Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,316: R4-P44

R4-P44 Astromech Droid
The Legacy Collection Build-A-Droid
Item No.:
Asst. 87535
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: n/a
Availability: October 2009
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: R4-P44 was a R4-series astromech droid that was assigned to Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi's clone trooper forces while stationed on Utapau. It was used aboard an ARC-170 starfighter of the Fifth Fleet. The droid, like R4-P17, had the dome of a R2 unit. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: If you need another droid, R4-P44 is a good one. His pieces came mostly with Cantina people, and unlike many other droids he's green. With jointed ankles and legs, plus the dome, there's not much surprising about this one other than the fact that Hasbro plucked a neat design from obscurity and translated it into plastic. There's not much to say here other than it seems pretty much spot-on to the digital model except the action figure is far cleaner, without the grease, grime, and blast marks of war. I like it, I assume you will too.

Collector's Notes: At press time I see people paying $4.99 or more per piece (there are 4 pieces), which is ridiculous. You can get the figures WITH the pieces for $4.99 in the sales that started in May, so whatever you do, don't pay more than $5 per piece. Complete droids go for as little as $8, which is reasonable if you don't want Leesub Sirln, Concept Ki-Adi-Mundi, the Jawa, or Hrchek Kal Fas. And, between you and me, you should get those.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,316: June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,315: Deluxe Clone Trooper (Saga)

CLONE TROOPER with Speeder Bike
Saga Deluxe Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84859 No. 84903
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, grenade, armor, helmet, bike
Action Feature: Removable armor, arm throwing action
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Summer 2002
Appearances: Clone Wars/Concept Art

Bio: Formidable fighters engineered for battle, a number of the Clone Troopers are deployed on speeders, then race into battle against the enemy forces. Daringly flying alongside the AT-TEs, they lob electro grenades into the vehicles to disable them in crippling explosions. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: For a brief period, this Clone Trooper was arguably Hasbro's finest in terms of what it could do. He had knee joints. He had a throwing action. You could even pull off his armor and see what was inside! Heck, this was the first-ever removable helmet Clone Trooper, too. He can fit on the bike, and assume a few action poses. If you don't go out of your way to pose him, though, the sculpt does look a little goofy just standing around. The sculpting was great for the time and is even pretty good for today's standards, it's rare that any toymaker-- particularly Hasbro and Kenner-- crank out a figure with removable armor that isn't obscenely bulky.

Because of the vehicle, unique grenade accessory, and removable armor bits, I'd put this figure on your list of Essential Clone Trooper Action Figures. There's also a 2003 repaint, but I prefer this version just slightly because of the bike color and lack of a firing rocket on the bike.

Collector's Notes: This one was pretty popular, but not impossible to find. You should be able to get one for about original retail. Another reason to buy this? The Republic Gunship was designed with carrying his bike in mind-- there's an area inside in the back to mount a bike. So if you have a Gunship, you simply must get this bike.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,315: June 29, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,314: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA All-New Likeness
Power of the Force Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69824
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Rifle, Freeze Frame Action Slide
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Summer 1998
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Held captive in the Death Star, the princess is interrogated by Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. Leia was ordered to reveal the location of the secret Rebel base or see her home planet of Alderaan destroyed. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: While I'll never be 100% certain, it seems like the development of this Princess Leia Organa figure sprang up from two things in 1995. One, that the 1995 Princess Leia took a severe beating from fans despite being a huge seller due to her, shall we say, handsome features. Two, a mail-in figure from Kellogg's-- Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise-- was supposed to include a double-grip Stormtrooper blaster as an accessory. Kellogg's would not allow a gun with their cereals, so that was not to be.

So! Three years later we got this figure, who has hands posed to grip a double-weapon and an entirely new sculpt which throws out the proportions and features of the original, save for some very basic elements. Under her gown, she doesn't seem to have pants on (as seen through the cut on the side) but she does have big white boots. Not knowing what's supposed to be under there, I can only assume this is correct, or a brazen attempt to tart up this otherwise fairly modest get-up. She can no longer sit, but she seems to have little problem standing. Her hands are posed specifically to fire a gun, and she looks best with the double-grip Stormtrooper blaster. She does, however, look just fine with her normal sporting blaster.

By the standards of 2010, she looks good, but not as crisp and generally realistic as later releases. She does, however, look like a fine Kenner action figure from the 1990s. Sadly, it was around her release where the designers began favoring aesthetics far over play value, so if you want a Leia that can sit down this isn't it. The main reason to buy this figure today is as an evolutionary step in the line, or for the gun for Han Solo-- who has also since been upgraded and replaced. I like it, but if you're new to the hobby and cutting corners this may not be the best Leia you can buy.

Collector's Notes: Since you may be able to stumble on her for a few bucks, well, why not buy one? She's not rare and as far as I know was only released in this configuration-- no multi-packs or anything. For cheap, she's worth grabbing, but I wouldn't advise dropping more than original retail on her alone.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,314: June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,313: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA Early Bird Kit
Early Bird Kit Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 85868
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Bowcaster, display pegs
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: Fall 2005
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Chewbacca - with his special laser rifle and ammunition belt across his chest. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: While the vintage 2004 release was widely regarded as the best sculpt of the character, the Early Bird Chewbacca from 2005 is considered by many the definitive version of the Wookiee. Not only does he have the standard super-articulation of 14 points, but Hasbro put in additional waist joints to make him one of the more flexible figures ever created. The sculpt is spot-on, the head is more or less specific to the original Star Wars. The hair is back a little, the arms are shaggy, and the expression is less ferocious than most of the earliest Chewbacca toys. Heck, pretty much all of them until 1998 seemed pretty angry. This one? Clearly a better interpretation of the characterization as a spin on the family dog. He's a happy fellow, large, and unlikely to stab you in the eye with a spork. (Look at the 1979 one. Clearly a spork-stabber.)

If you buy only one Chewbacca figure ever, this is a good candidate to track down. The Early Bird Figures may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's a lot to like there for long-time figure fans or even new folk who want a good set to start off with. If you can get the pack cheapish (under $30) I'd say get it just for Chewie-- but keep it for the others.

Collector's Notes: You probably won't be paying $30-- more like $6. For these four figures, that's a freaking bargain, and a sign of how much of a failed concept this was in the eyes of the collector market. Not all Wal-Marts had the kits (which required you to send off for the figures which, initially, were not named on the box), and some that did had a hard time selling them off. So this is a set that, for those who weren't able to get it, is now available for prices that make you a bad collector if you don't buy them. Also-- an added bonus-- the "display pegs" this set comes with are compatible with modern and vintage cardboard playsets.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,313: June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,312: Clone Sharpshooter

CLONE SHARPSHOOTER Battlefront II Clone Pack
30th Anniversary Collection Diamond/Previews Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87561 No. 87466
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, helmet, pouch with blaster pistol, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Battlefront II

Bio: Clone sharpshooters are highly trained marksmen whose primary purpose in battle is to target infantry forces with devastating long-range fire. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: How many times can you repaint a mold inside a year? Many, many times. The Clone Sharpshooter started life as a Clone Commander in Mace Windu's Attack Battalion, then had an orange repaint as an Airbone Trooper, and also became a member of the 501st with yet another repaint-- and all of these figures were based on an existing Clone mold with a few more modifications. This release has a large clone rifle and all the articulation you're used to, 14 points. The removable helmet may fall off somewhat easily, but that seems to be an issue with the part on all releases of this figure. He can generally stand without too much assistance, and fits right in with the look of the 5th Fleet Security Clone Troopers from late 2006 and early 2007... and technically 2005 if you count the then-unnamed blue troopers from the Revenge of the Sith Clone 3-packs.

Collector's Notes: You probably won't need to spend a lot to get this one, and since it's an unusual non-movie design it doesn't seem to be commanding a huge premium. Individual figures are less than six bucks usually, so if you want it, that isn't at all bad.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,312: June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,311: Destroyer Droid (Battlefront II)

DESTROYER DROID Battlefront II
30th Anniversary Collection Previews Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87561 No. 87478
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 rockets, additional figures
Action Feature: Firing rockets
Retail: $39.99
Availability: Late 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Battlefront II

Bio: The droideka (a compound word combining the Basic word "droid" with the Colicoid suffix eka, meaning "hireling" or "drone"), also called the destroyer droid (Destroyers for short), wheel droid or roller, was a type of heavy battle droid used by the Trade Federation and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' place.

Commentary: People like to poke at Hasbro for "mistakes" (which are quite often just design decisions) but once in a while, we get a figure that's so ass-backwards we can't help but make a joke about it. Specifically since, over the past decade, Hasbro has made two figures which are literally assembled with their butt section reversed-- one of which is this Destroyer Droid. Chewbacca must have been in a hurry putting this one together because, like C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back, he's backwards-- but just the area around its legs. The design is normally two legs in front, one in back-- this has one in front, two in back.

The mold is the Revenge of the Sith Destroyer Droid, just assembled incorrectly. It has firing rocket arms with the red rockets, and, well, that's pretty much all that's worth noting beyond that it's a pretty good sculpt and basically true to the films. It isn't a bad figure, but the assembly error is the reason to get it-- just to take note of a figure where the entire run was made incorrectly.

Collector's Notes: This item comes in a set that seems to get cheaper all the time, and the rest of the set is, for that lower price, arguably worth it. Snag it if you can, especially under $20.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,311: June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,310: Emperor Palpatine

EMPEROR PALPATINE Final Jedi Duel
Power of the Force Cinema Scenes Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 68650 No. 69783
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Display base, additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Under the evil gaze of Emperor Palpatine, the lightsabers of two Jedi Knights - a father and son - clash furiously in a final duel between the light side and dark side of the Force. Slowly, the young Skywalker is lured closer to the rage of the dark side, and Palpatine sits confident of the Rebellion's defeat and the acquisition of a new emissary to fulfill his evil legacy! But the young Jedi's resistance appears to be growing... (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Many have complained that we have never received Emperor Palaptine with a throne. These people are wrong-- this figure has one, stuck to the display base of the Cinema Scene set. The figure itself doesn't do much, after all he's posed with "sitting" legs and his arms are designed to be placed on the armrests, but the sculpt is pretty good and, to date, this is the only way you're going to get a) the seated Emperor and b) the throne accessory. He's more of a statue than an action figure, simply because once he's in that chair, he doesn't do much. And outside of the chair? He looks pretty goofy. Kenner's designers did a good job with him and he was far and away the reason to buy this set back in 1998, and, believe it or not, still is.

Collector's Notes: This one went from a pretty great set to clearance fodder in under a couple of years, and could be had for under $10. Today, you shouldn't pay more than $5-$10 for it, and because of the throne, I'd suggest you get it. If the long, retangular base which the chair is stuck to bugs you, you can just slice it off and end up with a throne on a square base. You should do that. I consider this a required purchase for fans of Return of the Jedi unless Hasbro does a better one, and I suspect it will be tough to do since this figure was specifically made to sit and only to sit.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,310: June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,309: Dred Priest

DRED PRIEST Elite Forces of the Republic
30th Anniversary Collection Entertainment Earth Exclusive Mandalorians & Clone Troopers Set
Item No.:
Asst. 87467 No. 87454
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, rifle, 6 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: n/a

Bio: A secret army of clone troopers is being engineered on Kamino, created from the genes of Jango Fett, a Mandalorian whose combat skills are exceptional even among the great Mandalorian warrior society. Special clones are created to command these soldiers, but they must be trained to become leaders. Fett seeks out the very best Mandalorian warriors from every corner of the galaxy. These sergeants will train the commandos to fight and lead, and instill in them the Mandalorian values of iron discipline and loyalty. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: While Hasbro has had a few opportunities to design Star Wars vehicles and the occasional figure, it's rare that they get to make up entirely new characters like Dred Priest. Named for (and designed to slightly resemble) Hasbro's chief Star Wars muckymuck Derryl DePriest, it's a fairly distinctive character with red armor. Rather than sculpt a completely new figure, Hasbro made a new torso and head while keeping the 2004 "Vintage" Boba Fett's arms and legs. As such, the articulation is pretty good with 14 joints and a Clone Trooper's rifle for his weapon. He can stand just fine but his belt doesn't do him many favors when it comes to doing things like sitting.

Given that this was basically a new character for the toys, and one designed after a Hasbro employee, there's really not much in the way of reference to say if it's really good or bad as far as the likeness goes. The important thing here is that Hasbro made a cool looking figure with a helmet that fits, plus he has some battered armor that doesn't look all that bad. More scuffing would be cool on his red plates, but eh, at least we got some. It's a neat figure and a rare case of Hasbro innovating and expanding the story with their own new characters. And surprisingly, it totally worked-- it's tough to say if they could pull that off again today given the shifting focus in the hobby, where every remaining collector runs his or her own collecting site. (It's true, look it up. If you don't have a site you're supposed to start one.)

Collector's Notes: This one sold pretty well and then went away. There are no known plans to reissue him, although there have been a lot of fan requests. So grab a loose one off eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,309: June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,308: AT-AT Driver

AT-AT DRIVER The Removable Helmet One
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 88336
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD49
Includes: Blaster, helmet, droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Late 2009/Early 2010
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The massive AT-AT walkers need skilled drivers to handle them efficiently in battle. AT-AT drivers are experts at operating these ground assault vehicles to keep them moving over rough terrain while pounding their targets with laser cannon fire. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: The most surprising things about this AT-AT Driver are that 1) he isn't the one packed with the Big AT-AT and 2) he came out so quickly after the last one, which was in 2006. The 2006 one was actually quite good-- great sculpt, decent (but not fantastic) articulation, and a head that stayed on pretty dang well. The helmet seems to be a smidgen different, and there's a big red box on the chest console. His helmet comes off, he has ball-jointed ankles and elbows now, plus he has pretty sweet sideburns. I hesitate to call this one a huge improvement mostly because the 2006 one was so good/just fine. Where do you go from "pretty much perfect?" Prefect-er, apparently. It's a fine figure, but he has a little more problem holding on to his gun and I gotta say I don't care for the removable helmet anymore. It was cute in 2006 when we were all crazy about Clones and Hasbro was trying to merge that element of the prequels with the original trilogy, but I'm pretty over it now. That, and sometimes the helmet gets knocked off, so eh. Since the design is fairly simple-- except for the helmet-- the sculpting is about as good as the last one and if you need a dude to sit around inside an AT-AT, this is more figure than you're going to need. So get it, you won't be sorry you did unless you already have too many existing AT-AT Drivers.

Collector's Notes: This one sold pretty well so far, and it's a safe bet you'll see it again.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,308: June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,307: ARC Trooper

ARC TROOPER and Anakin Skywalker
30th Anniversary Collection Order 66 Series 2
Item No.:
Asst. 87356 No. 87667
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 2 of 6
Includes: Blaster, helmet, kama
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: March 2008
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: As a general in the Grand Army of the Republic, Anakin commands highly skilled Advanced Recon Clone troopers during the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: The ARC Trooper concept went over like some sort of flying pancake when introduced in the cartoon series of 2003, and Hasbro was sure to have a figure of dubious quality ready to go. Since then we've seen countless improvements, and this unique release combines the kama of that very first figure with the body of the one from 2007. At first glance this was the exact same figure as the 2007 Comic Pack release, but it turns out that Hasbro did make some notable modifications. First, there's the kama-- so instead of a tattered, wind-swept garment it just sort of hangs there. Second, the paint job was altered to include a different smattering of fake dirt. The blue coloring was also a little different, plus Hasbro added some paint on his shoes. The main audience for this figure is completists, and the audience who wants a lot of different (but still similar) ARC Troopers for a raid or an army or something. I wouldn't say this one is superior to the other releases, but if you're going to buy a few ARC Troopers anyway you may as well make it a point to include this one in your stash.

Collector's Notes: The mold sold briskly as a 2-pack, and Hasbro repackaged it in 2008 as a Saga Legends figure where it continued to do just fine.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,307: June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,306: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Bespin Duel
Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84525
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0229
Includes: Lightsaber, hand, blaster, bacta tourniquet, vane
Action Feature: Removable hand, dueling action activated by button
Retail: $4.99
Availability: May 2002
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: As Luke battles Darth Vader in Cloud City, he rebuffs Vader's attempts to mae him submit to the dark side. Wounded by Vader, Luke heroically chooses to plummet to almost certain death rather than to yield to the dark side. Managing to grab hold of a weathervane, he shrugs to hang on until his Rebel friends can rescue him. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: A figure can't be all things to all fans, but this Luke Skywalker was one of the most impressive released of 2002, and one of my favorites. Hasbro gave fans so much for $5, including an unheard of amount of extra gear and articulation for 2002. I personally see this as a high point of the Saga line, simply because you got so many things that Hasbro doesn't normally bother with. For starters, a removable hand, with three variations. (See below.) A slashing action was incorporated, but it doesn't get in the way of the figure's look and feel too much. The decision to make the head sculpt bruised and beaten, in a mid-"NOOOOOOO" scream of sorts, was a great idea-- I mean, he's quite colorful and abused for a hero figure. His clothes are torn, sweaty, and his pose is combat-ready but clearly weakened. Plus you can hang him on a windvane, which Hasbro had the courtesy to include on a basic $5 figure. It's simply remarkable.

As far as articulation goes, this figure has great knee joints, plus wrist and swivel elbow joints-- these were still fairly uncommon in 2002. He can stand, sit, or assume a number of poses-- and the Big Millennium Falcon of 2008 included a medical bed which seemed designed with this figure in mind, too. (See, even Hasbro knows this one was better than the Vintage release in 2007.) For fans of fun toys, this is one of Hasbro's best. The lightsaber has a removable blade, the hand can get chopped off, and he can hang around-- literally-- on a great accessory. Get one, dammit.

Collector's Notes: There were multiple severed hand variations here on the carded release. The first one had a very short magnet peg and a bloody stump on his wrist. The second had a longer peg, but no stump. The third had a plastic peg and no magnet of any kind.

The short magnet peg mold was used for the Jedi Training on Dagobah Battle Pack release in 2007 and the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection version. The 2002 Saga one is the only one with the windvane, so be sure to get that one first and maybe the others if you like the alternate paint jobs.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,306: June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,305: Giran

GIRAN The Other Rancor Keeper
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93132
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD21
Includes: Hood, pike, droid piece
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Giran is a Nikto Guard who helps Malakili take care of the vicious rancor in the chamber below Jabba's lair. A warrior species with a reputation for shady activities, the Nikto are loyal to the Hutts and work in Jabba's palace and on his sail barge. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: If I had a short list of "best figure of 2009" I would put Giran right at the top. From the moment I opened the package, it consistently impressed me. At first I thought it was lacking in articulation, but Hasbro just did a really bang-up job hiding some of its 14 joints. The hood almost looked non-removable, but it comes right off if you'd like to have him go hatless. The sculpt is remarkable, with magnificent skin texturing augmented by great paint. His eyes are shiny, and unusually full of life for a small plastic toy based on a rubber mask. He comes with a pike weapon so he could double as a Skiff Guard in addition to being a rancor keeper, if you're so inclined. I was just so consistently pleased with every aspect of this release that, sadly, I don't have a lot more to say about him other than fans of quality product should get him. Why not? For $8, he's really well done and one of the few figures that I bought since the last price increase where I can just look at it and say "oh, that's why this one costs more. It's good."

Collector's Notes: Surprisingly (to me) this was a weak seller in my local market-- he was one of the last remaining figures, along with Malakili. Don't you people have any taste?

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,305: June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,304: K'Kruhk

K'KRUHK Jedi Master
The Legacy Collection Shared Exclusive Expanded Universe Wave
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93304
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD57
Includes: Lightsaber, Jedi robes
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 2010
Appearances: Various Expanded Universe

Bio: K'Kruhk is a Jedi Knight during the last days of the Republic. Although he has the fierce nature of all Whiphids, he also holds strong pacifist ideals and struggles with the military role that the Jedi perform during the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' tackle box.

Commentary: What, no hat? Not cool Hasbro. K'Kruhk has been a staple of the Star Wars Expanded Universe since his first comic appearance in the year 2000. He's appeared in prequel-era fiction, "Dark Times"-era stories, and even in the distant future of Legacy. He even "died" in the original Clone Wars series... and came back! The big hairy dude gets around, and was a pretty memorable character to boot. Very few Whiphids get any real spotlight in the saga, so seeing one get so much to do means that it only makes sense that he would get a figure. Heck, Hasbro even said-- for years-- that they were planning on getting to him, and if memory serves they flat-out said he would include his hat if and when they got to him. They didn't. Dammit.

The figure itself is slightly better than the bulk of the Legacy Collection figures. The sculpting is quite good, the articulation is the typical 14 points, and it seems to me that the lightsaber is a new sculpt-- something Hasbro has been hestiant to do when they can just reissue an existing one. (It's worth noting, though, that this is not the lightsaber most fans associate with him based on his appearances.) He has no difficulty holding his lightsaber with both hands, and he can stand without assistance due to his big feet. However, he does have problems sitting due to the plastic part of his robes, which are a mix of plastic and cloth. The hair sculpting on this figure is some of Hasbro's better work, and I like his little teeth jutting out from his mouth. It's a great overall figure, but a hat and a different lightsaber would have made it great. I'd suggest this figure to all fans of the character, unless one with a hat got made in the distant future. I have to figure that had crossed Hasbro's mind, because, seriously, why leave it out? That hat is more important than ankle joints.

Collector's Notes: Initially, the figure was available at Toys "R" Us with a roughly 30-day window before being shared at other stores. "Other stores" means "not Target, not Kmart, and not Wal-Mart" and, so far, has been only online toy sellers. As such, if you missed it at Toys "R" Us, you can probably buy it by the case online-- which is generally cheaper than buying them individually. I've never seen this set in the wild at press time, so yeah, you can guess what I did. The future is still in motion for this one, so keep your eyes peeled and maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to find one.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,304: June 14, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,303: Whistler

WHISTLER Wal-Mart Exclusive Droid Factory Packs
The Legacy Collection Droid Factory
Item No.:
Asst. 91939 No. 14860
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 5 of 5
Includes: Corran Horn, third leg, Darktrooper torso
Action Feature: Twist dome for retractable sensorscope
Retail: $17.00
Availability: July 2009
Appearances: I, Jedi

Bio: Whistler, also called Xeno, was the astromech droid of Corran Horn. It was the same R-series model as the legendary R2-D2. Just like almost every standard astromech droid, Whistler's metal body was silver and white. Whistler had green details—the color of CorSec and Corran's X-wing. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Hasbro doesn't use the R2-D2 "vintage" mold for other droids all that much, but Whistler is one of the proud few. From the few illustrations of the Expanded Universe droid, Hasbro's figure is likely the wrong color-- he's portrayed as having a greenish body, and his dome has been seen with differing color schemes. It almost seems like he's a bit of a patchwork appliance, but given the inconsistencies with Corran Horn, it's a safe bet Hasbro just didn't quite make it as perfect as they could given time or budget constraints. It's still a distinctive design and with his bright green markings, a clear change from being simply R2-A6 with a few added dome stripes.

If you're a big fan of the droids, obviously, you need to get this one. Why wouldn't you? It's different enough and pretty slick. Expanded Universe fans may be upset with the coloring issues, but really, will Hasbro ever go back and redo this one? Probably not. As such, if the price is right, go ahead and get one. It arguably isn't worth premium pricing, but the entire wave of "Droid Factory" 2009 is a really neat set once you get it together and can get past the fact that Hasbro punked out and included a couple of repacks.

Collector's Notes: Since the figure bowed at $17 in a set, many fans considered that high. The market of supply and demand has dictated that it was, in fact, too expensive and the going rate on eBay is closer to $10 before shipping at press time. After shipping, it's still cheaper than retail price plus tax was at Wal-Mart.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,303: June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,302: Lt. Janek "Tank" Sunber

JANEK "TANK" SUNBER with Amanin
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 12974 No. 87883
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, hat, Amanin warrior, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.99
Availability: March 2009
Appearances: Star Wars: Empire comic books

Bio: Lieutenant Janek Sunber faces jealous Imperial officers and fierce Amanin aliens on the jungle world of Maridun. Determined to make something of himself, Sunber joins the infantry, where his tactical skills draw everyone's notice. His commander rewards him with promotions and the Amanin honor his courage, but others respond with resentment and betrayal. There's no shortage of battles, bloodshed and bravery as everyone fights "To the Last Man." (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' cardboard display.

Commentary: Made of new and existing parts, the figure of Janek "Tank" Sunber brings another one of Luke's old friends to life. In the comic, he's portrayed both as a man of reasonably normal build and as, well, a sort of a tank of a human being. His legs are new, his torso is borrowed from Moff Jerjerrod. The head and hat? Those are new. The figure is notable in that it's quite green rather than a greyish color that we usually get for this kind of figure, and he's also splattered in a little mud. The hat seems a bit big, but it comes off so you don't have to be stuck with it. The figure is almost perfect except his arms are the swivel joints and as of late, people expect ball shoulders and elbows. So while he does have 14 points of articulation, 4 of them aren't what you might be hoping for when it comes to a figure from 2009. As comic characters go it's a good enough interpretation, so why not pick this one up? It's certainly better than "good enough."

Collector's Notes: This is a great set, and seemingly one of the better selling of Wal-Mart's various offerings. Get it if you can, both figures are absolutely worth owning.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,302: June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,301: R3-M3 (aka R3-O1)

R3-M3 or to some, R3-O1
The Legacy Collection Build-A-Droid
Item No.:
Asst. 87535
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: n/a
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: R3-M3 was an R3-series astromech droid which served the Galactic Empire aboard the first Death Star. He was most likely destroyed along with the space station over the planet Yavin. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: Ever since I finally caught a decent (blurry) picture of R3-M3 in 2005, it was my mission to make it happen. Unfortunately, it was right after another Astromech-related mission was wrapping up, so it wouldn't show up for another four years. This mold is based largely on the same basic build-a-droid construction used since 2008, except the dome and the wiring under the dome are clearly (hah) new tooling. The retooled dome has some minor panel changes, and, for some reason, isn't as clear as the next build-a-R3 droid. The blue is quite bright, and the panel decoration is pretty unique as, well, not many droids get made with all-blue bodies. There's R2-B1, and this one, and that's about it so far.

The figure has typical articulation for a modern astromech-- ankles, shoulders, dome, and a removable third leg. It's nothing spectacular, but it is about as good as these should be. Since all he really did on-screen was stand around and look cool, Hasbro did one better by letting the figure have a decent range of motion. Heck, you could put him in a vehicle if you wanted. As Imperial Astromech droids go, this is one of my favorite designs-- and if the blue was darker and the dome were clearer, it would be one of the best ever. But we'll just have to settle for really cool.

Collector's Notes: R3-M3 (then known as R3-O1) was on the cutting room floor of the Astromech Droid Packs for various reasons-- and it's one of the few times I'm glad a figure got delayed. This figure's mold was way better than the one that existed in 2006. As a build-a-droid with the Wave 9 Legacy wave, he was packed at a higher ratio than his counterpart, so odds are eventually completing one shouldn't be a huge challenge.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 1,301: June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,300: Teek

TEEK Star Tours
Star Tours Boarding Party
Item No.:
No. TBD
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99
Availability: May 2010
Appearances: Star Tours, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

Bio: Teek was a male member of the Teek species, and a native of the forest moon of Endor. He was a playful, mischievous being, with scruffy, white fur and two large upper incisors. As his species had an accelerated metabolism, he could move extraordinarily fast, and was often seen as a blur. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: When dealing with shorter figures, articulation is all over the place. Ewoks have had all sorts of added articulation, and Teek here is somewhere in between the best and the most average. Small and hairy, this star of the Star Tours boarding video and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor has some added joints but not quite as you would expect. In addition to the normal 6, he has ball shoulders, swivel wrists, and, oddly, swivel ankles. His sculpt seems on par with the freakish hairy rubber masked used in shooting those projects, and generally speaking Hasbro probably couldn't (or wouldn't) do much better with today's toy tech. Sure, ball ankles would be nice, but probably wouldn't add much to this release since he can stand just fine.

Collector's Notes: At press time, this figure just hit. It's one of very few (heck, maybe the only) figure we'll ever get directly from that second Ewoks movie, so get it and be happy. It's great that Hasbro finally found a way to release this character which has been demanded by a vocal few for years now, plus it's a token Battle for Endor release. We really don't get much from the 1980s TV projects, so this is a delightful anomaly and a must-add to anyone who actually lived through the Ewok era's collection.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,300: June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,299: Kyle Katarn

KYLE KATARN & Yuuzhan Vong
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87746
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #03
Includes: Lightsaber, Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: Star Wars Tales

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 Pawlus' yard.

Commentary: As part of one of the final waves of comic packs, fans were lucky that Hasbro cranked out a new Kyle Katarn before apparently self-imposing some sort of Expanded Universe hiatus. You may recall the first version of Kyle hit in 1998 and was a smidgen tough to find, and the 2009 release was damned near impossible to locate until 2010. This version was vastly improved over the original, but not without concerns. For starters, it's based on an issue of Star Wars Tales (arguably Dark Horse's finest comic series) and not the video games. For the purposes of the assortment, it makes sense-- it allowed Hasbro to combine a popular and in-development alien with a popular and widely known game character, but for some, we never really got a Kyle as he appeared in the original game. Which is to say, clean shaven.

Kyle's sculpt emphasizes his physique, as apparently Jedi of the future wear tight shirts and pants. (My stuff doesn't even fit.) His working holster is a nice touch, and the look of the figure is very Katarn-esque-- it's a good synthesis of the character based on his many appearances. The pants have a fair amount of wrinkles and detail, and it's pretty easy for this to be the most-articulated version of Kyle to date. He's even got a nice little shoulder pad. For fans wanting a Kyle, this is a solid release. It's not a gamer's perfect figure-- this will likely never happen-- but it's certainly good enough to warrant shelling out for. Unless these get dumped en masse, or interest falls more, I would wager this is a set you'll want to make sure you pick up even if it costs more.

Collector's Notes: At press time, you may luck into this pack as it continued shipping into 2010. In 2009, Hasbro released only two waves of comic packs and the red packaged assortment in which Kyle debuted was in incredibly short supply in most markets. Combined with the popularity of his Yuuzhan Vong co-pack, this is one of those sets that Expanded Universe fans should grab on site just in case they never see it again. Also, it's pretty impressive-- the sculpt is good, the accessories are fine, and it's a rarity in that you get two newly sculpted characters which haven't yet been done to death as toys. Good job, Hasbro! Except distribution, but hey, we know how it goes.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,299: June 7, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,298: Queen Amidala

PADME AMIDALA Evolutions - Episode I
The Legacy Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87874 No. 87601
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: July 2009
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Padme devoted her life to the people of Naboo and became a key figure in the dramatic events that changed the galaxy. Her courage and compassion deeply affected those around her, and was the pivotal legacy she gave to her children, Luke and Leia. While Queen of Naboo, Padme stood up against the Trade Federation’s siege of her planet. As a Senator, Padme fought to keep the Republic from falling into war. Her last act was to give birth to the twins who would fulfill her legacy by restoring peace to the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Since 1999 fans have observed that Queen Amidala figures were in short supply, relative to her many costumes at least. In 2008 and 2009 Hasbro cranked out a few new ones, and this Episode I release was one of those. Sure, it was in the movie for like a scene, but it was a swell costume and now you have it as an action figure. Since her legs are wrapped in a robe, there isn't much need for leg movement. There are ball elbows and swivel wrists, but really, on a figure like this does it even matter? I appreciate the extra work Hasbro did here, but they already provided figure fans with a great sculpt. The added articulation doesn't do much to add to it other than insure the people who complain about joints can't point at it and say "Hasbro didn't do a good job here!" If anything, this is a case of too much figure-- they did a great job overproducing what should have been, essentially, a statue. It's great that they put in little details like the sleeves which hang down, the top-notch face paint, and all these little folds and creases in the dress. But the extra arm joints? Almost too much. It's great that Hasbro included them, and that's why this is one of their great recent figures. If you like the character, this is a great figure to own, and since it's part of an assortment that ultimately saw more production than necessary it's very likely to be had cheaply.

Collector's Notes: Likely still available at a slower store near you, the set is good, but didn't do well. This is one of those cases where Hasbro basically made a set of things fans specifically asked for, and we didn't exactly buy the numbers they expected. As such, well, that's all for Evolutions. The set is indeed worth picking up for $15 or less, even $25 or less. I figure that in the distant future I'll be able to point this out as one of those great things that happened which well always be sorry didn't continue. It's too bad the Evolutions line quickly descended into repackaged figures with the odd repaint.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,298: June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,297: Darth Maul (Jedi Duel)

DARTH MAUL Jedi Duel
Episode I Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84088
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Evil personified, Darth Maul has been ordered to destroy Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi assigned to protect Queen Amidala. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: In 1999 this Darth Maul figure was a big deal. Huge. As a matter of fact, I'm fairly confident this was the #1 most hotly anticipated figure from the prequels during their entire run and it was easily Hasbro's best seller of its day. Casepacks were adjusted to increase the quantity of this figure, and word on the street was that some stores even got solid cases of 32 pieces of just this one figure. That's pretty amazing, plus there were a few running changes to keep the still-engaged fans interested. Minor packaging changes incorporated the logo of the company responsible for CommTech, and the figure's own chin was initially pink and was later changed to a more uniform shade of red and black. The inner part of his robes also had darker shades of grey, and some fans did indeed pay premium prices for these minor changes. This was pretty common from 1995 until about 2000, when some figures proved so hard to get that people started being more concerned about getting a complete set than every last version.

People were paying premium prices for just Maul briefly, and even more for specific versions of the packaging or head, but eventually Hasbro caught up with the demand and people started to realize they didn't like Episode I all that much. Before then, Hasbro shipped a ton of this figure, and it seemed the public was quite eager to catch Star Wars fever and started out their collections here. With the standard six points of articulation plus additional wrist and swivel arm joints, this was considered to be about as good as Star Wars figures got in 1999. I mean, 10 points of articulation! What a jump! Most people remembered figures as having 5, so this was genuinely significant even if, by today's standards, the sculpt is a little outdated. People wanted Darth Maul, and while we haven't yet seen Hasbro's best effort on the character (or so I hope), this was a pretty good first attempt at retail.

Collector's Notes: Like most once-valuable figures, this one is pretty worthless today at a couple of bucks, and most sellers aren't remotely interested in the variations. Hasbro has done better, but this one is a neat item as far as the line's history goes. I'd suggest getting one just because it's a uniquely popular piece from the past.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,297: June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,296: Rom Mohc

ROM MOHC and IG97 Droid
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 93269 No. 93609
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, IG97 with accessories
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.96
Availability: March 2010
Appearances: Tales

Bio: Rom Mohc is an Imperial general involved in the testing of advanced battle droids known as Dark Troopers. One of these droids ends up on Tatooine and becomes activated by scavenging Jawas. The Dark Trooper attacks three friends camping in the desert. But things change when the prototype encounters a clumsy IG97 Battle Droid on Tatooine, and the machines battle each other. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: This Rom Mohc figure is a mishmash of existing figures, and the sum of its parts is pretty good. I mean, it's a new character, which is cool but it's not terribly authentic. For example, the torso is that of the Revenge of the Sith Grand Moff Tarkin, often cursed for his iffy arms and difference from traditional Trilogy-era Imperial costumes. The legs are from Janek Sunber, who we'll be looking at soon, and those are actually pretty good with their knee joints and whatnot. The head sculpt is new, but not exactly true to the game-- the character is generally portrayed as a little older, a little greyer, and a little fatter. So even though this is from the comic-- where he is a little younger and trimmer-- the figure itself looks to be in significantly better shape.

If Hasbro packed on a few more pounds, odds are this would be a pretty solid figure as resculpts go. It's certainly not awful, it's just not as accurate as one might expect from a new sculpt. Since the comic packs are generally made a little more cheaply as of late, it's no surprise that a minimum of new parts were employed to make this release. The head looks closer to an actual real-life person than it does the illustrations of Mohc, but eh, such is life when transitioning 2D stylized likenesses in to plastic. I really can't complain too much, and even though I had to chase this figure down quite a bit to find it, I think it was ultimately worth grabbing. It's not like we have a ton of non-movie Imperials, after all.

Collector's Notes: I hear that in some markets, this set is abundant to the point of being a pegwarmer. In Los Angeles, it sold through pretty much before I ever saw them and had to make a massive sweep of stores more than 20 miles away just to see it-- and I saw one, only once, and bought it. I just moved to Phoenix over the weekend and saw like a dozen so far. Is life fair? No, it is not.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,296: June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,295: Clone Tank Gunner

CLONE TANK GUNNER Carded Edition
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 91278
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW36
Includes: Blaster pistol, gatling gun, projectile
Action Feature: Firing gun
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Some Clone Troopers received specialized training in targeting and operating the Republic's heavy artillery. These tank gunners control the laser cannons on All-Terrain Tactical Enforcers (AT-TEs), Turbo Tanks, Republic Gunships and other heavy assault vehicles. Trained in marksmanship and battle tactics, tank gunners blast the droid army with destructive firepower. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: This Clone Tank Gunner is very similar to a Battle Pack/vehicle pack-in from earlier, except Hasbro redid the helmet sculpt. Also, rather than making it specific to any one vehicle, it's merely a "Clone Tank Gunner" so you could, in theory, use it with the Turbo Tank, AT-TE, AT-AP, Fighter Tank, and so on. He has 14 points of articulation including the fancy extra movement on the wrists, and well, you see the picture. It's generally similar to most of the Clone Troopers made by Hasbro except this is, to date, arguably closer to the TV model in the helmet design. If you need vehicle pilots, this is about what you should buy, except, well, don't expect to find too many.


Collector's Notes: I haven't seen much of this one. It seems that the wave was sorta hard to find, and this figure being a clone was doubly tough to get. So if you see it cheap, get it. You might have an easier time getting the AT-TE Assault Squad Battle Pack, which has more figures (as well as the predecessor to this one) for a generally decent going rate. The "gunner" figures are close enough that most of you probably won't care to have both flavors unless you really need them all, and if you're army building, I guess you do. A repaint of today's FOTD was sold with the Turbo Tank in 2009.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,295: June 1, 2010