Monday, December 6, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,429: Mail-In Rocket Firing Boba Fett

BOBA FETT Rocket-Firing Backpack
The Vintage Collection Mail-In Offer
Item No.:
No. 97917
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #VCP03
Includes: Pistol, firing rocket, non-firing rocket
Action Feature: Rocket-firing backpck
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2010
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: He's here at last! After 30 years, the Boba Fett figure with the rocket-firing backpack has reached this galaxy! The story of this mail away figure is well known among Star Wars fans, and we're here to deliver the goods. This figure is a re-creation of the original Boba Fett figure, with the addition of that all-inportant rocket-firing feature. Good things really do come to those who wait-- and the wait is officially over! Enjoy! (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: When I first heard Hasbro was doing this Boba Fett I was slightly revolted-- I'm really not a big fan of reissues in the toy world, generally because it makes the original a little less special and often because the replica is still no substitute for the real thing. This one falls into the latter category-- a real, honest-to-goodness 1970s Boba Fett test shot is a very different animal than this figure, as is the basic non-firing vintage Boba Fett figure. Hasbro made several changes which should be obvious to anyone who was heavily into the real Kenner vintage line, but any fan with a good eye can tell that this is not the original. Which means everybody wins.

This is not a figure from the original molds-- this is also not a figure that was perfectly re-created from the original. Certain flaws on the original toy are no longer present, specifically a visible seam down the middle of the helmet has been cleaned up. In many ways this figure is much sharper than the original, which often had some duller details due to the quality and expectations of the toy world in 1979. The figure's copyright information is no longer on the back of the leg, but rather these details are on the soles of the boots. For some reason Hasbro started putting in clearly visible (and ugly) date stamps on its 2010 products (I've seen them on Marvel, Star Wars, and Transformers) and Boba Fett has a black painted date stamp on the back of his left leg. It's also worth noting that Hasbro made the 2010 Rocket Fett button blue, while the few 1970s prototypes I've ever seen have had red buttons. (Except for the figures not cast in production colors, obviously.) It's also worth noting that the figure's foot pegs have been resized for the 1995-present figure stands, so don't expect this one to fit in seamlessly with your 30-year-old Kenner collection.

Boba's red firing rocket looks nothing like the original 1979 figure's non-firing rocket as it has a rounder tip and is several inches long. The non-firing slug is almost nothing like the original, the color and texture is off and it sticks out of the backpack in a mushroom-like way rather than being a uniform thickness. The sculpt is a little different, too, so the original figures remain distinctive.

The thing I found the most exciting about this figure is how the actual rocket mechanism functions. On recent vehicles (Swamp Speeder) the rockets tend to fly out by themselves, and for some reason Hasbro has stopped including switches and instead uses spring-loaded flick-rockets which, if you ask me, are unsafe due to their enthusiasm to launch. Boba's rocket has an actual button you have to push down, which is just fantastic-- it shoots a reasonable distance and makes a satisfying "click" noise upon launch. It's difficult (if not impossible) to accidentally set it off by sneezing or by the figure falling over-- you gotta push the button. Big, big kudos to Hasbro for making the mechanism work perfectly.

So that's the improvement-- the figure still has some of the flaws of the original. He's still back-heavy and my sample will not stand upright without assistance or without holding his arms out in front of him so keep a display stand handy. He also has difficulty holding his gun, which was a reused Stormtrooper blaster. And by difficulty, I mean extreme difficulty. His stance is a little different, and I can't quite tell you how but it feels very different from every Kenner Boba Fett I've played with or owned. The paint is sharp, and the sculpt is astonishingly sharp. He has five points of articulation just like the original, and I expect many of you will want it just to own a replica of any vintage-era figure, and the fact that it's based on one of the action figure collectible industry's holiest of holy grails is just a nice bonus.

This is by no means an essential figure for collectors of the modern line because it doesn't fit in with that aesthetic, however because it is what it is, you owe it to yourself to get one, because you'll be sorry if you don't. Personally I'd have rather they made a super-articulated modern figure based on the unique paint job of the original Kenner Boba Fett figures (which Hasbro/Kenner have never done in the modern line), but I assume this one will be more appealing to a certain breed of toy collector. They sure don't make them like this anymore, or rather, they won't after the offer expires in 2011. Remember, this is not meant to be a fun toy-- it's a collectible that just happens to have one of the finer firing mechanisms I've seen on a toy of this size.

Collector's Notes: This is the fifth "vintage" vintage figure to be made by Hasbro or Kenner since 1995-- the others were Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Chewbacca in the infamous (and retaining of its original retail price) 1995 Toys "R" Us Classic 4-Pack. This figure comes on a Star Wars-logo card-- a first for a modern Hasbro take on the vintage packaging-- and may be worth getting just because it looks nice. Hasbro has stated there are no plans to do any other 1970s-style figures, but that this was a unique one-off. Here's hoping.

There's no denying that this figure will appeal to toy collectors in a way that no other modern release can. If you're a vintage guy, this should be on your list of things to send for prior to the April 2011 expiration date. Mine took a little under two months to arrive, so if you've been procrastinating, send for yours now. The carded figure comes double-boxed and the cardback I received was unpunched. It's a mass-produced toy, so if you're expecting it to be worth hundreds of dollars you're probably going to be in for an unpleasant surprise later.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,429: December 6, 2010


Unknown said...

Adam - love your site and check it out daily.

I want to send in for this Rocket Firing Boba Fett and have some UPCs from the new VC figures, however the number (97568 Asst.) that the form asks for isn't on any of them, even though the offer sticker is on the front of the card.

Do you know if they will accept any vintage card UPCs?

Adam16bit said...

97568 is indeed the current Vintage assortment SKU-- just look at the numbers on the top of the front of the packaging.

They not only accept any current (2010+) vintage UPC, but any Legacy Collection, any animated Clone Wars, or any Saga Legends (since they came with weapons lockers) too.

I sent in for mine using a pile of Clone Wars/Legacy 2009 figure UPCs I had laying around.

Bravo said...

"Personally I'd have rather they made a super-articulated modern figure based on the unique paint job of the original Kenner Boba Fett figures (which Hasbro/Kenner have never done in the modern line),"

Give them time, milking Fett is something they never tire of. They can do that anytime. This mail-in Fett more of a retro kitsch thing to grab folks' attention.

I'd rather have had vintage style figure of a character who never got a vintage figure. Tarkin, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Cantina bandsman...of course that doesn't appeal to the "finally fufilling wishes of grown-ups kids who were bummed out their old Fett didn't shoot missiles."

Kenner removing the missile launching feature probably saved countless lives after that Galactica toy choking incident. We'd be short a lot of Star Wars fans today if they'd kept that dangerous projectile. So to hell with Holy Grails. Kenner would've been sued to bankruptcy and Mattel would be making modern star Wars toys and they'd SUCK. (LOL)

Anyway, this doesn't add much to the old Kenner collection. I'll send off for one eventually. And get it and never open it. The change of the foot peg size annoys me. Hell, that annoyed me in 1995.

If they wanted to be chicken @%#%'s they could redo this figure again in actual movie colors. Milk the mando for more.

Unknown said...

Awesome, thanks for pointing out the SKU.

Honestly, I just got into this hobby again. Dug out some guys from 30 years ago and got my kids a couple new figures. That prompted me to search and find these sites, and then start acquiring some new figures. I wanted a Boba Fett figure when I was little and never got it. Now I have several!

Here's my rant..I've bought a couple of the Saga and Legacy figures (not the VC) and the articulated hands and arms are worthless. Right out of the package, they won't hold a weapon or stand straight...and it seems to be these super skinny limbs that they put on them. I'm actually looking for some of the older stuff now, like the POTF series and earlier stuff because of this.

Hasn't this been a bigger issue to prompt some action? This is a pain for me, and I'm the desk jockey that has them at my cubicle. Hate to see the kids that really play with them!

Anonymous said...

I love my rocket fett!
A) for the rocket firing-nostalgia throw-back
B) a vintage-look fett in a vintage package
C) looks great next to my gentle giant 12" vintage style fett!