Thursday, December 2, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,878: TIE Fighter Pilot (The Vintage Collection)

TIE FIGHTER PILOT
(Redeco, 2021 reissue)

The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. E5912 No. F1883
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #65 (reissue)
Includes: Blaster, removable helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: February 2021
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: TIE pilots served in the Starfighter Corps of the Imperial Navy by piloting the various TIE Series starfighters. Distinguished by all-black flight suits and bulky, fully enclosed, vacuum-sealed helmets, the Galactic Empire at its height produced millions of TIE pilots and generally considered them expendable assets. The TIE pilots formed the elite of the Imperial Navy's Flight Branch. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
The current era of The Vintage Collection straddles the fence between "awesome, incredible" and "I can't tell if this is new or not." Occupying the "just different enough to make you mad" space, this particular TIE Fighter Pilot is a mishmash of releases - the helmet deco (and indeed suit deco) are identical to the Vintage pack-in Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot [FOTD #2,589] from 2018, but the head under the helmet is different. Aren't you sorry you asked?

For ultimate completism sake you'll want this, but if it's arguably interchangeable with the Walmart The Vintage Collection TIE Fighter pack-in pilot. With the helmets on, they're virtually identical with the lettering and silver stripe down the helmet's crest. The buttons and switches are colored the same, with the same outlines, although some may be sloppier than others because that's life.

I'm always riding for cool variations and the 3 3/4-inch line, but the fact that I had to squint at this figure and compare it against a parade of existing figures to realize that it's different - and how it's different - shouldn't be the way things are in any collector's line. If it's the same? Awesome. If it's clearly different and marked as such? Fantastic. It's also worth noting that the TIE Pilot is a veritable ship of Theseus, as this figure has been upgraded with new parts since its debut in 2004. It's not super-articulated, but it's good enough to fit in the pilot's seat and the holster for the blaster is adequate for when it was retooled over a decade ago. An all-new TIE Fighter Pilot mold could be an exciting prospect, but as a repaint of a retool of a repaint of a retool, it's great for anyone who needs a Pilot. But I assume something better will, some day, see production. (But I also thought that in 2004, and we're still dealing with that one's offspring.)

Since this is the "photoreal" era, here's what matters: the 2018 pack-in? Unpainted black head, glued-down helmet. The 2021 carded version has a very pale skin tone with a complexion and deco that may strike you as "stoned/zombie" in appearance. The details are sharp with glossy lips and a bit of eyeliner, but one of the eyes on mine seemed a little uneven. It's a little peculiar in 2021, the helmet deco is fine but the human heads have evolved into such incredible things that seeing this I can't say that it's good. It's OK. For carded collectors, it just plain doesn't matter. But for those who need all the differences, this waxy, barely-different pilot is a variation you'll want. (And carded variant collectors, you'll want this.)

I you don't have a TIE Pilot, it's great! If you missed the 2018 TIE Fighter exclusive from Walmart, it's a good pilot substitute - heck, it's better! But if you've been doing this for 20-40 years and are looking for corners to cut, this may not be different enough to have been worth your creds.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,878: December 2, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,877: Wrecker (The Black Series)

WRECKER
Deluxe

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Dark Red Star Wars: The Bad Batch Packaging
Item No.:
No. F0630
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #05 - Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Includes: Blaster, Helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $31.99
Availability: September 2021
Appearances: The Bad Batch

Bio: The boisterous bruiser of the Bad Batch, Wrecker has brute strength that makes him capable of lifting a clone gunship without any help . His muscle and size are matched only by his temper... and an equally pronounced sense of humor. (Taken from the 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:
Rounding out the original Bad Batch, Wrecker joins Crosshair, Hunter, and Tech - and later, we'll get Omega and Echo - meeting our basic standard of collecting with the main characters seeing plastic. That's really the one thing you have to do when doing action figures for fans of any age - if you don't make all the regulars, it's not even worth kicking off a collection. (Hence, the disappointment on so many levels that is Star Wars Resistance.)

Given the much higher price point, Wrecker's a figure that has to show something to indicate it's better. After all, Chewbacca was huge, and cost the same as a basic figure. I'm glad to see that Wrecker does do some things that warrant the deluxe price point, but it doesn't seem 50% fancier than Hunter - but it's definitely unquestionably superior in production quality. Articulation is on par with the best of basic new figures, including the now-expected swing-forward shoulders and the armor that rotates with the shoulder. You get rocker ankles, elbows with good cuts and decent legs. Every joint moves surprisingly well for a bulky, armored figure with a rubbery armor vest hiding some of the torso joints. In terms of engineering, Hasbro did an A+ job - just like they did with the other Bad Batch-ers. You'll love how he can stand, you'll be impressed by the sculpted armor scrapes, and you're going to love the helmet too.

Also awesome, a realistic take on the distorted, goofy Temeura Morrison portrait used on the cartoon. Wrecker's wacky almost-a-sneer is unlike anything else I've seen in Hasbro Star Wars figures, and is probably one of the singular most expressive good faces we've ever received. Again, they deserve an award for this - it's quite possibly the very best human head they've ever done. Generally we just get good, neutral expressions - seeing what they did here with Wrecker makes me think there's still hope for a really, really, really good Han Solo some day. (Or, if they go that route, Indiana Jones.) With the sculpted scars and injured eye, everything about this figure looks like so much care and work went into getting it right. While that's not necessarily required for a deluxe figure, the extra effort is the kind of thing that makes me feel a little bit better about paying a premium for a figure like this.

Deco is also excellent - the head has an awesome paint job on the face which only highlights the spectacular portrait, but it's worth noting the scars and sides of the head are more or less left bare. I know you have to cut the budget somewhere, but I would've loved paint on the scars. The armor's paint is also excellent, but sadly they left off some stuff. We did get some painted battle damage - which we didn't on the others - but Hasbro left off the red highlights on the elbow and knuckle armor panels. At $32 we really should have those paint applications on a figure that's no more complex than a $23 figure. It's not nearly as ornate as the show - nor should it be, that paint job is complicated beyond a reasonable capacity for mass-production - but the big chest scar would be nice to have some silver there, and the red stripes would've been a plus. As it is, it's not amazing for the price, but OK.

You also get a removable helmet (good paint), a blaster (no paint), and a giant knife (perfectly painted silver blade.) Each element looks like it was handled correctly here, or is at least good enough that I can't complaint about it at the price.

While this figure absolutely has more going for it than some of the other deluxe figures, there's not a lot more here other than size to warrant a higher price point - and as we've seen with Chewbacca, size doesn't mean it has to cost more. But is it good? Yes. Did they do some amazing things with it? Absolutely. Is that human face worth the price of admission? Without a doubt - no other figure looks this interesting, and for that reason alone I'm going to go ahead and say hold your nose and spend the $32. The silver highlights on the sculpted damage were what I looked for when I first opened it, and I was not disappointed.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,877: November 30, 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,876: Q9-0 (Zero, The Black Series)

Q9-0
(Zero)

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F1868
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #11 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $22.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Star Wars: The Mandalorian

Bio: A bug-eyed protocol droid with modified programming, Q9-0 - or "Zero" to his colleagues - operates with precision timing. (Taken from the 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:
Hey kids, it's Moss! (Also a prolific director of television.) Q9-0 is a character that I was really looking forward to, and a figure that turned out, well, acceptably. It's a good figure. I don't love it, but I like it a lot - and I'm crossing my fingers Hasbro does a Kenner-style one some day. (This is very retro!) The bounty hunter-adjacent droid of action is a new sculpt with a blaster clearly inspired by the old Boba Fett EE-3 carbine rifle, just shorter. Or perhaps sawed off. Who can say?

The figure has a harness with pouches (just like on the show!) and lots of articulation (just like on the show!) The head strikes me as softer in detail than some other figures, but it looks like they got the proportions correct. The unique mouth is there, the big silver eyes are there, and the antenna is there too. The cables on the elbows are clearly visible, as are clear pins in the knees for added stability and authenticity to what we see on the screen. He has just shy of 30 points of articulation, and is a marvel of articulation sculpting. All the joints move nicely and are integrated in his body almost perfectly, with a tiny bit of obstruction in the shoulders and the hips - but the latter can be worked around by rotating the thighs. That's great! He stands, he can hold his gun, he even has the fancy tilt-forward shoulders that they forgot to give Lando.

As much as I love the sculpt, the deco comes up short. Why? Materials. The grey seems to be a bit light - and isn't quite as opaque as I would prefer. A darker color would have been good, just to give the illusion that it's metal. As it is, it's plastic, and it looks plastic. I rarely would be inclined to say if Disney did a new 6-inch die-cast metal one I'd be interested, but in this case I would. The vest is fine, the paint is perfectly nice, it's just that his plating should be a slightly darker color. I like the chest's scratches and dirt, even though they are a bit overshadowed by his vest. Nobody took any shortcuts on this one.

If you've been collecting figures from this series, and you love droids, this is a can't-miss figure. Until version 2.0 comes along, that is. It's good enough for now, and with no other options, this is the Zero for you. I'm glad they made it, the sculptors did their work just fine, and hopefully more of the crew will make an appearance as action figures some day. (I still genuinely don't understand why they're not doing Mando theme waves once or twice a year.) Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, I assume nobody is reading today.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,876: November 25, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,875: General Lando Calrissian (The Black Series)

GENERAL LANDO CALRISSIAN
6-Inch Debut

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Green Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F1871
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #07 - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Includes: Pistol, cape
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $22.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Lando Calrissian served as a general in the starfighter attack on the second Death Star, showing off his superb piloting skills by guiding the Millennium Falcon into the Death Star superstructure. (Taken from the 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:
With this release, General Lando Calrissian ticks the last Kenner box - now all the 1980s Lando figures exist in this 6-inch scale! I'm not sure how long ago this was developed, because parts of it seem like it could have been a design shelved from a few years ago. While it absolutely looks like the outfit from the movies, some of the niceties of more recent figures are missing - for example, the shoulders that can pivot forward? They're not here. The mid-torso cut (rather than a belt cut or something more subtle) is back, too. I wouldn't be shocked if the design work was mostly done in or around 2018 -but since he has an awesome cloth cape and great face paint, I won't complain too much.

Complete with working chest holster, the tiny blaster easily fits in his hand or in its place. It's not too big, and it looks great. Lando's cape is thin and despite being cloth, has a plastic "chain" which actually looks amazing. Hasbro managed to make the gear exactly what it needed to be.

Everything about the uniform seems about right - Hasbro even sculpted the belt as a separate piece, which does look a bit better than just painting some brown on the pants. The boots are good, the pants have their yellow stripe, and you even get rocker ankles. The articulation is fine - not up to late 2019 standards, but fine - with elbows that bend nicely and legs that swing forward, but not well enough to fit in a cockpit were one ever made. His head looks a lot like Billy Dee Williams, with painted on hair - not a separate piece, as we sometimes get - and everything seems to be painted on straight. It's a good recreation of a good costume, but things like the mid-torso joint are going to haunt me.

He's fine. He's not amazing, but he meets expectations and puts all the major costumes to rest - Hasbro could still do the smuggler's costume from the end of The Empire Strikes Back but I wouldn't hold your breath. Other than the articulation not being as integrated as nicely as I would like - and maybe hte costume being a bit more wrinkly in spots - I'd say it's good enough, and you should get it if you see it at a fair price. Maybe we'll even get Nien Nunb some day.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,875: November 23, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,874: Vice Admiral Rampart (The Black Series)

 

VICE ADMIRAL RAMPART Walmart Exclusive
The Black Series 2020 Line Look Dark Red Star Wars: The Bad Batch Packaging
Item No.:
No. F2932
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #08 - Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Includes: Blaster, Mouse Droid
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: The Bad Batch

Bio: After the fall of the Republic, Vice Admiral Rampart is assigned to oversee the clone troopers on Kamino by Governor Tarkin. Rampart has eagerly taken to his role in the Galactic Empire as it aims to instill order in the galaxy. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:
There are a lot of aliens, pilots, and other good figures that I don't think will be appreciated in their time. This is one of them. Nobody knew who he was when the pre-order went live and after a few appearances on the show, they still don't know much about him! Vice Admiral Rampart is yet another Imperial stooge who is there to hunt down dissenters, but his whole deal is transitioning the Empire away from clones to citizens for some reason. It's a living.

The figure exists probably thanks to its speedy development - the body parts are shared by Tarkin, Thrawn, Veers, and Piett, just to name a few. I assume it's because of the existing body with 26 points of articulation that this figure exists. After all, you don't need to make new bodies like you would for any of the other recurring characters. There are minor differences between the various Imperials in this scale, and the figure has some minor accuracy issues, but it's a good figure. It's just not an accurate figure. The Imperial Navy rank badge is not always a consistent thing in reference books, so it's not surprising Hasbro's figure uses the same one with the Moffs and Admirals and such rather than the one on the show - which has two code cylinders, two blue rectangles, and four red rectangles. The figure has twelve rectangles - six blue, six red. Most fans probably won't notice (or, frankly, care) but it's the kind of thing that could probably have been done correctly and more easily in the 3 3/4-inch line thanks to more torsos and a system developed to plug in different rank pins from about 12 years ago. The Black Series was not created to be as robust nor as scalable.

It's worth noting that his head is new, and it looks like what it is - a realistic interpretation of a stylized, blocky cartoon head. The shin is a little big, the head is a little thick in spots, and it doesn't look like a specific famous person as far as I can tell. The shading and paint is excellent, but since it's not an exact representation of an actual person it's hard to rate well or not. As an action figure, it looks like an action figure. It resembles his TV appearance, and there's not a whole heck of a lot else to say other than they did a good job bringing a cartoon character into a photoreal space.


The blaster pistol is perfectly fine, but for $24.99 - a full $2 over the price increase of $22.99 we got earlier this year - I would have liked to see more new elements, like a retooled torso, given that we'll probably never get another figure of this guy. You do get a repack of the Disney Galaxy's Edge First Order Mouse Droid - the scuffing is so similar, I assume it's meant to be the same exact piece - but it's still not a heck of a lot of extra for your money. Tarkin got an Interrogation Droid, Veers got all that armor plus hats. At $22.99, I wouldn't complain, but at this time I'm not quite sure why some exclusives cost more than others, even at the same store, for varying levels of changes. 

But hey, if you want a Rampart, this is the only game in town right now and my guess is absolutely nobody will be excited for him until a couple of seasons in the show. You know, after he dies, or joins the Rebels or something.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.com.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,874: November 18, 2021


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,873: Trapper Wolf (The Black Series)

TRAPPER WOLF
Pulse Con Exclusive

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
No. F1265
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #13 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Blaster, helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $26.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: A veteran of the Rebellion against the Empire, Trapper Wolf now serve as a pilot in the new Republic. He flies his X-wing as part of a squadron which patrols the outer reaches of the galaxy. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
A quick sell-through, Trapper Wolf is Dave Filoni's character on The Mandalorian - and with two appearances, he should have a figure! (Hopefully Carson Teva is coming, also 3 3/4-inch equivalents.) This one is, sadly, a convention exclusive, which I think everyone can infer was meant for San Diego Comic-Con International, most likely, which was canceled two years in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A small "Special Edition" is set for next weekend, although it sounds like the toy industry and all of popular culture is largely giving it a pass. So Hasbro sold this one online with a limit of one per customer, and should probably consider another run.

The figure itself is the 2013 X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker figure from the very first wave in this scale, but with minor deco changes and a new head.  That means a 47-year-old man's head is on a 26-year-old man's body. The lightsaber hook is there, but now the straps around his waist and legs are white instead of gray. The switches on the figure's chest match Luke's, which qualifies as "good enough" but not necessarily accurate. In his first appearance on the show his suit's orange collar is unbuttoned and is open over his white vest, plus he has a white chin strap and what appears to be white areas in his helmet.

This doesn't mean it isn't neat - Hasbro doesn't sculpt a ton of pilot bodies these days, so whenever they do one it gets used repeatedly. A new body would probably be appropriate here due to Filoni's different build and it could give us a crack at deco improvements, but given you never get a really good look at the man walking around I can also throw my hands in the air and say "well, it's better than nothing." The head sculpt is excellent and the helmet deco looks really cool with his wolf symbol and everything, and it seems to match his second appearance quite nicely. (I guess they changed it a tiny bit.) The blaster also looks just like his appearance when he met Mando on the planet of the ice spiders.

Much like the upcoming George Lucas Stormtrooper figure and other special and weird cameos, we've come to accept that a lot of figures in this line over the past 20 or so years - since Power of the Jedi on - are likely to reuse existing molds because it's sensible to do so. It's not like there are full-body shots from the show to compare to, and as long as it's Dave Filoni's head on a pilot body you really can't make a huge fuss about them needing to make a series of changes. More recent figures have far more forgiving joints when it comes to posing, so I hope there's a Pilot 2.0 body in the works for Biggs or other pilots. But this figure? He's fine. There are no special improvements, he meets expectations and you'll likely be disappointed if you missed him and are a The Mandalorian or pilot completist.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro Pulse.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,873: November 16, 2021

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,872: Artillery Stormtrooper (The Black Series)

ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER
Amazon Exclusive

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
No. F2883
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #13 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Blaster, 4 grenades, backpack, mortar
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $26.49
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: Specialized soldiers in the Imperial forces, artillery stormtroopers carry specialized indirect fire weapons like mortars onto the battlefield . (Taken from the Amazon listing.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
A quick sell-through (and surprisingly fast delivery), this Artillery Stormtrooper comes from The Mandalorian. A number of exclusive figures cost more despite having minimal changes over a regular figure, with this one in particular sharing tooling for multiple figures that sold for $19.99 just last year including the robustly accessorized red Incinerator Trooper. That was an impressive one! This item may have cost more to produce, but it's $7 more than a similarly sized figure from last year - which seems high. It's still neat, it'll still likely sell, but that's sort of where we are now - there are no kids to be concerned with, so collectors are increasingly used to spending $25 or more for figures. Especially on Amazon, which has a lot of third-party sellers pricing figures to whatever the market will pay.

In an era of third-party upgrades, a $20 figure with some extra gear probably is worth the extra charge to the kind of person who tricks out and customizes their figures. And you do have something to show for your money - the 2020-style trooper body is back with some minor tooling changes to the belt and torso, which has holes to fit the backpack. The yellow markings look great, and the yellow pauldron is a nice touch. The backpack doesn't fit on perfectly well, but it does stay and can store four of those little grenades. It stands well, it sits well - it's a stormtrooper. They deliver the goods with these things, and I still especially like the new sculpt and improved shoulders over the 2013 buck.

The mortar accessory is really nicely done. You can dump a grenade in it, the ball-jointed base moves nicely, and the bipod helps it to stay upright. Also it includes a standard (modern) issue blaster, meaning you can just have this guy standing around, looking cool, as you do. I really dig wacky color troopers so this sort of thing appeals to me. I just wish it wasn't exclusive, and widely available. (Heck, it might be widely available. We don't know what kind of hardcore MISB-hoarding is going on lately.)

As I am old, I kind of bristle at this being as expensive as it is and as big as it is - I would have been doing cartwheels of glee if this were a 1990s Power of the Force-era figure, buff sculpt and all, mostly because it was new and fun. This is nice. There's absolutely nothing bad about it, this is a wonderful sculpt with everything you could want in the box including marvelous yellow marks on the legs, arms, torso, helmet, and so on. But wouldn't it be fun if you could launch projectiles? Wouldn't it be fun if it was cheap enough to get a squad of them to play with your vehicles? Of course, I'm being completely unfair - this is a pretty good package. At or near retail, you should buy this. Buy two, if you like. Since it sold out before mine was even delivered, it's going for double retail as of my writing this review - I wouldn't recommend it at that price. (But it is still neat.)

Making the Star Wars galaxy bigger can be tough, as new shows tend to lean on older characters - but seeing figures like this remind me of how games and comics sometimes would stretch things out in the 1990s and 2000s. I hope we see more unusual troopers, but hopefully in smaller and easier-to-get forms.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,872: November 11, 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,871: IG-11 (The Vintage Collection)

IG-11
New Sculpt

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. F1901
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #206
Includes: Pistol, rifle
Action Feature: n/
Retail: $13.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian
Bio: One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunters Guild protocols to the letter. (Taken from marketing copy. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
Since Hasbro re-rebooted The Vintage Collection it can be hard to know if we should get excited or not - sometimes we get reruns, sometimes we get new guys, and sometimes we get new guys who could be reruns. It turns out IG-11 is a reason to be excited - it's not just IG-88 with new parts, but a new figure with an exceptional amount of articulation that exceeds the quality of the slight retool we got for The Black Series. You should get this one. This one is good.

As far as I can tell, other than maybe the weapons, there's a lot of newness here. There are at least 29 moving parts, with articulated ankles and multiple swiveling elements on the head. The wrists rotate, and the excellent hand designs showcase individual fingers like he had on the show - and they're sculpted far enough apart to serve a function and finally hold the blasters better than any IG-88 figure to date. It's really impressive - he stands well so far, and seems surprisingly sturdy for a spindly guy. With thin limbs it's entirely possible he will sag or face-plant over time, so a stand with upper body support is probably a good idea to keep him from starting a domino rally in your displays.

The legs swing forward and have joints to go out to the sides. The shoulders are the same - there's actual movement here. The hands swivel, the waist has a joint, and the head has multiple moving parts. If some day you could give this figure articulated fingers (which in 2021 I am going to say will never happen at this scale, prove me wrong) you might be able to improve it - but I think this is one of those end-of-the-road figures with top-notch paint, a great bandolier vest, excellent deco, and wonderful painted details. Much like the character in the show, this is better than IG-88 ever was.

As I mentioned in reviews of other new new figures this year, Hasbro's skill is amazing when they apply it. Reruns tend to just be... fine. Not amazing, just fine. These figures are so good I don't mind paying $14 for them. There's no asterisk, there's no disclaimer - he's awesome. I can only hope to see so much amazing work going into future figure's engineering, and I'm sure there will be, because all the newest new stuff since they introduced thigh swivels with Rogue One supera-articulated 3 3/4-inch figures, it's been pretty hard to be disappointed with anything new that comes out.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,871: November 9, 2021

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,870: Lando Calrissian (The Vintage Collection)

LANDO CALRISSIAN
New Sculpt

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. F1890
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #205
Includes: Blaster, cape
Action Feature: n/
Retail: $13.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: Lando Calrissian was a human male smuggler, gambler, entrepreneur, and card player who became Baron Administrator of Cloud City and, later, a general in the Rebel Alliance. (Taken from marketing copy. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
This is a curious one - it's been over a decade since we got a new Lando Calrissian 3 3/4-inch action figure, and this one takes some notable swings - it's a hit, too. The all-new mold seems to be largely derived from the 6-inch The Black Series figures with very similar articulation and similar if not identical wrinkles in his outfit. The cape is made with a new process, and the hair is a separately molded piece. In short, it's a perfect new figure and shows just why we should be excited when Hasbro finally makes new molds.

The head sculpt looks a lot like Billy Dee Williams, and the printed photoreal face is excellent. The mustache and eyebrows are good and the eyes are excellent - at least, with my eyes they're awesome. The macro lens and the ring light bring any flaw into focus when you blow it up, but that's unfair - this is meant to be seen by people, not cameras. The hair is perfect, a separate piece attached to his head so there's no weird "doll hair" hairline paint issues. Could you ask for more? Sure. But you won't get it, this is probably the head sculpt we'll see for years to come in any newly made figures of any size.

For better or worse, articulation is very close to the 6-inch figure. You get bend-and-swivel wrists, the weird mid-torso cut joint I just can't stand, a fantastic neck joint, old-style non-rocker ankles for his boots, and perfectly good hips and knees. The knees are typical bend-and-swivel joints, unlike the double-jointed knees of the 6-inch figure. The thigh cuts are great, and the hips aren't bad - they're those weird ones with 2 joints where they attach to the pelvis. Everything seems to work fairly well so he can sit in the Millennium Falcon - you can even pop off the head and remove the cape!

The cape itself is interesting in that it's one of the thinnest and most ornate yet - I'm not sure what's even going on here. The blue trim is great and the lining is more detailed than the 6-inch figures. I think I can safely say that for a 3 3/4-inch figure, the level of detail is stunning given how thin it is, which makes it better for a figure of this size. The cape is pre-folded and stitched in a certain pose, which helps him look more like the movie - but it's not perfect. It's a huge improvement and a big step forward, but it doesn't bunch up in the front precisely like the photo - it may be a technical impossibility, but given how they did the string for the neck and the lining, perhaps nothing is impossible anymore. As costs go up, Hasbro can put a bit more money in some elements and give us a fancier, better figure for our money. The blaster has a silver barrel and some weathering, making it one of the best in the scale. The communicator from the 6-inch figure is sadly absent.

So far, this is the figure I see the most often from this wave (and possibly this whole year.) Lando tends to be a slower seller, but he's also one of the very best figures Hasbro has put out this year - it's as close to perfect as we've seen so far and is an absolute upgrade over every previous release. The plastic cape vs. cloth cape argument may go on forever, and you may be happy with the previous releases, but I can't not love this one. The 2004-era Vintage figure was good, at $10 with swivel elbows, but at $14 and 17 years later this one is just so far beyond it I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't welcome an upgrade. Get this one. Get two! Keep one in the Falcon. It would stun me if Hasbro makes a better sculpt in the next 10-20 years, unless they just move the torso joint to the belt. That I could buy. But otherwise, this is likely as good as he's ever going to get and it's excellent.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,870: November 4, 2021

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,869: Aurra Sing (The Black Series)

AURRA SING
6-Inch Debut

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Yellow Star Wars: The Clone Wars Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F1864
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #08 - Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Includes: Rifle, strap, two pistols
Action Feature: Removable strap, working holsters
Retail: $22.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars

Bio: A feared bounty hunter known for her chalk-white skin and built-in comlink antenna, Aurra Sing was an expert sniper and trained assassin who would work for anyone who paid her. (Taken from the 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:
This is a good one also. Aurra Sing is a figure that seems to span multiple eras, in several ways. Her double-jointed knees with visible pins make me assume this design may have been started a few years ago and shelved until recently - most newer-sculpted figures have a bend-and-swivel knee design. (I could be wrong.) This one is loaded with articulation, 27 points in all, plus a pair of holsters

Labeled "Babe Fett" on some early concept art, this cameo from The Phantom Menace became a much bigger deal in The Clone Wars and in the various Dark Horse Comics publications in the early 2000s. She wore pretty much the same exact outfit in most of her appearances (although there is a black outfit that got to be a Walmart exclusive once), so if you want to see this as a cartoon version or the movie version, one thing is certain: they're pretty much the same.

The sculpting of the su per-tight orange onesie is good, the various belts and vest hang over it nicely, and all the joints work pretty well. She can stand holding the rifle, she can hold the pistols, and the holsters work well too - this is a well-engineered figure with paint that's about as good as I assume we'll ever get on a Hasbro consumer-level Aurra Sing figure. My only gripe is that the antenna - a separately molded piece - is a teensy bit translucent, so in bright light it looks a lot less like metal. The same is true of the thinner parts of her rifle. It's by no means bad, but you can make an argument for some silver paint if you're a customizer.

There are some figures where you can nitpick details to highlight, but this one pretty much does everything you want... and does it efficiently. Separately molded hair, great eye make-up paint, a few silver painted elements on the vest, she's good. You feel like you basically get your price increased $23 worth here - and I don't doubt we may see revisions in a repaint down the road. I wouldn't wait if you see this one, just go ahead and get her. She's neat. Having said that, I look forward to excuses for figures that are not bounty hunters nor freedom fighters nor government thugs. Alien Space Trucker is also a fine profession.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,869: November 2, 2021

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,868: R6-W1CH (Droid Factory)

R6-W1CH Disney Parks Halloween Exclusive
Star Wars Droid Factory
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: Witch Hat
Action Feature: Comes apart
Retail: $12.99
Availability: August 2021
Appearances: n/a

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the Star Wars galaxy. Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors. This droid resides at the mysterious world of Dathomir and is known to aid a coven of witches in their gifts of wielding dark magic. Join R6-W1CH on her adventures throughout the galaxy! May the Force be with you... and your Droids! (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: The sequel trilogy didn't take too much from the pre-Disney Expanded Universe and put it on-screen, but it did take the R6 droids. This is good, because now we've got R6-W1CH, the 2021 Halloween droid that somehow got this name rather than it being used for a sandwich in the restaurants over there. The deco is new, the hat is new, the droid mold is not. And of course, you probably want one.

The witch droid has black feet, red legs, a red body, plus lots of black and white highlights. The dome is white, with red and black highlights. Her coloring actually doesn't look too far off from Mother Talzin, who I assume will never get an action figure, as the droid dome matches the witch-in-chief's make-up without being a precise copy. At least, I assume it's make-up. Her big red eye seems a little out of character for most astromech droids, but from behind this figure screams a 1970s Lucasfilm design - just look at all those black and red panels! She totally could be hanging out off-camera in a Rebel base somewhere. The black feet do a good job of hiding the lack of wires, the red arms have subtle silver greebles on them, and she just looks more ornate than most releases. Unlike last year's little pumpkin, this droid may not necessarily read as a witch from a first visual glance - but with the hat, I mean, it makes sense.

The hat is new - it's got a nice pointy witch hat, bent down because why the heck not. It's optional. I think it helps sell the witch image, but the good news is if you lose it, you've still got a very Star Wars-y robot - more so than most past holiday exclusives. As much as I love the glow-in-the-dark R3 unit, I don't buy it as something in the Star Wars galaxy. But this red robot R6? This feels more authentic than a lot of on-screen designs we've seen.

Even if you skip all the holiday droids, you should get this one. It looks good, and it looks like it belongs with your other figures. And thank your lucky stars it's not as scarce as R2-RN8W from the "Rainbow Collection" earlier this year, which I didn't have a crack at and hope to someday get. Get this droid while you still can!

Collector's Notes: I got this from Kerry, who got it from Disneyland. Thank you Kerry!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,868: October 28, 2021

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,867: Tech (The Black Series)

TECH
6-Inch Debut

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Red Star Wars: The Bad Batch Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F1864
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #04 - Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Includes: 2 blasters, helmet
Action Feature: Blaster, helmet, 3 tools, backpack
Retail: $22.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Bio: Tech is the computer and weapons specialist, the most talkative of the group. His genetically enhanced brain can puzzle through technical issues at speeds even faster than some droids. (Taken from the 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:
This is a good one too. Tech is a character (and design) that seems right at home in a 1980s toy line. The big clunky goggles and headphones - and backpack - remind me of old figures like Dial-Tone in G.I. Joe, with glasses and goggles on his helmet. He looks like a Biker Scout combined with Clone Commandos, meshed with 1980s and 1990s cartoon teams, through the lens of The A-Team. I don't get to say this much, but it feels like you're really getting your money's worth with this one - it's just a pity this isn't a kid's toy line with wide availability so young fans can have adventures with him. It's going to be an in-demand figure for collectors for quite some time and any kids finding it on-shelf will be the aberration.

While not perfect, I really like this figure - thanks to the shift from "animated look" to "realistic look," Hasbro gets to dodge a lot of complaints. It isn't perfect? Well, it's artistic license. I love the little pixel skull on the headphones, but I dislike the glasses are now opaque, hiding his eyes under the helmet. I do like the flip-down visor on the helmet and I'm in love with all the superfluous antennas. Technology has moved so much in our world that we lost dials, knobs, buttons, and other things you'd get at the Radio Shack - Tech keeps that ramshackle look on his helmet. This design has a face that looks to foreshadow elements of Biker Scouts and Stormtroopers, complete with grey and red highlights. I can't even hate on those opaque lenses too much. I mean, they worked for Gendo Ikari, right?

Articulation is good, although the belt gets in the way a bit. The holster for three unique tools is a great idea, but there's nowhere to hold his sole blaster - not even a slot in his removable backpack. (This is an oversight - they could have carved a groove for it to go between the back and the body, out of sight for storage.) The body is great, I'm counting about 28 points of articulation which is roughly normal these days. The face looks a lot like a mutant Temura Morrison, even moreso than the cartoon. There's not much to bag on here. The sculptors did a good job.

Deco could use some work - but again, Hasbro gets to claim creative license here. The armor is clean, while the show has a definitely layer of dirt on it. You'll notice the figure's forearms lacks the red stripes we saw on the show, which I think was probably for budget reasons. The character is a clone of Jango Fett, but for some reason the figure (and the character on the show) are significantly lighter. I'm pretty pale as an underground-dwelling cave person, but this figure seems to be even lighter than I am - a little color would have been good. His hair also seems lighter than on the show, but that could just be a trick of the lighting on most episodes. I'll leave it up to you, but there are opportunities for Hasbro to do a "premium" version of this figure a few years down the road with more deco and the goggles he wears when he isn't wearing his helmet, too. I guess what I'm saying it Tech would've been a better candidate for the $30 price point than Wrecker, who's just a tiny bit bigger than an average figure.

His tools don't have a lot of decoration, nor does his backpack - which drops some of the paint applications from the show. The helmet is great, the blaster is fine, but the backpack doesn't have much going on there. Given how figures are budgeted, I assume something had to be cut - it's not like it's immediately obvious that they colors are missing back there.

Thanks to his tools, decent deco, and plentiful paint applications, I still think he's a good figure. While I would've loved to see more money put into refining his paint job, compare him to other similarly priced figures - he's impressive. Hasbro put a lot into this one, with a great sculpt and relatively few deco shortcomings. This is an action figure that was born to be an action figure - I hope kids can find the Mission Fleet figure, and/or that we get a retro-style one later. And I'd happily pay a little more for one with a bit more gear and a bit more paint.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,867: October 26, 2021