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