Friday, July 29, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,598: Ree-Yees

REE-YEES Star Tours
Star Tours Boarding Party
Item No.:
No. 19536
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99
Availability: May 2010
Appearances: Star Tours

Bio: The three-eyed, goat-faced Gran is a member of Jabba the Hutt's court on Tatooine. He likes to tour different planetary systems, and with his custom three-eyed camera, he is able to snap some great photos as he travels the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen in a backdrop from the boxed set.

Commentary: Back in 1998, Ree-Yees got his first (and so far, only) modern sculpt in an assortment which was, to say the least, hard to find. Along with a Death Star Trooper, these got a "last wave" popularity you rarely saw, and the character remained out of circulation until the 2010 rerelease with new deco, no guns, and a camera that you see here. As such, the figure falls prey to the shortcomings of his day-- specifically limited articulation and wacky posing-- that almost make you wish Hasbro held off on doing this Star Tours set until they went back and resculpted Ree-Yees some day. I mean, he can't even hold up his camera!

To the casual observer, this new Ree-Yees is no different from the 1998 release. To the seasoned expert... it's almost not different enough to matter, although the accessory does place him in a different environment and the deco is barely, slightly different. The 1998 release is shinier and more metallic, while this one is a little duller. The skin seems to be a little lighter with what feels like more color in it, but it's probably just your basic batch issues. After all, in 12 years, can you really expect the reds and purples to be a perfect fit? I don't even know if it came out of the same factory as the original.

If you don't have any Ree-Yees figures, this one is just as good as the Power of the Force Freeze Frame release from 1998, if not slightly better. I think the camera is a more fun accessory than the twin pistols, which I'm fairly sure didn't appear on-screen anyway. At least I remember seeing the camera at Disneyland. Get it as part of the set if you can, the entire collection (especially at current eBay prices of $25 shipped) is well worth owning.

Collector's Notes: The going rate has gone down, so at $25 it's a deal. The Chewbacca is basically an accessory-free repack, but Teek is an all-new sculpt while Kaink and the Star Tours Officer are both interesting enough to pick up. If you collect the Star Tours sub-line-- which has to be scraping 20 figures by now, not counting mascots-- this is an easy buy.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,598: July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,597: Darth Maul

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

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

Image: Adam Pawlus' former desk.

Commentary: One step forward, two steps back. Since 1999 Hasbro has made several new Darth Maul figures but few were complete improvements over the original. This one in particular added ball-jointed shoulders for the first time, plus brought back the Lightsaber with 1 removable blade first seen on the 2000 Episode I "Sith Lord" release of the character. The sculpt is acceptable, if a little chunky, and the deco is pretty good as Darth Mauls go. The tats are nice and the paint doesn't seem too out of place, but Hasbro could (and would) do better in the future. Arm articulation was weak here, so really what you're buying this figure for would be the packaging and the neat display base. He looks OK but basically just stands around, doing nothing other than being another Darth Maul figure in your collection. And yet here we are in 2011 and a proper super-articulated Maul has yet to find its way to our store shelves. That's democracy for you.

Collector's Notes: The going rate seems to be close to original retail. This Maul figure also shipped in other configurations, including as a carded figure. The 2-pack with Vader is neat due to its exclusive base, and this 2-pack was something I was unable to find at retail. I was also told it pegwarmed in smaller communities, so yeah, score one more for awesome distribution.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,597: July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,596: IG97

IG97 and Rom Mohx
The Legacy Collection Wal-Mart Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 93269 No. 93609
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, antenna, backpack, Rom Mohc figure, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.96
Availability: March 2010
Appearances: Tales

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

Image: Adam Pawlus' former back yard. Lots of neat stuff, there.

Commentary: This IG97 figure is pretty slick-- it's a reuse of the "Arena" Battle Droid body, which means it has articulated ankles and lots of mobility in the arms, plus a waist joint. A waist joint! Hasbro gave it a normal Battle Droid backpack plus the OOM-9-style antenna, so you can display it however you see fit. The body mold is a reuse, but the head is new, based on the neat (but goofy) artwork seen in the Tales comic book from which the robot originated. His added articulation makes him lots of fun, the first thing I did was to take a picture of him teabagging Rom Mohc because I'm an adult. I love comic-inspired figures so this set is a must-buy for someone like me, and I think most of you will appreciate the extensive articulation, spare parts, and companion Rom Mohc figure. The droid is molded in tan with some dark brown paint to bring out the detail, plus he has bright blue eyes which always look nice. If you can get it cheap, I'd say get it, but it probably isn't worth premium prices on eBay. It's a good figure, but let's face it-- this Droid body was also used for the 2010-2011 Saga Legends 2-packs so there's a real question of value here.

Collector's Notes: This set was nearly impossible to get when I lived in Los Angeles, and then I found out it was a pegwarmer in Phoenix. Go figure, right? Today the set is roughly worth its retail asking price, and you might even find it at the right Wal-Mart. But then again, I know where I can still find 2007 comic packs at Wal-Marts, so.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,596: July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,595: Padme Amidala

30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87458
Number: #3056
Includes: Glass, scarf thing, shawl, coin (or stand)
Action Feature: Removable shawl, scarf
Retail: $6.99
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: After Padme's life is threatened, she is placed under the protection of the Jedi Knights to ensure her safety. Anakin escorts Padme back to her homeworld of Naboo, where the two rekindle their friendship -- and begin to fall in love. Padme is delighted by Anakin's playful use of the Force during a quiet meal they share together. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: Back in 2002, when fans heard George Lucas designed some weird sexy leather dress for Natalie Portman fans went "wow, neat!" In 2007 we got this Padme Amidala figure and well, it's obviously based on the likeness of Natalie Portman but it's not particularly pretty. The sculpt is more or less there, and I think this is a time we can blame deco-- she needs paint on her face, be it additional color to bring out the flesh or some form of colorful make-up to really sell the onlooker as to who this is supposed to be. The dress is basically fine though, and the tiara is well... I don't get it. But I don't get hoop earrings or nose piercings either. The texture on her costume is quite good, a feathery shawl tops off a leathery gown with lots of sculpted detail. Hasbro gave her no articulation below the waist-- her legs are basically just one piece-- but she has ball-jointed shoulders and elbows plus swivel wrists, a swivel waist, and the ever-popular ball-jointed neck. In terms of engineering, Hasbro did this one right-- sure they could have made her dress out of cloth, but odds are it wouldn't look nearly as good.

This is a nice figure, and I'm sure a good customizer could do a great job bringing her portrait to life with some paint. Or Hasbro, if they'd reissue it, and I'll bet they never will.

Collector's Notes: Basically worthless. You should be able to get one for $5 or less. There's also a variation-- the 2007 release had a coin, the 2008 release had a display stand. Most figures from 1995-2008 are pretty much worth retail or less.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,595: July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,594: Robonino

ROBONINO Bounty Hunters from Hostage Crisis Animated Series Episode
The Clone Wars Target Exclusive Gift Set
Item No.:
Asst. 19540 No. 19543
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pistol, detonator, explosives, backpack, additional figures, crappy DVD
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: October 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Bounty hunters and droids take senators hostage on Coruscant. Robonino, Shahan Alama, assassin droids and commando droids help Cad Bane force the release of Ziro the Hutt. The villainous posse infiltrates the Republic Senate, captures a small group of senators, and frees the imprisoned crime lord. Cunning and ruthless, the criminal gang gets the best of clone troopers, Senate commando guards, and even Anakin Skywalker before fleeing the planet. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: Colorful, weird, tiny, and-- surprisingly-- an exclusive. In 2010 Hasbro gave a lot of all-new molds to its retail partners in exclusive sets like Robonino here, who'd admittedly make a crappy carded figure at $8 or so. As part of a $25 set he's not bad-- Shahan Alama and the two blue Assassin Droids make up the weight. Robonino's impressive deco sports tons of colors, with dots, stripes, pink highlights, and more making up this figure's look. He has an eyepatch, a squinty eye, and fins all over the place. It looks great, like it jumped out of the cartoon. He's jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips, and if you can believe it-- the ankles too. (I barely believe it.) He's quite the neat little guy, and even neater than the figure is his gear compliment.

The blaster is rubber-banded to his hand and if you're thinking about removing it, you may as well leave it there. It really does help. His remote detonator fits snuggly into his right hand, so no worries there. The coolest piece of equipment is his backpack, which sports an honest-to-goodness jointed hatch on the top plus four removable explosive packs, each of which sport a little paint. There are silver highlights on the backpack, as well as white Aurebesh letters that read "THERMAL" on it-- no doubt short for "Thermal Detonators." Hasbro had a small figure and really stepped up to the plate in terms of adding value with all the extra paint jobs and the added gear. If you buy one-- especially individually-- know that there should be four removable explosive things for the backpack, and also know you can store the detonator in the top compartment of the backpack. I like this one, and while I bought the set at $25 you may not feel it's worth the asking price. Because you are cheap. It's a good pack.

Collector's Notes: While all the other October and November 2010 exclusives went away pretty quick, this assortment hung around for a while. How long? Well, it was still there today. So you might still be able to find one at a Target near you.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,594: July 25, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,593: R2-Q5

R2-Q5 Remote Control
The Legacy Collection (US Target Exclusive), The Saga Collection (Japan)
Item No.:
Asst. TBD No. TBD
Manufacturer: Hasbro (US), Tomy (Japan)
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber remote
Action Feature: Beeps, moves, lights up
Retail: $16.99 (US), $20 (Japan)
Availability: 2009 (US), 2006ish (Japan)
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: R2-D2 is a robot. (Whatever, man.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' tackle boxes. Pictured is the US release.

Commentary: R2-Q5 came out and did well in 2001, so Hasbro tried it again in 2009 with this remote-controlled version, itself a repackaged Tomy release from a few years earlier. This 3 3/4-inch scale robot has pretty much no meaningful articulation, but will beep and whistle when you activate his remote accessory. That's pretty much why you want this, to have a "living" droid in this scale. It's quite glossy and the deco is good, in many respects it's slightly superior to the 2001 carded non-electronic release of the character. I thank mostly the brighter metallic orange paint. It's neat but honestly, one RC droid is plenty.

Collector's Notes: These droids took a while to sell through at Target, but eventually went away. On eBay the Japanese release sells for as little as $6, so don't overpay for this one-- like anyone who bought it at retail did.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,593: July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,592: Battle Droid

BATTLE DROID The Red One, Battlefront II
30th Anniversary Collection Previews Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87561 No. 87478
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: BAW E-60R Missile Launcher, display stand, additional figures
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $39.99
Availability: Late 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Battlefront II

Bio: Many of the best known battle droids were those used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. By the time of the Battle of Yavin, however, battle droids were extremely rare, most likely due to the Clone Wars, or because the Empire didn't want an army that could be easily built and used against it. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: There are no shortage of Battle Droid figures based on this mold, and this one is sorta neat. Kinda. For $39.99 he was part of a 7-figure set, which is all well and good until you realize that four of those seven figures were originally sold on basic cards as 2-packs, thus bringing the value of the box down to maybe $29 tops by 2007 standards. It's not much of a deal. The deco is inspired by Battlefront II but also looks quite similar to the ranking droids in The Phantom Menace. It's a perfectly nice figure with 5 points of articulation and removable limbs, but it wasn't quite a deal and as such is probably viewed mostly as a bit of a weak item-- especially compared to the super-cool Clone packs. There's a fair amount if dirt plus some silvery "metallic" bits on his body, so Hasbro didn't skimp on the deco here. They did, however, use the cheapest working mold they had and as such the figure has a little difficulty holding his freaking huge gun without assistance. You might need to bend him back into shape, or you could just leave him in the box-- as toys go, you can get other, cheaper versions of this droid. The gun was introduced in this set, but it was used on the 2007 Rebel Vanguard Trooper as well.

Collector's Notes: The set was released in 30th Anniversary Collection packaging as a Previews/Diamond exclusive (and distributed to comic shops, Big Bad Toy Store, Entertainment Earth, Suncoast, and elsewhere) at first, then a later repackaging in Legacy Collection blue-and-white was exclusive to Toys "R" Us in 2008. The toys are the same, it's an odd instance of a toy getting an almost immediate reissue as another store's exclusive.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,592: July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,591: Riot Control Clone Trooper

The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 28530
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW49
Includes: Blaster, stand, baton, riot shield
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $8.99
Availability: May 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: A clone trooper patrols the streets of Coruscant. The trooper is equipped with a blaster, riot shield, and enforcement baton to help him subdue troublemakers. With his fellow troopers, he keeps order in the busy cityscapes that cater to everyone from diplomats to criminals. The troopers are always alert and on guard for the threat of trouble. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: I like this one. A mix and match of new and old parts, this Riot Control Clone Trooper brings you Coruscant's finest-- again-- with another trooper sporting dark red markings and a familiar symbol on his chest. The head is the newer style of helmet, and he does not sport a removable bucket with a head underneath. The lens of the helmet is a dark grey, and the visor helps make sure you can't tell what color it is you're seeing on there. I guess that's good. There's a very fine outline of red on the side of the helmet, and a few other red flourishes to bring the same 2008 Clone Trooper body to life for the what now, 50th time? I could count but I am lazy. It looks good though.

As extensive repaints with new tooling go, it's nice. The shield is particularly interested, molded in a translucent smokey color and sporting a place on the back to hold your clone blaster. The hands were a little warped by the packaging, but if you're a fan of boiling water, you can dip them and they'll instantly reform to the as-molded shape which is more conducive to holding the baton. (Otherwise, he'll drop it.) It's a nice figure, but is it worth $9? Ehhh... maybe. I almost feel it would have been a great gift set figure, as if I was "forced" to buy two I'd be pretty happy.

Collector's Notes: This figure is a new release-- as of two months ago-- and still seems to be pretty hot stuff.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,591: July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,590: Anakin Skywalker (or Darth Vader)

DARTH VADER packaging variation, also reads Anakin Skywalker
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 20820
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #VC17
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2010
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

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' TV tray.

Commentary: At Comic-Con Hasbro was talking about its new "Vintage" line when a fan raised his hand and asked why this Anakin Skywalker figure wasn't named Darth Vader on the packaging. A quick correction later, and Hasbro made this vintage figure with both names-- giving it multiple packaging variations. This makes the figure much more interesting than it actually is. Well, maybe that's unfair-- but this figure is part of an ongoing evolution of figures since 2005, where it was released as "Evolutions" Anakin Skywalker. In 2008, Hasbro retooled it with new lateral movement hip joints, and now in 2010 Hasbro also added ball-jointed elbows and a brand new, disheveled, mean-looking head with Sith eyes. Wow! It's significantly different from the first releases which were a little more heroic, but this one is unquestionably the sweaty, psycho Darth Vader of the Mustafar duel. With 14 points of articulation, I'd say it's a required purchase for fans of the character as it has the best articulation of any Revenge of the Sith Anakin and a top-notch head sculpt. The cloth part of the lower robes help him look good while posing his legs for battle, and the cloak is a nice bonus but at this point almost every cloth cloak Hasbro has made sucks. (And yet the 1983 Kenner Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker was fine. How does this work?)

Get it if you can! He should be long gone from retail but if you trip over one, he's worth snagging.

Collector's Notes: At least three packaging variants exist. There's "Anakin Skywalker", a foil border card with "Anakin Skywalker," and another one named "Darth Vader." In addition to this, Hasbro handed out an unpunched foil card (without the figure, or a UPC on the back) as a promotional item at Star Wars Celebration V in 2010.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,590: July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,589: Clone Pilot (Warthog)

CLONE PILOT Y-Wing Scout Bomber
The Clone Wars Class I Vehicle (Mini-Rigs)
Item No.:
Asst. 29960 No. 28634
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: I
Includes: Blaster, stand, bombs, Y-Wing Scout Bomber vehicle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $18.99
Availability: July 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: A new Y-wing scout bomber goes on its first mission. Assigned to Jedi General Plo Koon's Hunter Squadron, clone trooper pilot Warthog flies the prototype bomber on a mission to bring reinforcements to a Republic outpost. The bomber is armed with proton bombs and laser cannons, and its rotating engines provide increased flight agility. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen, in front of his vehicle.

Commentary: While not named specifically on his package, this Clone Pilot figure matches the design of one "Warthog," a pilot which appeared in the comics and in the second season of the TV show. As it's a clone, it's not like it breaks too much new ground but it is notable for being the first-ever Clone Pilot to include the same kind of ball-jointed hips we saw on Clone Trooper Jesse. By using Jesse's body with a new helmet, this figure has a ton of articulation and while there's no ankle movement, that's OK-- the leg joints as they are, are ideal for getting him inside the cockpit. So really, as pilots go, this is Hasbro's best effort to date in terms of actually being able to get the figure in a vehicle and sitting down without damaging the hip joints. Hopefully they'll continue to use the same body for all future pilots.

I wish I could say more about the figure, but it's the vehicle that's the real star here. (See below for more.) The figure has a nice ornate helmet design but other than that it's about as plain as a plain clone can get. The all-white body sports a nice sculpt and 12 points of articulation, short of the ideal but certainly good enough to interact with his vehicle. I like the figure a lot, but the real reason to buy this set is for the awesome vehicle.

Collector's Notes: A new item, I have not seen this figure (which was not part of the first wave) on shelves yet. I expect it will be hot, looking at the assortment breakdowns. If you want to know more about the vehicle, find my write-up here.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,589: July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,588: Clone Trooper Sinker

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

Bio: The clone trooper's sense of humor helps ease everyone's tension as the survivors try to restore life support in the pod and fight the attacking battle droids. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' backyard in Los Angeles a few months ago. Did I mention I do some of these in advance?

Commentary: Part of what makes collecting this line confusing for me is Hasbro's sometimes sudden decision to release several similar figures all at once-- Boost and Sinker are quite similar, save for the head. Both figures have 14 points of articulation and a removable helmet, while Sinker has grey hair and Boost has a pair of mohawks. I think that's the term. I don't know much about hair terminology, which you would know if you had the misfortune of actually having met me. (I take the same approach to my hair as someone who might harvest a sheep's wool. But I digress.) The figure is nifty because he's actually a little older in appearance, he has a few more wrinkles and a bit of a widow's peak going on. The armor is similar (but not identical) to the Space Gear Clone Trooper sold in early 2008, minus the jetpacks and whatnot. This figure is worth getting as part of the set, but I doubt that anyone but Clone completists would go after this set. I like it, but with the vast number of similarly decorated troopers just one might be enough for you. (It wasn't for me, though.)

Collector's Notes: The individual Sinker figure goes for about $9-$15 on eBay, while the entire boxed set of four figures (Sinker, Boost, Plo Koon, and a Rocket Battle Droid) is about $20. Don't be cheap-- if you want Sinker, and the prices are still this good, buy the whole set. It's not worth saving the $5, you'll want both Clones.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,588: July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,587: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Jedi Training on Dagobah
30th Anniversary Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87503 No. 87214
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, 4 other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99-$24.99
Availability: Spring 2007
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Wise, old hermit and secret guardian of Luke as a child, Obi-Wan Kenobi was struck down by Darth Vader only to become the Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi - more powerful in the Force than ever before. It was he who directed Luke to Dagobah, and his patience that convinced Yoda to take Luke on as a student. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' couch.

Commentary: Why the Hell does Hasbro insist on putting a lightsaber with a dead guy who never used a weapon in the afterlife? Since 1997, fans have seemed to demand a lightsaber with their Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi action figures despite the first two not including one. Because he never had one as a spirit. What's so hard to understand about this? Why is Hasbro wasting budget resources on a lightsaber that could be put into making other figures in the assortment better? A nickel multiplied out sixty-thousand times makes a big friggin' difference.

Anyway, where was I? This Spirit figure is a slight redeco of the Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi figure from the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection release, and I'd go out on a limb and say you wouldn't notice the two were different if someone didn't tell you to compare them. The colors are a little different, and the lower robes of this (the 2007) release seem a little bit lighter. The 2007 release also lacks the swell swamp base of the 2004 release, and each Spirit has unique packaging that's good for different reasons.

Based on the body of a 2000 figure with new arms and a few other changes, this figure looks old compared to other releases but fits in this gift set nicely. The articulation below the waist is basically not there, and Kenobi works well as a display piece standing off to the side and looking cool. I consider this Spirit of Obi-Wan (or the 2004 release) essential figures, as Hasbro has yet to improve on them and if the 2007 Spirit Anakin is any indication the addition of cloth pieces will not make the figure look better. Get this one, somehow.

Collector's Notes: The entire set is quite excellent, with a unique-to-this-set R2-D2 and slightly redecorated versions of Darth Vader (two versions of him, actually), Luke Skywalker, and Yoda. Yoda doesn't look very different. I'd say the individual figures are worth buying if you want all the extra accessories, but this gift set is a lovely boxed set in its own right and would make a nice gift for a collector and some kids. Get it if you can!

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,587: July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,586: Clone Pilot

CLONE PILOT White Variant
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85423
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: III-34
Includes: Blaster, cannon, projectile
Action Feature: Firing red rocket
Retail: $5.24
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Clone trooper pilots are specially trained for the skills needed to fly attack and troop ships. As part of the Grand Army of the Republic, the clone pilots engage the Separatist forces across the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' patio thing.

Commentary: In addition to troopers, pilots tend to do really well. This Clone Pilot was hugely popular at first and then started to hang for a bit in 2005 for reasons I'll never quite understand. At the time of his release, there was the ARC-170 fighter plus the Republic Gunship, and simply filling their driver and gunner seats would take at least 5 pilots. And if you wanted one out on display? Well, that's six right there. (I bought a bunch of them.)

The figure is, depending on who you ask, a disappointment or a success. In a movie year, with kids as a big part of the focus, the smart toy company will start to figure out where they need to be a little more economical with articulation. Given that a pilot really only needs to sit in a ship and look good to be a success, it's almost a surprise that we got a figure with 12 points of articulation. While I prefer the ball joints at the elbows-- and really, who wouldn't?-- the swivels more or less get the job done. The figure accurately replicates the "costume" in the movie, as it existed only as a lower-resolution digital model inside the ships. You didn't see a lot of these guys walking around, but some were floating among space debris. The figure is reasonably simple, mostly wearing white and grey with a little color here and there. The skin tone seems overly bright and a little peachy, but aside from that it's pretty much just another clone in a new outfit. The lighter uniform looks good, if a little chunky, but he has absolutely no problems taking a seat in most Republic vehicles.

It's a nice piece, and if you just need butts for the seats of your vehicles be sure you get this one. It's reasonably cheap and you aren't going to see much below the neck once the figure was stored in the ship. (Or in the case of many Republic Gunships, you might not see the figure at all the tinting is so dark.) I wouldn't consider this the definitive essential Clone Pilot for your collection but it positively is the ideal figure to have sitting in your Revenge of the Sith-era Republic vehicles.

Collector's Notes: The figure was retooled in 2008 with more articulation, and this exact mold was repainted black later in 2005. The current value of the first 2005 release, as outlined in this review, is close to $2. So if you can find a lot of them for market price, go crazy, you'll be glad you have them handy for your many vehicle purchases.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,586: July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,585: Anakin Skywalker

30th Anniversary Collection Target Exclusive Series 1
Item No.:
Asst. 87356 No. 87359
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 5 of 6
Includes: Lightsaber, spare hand, additional figure
Action Feature: Squeeze legs for lightsaber swinging
Retail: $9.99
Availability: March 2007
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: After he becomes a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor's new apprentice, Anakin storms the Jedi Temple with his personal legion of clone troopers, including an elite division of airborne troopers. Together, they eliminate all the Jedi inside, sparing no one. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' old desk.

Commentary: This Anakin Skywalker figure has received quite a few repaints, with the most significant changes being made to his eyes. The first release had dark circles around them. The second release, a variant, had Sith yellow eyes. This was the third major deco change, and the head is just plain normal-- it's a regular heroic version of the Jedi-turned-Sith, and the softer look works on this mold quite nicely. Given that "action feature" figures like this one are usually for kids, it's a nice fit. Anakin's clothing is also a little bit darker this time around, but the less-creepy head is the selling point.

Collector's Notes: This set sold well initially and now, well, check eBay. The Airborne Clone Trooper in 501st deco is the selling point of the set. A sealed set goes for about $6, so yeah... not too expensive. Don't pay over retail for this one. Also based on the package copy, it's more "Darth Vader" than "Anakin Skywalker" but Hasbro has been pretty wishy-washy about what to call him and either name is basically A-OK with me. I know what they mean.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,585: July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,584: Princess Leia (Endor Gear)

Power of the Force Millennium Mint Coin Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 69675 No. 84027
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, poncho, display base, coin
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Summer 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Princess Leia Organa was at various stages of her life a politician, revolutionary and Jedi Knight of the New Jedi Order. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's floor.

Commentary: The evolution of Endor Leia figures has brought us a lot of ups and downs, and this Princess Leia action figure is right in the middle of these changes. The sculpt is a retooled 1997 Speeder Bike Leia with new arms and legs, and this body was reused in 2001 for an Endor General Leia-- which got a different head, and no poncho.

She's a nice figure. Unlike the 1997 release, her sculpt was not designed to be specifically used to ride a speeder bike. She can stand, but she may need some assistance. She's thin, has six points of articulation, and... uh... unique hips. I think the word I am looking for is "granny panties." (Can you help me out ladies? Do any ladies read this? I don't think that many do.) Leia can hold her gun just fine, and is different from the blaster in the 1997 release. The helmet is not removable, and as overall deco goes this is probably the best of the Endor Poncho Leia figures. Note, the camo is a much lighter green than the dark, rich brown of the Vintage figure from the 2000s.

Collector's Notes: The 1997 Millennium Mint Coin figures were really spotty in terms of distribution-- generally speaking, a city would get tons of Luke or Leia, but rarely both. This figure was only released once in this form, and she was the last Endor Poncho Leia until the Vintage version a few years later.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,584: July 11, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,583: Darth Vader (Star Tours)

DARTH VADER Ambush at Star Tours
Star Tours Ambush at Star Tours Gift Set
Item No.:
No. 33245
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Hover Platform, lightsaber, three other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.95
Availability: May 2011
Appearances: Star Tours

Bio: The Dark Lord of the Sith keeps order in the galaxy for the Galactic Empire. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: While some figures are too obscure to warrant toys, some are so well-known that we have so many toys it's sickening. This Darth Vader mold has been redecorated and repackaged several times, and this release is an existing one with a new accessory. The base figure started life as the 2005 500th Edition Darth Vader, and was repackaged a few times with slight changes. The figure is decorated and redesigned to match the 2006 Bespin Confession Darth Vader, which has a glued-down helmet and a scraped up right shoulder pad. The figure is fundamentally similar to that release, which itself was the same as the early 2006 Hoth release save for the glued-down helmet and accessories. So in short, the figure itself? You probably have a few of it.

The new thing is the hover platform, which is a pretty nifty trivet/coaster. As you can see in the picture, there's a removable pole with a panel on top for Darth Vader to control his hovering Segway of Outer Space. There's also a long groove near it, which serves no readily apparent purpose-- there's no other piece which seems to plug in here as of yet. It looks like something should go in there, as just a random groove is a little odd in such a thing. There are white "lights" on the top, grey panels on the sides, and blue "hover" engines or something on the bottom. It's a solid piece with one foot peg to keep Darth Vader standing upright, and this is one of two driving forces behind this gift set. The other is the Sky Trooper figure, of which you get two.

The mold is feeling a little frail as the arms pop off much more easily than previous releases, but it still looks cool and as a packaged piece, this set is absolutely fine. For lovers of theme park weirdness, this is a must-buy set just because you get another "vehicle" for Darth Vader. I like it, but at $40 I don't know that I got a good deal.

Collector's Notes: This set also includes Boba Fett (2004 Vintage) and two Sky Troopers (new). At $10 per figure it's not much of a deal, but it is weird enough to warrant your attention I'd say. New collectors may even wish to start here, as it's a fine example of what Hasbro can do in this line-- anything it pleases.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,583: July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,582: CB-3D

CB-3D Wal-Mart Exclusive Droid Factory Packs
The Legacy Collection Droid Factory
Item No.:
Asst. 14860 No. 91928
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: 1 of 5
Includes: Removable third leg, General Grievous figure, Darktrooper head and rifle
Action Feature: Rotate head for pop-up sensorscope, removable third leg
Retail: $17.00
Availability: July 2009
Appearances: I, Jedi

Bio: In the comic Star Wars: General Grievous, the cyborg general has dark plans for a group of innocent young Padawans. At the same time, the astromech droid CB-3D assists a rogue team, including the droid's master Flynn Kybo, on a mission to hunt down and eliminate Grievous. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Who? A lot of the droids as the build-a-droid frenzy of 2008-2010 happened were pretty obscure, and CB-3D was likely not on anyone's wish lists. His name is probably the most distinctive thing about him, not following the R1, R2, R3 naming conventions we've had beat down us since the 1970s. Based on the vintage 2004 R2-D2 mold, this figure has a pop-up sensorscope as well as a removable third leg. His torso access panel has been glued down, but aside from that he's fairly similar to the many other droids to share this mold-- and he's one of at least three mostly-white astromechs with a silver dome and red markings. Seriously, Hasbro really likes this design as they keep doing slightly different versions of it on a regular basis.

If you need every droid, you don't need me to tell you this figure has pretty great sculpting and a decent paint job. If you're on the fence, you could just as soon get R2-M5 or Wedge's Astromech Droid (from the X-Wing) and probably not really notice the difference. It's so similar to other toys, I can't honestly tell you that you'll need all three, but this isn't a bad one to get. The fact that he has a Darktrooper part is going to make it worth picking up, if you aren't planning on building the build-a-droid from this series I'd say you can skip this set and not miss anything.

Collector's Notes: This specific figure has never been reissued, although there are other similar robots out there. The set was a slow seller in some markets due to the $17.00 price tag being roughly 70% higher than the sets from the previous year. A loose sample should set you back just under $10, but don't bother with that-- get a boxed one so you can build the Darktrooper. (A complete Darktrooper is quite expensive, particularly when compared with buying a lot of all 5 sets packaged.)

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,582: July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,581: Gungan Warrior

GUNGAN WARRIOR First Carded Release
Power of the Jedi Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84274
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/q
Includes: Shield, atlatl, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The Gungans are an amphibious species who live in underwater cities hidden in deep lakes on the planet Naboo. Although Gungans have a strong warrior heritage, a series of treaties has long kept them at peace with each other. During emergencies, all territories unite to form the Gungan Grand Army. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's old back yard.

Commentary: While troop builders are usually something Hasbro does right out the gate, this Gungan Warrior came out over a year after making his first appearance on the big screen. I'm glad Hasbro waited, because at the time this was a pretty great figure-- and by today's standards, it ain't bad. The skin has this wonderful texture painted on it, which is lacking from the super-articulated 2009 release of this character. (You'll want both, of course.) The figure has a moist look, and his pose works well with his atlatl (the energy ball thing) and the energy shield. Hasbro did a great job sculpting the armor and painting it the right color, plus this Gungan's serious expression is appropriate for the character. You may not like Gungans, particularly ones which only have about six points of articulation, but this is a quality release and a great trooper. If you're on the fence, get it-- and if you hate Gungans, I doubt you made it this far.

Collector's Notes: This figure was repackaged in a Toys R Us exclusive gift set around 2004, but without all the accessories. You should buy both versions, as this one has the most gear, but the other one has a swell exclusive Kaadu with Captain Tarpals. The single-carded figure is worth about five or six bucks these days, while the Naboo Final Combat set is harder to get a read on as few come up for sale. You should be able to score it for under $30, though.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,581: July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,580: Neimoidian Warrior

NEIMOIDIAN WARRIOR Neimoidian Weapon Attack!
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 85173 No. 85460
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #III-42
Includes: Helmet, projectile, giant rocket launcher
Action Feature: Spring-loaded launcher, spring-powered waist
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Neimoidian warriors are specially trained members of the Neimoidian Gunnery Battalion. They are armed with special Neimoidian weaponry that is being mass-produced for use in the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's patio thing.

Commentary: Back in 2005 Hasbro let us know they were putting the "action" back into action figures with a few releases sporting more spring-loaded or other kinetic actions. While these are things collectors view as highly unnecessary, kids (and sometimes parents) eat this stuff up so you end up with a figure like the Neimoidian Warrior which does a pretty good job trying to appeal to both crowds. When you get right down to it, this figure exists mostly to stand around in a collector's diorama so as long as he can be posed, a spring-loaded waist shouldn't really hurt the figure's ability to perform its chief function: to guard a room until he gets stabbed by Anakin Skywalker. I like weird figures, especially army builders of minor races. This one is a really slick figure, because the armor is well-sculpted, the detail on the skin is good, and you can knock off his helmet if you want to. Under the helmet is a tiny head that looks like he suffered some developmental issues, but with the hat on he looks just fine.

For 2005 standards, this was a pretty good figure with 12 points of articulation, making him almost perfect. There are no knees, and the elbows are cut joints rather than ball joints, but he can still guard a room and carry a large rifle just fine. (And how ridiculously huge is that rifle? Yeesh.) The figure itself is way better than his accessory, but that's pretty good if you look at it as its own thing. (And why would you?) It's a big, menacing weapon and a little comically oversized for the warrior, but it does have a lot of sculpted detail and multiple colors. I like this figure a lot because his armor reminds me of some of the unused aliens of the Return of the Jedi sketchbooks, like he's some reject from Jabba's palace. Odds are you don't much care for Neimoidians, and the lack of them in The Clone Wars seems to show they're trying to keep this race out of the line. But hey, at least you can get this one.

Collector's Notes: This figure was repainted in silver in late 2005, and that's been it as far as Neimoidian Army Builders go. Like many figures from 1995-2005, on the secondary market, he's worth a couple of bucks. Don't pay more than $5 or $6, try to get him in a collection or in a lot at a buck or two if you can swing it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,580: July 5, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,579: Barriss Offee

BARRISS OFFEE includes Brain Worms!
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 28528
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW50
Includes: Lightsaber, stand, 3 Geonosian brain worms
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $8.99
Availability: May 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Barriss Offee is infected with a Geonosian brain worm. The Padawan has survived the battle to destroy a droid factory on Geonosis. She is aboard a medical frigate when she and several other passengers are infected. Brainwashed by the worms, she attacks fellow Padawan Ashoka, who struggles to save the ship and all on board. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: Every now and again Hasbro makes a figure that captures the look and feel of another character, and Barriss Offee is one of these. The Padawan has similar articulation to Ahsoka Tano (the 2008 one) complete with nearly identical articulation. Barriss is jointed at the neck, shoulders, hips, waist, plus she has swivel forearms for added Jedi action. Her deco is pretty great, with big blue eyes and the face markings she carried in the film. The body has a ribbed outfit, with lots of painted detail as appropriate. Her headdress is molded to the head, while there's a cape around her neck to complete the upper body's outfit. Below the waist is a thick cloth dress which doesn't hinder her articulation, and it does a great job giving the figure a little more weight. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much to help her stand, as gravity will likely cause her to slowly lean forward or back with time. You might want to pursue another stand solution, like a small doll stand, if you plan on keeping her upright in a long-term display environment.

While the figure is great, the "brain worms" are even cooler. These simple accessories were designed to wrap around her limbs, and one even has parts of the egg still attached. If you're looking to stage an invasion, the three brain worms with this figure might be a good start. I like the overall package, so Barriss is absolutely worth tracking down-- even for a slight premium. Just remember, she doesn't like to stand for long periods of time without added support.

Collector's Notes: This figure is the first (and only) animated-style Barriss Offee to date, and the first figure of the character in several years. She only ships in one case so far, and I've only seen her in the wild a couple of times.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,579: July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,578: R2-D2

R2-D2 with Booster Rockets
Episode I Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84095 No. 84104
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: CommTech Chip
Action Feature: Push up the central leg, the rockets will deploy
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The astromech droid R2-D2 serves on board the Naboo Royal Starship of Queen Amidala. A multifaceted utility droid, R2-D2 becomes a hero in the struggle against the Trade Federation's invasion of Naboo. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: One of the fun things about this hobby is that Hasbro (often unwittingly) makes a figure from a deleted scene like this R2-D2 from 1999. The robot is based on an alternate design for R2-D2's booster rockets, which appears on the DVD but not in the actual film. In later tales, we saw the rockets actually popped out of his shoulders rather than his body.

For the time this was a really impressive figure. R2-D2 kept the light-up eyeport which was on pretty much all of the modern R2-D2 figures (save for the awful 1998 pop-up lightsaber figure) to this point, and the painted silver head wasn't reflective-- a nice touch, given that it's apparently hard to get right. The torso sculpt is a little harsh, with lots of sculpted panels and lines exaggerated slightly compared to the later releases. This toy's main purpose is to highlight the jets for his hover mode, which all pop out when the figure's head is centered and you push the third leg up. Overall it's not a bad figure, but those big gaps in his body are hard to ignore and the figure has since been surpassed by better flying figures... and in the case of a 2003 version, worse figures. This one is mostly worth getting as both a deleted scene and a concept figure, a nifty idea that never really made the cut to the big screen. If you like that kind of thing, you should get this one.

Collector's Notes: This figure has never been repainted or repackaged. It was a good figure for the time, but it nearly immediately was upstaged by the superior (and significantly rarer at the time) R2-D2 with Holographic Princess Leia action figure. A packaging variant does exist, as there is a "thick bubble" and a "narrow bubble" variant.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,578: July 1, 2011