnet
Retail: $4.99
Availability: January 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Free of the binders that bound him to a column in the Geonosian arena, Obi-Wan Kenobi defends himself against the ferocious beasts that have been let loose in the arena to attack him, Anakin and Padmé for the entertainment of the crowd. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Geonosis shelf.

Commentary: Nothing is more depressing than when Hasbro revisits a figure, and it makes you think of how much better the previous versions were. While Obi-Wan Kenobi does bring some new elements to the table, he's really no better than the figures sold in 2002. The head looks worse. The pose is awkward. The figure can't really sit or ever be used outside a display/action play environment. It's like a statue, but not-- it has a really rotten action attack that doesn't quite work. The spear is fragile because part of it is metal, and there's a really thin plastic peg keeping it together that, if mistreated, will snap. The handcuffs are worthless because his hands are so far apart-- why include them at all? Ditto with the pillar-- it's a nice value-add, but what am I supposed to do with it? I appreciate the scenery, but added articulation or better head deco would have made this figure a lot more fun. Or, rather, any fun.

Collector's Notes: If you have at least one Obi-Wan Kenobi figure, you don't need this one-- it doesn't bring anything worthwhile to the table that you can't get elsewhere, unless you've got a serious need for arena-specific action figures. In which case, buy two.


Day 341: April 12, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 340: Arvel Crynyd

ARVEL CRYNYD Rebel Pilots
Power of the Force Cinema Scenes
Item No.:
Asst. 84035 No. 84057
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 1999
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: For generations, an evil power has spread throughout the galaxy. It began with Darth Sidious' sinister plot to conquer the planet Naboo and peaked with the Empire's domination of the galaxy. Throughout the era, brave starfighter pilots flew into space to fight this power. Naboo pilots braved impossible odds to save their planet from the superior forces of the Trade Federation. years later, X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles, B-wing Pilot Ten Numb, and A-wing pilot Arvel Crynyd were part of the assault on the second Death Star. Their success at the Battle of Endor released the iron grip on the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf. Shock.

Commentary: So who is Arvel Crynyd, anyway? According to some sources, not this guy. Apparently Hasbro picked a Y-Wing pilot and gave it the wrong name, as Arvel is, according to many sources, actually an A-Wing Pilot which this figure obviously is not. My guess is that Arvel was originally meant to be this guy and Hasbro decided to make some changes, or perhaps it was Lucasfilm Licensing. Either way, the final figure isn't representative of the character(s) as seen in the movie. So now that we've established (basically) that this figure is an Expanded Universe release out of Hasbro's imagination and not a pilot from Return of the Jedi as most likely intended...

It's a pretty good figure and a pretty good mold. The helmet fits on nicely, the decoration is good (for the time), and the sculpt has the required 6 points of articulation and can sit in a vehicle with no real problems. It's a decent sculpt and a decent mold, nothing to sing about, and here's hoping it's reused as a pack-in for a Y-Wing some day, assuming they paint him right this time. Even if they don't, this is a nice figure, a good addition to your Rebel ranks, and probably cheap enough so that you can buy two.

Collector's Notes: Arvel isn't the only "error" figure in this set-- Ten Nunb is in his white suit, which was used in a lot of behind-the-scenes photography. You can see Ten Nunb in his correct red flight suit shaking hands during the celebration on Endor. (It looks like Nien Nunb, but look at the suit-- that ain't him.) In 2003, Arvel was repainted and reissued as a pack-in with a green A-Wing Fighter as a Target exclusive. This figure is notable for being pretty good, with an awesome Expanded Universe ship. Get one if you can!


Day 340: April 11, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 339: Gamorrean Guard

GAMORREAN GUARD with Vibro-Ax
Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69693
Number: n/a
Includes: Vibro-ax, Freeze Frame (some releases)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99-$5.99
Availability: September 1998-1999
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The brutish nature of Gamorreans, along with their great strength and violent tendencies, made them excellent mercenaries and guardsmen in Jabba's desert palace. (Taken from the figure's Freeze Frame cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.

Commentary: This Gamorrean Guard was a fantastic update to the vintage 1983 figure in that it solved a few of the original figure's problems, and kept some of them too. The figure now has an articulated neck-- a first-- as well as a waist, but it still has one hand in a sculpted fist, which reduces the amount of "army building" poses you can do with this figure. As a trooper, it's good to be able to pose them in different ways with different accessories, but with only one hand that can hold a weapon, and one weapon, you're kinda stuck. Still, this didn't stop me from troop-building this figure because of its great armor, excellent sculpt, above-par paint job, and decent heft. It's a good diorama figure, you'll want to get several-- but not too many.

The figure is good enough to the point where it's unlikely we'll see a new version in the near future, although it would be nice to see an all-new sculpt with both hands, a Force Pike, and a couple of extra arm joints/swappable limbs. Who wouldn't want a "choking" guard?

Collector's Notes: On the $1 clearances at Toys "R" Us in late 1998/early 1999, all POTF2 figures were $2.99 with a $2 off sticker affixed to many of them. Because of this, I bought a heck of a lot of POTF2 troopers, including about 15-20 Gamorrean Guards. In hindsight, even at $1 each, this was overkill-- it's a great figure, and now I'll never be hard-up for them in a diorama setting, but there's probably no reason to have more than 6 in any given scenario. The Hasbro Jabba's Palace Diorama can keep a lot of figures in it, but not every last alien that has been produced-- as such, if you feel like buying a lot of guards, you might want to keep the army smaller than I did. Also, an Original Trilogy Collection repaint in 2004 looks excellent-- I'll review it at a later date, but it makes a great "captain" to your Gamorrean security force.


Day 339: April 10, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 338: Plo Koon

PLO KOON Jedi Master
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 85174 No. 85289
Number: III-16
Includes: Lightsaber (removable blade), display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: The Prequels

Bio: Jedi Master Plo Koon is a meber of the Jedi Council and comes from a long line of Jedi. Serving as a General in the Clone Wars, he leads a battalion of clone troopers against Separatist forces. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.

Commentary: Hey, Hasbro got it right! (More or less.) After three other figures, this version of Plo Koon is the best yet-- while it's by no means perfect, it's very, very good. It has wrist articulation, elbow articulation, knee articulation, pretty much everything you could possibly want-- except that the joints are somewhat non-standard when compared to his contemporaries from the Jedi council, like Ki-Adi-Mundi and Shaak-Ti. The figure is, as stated, the best Plo Koon you can buy, but he doesn't have a way to attach his lightsaber to his belt, doesn't have super-crazy-awesome articulation, and doesn't have any extra... extras. Sure, it has ball-jointed shoulders, but the "skirt" keeps the legs from being perfect to pilot his Jedi Starfighter. His knee joints are squarish, clunky, and not too aesthetically pleasing. It's unfortunate that this figure is just a few hairs shy of being perfect-- it's not bad, it's just that Hasbro left the door wide open to do another, even better release in the future. Don't let my comments keep you from buying this figure, if you can find it. It's worth owning. But the elbow joints could be better, the sculpt could be stronger, and yes, there could be more accessories.

Collector's Notes: To date, this is the definitive Plo Koon. There was one with his Jedi robes for Power of the Jedi, a version for the Geonosis Battle from Attack of the Clones in the first Saga line in 2002, and a retooled version of the 2002 figure-- in 2004-- for the Jedi Council sets. Unless you count the Expanded Universe, there's really not all that much left to do for this cyborg-looking alien Jedi, outside of a popular concept sketch featuring the Jedi Master with more battle-gear and a double-bladed Lightsaber gauntlet. Personally, that's as high on my want list as most new characters-- it's just a really cool, really fun looking concept.


Day 338: April 9, 2007

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 337: Takeel (Snaggletooth)

TAKEEL Cantina Aliens
Power of the Force Cinema Scene Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84305 No. 84059
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster (not shown)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Their remote location makes the spaceports of Tatooine havens for many suspicious travelers from across the galaxy. At the Mos Eisley spaceport, Chalmun's Cantina is a popular hangout for the rough crowd and deadly violence breaks out on a daily basis. Takeel, a Snivvian, is known to dabble in bounty hunting and smuggling. The horned Devaronian Labria calls himself an "information broker", though his information is questionable at best. No one knows for sure what the Morseerian known as Nabrun Leids looks like underneath his breath mask, which he must wear in all non-methane environments. The former fighter pilot will fly anyone or anything anywhere, if the price is suitable. These kinds of patrons have helped make Tatooine's spaceports famous as a wretched hive of scum and villainy. In the days before the Galactic Empire, the spaceport of Mos Espa hosted many similar characters. From the outdoor markets to the junk shops--overseen by the gambling crimelords, the Hutts--Mos Espa was a place where a nine-year old boy like Anakin Skywalker could learn the ways of the universe. (Taken from the Cantina Aliens box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.

Commentary: The various figures known in some form or another as "Snaggletooth" have caused a bit of confusion over the years, confusing fans as to their appearances (or non-appearances) in the movies and the origins of what were initially thought of as "error" figures. But those are usually named "Zutton." Takeel here can be clearly spotted in the original film, assuming you have widescreen copies of the films handy, it's also a fairly simple figure. In the movie, the images clearly show a little more grey skin (or at least from the lighting they do) while this action figure seems to be a little more on the side of albino. The figure has six points of articulation and a blaster, and is nothing to sneeze at-- it's just an oddly colored figure from almost a decade ago that, sadly, needs a little retouching in the paint department. He's still a solid figure, and the first modern "Snaggletooth," which lead a lot of fans to (incorrectly) think he was the only such creature in the Cantina over the years. Thankfully, we all know there are quite a few in the entire saga, and this is just one of many. (There were also Snivvians in Cloud City and Jabba's Palace, neither of which have yet been made as toys, sadly.)

Collector's Notes: This figure originally (and exclusively) shipped in a 3-pack with Nabrun Leids and Labria in 1998. In 2007, heavily repainted versions of those other two aliens were released as Wal-Mart exclusives-- perhaps Takeel isn't going to be far behind?


Day 337: April 8, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 336: Barada

BARADA Jabba's Skiff Guards
Power of the Force Cinema Scenes Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84035 No. 84061
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Barada was a Klatooinian who served as chief mechanic for Jabba the Hutt's sail barge Khetanna. He was one of the most loyal and hardworking of Jabba's servants and his loyalty would last until his death at the battle at the Great Pit of Carkoon. (Stolen from Wookieepedia)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.

Commentary: There's a bit of hubbub about this figure. Since the original figure in about 1984, the alien action figure with this face was marketed as Barada, but the name has been applied to other aliens of his species known as the Klatooinians. So if this is Barada, when will we see the red-pants alien from the vintage line, if ever? (Who, by the by, is known as Kithaba these days?) It's a big argument in fan circles, or at least some of them. For the sake of this article, though, we're going to ignore them and just look at this figure.

Made in 1998, this figure was the victim of Hasbro's attempts to make figures look more dynamic and gritty-- as you can see, the figure's head, belt, and hands are the victim of some sort of horrible paint wipe process. The figure's sculpt is decent, and with six points of articulation he's nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, the attempt to paint this figure is so awful that it's hard to look at this figure as being especially good, even with this in mind. Why on Earth would there be the same green wiped on the skin, hands/gloves, belt, and headband? It doesn't make any sense. The figure's costume is great, the shirt and pants are sculpted well and painted appropriately. If you like the unique paint decoration on the head-- and I absolutely don't-- you should probably go buy this one, as it appears in two multipacks released nearly 5 years apart. Obviously, Hasbro liked it enough to crank it out twice with no significant changes before a third release in 2006 gave it a better paint job, leaving some fans pleased with the upgrade while others were irritated that we didn't get Kithaba or an all-new sculpt instetad.

Collector's Notes: A nearly identical (or for the purposes of this column, completely identical) Barada figure was sold in the Skirmish at Carkoon multipack in 2003 (and beyond) at Toys "R" Us. In 2006, this mold was heavily repainted and it looks, well, less crappy. If you have the chance to buy the newer Saga Collection release, I advise you to get it. The original 1998 version was packaged in a three-pack with Klaatu and Nikto action figures.


Day 336: April 7, 2007

Friday, April 6, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 335: Chewbacca (Boushh's Prisoner)

CHEWBACCA Boushh Prisoner
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85805
Number: 005
Includes: Metal chain, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2006
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The mighty Chewbacca has been "captured" and taken to Jabba's Palace. Jabba quickly realizes that his capture is a mere ploy to free Han Solo from carbonite. Jabba orders Chewbacca and his friends to be executed, but Luke Skywalker has other plans. Chewbacca helps his friends defect Jabba and saves Han and Lando Calrissian from their doom, proving once again that he is a fearless Wookie warrior! (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Toy Shelves.

Commentary: Hasbro loves to find a new way to use an old mold-- and this particular Chewbacca mold has been used many, many times. (More on that later.) This release is unique in that it includes a metal chain for it pretending to be Boushh's captive prisoner, but otherwise isn't really all that new. The decoration is the same as the previous release, more or less, and the figure includes no weapons. You get a Wookiee, a chain, and a display base-- and that's it. Sure, it's a figure with 7 points of articulation, and yes, it's a very tall and properly scaled Chewbacca, but still, there's not much for him to do other than stand there. Also, Chewie in the movie doesn't look quite like this-- his hair is a little different, and the chain around his neck is over, not under, most of the fur. As this is the second version of a "Boushh's Prisoner" Chewbacca, one might hope it would be good enough to be the final. Sadly, there's still room for improvement, but it's better than the 1998 version.

This figure goes very well with the 2007 version of Leia in Boushh Disguise, but if you don't have that figure, you really don't need this new Chewbacca figure at all.

Collector's Notes: This mold has been used many, many times before. In 2001, it was packaged with goggles, a torch, and the monniker "Millennium Falcon Mechanic." And then it was repackaged several times. In 2004, the figure was packaged along with a carry case, a Millennium Falcon, and in some cases had added accessories like a display base. It was redecorated in late 2006/early 2007 in "Marvel Comics colors" which, most fans hope, will be the final use of this mold.


Day 335: April 6, 2007