Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,425: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT Bounty Hunter
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 21466
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW32
Includes: Vest, jetpack, twin blasters, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Haunted by the death of his father, Boba Fett continues his training as a bounty hunter. He learns the skills of this dangerous trade from the Trandoshan hunter Bossk and the ruthless Aurra Sing. Jango's son is determined to follow in his father's footsteps as a powerful bounty hunter, and is eager to fight the Jedi who defeated his father. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' current and hopefully only temporary toy shelf.

Commentary: It's amazing that The Clone Wars has made a dramatic shift from under-articulated kid-friendly figures into stuff so good it would make your 1995 self's head explode-- in particular if you're young enough to not remember 1995. This Boba Fett is unique in that it's the first individually packaged version of the figure to not include any form of helmet, while keeping much of the rest of the outfit's signature armor. Boba's knee pads and chest armor are all here, as is his trademark backpack. He's armed with Jango's twin pistols, and a great mean facial expression the likes of which you rarely see on the movie toys. Boba Fett keeps the super articulation you all know and love but adds a twist with a new hip joint which allows the figure to both bend at the waist and for the leg to swivel at the hip. If you're a stickler for being able to get the most motion out of your toys, this figure will likely amaze you with its amazing range of motion while not incorporating bulging joints or awkwardly shaped crotch pieces. Remarkable stuff.

The paint job is superb-- no problems to speak of-- and the outfit itself is pretty simple. He has a grey jumpsuit speed suit on with some armor bits here and there, so there's not a lot of detail to worry about here. It's a good thing Hasbro added the extra armor, because without it Boba would be a pretty plain looking figure. The complete package is really cool, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't also want an animated-style version of the hunter's classic helmet too.

Collector's Notes: This figure seems to be taking its sweet time in achieving pegwarmer status, so if you see it you might want to just buy it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,425: November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,424: Mandalorian/Bounty Hunter Secret Apprentice/Starkiller

GALEN MAREK Bounty Hunter
The Legacy Collection Toys "R" Us Exclusive Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Figure Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 97910 No. 97912
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #2 of 2
Includes: Lightsaber, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2010
Appearances: The Force Unleashed

Bio: Galen Marek is the secret apprentice of Darth Vader and the son of Jedi. he is taken by the Sith lord during the Great Purge and given the codename Starkiller. Vader trains him in the ways of the Force and promises to reward him with great power. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard at a previous apartment.

Commentary: Hasbro really does know how to make the most out of a mold. They reused the same Jango Fett body for several releases, including this new Galen Marek. The head (a Sam Witwer-inspired sculpt), lower legs, and the robes over the armor are new, while the rest of it is just redecorated from the previous Evolutions Jango figure. A little paint goes a long way, and this figure does look like a completely new release at first glance. Aside from the flesh hands looking like gloves up close, it works perfectly and I think your average consumer would have no idea that this figure is mostly recycled parts-- but you're not average, are you?

It's still a great figure, but as a toy it suffers from that whole "not capable of sitting, ever" thing. I know, I'm old, but I do remember a time where all action figures that Kenner were made could sit down, and this lasted well into the 1990s. The figure has no problem holding a lightsaber and standing around looking cool, but the extra gear does prevent it from assuming some battle poses. The head sculpt is great and the detail is there, plus if you don't know the games and just leave the helmet on, it's like getting another Mandalorian figure. And we can never have enough of those. I never found this figure to be particularly exciting, but it's certainly cool enough to warrant picking up if you're getting the 5-packs anyway. He's great crowd filler too if you're in need of that kind of thing.

Collector's Notes: This set rolled out a little late and a little slow, so odds are you can still find one at a Toys "R" Us near you. Just look-- you might get lucky!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,424: November 29, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,423: Imperial Scanning Crew

IMPERIAL SCANNING CREW Millennium Falcon Snoops
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 91420
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD32
Includes: Blaster, half the scanning gear, bonus droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: An Imperial scanning crew checks the Millennium Falcon to make sure no one is on board. The two-man crew brings the scanner onto the ship and quickly discovers the vessel is not as empty as it first appeared to be. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' yard at a previous apartment.

Commentary: Good intentions! In 2009 Hasbro planned a ton of running changes for its figure line so that they could get multiple troopers out there with slightly different heads or accessories, encouraging more repeat purchases and making collectors happy. It backfired. The Imperial Scanning Crew figure was one of two figures where the planned variant did not make it out-- the other was the Hoth Rebel, which was recently dumped at Target. (The Ugnaught and Bespin Guard variants both made it to retail in seemimgly limited numbers. A variant Utai was planned but will probably not make it out, at the current rate.) More on the plans for this figure below.

The entirely new sculpt figure has amazing detail, 14 points of articulation, the ability to sit or stand without too much fuss, and extreme buy-ability. For some reason it wasn't a big seller, perhaps the lack of a large environment after 15 years has finally caused people to stop army-building figures for a later purpose. (I know most of my duplicate and triplicate purchases were just in case Hasbro made a big ship or playset for them.) Still, it's a solid figure and you should score two or more of them to invade your big Millennium Falcon. Even though you don't get the entire scanning device through the powers of botched planning, it's a nice start. This is one of Hasbro's best Imperial Trooper figures, and if they repainted the grey bodysuit in black, I'm sure they'd sell an obscene amount of them at retail. Sadly, this is not likely in the short term, but you can probably still find this figure and you should buy it. Even if you ignore the scanning stuff, it's still a nice figure for dioramas or piloting purposes.

Collector's Notes: Hasbro's plan was to release two Scanning Crew figures. One would have one half of the scanning gear while the other would come with the rest. The second half (with variant head sculpt) was never actually slotted for production, it seems, and there is currently no plan to put it out there. With the Vintage line's slim footprint, it might not be showing up in the basic figure assortment any time soon and given there's flat out no plan to release it, it could be a a while.

Oddly, the first version (this one) was really common at the end of the run and I could buy them for under $5 easily. I got at least one for less than a dollar. How sad is that? Hopefully Hasbro's sales of the figure are good enough to warrant the aforementioned unreleased variant would some day make it to retail, in a gift set or otherwise.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,423: November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,422: Bantha Squad Clone Commander

CLONE COMMANDER Bantha Squad
The Clone Wars Anti-Hailfire Droid Battle Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 94743 No. 19680
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blasters, 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: The commander of Bantha Squad is an expert in heavy weapons and demolitions, making him uniquely qualified to formulate successful strategies against the droids. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen on a Playmobil environment.

Commentary: This Clone Commander mixes several existing figures and new deco into a new whole. The head, arms, and torso are from the Clone Gunner, and the lower body (including skirt/kama) were later reused for the red Clone Trooper Commander figure, but debuted here. The holsters and guns are larger than that on Rex. You get a lot of weapons and a unique brownish green deco, and this particular combination of clone parts hasn't been used on any other figure-- no "gunner" helmet has ever been paired with the "commander" kama/skirt before. He can hold his weapons without a problem, and for me the real highlight is his unique paint job. "Bantha Squad" is a new construct which, so far as I can tell, exists only in the toys so far but since the TV show is still running, who knows what the future may hold?

The figure is basically what you see, with 14 points of articulation including the fancy wrists that everybody loves. The most distinctive feature on the figure is on his left shoulder, with a stylized bantha horn (or possibly skull) as the signature for the squad. That's one thing the line could really benefit from having more of-- specialized sub-groups you can collect. Sure, there's a lot of 212th Clones, but it's just a sea of orange. It's not like they have some badass logo of a dagger stabbing through a planet or something. This is pretty great, and I hope they do at least another 1-2 troopers to flesh out the squad. That or I'll just buy another set some day.

Collector's Notes: Like Clones? Buy this set, or two of it. The basic clones are great, and the specialized commander and jet pack trooper are also wonderful. It's rare that Hasbro gives you an entire squad in a box-- they do it, but not too often. Usually it's a jumble of things, or droids, but this time it's a unified set. Do yourself a favor and get one.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,422: November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,421: Clone Commander (Damaged)

CLONE TROOPER Damaged Red
Original Trilogy Collection Clone Trooper Troop Builder Four-Pack Assortment, Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 85688 No. 85774
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster Pistol, collectible poster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99 (part of a four-pack)
Availability: Spring 2005
Appearances: Primarily Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars

Bio: Virtually indistinguishable from one another, clone troopers are identical in physical appearance, mental capability and stamina. Part of a clone army, they are grown in the cloning facilities of Tipoca City, a luminescent city of industry emerging from the raging seas of Kamino. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: What a difference five years makes! In 2005, fans were starving for more Clone Trooper action figures-- as of the end of 2003, Hasbro had only released a handful of the white armored warriors and only one of them had 14 points of articulation. In 2004, there were practically no new Clones, as the entire year's basic retail line was devoted to the original trilogy. (This hasn't happened since.) In early 2005 Hasbro shifted gears hard and fast, giving fans 12 Clones in the Entertainment Earth exclusive gift sets... and then hundreds more in the following years.

This one is based on the 2003 Clone Trooper from the original non-animated Clone Wars line, which was the very first super-articulated Star Wars action figure. He has 14 points of articulation, a distinctive red color indicating his rank as a captain, and some black spots which were what passed for Battle Damage in those days. Later in 2005 we'd see some pretty intricate designs in the Evolution line showing dirt and scrapes, but black blots were what was "normal" before then. He includes the short blaster-- again, something of an oddity at that time-- and this figure was really hot stuff for a while. Over five years later we have been treated to numerous carded versions of the figure with slight variations on deco and materials used, so that's one of the reasons this set isn't a ton of money on the secondary market. It's unique, but there are plenty of lower-cost similar releases to be had on the cheap.

Collector's Notes: The sets of 4 seem to sell for about $30-$35, which isn't bad. To date, the individual Clones with damage have not been sold individually, so if you want this variant, track down the boxed set. The individually carded Saga Legends (2007 with coin) version of the non-damaged figures are also worth snagging due to their plastic being a whiter white and the rank dots being placed more appropriately on the later releases. And yes, I consulted on this project, so I'm biased to like them. This set (and entire run) had multiple production runs and kept selling out, with this set-- "color battle damage"-- always selling through first. People have good taste.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,421: November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,420: Starkiller (Secret Apprentice)

SECRET APPRENTICE Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
30th Anniversary Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87480 No. 87533
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Includes: Lightsaber, energy effects
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Early 2008
Appearances: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Bio: Set in the dark times between the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Rebellion, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game explores the aftermath of Order 66 and the continued evolution of Darth Vader. The son of a fallen Jedi is abducted by Vader to be his secret apprentice. As a young adult, the apprentice must choose his destiny: Join Lord Vader and wipe out the remaining Jedi, or become a noble Jedi and bring hope to the galaxy! (Taken from the figure's box.)



Image: Adam Pawlus' old apartment building in some alley thing. Presumably people go there to die.

Commentary: Rather than release it individually, Hasbro only put out figures of the Secret Apprentice in gift sets. I have no idea if this is a strategic move or just an accident, because as it stands today there was never any way to get the main character from this popular game series at retail without dropping north of twenty bones. The figure itself is pretty good, with 14 points of articulation and lots of clever sculpting bits to mask the articulation. A glove here, a torn sleeve there, it's almost like Hasbro and Lucasfilm conspired to develop a character that translated into figure form without too much difficulty.

Due to the lead time of the figure's release, it was fully sculpted before Sam Witwer (the actor behind the apprentice) was revealed as part of the cast for the game. As such, the head doesn't really look all that much like the in-game character, leaving the door wide open for Hasbro to rerelease this figure with a new head were they so inclined. (It would make a nice vintage figure, wouldn't it?) Starkiller (his name in the game, Galen Marek in the novel) sports all the necessary accessories, which means he has a lightsaber and some "lightning" things that go around his wrists or ankles. These were originally said to be some sort of "Force shackles" but it seems they're just here for decoration and serve little purpose in the game, unless you just want to pretend it's a manifestation of Sith lightning. The figure is, on the whole, pretty great and can stand, sit, and do all those combat things you would want him to do. He's just a head away from perfection, and as soon as Hasbro includes that head on this body the world will be a better place.


Collector's Notes: Individually, the loose figure sells for about $15. The complete set with this figure and the "Jedi" and "Sith" versions of his costume goes for $20-$25. I'd suggest just getting the whole set.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,420: November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,419: Montross

MONTROSS and Jaster Mereel
The Legacy Collection Entertainment Earth Exclusive Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 94958
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #18
Includes: Helmet, blaster pistols, rifle, jetpack, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: November 2010
Appearances: Jango Fett: Open Seasons comic books, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter video game

Bio: Mandalorian leader Jaster Mereel and his second-in-command Montross play pivotal roles in the dark past of Jango Fett. Mereel and Montross change the life of the future bounty hunter during the Mandalorian Civil War in the decades before the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Hasbro sure loves to do Mandalorians lately. Heck, Entertainment Earth alone has had no fewer than nine of them, but Montross is unique in that while he's clearly supposed to be a retooled Boba Fett, it's like someone at Hasbro said "hey, let's put more money in this one." Or maybe it was supposed to be an all-new figure and someone cheaped out, because the only reused parts here are a Boba Fett torso, backpack, and helmet from the Evolutions figure. Oh, and the legs from Mandalore. I missed that. Everything else, so far as I can see, is completely new.

Due to the beefy nature of the character, a slightly larger head and body would have helped him appear more menacing, but his armor does seem to help a bunch. The arms and legs are totally new, as is the head-- which looks a little more like a younger take on Ed Harris than a grizzled warrior, but hey, whatevs. It's not like the art in Open Seasons was necessarily realistic enough not to give Hasbro some ability to interpret the character, although I tend to remember him as he appeared in some of those video game promo shots complete with white hair. Why make him younger? No idea. But I usually leave the helmets on these dudes anyway and thankfully, it fits well. There's not a lot to the helmet rather than saying it's effectively a Boba helmet in Jango colors. Are you thrilled? Maybe you should be, maybe not.

The armor has been decorated to match the comic art, plus the all-new arms have sculpted symbols on them to match those red rectangles which probably hold some significance but what do I care? It looks cool. The thing that impressed me about the figure is a slight bit of improvement in how he (versus other Fetts) interact with his gear. The hands and weapons seem made for one another, and maybe it's just dumb luck but the jetpack stays in slightly better than the always-falls-out Evolutions Boba so far. You can pick up the figure and shake him around, it'll stay on nicely. Before we move on to the gear, let me also point out that the legs are new and while nothing to write home about, they do mesh with the design well.

His weapons are big. Really big. And what's particularly unusual about them is that Hasbro actually added painted details on each one, and I would say few figures over the entire line came with guns that had much decoration on them. Typically (but not always), all you get is one color unless it's a spear, a lightsaber, or a staff. Each pistol has three colors of paint, which is pretty impressive considering that one has been considered "a lot" of paint decorations. The two small pistols fit into the holsters, the big rifle actually fits into his hands well and can be aimed easily with minimal fidgeting. By comparison, getting Evo Boba to hold his gun this way is nearly impossible for me, but I'm "special" and I generally don't try very hard. This one just works, so clearly Hasbro got some great sculptors working for them now-- or two or three years ago, whenever this guy was originally made.

While not as crazy-impressive as the 2010 Pre Vizsla, this is a damn fine Mandalorian figure and probably one of the better ones in recent memory. But Tobbi and Fenn were cool too. Heck, they're all great. But I think you'll like this one a lot.

Collector's Notes: The figure was "canceled" as a mainline item (check the SKU, it was meant to be part of the basic comic pack assortment at some point in history) but fate decided mainstream retail didn't want the comic pack line. We define "fate" as "keeping the same comic pack SKU from 2007-2009 when Battle Packs get refreshed every 18 months." So it's an online exclusive, which probably means it will ultimately be slightly easier to find than the final non-exclusive wave of comic packs from 2010. With the recent tales in the TV The Clone Wars the look and history of the Mandalorians have been, arguably, revised-- so mix your continuity any way you like. Also, I work for the company who sells this as an exclusive, so take that as you will. (We did not, however, have anything to do with its development-- we just sell the thing.)

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,419: November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,418: Hoth Rebel Soldier

REBEL TROOPER Defense of Hoth
The Legacy Collection* Target Exclusive Gift Set
Item No.:
Asst. 97632 No. 97634
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Hat, pistol, rifle, backpack, Radar Laser Cannon, Turret, K-3PO, another Rebel figure, medium repeating blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: October 2010
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The Rebels defend their base on Hoth with every available weapon in their arsenal. They know they can't defeat the Imperial forces attacking them, but they need to delay them long enough to evacuate the base. Rebel troopers blast the enemy from laser towers that ring the base, and fire anti-vehicle cannons and medium repeating blasters at the Snowtroopers and AT-ST walkers. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TBD.

Commentary: The story of this particular Hoth Rebel Trooper was delayed for over a year, thus temporarily making it the hottest, most-desired figure on the market. This was back when no units were available, today it's just another exclusive in Target's massive Fall 2010 Star Wars push with over $325 worth of toys all being released on the same day. (If you want to help about collectors, Target and/or Hasbro, obfuscate how much money we spend on this stuff. It makes us all happier.) Actually, it isn't just Hasbro and Target, but a massive torrent of Blu-Ray movies, video games, and other consumer gear all hit around the end of October this year. It's really ridiculous... in the same way this Hoth Trooper figure is an excellent figure. (SEGUE!)

This is a figure that completely meets expectations. If you got the 2009 beardo trooper, you can predict exactly what this figure will provide with almost total accuracy. He has 14 points of articulation, a removable hat with scarf, a backpack, a holstered blaster, and a blaster rifle. The figure's body is fundamentally identical to the 2009 figure, which is pretty much exactly what I want to see so nobody asks me when Hasbro will make the 2009 variant we never got. I can just say "here it is, this is it, now please don't whine at me for spending $40 on this set because it's worth it for the K-3PO build-a-droid figure, the other beardo trooper, and the two giant guns."

This figure can stand or sit just fine, plus has no problems holding his accessories. It's a little tricky to position his hat just right, but such is often the case with full-head coverings on action figures. If you're at all waffling on getting him (and his set), stop-- go to the store and buy it. All 3 figures are new, the giant radar laser cannon is 100% new and huge, and the redeco of the laser turret is indeed different and slightly improved. This is not a "just different enough to make you mad" situation, the resulting changes on all 5 items actually made me happy to buy the set.

Collector's Notes: The story of this particular Hoth Rebel Trooper is one of the more interesting tales in recent memory because the figure was actually supposed to be out in summer 2009, and individually carded. It was planned as a running change for the bearded Rebel, but factory communication errors resulted in the change not being made, Hasbro having no slot to get out another one in time, and a ton of confused fans. Seriously, I had people asking me for months where they could get one and nobody even saw a carded sample. Hasbro's own Q&A insisted it was indeed still coming while I banged the drum in my Q&A saying "nobody's seen it and it's probably not coming any time soon." I'm glad that I was ultimately wrong about it not coming out, because it's here, and it's well worth owning. The figure is, at this time, only available in Target's big gift set.

The set itself is 3 figures and 2 large accessories for $40. While not a bargain, it's acceptable-- figure that the 3 figures are each about $7, and the guns are easily worth $10-$15 each, and it's actually a pretty good purchase. Since the turret is different from the 2007 release, I'd say this is particularly worth getting for diorama makers and army builders.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,418: November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,417: Luke Skywalker (Bespin)

LUKE SKYWALKER Bespin Fatigues
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 97572
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC04
Includes: Blaster, lightsaber, hilt
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99-$9.99
Availability: June 2010
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Fore be with you! (Taken from the figure's packaging. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' shelves.

Commentary: Bespin versions of Luke Skywalker have historically been a place where Hasbro (or Kenner) tries out new things for the character. Even the 1980s version was unique in that it had a sculpted lightsaber hilt on his body and he was the first Luke figure to include a non-telescoping lightsaber! In 1998, he was the first Star Wars figure on retail shelves with wrist articulation-- specifically, a removable wrist. The 2002 version incorporated blood, magnets, huge accessories, action features, and more for under five bucks. And the 2007 Vintage release? Well, this was a unique experiment in Hasbro releasing a substandard figure at a premium price. The 2010 edition of Bespin Luke is, on the whole, fantastic.

Nothing will ever top the 2002 release in terms of greatness for its time-- that figure included so much stuff and integrated so many play features, it's in a different league. With the 2010 version, Hasbro aspired to making the best Bespin Luke a collector could ever hope for, and I think they nailed it. With 14 points of articulation and a greatly improved sculpt, Hasbro seemed to take the criticism to heart of the previous release and made good on its flaws. This time around, Luke can hang a lightsaber on his belt. His hair doesn't look vaguely like Haley Joel Osment. While the figure's new hip articulation allows him to be posed in more combat-friendly poses, it does make it significantly more difficult for the figure to sit in a vehicle-- or at all. Articulation on this figure is so well-hidden that initial photos caused some fans to complain that the company removed ankle articulation-- which, it turns out, was there all along.

As upgrade go, this one will most likely be a huge treat to collectors. If you display your figures in or out of the package, you will undoubtedly get the most bang for your buck out of this one. However, the accessories from the 2002 release are so good that you might want to make sure you get one of those, just to pilfer the antenna, the bacta tourniquet, and maybe the lightsaber with its metal handle. This one looks better, but the 2002 is indeed shiny. One thing about this figure-- and many others-- I don't understand is that the lightsaber with the blade actually has a tab on it for hanging on the belt. Having a fully-lit lightsaber hang off Luke's belt doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense, I would have to assume it's the result of a factory communication error because, really, why would you do it on purpose?

So yeah, get one if you like his look. Barring a breakthrough in sculpting and construction techniques-- or a decision to let the G.I. Joe team take a crack at it-- odds are the character simply cannot improve much beyond this point. Once Luke can do the splits, where do you go from there?

Collector's Notes: This figure is available on the vintage cardback in both normal and "chase variant" varieties. The "chase" version has silver foil for the logo and border of the photograph. The Jedi Knight Luke that just came out this week is indeed way more awesome.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,417: November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,416: Admiral Ackbar

ADMIRAL ACKBAR That's a Wrap!
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 21483
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC22
Includes: Baton, viewscreen
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2010
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Fore be with you! (Taken from the figure's packaging. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen in front of his cardback.

Commentary: As a kid we all have our favorite figures. Most of mine were from Return of the Jedi, as my well-worn Admiral Ackbar can attest to. He hung out in toy helicopters, borrowed Luke's landspeeder, and generally kicked butt-- plus he had that whole musical bit in the Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi TV special which really struck a chord (ha ha) with me. And then ToyFare magazine gave him a strong second life by playing up what eventually turned into one of his many catchphrases, specifically "It's A Trap!" Even if Star Wars wasn't a big line for Hasbro, odds are this character-- right now-- would sell well courtesy of the novelty of him as a pop culture personality.

The figure is pretty much perfect. Fans will undoubtedly whine about the lack of ankle articulation, but all this character did was stand around and sit, so without a chair most articulation below the waist is pretty much worthless anyway. He has ball-jointed (or equivelent) shoulders, elbows, and knees, a ball neck, plus swivel wrists, hips, and waist. 12 points of articulation is nothing to sneeze at, particularly when the attention to sculpted detail and coloring is this perfect. The yellow stripe is here, the dark red skin is here, and the fishy eyes are about as close as you can probably get without some new technology being invented. He can't sit too well due to his garment covering his upper thighs, but I'm sure you can cram him into a Y-wing if you really wanted to do so.

Thankfully, he has no problems interfacing with his accessories. I'm totally stoked Hasbro included updates to the old Kenner gear, even if it makes no sense-- his bizarre ribbed baton is a strange piece and rather making jokes that would drive this into adult territory, I'm just very happy to see this unique piece of equipment included. Each hand can grip the viewscreen or baton with little problem, and you can use one or both if you're so inclined. The clothing is wrinkly but not too wrinkly, and his face has just the right amount of personality. Hasbro basically Admiral Ackbar, and I don't expect we'll ever see a new sculpt unless Vintage makes a comeback in the far distant future.

Collector's Notes: This was Hasbro/Kenner's third Admiral Ackbar figure. The first was in 1983 and had proportions similar to the 2010 release. The 1997 version had lighter coloring and was severely beefed up, plus had a snap-on wrist cannon or communicator or whatever. This one is arguably the definitive one, bringing Tim Rose's puppet to life in a way that will probably never be trumped as an action figure. Until they can do blinking eyes, in which case I'll be impressed when 2042 comes around. As a new release its fate remains unknown, but I would be severely disappointed if it didn't end up being a huge hit.

Packaging Notes: The back of the packaging shows two figures which are not out now, and not known to be coming in the next two waves-- if you see one in the wild, take note of the Yoda and Wedge Antilles figures which, presumably, are all delayed until 2011. Other figures shown include Wicket, Luke, and R2-D2-- all of which are out now. Also, this is the first wave of Vintage to surfaced with unpunched cardbacks which may result in super-mint figures being something of a desired commodity. Order online or get them out of the back rooms, but good luck chasing down the most perfect of the perfect!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,416: November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,415: Darth Maul (Tatooine)

DARTH MAUL Tatooine
Episode I Collection 1 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84134
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, CommTech Chip Stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The evil Sith Lord Darth Maul learns the power of the dark side from his master Darth Sidious. Together, they plot to destroy the Jedi and enslave the peaceful planet of Naboo. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: For a character with few lines and fewer costumes, Darth Maul gets a ton of play in the toy aisle. It's hard to imagine a time when any Maul would be cause for celebration, but this was when the concept of prequels was not entirely soured for some fans and you could still be easily excited about new Episode I toys. This one was unique in that it had the large outer robes and limited articulation. Basically, it's a statue, and not a great one. He can hold his weapon, not exactly menacingly, while standing on a display stand. The limited arm articulation and virtually worthless neck and lower body articulation are blocked by additional robes which you can't even see due to the large clamshell of the outer clothing. This is a figure you should buy specifically if you think it looks good-- I think Hasbro has done better. The Tatooine Showdown Cinema Scene figure is pretty gorgeous and essentially replicates the same outfit, just in a significantly more pleasing way, so get that one instead if you need to be picky, because this carded Sith Lord is more a thing that you store than a thing you can play with or admire.

Collector's Notes: This mold was not reissued much as-is, but was used as the basis for the 2006 Holographic Darth Maul figure. It was also packaged with a plastic tumbler for a Target exclusive shortly after Episode II came out. Oh, and this original 1999 release is effectively worthless. I know, try to be surprised. You should have no problem getting a sample for $1-$5. In 2002 (or so) he was reissued as a Target exclusive, packaged with a plastic tumbler designed to look like the 1970s Burger King collectible glasses.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,415: November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,414: Palpatine

PALPATINE Lightsaber Attack
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85424
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: III-15
Includes: Lightsaber hand, lightning, spare head, spare hands
Action Feature: Push down for swinging attack
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: Spring 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: The Supreme Chancellor encounters questions about his ultimate motives. During a confrontation with Mace Windu, he uses his deadly powers and experiences unexpected and frightening results. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: This Palpatine mold was used for multiple releases despite not being particularly fantastic. It is neat because it transforms and has an action feature without being too bulky, but the toy only has meaningful articulation in the arms and neck. In movie years Hasbro tries its hand at honest-to-goodness "toy" figures, and this one fits the bill nicely. If you push down on the figure's feet, his right arm goes up and "slashes" his weapon. If you're using the alternate accessories, he can also raise lightning at people. It's pretty swell to play with it, and the head sculpts are both pretty good. Just remember if you get this one, it's an action figure-- the sculpt is nice, but it's meant to be played with. This is somewhat amusing because the figure was the result of a running change which came out of Lucas re-editing the film-- the very first figures have Anakin's blue lightsaber, while the standard release had a red lightsaber (also with Anakin's hilt). Some later releases dropped this weapon because, obviously, he should be holding his own weapon based on how the film was edited. I would classify this figure as fun and worth owning, but due to all the rereleases, collectors are probably sick of it by now.

Collector's Notes: The first release had a blue lightsaber, which was "corrected" to red-- it's still an incorrect sculpt. The figure also appeared in a Battle Pack (with a modified hand and accessory), and in Target's Order 66 packs-- which is technically wrong because it had the "normal" head and not the "Sith" one. Ah well. It's still a nice figure.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,414: November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,413: Battle Droid

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

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

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Here's a mold that Hasbro repainted so much that you could have an army simply by buying every variant. Battle Droids are a mainstay in Star Wars lately, and this was Hasbro's cheapest version. You get two on a card, and it's about seven bucks. The arms and legs (and head) are removable, allowing you to swap them for bazillions of variations depending on what kind of damage combo you'd like to fabricate. It's pretty darned cool, really, but more articulated versions have since been released with different coloring. So what to do? I'd say grab a bunch of this 5-jointed wonder as cannon fodder and diorama filler, because you don't need them all to be the best when setting up a big fight. This figure is, on many levels, "good enough" and with several varieties to be had you may as well snag at least one of them. (I would not put this one at the top of your list, though.)

Collector's Notes: After being in circulation for quite some time Hasbro seems to have retired all figures derived from this mold as of 2010. We shall see, though.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,413: November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,412: Sebulba

SEBULBA Sebulba's Pod Racer
Episode I Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. 84020 No. 84098
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pod Racer vehicle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99-$29.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: It is said that in all of Mos Espa, there is no better pod racer than Sebulba. A member of the Dug species, Sebulba is feared by his competitors for his aggressive racing tactics and nerves of plastisteel. Sebulba's success is due much to the fact that he will do whatever necessary to win, even if it means resorting to dirty tricks. His high performance pod racer is packed with certain "illegal" modifications used to eliminate fellow racers. On Boonta Eve race day however, a young competitor named Anakin Skywalker will give the infamous Sebulba a run for his money. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Love or hate Episode I, there's no denying that it introduced some freaky and cool designs into the franchise. Mr. McCraig-- I'm sorry, I mean Sebulba-- has a leg for an arm, and an arm for a leg. He walks awkwardly and seems like some strange horse-ape-reptile creature, plus he talked funky and had a neat costume with huge goggles. Oh, and he was a jerk to Anakin. He seems like he'd be a natural fit for the basic carded figure line, but Sebulba would not be carded during the initial run of Episode I, sadly. This figure-- his first-- was packaged with his large Pod Racer vehicle, meaning the figure itself was engineered more as an accessory for that craft than as a stand-alone product.

Sebulba can stand on his own, but his little feet don't have foot holes in them and he's a little bit smaller than many perceived he should be. In this day of downsized R2-D2s and Chief Chirpas, though, I can't say for sure if this one was actually more accurate in terms of height. Maybe? He's certainly not bad. The sculpting seems primitive today, but for 1999 he was pretty great. Things like multiple shades of brown on his leathery racing attire was pretty stunning, as were the many shades on his skin and other little details on his costume. While not superb, he is a good example of how Hasbro managed to do some great stuff in the late 1990s, but is also a sign of how a lot of the figures from this film seemed to look a little pale due to the faded, unpainted look of their skin tone. For a figure released before the film, but created before the design in the movie was finalized, he's not bad. I wouldn't suggest you track this one down unless you also want his vehicle, but he's certainly not bad. It's just the Power of the Jedi version which would follow over a year later was better.

Collector's Notes: While somewhat popular in its day, the figure plus the vehicle are now worth about ten bucks. I'd say it's worth getting for that. It wouldn't stun me to someday see another Sebulba upgrade, but unless it's a Star Tours exclusive, I doubt we'll ever see his Pod Racer again. So yeah, get this one if you want it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,412: November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,411: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Battle of Coruscant
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 85945
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #28 or #TVC16
Includes: Lightsaber hilt, lightsaber, cloth cloak, display base (2010 release drops base, has pilot gear)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Spring 2006
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: The Jedi Knights ordered to rescue Palpatine have suddenly crash-landed on Grievous' flagship. In an amazing display of Force knowledge and athleticism, Obi-Wan Kenobi ejects from his starfighter, swoops through the air and cuts down dozens of battle droids with his lightsaber. As he and Anakin Skywalker battle through the ship, they defeat the evil Count Dooku, rescue the Chancellor and barely land back on Coruscant in time for a heroes' welcome. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's kitchen. The loose figure is the 2006 release, the carded one is the 2010 Vintage release.

Commentary: If you're going to reuse a mold, reuse a good one. The 2006 Obi-Wan Kenobi from Revenge of the Sith improved on an already great figure, adding cloth robes which allow the figure to look like he doesn't know how to hire a good tailor. On the bright side, they do allow the figure to sit or engage in actions of some sort while wearing them, and that's a huge plus. The figure has 14 points of articulation and his lower plastic robes are flexible enough that you should be able to get him into a ship with minimal problems. The sculpt is pretty good, as Hasbro gave the figure a good range of movement and the clothing shows a fair amount of detail. The head is a decent likeness, and you'll notice some very subtle greying to the sides of his hair. There's not much Hasbro could really do to improve the figure's appearance short of finding some plastic that just happens to make it look a tiny bit better, so it's reasonable to see this release on the market again.

Since it looks good and plays well-- his lightsaber hilt plugs into his belt nicely, for example-- you really ought to get some version of this figure. There are several-- this is about as good as any, depending on which accessories you want and how much you want to pay for it. I'd say there's no harm in picking up this one if you're so inclined.

Collector's Notes: This mold is one of Hasbro's most reused. It started out as a "Pilot" Obi-Wan in 2005, and this version in 2006 was the second take on it, now with a cloth cloak. The 2010 Vintage release builds on the 2006 version, adding the communicator gear from the 2005 release but dropping the stand. Given the prices, the 2006 version may be a better bet. A 2008 version of this mold added hip articulation and a newly sculpted head. It is not known why that version wasn't made for the 2010 Vintage release since it is arguably Hasbro's most advanced. There are other figures that use this mold, but I don't have all day.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,411: November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,410: Commander Bly

COMMANDER BLY Betrayal on Felucia
30th Anniversary Collection Target Exclusive Battle Pack
Item No.:
No. 87367
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Rifle, pistols
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: February 2007
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Clone commanders were part of ARC trooper Alpha's advanced training program that allowed certain clones to maintain a sense of individuality and independent thinking, critical to the role of leading the infantry forces in battle. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: In late 2005 there were multiple variations of Commander Bly, including a hard-to-find one with a dark brown stripe down the front of his helmet. In 2007, when this version came out, Hasbro opted to use the previously released incorrect version, leaving the dark brown one in a bit of a lurch. But wait-- did I just say this is a release of the 2005 version? Well, sort of. The 2005 version of the figure had battle damage, this one is "clean" (the armor is, anyway) and has different guns. The base figure is based on the 2005 Clone Commander mold, which itself had 14 points of articulation, holsters for his pistols, and an articulated "binoculars" gizmo on his helmet. It's pretty swell, really, and my notes show that this was the final movie version of Bly to see release to date. That means that the door is still open for Hasbro to put out a corrected repaint, possibly using one of the newish molds they have in circulation.

Since the 2005 versions had battle damage or a corrected paint job, those are arguably the ones to get right now. It's probably just a matter of time before Hasbro cranks out a new version, though, so you can probably safely wait for a new one in the next 2-3 years. (Probably.)

Collector's Notes: Like a lot of Target exclusives, this set was a hot seller and then languished on the shelves. You could get them on clearance, but the toy has mostly recovered and you should be able to get one for about the original retail price.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,410: November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,409: Koffi Arana

KOFFI ARANA Purge
30th Anniversary Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87530
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #13
Includes: Lightsaber, sword, flying severed hand of Darth Vader
Action Feature: Sword may be planted in chest
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2007
Appearances: Purge comic book

Bio: The Jedi are on the run or in hiding after Order 66 wiped out most of the venerable order. Bultar Swan has a plan to crush the new Empire: destroy Darth Vader and thus weaken the Emperor and his fledgling rule. She brings together a handful of Jedi on the planet Kessel and leaks a false rumor that Obi-Wan Kenobi will be there, knowing Vader will take the bait... and the Jedi will be waiting for him. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: This set went from being a good seller to a pegwarmer pretty quickly, despite the Purge comic inside being something of a hot item at the time. Perhaps it was the characters-- Koffi Arana is relatively unknown despite actually appearing in the movies (techinically), but not in this costume. The hotheaded Jedi wears unique armor for reasons I'm not quite clear on, but the design does allow for a really cool spoiler/action feature. Darth Vader's severed arm is included holding a sword, and you can plant that sword in a groove on Koffi's torso. Pretty sweet!

The figure is an accurate translation of the costume in the comic, complete with goofy red tassles and gaudy red accents. Hasbro recreated it nicely, but since it was during a period where not all figures had super articulation, you might find it "old." It's good though-- 12 points of articulation and cut elbows are better than nothing at all, and when this figure rolled out in 2007 this line did wonders to bolster our comic book character ranks. He isn't as fancy as modern figures, but he also was packaged with Bultar Swan (also a new sculpt) and a full-size comic book reprint for ten bucks. Complain all you want, but these sets really got you your money's worth. Very few other characters from the orignal Purge comic saw release, but it's nice to see that Hasbro picked one that got stabbed through the chest. That's pretty hardcore, and it's not like a lot of lines have the balls to put in a toy aimed at all ages where somebody is impaled on a sharp object. Kudos, Hasbro, for trying something different.

Collector's Notes: If the Kmarts nearest you really suck, you might still have these around, and the price might be higher than issue price because the assortment (87504) shipped from 2007-2010 and was increased in price during that time. (This is kinda complicated, but this is a problem that happens when you don't discontinue old SKUs-- dead weight and unnecessary price increases.) Because it hung around forever, you can probably score this for under $10 if you do some looking around.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,409: November 8, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,408: Hem Dazon (Arcona)

HEM DAZON Cantina Alien
The Saga Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 86790
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #033
Includes: Glass, blaster, table, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 2006
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Hem Dazon, one of the more infamous reptile-like Arconas, is enjoying a drink at the Mos Eisley cantina when trouble suddenly erupts. An old Jedi Knight and a young boy suddenly tangle with two "wanted" men. Using a lightsaber, the Jedi Knight disables both men rather quickly. Being accustomed to outbursts like this at the cantina, Hem settles himself after the skirmish and goes about his business. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's Cantina diorama.

Commentary: The first alien we encountered at the Mos Eisley Cantina was Hem Dazon. Hem Dazon was a head on a stick-- there was no outfit there, Hasbro got to fabricate one. (Galoob did the same thing in the late 1990s.) As such, there's a good reason this character may look a little more modern than his siblings, as Hasbro got the benefit of referencing nearly 30 years of creature design before selecting this specific outfit and unique leg structure which rumor has it was inspired by existing Expanded Universe sources, but I'm not so sure about that. It's a nice design, but he looks a little more formal than the approved backstory would have me believe given the dude's supposedly a junkie and not some sort of military or police person. Maybe he's an intergalactic FedEx guy.

The design itself is mostly pretty good as a toy, but falls apart in the legs. These weird designs aren't conducive to long-term standing and it's not unusual to see him sag, tipping over forward ever so slightly with time and heat. As such, be careful if you plan on keeping him out long-term. There's a great amount of detail in the exposed skin, wrinkly skin has mutiple colors on it to bring it to life nicely. Even the eyes are really swell, gold with a hint of green-- again, this references the back story of his species being addicted to salt. With 12 points of articulation it's a pretty good release, and if you're careful you can pose him on a bar stool, too. Unfortunately, standing up is a little more important, and that's not exactly his finest skill-- unless you live in a really cold climate, in which case he might be just fine. (Heat softens plastic just a little and may be all a figure needs to tip over if unattended to for a few weeks at a time. It's rare, but it happens in some figures.)

Collector's Notes: There's a variant in the glass-- some have an opaque blue glass, while others are clear. Neither is more desirable. The figure has never been reissued and this is the only Hasbro toy of Hem Dazon to exist at press time. Given sales of minor Cantina aliens, this will likely be its only release. He goes for below SRP in most cases, so don't feel like you need to overpay for this one.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,408: November 5, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,407: Commander Vill

COMMANDER VILL & Emperor Palpatine
30th Anniversary Collection Order 66 Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87356 No. 87669
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak, cane, Commander Vill
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Spring 2008
Appearances: Dark Times comic books

Bio: Palpatine sends secret orders to Commander Vill, who is the clone commander of the 501st Legion on New Plympto at the end of the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: The two-line-wonder Order 66 packs were a lot of fun, mostly because we got cool clones like Commander Vill here. Who the heck is Vill? One of the many 501st Troopers running around in the early issues of the Dark Times comic series, which probably is the second-most irregularly scheduled publication next to Chunklet.

The figure itself is made from two other existing releases. The head is basically the 2007 Stormtrooper's head, while the body is a repainted 2005 Evolutions Star Corps Clone Trooper. While not essential, most if not all clone fans seem to have a little bit of love for the 501st Legion. This figure is pretty unique in that he has a covering for his head under his helmet, and has the full "Clone Commander" getup as well. (OK, so did Bow. Minus the removable helmet.) Since the figure is super articulated and looks cool, this one's an easy buy if you think it looks neat. If it's too samey for you, skip it... but I like a little variety in my ranks so this is a figure that I got pretty excited about. Even though I've got dozens of others just like him.

Collector's Notes: The 501st Troopers from the Order 66 packs were hot at the time, but time heals all wounds and reduces some prices. The two-pack should be had cheaply, ten bucks is the high end of pricing. Five bucks is a bit more standard now.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,407: November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,405: Clone Pilot Goji

GOJI Clone Pilot
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 20809
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW28
Includes: Blaster, gatling gun, rocket, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: A clone pilot flies a Y-wing fighter on a bombing mission. The leader of Red Squadron unleashes a new Republic weapon designed to destroy huge numbers of battle droids at one time. The plot uses his innate skill and extensive training to deliver the weapon accurately and defeat the enemy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: Allusions to other works in the Star Wars mythos are generally not subtle-- some are, but most are only subtle provided you didn't get the root of the joke. Enter Goji. Along with the Zillo Beast, this reference to another famous work of cinema as subtle as Godzilla isn't. (For our younger readers, "Gojira" is the original name of the character and film known outside Japan as "Godzilla.") The trooper-- which is actually quite different from other pilots in terms of construction-- has a newly tooled helmet with green splotches, little yellow eyes, and a "mouth" in the form of its visor. It's adorable, it's awesome, and because we're a Godzilla family, this is a great item to have around. Kudos Hasbro on picking out a pilot that looks cool and has a nice little bonus fanboy factor built in.

the figure's construction is unique-- to date, the three animated pilots are all slightly different in their tooling. (While Matchstick and Odd Ball share parts, they have different head constructions.) Goji shares no parts with his ancestors-- his body is the 2009 "Stone" body with no ankle joints, meaning he's a little thinner and a little closer to the animation models. The helmet is entirely new and, so far, shared by no other figures. If you need some more Clone Pilot figures-- and my massive cache of vehicles says that you (and I) do-- go out and get one or more Goji figures. Because really, how many blatant references to Godzilla are you going to get in this line?

Collector's Notes: Newly released in September of 2010, this figure (at press time) is still more or less available. However, he's only in one wave of Hasbro Clone Wars figures so far and if history is any indication, it might be a while until he makes another appearance. I suggest that you buy him on sight.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,406: November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,405

CLONE TROOPER Rishi Moon Outpost Attack
The Clone Wars Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93091
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD28
Includes: Blaster, Commando Droid figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Commando Droids capture a Republic tracking station from clone troopers. The station guards the cloning centers on Kamino that are vital to the Republic. The clone troopers, — all rookies — who man the station are killed or forced to retreat. When two battle-hardened clone officers arrive, the inexperienced troopers join them in a fight to retake the station. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: So, why is this Clone Trooper worthy of his own entry? It's different. The figure uses the 2008 body (super-wrists, ball ankles) and the 2009 helmet sculpt (pointier visor, other minor changes) and gives it a plain white look. It's slightly different than the plain white clone with the RC Hailfire Droid, but more on that later. The funny (and slightly sad) thing is that this was the only Clone Trooper figure available in plain white for most of 2009 and 2010. Why Hasbro neglected putting out a boxed set of them or individually carded ones is beyond me, but I guess it drives up demand for a popular figure that you don't want just one or two of. Obviously, you probably have a good number of Clone Troopers-- so this one is worth getting if you want the Droids he comes with, or you need every style of Clone money can buy. I like it, but it isn't too much different from the plain white "clean" troopers sold in late 2008 and early 2009.

Collector's Notes: This set is still popping up in some stores (like Costco and Ross) as of the last couple of months. With the three Commando Droids, it's a fun set with lots of gear and battle opportunities. It's also from the episode "Rookies," and you may not yet realize this but you are required by law to own all the toys from that installment. Here's hoping the giant eel comes next.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,405: November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,404: Ugnaught II

UGNAUGHT 2009 Version #2
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87853
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD28
Includes: Console, storage case thing
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: On Cloud City, Ugnaughts operate the carbon-freeze chambers that are typically used to freeze Tibanna gas but can also freeze living matter. Ugnaughts work in Bespin's Tibanna gas processing plants or as general laborers in the city. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's former apartment's AC unit.

Commentary: Short figures generally don't get a lot of articulation-- instead, they get more gear or a second figure. This Ugnaught just got more articulation. This time around, he has a new head and a new, for lack of a better phrase, "belt." The skirt part, that's new. He also sports a new deco and is colored differently, effectively making him a fairly different figure and a must-add to your collection. These Ugnaughts are fairly different from the 1998 releases, which were known in some collector circles as being some of the worst sellers in the POTF2 days. Thankfully this one did better and was a stronger release, but do you really need knee joints on these guys? Probably not, but it doesn't hurt any. The sculpt is good, the deco is good, really the only reason you wouldn't want to buy this figure is if you don't like Ugnaughts. Hasbro seems to always do a good job on these guys, and who can really settle for having only one or two? Get a bunch. They can populate the jumbo Carbon Freeze playset Hasbro will never make.

Collector's Notes: This figure was in pretty short supply, but sat in some spots. Interestingly, the packaging for this figure (and the previous version) show both figures on the illustration, but neither appeared on both styles of packaging. Weird.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,404: November 1, 2010