Thursday, August 16, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,508: 0-0-0 (Triple Zero, The Vintage Collection)

0-0-0 (Triple Zero)
The Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Set - Doctor Aphra Comic Set
Item No.:
  No. E1628
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: Blaster pistol, 3 figures, removable panels
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $54.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra comics

Bio: In a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader.  A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.   After a brief checkered partnership with Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra escapes from the control of her dark supervisor and his clandestine agenda.  Free of her obligations to Vader, Aphra ventures out with her assassin droids, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan in search of new opportunities, leal and otherwise.   Though unafraid of using whatever means necessary to get what she wants, Doctor Aphra is careful to avoid additional entanglements with Darth Vader, understanding all too well the vast reaches of his unflinching power.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: A simple redeco, 0-0-0 is something fans have been asking for over the last few years.   The last time we saw this mold was in 2010 as C-3PO [FOTD #1,515].   Black protocol droids are nothing new, and some like I-5YQ [FOTD #1,382] had nifty things like a hidden compartment.

The figure is the same as C-3PO, minus colors, for good and for ill.   This time around the removable face mask, back plate, and chest plate are somewhat loose.  The back plate fell off as I was taking it out of the package, and the face flung off on the floor while I was examining it for the first time.   Take care when opening the package and playing with it - it would not surprise me at all if you lose a piece in the carpet.  A fourth panel on the thigh comes off without much fuss, but it doesn't seem to be as loose.  0-0-0 has over 20 points of articulation, can't sit very well, and looks superb.  The eyes aren't as bright and as red as they frequently appeared in the comics, but it's a good representation of the skinny cybernetic psycho.
It's a black repaint - and we've already had dark grey or black protocol droids.  This is a good one, and a new take on this mold, but you might already be covered for the whole black droid thing.  Given the opportunity to buy this set cheaply, it's worth it for Aphra and BT - 0-0-0 is no slouch.   It's just not as exciting as an all-new figure or a droid with new optional parts.   If you do get this figure, take care to not lose those panels.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro as a sample, but it was sold at San Diego Comic-Con and also HasbroToyShop.com.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,508: August 16, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,507: Tobias Beckett (The Black Series 6-Inch)

TOBIAS BECKETT Scoundrel
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1205
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: 2 blaster pistols
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Beckett is a survivor, always quietly working out angles to come out ahead.  He's assembled a team of specialized scoundrels to carry out risky but profitable heists.  (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: If you told me that I would some day be getting mega-poseable figures with photo-realistic likenesses for $20 and it might start to feel ho-hum, I'd say you were crazy.  With Tobias Beckett, we get Woody Boyd as an old man with a pretty good - if slightly waxy - likeness and a ton of articulation.   27 points of articulation, working holsters, and twin painted pistols make this a decent figure - but the sculpted snaps and buttons really make it look great.  He stands, he poses, and he has great cut joints in the elbows allowing for a greater range of motion than all but the very best double-jointed elbows.

Deco is good - the costume is amazing with a jacket, suit, rank pins, boots, straps, ammo, and so much going on that it's pretty amazing we're still getting it for about $20.  The face is good, but needs work.  While we get eerily realistic glossy eyes, the mouth is a little dirty and the facial hair doesn't feel quite right.
The problem with collector lines, and Star Wars in particular, is that enthusiasm from fans usually comes from two places - awesome new bad guys, and nostalgia.   The new humans (for good or for ill) are rarely causes to celebrate, even if they're good.  Unless you get in too close, this is one of the better Hasbro heads, with a good costume, great trigger fingers, superb texture, and wonderful articulation.  And yet, it's just another figure.  Without the hazy mists of time, these figures can't become icons.   Tobias Beckett is fine, but it's not his or Hasbro's fault that this is the fourth movie in as many years and fans can barely catch up.   This is a fine product - and if you like the character, you should get the figure. Otherwise, well,  you know the drill.  Hasbro makes good figures in The Black Series, consistent and sturdy.   Nice job to team Hasbro, although my old fartness would have loved an action feature, or something unexpected -  you know, something antithetical to the product.  It's perfect for what it aspires to be, though.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,507: August 14, 2018

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,506: BT-1 (Beetee, The Vintage Collection)

BT-1 (Beetee)
The Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Set - Doctor Aphra Comic Set
Item No.:
  No. E1628
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #68
Includes: Blaster pistol, 3 figures, removable weapons
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $54.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra comics

Bio: In a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader.  A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.   After a brief checkered partnership with Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra escapes from the control of her dark supervisor and his clandestine agenda.  Free of her obligations to Vader, Aphra ventures out with her assassin droids, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan in search of new opportunities, leal and otherwise.   Though unafraid of using whatever means necessary to get what she wants, Doctor Aphra is careful to avoid additional entanglements with Darth Vader, understanding all too well the vast reaches of his unflinching power..  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Even though "everything is canon," licensed fiction is still licensed fiction - contradictions will happen, events will be ignored.  But what we can't ignore is how awesome the figure for BT-1 turned out.   The idea in the comics was to bring Vader a sidekick with sidekicks of her own - darker versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO - and they succeeded.  Fans like "dark whatever" a lot, so this was really just low-hanging fruit at which we have seen numerous attempts over the years.  Finally!  An evil black astromech!  The killer robot takes advantage of the recently retooled build-a-droid body (seen last as R2-D2 [FOTD #2,430], but with a new head. 

If you've got any of Hasbro's various "Droid Factory" bodies, you know what to expect as far as the body goes.  The ankles are articulated, the central leg is removable, and so is the dome.  The very dark grey - almost black - is similar to several existing robots, as is the orangey copper eye, the opper panel, and the silver other bits and pieces.   The fact that we got a new dome is in and of itself interesting enough to make it worthwhile, but Hasbro kept going and really outdid themselves.   You see, the guns are removable - and there are panels on the sides so you can cover them up, giving you back a closed-in dome with pop-out weapons.  Pretend ones, but still, the idea that they decided to give you some optional parts is a heck of an improvement over nothing.

As of today this figure is only available as a convention exclusive - but various leaks and winks from Hasbro in San Diego make it seem like they would be likely to consider this figure's release again, somewhere, in different packaging.  I'd say it's exciting, mostly because we rarely get new droids with new parts.   Hasbro could've given us a new dome with no removable pieces and we'd have been pretty happy - this is above and beyond that.   I'm happy.  Go get one.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro as a sample, but it was sold at San Diego Comic-Con and also HasbroToyShop.com.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,506: August 9, 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,505: Rebel Trooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

REBEL TROOPER Fleeting
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1210
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #69
Includes: Blaster Pistol< Death Star Plans Data Card, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Star Wars and/or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Drawn from many homeworlds and species, Rebel troopers were the Alliance's front-tier soldiers in the war against the Empire.  They defended the Alliance's leaders on countless worlds and during many operations, changing uniforms and tactics to meet each challenge.  (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: We've seen this one for a while, so the release of the Rebel Trooper is one of those "it's about time" things.  We first saw it at Comic-Con a year ago, and Hasbro had a whole display of them at HasCon that made it look like they were ready to go - and then we waited.  The data disk is from Rogue One, but I think the human head might not be - I'm not sure.  The costume continuity was great, and if there were any changes I don't know what they are yet.  Vader had some differences, but his documentation was better.

I like this figure a lot.  The blaster tucks in the holster behind the vest, and he can hold the data disk. Getting the helmet on right is a little tricky, and a little uneven - I assume variant human heads might be in the works for no good reason.   The colors and detailing are consistent with the movies, and the hip joints are some of Hasbro's best.  He can kneel!   Hasbro cut this figure up nicely, with so much articulation to ensure he can assume a variety of combat-ready poses.  Hasbro clearly intends on you buying a lot of these, which you probably can't, because you know how "classic" characters get snapped up and tend to go away quickly.   I hope Hasbro does another run of these.
I love the glossy boots and the shiny helmet - the data card is an excellent bonus with printed circuit board bits and some nice gold markings.   Old guy fans want this - new fans might too.  It's one of the best figures in this line with a lot of flexibility and options to army-build down the road, plus an expertly cut vest hiding the one part of the figure I don't like.  That mid-torso joint is ugly and needs to go.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,505: August 7, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,504: R5-PHT (Droid Factory Line Look)

R5-PHT Just Different Enough to Make You Mad
Droid Factory The Last Jedi Boxed Set
Item No.:
  No. 63488
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 more droid figures
Action Feature: Breaks down into 5 separate pieces
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the Star Wars galaxy.  Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors.   These four new Astromech droids are featured in Solo: A Star Wars Story.   May the Force be with you... and your Droids!  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I put off opening these - and buying them - because the set is kind of dull.  Hasbro has made several black R5 droids, and so has Disney within their Droid Factory parts bins - R5-PHT has little new to offer, other than more silver paint and a restraining bolt.  It's otherwise similar - but not identical - to previous releases.

I'm not even going to dignify this with a longer review - it's the same robot with some more silver and a barely-changed dome sculpt.  Wookieepedia says it's an Imperial droid, and I don't remember seeing it in the film in a specific place - so sure, let's go with that.   The set for $30 is reasonable, but if you've also got droid Stockholm Syndrome and have been buying Disney's hassle-of-a-figure-line for the last five years, here, you can buy pretty much the same robot again.   I appreciate there are numerous additional silver details and I would be completely full of crap if I told you I actually wanted this figure.  The others were neat, but this is something that will sit on a shelf until I die or violently exit the hobby in frustration or disgust some day.   But then what would I do with my otherwise wasted life?

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay. Because I'm not driving eight hours and paying for parking to buy robot repaints.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,504: August 2, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,503: C'ai Threnalli (The Last Jedi Line Look)

C'AI THRENALLI Talking Edition
The Last Jedi Force Link Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. C1503  No. E0524
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $10.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: C'ai Threnalli[2] was an Abednedo male who flew in the Resistance Starfighter Corps of the Resistance's military during their conflict with the First Order.  This 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:  This is a figure I wasn't sure if people would want - at work, we picked it up after Hasbro dropped it from the US mainline.  C'ai Threnalli looked like a slightly better Ello Asty at first glance - this time with a removable helmet and no holster.  The figure had a bit more to offer than sounds and new joints, and has proven to be pretty popular.  (I've seen the sales figures.  This should be the first one to sell out.)

The arms seem to be derived from the same digital sculpt as Asty, as do parts of the torso - the vest matches the wrinkles on the older figure in spots quite closely.   It's a safe bet Disney and Lucasfilm are giving Hasbro some digital assets while not being afraid to tweak existing models.   Threnalli has articulated wrists and boots either as a forward-thinking way to fit in future vehicles, or as a cost-cutting measure to avoid having to paint those pieces by molding them in color. I assume the latter.  It's a nice feature though - I'll take articulation any way I can get it!  The helmet is rubbery and is a perfect fit on his head, which is sculpted surprisingly well with a lot of detail.  

It looks better than a lot of the other The Last Jedi figures, which kind of is unfortunate as it had more limited availability.  It's similar, but different, and certainly good enough to warrant your attention with extra flight straps and definitely new legs.  C'ai, along with Maz Kanata, a Flametrooper, and Emperor Palpatine were all bumped from the main line but all found homes somewhere.  (The single Palpatine was sold overseas, and in 3-packs at Target.)  I think they're all decent for different reasons.   If you're a pilot fan, get one.

  "Got 'em."  "Come and get me!"  "Roger."  "We have a mission to complete."  "Come and get me!"  And blaster effects.  The voice is, obviously, not from the movie.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   This figure was originally slated to be a part of the first Force Link line for The Last Jedi but when the final wave got axed, this item was dumped in the USA.  It is a de facto USA Entertainment Earth exclusive.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,503: July 31, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,502: Maz Kanata (Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

MAZ KANATA Talking Edition
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1676
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Maz Kanata was a Force-sensitive humanoid female who was born over a millennium before the brewing war between the First Order and the Resistance.   (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:  While almost identical to a figure we got a few years ago, this Maz Kanata will not be the figure's last appearance in toys this year.   She seems to be selling well despite a similar Maz Kanata [FOTD #2,273] being sold in 2016.  The problem, like so many problems since the reboot, is we are generally given a choice between new characters we don't know yet (some of which turn out to be pretty insignificant as toys go) and barely different versions of characters we own - Solo's line really leaned in to those.  Maz is a bit more interesting than her 2016 version, but to the typical fan she's the same figure with a new gun and a non-removable jet pack.   For most, the desire to have a Maz figure should be enough. Weirdly this one is desirable, but the 6-inch one is not according to Amazon pricing at press time.

The figure does a good job delivering the character in a costume from her cameo in The Last Jedi, where we found out that she has a labor dispute and her hobbies may have been described by Russ Hanneman.   She has 5 points of articulation including the ball-jointed neck, with deco that's pretty good to the naked eye.  Numerous dongles and beads and gems are painted, plus her hands seem to be the right color - which wasn't the case all the time in 2016.  Her necklace, belt buckle, glasses, wrinkles, socks, toes, and just about everything is well-textured and decorated.   This is great, as Hasbro and other companies often leave details in whatever color the rest of the limb happened to be.   More detail is always welcome.  She's by no means perfect, but given the size and price point we get a pretty good paint job here.  She's stable and the jet pack - and I have no idea why she needed one in the movie - is a nice touch here.   I'd rather have had a figure of a new character instead since she has tooling changes, but I guess that's life.

Hasbro did a great job here - the fact that I don't see her, or a lot of wave 1 Solo figures sitting, says to me either Hasbro did a great job or isn't done shipping the wave yet.  I would not classify this as an essential purchase, but it's certainly very good and I'm not sorry I have it.  

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "I am no Jedi, but I know the Force."  "I assume you need something.  Desperately."  Blasters.  These do seem to be taken from the film archives - and there are more, but the Force Link 2.0 band eats "AAA" batteries.  I probably got about an hour of play out of this set.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   This figure was originally slated to be a part of the first Force Link line for The Last Jedi but got bounced to this wave for some reason - other figures from those waves were bounced to Entertainment Earth as exclusives.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,502: July 26, 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,501: Chewbacca (Mimban, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

CHEWBACCA (Mimban) with Han Solo (Mimban)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Two-Pack
Item No.:
Asst. E0324  No. E1251
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Han Solo figure, chains, 3-part cannon
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Chewbacca, known affectionately to his friends as Chewie, was a Wookiee warrior, smuggler, and resistance fighter who fought in the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance. He hailed from the planet Kashyyyk and became a Wookiee military leader.  (Taken 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:  While not as scary as "The Beast," Chewbacca (Mimban) manages to mash up a few looks in a single figure.  The 5-jointed release is soaked with mud, making him a lot less fluffy than other versions.  Weirdly, this gives Chewie a look that's a lot closer to the original 1978 Kenner figure.  He's really skinny and for the very first time, comes with no bandolier and no indentation for when you remove the ammo belts.   A muddy body is painted over with Chewie's fur colors.

The skinnier take on the Wookiee is a welcome change, and while he has no accessories to speak of there's a nifty mud-covered shackle on his leg that matches Han's.   It's an incredibly rubbery figure, with flexible arms and a head that can turn a bit or pop off pretty easily.  The body has a hairy "vest," with fur hanging down like a loincloth restricting a bit of movement.  Since the figure isn't seen sitting in a vehicle, and Hasbro has not been super supportive of vehicles, I don't see this as a tremendous problem.  
He stands nicely and the arms swing well, giving us another new take on Chewbacca.  Given he looks pretty similar in most of his incarnations, I'm kind of jazzed to see something that's more than "new forehead hair" or "snow on feet."   The soaking, muddy figure is a heck of a nice change and a welcome addition to my toy box.   Or it would be, if the dang thing weren't overflowing.

Force Link Notes: Very angry roars.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,501: July 24, 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,500: Han Solo (Mimban, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

HAN SOLO (Mimban) with Chewbacca (Mimban)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Two-Pack
Item No.:
Asst. E0324  No. E1251
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Chewbacca figure, chains, 3-part cannon
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Han Solo, formerly known only as Han until being given the surname Solo by chief recruitment officer Drawd Munbrin, 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. (Taken 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 like this Han Solo (Mimban) figure.   When I first saw it, I didn't think much of it - a mud-splattered figure with a costume I think I'd rather like was irritating, but Hasbro actually leveraged the strengths of the medium to make a pretty good figure.   Han has 7 points of articulation thanks to his wrists, and looks vaguely like Alden Ehrenreich.

Han sits and stands quite nicely, with joints that swing largely unobstructed like most of the figures that come out of Hasbro's Vietnamese factories.   But you're used to that - the 2-packs are largely pretty great.   What makes this figure interesting is the color and texture.  From the neck on down, Han is molded in a single color with tons of muddy texture and a tiny, almost invisible splash of lighter color paint, and it's great.  Molding a figure in color generally gives it a glossy texture if you do it right, and Hasbro did.  The lumpy splatter of the mud changes the figure's look significantly, with muddy metal and cloth bits looking like they just pulled him out of some puddle.  The head is a little wet, with slicked-back hair and dirt on his face.  The face could look more like the actor, but that's what we're getting now.

His leg chain is articulated and can be removed - I haven't removed it because it looks like it might be hard to fit back together again.   It's still nifty, and I'd say it's worth the asking price if you see it. 
It comes with a 3-piece cannon accessory that doesn't hold together so well.  The front shield will not stay in place, and while I will rarely advocate gluing something in place, I'll make an exception here.  When you see this on clearance, get a second one and glue it.  It's nothing special - a couple of hand grips, a rotating base.   The hand grips come warped.  It's OK.   I like the set overall, especially given how Han Solo is a fascinating example of how to do new textures and colors while cheating the cost goblin.   I don't assume we'll see a "clean" version soon, so go ahead and score this one.

Force Link Notes: "Let's get this done... I'm on a schedule."    "I've gotta find a way out of here!"  "Oh you have got to be kidding me."   "I could use some back-up."   "C'mon.  Let's get our of here."  And blaster sounds - Han is definitely a soundalike.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,500: July 19, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,499: First Order Flametrooper (The Last Jedi Line Look)

FIRST ORDER FLAMETROOPER Talking Edition
The Last Jedi Force Link Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. C1503  No. E0521
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Thrower, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $10.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Specialized Stormtroopers of the First Order, Flametroopers carry incendiary weapons that can transform any battlefield into an infernal blaze.  (Stolen from the 2015 figure packaging.  This 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:  Generally speaking I'm pretty fond of trooper figures, especially when new poses come in.  The surprising thing about the Flame Trooper is that he is a big improvement over The Force Awakens Flametrooper [FOTD #2,200].  Both have the same number of joints and appear to be cut from the same cloth, but the 2018 version has some improvements.  (Also I worked to bring these out to Entertainment Earth, so consider this your bias warning.)

First up, the white is glossier and seems almost painted all over - it's s harp.  The whites are brighter and shinier, with a few extra paint applications.  A line in the chest is painted, and the backpack has some red dots that weren't painted before.     The index fingers are white now rather than black, which is more consistent with the prop replicas and merchandise appearances.  A few panel lines and dots were left undecorated, but someone with a fine enough paintbrush or toothpick could probably touch it up pretty nicely.   Hasbro basically fixed a number of details from the 2015 release.

Despite only having 5 joints, they did improve the pose.  The arms are now both posed to hold the blaster with both hands, truer to the movie.  While not super-articulated, it's a heck of a nice improvement and arguably a better way to build an army.  You could probably get a few of each flavor and makes a nice display - the colors may not be a perfect match, though.   Given its status, I'd say it's worth getting.  But of course I'd tell you that.  If a better super-articulated one ever makes the rounds you'll likely want that, but with few unsightly joints and a decent flame-sweeping pose you still may wish to get one or two of this model.

Force Link Notes: "What are my orders?"  "Sir! Resistance fighters!"  "Call in the airstrike!"  And some flaming death noises - these are likely not from the movie.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   This figure was originally slated to be a part of the first Force Link line for The Last Jedi but when the final wave got axed, this item was dumped in the USA.  It is a de facto USA Entertainment Earth exclusive.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,499: July 17, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,498: Mimban Stormtrooper (Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

MIMBAN STORMTROOPER Talking Edition
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1637
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: The Mimban Stormtrooper was a variant of the Galactic Empire's standard stormtrooper. Some were part of the 224th Imperial Armored Division on Mimban, a mining planet located in the Expansion Region. Mimban Stormtroopers were armed with E-11 blaster rifles and they wore capes.  (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 was thrilled at the idea of a Mimban Stormtrooper because I read Splinter of the Mind's Eye and who doesn't want Mimban-based toys?   The black-suited Luke and Leia from that book have been requested by fans since the 1990s, and Hasbro never got to them.  A pity.   It's kind of a surprise that it would be Han Solo to take us there during a brutal, pointless, and muddy battle.  There were multiple kinds of troopers and cannon fodder there, including this new Stormtrooper variant.   It's an all-new figure sculpt, but it's also very similar to the original model with a revised helmet, a cape, and either mud or camo. I have no idea what it is.

I've heard people say "less is more," but this 7-jointed figure lacks enough paint apps where I would say less is less - the LEGO figure looks a smidgen better.  The wrists are jointed and it has the typical shoulder, hip, and neck joints.  The hands are capable of gripping his blasters, but it's a loose grip.   The cape is plastic, and hangs well.  The paint on the body is perfectly nice with a helmet that disappoints a bit.  It's not bad... just disappointing.

The sculpt is good - the helmet's forehead has an extra layer of armor that looks almost like a visor on the forehead. The parts are all where they should be, although many aren't painted. There's a black mark on the ear that's blank. The mouth is unpainted.  The "vents" are unpainted. The swoosh under the eyes? Also unpainted.  Everything is sculpted, so it probably suffered a budget cut or two.  A black line on the visor is also blank.  The figure is otherwise good - this sort of lack of detail is rather disappointing, particularly given every Stormtrooper since 1995 has tended to deliver on these painted areas.  It's a bizarre step back on an otherwise particularly enticing action figure.

Because it's a new trooper from an old planet, I'd recommend getting it - but better versions are coming.  Hasbro tried some good ideas here, but finding the right center of gravity is difficult.  The paint job could be better.   Still - it's different.  For that reason I'd say buy one, but maybe hold off on troop building until something better comes along.  I know the side-story movies haven't proven as popular financially, but boy howdy I hope Hasbro mines them for more toys.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Trooper standing guard."  "Enemy re-enforcements incoming."  "Look alive."  "We're taking heavy fire here."  "There they are. Blast them!"  "Ahhhh!"  And blaster sounds.  This does not seem to be taken from a movie voice.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,498: July 12, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,497: Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

LUKE SKYWALKER Jedi Master
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1728
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Star Wars: 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:  Guess who's just different enough to make you mad?  This Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master) figure seems to be selling briskly in some markets, but it's a vast irritant to me personally.   The figure is a redo on Luke Skywalker [FOTD #2,403] which wasn't too hard to find, but with a new sound chip.  I would have preferred no changes - but that's not up to me.  Hasbro brought back a popular figure, changing it slightly so completists may feel obliged to buy it - but really, just because a lot of fans want to get a figure of Luke as they may remember him now that he's gone.  

If you read the earlier review, it's the same figure - even the copyright markings are the same.   The green Force Link 2.0 icon is the only genuine change here.  The 5 joints are the same, the awesome textures remain, the articulation is still decent, and it's still our childhood hero before his last stand.  If you have one of the other versions of this figure - and if you're a completist, you may have several - you can enjoy this one's unique Force Link sounds without ever having to open the packaging.  I like it, but if you have another version of this figure you really, truly, do not nee this one as well.
I should emphasize that this is not a bad action figure - it's just more of something you may already have bought in the last 10 months, and that's always a disappointment when something new would be more exciting.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "I will bring an end to the Jedi order."  "What do you know about the Force?"  "Reach out with your feelings."  "Stay back!"  And wooshing sounds.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,497: July 10, 2018