Monday, April 23, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,789: SCUBA Gear Ahsoka Tano

The Clone Wars Basic Action Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 37290 No. 37740
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: CW15
Includes: 2 Lightsabers, display stand, swim fins, helmet, launcher, projectile
Action Feature: Launching lightsaber disc
Retail: $8.99
Availability: April 2012
Appearances: Clone Wars TV series

Bio: Ahsoka fights aqua droids in the waters of Kamino when Separatists attack the Republic's cloning facility.  With spinning Lightsaber strikes, Ahsoka battles her way past the underwater droids to reach Tipoca City, where she leaps into the fight to stop the enemy's assault.   (Taken from the figure's cardback.  The picture seems to be from the season 4 episodes on Dac/Mon Calamari, as she did not appear in the Kamino invasion episode in season 3.  Nice one, Hasbro/Lucasfilm Licensing.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo area.

Commentary:  By your demand!  You voted and you asked to see this SCUBA Ahsoka Tano before anyone else from these two new Clone Wars waves.  And good for you, because unlike a lot of the figures in this wave, this one feels really different and with few exceptions, the execution is superb.   I'm assuming in this political environment it would be an appropriate gag to say "Hasbro's war on articulation continues," because for nine bucks, I expect at least nine joints.  I got 7.   Basically, she has the same articulation as a vintage 1983 figure plus elbows, with ball joints at the neck, shoulders, and the aforementioned elbows.   I think at this point it's tough if not impossible to tell if Hasbro is really aiming for kids, or collectors, or people who leave stuff on the cards, or what.  As a toy she's great, and as a display piece, this is one of Hasbro's best-ever animated sculpts.  With dainty characters, cramming in a lot of articulation sometimes means certain elements need to be thicker, so the decision to eliminate ankles makes sense.  Knees, not so much.  But man, she looks great.  The wrist armor is exquisitely detailed, and the paint job is exquisite.  There's a little silver, some purple, a little bright red, and some white on her suit which is molded in a deep maroon-ish color.  If you were to hand this figure to me in 1995 and said "this is what toys look like in the distant future," I'd be impressed.

She has zero difficulty standing with her swim fins, although they render the display base somewhat worthless.  Her hip joints are perfect, she has zero difficulty sitting in her Jedi Starfighter.  (I just went to check.)   The lack of ankle joints may be a bummer to some of you, but trust me when I say that she looks and feels tiny.  Her foot pegs may be the smallest I've ever seen, and while I haven't compared her to my other Ahsokas yet (because it feels creepy) it looks like she may have the smallest feet of any of them, perhaps the smallest feet of any 3 3/4-inch figure yet.  Including Salacious Crumb.  There's no way they could probably cram a decent joint in here, so the included swim fins make up for what would probably be long-term problems if she used the included display base.

Her SCUBA backpack seems smaller than you'd expect, so it's not at all obtrusive.  The mask slides right over her head, and is mostly clear-- it's a little frosty in spots, but that actually helps obfuscate this figure's one shortcoming: eye deco.  It's almost perfect (and looks better in the picture than in real life), but you can't really see the whites of her eyes at all, so it looks like her eyes are almost entirely blue.  There's a small black out line around them that's just big enough to block out the whites.   It's obvious someone at Hasbro was saying "I'm going to make a figure with our best paint job yet" and came really really close.  I hope this person is working on other figures, because whatever the next one he or she does is going to be phenomenal.  Oh, and on mine you can tell there's a little scuffing on the eyebrow.  I'm not sure how that happened, as this is how she was when I got her and to be honest I didn't even notice until after I took the photos.  And now I can't un-see it.  Argh.

As to her weapons?  Mostly good. You get a cool small lightsaber and a large lightsaber, which she has no problems holding.  The aforementioned swim fins are perfect, and the rest of her gear just plain fits.  (Although I will say I am a little afraid the mask might snap unless you're really careful with it.)  The big goofy thing is her "lightsaber launcher" which is made from silver plastic and swirly silver plastic makes me nervous.  If you have this figure and it's like 2017 or later, I'd suggest doing a fair amount of research before actually playing with the launcher-- if they're breaking, well, blame Hasbro's choice in plastic.  The accessory is fundamentally the same one sold with the 2012 Anakin, but cast in green with additional silver paint on part of the blade.  It's goofy, ugly, and arguably too heavy for her to really get much use from, and it's also hard for my fingers to fire it while she's wearing this weapon.  So to the drawer of discarded accessories, it goes.  Kenner and Hasbro have done better arm-mounted kid-aimed "action" accessories over the last 30 years than this.

In many respects, this figure seems to be a perfect mix of everything I complain about wanting in this column.  She's got a ton of gear, looks great, stands, sits, and all of her articulation adds to the figure's fun factor.  I think you'll like it, if you can find it, and good luck with that.

Collector's Notes: I haven't seen her in the wild yet, mine came from where I work, and you can probably order one at the link below.   eBay has her pegged at $20, and her assortment (which is so far just 1 assortment) has all of waves 2 and 3 in it.  Just sayin'.   Hopefully these will flood retailers soon, but it's early and I lucked out into getting mine early.  Ahsoka figures in this line have been historically expensive on the secondary market, so it would be to your advantage to get her at/near retail should the opportunity present itself.  Other than the SCUBA Clone with the mini sub released recently, I know of no other characters from this season 4 arc getting the plastic treatment just yet.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,789: April 23, 2012

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