Thursday, July 18, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,604: C-3PO (Droid Depot, The Black Series 6-Inch)

C-3PO (Droid Depot)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5158
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: R2-D2. BB-8, DJ-R3X
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio: A fastidious and worry-prone protocol droid, C-3PO longs for peaceful times, but his continued service to the Resistance keeps him in the front lines of galactic conflict. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  I was pleasantly surprised by this C-3PO - it's better! "Just different enough to be shockingly essential" is not the kind of catchphrase I usually use in this feature. Hasbro actually changed out the arms here, giving C-3PO articulation similar to 4-LOM.  It always irked me that the previous versions of C-3PO had no elbow joints, mostly because they did cram them in the 3 3/4-inch figures from time to time.  There's no excuse with a higher price point and no accessories - and apparently Hasbro agreed this time.

C-3PO is the droid of Theseus that you probably expected.  The body (but not belly), head, and shoulders are the same as all previous 6-inch C-3PO figures.  The belly wiring is the same as the Walgreens/40th Anniversary C-3PO.  The legs are the same as all C-3PO and 4-LOM 6-inch figures.  The arms and hands are the same as 4-LOM.  Hasbro bashed together the best possible C-3PO action figure they could muster out of existing parts, and it even has hands that can do things like hold accessories now!   This gives C-3PO about 25 points of articulation, including the three moving parts around the shoulders.   In terms of construction this is, without a doubt, Hasbro's best-ever C-3PO figure.

Deco is based on The Last Jedi, which also just happens to be pretty much identical to how C-3PO looks in Revenge of the Sith and the original Kenner line - all gold with no mismatched limbs.  Hasbro did make a 6-Inch Value C-3PO [FOTD #2,418] with this deco, and if you just need a C-3PO at this size with this particular color configuration, it's certainly a cheaper option.   If you want the best of the best, though, go with the Galaxy's Edge figure if you're accepting of a C-3PO with no silver or red limbs.  It's the best all-gold C-3PO you can get from Hasbro in this scale, until they figure out a way to do worthwhile vac-metal gold again.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon who went to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge last month.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,604: July 18, 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,603: Chopper (C1-10P, The Black Series 6-Inch)

CHOPPER (C1-10P)
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E4084
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #84
Includes: Fire blast, fire cloud, spare left leg, central rocket leg, central wheel leg
Action Feature: Connects to blast base, rolling wheels, arm pops out of chest, arms pop out of dome
Retail: $19.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Star Wars: Rebels

Bio: Chopper is the resident droid of the Ghost, assisting the crew in everything from ship maintenance to combat, even though he doesn't always want to.  After many years of repirs and patch jobs, Chopper has a beat-up, worn look that matches his sometimes cranky personality. (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:  Essential!   I didn't think Chopper (C1-10P) as a smaller droid could carry his weight as a figure.   I assumed Hasbro wouldn't shove enough plastic in the box to warrant the price of a standard figure.  I was wrong.  This is fantastic.   Hasbro's "realistic" take on Chopper from Rebels seems almost the same as the cartoon.   It also looks a bit like the full-size droid from Rebels Recon, although it's a bit lighter and a little less filthy.  Every element is where it should be, from the weird alternate leg to the panels that look glued on in the wrong place.  Some of the colors are a smidgen off, like the chassis body being lighter grey on the toy than the TV show, or the orange stripe over the chest arm being yellow rather than orange, but I'm picking nits here.  This is pretty gorgeous and I'm not going to dump on it for taking license on translating a cartoon character to a movie-compatible one.

The toy is positively loaded in moving parts.  The central leg is removable - you can elect to leave it out, or use a rocket leg, or a wheel leg.  The hips and ankles move, and the left leg can be replaced with a leg that better matches the right one if you're so inclined - a nice nod to an episode of the show where Chopper wants to get his leg fixed.  The dome rotates, as does the dish on top.  What surprised me was the leg in the body swivels out, as do the arms inside the dome.  Each arm has at least two joints, and there are ball joints on the head arms' elbows.
The colors largely match the TV show, with bright oranges and yellows against a sea of muted greys and greens.  I love how it turned out, complete with the blue dots inside the two remaining eyes.  The wires were painted, and so were tons of other details.  Hasbro even painted wear and tear on the figure's backside, and that's something we don't get very much.

Kudos to Hasbro for including environmental pieces.  The clear orange "blast" pieces work as a great display sand for the figure, making Yoda and R2-D2 seem like they need to up their game on the gear front.  A little white smoke paint dusts the blast, making it a pretty fantastic piece for a display shelf or desk.  If you already have the other Rebels figures, you'll be happy to get this one.   I should also note Ezra is a stunner.  Make sure you add these to your stash before the prices get stupid expensive - I assume Rebels kids will get older and want these eventually.  And be sure to get that Hondo from Galaxy's Edge while you're at it.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,603: July 16, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,602: Rey (Batuu, The Black Series 6-Inch)

REY (Batuu, Smuggler's Run)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E51525159
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Blaster and Staff and Lightsaber, Hondo Ohnaka with Blaster, 2 Porgs, Chewbacca with Bowcaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio: A scavenger toughened by life in Jakku's harsh deserts, Rey has been drawn into a galaxy-spanning conflict and learned that her life is being shaped by the mysterious power of the Force.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  While I am a fan of Rey (the character) I am finding Rey (the toys) to provide diminishing returns.   This figure is a theme park exclusive that almost certainly qualifies as "just different enough to make you mad."  The costume's colors are pretty much identical to the previous releases of the same costume as a 2-pack with Luke Skywalker from SDCC 2017, or the individually boxed figure from September 2019, or Toys R Us' obscenely overpriced $40 Rey with some soft goods and a display stand from Toys R Us from late 2017.  On top of that, there's a wounded arm variant of the single figure - so the collector who loves Rey has already bought this figure in this costume with this almost identical mold up to five times before this release.  And that hardcore fan will no doubt be drawn to Disneyland, and will probably buy it again.

The good - the figure's costume is true to the movie, with a good range of articulation just like before. She has her staff, her lightsaber, and a lightsaber - the latter of which has a rich deep blue blade, which is a nice change of pace.  The figure's main new feature is the portrait getting that "hyper realistic" photo printing, which gets better every year.  They did a nice job making this Rey figure look more like Daisy Ridley, which is pretty good as previous releases found little improvements with color and eyeliner here and there to make the facial features pop.  I can say that this is the best version of this Rey Hasbro has ever done, but two years later and several variations after... it does not feel essential nor does it feel timely.

With the basic single figure of Rey showing up at second-hand stores around my town for $3-$5 sealed in the box ($12 or under on eBay) and also the soft goods + display base version going for under $20, this doesn't seem terribly necessary.  Since she ties in to the attractions, it makes sense that the figure exists - but I find myself oddly lamenting the lack of a distinctive addition to the costume.  Dirt on her boots?   Maybe some scorch marks on the outfit?  Any environmental cosmetic change would have been a positive addition at this point, not that the new face paint isn't welcome - it would just  be nice to have a figure that's more than improvement and instead offers something distinctive and unique, whatever that may be.

Hasbro did a good job giving the licensor/customer what it likely requested - but I would have liked to have seen a couple of additional enhancements or alterations to make this truly stand out.  At least it has a new portrait!

Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon who went to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge last month.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,602: July 11, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,601: BB-8 (Resistance line look)

BB-8 and Poe Dameron
Star Wars Resistance  3 3/4-Inch 2-Pack Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E5034 No. E5360
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/
Includes: Helmet, blaster, Poe figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Resistance

Bio: A hotshot X-wing pilot for the Resistance, Poe Dameron is a natural leader who keeps an eye on the crew of the Colossus. When Poe sets out on his own missions, he leaves behind BB-8, a rolling BB unit whose spherical shell is packed with useful tools and computer interface equipment, to work alongside Kaz and the rest of the crew. (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: Infuriating.  Back in 2015 BB-8 in a set with Poe Dameron would have flown off the shelves at $15, but in 2019 the value proposition doesn't meet the hype.  That first BB-8 was packaged with two cool new alien figures for the same price, thus softening the blow of having to pay $15 for the breakout star of the new movie's trailer.  By now people are over BB-8 a bit, so the mere hint at the cybernetic marble being a toy isn't enough to make it an exciting purchase.  While improved, this is not an exciting purchase.

His companion Poe figure is a gem - the slim, redesigned pilot fits better in toy X-Wings than the movie ones!   This new animated BB-8 is cleaner and rounder, with better paint, but there's a smaller flat base that's a bit harder to find. The only thing that moves is the head, so really all the figure delivers is a clean, stylized design with orange and silver paint within the lines, clearly, on a white chassis.  It's very good - but if this set were $9.99, given how little is in it, you might still huff and puff about not getting enough toy for your money.  And this is $15.

Since the line is probably already over for good, I assume any of this is moot - fans in the future will probably want this set because it's a great example of Hasbro releasing a wonderful set of figures, regardless of price, that look good and behave better as toys than nearly anything they've done since the 1995 relaunch. No other line better captures the ease of play as Resistance, unfortunately you'll have to borrow all the vehicles from previous series as Hasbro has elected not to release any at this or probably any other time.  If you see it on clearance for $10, get this set.  If you want a really good Poe figure, get this set. If you have no other BB-8 toys, get this set.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,601: July 9, 2019

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,600: Chewbacca (The Vintage Collection)

CHEWBACCA Threedux
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E51186
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #141
Includes: Bowcaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Chewbacca, known affectionately to his friends as Chewie, was a Wookiee warrior, smuggler, and resistance fighter who fought in the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance.  (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: This Chewbacca was kind of a strange one because the official photos don't necessarily match the product.   Shots of the toy against a yellow and black gradient background were of The Black Series Chewbacca - which has different decoration.  The carded and loose shots - typically, actual factory samples - show a completely different head sculpt and different paint from older releases.  This is all very strange, because this figure seems to be an all-new paint job with a head from about 4 years ago.  This is our future - reruns with paint that shows us Hasbro can and sometimes does not do better.

If you got Chewbacca from The Black Series [FOTD #2,165], this is basically that mold.  Key changes include better fur paint, the interior of the mouth is painted pink now, and less raccoony eye paint.   Chewie is darker overall, but it's still the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection  body.  Hasbro has seemingly decided they can't or won't ever try to do better, 15 years later.  It's much improved and doesn't have the weird light brown streaks that may imply possible accidents.  Chewie's claws, nails, and a lot of the fleshy parts of his hand and feet are also painted.  This is definitely the best deco we've seen on this mold.

As packaging goes, this is the first time Hasbro gave us a The Vintage Collection Chewbacca on a packaged modeled after the original double-bordered Star Wars 1978-1979 packaging.  It's also the first "Vintage" package Chewbacca in this size since the 2004.  If you're a packaged fan or an opener his is probably an essential addition unless you're the kind of weirdo that has one or two Chewbacca figures and says "I'm good, thanks."  A black bowcaster, the best head paint job yet, and 23 points of articulation are all wonderful features.  And I'm sure Hasbro will make one with better hands in a few years so they can sell it to us for another 15 years.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,600: July 4, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,599: Lando Calrissian (The Vintage Collection)

LANDO CALRISSIAN (Gaiden)
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E4061
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #139
Includes: Blaster, scarf, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Solo

Bio: Lando Calrissian was a human male smuggler, gambler, and card player who became Baron Administrator of Cloud City and, later, a general in the Rebel Alliance.  (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 was a little surprised to see Lando Calrissian in this line, especially a full year and two other figures after the movie came and went.  Wearing the same outfit as the other figures - one that has a lot of similarities of what we'll see in The Rise of Skywalker - I would almost complain that it's unnecessary.  However, as usual, Hasbro crams in a lot of improvements and for that reason you'll want to replace your Force Link 2.0 version with this one.

This time around Lando's blaster has the added muzzle attached, and it's not removable like on the 6-inch version.  Lando's scarf and cape are two separate pieces, and the holster is sculpted and molded separately from the body.   He's not going to sit with the blaster in his holster.  Hasbro did a nice job painting the scarf and the liner of the cape, with a little painted detail in the blaster to boot.  Short of an alternate blaster without the muzzle, there's not much else I would do to add to this figure.

The figure itself is really good.  You get articulated ankles, bend-and-swivel wrists, the double-jointed neck, and yes, the thigh cut are all here.  The weird ab joint is also here sadly, as I assume Hasbro doesn't like articulation being hidden at the belt for some reason.  I don't get it, myself, the belt seems to be the perfect place for a joint.  Donald Glover Lando's head is a gem, with a great sculpt and just a smidgen more paint. He seems to have a bit much on his forehead if you get too close, but at a distance you get a decent amount of detailing.

Hasbro more or less nailed this one.  There's a hip/holster compatibility issue that comes and goes over the years, but otherwise it's pretty great.  Obviously, grab it if you see it at a fair price as it's the best young Lando figure Hasbro has ever done.  It may also be the best Lando figure Hasbro has ever done.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,599: July 2, 2019

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,598: Imperial Stormtrooper (The Vintage Collection)

IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER (2019 Redesign)
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E4058
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #140
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Rogue One

Bio: Stormtroopers, nicknamed "Bucketheads," were the elite shock troops of the Galactic Empire. As members of the Stormtrooper Corps, an independent branch that operated under the Imperial Army, they served as frontline assault forces and formed the backbone of the Imperial Military.  (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: We've had various flavors of Imperial Stormtrooper over the years, generally creeping closer to perfection.  Around 2007 they started to get really good, with tons of articulation and a removable helmet. Also they were prone to yellowing.   This new 2019 version seems to have thrown out any and all old parts to give us a more robust Rogue One take on the 42-year-old trooper design, complete with the newer blaster from the more recent movie.  It's good.  It's not perfect, but you'd buy 60 of them if you could.

The blaster has a silver mark and that added scope dongle on the side, but other than that it's a normal trooper rifle.  The figure itself seems to be new as Stormtroopers go. Oddly Hasbro didn't give us a holster for the blaster or any removable belt-mounted accessories, but there's a lot more detail and articulation here.  It feels like the "person" in the suit may be taller, as there's more room around the knees and elbows than usual - you can see a lot more black, which barely increases the range of motion in these limbs.  Wrists bend and swivel, ankles don't rock, and the shin armor is a bit bulkier than I would like.  You get the thigh-swivels that Hasbro has been including since Rogue One, and that's a huge plus.   I love that they painted the grenade on the back of the belt, as usually this goes undecorated.   All of the dots on the belly are also painted, and the helmet seems completely decorated consistently with other figures of this size.

What surprised me the most was how the head was built.  The body has a real neck for once, complete with the ribbed neck collar we've seen since the original movie.  The figure eschews a round peg on top for a hole - the peg is inside the helmet this time! This changes up its ability to move and gives it a more realistic look.   It may also future-proof the mold to look good when any hypothetical "Stormtrooper Disguise" figures come out later, but seeing how we just got Han I doubt it'll be for a while.   Go ahead and get yourself at least one of these, just leave some for the rest of us.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,598: June 27, 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,597: Resistance A-Wing Pilot (The Last Jedi Line Look)

RESISTANCE A-WING PILOT with Resistance A-Wing Fighter (Red Squadron)
The Last Jedi Exclusive (technically released with Solo, also it's complicated)
Item No.:
  No. E2265
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, vehicle, projectiles, figure
Action Feature: Force Link sounds
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Spring 2019
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: A longtime reliable starfighter model used by the Resistance that dates back to the struggle between the Empire and the Rebellion, the A-Wing is a nimble, wedge-shaped fighter propelled to incredible speeds by large twin engines. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
There are complications, and there are complications.   This Resistance A-Wing Pilot is a variation on Resistance Pilot Tallie [FOTD #2,407] - it's a redeco with a new head.  Fun story I can't tell at length - this was not the original intended pack-in, nor did this item have a smooth ride to market.  There were rumors of where it would be sold, and changes, and other stuff - this was a toy that clearly did not want to get released.  It did eventually escape to closeout shelves, getting dumped at Ross for $7.99 despite another intended home for it - but that's a long story I can't tell right now.

The nameless dark green suited figure probably isn't meant to be Pammich Nerro Goode, and I am unable to find the identity or reference for the outfit in my limited resources on-hand.     The helmet is now in blue, with a darker orange visor, and a newly-sculpted head with a slightly different face and different hair coming out of the back of the helmet.  She has 5 points of articulation and a blaster, making this a unique character but probably not one you can name just yet.   The paint is nice and clean, it's unique, but it's not a character I can identify or point to in a book just yet.  Maybe you can.  I'm glad she got a new head, but it's not like I needed either this ship or its pilot. I'm just a sucker for A-Wings.

Force Link Notes: "Reporting in, Squadron Leader." "The enemy is on the move."  "I've located the targets."  "Concentrate fire on the enemy position."  With the ship, it's "Firmware update required."  Never change, Force Link 2.0.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Ross.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,597: June 25, 2019

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,596: Hondo Ohnaka (The Black Series 6-Inch)

HONDO OHNAKA (Smuggler's Run)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E51525159
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Blaster, 2 Porgs, Rey with Blaster and Staff and Lightsaber, Chewbacca with Bowcaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio: Hondo Ohnaka is a Weequay pirate turned legitimate busines man... most would just call him a smuggler.  A rough-around-the-edges rogue, he would gladly sell his grandmother if there was money in it.  He is ostensibly on hte side of the Resistance, but he is first and foremost on the side of Hondo Ohnaka.  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  One of the things I thought would be cool - but never expected to see - was a 6-inch Hondo Ohnaka figure.   He was awesome in The Clone Wars and Rebels as a character not unlike Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  He's basically evil, but you like him anyway.  He should probably be in prison, but you're still more or less hoping he wins.   While the figure borrows from his previous costumes on television, the outfit is pure theme park robot.  It's certainly close enough for fans of Hondo, but there's still room to do the two classic costumes if Hasbro ever got the bug.  I assume as fans of The Clone Wars get a little older, that's something we're likely to see demanded more and more.   Maybe we'll even get a whole retro line in 10 years! But I digress.

For those of you who make it out to the very expensive theme park - and I hope to at some point in the next 5-10 years - you can get a boxed set of 3 full figures and a sidekick for about $70.   The only 100% new figure in this 3-pack is Hondo, not as brightly colored as he seems to be in the photographs from the theme park.  There are a lot of undecorated details on the figure, like the lining on the back of the gloves and the almost completely undecorated boots.  Thankfully Hasbro put their pennies on the head and coat, so  you'll see lots of wonderfully painted detail - just not as much as you might hope from being asked to re-re-rebuy another Rey figure with new face paint.  (Seriously, this is at least the 4th release of that mold.)  

A little extra paint below the waist would be nice, but it's worth noting what Hasbro did very right.  The goggles are nearly perfect. The hat and face are excellent, with a winning smile the likes of which we rarely see adorned with long, cleanly-painted horns hanging off the jaw.  The long hair hangs below the hat, adorned with clips that don't quite match the robot but still look excellent.   The textures on the coat are remarkable, from the lines on the collar to the faux-leather on the chest.   The shoulder patches and gauntlets are no slouch either, delivering a figure with enough Star Wars Neuveaux elements that you would be forgiven for assuming this was a design taken straight from the TV shows.  

The blaster fits in the left hand or holster without a fuss, and the range of motion on all the joints is on par for a figure of this size.  It's worth noting there are thigh cuts, the left one of which is hindered by the holster that restricts its movement.  I know a lot of fans adore articulation, but when it serves no function it just adds to the cost of the figure.   They could have left the thigh cuts off, but it's there for the customizers.  It's also nice to have highly expressive articulation in the arms joined by double-knee joints and rocker ankles, giving the figure considerably more personality than almost every single 6-inch figure that came before him.
As silly as this is to say, I'd probably pay $70 to get just Hondo.  I suppose technically that's what I just did - I didn't need another Rey or Chewbacca, and while the Porgs are different I doubt your average fan will find them quite as worth the purchase.   I'm glad to see Disney build on and develop some of the extremely fun and enjoyable elements from outside the original trilogy.   I'm elated we got him as a figure - although it would have been nice to get him by himself, and at a lower price.   If you're the kind of fan who has bought a boxed set for just one new figure, well, you know the drill.  This is a new sculpt, this is a character that rarely gets toys, and odds are you know you want it.   If your budget allows, get this figure when the opportunity presents itself.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon who went to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge a few days ago.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,596: June 20, 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,595: Poe Dameron (Resistance line look)

POE DAMERON and BB-8
Star Wars Resistance  3 3/4-Inch 2-Pack Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E5034 No. E5360
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/
Includes: Helmet, blaster, BB-8 figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: January 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Resistance

Bio: A hotshot X-wing pilot for the Resistance, Poe Dameron is a natural leader who keeps an eye on the crew of the Colossus. When Poe sets out on his own missions, he leaves behind BB-8, a rolling BB unit whose spherical shell is packed with useful tools and computer interface equipment, to work alongside Kaz and the rest of the crew. (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: Infuriatingly great.  That's Poe Dameron in a nutshell - the svelte 3 3/4-inch animated style figure is right in line with the 1970s and 1980s original Kenner toys in that he can stand, sit, and nicely fit in a vehicle.  Unfortunately this line seems to have come out the gate dead - there are no known vehicles, no known second waves, and no real reason for it to exist.

The proportions feel like a classic toy. The exaggerated face sculpt does a perfect job of capturing Poe's personality, without needing to be exactly like Oscar Isaac.   There are a few missing details on the figure, but that's typical - a yellow stripe on the helmet is gone, as are a few other markings. At this size it's unlikely to be noticed by the average customer, doubly so as there's no reference on the packaging.   It's worth noting the clear yellow helmet fits perfectly on Poe's head, as does the blaster in his hand.   It feels like after years of stumbling over things like cloth robes or plastic bits dangling over the legs, going back to the basics - non-fancy designs - was what resulted in the very best classic-style action figure.

The action figure line has been incredibly inconsistent since diverging a few years ago - multiple assortments with price points that are inconsistent with the amount of gear and articulation in the package around 2010 sure didn't help, nor did Hasbro's occasional desire to charge more for something while selling a similar product at a lower price.   $15 is a little high for this set - but it's a pretty good set.   With 5 joints and an above-par, toy-friendly design, I think old-school fans and kids will like this figure a lot.  Poe fits perfectly in the The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi X-Wing fighter toys too, showing that Hasbro and Lucasfilm are maddeningly close to a fun line for kids that never really seemed destined to happen.  If the price is right, go get this set - you'll love it.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,595: June 18, 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,594: 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper (The Vintage Collection)

41ST ELITE CORPS CLONE TROOPER Third Time Is the Charm
The Vintage Collection Action Figures Online Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5156
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC #145
Includes: Blaster, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $13.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Han Solo, 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 an 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: Since this mold debuted with this deco in The Black Series, the 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper has now been sold in at least three significant paint variations all over the world.   The 2013 US release was off-model, missing mot of the grey markings on the figure's shoulders, shins, and forearms.  The international release added black battle-damage, and the shoulders and shins.  The 2019 release adds more forearm markings, but removes the battle damage.  It adds a grey belt, but also incorrectly adds a grey belly paint application.  The 2019 version also has a "hyper real" face painted under the helmet, arguably making it the most accurate (but still incorrect) release.

What impresses me the most are how the 2019 release handles weathering.  Instead of black streaks, there are very subtle worn-off spots on the shins and shoulders that look like production defects at first glance.   The backs of the hands have similarly subtle markings.  The human head has more paint, with a more lively skin tone, painted lips, and glossy eyes.  The hairline is a smidgen off, you can see the borders of the hair were left flesh color.  Ew.    Thankfully you've got a Phase II helmet to throw over the head to hide the bad hair plugs.  Hasbro also painted the soles of the boots and added a little dirt to their sides - a nice touch, and very much appreciated given the price.

Articulation is the same as it ever was - good for the time.  The original from 2013 predates Hasbro's thigh-swivel joints, so you'll have to settle for acceptable ball-hinged hips that still allow for pretty good range.

Is this figure essential?  To me, yes - it's distinctive from the previous versions, including the international deco variant of the 2013 trooper you most likely didn't even realize that you missed.   I like the bend-and-swivel wrists as well as the not-bad-but-no-big-deal black blaster. Some silver would have been nice to bring out the detailing in the weapon.   All in all, it's a sought-after reissue fans have wanted with improvements on a The Vintage Collection cardback.  Hasbro ticked all the boxes here - nicely done, sirs and madams and gender non-conforming individuals.   This is a worthwhile upgrade and currently the definitive take on this particular trooper at this scale.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,594: June 13, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,593: Han Solo (Carbonite, The Vintage Collection)

HAN SOLO (Carbonite)
The Vintage Collection Action Figures Walmart Exclusive Playset Pack-In
Item No.:
No. E5150
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC #136
Includes: Arm binders, manacles, carbonite block, playset
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $49.67
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Han Solo, 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 an 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 Amazon now!

Commentary: This is a rerun barely worth mentioning.  Han Solo (Carbonite) gives fans the demanded token rerelease of the figure on a Vintage-style cardback, which makes it a required purchase for old-school fans who didn't get a carded one from 1984-1985 back when they were affordable.  It's not on a tri-logo or Power of the Force package, so this is sort of its own thing - not a real remake, but something else. Much like the tri-logo release, the block is packaged behind the figure and just like 2015's Black Series release [FOTD #2,168] with a couple of minor changes.  You should probably read that review and come back here for changes.

Han is notable in how he's not changed in any significant way.  Other contemporaries of this figure were rereleased with that "hyper real" paint job - amazing, intricate face painting that's generally a big improvement over their last release in the previous 10-15 years.  Han had no such changes, at least not yet.  It's the same plain face we got in 2015, with the same middling handcuffs and arm bars.  He has the same articulation, the same sculpt, and despite being from Return of the Jedi, his hair looks a lot more like his pre-freeze self.  A new head would've been really cool here, but Hasbro wants reissues so you get reissues.  It's acceptable, but if you just want this Han figure the previous release may do you just fine.

The Carbonite Block is changed, barely.  The back of the toy has been retooled to include a magnet that you can hang under the arch of Jabba's Palace Adventure Set, which is almost cool.  Almost.  the playset itself is the kind of thing collectors generally like, but repackaging Ree-Yees is another snore and for $50, more meat in the box would be nice - like a "melted" block accessory. That would have been most helpful.  The block's interaction with the magnet is tolerable, but the lever to raise and lower it is a little sticky.  This may catapult the block off the back, thus negating the value of the feature in the first place.  I'm glad they tried it, but a modification may be necessary to improve its function with the playset.

The block itself? It's pretty good.  It can't stand on its own at all, but it does have good sculpting and an excellent paint job.  Some of the lights, buttons, and switches on its left-hand side are decorated as is the silver on the front.  It's not just molded all in one color.  It sticks to my metal desk incredibly well, so there's nothing wrong with the block itself or the magnet inside it - it's just the one on the playset is kind of subpar.   As such I would consider this a pretty good upgrade, although I would appreciate seeing it improved with things like lights or sounds or the ability to shove Han Solo inside it.

With a repainted head (or Power of the Force cardback) I'd give this an A+ for effort.  As it is?  B+.  I appreciate the magnet functionality quite a bit, and returning the figure to the market during a time when the Sail Barge just hit was a great gesture to fans that may not have been great at keeping up in 2015 when things were a little slow.  Because you will want the playset and probably the cardback, you should go ahead and get this set.  However, you might just want to leave it carded if you have the 2015 release - you can always tape a magnet to your old block and keep this one pristine.  Hasbro was positively brilliant to put Walmart's exclusive vintage figures in a protective box (with a playset) to keep them nice and mint.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.com.   It's a de facto online exclusive at press time, as most stores have largely excised new Star Wars from the shelves.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,593: June 11, 2019

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,592: Han Solo (Stormtrooper, The Vintage Collection)

HAN SOLO (Stormtrooper)
The Vintage Collection Action Figures Target Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5153
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #143
Includes: Blaster, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: April 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Han Solo, 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 an 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 Amazon now!

Commentary: This is a big improvement.  Han Solo (Stormtrooper) gets his first-ever Kenner-branded release as one of the real shining upgrades of exclusives.  The helmet is shiny and the proportions seem better - the forehead band isn't touching the eyes. It's shiny.  It's wider.  Han's head may be a new sculpt - the hair is a separately molded piece glued down, and the face has that wonderful printing tech on it.  This is one of the best Han Solo heads I've seen at the size.  You probably need this figure.

The body is a mishmash of existing parts.  Compared to The Legacy Collection Han Solo - the last movie super-articulated figure from 2009 - there are a bunch of changes.   The stomach dots are now painted.  The grenade on the back of the belt is non-removable.  The hips are the Sandtrooper joints with lateral movements.  The rest of the articulation is par for the course, complete with 2009 copyrights on the shoes. Oh, and that holster? Still trash. You can't get the gun in there despite it being molded in the shape of the gun. I assume it's the paint.  The blaster  has a lot of paint on it though, and that's a big improvement.

Normally I gripe about a $7.99 figure returning as a $12.99 figure.  Hell, I'll still complain about it - but after 10 years of inflation and massive improvements in the Harrison Ford portrait, I'll endorse your spending $13 on this.  It's a premium over inflation, and I'm sure some of that is because Hasbro knows you will pay a premium for black and silver packaging, but it's good. Hasbro knows it's good.  You know it's good.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.   It's in the men's clothing area.  Because Target hates collectors.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,592: June 6, 2019