Thursday, September 22, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,637: Darth Phobos

DARTH PHOBOS The Force Unleashed: Sith & Imperial Troopers
The Legacy Collection Toys R Us Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 33259 No. 33261
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: August 2011
Appearances: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game

Bio: Using the power of the Force, this female Sith Lord can warp and control the minds of the weak and make them do her bidding. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.

Commentary: If you're an affluent Star Wars fan in 2011, there's a reason you don't recognize Darth Phobos-- the character was exclusive to the Wii and last-gen Playstation 2 versions of The Force Unleashed game. So if you picked up the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 ports, like any self-respecting gamer, the contents of Toys R Us' latest exclusive set based on the game is largely a mystery. Why her? I have no idea. When a number of other characters spanning other media may be more well known, like a character which appeared in every port of the game, she's a strange choice. But ours is not to question why-- ours is to point a finger and judge how well the character turned out as a toy.

The sculpt is, without question, a good one. The Theelin Sith Lord lacks the detail in some recent figures, but there are numerous sculpted elements which bring her to life like torn pants, laced-up elements to her garments, wrist armor, and... hooves, I guess. (She's the same species as Rystall.) Her hair is well-sculpted, but there's no getting past the deco-- this looks a little too colorful and a little too simple compared to the ornate, fine detail on recent figures. I don't even want to use a word like "cartoony" because recent animated figures have sharper paint jobs with more subtle shading, which this figure does not have. The in-game model appears more muted, while this is downright vibrant. I hate using a phrase like "ha ha she's going to fight Rainbow Brite" but... admit it, you think that too. Except for the lack of ankle joints, the sculpt is essentially super-articulated and that's always a plus for a figure which has little chance of ever getting a second release.

The lightsaber deco is exceptionally good. The paint job makes it look like metal, the silvery plastic has some added black that brings it to life in a way I've never seen on a Hasbro toy lightsaber accessory before-- it's genuinely impressive and worth examining up-close if you see one in stores (or buy it.) Since the deco doesn't match the source material I have a hard time being excited about this one, but I have to admit I wasn't excited about her in the first place-- characters from lesser ports of games I've played (so I've never "met" them for myself) are gleefully obscure, but if you're going to give me a light blue alien with darker blur markings, WHERE THE HELL IS VLIX AND THE FROMM GANG? Excuse me, I had something in my throat. What I meant to say was, the figure has the building blocks of a great release, but the simple deco knocks it down a peg or two. The eyes in particular are a little too stark for my liking, and the costume deco (and possibly sculpt) seems to lack a certain overt attempt at being what I presume to be what you humans call "sexy." It's a nice attempt, but it ultimately feels that it does not properly capture the personality of the character, nor the spirit of how most of Hasbro's toys are made these days.

Collector's Notes: A reasonably new set, she's just starting to show up now and is selling briskly. If history is any indication the set will probably be around for a short time, vanish, and then you'll be angry you missed it when it comes time to pay up on eBay. Why wait? The set is, on the whole, excellent-- the other 4 figures are really good, but just Darth Phobos, on eBay, was selling for $30 in the middle of August. Today she's closer to $15, which is still expensive compared to the entire set.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,637: September 22, 2011

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