Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,410: Snoke (The Last Jedi Line Look)

SNOKE with BB-8 2-In-1 Mega Playset
The Last Jedi BB-8 2-In-1 Mega Playset
Item No.:
No. C1253
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pike, Force Link, playset, bridges, 2 figures
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $199.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Kylo Ren, a human male, was a Force warrior and a former Jedi trainee under his uncle, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, before Ren destroyed Skywalker's attempt to restore the Jedi Order and became an apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  The funny thing about The Last Jedi is that it also seems to be drawing from The Force Awakens in spots, as that line was (and is still) filled with holes.  There are some major characters like Snoke we never got until now, also Luke Skywalker, also droids, also aliens, also... I could go on, but why?  The important thing is we now have our very first 3 3/4-inch Snoke figure and that dude is tall.

When it comes to figures like this, you have to ask if it's going to be better with cloth robes.  I'd argue that it wouldn't - the hard gold plastic looks better, flows better, and shockingly sits in his throne just fine.  After years of iffy Padme figures and dubious Jedi, I'm almost shocked that he just plain fits on his throne in the playset.  The unusually tall humanoid has a caved-in face, missing some teeth or jaw parts not unlike one Boris Karloff.  He's scarred, bald, and grotesque - an uglier Emperor in Hef's shiny pajamas.   With gold slippers.  And a big ol' ring, which is so prominent I have to assume it's a story beat of some sort.  The texture of the robes is so striking, with a gold that reflects strangely in a way that it feels realistic.

The figure does a good job of capturing the character, telling us more than we knew before - he's a giant old, decaying man in shiny clothes.   Is he rich?  Is he a magazine publisher?   What the heck does he want?   He's got a ring and a robe, what else could an intergalactic warlord ask for?   Seeing how stable and nicely sculpted this figure is, it's almost a shame you have to buy a playset to get him.  But, admittedly, it's a pretty nice playset.  If you have the chance to get one, get one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,410: September 20, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,409: Han Solo (The Last Jedi Line Look)

HAN SOLO with Boba Fett
The Last Jedi Action Figure Two-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. C1242  No. C1244
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 blaster pistols, 1 blaster rifle, 2 flame effects, 1 rocket pack, 1 backpack with attached gauntlets
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $8.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Han Solo was a human male smuggler who became a leader in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and an instrumental figure in the defeat of the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  First shown at Toy Fair, we got an unusually early sneak preview of Han Solo as Disney and Lucasfilm are being weird about keeping a lot of this stuff under wraps - despite Walmart having no problems putting it out on shelves weeks ahead of time.   "Do we need another Bespin Han so soon?" I thought - and I still kind of feel that way.  We got one just a few years ago in the Saga Legends line, and this one is pretty similar - he looks a little older and lumpier if you get too close, but it's another Bespin Han and seeing him released at a time during a movie where he's chronologically dead in the story, well, yeah.   We know Leia is in the movie, and we still didn't get a Leia in her Resistance outfit yet, nor did we get any Leia in any main 3 3/4-inch non-exclusive figure line from the two sequel movies just yet.

This is a pretty good figure.  It's not going to be your favorite Bespin Han, but it comes packaged with Boba Fett and it gets the job done.  His blaster fits in his holster, and he sits well.  The yellow striping on the pant legs are textured, and the jacket has a slight blue hue to it.     The shirt is good, the pants are crisp, and the boots are glossy.  There's not much of a neck here, but the design is otherwise pretty decent.  But it's not amazing - you've seen the picture, the face is Harrison Ford-ish but it's not going to change your life.   His likeness has  been tough to capture since day one, and they're still working on getting it perfect.  They did a spectacular job painting his belt, though - the rivets are great, and I believe this is the first Han Solo action figure made in Vietnam.

If you get this figure set, you're getting it for Boba Fett.  Han is a nice addition, and he has some dialogue from the original trilogy if you futz with the Force Link accessory.  I don't think I like how many of the figures introduce themselves - as an in-store demo it would be cool, but as a toy it's kind of annoying.   Get it if you're jonesing for some Ford action, otherwise go grab something that's completely new instead.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,409: September 18, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,408: Jyn Erso (Forces of Destiny)

JYN ERSO Doll Debut
Forces of Destiny Adventure Figure
Item No.:
Asst. C1621  No. C1624
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, baton
Action Feature: Squeeze legs for swinging baton
Retail: $19.99
Availability: August 2017
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A rebel to the core, Jyn Erso takes matters into her own hands to protect others!  (Can 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 Forces of Destiny stuff, my reaction was "Oh, neat. This isn't for me."   I still feel the same way - I bet there's a lot of success here because Hasbro usually dropped the ball with women in all of its action figure lines (ditto Kenner, Toy Biz, Mattel, etc.) during my lifetime.   The female-focus is a great start, but where do you go from there?  Men, of course.   Oh well.  Jyn Erso was part of the line's debut, which I wish took place a year ago rather than after that movie's time in the sun ended.   This adventure doll was designed to do what dolls don't - stand.  This figure stands better than many 3 3/4-inch and 6-inch action figures I own, which is remarkable when you consider this is a feat even Barbie can't accomplish.

Her hair in the front is stiff, and there was a weird fastener going through her hair into her head in the packaging.  I couldn't remove it, so all I could do was push it under the hairline.  (I didn't like it.  It disturbed me.)   Her hair looks a little weird out of the box, but maybe I could glue it down or something.  The face is a decent likeness of Felicity Jones in doll form, and the costume has cloth elements like a vest and a scarf.  The boots are separate rubbery pieces which look potentially removable, but I'm not going to mess with it.  Her belt has a working holster and removable blaster, plus she has a cool baton to club people.

If you squeeze her legs she does this twist-and-bash action that's kind of fun, but it's a little soft.   It's better than many features on smaller toys for boys, though, so I give Hasbro credit for making something that kids may enjoy regardless of gender.  (But time shall tell if there will be a "doll" stigma.)
While the figure is well-engineered with a pleasant design and surprisingly good articulation for the price - the same as a 6-inch The Black Series figure - I don't think I'm going to go all-in on the 11-inch adventure figure format.   I might pick and choose, but as a too-old collector who came up during the original trilogy I'm just not really feeling any new scale of figures.   I just want to stick with 3 3/4-inch and possibly 6-inch until it becomes a burden.     It's a decent product and I'd advise you buy one for yourself just to try it out, or better yet, buy one for a child in your life and play with theirs.   I'd love to see this line take off and grow, but due to size, space constraints, and the fact I already have many other Jyn Erso figures I wouldn't call it essential.  It is good, but all I want is something else.   If this line launched with something I didn't already own as a toy in multiple sizes, I think I'd be more excited for the form factor.

Collector's Notes: Hasbro's PR firm sent this sample to Galactic Hunter HQ, we decided to review it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,408: September 13, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,407: Resistance Pilot Tallie (The Last Jedi Line Look)


RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE with Resistance A-Wing Fighter
The Last Jedi Class B Vehicle Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1248  No. C1249
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, vehicle, projectiles, figure
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $29.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: A longtime reliable starfighter  model used by the Resistance that dates back to the struggle between the Empire and the Rebellion, the A-Wing is a nimble, wedge-shaped fighter propelled to incredible speeds by large twin engines. (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:  There are surprises, and there are surprises.   For years, few lines of figures incorporated multiple women in the line at launch - sure, there were a few, but rarely were they all new characters.  The Resistance Pilot Tallie joins at least two new Resistance members.   Tallie is in a green suit with grey gloves, but the most exciting thing is her new helmet - the visor is translucent, and not opaque like The Force Awakens' iffy helmets.  Which, for better or for worse, creaks open the door to revisit Asty, Poe, and Snap Wexley.

As usual, she has a blaster and 5 points of articulation.  She has no problems standing or sitting in her A-Wing Fighter vehicle, which I have to say is pretty awesome.   Deco is largely good, with painted buttons and most straps - sadly a strap between her legs is left undecorated.   It's that way on the box, too.  You'll also  notice she has a Resistance symbol on her shoulder along with painted code cylinders, a nice addition that could have easily been left off.   The green suit color is also quite nice.

Her Force Link quotes may or may not be in the movie - at this point we have no idea if this is an actor in the film, or a Hasbro or Disney employee just making sure the gimmick has some functionality.   When you shove her forward, you get blaster noises.   Her other quotes include "Here they come!", "Let's do some damage!", "Protect the bombers," and "Reporting in, squadron leader."

This is a perfectly nice figure, pretty good for a pack-in pilot and certainly unique in that this may be the first lady Resistance or Rebel Pilot to be packaged with a vehicle.  We had a Pilot Padme with a Naboo fighter as an exclusive ages ago, but rarely - OK, never - do we get an unknown lady character as a ship pack-in.  (Although we did come close in an exclusive that never got along far enough.  Wait for my book!)   I like the ship, I like the figure, it's a worthwhile purchase.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,407: September 11, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,406: Boba Fett (The Last Jedi Line Look)

BOBA FETT with Han Solo
The Last Jedi Action Figure Two-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. C1242  No. C1244
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 2 blaster pistols, 1 blaster rifle, 2 flame effects, 1 rocket pack, 1 backpack with attached gauntlets
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $8.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Boba Fett was a male human bounty hunter, and the genetic clone of infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  There is a short list of characters I think Hasbro needs to keep in constant (like every 1-2 years) circulation, and near the top of that list is Boba Fett - last sold in the main line in 2015, as part of the rotten Armor Up figure assortment which has mercifully been smothered.   This particular Boba Fett is really skinny, based on his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back.   It also adds something we haven't seen in nearly two decades - an extra large "off-camera"  backpack, although in this case it feels like it really works well.

The sculpting appears new, with a lot of small details and nice wrinkles.  The belt has some added detail thanks to some holes in it, while there's a strap connecting the armor covering his crotchial region.     Most of what needs to be painted is - battle damage, knives in his pockets, some  bolts, and so on.  The rangefinder doesn't move, but the proportions all look good and right.  The only place he falls short is his movie backpack - like his blasters, they're completely unpainted.  There are more ornate Boba Fett figures, or ones with more articulation, but this one is pretty good - the swivels swivel where you want them, and you don't get the weird "this doesn't quite bend" in his elbows.  It's a mixed blessing.

His big goofy fire backpack is a hoot.  The hands grip on to giant Mandalorian gauntlets with massive plug-in flame bits.  The backpack plugs in to his back, and there's a hole so he can plug in his movie backpack, too.  What's more you can even plug the movie backpack into the giant weapon backpack - a nice touch, and a functionally sound idea.  Boba Fett can remain standing with the gauntlets fully extended forward, thanks to the counterweight keeping him upright and his center of balance where it should be.  Hasbro did an excellent job engineering this figure.  My only real challenge here was getting his hands around the flaming grips - I had to use a small tool to wrap his hands over the handles.  Other than that, everything worked easily.

The Force Link sounds are interesting - "Orders are to finish you off!" and "Don't bother hiding" are new, with "He's no good to me dead" being supplied in the 2004 DVD voice.  The "Orders" quote actually does sound like Tem Morrison, but I doubt it's actually him.   The rocket pack has a separate sound clip with other action sounds.  Boba himself also has a rocket pack sound if you wave him around wildly.

Even if you don't like it, it's good.   My big gripes about most figures is poor functionality - that is, a bad joint or accessory bothers me more than no joint at all.  Seeing how much Hasbro put in to this particular edition of Boba Fett, the first all-new 3 3/4-inch one in several years, makes me superbly happy.   This may not be an essential buy for anybody, but if you want a Boba Fett at a decent price you could do a lot worse.  It's fun, so if you like fun give it a look.  And after this one, we're going back to a more normal schedule.

Packaging Notes: The box is pretty good - not too big, not too small.  There is no mention from which movie this product hails.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,406: September 8, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,405: C-3PO (The Last Jedi Line Look)

C-3PO with Force Link
The Last Jedi Basic Figure Teal Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1531  No. C1537
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $8.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: C-3PO, sometimes spelled See-Threepio and often referred to simply as Threepio, was a 3PO unit protocol droid designed to interact with organics, programmed primarily for etiquette and protocol. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  Thanks to his ubiquity, we rarely go more than one or two years without a new toy of C-3PO.   This one is arguably the least interesting in years, or the most like 1978's original in the modern era since 1995.   It's all gold, with no accessories and no silver leg or red arm.   He has 5 joints and at first glance looks a lot like the previous "Mission Series" 2-pack versions.  But he's new.  Just not that new. 

Hasbro seems to have made a new figure from a similar digital sculpt, with changes in the torso wires, tweaks to the arm poses, and that flat gold that's so popular with the kids today.  He has no problems standing, and can sit about as well as most C-3PO action figures - it's not a 90-degree angle, but he can sit in some vehicles or seats.   His sculpting is clean and crisp, and the deco is perfectly fine - but I do worry that this dull gold may molt off with time.  It's rare, but it has happened with some other figures in the past.

Force Link sounds include "Without the Republic Fleet, we're doomed!" "The odds of survival are 725 to one," "R2-D2, where are you?" "I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations," and "Oh my!" if you shake him around.  It's hard to get sounds out of him consistently, so there may be more hidden in there - or Easter Eggs.

If you're happy with the C-3PO you have, you can keep it.  This new one is arguably an improvement thanks to the added Force Link chip, but the figure itself is somewhat expensive for being accessory-free.  I saw him hanging while other figures sold a few weeks prior to launch, so it wouldn't stun me if this winds up being a stinker of the new line unless kids are really interested in just owning any C-3PO.  This isn't impossible, because the last time you could get one was in 2015, and the last individually packaged C-3PO was in The Black Series 3 3/4-inch line.   I like it - yellow eyes, good deco, and a decent personality can make up for a lot.  You could do better, but you've also done worse.

Packaging Notes: The basic cardback is lighter and has less material than before, and is much easier to open than the last two films.   There is no bio on the packaging - a shame - and no co-sells.   There are photos of the figure on the box, though, which have been absent for a few years.   I know I say this a lot, but this may be the worst overall 3 3/4-inch packaging for a single basic figure yet - it's about 70% warning labels.and Force Link upsells with no other figures, vehicles, or toys being promoted.  The movie's title "The Last Jedi" is absent from the packaging.  The last time this happened was in 1999 with The Phantom Menace.  Coincidentally, that was also the last time the line launched with a C-3PO and no R2-D2 in the first wave for a new movie.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,405: September 7, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,404: Darth Vader (The Last Jedi Line Look)

DARTH VADER with Imperial Probe Droid
The Last Jedi Class A Vehicle Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1245  No. C1246
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, Probe Droid, Display Stand, Projectile
Action Feature: Launching Rocket, Force Link sounds
Retail: $19.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Tenacious hunters and searches, probe droids (or probots) have a variety of sensors, and the ones employed by the Empire are armed with powerful blasters and, in some models, shields.   (Can 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:  "How many Darth Vader figures do you need?" you might say, if you're my dad.   By my guesstimates we're in the 40-50 range, which is quite a lot of 3 3/4-inch figures of one guy who doesn't really look all that different from movie to movie.  This new take is posed a lot like the Rogue One release from last year, but it's clearly a new sculpt with new gloves and a new chest.  The pose, waist joint, and unique cut on the inner skirt cape - plus some wrinkles - look like last year's release too.

Darth Vader can't stand.  His capes make him too back-heavy, even leaning forward my sample falls backward.  Without a display stand for the Sith Lord, this is somewhat troubling in 2017.  Heck, in 1995 it was insulting.   There's no reason this shouldn't stand now, yet here we are.

The figure is marvelously sculpted with a textured cape that really cooks.  They did a nice job here, if you look at it up close you'll see one of the better fabric textures on any plastic action figure.  Vader's armor is as it usually looks, but rather than make the stripes on his chest silver or gunmetal grey it's a weird flat grey.  I don't like it.   You might not notice, but it's weird and I believe unique to this release of the character.     The buttons on his chest are a similar color, which would make me think the door is open for a running change.  I'll be watching.   Vader's saber is a flare-free model, and it fits in his hand nicely.

This figure can't stand without support, so naturally I take issue with it.  The engineering is otherwise good, with a good sculpt, and only that one paint flaw.  I appreciate the waist joint, but I'd appreciate it even more if it was just a smidgen better.  It's still a worthwhile purchase because of the probe droid, which you will want.  The Force Link sound clips are pretty good - they're all from Empire and include "Sweep the asteroid field until they are found," "Prepare you troops for a surface attack," and "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side."  If you shake him around, you get lightsaber slash sounds, blaster shots, and "Don't underestimate the Force."

Packaging Notes: Playmobil may have a new competitor for biggest waste of space.  The abundance of open air in the box will confound you, as the robot could tuck behind Darth Vader - it'd be a tight fit - with about 50-60% of the space inside going unused.  I'm sure it wouldn't look impressive for $20, but they could probably have given us a smaller (or more interesting) box as you really feel like you got taken when you open it and there's so much nothing inside.  It's a good piece, but the presentation leaves much to be desired.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,404: September 6, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,403: Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master, The Last Jedi Line Look)

LUKE SKYWALKER Jedi Master
The Last Jedi Basic Figure Orange Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1503  No. C1509
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Cloak
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $8.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Luke Skywalker was a Force-sensitive human male Jedi Master who was instrumental in defeating the Galactic Empire and the Sith during the Galactic Civil War. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

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 sure this comes off as jerky, but I'll say it.  Hasbro - you should have released this Luke Skywalker figure in 2015, or at the latest early 2016.   There's no reason that this The Force Awakens costume couldn't have been released any time since the movie's release, or sooner, since all of us old farts are frothing at the mouth for new versions of Han (January and May 2016), Leia (May 2016 only so far - her main costume remains unproduced), and Luke from The Force Awakens.  Like, it's friggin' Luke Skywalker.  Even though all he did was show up and collect a check on a mountain, this is arguably the most important thing in the line.  We're here because we love these characters more than is healthy, and it's a tremendous shame to not see them come out after ample available opportunities.  Having said that, we're very happy to have him now.



This Luke figure is one of very few to not include a weapon.  Off the top of my head, I can name two - the Power of the Jedi (and later reissues) X-Wing Pilot costume had no blaster or lightsaber, and the Bacta tank version included his tank, a computer, and an Action Diaper.   This one has a cloak - which, so far, is consistent with the movie.  A Porg would be nice, since we don't know which (if any) weapon he'll use in the new film yet.  Unless that cane is a lightsaber, in which case, oh well, spoiler alert for Galactic Heroes.  The cloak is one of Hasbro's better efforts, and would be 100% welcome on a new Return of the Jedi Jabba's Palace Jedi Luke figure.  Heck, maybe even this exact one - it hangs on his shoulders with the hood down.  It's plastic, and it's perfect.  I love it.

The snotball jerk in me has to say "Hasbro made me wait two whole years, so this had better be good."  It is.  The sculpted detail on the robes is exquisite, with wrinkles and folds rendered perfectly.  White paint slathered over off-white plastic really pops nicely, and the texture for his various garments is incredibly good.  The costume coloring isn't that far off from  his farmboy togs, but applied to Obi-Wan Kenobi's garments.  Visually, it's very obvious who this character is (supposed to be.)   He can stand.  He can sit pretty well too, all things considered.  The hands are nice - one robot, one flesh - and the head sculpt is really great.  The hair's even good.  As Luke figures go, I'd say this is one of the better faces Hasbro has ever done.  I'd be curious if their sculpt/scan data could be applied to doing more good "classic" figures at this scale, and I'd hope we're about due for more.   Luke's good.  You'll want a Luke.

Force Link quotes include: "May the Force Be With You."  "Trust your Instincts." "Come. I'll show you the true meaning of the Force."  If you shake it, it makes a "whooshing" thunderous burst followed, eventually, by "Leave this place!"  I can't actually tell if it's Mr. Hamill or a soundalike.

I'm not going to mince words - you want this figure. I hope you already got one.  You'd probably stomp stores to get one, behaving boorishly and swiping it out of a back room if you had the chance.   It's Luke.  It's Old Man Luke.  You don't need more convincing than that.

Packaging Notes: The basic cardback is lighter and has less material than before, and is much easier to open than the last two films.   There is no bio on the packaging - a shame - and no co-sells.   There are photos of the figure on the box, though, which have been absent for a few years.   I know I say this a lot, but this may be the worst overall 3 3/4-inch packaging for a single basic figure yet - it's about 70% warning labels.and Force Link upsells with no other figures, vehicles, or toys being promoted.  The movie's title "The Last Jedi" is absent from the packaging.  The last time this happened was in 1999 with The Phantom Menace.

Assortment Notes: The basic 3 3/4-inch assortments are split in "Orange" and "Teal" assortments.  There is no orange and no teal on the packaging or cartons - it's sort of like a more obtuse version of "Collection 1" and "Collection 2" or "Jungle/Space" and "Desert/Snow," if you catch my meaning.   This allows stores to be more nimble in their ordering of assortments while giving more product shelf space to 3 3/4-inch action figures.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,403: September 5, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,402: Bala-Tik (The Last Jedi Line Look)

BALA-TIK with Rathtar
The Last Jedi Class A Vehicle Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1245  No. C1247
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Bala-Tik Figure, Blaster
Action Feature: Falls apart, Force Link sounds
Retail: $19.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Force Awakens

Bio: Rathtars are dangerous tentacled predators known for their sophisticated techniques as pack hunters.  These slimy horrors were responsible for the infamous Trillia Massacre - which has made them irresistable to decadent collectors seeking exotic pets for their menageries.   (Can 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 The Force Awakens hit, I was delighted by so many characters and robots and monsters being thrown at us.  As such, I was disappointed by the lack of toys of said ruffians.  I can only assume fans felt the same way in the 1970s when we left the original film with only 20 figures, none of which were a Bantha or Cantina Band or Grand Moff Tarkin or Garindan.  Those would take 20 years.   Bala-Tik, the Scottish-sounding Guavian Death Gang negotiator, only took two years.

The armored figure was made in Vietnam, which I thought to check after removing him from his package because he was designed well.  Figures from China typically have more elements of the coat hanging off the figure, hindering their ability to sit.  Vietnam's factories have been more severe, cutting it off in the back so the figure can easily sit in a vehicle, or on your desk.  I first noticed this on some of the Rogue One figures, as the Vietnamese products were generally better looking and better articulated than their Chinese counterparts.

Force Link sound effects include "You're a dead man," "Take the droid," "Find cover," and "The Rathtar has escaped."   It also makes blaster sounds and screams.

The likeness is pretty good, but not great.   Humans are tough to do well, and while I think the armor is perfect there's something about the eyes that's a smidgen off.  It's good enough, of course, and I'm glad we already had one of his gang to hang out with him.  (More would be nice.)   The figure has no problems standing or holding his rifle, so it ticks all the boxes of "good enough."  By itself I'd gladly pay $8 for it, because it looks nice and it's a new character in the toy format.   After being a collector for so long, new characters are the thing that get me the most excited.   The Rathtar is a nice bonus, so go ahead and grab this set if you see it and enjoy The Force Awakens stuff.   Hasbro is setting a good precedent with the release of more new toys from that movie, and I hope it keeps going long enough to get to the countless other great designs.

Packaging Notes: Playmobil may have a new competitor for biggest waste of space.  The abundance of open air in the box will confound you, as the monster could tuck behind Bala-Tik - it'd be a tight fit - with about 65% of the space inside going unused.  I'm sure it wouldn't look impressive for $20, but they could probably have given us a smaller (or more interesting) box as you really feel like you got taken when you open it and there's so much nothing inside.  It's a good piece, but the presentation leaves much to be desired.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,402: September 4, 2017