Friday, July 30, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,338: Dark Trooper Phase I

DARK TROOPER Phase I
The Legacy Collection Shared Exclusive Expanded Universe Wave
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93301
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD56
Includes: Shield
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: May 2010
Appearances: Dark Forces video game

Bio: The dark trooper project is the creation of Imperial General Rohm Mohc to create advanced battle droids. The project is done in phases to refine the design. The Phase One dark trooper has an unfinished appearance and primitive programming. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' new bathroom. It's a very white bathroom.

Commentary: How do you follow up a giant 2009 build-a-droid of such awe-inspiring bulk that you could never top it? Easy-- make its younger, thinner, lamer brother. Dark Trooper Phase I is a never-before-made character with a name fans should recognize. He has a shield accessory, and his vibro-blade is removable but stays on as if it were affixed there permanently. So you can take if off, but since it's part of his wrist, why would you? The figure's articulation is either exceptional or average, depending on what you consider 14 joints these days. As a robot, he works well-- red eyes, lots of silver, and cables galore. He looks like a rough first concept, and as he is one, that means Hasbro did a great job on a figure that some will find thrilling and others will find another toy for the box. I like it, but if it were never made, I wouldn't have missed it. Fans of the game need it, but everyone else? Let your appreciation of the design dictate your purchase. He's a very nicely done figure, but given you've got more than 1,000 choices, he may not be your first. (Unless you want to complete the BG-J38 droid, of which he includes a piece.)

Collector's Notes: I never saw this one in the wilds of retail, as such, I assume your chances of finding one aren't great. Be sure to network and/or buy online, as I would assume this guy and his wave will either be in very short supply, or appear in some huge glut on clearance somewhere in the future. Either way, it's good to be prepared.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,338: July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,337: Tarados Gon

TARADOS GON Klatooinian Jedi
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87983
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD49
Includes: Lightsaber, HK-47's left arm
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: June 2009
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Tarados is one of the two hundred Jedi who arrive on Geonosis to stop the execution of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé. The Klatooinian Jedi storms into the arena with his lightsaber ablaze to fight the Geonosian warriors and battle droid army. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Sometimes, Hasbro can really impress when doing a refresh of an old mold. Tarados Gon is a modified Sora Bulk with a new head, legs, and lower cloth skirt piece. At first glance, you'd probably never be able to tell. As far as I'm concerned, it's basically a new mold-- kudos to Hasbro for finding a shortcut that really worked well. The end result is a clean-looking super-articulated figure with a new head with a lot of personality, which is nice for a rubber mask. It's not a stunning level of detail, but as Jedi go it's on the happy side of good. With dozens of Jedi in the toy line it's difficult to really stand out, but this is certainly a worthwhile addition to any toy box. It's almost a shame you will probably never see one for retail, at $7 or $8 it's great. At $12+ you might not feel it has the value you seek.

Collector's Notes: This figure was from a wave that most of the USA expressed difficulty finding-- you won't see it in stores now, barring some freak warehouse find. You will have to pay more than retail for this one. It's not exactly a stunning creation, but it's certainly worth the effort to own one. Particularly if you want a HK-47.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,337: July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,336: Yoda

YODA The Second Animated Attempt
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 91224
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW14
Includes: Cane, robe, lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Yoda goes to Rugosa to negotiate a deal with king Katuunko of Toydaria that will allow the Republic to build a supply base in the system. Count Dooku intervenes with a test for the Jedi: prove the Republic's strength by battling Dooku's droid army. Yoda accepts the challenge, and shows his combat expertise as well as the power of the Force. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: This Yoda mold was made to make two different colored Yodas in 2009, both were released near enough to one another where it's hard to tell which, if either, was truly "first." This figure is essentially super-articulated (no knees, as the legs are too small) and is about as good as we'll probably ever see for an animated Yoda. Big head, lots of detail, just enough hair... he's great. This version has very dark green skin, while the Wal-Mart exclusive one (which came with a Clone Trooper) was a much lighter green. From the picture, you should be able to see that it's pretty great and as it's arguably the best version out right now... so just go ahead and get one. Yes, even if you have 14 Yodas already.

Collector's Notes: Hasbro didn't ship as many of these as I'd have expected, so it sold pretty dang well. Go get one if you can, either this or the 2-pack version (initially sold at Wal-Mart and later at Toys "R" Us.)

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,336: July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,335: Gungan Warrior

GUNGAN WARRIOR 2009 Edition
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 92870
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD07
Includes: Atlatl, Gungan Battle Horn
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Gungan warriors emerge through the misty swamps to the battlefield where they'll take on the Trade Federation's droid army. A Gungan blows a battle horn to signal the solemn beginning of this crucial fight to free the planet. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: So close! The Gungan Warrior in 2009, the first new one since The Phantom Menace shriveled up and went away as a marketable brand for Star Wars, has the greatest sculpt of any Gungan ever. That's the good news. The bad news is that they cheaped out on the deco. The sculpt is a vast improvement over the Power of the Jedi release with added articulation making it a super-articulated release. His battle horn fits into his belt for support while he holds it, and he even has a holster for his Atlatl (boomer stick thing). The only issue I have is that the figure should have a really nifty pattern on his skin, and instead Hasbro gave it a solid color. They got it right on Jar Jar and other Gungans, but for some reason left it off here.

Odds are you aren't building an army of Gungans, but if you were to do so, this is the best mold so far. The coloring is a little more muted than the earlier releases, and it's more fun to play with, but the skin is just off enough that it may irk you-- or not! It's really up to you. I like it enough to recommend it, and I think most people won't be as anal about the skin tone as I am. It's still a quality figure.

Collector's Notes: This one came and went, but seemed ultimately findable. You may even still be able to find one at retail.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,335: July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,334: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Space Suit)

OBI-WAN KENOBI Space Suit
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87964
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW12
Includes: Helmet, lightsaber, lightsaber hilt, rocket (firing), rocket (plug), backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Protected from the vacuum of space by a space suit, Obi-Wan uses a rocket backpack to board a Separatist ship. His exhausting quest to locate Count Dooku has lead him to this giant cruiser. But before he completes his mission, the Jedi Master is in for plenty of trouble - battles with the enemy, crash landings and space pirates! (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Major Matt Mason would be proud of Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with fancy retro space suit. I was utterly delighted to see this figure, and then I found out it was on the TV show too and I wasn't so sure. (Just kidding.) The notion of a goofy environment-specific outfit is something Hasbro has tended to avoid with Star Wars unless there's a precedent for it, so seeing a release like this helps to make The Clone Wars feel like a line that may actually be sold to kids. You know, in the same way that Breha Organa and Yarna d'al' Gargan look like figures that no kid would want in a million years. Hasbro did a bang-up job with this all-new figure, giving Obi-Wan Kenobi a more true-to-the-show head and an entirely new space suit body which, to date, has not been reused for any other figure. The outfit combines a number of elements you've seen elsewhere with a new body suit. The belt is very similar to that on the McQuarrie Jedi figures, the shoulder armor is similar to his normal white outfit, and his backpack is modeled closely on that of the model used by the Clones and Jango Fett on Geonosis. The sculpt is cartoony, but detailed with lots of folds, creases, and padding giving it a sense of some bulk. It's also super-articualted, which is something Hasbro hasn't done much for its basic, individually-carded Obi-Wan Kenobi figures frm the TV show.

I think this one is great. I was particularly pleased we also got matching Anakin and Ahsoka figures. This is one of my all-time favorites for the cartoon line so far, and I strongly suggest you get one if you're lucky enough to find it.

Collector's Notes: While hard to find, the current going rate is at or below retail, so keep that in mind when deciding to buy this one. He came out about a year ago and never became truly "common" in my findings.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,334: July 26, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,333: Bail Organa

BAIL ORGANA Alderaan Outfit
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87821
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD26
Includes: Blaster, robe
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Fall 2008
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: A member of the Galactic Senate, Organa is also First Chairman and Viceroy of Alderaan. When Anakin falls to the dark side and Padmé dies in childbirth, Bail and his wife Breha adopt one of the twins, Leia, to raise as their own daughter. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk. I think.

Commentary: If there's a short list of things fans ask for in very small numbers that Hasbro, for some reason, does, Bail Organa belongs on it. We got not one, but two figures based on the character's appearances in Revenge of the Sith. This one is based on the ending of the film, where he has no dialogue and does nothing other than hand a baby to some lady they never named through the course of the film. In other words, a fine example of top-notch storytelling. The figure itself has an acceptable face sculpt and decent articulation, although the legs won't be doing much due to his long blue plastic robes. An added cloth robe fits over the figure and is completely removable, which adds a bit of texture to the figure but ultimately this accessory doesn't look very good and makes the figure look cheap. Cloth is tough to do well, as Hasbro continues to illustrate.

I would qualify this figure as unremarkable and not essential. It's not bad-- it's just overwhelmingly average and a second (technically, fourth) ROTS-inspired Bail Organa toy. Do you need more than one? Probably not. He won't disappoint you if you like the photo, but he's not going to delight you, either.

Collector's Notes: One of the worse sellers in 2008, this figure may even still be available in some more rural or lower-trafficed stores. $8 felt like a lot, and on eBay he goes for as little as $4 before shipping. I would only advise you jump on this figure if you're in need of his build-a-droid part, or if the price was below $5 as part of a collection or something. Again, he's not awful, just not any fun and rather dull. Variation collectors should take note Bail exists in both a pale skinned (pictured) and a tan version, just like his wife Breha Organa.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,333: July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,332: Dark Woman

DARK WOMAN & A'Sharad Hett
30th Anniversary Collection Comic Pack Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87520
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #08
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: July 2007
Appearances: Star Wars ongoing series by Dark Horse Comics

Bio: The Jedi High Council sends A'Sharad Hett, Ki-Ad-Mundi, and Adi Gallia to capture bounty hunter Aurra Sing, who has killed two Jedi on Coruscant and is the murderer of Hett's father. The Dark Woman, Sing's former teacher. also asks to join the hunt but is denied. Events - and the Force - lead them all to a remote jungle world, where Hett confronts Sing in a lightsaber duel, and the Dark Woman seeks atonement for her failure to help Sing. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: In the comic pack assortments, Hasbro never really clearly defined what they were going for-- sometimes we would see a famous character paired with an obscure one, or in the case of Dark Woman, we see her paired with someone else you've probably never heard of. The Dark Woman has an all-new sculpt, but lacks the kind of super articulation fans started to expect and demand in 2007. With only 8 points of articulation, including ball-jointed arms and swivel forearms, there's not a lot going on here to delight fans of over-constructed heroes and villains.

The sculpt is derived from the comic art, but I don't remember specifically where. Her lightsaber is consistent with what I remember, and she always had white hair and looked a little old. But who is she modeled after? Hillary Clinton? Xeni Jardin? Someone's well-endowed aunt? The world may never know, but we can see that the sculpt was nicely done. The face has a lot of personality, the clothing has a lot of creases, and her boots have some nice detailing too. As a bonus, they gave her a little make-up, which helps a lot in the 3 3 /4-inch scale as a lot of sculpting detail is lost at this size. You gotta exaggerate, and having done that Hasbro pulled off a nice figure. Personally, if it meant we'd get more figures for $5 on average, I'd be thrilled to see Hasbro drop the average articulation per figure below 14 points back down to 8 or 10. They're all going to end up on display or in a box anyway, no point wasting money and resources on joints nobody will ever use (with some exceptions, of course.) I personally do not believe this figure would have benefitted from additional articulation.

Collector's Notes: While unlikely, you may be able to find this and other black-carded comic packs in your area. Try Kmarts or other places you don't touch with a 10-foot pole, you may be pleasantly surprised. (But the cost is probably closer to modern packs, $13-$15.) On the collector's market, she goes for around $10 before shipping sealed with her companion.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,332: July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,331: Visionaries Darth Maul

DARTH MAUL Visionaries
The Unnamed Post-Legacy Collection San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Comic Pack
Item No.:
No. 91773
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, companion Owen figure, comic "anthology" reprint
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: July 2010
Appearances: Visionaries comic book

Bio: Owen Lars fights Darth Maul to protect the life of his young nephew, Luke Skywalker. The Sith apprentice has returned from the dead to hunt down Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi who destroyed his life. Owen's quiet moisture farm on Tatooine becomes the scene of a deadly battle between the forces of good and evil. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' neighborhood, night.

Commentary: Since 2005 fans have been asking for this Darth Maul, based on the absurd yet still vaguely within continuity short tale from Star Wars: Visionaries, a comic anthology by conceptual artists. In the story, Darth Maul gets rebuilt and chases Obi-Wan Kenobi around the galaxy for about 15 years. The story itself brings into light how the Jedi are stronger, but still ineffective, and how moisture farmers can be total jerks. The main selling point of the story was an older, meaner Darth Maul. His horns grew out, and he had strange animal-like cybernetic legs. He also outgrew the need for clothing which, let's face it, is where we're going as a culture anyway.

The deco is great, the sculpt is excellent, and yes, the horns are accurate to the comic-- I had to double-check the pattern, but it matches. The scowl is there, the tattoos are good, and the figure is super-articulated with lateral hip joints, meaning it's as perfect as the figure could ever get right out of the gate. His lightsaber even has removable blades, which is spectacular. Based on the photo, you can probably determine if this is worth your while, and I'd largely say that it is. The only things they could have done to make it even cooler?
a) variant head with sliced-off horns
b) cloth cloak
c) less rubbery plastic

Other than that, it's a beautiful release constructed with adult fans in mind. Kids may not like it as much, but I doubt they'll complain about the excellent range of movement in the legs and the attention to detail. It's a shame this item didn't make it to retail, but odds are that Owen wouldn't have helped the pack move to kids. Of course, the Maul is so cool, odds are they'd be willing to overlook him... collectors will probably want both. Heck, I'd suggest getting this just for the comic book stories and Maul, Owen is icing on a surprisingly well-constructed cake.

Packaging Notes: Owen (who we'll review later), like Maul, is a completely new sculpt. Considering the lavish packaging, the cost of previous Hasbro exclusives (generally $13 for a single figure), and the fact that this is a set of two completely new figures makes this set something of a must-buy. If you dislike the concept, you should pass on it, but it's a gorgeous set and a ridiculous price and we're not just saying that because we got it for free-- it's better than or superior to the last few comic packs to hit retail and the exclusive sector, and costs the same price with far better packaging. I'd actually go as far to call the packaging excessive, it's a standard comic 2-pack inside a fifth-panel window box with a window on the back as well, and velcro, and an added insert. While the 2010 Vintage packaging is greener in terms of the quantity of garbage you'll throw away after opening the toy, this set is far, far worse. So kudos on a gorgeous presentation, but shame for creating so much unnecessary waste and added bulk to pack for collectors on the way back from San Diego.

Collector's Notes: This Cyborg Maul scratches the itch of a post-The Phantom Menace version of the character that isn't dead. Of course, there's one other story that brings him back with technology, but in that case it's a psychic projection from some brain thing. Maul, as an entirely new sculpt, is worth tracking down because it's pretty neat and so far (I've had it for about a day before this goes live) it seems like a quality figure, equal to or exceeding most retail products in terms of what it offers. To be honest I find the pricing almost insulting, Hasbro used to spray existing figures silver and charge $10-$13 at Comic-Con, so two completely new sculpts and a comic in a freaking insanely detailed box with foil and velcro and everything for $15 just seems wrong somehow. This is too good for the asking price, and I'll be curious to see what history has to say about the set on the secondary market. (And we'll revisit it with Owen in a couple of years to see.)

This set is available in San Diego at Hasbro's booth at Comic-Con as of tonight, and will likely be up on HasbroToyShop.com for sale while supplies last in the next 144 or so hours.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,331: July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,330: Anakin Skywalker B'Omarr Monastery Assault

ANAKIN SKYWALKER B'Omarr Monastery Assault
The Clone Wars Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 87780
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, 2 STAPs, Battle Droid
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son is being held in a B'omarr monastery built on top of a sheer cliff. Anakin begins the difficult ascent up the cliff with battle droids firing down on him, and droid-piloted STAPs racing into combat, laser cannons blasting. Casualties are mounting, so Anakin makes a daring move. He leaps into the air to take command of a STAP and dispatches battle droids with his lightsaber, clearing a path to the summit. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Hasbro did three figures (so far) with this Anakin Skywalker mold, each slightly different. This was the first release, and it was notable at the time because he had jointed knees and ankles, a first for the animated-style Anakin Skywalker design. It keeps the same basic head, arms, and body as the previous issue but adds cloth elements for the lower robes and, of course, more joints. If you're going to get only one animated-style Anakin, this one isn't bad. It's easily distinguished from other releases of the mold because he doesn't have a significant scar near his eye-- the others look a little more worse for wear. I'd strongly suggest getting one (or more) of this version to go inside your various vehicles. This is clearly the best "pilot" Anakin figure in the first couple of years of the line.

Collector's Notes: This set came and went, but its elements aren't particularly unique enough to track down. The Battle Droid is similar to others with new wrists. This Anakin has been used for other releases. The STAPs are unique, but if you don't do vehicle variations, you can skip this one. (I do vehicle variants.)

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,330: July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,329: Clone Trooper (Gelagrub Patrol)

CLONE TROOPER Gelagrub Patrol
The Legacy Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 91804
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blasters, Helmet, Gelagrub creature
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: Fall 2009
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Clone troopers ride gelagrubs to patrol the fungal forests of Felucia. Also known as Felucian ground beetles, gelagrubs are easily domesticated in their larval form to be used as mounts. Republic forces invade Felucia to free it from the control of the Separatists and capture the Commerce Guild's headquarters located on the planet. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' guinea pig room.

Commentary: More articulation is better, right? This Clone Trooper takes the now-familiar Star Corps design, as seen on Felucia, and adds a cloth kama as well as ball-jointed hips. Other than that, it's very similar to any of a number of Clone Trooper figures we've bought since 2005. The added range of movement in the crotch is specifically so the figure can sit on a giant grub. It's not bad, but at this point you probably don't need much of an excuse to buy a new Clone Trooper that's similar to ones you already have. The plastic kamas look better, but this one can actually ride a giant bug. The game goes to this version.

While neat, one figure and one barely-articulated bug isn't worth the $25 asking price-- it's not a bad set, it's just not $25 worth of toy. At best, it's $18. A second trooper would make it worth the purchase but it's achieving something of a major shelfwarmer status in some markets. I advise you not overpay for one, but retail isn't horrible.

Collector's Notes: This set, at press time, isn't selling worth a dang. I would suggest not paying more than $25 for it, ever. It's neat, but not really fun enough to justify premium prices. All the grub does is sit there, and he has an action feature pincher in his mouth. That's it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,329: July 19, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,328: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER Hoth Redux
The Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85933
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #013
Includes: Lightsaber, cape, helmet, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: March 2006
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The Dark Lord of the Sith is obsessed with finding the young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. Vader and his master are certain that this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker. Following up on a probe droid lead, Vader quickly identifies the Rebel base on Hoth but arrives too late, as the last of the Rebels flee Echo Base in the Millennium Falcon. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: At some point Hasbro decided that you need to own this Darth Vader figure. The body mold has been sold in so many configurations that if you bought all the variations, you would probably have a pretty sizable collection. (More on that below.) With 14 points of articulation, it's pretty good. It's also unique in that the knee joint is a sort of Revoltech-esque ball, the figure's legs are jointed directly below the knee rather than at the heel. This allows for some unique poses and preserves the look of the sculpt. His elbows are cut joints, not ball-joints, which makes it a step back from previously released versions of the character. He does have the cool removable dome which exposes a scarred skull, but lacks the swappable hand as seen in the original mold's release as the 500th Darth Vader. While ubiquitous, the figure is not essential because superior versions were released prior to and after this one, and odds are you can get one of these for next to nothing on one of the many repacks available on the market. It's not a bad figure by any stretch of the imagination, it's just painfully common and Hasbro has one-upped it with several subsequent superior releases.

Collector's Notes: This mold started life as the 500th Edition Darth Vader in 2005. This release came next, which was reaccessorized as a Bespin Confession figure. The body was used in comic packs, Saga Legends, Battle Packs, and elsewhere. Also, this specific release came with a bonus holographic figure-- six different blue ones. I've been tempted to get every last flavor of this mold, but so far, have not done so because while obsessive I gotta stop somewhere. I did get all 6 blue holo variants, plus I kept a loose one on my desk since his release in 2006 until I moved my office in 2010. So I guess I can't dump on it too much, it's a nice one to keep around because it really does look nice.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,328: July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,327: Jar Jar Binks (Animated)

JAR JAR BINKS Animated
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87957
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #24
Includes: Cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Spring 2009
Appearances: Clone Wars

Bio: It's up to Jar jar Binks to save the day when Padme Amidala walks into a trap set by the Separatists on the planet Rodia. Donning a Jedi robe, Jar Jar hopes that the threat of dealing with a formidable "Jedi" will force Padme's captors to release her. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: After a nearly seven year hiatus, Hasbro did another Jar Jar Binks figure in the animated style which some of us have embraced and others still don't like. The figure was around for one assortment and quickly went away, which makes sense given that it's not particularly thrilling as toys go. It is a nice figure though-- 12 points of articulation, a good sculpt, and a lot of personality were worked into this one. Unlike the 2002 version which we just looked at, this one seems to have been designed by someone who actually understands the nature of the bumbling character with his lanky body and slightly awkward mannerisms. The "borrowed" Jedi cloak is a nice touch too, so he can be a bombad Jedi or whatever. No weapons were included-- which is reasonable, given he doesn't have a signature weapon-- but this does take a little "action" out of the figure. It's odd to think that a figure from the kid-driven line seems to be designed with collectors in mind, but it honestly felt to me that this is what Hasbro did on this one.

The cloak has a wire in the neck, so it can cling to him just fine. Hasbro did a great job here, even adding that scarf thing and a little purple to give him an added sense of old-school importance. (Purple was once a color of royalty, you see. Ask your Egyptian history buff buddies.) The figure is a couple of knee joints away from perfection; as it stands it's just merely a high point in Hasbro's cartoon catalog.

Collector's Notes: Due to his being in short supply and limited window of availability... he actually is worth something. People are paying a premium for this one. I have to wonder if Hasbro is doing this on purpose to drive collectibility in this segment. If you can find this one for $10 or less, I'd suggest grabbing him because he is a really nice figure and a great, unique character in the line. Hasbro did a good job here, so it's nice to see something of quality command a slight premium. It was only sold on the blue-and-white packaging to date, and were I a betting man I would not expect to see it in the next several months to a year. Possibly ever.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,327: July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,326: Shira Brie

SHIRA BRIE Rogue Squadron
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive Evolutions Rebel Pilots III
Item No.:
Asst. 87874 No. 91508
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #III
Includes: Helmet, Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $15-$25
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: Star Wars Marvel Comics

Bio: Shira Brie joins Rogue Squadron after the Battle of Hoth and gains the trust of her fellow pilots. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: After watching the Ironic Punishment Division of Hell as seen on The Simpsons like 17 years ago, Hasbro said "all right fans, why don't you have all the Rebel Pilots IN THE WORLD?" (In 2008.) Shira Brie is one of no fewer than 4 figures to share the same body construction released within about 18 months. Four nearly-identical orange jumpsuited women who really aren't any different except for the heads and helmets. Having done the same thing with other pilot bodies, a tremendous number of pilots hit the market and fan zeal quickly turned to apathy, because nothing else is a Clone Trooper.

This is not to say this wasn't an exciting release, nor is it to say it isn't a quality product. The figure has the 14 points of articulation you crave, a removable helmet, a holster, and a great head sculpt which tries to be slightly more realistic than that of the art in the comic series. The sculpt is good, the head sculpt is nice, really my only gripe is that her hair isn't as red as it was in the Marvel comic series. I like the creative license they took with her hair, and the helmet looks fine. If you wanted this Empire Strikes Back-era Rebel pilot turned dark lord as a toy, here she is! Be glad Hasbro made one, because odds are the glory days of Rebel pilots is now over.

Collector's Notes: Upon release, items in this assortment had prices which varied from store to store. They were later sold, without the Wal-Mart stickers, at stores like Ross for about $15. I found mine at Wal-Mart for about $15 when it first hit, so your mileage may vary, but the magic number for the set is about $15.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,326: July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,325: Galen Marek (Raxus Prime)

GALEN MAREK Raxus Prime
The Legacy Collection Toys "R" Us Exclusive Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Figure Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 97910 No. 97911
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #1 of 2
Includes: Scarf, Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2010
Appearances: The Force Unleashed

Bio: Galen Marek was a Human male taken as a secret apprentice by Darth Vader from his father, a Jedi named Kento Marek, on Kashyyyk during the Great Jedi Purge. For years, the Dark Lord trained him, under the codename Starkiller, in dark side arts and to eliminate his enemies, including Jedi who survived Order 66. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: Hasbro sure doesn't make it easy to get the hero of the Force Unleashed games-- with five figures to his name, Galen Marek is only sold in multi-packs. This version of Starkiller is based on the Raxus Prime outfit, complete with gloves, scarf, and other add-ons to keep him reasonably free of all the toxic jump and other poisons that would likely do him in a whole lot faster. The figure itself is based on the 2008 "Secret Apprentice" version of the figure with some new limbs and accessories. Hasbro did a great job masking its use of existing tooling with these new parts, and this figure has a new head sculpt which is more closely modeled on Sam Witwer. (The first three apprentice figures were based on early renders and concept art.)

The figure has a great paint job, superior articulation, and a nice distinctive lightsaber sculpt. So while Hasbro did cut corners, it sure doesn't feel like they did here. Nice work. I suggest you get this one if you were a fan of the game, which you may not be, but I am so I dig it.

Collector's Notes: At press time it seems the sets are available depending on your market. Some towns have them, some don't-- so you may want to pick these up before they go away, or before the sequel to the game hits at which point I would expect these to evaporate from store shelves quickly.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,325: July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,324: Jar Jar Binks (Senator)

JAR JAR BINKS Gungan Senator
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84821
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0224
Includes: Pole, electric bolt for pole
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Now a Senate representative from Naboo, Jar Jar wears the elaborate Gungan outfit deemed proper for the ceremonial grandeur of the Senate. In a twist of fate, Jar Jar is manipulated to propose the motion that gives Chancellor Palpatine the powers of an emperor. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: While Jar Jar Binks doesn't get a break from fans for his character, and this is expected, one would think that a little more love would be lavished upon his toys. One would be wrong. Aside from the animated-style Jar Jar figure in 2009, this 2002 release was the final one. Actually, at press time, Hasbro hasn't made another one in the basic action figure movie-style line, and this one was a real stinker to go out on. Hasbro makes great figures-- and this is not one of them.

Jar Jar has an awkward pose, not seen on film. He has a weapon, not seen on film. As far as I know this wasn't the result of some excised scene, but rather Hasbro trying to make a character fans hate into something exciting. The end result is something that isn't true to the movie and isn't fun to play with, his big bulky robes prevent him from doing anything but looking awkward. His shoulders, neck, and poseable have articulation you can exploit but all you can have him do is "fight." It's kinda dippy, which is unfortunate because I'd like to have a Jar Jar in this outfit that, you know, just kinda stands around and looks OK. The sculpting and deco of this figure are quite good, but the problem here is that the pose and personality of the toy are all wrong. I can admire them for taking some license with it (and this very figure was on my desk for most of the past 7 years), but it really could have been a little more collector-friendly by not trying to amp up his combat-readiness.

Collector's Notes: Got a nickel? You can afford one of these. (Just like I can afford your mom. For a nickel.) But seriously, you can get one of these for next to nothing. As such, don't pay retail, get it in a lot or better still, get it from someone dumping their stash. As of today Hasbro has not confirmed a new Jar Jar based on any of the movies, and if you want the character in this costume it's literally your only choice.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,324: July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,323: Jaina Solo

JAINA SOLO Jedi Knight
The Legacy Collection Shared Exclusive Expanded Universe Wave
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93307
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD60
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: May 2010
Appearances: New Jedi Order novels

Bio: Jaina Solo is the daughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo. She is strong in the Force, as is her twin brother Jacen. An accomplished pilot with an aptitude for mechanics, she becomes an apprentice to Mara Jade Skywalker. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: While not a 100% new figure, it's new enough that Hasbro gets credit. Jaina Solo recycles some parts from the 2008 Stass Allie, but let's face it, arms and legs aren't all that distinctive. The new head and body (and new deco) make her look pretty gosh darned new, and her scarf thing-- which isn't a removable accessory-- makes her look quite distinctive as Jedi action figures go. As always (as of late), she has 14 points of articulation and can do pretty much anything you would want a Jedi to do. Her hands (and head) are brown plastic, painted with the flesh parts, which seems to add a little more weight to her appearance. Painted plastic tends to look nicer than raw plastic, as it brings out a little more detail in the face.

Her lightsaber doesn't match the on-pack illustration, in color or in the hilt's design. Heck, her outfit doesn't match, either, but the one thing I did notice was that the blade color should be a little more purple than red. She has been seen in this outfit, though, and I have to say I'm happy they didn't just make her a pilot and reuse that body again. Like most Expanded Universe figures, I'd put her at "Why not?" After nearly 20 years, she finally got a toy-- so you may as well buy it because there probably won't be a second.

Collector's Notes: While reasonably uncommon, this shared exclusive is, as all toys, available online somewhere. When buying this figure-- especially loose samples-- take care to look at the condition of the face and hands. If the figure received any wear, it's probably going to show some paint rubbing off on these spots, so be sure to keep an eye on them.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,323: July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,322: Galactic Marine

GALACTIC MARINE Battlefront II Clone Pack
30th Anniversary Collection Diamond/Previews Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87561 No. 87466
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, gun, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Battlefront II

Bio: Galactic Marines are front line forces that are sent into battle to take on enemy forces that are especially powerful and difficult to conquer. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old apartment.

Commentary: Second verse, basically same as the first. This Galactic Marine is, at face value, the same as the early 2007 individually carded one but with a new gun. This is wrong-- the figure is still the same 14-points-of-articualtion mold that has a hard time standing up due to the weird boot shape, but the coloring is actually quite different. The maroon armor is a lot darker, the dirt pattern has been changed, and the figure's head is much paler than the first edition. There are subtle changes elsewhere, too, but the key point is that this is a very different looking figure when you put them side-by-side. Aside from the pale head, I think I prefer the added detail on this version. The new gun is cool, but it's been packed with other figures-- so I wouldn't consider it a selling point so much as a nice bonus.

Collector's Notes: Released shortly after Thanksgiving 2007, this was the more popular of the two Battlefront sets. The line proved popular enough for Hasbro to reissue them in 2008 in white-and-blue packaging as a Toys "R" Us exclusive, and this seems to have killed the market on it-- both packs can be had for under original retail on eBay now.

For fans keeping track, this mold has been released Galactic Marine (2007), this version, an all-white Galactic Marine for Wal-Mart, a purple repaint for Target, and in a Battle Pack with minimal changes.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,322: July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,321: Geonosian Warrior

GEONOSIAN WARRIOR Jedi Victim
Saga Deluxe Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84859 No. 84882
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Anakin Skywalker figure
Action Feature: Can be dismembered
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Summer 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Battling for their lives in the arena, Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi clash against thousands of Geonosian Warriors in a grueling confrontation. As Geonosians attack, Anakin uses the Force to retrieve a second lightsaber and prepares to defend himself at all costs. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' tackle box.

Commentary: Neat idea, iffy execution. This Geonosian Warrior is based on a preproduction drawing, which is why he has no clothes. He also has a hard time keeping together, which is unfortunate for a figure whose sole purpose is to be slashed to bits and reassembled. With very little articulation and an iffy action feature, well, this is a "collectors-only" kind of thing, which is unfortunate given that it was clearly created with kids in mind. I'm all for a figure that's fun to play with, but I found this one to be annoying and hard to handle. The sculpt is OK, but since it's not based on the final film, well, why bother? You can safely skip this set, unless you really need every last variation on Anakin or the Geonosian Warrior. Hasbro made so many better ones that this isn't necessarily worth your time.

Collector's Notes: While the Anakin figure has made a few return appearances, the Geonosian has not.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,321: July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,320: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER & Darth Maul
Power of the Jedi Masters of the Dark Side Set
Item No.:
Asst. 84385 No. 84557
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, display base, companion Darth Maul figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: Summer 2000
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: As Lords of the Sith, Darth Vader and Darth Maul draw their power and control from the blackest depths of the dark side of the Force. Darth Vader commands by terror and is key in helping Emperor Palpatine hunt down nearly all of the Jedi Knights. As a disciple of Darth Sidious, Darth Maul's highly trained physical and tactical abilities make him one of the most dangerous Sith apprentices in history. (Taken from the toy's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' couch.

Commentary: At one point this "Masters of the Dark Side" set, containing then-new sculpts of Darth Maul and Darth Vader, was a real rarity. I never once saw one in the wilds of retail, which, to me, means that it's hard to find. Today it doesn't go for a lot, and the figures have since been put into other packs. The real reason to buy the set is the display base, but the figures are quite nice. Darth Vader has a cloth cape on his shoulders and a plastic robe around his waist, plus fairly limited articulation in the arms. As a display piece, he looks great as he has excellent sculpting designed to mimic the armor as seen in the original Star Wars film-- note the unique gloves and the robes on top of his shoulders. He won't be good as a pilot, but as a diorama filler or as a display piece this is a great set.

Collector's Notes: The going rate seems to be close to original retail. This Vader figure also shipped in other configurations, including as a carded figure and in the Death Star Briefing set. If you just want the Vader, all versions are virtually identical and should be able to be had fairly cheaply.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,320: July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,319: Anakin Skywalker

ANAKIN SKYWALKER Tatooine Showdown
Episode I Cinema Scene Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84115 No. 84158
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Backpack, display base, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: After enduring heavy damage during their escape from Naboo, the Naboo Royal Starship is forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine. Returning from Mos Espa with Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon is ambushed by a figure in flowing dark robes - it is the evil Darth Maul. Ordering Anakin to the ship, Qui-Gon matches his awesome Jedi skill against the Sith Lord's sinister power. Both escape with their lives, but it would not be their last meeting. (Taken from the toy's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: During Episode I it seems Hasbro decided that you were going to get an Anakin Skywalker figure if you wanted one or not. The kid-- in pretty much the same outfit-- had numerous releases, all of which were pretty tough to tell apart. He had two carded releases. He was packed with vehicles and games. He came in two Cinema Scenes. Truly, if you were going to collect this line, you were going to get the pint-sized Darth Vader because Hasbro was intent on cramming one down your throat. This release is one of the better ones in the sense that it isn't awful. His action pose, backpack, and deco are on the happy side of good, and his face paint generally was clean without a too-waxy plastic used for his face. Sure, they could make him a little livelier, but since the New Sculpt Train ended for the character in 2000 that seems decreasingly likely.

Collector's Notes: If you have at least one young Anakin figure, you pretty much have them all. There's nothing wrong with this release, but they're so samey that only the collector wanting truly everything should pay him any mind. If you're this person, get one. Also, the scene he comes with also includes one of Hasbro's best Darth Maul figures of all time in addition to a great example of Hasbro's work with a poncho Qui-Gon Jinn. You should get the set-- but don't expect much out of Anakin, he's the weak link in the box.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,319: July 5, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,318: Dengar

DENGAR Bounty Hunter
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 97569
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #VC01
Includes: Pistol, backpack, removable codpiece, rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99-$9.99
Availability: June 2010
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The vintage line does not have character-specific bios. It just reminds you that these are very old figures. In the case of Dengar, you get a summary that tells you nothing of the character along with a photo and a caption saying the original Dengar card front was used from 1980-1982. I know, shocking.

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Each version of Dengar has offered something different, with this one adding the most to the design. This one brings more accessories, super-articulation, and what can be best deemed a hyper-realistic head sculpt to the table. While very realistic, there's a black outline around Dengar's face due to how the head was made which makes him seem less like a toy and more like an Adam Hughes painting in three dimensions. This isn't a knock against it, I like this illusion and I think it brings a lot of personality to a figure that, in all honesty, is yet another version of something you weren't asking for in the first place.

The single oddest element of this figure is a removable codpiece. That's right, the armor around his crotch comes off and allows for the legs to be posed so he can sit properly-- a very unusual move. So Hasbro did something that makes it more appealing to both kids and collectors, until, of course, you lose the codpiece and then are screwed. It's a little loose, but a careful collector should be able to keep it on without too much trouble. The armor is basically spot-on to the designs you're used to seeing, There's even a holster, which, while slightly different than that of the movie, works great. It even has a little pistol in there, which is a nice added (and unexpected) detail.

Hasbro's expert sculptors really did a bang-up job on this one, and the added articulation allows him to assume numerous poses. This is particularly notable because the previous 1997 and 2004 (and of course 1980) versions were rather stiff and limited in how they could be presented. Dengar can hold the rifle with both hands, or aim it, or just hang out and look cool. I even got some great poses out of him using the new Hasbro "battle game" stands, which, I might add, they should sell by the bucket. When first presented with the notion of Yet Another Dengar, I have to admit, I was skeptical. But this figure is great, Hasbro actually nailed him and now I assume this will be the last new sculpt of the figure. It's just that great. If you have any interest in Dengar, go get this one. Your previous versions will probably never be touched again.

Collector's Notes: As a new figure we don't know what to expect from Dengar yet. He's a good upgrade of the previous figure, so it should be popular for a while. It wouldn't stun me to see him hanging around unless Hasbro is deliberately shorting the market, even though he's superb odds are kids will not be interested.

Vintage Notes: The early line looks pretty strong. Dengar is good, Bespin Luke is good, most of the figures are on par with or superior to most previously released lines. There are some weak spots. Darth Vader, for example, is identical to the 2010 Saga Legends figure which sells for at least $1 cheaper and includes more gear. The cards from a sealed case come punched, so don't go looking for unpunched variants just yet. There's a tiny order form inside for mail-in Boba Fett, which accepts literally every basic carded figure's UPC since August 2008. Nice. It isn't free, though, it's actually $6.99 + UPCs.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,318: July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,317: Spirit Obi-Wan Kenobi

Spirit OBI-WAN [KENOBI]
Original Trilogy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84780
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #OTC-03
Includes: Lightsaber, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: July 2004
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi is a friend of Luke Skywalker, the Rebel hero. In a battle with the evil Darth Vader, Obi-Wan lets Vader win and disappears, becoming part of the Force. His spirit appears to Luke and guides him in his fight to save the galaxy. He tells Luke to find Yoda, who will teach him to be a Jedi Knight and to use the power of the Force to fight Vader. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old apartment.

Commentary: Since 1997, Hasbro has tried a few versions of Spirit Obi-Wan. The mail-in one was a nice idea, and it was tweaked slightly for the "Jedi Spirits" Cinema Scene as Power of the Force dwindled. For my money, though, there has been no better release than the 2004 edition-- which is this one. The robe is a little darker than the later "Jedi Training on Dagobah" release, and even though it includes a lightsaber-- presumably due to fan outcry that the previous versions didn't have one-- it's still pretty authentic. The outfit is about right, and it's a mix of new parts plus bits and pieces from a figure released in 2000, but tweaked just a little bit. The likeness is pretty great, and the pearlescent shine to it also works quite well. Articulation is, for the time, pretty good. All meaningful articulation below the waist is crippled by the robes, but shoulders, wrists, and swivel elbows do allow a little bit of movement upstairs. You won't find a better Spirit Obi-Wan yet, so if you can find this one (or one based on this one's release), do so.

Collector's Notes: I consider Wave 1 of The Original Trilogy Collection (Dagobah Obi-Wan, Luke, R2-D2, and Yoda) a required purchase for all Star Wars fans. It's also practically worthless-- but the four figures are loads of fun and can join together to make a nice diorama. Not buying these means that you are part of the problem in this hobby, so get them if you can.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,317: July 1, 2010