Friday, November 28, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 903: Holographic Yoda

HOLOGRAPHIC YODA Kashyyyk Transmission
Revenge of the Sith Toys "R" Us Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 85732
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Stand, lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99 or free with purchase
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Jedi Master Yoda, a close friend of the Wookiees, travels to their homeworld of Kashyyyk to help personally spearhead the Republic defense of that planet. While there, the revered Jedi sends a holographic transmission to the Jedi Council to discuss recent ominous events. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Imperial Troop Transporter.

Commentary: There was a time, many moons ago, where a clear unpainted figure was an exciting novelty. This Holographic Yoda was one such toy-- an exclusive, based on an existing mold, but without all that paint. The clear purple plastic is pretty striking, and the accessories are essentially invisible against light carpet. There isn't much in the way of innovation here, beyond marketing. The figure is a little expensive for what it was, although it's not like you have another option for getting such a Jedi. Based on a mold from 2003, this figure costs more and has less. Heck, back in 2003, the Yoda was not only painted but it included a hoverchair, a cane, and oh yes-- a second figure. Oh well. Basically, this is a collector's figure. I don't think your average kid would have a lot of fun with it, but as one of those kids who spent his allowance tracking down every little bit of Star Wars I could, who am I to second guess the nation's youth? Given that the figure was cast in purple, which went out of vogue by the end of 2005 as far as holographic figures go, I don't think it's impossible to expect a blue version in the next few years. There's generally good money in core characters, so really, it's a matter of "if" over "when." Oh, the figure has articulation which qualifies as decent. You can move him at the leg (one leg, both are stuck together), the head, the shoulders, and swivels at the elbows. As Yodas go, he's pretty good.

Collector's Notes: For the fan who needs everything, for the Yoda fiend, or for those who admire figures which are closer to ice sculptures.


Day 903: November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 902: Rebel Vanguard Trooper

REBEL VANGUARD TROOPER Rebel Soldier
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87652
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #3053
Includes: Blaster, helmet, bazooka, coin (stand in 2008)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Battlefront II

Bio: These Rebel soldiers are demolitions experts who specialize in destroying Imperial ground and air vehicles. Always given the tough assignments, they employ heavy weapons capable of causing significant damage and destruction that will weaken the advance of Imperial vehicles in battle. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Every now and again Hasbro goes above and beyond when creating a figure for its token repaint waves, like this Rebel Vanguard Trooper. It mixes parts from multiple existing figures and adds an all-new gun to create a figure that, at first glance, doesn't seem like a repaint at all. The body is the 2006 Endor Rebel Trooper, which itself was a retooled 2002 Endor Rebel Trooper. The helmet is based on the Captain Antilles figure, and the vest comes from a 2001 Rebel Trooper from the original film. The end result is a heavily armored version of the cannon fodder troopers that opened the original Star Wars, which makes it another in a growing line of game-based figures. The articulation is decent, as is the range of movement-- with the vest instead of a jacket, you can actually move his arms at the shoulders. Overall, it's a neat figure. If Hasbro cranked out more Rebel-themed ground vehicles I could totally see a bunch of these guys firing on enemies from the back, or being in some sort of battle-based diorama. Sadly, this is one of two Battlefront-specific figures from the trilogy era. This makes the prospect of special battles a little less exciting.

Collector's Notes: Easy to get and fairly neat, this is an Expanded Universe figure fans should enjoy even though it's not a major character. Nicely done, Hasbro.


Day 902: November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 901: Fode & Beed 2-Headed Announcer

FODE AND BEED Pod Race Announcers
Power of the Jedi Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84474
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Reporting live from the press box at the Mos Espa Arena, the two-headed Troig Fode and Beed has long been a mainstay at Tatooine Podraces. Renowned for their instant play-by-play commentary, the famous announcers have hosted competitions throughout the Galactic Podrace Circuit. (Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: As the second attempt at the dual-headed pod race announcers, Fode and Beed were designed on the final models used in the movie and not the concept art-meets-actors in makeup design used a year earlier. The articulation hasn't improved much, so basically what you're seeing here is a figure that intends to improve the look and feel of the character, and performs admirably. For his time, it's an OK release totally lacking in pizzaz as it's largely free of special articulation and all accessories. The designers at Hasbro didn't put their best food forward here, but it's a very competent figure for a fairly unliked character. It's the best announcer figure you're going to get, so be thankful the figure's heads have three points of articulation-- one at the base of each skull, and one where the neck meets the body. Despite this, it does feel lacking, but lacking what I'm not really sure. Perhaps it just proves that not every character needs to be made as a toy, as I'm left wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do with it now that I have one.

Collector's Notes: The figure was in short supply at first, as Hasbro seems to have cracked the code as to how many to produce and satisfy the market. Nobody seems to really want it, even though it was a notable character from the film. As such, don't overpay for this one.


Day 901: November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 900: Stormtrooper Commander

STORMTROOPER COMMANDER GameStop Exclusive Promotional Figure
30th Anniversary Collection
Item No.:
No. 87463
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, helmet, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: n/a
Availability: September 2008
Appearances: The Force Unleashed

Bio: The stormtroper commander patrols the front lines, leading his troops into fierce combat on the fungal planet Felucia. Clearly visible with his enhanced, uniquely detailed armor, he confronts the Felucians with a mighty BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle - and the pure willingness to pull its trigger. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: First revealed to fans by accident early in 2008, this Stormtrooper Commander was the subject of much speculation and frustration-- we'll leave that to the end. So what is this figure? In short, it's a repaint of the 2007 Stormtrooper basic figure-- that's the one that had a removable helmet, and was itself based on the 2004 Vintage Original Trilogy Collection sculpt-- except for the head/helmet part. Basically, what Hasbro did here was take the existing mold and apply the blue and white markings from the game to it-- no fuss, no muss. They took their most popular design and repainted it to fit the newly released game, and did a great job-- the figures were largely painted cleanly, and I thought it turned out quite nicely. Hasbro even fixed the weird thing on the original release with the figure's lenses being painted so that they seemed to merge with the band around the forehead. As far as production goes, the actual product and its packaging was totally within expectations and Hasbro didn't miss a beat. Short of giving it more weapons or better distribution, there's very little to dislike here.

In case you're wondering the function of the figure in the game, it's basically just a super-tough Stormtrooper. They're mean, and colored differently. While some fans see this as another ploy for Hasbro to make more figures with the same mold while we line up to buy-- and it sort of is-- it's also nice to see the Empire's troops get fleshed out a little bit more. After Revenge of the Sith so many fans were left wondering just why the Empire switched to all-white armor, this makes it apparent that either they didn't, or it took a while. It's almost a shame fans couldn't easily build an army of these, but who knows what the future holds.

Collector's Notes: The figure's official offer rules were revealed a mere 4 days before the game went on sale, and by that point nobody could have actually participated in the process to get one. Officially, GameStop stores were to give this figure out to people who pre-ordered the game. Many fans got the figure, but few knew they were owed one, or cared, as they weren't toy people. A lot of frustrated fans experienced numerous difficulties which weren't helped by some store managers bragging they sold the figures out the back door, or just kept them for themselves. As such, many complaints to Hasbro have resulted in their official comment which I will now paraphrase: the figure may return to circulation in some form by Comic-Con 2009. For a blue repaint of a figure nearly everybody who wanted it got, it's a lot of hassle.


Day 900: November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 899: Salacious Crumb

SALACIOUS CRUMB & Oola
The Power of the Force Collection, Fan Club Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 69871
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Oola
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Salacious B. Crumb was a Kowakian monkey-lizard employed as a court jester for Hutt crimelord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. Known for his shrill laugh and sadistic sense of humor, he lived in Jabba's Palace, playing many tricks and practical jokes on some of the palace's regulars, and becoming one of the most disliked members of Jabba's court. (Adapted from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: Is he a figure... or an accessory? This Salacious Crumb figure was basically modeled after a Michael Butkus illustration appearing in one of the Essential Guide to Characters books, as he never stood around in the movies. You could see him sitting, crouching, jumping... but never standing. And certainly not with his hand on his hip. It's a radical departure for the figure's personality by way of pose, given he seemed much more animal-like in every situation from the silver screen. Even the vintage figure was posed sitting-- he couldn't do anything except sit on Jabba's throne. This one can stand, but might need assistance. As he has thin legs and no foot holes, I had to use some double-sided tape to keep him upright-- it worked just fine, but it was, obviously, sticky. The amount of detail on this tiny figure, especially given when it was released, never fails to impress. Hasbro managed to make a durable figure that doesn't bend to pieces, and captures a unique pose that remains true to the character yet never appeared in the movie. Plus he's almost a Muppet, which is cool. As aliens go, he's one of the most memorable of all the movies. While this isn't the most articulated figure, he's certainly one of the most distinctive-- and if you need to own a Salacious Crumb (and an Oola), this set should be on your shopping list if it isn't already.

Collector's Notes: Two similar Salacious Crumb figures were made using the same basic sculpt, but with slightly different molds. This release had his tail connected by a square peg, making it removable. In late 2001, he was repackaged with Amanaman but he now features an articulated tail. An entirely new Crumb sculpt was released in 2007.


Day 899: November 24, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 898

CESI EIRRISS a.k.a. "Doc"
The Legacy Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87653
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #05
Includes: Blaster, helmet, more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: Star Wars: X-Wing and Empire comic books

Bio: Cesi "Doc" Eirriss was a female Twi'lek that served in Red Squadron prior to the Battle of Yavin. Cesi Eirriss, nicknamed 'doc' for her degree in political science, was one of the earliest pilots in what would go on to become Rogue Squadron. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: Once again proving no mold goes unused, Hasbro released two female pilots within seconds of each other in 2008. Cesi Eirriss and Dorovio Bold both share the same body, but each figure has unique deco, a unique helmet, and of course, a unique head. Being super articulated, Cesi is already heading toward greatness. So few Rebel pilots get made compared to some other easily cranked-out figures, and it's really awesome to see Hasbro go the extra mile to pick an obscure character from the comics that few people have seen. Due to her Twi'lek heritage, her head is pretty gosh darn big-- and Hasbro had to sculpt a new helmet for her. And they did! Plus her blaster can fit inside her holster-- an added bonus. It's almost a shame there's no new X-wing to go with all these new pilots, but hey, you've got old ones. She'd be right at home in pretty much any of them, and since she's so unique it's an easy figure to like.

Collector's Notes: If this figure floats your boat, the whole set she comes in is totally worth owning. You also get a Snowspeeder pilot named Desin Ommis-- and I'll cop to never hearing of him before. You also get Keyan Farlander in a vintage action figure line styled B-Wing pilot uniform, which combines two awesome things from the pre-prequels era. That being Kenner toys and the X-Wing PC game. So yes, get this set if you're a fan of old trilogy stuff.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 898: November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 897: Ganner Krieg

GANNER KRIEG and Antares Draco
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87696
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #05
Includes: Lightsaber, comic, Antares Draco figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: Star Wars: Legacy comic books

Bio: Imperial Knights Antares Draco and Ganner Krieg go on an unauthorized mission to save Marasiah Fel, the daughter of Emperor Roan Fel. The Sith hope to capture the deposed emperor by threatening Sia's life, but Roan refuses to risk a rescue attempt. Draco cannot stand by and let the woman he loves fall into the hands of the Sith, even though he knows he and Krieg will be walking into a trap. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's tables.

Commentary: Hasbro is king of reusing molds these days. Ganner Krieg comes with and shares almost his entire construction with Antares Draco, an Imperial Knight from the distant future of the Star Wars galaxy. Armed with a white (clear) lightsaber and the Force, this figure has a cloth cape with hood, a big ol' orange ponytail, and red armor, it's really not a bad action figure. The reason for his production seems somewhat cynical-- Hasbro cranked out two figures for the price of 1.3-- but it's a good one, and for Legacy fans, about as good a place to kick off the line as any other. (Except Darth Krayt, who would have been nice.) Short of being able to hang a lightsaber on his belt, Ganner has it all-- articulation, detail, paint, and a decent likeness. He looks like he came right out of a comic book, and a pretty good one at that. No matter your focus on collecting, this is an easy figure to enjoy. However, if you're era-specific, this one falls way outside both trilogies and may be one you wish to avoid. It's one of Hasbro's best sculpting efforts this year, so I'd steer you toward it-- if you like this sort of thing. The comic it comes with is pretty much worth it by itself, so the entire package is certainly worth your... whatever it costs you this week.

Collector's Notes: New, and reasonably easy to find at this time. You might have to hit a couple of stores, but this set seems to be out and about.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 897: November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 896: Super Battle Droid

SUPER BATTLE DROID ...without the holes
The Legacy Collection Saga Legends
Item No.:
Asst. 87995 No. 89039
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #SL10
Includes: Weapons crate
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith

Bio: After the introduction of the massive clone army, the Trade Federation revisits the design of its battle droids and decides that a slightly smarter, more independent and more heavily armed droid is needed. The result is the much more powerful and deadly super battle droid. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's tables.

Commentary: Based on the 2007 version, this Super Battle Droid is one of those "just different enough" figures. Basically, Hasbro listened to fan requests-- in 2007, the figure had holes in its chest for plug-in accessories, like flames or detonators. This figure filled them in, but aside from that it's largely the same as the previous figure. So to reiterate, Hasbro placated fans by dropping an accessory, and later raising the price. How the heck does that work?

Being based on an existing mold, it has all the same articulation and detail. Swivel and bending elbows, bending knees, ball shoulders, normal hips, and a nicely articulated waist are all here for you to enjoy-- along with battle-dented armor. While it looks cool, the characters in the movie tend to appear more smooth. Hasbro has yet to make a really smooth, mostly super articulated version of this particular droid. It is what it is-- a quality figure that delivers on authenticity and articulation without sucking. If you only get one Saga Legends figure from The Legacy Collection, odds are this should be it-- unlike many of the others, it's actually been changed a little bit. Plus the weapons locker will no doubt please those of you who can't get enough weapons for your prequel-era armies. I got one, and I may get another.

Collector's Notes: While not overly difficult to find, it does seem to be one of the better sellers so far in some markets. As it's new enough, by some standards, it makes sense that people are gobbling it up. It's at least the fourth Super Battle Droid to be based on this particular mold.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 896: November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 895: 4-LOM

4-LOM Bounty Hunter
Clone Wars Deluxe Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87394
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #3041
Includes: Blaster rifle, coin
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: A programming glitch changes 4-LOM from a protocol droid to a thief and a tracker of fugitives. Jabba the Hutt teams him with the bounty hunter Zuckuss, creating a formidable duo that successfully combines intuitive mysticism with emotionless logic. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's tables.

Commentary: It's a little ridiculous when you think about it, but Hasbro went back to the well to re-remake a minor character with incredible articulation after it was a weak seller 10 years earlier. Apparently Bounty Hunters like 4-LOM perform well enough to redo on a regular basis, because we got one, and the 2007 edition certainly sold quite nicely. Hasbro added this weird new joint on the shoulders that allows it to move in all directions, yet remain slightly constrained, no doubt mimicking the lack of mobility in the actual costume. The figure still looks like an ugly variant on C-3PO, with similar styling, a giant bug head, and a revised torso. Oh, and his hands can hold things. The 1997 4-LOM was pretty good, this one blows it away with so much added deco and articulation that, frankly, it's astonishing Hasbro even bothered. From head to toe, this is a great figure. There's really very little they could do to make it more compelling short of casting it in metal or giving it away for free. This is a wonderful release, and a highlight in an otherwise merely acceptable wave packed with mostly retooled versions of previously released figure. It's a gem, if you're a fan of the six hunters you owe it to yourself to get this version.

Collector's Notes: This figure has never been rereleased, but it has been retooled. Pieces of it were modified to make K-3PX in the summer of 2008. It's the third 4-LOM figure made in this scale, but only the second one properly named. The 1982 release was mistakenly labeled "Zuckuss."

--Adam Pawlus


Day 895: November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 894: Durge

DURGE with Swoop Bike
Clone Wars Deluxe Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84845 No. 84844
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistols, rifle, lance, bike
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2003
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: A century before the Clone Wars, this 2,000 year old bounty hunter went into hibernation to recuperate after being tortured by Mandalorians. Awakening shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, Durge learns that the only Mandalorians still alive are the Clone Troopers, which were created from Mandalorian Jango Fett. Durge joins the Confederacy to enact his revenge upon Jango Fett's clones. His swoop bike is a high-performance craft with exceptional speed and challenges even the most skilled pilots. Simple vehicles, they achieve their performance through a combination of repulsorlift and turbothrust engines. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's desk drawer.

Commentary: This Durge figure is a sad commentary and how far we've slipped as far as expectations of what your dollar can get you. In 2003, $10 got you a super-articulated figure (minus the ankles), a small vehicle, and more guns than the figure had hands. $5 got you a basic figure. And a nickel would get you two slurgs of petrol and some change on top of that, dadgummit. Of course, this wasn't to say it was a perfect set-- Hasbro dropped numerous paint applications from the basic Durge release for this deluxe version, but I dare say this made the figure better. Basic Durge had some exposed peachy-colored flesh on his arms, but the deluxe version was completely covered in his armor-- which I think provided a far better interpretation of the character as seen in comics and on the teevee. The figure's blaster pistols fit neatly into his holster, he can look around in all directions, and he's easily the best Durge your money can buy. Seriously, Hasbro has yet to do better-- this one has it all.

The bike itself is nice, as it features a few tabs for what seems to be a missing piece, and a place to keep the lance and the rifle. There's some nifty deco on it, some of which may have been sacrificed in order to meet the price point-- this set has a lot of plastic in it. The "damage" is a little weak, but it's a nifty green color and it doesn't look a lot like Durge's vehicles in any other format-- so it's possible this is a Hasbro creation, or something off of the Lucas drawing boards. Either way, it's pretty cool... it just doesn't look like the one in the cartoons. It doesn't blow up or do anything super neat, but as an accessory it really sizzles. It's not like Hasbro generally redoes a figure to add articulation and a freaking vehicle, but here you go-- they did, and it's great. You might still want all three versions of Durge, as each is pretty unique and ultimately brings something new to the table, but this is the best of them all. Skip it at your own peril.

Collector's Notes: This figure has never been rereleased, which is a shame as it's pretty great. Another "realistic" Durge was made for the comic pack line in late Summer 2008, which was a mishmash of this mold, the other mold, and new parts. Today the figure commands a slight premium on the secondary market, and it's probably worth the extra few bucks. It's a nice package.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 894: November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 893: Roron Corobb

RORON COROBB Jedi Knight
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87333
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, coin
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2007
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: Roron Corobb takes on the duties of a Senior General during the Clone Wars. Along with his Jedi compatriots, Shaak Ti and Foul Moudama, Roron is assigned to protect Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from General Grievous. But despite his skill and bravery, Roron is killed by the cyborg general in his unrelenting push to capture Palpatine. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's keyboard.

Commentary: As a figure that appeared in a book and in a few cartoons, it seemed like just a matter of time before Hasbro cranked out our very own Roron Corobb action figure. It's one of three characters from the original Cartoon Network series which were based on Cantina aliens, but now have lightsabers, and were up for a "vote for the alien to appear on the show" contest. This one lost, and by losing, he ended up with a much meatier part than the winner, Voolvif Monn, received. Anyway, it's talk about Roron.

Named for artist Ron Cobb, the man responsible for a lot of alien designs in the original Star Wars, the Jedi is more than Hammerhead in a bathrobe. (Well, not much more, but more.) The figure has ball-jointed ankles, knees, and shoulders. His head, waist, hips, and elbows can swivel. Oh, and his head is funky. Unlike the tiny eyed Momaw Nadon, Roron Corobb has big freaking expressive eyes which are a lot more like E.T. than the aliens seen in the movies. This gives the character more personality, and a look closer to his animated appearance. Unfortunately, the continuity fans out there are left wondering why Momaw Nadon has tiny eyes and Roron Corobb has big blue eyes. But, again, I digress.

There's a decent amount of detail in the figure's robes, but it looks a little more like an alien in a kung-fu getup than a Jedi. Since Hasbro seemed to want to translate the animation design into reality, this is more or less to be expected. There's a lot to like here, especially if you're a fan of that original Cartoon Network Clone Wars series. (And if you aren't, go track down the DVDs. They're just barely out of print.) I was really stoked to get this figure last year, and I figure some of you will enjoy it too. Assuming you like the idea of random aliens with lightsabers, and really, who doesn't?

Collector's Notes: As part of the elusive "Wave 5" (aka Expanded Universe wave), this figure came and went in a hurry. If you blinked, you missed it. No known plans exist for a reissue, but if the character appears on the show it's possible that it could eventually happen.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 893: November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 892: Anakin Skywalker

ANAKIN SKYWALKER Jedi Hero
Revenge of the Sith Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 85553 No. 85662
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Robot hand, lightsaber, blade, robes
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Experience the evolution of the greatest villain the galaxy has ever known! These figures capture the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader! Anakin is a young Jedi who fights for all that is good. He emerges as a hero of the Clone Wars but is lured to the dark side of the Force. He joins the evil Sith and becomes the menacing Darth Vader. From hero to villain, his power and influence change the destiny of a galaxy! (Taken from the figure's box.)
Image: A desk.

Commentary: At one point, the greatest Anakin Skywalker figure from the final prequel. It's since been retooled, repackaged, and rereleased, but this one is still pretty sweet. Surprisingly close to super-articulated except for the elbows, the likeness is easily Hasbro's best Hayden Christensen so far. He's both thin and muscular, tall enough to be imposing, and unlike other Anakins, he doesn't look overly creepy. The long hair is here, and the sculptors more or less nailed it-- he looks like he stepped out of the opening of Revenge of the Sith. He can sit, he can stand, really the only thing he can't do is bend at the elbows. No doubt, Hasbro will fix this in a future release. As part of the Evolutions set, this is a must-own figure, and the weakest of the three. It's still incredible, but it lacks some of the details and features found on the other two figures. If you only get one Anakin from the prequels, you might want to make sure it's one of the figures derived from this sculpt. As there are many.

Collector's Notes: After a hugely popular run in 2005, this set was repackaged and sold again in 2008. There's also a packaging variant, as the Darth Vader in the set was initially labeled Episode IV and was later changed to Episode VI. In 2008, the figure was resculpted to include added hip articulation-- now the hips swivel out. Another version of this mold was repainted and released along with a retooled Durge in a comic pack. So yeah, you've got options. Oh-- and this figure also came packaged in the first round of collector tins in late 2006, but with slightly different accessories. (No robot hand, for example.) If you get it, get the Evolutions version. The other resculpts and repaints either have been or will be reviewed in this very column. Eventually.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 892: November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 891: Mara Jade

MARA JADE Heir to the Empire #5
30th Anniversary Collection Comic Pack Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87522
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #10
Includes: Blaster, hat, lightsaber, Luke with accessories
Action Feature: Removable hat, blaster fits in holster
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Summer 2007
Appearances: Heir to the Empire

Bio: Five years have passed since the Battle of Endor. Luke Skywalker is the first Jedi in the fledgling Republic, but the dark legacy of Emperor Palpatine still threatens him. The smuggler Mara Jade has long wanted to find Luke and kill him because of his role in the death of her former master, the Emperor. Her chance to strike arrives at last, but events cause her to join forces with him to escape Imperial forces. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: A desk.

Commentary: While some fans maligned this figure and her companion's lack of articulation. But what do you expect for $10? The nearly-perfect Mara Jade figure was a huge step up from her 1998 release, with a better head, improved articulation, and for some reason, an empurpled costume. (Typically, she's seen in black or very dark blue.) This release has ball-jointed knees and shoulders, with normal hips, wrists, swivel elbows, a normal waist, and a ball-jointed head. She looks pretty good, but obviously ankle joints and ball-jointed elbows would have been nice additions since, most likely, this is going to be the last Mara for another nine years. Her lightsaber's grip is really, really rubbery. Like, crazy rubbery. You might find some are greatly distorted on purchase, but they're pretty simple to straighten out. If you want a Mara figure, this is the best one your money can buy. That is, until the future, when Hasbro goes back to the well for another release.

Collector's Notes: There are a few Mara variants, but they're uncommon. The neck ball-and-socket was retooled early on, resulting in some figures being able to keep together easier than others. Also, this set has a variant lightsaber to watch for-- Mara sometimes comes with a green blade. I've never seen this in person, and would love to buy one.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 891: November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 890: Incinerator Trooper

INCINERATOR TROOPERS and Darth Vader
30th Anniversary Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87576 No. 87577
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: September 2008
Appearances: The Force Unleashed

Bio: One of the most devastating of the Empire's specialized stormtrooper units, the incinerator troopers wield powerful plasma rifles to set enemies ablaze. When deployed to a forest world like Kashyyyk, a small squadron of incinerator troopers can level an entire Wookiee village in a matter of hours. Vader and the Incinerator Troopers are sent in whenever an example needs to be made of anyone who dares to question the ultimate authority of the Empire. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: In front of my Mac.

Commentary: Since the Clone Trooper repaint became a cash cow, it only seemed like a matter of time before someone introduced Stormtrooper variants like the Incinerator Trooper. Loosely based on the appearance of the soldiers in The Force Unleashed, these figures take the 2004 Stormtrooper "Vintage" mold and add some color. In the game, they figure had heavier weapons and-- as I suspected-- a shoulder pauldron. (As you can see here, the coloring stops just below the neck, right where a pauldron should cover it.) If anything, it probably should have been a repainted Sandtrooper. Thankfully, the end result is neat enough to warrant a purchase, despite the inaccuracy. The red coloring is distinctive, and the pattern is unlike anything we've seen on clones. The green lenses are also quite distinctive, and with any luck Hasbro will start including more colored lenses on its various trooper repaints. (The green one looked awesome on the 2006 Kashyyyk Trooper.) Incinerator Troopers are a little light on extras, including only a traditional Stormtrooper blaster. Perhaps Hasbro will repackage this figure with some new accessories in the future, as the game seems to be popular enough to warrant additional product.

Collector's Notes: This set, and its companion set featuring the Emperor and the Shadow Troopers, were delayed for months to coincide with the release of the game. There didn't seem to be a firm street date, as some stores put them out early, and others weeks after the game's release. As it stands now, these are still findable in some Wal-Marts, so go out and check your area if you missed these. Not everyone gets their stuff on time.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 890: November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 889: Han Solo (Hoth)

HAN SOLO Hoth Outfit
30th Anniversary Collection Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 87295 No. 87307
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Thermal hat, macrobinoculars, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Spring 2007
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Han Solo was a Human from Corellia who achieved galactic fame as a member of the Rebel Alliance and later the New Republic. Solo then entered the Imperial Academy at Carida, serving with distinction. He was kicked out, however, when he stopped an Imperial officer from beating a Wookiee named Chewbacca. In gratitude, the Wookiee swore a life debt to Solo. He became a smuggler once again, with Chewbacca at his side. Piloting the Millennium Falcon, he was known as one of the best smugglers in the galaxy. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: A desk.

Commentary: Hasbro's luck with Han Solo in Hoth gear hasn't been so great. The first one was a pegwarmer of stellar proportions. Others had variant jackets, bad likenesses, or other things fans took issues with-- although some of those were designed to sit on a Tauntaun released years earlier. This one wasn't. As an action figure for collectors, this may be the best Hoth Han Solo ever designed, but as a toy, it's not very good. Sure, he can stand-- but he can't sit, he can't pilot any vehicles, and he can't ride a Tauntaun. Still, he does have super articulation... but the design of the figure's coat restricts much of the lower body movement. In a way, it's a shame Hasbro is putting emphasis on looks above functionality, while the 1990s figures were more primitive, they certainly made for better playthings. While the detail on this figure is fantastic, and the likeness is good, its inability to perform basic toy functions is a bit of a downer. Also, its thermal hat is pretty worthless-- why Hasbro and Kenner seem insistent on making this a key feature of the character is beyond me. When the first Hoth Han figure from Kenner's modern line came out, a lot of fans weren't even entirely sure why it was there-- we always saw him with his hood up, or down, paying no attention to the hat. So if you get this, odds are you can ignore that particular accessory. Thankfully, his blaster is a perfect fit in his holster, and he has no problem holding his gun.

Collector's Notes: The first public showing of this figure included a variant head with a hood up-- which Hasbro took down within minutes, as they claimed LucasFilm did not approve it. A "hood-up" version of the figure would come out in 2008, first in Wal-Mart's exclusive Droid Factory collection, and again in the Hoth Recon Battle Pack. This particular figure wasn't hard to get in the slightest and could be found on clearance in some places. As an aside, I had a breakage issue with my first figure-- it snapped at the waist. My second one was fine, but I was able to find out other collectors had breakage issues. As such, be careful with it if you open a packaged sample. A blue variant figure was sold in a Target exclusive Battle Pack, if you prefer that color.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 889: November 10, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 888: Master Sev

MASTER SEV and ARC Trooper
30th Anniversary Collection Order 66 Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87356 No. 87671
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 6 of 6
Includes: Lightsaber, Jedi robe, ARC Trooper
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Spring 2008
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: Master Sev is a Jedi general in command of clone troopers aboard a Republic attack cruiser during the end of the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: A table.

Commentary: After a round of repaints, Hasbro decided that the second batch of "Order 66" sets would include newly molded parts. Master Sev is, in fact a previously released Kit Fisto with a new head and a new robe. So rather than sell you another Jedi you've bought twice, Hasbro was kind enough to take a cue from the Clone Wars Adventures comic books and give you this new figure. He's basically super articulated, but it's a little weird. His arms are what you might expect, but his legs, not so much. I'd go into detail, but basically, he'll do what he should-- just oddly. Since he's modeled after a stylized comic book character, Hasbro had a low bar for excellence here, and thankfully the figure turned out well. All they really had to do was crank out a Jedi with a Weequay head, and well, that's what we got here. It's a new character, which makes it a solid "buy."

Collector's Notes: This one sold well. It's notable in that the package illustration sucks. I'm not saying this to be mean, it really, truly blows. Hasbro did a bad photoshop job on a publicity shot of Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, and the end result seems to be closer to a Jem'Hadar than a Weequay. His clone companion was rereleased as a non-exclusive in Saga Legends, so if you just want that, you can skip this one. I don't think you'll want to skip it, though.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 888: November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 887: Nute Gunray

NUTE GUNRAY Should Not Have Made This Bargain
Episode I Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84095 No. 84089
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: A Trade Federation viceroy who is controlled by the evil Lord Darth Sidious, Nute Gunray leads the attack on Naboo with the help of fellow Neimoidian, Rune Haako. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: A table.

Commentary: As part of the second big push for Episode I product, Nute Gunray was both a welcome addition and the object of scorn. Fans looked forward to this new, ornate release while at the same time hating it because of his role in the movie. At the time, there was a lot that adult fans didn't like about the prequels-- mostly, these things were new robots and creatures. This particular one got a lot of guff due to his voice and facial movements, but mostly the voice. Thankfully, the figure has no voice and looks pretty good. Despite the total lack of accessories, he still looks expensive. His robes are big, he has added detail in his face, and oh yes-- he's ugly. A modern release wouldn't be much better than this one, I guess Hasbro could add more paint and articulation but this figure is still pretty good all these years later. It is, however, still Nute Gunray, and largely a statue. It can't sit, it just stands there. So if you like the look of the character enough to buy it, you won't be sorry.

Collector's Notes: Fans didn't much like this one. It sold fairly well in many markets, but there was a lot of complaining, which no doubt helped prove that as a group we'll buy pretty much anything. Like other figures from the era, you can get it on the cheap.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 887: November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 886: Chancellor Valorum

CHANCELLOR VALORUM with Ceremonial Staff
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84105 No. 84132
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: CommTech Chip, Staff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: As the beleaguered leader of the Galactic Republic, Supreme Chancellor Valorum faces many challenges to his authority, from the greedy Trade Federation to the manipulations of his one-time ally Senator Palpatine. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: The Pawlus computer desk.

Commentary: Back in 1999, it seemed like Hasbro had a good formula for its then-new prequel line. It was as follows: make anything, it will sell, nobody needs to see the movie first. It worked. Chancellor Valorum was one of the very first figures produced for the line, and he's as exciting as he looks-- not very. While the figure has a good likeness for its time, and probably wouldn't look much better were it released today, it's just not very exciting. It's somewhat depressing to cite it as an example of some of Hasbro's finest work at the time, because it's a character that, like most of you, I can't fake much of an interest here. Yes, it is Terrance Stamp as a small plastic man. Yeah, he's got the dress, complete with all the detail. And yes, he's even got a big fat staff for waving around. But he doesn't do much. The only meaningful articulation is at the neck and shoulders, because the big robes prevent any articulation from the waist on down from doing much of anything. Without more senators or some other diorama, this figure doesn't offer much to fans other than another notch in your collection's bedpost. Yes, it's stunning, but it isn't remotely cool-- which is a shame, really.

Collector's Notes: As you might expect, fans didn't much go nuts for this one. It sold better (or rather, it sold through faster) than a lot of other equally interesting characters of its time in part because Hasbro made fewer of them. You can get this figure today on eBay for next to nothing, and you probably should. Hasbro will probably never make another one, and the character did relatively little before being eventually blown up in the comics.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 886: November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 885: Sandtrooper

SANDTROOPER Escape from Mos Eisley
30th Anniversary Collection Saga Legends
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 86830
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: White shoulder pauldron, blaster, backpack, detonator, prod, coin
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Early 2008
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Jedi mind tricks often work on the weak-minded. Such is the case when a squad of sandtroopers asks Jedi Maser Obi-Wan Kenobi about the two droids that are with him in a landspeeder. Obi-Wan tricks them into concluding, "These aren't the droids we're looking for." (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Commentary: Fans demanded more Stormtroopers, and with this Sandtrooper Hasbro basically came through. The figure is based on the 2004 Vintage Original Trilogy Collection Stormtrooper, but features a removable "grenade", a shoulder pad, and a backpack. And some sort of prod. But aside from that, it's totally a basic run-of-the-mill super-articulated Stormtrooper, so it's a great figure to pick up if for no reason other than it's flexible. If you need either form of trooper, you're covered. Given the recent deluge of Stormtroopers and variants on that theme, this figure is a solid basic model to pick up for any army or collection you may be building. You can add all the dirt you might like, of course, which is a plus given how many fans out there seem to really hate battle damage. (Of course, just as many love it. So go figure.) Sadly, there's not much remarkable about this release-- it's one of many based on the mold, and one that it would be wonderful to see stay in circulation for a while. As a new one is coming in 2009, who knows, maybe this will be it. Oh, one downer-- like every figure to use this mold as of press time, the holster on the belt for the blaster really doesn't work particularly well. A pity, but what can you do?

Collector's Notes: As the final "Saga Legends" variant, this one was around for a while near the end. Thankfully, it's a good figure-- and one you can still probably get for a fair price. Buy six, do the Emperor proud.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 885: November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 884: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI Jedi Knight
Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84115 No. 84158
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: July 2000
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Many settlers on Tatooine regard old Ben Kenobi as a crazy wizard. In fact, he is General Obi-Wan Kenobi, a veteran of the Clone Wars, and one of the last surviving Jedi Knights. For years, he lived as a hermit in the remote Jundland Wastes, secretly monitoring the safety and progress of Luke Skywalker, whose father had been Kenobi's apprentice. However, fate soon required that Kenobi himself train the boy in the ways of the Force. (Taken from the toy's packaging.)

Image: Adam's toy room floor.

Commentary: Released during a transitional period in which Hasbro was given a mandate to boost the line to be more than 50% original trilogy product, this Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figure manages to be neat in some respects and in others... not so much. Based on some new tooling as well as the 1995 figure's head (or something close to it), this standing-only release was designed after the few scenes in the original movie. Sadly, no training remote was included. Surprisingly after over 31 years, Hasbro and Kenner have never made an accurate replica of the training remote that wasn't a crappy grey orb on a string in a Millennium Falcon vehicle. But I digress. This figure was designed after the scene in which Ben gives Luke his lightsaber, but here's the weird thing-- the figure comes with an Obi-Wan saber in the "on" position and a Luke saber in the "off" position. The scene only had Luke's weapon ignited, so yeah... this is kind of a bummer. However, the good thing was that was this was the first-ever trilogy figure to include a lightsaber hilt that can plug into his belt. The bad news? It isn't Obi-Wan's saber that can plug in to his belt. Oh well.

Articulated at the neck, waist, shoulders, and elbows, this figure isn't much of a toy. It looks fantastic, as the robes are sculpted nicely and the likeness is certainly good, but all he can do is just stand there. Thankfully he holds together nicely, but there's no way you're going to get him to sit in a ship. As such, I'd only suggest collectors, packaged fans, or diorama builders pick this one up. It's really no fun to play with.

Collector's Notes: Not a supremely strong seller, this figure would end up being the last new "trilogy" Obi-Wan figure sold until 2004. And the ones in 2004 would be the last new ones until 2009. If you want to get a really cool collectible, the 2004 Orignal Trilogy Collection version of this figure comes in awesome packaging sporting a background of Mos Eisley. It also has a display stand. I don't normally keep figures in the packaging but this one was so cool, I had to. (Did I mention how much I loved the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection packaging? It's gorgeous. Even better than the vintage line.)

--Adam Pawlus


Day 884: November 3, 2008