Friday, January 29, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,208: Wookiee Warrior

WOOKIEE WARRIOR Light Brown Variant
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85461
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #III-43
Includes: Bowcaster, red rocket, shield, blaster, bandolier
Action Feature: Wookiee Battle Bash!
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: The Wookiees are intelligent, fiercely loyal and exceedingly strong. When their peaceful home planet of Kashyyyk is enveloped by the Clone Wars, these ferocious warriors fight the Separatist incursion. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk. Note the native Kashyyyk flora, which is in no way a Playmobil Christmas Tree.

Commentary: This Wookiee Warrior was the second "generic" mold released in 2005, and this light brown color was the first of two releases-- a dark brown one shipped at roughly the same time but it seems this color hit first. The main downer of this figure, especially five years later, is the knee joints. Why Hasbro made them swivel instead of bend, I'll never know-- a stiff leg would have been pretty much just as good. I guess points for adding a point of articulation but there isn't one time since I first got this figure where I was particularly pleased that it had this kind of joint here. The arms are pretty good, even though the elbows are just swivel joints, plus the battle action from the waist joint works quite nicely.

The fur sculpting is good, the deco is just fine, and if Hasbro wanted to they could easily repaint this one again with a different pattern and color and pass it off as "new." It's decent enough to buy a few of, although the odd knees really do seem worse a few years on. Oh well! It's still worth picking up for your armies.

Collector's Notes: For whatever reason this figure was never reissued, but it's a nice one. A dark brown variant exists, as does a black repaint under the name "Wookiee Commando." Get 'em all, build your armies, etc.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,208: January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,207: Talon Karrde

TALON KARRDE and Grand Admiral Thrawn
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87688
Number: #09
Includes: Blaster, Thrawn figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2008
Appearances: Heir to the Empire

Bio: It's five years after the destruction of the second Death Star. The Rebel Alliance has established a New Republic, but its existence is threatened by the old Empire. Grand Admiral Thrawn command the remnants of the Imperial fleet and is putting together a plan that will destroy the new goverment. Thrawn contacts Talon Karrde, a man with valuable information that Thrawn needs in order for his plan to succeed. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's living area on some boxes.

Commentary: Odds are you already bought this set for Thrawn, but if you didn't, it's worth noting that this Talon Karrde figure is well worth snagging-- if you're a fan of the character. One of the major introductions in the Zahn novels, this fellow is a big smuggler and Mara Jade's boss when we first meet her. On the bright side, this was pretty much perfect the first time-- all 14 points of articulation, a working holster, and on the whole everything holds together nicely. The head is probably the loosest joint, he has almost no problems sitting, his holster works fine, the paint is good, it's hard to fault this one. The fur lining of the vest is convincing, the boots and belt buckle all look right, plus they gave him a decent goatee. It's one of those figures that is hard to say much about because it's a new sculpt, the only version of the character as an action figure, and it's darned near perfect. I really can't think of much to say that would make this figure better, and my only quibble is that the holster gets in the way of the right hip from being able to sit a little bit. Well done, Hasbro!

Collector's Notes: He came and went pretty quickly, so if you missed this one you might want to start scrounging. This is a nice set. Since the comic packs are reportedly on the way out, I suggest you go back and get them all-- and make this one of the first sets you get if you missed it. Thrawn & Karrde are really one of the best examples of how the line worked well on a good day.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,207: January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,206: Battle Droid

BATTLE DROIDS Red Variant, Sliced
Saga Legends
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87340
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, second figure, coin
Action Feature: Remove limbs and reassemble!
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2007
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: The Separatists utilize battle droids as their primary infantry forces. When assaulting strategically important worlds, these droid forces can be painted with special markings to help them blend into their environment. Though not individually a threat, attacking en masse these droids can become a formidable fighting force. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: There may be no more variations on a single SKU that yielded more significant and different figures than the Battle Droid. This particular release borrows the "slice" pattern seen on earlier figures and applies it to the Attack of the Clones-style red deco. As always, you can take him apart and swap his arms and legs and head with other droids, creating whatever freak designs you want. Perhaps you want something a little "Mystery of a Thousand Moons"-esque. As custom fodder goes this is a useful figure, and as scene filler, it's fantastic. With five points of articulation he can sit just fine and as such should be able to pilot many vehicles without too much trouble. Unfortunately, the plastic is very bendy and the way Hasbro packaged him may result in a figure that doesn't stand on his own very well-- so take note, get some stands ready for this one.

For army builders, these are no-brainers. If you buy every Battle Droid variant you'll have quite the might army!

Collector's Notes: He was packaged with another red droid with "blast marks." They were repacked in the 2008 style packaging, and will probably see many more releases in years to come.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,206: January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,205: Yuuzhan Vong

YUUZHAN VONG & Kyle Katarn
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87746
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #03
Includes: Amphistaff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn and New Republic agent Jan Ors help Imperial officer Pallin free a group of people on Ord Sedra who have been enslaved by the Yuuzhan Vong. But the flimsy cells in which the Yuuzhan Vong have been placed may not be strong enough to hold these cruel conquerors until morning. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: Depending on your levels of fandom, you'll find this Yuuzhan Vong either the greatest thing ever or an abomination. A lot of old-timers either ignored or hated the Vong as their novels brought forth the death of Chewbacca, Anakin Solo, and the Force as an unbeatable... force. Fans of the books may be upset that this hulking berserker was based on a comic rather than the books directly, but that's what I like about it. This particular figure is one of the biggest Hasbro Star Wars figures, right up there with the likes of the giant Darktrooper but not of Graxol Kelvyyn. He's super-articulated, big, mean, ugly, and covered in that bio-armor you've read so much about. You can see what may be intended as little faces here and there on his suit, The deco is good, the paint is good, really the only thing this figure has going against it is that it looks a little un-Star Warsy.

If you like action figures as action figures-- not necessarily Star Wars-- this is a good one to get. It's big, impressive, and fun to futz with. It's rare you get an alien figure that looks quite so mean, nasty, and horrible, so this one is probably worth picking up.

Collector's Notes: One release so far, and it's been popular. Hopefully you got or are getting yours.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 1,205: January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,204: Anakin Skywalker, Outlander Disguise

ANAKIN SKYWALKER Outland Peasant Disguise
Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84852
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0201
Includes: Lightsaber, blaster, poncho, box
Action Feature: Force Action, retractable lightsaber
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: It has been ten years since young Anakin Skywalker left his desert home to train to become a Jedi Knight. Under the mentorship of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin is assigned to bring Senator Padmé Amidala back to Naboo after she escapes another assassination atempt. Anakin dresses in peasant clothes to hide his Jedi identity. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: This was the first-ever released figure of Anakin Skywalker as a prequel-era adult. He also came out after Hasbro boasted a little about the new use of scanning technology in the development process, which seems to have helped improve the sculpt quality, although the face deco on prequel-era Anakin figures still needs a bit of work. The figure is very pale, and his hair a little too fair, but the costume is basically just fine. The figure has a mere 6 points of articulation, and, to date, is the only version of Anakin in this costume. The goofy vest and sweater-like sleeves are a little odd, and as a toy, it's tough to buy it as a disguise because he has a lightsaber molded into his fist. The level of detail is excellent, and the action mechanisms are really why I liked this figure when it first came out.

As one of the first figures to include magnets, Hasbro included a hunk of metal in the figure's left palm which allows Padawan Skywalker two particularly clever actions. One, it Force-attracts guns with metal in them, such as the one included. This was something that didn't get a lot of play in the movie, but this unique "Force Power" was used elsewhere in the saga and it really did add a magical element to the toy. The hand magnet also could be used to unlock a box included with the figure, a sort of a space trunk with a magnet inside. The hand could be waved over a "lock" which would automatically open when the magnet is dragged along the inside of the box. (And I'm too lazy to make a video to show you, but it's awesome.) If you don't like the look of this figure, I still give it a strong "buy" rating because it's a lot of fun to play with. I know this is a foreign concept to many of you, but the sliding lightsaber and the magnetic features make this a surprisingly great little toy. Sure, his legs won't really fit in most vehicles, and no, the face isn't perfect, but for five to ten bucks it's a fantastic little desk toy. It's simple, ingenious, and a sign of the sort of thinking frequently put in to the line before someone decided the only important things to do with a figure was to include 14 points of articulation as the top priority. A number of "Collection 1" figures in 2002 features little gimmicks like these, and despite improvements in sculpting and articulation many of them are worth grabbing just because unlike their descendants, they actually beg to be played with. Good show, Hasbro!

Collector's Notes: This item was a one-timer in 2002 and has the distinction of being an interesting piece of early misdirection, given that it basically didn't really appear in the movie much. It proved well that if fans don't know what they're buying, and they're ready to buy, they'll pick up pretty much anything. Also, most fans hate this figure. It is worth noting that they are wrong.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,204: January 25, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,203: Luke Skywalker, X-Wing Pilot

LUKE SKYWALKER X-Wing Pilot
The Legacy Collection Comic-Con Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 93454
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, helmet, ladder
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: July 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Luke Skywalker always dreamed of becoming an Imperial pilot, but he never imagined that he would one day sit in the cockpit of an X-Wing and battle the Galactic Empire. Luke becomes a hero when he fires the shot that destroys the Death Star battle station. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)


Image: Adam's back yard.

Commentary: It is a little-known fact that despite the large amount of complaints, Star Wars fans will generally always say that they want something. For example, this nifty Luke Skywalker figure was released after Hasbro decided it looked a little too goofy and went with a more subtle head on a 2008 release, but some combination of Hasbro wanting to get the most out of the tooling and fans saying that they wanted the grinning version of the pilot resulted in the item seeing production for Comic-Con 2009.

Basically, the reasons to buy this are twofold-- one, the ladder, and two, the head. Other than that it's essentially the same as the 2006 "Vintage" The Saga Collection action figure. It's super-articulated, can basically sit or stand just fine, and has acceptable deco. The helmet is missing key paint operations seen on other (and cheaper) releases, but if you buy this figure odds are you'll want to leave the helmet off to see the big, toothy grin. This figure is particularly notable in that his head seems much wider, and his mouth is open enough that there's a gap between his upper and lower teeth. The hair deco has two shades of brown (or blonde, whatever) which really does a nice job bringing it to life-- and his blue eyes are very true to the movie. With the slightly lower grade deco (note some missing black stripes on the brow, for example) and the new head, it looks more like a toy than a replica of the actor. It's a unique take on something that's been done time and again, so I like it enough to happily pick it up in San Diego last year.

While not everybody's cup of tea, this release is a pretty cool if you're a fan of the unusual, or if you can appreciate Hasbro making something truly strange that only the fans would ask for. It's not the best, but it's certainly the most distinctive looking take on the character in recent years.

Collector's Notes: This item was available at Comic-Con 2009 and also made it online afterward. This figure was originally slated to be part of the 2008 Wal-Mart Exclusive Droid Factory line. The ladder was also sold with the 2009 Target exclusive X-Wing Fighter with Wedge Antilles.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,203: January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,202: Dark Trooper

DARK TROOPER Phase III
The Legacy Collection Build-A-Droid Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 14860
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Gun, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: n/a
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: Dark Forces

Bio: The dark troopers were advanced battle droids and infantry exoskeletons that featured heavy plating that resembled the armor of a stormtrooper, powerful weapons, and jumppacks for increased flexibility and tactical advantage. (Taken from Wookieepedia.)


Image: Adam's back yard.

Commentary: The biggest (and therefore best) build-a-droid from Hasbro's ongoing program is this massive Dark Trooper which towers over most other action figures in the line. While not an exact match of the game design, it's certainly cool enough and close enough to be worth tracking down. Each massive limb has at least two joints, plus there's a jointed waist, neck, and the usual spots. It kicks the butt of the 1998 release, which it certainly should given its higher price and the fact you have to re-buy figures you may already own to complete it. His unique stance and massive upper-body require extra support, so if you get one be sure to employ a display stand of some sort to keep him standing. The deco is good, the sculpt is nice, and he seems big enough to crush any of your usual Imperial action figures. Plus he's basically black, not silver like the previous release. What's not to like? (Aside from the price tag and Hasbro's making this figure hard to get, that is.) Someone is sure to want to army-build these, but this will likely remain cost-prohibitive for us mere mortals. Still, anyone can save up to afford at least one of this nifty figure and fans of the classic PC game should probably run out and do this.

And who knows, maybe some day Hasbro will make a Dark Forces-specific non-bearded Kyle Katarn to go with it.

Collector's Notes: It comes in five pieces with various Wal-Mart exclusive two-packs which, depending on your location, may have sold out incredibly quickly. Given that completing this item had an initial retail price just south of $100, the secondary market prices tend to be higher than that of other build-a-droids. It's worth getting for fans of the games, or robots, or Imperials. Really, you ought to get one of these.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,202: January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,201: K-3PO

K-3PO Hoth Recon Patrol
The Legacy Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 87789
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: This protocol droid provides the Rebels with information on military tactics that he learned from his former owner Commander Narra. (Taken from the figure's package.)


Image: Adam's Hoth playset.

Commentary: Since the Endor C-3PO was released in 2006, fans were hoping Hasbro would take it and repaint it into other robots. K-3PO is one of these. The same mold, complete with knee joints, is replicated here in white. It's an upgrade over the 2000 model, which was based on a TC-14 mold and didn't have jointed knees. He's also missing the blue splotches on the chest, but other than that is essentially the same, only slightly better. He can stand, sit, look at things, and pretty much do everything you'd want out of a protocol droid outside any meaningful arm movement. This mold has since been eclipsed by the stellar U-3PO build-a-droid body, but as a #2, it's perfectly acceptable for most robot needs. As diorama fodder, it's better than you'll need and it comes with enough other good figures to warrant purchase of the set. Grab one if you can!

Collector's Notes: This set has stopped shipping but you may still be able to find it in circulation. It's worth the retail asking price, given the five excellent figures.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,201: January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,200: Cad Bane

CAD BANE Bounty Hunter
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 91268
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW22
Includes: Hat, blasters, blaster rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Cad Bane is hired by Darth Sidious to break into the Jedi Temple and steal a holocron containing the secret names of future Jedi. The resourceful and cunning bounty hunter carefully puts his plan in place using schematics of the temple, a techno-service droid and an unscrupulous shapeshifter. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)


Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: Depending on how much more screen time he gets, it's a safe bet Cad Bane will get several more action figures. It's also a very popular character with a strong design-- so I decided to wait a good long while to cover it here, in the hopes that being removed from its packaging for a few months might help the hands to take a better shape, or for some elements to work slightly better. It didn't help. As a statue, a carded figure, or as a desk display, Cad Bane is a pretty good little figure. It looks cool, has great deco, a top-notch sculpt, and acceptable articulation. As a toy? It really doesn't work-- this can't all be blamed on Hasbro, his unique design doesn't necessarily help.

There's no denying that Hasbro did a good job sculpting this figure and making sure the many details of the TV show model were replicated in three dimensions. Unfortunately, it doesn't hold together as a plaything. For starters there's his hat, expertly sculpted to snap onto his blue head right down to a groove which aligns to a hood that covers his hatless noggin. Unfortunately, once removed, the hat tends to fall off if the figure is ever rotated in such a way where gravity will pull it off. It may have been better to have created the figure with the head sculpted as part of the hat, so it doesn't flop off quite so easily. Cad includes two pistols which fit into his holsters just fine, but they don't quite fit into his hands particularly well. They fit, but it's very easy to accidentally knock them out and send them flying. The rifle, while cool, can't be easily held in both hands due to how the arm joints were done, but it does look pretty nice. If you're willing to do some heavy futzing with the weapons, you can make them work.

His articulation shows a good effort, but ultimately not where it needs to be to be a great toy. For starters, he can't sit easily. Part of this is due to his duster, which extends to the floor. The material is flexible so in theory he would be able to sit with his extra-long coat, but there's a pouch on the back of his belt which is too thick to bend. If Hasbro took some artistic license and raised or lowered this element of the design, it would probably sit without any significant problems. The leg articulation itself is perfect, it's just that coat that prevents a figure from being able to pilot a ship, which is really unfortunate because his vehicle is supposedly coming in 2010.

Bane's arms show all the articulation fans ask for, but the design hurts movement. There are ball joints on the elbows plus jointed wrists, but the hoses connecting Bane's wrist gauntlets to his upper arms are such that you really can't bend them at a meaningful angle. The item looks better than it plays, and if that's what counts for you, go run out and buy one immediately. Otherwise, I'd suggest holding off to see if Hasbro does a revised version with less restricted movement and, perhaps, more cartoon-accurate skin coloring.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been doing very well so far, and has been in short supply during some parts of 2008. As such, it's going to be hot for a while it seems. Also, this is one of very few Bounty Hunters in the animated line so far, particularly in light of the marketing that the show was going to be very hunter-heavy for its second season. Like Boba Fett in the days of old, the marketing for these characters seems to always outweigh their screen time.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,200: January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,199: Security Droid

SECURITY DROID & Jawa
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93139
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD29
Includes: Jawa figure with accessories
Action Feature: Rolling wheels
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: KPR security droids are used to monitor perimeters and maintain security devices. During their scavenging for lost and abandoned equipment, the Jawas find one of these droids and offer it for sale at moisture farms on Tatooine. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)


Image: Adam's back yard.

Commentary: At some point in the past few years Hasbro cranked out enough droids that fans started asking to do everything from the Sandcrawler scene, which is why we're getting a Jawa with a droid every year now. The most recent entry in the series was this Security Droid, a little guy that looks like a tiny quasi-astromech design with very little in the way of features. If you like how it looks, that's pretty much what you're going to get. The wheels turn, and the green "head" rotates a little bit. The deco is good, the articulation is as good as can be expected, and the sculpted detail isn't bad for a sidekick figure, particularly when you recall that these things were typically unpainted hunks of plastic in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is a figure that hardcore droid fans need and the rest of the class will probably see as a nice, but not essential extra. I love droids and am glad to have this unique and different addition to my Jawa clan, but it's not particularly impressive. It's basically merely "fine," which is nothing to sneeze at, but collectors on a budget that aren't already sold on the companion Jawa may not particularly feel like shelling out for this one. (Although I will say that I basically dig it, even if it's just diorama fodder.)

Collector's Notes: This set has been selling fairly well, so get it when you can!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,199: January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,198: Commander Faie

COMMANDER FAIE & Quinlan Vos
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87774
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #13
Includes: Helmet, Blaster, Comic Book, Quinlan Vos figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.99
Availability: Fall 2008
Appearances: Star Wars: Republic comic books

Bio: Quinlan Vos and Commander Faie are sent to Kashyyyk, the lush forest homeworld of the Wookiees, during the Clone Wars. The Jedi General and the clone commander have an uneasy relationship given their very different natures, and their ability to work together is made more precarious when the duplicitous Devaronian smuggler Vilmarh Grahrk appears and, predictably, stirs up plenty of trouble. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)


Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: One thing I find particularly enjoyable about the ongoing Star Wars line is that Hasbro seems to understand that we're totally cool with new Clone Troopers if they make some changes. This Commander Faie is one of few Clones to get multiple figures based on him, which is particularly striking given he's never appeared in a movie or on TV. The figure has a removable helmet rather than the flip-up Kashyyyk Trooper helmet, which is unique, plus he's got a big scar on his face. The figure uses the same body as the 2008 Kashyyyk Trooper, but it has different deco and, of course, a new head/helmet. It's worth getting all of 'em because they're different enough to look unique on a shelf or in a diorama, but those who are extremely cheap may not see value in both versions. These people are wrong.

Collector's Notes: This set comes and goes, since it comes with a really nice Quinlan Vos figure it's a set worth picking up. If you like the prequel toys at all, this is a good addition to your movie collection.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,198: January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,197: Mon Calamari Warrior

MON CALAMARI WARRIOR Just Plain Awesome
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87614
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, horn, shield
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2008
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: The Mon Calamari are under attack by the Quarren, who have joined the Separatist side in the Clone Wars. Aided by Republic forces, Mon Calamari warriors mounted on trained keelkana fight the attacking Quarrens in a roiling undersea battle. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: While I complain here a lot, the truth is I'm really easy to please. This Mon Calamari Warrior was something I saw on TV and immediately wanted, and here we are, just a few years later! How nice. The species had quite a few figures over the years, from Ackbar to Meena Tills, and now this fellow. The figure has pretty much everything he could have used on the show save for a giant eel to ride around on, plus he was lovingly rendered in that realistic style fans seem to prefer these days. (Although the truth is that fans want everything both ways most of the time, so I assume this is basically what the collective fanbase wanted. But it's what I wanted, so screw 'em.) The articulation is pretty great, the sculpt seems in line with the original alien design from Return of the Jedi, and you have an excess of accessories. We get so few undersea races of aliens that this one looks pretty sharp-- it's clean, sports a cloth lower section, and can be posed to look as if he may be swimming. It's a shame the legs weren't created to work with a mount, but they're not going to make a creature for him to ride anyway so who cares? It's great. The subtle sea-themed armor and bright lobstery skin are awesome, if you enjoyed the original Clone Wars micro-series you owe it to yourself to get this figure.

Collector's Notes: Only two cases shipped with this figure, both of which were basically at the same time in August of 2008. It seemed to sell well enough, but it didn't come back and any you see on shelves now are extremely old stock. I'd love to get more, so when you get bored with yours please send it to me and I'll give it a good home. No other Mon Calamari figures are known to be on deck, except for Nahdar Vebb. Which is shaping up to be awesome.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,197: January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,196: Battle Droid

BATTLE DROIDS "Dirty" Variant, packed with Commander
Saga Legends
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87340
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, second figure, coin
Action Feature: Remove limbs and reassemble!
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2007
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The Separatists utilize battle droids as their primary infantry forces. When assaulting strategically important worlds, these droid forces can be painted with special markings to help them blend into their environment. Though not individually a threat, attacking en masse these droids can become a formidable fighting force. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: For whatever reason, Hasbro decided that this Battle Droid mold was the top dog for repaints. As such, this figure with five points of articulation and removable limbs became the go-to figure for two-packs in 2007 and beyond. Starting life as a 2002 deluxe figure, it has now been given an exquisite paint job which, as of today, remains unmatched. The multiple colors of paint give it a weathered look that's pretty uncommon in any current toy line, and Hasbro really deserves kudos for doing a great job here. The parts are fully swappable with other droids that share the mold-- and there are many-- plus they're cheap cannon fodder. The person at Hasbro that decided two evil troopers for $7 was a good idea is a genius, because otherwise it'd be impossible to get an army of the buggers to pilot ships and fight the Clone armies we've all put together over the years. The sculpt is OK, nothing special, but the deco and the value make this set totally worth picking up-- in multiples, if possible. Hopefully Hasbro will apply this deco to its newer Battle Droid molds more in the future.

Collector's Notes: This figure was packaged together with a yellow Battle Droid Commander, similarly weathered. While new test shots of them have surfaced in late 2009, no known plans exist for a reissue just yet. Hasbro's 2005 Revenge of the Sith Battle Droid is colored similarly, but comes from a different mold.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,196: January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,195: Chewbacca (Boushh's Bounty)

CHEWBACCA Boushh's Bounty
Power of the Force Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69882
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Bowcaster, Freeze Frame action slide
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Chewbacca, acting as a prisoner, and Princess Leia, disguised as the bounty hunter Boussh, infiltrate Jabba's Palace. There they hope to rescue the carbonite-encased Han Solo. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: All things considered, this Chewbacca was a fairly crappy figure upon his release. The "thinner" body sculpt looked weak, he was cross-eyed, and the chain around his neck didn't look quite right. He could sit just fine, more or less, and had little problems standing. Unfortunately, the madded fur, shorter build, and awful head sculpt made him seem iffy in 1998 and by today's standards, this figure is worth not owning. If you're the kind of collector that buys acrylic cases or Star Cases for their figures, you're probably paying more to keep this figure pristine than it's actually worth. As a toy, it's acceptable, but the non-removable chain was a poor choice for a toy figure, and it just looks bad. Unless you light it right, which means keep it in the dark if at all possible.

Collector's Notes: This figure was never reissued. It was also somewhat tough to get upon his release in 1998, although time made him undesirable and cheaper-- the 2006 update didn't hurt either.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,195: January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,194: Major Bren Derlin

MAJOR BREN DERLIN Battle of Hoth
The Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85928
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #008
Includes: Blaster, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: February 2006
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Major Bren Derlin has a tough call to make. With heroes Luke Skywalker and Han Solo stranded out in the frigid conditions on the ice planet Hoth, Derlin must side with caution and close the base doors for the night. He bravely takes responsibility for the decision and informs Princess Leia himself. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's printer.

Commentary: Some figures exist because of some level of fame in fan circles, and Major Derlin seems to be one of these. He was written into the Return of the Jedi radio drama, but he's mostly known as being a tiny role for John Ratzenberger during the Battle of Hoth. Because people love Cheers and/or Pixar films, and fans are a vocal bunch, and Hasbro desired to release "trooper"-type figures with names, here he is! While not superb, he's pretty good-- certainly not awful. With eight points of articulation and a decent face sculpt, he's worth snagging just because of the novelty factor alone. Why not pick him up, really? The sculpt is going to fit right in with your Hoth display, he has a holster for his gun, and the outfit itself seems designed quite nicely. The figure isn't a stunner due to the swivel joints and his inability to sit easily, but hey-- this is a figure you pick up to say to people "did you know Cliff was in Star Wars, and that I've got the figure to prove it?" Worth getting if you like a good story behind your toys.

Collector's Notes: A repaint of this figure was sold as a Target exclusive in 2007. It was not called Derlin. No additional versions of Derlin have been sold.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,194: January 11, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,193: Hoth Trooper Hoth Evacuation

HOTH TROOPER Hoth Evacuation
Saga Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84725
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0401
Includes: Blaster, stand, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: January 2004
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: On the ice planet Hoth, the energy shield erected by the Rebels forced the Imperial Army to engage in a ground battle. The Rebel Soldiers dug into snowy trenches, blasting at the incoming Imperial Stormtroopers and the unstoppable Imperial walkers. When it became evident the base would fall to the enemy, the Hoth Troopers provided covering fire to give the Rebels time to evacuate personnel and equipment from the base. They fought fiercely, dedicated to the principal of freedom and willing to lay down their lives to win their objectives. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: Man this figure sucks. In 2004, there's really no excuse for a figure to be like this Hoth Trooper. Six points of articulation is one thing, but the goofy face sculpt, the awful pose, and the fact he's shorter than most non-Ewok figures is pretty much inexcusable. It has a little trouble standing, it doesn't look very good, the sculpt is merely adequate, but it arguably looks better than the 1997 edition as long as you don't have them side-by-side. Because this one is effectively a different scale. After getting the 2008 super-articulated Hoth trooper, few can compare, but this one doesn't seem like it's from the same decade. While most figures have some element of curiosity that makes them worth picking up despite more advanced releases, this is not one of them. For crowd filler, sure, why not. But as a figure for your collection, you can do much better.

Collector's Notes: A repaint of this figure was sold as a Target exclusive in 2007. It wasn't much better but it was packed with so many toys that it was arguably a decent deal, even if you threw it away. This particular figure would only see one major release.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,193: January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,192: Padme Amidala Naboo Pilot

PADME AMIDALA Coruscant Attack
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84904
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0241
Includes: Exploding radar, blaster, helmet
Action Feature: Push button for quick-draw action
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Fall 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, returns to Coruscant to vote on the critical issue of creating an army of the Republic to assist the overwhelmed Jedi. As her Naboo Cruiser arrives, an explosion tears apart the ship. Fortunately, Padme, disguised as a Naboo pilot, eludes danger, but her decoy Corde, disguised as Senator Amidala, was not as lucky. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: She's a pilot! One of the great things about Star Wars is that they have the foresight to give the female lead something to do other than look hot and/or wear a dress, so this Padme Amidala figure is an honest-to-goodness action figure. She's a pilot, so you can put her in your Naboo Fighter. This means she has a removable helmet, too. Her blaster plugs into her belt, and the articulation is pretty good. She even has an exploding piece of scenery to simulate the assassination attempt. Really, this is one of Hasbro's finer figures in the Saga-era, because Hasbro hit it right on the nose.

The head sculpt is good, but the deco on the face is iffy. The rest of the costume is pretty much perfect, it's almost a shame there aren't too many more female pilots from Attack of the Clones to do because this one would be a great place to start several other figures. Ah well. As Padme figures go this is probably the best in terms of toy qualities, to snag her if you can.

Collector's Notes: Plans existed for her to be in a Kay-Bee exclusive gift set with a Naboo Fighter, but these were wisely put on hold when someone realized that putting out a figure that exists with a ship that exists is a pretty lame collectible item. Gift set, sure, but unless you're a sucker for package variant vehicles, it's a real drag. The figure was released just once, and the demand isn't what you might call big.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,192: January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,191: R4-P17

R4-P17 Kamino Conflict
The Legacy Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 87752
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Additional figures of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango Fett, and Boba Fett
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: November 2009
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, technically

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi's astromech droid provides navigational assistance and makes necessary repairs to the Jedi's starfighter. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: Technically this figure of R4-P17 doesn't exist-- in Attack of the Clones he's a dome hardwired to the vehicle and not a removable character. So technically, this is based on the Revenge of the Sith version of the droid, who we also never saw out of the ship because he got taken apart pretty darned quickly. Anyway, this figure is distinct from the 2005 Revenge of the Sith R4-P17 in that he's all cleaned up. This new one is lacking in grime and dirt, and looks quite striking. As with his ancestor, the droid is based on the R4-G9 mold which means he has articulated ankles, shoulders, and the dome-- which rotates to raise and lower the foot. It's just like a lot of the other droids you've seen in stores, or your collection, or in this column, except that with the omission of the grime it basically looks like a new robot in more ways than one. As such, Astromech fans would be well-served to consider this one for their stash.

Collector's Notes: As part of a set of slightly revised figures, odds are this one may not be widely collected. Be sure to grab it if such things are on your wish list.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,191: January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,190: Concept IG-88

IG-88 Concept Art
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 91644
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD40
Includes: Blasters, droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: November 2009
Appearances: The Art of The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: In the concept art from Ralph McQuarrie, the droid IG-88 has a broader shape than its ultimate appearance. The chrome war droid and bounty hunter still has a menacing presence with its simple lines that evoke its purpose: destruction. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: After a strong showing in 2007 with its McQuarrie Concept Figure program, Hasbro decided to do an encore in 2009 with IG-88. Unlike his forerunners, this figure doesn't have uniquely colored packaging that calls out why it's so special, it really just blends in with the rest of the line. (Which, if you ask me, is the wrong way to go. Anything you can do to call out figures as "special" is probably worth doing.)

The figure itself is pretty much perfect. He has twin holsters, 14 points of articulation, and just enough paint so that it's obvious Hasbro didn't cheap out. The added brown over the silver gives it a somewhat sketchy look, which is nice given that it comes from an old drawing. The range of motion for a bulky concept figure is remarkable, as Hasbro probably could have put out a statue and it would have sold just fine. Instead, this figure is easily as good as any of the best IG-88 toys made by the Rhode Island toymaker, although getting the head to move on my sample was a little tricky. The red eyes and silver body give the figure a decidedly retro look, and if you've been picking up the concept Boba Fetts and Stormtroopers and what have you, this should be next on your list. If you haven't picked up concept figures yet, this is a good place to start.

Collector's Notes: Along with Episode III concept-based Ki-Adi-Mundi and Anakin Skywalker plus a Joe Johnston Snowtrooper, this figure makes up the quartet of 2009 concept figures. IG-88 has the distinction of being the only McQuarrie design.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 1,190: January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,189: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Resurgence of the Jedi
The Legacy Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 93144
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: November 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The young moisture farmer discovers his father was a Jedi Knight as circumstances lead him in a life-altering direction. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: This Luke Skywalker is, according to Hasbro, the best, the ultimate, with the best articulation and likeness ever. It's hard to deny this, although it seems the quality of the likeness is entirely dependent on the lighting. In other words, this figure certainly has the best-ever sculpt although it seems that the paint job doesn't do it too many favors-- perhaps it's the color, or the materials. In an overly bright store aisle or a too-bright shelf, it looks crappy. In a decent outdoor evening photo shoot, the figure takes on a new life and looks very striking. It really does benefit from a little bit of a shadow. It's hard to deny Hasbro's assertion that this is indeed the best-ever sculpt of Luke in this outfit.

The articulation is as good as you can expect-- 14 points, with ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles plus the ball head. The only thing this figure has going against him is he can't sit-- the plastic tunic bits hanging in front of his crotchial region prevent his legs from swinging forward, so you aren't going to be easily cramming this Luke in your Millennium Falcon or other dioramas. By incorporating the best overall elements from various Luke figures from 2004 and 2007, plus a new head, they pretty much perfected the character. Any new releases will probably be based on this one, hopefully if it ever sees any more changes, it will be designed so he can sit. Interestingly, the slit in the side of his costume allows for his legs to swing out, so the ball-jointed hips aren't totally wasted.

Finally, there's the deco-- Hasbro seems to be having some trouble here. The light grey tunic and the light tan legs look like nearly the same color, and most fans remember Luke as having a mostly white top and brown pants. If nothing else, we remember these garments as being different colors, not nearly identical as this figure makes them out to be. So, once again, Hasbro is just shy of nailing Luke, and while it's certainly one of their best, the coloring and its inability to sit in a Landspeeder make it so you shouldn't throw out all your older ones just yet.

Collector's Notes: Released late in 2009, it's unknown if this is going to be quite the stinker its ancestor was, as it has the exact same characters as the Training on the Falcon set. It's assumed this should be popular due to the high quality of these figures as opposed to the previous release, but will non-collectors care? And will Hasbro recolor Luke to look more like fans expect?

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,189: January 4, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,188: Clone Trooper Boost

BOOST Ambush at Abregado
The Clone Wars Target Exclusive Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 93349 No. 94237
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, helmet, additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: November 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: This clone trooper finds himself in a precarious situations that demands all his courage and stamina if he wants to keep himself alive until the next battle. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: Removable helmet Clone body + Commander Gree's repainted head = Boost. This figure was one of Plo Koon's men, and the deco on the armor is very similar to the Space Clone Trooper figure from early 2009, minus the space breathing gear. Really, all you get is a helmet and a blaster, but it's technically a new character so that's a plus. The double-mohawk of Gree is reused here with a new scar on his face, in an example of Hasbro imitating the Lucasfilm animators. To save on money, the animators reuse and repaint a number of assets, from bodies to heads to rooms, and it only makes sense that Hasbro should probably mimic this technique for the best in increasingly authentic figures. Why not reuse the same parts? It makes good sense.

Collector's Notes: This set came out later than expected, and the figure is presently exclusive to this set.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,188: January 1, 2010