Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,569: General Grievous (The Black Series 6-Inch)

 GENERAL GRIEVOUS XXL
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
  No. E2989
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #D1
Includes: Pistol, 4 lightsabers, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: March 2019
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: General Grievous  was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough.  His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows.  But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi. (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: As a kid I kind of rolled my eyes when a teacher on TV or real life went on about someone not living up to their potential, but now I'm old enough to totally get it.   I knew General Grievous would have issues due to the character design, but Hasbro managed to work around some but not others.  The Separatist droid figures have thin limbs that generally don't react well to gravity over the long run - even when placed on a figure stand's peg, the limbs tend to sag and bend over time.  This Grievous solved the problem - by not giving him foot peg holes.  Each of the joints is sturdy and ratchets nicely, but the plastic is still pretty thin so I expect this figure will face-plant and dive off of a shelf without some sort of doll stand to hold him in place.  It takes a tiny bit of effort to find the center of gravity to keep him standing, but with this design that's expected.  

The figure is loaded with articulation - both more than you would expect, and not enough.  Rocker ankles, multiple elbow joints, and double-knees are most certainly welcome, but there's no meaningful bicep swivel thanks to the arm-splitting gimmick.  (Swappable arms may have solved this problem.)   The sculpting is top-tier, and the face paint is wonderful with little hints of mucus and gore under the mask.  The damage and scrapes are painted well,  and his scowl comes through nicely.  I'm impressed how well the figure works when all his arms are split up, but some things are missing - no wrist joints, for example - so the resulting figure is good, but won't "wow" anyone.  Hasbro got swivel wrists in the last super-articulated 3 3/4-inch release, which was a "basic" $10 figure too.   Given this has a 50% upcharge over a "basic" 6-inch figure, I'm not going to say it's great.  It's OK.

The cape, I don't like the cape.  It drapes oddly around the neck, it hangs strangely, and it lacks the distinctive robot skull on the back that most of the previous figures had.   It just feels weird - but so did the 3 3/4-inch cloth cape last time around.

But it's 1.0.  If Hasbro revisits this figure with a corrected cape, perhaps with a better drape and the symbol, you might want to buy it again.  A stand and retooled arms could also make a neat reissue down the road - I'm sure someone is already contemplating some sort of 2-pack with Obi-Wan Kenobi.   If you're reading this in a future where Grievous did get some sort of revised "Archive" reissue, I'm sure that one has got to be better than this one.  This one is OK - but it's a little blah given that we're 14 years out from Revenge of the Sith and things like that cape symbol should have been caught by Lucasfilm if Hasbro missed it.  Don't they have people dorkier than us in their approvals department?  Hasbro got it more accurate in 2010 with The Vintage Collection - given the premium deco and pricing with The Black Series, I would have hoped for something better.   It's by no means a failure, but given the quality of previous releases and the fact that those older figures were more accurate to the movie's design, hardcore fans will be disappointed but your average schmuck will see this as a perfectly acceptable General Grievous figure that will, over time, probably fall off your desk and will see a lightsaber blade snap.


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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,569: March 19, 2019

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,568: Jarek Yaeger (Resistance line look)

JAREK YAEGER Debut
Star Wars Resistance  3 3/4-Inch 2-Pack Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E5034 No. E5361
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, blaster, Bucket (R1-J5) droid figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Resistance

Bio: Jarek Yaeger runs a repair shop on the Colossus  refueling station, enjoying the solitude of being so far off the beaten paths of the galaxy.  Bucket has been Jarek Yaeger's loyal astromech for years, and despite being a battered, decrepit droid addled by outdated, glitching programming, is also a skilled mechanic. (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: Resistance is a show that leans heavily on mentors and learning - our lead is, to say the least, green in many ways.  One of his minders is Jarek Yaeger, an old guy that runs a repair business for the ships racing on a water planet with seemingly no audience and no economy of which to speak so far.  There are people selling ship parts, but really, what's going on there? Maybe it has been addressed and I missed that episode - but Hasbro did study the character designs well, translating the oddly flat 3-D designs into action figures that sometimes look more lifelike than their on-screen counterparts.

Jarek Yaeger is skinny, matching his animated counterpart quite nicely.  He has a blaster - which I don't believe sees a lot of use on the first few episodes on the TV show - and a helmet.  The helmet is actually a swappable alternate head, with a clear orange visor as his hair would not allow for a helmet over it.  I don't believe  he's used the helmet much on the show as of yet either, but then again, a lot of the first wave of figures weren't regularly appearing on the show.

Hasbro's figure is a bit more lively than Kaz, with more wrinkles in the jacket and pants.  This looks like a slightly more living person, with subtle wrinkles and good facial features. I was surprised to notice glossy lips and eyebrows, possibly making this an early experiment in "real" faces.  Hasbro has been promising those printed-on mugs in the small size, and in this case I would say it could be a challenge to do better.  The eyes are lips are where they should be, and to the naked eye look superb.   A few ornaments on his jacket aren't just painted, but outlined in black so they pop nicely.  He has 5 points of articulation and has no problems sitting, although standing will require you to find his center of gravity.

I admire what Hasbro did with these figures - they feel a lot more like old Kenner figures thanks to their proportions, poses, and articulation.  My compliments to the chef.  This set is worthwhile in that you get a perfectly good human character with one of Hasbro's best animated small-scale heads along with one of their most wonderful droid figures in recent memory.  It's absolutely worth picking up if you can find one.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,568: March 14, 2019

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,567: Bucket R1-J5 (Resistance line look)

BUCKET (R1-J5) Debut
Star Wars Resistance  3 3/4-Inch 2-Pack Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E5034 No. E5361
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/
Includes: Helmet, blaster, Jarek Yaeger figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Resistance

Bio: Jarek Yaeger runs a repair shop on the Colossus  refueling station, enjoying the solitude of being so far off the beaten paths of the galaxy.  Bucket has been Jarek Yaeger's loyal astromech for years, and despite being a battered, decrepit droid addled by outdated, glitching programming, is also a skilled mechanic. (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 can't say I love Resistance as a TV show, but I will say Bucket (R1-J5) is a true favorite figure.  The look of Resistance toys is, overall, sharp.  I just don't get much from the programming.  This time, the astromech droid is a shell with missing panels and parts, a rubbery series of metallic silver rings orbits the core of the droid.  There are three legs - the center one partially retracts - and ball-jointed shoulders.  The dome is mostly missing, all you get is an eye stalk with a helmet over it.  I love this.

Thanks to the articulation, this is one of the most expressive droid figures I own.  You can tilt the figure's head inquisitively, the legs tilt in and out and allow for him to emote in ways you don't normally see.   It would be awesome to see this applied to a Droids R2-D2, as that was an unusually expressive take on the character - but I digress.  The third leg partially retracts, and extends out way more than I am comfortable seeing.  There are no wheels, but it does look awesome.

The sculpt and paint job is nice and clean, with a couple of fascinating exceptions on the feet.  If you squint and look the sides of the robot feet near the ground, there are knicks and scrapes sculpted in there that are sadly unpainted.  I think they could do a wonderful job giving this figure a deluxe paint job, bringing out even more detail.  He's missing a few paints ops - like the helmet, and the feet - but there is a lot of silver on the body and some red wiring here and there.

This is my favorite Resistance figure because it does so much that's unexpected with a design that's likable.  A busted-up robot is such a wonderful idea, but adding in the amazing head with the movement of the legs shows that Hasbro is absolutely capable of doing amazing, surprising things in a line that seemed to be coasting.  Real surprises at the smaller size are hard to find, but so welcome when Hasbro has a chance to stretch its wings.  We've seen so many fun and weird ideas over the years, it amazes me that Hasbro has new ways to jazz up a design we've basically seen dozens of times.  Who knew there was so much more life in the R2-D2 form factor?  You have to get this set.  Go, get one now.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,567: March 12, 2019

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,566: Kaz Xiono (Resistance line look)

KAZ XIONO Debut
Star Wars Resistance  3 3/4-Inch Single Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E5035 No. E3941
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Resistance

Bio: Confident and skilled when a New Republic X-wing fighter, Kaz now feels out of his element having been assigned to be a spy for the Resistance. (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: On the show, Kaz Xiono oscillates between bumbler and go-getter. Sometimes, he's a pilot with skill.  Sometimes, he's an idiot who will let people trample over him, only looking competent thanks to an even denser sidekick who, despite being a series regular, has no toy.  I don't know who is planning these waves - Kaz is the only series regular in the entire basic single first wave.   It's like a wave made mostly of Constable Zuvio or Paige Tico all over again, but at least this guy is on every week and gets a toy so those who love him on the show can indeed get him.  Unlike, say, Han Solo last year.  But I digress.

This figure hits all the right marks - had Hasbro any vehicles, his articulation seems designed to easily sit with legs at the right angle and arms that don't swivel out too much.  He's skinny and closely matches the colors on the show - the pants aren't quite right, but everything else seems more or less on point.  The face looks like the animation model, the jacket is perfect, and the belt buckle is even right.  Bonus credit to Hasbro for sculpting the jacket as a separate piece, allowing the figure to look a little more three-dimensional and not in any way restricting movement when being posed.  The proportions and style are more cartoon-like than some previous animated lines, with texture as appropriate in a few spots.  Mostly he's smooth, and one might assume the grey sideburns are to indicate he's old.  But he acts like a dumb kid, so... take your pick.

I admit I'm behind on the show and just haven't been feeling it yet.  I'll keep giving it a chance, because I can't not.  He rarely used his helmet or blaster from what I remember, as the show seems to be trying very hard to not have every episode be a shoot-out.  Kaz has no problems wearing his helmet, or holding his blaster.

Hasbro did a great job on what seems to be a tough task - increasing prices, decreasing accessories and features, and a show with ratings about as low as Rebels at its nadir, it's a wonder we've got anything.  I like the character design, the character's performance is good, and the action figure is well done for what it aspires to be - you just have to get excited for the show.  Maybe it gets better?  If you get a chance to pick up a Kaz figure at a good price, you might want to do so.  I can't complain about the toy.  The show, sure.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,566: March 7, 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,565: Imperial Patrol Trooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

IMPERIAL PATROL TROOPER Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E1216
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #72
Includes: Pistol, holstered baton
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: As the Empire reinforces its hold on worlds across the galaxy, local defense forces are supplemented - and eventually completely replaced - with Imperial Stormtroopers.  To cover distances across sprawling settlements and cities, Patrol Stormtoopers police the streets and alleys aboard swift interceptor speeder bikes. (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: The nonlinear nature of Star Wars narratives can be fun and vexing.  The Imperial Patrol Trooper takes cues from the entire saga to date, or at least, its troopers.  The helmet is similar to a 1977 Stormtrooper, but with the combined visor of the 2005 Clone Trooper and the forehead visor of the 2016 Scarif Stormtrooper.  The body lokos like a mutation of the 1983 Bike Scout, with gloves painted like First Order 2015 troopers - note the white finger and palms - and legs like the aforementioned 2016 Scarif Stormtroopers.  It's a weird amalgamation of numerous kinds of cannon fodder, which is also interesting because the Empire's armored meat for the grinder tends to be pretty uniform.

29 points of articulation and smart decisions like a soft codpiece mean this figure could straddle a bike! There isn't one. But he could!  I had a lot of fun posing him on my desk with his nicely-painted scout trooper blaster, but even more fun with the dippy baton. At about 1-inch long (meaning "real life" would be about 12-inches) it's roughly the size of a ruler and about as frightening.  It's this dumb little stick, and now he's going to fling it at you or something.  It'll bonk you on the head. "Ow!" you'll say to the faceless enforcer of the Emperor's fascist regime.  "Oh, uh, sorry pal," he'll say.  "Look, I don't have a stun blaster and I threw my only stick at your head, could you just, like, come quietly?" 
We didn't see it in action on-screen, but I imagine it would be deployed in a scene much like that.  I appreciate Hasbro made it a removable, as opposed to just a chunk of the belt.  It does something - it gives the figure more personality.   The only thing I dislike about the figure is we didn't get his bike. Enfys Nest got hers, but this one might have provided a better seller to army builders.  Such is life.  It's a cool trooper, so go get it - and if it shows up at Celebration or a Comic-Con with a bike, go buy it again.   While it breaks absolutely no new ground, it's top-to-bottom exactly as good as it could and indeed probably should be.  Add your own weathering, and buy a bunch.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,565: March 5, 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,564: Rio Durant (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

RIO DURANT Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E2793
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #77
Includes: Goggles, rifle, holstered blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Rio Durant has carried out dangerous operations alongside the scoundrel Tobias Beckett for years.  The good-natured Ardennian pilot is up for any challenge, not unlike his young counterpart Han Solo. (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 got a kick out of Rio Durant in Solo.  It's the sort of thing we should be getting more of - weird, colorful aliens with amusing celebrity voices.   He answered the question "What if Rocket Raccoon were nicer, had four arms, and also dead?"   In terms of the movie he wasn't nearly as funny, but the toy offered a lot more for basically the same price.  Having to jam in a lot more parts and pieces costs money, so even though this figure is a smidgen smaller it probably cost Hasbro just as much (or more) to make than a regular-sized figure.

It's OK.  A figure at this size and price point has higher expectations.  Hasbro's $6-$8 6-inch cheap figures are pretty good no matter what - you get a few joints and some paint, and they're exciting.  At $20 or more, you want something really good.  Rio has nearly 4 points of articulation - that's good! But they're a little bulky, and with a smaller figure having four shoulders jammed into the back means you get a slight feeling of bulk back there. The ankles are impressive, as they not only rock but swivel just below the pant leg and also have that front-and-back motion everybody loves.    He even has removable goggles - they can't easily cover his eyes, but it's something.  I'd almost rather they be glued down, just so they don't fall off so easily, but that's me.  Your mileage may vary.

He has a big rifle that fits in his hands nicely, and a smaller pistol crammed in his white holster that's kind of a pain to get out. At first I didn't think it was going to come out, but you can move it around and carefully slide it out at some weird angle that's the kind of bad design we don't normally get from Hasbro. It's particularly surprising given just how well the holster itself is designed - Hasbro nailed it.  There's a strap around his thigh that' actually part of the leg, and the pouch for the blaster is a separate, rubbery piece with a peg that fits in his thigh - allowing you maximum movement range with minimal bunching and hindering of hip movement.  How did Hasbro simultaneously get it right and wrong so well in two opposing directions?

The figure is pretty good - there's not a lot of stunning texture here, but it's a space monkey with four arms and the kind of blue space suit you thought you might get as a toy from Rogue One, but Hasbro let you down.  I like the orange bandolier and the retro computer stuff, and the weathering on the belt is no slouch either.  Hasbro tried a lot of stuff here, and overall they did a good job with a weird design.  I'd like to see what they can do when they figure out a more clever way to cram in those shoulder joints, though.  Recommended if you can find it - especially at (or slightly above) retail price.  Yes, it's that interesting.  It's not necessarily fun, but I wouldn't give mine up.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,564: February 28, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,563: Val (Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

VAL Just One Name
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0323  No. E1686
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: September 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Val was a female human criminal who worked with fellow outlaw Tobias Beckett during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Val was a no-nonsense and occasionally prickly woman who was a crack shot with a blaster rifle. (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:  Her appearance was only slightly longer than her name.  Val didn't get to do much prior to her on-screen death (if you didn't see last year's Solo yet, you shouldn't be reading this site), so it's kind of a miracle she got a figure - let alone a post-home-video-release one.  Hasbro has had precious little time to look back, or continue a new movie line beyond a couple of waves.  Seeing Solo get four waves, but an excellent final wave on top of that, was unthinkable.

Val turned out well.  I didn't realize she had glove joints at first, so with 7 points of articulation she's pretty good. The hair is a separately molded piece, and the boots don't swivel - but there's a lot of good sculpted texture here, with a pretty great head sculpt and deco given it's the size of a peanut.  She has a t-crotch and v-arms - an unusual combo, so her legs swing straight forward and her arms veer out a bit.  It's not bad, as it helps with her aim.  The legs are only able to swing forward a little bit, as the belt hangs over the thighs and prevents forward movement beyond about 50 degrees.  Interestingly, it's not the rubbery cords that block the movement but the actual hard plastic belt that's part of the torso.  She has a cable running from her arm to her back, and is generally nicely done with nifty boots and a soft scarf and what I assume are some heating cables.

As the only 3 3/4-inch Val, it's nice that Hasbro gave us a good one. I wouldn't be surprised to see a super-articulated Val in the future, but for now? This is it. Go buy it.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "Here comes a world of hurt." "I can't hold them off on my own forever!"  "Show me what else you've got."  "You're asking for it."  "Here come the enemy troops. Let's give them a good thumping."    Blaster sounds.  I believe it's a soundalike.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,563: February 26, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,562: Stormtrooper (Galaxy of Adventures)

IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER The Enforcer
Galaxy of Adventures Canister Figure (also "Story in a Box"
Item No.:
Asst. E5648 No.  E5708
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster (Disney-era), Comic Book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Stormtroopers are the blaster-carrying soldiers of the Empire whose biggest mission is to destroy the Rebellion and protect the Imperial cause.   (Taken from the 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:  Not too long ago I was saying that I wanted this Stormtrooper to exist - check out Stormtrooper Squad Leader [FOTD #2,533].  It's just what I wanted! But it's a lot more expensive.  Is it worth $10 for a figure without the sound chip and minus an accessory, but with an added comic?

I'd say no.

Target's 6-pack was a $44.99 wonder - you got 6 figures which, as of last year, were going for about $7.99 per carded figure.  It was a good deal per-figure, with a couple of nifty exclusives and army builders to make it a worthwhile and exciting purchase.  Hasbro plained-up the Stormtrooper by leaving the Disney-era Empire blaster (note the added greebles) but removed the pauldron, giving you one of the finest, shiniest, best-sculpted Stormtroopers ever produced in this size. That's good!  It has 7 points of articulation. Most of the details are painted in - check out that helmet! The boots lack painted soles, but you get the important landmarks on the helmet and chest.  It's tall, it's skinny.   While there's no holster, you'll probably want to have the trooper aiming the blaster for some sort of diorama display anyway.

The comic has artwork that's OK with dialogue mostly taken straight from the script.   It has a backdrop of the Death Star.  I'd say it's a waste of pennies, and it adds to the cost while not improving the product in any long-term meaningful way.  Had Hasbro included a product catalog in the back cover I'd be excited.  If it didn't say the Stormtrooper appeared in the sequel series and forgot to mention Solo - which, c'mon, don't make me be a pedant here - the bio inside would be more welcome.  I'm not mad, just disappointed.

I like this figure a lot - if price isn't an issue, get several.  If it is an issue, it's probably worth getting one.   Hasbro's classic sculpts are getting really good these days.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,562: February 21, 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,561: L3-37 (The Black Series 6-Inch)

L3-37 Debut
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E2613
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #73
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: A "self-made droid" built from astromech and protocol parts, L3-37 is an enlightened navigator who cares deeply about droid rights. (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 love L3-37.  The design works, the character is fun, and the figure is pretty good - but fragile! This is the second one I've owned. The first had a torn wrist, so be careful if it doesn't turn right away.  The droid is a mishmash of parts you might recognize, or find vaguely familiar.  I love that she's more or less that beige box color of old computers, complete with a head that looks like an old floppy drive. 

It's easy to recognize astromech elements on her arms and legs, plus tons of grime and exposed wiring that may remind you of the many Star Tours-specific figures sold at Disney parks over 15 years ago.  She's a gem - she looks like old Star Wars through the prism of modern image compositing.   The mocap robot worked so well on the big screen, and as an action figure I'm amazed she can stand.

Due to the figure's construction, she only has 19 joints - the only double-joints are at the neck and the wrists, everything else is a single moving part.  The shoulders, necks, and hips are ball-and-socket joints, the wrists bend and swivel, and the rest mostly bend or swivel.   The feet are big enough to be sturdy, and the deco is so intense you'll understand why she doesn't have any gear.  There are grimy stripes and smudges everywhere, giving off the vibe of an old computer that's destined to be cannibalized for parts soon.   There's not much she can do other than be posed and look cool, but in this case it works.  I'm so happy Hasbro held back on releasing the toy until after we all could see the movie, so we knew that there was a fun character here and more than just a cool-looking robot who would need us to write the history.   (IG-88, looking at you.)   Get yourself L3 if you can find one.  Lando will thank you.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,561: February 19, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,560: Han Solo (Force Link 2.0 Reader, Solo: A Star Wars Story line look)

HAN SOLO Default Jacket
Solo: A Star Wars Story Force Link 2.0 Pack-In
Item No.:
  No.  E0322
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Force Link 2.0 Band
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: April 2018
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Bio: Bring the galaxy to life with Force Link 2.0! Wear Force Link 2.0 wearable technology to activate sounds and phrases in Force Link 2.0-activated figures, accessories, vehicles, and playsets! For even more action, activate multiple figures with Force Link 2.0 wearable technology to hear interactions and responses between iconic characters! With Force Link 2.0, kids can bring their favorite Star Wars adventures to life!  Force Link 2.0 wearable technology activates motion-controlled phrases, lights, and sounds in over 30 toys! When kids wear their Force Link 2.0 wearable technology and pick up the included 3.75-inch scale, movie-inspired Star Wars Han Solo figure, they can activate authentic figure phrases and sounds! Scan figures into the Hasbro Star Wars Force Link 2.0 app to track figure play and level up! Compatible with all figures, vehicles, playsets, and toys in the Force Link 2.0 line. Figures, vehicles, and playsets each sold separately.   (Taken from the Hasbro marketing for the item.)

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 doomed Force Link before it even came out - the first reader hit in September 2017, with this 2.0 upgrade shipping just 6 months later - with the ability to be updated with new sounds.  This idea should have been brilliant and magical, but the locked-down first release didn't meet sales expectations and by the time Han Solo shipped with this version - which had problems receiving an update, and has several figures still not working with it - it was dead.  Also, this is the only plain/normal version of Han Solo in his main outfit for the movie that was sold at launch, and it was $30.  Other lesser costumes of Han during the theatrical release of Solo: A Star Wars Story were in a $29.99 Speeder and a $99.99 Millennium Falcon, so it wasn't exactly set up for success or affordability by the child target audience of this kind of figure.

Han is interesting.  Note I didn't say "amazing." They did a good job on the costume, with its dark brown shoulders, black shirt, and working holster, but 5 joints aren't terribly exciting. The fact a super-posable version would follow in the Fall at a lower price is not terribly wonderful, but this figure suffered from a head sculpt that doesn't seem to be based on the actor hired for the movie.  Due to the turmoil in production it's entirely possible this was  by design - there are occasions were freelance sculptors have admitted, privately, to "genericing-up" a figure's likeness due to demands from the studio or because of what the license demanded.  For example, McFarlane Toys had the clearance for Snake Plissken - but not Kurt Russel.  But I digress - no one has actually confirmed this regarding Han Solo, but between this figure and Jakks' late Big Figs line, there's no way you can say that it was modeled after Alden Ehrenreich.  It's "Young Han" but it ain't Alden.

The Vintage Han Solo [FOTD #2,538] has more color, more painted detail and more articulation, but this one is still pretty charming.  It's also notable in that his sound clips are the only Force Link 2.0 quotes built in to that Force Link band - the rest require an update from an app to even function, which is baffling. If you can get one of these now, update it as soon as you buy it because that app won't be around forever.  I'd like to know if any hackers out there know how to update the Force Link band so fans can roll their own update with real movie quotes - but I digress.  We're here to talk about the figure.  It's OK.  Get the Vintage one if it's cheaper, though.

Force Link 2.0 Notes: "They call me Han Solo."  "This better be worth it."  "I don't run from a fight."  "Hmm. I've got a really good feeling about this."   "We've got company." "Blast 'em!"  Blaster shots.  It's a soundalike doing a decent Han Solo impression.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.   Walmarts blew this set out - in my journeys - for as little as $4 in the post-Christmas 2018 clearances.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,560: February 14, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,559: Klaatu (Skiff Guard, The Vintage Collection)

KLAATU Skiff Guard
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E4060
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #135
Includes: Staff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Klaatu was a male Kadas'sa'Nikto gambler who worked for Jabba the Hutt. He often repaired the crime lord's skiffs. Klaatu also took enjoyment in Jabba's executions by rancor in Jabba's Palace. (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: As time marches on, it's weird to see how Star Wars changes.  Most of the figures we've ever received were after we had a relationship with the character or costume.  It's not like you didn't have a chance to read Shadows of the Empire before getting Dash Rendar, and you knew who Thrawn was years before that first figure shipped.  You saw Return of the Jedi before we got the first version of Klaatu (Skiff Guard) in 1984, probably unaware that this green guy was different from the 1983 green guy named Klaatu, who would later be called Wooof.  Knowing who a character is, or where a figure belongs in a playset or display, makes a huge difference for enthusiasm.  It's hard for me to get excited for any given new movie figure most of the time, mostly because I'm being handed a toy blind.  That's good for most toys and your imagination, but with Star Wars it really is largely about the relationship.  In this case, it's a relationship with a rubber mask.

The 1984 Kenner original lacked the "skirt" that we got in 1998's first modern-era version of this Klaatu, and that skirt remains in 2019.  The figure has been enhanced to a ridiculous extent, with a wipe bringing out the pleats in the outfit and so much articulation.  For a figure that mostly stands around, 28 points of articulation is a large number.  He can stand, and can even be posed to swing his legs forward - a plus, given this month's alleged release of the Sail  Barge is going to need piloting.  Thanks to separate trigger fingers and bend-and-swivel wrists, it would seem Klaatu exists mostly to remind you just how much these Vintage figures have improved since the last full line ended in 2012.  It also makes me sad to see just how few we're likely to get, because Hasbro has basically done the impossible and squeezed in more articulation and detail on a tiny figure.  It's remarkable.

The painted detail is almost better than the actual costume, with gold horns painted that we didn't really get in the movie. The hat is a separate, glued-on piece and the hands are just exquisite.    Clever articulation allows us to pose him in a number of awesome ways, and while I don't like the chest joint - it's ugly - at least they're trying something new.  Klaatu's weapon is basically the same as Boushh, just in a new color.  It's great.  You'll want two or three of him.  

A lot of the figures for the recent movies are pretty good.  It's hard to deny the quality of many Rey and Jyn figures, but there's certainly  a push back from fans that want those movies from when they were kids from now until the end of time.  I need some of each - with these as the first new original trilogy alien figures out of Hasbro in almost four years, we're reminded just how much we love their classic work and what they can do when they're provided reference from a movie that's not still in production.  I look forward to new new-movie-figures from The Force Awakens now that the secret is out, and Hasbro could make their very best work without the veil of NDAs.  It's turned out so well for the original trilogy that I can say I am still eager to see what they might do for us the next time they bring someone to today's standards,  because this is great.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,559: February 12, 2019