Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,621: Stormtrooper (The Retro Collection)

STORMTROOPER Stiff Neck
The Retro Collection Target / Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. E6255  No. E6268
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: 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: With The Retro Collection, I'm getting updates of figures I have owned for decades - I really played with these as a kid!  So when something feels a little off, it sticks out - and this Stormtrooper is a bit off.  The basic figure is here, with its jointed shoulders and hips.  The hand grips the blaster rather loosely - and that was true of some of the originals - while the neck just plain doesn't exist. The helmet was fused to the chest.  It's white with  black paint - just like the original, and if you never open it I assume you will find it to be good enough.

For you olds out there, you'll feel some tactile problems.  The figure is a bit less glossy than the original.  It's a bit tougher to pose it to find his center of gravity - the 2019 release is prone to flopping over.  Also, the paint is a bit off.    The helmet is actually a bit better than the original figure, but the black on the wrists, elbows, and knees is just a bit off. The black doesn't cover quite the same spots, and what you're getting feels like a bootleg.  Admittedly, it's the very best bootleg, but it's still just not where it should be.  Some of the landmarks above the belt seem a smidgen off as well - the divots feel like they may not be precisely where I remember.  The front of the knees have a bit of black above the armor to show the body glove, which is interesting as some of the originals tend to lack that detail due to how they were painted back then.  Paint just couldn't make it there - so now it looks strange, even if it is arguably another improvement.

With painted wrists, it's possible Hasbro was trying to preemptively prevent yellowing in spots - but we won't know for sure until later.   The Stormtrooper is like someone speaking a language perfectly, but not natively - it's right, but it feels wrong.  The figure has traces of an accent while being technically flawless.  Most people will never notice, but linguists and super-duper picky collectors are going to notice.  If you didn't grow up with the originals, I would suspect you're going to like this figure with no reservations.  I doubt you'll find a better carded trooper anywhere near the price, and obviously I'm nitpicking because of my affection for the original.  He's still good.  He's just not an original.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,621: September 17, 2019

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,620: Mountain Trooper (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

MOUNTAIN TROOPER (The First Order)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5160
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: MSE Droid, Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  Like all First Order Stormtroopers, specialized units of Batuu Mountain Troopers are trained from birth, growing up with unit designations instead of names and fed a steady diet of First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  I haven't found any photographs of the Mountain Trooper as a real-world, in-park or in-movie entity.  I've seen this action figure, and search engines don't seem to yield actual costumes.  That makes this something of an oddity - is it legit?  Is it necessary?  While Kylo Ren is in movies and Commander Pyre is on a TV show you aren't watching, the Mountain Trooper is something of a mystery - right now, he's just an action figure.  And a derivative one at that.

At first glance I thought it was a new figure, but the Mountain Trooper is a retool of the Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader [FOTD #2,350].  The feet bear the item number of its ancestor, B9801, and it shares the waist and thighs of the Scarif trooper too.    The hands seem to be the same, but everything else is new - the chest, the helmet, the arms, the boots, and the kama/skirt are all new.  Its articulation is identical, and I believe the blaster is new and pretty good too.

It's an oddity as it combines late Empire parts with First Order elements.  The red shoulder recalls the Sandtroopers, the helmet has the Scarif visor and a mouth/face that looks a lot like the Biker Scout/Scarif Trooper with a line across the face that looks like a standard issue Stormtrooper mouth.  The back of the figure has a decent First Order look, with the "O" you'll recognize as a recurring element on the back of First Order TIE Pilots and Stormtroopers.
Unless this shows up somewhere, it's a deleted scene/concept figure.  I think it was kind of cruddy to make a figure that doesn't appear anywhere that takes elements from the Empire and throws on some new First Order bits without there being some story reason for it.   It's a figure you can add to your army, and arguably it's not all Empire or First Order, but you could put it with either and probably not love it.  The sculpt is great, but it's busy and I just generally don't love it.   Merch for merch's sake - especially when new tooling is involved - is kind of upsetting when we could have had something from the movie, or the park, or even from Resistance instead.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,620: September 12, 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,619: Kylo Ren (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

KYLO REN (The First Order)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5160
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: MSE Droid, Mountain Trooper, Commander Pyre, Lightsaber, Cape, Hilt
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo was seduced by the dark side of the Force and renamed himself Kylo Ren, bcoming the First Order's champion and Supreme Leader Snoke's student. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  This is not an essential Kylo Ren figure.  While Rey, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca all had unique bells and whistles to make you want to give them a second look, Kylo Ren is a step backward.   You could cobble one of these together using the head of the 2015 6-inch figure and the 2017 6-inch figure, just by giving the helmet to The Last Jedi release - and it might be better.

If you look at Kylo Ren #45 [FOTD #2,454] this is pretty much that figure with some problems.  Kylo Ren has the 2015 helmet with some divots created by the plastic insert - it doesn't look good.  His ankles are looser, which is bad for displaying - sturdy ankle joints are incredibly important for ensuring a figure doesn't topple over on your shelf.   The lightsaber hilt will not fit in or stay in the belt slot, at least on my sample. 

On the bright side, the sculpt still looks good.  The simple paint job is still perfectly fine, and he can hold his accessories in his fists nicely.  I like the plastic cape which drapes over his shoulders nicely.  Since the figure is molded in black and has elbow joints with a marvelous range, it's a pretty good skeleton on which to build a figure.  With 26 points of articulation, it's totally fine but won't knock your socks off since you've probably got all the parts of this figure in your collection already.  
While you may wish to track down this set, this figure is not a worthwhile part of it.  Even if you're a Kylo completist, you'd be better served buying extreme-clearance Kylo Ren figures and cobbling together a similar one on your own.  This is a bad reissue, or a bad sample of a perfectly dull reissue.  I would advise getting a display stand with neck or waist support so he doesn't fall over, if your sample is anything like mine.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,619: September 10, 2019

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,618: DJ R3X (Droid Depot, The Black Series 6-Inch)

DJ R3X (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, C-3PO
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  RX-24 more commonlyknown as Rex, has given up the pilot's life and has reimagined himself as DJ R3X.   Behind his DJ table, he spins and plays upbeat music as he watches over the crowd of the cantina. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  I dragged my feet on DJ R3X.  It's a good figure but it didn't push my buttons, probably in part because I haven't been to the park to see the character.  The new mold is a pretty great metaphor for the Disney stewardship of Star Wars - it's the skeleton of the old thing you liked with a new coat of paint and some added bells and whistles.  The silhouette of the original is there, the original voice actor is also there, but it changed.  Disney could just as easily have left classic Rex in there as a DJ and probably would've sold just as many figures - if not more - thanks to the potent poison of nostalgia.   There's a hint of AC-38, more than a bit of Old Rex, but it's a new thing with giant headphones and raver goggles, plus a new mouth microphone piece over the original speaker.   It's more. It's extremer.  It might be good enough, or it might be insultingly different - that's on you.

If you like the design, it's a good figure. The head telescopes - or periscopes? - up and down.  Each arm is on a body part that can swivel around the central pole of the body, and each arm has multiple points of articulation.  Unless I missed some, you're looking at about 18 joints including elbows, rotating poles, claw thumbs, and more.  Thing is, it's not super helpful as the DJ has no turntables or machines with which to interact.  It's nice that they overdesigned this guy to make him wonderful, but like some other figures in this scale you have to wonder if they couldn't have saved a few bucks and considered functionality once it comes home with you.


Deco is great.  You have this wonderful orange with grey, tons of scuffing, blue eyes, and a white helmet - it's very Star Warsy.  There's something odd about the orange, but it works - it feels like an old, used, and theoretically a used real piece of music equipment in a bar somewhere.  It feels legit, but it somehow doesn't belong with the rest of my The Black Series figures - everybody else feels like a degree off from a movie design, while this one seems just a bit more off.  It's good, it's close, but it feels like we missed a step or two in the stages of droid evolution somehow.    There's nothing wrong with it, it's about 4-inches tall, and as an exclusive mold you're probably in the market for one.  But the rest of the set was a bit more exciting for me, and I already had all those characters.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,618: September 5, 2019

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,617: Luke Skywalker (The Retro Collection)

LUKE SKYWALKER Old Lemon Hair Is Back
The Retro Collection Target / Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. E6255  No. E6266
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Yellow Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive human male, was a legendary Jedi Master who fought in the Galactic Civil War during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Along with his companions, Princess Leia Organa and Captain Han Solo, Skywalker served on the side of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—an organization committed to the downfall of Emperor Palpatine and the restoration of democracy. Following the war, Skywalker became a living legend, and was remembered as one of the greatest Jedi in galactic history.  (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 I was born after the original film, getting the original Star Wars action figures were impossible by the time of Return of the Jedi.  You could get a Vader, but the original Luke Skywalker wasn't at Toys by Roy or Long's Drugs or Lionel PlayWorld anymore.  I went bonkers when I saw him in the J.C. Penney catalog and treasured him. And then our neighbors broke the lightsaber. Thanks, Julie. It's still broken.

Luke had been rereleased in 1995 as a shorter, cast-from-the-figure release that was a pretty good take on the original with a head that seemed a bit smaller and colors that were a little paler.  This new 2019 edition has eyes that are set a little wider apart and he's a smidgen shorter.  It's the yellow hair variant, and the "shorts" are painted white rather than being molded in white plastic - all the ones I've owned were molded in white plastic with brown paint.  This kind of variant existed on tons of vintage figures, but it's an easy way for me to see this new release as a little different.   Most of the rest of the figure is pretty close to the original, with slightly-off paint apps on the hands, the black belt, and the classic "broken"  hand that you might be able to grip a blaster despite not being designed to do so.  

It's a pretty remarkable design when you think about it - Luke's telescoping lightsaber was barely glimpsed at in the movie and a blaster or other accessory would have made just as much if not more sense.  This future-proofed Luke by making a figure that lives in adventures after the original film, rather than limiting it to specific scenes in the movie.  As a piece of history, this Luke design was a stand-in for the actual movie for millions of kids.  In 1977, you couldn't own the movie - maybe some comics, or a novel, or Super 8 clips.  You had to reenact things yourself in most cases, and that's what made the old toys extra special and resulted in four decades of obsessing over them.   If the price is right, I'd recommend it.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,617: September 3, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,616: Chewbacca (The Retro Collection)

CHEWBACCA What a Wookiee
The Retro Collection Target / Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. E6255  No. E6270
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Bowcaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
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. He hailed from the planet Kashyyyk and became a Wookiee military leader.  (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.  Yes, with my childhood Chewbacca. 

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: My first Star Wars action figures were C-3PO and Chewbacca, so that was the first one I cracked open from this new old assortment.  It started life at Target, but then Entertainment Earth offered them - and sold out in a few days.  It was fast.   Anyway, this is Hasbro (and Kenner) reissuing the figure a second time.  The 1995 Toys R Us exclusive reissue was reportedly made in quantities north of 250,000 - I have no confirmation of this - and it was a shorter figure case in a very different shade of brown.  The 2019 reissue is the right color, shorter than the 1978 edition (but not that short), and pretty much  the kind of reissue you want.  The eyes are different, there's some generation loss from what I assume was a 3-D scan from Gentle Giant, and the seemingly intentional off-center bandolier printing is off-center and uglier in a more unpleasant way than all the original Chewbacca figures I have seen over the years.
As with before, the figure can stand up properly (not true of the 1995 edition) and the bowcaster slides on his arm without any real fuss.   He now stands about 4 1/8-inches tall - down about 1/8-inch from the original - but he stands just fine, and sit without a problem, and at a quick glance is colored properly when compared to the originals.

The figure has most of the flaws of the original - the head can't turn, his hand can't actually grip his weapon, and the paint job is pretty simple.  It's peak 1970s toy simplicity, and unlike so many modern figures it just plain works.  The bowcaster can clip to his arm.  He can fit in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and just about every 3 3/4-inch scale vehicle.   It's not a 1978 original, but that's ideal - it's just different enough, complete with new copyright markings under the butt on the legs.   I would say it's a reissue done right because I do need those little differences to be happy, but you may disagree.  For the asking price, it's worth owning if you don't have and want the original style of figure.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,616: August 29, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,615: 0-0-0 (Triple Zero, The Black Series 6-Inch)

0-0-0 Triple Zero
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E6054
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #86
Includes: 2 regular hands, 2 torture device hands
Action Feature: Swappable hands
Retail: $19.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Star Wars comic books

Bio: Activated by Doctor Aphra, 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) is a droid programmed for etiquette, protocol, and translations, but also specializes in interrogation and torture.  With his fluency in a droid language unique to the Tarkin Initiative labs, the dark silver-plated droid reactivates an assassin astromech droid, BT-1. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  A repaint with a little more. 0-0-0 gives you three times nothing, which it turns out is actually something.  If you've been collecting for a while you'll recognize C-3PO's basic build, which was upgraded with working hands and elbows for the release as 4-LOM, and those parts have been integrated here to give you a super-articulated torture droid.  The hands can pop off and be swapped with ones featuring various blades and needles to maximize your creepiness.

The head and just about every detail match C-3PO, which was what provided the basis of the comic character.   "Black repaint" is sort of common when it comes to toy robots, so it's nice Hasbro made it interesting by adding red eyes, elbows, and a lot of silver chips.

The figure's most striking feature are the new hands.  Not only do you have hands that can grip weapons, but you have ones with crazy tools in each finger.  For safety reasons they're rubbery, but the buffet of options is quite lovely.  There's a power saw in the thumb as well as gougers, pokers, scrapers, and other things that you probably won't enjoy.   The detail in the fingers is pretty amazing given the size of each digit, so kudos to Hasbro or Disney or whoever does the sculpting these days.

I haven't seen many of these in the wild, but it's a droid.  Of course I'm going to recommend that you buy it.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,615: August 27, 2019

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,614: Boba Fett (The Black Series / The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Collection)

BOBA FETT Comic-Con 2019 Exclusive
The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
No. E7459
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, Boba blaster, Stormtrooper blaster
Action Feature: Hilt connects to belt holster or blade
Retail: $24.99
Availability: July 2019 (convention), September 10 (Hasbro Pulse)
Appearances: Arguably Kenner's 1979 action figure

Bio: In 1979, Kenner created a Boba Fett figure based on photos taken of early costume tests, before the character appeared on screen in The Empire Strikes  Back.  The entire line was refreshed in 1980, and Boba Fett's coloring and package art were updated to match the rest of the movie's line.  The character became a fan favorite.  Now, Hasbro brings back Kenner-inspired coloring and art with Black Series detailing for a premium figure that embraces the legacy of the Star Wars saga. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  I am both excited and annoyed by this Boba Fett because I pitched it as an exclusive a few years ago.  Well, here it is! And it's great!  The 2013 figure is back with detailing specifically done to match the action figure with a little more paint to make it look slightly better.  It's that 2013 figure - itself a San Diego Comic-Con debut - with a little less paint.  You get the silver and red gauntlets, the blue gloves, the red rocket, the yellow knee pads, and the blue body glove.  Long gone are the special paint apps on the gloves, with a few odds and ends you saw on the 12-inch Kenner figure.  It's  not a perfect recreation of anything in particular, but it draws inspiration from the old and the new to give you something that's probably worth your while if you're old.

As accessories go, you get the blaster pistol and rifle from the original 2013 figure, plus a bonus Stormtrooper gun as a nod to the 1979 action figure. This is mostly good - Hasbro painted it with a silver flourish, but it would've been more exciting for the gun to be an all-blue blaster.  (Or an all-black blaster, either way is fine.)   It's also worth noting Hasbro left off the cape for this release - you can see the empty socket on the shoulder where it would have gone.

While the entire figure's look is inarguably Kenner-ish, the weathering is inconsistent.  The gauntlets and shoulder pads may show sculpted dents, but have no signs of painted weathering.  The helmet and knee pads have some signs of silver wear, as does the green armor.  It's a wonderfully colorful figure and thanks to the lack of media of the 1970s, looks more authentic than the real costumes.  Boba Fett was largely experienced through books, comics, and toys, so off-color interpretations were the "real" Boba Fett in the days before VHS.

As a weird side figure, it's a good one.  We've also had the all-white concept armor in addition to a figure modeled after The Empire Strikes Back suit, leaving - for those of you keeping track of the kinds of things I ask for - the Nelvana Holiday Special/Droids look, the Return of the Jedi look, and the 12-inch Kenner/prototype armor look (brown gloves, more green, basically this figure's package photo.)  There's a lot of potential to make more repaints of Boba Fett, but I'm glad they stopped by this one first - maybe we'll get an even more amazing Boba Fett 2.0 mold some day with clip-on flames, jet pack fire, or other awesome extras.   Hasbro has been pretty good about pushing the nostalgia buttons in 2019, and this one leans pretty hard on what has come before - I think you'll enjoy it if you can get one for yourself.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,614: August 22, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,613: Darth Vader (Prototype Edition, The Retro Collection)

DARTH VADER Prototype Edition
The Retro Collection Target Exclusive
Item No.:
   No. E6271
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, cape
Action Feature: Lightsaber slides in and out of arm
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2019
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire's eradication of the Jedi Order.

Inspired by 1970s action figures, the Star Wars Retro Collection features original Kenner figure design and detailing!  Imagine the excitement of the 70s when the Star Wars original trilogy had just begun , and Kenner began releasing classic Star Wars figures for avid fans of the space saga.  Continue your collection from the galaxy far, far away! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)

Experience the excitement of engineers and designers seeing the first product samples of their designs with this Darth Vader figure!  Inspired by prototypes that are often produced with whatever extra resin is in the machine at the time, colorful prototypes enable the development team to look past the deco and focus on the sculpt, analyze mold alignment, and make adjustments for quality. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: The Darth Vader (Prototype Edition) was, at one point, theoretically an infinite quantity of variations.  So far about 18 flavors have surfaced, but the directive could have allowed for thousands of different versions.  I've got this one.

The figure is slightly modified from the 1978 original design in a few interesting ways.  The cape is posed and folded just-so, around the shoulders, tucked in under the sides, with the "hood" folded back.  Mine as a child was mostly an unfolded taco shell.   The lightsaber can still slide up and down in the arm, and there are minor tooling tweaks like new copyright dates molded in the back of the legs.

This Darth Vader feels like the original, but doesn't smell like it. The arms, legs, and neck all swivel just like those original figures but this is more of a collector piece or weird art item than anything else.  The colors pop nicely against the prismatic cardback, itself a glorious mash-up of vintage Marvel-era comic book art - complete with dots! - and old Kenner style.  Most unusual about it, it's all in English.  You get a real, full bio and there's no other languages on it.  It's legit - and it does remind me how much I miss things like upsells, bios, and one package for the US market.  It's weird, it's pretty, and it's entirely possible each one is potentially one of a kind.

The "fake prototype" gambit is nothing new - heck, even I pushed to make a fake prototype of The Monarch for The Venture Bros. action figure line - but this level of randomness is certainly not one I can say I've seen before.   With no deco and lots of color, Hasbro did something really neat - the question is, will they have the foresight to do it again and if so, will it be easier to get next time?  I hope so.  Everybody should snag a couple of these if they can swing it.

Hasbro, if you're reading - I'd love to see an all-gold version as a nod to the prototype Darth Vader carry case and the cover of Steve Sansweet's From Concept to Screen to Collectible book.   Maybe 2027?

Collector's Notes: I got mine Entertainment Earth's booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2019.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,613: August 20, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,612: Artoo-Deetoo (R2-D2, The Vintage Collection)

ARTOO-DEETOO (Vintage)
The Vintage Collection R2-D2 Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E5189
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #149
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable dome, legs, middle third leg
Retail: $12.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: R2-D2, pronounced Artoo-Detoo and often referred to as R2 (Artoo), was an R2 series astromech droid manufactured by Industrial Automaton with masculine programming. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.  Packaging has no bio.)(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: There are times Hasbro gives us something great, and there are times where we get something that's somewhat insulting.  This R2-D2 is not one of Hasbro's finest hours.  What's particularly interesting is that this is the same mold (but not deco) as the R2-D2 in the Force Link 2.0 2-pack with C-3PO... and it costs more. And comes with less.  And hasn't corrected the major decoration problems.  What's funny is I opened this figure and was immediately disappointed, then I went to look at Amazon for the link above... and their reviews were disappointed, but mostly due to how it shipped and not the figure itself.

The body is effectively the "build-a-droid" body we've been getting over the last decade.  R2-D2's dome once more has the "bald spot" on top of his dome - it should be blue, this one is silver.  The figure is on the vintage cardback - the selling point, and Hasbro knows it, given that they've not released this retro-style package over the whopping fifteen years run of The Vintage Collection.   R2-D2 also is missing some blue detail at the bottom of his left-hand side of his can, a few dome details are left undecorated, and the central eye is matte instead of glossy.  It should be - and usually is - glossy.
Over the years Hasbro has often released a figure on both vintage and non-vintage packaging at the same time, giving the vintage one a premium price with fewer accessories.  (Qui-Gon Jinn in 2012 is an egregious example, as were a few Saga Legends repacks with stands and a big box of bonus guns at a discounted price in 2010-2012.)  Hasbro knows fans will pay extra for vintage packaging, regardless of the fact of the figure warranting the higher price or even being a good match for the photo.  By dropping the dirt deco and adding that one blue cap on the dome, I'd say this would be adequate.  As it stands I don't exactly feel like I got my money's worth here.  Packaging fans, I think you'll like this - it's fine if you don't open it.  If you've got over 40 different R2-D2s by now, you're probably not exactly thrilled that this new one is more expensive, does less, and hasn't made any real improvements.  I don't recommend this unless you're a packaging fiend or a completist.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,612: August 15, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,611: Luke Skywalker (Crait, The Vintage Collection)

LUKE SKYWALKER (Crait)
The Vintage Collection Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. E0370  No. E4057
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #146
Includes: Lightsaber hilt, full lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive human male, was a legendary Jedi Master who fought in the Galactic Civil War during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Along with his companions, Princess Leia Organa and Captain Han Solo, Skywalker served on the side of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—an organization committed to the downfall of Emperor Palpatine and the restoration of democracy. Following the war, Skywalker became a living legend, and was remembered as one of the greatest Jedi in galactic history.   (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 is a heck of a neat figure. Luke Skywalker (Crait) is utterly bizarre when you think about it.  Luke Skywalker projects himself across the galaxy with better hair, a darker beard, and probably a few less pounds too.   Kylo Ren and the Rebels saw him like this once - so maybe what they're seeing is in their own memories - but I think it's funnier if Luke decided to make himself just a little bit better-looking before he spiritually spanks his former student.  It's also kind of funny to think this is the Luke fans wanted to see - an active adventurer, lightsaber swinging, kicking butt and not particularly being bothered to take the names.  He's busy.

This Luke figure seems to be from a different era - it has some of the older problems we thought went away.  The robe is plastic, and the lower part of his tunic doesn't have a slit or any give in it.  Luke's legs aren't going to be doing much swinging forward. The ankles are normal, non-tilt ankles and the wrists are swivel, not bending wrists.  The neck joint is fine, and the ankles are set in a way where gravity might get the best of Luke like Kylo Ren never could.

The hands aren't great at gripping the lightsaber - it doesn't take much to knock it loose.  I'm glad the lightsaber hilt has the ring on the back, and it can hang on the belt albeit a bit awkwardly.  It doesn't quite sit flush.  Still, they're both painted nicely and that's not something we get very often.  As an added bonus, the blue blade is black light reactive if such things excite you.

The sculpt on the outfit is good, with the shirt texture astonishing and the robe seems acceptable.  I like the gloves, boots, and pants - and the head is acceptable.  The reason for this is the realistic face printing makes the good sculpt look great, but the face printing has not been added to the hair.  Each Luke looks a little bit different, so keep an eye out when you buy yours.

I'd recommend this figure, in part because I don't assume the future holds a lot of 3 3/4-inch Mark Hamill-based Luke figures.  Maybe we'll get a ghost or something, but that's hard to know for sure.  Until then, this strange astral projection look is a heck of a cool way to celebrate our hero's last stand on Crait.   Hopefully we'll see him again soon.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,611: August 13, 2019

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,610: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Padawan, The Black Series 6-Inch)

OBI-WAN KENOBI Padawan
The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. B3834 No. E4075
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #85
Includes: Lightsaber hilt, blade
Action Feature: Hilt connects to belt holster or blade
Retail: $19.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Like all Jedi of his era, Obi-Wan Kenobi was raised in the Jedi Temple from a very young age.  He first underwent training with Yoda, before being assigned to Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in his teens. (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:  "But is it really Star Wars?" has been something echoing around my head as of late - and the answer is, of course, yes.  Having grown up mostly in a world when there were 5 Star Wars movies and everybody hated Ewoks, I did not have the reaction of horror when we saw the movie in which Ewan McGregor portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time.  I'd already been in a world where Wilford Brimley yelled at a small blonde girl and a magic Ewok knocked out a spider with magic.   A little boy in a race car and the bizarre salamander didn't immediately send me into convulsions, although I will say it was really hard to live through a Q&A column where most of the submissions were less of love and fandom and more about return on investment for some of the most-collected toys in history.  But I digress.   Hasbro's sense memory of the blowback to The Phantom Menace have kept Episode I figures in short supply over most of the past 18 years, primarily keeping it down to droids, a couple Jedi, and Darth Maul.  I get it.  The good news is that the kids of that era are old now, and as such they're into 6-inch figures aimed at the nostalgic impulse.

Darth Maul came out in this size in 2013, nearly perfect.   Qui-Gon came out not too long ago and he was great - and Hasbro seems to find new, small improvements in deco every few years.  Obi-Wan Kenobi takes full advantage of the 2018 advancement of "hyper real face paint," which digitally squirts the 2D portrait over a 3D face.  The results are usually very good, changing what could have been a rich man's 3 3/4-inch figure into a poor man's Hot Toys 1:6 figure.  Obviously these are not the same as a $200 figure, but it's definitely a massive generational improvement over what many of us had as kids.   Obi-Ewan has glossy lips, bight eyes, wonderful eyebrows, and a playful hint of a smirk on his face.  The padawan braid rat tail hangs off his head nicely, thin but not fragile, able to bend slightly for pose purposes.  Other than a little excess dark paint in the grooves of his hair, the head is perfect and the costume is very good.

Obi-Wan sadly lacks the alternate left hand of the prototype or any Jedi robes, and there's also no communicator to be had here.  The costume itself doesn't seem to leave anything on the table, with rich fabric sculpting in the plastic that's gorgeous.  The "skirt" is slit in three places, allowing the semi-pliable plastic a little more give when it comes to posing him in your desk-based Jedi battles.  It also shows just how much room for improvement there is over the first Obi-Wan figure from The Black Series, sadly having a portrait that could use some improvements.  I would also have liked Hasbro to have painted the soles of Obi-Wan's boots a different color, but I can't imagine most fans will either notice or care.  It's just that I'd like a little more in the box, particularly given how little paint is on his body and how little gear comes with this figure.

Obi-Wan does what he does well.  I don't feel there's much room to do better here, and Hasbro deserves all the pats on the back for spending 20 years to get all the little details more or less just right.  Get this one unless you're allergic to prequels.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,610: August 8, 2019