Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,474: Grand Moff Tarkin (The Black Series 6-Inch)

GRAND MOFF TARKIN Bigger
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1202
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #63
Includes: IT-0 Interrogation Droid
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: An ambitious, ruthless proponent of military power, Wilhuff Tarkin became a favorite of Emperor Palpatine and rose rapidly through the Imperial ranks.  (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: You need to get Grand Moff Tarkin

...oh I need to write more?  Very well.  Reusing arms and legs from Grand Admiral Thrawn, Tarkin makes good use of Hasbro's new facial printing technique to get an increasingly lifelike look on this Peter Cushing figure.    The outfit is more grey than green, and just feels "right."  The only things I don't love - the figure doesn't include the better-range elbows we got on New Han and New Lando, and there are pin holes in his pants that are a little unsightly.  Otherwise?  Exquisite.  The new facial printing makes up for a lot, and if Hasbro reissued the first few years of main characters with the new face paint you'd buy them all over again.  Seriously, who wouldn't throw down $20 for a revised Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher?

26 meaningful points of articulation await you, but he's not going to sit.  So far that isn't a problem, the lack of playsets or vehicles for figures means they're just going to stand around and look cool.  Tarkin can be posed to look down at Leia, or posed gesturing to his crew.  He's posed so he can hold a blaster, but includes no such weapon.  He's even got separate trigger fingers if you're so inclined to give him a gun, but it's also kind of fascinating to think of what this means.  For years we've been trained to expect almost every action figure has a gun or a sword - some weapon, anyway.   Tarkin doesn't. He's a bad guy who's old, grey, and intimidating as Hell.   He has an extra accessory, but it's almost a separate figure - the man himself has everything he needs to impose his vision of order right in that head of his.  The likeness is stupendous, and while I assume Hasbro will have a better version in 20 years this i right up there with the high-end figures.   Or rather, it's probably the best I could possibly imagine getting from an American toy company at any price, let alone about $20.
The bonus droid is a fine bonus, but it's not perfect.  Comparing it to the movie prop, a lot of deco is missing - some of which is pretty significant. The tools are rounded off or generally altered, shortened, or simplified.  The syringe is all silver now, with no clear.  The tongs are loops.    It's good enough, but if someone got a license for high-end 1:12-scale replica parts this is something that could benefit from a do-over with differing safety standards and budgets.  I'm not saying it's worth $20, but it might be if you want perfection.  As a bonus with a $20 figure, it has a clear stand and a jointed base for "posing."  It's really good, but a few pennies of paint this could've been way cooler.

This is a figure for collectors, and you collectors are going to dig this.  I'm sure it could be more perfect, but for the price point and overall quality I'm impressed.  It's a real honest-to-goodness nearly perfect take on the character, and I'm glad he turned out well enough where I doubt any of us are going to demand a do-over.   Pink slippers joke for SDCC goes here.   Anyway, get one if you see it.  Even if it's a few bucks extra, just get it.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,474: April 18, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,473: Han Solo (Solo, The Black Series 6-Inch)

HAN SOLO Solo Edition
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1200
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #62
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio:  Han Solo reinvents himself after leaving behind his old life.  Now, Solo is growing increasingly comfortable traveling with law-benders and scoundrels.  (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: Given the hubbub about Han Solo it remains to be seen if this is going to be a big deal.  If the movie is good, his higher casepack means you'll be glad you can get him.  If not... well, Rogue Redux I guess.   What we have here is an excellent action figure of a popular character, but even in a good year classic Han Solo isn't the draw it once was.   There's a reason he wasn't in rotation all the time, and now we're seeing him as the focus.  Is this a good thing?  It might be.  I hope it is.  Please buy stuff.

Han is a good figure - it looks like Aiden Ehrenreich in a Han Solo-esque outfit.  The vest and jacket are gone, as is the 1990s licensing mantra of "Han Wears Black."  (See: Galoob products, 1995-1998.)  The shirt is black, the jacket is brown, and there are shoulder patches.  It looks pretty cool - and he can hold his blaster, or you can put it in the familiar holster, on the familiar pants, with familiar boots.  From the waist up, he looks like a whole new man.  From the waist down, you've seen figures like this before.   The sculpting is really sharp, but the Ehrenreich likeness is pretty impressive.  Sure, I've only seen him in Hail, Caesar! but this looks a lot like the singing cowboy doofus I remember and the smuggler I'll see in about a month.   The new printing technology is pretty great, with shiny eyes and a soft-but-good printed-on likeness on a great sculpt.  It's so good, I'd say it adds fuel to the fire of the long-running rumor of Kenner and Hasbro's Harrison Ford likenesses being intentionally iffy due to how contracts were signed.   If things can get this perfect, Hasbro either needs to go  back and try again or come clean about how these are off for a reason.  I know faces are hard to capture properly, but New Han and New Lando are astonishing.

What I found particularly amazing on these figures were the elbows, which have an increased bend compared to even some of the double-jointed elbow figures of old.   Hasbro really did a bang-up job making these figures look awesome when you pose them, no doubt influenced by other similarly sized products from Japan.   If Hasbro can give you a better product at a fraction of the price, their future just got a little bit brighter - as long as they can keep the reins on which characters get made and what the market wants as far as quantities go.  There are stories there.  Hopefully they will share them some day.

Han's blaster looks like Han's blaster, so you get everything you as someone who has not seen the new movie should expect.  It's a good likeness, with good articulation, good paint, and good sculpting.   It may not be 100% true to the final movie, as these figures were pretty much designed prior to the current director coming on board.  With reshoots, things may have changed - I don't know.  I just know what I see is good, and hopefully what we see in the theaters will be equally good.  If you've got cash burning a hole in your pocket, you should get one of these.  Now I want a matching new Chewbacca, please and thank you.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,473: April 16, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,472: Lando Calrissian (Solo, The Black Series 6-Inch)

LANDO CALRISSIAN Solo Edition
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1206
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #65
Includes: Scarf, cape, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio:  Smooth and sophisticated, Captain Lando Calrissian stands ready to retire from the life of a smuggler and instead become a full-time gambler (or "sportsman," as he calls it), shuffling from card game to card game across the galaxy.  (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: It's Wookiee Weekend!   I guess!  Whatever that means!

I really didn't give a hoot about Untitled Han Solo Movie until I heard they cast Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian.  He was a good comedy writer, and on Community.  And Atlanta was great.  Plus those Childish Gambino records were pretty great.   Unfortunately, it is not his movie - that honor belongs to Han Solo, and it doesn't seem anybody particularly cares about him just yet.   This includes retailers, as the only big store to do brick-and-mortar midnight for these movies is going out of business.   Early reaction seems to be indifference or exhaustion, which is sort of how a lot of everybody feels about current affairs in general.  It's just too much, even when it's awesome - and this figure is awesome.  (That's why we're looking at him first.)

When Glover was campaigning for Spider-Man, I thought "Oh cool, I'd buy an unmasked Spidey of that."   Instead we got Lando - which is better if you're more of a space fan than a cape fan.   Now in bright yellow with a scarf and cape and really awesome hair, Lando is just friggin' awesomer than ever.  The black cape has blue lining and a glossy collar.  The outfit has a black flap and pocket, with pants that look fairly similar to his Cloud City outfit.  The big silver blaster is new and fits in his holster fairly well, while the face sculpt and deco is a vast improvement over most figures Hasbro has done.  The scruff and facial hair look really good, and he has eerie glossy eyes and an arched eyebrow.  And awesome sideburns.  And a striped scarf.   And a red-and-orange striped belt.  The figure is really the first, best look I've had at the costume so I can only assume that it's accurate to the film and will probably unironically serve as a men's fashion template in the next 6-12 months.

The figure's engineering is slightly improved over older figures, and this seems to be the new normal.  The elbow cuts are a bit deeper so you can get more than a 90-degree bend in them.  This means they can point the gun up with the arm itself facing mostly down.  It looks and works better than some of those double-jointed elbows a few years ago, with the legs having a decent amount of forward mobility.  Rocker ankles and bend-and-swivel wrists remain fantastic, and I still had the mid-torso cut joint.  From the cut up, it's yellow plastic.  From the cut down, it's painted.  This is not appropriate.  The match is close, but if things discolor with age it's going to look like garbage.

The pistol is a new design with a removable silencer - or barrel extension - or whatever it is.  I didn't realize until I put it in the holster and I tried to fish it out.   It's a fun surprise, sort of.  I'm not a big fan of "undocumented features" when they could be called out on the packaging or used in the marketing, especially if they could result in customer confusion or lost pieces.

Hasbro's new facial printing technique seems to look even better under the scrutiny of a camera's macro setting, so what you have here is a pretty fantastic figure.  I don't know if you need it - but I'm pretty pleased as punch to have it and I can't wait to crack open the 3 3/4-inch one.   If the movie looks as good as the action figures, I will be very happy.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,472: April 13, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,471: Rey (Crait Defense, The Last Jedi Line Look)

REY Crait Defense
The Last Jedi Home Video Battle on Crait 4-Pack
Item No.:
   No. E0321
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 figures, 4 blasters, poncho, lightsaber, staff
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $24.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: At long last, Rey has found Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi Master in the Galaxy.   Hoping to find a hero of legend, she must unlearn what she has learned as Skywalker challenges her expectations.  (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:  "Just different to make you mad" has been a recurring theme here, especially since 2005 when Hasbro put a lot of toys in circulation in a short period of time.  And again in 2006.   And again in 2007.   "The same figure with dirt on its shoes" was a common thing, and this Rey does it with salt.  She's pretty much the same as Rey (Jedi Training) [FOTD #2,445], the made-in-China figure with less hip movement and better accessory detailing.    Love how her face is painted, it's a lot sharper and has a lot more personality than the single-carded Rey from last year.

Deco is sharp but it's pretty much the same as the carded figure, save for batch changes and one added point of decoration - salty boots.  Inspired by Bolivia, Rey has white on her shoes.   That's why this one is special - we've seen the same thing with R2-D2, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Darth Vader, and we've seen grass stains on Stormtroopers too.   I realize many may furrow their brow, but I applaud Hasbro for having actually made it different.   For the last two films, we got a Rey and a Jyn that looked pretty much the same.  This is not fun nor is it terribly interesting.   While I'd rather have a new figure, that wasn't an option.  A change beats no change, variations may not always be exciting but I'll take any sort of change rather than a third nearly identical Rey.   She's the least interesting part of the boxed set, but at least she is a little bit different.   If you see this set in a store, go ahead and snag one.  You're worth it.  For $25ish, the set is too.

Packaging Notes: This is a good box.   The footprint is the same as the previous Disney movie 4-packs, which were designed to be the same size as the digital download boxes a few years ago so a fan could collect them all on a shelf together.  This isn't widely promoted.  The box itself is much better than the rest of the 3 3/4-inch figure line, with a much better use of the space.  The back has bios for all four figures in multiple languages along with shots of figures that show them with (or without) their accessories, and there's no big use of white space like on the Kohl's set.  Hasbro did a great job here.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,471: April 11, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,470: First Order Walker Driver (The Last Jedi Line Look)

FIRST ORDER WALKER DRIVER Crait Defense
The Last Jedi Home Video Battle on Crait 4-Pack
Item No.:
   No. E0321
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 figures, 4 blasters, poncho, lightsaber, staff
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $24.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: The First Order unleashes armored walkers into combat, manned by a crew of specialists coordinating the movements of the complex vehicles.  (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:  The one bad thing about The Force Awakens being the trooper-iest movie in years is that The Last Jedi is a snooze by comparison.   The First Order Walker Driver is a new mold, but it's clearly derived from the First Order Snowtrooper sculpt we got several times since 2015.  It's not bad - it's just similar. 

The 5-jointed figure has a remarkably smooth neck ball joint and decent swivels at the shoulders and hips.  He can sit well - which would be great, had Hasbro made that Gorilla Walker from The Last Jedi.   The shiny white helmet is great, and the grey looks cool - not unlike the Coruscant Clone Troopers.   He's missing a flourish on the left shoulder, and possibly a few other details.  The pouches are off to the sides rather than the front of the hips, most likely to allow for easier leg movement. (I approve.)  He has no problems standing and looks perfectly fine.

I love that it's not identical to a figure I have, but I admit that it's close.  I would have loved a wholly new design with a new helmet or new colors - sort of like the AT-AT Driver looked vaguely like a white TIE Fighter pilot - but such is life.  Maybe Abrams and friends will dump new troopers galore on us for the next entry.   This figure is perfectly good - but not exciting.  Hasbro did a good job executing it, it's just kind of a boring design and that's no fault of the big H.

Packaging Notes: This is a good box.   The footprint is the same as the previous Disney movie 4-packs, which were designed to be the same size as the digital download boxes a few years ago so a fan could collect them all on a shelf together.  This isn't widely promoted.  The box itself is much better than the rest of the 3 3/4-inch figure line, with a much better use of the space.  The back has bios for all four figures in multiple languages along with shots of figures that show them with (or without) their accessories, and there's no big use of white space like on the Kohl's set.  Hasbro did a great job here.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,470: April 9, 2018

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,469: Rose (Crait Defense, The Last Jedi Line Look)

ROSE Crait Defense
The Last Jedi Home Video Battle on Crait 4-Pack
Item No.:
   No. E0321
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 figures, 4 blasters, poncho, lightsaber, staff
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $24.99
Availability: February 2018
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 Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  The costuming in The Last Jedi really strikes me as odd - some people wear the same clothes as the last movie, some change in front of our very eyes! The Rose (Crait Defense) figure wears the poncho we saw in the Resistance Ski Speeder at the end of the movie, and by that I mean you didn't notice it at all.   She went from a yellow speed suit to a First Order officer disguise to this.  Well, it's basically the disguise - her boots and pants are First Order-issue, while the white undershirt was probably there the whole time.  Why the poncho?  I have no idea.  Modesty?

The poncho is brown with little slices in it so she can swing her arms forward.  Each arm has a jointed wrist, and they're small hands unlike the meat paws we're used to getting.  She can hold her blaster easily, and it's a gunmetal silver take on the black ones we got with the yellow outfit figures.   The plastic poncho - oh, how I wish it was cloth - comes off when you pop her head off.   Underneath you can see her necklace, and she looks great.  Nothing looks too out of whack, the head sculpt is good, and the deco is as it should be.  What's better, she can sit!  The legs can swing forward and don't stop at some weird angle.  The hair is great, the face deco is wonderful, and she delivers a decent figure experience.  I'm amazed they bothered to make this costume, and I assume they were hedging their bets that she might be a phenomenon.  Like the movie, Rose seems to have received mixed reactions.  I enjoyed seeing her on-screen, even if she and Finn were dorks.

Hasbro did a good job with the figures in this line, even if you don't love the character choices.  The texture is good, te paint is sharp, and the likenesses are so good you have to assume someone forgot to tick a box to get Harrison Ford's face 30 years ago as the reason they all look... close.  But not exact.  This is a good set for the money, and a last hurrah for the line's retail support as it transitions to Force Link 2.0.  

Packaging Notes: This is a good box.   The footprint is the same as the previous Disney movie 4-packs, which were designed to be the same size as the digital download boxes a few years ago so a fan could collect them all on a shelf together.  This isn't widely promoted.  The box itself is much better than the rest of the 3 3/4-inch figure line, with a much better use of the space.  The back has bios for all four figures in multiple languages along with shots of figures that show them with (or without) their accessories, and there's no big use of white space like on the Kohl's set.  Hasbro did a great job here.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,469: April 4, 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,468: Vendor Droid (Gold, Droid Factory)

VENDOR DROID Gold
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: The Clone 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:  The new head! The Gold Vendor Droid needs to be reviewed - along with other droids - because that's why we're here.  I know that.  We've got a job to do!

The dull gold finish is nice, with a C-3PO body in this sample being the vehicle for a newish head.  The gold head looks good with yellow eyes and a silver... visor?  Price scanner?  What is that, anyway?     The can head with a partial dustbuster hat is sort of out of place, but it's not like anyone has been good at giving us new droids in any sort of realistic style lately.

I appreciate that Disney used the best super-articulated build-a-droid tooling available, but a few months in to having this I wish they made something new, cheaper, and simpler because what the heck do I need ankles for on these guys?  5 joints would have been great, particularly given the dozens of combinations you can build from these parts.   It's a good, sturdy figure with more articulation than any of the main characters in the main line from the last three movies, so... that's where we're at now.   It's a great way to populate the bases they don't make or the vehicles nobody is doing, and being an "animated" figure it has less of a place in any existing collection.  It's a cool souvenir, but it's solely for the crazy collector person.  You know, like me.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,468: April 2, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,467: Maz Kanata (The Black Series 6-Inch)

MAZ KANATA The One, The Only
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. C3289
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #49
Includes: Rifle, lightsaber hilt, box
Action Feature: Articulated goggles
Retail: $19.99
Availability: September 2017
Appearances: The Force Awakens

Bio:  A thief whose tattered, threadbare clothes and lackadaisical attitude conceal a sharp mind and expert codebreaking skills, DJ believes there's no difference between sides in this new galactic war.  (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:  A great figure that's kind of cheap on the Internet right now, Maz Kanata is based on her The Force Awakens appearance - meaning she's got no jetpack and she's not a hologram.   For some reason Hasbro dragged their feet on a number of cool The Force Awakens figures until a couple years after the movie, and this one came out in time for the sequel.   It's a good figure - but it's also about 4-inches tall.   There's a bit more plastic here, but it's basically about the same kind of product as a 3 3/4-inch super-articulated figure at a significant mark-up because of how these things sell in assortments.  Also she has a killer paint job.

Maz has more color in her socks than many figures have on their whole bodies.   The oranges, yellows, pinks, and browns offset a blue sweater with a brown vest, and a brownish orange belt divides the sea of blue from the high-waisted brown pants.   The movie style was inspired by one of J.J. Abrams' teachers, and it shows - you could see her teaching a class.  The rings and bracelets tell a story, as do the big glasses.   I believe these are the first corrective lenses on a Star Wars action figure to see release in a store, as glasses or monocles are rare in this saga.  (See: Noa, Screed.)

Her metallic skin has numerous wrinkes, and it looks stunning.  The light shines off it and gives it a rich sense of detail, plus her eyes are a little less creepy than they are in the movie.   It's kind of fascinating to see so many rings and special details on a figure like this, because it says a lot about the movie design too.   We've seen numerous aged characters eschew adornments.  Jabba the Hutt wears a tattoo and a smile, and he's about 1,000 years old.  Yoda was 900 and had a brown shirt, brown pants, a jacket, and a necklace with a belt.   Maz clearly has a distinctive sense of style with more color and accessories than we would see on most characters across multiple movies.

Articulation is good, and it needs to be given that you're getting a 4-inch figure at a 6-inch price.  Bend-and-swivel joints are used on the elbows and knees, plus she has rocker ankles.  This is good, but the small feet also show Hasbro's ongoing problems with foot pegs.  The holes are so shallow no stand could use them, and there's no other standardized stand for these action figures.   Thankfully her center of gravity allows her to stand unassisted, but with 24 good points of articulation you can get a lot out of her. I was unable to get her thigh cuts to move, but it could just be my sample combined with a fear of snapping her legs off.

This may be the finest figure in The Black Series in terms of decoration and could even be one of Hasbro's most lavishly decorated action figures.  Most figures tend to be fairly simple affairs with a couple of colors, so this one really did a nice job.  And on top of that you get her blaster, Luke's lightsaber hilt, and a chest that opens.  I wish it had a hinge joint instead of a piece of plastic that bends, but that's how these things go sometimes.   Hasbro did a nice job giving us a weathered-looking wooden box, even going as far as to paint the rivets under the lid.  I am in awe that they bothered, but clearly they got their paint budget's worth out of this one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,467: March 28, 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,466: LOM-Series Protocol Droid (Blue, Droid Factory)

LOM-SERIES PROTOCOL 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: The LOM-series protocol droid was a model of protocol droid manufactured by Industrial Automaton. They were designed with insectile features to emulate the species they were designed to serve, the sentient Gand.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Commentary:  Nifty! The Blue LOM-series Protocol Droid brings us more of a class of droid that really hasn't been seen much.   I don't know where the blue droid with chest pinstriping idea came from, but it's neat.  I'd like to have had Disney do things like this on other colors, as it offers us something truly different.

The blue finish is - as far as I know - unique to this figure.  If there's another fictional instance of this kind of droid, I've not seen it.  The chest on this sample is a 3PO body, with 3PO arms and Death Star Droid legs.  You can build whatever you want.  The light blue metallic eyes look great, but I wish the "face" had some more detailing.  The bare blue is a little light, a couple of painted details would have made a ton of difference.  Since it has no real specific place in the mythos, it's great.   I could put this to work in that Sail Barge we may or may not get, or in that other playset Hasbro will never make.   It has no gun, but it looks cool and seems like it would fit in off-camera pretty nicely.

You don't need this figure.  You really don't.   It's one of those things that you'll ignore now and will either be worthless in 10 years or will cost more than your shoes.  I don't know which, and that's why I bought it now.  Or rather Shannon did, and I paid him back for it, because Shannon is good people.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,466: March 26, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,465: First Order Gunner (The Last Jedi Line Look)

FIRST ORDER GUNNER Battle on Crait
The Last Jedi Home Video Battle on Crait 4-Pack
Item No.:
   No. E0321
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 figures, 4 blasters, poncho, lightsaber, staff
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $24.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: The First Order Gunners crew the heavy weapons emplacements that dot the surfaces of cruisers and installations.  (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:  New! The First Order Gunner is barely seen in the movie and reference photos online are hard to find - there's also a LEGO minifigure, but not a lot of details are out there for the costume.  With a massive underbite-looking visor, this figure does a good job matching the LEGO figure and Topps trading cards, which may as well count as reference.  The figure uses stunningly little paint, with glossy gloves and boots plus a First Order symbol on one shoulder.    True to the reference, everything is black and molded in color.  It's almost a crime Hasbro didn't sell these individually as the cheapest figures in their library that are completely accurate.

The 5-jointed figure is a gem.  It stands, it holds the blaster, and it even sits with the legs at a reasonable angle at which they can sit in vehicles.   The thin male body is in a plain black suit with space jodhpurs, obviously because someone is evoking a certain kind of image in our collective cultural memory.  The bizarre, faceless helmet resembles the original Death Star's gunners after an accident.    The little pouches on the belt are a nice touch, and I can't find anything specific I don't like about the figure.  His blaster fits in his hand, and while simple it's an effective toy.   If you see this set, go ahead and get it - three new figures and one deco variant is a pretty good mix.  The Rogue One 4-pack was a little more exciting, but this is still plenty good.

Packaging Notes: This is a good box.   The footprint is the same as the previous Disney movie 4-packs, which were designed to be the same size as the digital download boxes a few years ago so a fan could collect them all on a shelf together.  This isn't widely promoted.  The box itself is much better than the rest of the 3 3/4-inch figure line, with a much better use of the space.  The back has bios for all four figures in multiple languages along with shots of figures that show them with (or without) their accessories, and there's no big use of white space like on the Kohl's set.  Hasbro did a great job here.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,465: March 21, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,464: Clone Captain Rex (The Last Jedi, The Black Series 6-Inch)

CLONE CAPTAIN REX Main Line Release
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E0623
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #59
Includes: 2 pistols
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio:  Clone Captain Rex served the Republic during the Clone Wars, often taking orders from Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. He viewed military service as an honor, and he always completed his mission. (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: Apparently someone like Clone Captain Rex.  There are two major releases - the HasCon release has a "toy deco" head, painted up like all the figures you've seen in the past.  This new non-exclusive one uses the new "realistic deco" we're seeing on Marvel Legends and The Black Series, essentially painting a portrait - complete with glossy eyes - right on the plastic face.  Some look better than others, and this is one of the best.     It's not quite the level of realism one gets from Hot Toys, but for the price and size it's pretty spectacular.  It's far superior to anything else going at this size and price point, and it's so odd to have a photorealistic cartoon character action figure in the style of a movie line.

I like the armor deco - glossy white plastic has been massaged with dirty paint, giving a faux-weathered look.   It's OK - it's not as good as the new face technique.   The detailing is still precise and buttons are decorated, with weathering baked in to the blue stripes just as well as we've seen before.  The blasters are a snug fit in the holsters, but they do fit - they fit in the hands too.  A blue stripe on the kama also looks nice, but it doesn't seem aligned perfectly.  On mine, you'll note a little black peeking out.  It's by no means bad - just one of those little imperfections they may some day stamp down.

HasCon Rex has the classic-style, simpler face deco.  Main release has a photo printed on the plastic, basically.   The armors are the same.  I'd steer you toward whatever you can get more cheaply - the single box one is pretty spectacular and will likely be the new gold standard against which other troopers are judged.   It's basically the existing Clone Trooper body, but with a new belt, torso, helmet, and head.  And pauldron.  The a skirt.  It's cloth!   It's pretty good too!     This time around the pauldron is affixed in place, not floaty or twirly like some of the others.  Liberal amounts of damage are applied to the armor, as are hashmarks.  You can see where the helmet and armor are welded together with burn marks complete with raised sculpted elements.   I like it and hope they drag in Obi-Wan Kenobi and a few more costumes from The Clone Wars.   Also, this year is the 10th anniversary of that TV show.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,464: March 19, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,463: DJ (Canto Bight, The Last Jedi, The Black Series 6-Inch)

DJ (Canto Bight)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E0622
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #57
Includes: Rifle, pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio:  A thief whose tattered, threadbare clothes and lackadaisical attitude conceal a sharp mind and expert codebreaking skills, DJ believes there's no difference between sides in this new galactic war.  (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:  The small version is good, the big DJ is better.   At this point I don't know if we'll see a super-articulated DJ, or DJ in his First Order duds, but we've got his Space Tom Waits costume and that's a good start.  He has his hat, his coat, his belt, and his beard - and one glove.  And rings.  He's an ornate fellow with some facial fuzz with a really good Benicio del Toro face sculpt.   He looks younger here than in the movie!

The face has a decent beard, which has proven difficult a feature for Hasbro.   Here, they printed it on using some new technique that results in more color and shinier gloss.  It gives him a little more life, which is good, but getting the perfect scruff is a challenge.  It's still better than the Poe figures.   The beanie looks great, with a stylized metal plate that says "Don't Join" in the most stylized - and legible - Aurebesh lettering I've ever seen.   This is the first time I've been able to look at something and know what it said without having to verify, but then again the context would also help.

Articulation is standard The Black Series fare with bend-and-swivel hands, double-jointed knees, and all that jazz.   The coat renders the hip joints a little moot, and the double knees seem like overkill - but it's nice to have them.   I'd like to see Hasbro completely eliminate the mid-torso cut joint, as it's visually ugly and functionally dubious.  You can't really move it much with the coat, and it doesn't do much as an ab crunch.  A one-piece body, or a joint only at the belt, would look and potentially function better.  It's still very good - the joints are mostly hidden thanks tot he coat and costume design.  The design seems perfect for action figures, but Hasbro had to translate it with the joints and the paint apps and the things of this nature.  The ring detail on his hand is great, as is the glossy black on the boots.  
 While it would seem little and big DJ figures were derived from a similar source, they're both great.  There are subtle differences with the 6-inch figure - complete with holstered small pistol - is the champ.  I'd love to see a super-articulated, but I also freely admit that the main reason would be for a slightly better paint job on the head, blaster, and boots.  Hasbro did it well here, and he looks like he'd be right at home in any hive of scum and/or villainy.   I've seen a few of these in stores, and given the assortment you might see some on your travels.  I like it enough to say that I'm glad I got mine, and you may wish to do so online or elsewhere.  I do not expect him to have additional runs in the future, if post-release Disney-movie figures to date have been any indication.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,463: March 14, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,462: Rey (Island Journey, The Last Jedi, The Black Series 6-Inch)

REY (Island Journey)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E0621
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #58
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak, blaster, staff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: February 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio:  With the power of the Force awakening inside her, Rey travels to the hidden world of Ahch-To. There, she seeks out Luke Skywalker as the last hope of the Resistance.  (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:  This is great.  The best figure in the line - or at least the best version of the character from Hasbro so far - is Rey (Island Journey) as a 6-inch figure.   With this wave Hasbro started to deploy its new face painting techniques on a grander scale and I'm not 100% sure if this figure uses it or not.  It doesn't look quite as exaggerated as the press photos, in person she looks eerily almost real.  The eyebrows, eyes, and lips have a glossy finish that is a heck of a lot less toy-ey than the last version.   It looks like her - it's good!  It's really good!   Hasbro has a lot of really good human faces, but as of right now I'd say this is the best.

She is nicely articulated - but brings nothing new to the table.   That's not a criticism so much as a resignation to the fact that Hasbro has seemingly decided what these figures can do in 2015 and will never deviate from the ball shoulders, double-hinge knees, rocker ankles, and whatnot.   There are places to hide in more joints but I don't suspect they have an incentive to try them until production costs demand change - either to make the figure look like it has more value, or to bring costs down.   Most of the joints are nicely hidden, but at this point I'd love to see them put some work in hiding the pins in the knees.  Everything else looks superb, and the arms (and especially hands) are perfect to hold her accessories.

I was surprised just how Hasbro cut the joints.  The elbows are able to bend more than 90 degrees with wrists than bend and swivel as smoothly as you could hope.  I had zero problems getting her hands on the lightsaber hilt.

The hilt is a lot better than the Luke hilts - the detail on the switch is great, and the belt clip is angled when compared to the Luke releases.   I don't really have much to say about the blaster and staff other than they're great at fitting in her hands or holster, so Hasbro did nice work here.

This is probably my favorite 6-inch figure.  Yeah, I know some of you don't like Rey. Fight me.  Hasbro did a bang-up job here and you should buy one.   The cape is great.  The jointing is wonderful. Hasbro, please - assign a Jedi Knight (Jabba's Palace) Luke Skywalker to the designer of this figure.   I want to see how they'll handle it, and then buy several.  Well, OK, one.   If you're new to this line, this Rey might be a great place to start.


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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,462: March 12, 2018