Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,525: R2-X2 (Red Squadron, The Black Series 6-Inch)

R2-X2 Red Squadron
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Exclusive Red Squadron Figure Set
Item No.:
  No. E2311
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 droids
Action Feature: Compartments open to reveal arms, retractable third leg when dome spins, opening dome panels
Retail: $59.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Astromech droids are a series of versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology.  R2-X2 was Red 10 Theron Nett's droid and served in the Battle of Yavin. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary: I wanted to say R2-X2 is the best version of the droid yet, but it's not.  It's close, but I'm having issues with weird, new errors being introduced to these droids.  R5-D8 is largely excusable because there's no good reference and previous figures were based, in part, on imagination.   R2-X2 is a droid done multiple times since 2006, and each version has had errors - some of which are easily overlooked.  This one got the green part right, got the color right for the body, and got the box around the "mouth" dot unpainted - correctly!   That's great.  It also totally missed the color of the dome, which is a kind of a big deal.   Kotobukiya got it right on all fronts last year.

In the movie, R2-X2 has a dirty white dome.  This 6-inch scale toy has a silver dome, which I don't believe it's ever done before.  LEGO got it right.  Funko got it right.  It's right on the cards.  Even the black R2-X2 Hasbro did got this part right.   It seemed that, to date, the one thing consistent in every single R2-X2 figure, LEGO set, or bobble head was the white dome.  But no, in 2018 Hasbro, Lucasfilm, and/or Disney found a new glitch to introduce to the low-hanging-fruit that is a droid repaint.

It's a fine looking robot in and of itself, but it's not a robot that appeared in the movie.  It's not even an understandable goof either - the black R2-X2 did indeed look black in some reference shots, and some droids we know only as a dome, so the body is easy to make up.  But not R2-X2.  We've seen mistakes, and we've learned from so many of them.  Props to Hasbro for getting the general panel layout and stripes correct, but I cringe at paying $60 for 3 de-accessorized droids where one of them definitely has a glaring error and another probably has several glaring errors.  I hope against hope that Lucasfilm approvals starts requiring anyone approving figural products to, at the very least, compare the new item being approved to previous releases and to find a still from the movie.  Or, in my dreams, show it off to fans if you're making a toy based on a 4 decade old movie - let us chime in.  Feel free to ignore us, but when something is totally wrong it would be nice to have the opportunity to correct it when we're talking about an exclusive in a line that's generally pitched as being specifically for the adult collector that wanted a clean, fresh start from 3 3/4-inch.  This is amateur hour error stuff.   Yes, the dirt splats are wonderful - but i don't see those in the reference material, either.  Is it possible that this figure isn't meant to represent R2-X2 but some other, similar robot they found in the archives and made by accident? I hope so. Because then I can understand why this figure doesn't match anything we've seen from 41 years of stills and movie history.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,525: October 16, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,524: R2-D2 (Red Squadron, The Black Series 6-Inch)

R2-D2 Red Squadron
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Exclusive Red Squadron Figure Set
Item No.:
  No. E2311
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 droids
Action Feature: Compartments open to reveal arms, retractable third leg when dome spins, opening dome panels
Retail: $59.99
Availability: May 2018
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio:A resourceful astromech droid, R2-D2 showed great bravery in rescuing his masters and their friends from many perils.  A skilled pilot's assistant, he served Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Yavin alongside Red Squadron. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Thanks to environmental residue, Hasbro could easily give us grassy, snowy, muddy, and other versions of this droid.  In the 6-inch line, other than the first catch-all version, R2-D2 gets only his second flavor five years later as a "blasted" version.  This is the one that they pulled out of Luke's X-wing, and one that had more bashed-up panels and blasted-up bits in the 3 3/4-inch line.  The battle-worn grit looks better here, though.

The original 6-inch R2-D2 was a rare instance of Hasbro making a figure that feels a little small, but had just about every necessary accessory up front.  We got two panels with pop-out arms - still here - and three dome panels that could be removed to add other accessories.  Also still here.  Hasbro removed the two scopes and lightsaber from this release, also the prequel booster rockets in the arms.  The removable arm panels remain - you can pop them off if you like.   Because of all the accessories and features, you should track down the 2013 original or the 2017 40th Anniversary repack.   It's the best.  This is good for different reasons.

This is a figure you buy for deco.  The white and brown blast marks with energy damage and oil leaking looks really spectacular.  It's kind of funny because it's a white glossy brand-new figure with what looks like years of leaky oil and war damage on parts of it - but from a distance, it looks great.  The eye is big and glossy, the red light looks good, and the blue is blue where it should be. It's not exact, but it's pretty close - that red light is nice, but it should be turned off.  R2-D2 is "dead" in this look.  The white blast on the side closely matches the movie, and some of the brown is close, but not identical, to the prop.  He could also stand to have even more dirt paint, but it gives a close enough impression of what we saw on the big screen at the end of the original film.  Clearly, I'm picking nits here.

If you want an R2-D2, this is a good one.  You don't get the pop-up lightsaber or the extra scopes, but you get a lot more paint and a paint job that could just as easily do duty on Dagobah.   I don't see this figure as a selling point for the set, but I don't see the set as one of the best either - two of the three robots are very close to droids you likely already own.  Sure they're different - but it can be difficult to get excited about more of the same without a little something extra in there to make the figure even more exciting and compelling, or at least different.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,524: October 11, 2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,523: Qi'ra (Corellia, The Black Series 6-Inch)

QI'RA (Corellia)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1203
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #66
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: May 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: At 18 years of age, young Qi'Ra is already enmeshed in a life of crime, working for a gang on Corellia.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I like this Qi'Ra figure, and it makes me grouchy because she doesn't have a lot of pals.   It's proficient, a superior example of a figure well-executed with all the trappings you can hope for on a 6-inch scale plastic figure with a level of detail consistent with the best of your expectations from an unreleased but troubled movie.  What I hate is that she's alone - Lucasfilm gave Hasbro reference for a Qi'Ra minus the corresponding time period of Han.  Non-collectors will shrug, but generally speaking I don't want to display a figure with no contemporaries - Forces of Destiny is mostly like this.  Disparate figures from disparate time periods, lacking the coherent focus of most Kenner-era waves giving us at least a couple of buddies to hang out together.   Granted, Qi'Ra doesn't have many friends because her pals aren't figures yet other than Han Solo.  And he's in the wrong costume.  Harrumph.  (Perhaps a Han's Speeder was planned that never made it out - I don't know.)

If you can get beyond the loner nature of this one - she's great.  Hasbro, pat yourselves on the back. Or Gentle Giant, or the sculptors inside Anaheim's Empire of the Mouse.  This figure looks great, with various textures coming to life in plastic.  Her collar looks sort of like wool. Her skirt is dirty leather, and her boots more or less match - complete with dusting of grit, or worm skin, or something. The bracelets mask the wrist joints, and are painted quite nicely.  The ab joint is well-hidden, with no weird crunch or bizarre cut breaking up the clean lines of the shirt meeting the skirt.   I love the wrinkled jacket, the dynamite hair, and the glossy eyes and lips - the shine doesn't look as good on the eyebrows.  (Hasbro: stop doing that.)

With about 26 points of articulation, this is a wonderful showing of how to hide articulation in a costume.  She has a tremendous range of movement, and looks fantastic too - I love the black, white, and red all over costume with superior posture and body language thanks to the jointing.  She can also hold her spiffy blaster with no problems.

Collectors have shunned many of the women in the new movie era, possibly in part thanks to their being produced in a lot of waves - so we're seeing top-billed women figures drop in price pretty quickly.  This is pretty backward from how things used to be - Leias came out, were in short supply, we got cranky, repeat.  At least each movie gets us one (or more) new women, as opposed to the Smurfette-flavored original casting.   I like this figure a bunch - thankfully Moloch is coming to join her in the prologue, I'd love to see Vest Han and maybe the Imperial officers Drawd Munbrin or Falthina Sharest.  (Seriously what is up with these names?)

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,523: October 9, 2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,522: Clone Commander Wolffe (The Black Series 6-Inch)

CLONE COMMANDER WOLFFE 6-Inch Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Shared Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2259
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Helmet, 2 blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Clone Commander Wolffe (clone designation CC-3636) served in the Clone Wars as commander of the tight-knit unit known as the Wolfpack. A seasoned and battered combatant, Wolffe has witnessed some of the worst the war has to offer. Despite tragedy, he fights on bravely, proudly brandishing his battle scars and instilling loyalty among his men.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: It's sort of a miracle that Clone Commander Wolffe exists, but it makes sense for Hasbro as The Clone Wars has some fan legs and Wolffe is Rex with new paint, a new helmet, and a new head.   The body itself was originally sold as the Attack of the Clones Clone Trooper, so you might have a half dozen or so figures with this body.  Hasbro designed this one when double-jointed elbows were still on the table, we've had very few of those as of late.

The figure has slightly dirty armor, which is kind of odd.   The boots are glossy grey, but there are occasional smudges of fudge on the chest, arms, and helmet with flecks of white baked in some grey bits.   Plo Koon's Clone General is good, but it's hard to reconcile the shiny parts with the dirty parts.   I'd love to see the grey be all matte or all glossy, as the shoulders and helmet aren't quite as lustrous as the hands and lower legs.   At least everything looks like it should - you get the wolf detail on the helmet and shoulders, and it looks good from a distance. 

The figure's best feature is hidden under a helmet - the portrait looks like a scarred and enhanced Temuera Morrison.  The skin tone isn't perfect - Hasbro has had issues getting it just-so, and at this size it's probably impossible to exaggerate it to the proper levels so it looks exact - but it's good.  The facel ooks right, the expression is good, he's got a little bit of a lumpy, scarred, seen-it-all sense about him and that messed-up right eye.   I'm torn when it comes to how to display it - I love the helmet, but the human head is so dang good

My hunch is you'll skip this figure and regret it, because you don't go where it's sold.  It's really good, and one of Hasbro's better portraits in recent memory.  Get it if you see it, especially since your collection of The Clone Wars 6-inch figures is going to be pretty small right now.  Almost as small as your The Phantom Menace collection.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from GameStop.  It was also sold at Barnes & Noble and Disney Stores.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,522: October 4, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,521: Admiral Piett (The Black Series 6-Inch)

ADMIRAL PIETT 6-Inch Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Shared Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2813
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Hat, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $21.99
Availability: August 2018
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: An ambitious Imperial officer, Piett rose through the ranks to captain and was assigned to the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Darth Vader's flagship.  When Vader strangled Admiral Ozzel, Piett was granted a battlefield promotion to admiral - and given a grisly warning of the penalty for failure.  (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: Hasbro's character selection for The Black Series has been rather fascinating, light on aliens and droids but heavy on  humans.  Since there's a lot of tooling to share with Thrawn and Tarkin, Admiral Piett exists.  The arms and legs and lower jacket are similar to Tarkin, with a new cap, new head, and new hands.  And a new blaster.

The 6-inch figure is on par with previous efforts - you get a stiff jacket, so sitting isn't much of an option. The figure has a good range of articulation, much of which is nicely stowed in the seams.  Bend-and-swivel wrists allow you to give him a weapon, which he doesn't use, which is kind of a shame as it's new tooling and I'd just as soon have a slug figure of a Mouse Droid or some other armament for another figure in my collection.  (Or, heaven forbid, a build-a-figure piece.)   The texture throughout is great, and I can see how and indeed why Hasbro wants to make the most out of its figures like this - why not give the older fan the fascist thugs we crave?   The grey-suited toady has a removable cap and a clean outfit complete with black gloves.  The face looks good, with an excellent sculpt and printed, mostly glossy features.   There are bags under his eyes and a little bit of color in there, perhaps too much - I feel like we're looking at the first phase of a new manufacturing technique which is going to get a lot better as time goes on.
This figure exists to look good boxed or stand on a shelf with your bounty hunters and/or Imperials.  There's not a lot of fun action to have, and while the blaster is appreciated, it's of little use.   It is a fan-requested character, and seeing things like this gives me hope for the line's longevity.  We haven't even gotten the second Cantina alien yet, but we're on Imperial Dude #3.   Things are moving along at a strange clip - Hasbro has put out more Expanded Universe and non-vintage Original Trilogy figures than I might have expected 5 years in to the line.   I hope they keep dropping fun little surprises like Piett out there, and if we get a Ponda Baba, Momaw Nadon, or Snaggletooth, that'd be swell.  (Red for main line, blue for the interwebs.  Do it Hasbro.)

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,521: October 2, 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,520: R5-D8 (The Black Series 6-Inch)

R5-D8 Red Squadron
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Exclusive Red Squadron Figure Set
Item No.:
  No. E2311
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 droids
Action Feature: Compartments open to reveal arms, retractable third leg when dome spins.
Retail: $59.99
Availability: May 2018
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: A red astromech droid used by Jek Tono Porkins - Red Six - during the Battle of Yavin, R5-D8 saw time on both Y-wing and X-wing starfighters during his service to the alliance.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: The more merchandise we see of R5-D8, the more questions I have.  We have precious little reference, most of which is either over Porkins' shoulder - and could just be the R5-D4 dome - and a small amount of merchandise.  We've seen this droid in LEGO, Galactic Heroes, 3 3/4-inch, and now 6-inch formats.  The coloring is rarely consistent.  The game card is filthy, almost tan but largely looks like R5-D4 from what we can see.   The LEGO figure looks a lot like R5-D4.   The Galactic Heroes figure is the most visually interesting, adding yellow stripes in the columns on the sides of the droid's body.   This 6-inch figure is interesting because it's basically just "vintage 1979" R5-D4 - it most closely matches the original Kenner action figure.

R5-D4 has no accessories and is basically a redeco of last year's vintage 40th Anniversary R5-D4.   The figure replaces all the blue R2-D2 panels with red ones - R5-D4 has a few blue panels on his person, and Lucasfilm apparently has made zero effort to keep them all consistent.  It's a department that needs a bunch of annoyingly fastidious little dorks (why don't I have this job?) comparing any and all products to previous reference material and products, and that doesn't seem to happen.  Someone said "good enough" and called it a day, meaning that most likely this figure is not accurate to the closest thing we have to a body reference photo - the trading card game.   That figure has blue directly below the dome, on the top of the body where the "chest" would be.  This one is red.  Everything else is kind of a toss-up - from that trading card to R5-D4, there's minimal if any discernible difference.  The comics don't always get it right either, so I don't blame everybody - but it'd be nice to see more effort to getting it consistent if it can't be correct.  And again, I don't know for sure what "correct" is.

If you compare it to that old Kenner figure, this is pretty darned close.  It's also pretty close to previous releases of the mold, I'm surprised Hasbro didn't glue down the arm panels as that functionality isn't important to this figure, and Hasbro was fond of gluing down panels on the smaller figures.     This figure more or less serves as a "vintage" R5-D4, but with added dirty splatter in spots.  It's neat - it's a fine substitute for last year's R5-D4 if you missed it.  However, the boxed set isn't a great value.  It's expensive - $60 for 3 short figures - with fewer accessories than the Toys R Us 3-pack which was $55.99.   I'm sure this one will get marked down with time, and while I would normally be an annoying advocate for paying full price for things you want to support... well, OK, let's not change that.  But having six Red Squadron droids and only one pilot kind of irks me.  I'd like a second pilot before we see another set of droids, or any Death Star-adjacent Rebel robots.  We know it's inaccurate, but not how inaccurate.   If you are interested in a robot that's good in and of itself, go ahead and snag it.  It has the opening compartments with the claws, the retractable third leg, and the same articulation.


Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,520: September 27, 2018

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,519: 4-LOM (The Black Series 6-Inch)

4-LOM Bounty Hunter
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. C1207
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #67
Includes: Rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: May 2018
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: A rusty droid with insectile features, 4-LOM was originally a protocol droid, but logic glitches allowed him to escape his programming and become a bounty hunter. That proved a perfect occupation for the cold, calculating mechanical bounty hunter.  (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: Historically 4-LOM is an afterthought - but for Hasbro's 6-inch line, the droid bounty hunter is the fourth in the squad of six!  That ain't bad.  (Also the first three are getting reissues.)   This droid has been in short supply since its debut, in part because it was only in one wave and in part because it seems there's a lack of Original Trilogy stuff in general - so people buy it.  It includes a familiar blaster rifle, and the legs incorporate C-3PO bits, but the deco and new elements are great.

The biggest improvement is in the arms, with elbow joints allowing for the pylon to move and not freeze the elbows in place.  The hands can hold up the rifle, and the shoulders can rotate and swing in and out.  The wrists bend and swivel, with a newly sculpted chest and head to boot.   The head is cast in clear green so you might see trances of green light come from the big eyes, and the chest is the chest.  It has the red swipe, and a hint of the rusty paint we've seen on some of the figures from over the years.   It's a little light on rust, though.  It's also excellent.  The figure can't exactly sit, but that hasn't been a priority for this line - especially not in droids, even when you have some like C-3PO that can indeed have a reason to sit in certain vehicles.

Also notable is the smell - this smells a lot like the vintage Kenner Darth Vader I had as a kid. The plastic smell is very distinctive, maybe you'll get flashbacks too.  I like this figure, but it could have used a tiny bit more paint. Other than that, it's great - and greatly improved from C-3PO.  Get yours now, obviously.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,519: September 25, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,518: Princess Leia Organa (Hoth, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA Hoth Battle Gear
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1678
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: June 2018
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Leia Organa, a Force-sensitive human female, was a princess of Alderaan, a member of the Imperial Senate, a leader of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a member of the Galactic Senate, and general of 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:  Function follows form with Princess Leia Organa (Hoth) which exists and I'm not sure why.   Hasbro has been bringing out some pretty great Hoth stuff all of a sudden, and admittedly I'd not have thought to ask for a new Leia.  We got Vintage Hoth Leia [FOTD #1,356] back in 2010, and this figure is not as jointed as that one.   The deco is different, but good - I like the coloring more, it looks more like a toy and is generally cleaner.   The white suit is largely unpainted, and surprisingly so are the boots - Hasbro got religion as articulation vs. paint, giving us brown, separately molded pieces.  This is likely a cost-cutting measure, as the boot straps are uncolored and we get a little extra articulation while Hasbro gets to make a figure with less paint.  I see this as a shrewd move - we've seen Hasbro doing this with jointed hands on a lot of figures over the past 5 or so years.   This makes her a 7 point of articulation figure.

The likeness is really good, and the face seems fine.  I can't quite tell if it's a smidgen off-center or not, because it looks great up close and the photo looks like it might be off.    Hasbro's painting has improved dramatically, with better-than-usual lips and bright, outlined eyes giving her a ton of personality compared to the anemic version we got last time.  The skin color is good, the vest color seems more true to the movie, even her metal elements look great.  The only place I'd dump on the figure is her blaster - this seems like a Disney-era weapon with an extra scope piece on the side.  Otherwise, it's not too different from the Rebel blasters we got in previous lines.

This is a nice figure that can stand, look good, and hold her gun. She doesn't sit particularly well, but it's one of the better-looking Leia figures and I'd like to see some more takes on the other major players from the original movies.  Leia's tough to do well and this is a good interpretation - let's hope Hasbro slots in more classic figures that could use this kind of a likeness upgrade.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Count me in."   "I hope you know what you're doing."  "It only takes one to sound the alarm."    "We're going to get pulverized if we stay out here much longer."   "Evacuate the remaining ground staff."  "Agggh!"   Gunfire.  It's a mix of Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes  Back - not bad!

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,518: September 20, 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,517: R2-F1P (Droid Factory Line Look)

R2-F1P Bright, Orange, Panely
Droid Factory Solo: A Star Wars Story 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:  While there are numerous painted details that show R2-F1P is more than just R2-D2 with orange panels, to the naked eye, it looks like R2-D2 with orange panels - or R3-A2 with an opaque dome.  The kind of fans with every droid to date will no doubt shrug at a white droid with a silver dome and orange panels, but it might be of interest - newer fans will probably find a lot to like.  Orange droids are in short supply outside the Disney range, so the white body with numerous orange panels on the front and back could be exciting.  The arm orange doesn't quite match that on the ankles or body, making it an oddly mismatched droid for an otherwise clean robot.

The base body is the same Disney has offered us for years, complete with wheels in the feet and a lack of wires to boot.   The left foot has a silver box painted, making it an asymmetrical but subtle detail on a body that's pretty paint-by-numbers otherwise.   The eye has a silver box around it, which certainly makes it a little more distinctive but perhaps not enough to make it a must-buy, can't-miss, slam-dunk of a figure.  It does seem to be true to the reference photos, but as of my writing this I have yet to purchase my copy of Solo for home viewing - so I can't find it in the movie, and there's no good reference outside the packaging.  Seeing the contrasting oranges and silver rods painted on the removable central leg shows me that Disney is willing to make a set like this look as good as possible when compared to the available reference material - but that doesn't automatically grant it significance.

I don't even know where it comes form in the movies - the look could be something from Corellia or Kessel, or somewhere else entirely.  I would love the packaging to highlight something as simple as an affiliation next time, mostly because I'm sort of beyond the stage where merely getting a robot in new colors is exciting and compelling - the first hundred droids is enough to do that to you.   I've been more admiring of Disney's weirdo designer robots to match candy or other real-world things, because at least those have some sort of meaning and oddly do get retconned into the greater galaxy at large.

I find the set itself worth the $30, particularly if you're not overwhelmed in droids.  I assume we'll stop seeing these if Episode IX is the last "new" movie for a while, as Lucasfilm has been uncharacteristically silent about its plans for new movies after 2019.  Maybe instead we'll get some Indiana Jones figure sets.  These have been interesting sets at really good prices - so I would love to see the format adapted to serve us more than just astromechs.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,517: September 18, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,516: R5-232 (Droid Factory Line Look)

R5-232 Fairly Spectacular
Droid Factory Solo: A Star Wars Story 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 saw the movies in theaters twice and do not recall seeing R5-232.  For reasons such as this, it's sort of brilliant and kind of horrible.   My love of droids is well-known, with the Ironic Punishment Division of Lucasfilm seemingly intent on giving me many droids to chase at levels of inconvenience hitherto unknown to man.   They range from being entirely new droids to figures with slightly different colors, with a few barely changed.  This one has had some changes.

Parts of this customizable droid are largely recycled from previous toys, all of which are adapted from a toy from 2009.  The head has a hole, the legs are retooled to lack wires, but the body is particularly interesting in that it added a restraining bolt to it.  The paint seems pretty close to the movie reference photo on the package, which as of now is the only known reference from the movie.   I have zero idea where this droid appears in the movie - and I bought it, because I'm dumb.  Now you're dumb too.  This is the mummy's curse.

I love the fact that there's an R5-D4 redeco with puke green and some light rust on the exterior, plus a weird red light under his eyes and a restraining bolt on it.   While so many of the droids are existing molds with new colors on it, two of the four robots in this set gave them a little more personality.   That red eye and bolt are more interesting than a simple palette swap, although I would love to see more details in the initial design like a mismatched panel or an odd leg that may have stood out in the movie so that I could have noticed it during my theatrical viewings.

The metallic blue and matte mushy, old pea green go nicely together and give the figure a sort of a weird, retro, lived-in quality.    This little fellow has some personality to it, but what wouldn't I have given for a reason to tell you to buy one beyond it being interesting scenery.   Disney has given us at least 2 holiday droids every year, at least 4 boxed set droids since 2015, and dozens of parts to customize dozens more robots.   If Hasbro or Disney never gave us another new droid, I'd have enough to keep me satisfied for life - especially since I doubt new playsets that would welcome them home are unlikely to exist.   I dig it because it's a fun robot from the early days of the Empire, but you have no reason to buy this unless you're a collector.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,516: September 13, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,515: Enfys Nest (Swoop Bike, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

ENFYS NEST with Cloud-Rider Gang Swoop Bike
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Class A Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. E0325  No. E1260
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Staff, bike
Action Feature: Force Link 2.0 sounds
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio:  The Cloud-Rider gang led by Enfys Nest terrorizes the skies atop their mean-looking swoop bikes. Little more than engines with seats, swoops are hard to control but capable of incredible speed.

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  Zorro meets a mishmash of retro design sci-fi fun and the possible founder of the Rebellion with Enfys Nest, whose identity was kept a mystery so the figure has no removable helmet - which I can appreciate, because the trailers made me think it might be Qi'ra under the mask.  (It wasn't.)   A super-articulated version of the figure can be had on vintage-style packaging, but this one comes with her bike - and it's not a bad bike.

Ms. Nest has 7 joints - the typical 5 plus a couple of swivels for forearms to better let her ride the bike.  It works well - I like the detail and deco here.  There are tons of bony bits around the chest control panel buttons, complete with fascinating textiles hanging off the legs and big hair plus hairy elements around the shoulders.  There's a cloth cape and a cool helmet that is a great mix of futuristic with a primitive culture flair.   As character designs go, this is a really cool costume and she stands fairly well.  As a bonus, her weapon can be mounted on her bike - I love it when Hasbro includes this kind of detail.

I would get this figure just for the bike, if you want one - it looks cool!  It doesn't do much.   You'll probably want the Vintage one for more articulation, but the cost of that one and this one aren't all that far apart - so keep an eye open and grab what you like and see.   I don't know which one is best yet, nor do I expect an unmasked version in the near term at this size.  (It wouldn't stun me to see her unmasked as a 6-inch figure in the next couple of years.)

Packaging Notes: This is a comical waste of space - but not as goofy as the Wampa.  The bike has no stand and comes fully assembled, packed at an angle taking up the entire diagonal measure of the box.  It's big, with a lot of air in it.  It's more sensible than some though.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,515: September 11, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,514: Stormtrooper (Mimban, AT-DT, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

STORMTROOPER (Mimban, with AT-DT Imperial Walker)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Class B Vehicles Pack-In
Item No.:
Asst. E0326  No.  E1691
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, vest, Speeder
Action Feature: Force Link sounds, crash/eject action, firing rocket
Retail: $29.99
Availability: July 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Han is cagey about where he scored this overpowered M-68 landspeeder, saying little beyond that its previous owner no longer had need of it.  The M-68 is a design from the ancient core world of Corellia, now a principal starship production facility for the Galactic Empire.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I like this Stormtrooper (Mimban), but I wish it had some more paint and could be bought by the dozen.   Unlike the single-carded counterpart, this one has no cape and comes with the 5 traditional joints - the neck on mine only swivels, rather than having a full range of motion.  It has a wonderful swamp wash over it, but numerous helmet details are left off.  The single-carded figure had less going on than this one, which adds mouth vents and a little more variety on the chin area.  The "ears," the jaw vents, and the entire back of the helmet remain undecorated - but as a driver figure, this sort of thing isn't exactly a huge problem.

The figure look just fine and is a bit hard to get at press time.   He stands, he sits, and he can pilot the ship with no problems whatsoever - I would have loved a weapon storage compartment, but there's no problem with the trooper holding the blaster while seated.   The sculpted details are nothing particularly new here - it does appear to be a mostly new sculpt, but it's a Stormtrooper and seems to share some similarities in design with the Rogue One figures.

The included vehicle is an interesting one.  I find big, armored craft with wide-open driver's seats kind of stupid, mostly because any idiot can get knocked out or ripped out by a large, stronger person.   If you can get past the fact that you've got an open bunker on legs, it's pretty awesome.  The AT-DT has a rocket launcher, plus a button on the head that causes it to explode.  It's a real toy!  The cannon flies off and the seat blows out, ejecting the driver.  I really like this.  I also like that the legs are jointed in two places so you can balance and display this vehicle, and the ball-jointed ankles ensure you can do some neat dioramas with it.   The toy is cast in a brown-tinged grey, painted with splotches of mud as well as some dark grey and off-white on the feet.  Why, I don't know, it's a mud planet not from that one party scene in Logan's Run.   It's a fine vehicle, and I hope to see Hasbro continue to crank out more new toy vehicles with this level of sophistication.  I got it assembled in about 4 minutes.  Snapping the legs in took some force.
You might not be thrilled to pay $30 for this, but if you figure the driver at $8 and the rest at $22 it's pretty decent.   I like the quality and I like the design, mostly, if you can forgive the design flaw of a tank with a driver exposed to the enemy.  At least it looks Star Wars-y and as good if not better than my mini-rigs.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,514: September 6, 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,513: Han Solo (Kessel Run Millennium Falcon, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

HAN SOLO Kessel Run
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Millennium Falcon Pack-In Figure
Item No.:
E0320
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, vehicle, panels, escape craft
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Recreate the adventures of a galaxy far, far away like never before with Force Link 2.0, featuring Bluetooth technology that allows for interactive social play within the world of Star Wars!  (Stolen from the web marketing copy.)

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 liked the movie, but this particular Han Solo isn't particularly exciting.   In a way, it's kind of an ideal vehicle pack-in - decent, but not exciting.  Different, but not essential.  If it just got left in the pilot's seat, that's fine.   His digital sculpt is derived from the same source as the pack-in Force Link 2.0 Han Solo, and you'll notice similar if not identical legs as well as a torso with the same folds in the shirt.   That figure has a jacket and slightly better posture.  This one has a black shirt that you see in the movie briefly.   It fits in the vehicle, it stands and sits. It looks like Han Solo, but not Alden Ehrenreich.  I assume this is by design - the head reminds me of a pastiche of facial features of Kenner's old figures, and I have little doubt this was a result of the character's casting raising eyebrows during the reshoots.  If it looks like "Han," at least if it got recast, you could still sell the figure.  (This is why we might not see a Dryden Vos for a while.)

As a collector, I find the figure interesting.  Hasbro gave it a Kenner-ish pose with bonus articulated wrists, so it looks good standing on a shelf and has a good center of gravity.   It's a bland outfit, and the paint isn't as good as the other Han figures - the belt is missing a couple of painted rivets.

The one thing this figure has over his other counterparts is a painted brown grip on the blaster.   It's a little anemic, lacking in physical presence and in accessories.  Similarly, the Millennium Falcon itself is light on gizmos and things like seating for figures.   It has an impressive array of blast-off panels, lights, and sounds with a ship that's so tiny that no figure can stand up inside the body.  Or sit.   It won't make you want to give away any of your previous Falcon toys, and I can say without hyperbole that while it may have the best electronics and motion-sensor elements, it is the worst vehicle for figure compatibility.   If you're a completist you probably will buy it for Han, but if you can wait for a sale you might want to do that.  It may well be the best version of this phase of the ship we ever get.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,513: September 4, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,512: Chewbacca (Vandor-1 Playset, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

CHEWBACCA Vandor-1
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Playset Pack-In Figure
Item No.:
E2807
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster rifle, bandolier, goggles, Vandor-1 Playset
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Chewbacca, known affectionately to his friends as Chewie, was a male 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.  Porgs were an avian species native to the planet Ahch-To, where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker made his exile in the years following the Battle of Endor.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I really like this Chewbacca.   What I don't like is that it's textbook "just different enough to make you mad," because it's basically the single-carded Chewbacca [FOTD #2,486] from April but with goggles.  If you skipped that release - good, get this playset with the figure instead.  If you already bought it, odds are you want the playset, so now you've got more Wookiee than you need.

It's the same figure with a nice, loose set of goggles and slightly more saturated plastic.   The browns are a little richer, the eyes seem a smidgen sharper, and I think the sound chips are virtually identical roars.   The figure can stand and sit well, and it seems there's no significant change between the two.  If these were from the same tool, I'd believe it - there's really no good reason to own both.

The playset itself is a selling point, too big to fit in my photo studio and surprisingly clever in how it's assembled.  Tabs stack in slots to fit in perfectly, but the instructions don't make it obvious.   The toy shows just how inflation has come in - it's smaller than the Geonosis Arena ($40ish in 2002) and not too far off from the Mustafar Playset (2005, $29.99.)   It has some newly tooled parts - a gate, some supports - but it's not meaty.  It's cool, it looks good, and it's a fine display piece.   It just isn't going to wow you.  I still like it, and if they could either give me a better pack-in figure at the same price, or a lower price with no figure, I'd heartily recommend it to you.  The figure itself isn't bad - it's just not significantly different from what you already may have bought.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,512: August 30, 2018