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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,826: Grand Moff Tarkin

GRAND MOFF TARKIN  Vintage
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 37499 No.  37516
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #VC98
Includes: Blaster, MSE Droid
Action Feature: Mouse Droid has rolling wheels
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 2012
Appearances: Star Wars

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 Force be with you!  (Taken from the figure's packaging.  No specific character information.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo area.  I sprang sixty cents for some red poster board.  What say you?

Commentary:  One of the things fans asked for-- and wisely so-- are for most of the major characters on a Vintage cardback.  Grand Moff Tarkin was one of those semi-conspicuously absent from the original Kenner line, and along with Slave Leia and Wedge Antilles, these heavy-hitters are all on Vintage cardbacks as of today.  Which, as a packaged collector, you may find exciting.  As I rip these open, well, it's less thrilling, but certainly quite nice to see.  Oh, and here's the video.  As that is what you may be here for when it comes to new figures.



Tarkin is, on paper, everything you could ask for.  He recycles 2009 Captain Needa's arms and 2008 Grand Admiral Thrawn's legs with new hands, a new torso, a new head, and a cloth piece below the belt.  On one hand, this is great-- the figure has no problems sitting.  However, it does look like an apron as it doesn't match the rest of the garment, and it photographs oddly.  Depending on your lighting situation, the color doesn't seem like a bad match, but it's obviously cloth against the plastic of the figure.  The new elements are sculpted well, with wrinkly old man hands a slightly hunched-over neck, and an entirely new head sculpt.  These are hurt by the materials used, as fans argue about the color of Tarkin's garments, and no argument is needed regarding his skin color.  Sure, he's pale, but Tarkin is so white and shiny that some of the detail is lost in the process.  The deco is fantastic and the template seems to be there, the sculpt really is amazing, but the shade of plastic sucks out all the detail so you wouldn't necessarily realize that a little bit of paint-- or even a running change using a different batch of plastic-- could make this figure look a lot better.

You get your normal super-articulated, 14-joint vintage figure with a blaster (meh) and a MSE droid (ooh!)  The droid is a nice accessory because it's a new sculpt, smaller than Hasbro's previous efforts and with some tiny wheels.  Rolling wheels aren't essential at this size but they really do look better than the non-wheeled version we saw since the late 1990s and the giant, pullback one we saw later.

Tarkin is a highly-improved sculpt with the best articulation and detail in the line.  Accuracy be damned, I want a less-glossy head and a greyer uniform should Hasbro ever decide to reissue this one.  They can dump the cloth tunic too, I appreciate its functionality but now I see figures returning to the t-crotch without the "skirt" in the way at all, like the 1997 Tarkin, I'd almost rather see that.  I bet you'll like this figure if you get it in your hands, but, obviously, it ain't perfect.  After nearly 2,000 figures I don't think it's unreasonable to expect each new figure is going to be as close to perfection as Hasbro can get, but I think we'll all be a lot happier of we realize "perfection" is like one of us giving 110% at work: it's just not possible.  I'm glad to see Hasbro trying new things, like the mixed media cloth skirt, but is it good?  Well, take a look at the picture and you tell me.  It's grown on me but it doesn't match our other Imperials, and that's also an issue after you get several hundred figures.

Collector's Notes: This figure is super-new so you may not have seen it yet.  As such, I suggest haunting your local toy shop or clicking the link below to order a case from our sponsors, which supports us, which means you'll get more videos if you like that sort of thing.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 1,826: June 13, 2012

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