Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,796: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT  Bespin Battle
Discover the Force Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 37822 No.  37824
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Rifle, pistol, cape, game stuff, additional figures
Action Feature: Removable cape, gun fits in holster
Retail: $19.99
Availability: April 2012
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: During his Jedi training, Luke has a vision that his friends are in danger.  He rushes to Bespin to rescue Han and Leia, where he encounters Darth Vader and the bounty hunger Boba Fett.  The Sith Lord's plan has worked: he has lured Skywalker to the planet and intends to deliver him to the Emperor.  While Fett collects his long-sought quarry, Luke battles Vader in a menacing lightsaber duel. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's Carbon Freeze Chamber playset.  (I like it more now than I did when it first came out.)

Commentary:  If you like action figures-- and by that, I mean toys, with good sculpting and good paint, that look great and stand up without requiring a display stand, this Boba Fett is the first 100% newly-sculpted Boba Fett figure since, if my abacus is right, about 2008.  It's also about as articulated as the figure from 1978, with some enhancements.  It's not as covered in paint as the 2008 version, but it holds together a heck of a lot better and his backpack is difficult (if not impossible) to accidentally knock off his back.  Toy lovers, this is the best Boba Fett toy you can probably buy.  People wanting a $250 Medicom figure for $10... this isn't that.  What this is, is the superior figure for your desk and/or kids.  He'll stand around and not give you any guff.

Let's get started with articulation as that's the one thing fans have been harping on.  Boba does indeed have swivel jointed shoulders and hips, plus a ball-jointed neck with no removable helmet-- his helmet is his face, the way George Lucas ca. 1980 and Andy Mangels would probably have wanted it.  The helmet has a fantastic range of movement and is pretty thick, which makes it feel sturdier than other figures based on the design.  The arms swivel freely, exactly like the 1995 (or 1979) figure. The legs also have a good degree of movement, but the knees, ankles, and wrists are all gone.  I know many of you are screaming bloody murder, but given how the tiny hose pieces restricted movement on the 2004 Vintage edition anyway, a new, clean sculpt relatively free of visible ball joints makes for a refreshing and interesting change of pace.  He also has no problems standing-- many of my super-articulated figures tend to wobble if not posed just right, this Boba has no such problems.

The sculpt seems pretty much perfect as an action figure.  As its raw toyness goes, this figure is king, period.  His level of deco is not as good as the 2008 version, which featured additional scuffing on the armor, helmet, and backpack.  This new figure has plenty of silver damage, but the attempted level of grime on previous releases is hard to beat-- it looks a little over-the-top in some places, but it does have some oft-missing details like the gash in the right shoulder armor, albeit minus the silver "damage" paint.  I realize it's kind of ridiculous to apply the standards of Gentle Giant or Sideshow's paint jobs to a $7ish action figure, but if Hasbro did do a version of this figure with a premium paint job I have no doubt it would be their finest Fett ever.  Given that it's a 4-inch plastic man for kids to play with, it's really excellent in its own right, but it's not a perfect replica of a high-end figure at a low-end price because, frankly, that'd probably cost a lot more.

His gear is better than anticipated.  While it doesn't have the t-slot of the 1995 rocket pack, this one does have a good peg which actually fits into the back nicely and, so far, doesn't fall out.  (A few of my figures derived from the 2004 Vintage sculpt pop out from time to time.)  It's snug, and painted fairly well.   His guns fit perfectly in either hand, although the smaller pistol sometimes falls out of its holster.  (It could just be me.)  The smaller gun looks gorgeous, painted silver and brown, and is arguably too good to be kept in the holster anyway. The rifle has a little bit of brown paint on it, bringing it to life nicely.  The figure could benefit from another quarter's worth of paint, and would probably be Hasbro's best Boba ever if given that kind of treatment.  As it is, it's fun, and if you aren't hung up on every figure sporting 14 joints I think you'll enjoy this one.

Future Points of Controversy: 1. I would love to see Hasbro remake all the original Kenner figures in this cheaper, 5-joint style.   2. This might be a rare item if Battle Packs distribution is like it usually is-- weak-- so consider buying it on sight.  3.  I'd love to see Hasbro do a budget line of "vintage" figures using molds like these on vintage cardbacks at lower prices for Dollar Tree/Family Dollar/etc. stores (not 99 cent/$1 stores, but, uh, "dollar stores") like they've done with $5, 5-joint Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Captain America "Marvel Universe" figures as of late.  4.  It is quite impossible for the figures to assume the poses shown on the back of the box.  They're photoshopped above and beyond the norm, and are shown holding weapons with both hands or other things which are physically impossible.

Collector's Notes: As of me writing this, the figure is in stock in a case at the link below.  I haven't seen it in the wild yet.   It's my hope these get cranked out and do very well because unlike the first 3 Battle Packs of the year, these are really fun and easily seen as new.  (Which isn't fair to the Clone Wars one, that one was really cool and pretty new too.)

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,796: May 2, 2012


JR Tschopp said...

I've been - for the most part - out of collecting since 2001, only buying the occasional core character. I've wanted to get back in but haven't, mainly because of pricing - I just don't want to pay $8-$10 for most figures. I'd love to see them reduce the articulation and return these items to toys, hopefully bringing the cost down per figure in the process. As such, I fully intend on purchasing these new battle packs to vote with my dollars.

Galactic Hitchhiker said...

In 1981, I'd have loved this figure. After Hasbro launched ARAH, 5-points is unacceptable.
I consider myself something of a completist, but I'm not touching these.

My 7-year-old son, who loves his early CW clones and the super-poseable Battle Droids, leaves a lot of other figures untouched because they don't "bend" properly. I won't be getting these for him either.

I have difficulty expressing the extent of my disatisfaction with this regression. That's not to say I think Hasbro will care, it's just my two cents.

H-Bomb said...

Personally, while I DO thoroughly enjoy some of the super-articulation on CORE character "definitive" versions, I think as a whole most kids who actually ENJOY PLAYING WITH these TOYS are fine with a good-looking, less-articulated figure. And for the most part, I tend to be fine with the majority of the background characters never having more than 5 or 6 joints. If they look good, like this Boba (and the Luke, at least in my opinion, is a decent-looking and PLAY-worthy figure for sure!), sometimes it's OK to just have them be...well...TOYS. A wonderful deco on a great sculpt will always win over articulation as a whole, and I feel that even with the core characters that have been given the SA treatment, it's still nice to think you'd be able to get an equally-attractive figure with simpler articulation for display, or just to fill the cockpit of your ship, whatever. I think this Fett represents a nice mix of form and function, and I agree that it would be awesome to see a lower-cost figure collection with this great attention to detail but at the expense of a few extra joints.

DorkyNed said...

I truly love these, and the Naboo figures as well. The sculpting and paint apps on Maul alone are brilliant. -- I like the SA collection too, but this year they really seem to be covering most of the stragglers left to be updated. That said, new figures focusing more on aesthetics are a welcome addition to the line for me. I like the Fett better than any other they have released. -- Admittedly, I am an eternal optimist but Hasbro is kicking ass in 2012!

Frederek Baker-Wisdom said...

These turned up at Department Stores here in Singapore about two weeks ago in plentiful supply. I passed on them as I've got versions of these figures I already consider definitive but my nephew went crazy for the Boba Fett on sight. I think the paint job on Fett is outstanding, it really pops on the shelf.