Thursday, December 6, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,540: Range Trooper (The Vintage Collection)

RANGE TROOPER More Joints
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E1649
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #124
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Range troopers were a specialized variant of the Galactic Empire's stormtroopers. They were equipped with helmets similar in design to both the Imperial combat assault tank pilot's and Coastal defender stormtrooper's helmets, heavy armor with fur and a chestplate much like that of cold weather assault stormtroopers, and were armed with E-10R blaster rifles.  (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 like this Range Trooper a bunch - the 3 3/4-inch scale The Vintage Collection figure is both more and less authentic than the 6-inch version that came out with the movie.   I'm surprised- the blaster matches the uglier on-screen white blaster, which is no doubt this color thanks to Disney's desire to sell authentic and legal replicas of on-screen firearms.  The deco is quite nice, and largely matches the illustration on the packaging. The layer of filth and wear seems appropriate to the smaller scale, with signs being rubbed down by a mittenful of the deadly yellow snow.  Some of it seems to be natural wear, and other areas were rubbed in with a vigorous circular motion hitherto unknown to the people of this area.

The one area the 5-jointed figure tops this one are the boots.  The Force Link one has some dirt baked in, while the Vintage one is totally clean.  On the other hand, the vintage one has deco o the thigh straps and more painted lights on the boots and chest.  Both figures were clearly derived from the same digital reference file, and for that reason the army builders out there will undoubtedly want some of each to mix up their Vandor-1 displays.

The figure enjoys enhanced articulation, with the thigh cuts and lateral hips you've come to love. The coat has a little flex to it, so you can get him to do some posing. Just not a lot. The arms hold the blaster nicely, and the wrists are well-jointed too.  He won't be sitting, but I assume I probably will need to get over the fact that this isn't a priority for Hasbro and other collectors as much as it is for me.  This is a figure that has a great range of movement and looks awesome on its orange-backed packaging, but you're not going to cram it in a MTV-7 without a fight.      Given that fans that saw the Force Link 2.0 Range Trooper mistook it for a Vintage figure at first, you may not necessarily need both versions - but they're different enough to add something to your dioramas and displays.  I'm happy to have both, thanks to the differing levels of the deadly yellow snow crystals on the costume.  I'm glad it exists.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,540: December 6, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,539: Han Solo (Vandor-1, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

HAN SOLO (Vandor-1)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Mission on Vandor-1 Gift Set
Item No.:
  No. E1093
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 3 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Never one to plan ahead, Han Solo goes where opportunity calls - and a chance for a big score finds him riding across the wilderness of Vandor-1. (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 decent figure with sensible articulation, Han Solo (Vandor-1) has got a lot where it counts.   Hasbro has slowly been rolling out articulation instead of paint applications - some toys have molded, inset wrists or boots because that way there's no painting to be done.  It also keeps the figure nicer, longer.  The fringe benefit is you get more articulation - the oft-dismissed "5POA" figure actually has nine joints thanks to those boots and wrists, giving it a bit more bang for your buck.  And if you have a Force Link 2.0 band, you also get actual "bang" noises.  (...No, the gun kind.)

Han's molded black  boots do have a dusting of snow, and a nice even finish.  The gloved hands have no problems holding the blaster, which has a brown painted grip this time.  Goggles are molded on the not-quite-Alden face, obfuscating the fudging of the actor likeness quite skillfully.    With the fur coat largely unpainted, Hasbro did take the time to paint the belt on the front and the back, including some of the greebles (but none of the rivets.)   In another economic move of brilliance, Hasbro sculpted - but did not paint - the red bloodstripes on his pants.  Since they're covered by the coat, I'm glad decided to spend their deco budget on elements we could actually see.

I realize this is a very by-the-numbers commentary, but that's what you get with this figure.  It's not bad.  It's not amazing.  But it does show a smarter team at Hasbro giving you a little more for your money, putting in design decisions that seem to have delivered the best possible product with the given budget and resources available to this Force Link 2.0 line.  Without the chip, maybe we'd get a lower price or more gear - but we still got something that looks nice for the size and price.    He won't be doing any sitting, but that's what a nice coat can do for your toys.  Recommended, along with the rest of the set.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Uhh... I've got a bad feeling about this."   "I'm feeling pretty lucky."  "We've got a problem here."  "Admit it - you're impressed."  "Heads up - coming through!"  Blasters.  It's a soundalike, and not a good one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,539: December 4, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,538: Han Solo (Brown Jacket, The Vintage Collection)

HAN SOLO First Single Alden Under $20
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E1639
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #124
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 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, and also known as Cadet 124-329 when serving as a Imperial cadet, was a human male smuggler who became a leader in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and an instrumental figure in the defeat of the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War.  (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  The 2018 release of The Vintage Collection got us a lot of reissues alongside new figures, to date focusing primarily on the newer movies.   One of the all-new figures is this Han Solo, a marked overall improvement over the Force Link 2.0 pack-in which, it would appear, I did not yet review.  Well then.  Packaged collectors and diorama fanatics should get the Vintage one.  Those looking for a figure that sits, get the 5-jointed Force Link 2.0 pack-in when it hits clearance.  I am comfortable saying that about Force Link 2.0.  It's a magical idea with a lot of quirks baked in to it.

The figure sculpt is similar in both figures, with deco that's nearly identical.   The Vintage figure has dark grey in the shirt, while Force Link 2.0 is all black.   Vintage has some painted silver rivets, while Force Link 2.0 only has 2 on the front and the back of the belt is completely undecorated.  The differences are minor enough that I would not call them overwhelmingly significant.

In terms of articulation, Vintage Han gets the full treatment with 28 total joints on his 3 3/4-inch person.  Getting the legs to swing forward with the separate rubbery belt is a little tricky, as the hips have a bigger range of motion but require more fidgeting on your part.  It's not as simple as the swing-forward classic design of the late 1970s.  The red striped pants are here, the two-toned jacket looks nice, and the elbows have better-than-usual bending on them.  The bend-and-swivel wrists can grip a brown-painted blaster grip, giving you a pretty decent experience as a collector.

This is, arguably, the superior figure.  The likeness isn't quite there, but I still believe the figure was made without that as a consideration.  It's a good Han Solo, and it's not really Alden Ehrenreich.  I guess we can say the same about a lot of human figures.  I like it packaged a bunch, but it might not be your cup of tea.   I liked the movie for what it was, so I'm glad to have it - and I hope you snag one if you see and want one.   You won't be disappointed, but you won't be impressed either.  Vintage figures rarely exceed their mandate.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,538: November 29, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,537: Qi'Ra (Vandor-1, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

QI'RA (Vandor-1)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Mission on Vandor-1 Gift Set
Item No.:
  No. E1093
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 3 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Qi'Ra put her life as a powerless street urchin behind her, and has managed to move up in status and reputation within a prominent criminal organization. (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 a good one. I really liked the costumes for Qi'ra (Vandor-1) in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the greatest comic book that was actually a movie.  There was a lot nifty in it, but given its scope I've basically just taken it as a really good piece of the Expanded Universe, but in movie form.  We got a lot of nifty stuff, and this is one of the figures I was really hoping we'd get.  (Although I was hoping she'd have the cape, too.)   Hasbro did a nice job translating the costume's awesome jacket and cool pants (with holster) and a pretty wonderful portrait.

The pants and jacket both feel like something out of the 1970s, or what the 2010s think of the 1970s. They're wide-legged, with a jacket that looks sort of like Luke's jacket from the medal ceremony in the original film.  The hair looks perfectly reasonable, as does the jewelry. There's a necklace, a ring, and a bracelet in addition to various adornments on the holster and jacket.  And she can sit!

To the naked eye, the face looks great.  Under a macro lens, you can tell the sculpted mouth does not quite match the painted lips.  My advice - don't use a macro lens when you get yours.  Enjoy the lie that she looks fine when you look with your own eyes.

This feels like a  natural evolution of what a good figure from the 1980s could be.  You get a holster, a good sculpt, and slick paint - but you don't get rocker ankles or anything like that.  Given how figures have moved from being a toy for kids to a high-end collectible and everywhere in between, this seems like a good compromise.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Always stay in the game as long as you can!" "Everybody serves somebody."  "Trust me - I actually have a plan!" "I could use some backup here!"  Blaster shots.  I believe it might be a soundalike, but it's a decent one.


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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,537: November 27, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,536: Stormtrooper (Mimban, The Black Series 6-Inch)

STORMTROOPER (Mimban)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch - Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2490
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, poncho
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $17.96
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A cool and efficient officer, General Veers led the Imperial assault on Hoth, marching his AT-AT walkers across the planet's frozen plains and destroying the massive generators powering the Rebel base's protective energy shield. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary: I admire Hasbro being smart about reusing molds.  This Stormtrooper (Mimban) brings back the same mold we've had for red Stormtroopers, regular Stormtroopers, disguised Stormtroopers, and even black Stormtroopers.  We get a new helmet, a cape that is also kind of a poncho with a hood, some dirt paint, and a new blaster.  It's what it should be - a smart redeco with a few new parts to make it different and exciting.

Articulation is what you've seen before - double knees, double elbows, bend-and-swivel wrists, and enough to make this a good trooper to stock up on if the opportunity presented itself.  The figure has no problems gripping the blaster, and there's even a holster - not painted black for some reason - in case you want it. The revised helmet has the extra forehead protection, and I like the dirty mud pattern with extra glop on the shoes.  While every helmet detail may not be painted in, it's impressive.   The dirt hides the missing painted lines in a few spots quite nicely, and the mud is a cooler paint operation anyway.   I like the cape, even if the hood on this quasi-poncho doesn't quite rest as I would prefer it.  It hangs there and it looks cool.  This is good enough for me.

While nobody truly needs more Stormtroopers - particularly when we're lacking in figures from this specific sequence - I'll never say no to a cool armored figure done well.  Get it if you see it, you probably won't.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.   The box eschews red spot color in favor of a glossy grey.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,536: November 22, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,535: Imperial Patrol Trooper (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

IMPERIAL PATROL TROOPER Debut
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 6-Figure Gift Set - Target Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2827
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $44.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: From gleaming cities to the muddy terrain of Mimban, Imperial forces protect and serve the Empire.  Their versatile training and equipment allows for them to be employed in a wide variety of environments against Rebel forces and others disloyal to the aims of the Empire.   (Taken from the set's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I was hoping we'd see the boxy bike, but at least we got the Imperial Patrol Trooper figure.  It's good!  I like the look, which mashed up a ton of troopers.  The legs look kind of like the Scarif Troopers and Tank Pilots from Rogue One.  Also the Mimban infantry.   The arms look like a primitive version of the Biker Scout's, with chunky angled armor and a lot of visible black body glove.  The helmet is a modified Stormtrooper design with green lenses and that forehead visor we saw on Scarif and Jedha (and the Mimban Stormtroopers.)

Articulation is pretty good - it looks like if we had a bike, he may be able to sit on it like the old Biker Scout on the 1983 Speeder Bike.  The legs swing forward rather well, and the wrists rotate.  You get 7 points of articulation with an itty bitty blaster, which he holds with two fingers.   I'm glad he has a good grip on it, unlike certain K-2SOs I could name.

The figure even looks cool from behind - the backpack has a lot of sculpted detail, plus the kinds of straps and buckles you want on your bike troopers.  He feels a lot more like a design out of the Return of the Jedi school, and it feels like an alternate take of classic Star Wars.  Had Kenner sold you a similar figure in 1985, you'd say "of course this is legit Star Wars."  The design is a great one, and it fits right in.  It's also from a movie you probably didn't see.   The designs were wonderful, and I'm very fond of this trooper.  I hope we see more between now and the time Hasbro pulls the plug on the scale because kids moved on from toys and are either on their smart phones or working for SETI@home in their spare time.  That's what kids do, right?

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Halt!  Identify yourself!"   "I'm calling in for reenforcements." "We've identified criminals in the area."  Blast sounds. Screaming.  It's probably a Hasbro employee, but the filter and inflection are appropriate for a background trooper. I like it.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,535: November 20, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,534: General Veers (The Black Series 6-Inch)


GENERAL VEERS Donavan
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch - Walgreens Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2800
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, hat, armor, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: The Empire Stikes Back

Bio: A cool and efficient officer, General Veers led the Imperial assault on Hoth, marching his AT-AT walkers across the planet's frozen plains and destroying the massive generators powering the Rebel base's protective energy shield. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary: While not the first figure I would request, sharing tooling gets us figures like General Veers faster.  With the likes of Thrawn, Tarkin, and Piett before him, General Veers is a 6-inch action figure with a lot of shared parts.  The arms, legs, and lower torso are a close match to Piett, with some alterations on the chest to get his rank markings right.  The code cylinders were altered a bit, giving him the right rank stuff.   They grey more or less matches Piett's, so that should look nice on your shelf.  Many of the wrinkles and folds also match Piett, which is going to  look weird if you display them next to one another.   The two men also share a blaster.

I was surprised to see the Imperial Navy Cap is actually different from Piett.  The metal pin and the general wrinkles are different from hat to hat, which was a nice detail I would never have expected Hasbro to do.   I was also quite pleased to see a lot of detail in the armor - the figure has a lot of color on the back, and there are painted buttons on the front too.  Much like the 2006 3 3/4-inch figure, Piett's helmet is removable and the armor clamps over the body quite nicely - but you may have to shape it in place to get it just-so.  There's also a belt that locks in place for optimum snugness.   Hasbro kept the detail train going by giving him a working holster for his weapon.



I love the facial detail, because it looks a lot like actor Julian Glover.  The sculpted head was nice, but the printed-on facial details do a lot to bring out what could just as easily be another face in a grey jumpsuit.  Articulation is on par with everything else this line has given us, with rocker ankles and double-jointed knees and those bend-and-swivel wrists the cool kids have all been writing home about.  This figure is about as perfect as a mass-market figure in 2018 can be, particularly for the price point.  Hasbro - nice job.  Steve - you get the best exclusives.   Everybody else - if you think you want this one, go get him before he dries up.  Unlike some of the other exclusives as of late, this has a lot of nice new parts and is likely to be of interest due to being from most fans' favorite movie.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walgreens.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,534: November 15, 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,533: Stormtrooper Squad Leader (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER (Mimban)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 6-Figure Gift Set - Target Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2827
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $44.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: From gleaming cities to the muddy terrain of Mimban, Imperial forces protect and serve the Empire.  Their versatile training and equipment allows for them to be employed in a wide variety of environments against Rebel forces and others disloyal to the aims of the Empire.   (Taken from the set's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  While I know some folks like to dump on the 5-jointed style of figures, I can't.  It's wrong.  The new ones aren't all perfect, but many are exceptionally good like this Stormtrooper Squad Leader.   It's the Mimban Stormtrooper with no swamp paint, a standard Stormtrooper helmet, and some gleaming white plastic.   It's very shiny, with longer legs and two hands on a blaster.  I wish I could get more of these easily.

The figure has jointed wrists and a removable pauldron, effectively making it the same squad leaders we saw on Rebels.  It stands easily and can swing the legs forward - but doing so makes the pouches on his belt seem happy to see you.   It's weird, but it's the kind of thing we get a lot of these days as some figures seem engineered to work with vehicles, and others are not.  This is prime troop fodder, a figure with an optional part on top of a fabulous sculpt and excellent raw materials squirting out one of the most beautiful regular-ish Stormtroopers we've ever seen.

The details on the helmet are normal Stormtrooper fare - but some of the black panel lines aren't there. At least you have the grey "cheeks" and the blue vents on the helmet painted in, given you a good amount of deco with the tubes and mouth having grey and black paint to give them a little more life.  This is a better-than-average kid-friendly Stormtrooper, with better helmet deco than the Mimban Stormtrooper in the very same package.

Get this set if you can - and if Hasbro cards these guys individually, get some more.  They're excellent.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Firmware update required!"  Never change, app-enabled toys.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,533: November 13, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,532: Stormtrooper (Mimban, a.k.a. Mudtrooper, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

STORMTROOPER (Mimban)
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 6-Figure Gift Set - Target Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2827
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $44.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: From gleaming cities to the muddy terrain of Mimban, Imperial forces protect and serve the Empire.  Their versatile training and equipment allows for them to be employed in a wide variety of environments against Rebel forces and others disloyal to the aims of the Empire.   (Taken from the set's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I know it can be hard to advocate for paying full price on an expensive exclusive, but with Solo Hasbro has done a pretty swell job. Most of the toys are smart reused of molds, with unique deco and tiny changes that make re-buying another trooper somewhat interesting.  Hasbro is getting a fair amount of use out of this Mimban Stormtrooper, which is also Han Solo in this set and will be sold as Han Solo individually later.   The deco is different, and the helmet is glued down so you can't see it's Han under the barely-different mask.  The shoulder band rank marks are different, but they're two spins on the same tooling that are different enough to be worthwhile.

The head under the helmet has painted hair, but eyes and other details remain unpainted.  Without a flashlight, you'll probably never notice since the helmet looks nice and is affixed in place.     This "stormtrooper" has no problems standing, sporting 7 points of articulation and a pose that works.  The wrists rotate to better hold the unpainted blaster, and there's mud on the boots.   The armor is similar to General Veers', maintaining a level of continuity between the brass and the soon-to-be-dead cannon fodder by adding the helmet.  It's some poor schmuck who probably isn't going to be doing a whole heck of a lot after he dies face-down in the muck.   Oh, fate.  You are cruel.

The helmet and mask don't seem to be glued down completely straight, which is annoying.  It's a good figure otherwise, with a cape that plugs into the shoulders and a helmet that plugs into the back of the armor.  I like the colors, I like the detail, and it's decent.  You may find more impressive figures with more articulation, but sometimes you get one like this that gets the job done.  Maybe we'll see super-articulated versions later, but Hasbro delivered a pretty good set for a price I would call acceptable.  $7.50 per is slightly better than individual figures, but it's not a bargain - it's certainly good enough.  That seems to be the theme of this set.  Grab it if you can, especially if it's on sale - get two then.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Troopers, to me!" (I think.)  "Prepare to engage." "For the glory of the Empire!"  "I need covering fire." Blaster sounds.  The voice is a soundalike of some random dude.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,532: November 8, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,531: Imperial Assault Tank Driver (The Vintage Collection)

IMPERIAL ASSAULT TANK DRIVER Jointed
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E1646
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #126
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: August 2018
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Imperial combat assault tank pilots, or tank troopers, were Imperial combat drivers specialized in operating the TX-225 GAVw "Occupier" combat assault tanks. Under Imperial occupation, the streets of Jedha were patrolled by Imperial combat assault tanks, which were operated by two of the pilots.  (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  The 2018 release of The Vintage Collection has largely been like getting socks for Christmas.  It's nice, but it's not exciting.  We got one new figure in wave one, with another trio for wave two.   It's something.  The Imperial Assault Tank Driver existed in a 5-jointed format, but now we have one that can better work in vehicles - where it's enclosed, and you won't actually see it.

It's pretty much the Scarif Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,328] with a new helmet, a new belt, and new deco.   And that's OK - that's more or less what the movie did, or at least the detailing is minor enough that I don't notice.  The figure has 28 points of articulation, slathered with a nice dusting of grit to give it a little bit of weathered authenticity.  Detailing on the hard plastic armor and the sculpted softer bits is crisp, and Hasbro did a nice job adding multiple colors on the back of the figure. Had they left those black vents unpainted, or just one color, I probably wouldn't have made a fuss.

The figure fits in the recent Vintage Assault Tank, but it's worth noting that the legs are a tight fit in spots - particularly that small hatch for the driver's seat.   You can also have the driver's head poke out if he's sitting, which is charming.  If your budget allows, grab a couple of these for  your current and possibly future vehicles.   It's a great driver, so it's the kind of thing you won't want to keep on the vintage cardback.  Good luck building an army of the buggers!

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,531: November 6, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,530: Darth Vader (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

DARTH VADER 1977 Chic
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1240
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: During the reign of the Galactic Empire, he was known as Darth Vader, Sith Lord and apprentice to Emperor Darth Sidious. (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:  It's new. Darth Vader is more or less guaranteed to get a new figure every couple of years now, and it's nice that this one is different.  Based largely on the suits from Rogue One and the original Star Wars, it's notable that it features some added silver detailing on the helmet - the silver cheek is rarely colored in, and it's a detail I didn't even realize was present until recently thanks to how most photography shot the helmet.  It's nifty! The silver neck and chin are left black, though.   Hey, it's a start.  

With swiveling gloves with horizontal ribbing and robes over his chest armor, it's definitely the earlier version of the Sith Lord.  The arms swing forward and can double-grip his lightsaber, and the detailing is great.  It's no longer special to be great, as Hasbro does a good job and you really can't make a fuss over "normal" being really impressive since it's normal now.   The deco, though, is quite nice on the armor. Each individual light and detail seem to be crisper and cleaner than usual, with better paint masks and slightly more vibrant colors as appropriate. Rubbery robes over his shoulder armor give him a little more visual heft, with nice flowing robes and legs that swing forward acceptably.  He's not going to go on any starfighter outings, but he'll look cool standing around.

I'm not going to lie to you - you don't need another Darth Vader, and there are better ones.  This one is plenty good though - Hasbro made some smart design decisions that make this one look significantly different from every one that has come so far, and is better than so many of them.  If you're happy with your existing super-articulated figures, you probably don't need this one - but perhaps the better chest and belt detailing combined with a really good helmet may be enough to tempt you to throw down a few bucks for one more.  I'm not complaining - this is a good one.  It's just that whenever we get a new sculpt of Darth Vader, it's a reminder that another new character we might have had, in some alternate reality, failed to come to fruition.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Don't underestimate the Force."  "Prepare your troops for a surface attack."  "There will be no one to stop us this time."  "It's useless to resist."  Also lightsaber sounds and clashes.  It's pretty close to the one that came with the Probe Droid last year.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,530: November 1, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,529: R3-B0017 (Droid Factory Line Look)

R3-B0017 Disney Parks Halloween Exclusive Star Wars  Droid Factory
Star Wars Disney Droid Factory
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Probably Not Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Comes Apart, glows in the dark
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2017
Appearances: n/a

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the Star Wars galaxy.  Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors.  This droid has been programmed to scavenger Dathomir and serve Darth Maul.  Join R3-B0017 on his adventures throughout the galaxy.  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: Rarely does a toy seem so tailor-made for me as R3-B0017.   I love droids, I love action figures, and I love things that glow in the dark - add in a ridiculous short backstory, and we're off to the races!

The mold is more or less the standard R3 fare - clear dome, hole in the top, a few textured bits, and some painted panels even though they don't seem obvious in optimal lighting conditions.  If the droid is lit from behind, you'll notice a few panels painted green on the front and back of his - erm - person.  It's simple and it doesn't add a ton to the overall look and feel of this one.  I like it because it's something, but it could just as easily have been another color since this blends in so much.  The green plastic tends to absorb a lot of light, obfuscating sculpted detail.  Having said that, you've bought hundreds of droids by now, so you don't need perfect deco.   You need glow.

The glow is good. The droid's green plastic is semi-translucent, fitting for a "ghostly" robot from Dathomir.  It matches the likes of Slimer more closely than my other glow toys, and for those curious the very best glow-in-the-dark toys seem to come from Onell Design's Glyos factory.   (Get some - also see Cosmic Radiation Edition Outer Space Men.)  The toy has a lovely green color rather than a bony off-white color, which is a nice change of pace as glow toys go.  Star Wars has precious few toys which glow in the dark thanks to most people I've spoken with telling me glow toys are seen as a cheap cop-out as design goes (I feel insulted), or in some cases the plastic is a little more brittle and unsuited to things like Transformers.   The more you know, I suppose.

Happy Halloween!  I like when Disney tries doing weird things with these, going above and beyond what would probably be appropriate under the Lucas era.  It's kind of an abomination, but it's also exactly the kind of thing I wanted to have.  I appreciate the backstory, I love the colors, and outside of a few glowing Action Fleet figures and an Applause! Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, glowing Star Wars toys are a small subset indeed.  If the price is good, get one.  (Warning: the price is awful now.)  Prices on eBay are usually pretty good - around $20 - within a month or two of release.  If you're interested in any of the special droids, I suggest you don't dawdle.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from eBay.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,529: October 30, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,528: Princess Leia Organa (Bespin Escpae, The Black Series 6-Inch)

PRINCESS LEIA Bespin Escape
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch - Target Exclusive
Item No.:
  No. E2810
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: The Empire Stikes Back

Bio: Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance's greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. Daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister of Luke Skywalker, and with a soft spot for scoundrels, Leia ranks among the galaxy's great heroes. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary: I believe Princess Leia (Bespin Escape) is the best Carrie Fisher that Hasbro has ever given us.  This is the first time Hasbro's "Ultra Real" face printing has been done with Ms. Organa, so when you have a good sculpt finally given good paint it's almost eerie how good it is.  It's not the insane level of detail you get at Hot Toys, but it's also not $200.

The figure is light on deco, but so is the original costume.  The body is a white suit, largely devoid of color.  It's also basically the Hoth outfit sans vest.  The blaster is undecorated, and other Imperial blasters have gotten a little detail as of late.  I assume this is why the cost is still $20 - the face has a pretty stellar make-up job with the Bespin hair loops, red lips, and a lot of shading around the face that really brings her to life.   After seeing this figure, I want them to go back and do the other versions - particularly Jabba's Prisoner - to see if we might get something significantly better out of it.
Leia's articulation is par for the current course.  You get rocker ankles, double-jointed knees, and those slightly better-cut elbows so she can bend her arms a lot more than the typical 90 degrees.  I like how you can get some good action poses here, blasting away with both hands.   There's really no getting away from the fact that the figure is a star, another high mark for Hasbro after a couple of years of perfectly nice but hardly impressive releases.  On the Marvel front it seems the likeness on Paul Rudd gets the high marks, but I would wager that this Leia figure is their best human head in all of Star Wars.  Having done thousands of very good figures, Hasbro has to do a lot to make a figure so good it stands out over the previous releases.   Good job, everybody - I can't wait to see what your "real life" X-Wing Luke will look like next year!

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,528: October 25, 2018