Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,177: Princess Leia Organa (Boushh, The Black Seres)

The Black Series   Basic Figure
Item No.:
Asst. A5077 No. B1059
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #17
Includes: Helmet, staff, cape/harness, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: June 2015
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: No bio due to new multilingual packaging.

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  What color are her shoes supposed to be?   I actually had to look some stuff up about this one.  Princess Leia in her Boushh disguise was one of my favorite figures as a kid.  I was excited when we got a new one in 1996, and again in 2006, and to a lesser extent in 2015 because we got two sizes at once.  And here's the thing - the 6-inch one has brown shoes, the 3 3/4-inch one has dark grey shoes.   So I actually had to do some research - which one was correct?  The Hasbro/Kenner figures are historically tan/brown shoes.  Other companies are usually the darker grey color.   But which is correct?

Star Wars: The Visional Dictionary and Dressing a Galaxy both show brown shoes.  Interestingly, Star Wars Chronicles doesn't show her shoes - it has tons of slave bikini shots, but no shoes of either costume from Jabba's Palace.   As such, it looks like Kenner and Hasbro probably had it right from 1983 until this figure - the darker shoes look fine, but are probably not authentic.  (Neither is Hot Toys'.   But Gentle Giant's Animated Maquette - an Entertainment Earth exclusive, thank you very much - got it right.)  It's so strange, because the two Black Series Boushh Leias seem to come from the same digital sculpts - the arms and heads are from similar sources, with tweaks to the hands and other pieces to best fit the plastic tolerances at that scale.  They should have very similar paint jobs, but the 6-inch one blows away the 3 3/4-inch one despite the similarity in price. 

This is sort of what the battle is at the factory level - is a $13-$15 4-inch figure any good when a $20 6-inch figure blows it away in terms of accessories, articulation, size, and deco?   Unless you're clinging to the past by the last atoms of your fingertips, no - there's a clear winner here.   The little figure has light silver on the face mask, while the big one has a darker grey.  The little one lacks the battle wear of the big one.  The little one doesn't have as much make-up as the big figure - and this is something I've been mentioning for years, you really do need extra deco in women action figure faces at the smaller scale and technology makes that difficult.  Also, little Boushh's thermal detonator is molded to her hand so you don't lose it, and big Boushh Leia's bandolier has painted ammo on it.   It's almost no contest which one is better here.

I appreciate that Hasbro put out the 3 3/4-inch version as a bit of synergy with the first new Han Solo in Carbonite set in nearly nine years.  She's a little pale, her lips are a little dark, but she looks pretty good overall.   I think I like the 2006 one more, thanks to a more dynamic pose, a removable detonator, and of course the lower price tag.   2015 Leia has 14 points of articulation, plus a swell neck joint you probably won't even notice - her neck can tilt up and down like most 6-inch figures.  It's well-disguised and expertly integrated.  I'd also be an absolute putz to not point out how nicely this figure turned out at the scale.  6-inch figures are easier to paint nicely, getting eyeliner straight on a 3 3/4-inch figure is quite the challenge.  Leia's strands of hair were also painted straight, and while her skin is overly pale here the execution on the technical details is nothing if not impressive. Hasbro also designed her to stand and sit, as there's a cut up her tunic that allows her legs to swing forward.  Clearly, the Hasbro engineers did the absolute best they could within the budget and factory constraints put upon this figure.

Personal preferences toward 3 3/4-inch aside, there's no argument that the 6-inch figure is a far better collector figure for the money.  It's not even a close call.   3 3/4-inch Boushh is good for what she is, but so was the version from 9 years ago.   She may also have the daintiest human hands in 3 3/4-inch adult-figure history, and I'd like someone to point me out to the ones I forgot.   If Hasbro got the shoes right, this would be a perfectly nice figure.  Since they didn't, the 2006 one is perfectly good and also cheaper.   This figure's general adequacy shows improvement over the last 10 years, but we get a new Boushh Leia nearly every 10 years and the leap between 1996 and 2006 is huge, while the 2006 and 2015 ones show visible growth but nothing so spectacular.   It really does show that the line at this size has largely peaked, with only the cloth cape and impressive backpack tampos being new elements for this go-round.  I look forward to seeing what 2026 has to offer, my guess is they won't find a way to make a better face sculpt or improve the articulation at this scale by any big leaps or bounds.

Collector's Notes: I got this online - you can probably score one for $13-$15.   Depending on where you bought her, she was sold in assortments or via solid-packed cases of 12.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,177: August 18, 2015


safari4ad said...

I've been following your columns for a lot of years now, and I usually feel like you're pretty spot on with your reviews, but I am having a bit of an issue with this one. More specifically, I'm having problems with the attitude that a lot of people (not just you) seem to have towards 3 3/4" collectors "clinging to the past by the last atoms of your fingertips". It's not about clinging to the past or nostalgia. It's about CONSISTENCY in our collections, and after 20 years of collecting 3 3/4" (and I don't even want to begin to calculate the money spent), many of us have ZERO interest in beginning a new 6" collection. If I want a high-end collectible, there are plenty of them out there made by multiple companies in multiple formats. The glory of 3 3/4" collecting is the sheer diversity in the line. And people can argue all day long that we have tons and tons of unique characters, but there are still tons of figures that have never seen plastic (Shasa Tiel, Sim Aloo), plus a smaller but significant number that need upgrades (Klaatu Skiff Guard, Yakface, Bib Fortuna). And we're now going into a brand new trilogy, plus three more stand-alone films (at the very least). Add to that Rebels, unmade Clone Wars figures, and whatever else may come in the future, and we could easily do another 20+ years in 3 3/4" effortlessly. The fun in collecting these figures lies in the fact that I can have a significantly stocked Cantina or Jabba's Palace or Ewok Village to display, not "well, I have a Han, a Luke, a Vader, and an R2, now I can concentrate on Transformers toys" or whatever. And for the people that only want the Luke or the Vader, they have that option too. But 6" by definition is never going to give us an Amanaman or Ephant Mon, and for many of us, THESE are the figures that keep us coming back. I'm 20 times more likely to grab my 5th version of X-Wing Luke while I'm at the store buying Weequay Skiff Master than I would if the 5th version of X-Wing Luke was only accompanied by the 6th version of ROTJ Obi Wan and another Clone variant, which is essentially what 6" is giving us: main characters, troop variants, and well-known background figures (Bounty Hunters, Greedo).

Shawn Keenan said...

While I agree about the better value of the 6" figures now that 3 3/4" figures are so wildly expensive, I have to give the edge to little Leia on this release due to one "large" fact you didn't mention in your review. Big Leia is way too big! For some reason, the designers stole the much needed plastic from IG-88 to make him the correct height and added it unnecessarily to Leia. This was a major WTF moment for the 6" line that has really done an amazing job so far with accuracy and scale (ignoring mini R2-D2, of course. Also, did the Emperor leave his robe in the drier too long? But I digress). I also like that they made an effort to include Leia in a somewhat themed wave. I've always thought figures would sell better if they came in waves that made some sense together. I'm much more inspired to pick up a figure I was on the fence about if there is another amazing figure from that scene available that makes it seem more like a needed upgrade.

Special Agent said...

The cloth cape looks pretty nice, but sloppy paint deco and insane pricing makes this a fail in my book. And as for the comparison between the 6" & 3 3/4", sure the bigger is the better "value". But I look at the 6" line as "collect your favorites" (I've picked up 3 since they started). There's no way I'd consider collecting that line like I have for the original action figures.