The Clone Wars Mail-In Figure
Item No.: No. 94728
Includes: Lightsaber, package opens to reveal diorama
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99 + 5 UPCs
Availability: Spring 2010
Appearances: Clone Wars animated series
Bio: Jedi Knight Nahdar Vebb battles the military leader General Grievous. Vebb has just achieved the rank of Jedi Knight when he joins his former Master, Kit Fisto, on a mission to recapture escaped prisoner Nute Gunray. On the Vassek moon, Vebb and his comrades are lured into General Grievous' stronghold, where the brave yet impetuous Vebb faces the cyborg general in a fierce lightsaber duel. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' floor.
Commentary: As soon as the episode aired, fans said to Hasbro "so, are we getting a figure of Nahdar Vebb? They basically said "we weren't planning on it" but this quickly turned to news of a mail-in figure which mirrors a previous Mon Calamari warrior from the 1980s. Just like Admiral Ackbar, Nahdar has a distinctive outfit with a unique color scheme so that the two characters seem way more related than they probably should be. I think it's pretty cool, personally, plus it's another action figure in my "voiced by Tom Kenny" collection. (Right up there with Starscream and Spongebob Squarepants. And if the right people are reading my letters, Kedzie Matthews.) The figure is distinctive in that he's the first and only member of the Mon Cal species to be done up as an animated toy, plus he has a unique and so far exclusive blue lightsaber. The sculpt looks pretty much exactly like the TV show and just based on looks alone, Hasbro gets an A for affort and an A for axecution. But they also get a third A, and this time it's far more appropriate because it's for articulation.
Some of you might be saying "what could possibly be so good that Hasbro gets an A for an animated figure?" Well, take a look at the inset photograph. As arms go, this is Hasbro's best Star Wars figure to date-- in any action figure line. The wrists are actual ball joints. Not similar to ball joints, there's an actual ball that you pop into the wrist, which allows for swiveling and extra movement in holding a lightsaber or "using the Force." It's a wonderful design and one I hope to see continued on every Jedi figure Hasbro decides to try it out on-- it's a wonderfully simple and elegant design, one I tried to get added to some other figure line recently, but I digress. Nobody wants to hear my war stories, but let me assure you these are Hasbro's best wrist joints yet.
Up next: the best shoulder joints yet. If you look in the photo, the top shoulders are uneven, but the second picture is even. That's because both shoulders have a ball joint which can go up or down, and on the other end of that is another joint which allows for movement in and out. Again, a stunning and smart design which looks great, plays well, and might even be cheaper to manufacture than Hasbro's previous shoulder efforts. It could just be that Nahdar's unique tunic allows for these joints to be used more easily than other figures, but it seems this was a real testing ground to try out new things in Star Wars that we don't usually see.
Beyond that the articulation is typical 2010 styling, with a couple of minor exceptions. The elbows are the now-standard ball, the neck is a ball, the waist is a swivel, the hips swivel, and the knees are balls-- but very nicely hidden ball joints. Like, I didn't realize he had knee joints until I got the figure in my hands. The figure can sit just fine despite a "skirt" being in the way-- nice work, Hasbro!-- and there are no ankles. I would have liked ankles, as the lets on my sample aren't both on the ground if you place this figure on an action figure display stand's peg. At least, not without some futzing.
Collector's Notes: This was an advance, loose sample. As such, don't go expecting this in your mailbox this week. Click here to see the Galactic Hunter image gallery. As such I haven't seen the diorama at press time, but let me assure you, it's cardboard.
Picky Notes: This figure gets a place on the short list of "greats." Along with the 2008 animated R2-D2, this is one of the best figures Hasbro has ever engineered. The quality is unusually high, so if you're one of those fans who only wants very well made figures, this should be on your short list. I hope you don't forget to send for yours before the expiration date which, at press time, is June 30, 2010.
Day 1,239: March 15, 2010