Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,055: TIE Fighter Pilot

TIE FIGHTER PILOT with Huge Freaking Gun
Power of the Force Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 69670 No. 69584
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Rifle, pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: March 1995-early 1999
Appearances: Star Wars trilogy

Bio: With its vast space fleet, the Imperial Navy is a model of military efficiency. The best pilots in its ranks are rigorously trained to useto use highly maneuverable and heavily armed Twin Ion Engine (TIE) fighters. The small ships are used to both attack-- and defend against-- Rebel forces. Unlike the stormtroopers, TIE pilots wear black plastisteel protective armor over an insulated high-gravity body glove. (Taken from the figure's cardback. It goes on a lot.)

Commentary: In the early days of the modern line this TIE Fighter Pilot was considered an early step in the right direction. The first 12 Star Wars figures in 1995 were largely muscular creations, and while beefy by modern standards this figure was slimmed down a little from, say, Lando. The figure was a pretty good example of what Hasbro could do, and a big improvement over the 1982 figure. He had and articulated head and waist, neither of which were on the original. He had proper logos, a different color of black for his helmet and boots, and a nicely painted chest console. Plus he could sit! That's the important thing, folks, a lot of fans lose track of that. If you make a pilot figure, it needs to be able to pilot a vehicle toy, and this figure surely could do that. Really, for his day, he was perfect-- he looked good, he could fit in the TIE (which would really be the only vehicle he'd be good for until after the year 2001), so a lot of us actually army-builded this guy. Turns out we wouldn't need to, as most TIE vehicles would go on to include a pilot. Oh well! Live and learn.

Most of all, this figure was remembered for its accessories. He has one normal blaster, and the largest weapon you'd ever hope to see was also included for reasons we never understood. I mean, look at that thing. What do you need a TIE Fighter for? Just clobber someone with that big thing.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been tweaked over the years, and variations on this figure were being circulated with vehicles as a pack-in as recently as a couple of years back despite an improved sculpt seeing release in early 2004. I wouldn't be shocked to see it again. Early on, this figure held a record for most numerous packaging variations, most of which were fairly insignificant-- like shipping in a new assortment, having a printed warning label versus a sticker, etc. You could army-build this figure just by buying one of each packaging change.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,055: June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,054: Grievous Bodyguard

GRIEVOUS'S BODYGUARD Battle Attack! (First Release, Grey)
Revenge of the Sith Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 85174 No. 85202
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #III-08
Includes: Cape, staff
Action Feature: Squeeze legs for battle attack, removable cloak (and head)
Retail: $5.24-$6.99
Availability: March 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: General Grievous is surrounded by droid bodyguards. They protect the commander of the droid armies with impenatrable electrostaffs as the Republic forces attempt to stop this dangerous and deadly enemy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: When the General Grievous' Bodyguard figure first hit, fans were already expecting a revision. That should tell you something. An actual honest-to-goodness update of the movie figure never happened, although a "battle arena" version was released which was a step backward. This first release is as good as the movie mold ever got, although a repaint of it in a creamy color would hit before the end of 2005.

Considering what Hasbro was trying to do, the figure is pretty decent. Squeeze-legs-for-action for Star Wars were normal-ish at this stage, plus they crammed in a decent amount of arm articulation-- the wrists, elbows, and shoulders have a good range of movement. Aside from that, you've got the head and hips, there's no leg movement in the knees or ankles plus there's no waist. Given the movie wasn't even done yet, the sculpting and design is excellent here. It'd be nice to be grittier or meaner, but it's a pretty great plastic replica of the movie design. You could do worse. We've since seen updates to his weapon, but the figure itself hasn't ever been released with a cloth cape or leg articulation like a few of us wanted. I suppose there's no real demand for it these days, but it's something you can probably expect the next time Hasbro does a couple of Revenge of the Sith-themed assortments.

Collector's Notes: This figure has been released with different accessory configurations and in different colors, but those are different enough that we're treating them as such. If you want one Grievous Bodyguard, this is as good as any as of now.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,054: June 29, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,053: R2-D2

R2-D2 Shield Generator Assault
The Legacy Collection Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87752 No. 87779
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Energy bolts, Imperial Officer, Han Solo, Rebel Trooper in Scout Trooper disguise
Action Feature: Light-up eyeport, removable third leg, twist dome to raise or lower periscope
Retail: $19.99
Availability: August 2008
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The plucky astromech droid ignores blaster fire, focused totally on unlocking the bunker's blast doors, until a blaster shot disables him. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: For years I wondered why Hasbro never made R2-D2 repainted with energy bolts on his sides. Heck, they did pretty much that with a number of Transformers toys. Why were we being ignored while those people got a fancy repaint of Silverbolt with energy all over it?

It turns out that it was because Hasbro had a better idea-- sort of. The 37th (we estimate) reuse of the 2004 Vintage R2-D2 mold brings you a great figure, but now with snap-on energy bolts. The droid's third leg is still removable, but his body panels are glued down. R2-D2 has the same articulation you might expect, which means the dome, the ankles on the two outer legs, and the "shoulders." His deco is similar to other releases, but the dirt covers more of his body, creating a unique paint job for this figure when really all Hasbro had to do was make a good accessory.

And what an accessory it is, am I right folks? Not content to just add energy, Hasbro sculpted in tools and blasted-open panels, giving R2-D2 the appearance of having just been shot. The illusion basically works, the only real problem here is that the energy harness isn't a particularly snug fit. A few panels may be out of place, but from a decent distance it looks OK. Ideally Hasbro would create an all-new sculpt (or at least resculpt the body), but this is certainly better than what we had before its release. Which was, if you were keeping notes, absolutely nothing.

Collector's Notes: This same body has been used for multiple R2-D2s, including the 2004 Vintage release, the 2005 Early Bird release, the 2006 Hoth release, the 2007 Endor release, the 2009 Millennium Falcon Passengers Battle Pack, and so on and so forth. R2-R9 (2006-2007) was also created using this mold. The accessory included in this set is exclusive to it, at this time you won't see it sold elsewhere or individually. This adds to this particular Battle Pack's desirability, I'd suggest any of my Endor fans out there buy it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,053: June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,052: Jedi Padawan (Star Tours Small Girl)

Star Tours Jedi Training Academy Set
Item No.:
No. 87801
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, 4 additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99
Availability: June 2009
Appearances: n/a

Bio: STAR TOURS takes you to the Jedi Training Academy where you train to be a Jedi Knight! You and your fellow Padawans will experience the power of the Force and learn to battle with a lightsaber from a Jedi Master. May the Force be with you! (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy crater.

Commentary: For years, we've been expecting Hasbro to re-mine one of its better early mold reusing gambits. In 2003, they made 3 Jedi Padawan figures with the same torso and legs, changing up the head and arms to create additional characters. In 2009, we now have an additional two nameless children as Disney park exclusives. This figure is a young girl, probably modeled after someone's kid at Lucasfilm or Hasbro or a contest winner. We may never know.

This young lady reuses the Ashla arms in addition to the standard child body, and really her only new part is the head. Obviously, all children look alike to Hasbro. The figure has 4 points of articulation, so she's not going to win and toy snob awards in that department. However, the deco and sculpting on the head are really crisp, it looks almost like the figure was crafted by hand and specially customized as a one-off rather than a mass-produced toy. The talent in Hasbro's factories really did a wonderful job making sure she looked good, and even though she doesn't have a name she'll probably be remembered as one of Hasbro's finer human heads. Or maybe not, for all I know, perhaps the original kid design was a small boy from Honduras and it's totally off model. Still, it looks great, and everything is where it should be-- so if you want more younglings for your collections, dioramas, or slaughter scenarios, make it a point to get this one or have someone get it for you. (Thanks again, Shannon!)

Collector's Notes: As a brand-new release there are no known variants or snags on its distribution, but it is a bit pricey. The set also includes a Jedi Master (a revised Agen Kolar), Darth Vader (Vintage 2004), a small Padawan boy (uses the same body as the girl), and a larger Padawan boy (uses the body of the 2000 Anakin Skywalker mechanic figure). By modern day accounts, this thing would probably retail at or below $20, but given that it's an exclusive you're going to have to shell out the clams for this one.

Day 1,052: June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,051: Orn Free Taa

Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84804
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0235
Includes: Camera, stand for camera
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Summer 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: A Rutian Twi'lek, Senator Orn Free Taa has succumbed to a decadent lifestyle on Coruscant. Treating politics as sport, he uses his position to indulge his extravagant impulses. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: If there's one area that Hasbro basically skipped for the first prequel, it's the random alien senators. Orn Free Taa was an interesting choice for early Republic senator figures, but his distinctive look and notable girth made him stand out on the pegs. Mostly. His blue skin blended in with the packaging.

Due to the nature of the figure's design, he's basically one of those pepper shaker figures. The head and arms can move, but that's about it. Considering it sold for $5, a full $2 less than Episode I figures, this is OK. The detail was definitely a step up, and I daresay that this figure still works as one of Hasbro's good aliens even seven years after its release. His head is covered in wrinkles, and his robe is fairly detailed. Really, a little bit of paint and this figure would probably be pretty much perfect. Well, sorta perfect-- all he's going to do is stand around and be blue and fat. There's not much of a toy here, but this isn't a character you buy to play with so much as to display. With that in mind, I think collectors will be glad to get one if the price is right.

Collector's Notes: While not a turkey, this one was a slower seller in many markets. As such, you can probably get this one cheap. I suggest you do so because I wouldn't count on it getting reissued any time soon, plus he appears on the new cartoon too. So he's kinda relevant, I guess.

Day 1,051: June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,050: Darth Tyranus

DARTH TYRANUS with Geonosian Speeder Bike
Saga Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. 84887 No. 84934
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, bike
Action Feature: Lightsaber swinging action
Retail: $14.99
Availability: Winter 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: As the battle rages between the secessionist forces and those of the Republic, Darth Tyranus wards off his enemies and escapes on a Geonosian speeder bike, hoping to elude capture long enough to flee the planet. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Hasbro didn't release a lot of figures with the name Darth Tyranus, for whatever reason they opted to go with Count Dooku. Which is arguably cooler, except for the fact that it has been adopted as a term for dropping the bomb per Venture Bros.

This figure does indeed seem that someone took a Count Dooku. Sure, it has knee joints, but the figure is basically worthless without the bike. If you don't have him seated on his vehicle, he looks like... well, look at the picture. This figure was one of the most poseable versions of the character as of its release, but the shorter cape, the iffy 2002-style head sculpt, and the raised-up skirt don't do it many favors. Really, Hasbro probably could have just stuck the figure on the bike permanently. Dooku's sculpt is acceptable, but the sculptors at Hasbro have done so much better that this isn't a particularly essential figure. Heck, the basic carded version with sith lightning from 2003 is probably a lot better. As such, pass on this one unless you totally want to vehicle... which you probably do.

Collector's Notes: This set didn't stick around for long, but that's OK because most people didn't much want it. Between this and its casemate, Anakin and his bike, Dooku is the better product. By a longshot. The Anakin that came with a bike is arguably the worst figure ever made based on the character of Anakin Skywalker.

Day 1,050: June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,049: Skiff Guard Lando Calrissian

Power of the Force Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69622
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, pike, Freeze Frame in 1998 packaging
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: March 1997
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: A daring rescue attempt to free the carbonite-imprisoned Han Solo takes a dangerous turn for Leia Organa. Lando Calrissian, disguised as a Skiff Guard, plays a vital role in rescuing Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: This figure is like a story your drunk friends tell you when you wish they'd just shut up so you can get on with your evening. You had to be there. If you were there in 1997, you already know that Lando Calrissian in Skiff Guard Disguise was one of few Return of the Jedi figures available during the first few years of the line, and part of the first-ever all-ROTJ assortment. He used the same basic head design as the previous Lando release, and as the next one, but he was pretty swell.

By today's standards, this is not a good figure. I won't sugar coat it. By 1997's, it was great. He wasn't nearly as beefy as the late-1995 Lando figure, his armor was very nicely detailed compared to other figures that Kenner had on the market, and he had the then-normal six points of articulation. This meant he could sit, stand, or even have both hands on his weapon because Kenner's sculptors were a clever lot who understood how to get more out of less. I loved this figure because the armor looked good, plus he was one of the very first "dirty" figures. Hasbro dusted his pants with a little grime, which was pretty novel in a Kenner release in those days. While he didn't have the articulation or blaster holster that we saw on the 2004 version, it's still a nice, solid toy that will hold together if you abuse it. There's little danger in him falling apart at the seams, so as a kid's toy, this is arguably the best Skiff Lando that the Hasbro umbrella has ever released.

Collector's Notes: This figure sold for a couple of years and did pretty well. As early modern Lando figures go, this was my favorite. Today, he's worth less than it would cost you to buy a Happy Meal. There are a number of minor packaging variants as well, including the famous "Sealt Marie" typo. These are also worth nothing, but are amusing curiosities.

Day 1,049: June 22, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,048: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84445 No. 84251
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Includes: Cloak, lightsaber, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: August 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Obi-Wan is headstrong and impulsive, but he is also loyal and trustworthy. Despite the objections of the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan has vowed to fulfill his Master's dying wish: to train Anakin Skywalker to become a Jedi. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: When I was toiling away for the folks at Yakface.com, I think this Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the most hated figures from the staff. I thought it was pretty swell, but my guess is that its abundance ticked more people off than it delighted. It was a nice idea for a release, specifically being Obi-Wan Kenobi from the final scenes of The Phantom Menace. That's why he has his hood up, and Qui-Gon Jinn's lightsaber. I thought it was clever.

The figure is not one of the most articulated ones you can buy, and in the context of the upcoming super-articulated version of the character, you can probably pass on this one. It's not bad, though. This mold has been rereleased with different accessories, and its use of swivel elbows and the normal six other points of articulation made it good, but not great, by the standards of its day. (In 1999, the first Obi-Wan had a then-whopping 10 points of articulation.) The sculpt of the outfit was acceptable, the figure couldn't really sit, but he looked good in a diorama or in a fight. Really, it was the accessories that were the selling points, and if you didn't dig the robes with the hood up over his head you had plenty of good reason to think this one sucked. But I liked it then, as it was a nice toy, and I still think it's a fun little toy today. It's just that the likeness, articulation, and overall look and feel didn't exactly wow fans 9 years ago and I'm sure they won't impress you today.

Collector's Notes: Not a big seller, not worth much, not more than a footnote by today's standards.

Day 1,048: June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,047: Zam Wesell

Power of the Jedi Attack of the Clones Preview Wave
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84680
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Includes: Rifle, pistol, blast effect
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: April, 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Ten years after the fight to save the Naboo from invasion, the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. under the leadership of a renegade Jedi, thousands of systems threaten to secede from the Galactic Republic. A courageous Jedi Knight, his impulsive and headstrong apprentice, and a queen-turned-senator are drawn into the heart of the conflict... and the beginning of war. (Taken from the figure's cardback. How useful.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Articulation was still not a top concern for Hasbro in 2002, which was when Zam Wesell and the first four Attack of the Clones figures hit stores. Zam here is good, but mostly in terms of her sculpt. She has a working holster, a face obscured by a mask, and a lot of leather armor. In short, a perfect choice for a sneak peek because you have no idea what the Hell she's supposed to be, she looks cool, and word was out that she was a bounty hunter. How could you go wrong?

The figure is a statue, despite having six points of articulation. She was made to exist in a very specific stance, with her rifle in her arms and her pistol in its holster. The detail is pretty great and the figure benefitted from the increasingly realistic proportions being used by Hasbro at the time, meaning smaller hands, less exaggerated faces, and an overall lack of buffness. Sure, she had some big-giant boots, but this was a real step in the right direction overall. I'd go on, but you can pretty much see what you're getting in to here. This is a figure you buy solely for the look. She isn't too fun to play with, and she sure as heck won't fit in her speeder vehicle, which I am required by law to once again tell you sucks harder than any other vehicle released by the company under the Star Wars branding since 1978. And I include every last one of the Power of the Force 1984 Mini Rigs in this tally.

Collector's Notes: One of two Zam figures produced, and arguably the best looking-- the other was a far better plaything. Neither is particularly in demand despite being a female bounty hunter in tight clothing.

Day 1,047: June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,046: Queen Amidala (Naboo)

Episode I Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84078
Number: n/a
Includes: Blasters, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The young and newly elected ruler of Naboo, Queen Amidala desperately attempts to save her planet from the greedy Trade Federation with help from Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: What a horrible attempt at not giving a spoiler Queen Amidala was. The whole "she's the queen in disguise?" thing would probably have come off as a little clever were the marketing not forcing images of the characters at you with both names on it. One of the problems with doing this was, if you recall, Hasbro had figures of Natalie Portman named "Padme" and "Queen Amidala." And some of my readers-- not you guys, we're cool, I mean the paint-huffers-- insisted they were two different characters before the movie came out. Ditto with Palpatine and Sidious. It's like... are you screwing with me? Really? This is what you get for underestimating your audience's intelligence. Some of us get mad, and some of us are just not that sharp.

The figure is pretty good, and I'm sure that in 1999 someone like me may have said "has a pretty good likeness." In 2009, this thing looks as much as Natalie Portman as the 1978 Han Solo looked like Harrison Ford-- which is to say, not at all. Her height is about right, and I guess her hair is right, but if you called her by any other name and changed the skin and hair a smidgen nobody would probably really notice it was meant to be the actress in question. The costume is pretty good, as are both guns-- it just shows how much better Hasbro has become in terms of sculpting, because in 1999, we all thought this was pretty awesome. The figure has 6 points of articulation, but can't sit worth a damn due to her battle dress being hard plastic. It's not an awful figure, if Hasbro plopped a new head on it today it'd look pretty good. And then everybody would whine she didn't have 18 points of articulation... but she's good. There's even a light dusting of dirt on her black boots. Overall, it was one of the better figures of her day, and one of the first waves made under the "Hasbro" banner.

Collector's Notes: While there were some minor packaging variants, nobody cares, including you. (Except for the Battle Droid Bonus figure overseas, which is swell.) That's how significant they are. There are no known toy variants.

Day 1,046: June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,045: Clone Trooper Pilot Odd Ball

ODD BALL Clone Pilot
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87813
Number: #11
Includes: Blaster, rocket, launcher
Action Feature: Firing rocket launcher
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Fall 2008
Appearances: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Bio: Clone Pilot Odd Ball, who received his nickname during advanced training, has participated in many significant missions in the Clone Wars. Odd Ball is a starfighter pilot trained in flying V-19 Torrent starfighters, ARC-170 fighters and other standard Republic fighters. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: So how many clones are we going to get? That was the question asked by fans when we heard about The Clone Wars toys, and this Odd Ball was one of the first unique figures. Not only does he have a distinct name, but he's generic enough to act as your go-to figure to pilot any vehicles from this era. Factor in that he's as articulated as they come so far, and Odd Ball is one of Hasbro's better action figures.

The figure makes use of the standard Clone body for the animated line, meaning he has the extra wrist articulation and a grand total of 14 points of movement. He can sit, stand, crouch, get shot in the butt, anything your heart desires. His armor is mostly pure white, except for a few key black markings and, of course, the yellow striped helmet. There's a small device that hangs down over the chest, which effectively makes this the animated equivalent of the Attack of the Clones pilot costume. It's great-- it's better than any of the movie pilots from this era, and it should probably go into your collection. In multiples. Because you've got gunships to fill, too.

Collector's Notes: I haven't seen any variants of significance yet, which is kind of a shame. I'd have liked to see dirty or damaged pilots, but so far this is it.

Day 1,045: June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,044: Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87978
Number: #BD44
Includes: Lightsaber, communicator, droid part
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: June 2009
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Obi-Wan heads to the planet Kamino to investigate rumors of a clone army. He uncovers more puzzles and secrets during his visit to the watery planet - and has an ultimately contentious encounter with the mysterious Jango Fett. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: The last completely new movie-specific Obi-Wan Kenobi from Episode II was released in 2003. At the time, it had pretty top-notch articulation, a chunk of a bar, a drink, and a decent likeness. Today, he's viewed as junk because Hasbro makes astonishingly improved product nowadays. This new 2009 release really is the best ever done of this particular Obi-Wan, and for the most part Hasbro got it right-- I'll get to the nitpicks later. The head sculpt is pretty fantastic, although this particular hairstyle seems to give Hasbro trouble, or perhaps I'm just too picky. Since Hasbro basically nailed the costume back in 2002, it should come as no surprise that this version is just as good as the ones you already have-- there's not much of a challenge into getting a perfect-er costume after a few figures come out.

About that articulation-- in addition to the 14 points which constitute a "super articulated" (or if you read most forums, "standard") figure, Hasbro included those bonus hip joints we all love so much. The figure has the full range of hip motion because the engineers at Hasbro incorporated soft goods on the sides of the figure so as not to hinder lateral leg movement, and the plastic robes hanging down in front are flexible enough to allow this figure to sit. I'm impressed, Hasbro! I didn't think I would enjoy this figure as much as I did, but seeing the Hasbro designers work hard to make this figure meet the requirements of articulation fiends, people who play with their figures, and collectors, I'd say they did a decent job. The communicator which plugs into the back of the belt is what sold me on this one, it fits perfectly and it looks great. But can I nitpick? Oh, you know it.
  • Lightsaber taken from Episode I release, no flare on blade
  • The head seems small relative to the torso but this may be an illusion
  • Belt has a hole, but no lightsaber hilt
  • No dark brown cloak was included

If Hasbro wanted to reuse this mold, I'm sure a rain-soaked version with the brown cloak and an alternate head would be easy. A new version with a hilt and a cloak would be as well. As such, I'd say that you can pretty much count on Hasbro using this mold again with some modifications down the road, but don't let that deter you from buying this one. It's a solid release, and while I find the reused lightsaber to be particularly a cheap move in 2009, the figure is what counts-- and it's great.

Collector's Notes: The first release has the head of HK-47 in addition to the figure's weapon.

Day 1,044: June 15, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,043: Ki-Adi-Mundi

KI-ADI-MUNDI with Sharad Hett
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87775
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #16
Includes: 2 figures, 2 lightsabers, mask, hat, breathing mask
Action Feature: removable mask, mask
Retail: $11.99
Availability: January 2009
Appearances: Star Wars comic series

Bio: Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi is sent to Tatooine to find the self-exiled Jedi Master Sharad Hett, who now lives among the fierce Tusken Raiders. As Sharad tells his anguished story to Ki, the assassin Aurra Sing locates the TRusken camp - and brings deadly trouble to the two Jedi and the Sand People. (Taken from the toy's cardback.)

Image: Adam's TV tray.

Commentary: Considering he didn't have a whole heck of a lot to do in the movies, this makes at least five releases of Ki-Adi-Mundi in action figure form. Based on an Expanded Universe appearance from around Episode I, he has a purple lightsaber (as the whole red/green/blue thing had not yet been established) and is based slightly on an earlier release. His head is similar to his previous releases, but the legs are from the pretty spiffy Revenge of the Sith figure. With 12 points of articulation (no ankles) he's one of the better Jedi figures to come out of Hasbro, in particular because he utilizes a mix of soft goods and plastic for his costume. This allows for better leg movement. His hat fits perfectly on his head, as does his breathing mask. Really, this is a heck of a nice figure, even if there's not much in the way of deco to praise. He looks great, and is one of the better comic pack figures out of Hasbro this year. If you enjoyed the Outlander story arc, or just like a nifty Jedi wearing something other than robes, this is a figure you'd be a fool to miss.

Collector's Notes: Since its release this one has been somewhat hard to find at retail. Plans call for it being repackaged in the red line look in the near future, so variant hunters, you might want to get on top of that.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,043: June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,042: Durge

DURGE with Anakin Skywalker
30th Anniversary Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87621
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #02
Includes: Blasters, helmet, Anakin figure
Action Feature: Working holsters, removable helmet
Retail: $12.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: Clone Wars comic books

Bio: Anakin accompanies Obi-Wan to the Karthakk system, where they hope to prevent the assassination of a Corellian merchant. They board the merchant's damaged space yacht - and walk right into a trap set by Durge, a centuries-old bounty hunter. Anakin battles the powerful Durge in a grueling contest of strength and cunning. Durge has wired the ship with explosives and escapes before the blast, but the bounty hunter makes a fatal error when he underestimates Anakin's skill with the Force. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' floor.

Commentary: While loosely based on the 2003 Durge molds, this figure manages to improve on them in some ways and in others... not so much. The arms are super-articulated, but there are no knee joints here. This incarnation of the character is meant to be from his final death in the Star Wars: Obsession series, which takes place right before Revenge of the Sith. It's appropriately dirty, and the face under Durge's helmet is really nasty. The scars of war, surgery, and a miserable life as a bounty hunter come through to an extent, but really what you have is just a gnarly monster under a helmet. The clever inclusion of details like his oversized hand and busted armor give the figure an appearance of being on the brink, which is good, because he gets blasted in the sun later. (Oh yeah, spoiler alert.) This isn't the best Durge Hasbro ever made, but it's pretty good for the money. Get it if you can.

Collector's Notes: While a little tougher to get today, you might still be able to get one of these. If all you want is a good Durge, let me suggest the deluxe figure from 2003 with the Swoop-- it's the best. This one is a close second, but that earlier release offered more for the money and had better articulation than this more recent release.

Day 1,042: June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,041: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT The Fett Legacy
30th Anniversary Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87480 No. 87563
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Jetpack, blasters, helmet, two more figures
Action Feature: Working holster, removable helmet
Retail: $19.99
Availability: 2008
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The Mandalorians are proud people whose lives are based on war. For thousands of years, these skilled fighters have crisscrossed the galaxy on crusades of conquest. They are feared and respected for their unparalleled battle skills and have left a blazing mark upon history. Mandalore the Indomitable is a legendary leader from long ago; Jango Fett "fathers" the clone trooper army; and his "son" Boba Fett uses his Mandalorian skill to become the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' comic shelf.

Commentary: At first we assumed this Boba Fett was just a repaint of the vintage 2004 figure with a new head. It's actually pretty much a new figure, super-articulated, and the first-ever Boba Fett with removable helmet that isn't die-cast metal. The coloring is pure The Empire Strikes Back and the figure has a working holster with a smaller blaster. The damage markings are spot-on, the sculpt is excellent, and the articulation is as good as you can reasonably hope for. Really, the only thing about this figure that doesn't work is the helmet's lack of an articulated rangefinder. Hasbro did a great job here, and if this one isn't on your short list for picking up this year, I'd say you should get one. To date it's the best-ever Boba Fett based on his first movie appearance... even if it does take liberties with what should be under the helmet.

Collector's Notes: This figure was available twice so far. There's 30th Anniversary packaging, and also Legacy Collection packaging. Boba is missing the chest logo in the 30th Anniversary packaging and in the initial shipments of the Legacy release. As such, it's the corrected version that's the real rarity so far.

Day 1,041: June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,040: Ugnaught (Legacy Version #1)

UGNAUGHT 2009 Version #1
The Legacy Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87535 No. 87853
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #43
Includes: Console, apron, storage case thing
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: April 2009
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: On Cloud City, the Ugnaughts operate the carbon-freeze chambers that are typically used to freeze Tibanna gas but can also freeze living matter. Ugnaughts work in Bespin's Tibanna gas processing plants or as general laborers in the city. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: This Ugnaught was initially expected to be a 2-pack, not a single figure. In 1998, Kenner put out 2 on a single card for $6, so naturally we all assumed this one would follow suit. It didn't. So what we have here are two separate figures with a lot of shared body parts. The first release sports an apron and is less pig-like (but is still pig-like) than the other one. Always wizards in this arena, Hasbro crammed in a ton of articulation-- 12 points, to be exact. The only thing this little Oompa Loompa can't do is move at the ankles. The amount of detail is pretty great, but the 1998 originals were pretty swell too, despite having pretty much no leg articulation. As we start getting to a point where Hasbro remakes less-than-stellar figures from days passed, figures like this one are a little harder to get excited about. While this is the best sculpted Ugnaught we've ever seen out of Hasbro, it's not significantly better than the much cheaper originals. While the costume represents a different Ugnaught from the previous releases, was anybody really clamoring for more of them? Without a good Freeze Chamber playset, these guys are basically diorama fodder or something for the Secret Apprentice's lightsaber to cut up. It's a decent enough item, but I'd be lying if I said I was particularly enamored with owning it.

Collector's Notes: There are multiple versions of this figure expected, two of which are out now. This exact figure includes U-3PO's left arm, in either silver or a quasi-champagne color. A running change is expected which will include an alternate sculpted figure with a different head, no apron, and possibly different accessories.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,040: June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,039: Slave Princess Leia with Sail Barge Cannon

PRINCESS LEIA with Sail Barge Cannon
Power of the Jedi Deluxe Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84475 No. 84653
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Giant missile firing barge weapon, staff, rockets
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: December 2001
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Jabba the Hutt planned to throw Han Solo to the Sarlacc in the Great Pit of Carkoon. But Princess Leia killed Jabba by choking him with the chains holding her prisoner, then rigged the Sail Barge's laser cannon to fire into the ship, destroying it and the crime lord in a huge blast! (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: Greatness is relative, as this Princess Leia figure proves. With only six points of articulation (neck, arms, legs, waist) she doesn't do a lot to impress, but she's clearly superior to the pretty great 1997 release. This one is notable for having a rooted ponytail, real cloth parts of her costume, an actual metal chain, and most important of all, she's actually shorter than the other characters now. The overall sculpt is a little less beefy than before, and her head is angled in such a way that she's basically only good at being posed for combat on the Sail Barge. Which is handy, as she includes both the giant cannon and a force pike.

She can be posed on this large gun accessory, but she doesn't look all that in to it. Actually, she looks pretty bored-- one hand is off to the side, and one's touching what I guess aims the gun. This is by no means a bad figure, but it's likely to be rendered to the old figure graveyard pretty soon. I assume this figure is going to be remembered for its Sail Barge Cannon, which will likely be the biggest piece of the barge we ever get out of Hasbro.

Collector's Notes: The same Leia figure, without the barge gun, was released at least two more times. One was as a Target exclusive cup-with-figure set, which was pretty tough to get in some markets. The other was as a basic Original Trilogy Collection carded figure, which looks pretty awesome. The figures are basically the same on all three. In Summer 1997, Kenner released the first version of this figure. Later in 2009, Hasbro will release the next one.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,039: June 8, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,038: Prince Xizor

PRINCE XIZOR with Princess Leia
The Legacy Collection Comic Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 87504 No. 87687
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #8
Includes: Staff, Princess Leia figure, comic book
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: Summer 2008
Appearances: Shadows of the Empire

Bio: As Leia struggles to save the Alliance from being crushed by the Empire, she learns that bounty hunters are after Luke. She infiltrates Black Sun to find out why that crime syndicate wants Luke dead. The leader of Black Sun is Prince Xizor, who sees Luke as a way to get his revenge upon Vader and, at the same time, gain favor with the Emperor. Her mission is in jeaopardy when she meets Xizor and finds herself unable to resist the prince's strange power. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: This is the third action figure release of Prince Xizor since 1996. Best known as one of the weaker sellers of his day-- I remember going into a brand-new Wal-Mart that was stuffed with these guys, despite the case not shipping for months-- the figure was probably one of the worst sellers of the pre-Episode I era. And now, we have a new version, proving once more that when Hasbro or Kenner said "never again" that they really don't necessarily mean that. What they mean is "ask again later."

This figure improves on the original by giving him a less ridiculous weapon, slightly better proportions, and the ability to be posed as you're more likely to see him in the comics. His gown restricts leg movement, even though he's basically super-articulated. (For those keeping track, that means 14 or more joints. In his case, 14.) The green-skinned businessman/crimelord has cloth "sleeves," for lack of a better word, hanging off his arms, and these really don't do him any favors. The detail on the head and armor are superior to previous releases, although the 1996 figures had thicker necks and slightly angrier looking heads, which served them well as villain action figures. Were it not for his eyes looking at you somewhat menacingly, this figure could be a good guy based on his body language and appearance. There's a lot of purple, grey, and gold here, making this a reasonable upgrade from the original figures.

Collector's Notes: Still available at a store near you, most likely. With this figure's release, that means that the only basic carded figures from 1996 that haven't had at least one new version cranked out are Chewie in Bounty Hunter Disguise, Dash Rendar, Luke Skywaler in Imperial Guard Disguise, and if you want to get technical, the version of Boba Fett released in 1995 with the brown gloves, red gauntlets, and multi-colored jetpack hasn't been revisited yet either.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,038: June 5, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,037: Weequay

WEEQUAY Battle at the Sarlacc Pit
The Legacy Collection Target Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 87931 No. 87798
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pike, Sarlacc Pit, Skiff, 4 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $62.99-$72.99
Availability: November 2008
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Jabba's skiff guard is surprised when Luke launches an attack and a fellow guard turns out to be an imposter. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: When we all saw this Battle Pack, pretty much everyone assumed that this Weequay and the four other figures were just inferior reissues. Wrong! It turns out they're actually repaints, many of which falling under the "just different enough to make you mad" banner. This particular figure takes the 1997 Weequay-- at the time, an example of Kenner's best sculpting-- and repaints the 2006 repaint, if you follow me. It's similar to the previous Battle Pack release, but is missing all the dust and dirt, sports seemingly more vibrant colors, and sports a black belt rather than a brown one. The skin is redder, the shirt is bluer, all in all you might not even notice the changes because he looks like you probably want to remember the last release looking.

The figure itself has all the trappings of a 1997 release. That means jointed arms, legs, waist, neck, and that's it. The staff weapon is the same mold as the rubbery and thin Battle Pack release from a couple of years back. It's still a nice figure, but it's a shame that after three distinct releases, Hasbro hasn't come up with an all-new mold for this guy yet. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw one in the next two years, though.

Collector's Notes: Depending on where you shop there's a slim chance you might stumble on these over on the clearance aisle. Most likely, though, you've seen the last of this release at retail, and odds are it'll slowly become a hot item on the secondary market as fans who were too cheap to drop $60 on the pit decide that they want it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,037: June 4, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,036: Destroyer Droid

DESTROYER DROID Action-Packed and Animated
The Clone Wars Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87638 No. 87858
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #17
Includes: Firing rockets
Action Feature: Launching Blasters, Spring-Open Arms and Body
Retail: $7.99
Availability: Late 2008
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Droidekas, also known as destroyer droids, are deceptive in their movements. Appearing awkward on their three legs, they can curl into a ball-shaped form and roll swiftly toward their targets then spring open to fire their laser cannons. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: Since their introduction in 1999, Hasbro has been making incremental alterations in the Destroyer Droid, although arguably not for the better. The first figure in 1999 was pretty much spot-on except for two things-- the head was off-model, and it couldn't curl into a ball. Hasbro corrected the head issue in 2007, and the ball possibility may defy the laws of physics-- so how could you possibly make a new version of this toy? Simple, 'toon it up a bit.

Modeled after the exaggerated top-heavy designs from the cartoon series, this figure is arguably the best yet. It can kind of scrunch up and then pop out at a touch of a button, plus it can fire rockets. Well, that last part kinda screws it up visually, which is a shame when you have a toy line like this where the look is almost everything. The springing-open action is neat, but hardly a selling point. It's just an added bonus on a figure that has a great sculpt and a nice look. The little scrawny legs and the huge arms go well together, giving this robot a much more fearsome look. It's sort of the same thing that happened with the Super Battle Droid, it's a design that benefits from being beefed up a bit. This is a figure most of you will want to play with on your desk. It's a solid toy, but it's such a sharp looking design with sleek lines that I think it's more fun as a collectible figure. Especially since this makes-- what is it now?-- like a dozen unique releases? Grab it if you see it and have some extra cash to blow.

Collector's Notes: Since its release, this figure has been shipping steadily. You shouldn't have too much trouble grabbing a few.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,036: June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,035: Ponda Baba

PONDA BABA Cantina Showdown Cinema Scene
Power of the Force Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 69650 No. 69738
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, additional figures, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: 1997
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: On the run from Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter the seedy Mos Eisley Cantina in hopes of finding swift passage to the planet Alderaan. Inside, among the gallery of criminals are the murderous Dr. Evazan and the brutal Ponda Baba--both of whom are thirsty for a fight with Skywalker. Reaching for their blasters, the villains are suddenly cut off from Luke by the pulsating blaze of Obi-Wan's lightsaber! Will Obi-Wan triumph and save the Rebellion's only hope? (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: After releasing the super-cool basic carded Ponda Baba, Kenner made Wal-Mart this exclusive version. It was basically the same, but had more action-oriented limbs. The good news is that in the packaging, or in a diorama, it looks fantastic. The figure had the same ahead-of-its time-sculpt with the highly detailed face and jacket, the sharp boots, and the cool blaster. The coloring wasn't as good, but hey-- can't win 'em all. Unfortunately, the goofy pose prevents the figure from standing, sitting, or performing any other function. It's a statue with joints, and while it's certainly a well-designed one with great black eyes and a bright orange jacket, it isn't much of a toy. This is a display piece, so if what you want is a solid toy, go for one of the other releases-- both offer a little bit more, specifically the 2002/2004 release with its removable arm. (That's what makes it.)

Collector's Notes: Every Ponda Baba to date uses the same basic design as this one-- unless a new one got announced by now, the 1997 releases and 2002/2004 versions are all pretty similar. A new version is rumored for 2009/2010, which I have to assume will be redone from the ground on up.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,035: June 2, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,034: Princess Leia Organa in Endor Poncho

Power of the Force Light Vehicle Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. 69760 No. 69727
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, poncho, Speeder Bike
Action Feature: Push button for explosion
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Spring 1997
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Image: Adam Pawlus' back yard.

Bio: Princess of Alderaan, Imperial Senator, Cell Leader of Rebel Alliance (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: In 1997, this Princess Leia Organa figure had the most articulation of any to date courtesy of her then-exciting knee joints. She could stand, sit, ride a bike, and generally look cool. As far as the overall coloring goes, this figure remains the best even 12 years after its initial release. Her helmet has a strap under her chin, the poncho is greener than it is brown, and she just basically looks right. The 2007 "Vintage" release cannot make the same claim.

While not an amazingly detailed collectible, there's an excellent toy to be found. For $10, you got the bike and one of the better figures of her day. The likeness was overall a little nicer than we had been used to, although it isn't a perfect Carrie Fisher. It would be wrong to say it was a poor Leia, though, as there's really no doubt who this is supposed to be when you look at her. The rubbery poncho is a little awkward, but it looks nice and is colored well. If you want a figure to sit on a bike and look neat, this is the one for you. It's almost a shame this figure looks as good as it does, because the subsequent releases are all a little lacking in one way or another despite having superior articulation and more removable costume parts. Don't be sorry if this is your only version of this Leia, because it's certainly good enough.

Collector's Notes: There's a fairly significant package variant on this piece-- rocky versus grassy-- but nobody really seems to care. A retooled version of this figure, without the jointed knees, was packaged with a coin and sold as a Toys "R" Us exclusive in 1998.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,034: June 1, 2009