Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,382: Tusken Raider / Sand People (The Black Series / 40th Anniversary)

TUSKEN RAIDER "Sand People" on the 40th Cardbacks
The Force Awakens / 40th Anniversary The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. C2142
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #41
Includes: Cloth cloak, 4 different gaffi stick pieces, rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: May 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio:   Fearsome desert savages inhabiting the rocky Jundland Wastes, Tusken Raiders are the foremost reason Tatooine colonists do not wander far from their isolated communities. Extremely territorial, Tusken Raiders will attack with very little provocation. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  I always want to be impressed or surprised, and this new Tusken Raider delivers.  I think the last new version of the figure was possibly almost ten years ago, so this 6-inch debut is a long-awaited step in a new direction.  The last "vintage" version, you'll recall, had only swivel elbows.  This one has real elbows, rocker ankles, bend-and-swivel wrists, and a customizable gaderffi stick.   You can pluck out the bottom, pointy part and swap in one that looks like the classic movie/Kenner version and two other ones I am mildly ashamed to admit I do not immediately recognize.   I love that they gave fans an options like this for army building (or just for variety's sake), allowing you to have up to four differently equipped raiders from just one figure with no modifications needed.  This  is a good thing.

The hands are sculpted as well as most others, allowing him to hold a rifle or the gaffi stick with both hands.   The mixed media figure is a decent one, with a cloth skirt inhibiting movement of the legs (boo) but cloth robes over it so it looks good (yayy).  It's a functional release, but it would have been awesome if they could have allowed for more leg movement - as it is, it's a gorgeous figure with decent functioning legs.  I love how the bottom of the robes are clearly multiple layers, with a tattered, dirtier outer layer complete with extra grime and frayed edges.  That's really the tops.

The sculped texture feels fantastic, and the factory picked some really great fabric for the outer robes.  If you like fondling your figures, you're going to like this one.  The head wrappings are similarly fantastic, and hte head sculpt is exactly what it should be - a pile of garbage.  Metal bits horns, and the weird let's say mouth are represented perfectly, as are the pouches on his belt with all the little buttons and/or snaps.  It's a gorgeous figure.

Available in standard The Black Series or 40th Anniversary faux-vintage packaging, Hasbro gave fans plenty of options with this one.  You can display it, or keep it packaged any way you want.   I'd love to have had more leg movement but I can't have everything.  It's good, get one if you can - get more than one if you're feeling greedy.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,382: June 28, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,381: CZ Series Communications Droid (White, Droid Factory)

CZ SERIES COMMUNICATIONS DROID White, Dirty,  basically CZ-3
Star Tours   Droid Factory Customizable Figure
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney?
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $12.95
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The CZ-series communications/business droid was a droid series produced by Serv-O-Droid, Inc. The CZ-series was released as Serv-O-Droid began to wane in its position as a dominant droid manufacturer.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  This one might look familiar. The White CZ Series Communication Droid is a droid that appeared in two films with two different names, but the same suit was supposedly used with minimal (or no) modifications.   A CZ-4 action figure came out in 2007, and this one looks a lot like it - but it also looks like reference photos of CZ-3 (from Mos Eisley) and CZ-1 (from the Sandcrawler) from the original Star Wars.  And it could stand in for CZ-4 in a pinch, of course.

The figure you see here has specific arms, as well as a head and body.  The legs are the same as C-3PO, and the dusty deco is also the same as the white protocol droid.  Articulation is just fine, with 20 points of articulation.   I love the sculpted detail, although the glossy white plastic isn't exactly what I would have pictured for this generally dusty and worn robot.   Disney's crew did a pretty good job getting the major paint details right, such as the dirty deco, the silver shoulder, and the dots in the eyes.  The wipes weren't quite handled to match the movie, but you get the idea of who this is - and we all need droids to fill out shelves.
It's worth noting that this isn't the CZ-4 mold.  That Hasbro figure splits at the waist, presumably by design, while this one pops apart at the neck/shoulders/hips.   You can indeed throw parts around a Sandcrawler - and you're probably going to see a big Sandcrawler again soon - so you should probably snag this one.   If you're happy with CZ-4 (and have a few of him) you're all set, but this one is certainly welcome to add to the seemingly unending droid hordes.   It's worth the asking price, although the trip and the wait in line may not necessarily be worth the potential exhaustion and emotional turmoil.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Hollywood Studios.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,381: June 26, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,380: Jawa (The Black Series / 40th Anniversary)

JAWA 40th Anniversary
40th Anniversary Collection / The Black Series  6-Inch Figure Debut
Item No.:
Asst. C1688 No. C2718
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: 2 blasters
Action Feature: Glow in the dark green eyes
Retail: $22.99
Availability: May 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: What Jawas hid underneath their heavy robes was subject to much speculation from the colonists who settled on Tatooine, with rumors claiming they were giant rodents or devolved humans. Although Jawas were typically small, measuring only one meter, some of them were significantly taller than that. One of those abnormally gangly Jawas was almost as tall as a 3PO unit, a model of protocol droid measuring 1.71 meters.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  A recurring theme I have here tends to be how toys stopped being toys - straddling the world of "toy" and "collector item" never was the strong point of an action figure, unless that was the only option we as fans had.   Today if you want a Jawa, you've got choices spanning four decades.   Features change, but some elements are consistent - this 6-inch scale figure is very similar to the ones in 2007-2009, in that you have an almost super articulated figure.  The arms are, but the legs are restricted by the expertly sculpted robes.   This is somewhat infuriating, because money was spent sculpting, decorating, and articulating the legs.  Each one has a hip joint, a knee joint, and an ankle joint.  They will do you zero good unless Hasbro decides to release a version of this figure with a cloth outfit.  And they might - even the hood appears to be a separately molded piece, allowing them to cover the figure with cloth and maybe even getting some value out of those leg joints.

In the 1990s, fans often derided one-legged (or in some cases, no-legged figures) as salt shakers.  These helped keep costs down a bit in an era of $4.99-$5.99 action figures, and for some reason Hasbro started adding useless leg articulation to these figures a lot starting around 2006.   Keep in mind we used to get two Jawas for $5, and I'd be lying to you if I said this was a $20 value for a single 6-inch scale Jawa.   It's not.  It's nice, it's cool, and it's an essential part of getting the original 12 Kenner action figures in this new size.  But is it good?  It's adequate.  The loss of the cloth robes stings a bit, much like how the Death Squad Commander isn't grey.   It's Kenner-ish.  It's Kenner-esque.   Maybe there's a Comic-Con exclusive coming that hasn't been announced, but as it is it's something of a disappointment.  Authentic, sure.  It meets the criteria most fans demand.  But it ain't great.

The figure has tattered robes and white dust at the hem, giving it a fairly decent look.   Thanks to the overall deco budget, it looks like a brand-new set of robes pre-stained, but from a respectable distance it looks just fine.  The bandoliers cross his chest, and its yellow eyes  are nice and bright - in this respect, I'd say it's as good as the 1978 figure and better than the 1996-1999 ones.   The black mummy wrappings still cover his face, and the black gloves are all here.  There's not a lot of deco here, so other than "make it really filthy" Hasbro pretty much knocked it out of the park.

He has two blasters, plus on-belt storage for the wired one.   One is wired to a power source, and the other is easily held in his hand.   There's a little bit of deco here, but nothing too mind-blowing.

I've mentioned in the past that some 6-inch figures don't benefit at all from super-articulation and this is one of them.  It's a Jawa - a fan favorite, an essential thing in any group of action figures based on the saga.   But it's not great.   We're used to getting a droid, or a second Jawa, in most packs - at $20 we really need something meatier in the box.  Swappable robes would have been a huge bonus, but like the Yoda I don't see how this figure is in any way better than a $13 3 3/4-inch super-articulated figure.    It's basically sized similarly to the 3 3/4-inch-ish Chewbacca, and it's not exactly massive.  Nobody is fleecing us here, Hasbro is delivering the kind of product we expect (and in some cases demand) but from where I sit, it's kind of a bore.  It's just like the smaller cheaper Jawas - which included droid accessories - for a much higher price and much lower value proposition.   Aside from the useless leg articulation, the execution is absolutely spot-in - it's just not meaty as Lando or Obi-Wan or other recent releases.   Obviously get it on sale (lots of them), and at full price you'll probably still want to buy one to finish the collection.   Just don't anticipate being impressed.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,380: June 21, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,379: Lando Calrissian (The Black Series)

LANDO CALRISSIAN Big Figure Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. C2140
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #39
Includes: Blaster Pistol, communicator
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: May 2017
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio:  Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I'm really glad we got Lando Calrissian already - although I'm somewhat surprised they didn't just wait for the Han Solo movie.   Based on his most famous costume, Lando Calrissian has a rubbery plastic cape, his communicator, and a blaster.  His blaster is famous as an update of the original Kenner figure's weapon, and it's also in many publicity stills.  I'm not sure where it actually appears in the movie though, now that I think of it, but maybe I'm just getting old.  It's painted and looks just like any decent Rebel blaster.

He also has his intercom commlink/communicator - it fits in his hands perfectly, with a golden top part and a silver bit underneath.  His left thumb is molded perfectly to hold it, so kudos to Hasbro on that and keep in mind he has no on-figure storage for this accessory - take care to not lose it.  Of course, what you want to know about is the cape - it smells of rubbery plastic, and the sculpted lining is quite nice.   The deco doesn't quite match the actual costume's lining, so the interior really gives you more of an impression of the material rather than an exact match.  It hangs over his shoulders nicely, with the black collar and blue exterior. It hangs well.  It's sculpted nicely.   I'd be hesitant to say that it would be possible to make a better cape given the cost of the figure and the minimal chance of them ever reusing this piece on another toy.

The figure is no slouch with at least 26 points of articulation.  I'm not super keen on the eyesore torso joint (rather than articulating the figure at the belt), mostly because he can't do much ab crunching.  The forward/backward motion is minimal at best, so the ability to swivel to the sides just makes it look wonky.   The arms and legs move well, though, and look mostly fantastic.  My sample had some weird white rough patches on the pants, for reasons I don't entirely understand.  The cut on the hips gives the figure a good range of motion, but the silhouette is a little diaper-esque.  But at least he can assume a number of really cool action poses, thanks to the rocker ankles, double-knees, and everything else.

I love how the head turned out, especially as the eyes and mustache all seem painted on straight on my sample.  The eyes have a bit of gloss on them too, so that's an added bonus.  The hair is great, the sideburns are good, and the costume is pretty uniform.  BUT - there's a super cool wrist communicator with painted lights on his right wrist! That's awesome.  Nicely done, Hasbro.

So - it's pretty good.  I don't like the torso, but everything else turned out pretty well.  I hope to see a "Vintage" package variant some day, but I'm not holding my breath.  It would have been stupendous to have a stormtrooper blaster thrown in for good measure, but I'm very happy that they gave him the microphone.   For $20-$25, you're going to like it.   Maybe even $30.  I assume it might be a while before we get another 6-inch Lando figure based on Billy Dee Williams, but maybe Hasbro will surprise us in the next couple of years.  And hopefully we'll see him pop up in one of the sequels.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,379: June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,378: 3PO Protocol Droid (White, Droid Factory)



3PO PROTOCOL DROID White, Dirty
Star Tours   Droid Factory Customizable Figure
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney?
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $12.95
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: n/a

Bio: The 3PO-series protocol droid was a Human-cyborg relations protocol droid produced by Cybot Galactica. The model series had very similar aesthetic design in its casing to other Cybot Galactica droid model series such as the TC-series, 3PX-series, and 5YQ-series protocol droids.  (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  We already had a build-a-droid-based K-3PO, but here's another one.   This 3PO Protocol Droid is cast in white plastic and slathered in dusty brown paint, with the famous red dots and a black smudge on his chest.   The feet read "CHINA" and "©LFL" once more, with the kind of articulation you saw when Hasbro was throwing 1/6 of a droid in every basic figure.  Oh, the good old days.

I think team Disney was going for "dirty" and instead got... uh... diaper-accident.  It's clean in spots and smudged in spots, like a finger-painting accident gone horribly wrong.  My sample uses the traditional C-3PO mold parts, with an open right hand and a left hand that looks like it could grip something.  He has no problems standing, and he can sit somewhere on the lower end of adequate.  We've seen better.  The arm movement is great, and he can stand well.     The yellow eyes have a black dot that adds a little personality, with just a hair more courtesy of the black mouth opening. Kudos, Disney. This was a nice thing to feature, as it really does bring it to life nicely.

If you've been collecting at all since 2000, you've had many shots at K-3PO-ish figures.   You don't necessarily need this one, but it's distinctive thanks to the brown smudging.  If you do the diorama thing it's a must-buy, and if you're droid crazy (and I am) you'll appreciate that the Disney team actually brought out a new twist on something I was sitting here thinking I'd never have a reason to revisit again... short of in the larger 6-inch size.   Detailing is good and consistent with Hasbro's, but it's not convincingly Hoth-esque.  Maybe you can just pretend he was hanging out in the background on Yavin IV with the other rebels from Rogue One.  I'd be lying if I said you should go out of your way to pick this one up, but if you're there anyway and it's available you may as well snag one.  Or two!

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Hollywood Studios.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,378: June 14, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,377: Vendor Droid (Blue, Droid Factory)

 VENDOR DROID Blue
Star Tours   Droid Factory Customizable Figure
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney?
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $12.95
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: n/a

Bio: A vendor droid, also known as a shopkeeper droid, was a type of droid assigned to sell merchandise.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  Here we go again.  Misery for collectors tastes like Disney, because the Vendor Droid is exclusive to their theme parks and is sold in pieces.  The pieces you need to build it may not be available on a specific day - a pal of mine helped me out, but I also got a fair amount of mismatched droids due to availability... so I need more parts.   And I'm very fortunate - otherwise fans have to resort to a massive vacation to get them, or bribes, or eBay.   The basic body of the model we're looking at today is C-3PO with new colors and a new head.

While similar to Hasbro's build-a-droid molds, it's a little different.  The feet read "CHINA" and "©LFL", with no year or Hasbro markings.   He has 20 points of articulation if you count generously, and why shouldn't you?  This kind of droid debuted in the CG The Clone Wars animated series, so these mark its first "realistic" action figures - and first figures of any kind.  On the show they were frequently green and striped, but this one is dark blue with vintage hot rod pinstriping on his chest for some reason.  Maybe there's a story here, but I can't tell you what it is - maybe this is a hint about something in the future Star Warsland park that will open eventually.   The figure's ability to stand and sit are worthy of praise, although I'm increasingly ambivalent about how the action figure world is packed with incompatible styles.  This may be "old man" though, as back when I was a kid there were 3 distinct scales of action figures from Kenner and all of them were compatible within their own lines.   Well, maybe not the Ewoks cartoon figures, but that's OK.  Today, the 3 3/4-inch format not only has cartoon formats, but multiple ones.  The Clone Wars figures are a mix of "real" and "animated" figures, but at least Hasbro has given us a consistent 6-inch The Black Series line.

What make each of the figures we'll look at here distinctive is the head.   Here, a peg goes in to the body and swivels around.   A can-shaped head has two piercing yellow eyes and an unpainted mouth slit, plus a hat that looks like a flood light of some sort.  Maybe it's a price scanner.  I actually don't know - but it's distinctive, and the blue chest marker looks a lot like some sort of Hutt crime tattoo.  The dark color absorbs a lot of the detail, but it's still sharp.  The can itself is a little light on markings, but the body has a ton of bits and pieces thanks to the various limbs and body parts being recycled protocol droids like C-3PO and 4-LOM.

Because Hasbro hasn't distributed a single Vendor Droid in any of its lines in any scale, you need to get one of these guys from a Disney park.  I don't think they've made any show-specific droids yet, but you have blue, red, silver, white, black, and gold flavors for your droid enjoyment.   They fit right in with your Hasbro collection, which is simultaneously great and infuriating.   At least it exists, and you have options.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Hollywood Studios.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,377: June 12, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,376: Lieutenant Sefla (Rogue One)

LIEUTENANT SEFLA Projectile Firing
Rogue One   Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. B7072 No. C1975
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, helmet, projectile, launcher
Action Feature: Launching rocket
Retail: $7.99
Availability: May 2017
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A platoon leader in the Alliance SpecForces, Sefla is eager for action.  A strong, capable soldier,  Sefla has a lot of heart be brings to the fight against the Empire.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  As I'm in the business, I see stuff early.  I didn't see Lieutenant Sefla (the figure) early but sometimes names show up and I had to ask "Who the heck is that?"   Raddus' name and Galen Erso were known entities, but prior to the movie nobody knew who Sefla was.   I eventually found a blurb confirming the actor who was cast in the role, but that didn't help things.  I saw the movie, and that didn't help things either.   This is a nifty, distinctive Rebel trooper - but why this one?  Galen Erso is a pivotal character portrayed by a well-known character actor.   Admiral Raddus steals the show.   Sefla, I'm not 100% sure I could point out in the movie without a freeze-frame.  Mercifully Hasbro delivered a pretty good figure for us to puzzle over, assuming you can find him online to buy somewhere.

As with most recent figures, Sefla has 5 points of articulation including a ball-jointed neck.  What's a real treat is his helmet - it's removable!    It looks like a high-tech version of something the US forces might have used during Vietnam, mixed with elements of the helmets we saw on Endor from Return of the Jedi.  The straps hang down nicely, with painted green and grey bits bringing it to life.    His head sculpt looks like the pictures you'll see in guide books, with a blaster unpainted to match. 

I'm stunned that while Raddus was hollow (and I have touched the sky), Sefla is actually solid plastic in his torso.  This gives him a little more heft, which is a curious choice given he's a little rounder than most figures.  I like that the colors of his uniform have a familiar vibe, even if he could stand to have more and brighter paint applications.  It's the only Sefla I assume we'll ever get, so at least I can say I'm happy he can stand up and hold his gun.  His legs also swing forward far enough that he should fit in many vehicles without much of a fight - a huge plus.

I'm even more surprised that his bazooka is cool.  The design is marvelous - the plastic projectile is a grey rocket, with a red explosion trailing out from behind it.  The launcher itself looks good, with some nice deco.  Brilliant!   Unfortunately it's too heavy for him to balance it, and the shoulder covering part doesn't necessarily stay in place.   I don't love the execution, but the thought process put in to making this particular accessory has me giddy.  Hasbro actually exploited the safety requirements for its bazooka projectile to make something that would be even cooler than just a small firing rocket designed to choke children ca. 1978.

Sefla's a good modern Hasbro figure.  It's not the best ever, but we're fortunate that we got this new character instead of yet another retread of someone we already purchased.   The sculpting is good, the deco is mostly on the spot, and he's a display stand away from being everything he should.  If you have the means, get one.  Also if you ever hear why we got him instead of somebody else, I'd be curious to know.  He's not bad - far from it - I'm always just a little bewildered when someone like a Ric Olie gets a figure that must have been in development before the final cut of the film.  The rumor (fact?) was that the performance for Ric Olie wasn't good enough for the final cut, and I can only assume Sefla was surgically edited out after the reshoots.  But I don't know this - I do know he turned out well enough to make me happy that he exists.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,376: June 7, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,375: Kylo Ren (6-Inch Value Figure)

KYLO REN Titan Guardians-Esque
The Force Awakens "Dollar Store" 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3946 No. B3949
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.75?
Availability: Fall 2015, Mexico/Australia
Appearances: The Force Awakens

Bio:  A dark warrior strong with the Force, Kylo Ren commands First Order missions with a temper as fiery as his unconventional lightsaber.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  It seems Kylo Ren sells well.  This particular version hasn't been offered in the USA as of yet, it's a 6-inch tall figure with jointed arms and a moving waist.  The neck is a separate joint too, but the hood hangs over his back preventing movement.   Thanks to his distinctive build the figure is a bit hollow - and I do mean that literally - but he stands without any fuss and can hold his lightsaber.  Too bad you're going to have to go overseas or do lots of networking to find one, as it scarcely shows up on the electronic bay or online toy sellers since most people aren't even aware it exists.

This take on Ben Solo seems to be derived from Kylo Ren [FOTD #2,229] from 2015, with some similar details in how the robes are positioned - particularly around the feet - with with tweaks to the hands and deco.  The tattered hood/cape is still here, as is the distinctive mask.  His belt buckle is left unpainted, but glossy black paint was added to the boots, gloves, belt, and helmet to add a little more "oomph" to the otherwise one-color figure.  I'm actually kind of annoyed they left the belt buckle unpainted... not because we probably wouldn't miss it, because it's pretty much the only thing left to do to make this figure almost perfect (for what it is.)

The whole cloaked Darth mummy thing works pretty well here as it usually does, with the crossguard lightsaber fitting perfectly in his hand and, if you ask me, looking better than most other of Hasbro's takes on the weapon as an action figure accessory.  The energy spills out of the emitters, and even though the hilt is only painted one shade of grey it still looks superb.     I just wish you could turn his head.

For six bones, it's magnificent.  For ten dollars, you could just as easily get the 12-inch figure.  For more than that, odds are you'd be better served getting a big Jakks Pacific figure or Hasbro's The Black Series release - especially if the latter is on markdown still somewhere near you.   Were this at Big Lots! near you right now, I'd say run out and buy yourself one because it's cheap, sizable, and would look great as a work decoration.  Especially because at $6, if it gets stolen,  you wouldn't freak out - but it's not $6, it's a scarce international collectible now.   I'm glad I got mine, and I hope Hasbro continues to pump these out, slowly, over the coming years.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Mexico via eBay.  Wave 1 was international only so far (Australia, Mexico).  It's hard to find these because not many come up for sale and there's no consistent branding/name for this particular scale.  Good luck!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,375: June 5, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,374: R5-D4 (The Black Series / 40th Anniversary)

R5-D4 GameStop Exclusive
40th Anniversary Collection   6-Inch Figure Debut
Item No.:
No. C1983
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: 2 flip-open panels with arms, wheels, third leg retracts, leg panels pop off
Retail: $22.99
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: R5-D4, also called "Red" by Luke Skywalker, was a red and white-striped R5 astromech droid owned by a group of Jawas on Tatooine in the early days of the Galactic Civil War. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Jawas attempted to sell him to Owen Lars, but the droid's motivator malfunctioned, so he purchased R2-D2 in R5-D4's place.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  Truly, we are through the looking glass.   For the first almost 15 years of this line, you usually went to Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Kay-Bee Toys for exclusives.  Now, GameStop and Walgreens have entered the mix for the likes of R5-D4.  There's an interesting story behind this particular mold and why it originally was developed, but that might be a few years out - instead, just be happy to know it's a redeco of R5-K6 [FOTD #2,346] for now, and you can potentially get one at a game store near you.  Maybe.  I don't know if/when more are coming in your area.  It was sold (and presold) online for $22.99, a slight premium over most figures at most other stores.  And of course, it seemed to sell out immediately.

I wouldn't call the paint job perfect, but they got most of the markings right on the money.   Blue markings down the middle of the body, blue legs, and a blue tramp stamp dongle all look great - they're not metallic blue, but R2-D2 wasn't super shiny either.   R5-D4 isn't as dirty as in the movie, but I think that's a good choice here.  The dirt is visible, but light - not quite as distracting.    The dome is almost clean, with lenticular markings around the neck as well as the red circles and wedges you've come to love.  His central eye is also filled in with red - this isn't usually the case, and I'm unsure if the movie was.  Most reference shows it being black, but if nothing else it's visually interesting.   For really old fans, R5-D4 will always be the fake R2-D2 - the figure in your collection that remained perfect while the label on R2-D2 got worn down due to play.  It was well-executed, and comes on a nifty cardback, but it ain't R2-D2.   R2-D2 remains hot.

One thing that really surprised me is that the leg panels are removable - the rockets aren't included, but the legs were painted in a matching blue color in case the panels fell off and become lost.  Hasbro really thought ahead here and came through for the end consumer.  I assume this will be hard to get, at least temporarily - we don't know how many shipments GameStop is getting, and if I know Hasbro, neither does GameStop.   I would advise patience, but you may do as you wish.  It's a neat figure and if it were easier to get, I could see wanting to keep a second one in the package - but I ain't rich and space is short, so that isn't going to happen.  I still think he's an essential figure, and I hope Hasbro eventually remakes the original 21 Kenner figures in this size.  (I want more Cantina aliens.)


Collector's Notes:  I got mine from GameStop.   Interestingly, the adhesive on the cardback was garbage - when I was gripping the bubble to slice it, it came right off with no tearing.  Amazing.  Be prepared.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,374: May 31, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,373: Luke Skywalker (The Black Series / Titanium Series / 40th Anniversary)

LUKE SKYWALKER 40th Anniversary
The Black Series Titanium Series 3 3/4-inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. C1857  No. C1858
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #03
Includes: 1 stand, 1 backdrop, 2 blasters, 4 footpegs
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  When I first saw Luke Skywalker as a die-cast metal figure, my question was "...why?"   Like some of you, I'm old and remember Hasbro's "Forged Figure" line in Titanium Series last time.  They were nifty metal figures that came in Sea Monkey-like cases for about $15.  These newer ones are a bit better, but the question remains - why?  It's not bad at all, but you can't help but immediately identify this as a gimmicky thing that probably won't last more than a year, even if they are executed quite nicely.

For the 25th anniversary, Hasbro put out a similar Luke Skywalker in a little diorama, but it also had a Leia and was about $15.  This gets you less figure for more money, but it's heavier and has a much nicer paint job.   Luke's head is a new sculpt, as is the rest of him - the body is metal with plastic arms and a plastic head that looks more than a little like Dax Shepard.   Because the body is metal, Hasbro opted to make it a pair of solid chunks - the waist rotates, but the legs are a statue.   The figure has really fantastic ball-jointed shoulders and a fine neck joint, but you aren't going to get as much out of him as you did your figure from The Vintage Collection a few years ago.   He does have a working holster, though, and that comes in handy.

Luke has two Stormtrooper blasters - one has a red blast effect on the tip, the other does not.   This lets you put him in an action pose with the spare blaster tucked on his belt.  It looks cool, but it also looks a lot like something out of 2002 when Hasbro went full-on statue crazy with the "Saga" line and the 7-inch Unleashed figures.   This is clearly meant to be a display piece, but it's a cool one - it has a backdrop you can flip over, and there's a new paradigm in foot pegs.  The big display base has a whole mess of holes on it, and Luke has 4 plastic pegs - you decide where you want Luke to go, and pose him accordingly.  This is a neat idea, and it seems to work well on my sample.

I won't lie to you -  you don't need this figure.   Since the 6-inch The Black Series went from a great entry-level line for new or lapsed fans to a beast unto itself, here's a new expression you can start if you want to engage in a small collection.  The stands can connect to one another and you can keep a nice row of them on a shelf.   Given the price, you may not wish to do that, but I can't assume the line will go  beyond 20 or 30 figures over the next year.   I'd assume they have plans for the next one or two movies, but beyond that?   It'll probably just be a nice, small collection to briefly enjoy and move on.  Maybe they'll actually forge R2-D2 this time...
If you see these on clearance, though, get them. Get lots.  I bet you'll enjoy using the display base dioramas for other purposes.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth
, but they showed up at GameStop about a month ago in big shippers.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,373: May 29, 2017