Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,418: C-3PO (6-Inch Value Figure, The Last Jedi Line Look)

C-3PO Titan Guardians-Esque
The Last Jedi "Dollar Store" 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3946 No. C2714
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio:  C-3PO is a droid programmed for etiquette and protocol built by the heroic Jedi Anakin Skywalker, and a constant companion to astromech R2-D2.(Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  Hey, a new cheap 6-inch C-3PO!  This comes boxed at Walgreens for about seven dollars - a real bargain, in prime condition.   I predicted when I reviewed the first Black Series C-3PO [FOTD #2,323] that "if [Hasbro] did a C-3PO in Hasbro's cheaper 6-inch figure line, you'd probably enjoy that one about as much at 70% cheaper."   I do believe I was right.

When I put this figure side-by-side with Hasbro's 6-inch The Black Series
C-3PO figures, they look almost identical - the wiring in the black belly section is sculpted exactly the same as what we got in Walgreens' exclusive 6-inch The Black Series C-3PO, which was also repackaged for the 40th Anniversary line.  I saw some changes on the side of the knees, but by and large these both seem to have been sculpted from the same reference files.  Most pieces are close to identical to the more expensive, more articulated C-3PO - but this one is sturdier and easier to keep standing.  It's all gold, so it'll be more in line with his look in Revenge of the Sith, the end of The Force Awakens, or The Last Jedi.   If you just need a shelf filler, this is the C-3PO for your fake complete The Black Series shelf.

I especially love how it just works.  It's a little different than his sibling, but it keeps the lack of elbow joints.   Cheapo C-3PO has shoulder, neck, and waist joints - and that's it.  He can't sit well, so he won't go into the Landspeeder if you got one.   He will, however, stand easily and look cool.  Now I hope an R2-D2 is coming, and not just because I dream of it being repainted 90 times.   C-3PO has underdecorated palms (usually, there's some black paint there and here they're all gold) plus the wires on his back are unpainted.  You probably won't notice, because the gold coverage is so nice it just looks fantastic.

Rarely do I get to spout out something silly and see it come to fruition, and I'm glad to see my imagination was right.  This is a good figure!  It's cheap and a perfect thing for your desk at work.   If you want a cheap C-3PO figure, this is a god one.  Get it!

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walgreens.  This assortment's previous waves hit in the USA at Dollar General, Big Lots, and Family Dollar - I do not know if it will be a de facto exclusive at Walgreens.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,418: October 18, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,417: Resistance Tech Rose (The Black Series, The Last Jedi)

RESISTANCE TECH ROSE Full name - Rose Tico
The Force Awakens The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch Figure Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. B4054 No. C3620
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Rifle, communicator?
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.92
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Part of the support crew that keeps the Resistance starfighters flying, Rose  has hated the First Order since she was a child.   Now able to fight back against the enemy, Rose keeps her focus on her mission.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I don't know much about Resistance Tech Rose other than she was said to be a Finn love interest in an early casting thing and she's also the sister of Paige (sold separately.)  I thought "Oh please, just because they're both Vietnamese and in the Resistance doesn't mean they're sisters" but research shows I'm an idiot and they're sisters.  

For those of you who follow the Fifteen Commandments ("Thou Shall Not Squint," thanks Mel) it's hard to read her suit.  It said "GLD" which apparently is Ground Logistics Division.   What she fixes specifically we don't know, but she looks like the ground crew in  The Force Awakens.  I think it also says "Landing Officer" but you try to read type that small - an impressive feat for Hasbro to reproduce on such a small figure.

There are numerous layers of costume here, like an undershirt and a belt.   It's a start.  You can see a lot of texture here with tons of wrinkles and the signs of action, plus various painted silver details on her pockets and such.   They didn't skimp on detail here too much, minus the one-color shoes which is basically normal these days.  (Painted soles?  Insanity.)  Thanks to the not-too-ornate costume and excellent articulation, you can give her tons of personality.  Also, it seems Aurebesh only comes in one font which is pretty disappointing when you consider how many flavors our alphabet come in.

I really like this figure - it makes use of the hip joints, thigh swivels, and even has a controller of some sort that can clip to her belt. I love the face sculpt, the hair looks surprisingly great, and there are little patches, buttons, and other greeblies on her suit.  She even has a hood on the back!   They painted the barrel of her gun!   And that little accessory, whatever it is, may be important since the standard and fancy 3 3/4-inch figures both have it.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,417: October 16, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,416: Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master, The Black Series, The Last Jedi)

LUKE SKYWALKER Jedi Master
The Force Awakens The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch Figure Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. B4054 No. C3622
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.92
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: After tragedy destroyed his attempt to rebuild the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker vanished from the galaxy.  Now, the resistance needs his help to thwart the efforts of the evil First Order.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  So despite being announced as part of the Force Friday II launch on September 1, Walmart had Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master) and his casemates gated, or missing, from its systems - so if you scan it, you might not be able to make the purchase.   The funny thing is this has happened to me a lot over the years, often for items with no street dates or marketing plans.  In addition to the standard cheaper Luke with plastic cloak, this one now exists with super-articulation and a cloth cloak.  Is it better?  Eh.  It's different.

In terms of sculpted detail and the head, the Walmart exclusive version is slightly better.  There's a little more color in his hair and face, with a tiny bit more detail and better paint.   The robes cover the legs better, but the super-articulated legs are hindered by the large vinyl robes hanging down.  You may have thigh swivels, but why?  They offer no value, nor do the lateral hip articulation.  With 26 or so points of articulation, there's a lot going on here.  Thanks to the design, they offer no real benefit.  The arm movement is handy because he can move his arms a bit, but it doesn't hang as well as the plastic one does.  The arm joints all move perfectly well, but the flesh hand peg seems to not quite fit in the sleeve perfectly - so keep an eye on that.
Aside from the lack of weapon, this is probably the Obi-Wan Kenobi meets Luke Skywalker mashup you've been wanting.  I think I prefer the regular cheaper edition in terms of something I want to play with, but it's cool, and Hasbro did a nicer-than-usual job with the cape and hood.   (The tassels hanging down look goofy, though.)  I love that there's a hook on his belt for a lightsaber... but the lack of lightsaber is disappointing.  I hesitate to say there's $5 more worth of figure here, but if you see it you may as well snag it.  I mean, it's Luke.   Who doesn't want Luke?   It's kind of amazing that not too long ago we had that mega-articulated Dagobah Luke... with one of the worst heads ever, ugly joints, and a gaggle of accessories.   You can't have it all, but at least in this case you can have something that was executed very well.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,416: October 11, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,415: Rey (2-Pack, The Last Jedi Line Look)

REY (Jedi Training) with Elite Praetorian Guard
The Last Jedi Deluxe Action Figure 2-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. C1242 No. C1243
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Bladed weapon, Lightsaber, Staff, Blaster, Millennium Falcon-inspired Backpack, Rey figure
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $14.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Rey was a human female scavenger and Force prodigy who discovered her latent Force-sensitivity while on a journey to find the legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and bring a new hope to a galaxy on the brink of 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:  In 2015, Rey started getting hot in December once people that the marketing and toy line did a good job of hiding who the hero was in The Force Awakens.  She could be bought relatively easily, but only had one regular 3 3/4-inch action figure pre-movie.   (More would follow.)  This time around, we got two of her in basically an identical costume, but with minor sculpting tweaks, at launch.  Grumble, grumble.   This figure comes in a 2-pack and was made in Vietnam - it has a better range of motion.  The single figure comes from China, and it has more detail but a worse range of motion.  To the naked eye, they're identical - but they have different Force Link sounds, too. 2-pack Rey has a silver blaster, painted.  Single Rey has a grey one.

As always, Rey has 5 points of articulation.  The 2-pack figure has a slightly rounder, more doll-like face than the single counterpart with an outfit that combines Jedi robes with her desert rat wear.   Obviously, the islands of Ahch-To are likely lacking in tailors for Padawan clothing ("Padawear")  Everything looks consistent with her existing fashion choices, like she may have cobbled this together herself - and it fits.  The arms swing out a little bit thanks to the angled cut of the shoulder joints, and she can actually swing her legs forward because of how the factory cut the robes.  (The single, China version can't do this.)  The textures are good, but there are bands in her clothing that are difficult to discern as fabric patterns or un-smoothed print lines from a 3-D printer.  

Her accessories are interesting - the silver pistol fits in her hand or holster without a fight, and her staff or lightsaber can fit in her hand nicely too.   A clip-on backpack mashes up an Endor/Hoth Rebel Trooper backpack with a Stormtrooper belt and a quad cannon to give her some added firepower, and its own sound chip - you get some shooty, rockety sounds from it.  It's a nice bonus, but it's not as visually impressive as the gear from the Rogue One 2-packs.   I should also note that the lightsaber of this 2-pack isn't as detailed as the single one - you'll see sharper details and added sculpted elements on the single release.

I can't say this figure, in its current form, is doing much for me - I really wish she was super articulated just because of what I assume her role will be in the movie.  Luke can stand around, sure.  Poe just needs to sit in a vehicle and I'm happy. But Rey? She's got a lightsaber - she needs to be able to be posed to fight!   Still, she's pretty good, and with the guard you'll want to get this set.   Without a side-by-side comparison and a very sharp eye, other than the skirt cut, I doubt most fans will tell that there's a difference.

Assortment Notes: The 2015 line gave us a couple of weird plussed-up figure packs - one was "Armor Up" figures, a basic figure with a helmet for an added $5 upcharge.  The other was a Deluxe 2-pack, which gave us two figures with normal accessories plus rocket launchers and big weapons for about the price of two regular figures.  This movie's two-packs are somewhere in the middle - you get 2 figures for $15, which is good.  The bonus accessory isn't as neat as what we got for Rogue One (giant rocket launchers) but are about as sensible as what we got for The Force Awakens - only we get a secondary sound chip instead of an action feature.  Minus things like duplicate figures you might not want, these are a decent value.

Collector's Notes: The 2-pack version from Vietnam (which we review here) says "I'm with the Resistance."  It also says "VIETNAM" inside her skirt flap.   I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,415: October 9, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,414: Elite Praetorian Guard (2-Pack, The Last Jedi Line Look)

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD with Rey (Jedi Training)
The Last Jedi Deluxe Action Figure 2-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. C1242 No. C1253
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Bladed weapon, Lightsaber, Staff, Blaster, Rey figure
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $14.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: The Elite Praetorian Guard were the personal guard of Snoke, Supreme Leader of the First Order, during the First Order's conflict with the Resistance. They were clad in ornate crimson armor, including Plastoid helmets, and robes and were armed with staff-like melee weapons with a blade on either end. (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:  According the greater licensed product line, it looks like there are multiple ways to do the Elite Praetorian Guard thanks to weapon and helmet variations.  I was at Target and saw a cut-out with a sword that, at the angle presented, looks like a collapsed umbrella.  (This hasn't made it to Hasbro's toys yet.)   This version of the figure is interesting because it has a visor over its visor - but is fundamentally similar to the version we looked at last week.

It's worth noting this figure - with its awning visor - was made in Vietnam, while the other was in China.  The actual look and sculpt of the figure is pretty much identical, coming from the same digital files but different tooling.  If you examine their feet, there are minor differences in the placement of the Force Link logo as well as the specifics of the text.  As such, they're  not the same figure - but they seem to make similar if not identical combat sounds with the Force Link band.  Boooring.   The figure has exactly the same articulation as his partner, and the sculpting has no obvious differences.

The helmet is striking in that it departs from the other one.  I still don't love it, but I appreciate the changes just to mix it up a bit.  I collect things, so having one with a less ornate helmet mixes up my displays.   You'll note that this guardsman has a large visor over his helmet, perhaps a blast shield, and the helmet itself is strikingly different.  The back of the helmet has different details.  It has the chin/fave area similar to a First Order Stormtrooper or Phasma.  I'm still not sure if he can see through that thing.

I appreciate the figure's accessory, which may constitute a minor spoiler.  It splits apart in the middle, giving you two bladed sword weapons if you are so inclined.  Does it split for combat?   Does it get damaged by Rey's lightsaber?  Do these two even share a frame of the film?     It's hard to say, especially as we've seen how much things can be changed at the eleventh hour in the editing room after Rogue One.   For the discriminating troop builder, this is a worthwhile set - but take note, the Rey figure is extraordinarily similar to (but not identical) its individually-packaged counterpart.   I'd suggest getting this 2-pack over the single figure to maximize your trooper and minimize your duplicate Jedi trainees.

Assortment Notes: The 2015 line gave us a couple of weird plussed-up figure packs - one was "Armor Up" figures, a basic figure with a helmet for an added $5 upcharge.  The other was a Deluxe 2-pack, which gave us two figures with normal accessories plus rocket launchers and big weapons for about the price of two regular figures.  This movie's two-packs are somewhere in the middle - you get 2 figures for $15, which is good.  The bonus accessory isn't as neat as what we got for Rogue One (giant rocket launchers) but are about as sensible as what we got for The Force Awakens - only we get a secondary sound chip instead of an action feature.  Minus things like duplicate figures you might not want, these are a decent value.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,414: October 4, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,413: Obi-Wan Kenobi (The Last Jedi Line Look)

OBI-WAN KENOBI Anniversary Surprise
The Last Jedi Basic Figure Teal Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. C1531  No. C3464
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $8.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi, later known as Ben Kenobi during his exile, was a Force-sensitive human male Jedi Master who served the Galactic Republic. He was mentor to both Anakin Skywalker and his son, Luke, training them in the ways of the Force.  (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 didn't expect Obi-Wan Kenobi would have been out in September, nor that it would have been this version of him.  I think the last completely new sculpt of him was around 2009, and given the fact we've had so many Revenge of the Sith or Clone Wars takes on him since then, it seemed unlikely.  He's pretty good - he looks better than any Obi-Wan figure we've had in years, but the robes aren't terribly conducive to sitting in a vehicle.  This is a duel figure - and it looks great.  Hasbro could easily retool it with new arms or a different cloak to give you other, more playable figures.  This is basically a good statue figure.

Kenobi has 5 points of articulation, with the split legs which are unnecessary.  He can't sit unless you pop off his arms and remove the cloak - which you can do - but the results are pretty ugly.   Not ugly is the figure's texture, with great cloth-looking bits on the body and the best Alec Guiness likeness I've seen at this scale, ever.   I hope Hasbro tweaks this sculpt to make a Landspeeder-friendly Obi-Wan in the future, because it's great.   Hasbro rarely makes an Obi-Wan figure with a hood sculpted as part of the robes, floating above the head, that looks good and fits right.  They did here.  The lightsaber has a hook for his belt (that doesn't work, it just looks good) and there's enough color in the beard to be excited.

If you have a Force Link adapter, he talks - "Run, Luke, run!" or "Obi-Wan Kenobi..." are just some of the at least 5 quotes among his lightsaber swings.   I'm getting a little sick of people saying their names, but I guess it points to the fact that nearly every significant character in that movie who can identify themselves seems to do so.  Other than Leia, Tarkin, and Darth Vader at least.

Over the years we've seen sculptors struggle to execute a good Obi-Wan with decent proportions.  In 1995, we got a good one but it had problems standing.  In 1998, we got a good one with some decent joints, but it was a little bulky.   The Vintage 2004 one had a few thin joints, wonky elbows, and what I would generously refer to as a noble attempt at cloth robes.  This one is better, cheaper, and just looks great.  The flare-free lightsaber with the hook and painted hilt is surprisingly nice, and having a figure like this in my hand raises the bar for retro remakes or classic characters.   We didn't get any new classic pre-Disney sculpts for the last couple of rounds, so seeing this time's efforts - a decent Vader, an OK Han, a really nice Boba Fett, and the Kenobi to die for - I've got hope for the future.  I want to see what else we might get.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart, and I was surprised to see it.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,413: October 2, 2017