Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,492: Power Droid (Wind-Up Fight Droids, Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

WIND-UP FIGHT DROIDS Blue Power Droid
Solo: A Star Wars Story Disney Parks Exclusive
Item No.:
   No. FAC-012641-18060
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: Two Droids
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.95
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Insufficient data.  (Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  For whatever reason, Disney seems to be controlling droid toy output now - including the wind-up Fight Droid set.  Today we're looking at the blue "gonk" power droid, and online reference for it and its partner is scarce.   I wasn't squinting hard enough at the movie to know if it's even the right size - so this is either twice as big as it should be to fit in with your 3 3/4-inch figures, or maybe the right size.  For the price I just snagged it as Hasbro seems reluctant to put out any sort of background droids in the Disney era.

I like this figure - the wind-up droid is a lost art, and one Kenner (and later Hasbro) never really could get the hang of in the USA.   When you wind a key on its back, the saw and pick arms flail while the figure has that too-familiar wind-up motor drive its legs forward.     What makes it even better, the red "eye shade" moves - so it's like it's waggling its robot eyebrows at you.  This gives the toy a ton of personality, although it seems its mechanism sports one failing thing - the saw appears like it should spin.  My sample is fused solid.

The sculpt and deco are exaggerated a bit for the toy, with giant feet and a big spinny handle on the non-spinning saw.  I love the grime and paint, the rivets, the bolts.  Even if it's too big, I just love owning it - this is the kind of toy I would buy if I wasn't a collector because it's such a wonderful anachronism.   If it's in scale, I'd recommend all of you buy it - but at press time I simply don't even know myself.  I might need to see it a third time to verify.

The flailing, grimy robot is so utterly charming I'd recommend this set just for it.   I kind of regret not buying a second set - it's lovely.   I expect I'll soon learn it's the "wrong" size if I flip through the right guide book, but as a plastic oddity it's great - by far, the most fun figure in the 2-pack.   Kenner was experimenting with various "attack" droids since the 1980s, so this killer Gonk feels completely appropriate to my old fart at play sensibilities.   Considering these guys are about the same size as a Funko Pop! and you get two for ten bucks, even with the shipping I feel like I got my money's worth.   Even without a movie, toys like this are inspired and fun - I really hope Hasbro integrates more fun mechanisms into its future toys, too.  They're far and few between, plus they're exceedingly difficult to get right - this is an oddball miracle I suspect we won't see the likes of which again.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney's web site.  Shipping cost almost as much as the toy.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,492: June 20, 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,491: Luke Skywalker (Hoth, The Last Jedi / Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

LUKE SKYWALKER (Hoth) with Wampa
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Class A Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. E0325  No. E1689
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, lightsaber, wampa
Action Feature: Force Link 2.0 sounds, removable arm
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: the Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Wampas are powerful, furred bipeds that dwell in the snowy wastes of the ice world Hoth.  These hulking predators have razor-sharp fangs and claws, yet move with surprising stealth, relying on their white fur for camouflage while hunting prey such as tauntauns.

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 it seemed like we got a Luke Skywalker (Hoth) recently, we did - we got a few.  In the past few years, we got a The Black Series one in 2014 and a 5-jointed one in 2015.   This one isn't the same as either - Hasbro took the same basic costume, but decorated it differently.  Neither version is necessarily superior, as each offers unique features with added (or missing) paint details.  

Recent super-articulated releases feature white hands, painted silver bits on the gloves, more silver details, and goggles.  There aren't any goggles here - but Luke's scarf is articulated, and that's a rare perk.   He looks pretty cool upside-down, plus his parka has a "skirt" now.    The soft plastic has enough give so he can sit, but there aren't any vehicles or tauntauns for him right now - so he'll just stand.     I like that they added the white trim to the boots, and the holster actually works - that's a nice perk.

Luke's head is painted pretty well, with clean scars and fleshy face  that certainly looks like Commander Skywalker.   The one thing I felt was missing was the silver on his rank badge - the three blue dots are there, but they left off the silver back.  I don't think a lot of people are going to notice it's missing at that size,

The weapons are a blaster and a lightsaber.  Neither have any problems fitting in Luke's hands, with a decent smaller pistol that easily slips in the holster.  Luke's lightsaber has a loop on the back, but there's no hook on which to hang it.   It's still decent.

I like this figure - I don't need it, and I assume you've probably got about a dozen Hoth Lukes if you've been doing this for a while.  It's basically true to the movie, and it has a great Wampa with it.  I wouldn't  necessarily recommend buying the set just for Luke - but as a complete set, it's great.

Packaging Notes: The box is a comical waste of space - it is mostly empty.  The Wampa is tucked behind a window showing Luke, so about 70% of the packaging is empty, wasted space - this happens a lot. Sometimes it's because an item is thin and log, but in this case it's just a huge waste of space.  A great toy, but the unboxing experience can be an important first impression - and this one has a great toy in a lousy, empty waste of a box.

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

Force Link Notes: "I'm looking for a great warrior."   "I won't fail  you.  I'm not afraid."  "There's something not right here.  I feel cold... death."  "You'll find I'm full of surprises."  "I can help them.  I feel the Force!"   And a bunch of lightsaber and deflect noises.  None of these are from Hoth - all are Dagbah or Bespin lines.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,491: June 18, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,490: Range Trooper (Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

RANGE TROOPER Talking Edition
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E2761
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 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:  The line for Solo: A Star Wars Story borders on exciting.  With more toys and more time, this would be a reason to get excited for more Original Trilogy-adjacent things - but it came and went quickly, with a tiny marketing push thanks to Lucasfilm waiting for The Last Jedi to wheeze out the final hurrah from home video.   The Range Trooper is a pretty cool figure - it's sort of like a Snowtrooper, but different thanks to the environmental needs.  I didn't know about them, because they appeared so briefly that I missed them while in a bathroom break and had to see the movie a second time to catch them.  It was pretty much worth it.

With 5 points of articulation, it stands and sits as well as it should given its physical limitations.  The furry scarf and plastic skirt vinyl pieces have little give, so the arms can't go up much and the legs can't swing forward much.  It's a decent figure for standing and looking at, but the magnetized boots lack deco and the figure is basically just a nifty alternate take on the Snowtrooper - even the chest armor looks similar.  The lenses are yellow rather than black.  Oh, and the gun is the wrong color - it's mostly white with some black markings on press photos.  Hasbro colored this one to look more pleasing and consistent with our toys, so if you want actual authenticity they missed the mark.  Perhaps we can blame reshoots - or perhaps no.

Hasbro did an admirable job given the budget limitations - the lack of scuff deco, or boot detail, this kind of thing is to be expected these days.  I would have loved more range of movement on this trooper, but it is what it is - stiff.  If Hasbro gives us an improved model for The Vintage Collection I'd say go for that - but there are so few figures from the Vandor-1 heist, you could probably also just skip this one and not feel like  you're missing anything.  If we get more versions of Val, Han, Chewie, and Rio these troopers might be more appealing - but we're never getting that train.  You can probably live without this one, even though it does look cool.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Trooper TK-611 reporting for duty."  "Weapons ready."  "Let's move out."  "Put pressure on them."  And blaster sounds.  There may be more, but the interface isn't helping and the app crashes.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,490: June 13, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,489: Chewbacca (Vandor, The Black Series 6-Inch)

CHEWBACCA Vandor
The Black Series 6-Inch Target Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E2487
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Goggles, y-shaped bandolier, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: May 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A mighty Wookiee nearly two centuries old, Chewbcacca has fallen upon hard times during this age of the expanding Empire. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  My very first action figure from Star Wars was the big Wookiee, so this new Chewbacca 6-inch action figure had me pretty excited. Despite appearing in Revenge of the Sith, Chewbacca looks more like the Chewie you remember while also changing up his appearance a bit.  It's quite the paradox - and it's also my favorite.  So far we've had three eras of Chewbacca in The Black Series, all of which are fairly similar minus the head, torso, and accessories.  This one is pretty clean.

By dropping the weird light highlights on the arms and black shadows around the eyes, Hasbro not only saves a few bucks but delivers a cleaner fuzzball.  The colors just look like they belong here, with the fur sweeping naturally.  It's not too dark, it's not too light, and he has a happy open-mouth grin as opposed to the fearsome roar of the original trilogy version or the closed-mouth fluffed-out head of The Force Awakens.  All, of course, are equally valid - but I just love this one.  I dig the gnarly y-shaped bandolier with the rounds (or canisters) on them.  I love the goggles, with an elastic band that fits perfectly over his eyes or on his forehead.   It just works.  You pick it up, and it's Chewbacca - the toes and fingers are painted, the eyes and nose are great (usually), and the personality is all there.  This figure can be a quality product - but with a couple of caveats in the notes below.  In short, buy one in person, or don't.

The blaster isn't Chewbacca's trademark bowcaster, and I find that fascinating.  The Revenge of the Sith figure had one, but this one has a new rifle that's big and mean. There's a silver barrel, a nasty scope, and a grip on the bottom that can actually move around to cock it.  (I'm not a gun person, I assume I'm right.)   The hands are quite tight, so it's unlikely he'll look good double-gripping it - but he can, if you want.  It's a cool blaster and one of the better Disney-era weapons to date.   Hasbro did a bang-up job cutting corners and delivering us a resculpt that I was actually happy to buy.

He does share a lot of parts with previous figures, down to the SKU and copyright info on his feet.  (The new info is printed, the old figure's info was molded.)   At least it's somewhere that you won't see it on display, isn't that right Hasbro of the late 2000xs?  I'm seeing him around a bit more these days, and given the lukewarm reaction to Han's movie I doubt he'll go anywhere fast.  If you see it on clearance, buy two.  Otherwise, just get yourself one - it's neato.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.  These are your warnings: he has wonky eyes on some samples.  Also, the grip under the blaster is able to move and may be missing - compare eyes and blasters across multiple figures before making your purchase if at all possible.  A good one is very good - and a bad one just means you will be sad.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,489: June 11, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,488: K-2SO (Solo: A Star Wars Story Line Look)

K-2SO Talking Edition
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1638
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Bio: K-2SO (Kay-Tuesso), abbreviated K-2 (Kay-Tu or Kaytoo) or Kay, was a KX-series security droid originally created for use in the Galactic Empire's armed forces.  (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 line for Solo: A Star Wars Story were developed about 18 months before launch, which would mean just prior to the release of Rogue One back when we didn't know K-2SO
died.   It makes sense that they'd want to bring him back again, but the timing is peculiar - why is he two per case for a Han Solo movie that has Han Solo at zero per case?  And why did Hasbro change the sculpt from the 2016 K-2SO [FOTD #2,285]?  

Part of the reason to change is the Force Link 2.0 chip - the figure has a slight rattle inside that I assume is the chip, plus a retooled sole of his foot.   However, this 6-jointed figure has a few other surprise changes too.  The back panel's raised elements are recessed and smaller this time.  Details are overall much sharper, with smaller, more subtle vents and greeblies.  K-2SO's Empire symbols are cleaned up and whole, rather than worn off a bit.  His head seems rounder, as opposed to the slightly flatter 2016 release.  He's the very definition of just different enough to make you mad, plus has a new weapon to boot.

The range of motion is unchanged - he has a wide sitting radius, with wide hips that will prevent him from ever sitting in a vehicle.   Like the arms, his legs are pop-on ball joints you can use to easily dismember him if you want.  The neck is a separate piece from the skull, so you can pose him to look inquisitively at other figures.  This is a nice touch, and something I assume they'd put on a super-articulated figure some day.

I should note his blaster is cool, but you will misplace it.  It's a very loose grip and it's a small weapon - if you aren't extraordinarily careful, it's going to get eaten by your dog or your Roomba.  It's a nice design, but the figure could use tighter gripping fists.

This is not a bad figure - the toy itself is slightly better than the previous one, but not different enough to warrant a purchase unless you're all-in for weapons or Force Link.  If you need a K2 figure, this is my favorite at the size.  If you've got one, for now, you probably don't need this one too - but I should note his is one of the best sound chips since it's actually Alan Tudyk quotes from the movie and not a soundalike.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "I'm K-2SO.  I'm a reprogrammed Imperial droid."  "Congratulations.  You are being rescued."  "I'm not very optimistic about our odds!"  "There are a lot of explosions for two people blending in."  And blaster sounds.  There may be more, but the interface isn't helping and the app crashes.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,488: June 6, 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,487: Captain Phasma (First Order Disguise, The Last Jedi Line Look)

CAPTAIN PHASMA with Finn (First Order Disguise)
The Last Jedi Deluxe Action Figure 2-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. C1242 No. E0624
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pistol, Riot Baton, Cape, Backpack, Rifle, Pike, Finn figure
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $17.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Phasma later ordered the death of Resistance members Finn and Rose Tico, when they were caught after being betrayed by their slicer DJ while attempting to infiltrate the Supremacy to disable a tracker.  (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:  One of the more popular figures from the first few year of the Disney era, Captain Phasma has precious little she can change about her costume.  Maybe we can get a vac-metal version, or perhaps the cracked helmet, but other than that all we really have are things like pose and articulation - and deco.   This de facto Entertainment Earth exclusive changes the pose while keeping the same basic sculpt from the Rogue One version, which is crisper.  What's really surprising is the improved deco, subtly improving an already good figure.

Let's start with deco. Most Phasma figures have silver paint on the helmet and torso, but swirly silver molded arms and legs.  This one paints the whole darned thing, with crisper helmet detailing which stays within the lines.   The cape is pretty much the same, but you'll probably appreciate how the black paint stays where it should and doesn't get at all blobby.  Subtle textures on the  mouth and shoulders remain, and if you didn't get the Rogue One line's 2-pack the improved sculpting bits here are going to be new to you. 
The legs are posed similarly to previous figures, but the arms are new.   I'm kind of surprised how well they work - you can use them to double-grip her rifle, and if you move them a bit she can also grip her pike with two hands.   I assumed she'd need wrist or elbow movements, but it turns out she can just hold everything.   I would not have guessed.  Leg articulation is slightly hindered by the belt, but as she has no ship in which to sit yet I'm not going to throw a fit over it.  It's fine, it's good enough - but seeing how they engineered the arms, we know Hasbro is capable of doing some pretty great things with only five joints.

She has no problem holding her rifle or pike.  The rifle can plug in to her thigh like a holster, and she has a bonus Force Link accessory - a backpack.  It makes cool noises, but if they dropped it and cut the price by a buck you'd not have missed it.   It also looks a lot like a rocket launcher, but there's no projectile and it doesn't actually shoot anything.  It's acceptable but surplus to requirements.

As 5-jointed Phasma figures go, this is the unquestioned champ.   The super-articulated one has more movement, but the bonus accessories and paint job here are about as good as we've seen so far.  Maybe Hasbro will come up with something better, but even if they don't it's enough of an improvement that I can recommend it without feeling like a shill.   (The Finn helps a bunch, though.)  Get her if you see this set at a price you like.

Exclusive Notes: This item was not produced for the North American - and perhaps Global - market.  The item was effectively rescued from oblivion by Entertainment Earth, a story I am not at liberty to discuss at this time but hey, maybe some day.

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

Force Link Notes: "On my command."   "Report to my division at once."  "Move to your ships now."  (The "Move to" is a little muffled and sounds kind of like a sexy moan.  Or maybe I'm just a pervert.)   "Fire!"   And a bunch of dueling buzzing pike  noises.  I assume that's what they are, anyway.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,487: June 4, 2018