Thursday, September 30, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,382: I-5YQ

I-5YQ & Darth Maul
The Legacy Collection Droid Factory Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 94076
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #4 of 5
Includes: Holocron, Dark Trooper legs, Darth Maul figure
Action Feature: Chest opens for Holocron storage
Retail: $17.00
Availability: July 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars television series

Bio: In the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, the Sith apprentice goes after an information broker who knows too much about a plan to destroy the Republic. The broker's modified protocol droid I-5YQ is left without an owner after the deadly outcome between his master and Darth Maul. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: One of the reasons figures from novels don't get much play is that most fans don't know who they are. If you didn't read the Darth Maul books, and maybe even if you did, I-5YQ was not on your short list of figures to get. Made mostly from recycled 4-LOM parts, this droid has a new head and new chest with a very cool storage feature that allows you to hide a Holocron inside, which would probably not be possible given that, you know, droid parts belong in there. Unless the dude was running off of a Mac Mini or something, I don't get how it could give up that much space-- but I digress. This robot looks quite distinct from other protocol droids in that he has a bright red laser finger, a dark shell with bright eyes, and, of course, the world's first stand-alone Holocron cube. (There's one with an ancient Jedi stuck to it, but this is the first one without one.) This figure is striking in how it reuses a bounty hunter's parts, and he just looks plain cool.

Unfortunately he came in a somewhat expensive set with a Darth Maul figure you likely have, but unfortunately such is the price of collecting in the early 21st century. You lucky kids in the future will know if the figure got reissued separately or not, or you can just buy the gift sets first and work your way back to avoid getting so many duplicates and triplicates. Here in the present, you end up with a lot of extra Darth Mauls. I'd say it's worth getting another Darth Maul to be able to own this droid.

Collector's Notes: By himself the droid sells for $5-$10, which is actually pretty reasonable. I would not expect to see this figure rereleased, but Hasbro does what Hasbro feels like, so who knows?

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,382: September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,381: Cold Weather Gear Anakin Skywalker

ANAKIN SKYWALKER Cold Weather Gear
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 94076
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW42
Includes: Lightsaber, goggles
Action Feature: Removable goggles
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Early 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars television series

Bio: Anakin Skywalker wears cold weather gear to protect him from Orto Plutonia's arctic climate. Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Captain Rex, with clone troopers and Pantoran dignitaries, investigate mysterious disappearances at the planet's Republic outpost. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: There's no getting past the fact that at first glance, Anakin Skywalker's head looks small. If you have the removable goggles resting on his forehead, it looks more of a normal size, but when fully covering his eyes it gives his head a much-smaller look. The sculpt is, surprisingly, completely separate from the Obi-Wan Kenobi figure in cold gear that would follow shortly after him, meaning that you can compare pants and jackets and notice similar but different folds. Someone did some work on these, and that's nice to see. It matches the show quite nicely, and the "hood down" look could be easily changed by Hasbro if (or when) they decide to release the figure with a different piece to give him a different look down the road. (An upcoming battle pack featuring the figure will, seemingly, include no changes.) While nicely articulated, the figure doesn't have ankles. Given that his coat prevents some leg movement this is probably just as well-- the knees seem almost excessive given he won't be doing much sitting. As a unique costume that isn't his normal Jedi gear, it's pretty great, so if you feel like you need to represent the Orto Plutonia episode, get this one. Until Hasbro puts one out with knees or some cloth bits in a vehicle pack down the road, this is as good as it will likely get.

Collector's Notes: So far this figure was released on a 2009-style red and white cardback, with a rerelease (and seemingly no changes) in a blue-box Battle Pack later this year. Thrilling!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,381: September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,380: Luke Skywalker (Hoth)

LUKE SKYWALKER Hoth Attack
Saga Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84727
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0403
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, goggles, ice base
Action Feature: Articulated scarf
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Early 2004
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: While patrolling on Hoth, Luke was savagely attacked by a Wampa and dragged by the ice creature to its cave, where he was suspended from the ceiling in anticipation of becoming the Wampa's next meal. Luke used the Force to retrieve his lightsaber from the floor of the cave and freed himself from the ice entrapping his leg. The Wampa attacked again, and Luke fought the vicious creature, escaping only after severing one of the Wampa's arms. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: One nitpick I have in the modern line is that Hasbro can't seem to crank out a decent all-purpose Hoth edition of Luke Skywalker. We've seen tons of him, but each one seems to serve a specific function-- there's no one release that is designed to both hang upside-down and ride on a Tauntaun. This particular figure is Wampa Cave-specific and is-- if you can believe it-- the last new Hoth Luke sculpt Hasbro has done. Since 2004, all new versions have been based on this design with new deco. It's a great figure, but Hasbro has come so far it's a little surprising we didn't see a new or retooled version, particularly since Hasbro decided to package this one with a Tauntaun a couple of years ago. (For the record, this one cannot sit on a Tauntaun.)

Luke's sculpt was, for 2004, great. Ball-jointed shoulders and an articulated scarf allow the figure to hang upside-down like in a Wampa's cave, and what's even better is that he includes a big ice base chunk which can attach to another ice base chunk that came with a Wampa. Combined, it allows Luke to hang and be menaced by a Wampa. This makes the figure, and arguably makes it the best version to display even if Hasbro makes a new and improved figure sculpt later. The snowy diorama is amazing and really cool, so it's more worth getting for its accessories than the figure itself. Well, that's a half-truth, this is still the best Hoth Luke sculpt you can buy. His bloodied face is pretty gruesome, but repaints of the figure lack the visible red streams of bodily fluids.

Collector's Notes: eBay has this figure going for as little as $1, which makes sense given the many repacks and repaints over the years. I'd say get this version, and a 2004 Ultra Wampa figure, so you can make the little diorama. It's worth it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,380: September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,379: Mandalorian Warrior (Rocket)

MANDALORIAN WARRIOR Rocket Firing Backpack
The Clone Wars Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 94743 No. 19681
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pistols, Gauntlets, Backpack, Rocket, Display Stand, Game Card
Action Feature: Firing Rocket
Retail: $24.99
Availability: September 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: The Mandalorians who belong to the Death Watch work in secret to return Mandalore to its past as the greatest warrior society in the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: This one is particularly interesting. In 2010 Hasbro is going Mandalorian Warrior crazy and, as of this very article, you can buy about six figures based on the core mold. (Pre Vizsla, Speeder Bike Mandalorian, and this 4-figure set.) All of these figure share the same body-- which is to say, Hasbro's best articulated body in this scale to date. This great release has 14 points of articulation as well as ball-jointed hips ideal for vehicles and swivel and pivot wrists all on a fairly cartoony body with working holsters* and a generally great design. I really like these figures.

This one is the "special" figure in the set because Hasbro packaged it wearing all the extra gear. Included are two removable gauntlets with what I presume are supposed to be twin blades on each, plus a rocket-firing backpack which gets pretty good distance and also matches the non-firing figures fairly well. The range of movement is great, and the only real oversight in this pack is the odd blasters. Hasbro included 4 figures but 10 blasters, 2 of which are oversized versions of the standard Mandalorian pistol that are too large for the holsters. The other, smaller versions of these guns are included and fit in the holsters perfectly. I'm not sure why the extra alternate guns were included, but hey, here they are. This figure was packaged holding one standard sized holster-friendly blaster and one that looks a bit like one of Jango's weapons, only a little frumpier and lacking in chrome.

If you're anything like me you've always wanted an army of Mandalorian Warriors, and this is actually pretty much what I pictured the prequels to be like-- with lots of these guys running around. Kudos to Hasbro for making a gift set one of the earlier releases rather than putting out single figures we'd all have to trip over. I've already got my army, now I just have to get the basic carded one to see if it's different in any meaningful way.

Collector's Notes: All 4 Battle Pack figures in this set come with identical game cards with the same stats. The 4 figures in this gift set-- including this one-- all have the same paint job, but are significantly different from the Pre Vizsla and aforementioned Speeder Bike Mandalorian figures. These ones are a much lighter blue, with light grey armor rather than so-dark-it-may-as-well-be-black armor. If you're a fan of Boba Fett and his ilk, you will want to get all three releases as each one has something unique. At press time we do not know what the individually carded Mandalorian trooper will be like. Hasbro stated at Celebration V that some of the gear in this set would be exclusive to the pack-- we'll soon see which specific items won't be released elsewhere, but if it's like anything else it'll probably make it out somewhere, some day. For now, just get this one. This mold is one of the best Hasbro figures of the animated line as well as one of the best of 2010.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,379: September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,378: R2-D2 Bartender

R2-D2 Jabba's Sail Barge
Saga Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84719
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0405
Includes: Drink dispenser, base, serving tray
Action Feature: Removable gear
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Early 2004
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: During a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, R2-D2 and C-3PO were sent into the Hutt's palace on Tatooine, where they became the grisly crime lord's property. Artoo served as a waiter, distributing drinks aboard Jabba's sail barge. Little did any of the criminal dregs suspect that the droid carried in him Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, which he launched to the unarmed Jedi, who went on to rescue himself and his friends. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Back in 2004, Hasbro was finally getting to making this unique R2-D2 which, according to my archive, seems to be the first one to use this specific body type-- which was modified from a design which started being common for droids in 1999. This particular figure is extremely close to the R2-Q5 sculpt, except now it has a hole in his head for the bartending gear. The figure is good, but even at the time it was clear it had a couple of shortcomings-- well, OK, one big shortcoming. The central eye is extremely flat, just like on R2-Q5, with the black circle not being really offset from the blue surroundings as much as on other figures over the years. Aside from that, it was an excellent figure for its time with lots of panel detailing and an abundance of articulation. The third leg is retractable, and all the "ankles" are jointed. Because of his then-unique gear and articulation, this was a pretty exciting release at the time, although the R2-D2 sculpt has been refined by Hasbro and now this exact model is about to be upgraded. It's still a fun little figure, but you may not desire to seek it out if you don't already have one.

Collector's Notes: The unique figure sculpt-- complete with hole-in-head-- was reused to make a few other R2-D2s over the years, despite other arguably superior sculpts being available. As such, you could put the drink gear on a Dagobah or an Ilum R2-D2 if you really want to. A 100%-new R2-D2 sculpt is coming later in 2010 with the full range of bar gear and a new smaller body size, so if you're picky about getting only the best you may want to wait to see that one up close before making the final call. The 2004 release, as reviewed here, is worth only a couple of bucks these days.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,378: September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,377: Slave Leia

PRINCESS LEIA Jabba's Slave
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93127
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD17
Includes: Glass, pole, swappable legs, belt, cloth skirt, collar and chain
Action Feature: Figure has alternate waist for sitting on Jabba's throne
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Made a slave by Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia bides her time as the plan to free Han Solo comes together. The resourceful and courageous princess uses the very chains enslaving her to put an end to Jabba’s corrupt reign as the crime lord of Tatooine. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' bathroom.

Commentary: Since 1997 Hasbro (then Kenner) have been trying to do good by fans when it comes to Princess Leia in her dancer/slave/crowd-pleasing outfit. It's hard to pull off "sexy" at 3 3/4-inches, particularly when you have to incorporate things like ball joints and cloth parts and what have you-- so each version has had its ups and downs. The 2001 Sail Barge Cannon gun release and the 2009 release seen here are the two front-runners, but neither has the clear edge in terms of being best overall. The 2009 release certainly has the best accessories and wonderful engineering, but the 2001 version, in many ways, looks a little bit nicer. Super-articulation and bare flesh really don't go together all that well, leaving our heroine with bloated-looking knees and darker features. (Darker features being more authentic, but the 2001 figure just looks nicer.) Slightly darker or more tanned skin with a smidgen brighter makeup could probably have made all the difference but as is, she's still significantly better designed than any other similar figure on the marketplace.

The main reason to run out and buy this figure is that Hasbro took an amazing leap to include variant legs-- but it's not so much legs as it is the entire figure from the waist on down. Rather than sell two figures (or include one as a pack-in down the road), Hasbro actually really gives you a lot of bang for your buck by throwing in spare parts to let Leia sit on a pillow at Jabba's side. Personally, I would have assumed this would be a pack-in with Jabba, but instead they gave us Oola, which is even better. The seated legs look slightly better than the regular ones, and their lack of articulation prevents distracting bulges and cuts-- so it's clearly prettier. By giving fans the choice of how they want this figure built, Hasbro really did do us a solid.

The cloth "skirt" element is a little weak, but still works. It tends to display as seen in the picture, but you can cram it between her legs if you want. Also take note, that the cloth element is stuck to a thin belt which could be easily lost if you're a bit of a spaz. The belt is not glued to the leg pieces, so be careful when taking apart/storing this item.

Leia's additional accessories include a glass (for drinking) and a force pike (for hitting things). Generally Hasbro doesn't include nearly every possible accessory and piece you could possibly hope for with its main character figures, but here, they did it. The only quibbles you can really have are aesthetics, and even if you don't LOVE how it turned out you can't deny that this is some of Hasbro's finest work in terms of executing an ambitious, more expensive design. Having said that, I expect a new version in about four years.

Collector's Notes: Slave Leia 2009 was a fast seller and quite popular. That means she's going to cost you-- since the release of Jabba the Hutt this past summer, the figure now commands $15-$20 on eBay, which is pretty uncommon in this era of instant-worthlessness where we all move on to the next big thing within minutes of making a purchase. Leia has some staying power, which means hopefully Hasbro will consider repackaging her on a Vintage (or other) cardback in 2011 or 2012. Fan demand is clearly here, she would make a great add-on Battle Pack to Jabba's Palace! (Throw in another one of Jabba's astromechs, a Gamorrean Guard, and something new to mix things up a bit. I'd buy two.)

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,377: September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,376: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Endor Poncho
The Legacy Collection Battle for Endor Battle Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 91805
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, lightsaber, helmet, belt, poncho, additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: Fall 2009
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Rebels and Ewoks attack stormtroopers during the Battle of Endor. The Rebel strike team arrives on Endor's moon to demolish the shield generator protecting the Death Star. The Rebels are captured but a surprise attack by the Ewoks freese them, and a desperate battle ensues. Through the combined forces of the Endorian natives and Rebels, the generator is destroyed. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' bathroom.

Commentary: Of all the versions of Luke Skywalker in his Endor gear, this is probably the best Hasbro can be reasonably expected to do short of making a new, swappable Luke head with the chin strap molded closed for a change. Unlike the 1980s version, as far as I can tell, this one has the correct garments. Since Luke wears his Tatooine vest in the scene where he talks to Leia before meeting up with Darth Vader, I assume he's wearing the vest under his poncho-- just like this action figure.

The core Luke Skywalker figure is a modified 2007 30th Anniversary Jedi Luke, except this time his vest covers his whole body (which is correct) and not just the front (which is not) plus he has a new gloved hand, just like Michael Jackson. He has an elastic belt and in in all honesty, it does look a little goofy on him, but including this detail shows an attention to getting things right that Hasbro should be applauded for. And let's face it-- soft goods are hard to get right. So aside from this new garment, the figure essentially recycles the 2006 Endor Poncho gear-- the actual poncho, helmet, and belt are pretty much the same as that previous release.

His accessories are acceptable-- the lightsaber is, sadly, the 1990s version without the lightsaber flare at the bottom, but the blaster is pretty modern and as good as can be included on a figure of this nature. I'm really disappointed with the same Endor helmet we've been getting since 2002, but to cut costs I can see why Hasbro would continue to reuse it. If Hasbro does it again, I wouldn't mind seeing a chin strap closed shut rather than dangling for a change of pace.

To date, this is the clear best-ever Endor Poncho Luke figure you can buy. There's more packed into it than any other release, plus you get some other goodies in the box. If Hasbro ever does a "vintage" repackaged figure, this would be a good pick-- particularly if we see an alternate head with helmet, like the Power of the Force original.

Collector's Notes: This is a great set and, in some markets, a weak seller. Take advantage! The set also includes a great Imperial Officer, an Ewok glider, and a figure Hasbro claims is Warok. As Battle Packs go, this is one of the best Original Trilogy releases in recent years.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,376: September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,375: Bossk

BOSSK Rise of Boba Fett
The Clone Wars Toys "R" Us Exclusive Ultimate Battle Pack
Item No.:
No. 20850
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster rifle, stand, game card, tons of other toys
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $109.99
Availability: August 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: The Trandoshan bounty hunter teams up with Boba, sensing that the boy will become a powerful ally-- or enemy. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' floor.

Commentary: Between Kenner and Hasbro there have been something like five versions of 3 3/4-inch scale Bossk figures and this one, arguably, is the best. By combining elements of the best collector-favorite figures and the best toy figures, Hasbro successfully created a monster super-articulated bounty hunter which is capable of standing, sitting, and assuming tons of poses. While the big H did develop a "vintage" Bossk in 2007 which had 14 points of articulation, he had some weird hanging elements and some extraneous straps around his waist which prevented him from sitting. Hasbro took a page from 1981 and recreated this edition to have very snug straps sculpted on the figure rather than hanging off as separate pieces, which means that this one actually functions as a toy. You can grab a vehicle, and if it's tall enough, he can sit in it. This is what we call a toy so good it deserves a song for an ultimate and inevitable victory, and it's really stunning that this exquisite plaything came out within mere weeks of the most ambitious (but ultimately horrible to play with) animated General Grievous.

Bossk's detail is fairly simple, as an animated figure really doesn't need to be covered in wrinkles and warts. One side of his face has a closed mouth, while the other has a snarl-- this makes for some weird photography, but in person it gives him a lot more personality than you're used to seeing out of the greenish rubber mask. His head appears a little small-- even compared to the animation model-- but it's still a fun little figure with lanky limbs, a good gun, and a level of quality that's definitely on the higher levels of Hasbro's collectible toy figures. While $110 for just this figure is a little high, if you have the chance to score one for $20 or less I don't think you'll be sorry. Coincidentally, this is the going rate on eBay at press time.

Collector's Notes: At Celebration V, Hasbro mentioned that this item was initially developed as an individual figure but was brought into this gift set for various reasons. What does this mean to you? Don't expect to see an individually carded release in the immediate future, I was told, but in all honesty you'll probably see him again in the next several years. Assuming this set sells through, of course, otherwise this might be it. Despite the high price tag, the sum of the set's contents are actually quite nice and if you're collecting the line anyway I suggest stop whining, skip the Starbucks for a few weeks, and just take the plunge. You'll want the Slave I anyway.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 1,375: September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,374: Cad Bane

CAD BANE Pirate Speeder Bike
The Clone Wars Mini Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. 94737 No. 94827
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Starhawk Speeder Bike, blasters, hat, satchel, display stand, game gear
Action Feature: Working holsters
Retail: $7.99
Availability: July 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Cad Bane avoids his pursuers on a pirate's speeder bike. The bounty hunter forms a temporary alliance with a pirate gang to further his own selfish interests. When his business with the gang is finished, he takes leave of the thugs-- snd also takes one of their speeder bikes as part of his payment. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: While Cad Bane and this bike have yet to appear on screen together, there's nothing stopping Hasbro from employing a little toyetic license to bring out a fun toy with an all-new version of the Bounty Hunter. (Or at least, new enough.) Rather than simply tweak the existing Cad Bane toy, Hasbro really did a job on this one-- the torso is much wider, the legs have an amazing range of motion, the arms are, well, assembled funny so you have to swivel them around, and the head is all-new. If you have the existing Cad Bane, you need to get this new one because a) it's significantly different and b) it can sit, which the carded release cannot.

Rather than reuse the head, Hasbro gave this version of Bane a nice snarl. His hat still flies off if you aren't careful, but a lot of nice minor details like the fact his knees can bend back far enough to convincingly ride the bike show that Hasbro isn't allergic to fixing its toys so they work as top-notch playthings and display items. Seriously, this one is really well done. If you plan on getting the Xanadu Blood when it hits later, be sure to get this Cad Bane so you can have a figure who can actually sit. The detail and paint are roughly what we're used to from Hasbro, so overall this is a good piece and a nice improvement.

Collector's Notes: Available now, the set is actually moving nicely. The bike belongs to the Ohnaka Pirate Gang, which so far have not been produced as toys which can sit. This one is actually worth the effort to track down, so be sure to get it. The other version is also worth having, but for different reasons related to his costume.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,374: September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,373: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS Interchangeable Arms
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87661
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #06
Includes: 2 sets of arms, 4 lightsabers, blaster
Action Feature: Interchangeable Arms
Retail: $7.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: General Grievous is a brilliant strategist who has honed the droid army into a terrifyingly efficient fighting force. He has carried out the plans of the Separatists on planets and moons throughout the galaxy. Part living matter and part machine, Grievous is as skilled with a lightsaber as any Jedi Knight and relishes any opportunity that allows him to duel - and defeat - a Jedi. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Hasbro has released many General Grievous action figures, some of which were acceptable, many of which were some of the company's worst efforts. Certainly, this was not for lack of trying, but the character's design and Hasbro's lofty ambitions don't always meet up in an aesthetically pleasing way. Thankfully, this release is one of the good ones. While not perfect, it does incorporate a strong design, excellent accessories, and an action feature that doesn't fundamentally hurt this release's ability to be a nice toy.

So, what do we have here? The figure has arms which can be ripped out at the shoulder and replaced. One set is standard, while the other is a pair of split arms enabling him to do that spinny four-blade thing we all love so much. Rather than go the super-articulated rubbery and fragile route, Hasbro opted to include only 6 meaningful points of articulation on the stylized cyborg which is probably why he holds together so nicely. He can sit in a vehicle-- specifically the General Grievous Starfighter-- without much of a problem. He can hold his weapons and look cool, too, so if you're a kid playing around with this figure it should work out for you nicely.

Due to the design, Hasbro did not create a figure particularly adept at standing. His claw-like feet have no holes, so he cannot make use of display stands. Also, over time, his legs may misshapen if he stays standing for too long. In short, he's a better action figure than a display figure. As of today this is the best animated General Grievous and one of the best Hasbro has done overall, simply because he isn't a piece of junk. (Hey, it helps.) If you didn't get this one yet, I'd say you should-- and if you're waffling on which animated version to get, it really had better be this one. The 2010 edition is not worth the asking price, but this one doesn't let me down.

Collector's Notes: Available in 2008 and 2009 The Clone Wars packaging, this should be a reasonable purchase. He's popular, though, so don't be surprised if you have problems finding one. He is rumored to see a reissue after the release of the new one being an ambitious figure but a less-than-stellar plaything.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,373: September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,372: Bantha Squad Clone Trooper

CLONE TROOPER Bantha Squad
The Clone Wars Anti-Hailfire Droid Battle Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 94743 No. 19680
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, rifle, firing cannon, additional figures, display stand, game card
Action Feature: Firing rocket launcher
Retail: $24.99
Availability: June 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: These troopers use a modified version of the Turbo Tank's heavy laser cannon to bombard the droid with weapons fire before the final application of explosives. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: This Clone Trooper is a member of the "Bantha Squad," which, as far as I know, we don't hear about much. There's a bantha sigil on his arm, plus the Recon Trooper from the set has horns painted on the sides of his helmet. Using the Stone body, the figure has swivel wrist and no ankles, but has a superior, more authentic sculpt. The legs are still unable to sit well, which is a huge knock against this mold, but he is ideal for standing around and aiming large cannons. He does not have a removable helmet, but the peg seems about right for a number of other figures if you're in to head-swapping. Aside from the fact that this uses a largely unused body type, there's not much to say other than it's another Clone Squad, and it's a cool one. Here's hoping we see lots more of Bantha Squad in the future!

Of particular note is a cannon accessory included in the set. It can be freestanding, but it also has a fold-out platform for a figure to stand on, complete with foot peg. Well done, Hasbro! This is a nicely designed accessory and is totally worth your while to pick up if you can find it.

Collector's Notes: The set seems to be shipping in good numbers and will continue to ship for a while. If you're buying clones, add this set to your shopping list and you'll get two of this particular version.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,372: September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,371: Shadow Stormtrooper (Clear)

SHADOW STORMTROOPER Clear Trooper
The Legacy Collection Toys "R" Us Exclusive Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Figure Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 97910 No. 97911 and 97912
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #1 and #2 of 2
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2010
Appearances: The Force Unleashed

Bio: Shadow stormtroopers also carried cloaking devices that rendered them invisible for a short period of time. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: This Shadow Stormrooper reminds us that after the black repaint, collectors often enjoy the clear repaint. Originally meant to be two different figures (one with a removable helmet), Hasbro instead opted to double-up on this clear figure, putting one in each of its two Force Unleashed 5-packs earlier this year. Based on the 2004 Vintage Stormtrooper mold, this figure is super articulated, cast in clear plastic, and given various black and blue highlights to make it a little more interesting. An all-clear figure would look pretty cruddy. If you like Stormtroopers and are looking for something different, this certainly qualifies-- it does have a sort of a "phasing" quality as seen in the game, and even his gun is clear.

Collector's Notes: The set includes 4 additional figures, and if you open it take care to store it apart from other, non-clear toys. Clear plastic can discolor over time and sometimes will absorb other plastic color dyes-- so don't put him next to your red Royal Guards in the display box. As it is currently the only completely clear Stormtrooper available, you may as well get it, or get both sets so you can have two.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,371: September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,370: Clone Trooper (Rocket Pack)

CLONE TROOPER Rocket Pack
The Clone Wars Clone Troopers & Droids Battle Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 94743 No. 19677
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Rocket pack, rocket, dummy rocket, additional figures, display stand, game card
Action Feature: Firing rocket launcher
Retail: $24.99
Availability: June 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Clone troopers apply all their military training, warrior skills and weaponry to battle the endless army of "Clankers" during the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' apartment.

Commentary: This Clone Trooper makes use of the existing 2008 sculpt, but has the 2009-style helmet a hole for a backpack. (This may not mean much to you.) There have been other orange, 212th Battalion-themed troopers with backpack holes but this one is unique in that it isn't off-white. Since it uses the older mold, the wrists do have the extra range of movement and the ankles are articulated, making this a fully super-articulated release from Hasbro. The backpack is removable, but plugs in nicely. There are both firing and non-firing rockets so you can use whichever you might prefer. The orange is nice, the white is nice, and the sculpt is as expected-- which is to say, excellent. While lacking in surprises, it is still a nice toy.

Collector's Notes: The set includes 4 figures, 4 display stands, gaming cards, the works. It really is a nice set, particularly since it can help you flesh out your armies. Unfortunately, you probably have more than enough Clone Troopers by now, and no standard Battle Droids are included, but the set itself has enough new to offer to make the collection worth your while. I can't get enough of the troopers, particularly when they're all a little different, so this works nicely for me.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,370: September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,369: Clone Pilot

CLONE PILOT Republic Gunship
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive Evolutions Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87874 No. 91509
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, rocket, rocket launcher
Action Feature: Firing rocket launcher
Retail: $14.99-$24.88
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: Some cross-sections book

Bio: Imperial pilots emerge from secrecy as valorous warriors in the waning days of the Republic, then devolve into ruthless enforcers as an evil Empire is born. Clone pilots fly Republic Gunships during the Battle of Geonosis. In the final days of the Clone Wars, clone pilots in V-Wings battle the enemies of first the Republic, then the Galactic Empire. Imperial pilots rise from the ashes of the Republic to defend the new Empire and enforce the Emperor's orders. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' apartment.

Commentary: This Clone Pilot is neat because it has an all-new helmet which is rarely seen anywhere in the Star Wars mythos, fiction or non-fiction. It's all enclosed and funky, with red markings closer to what is believed to be a V-Wing pilot's design. The figure's body is the same Evolutions Episode II clone body mold we've seen used for numerous figures since 2005, which means it has no waist joint of any kind. With that one exception, the figure is otherwise super articulated and cool and everything, mostly because that slick helmet has so far only appeared in this set on this one figure. I'm sure a repaint will show up eventually, but when, and how? Who knows? So for the time being this figure is going to be a worthy addition to any Clone collection, and even if it gets a repaint the coloring is unique enough that I'd still suggest tracking it down.

Collector's Notes: The figure was not a fast seller, and the set showed up at (and may still be found at) closeout stores like Ross. You should be able to get this set, which is Imperial Pilots Legacy Series II, for $15 or less. The set itself is 1 repaint, 1 existing figure with a new head, and this figure, which is a repaint with a new helmet. Evolutions were for a brief time where Hasbro would debut top-notch sculpts with great accessories, until 2008, when it became rehashes, repaints, and a big pile of "more of the same." Still, this set is pretty cool, all things considered. It also sports a TIE Fighter pilot and a black Clone Pilot from Episode III.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,369: September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,368: Clone Trooper 41st Elite Corps

CLONE TROOPER 41st Elite Corps
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87959
Number: #26
Includes: Blaster, rocket, rocket launcher
Action Feature: Firing rocket launcher
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Spring 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: The clone troopers in the 41st Elite Corps are led by Clone Commander Gree and Jedi General Yoda. The troopers are equipped with specialized gear for combat on jungle worlds such as Rodia, one of the planets to which this unit is assigned during the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: You know how you just can barely bring yourself to write some days? No? Well the Clone Trooper with the green markings isn't helping matters any. This figure appeared on the TV show as one of Gree's men, and he's cool. He has the "new" helmet sculpt, and all the same articulation you're used to on an animated action figure. There are no surprises here, just sold awesome Clone action. Or "yet another damned repaint." I bought a few of these because I can't help myself, odds are you'll buy it for the same reason. The mold is good, the deco appears on TV in a semi-prominent role, and it's hard not to like it. I believe this figure was also the very first appearance of the rocket launcher which he carries, but don't quote me on that as I might be forgetting one. I'm like 90% sure it premiered here. I wouldn't suggest overpaying for one (or more) of these, but if you come across one in the course of your normal affairs you really ought to buy at least one. Gree needs his homies.

Collector's Notes: The figure was sold on both the blue and the red Clone Wars cards. He's basically the same figure on either, and basically the same as nearly every animated Clone Trooper since 2008.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,368: September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,367: Vax Potorr

VAX POTORR Joker Squad
The Legacy Collection Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87923
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, helmet, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: March 2009
Appearances: Legacy Comic Books

Bio: Vax Potorr was a bald Human male, originally a thief from the underlevels of Coruscant. During the Sith-Imperial War he decided to serve with the Fel Empire rather than the Galactic Alliance, who were protecting the Yuuzhan Vong. During this time he fought in the Battle of Botajef with Joker Squad. Potorr was responsible for killing the Mandalorian Vevec. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old apartment.

Commentary: I don't think fans will agree with Dark Horse or Hasbro as to the nature of the Stormtrooper armor in the Legacy era ("close enough" vs. "what the artist draws" vs. "the artists drew it wrong"), but I will say that Vax Potorr is a perfectly reasonable figure to own. All figures in the set have the same basic armor deco except this one, which has different paint on the helmet's "mouth". It's more sparse, and less complete-- and they're all this way, it isn't an error. The body is the same as the 2007 Stormtrooper, which was adapted from the 2004 Vintage Stormtrooper, which is basically as good as it gets. You get 14 points of articulation, a blaster, a helmet, and a plain-Jane Stormtrooper if you leave his helmet on, which is good for army building. The Joker troopers are distinctive in that they have white holsters, and I do not know the significance of this. But hey, if you want a Stormtrooper "red shirt", this is a good one.

Collector's Notes: This was one of my babies. It ended up on closeout. After a brief run at Entertainment Earth, the set was found at stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's. You should be able to get the entire set for $20-$30, with this one figure for as little as $5.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,367: September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,366: Machook

MACHOOK Ewok
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 12974 No. 87884
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Hood, spear, additional Ewoks, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.99
Availability: March 2009
Appearances: Star Wars Marvel comic books

Bio: Machook was an Ewok who participated in a conflict with the Lahsbees after the Battle of Endor. He shared a name with a figure of Ewok legend, one said to have been a hero who built the first tree village on Endor. (Stolen from Wookieepedia, although he didn't seem like much of a shaman in the comics.)

Image: Kashyyyk Galactic Heroes backdrop.

Commentary: I can barely keep the names straight, but the Marvel Ewok Machook is another good reuse of the Graak mold. He has a orangey hood, a spear, and dark fur which sets him across from the bow-and-arrow original. While the figure offers little new, it is different enough to buy for any fan of the little furballs from Endor. He has wrist joints and ball ankles, but aside from that is about normal for an Ewok. Were I able to stumble on more of this set I'd probably buy it just to army-build, and I really do hope Hasbro can find a way to get out more Ewok multipacks just like this one every year or two. The detail is good, and despite the slightly cartoony hood, it's still a must-have addition to any Endor collector's stable of toys. I'm pretty proud to have this set as part of my collection, I bet you would be as well if you can get one.

Collector's Notes: Since the set was a pegwarmer in some markets, it shouldn't be too expensive. The 3-pack does, however, currently command a slight premium so if you can get one at retail, you probably should. Unless you feel like paying double on eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,366: September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,365: Firefighter Battle Droid

FIREFIGHTER DROID with Firefighting Backpack
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 94056
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW47
Includes: Backpack, hose, blaster, nozzle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: March 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Firefighter droids scramble to extinguish fires on the Malevolence after the Separatist ship is attacked by Republic forces. The droids blast the flames with foam as General Grievous' deadly new flagship tries to escape its pursuers. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: The Firefighter Droid takes the basic Battle Droid design and tweaks it with revised arms and a new head, plus new accessories. The articulation is slightly improved as a result of the new arms, but it is otherwise largely the same as previous Battle Droids except for the heroic deco. It really seems odd having a robot painted up like a real-world firefighter, but it does look cool enough to warrant buying if you ever see this one, and you likely will not. The backpack does make it difficult for the figure to stand, and it is a little awkward trying to pose him with the firepack accessory, but you gotta admit it looks cool. Ultimately, that's your reason for purchase-- if you like the paint, it's worth your while.

Collector's Notes: This figure was tough to come by, and it may require a slight premium to get one if it doesn't get reissued. As it came in the final wave of the Clone Wars line, this may well be it for a while, if not forever. Here's hoping Hasbro reissues it in a gift set! I'd love to have a few more of these.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,365: September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,364: Princess Leia

PRINCESS LEIA with Prince Xizor
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87687
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #8
Includes: Gown, blaster, Xizor figure, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: Summer 2008
Appearances: Shadows of the Empire

Bio: As Leia struggles to save the Alliance from being crushed by the Empire, she learns that bounty hunters are after Luke. She infiltrates Black Sun to find out why that crime syndicate wants Luke dead. The leader of Black Sun is Prince Xizor, who sees Luke as a way to get his revenge upon Vader and, at the same time, gain favor with the Emperor. Her mission is in jeaopardy when she meets Xizor and finds herself unable to resist the prince's strange power. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: As figures I never expected to see go, this Princess Leia certainly made the list. This is basically from a scene in which Leia tries to make Xizor think he's gonna get some, and then knees him in the balls. Truly, a great toy for kids, right? Well, we have her, and space bedroom wear is just as goofy as you can hope. If there's one thing that does it for me, it's headbands! (Actually, no, not really.) This Leia has more articulation than she can handle, and the ankle joints make her legs look a little chunky. She lacks elbows, but other than that is a pretty robust figure in terms of movement. In short, your reasons for buying this figure are "do you love Leia figures" and "do you need a new Xizor", the answer to both I assume to be "yes" and "sure, why not." The detail on the figure is OK, but it's not really an amazing release given what else Hasbro has been releasing in the past four or five years. It's worth buying and certainly fits the bill of a good modern figure, just not as a great one.

Collector's Notes: This figure may be available at a store near you still-- it was not a hit. Don't pay a premium for this one, if anything try to get it for under $10 because it's just that common.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,364: September 6, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,363: Djas Puhr

DJAS PUHR Alien Bounty Hunter
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84809
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0240
Includes: Twin blasters with blast effects
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: June/July 2002
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The Mos Eisley Cantina is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. For the Sakiyan bounty hunter Djas Puhr, the cantina is a fertile refuge ripe with opportunity to catch a fugitive bounty or pry information from customers who know more than they claim. (Taken from the figure's packaging)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Cantina diorama.

Commentary: Djas Puhr ("Jasper," get it? I didn't) is a super-obscure Cantina alien that odds are you never saw in the movie, but now you own as a toy. He has a fantastic sculpt with loads of detail, and articulated wrists for reasons I still don't quite get. His action-oriented pose is not necessarily sensible given his place as a drinker, but at least he has holsters for his blasters. If you look at his costume, it probably has more detail and texture than the real thing. Hasbro did a freaking fantastic job on this one. There are straps and patches, boots, and just enough paint that the figure really does look like a dude in makeup. He has some difficulty sitting due to his belt and the lower part of his jacket, but you can cram him in a booth of needed. I suggest making him stand is the way to go.

Collector's Notes: This figure was pretty common and is relatively worthless. As such, get one for next to nothing and take solace in the fact there will likely never, ever be a reissue. It's worth having around, it's pretty nice looking up close.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,363: September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,362: Ziro's Assassin Droid

ZIRO'S ASSASSIN DROID An IG-86 Redeco
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 91279
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW37
Includes: Backpack, twin blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: IG-86 assassin droids guard the lair of Ziro the Hutt on Coruscant. The lethal droids carry out Ziro's commands, which range from eliminating enemies to protecting their devious master - or capturing unwanted visitors who uncover information that jeopardizes Ziro's plans to seize his uncle Jabba's criminal empire. (Taken from the figure's packaging)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: While Hasbro continues to make revisions in some molds for The Clone Wars action figures, the basis for Ziro's Assassin Droid was basically perfected out the gate. The figure uses the same great IG-86 mold with tons of articulation-- more than mortals can handle. He even has clamp hands, bringing him up to 16 joints! If you have no versions of this mold, you really ought to get one-- I like this one because Ziro's entourage is woefully underrepresented and this droid does have a striking purple color, which is welcome given most figures in The Clone Wars are either white or Earth tones. The figure has a Black Sun logo on his chest, stripes, and red dots to represent his eyes, ears, and other "lights". The diodes are a nice touch. Also, he can do the splits, grasp weapons, and remind you how much your life sucks because Hasbro has not announced a Ziro figure yet, despite strong rumors of a Battle Pack in 2009 which never materialized and another rumor of a mail-in offer in 2011 or 2012. Here's hoping.

Collector's Notes: This figure was not super-easy to get and seemed to come and go quickly in the insane rush that was August 2009. On the bright side, despite being hard to find, he's cheap on eBay-- below retail if you want one.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,362: September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,361: Bossk

BOSSK The Vintage Collection
The Saga Collection 2007 Vintage
Item No.:
Asst. 87295 No. 87308
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: 2007
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Bossk (meaning "Devours His Prey" in Dosh) was a Trandoshan bounty hunter and the pilot of the Hound's Tooth. He also held the title of Monarch of the Qotile system. He was particularly unfond of Chewbacca and his Human partner Han Solo. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' bathroom. He is standing next to the 2010 "Saga Legends" reissue, which is basically the same figure with more guns, a display stand, and a lower price tag.

Commentary: In the entirety of the modern line, one figure tends to always be an example of Hasbro's best work. Bossk never disappoints, or at least, he hasn't with any figure released thus far. The 1997 figure wasn't a crazy muscular release, and he had such great deco that fans were surprised he got a new sculpt in 2004-- which added lots of articulation and even more detail. It seemed completely unnecessary to upgrade him, but they did, he's great, and here he is. The sculpt has even more detail than before, the face conveys more personality than the rubber mask in the movies, and Bossk now sports 14 points of articulation. In short, Hasbro has no reason to ever upgrade the figure.

The one shortcoming is the odd red ring around his neck and the silver element dangling down. Rather than a static sculpted piece, it rotates freely and is removable. I'd rather it be glued down, but that's me-- it's still the finest Bossk money can buy, so if you need one, you may as well get this one. Of course, they're all very good, so you can't go wrong collecting Bossks throughout the ages.

Collector's Notes: The 2007 Vintage Bossk has Vintage Packaging. The 2010 Saga Legends one does not, but you get a baggie of guns and a display base-- so openers, get the 2010 one. Carded fans, get whatever tickles your fancy.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 1,361: September 1, 2010