Friday, December 30, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,708: Todo 360

TODO 360 and Cad Bane
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 26375
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW42
Includes: Hat, two pistols, bag, Cad Bane figure, stand, card, die
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Cad Bane and Todo 360 sneak inside the Jedi Temple. Bane has a well-deserved reputation as a ruthless bounty hunter. He is hired by Darth Sidious to steal a Jedi holocron. He and his techno-service droid gain access to the building and break into the well-guarded holocron library. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former kitchen, on some box. (Spare. No. Expense.)

Commentary: Those with a sense of history may remember that Todo 360 was originally appearing on some online pre-orders when the very first Cad Bane figure came out a couple of years back-- before we really knew who or what a Todo was. It turns out he's basically a robot butler thing, and in the show was yet another source of comic relief as a robot with a less-than-pleasant personality. The action figure captures the look of the robot almost perfectly, but beware: he has one point of articulation. Despite his design being covered in places to hide a joint, Hasbro put only one in-- and that's at his neck, so don't try to bend the other ones or they might snap.

Sold as an accessory to Cad Bane, the figure is actually quite good-- I remember not 20 years ago, Playmates would include a sidekick figure with its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line and they were rarely, if ever, given any paint. Todo's paint job rivals most vintage figures, with painted eyes, a little grime, a tampo on his head, and black feet. Even if Hasbro revisits him later, there's very little room to improve on the paint job, and that's always nice to see. I wouldn't mind a joint or two as his large head may make him topple over if you aren't careful. You might want to lean him up against something, just to be safe. As bonus accessories which basically count as figures go, he's one of my favorites. He's also voiced by Seth Green on the TV show, so that's gotta be worth something. (Green voices Ion Papanoida as well.)

Collector's Notes: This figure is still showing up, so if you see it, why not grab it? I figure since there have been multiple Cad Bane figures, this one is probably going to be the best one to pick up since it included a bonus figure. Both Todo and Cad Bane were also repackaged in a battle pack in late 2011.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,708: December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,707: Geonosian Warrior

GEONOSIAN WARRIOR Republic Commando Delta Squad
The Legacy Collection Toys R Us Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 33259 No. 33260
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Sonic blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99-$49.99
Availability: July 2011
Appearances: Star Wars: Republic Commando video game

Bio: A dirty filthy Geonosian. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former kitchen.

Commentary: This Geonosian Warrior continues the proud tradition of fairly decent figures being made based on the Sun Fac mold since 2006. This particular figure has more in common with the 2010 Geonosis Arena 2-pack reissue, as he has knee joints. (Big improvement.) I like this one a lot overall-- the coloring is good, the armor is nice, there's a red jewel on his torso, Hasbro did a nice job making this one stand out. That's actually one problem I have with Geonosians as a whole, there's no real consistent coloring in either the movie or cartoon style-- each one looks fairly unique, so those looking to build an army will need to buy several of a single figure rather than buy a few, here and there, as new versions are made.

His accessory is a sonic blaster similar to others released in the line. With bronze, brown, and green, it stands out nicely. No staff was included this time around, but that's OK-- I can get sticks out in the yard.

With this current articulation structure-- about 14 joints-- he feels sturdier than some of his ancestors. Previous Geonosians lacked key leg joints or were designed without holes in their feet, so getting them to stand up would prove difficult if not impossible. That's not the case here! Since this Geonosian can stand upright, and he's got a stiff set of joints, it seems like he should have no problems standing for the long haul. The only variable, and I haven't had it long enough to confirm this, is that the legs' unique shape may result in bending with heat or gravity over time in ways the joints can't easily help-- so warping could be possible, but the material feels better than other figures. So yeah.... hard to say. My guess is you won't buy this figure on its own merits anyway since it was packaged with a new and improved Delta Squad, but I still like it and would probably support buying it for its own merits.

Collector's Notes: I see this set quite a bit, although it would seem some stores are swimming in them while others... not. It is my assumption that this will be a sought-after set in a few years unless Hasbro releases individually packaged versions of all the Delta Squad members, so go get it now, OK?

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,707: December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,706: Ki-Adi-Mundi

The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 20803
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW25
Includes: Stand, lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Fall 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Ki-Adi-Mundi is part of the massive attack to destroy a Geonosis factory churning out dangerous new battle droids. Damaged by enemy fire, the Jedi's transport crashes short of the designated landing point. As he pushes forward, Ki-Adi-Mundi and his squad enter a cave where they are attacked by Geonosian drones. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former kitchen.

Commentary: This Ki-Adi-Mundi probably has had the longest shelf life of any version of the character. Since his introduction about a year ago, he's still fairly easy to get-- the only exception might be the original Phantom Menace release due to its series' unprecedented level of distribution. This one is slightly better though, and I would say it's the best in terms of durability and play. Don't get me wrong, the Revenge of the Sith one is good, but this one's lightsaber is less fragile and I'm delighted by the robe design incorporating soft plastic and cloth, which allows him to sit fairly well. Or it would, if the back part of his robes were softer-- as it is, he can't fit in a Jedi Starfighter with the canopy closed, so I'd say he's merely good and not great.

With 12 points of articulation-- no ankles-- this is one fine figure. The joints integrate nicely into the design, the deco is good, and the features closely resemble the animation model. He's got a very distinctive and kind face on the show, and on the whole Hasbro replicated it here with flying colors. It's possible that if his head were painted its color rather than molded in it, it might look even better-- but as it is? It's very good. It would be nice to see his hands a less pink color, but still, it's a reasonably minor complaint when the overall figure displays nicely, has a good lightsaber, and show signs of Hasbro trying new things in its toy engineering. I might not suggest that you overpay for this one, but if you see it you may as well spring the eight bucks.

Collector's Notes: I see this one fairly regularly, which is nice because it's better than "What do you mean you weren't at the store that one weekend? Well, it's gone forever now." As such you should be able to procure one fairly cheaply.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,706: December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,705: Yoda

YODA with Jedi Mickey
Star Tours Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 85679
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, display stand, Jedi Mickey
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $20.00
Availability: 2005
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Mickey Mouse teams up with Jedi Master Yoda, another small but powerful fighter against the dark forces in the galaxy. With help from the knowledgeable and understanding Yoda, Mickey takes up his lightsaber and joins forces with the other Jedi Knights in their battles to fight evil wherever it is found. Yoda and Mickey prove that nothing is impossible and as Yoda might say, "Do or do not - there is no try" as long as the Force is with you. Come join Mickey and Yoda on their many adventures throughout the galaxy! (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' shelves.

Commentary: This Yoda was one I, at the time, sort of decided not to cover. But it is from the movies and does have a Hasbro logo on the box, so here we are. I don't like this figure. The sculpt is a weird cartoony design which, considering it came from 2005, feels like some lost, alternate, or rejected Clone Wars character model. With a longer face and very little articulation, with a moving neck and arms. And that's it. For those keeping track, that means he's technically inferior to the 1996 version, which had a weird joined single leg-- but at least he could bend at the hips.

The picture pretty much says it all. I'm not proud to have this one but I've got it because it has a Hasbro logo on the box. I'm not entirely convinced it came out of Hasbro, but well... I can't prove that. The lightsaber is a new sculpt, and Mickey looks significantly better than Yoda, and as I don't collect Disney that's upsetting.

Collector's Notes: There are at least three versions of this set, with the bulk of the changes being made to Yoda. The first release had a dark-skinned Yoda with a blue lightsaber. It was followed by a green lightsaber. The final release had Yoda with much lighter skin. And I feel like a tool because I have all three. Versions of the set sell for as little as $5 and as high as $15, I'd say make this a $5 purchase if you get it. In the small canon of Star Tours Hasbro action figures, this is my least favorite item in the collection. And I don't just mean this set-- Yoda specifically is a snooze and a waste of new tooling. This one just makes me angry.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,705: December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,704: Yoda

YODA 2011 Edition
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 30241
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC20
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak, lightning, cane
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99-$10.99
Availability: January 2011
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' shelves.

Commentary: This Yoda figure's pre-history is more interesting than the final product-- so let's start there. He was originally going to be part of the late-2010 Return of the Jedi wave on a cardback based on the original 1983 package, but fans (well, a few of them) went nuts, Hasbro agreed, and the figure was updated, repackaged, and delayed until early 2011. My initial reaction was "just put the damn thing out," but well, I'm lazy. I'm kind of surprised Hasbro didn't do it both ways to sell more units, which I'm usually not a big fan of but I make an exception for Vintage cardbacks. Also, Hasbro solicited this product to online stores as "Yoda with Hoverchair," and as far as I know they never displayed a sample to the public which showed a chair. My guess is they took it out for costing reasons early in the product's development.

The figure is pretty good. It reminds me of the 2004 Vintage Yoda-- which I didn't like-- and the 2005 Yodas-- which were a mixed bag. When you get right down to it, Yoda is hard to do well at this scale if you incorporate certain kinds of cloth. The cloth may be too thick to hang right on the figure, so no matter what you do he's going to look a little funky. What's worse, though, is if you take off the cloak some samples have a date stamp carved into the front of his thigh, effectively defacing the figure in a very ugly way. (This has happened on numerous recent Hasbro products as of late.) Those are my two big complaints-- the rest of it is pretty good, but I've reviewed nearly two dozen Yodas and that's a figure which I believe stops being interesting after three or four. When scaled down to a small plastic figure, there's not a lot you can do to change up the design.

Yoda has 14 points of articulation, which I believe breaks the previous record of about 10 or so. The face sculpt is good, and the costume is, more or less, great. At this scale the legs look a little funky with knee joints, but you actually get knee joints, which is rare with figures of this size. For my money, my favorite Yodas are the 2004 OTC version (great sculpt) and the 2003 Bandido Clone Wars release and the 2007 Kybuck version-- I give bonus points for being weird. With his cane, lightsaber, and a reflected Sith energy blast this one aspires to be the best but ultimately left me shrugging. Bring in Yoda in tiny Clone armor or something fun!

Collector's Notes: Yoda is somewhat common and, if you ask me, not necessarily worth the upgrade. If you want a new Yoda, get it-- but if you're on the fence? Save your money. You'll be able to get it below cost on eBay soon if you haven't already done so. He's about $5 on eBay... but I'd say just drop $60-$80 on a real, genuine 1980s vintage Yoda. As soft goods go, despite not being wholly accurate, it looked better as a toy.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,704: December 26, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,703: Holiday R2-D2

R2-D2 Holiday Edition 2002
Saga Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
No. ???
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: C-3PO, display base, greeting card
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $13.99
Availability: November 2002
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Hasbro and Lucasfilm Ltd. are delighted to present, for the first time, this Star Wars Holiday Edition commemorative. Inspired by the artwork of renowned artist Ralph McQuarrie, this specially designed set captures the imaginative vision of McQuarrie's art in collectible 3-3/4" action figure scale. Our gift to you, this piece is a distinctive addition to any Star Wars collection. May the Force be with you, and happy holidays. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' shelves.

Commentary: Ho, ho, ho. From 2002 through about 2005, Hasbro put out a bunch of Holiday Edition figures based on everything from classic Ralph McQuarrie holiday paintings to what I assume was a fantastic deal on red paint back in 2005. This R2-D2 was half of the very first set in the series, which was joined by C-3PO in a Santa outfit. This R2-D2 is modeled on the 2000 R2-B1 mold, painted up like R2-D2, and modified to include antlers-- given the red light under his eye, I assume the intent was to portray R2-D2 as Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

What I find particularly likable about this guy-- minus the novelty-- is how Hasbro sculpted the droid to look like the costume elements were, in short, sort of half-assed. On the left, it looks sort of like an antler was embedded into a small block, which was attached to his head somehow. I have no idea how, but it is. On the other side, it looks like C-3PO took some duck tape and stuck it to his head, which is a kind of a thing I'll always find funny. The dome sculpt itself is missing a ring near the bottom, but other than that it's painfully obvious that this is R2-D2-- and it's also painful to see just how far his sculpt has come in a decade.

With only three points of articulation and a light-up eyeport, there's not much to this figure-- even by the standards of nine years ago. Retractable third legs were the norm since 1995, so its absence is easily noticed. As a display piece-- particularly in the box-- this is a really great figure. I don't suggest that you open this set unless you really, really want to... it looks better in the box. But if you do open it, it looks even better in an X-Wing or Y-Wing fighter's droid socket.

Collector's Notes: The holiday line was plagued with cancelations-- the entire series was developed as a Fan Club exclusive, but only two of the products were released through the club as it repeatedly changed owners since the early 2000s. In other fun, I'm writing this in November-- I work ahead-- during a surprise internet outage. While this set originally sold for about $14, I remember it shooting up to $20 and $30 on eBay-- and unsurprisingly, it dropped and now it's $10 or so.

This piece was one of the first items I saw that showed me just how the Wal-Mart customer juggernaut could absorb a case of product quickly-- I actually saw a case of these on a pallet, and took it upon myself to liberate a set. I went back in a day, and they were gone-- and I didn't see another one until weeks later, in another city, and that felt like a fluke. This time of year, I've even seen an entire pallet of Mr. Potato Heads-- hundreds of units-- sell through overnight.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,703: December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,702: Han Solo

HAN SOLO Death Star
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 91416
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD30
Includes: Blaster, helmet, armor, detonator, bonus droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: After rescuing Princess Leia, Han battles his way back to the Death Star’s hangar. The stormtrooper disguise came in handy, but now it’s his bold nature and his blaster that will free him from the Empire’s clutches. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former back yard.

Commentary: After 34 years I can honestly say that Han Solo might be the character I've been the least happy with in terms of the head sculpt. Hasbro does a good job getting a figure that looks like "Han Solo," but not "Harrison Ford." The 2004 head was pretty good, and this new head has slightly more exaggerated features-- depending on the angle, you can see that this head does look Ford-esque, but some parts are a smidgen larger or smaller than they should be. The elements are largely there, but as a whole it misses something, and it's possible part of the problem might be the paint or kind of plastic used. Either way, the end result isn't ideal-- although the articulation is.

WIth 14 points of articulation, it's close to perfect-- the belt may get in the way of hip movement, but it's still quite good. With a different head, and maybe a holster, this would be a good normal Han body. The sculpt is essentially the same as the 2004 release, with some tweaks to the legs, but there is one deco problem: the torso's white shirt seems yellower than the arms, which makes little sense given it's painted white and usually if something goes yellow, it would be plastic molded in white. This isn't age either-- this is how it came out of the package, and this photograph was taken in late 2009. (Apparently, I waste no time and plan ahead.)

As part of a collection-- specifically as a part to get all the pieces to build R3-A2 since Han has his torso-- this is an acceptable enough figure. It's not a variant I recall much clamoring for, and the added large Stormtrooper helmet and body armor don't add much to it from my perspective. As a toy, it's an incomplete disguise and while I would like to say "better than nothing," maybe an alternate gun or a MSE droid would have been more appealing from where I sit-- particularly since this wave wasn't exactly easy to get in some markets for the kids. Get it if you can, but don't pay a lot for it.

Collector's Notes: Complete and without the droid piece, it can be had for under five bucks. A complete R3-A2 build-a-droid, which is the robot which came with Han and the rest of this series, sells for about $16. A droid piece can go for $4 or more, so if you can get a carded Han cheap it might be worth your while. There are other versions of the character which look better, but few have this one's range of movement and diverse accessories. Heck, none of them have removable Stormtrooper body armor-- this one is unique in that department.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,702: December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,701: R2-X2

R2-X2 Artoo Redux
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 88884
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD52
Includes: Droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Late 2009/Early 2010
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: R2-X2 is the on-board astromech droid for Red Ten during the Battle of Yavin. The R2 series atromech droid aids the Rebel Alliance X-Wing fighter pilot during the Trench Run to destroy the Galactic Empire's Death Star battle station. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former apartment.

Commentary: What color is R2-X2? If you asked me in 2005, when I asked for him as part of an exclusive gift pack at my day job, I said "black." Lucasfilm and Hasbro agreed, and now there are tons of black R2-X2s, but some fans said he should be green-- and in some stills, damned if he doesn't look green. So now he's green. Based on the R4-G9 mold, the droid has a leg which retracts when you spin his head around, jointed shoulders, and jointed feet. And that's it.

The sculpt is very good and due to it being the bases for most of the astromechs made by Hasbro, this is, by default, the "correct" scale. In 2010 Hasbro introduced a smaller R2-D2 body but, at press time, it has not become the basis for any other characters. This is a solid sculpt, and the holograph projector on the dome-- just down and to the right of his eye-- is hollow, so it could "project" a piece if Hasbro wanted to do so. R4-G9 had a projection of the planet Utapau, but subsequent droids dropped the gimmick entirely. Still... it's a good figure.

Collector's Notes: This is the only carded release of R2-X2, although other toys based on the droid exist-- including a Funko Bobble Head, which was based on this 2009 release. (I know because I nagged Funko to make that one too.) Since I got to ask for the black one, that's my favorite but today, either version could cost you between $10 and $20 depending on the seller.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,701: December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,700: Lumiya

LUMIYA Dark Lady of the Sith
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87970
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #07
Includes: Lightwhip, alternate head, Luke Skywalker figure, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: September 2009
Appearances: Star Wars Marvel comic books

Bio: Luke Skywalker is defeated in a battle with Lumiya, the Dark Lady of the Sith, who wields her lightwhip with devastating precision. But this confrontation is far from over. Lumiya wants to punish the Jedi who caused her to become more cyborg than human, while Luke tries to persuade his opponent to turn away from the dark side. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' former back yard.

Commentary: There's a short list of figures I tried to see if I could nag someone into making-- as I assume they would never see production-- and Lumiya was on it. While some of you know her as a villain from a recent-ish batch of novels, I grew up with her as one of the last major adversaries from the Empire to confront Luke and the Alliance of Free Planets from Marvel's comic line. Very, very few original characters from Marvel's run made it into the toy line, and most of those which did were existing bodies with new heads. So this one seemed pretty damned unlikely, particularly given she's an entirely new sculpt with an alternate head and a companion Luke figure to boot.

With 12 points of articulation, this is a pretty good figure and a great argument for why it's actually just fine when Hasbro drags their feet-- the longer you wait, generally speaking, the better the figure will look. Were she made in 1998 she's have 6 joints and a crappy accessory, and certainly not have the alternate head. You can choose between an unmasked head, after she lost a duel with Luke, or a partially masked head which is, really, a battle-damaged one. Her first appearance played her up as some security cyborg, and through time it turned out she was a Rebel pilot-- who is actually an Imperial agent-- who went on to fight along with green pirates and pale extra-galactic invaders.

This particular figure bases its design on her increasingly damaged form, right around the One Big Cool Duel around the time of the Nagai invasion. Exposed wires and boards on her torso are accentuated by silver armor, plus a big yellow flexible lightwhip makes for a great accessory. It's a reasonably simple figure, with a scarred eye and some decent overall deco. I like this one a lot, but mostly because I liked those old comic books. It's still a fine figure, but you won't declare this to be some giant amazing incredible release. It's just good, and if you like the character you should enjoy this release. If not... well, I'm going to like this a lot more than you are.

Collector's Notes: Fans of the 1980s Expanded Universe-- before it had the name-- should probably want this one. It seems to sell for roughly the original price, give or take, but I'd be dumb enough to pay more. I really like this set.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,700: December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,699: Battle Droid Commander

The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 20800
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW22
Includes: Blaster, stand, binoculars, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Battle Droid commanders transmit orders to squads of battle droid. Their advanced programming includes increased independence and enhanced intelligence, which gives them the ability to execute their roles effectively. They have yellow markings to designate them as commanders. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: The token repaints don't happen as often as I would like in The Clone Wars, as few specialized robots like the Battle Droid Commander have been made. We've had firefighter droids, and rocket droids, but not a lot of variation as far as rank goes. So I'm glad he's here. The short version of the review is this: if you have normal Battle Droids, get a Commander. If not... eh, you probably don't need to start here. But I like it.

The mold is a repaint of the 2008 basic Battle Droid, as it should be-- except now he has binoculars. That's what I like-- more. The yellow deco showing his rank really makes him look great, and well, if you like droids you should get one. I got a few-- I'm going to need them driving my tanks. He has somewhat limited articulation, sporting 8 meaningful joints and some nifty ball-jointed arms you can actually pull out of their sockets. Chewbacca would approve. The plastic looks pretty good, and on some figures you can see some silver damage which looks absolutely wonderful. This probably won't be one of your favorite figures, but it's a pretty good toy and I generally like how it turned out. Short of a few more joints-- which may make it more fragile-- I can't think of too much else I would do to it. Except, you know, maybe a voice chip.

Collector's Notes: This one kept shipping for a bit-- which I found interesting as, while I liked the design, it's not one I'd want a bunch of-- you should be able to get one at or under retail fairly easily. But I'm kinda serious about this voice chip thing-- one of my favorite exchanges on the show was between two Battle Droids. I can't find the exact quote, but it was something like "It's the Jedi! Get them!" and the second one says "It won't matter" and then is killed by Anakin. (Made me laugh.)

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,699: December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,698: Darth Maul

Episode I Deluxe Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84045 No. 84144
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, large deluxe lightsaber accessory
Action Feature: Lightsaber Handle Triggers Battle Swing
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Darth Maul was a Dathomirian Zabrak Sith Lord during the waning days of the Galactic Republic. Later, Maul was sent to Naboo, where he fought Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: The great thing about a movie year-- if you write a toy column-- is that you can see all sorts of crazy stuff, and go back and armchair quarterback it ten years later. With this deluxe Darth Maul, it's really interesting to note that this kind of mechanism was quickly removed from the line, and is making a big return early next year. Actually, from the pictures, I'm not entirely sure if this exact figure is coming back or not yet-- one looks very similar, and it might be this one again. (Or, again, very very similar.)

For $10 this was... acceptable. At the time, the normal Darth Maul was $7, and this one had a large accessory and an action feature to boot. This is not an impressive modern figure, but as Hasbro needed a ton of Darth Maul stuff to sell in 1999 this made sense. It's basically their Jedi Duel version, on a stick, with a button in its butt. You push the button (or activate it via the lightsaber which acts as a battle-stick thing) and he'll wave around his arms. The figure's articulation is similar to the carded counterpart, which means he's of not much use from the waist down-- but his neck, shoulders, and wrists move just fine. This isn't a figure about posing, this is a figure you buy specifically to display or to use to fight your other toys. The mechanism is pretty good, but I can understand that a lot of people would just want a plain, normal, super-articulated Darth Maul and it's 12 years later and it's still not in stores yet.

As a weird side figure, I suggest getting it-- it's meant to be a toy that you can actually play with, and we see very few of those. It's worth about two bucks, and it's absolutely worth that-- I didn't feel it was worth the $10 at first, but now I can say that it was a neat experiment and Hasbro did exactly as many of these battle figures as they should have done at the time. Except it would have been cool to have had a Vader as well, now that I think of it. Maul will not impress you with its sculpt-- after all, Hasbro improves so much, it'd be sad if this was the peak of their talents-- but I do enjoy seeing what they came up with for the kids of 1999.

Collector's Notes: Unless this is, in fact, the basis for the new Movie Heroes figure next year, it's a one-time release. Hasbro put action features to bed until 2002 after this wave came out, with the exception of the spring-loaded 300th Boba Fett in late 2000.

As a single character, Darth Maul may offer one of the richest collecting experiences-- the character has been sold in so many varieties since 1999, you can get a late-era Kenner style figure, deluxe attack figures, figures with experimental dials and magnets, and all sorts of nutty outfits-- short of their being a legit 1970s/1980s-style Kenner version, Maul probably should be your go-to character for getting most (but not all) styles of figural collectibles.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,698: December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,697: Jawa

JAWA & Security Droid
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 93139
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #BD29
Includes: Security Droid, blaster
Action Feature: Can sit
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2009
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: KPR security droids are used to monitor perimeters and maintain security devices. During their scavenging for lost and abandoned equipment, the Jawas find one of these droids and offer it for sale at moisture farms on Tatooine. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's former back yard.

Commentary: For the time being, this is the most recent Jawa available today-- Hasbro cranked out four of the buggers in 2009, with two animated versions and two movie versions. This one is based loosely on the previous two movie version, which is to say, it has super-articulated arms, no light-up eye features, and a nice look. This one is upgraded slightly, with new cloth lower robes and two individually articulated legs unrestricted by a hard plastic cloak. Believe it or not, this is a first for a Jawa since the original in 1978. (The first three in the modern line were single-leg figures.)

As of right now, I would give this figure the crown as the replacement for the original cloth-caped Vintage figure. (The 2007 release feels similar to the vinyl version.) Anyway, this new version has about 10 points of articulation, which is basically as good as any Jawa gets. The darker color matches that original Kenner cloak nicely, with yellow eyes set inside his black face. The smaller blaster resembles the early POTF2 version (1996), and the sculpt is... well, it's as good as any Jawa gets with a few sculpted bits and a few cloth bits. Actually, this is the only Jawa in the modern line with cloth so far, until/unless Hasbro does a vintage one, which I'm somehow doubting they will in the coming year.

Collector's Notes: I really dig this set, when I got it I decided to grab my sandcrawler, run outside, and take some nice photos-- that's inspiration! It can be had as low as $9, but it also seems to go for more now. I'd say that it's a decent value for $9, but the companion droid is much smaller than previous 2-packs. I mean, the LIN droid and Treadwell droids were pretty meaty.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,697: December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,696: Barriss Offee

BARRISS OFFEE Luminara Unduli's Padawan
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84926
Number: #0312
Includes: Lightsaber, blast effect, stand
Action Feature: Magnetic lightsaber attracted to hand
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Early 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Barriss Offee is the Padawan learner of Luminara Unduli, and similarly shares her Master's latticed facial tattoos. The youthful Jedi apprentice often prefers wielding a lightsaber to participating in diplomatic negotiations. During the Battle of Geonosis, Barriss must defend herself and her fellow outnumbered Jedi from the Separatists' impending droid armies. Her strong healing abilities make her an invaluable asset when the battle erupts into a full-scale ground assault and the beginning of the Clone Wars. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's spare room.

Commentary: As I've mentioned before, the figures of 2002 and 2003 were a little confusing and it's no surprise that fans requested a new version of Barriss Offee almost as soon as she came out. (New versions wouldn't come until 2011, at which time a new cartoon and a new movie version were released a few months apart.) The 2003 release is an astonishing piece, and a terrible toy.

Around 2002 Hasbro got really interested in the statue market, with its oversized "Unleashed" figures and to a lesser extent, the Collection 2 assortment of the 3 3/4-inch action figures. Luminara Unduli was basically a statue with arms, and Barriss follows suit. She needs her display base to stand properly, and while she does include an action feature, she's a terrible toy. She can't sit. Her legs can't move. All you can do is twist her head, position her arms, and basically have her scream and position her lightsaber. As a sub-category of action figures, this style is pretty remarkable-- it's just evidence of competing, incompatible schools of thought of how to do toys. As a display piece, the figure is pretty neat-- but the crazy cloak and screaming face are sort of out of touch with the bulk of this figure line.

The texture, deco, and sculpting are all pretty good and if an extra few cents were spent painting the dead droids on the Geonosis-themed base the right color, it would be a much better release. As a thing you can look at, it's pretty cool. As a toy? This is terrible. So depending on what you do with your toys, this could be the coolest thing ever that it's a crying shame Hasbro didn't keep doing... or a chunk of trash that you should be glad they fixed in 2011. I like it for what it is, but I'm really happy we got a new, better version this year. I will say this: she has a great personality.

Collector's Notes: This was a pretty neat figure in its day, but I don't remember it being particularly popular or well-received. And today it's worth about $5. If you liked the bigger Unleashed toys, I think you might dig this one. I wish Hasbro did do a few more figures in this style, but not minor characters-- I'd love to have a crazy-posed Maul or Vader in this size. Well, I guess we got a Darth Maul like this in 1999, as well as the 2002 "sneak preview" Jango Fett, which did a bang-up job of giving you a fantastic sculpt but a rotten toy.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,696: December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,695: Senate Commando Captain

The Clone Wars Target Exclusive Two-Pack
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87340
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, second figure, game card, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: October 2010
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: A Senate Commando captain and his elite commando team confront suspicious arrivals to the Senate building. The captain and troopers rush to the platform where Cad Bane has landed without permission. They are prepared for a fight if necessary, but are taken by surprise when Bane springs his trap. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: I like this one too. Sharing the same mold with the enlisted figure save the helmet, the Senate Commando Captain shares the same blue armor but adds a fair amount of white detailing, effectively building on Captain Argyus from a few years ago. That figure had new arms, but otherwise was based on the Clone Trooper mold. The unique aspect of this figure is a helmet with a much larger crest, which sits atop a nicely-jointed body with 16 points of articulation. The awesome bend-and-swivel wrists are here, so he'll look good aiming his gun or hanging out or doing whatever.

I like this mold-- I don't get why it was an exclusive. I wouldn't mind having a squad of these guys, and I don't think you'd mind either. If you bought any clone figure from 2008-2009, you basically know how this guy is built-- minus the giant armored shoulder and alternate helmet design. It looks good, it plays well, it's worth owning. Do I need to go on? Because I feel more or less done here.

Collector's Notes: I paid $15 for this? I guess that's fair for it. On eBay, the set goes between $3 and $25 and everywhere in between. If you can score it for $10 or so, get it. I wouldn't suggest throwing down a premium to get it... but it IS pretty cool. Hmm. Yeah, go get it, you'll like it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,695: December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,694: Mandalorian Warrior

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

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

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: There were two different Mandalorian Warrior figures sold in the battle pack, mostly the same save for the accessories. As I've said before, this mold is one of Hasbro's best. What you might not know is that you absolutely need this gift set to fill up your Mandalorian Transport vehicle, because few other figures can fit in those small chairs. The articulation is exceptionally good-- the ball-jointed hips are included in a grand total of 16 points of articulation, with a design that lets them stand at attention, straddle a bike, or fight for whatever it is they're after these days.

The first two Mando figures were very dark, with dark blue suits and almost black armor. The later ones were like these-- bright blue, with lighter gray armor. I don't think either is necessarily perfect, but it would seem the darker ones may be closer to the renders. Even then... I'm not sure either is really more "right." Anyway. The figures have working holsters, although I should note this set includes both large and small pistols which look the same at first glance. The little pistols fit in the holsters. The big ones do not. Fair warning.

I see this as a figure that shows what Hasbro has learned about figure design from its other properties-- you can see some of what worked in Marvel and G.I. Joe brought here, like a higher-on-the-waist joint and the return of those lovely bending wrist joints. The Mando troopers are one of very few molds which, on release, feel like something you probably wouldn't be able to do any better. They're almost perfect, so it might be years before Hasbro sees fit to tweak them. One thing I don't get is why they didn't work harder to make these guys available.

Collector's Notes: Despite being pretty tough to find, the price dropped recently on the secondary market-- it's closer to $30 now, which is good, before it was approaching $80. Since these guys are nearly identical to the individually carded figure you may not feel it necessary to get more, but I like the design and I've got one of each. So get it if you're feeling saucy.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,694: December 12, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,693: Ten Numb

TEN NUMB Rebel Pilot
The Legacy Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87874 No. 87602
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: I
Includes: Blaster, helmet, tubes, additional figures
Action Feature: Removable helmet
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: Return of the Jedi (presumably a deleted scene)

Bio: The legacy of Rebel pilots is one of uncompromising independence and gritty determination. These are the pilots who crushed the Empire and became the architects of the elite squadrons to come. Dorovio Bold flies an X-wing at the Battle of Yavin, going cannon-to-cannon against Imperial fighters. During the Battle of Hoth, Wes Janson toppled an AT-AT walker with a skillfully unorthodox maneuver. Ten Numb helped achieve victory at the Battle of Endor flying a weapons-packed B-wing. From hotshots to heroes, Alliance pilots built a legacy that has given birth to countless tales of glory throughout the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's old desk.

Commentary: For a prototype costume from a movie, the white-suited Ten Numb gets a lot of toy love. He's had at least 3 action figures-- 4 if you are like me and think the red B-Wing Sullustian is also Ten Numb. This white-suited figure is based on a scrap photo from Star Wars Chronicles and other reference books, which became the basis for the white-suited pilot figures and the character in the Rogue Leader comic book series. This body was introduced with this figure, and it has also been used for Keyan Farlander (2008 and 2011), Lieutenant Pollard (2008), Ekelarc Yong (2011), and "Nien" Nunb (2009)... maybe I forgot one off the top of my head. The point is this is a pretty durable body, too tall for a Sullustian but it still looks pretty good.

SInce Hasbro decided to jsut cheap out and use a single taller body, the good news is all descendants from the mold are the same height-- unlike a number of male orange-suited pilots, which were mistakenly given the shorter Luke body. With 14 joints, the figure has a great range of movement and can be posed in just about any action stance. That's the good news. The bad news is that the body type is a huge pain in the neck with all its hoses and cables. He fits into a B-Wing fairly well, I guess, but it's still bulky and may require some fidgeting. The pilots, post-2005, were not designed with piloting in mind. The detail is good, I like the head sculpt, the helmet fits, and it's basically the best Ten Numb in a white suit you can get-- but he's kinda tall, and if that bugs you, I guess stick with the 1999 release.

Collector's Notes: Despite having been released 3 years ago, several Toys R Us stores and online toy shops have unsold units of this. That, my friends, is why Evolutions is gone. You should have no problem getting it for under $20. Just this figure individually sells for under $3 on eBay.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,693: December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,692: Jarael

JARAEL and Rohlan Dyre
The Legacy Collection Entertainment Earth Exclusive Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 91774
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #15
Includes: Lightsaber, bag, Rohlan Dyre figure, comic book reprint
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: November 2010
Appearances: Knights of the Old Republic comic books

Bio: Jarael (born Edessa) was a female Arkanian Offshoot. She was hot-tempered with eyes and hands like Humans and pointed ears, bearing tattoos that were known as the Flames of the Crucible bearing the name "Jarael" in the ancient language of the Crucible meaning "protector." (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's old apartment's common area.

Commentary: I wasn't as excited to see Jarael as I was her pack-mate, because Rohlan Dyre has an awesome design with great gear and Jarael is some blue chick. There was a long list of characters from the Knights of the Old Republic comic I expected to see plastic, and I guarantee you she wasn't one of the first six I'd have bet on getting. With what's essentially a tank top and a cloth lower dress, the figure has a good range of movement and has no real problems holding her staff weapon.

While the deco on the head is exceptional-- the hair sculpting is great, the blue skin is awesome, the deco is dynamite and the tattoos are just amazing-- it's still a boring character. There's not much getting around that. This is a quality figure of a character I'm willing to bet most of you didn't ask for, and it really is a good one. I mean, considering this is the only one Hasbro will ever do, it's awesome. The little pouches, the painted buttons, it's obvious Hasbro put a lot of love (and paint) into this one. For fans of the character or comic, you owe it to yourself to get her and add her to your collection. For people that don't dig the extreme pre-history of the Skywalker clan... run away.

Collector's Notes: Released about a year ago, and still available if you want it. Her parts have never been reused and unless maybe they crib these parts to make Dani or another Zeltron some day, I doubt the tooling will ever see the light of day again.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,692: December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,691: Savage Opress

SAVAGE OPRESS Armored, Second-Ever Savage Opress Action Figure
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 94736 No. 32845
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #CW59
Includes: Stand, lightsaber, firing staff, missile, dice, card
Action Feature: Battle Axe Fires Missile
Retail: $8.99
Availability: August 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Savage Opress is magically strengthened by the witches of Dathomir and trained by Count Dooku in lightsaber combat and the ways of the Dark Side. Dooku send Opress on a mission to kidnap the king of Toydaria, but when the Jedi intervene, Opress wields his double-bladed lightsaber with devastating results. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's kitchen.

Commentary: I got both Savage Opress figures on the same day, which is good because the shirtless one left me wanting more-- and this armored version basically delivered what I needed. The two share a lot of tooling-- the legs and forearms seem to be the same, with different torso, heads, and biceps between them. The reason I like this one so much more is that the face sculpt is slightly better with its closed mouth, and his articulation is improved due to how he was sculpted. The shirtless one has a plastic lower robe, while this one has a cloth piece-- so if you want, you can get him to sit.

The sculpting is pretty clean, without too many excessive details. Hasbro went for a more streamlined appearance with limited textures, aslthough he does have a notable branch design on his... er... loincloth thing. The horns on his head are long and sturdy, and his boots are quite menacing-- someone's going to get kicked in the chest with these. He has few problems standing on his own, if you pose him right it shouldn't be much of a problem.

As to his gear? He has a firing axe missile thing, which looks better than it functions, plus a lightsaber. The saber is inspired by Darth Maul, Asajj Ventress, and Count Dooku's weapons with a few elements from each. I like it-- it would make a nice full-size roleplay toy some day. I assume most people who watch the show are actively searching for this one, and let me tell you it's worth it. The shirtless version is OK but not nearly as cool, which leads me to believe Hasbro knew what they were doing and decided to make the less desirable version more common as, well, you'll probably go ahead and buy the other one anyway if you ever saw it. Due to the villain's Maul-ness, he is one of the show's brighter introductions and will be making some sort of return-- so there's all the more reason to get this one.

Collector's Notes: Two Savage Opress figures hit basically the same week, but the shirtless one shipped in three different assortments while the armored one appeared in but one. So right now, this is the more scarce of the two. I fully expect to see him in droves early next year, because why miss the opportunity?

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,691: December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,690: Coleman Trebor

COLEMAN TREBOR Battle of Geonosis
Power of the Jedi Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84991
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0324
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99-$5.99
Availability: Fall 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: An amphibious creature from the watery world of Sembla, Coleman Trebor is a brave and noble Jedi Knight and member of the Jedi High Council. He is one of many Jedi assembled by Mace Windu to confront the Separatist armies on Geonosis. Here, where the Clone Wars begin, Trebor defeats countless Geonosian warriors and droid battalions, but meets his ultimate fate in the gunslinging hands of bounty hunter Jango Fett. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Just say no to rugs.

Commentary: If Coleman Trebor represented a stage in Hasbro's development as a figure maker, this would be the phase where she went off backpacking to German to find herself and join a band named "Chyx." (If you know the joke, pat yourself on the back.) This figure was an entirely new sculpt. This one came out between the 2002 phase, where most characters were statues, and the super-articulated phase, which really kicked off at the end of 2003 and again at the end of 2004. Trebor has 12 points of articulation and it seems obvious to me that Hasbro was aiming to add articulation while maintaining that statue aesthetic. The figure has a ton of sculpted detail in his robes, and very specific folds in his outfit that lend it to being displayed in a very specific way. Having said that, the legs and robes were designed so he can sit-- he still looks like he's going to fight, but you can fit him inside some vehicles. Aside from vehicle compatibility and packaging, this figure feels like the kind of thing most collectors wanted-- tons of statuesque detail and virtually invisible joints.

His articulation, like many 2003 figures, is uneven. Both wrists are jointed, but only one elbow. One knee is articulated, with the opposite leg's ankle having a joint. It's quite unusual, but it more or less works-- this is a figure designed to stand up or be displayed without too much force, except for one tiny little flaw which I'm now going to pick at as that's the way of my people. His right hand? It's a closed fist. There's a hole in it for the lightsaber, but it's an incredibly tight fit. Over the years in Star Wars, we've learned that closed fists designed to hold weapons are usually a pain in the neck. (See: 1995 Boba Fett.) One you get the saber hilt in his hand, it doesn't want to come out. Sure, you can get it out, but it's going to involve use of the force. And by force, I mean my three ounces of strength. This is one rare case where I am extremely happy that the lightsaber blade is removable from the hilt for storage purposes: I do not like extracting the hilt from his hand.

The stand is also really cool, with cracked mud and dead droid bits on the bottom. A little paint can make it even better, but overall this is a very strong figure. It's not 16+ joints super-aticulated crazy time, but for five bucks this was a remarkable release and it fits right in with your 2011 figures. If you go through life with only one Colman Trebor action figure, make it this one.

Collector's Notes: A new Coleman Trebor came out in 2009, based on a Qui-Gon Jinn body. I like the 2003 one better-- it has less articulation, but more personality. The sculpt is arguably better here in 2003, but it can't sit. Overall, I like the 2003 one more. He should set you back $10 or less.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,690: December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,689: Ryloth ARF Trooper

The Clone Wars Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 31695 No. 31708
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, stand, game card, AT-RT
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $16.97
Availability: December 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars episode "Supply Lines"

Bio: An ARF trooper in Captain Keeli's unit scouts the enemy's position on an All Terrain Recon Transport (AT-RT) walker. The ARF trooper drives the walker across the rocky landscape of Ryloth to gather information about battle droids heading toward Republic forces. The AT-RT can move quickly and is armed with a blaster cannon for assault missions. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo area.

Commentary: So far there have been at least 7 figures made based on the ARF Trooper mold, and this Ryloth-specific version is, like the others, supremely cool. They can keep making these all day long, and I hope that they do-- it's a great mold! This is the first animated clone design to incorporate ball-jointed hips, so seeing them reuse it makes me happy. His bend-and-swivel wrists can hold his blaster pistol, or you can park it in the back of the AT-RT walker. The figure appears to be molded in white plastic with lots of dark maroon splotches, and there's also a little bit of grey over it which... I gotta say, I'm not sure it's going to add any extra visual protection. I get the browns and stuff for the dirty world of Geonosis, or the dark greys for the jungles, but I'm not sure I totally grasp this one. Still... it looks cool. No arguments there.

The vehicle should be noted for its exceptional deco-- there's a lot of color on this one, with red horns, multiple shades or red and orange on his feet, plus a green splotch on the front with the word "RAM" written in Aurebesh. Appropriate, given the horns. The vehicle is as good as the others in terms of construction, but as deco goes I think it may be my new favorite. I really like these and hope Hasbro cranks out a new one every year or two-- it's a nice combination.

As an entire unit, I'd say that it's arguably worth it. $17 is a lot of money for a repaint these days, but the clone is cool and I like the vehicle a lot and the clone looks great. What's not to like? If you ever see it on clearance, buy it-- because if you don't, I'll be buying a squad of these if it gets to $5 or less. At $17, one is sufficient but... geez, it's nice. I was actually pretty disappointed when it got delayed with no real confirmation of when it would show, mostly because it's such a great design.

Collector's Notes: The set was delayed, apparently by quite a bit-- the date stamp indicates it was likely made in March of 2011. The item was announced in July of 2011, when Hasbro confirmed an August release date. It hit in December, more or less out of the blue after months of silence. It's the third AT-RT with ARF Trooper based on this mold, and probably the most ornate so far. It shipped with Buzz and his BARC Speeder, each is seemingly 2 per case. Due to it hitting in Wal-Mart's busy season, the set could quite possibly sell out very quickly-- I often point out that a ravenous Wal-Mart clientele can gobble up an entire palette of Mr. Potato Heads in under 24 hours, so given I just found this one last Friday I'll be quite curious to see how quickly it will vanish. (Or if it will vanish.)

So far there have been very few toys from this episode-- I have my doubts that we'll see Keeli, Ima-Gun Di, and Dao as action figures but Hasbro has done some wacky things before. Just in case... be ready and pick up this set.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,689: December 5, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,688: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Jedi Warriors
Saga Toys R Us Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 26720
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, prison device, Assassin Droid, stand, other figures
Action Feature: Magnet in hand grasps lightsaber or Assassin Droid
Retail: $19.99
Availability: 2004
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Jedi Knight. Master to Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan exemplifies the courage of the Jedi order. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: There's no shortage of Obi-Wan Kenobi figures from the prequels, and I was genuinely excited when I first got this one back in 2002. But we're here to talk about the 2004 rerelease, which has slightly lighter hair and a darker set of eyebrows. Other than that, it's fundamentally the same as the 2002 release and arguably not different enough to get you interested in it. But it comes with a neat big accessory so that's why you want this.

The new piece, which was originally supposedly developed to be included with the Geonosis Arena playset, was cut due to budget reasons and ended up in this set. (The Arena was pretty cheap, as low as $40 I believe when it first hit.) It makes sense that you'd want to cut the less exciting bits, and this makes sense to remove. The round bits on the base rotate, just like in the movie. The blue clear energy bits can more or less grasp a figure, it's a little awkward to get this figure into the stand but it basically works. You can even toss a lightsaber in his hand if you really want, even though it makes no sense in the context of the scene where Count Dooku interrogates the Jedi.

A good accessory can make a figure you don't want into something you'll throw down some serious money to get. I bought this set because of the Nikto Jedi variant and this very base, which so far remains exclusive to this gift set nearly seven years later. It's weird to think, but the accessories aged better than the figures. So if you like this idea, get this set, take the stand, and put the figures into a drawer somewhere.

Collector's Notes: Unsurprisingly, this set is now effectively worthless. The main selling points were this big accessory and a Nikto Jedi who has since been upgraded. As such, buy the set for this restraining device and you'll probably be pretty happy.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,688: December 2, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,687: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER Jedi Training on Dagobah
30th Anniversary Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87503 No. 87214
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, blaster, 4 other figures
Action Feature: Push button for lightsaber swinging action
Retail: $19.99-$24.99
Availability: Spring 2007
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Young and brave, Luke Skywalker was a fast and eager learner, but his own impatience and latent anger proved to be his greatest enemies. Despite the guidance of both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was on his own for much of his Jedi training. It was his deep native connection to the Force that allowed him to eventually control his own emotions. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's couch.

Commentary: I've got a lot of Luke Skywalker figures. I haven't actually sat down and counted them for a while, but I do remember at one point I had something close to 30 of them when the line size hadn't yet hit 300, if memory serves. This was in part because Kenner kept tweaking and rereleasing figures, be it with new heads, different arms, or a new torso with a hole for an accessory which was never made. This particular Luke is based on the then-exceptional 2002 release, minus the accessories that made it so fantastic. Even though the 2010 Vintage Bespin Luke (not the 2007 one, that one sucked) is the best Bespin Luke, I still strongly suggest buying the 2002 release just for his gear. But how does this one rate?

It's OK-- I like the brown color better for his outfit, and I appreciate that Hasbro made him look less harried than the Cloud City-specific ones in 2002 and 2004. Luke is less sweaty and bloody, with fewer bruises and richer overall coloring. I like how he looks a lot, but without the antenna, bacta tourniquet, or other junk, it's just another Luke. Mind you, it's a good Luke-- the lightsaber swinging action at the waist was a really nice touch, even though Hasbro quickly phased out the button-activated features. The metal lightsaber grip looks great, and the blaster fits right into his holster. As toys go, this is a good piece and it wouldn't stun me to see Hasbro alter it slightly and rerelease it in its Movie Heroes line later. It looks a little dated by our current standards, but remember, back when this sculpt first came into the world it was dynamite.

With 12 points of articulation and a removable right hand, this figure simply did more and did it better than its siblings. It also had a holster sculpted as part of the leg, a minor detail but as a toy fan this is a huge deal. The separate rubber belt/holster hinders articulation slightly, while this one can actually sit with minimal problems. In short, it's a real toy, and as such it's really fun. If you're feeling up to it, go ahead and get this gift set.

Collector's Notes: There are two versions of this gift set. The 2007 release with 30th Anniversary Packaging has a different mold used for Darth Vader than the 2008 version, which should piss off a fair amount of completeists. (I just buy both and hate myself for the next week while I eat PB&Js to make up the difference in my wasted money.) The 2008 Legacy version seems to be the rarer one, with the 2007 one selling for as little as ten bucks on eBay. For ten bucks, the Yoda, Vader, Luke, R2-D2, and Obi-Wan Kenobi grouping is fantastic and even boxed, it's a nice display piece. If you can, get this set-- heck, get three or four so you can have all the versions around, you crazy person you.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,687: December 1, 2011