Saturday, June 30, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 420: 4-LOM

4-LOM with Blaster Pistol and Blaster Rifle Power of the Force Collection 2 Item No.: Asst. 69605 No. 69688 Number: n/a Includes: Blaster, rifle Action Feature: n/a Retail: $4.99 Availability: Summer 1997 Appearances: Empire Strikes Back Bio: 4-LOM was a LOM-series protocol droid who operated as a bounty hunter during the Galactic Civil War, and was hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.) Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves. Commentary: Back in 1997, a lot of the then-new figures that were coming out were considered to be nothing short of awesome upgrades to their vintage counterparts. 4-LOM here was not only a mighty upgrade, but an example of one of Kenner's finer "modern" figures. He wasn't too beefy, he had two good guns, he had a neat "rust" paint job, and he could do things like, you know, sit. This was an all-around good action figure and for years, most fans were quite pleased with him. With just six points of articulation, this figure was largely considered to be perfect upon release and not just because they got the name right this time. 10 years later, this figure still looks wonderful, although there are a few things that date it like the lack of articulation and the slightly larger guns. Still, I think this is a stellar figure all these years later and in a way it's a little disappointing to know Hasbro is releasing an all-new version later this year rather than basking in what was really an all-around decent release the last time. Collector's Notes: Originally released in 1997, 4-LOM saw the racks of retail again as part of a Diamond exclusive Bounty Hunter gift set in early 2006. The figure wasn't a huge seller during its initial release, so the droid bounty hunter could be picked up fairly cheaply over the years-- although the same could not be said for his partner, Zuckuss, in most markets.

Day 420: June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 419: Biker Scout Stormtrooper

Power of the Force Light Vehicle Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. 69760 No. 69765
Number: n/a
Includes: Speeder Bike vehicle
Action Feature: Bike explodes!
Retail: $9.99
Availability: January 1996
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: A scout trooper was an Imperial stormtrooper specially trained for scouting and reconnaissance. Scout troopers wore specially modified lightweight armor with greater flexibility than standard stormtrooper armor, and often used light repulsorlift vehicles, such as the 74-Z speeder bike, in the course of their duties, earning them the nickname "biker scouts". (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Back in 1995, when we first saw this in a Lucasarts software catalog, fans went nuts for the first modern Biker Scout with Speeder Bike. And rightly so-- this all-new figure had bending knees and a head that could look up and down, making it an ideal pilot for the small size vehicle. For the price of just $9.99, it was a really exciting release! It took months to hit stores, and nobody really ever found one (or got their shipment) until 1996, but the figure was a good one. It has seven points of articulation, no weapon, and a decent sculpt-- especially for the time. This was the first-ever modern Star Wars figure to have knee joints, and as such it was an early favorite despite an awkward pose when it isn't sitting on the bike, or a toilet.

Collector's Notes: Fans saw this figure and loved it, and then waited for Kenner to make a "normal" Scout Trooper with legs and hands that were a little less... exaggerated in their pose. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be until 2001, and that figure had only six point of articulation and yet another awkward pose. It wouldn't be until 2006, ten years later, that Hasbro would crank out a Scout Trooper that, for its time, was so good that fans really didn't have much to complain about. Also, the figure featured above in today's column saw a brief reissue in 2004 as part of a Toys "R" Us exclusive Endor gift set which also included Endor Han Solo, Wicket, Logray, and an Endor Rebel Trooper. (Considering it was $20 for a $10 figure/vehicle and three more $5 figures, it was a really great deal-- but featured nothing new for the collector. Finally, the original vehicle had a "special offer" variant which included an exclusive Star Wars Topps Widevision trading card which nobody seems to care about much these days.

Day 419: June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 418: JN-66 Librarian Droid

SP-4 & JN-66 Research Droids
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84924
Number: 0305
Includes: Extra droid figure, hover stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: January 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones Deleted Scene

Bio: The analysis droids SP-4 and JN-66 assist Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi when he seeks their help in identifying a small toxic dart. The origin of the mysterious weapon may provide the only clue in discovering who is behind the assassination attempt on Senator Amidala. Deep within the great Jedi Temple, in an encased analysis room, the SP-4 droid examines the dart and searches for a possible link in its streaming bank of datya. Typically reliable for such research, the analysis droid's assessment is less informative than the Jedi had hoped. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: What combines the fun of a librarian with the action packed excitement of a legless robot? Why, it's JN-66, the floating analysis droid! This little guy works at the Jedi Archives on Coruscant and was a pretty great little design that reminded me of Nintendo's ROB (Robotic Operating Buddy) from the NES days. It's great, but it only has three points of articulation-- thankfull, it's packaged with a second droid that has five points of articulation. Good news, indeed. This droid has decent deco, a good sculpt, and a unique look that really isn't replicated outside this set. As such, this is a nice figure to play with or add to your collection because unlike so many others, it's unique, and so far has never been reissued. It also looks a little like the droids from Polis Massa and might be a good place to start if you're an aspiring customizer. Of course, I'm not, so I'll just be waiting for Hasbro to make me all these wonderful droids between now and the time they find Star Wars has become unprofitable.

Collector's Notes: They came, they went, nobody really seemed to notice. Deleted scenes figures are always an interesting proposition, and these sold surprisingly well given that there's no action, no real recognition, and the only people who knew who they were were hardcore fans with DVDs and reference guides. So why can't we get more things like this? (Or for that matter, more astromech droids? Or Jocasta Nu, the Jedi librarian pain in the butt?) Anyway.

Day 418: June 28, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 417: Princess Leia Organa (Ceremonial)

Power of the Force Flashback Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 68680 No. 84038
Number: n/a
Includes: Cape, medal, flashback photo
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: December 1998
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: A strong-willed warrior who fought for the Rebel cause with great courage, Princess Leia Organa was a natural born leader of the Rebel Alliance. The princess always carried herself with a regal air, whether she was taking part in the fiercest of battles or participating in state ceremonies of the highest level. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: In 1998, Kenner made this figure with cloth bits and some rooted hair-- but despite it being pretty darned good, fans demanded this new Princess Leia Organa, and now that we're nine years past both versions I can safely say it's time to revisit them. This particular figure is all plastic, has six points of articulation (of which four make any sort of a difference), and waaaaay too much makeup. I usually write that some female figures could use a little more color-- this figure could use less. Hasbro has managed to make better female figures over the years (just look at the Jedi from Revenge of the Sith) so it's probably time to revisit this particular figure and give her, if nothing else, a better face. The figure's sculpt is pretty simple, although so was the costume in the movie. It's certainly not an awful figure, but the years have not been kind to it and I'd love to see an update. And while they're at it, they can recolor Ceremonial Luke properly and give us our first-ever Ceremonial Han Solo. (Heck, if they didn't want to do wacky colors, that'd make a nice comic pack.)

Collector's Notes: The figure seemed to sell well upon release but wasn't exactly a huge hit-- she came out in a wave of mostly new sculpt figures (9 figures, 8 were mostly new) with no new characters right before Episode I, so people weren't exactly thrilled to see her or the other figures from the series. Still, you should have little problem getting this one for five bucks or so.

Day 417: June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 416: Clone Trooper (442nd Siege Battalion)

CLONE TROOPER 442nd Siege Battalion
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87327
Number: 057
Includes: Blaster, antenna, display base
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Early 2007
Appearances: n/a

Bio: As the Clone Wars rage through the Republic, clone troopers are deployed far and wide to combat the Separatist droid armies. The troopers of the 442nd Siege Battalion specialize in planetary assault missions and are sent to capture Cato Neimoidia, a key Trade Federation stronghold. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Nothing sets collector hearts a-twitter like a Clone Trooper and some new paint. This particular Clone Trooper is a pretty straightforward repaint. In mid-2006, Hasbro released an orange Utapau Clone Trooper. This figure is the exact same figure, but instead of orange, he's green-- same damage, same accessories, new package, same articulation. This figure's mold is considered to be the best Clone Trooper money can currently buy, so it's a solid item designed for a scene which has yet to play itself out in any significant way. The figure looks good and with a green Clone Commander, makes a nice little squadron. With 14 points of articulation, it's a fun figure and one of the better sorta-but-not-quite movie designs to be had out there. I bought a few of them myself because I like green things, and there's nothing really wrong with the overall concept. Those looking to thin the herd might want to skip this one, but if you like Clone Troopers there's nothing wrong with this one aside from it not being a movie toy. (No matter what the package says.)

Collector's Notes: This was a popular figure during the few months it was in stores, but not enough to make fans pay out the nose for it. Since it wasn't a movie figure and, so far, hasn't had too significant a role in the comics or games, it'll probably remain fairly cheap on the secondary market. So don't pay too much more than seven bucks a whack for these guys just yet.

Day 416: June 26, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 415: Count Dooku

COUNT DOOKU Geonosian War Chamber
Saga Screen Scenes Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84997 No. 84980
Number: 1 of 2
Includes: Death Star plans, half of table, other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: Summer 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Count Dooku was a skilled Jedi Master and the Count of Serenno. Later in life, Dooku fell to the dark side of the Force, disgruntled with the corrupt Republic, and became Darth Tyranus, the apprentice Dark Lord of Darth Sidious, replacing Darth Maul and being replaced in turn by Darth Vader. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray. Inset: accessory in Wat Tambor's display stand.

Commentary: There was no shortage of Count Dooku action figures since 2002, and each of them seemed to have one or two interesting facets that you couldn't find elsewhere. This figure's is obvious-- it's the Death Star plans holo. The figure itself has a face that, while Christopher Lee-esque, seems a little too long and a little too... caricatured compared to some later figures. Still, the figure has a hand sculpted so he could hold the Death Star plans in his palm, a cape, and well, aside from standing in the scene, the figure cant' do too much else. The figure's sculpt is on par with other Dooku figures of his day, and he has about 7 points of articulation-- in other words, if you have the Revenge of the Sith release or the Evolutions version (both of which were later reissued) then this one is a step down. Except for the accessory and the other figures in the set, which are the real selling points here.

Collector's Notes: While never released individually, the Death Star accessory was designed to plug in to a small slot on the stand of Wat Tambor. It's all about synergy. Or rather, it was during Attack of the Clones, when Hasbro decided it was a good idea to have toys connect to one another much more frequently than ever before (or ever since). Due to the nature of the plastic in the accessory, over time, it may sag-- as such, you may wish to rotate it or take it off display and lay it on its side from time to time.

Day 415: June 25, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 414: Kabe

KABE & Nabrun Leids
The Saga Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87351
Number: 072
Includes: Blaster, Nabrun Leids figure, knife, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.76
Availability: February 2007-Present
Appearances: Star Wars

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Bio: The diminutive Kabe haunts the cantina where she can overindulge in juri juice. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Another spectacular value. Kabe was originally an Internet exclusive in 1998, and eventually was repainted a little bit and released as a Wal-Mart exclusive in 2007. The two figures are very similar, but the fur on their heads are painted differently. The 1998 release has more of a wipe on it, and it looks somewhat muddy. The new one is much cleaner, but according to some fans, still isn't quite good. Well, I'm fine with it-- it's better than what we had, and it comes with the super-cool silver suited Nabrun Leids. The figure is jointed at her neck, arms, and waist, and that's about it. It's nothing to stunning in 2007, but it's a nice addition to any Cantina set-up.

Collector's Notes: Of the two releases, this is the better Kabe. So if you don't have one, get this one.

Day 414: June 24, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 413: Battle Droids

BATTLE DROIDS Kashyyyk Conquest
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87340
Number: 062
Includes: Blaster, second figure, display tand
Action Feature: Remove limbs and reassemble!
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2006
Appearances: n/a

Bio: The Separatists send in waves of battle droids in their attempt to conquer the strategically important world of Kashyyyk. The droids are painted with special markings to help them blend into the dense jungle foliage. The fierce Wookiee warriors, joined by the formidable Yoda, resist the droid onslaught with all their might. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray, standing next to OOM-9.

Commentary: I can't say enough good things about a figure that gives me value, like these Battle Droids. While they are limited to five points of articulation each, they are quite fun and frankly, two figures for the price of one is always a good thing. Each figure is based on the 2002 Battle Droid from the deluxe C-3PO assembly line set, and the reason we're likely seeing this mold again here (and in Saga Legends) is because it's available and not being used. The figure's backpack, heads, arms, and legs are completely removable meaning you can swap them with other Battle Droids made from this mold, which could result in some nifty junkyard-esque creations. The sculpt is good, and certainly more accurate to the movie than the Episode I-era molds, but the articulation isn't there. So it's a trade-off. If you like non-movie figures, or are looking for something different, this is a set I can't help but like. And I bought extras because if you can build an army for a pretty decent price, well, why not?

Collector's Notes: This release was somewhat common in many markets, and then dried up-- odds are army builders or parents looking for a deal snapped these sets up in a hurry. You can still find them around, but not easily in most towns. One of the great things about this set is now you can finally have a droid that a Wookiee can tear its arms out.

Day 413: June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 412: Kashyyyk Trooper

30th Anniversary Collection Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87357 No. 87362
Number: 6 of 6
Includes: Blaster, antenna, Yoda
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: March 2007
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Specially trained troopers provide military support to Yoda to crush the Separatist forces on Kashyyyk. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: Super Articulation, thy name is Kashyyyk Trooper. And many other figures. But this figure combines the Clone Trooper with the camo sensibilities of Kashyyyk (or G.I. Joe) to create an exclusive which I liked, but a lot of other people hated. Star Wars has largely avoided the "ninja camo" and "arctic attack" repaints we see in nearly every toy line these days, so in a way it was refreshing to see this modern toy sensibility applied to the Clone Trooper, which is a figure that very much needs mission-specific gear and coloring. Unlike, say, Luke Skywalker. If you can appreciate this figure for what it is, 14 points of articulation and all, it's a fun release-- it's just not exactly super-easy to find, nor is it cheap. But it is different, at least, which is more than I can say about the Yoda it was packaged with for ten bucks.

Collector's Notes: These figures were very popular in some markets and slightly slower sellers in others. For the original price ($9.99) it was a good value-- after all, two figures for the price of one-and-a-half is actually pretty excellent. Some fans dislike the notion of more non-movie Clone Troopers, but we really are at a stage where that's all we have left. We can apply existing paint jobs to different molds, we can do things from the games or comics, or we can make stuff up-- Hasbro did a fine job cranking out nearly every Revenge of the Sith Clone Trooper in 2005, leaving very few for the future-- so odds are we can expect more figures just like this one in the future. Not that I'm complaining, I'd rather have this than an all-grey trooper or a white trooper with a shoulder pad.

Day 412: June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 411: Luke Skywalker (Dagobah)

LUKE SKYWALKER Dagobah Training
Original Trilogy Collection Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84778
Number: n/a
Includes: Spare head, sparer arms, harness, display base (backpack sold with Yoda)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: July 2004
Appearances: Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Luke Skywalker, one of the heroes of the Rebel Alliance, goes to the planet Dagobah to learn how to be a Jedi Knight. He meets the wise and mysterious Yoda, who teaches Luke how to use the Force to fight the evil Empire. Luke leaves Yoda before his training is finished, because he learns that his friends are in danger and he must go to save them. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves. (He looks better in person, I swear.)

Commentary: Sometimes six points of articulation are just fine. Including a spare set of arms with Luke Skywalker lets the figure assume other poses without unsightly joints on his bare arms. This is something I'd love to see toy companies do more-- I can only assume that spare arms probably cost the same or less than additional articulation, so really, it makes good sense if you need a figure to do something very specific, like salute, or do the "Live Long and Prosper" or what have you. Luke is great-- he's a little sweaty, has a ton of sculpted detail, and his base can connect to other Dagobah bases and be extra awesome. If you want a gaggle of figures to play with on your desk, this quartet of Dagobah figures from 2004 is a fantastic setup that you really can't pass up. Just this year, Hasbro put out a Dagobah Battle Pack using some of the figures from this subset, but sadly this figure was not one of those included, nor were some of the parts needed for Yoda to ride on Luke's back. As such, you need to track down this figure-- it's one of Hasbro's finest and by not getting it, well, you're showing how bad your taste is. Go get it.

Collector's Notes: This figure was available in at least three unique package variants in the USA. First was in the OTC package standing upright. Second was the same packaging, but packaged doing a headstand with the alternate head and arms. Third was a post-OTC package (essentially the same as the first release, minus the OTC logo.) The third release and the second release are the tougher ones to get, and the headstand packaging is totally worth tracking down. I have personally not seen the post-OTC version doing a headstand outside of a mockup. This figure was part of a wave that featured Dagobah R2-D2, Yoda, and a spirit Obi-Wan that are all well worth buying.

Also, the Yoda figure (sold separately) includes the rest of the backpack and can ride along on Luke's back. Finally, this figure's mold was reused in 2006 to make a Dagobah Luke figure as part of a Toys "R" Us exclusive gift set, although it had a different head and yet another set of arms as well as some other changes.

Day 411: June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 410: Han Solo (Trenchcoat)

HAN SOLO Trench Coat
The Saga Collection Vintage Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87129 No. 87062
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, coat
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99-$12.99
Availability: Spring 2006
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Han Solo was a cocky Corellian with a wry wit, dry humor, sometimes reckless disposition, and technological savvy, who began his career as a smuggler. He later became a general in the Rebel Alliance and eventually married Leia Organa, with whom he had three children, Jaina, Jacen and Anakin. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Sometimes an accessory helps, sometimes it hurts. Han Solo's Endor Trench Coat is a little baggy and hides the fact that underneath is a very good figure with a removable best, an innovative waist joint, and the best all-around articulation you can expect out of a Han figure. While his coat is a little big, and his holster is a little loose compared to earlier releases, the figure has 14 points of articulation including a ball-jointed waist that Hasbro hasn't really ever bothered to bring back with other new human figures. He seems a little thin, but other than that this is a great release who can stand up, be posed, hold his gun, sit, and do all those things that good action figures should do. Since it's cheap (especially if it's in damaged packaging due to the mail-away offer running at the time), you should probably get one. It's totally worth $7 or so as far as being a good figure goes, so get one if you have the chance.

Collector's Notes: The figure, as said above, is some old parts and some new parts. The upper arms, feet, lower legs, and upper legs are the same mold as the 2004 Vintage Han Solo, even keeping the original copyright stamp on the feet. The hands and neck area seem based on the 2004 figure with heavy modifications, while everything else seems new-ish. Han Solo sold fairly poorly in 2006, which is a shame as it's really a good figure. Hasbro could totally tweak this figure for a future Han Solo Carbonite release.

Day 410: June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 409: San Hill

SAN HILL Geonosian War Chamber
Saga Screen Scenes Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84997 No. 84980
Number: 1 of 2
Includes: Cane, half of table, other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: Summer 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith

Bio: San Hill was the Muun Chairman of the InterGalactic Banking Clan during the time of the Clone Wars, who pledged the Clan's monetary and military assets to the CIS. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: The Separatists haven't really caught on as a popular cult subset in Star Wars collecting. We were introduced to these capitalist baddies with Nute Gunray and by 2002, characters like San Hill were best known by their one line of dialogue and awkward appearance. Sure, some like Wat Tambor looked really cool, but San "The Banking Clan will sign your treaty" Hill is just a rail-thin figure that seems closer to the cartoon design than the movies, at least around the eyes. The figure has six points of articulation, with ball jointed shoulders making the figure slightly better than he might have been were he produced in 1982. As part of a "screen scene" set, it's acceptable-- but a weapon, or some sort of nifty extra would have made this figure better. Part of his suit prevents him from sitting down, so while it's nice Hasbro took the time and money to articulate the figure, well, he isn't going to be doing much that isn't standing around. Because he's the only Muun you can get, this figure is still worth tracking down-- the Star Wars line is packed with examples of treading the same ground, and this figure is truly something different. For this reason, even though the sculpt isn't too ornate, the articulation isn't too notable, and the accessories aren't much to talk about, it's still kinda neat. Cross your fingers for a reissue (or resculpt) to tie into the Clone Wars CG show, even though he might technically have been arrested at that point.

Collector's Notes: It's an OK figure, and fairly easy to get on the secondary market today for a fair price. It'd be super-cool to get some sort of toy based on the Separatist Hardcell (ho, ho) vehicle, even if it's a scaled-down, one-man, escape pod-esque item. Check it out on Wookieepedia. It'd be totally cool to see a "deluxe" or "ultra" release of a mini version of this vehicle with San Hill or some other figure inside. A holographic miniature of the ship came with Wat Tambor, but it'd be totally cool to see something bigger, but still small-ish.

Day 409: June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 408: General Tagge

GENERAL TAGGE Death Star Briefing
The Saga Collection Diamond Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87268
Number: n/a
Includes: Imperial Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: January 2007
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The cautious and unambitious third in command of the Death Star, Tagge urges caution in dealing with the Rebellion. His recommendation is ignored, and he dies along with his fellow commnaders when the Death Star is destroyed. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: "More Imperial Officers!" has been a rallying cry of fans for years, but it's been toned down lately-- because Hasbro is throwing everything they can at us! General Tagge here was one of four previously unproduced characters sold in early 2007 as part of a gift set, all of which used the same basic body with new heads. As such, the costume isn't the most authentic in the world, but it's what we in the business call "good enough." 10 points of articulation is nothing to sneeze at, especially given that Grand Moff Tarkin only had 6 when he first came out. This figure has a good sculpt which looks like the character from the movie, and while it isn't perfect it's quite good. If Hasbro ever releases a Death Star playset of any real substance (translation: $100+) this figure and this entire set should be the first things you get to populate it. This figure isn't exactly remarkable, but as far as recycled parts go, this is a fine example of Hasbro exploiting the tooling they have handy to make a new figure on the cheap. Plus, it's Tagge-- how can you not want to get one of these?

Collector's Notes: This is the first and probably last figure based on this character. With this gift set, Hasbro essentially said "here's your damn officers, now shut up and leave us alone." Well, maybe not quite that harsh, but you get the idea. As a character with a speaking role in the original movie, it's notable that Tagge took nearly 30 years to see release as an action figure, and it's nice to see another figure like this on the market.

Day 408: June 18, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 407: Yaddle

YADDLE Jedi High Council
Saga Screen Scenes
Item No.:
Asst. 84997 No. 84701
Number: 2 (of eventually 6)
Includes: Chair, other figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 2003
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Yaddle, also known as "The One Below" was a Jedi Master serving on the Jedi Council during the events of the Invasion of Naboo — she was notable for being the only non-Human female, next to Depa Billaba, on the Council at the time. In addition she was also the same species as the ancient and powerful Jedi Master Yoda, the name of which is still unknown. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: While this figure probably would have been a very easy sell back in 1999, for whatever reason Hasbro waited until 2003 to give us Yaddle, another member of Yoda's unnamed race. She does, however, share his lack of articulation with just four points. While a little more colorful than her on-screen inspiration, the figure actually looks pretty good-- by and large, the paint is well-applied, there's nothing gratuitous, and she can sit in her chair with no real problems. The sculpting on the robes is good for the time, and the overall look of the figure is crisp and if the figure were released today, aside from the lack of ball joints and token lightsaber, she'd fit right in with the rest of the line. It would be nice if the figure had more articulation, or a larger role in the movie, but as scene-filler she's great. Fans of aliens, Jedi, and obscure characters should totally dig this one. Even if the design is a little ugly and there's still something freaky about Yoda with red hair, the action figure is actually a little bit better than I thought I could have reasonably expected.

Collector's Notes: This set of figures, which included two more Jedi, was eventually unceremoniously dropped at Kay-Bee on clearance for about eight bucks. Also, I got this set when it first came out and didn't bother to open it until 2007, for whatever reason.

Day 407: June 17, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 406: Gragra

GRAGRA Mos Espa Encounter
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87088
Number: 052
Includes: Display stand, axe, gorg/chuba/whatever
Action Feature: Mouth opens
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2006
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Selling her wares in the Mos Espa marketplace, Gragra has plenty of trouble with theft, but her one brush with greatness comes when Jar Jar Binks tries to steal a tasty morsel from her cart. Little does she know that the shiftless shoplifter will one day represent his planet in the Galactic Senate. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Unremarkable, yet notable. Gragra is an interesting figure in the sense that somehow, it just doesn't feel appealing. As the first figure of her species and one of very, very few new aliens to be introduced in 2006, the figure just feels flat. It isn't bad-- in some senses, it's quite innovative. She has an opening mouth, for example, a little dead critter clan to hold, an axe, and decent-- but not great-- articulation. Perhaps we're spoiled as collectors, but there really isn't much for this figure to do but stand there, which she does fairly well. I put off writing about this one for quite some time after taking the pictures just because I didn't have much to say-- I have a feeling I can't be alone. The figure has a good sculpt, and that opening mouth is a very rare feature on Star Wars figures. But when a character's claim to fame is snapping at Jar Jar and then going away, even the finest sculptors are going to have a hard time making her seem like a new and exciting release.

Collector's Notes: This figure was cycled in and out of a couple of assortments at the end of 2006, meaning she wasn't given an opportunity to become peg warming poison in most markets. If you're one of those people that stuffs any weird alien into Jabba's Palace, this is a good one for you-- but seeing as she serves little purpose beyond a Mos Espa cameo, well, it's really hard to get excited about her because the figure doesn't do anything too amazing, and the character leaves me flat. Still, she's a good figure-- it's just that your purchase of her will most likely come entirely from your interest in her design as a costume and not so much anything else.

Day 406: June 16, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 405: Jawa

JAWAS (The short one)
Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69607
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: Light-up eyes
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 1996
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Jawas were typically short humanoid natives of Tatooine. They were often scavengers, seeking out technology for sale or trade in the deep deserts in their huge sandcrawler transports. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Ahhh, Jawas. Disgusting creatures, but great toys. In 1996, Hasbro put out this two-pack and it sold extremely well in many markets, as a lot of us bought several of them for what we figured was for the eventual release of a new Sandcrawler. Which, it turns out, was released in 2004. The figures are fairly simple, but it's not like they needed to do too much. You have light-up eyes, you have articulated arms, and you have a uni-leg. It might sound crappy, but keep in mind you got a tall Jawa and a short Jawa in a set together for a mere $4.99. The sculpting is good, you can see lots of texture and ragged bits of their cloaks as well as detail around the faces. Sure, it could be a little better, but for the time this was one of the shining beacons of light in the modern Star Wars action figure line-- after all, they aren't muscular, they aren't beefy, and they don't come with blasters as big as they are. (Plus these shipped in the same case as the "Attack" R5-D4-- so you can guess how awesome these looked just by comparison alone.)

The shorter Jawa has a pointier head, and since it's a little more small and such, looks like the original 1978 figure just a little bit more than his taller counterpart. His hand is a bit worse at gripping weapons, and his light-up eyes are great. The plastic is darker, and it adds a lot of variety to the line that two of the same sculpt would never have done.

Collector's Notes: This mold was reused a few times. In 2004, it was repackaged with the Jawa Sandcrawler vehicle, but without its weapons. Also in 2004, Hasbro rereleased these figures with new, dirty paint applications and a display base-- if you only get one set of Jawas, that Original Trilogy Collection set is easily the best overall. Hasbro has several other modern Jawa figures as well. One came with a Gonk Droid in 1999, another was packaged with a Ronto in 1997, and another still is coming in a few short weeks as a two-pack with the LIN Droid. Jawa lovers, you've got options.

Day 405: June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 404: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI Mustafar Final Duel Playset
Revenge of the Sith Collection
Item No.:
No. 85243
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, playset, Darth Vader figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99-$39.99
Availability: Late 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Darth Vader takes on Obi-Wan Kenobi in a final duel on a planet of erupting volcanos! Vader, who was once the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, has turned to the dark side and now fights on the side of evil against his former Master. Vader and Obi-Wan meet in a climactic confrontation and fight to the finish while dodging blasts from a volcano and overcoming dangerous obstacles! Re-create this ultimate battle that decides the fate of the galaxy for the next generation! (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Mustafar playset.

Commentary: This Obi-Wan Kenobi figure is notable for reasons beyond its mere four points of articulation and distressed Jedi robes. Sure, his body from the waist down is one piece, and his head and arms can move-- but that's about it. That's all he needs, however, to be a good display figure. Because the figure's face is painted, not molded, in flesh color it looks a lot different than a regular basic figure. His expression and hair seem a little bit more tired from a fight than a regular release, which is nice, but unfortunately the distressed garments could use more paint to really bring out the tearing and tattered edges. One thing this figure has that few others do is in his sleeves-- as you can see, around the hands, there's some very dark brown to represent his clothes under the outer robes. Usually, they're unpainted or the same color as the outer garment. Score one for a new detail, Hasbro! The figure has no problems holding his lightsaber but doesn't always stand too well. Reduced articulation can be troublesome like that-- if a figure is malformed, you can compensate by repositioning his feet or legs. If that isn't an option, you get to worry that the figure is likely to fall over easily.

This figure is worth getting if you're a collector that has to have every version of Obi-Wan Kenobi. It really doesn't offer much special beyond a few minor details, and can't do much more as a toy than any other action figure. In fact, it can't sit, so it does less. I think it's a nice addition to a playset, but if Hasbro sold this figure on an individual package for $5-$7 I think you would be quite upset with it. (But as part of a $30 playset? A great deal.)

Collector's Notes: This figure was also released in the Wal-Mart "DVD 3-packs" sold in Fall 2005. You got this figure, Anakin from the Battle Arena, and an Episode I Mace Windu with a new lightsaber in a box for $9.96. It was a killer deal-- and a pity it was somewhat hard to find.

Day 404: June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 403: Battle Droid

BATTLE DROID Arena Conflict Accessory Set
Saga Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 32532 No. 32534
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, jetpack, rockets, rifles, pistols, Jango's helmet, lightsabers, Jedi cloak, handcuffs
Action Feature: Lever moves arms
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: A battle droid or killer droid was any droid designed for combat. Many of the best known battle droids were those used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' Geonosis Arena playset.

Commentary: As you can see, sometimes the best intentions have, as the kids say, 50% chance of fail. This Battle Droid was a fantastic idea in that it was a popular trooper figure, newly colored, and loaded with extras for a mere $10. Of course, when figures were $5 everywhere, $10 is suddenly a large amount of money. This droid took the 2000 body of the Security Battle Droid and molded the whole thing in red, not just the shoulders. Jointed at the knees, elbows, neck, shoulders, and hips, it pretty much does everything a Battle Droid can be expected to do, except stand up for long periods of time-- the joints are quite soft and even on a display base, this figure will sag, fall over, or just warp as gravity does its deed.

The reason many fans will want this is the accessories. The set's most notable, and odd, accessory is a large rocket pack with two firing projectiles. As it's heavy, it will cause the figure to eventually fall over, but it's fun to play with. The figure also comes with accessories for other figures, but you have to ask yourself-- are two lightsabers, three blasters, a helmet, a backpack, a cloak, and some handcuffs worth $5? Seeing as I bought a Grievous figure with a blaster and four lightsabers for $5, I'd say no-- and other fans seemed to vote with their dollars the same way. It is because of items like this not selling that we have no accessory packs on the market today. Sadly, people don't really want them-- it's easier to sell 5 different Jango Fetts than it is to sell a single figure and additional parts. Sad, but true.

Collector's Notes: This was the last nail in the coffin for accessory sets as we know them-- Hasbro tried to revisit the concept later with many figures and accessories in a set, but that didn't really work out. This item was sent to the dreaded clearance racks, but even then, it's a good item.

Day 403: June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 402: Clone Trooper

CLONE TROOPER with Speeder Bike
Saga Deluxe Figure
Item No.:
No. 85694
Number: n/a
Includes: Armor, blaster, helmet, grenade, Speeder Bike vehicle
Action Feature: Grenade-throwing action, removable armor
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2002
Appearances: Concept Art

Bio: Formidable fighters engineered for battle, a number of the Clone Troopers are deployed on speeders, then race into battle against the enemy forces. Daringly flying alongside the AT-TEs, they lob electro grenades into the vehicles to disable them in crippling explosions. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' clone shelf.

Commentary: It's an all new sculpt. It's the first Clone to have a removable helmet. Also, it's the first Clone to have any sort of built-in action figure. This Clone Trooper is a neat item for a variety of reasons, but I have to say the real selling point for me was the removable armor, removable helmet, and bike. It's just a cool package for ten bucks, even though this item never appeared in the movie. We can always use another Clone, and hey, who doesn't like a cheap vehicle? By and large, Clone Troopers are sculpted well so there's really not much to pick at aside from articulation. This one is iffy-- the joints were designed to allow grenade-chucking and sitting on a bike. He doesn't sit on the bike with both hands particularly well (a downer), but can shoot and drive at the same time-- surely, this goes against what the instructor at the Kamino DMV might have taught them. Someone might get a ticket, is all I'm saying.

Collector's Notes: This was a pain to get in many markets, proving that kids like Clones and vehicles, especially when you get them both for ten bucks. This was repainted and retooled in 2003 so you can get more than one bike with Clone and have them be different-- the other release had dirt on his boots, a grey bike, and a newly added firing rocket weapon. This non-movie (but yes-concept art) Clone-with-vehicle set for $10 held a promise of more cheap vehicles with Clones, but unfortunately this was not an avenue Hasbro opted to explore. It's also worth noting the vehicle was engineered to be stored in the back of a Republic Gunship, if you have one-- talk about synergy! The Gunship could also connect to the Gun Pods packaged with the Clone Pilot figures.

Oh, and Hasbro-- if you're paying attention-- please make more toys that connect with other toys, it makes for better playtime and storage when it works out like this release. I bought a lot of Clone Pilots in 2002 and the bike, surely if a hypothetical AT-TE ever got made, there could be an area to park some other small toy (sold separately) in there to encourage people to buy more stuff. That is, if the thought of people buying more Clones to act as drivers for the thing wasn't enough.

Day 402: June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 401: Holographic Princess Leia

Original Trilogy Collection Comic-Con 2005 Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 85694
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2005
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: In the Rebel Alliance's most desperate hour, Princess Leia hides the stolen Death Star plans in R2-D2's memory bank. She instructs the droid to find Obi-Wan Kenobi on the desert planet of Tatooine. It is at Kenobi's home that a holographic Princess Leia pleads with Kenobi to come to the aid of the Rebel Alliance. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray. Darth Maul and Obi-Wan are in the background. The display base on which she stands actually comes with the Holographic Yoda.

Commentary: Take a figure from 1998. Now take away the paint. Now mold it in clear purple. Does this sound like another exciting exclusive yet? The somewhat baffling but oddly neat Holographic Princess Leia is just that-- an old mold being trotted out for one last sale. Don't get me wrong-- it was a good mold, but an odd choice for the holographic treatment as most of us remember Leia as having her hood up. So what you're getting here is a figure that originally cost $6, but was painted nicely and had accessories plus a Freeze Frame. (Except, of course, now it's lacking these perks.) If you think this is a good deal, you're delusional-- but as a collectible/one more plastic person in the collection, it's OK. Personally, I could take or leave the bulk of the holographic figures-- I like weird releases, so I feel obligated to buy these. But they're about as exciting as socks for Christmas, plus Hasbro has made an awful lot of these lately. Four meaningful points of articulation do not a good toy make, but what really made this one sting was the price-- it shouldn't have been a $14 figure, but Hasbro seems intent on proving that there's a sucker born every minute and I am indeed that sucker.

Back in 2005, holographic figures were still something of a novelty-- we had a couple for Episode I as Wal-Mart exclusives, a few rejected ones that never came out, a few mini-clear holographic figures, and that Holographic Emperor. Then came Yoda, Leia, Aayla Secura, and Plo Koon, making 2005 a holo-filled year. 2006 was pretty blue too-- we got Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-_Adi-Mundi, Commander Cody-- plus 24 bonus holographic figures (in blue or red). This year, the only known holographic figure on deck is Darth Vader, and that hasn't been confirmed by Hasbro yet. While the novelty is certainly there, a light-up base would be nice, or perhaps just fewer releases. With just one holographic figure for 2007, I'm actually somewhat interested.

Collector's Notes: Early test shots of the figure included a clear blaster-- the final release had no weapons or accessories of any kind. The best thing about this figure being an exclusive is how it was sold-- sensibly. allowed you to pre-order the item before Comic-Con in 2005, and you could just waltz up to the booth whenever you wanted to and claim your figures without being terrified of missing the exclusives. This is a smart move-- it lets the store take my money before I even go to the show, and guarantees that I'll buy it and not be distracted by other items at the show. This is a model of what should be done for all convention exclusives-- let me order the damn thing in advance, I'll pick it up when I have a minute or ten. I've got other stuff to do while I'm there (in my case, this is what we call "work") so help me out already.

Day 401: June 11, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 400: Vilmarh Grahrk

30th Anniversary Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87517
Number: 05
Includes: Quinlan figure, blaster, removable bandolier, reprint of a comic book
Action Feature: Blaster fits in holster
Retail: $9.99
Availability: April 2007

Appearances: Comics: Tales #3 & #9, Jedi Council: Acts of War, several issues of Republic, and more.

Bio: Quinlan Vos awakens with no memory of who or what he is, and immediately finds himself in peril, in the midst of a fierce blaze and attacked by bounty hunters. He is saved by Vilmarh Grahrk, who helps him escape and explains that bets are being placed on Quinlan's chances of survival. Villie reveals that he has a personal stake in the outcome, but changes his outlook when he sees Quinlan's Jedi skills in action. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Makeshift diorama based on "Bad Business," a story in Star Wars Tales #8. The Pit Droids are from the Gasgano/Pit Droid set and the others are bonus Pit Droids from Europe/Asia in 1999-2000. Debris also from bonus Pit Droid packs. The Hyperdrive is from the Hyperdrive Repair Kit accessory pack, as is the wrench in Villie's hand. The Hyperdrive is held up by two Cantina "tables" from Momaw Nadon and Hem Dazon. Makeup by Max Factor. Mr. Ghrark's wardrobe by Armani.

Commentary: Devaronians aren't common figures in Star Wars-- we got Labria in 1998, a repaint of him in 2007, and now, Vilmarh Grahrk, a figure which I was more than a little surprised to see. Hasbro did a great job with this one, designing it more as a toy than as a collectible. His hands are a little larger, the devilish face was altered and softened a little (horns moved & sharp teeth downplayed), and his toy is a little bit thinner. The sculpt is awesome, with a removable bandolier, and the costume appears nearly identical to how it looked in the comics. Still, the head of the new Labria is just a smidgen better looking than Villie-- which just isn't right given that one came out back when there were only three Star Wars movies and the other has the benefit of much more toymaking experience.

The decision to include Star Wars #19 from Dark Horse was an interesting one-- Villie basically appears in the comic as he does the toy, but Quinlan looks quite different. Plus, there were more interesting stories one could include-- like the Tales story about Quin's meeting with a young Han Solo, and either of the wacky Villie tales. But hey, whatever, it's not like I'm not sitting on all those stories in my comic boxes anyway. (Oh, wait, I do have them sitting next to my toys. Nevermind then.)

The figure's body is nearly perfect, with articulation at the neck, hips, waist, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. (No knees or ankles.) His head seems just a smidge off-- if he had a thicker neck and a meaner looking face, he'd be perfect-- but one has to wonder what the market would be for, essentially, a two-pack with a Jedi Native American that (technically) wasn't in the movies with a yellow streak on his face and a devil man with a gun anyway. Still, the figure is nice-- it's just that he could really use a nice playset to hang out in, or a nifty vehicle, or something. This is a figure that demands to be played with and set up in little displays, and could probably fit nicely in Jabba's Palace. This two-pack is a killer value for $10, considering you get a $3 comic and two 100% newly sculpted action figures. This is one of the year's finest products for the money, but obviously, if you care not for the comics, you won't want this. If you're not someone who has established rules about what you buy-- and honestly, I don't get why some of you guys say "PREQUELZ ONLEE!" or "TRILOGEE OR NOTHING!"-- this is something you should buy on sight. It's good.

Collector's Notes: This figure's partner, Quinlan Vos, was a highly requested figure for many years, but Villie, not so much. The character debuted in March 2000, so it took about seven years to make the transition from paper to plastic-- which is pretty normal for comic characters. It took the "topless" Darth Maul from the comics about a year to hit stores after appearing in the comics, but Dark Empire debuted in 1991, with figures hitting at the end of 1998. With the exception of big media projects like Clone Wars or Shadows of the Empire, so far, it usually takes years for comic characters to make their fairly rare appearances as action figures. At this rate I expect KOTOR comic figures around April of 2012. A variation of Villie was found shortly after the first shipment-- early releases are more pink, later releases are more red. The same figure was used for all shots of this article (and were taken before the variant was found), and are the first, pinker release.

About this character: I decided to do Villie for #400 because he was just such an unlikely candidate for an action figure. He's part villain, part sidekick, and as far as I can tell, I seem to be one of four or five people who tended to be pleased to see him. Most of his appearances were alongside Quinlan Vos in some capacity, but he also had two stand-alone tales of scoundrelness in Tales #3 (his first appearance) and Tales #8. They don't break any new ground, but they're fun little stories that really give you a sense of how much fun the writers are having with the character and his goofy villain persona. To date, there's really not much information on what Villie is up to post-Order 66, so here's hoping he shows up in a comic someday soon.

Day 400: June 10, 2007

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 399: Ki-Adi-Mundi

KI-ADI-MUNDI Jedi Master
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 85174 No. 85361
Number: III-29
Includes: Stand, Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: April 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Ki-Adi-Mundi is a member of the Jedi Council and a Republic General in the Clone Wars. Trained in the Jedi arts by master Yoda himself, Ki-Adi-Mundi leads clone troopers against Separatist forces on the planet Mygeeto. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' back yard.

Commentary: Fourth time is the charm! Ki-Adi-Mundi had a figure for each previous prequel, plus those Jedi Council 3-packs-- all which were basically the same mold with minor modifications. So this version is the first 100% new one since 1999, and man, is it great. The figure is close to super-articulated, but not quite there-- he has 12 joints (no ankles) and the cut elbows rather than ball elbows. The detailing is great, the soft goods are pretty good, the sculpt is wonderful. The one thing I don't much like is there's still a plastic "skirt" piece over the legs that gets in the way of articulation, which seems dumb as the figure has that cloth robe covering that part of the body so you can't even see it.

Collector's Notes: Just a fun aside-- my Ki-Adi-Mundi figures are cursed. My Episode II one had its lightsaber break when the figure fell off a shelf a few years ago, and my Episode III one was fine until the day after I shot this photograph. The lightsaber is fragile, so be sure to take care with this and all other removable blade figures. This figure hasn't been rereleased, except for once-- in a Kay-Bee exclusive multipack sold in 2005. The multipack didn't have any exclusive elements to it, as everything had been available separately in the past. As such, if you want this figure-- and if you like Jedi, you do want this figure-- just get the carded one. It's cheap. (MORE IMAGES)

Day 399: June 9, 2007

Friday, June 8, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 398: R5-J2

R5-J2 Ending Above Endor
The Saga Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87328
Number: 058
Includes: Stand, removable third leg
Action Feature: Twist dome and motivator pops up
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Late 2006-present
Appearances: Return of the Jedi (technically)

Bio: The Empire toils to complete the second Death Star after the humiliating destruction of the first battle station by the ragtag Rebels. One of the droids on the station is R5-J2, who goes about his duties unaware that its service will be very short-lived. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: At first, this droid was named and promoted as R5-A1. And when packaged samples surfaced, we saw Lucasfilm changed the name to R5-J2, leading to much confusion as a few books and other materials identified a black R5-D4 repaint as R5-A1 for many years. Turns out that R5-J2 is painted significantly differently from R5-A1, despite both being black. So they're two different droids-- don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The figure is a redeco of R5-D4, and a good one. You need more Imperial stuff, right? Well, then you need this. It doesn't offer any new play features, but pretty much everything looks cooler in black. As such, even though this isn't a figure you'll find in the movies (or at least, I can't) it's still worth your while to pick up.

Collector's Notes: I have not seen this droid in any official Lucasilm shots and I believe the packaging to be photoshopped-- and it doesn't even properly match the illustration, either. As such, this figure seems to be Expanded Universe within the context of the films. So for sticklers for authenticity, there is still room to do more black R5 units down the road.

Day 398: June 8, 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 397: Nabrun Leids

The Saga Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 87351
Number: 072
Includes: Blaster, Kabe figure, knife, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.76
Availability: February 2007-Present (see below for definition of "present")
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Leids is a smuggler and pilot-for-hire looking for business, legitimate or otherwise, in the Mos Eisley cantina. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray, with the Cantina "bar section" behind him.

Commentary: Before I wrote this entry, I looked at the original Nabrun Leids article I wrote from June 2006, before the version I'm reviewing today was announced. I basically said "it's OK and worth getting because it's not like you have any other options"-- well, now you have an option, and it's better. This Wal-Mart exclusive version is painted much more nicely, and if it had more articulation you might mistake it for a brand new release and not a ten year old repaint. The figure has eight points of articulation (the standard six plus two more arms), a spiffy silver suit, a gun, oh yeah, and a whole extra figure. For the price, it's a bargain-- if you have neither Nabrun Leids nor Kabe, this is a must-buy set. Both figures are improved over previous releases, so it's still probably worth it. I just love the crazy silver suit, I have to say, and the cone head and gas mask are nifty features as well. There's a lot to like here, even though the sculpt is quite old. If you have the chance, and like Cantina aliens, this should be on your short list of things to buy.

Collector's Notes: Depending on where you lived and your luck, this figure (and the whole wave) could be impossible to get. Later shipments came, and sometimes you could get lucky-- keep checking your stores as we've seen these as recently as mid-May 2007.

Day 397: June 7, 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 396: Otoga 222 Pit Droid

OTOGA 222 PIT DROID with Ody Mandrell
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84105 No. 84117
Number: n/a
Includes: Ody Mandrell figure, CommTech Chip stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The Otoga 222 was a series of cheap repair droids, similar to the DUM pit droids used in podracing repairs. This type of droid performed heavy lifting and other jobs in spaceports and in Podrace hangars. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: I love Pit Droids-- but I don't like the Otoga 222 model. With four points of articulation and as a bonus figure with another, better release, it's a heck of a deal. If you were going to buy Ody anyway, the fact that instead of a grease gun, Hasbro gave you a whole extra figure is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, it isn't fun like the saucer-headed model. The head doesn't have much of a face to speak of, and it's not like we saw these guys doing wacky stupid crap in the movies either. Heck, I don't even remember this model doing much of anything in the comics. Still, the sculpt seems true to reference photos, the paint job was dirty and admirable, and short of an unreasonable demand for more articulation, there's really not much else Hasbro could do to sex this one up. It is what it is-- a droid. Not an exciting droid, but a droid. I wouldn't advise you run out and buy this unless you gotta have them all, love pod racing, or must have every droid ever made.

Collector's Notes: Another, similar droid was released in 2000. This one was packaged with an Anakin figure, was green, and could be taken apart quite easily-- it was more fun and distinctive than this release.

Day 396: June 6, 2007