Thursday, April 29, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,807: Battle Droid (2021, The Vintage Collection)

BATTLE DROID
(Redeco, 2021 reissue)

The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. E5912 No. F1886
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #78 (reissue)
Includes: Blaster, backpack, antenna
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: February 2021
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Battle droids, also known as combat droids, clankers, droid soldiers, or battle bots, were a type of droid designed for combat. Over the years, many different models of battle droid were being utilized by various factions throughout the galaxy. One such faction was the Confederacy of Independent Systems, which used a number of different models of battle droid during the Clone Wars to make up the Separatist Droid Army. (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:
Since you're going to have to get used to more reruns, you're also going to have to know a good one when you see it. This Battle Droid is on the fence - an expensive army builder should be brought back! But it should also be improved. It's certainly good enough, with all-new deco and what feels like slightly more rubbery plastic. (At press time, I was unable to track down the 2012 original release in my collection. This is what not getting everything organized gets you.)

The sculpt is nearly perfect with wonderful details matching the films. For safety reasons - and to avoid breakage - these figures are a tiny bit rubbery sometimes. This one is very rubbery - I assume gravity, heat, and time will send them toppling over, even on a figure stand. (You'll need a small doll stand, something with upper-body support, to prevent falling over after a few days/weeks/months.) Having incredibly tight joints might help, but I've seen the actual leg bend of various thin-limbed droids over the years even when placed on a figure stand. There's no fighting the forces of physics, so you have to work around them and spring for tiny doll stands. While it's true this figure has better proportions, more authentic detailing, and improved articulation over the droids of 1999, the 1999 class was better at standing. You can't have everything - they have to fudge something in order to make these figures work. Packaged collectors should have no problems with this one, but hoarders troop builders may want to use other molds to build up their army.

The deco is new - and almost glittery. There's a silver scrape print finish over the bony "metal" coloration, and it reads as more sparkly than battle-worn. One of the eyes on mine was a smidgen off, but that's not the end of the world - if anything, a slightly off-model droid works well in an army situation. I prefer the original 2012 deco, but I'd still say you should get one of the new ones to build out dioramas. It's the kind of different that makes buying all the flavors worthwhile, because any time you can make a "different" trooper it's effectively a new figure.

Much like the original, you can swap out the backpack for an antenna pack, or have him crouch down in a ball to fit in the giant Hasbro MTT that got expensive when you weren't looking. This, friends, is why you can't always wait for clearances. If Hasbro experiments with materials I have no doubt they could make a better Battle Droid, but I don't know if - oh, he fell over while I was writing this. Well, that's why you need to get some sort of support under the arms. It's not great for openers, unless you want him crouched down, or have him supported, or have him in a vehicle. He's just not stable. ...he fell over again.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,807: April 29, 2021

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,806: Cad Bane (The Black Series 6-Inch)

CAD BANE
(without, or with Todo 360 as a Hasbro Pulse Exclusive)

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Yellow Star Wars: The Clone Wars Packaging Deluxe Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. E9359, or the exclusive is No. E9634
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #06
Includes: 2 blasters, bag, and hat; exclusive version includes Todo 360
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99 or $29.99 for the exclusive version
Availability: October 2020
Appearances: The Clone Wars
Bio: A ruthless bounty hunter from the planet Duro, Cad Bane was the preeminent blaster-for-hire in the galaxy during the Clone Wars. No quarry was too dangerous for Bane, if the price was right. (Taken from the figure's 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:
I put off reviewing a lot of exclusives, but this one was also a standard release. Cad Bane can be bought with or without Todo 360 - I got both, because I'm nuts. The Clone Wars has gone from a thing old fans ignored to a thing young adults adore, which is one of the reasons you're getting so much The Clone Wars stuff in this format. Kids liked it! And old fans are dying off, quitting, or just not spending money as freely. There are now over 40 years of fans, and to put things in perspective my fellow olds should look at Star Trek in the 1990s when Playmates Toys took a couple of years to do Kirk and Spock and friends, instead focusing on the then-hugely-popular new syndicated Star Trek: The Next Generation. It doesn't mean the original thing isn't cool anymore - but you can kind of get why you want to milk the new thing when it's hot.

This is a good 7-inch scale figure. The likenesses of cartoon figures are hard to pin down, but thankfully a rubber mask is a rubber mask, and a skinny alien is a skinny alien. Other than some more painted and sculpted detail, Cad Bane looks pretty much exactly like his animated model counterpart. If anything, Hasbro filled him out a little here - he was more gaunt on the cartoon, with bigger eyes. Aside from that he looks pretty much exactly like you would have imagined with his wide-brimmed hat, working holsters, Boba Fett-like gauntlets, and boot rockets.

The blue skin if vibrant and the costume is a bit less saturate than the animation model, which is what you want in your scum and/or villainy. He has the kind of articulation typical to the later 2020-and-beyond figures with thigh cuts hidden by his boots, rocker ankles, jointed rockets, and he just serves as a shining beacon of how to hide articulation in your character design. Nearly every joint is hidden in a fold in his costume, which makes this seem like it could have been designed as a toy first. Hasbro did a magnificent job translating it to a sneering plastic figure, with faux leather deco on the plastic and some worn bits on the pants. It's really quite incredible, but I assume there's a certain kind of fan who is absolutely adoring this figure while a lot of fans are going to eventually realize that they missed it. They will not be happy. This is a great release.

Since the character doesn't seem to be dead - at least, not yet - it would not entirely surprise me to see him show up in a streaming show or a new animated program. This is a figure that stands out as one of Hasbro's very best aliens, and serves as a reminder of why they should make more of them. They do such a good job! It's a shame we don't see more, but it always helps when it's a regular recurring popular bad guy. If you have the chance, get one.

Collector's Notes: I got the exclusive one from Hasbro Pulse. I got the regular one from Entertainment Earth. I literally cannot tell the difference.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,806: April 27, 2021


Monday, April 26, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,805: Zutton (The Vintage Collection)

ZUTTON 2021 Rerelease/Repaint of 2012 Snaggletooth
The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. E5912 No. F2325
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #189
Includes: Blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: February 2021
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Zutton was a Snivvian male was an artist who spent time in Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina on the planet Tatooine. (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:
Originally part of a Target-exclusive 3-pack under the name "Snaggletooth" from 2012, this Zutton figure is the first wide-release of this mold. In recent years we've been seeing a lot of nomenclature issues, from administrative errors (Kir Kanos/Carnor Jax) to questions of if any of the original resources were right. A lot of the Cantina aliens didn't have "real" names in the 1970s, leading to apocryphal preproduction names, Kenner names, card games, RPG supplements, fan club magazines, and other resources all fighting for some level of definitive-ness. 

A very similar alien was made as a figure in the late 1990s was named Takeel. I couldn't even tell you what is right or wrong these days given the fact that we don't know if there is a definitive document somewhere inside Lucasfilm, or if people are just screwing up, or if nobody knows and they're just making up and changing things as we go. There was a Holiday Special Snivvian during Power of the Jedi named Zutton - but now some sources say that's Zutmore, and the figure was wrong. But all I know is that it's 2021 and there's still no Geezum figure, so life has no meaning.

If you got the 2012 Snaggletooth [FOTD #1,966] you probably don't think you need this update. And I would agree with you - while the two have numerous minor differences, it looks like the 2021 figure was an attempt to recreate the 2012 release - the changes are so minor, it would be easy to dismiss the new release as a variation in the batches of plastic or paint. Since I can see numerous differences in addition to the awkward tampo of the new figure's SKU on the back thigh, I have to treat this as a unique release. It's the law.

The new figure's hair is darker and glossier. The black paint on the eyes doesn't completely fill the eyeball - comparing it to reference photos, this makes the new one a smidgen more accurate. The red tunic is a bit more saturated and darker, with the sleeves appearing darker than the torso fo rthe 2021 figure. There's more dark paint wash on the tunic as well, and it's darker this time. The boots are a little more saturated, the pants are a bit less saturated.

The blaster fits in the holster or in his hand, and the sculpt remains good. It's standard super-articulated fare, and one of depressingly few Cantina aliens within the past decade - and as mentioned above, he's arguably not a new character given the similarity to Takeel [FOTD #337] from late 1998. I wish he came with a tumbler of some sort, but a blaster isn't inconsistent with the other figures from Mos Eisley.

Packed at just one per case, I don't expect to see him around much - Cantina aliens tend to sell well, even the reissues sell quickly these days. Hasbro did a marvelous job with the sculpt and I'm glad they cranked out more for new fans who weren't around for the original release. I would also be happier with some actual new Cantina aliens - unless I'm forgetting someone, the last all-new release was Mosep Bineed from 2015. I would strongly recommend this Zutton to anyone that missed the previous releases - but if you're happy with your red tunic Snivvian collection, you can probably skip this one.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,805: April 26, 2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,804: CB-23 (Droid Factory Line Look / Droid Depot)

CB-23 Disney Parks Exclusive
Star Wars Droid Depot
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney?
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Comes apart
Retail: $12.99
Availability: October 2020
Appearances: Star Wars: Ressitance

 
Bio: All different types of droids populate the Star Wars galaxy. Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors. A maroon and turquoise BB Astromech unit, CB-23 serves the resistance as Poe Dameron's co-pilot. 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: With the parks largely closed and my pals unable to go places, I got CB-23 when a damaged cardback showed up on eBay. The price was right. This uses Disney's BB tooling, but gives us a new head and the first and perhaps only release the robot will ever see. It would not stun me if this is the last time we ever get a figure from Star Wars: Resistance either.

By 2021 nobody needs nor do they want another BB droid. I think everybody got over the sequels for a while, and right now want to wallow in the post-Return of the Jedi splendor of The Mandalorian. For those of us who just need everything, this little robot is a nice addition to the droid pool since he got a new head. The red head now has a flat silver top with a few wires, lights, and panels I didn't notice when watching the show. It looks like someone customized it. The dome is missing a little yellow box on his left side, but other than that matches the packaging rendering quite nicely with the cheery colors. The unique dome makes this an easy choice to pick up, provided you aren't yet over countless repaints and retools of robots.

The body is largely the same as BB-8 other than the colors, and it looks fantastic. If you pop it open, there's a weighted engine ball inside molded in red with silver highlights. Why did Disney bother to paint something you may never even know you can see? I have no idea. I assume to make you think you got your $13 worth, especially since Hasbro did a series of 2-packs last fall for a mere $9.99 each. There's no weighted ball or removable head, but on the other hand, you got two for ten bucks.

There's not a lot new here other than head and colors, but that's what tends to serve as a good redeco in Transformers. Normally you don't even get a new noggin. I don't assume we'll get a lot from Disney's largely ignored second animated child, despite it being jam-packed with awesome alien designs and some really cool periphery characters. Also, some of the most boring heroes and villains. But we got a handful of neat figures, and this droid is one of the few I was left wanting once the line ended. Now where's Jim Rash: Bird Man, and Neeku?

Collector's Notes: I got this from eBay.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,804: April 22, 2021

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,803: Boba Fett (Deluxe ROTJ, The Black Series 6-Inch)

BOBA FETT
6-Inch Scale Debut... for this particular flavor of armor

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Green Star Wars Return of the Jedi Packaging
Item No.:
No. F1271
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #06 - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Includes: 2 rocket pack effects, 1 flame thrower effect, 1 rifle, 1 break-apart rifle, 1 capture dart snap-on accessory, 1 rocket, 1 jetpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: March 2020
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: With his customized Mandalorian armor, deadly weaponry, and silent demeanor, Boba Fett was one of the most feared bounty hunters in thh galaxy. (Taken from the box, which elected to use a gray lettering on a black background. We're getting older, Hasbro, how about some brighter letters here?)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

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

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
It doesn't matter what I say about Boba Fett. Since 1995, he's been difficult - if not impossible - to easily find in any fan-friendly collector action figure format. I have no doubt Hasbro decided to make a $30 version rather than a $20 version because of this. They know you're going to buy him. They know there are hundreds of thousands of fans who have likely never actually seen a Boba Fett action figure in a toy store at regular retail price. And they also know you're going to pay the $30 and not complain, and other fans who are not as savvy as you have no idea that $30 is more than a regular figure. They just want it. It's going to sell. It's going to sell well. Thankfully, it's good.


Hasbro put out its The Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett in 2013 as the line's debut at SDCC - it sold well, and it got expensive. When The Black Series pegwarmed in late 2013 and early 2014, and prices on Amazon went down to $10-$15, Boba Fett stayed popular - he was the one figure you probably didn't see in a store more than once. The figure proved so popular that Hasbro reissued him a few years ago, and again last year, and probably again in the future. The demand is just that high, and this all-new version doesn't share any tooling from that release either.

Standing about 6-inches tall, this is the Boba Fett where Hasbro pulled out all the stops. It may not be as big as the debut 12-inch figure, and his cape may not be cloth, but he's got pretty much everything you could want from Return of the Jedi minus a swappable hands. (There are some poses he can't quite assume as a result.) The one big complaint I've heard is that his helmet is pinched a bit, and may require heating to be restored to the proper shape - but mine doesn't seem all that off. Heck, he's got an articulated rangefinder too, meaning this is the one that does pretty much all of the things.

The jetpack looks a lot like what you say in the visual dictionaries - it's not quite as filthy, but it looks like you remember it. A couple of symbols near the caps on the sides are missing, as is some red on the tip of the missile. The colors are a bit more saturated and brighter on the final toy than the prop photos I've seen too. It's still good - but you make some compromises when going from a money-is-no-object hero prop to a mass-produced $30 figure's accessory. The two little poles flanking the rocket are left unpainted, and should be silver. The nozzles are missing the trapezoids, and the ball part isn't painted quite right either. OK, let's just say they whiffed the rocket pack - but it's on the back, it's fine.

The helmet is very close - some of the silver scuffing isn't an exact match, and a couple of chips and other landmarks appear to be missing. But it's not just the version from The Empire Strikes Back - a lot of scapes and specific landmarks are visible and you can tell there's a slight difference. Of course, you're also scrutinizing fake battle damage on a head the size of a grape. Hasbro did a good job, but if they did an "ultimate paint" version later that was perfect - and we were charged accordingly - I think I would buy it.

The same comments for the helmet apply to the armor. I love how the silver scuffs on the red armor really pops, and how the coloring is generally very good. (I think the chest armor may be too dark.) The pants lack the sooty dirt on the pockets and pant legs, but on the whole things are where they should be. Articulation is on par with other recent figures, although the elbow and knee bends aren't quite as good as some other recent releases. There are a few poses I wasn't quite able to replicate, but it's way, way better than nearly all previous Hasbro Boba Fett releases.

In terms of gear, he has a weathered rifle and a weathered, sliced rifle. It's an awesome gimmick but not one I necessarily value, as we don't see him use the re-assembled blaster, there's no way to pose it hovering as Luke cuts it off, and there's no Skiff (yet?) to pose him to fight with Luke either. It's nice - but if Hasbro put the pennies to more deco on the figure, I would be happier. It's a cool accessory in terms of giving us something new and different.

The capture claw cuff is kind of dorky. It's a big bracelet you put over the gauntlet so you can pretend he's wrapping up Luke (or the Fromm gang) but it's too short to wrap up Luke and certainly too short to wrap up the Fromms. This is for safety reasons, so it's understandable - but again, Hasbro could have left it out and just put the money back in making the figure better, or giving us a figure stand. It's not a particularly worthwhile accessory, and while I appreciate the idea it doesn't add to the figure. With a release like this, the one or two flaws are the things people will nitpick rather than just admiring an otherwise amazing release. The very first Boba Fett we can easily accept with open arms, but with a price hike and years of photographic reference we do expect perfection. (Maybe unfairly, but we do.)

Rounding out the set are three energy effects. Two rocket blasts plug in the jet nozzles on the backpack, but interestingly do not fit in Mando's. Color me surprised. A flame projectile can plug on to Boba Fett's left gauntlet, but it didn't take long for mine to sag a bit. All three accessories are beautiful, and are well-painted and worthwhile.

As technology gets better and fans get older, we expect a lot. I was really expecting some sort of stand or flame projectile base, for example. What we got is a perfectly nice figure that, in the context of current pricing and expectations, is going to make nearly any fan who shells out $30 for it really happy. It's not as fancy or elaborate as Hasbro's Unleashed figure, nor is it going to make a lot of fans happy to pay $10 extra - but it does offer you a lot more than you got with Jar Jar Binks. You get a lot of articulation and separate parts for Boba's armor vest and knee pads. The removable rocket was an amazing bonus feature that costs Hasbro money and they didn't have to do it - that's something I can really appreciate. And like I said, no matter what, when you see this, you are going to buy it. Hasbro's sculptor and deco artists did a lot here, and it's amazing just how many paint applications and parts we're getting for $30. But is it good enough? Well, we're Star Wars fans. If we were satisfied every time they went back to redo something from our childhoods, we'd be something else. If you want something fancier in this scale, BanDai has a nice 1:12 scale Boba Fett kit and there are other Japanese releases you may wish to explore - but none have this much gear, or are this reasonably priced.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,803: April 20, 2021

Monday, April 19, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,802: Shoretrooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

SHORETROOPER
Formerly Walmart-Exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper, Redux

The Black Series Archive 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. F0961 No. F1905
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: March 2021
Appearances: Rogue One, The Mandalorian

Bio: Specialist stormtroopers staged at the top secret military headquarters on Scarif, shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility. (Taken from the figure's 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:
If the Shoretrooper looks familiar, it should - it's a reissue of 2016's Walmart exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,322]. The update seems to mostly be a batch variant from the release from five years ago - most of the paint applications are pretty much the same, but any mass-produced figure will have some visible differences from figure to figure - especially with this kind of time between production.

The figure shares tooling with several others, and likely will share parts with more in the future. Heck, there's a third Scarif trooper we still don't have! This one looks more or less like the other trooper - the tan is a tiny bit different, the body glove seems a smidgen darker, and the paint wipes are different as manual wipes are wont to do. The 2021 release has a lot more in the way of wipes, but they tend to be more subtle. The arms are a bit dirtier on my sample, and the helmet is as well. Some of the chest dirt looks the same, and the smudge on the area below the belt is a bit more pronounced too. However, the boots have some patterns that seem identical to the previous release, which is a pity - it would've been great if they just left it off entirely so it would look different in any shelf army situation. Still, it's different enough that any collector who is inclined to army-build should be fine buying another one of these. I've more or less sworn off army building at this scale, so maybe some day I'll get rid of one of them, but right now I can say they're different enough to warrant trying to show them to you.

I admit, there is zero chance I would have said they were different without putting the old one and the new one side by side. Obviously you can tell by the SKU painted on the sole of the boot - but otherwise, I doubt most fans would just be able to tell which was which at a casual glance. I haven't seen enough of the Walmart release to know if each one is a bit different, or if they're all the same - right now I would wager Walmart's are only just barely cleaner.

It's a great figure if you missed the original release or just want more - you get the same blaster, with the same deco, and the same 27 points of articulation. I can't knock it for delivering what the market needed, particularly given the high secondary market price of the original release thanks to its limited availability. If you never got a Shoretrooper in this size, you should get this one. Unless you don't like the big guys, in which case, why are you even reading this far?

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,802: April 19, 2021


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,801: Vendor Droid (White, Droid Factory)

VENDOR DROID White
Star Tours Droid Factory Customizable Figure
Item No.:
???
Manufacturer: Disney?
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: Removable limbs
Retail: $12.95
Availability: April 2017
Appearances: The Clone Wars
Bio: A vendor droid, also known as a shopkeeper droid, was a type of droid assigned to sell merchandise. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.
 

Commentary: The new head! The White Vendor Droid is a little muddied. As of when I got this one - and he's been in a box for, oh, four years - the "white" body had this pretty nifty dirt deco printed on it, which goes particularly nicely with the CZ droid heads. But there are also other muddied torsos and limbs, which creates a good consistent look across all the droid parts. My sample has a torso that takes some cues from K-3PO with the red dots and blast mark/smudges over the chest, resulting in what you might call a decent original design. As far as I know this colorway has made no actual appearances in the saga, but Wookieepedia places them in The Phantom Menace and Solo - and I don't believe this head has appeared in those films. You know what the kids say 0 pics or it didn't happen.

The main selling point here is the unique head - one of a couple of dozen released into theme park bins in 2017. The white head has a scanner-like hat on top of the noggin, yellow eyes, and a black slot mouth you could probably slip a few bills in. It looks a lot like an old-school LEGO man head, minus the color and lack of a smile. It's also a little small, but as a unique creation you can only get at the theme parks, collectors will have to deal with hit. Hasbro has made no plans to do any such droids and I doubt that they ever will at this rate.

Articulation is build-a-droid standard, with 6 removable limbs and a grand total of 20 points of articulation and a design modeled from/copied from Hasbro's The Legacy Collection protocol droid. If you get in real close, you can see some of the details on the chest are printed like the current "photo real" bits - but here, they're glossy. Given that this is a figure that exists mostly to serve as a DIY souvenir, I can't recommend you get it, or replicate it, as it's probably only worth getting if you're a droid fanatic. Sadly Disney never offered a big box of Protocol Droid parts to do your own, so your proximity to theme parks will probably result in if you get one of these or not. I have no idea if they're still available - they're scarce on eBay too. This is one of those weird robot figures that, one day, someone will make a "definitive" guide to these figures and probably leave out. That's how it goes when you're a forgettable nobody of a robot - except you're me, I love this nonsense.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Hollywood Studios. Thanks Shannon!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,801: April 15, 2021


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,800: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (Kenner, The Black Series 6-Inch)

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI
Kenner 6-Inch Debut

The Black Series Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Collection
Item No.:
No. F2806
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Vinyl cape, blue blade, unpainted hilt
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: March 2021
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Force-sensitive legendary human male Jedi Master who served on the Jedi High Council during the last years of the Republic Era. During the Imperial Era, he adopted the alias Ben Kenobi in order to hide from the regime that drove the Jedi to near extinction. (Taken from Wookieepedia. Package has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I was actually thinking of asking Kenner to do Kennerian Greedo, but clearly they had much more in mind with this Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figure. I'm sure younger fans look at it with the same derision I gave to 2020's "holiday" repaints, but with the retro Kenner packaging and 1978-style deco this is a gem. And Hasbro can probably go back to the well and sell us several more figures in the same style. The 2016 figure returns, this time with a red/orange coloring, a vinyl cape to replace the cloth one, and a box over his anniversary-style cardback. This is the kind of thing they should keep running because it's a wonderful idea - but sometimes it won't appeal to everybody.

As a kid I did not like the vinyl capes - I didn't want to crease them, and they got in the way of fitting the figure in the Landspeeder. Here, there's a lot less to worry about - the figure's body has effectively static legs thanks to the long robe skirt piece. Sure, there are joints there, but what good will they do you? None good, that's what. As such the big sheet of vinyl wraps around the figure nicely and serves as a surprisingly good accent for this 6-inch figure. There's very little paint on the body, no doubt saving Hasbro a few bucks and helping to keep prices low. The vinyl doesn't really get in the way of the arm movement either - it's just as good as it was with a cloth robe, except now you can actually see the figure. One of the odder touches is that the figure's pants are painted dark brown, but they're effectively hidden by the robes. They probably could have saved more money molding everything in color, but opted not to for reasons I can't quite grasp. Good for them, I guess? It's a great match for the figure I grew up with in the 1980s.

The head is, to say the least, a weird mixture of the old and the new. The white hair doesn't quite match the film, but it does resemble one of the old toy variants and it has some overspray problems just like many (but not all) of the original Kenner figures. You can see a lot of the face painted beyond the hair, and I am choosing to assume Hasbro did this intentionally. What makes it odd is that the face - the eyes, specifically - make use of the Photoreal deco Hasbro has been crowing about over the last few years. I like it, because it looks better - but it also doesn't look quite as much as a vintage action figure with beady little dots for eyes. I assume it will also raise demand for an actual Photoreal Obi-Wan Kenobi redeco using the original movie colors. It's a neat piece, to say the least, and Hasbro should be commended for finding a way to sucker me out of $20 in a way so clever I won't complain about it.

Rounding out the set is a blue lightsaber. The blade is a blue not unlike the original, but the hilt is just silver - not like the original. You'll remember the 1978 Obi-Wan figure had a hilt embedded in his arm in a plastic color that matched the sleeves. It's the same great movie sculpt we got before, but I think I would have preferred they make it look intentionally uglier. But that's me - thanks to the realistic face, painted belt buckle, and hilt, it strikes me more like a Marvel Comics deco (flat colors, good faces) than the update to a Kenner figure. But who cares what I think? It's gorgeous.

The day I got mine I checked on Amazon to see what I paid for it - and saw it was sold out and shot up to about $90. Don't pay $90. Demand Hasbro make more for Amazon, so everybody can make more money, and not just the scalpers or flippers. (And make more of a slightly different Kenner Boba Fett while they're at it.) I really love this figure, even if it is just maybe 20% fancier than it needed to be to scratch the Kenner itch - but it's still great. You should still get it if you can do so at a reasonable price. He's worth it.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,800: April 13, 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,799: R2-Series Astromech Droid White with Red Panels

R2-SERIES ASTROMECH DROID
White Dome with Red Panels

The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
No. ???
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: Hat (varies)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: December 2015
Appearances: Better red than... not

Bio: These figures do not have specific packaging or configurations. As such, we will be treating each dome as a unique "figure" as that part is the most plentiful.

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Maybe eBay? Possibly a theme park if it opens? These may still be in bins if bins are accessible - eBay is your best bet.

Commentary:
More droids, more problems! Seemingly not based on anything in particular, this R2-Series Astromech Droid with a White Dome with Red Panels looks fine. It's a white dome - which we don't get a lot from Hasbro or in the movies - with red panels, which we don't see a lot of on R2-style round domes.

The 2015 red astromech body is a bit different than the 2012 model - you can see different red panels are painted, while other panels are now unpainted. The back has more panels filled in, and the deco is a little more red than the slightly orange-tinted 2012 model. I like it - it's different enough so that those who are in the know can tell the difference between release years. Unfortunately, other than the six people who care about such things, nobody else will probably ever notice.

2015 red legs have extra red boxes on them - you can't miss them. The sides and the front/back area have little panels, while the central white leg is completely undecorated.

The dome does exactly what you would hope - white plastic with nearly every panel filled in red. No bald spots here! There's a subtle orange circle under the eye, and a couple of similarly subtle orange lights on the back. A more contrasting color would have worked better, but it fits just fine. A few elements are decorated silver to keep things interesting, giving this R2 unit a look of a snowman of sorts.

While this has no place in a collection other than as one of your many, many droids, it's a neat one. I like that they changed up a few elements so it's just not the same old bodies again, and the white domes are a nice change of pace. You probably missed this one and didn't even realize it - so you're welcome/I'm sorry for showing this one to you. It's not flashy, but it does look like a perfectly nice off-the-assembly-line robot figure. Who knows - maybe it will have a cameo on a future TV project. Or movie. They've done so many designs I expect at some point Lucasfilm will just start pulling from the toys for reference!

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Land via may pal Shannon a few years ago. Thank you Shannon!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,799: April 12, 2021



Thursday, April 8, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,798: Greef Karga (The Vintage Collection)

GREEF KARGA
Season 2

The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
Asst. E5912 No. F1887
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #185
Includes: Blaster pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: February 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: Greef Karga was a human male and former disgraced magistrate before becoming an agent of the Bounty Hunters' Guild following the collapse of the Galactic Empire. (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 debut 3 3/4-inch Greef Karga is in his season two gear - while the 6-inch is season one gear. It's been a pretty haphazard mix of costumes in these lines so it's not really possible for a collector to build out a whole, accurate scene easily. If this were the early 2000s, I'd say "Oh this is brilliant, they can just re-sell us these characters in new costumes again." In 2021 it's less and less likely that Hasbro will revisit most faces, and it feels most of our figures could be the only character we ever get in that scale. Unless filming on new Star Wars stops and Hasbro (and other licensors) are forced to dig through recent assets instead. I'd much rather have stuff I know than stuff I don't, but I digress. At least with The Book of Boba Fett you can be pretty sure some of your cast will be able to hold to a mask mandate.

This is a pretty good figure with lots of great details, but could've spent a tiny more time in the oven. The face printing doesn't do justice to Carl Weathers' white beard, but you do get a patchy, printed grey one - it's better than nothing. The sculpting seems good, so a deco variant (which will likely never come) would do wonders for improving his facial hair.

I have to assume this figure was made during filming for season two if not before - so if we assume Hasbro worked from concept art, it's astonishingly good. If not, it's still pretty good. The elbows have an excellent range of motion, the ankles tilt, and the wrists both bend and swivel. I had no problems having him stand, although I don't like the mid-torso waist joint - it's ugly, and isn't nearly as pleasing to the eye as one around the belt. Still, his range of motion is excellent for a figure with a thick plastic cape.

The blaster fits in the holster or in his hand, but it's a weird fit. A lot of the blaster just hangs out of the loop on the leg, so I'd recommend having him hold it in his fist so it doesn't get lost.

I hope Hasbro does more Greef Karga figures in this scale, and it wouldn't be a bad thing to see a head variant on this one down the line. If you can find it, I'd say grab it - but remember there's never going to be a season two Cara Dune figure to go with him. He can still putter around on Nevarro, or hang out with a figure of Dave Navarro if they ever make one of those. Which is probably more likely than a Nevarro playset.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,798: April 8, 2021

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,797: The Child (The Black Series 6-Inch)

THE CHILD
(with The Mandalorian, Din Djarrin)

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging - Target Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F0874
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #05 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Jetpack, pistol, rifle, cape, Beskar ingots (5), pram, lid, Mando, tracking fob
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $34.99
Availability: November 2020
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: The Mandalorian as a battle-worn and tight-lipped, a formidable bounty hunter in an increasingly dangerous galaxy who finds a mysterious alien pursued by bounty hunters on behalf of Imperial interests. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
When I first heard they were doing The Child - also known as the kid, Grogu, Li'l Sprout, Greenie the Seasick Genie, the Great Gazoo, Lucky, the Geico Gecko, Gex, Irish Gizmo, and Frank - I assumed we'd get more figures like this one. At his proper size, this 1 1/2-inch figure is tiny. Not quite Fighter Pods-tiny, but certainly Mordles-esque or sub-M.U.S.C.L.E. in size - so I was expecting Hasbro would release them as non-articulated slug figures to convey various poses or moods. So far, The Black Series has had three unique versions of the Child - one of which sold solo, the other was a head in a bag. Do you get your money's worth? Kinda.

The previous version of this character had a full body and jointed arms - this one has a jointed neck and jointed wrists. That's it. It's not the best fit for the end-of-season-1 Pram we get, but it's a perfectly nice figure for Mando to tuck under his arm or to have tugging at his boots. The sculpt is pretty much the same as before, with hints of wisps of hair painted on the back of the head and nice, big black eyes with tiny whites around them. There's a hint of rosy cheeks and pink ear interiors, with the neck and the ends of his sleeves painted a lighter brown color. The feet under the figure are painted, but there's no foot peg. That's kind of a shame - I would've loved the hover pram to have a peg to plug the little guy in the right place.

This is not better than the figure you bought for $10 by himself (with frog, lost knob, and forgotten bowl) but it is different enough to warrant some attention. You can probably recreate this 2-pack Child's pose with that figure just fine, so I have no real reason to recommend this one other than it's a nice part of a set and his accessories make it very worthwhile.

The selling point for this figure - and arguably the set - is the hover pram from the end of the first season. The form is right - it's smooth and new, greyer, but the deco doesn't seem right. The stripe down the middle doesn't quite match what it seems we see on screen, but it's also the only collectible of the pram as seen in Season 1 Episode 7 that I can find and there's very little reference of it online. So they made a good one - the front snaps on nicely, and there's plenty of interior painted detail that you will likely never ever need to see. You can snap the lid shut with the kid inside, and everything fits together quite nicely. I'd be up for a redeco of this later.

This figure may be essential - if you don't have one, this is a good one. If you've already got the single-pack full-Beskar Mando and a single-pack The Child, you'll be wanting this one mostly for the accessories and unmasked Pedro head. Otherwise, it's more of the same. If you're a Mandalorian fanatic - and let's be honest, most of us are - this is a set you should be hoping Target reissues again because the market could probably use a whole bunch more of it to meet demand for everybody's favorite single space dad since Ben Sisko and for some reason Jake.

Collector's Notes: I got mine my pal Scott since Target was always out. Thank you Scott!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,797: April 6, 2021

Monday, April 5, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,796: R5-Series Astromech Droid White with Purple Panels

R5-SERIES ASTROMECH DROID
White Dome with Purple Panels

The Vintage Collection
Item No.:
No. ???
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: Hat (varies)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99
Availability: December 2015
Appearances: Purple, no nurple

Bio: These figures do not have specific packaging or configurations. As such, we will be treating each dome as a unique "figure" as that part is the most plentiful.

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Maybe eBay? Possibly a theme park if it opens? These may still be in bins if bins are accessible - eBay is your best bet.

Commentary:
One of the most recent quartet of additions to the theme park bins, this R5-Series Astromech Droid with a White Dome with Purple Panels is pretty neat. You can pop it on existing purple bodies, and that's what I did! We looked at the body before so there's no shortage of commentary there - let's focus on the new head.

The R5 dome is nothing new, but the patterns are. The unfortunate thing is we've seen so many droids with so many patterns that it can be hard to look at some of those older droids - and because mine aren't set up properly, I can't be 100% certain that when I tell you it's inspired by R5-X2 and R5-X3, that I only think this purple dome has unique paint masks. The rectangles around the eyes are familiar, but the purple stripes are unique. The area around the sides has big thick purple stripes, and I would argue the back of the dome looks more ornate than the front. I don't believe this dome appeared on camera - please prove me wrong in the comments - and the pattern looks a lot like something somebody painted using masking tape during the original trilogy era. It's good.

The top of the dome has a black outline tat is so fine, I would assume it was done by someone who bought the figure to customize it. But that's not the case - it's just extraneous, and under the hat you wouldn't miss it had the left it off. It doesn't hurt anything, though, so it's just a sign that someone at Disney had no problems finding the budget to really soup up some of these robot heads. 

Figures like this are a reminder of the excess we've had in the last few years. I've never been able to get my figures set up quite right, and I have more droids than I can keep straight - there are so many similar-but-different robots that look vaguely like R5-D4 or R2-D2 that it's difficult to keep track of just how many variations exist. (Really, that's the book I would write at this point if I had the time or funding to do it.)

Figures like this serve as a reminder of just how spoiled we are - and I am - that I have good friends that could help me track down droids that have sat on a shelf next to me for five years until I reviewed them, in part because I know you guys get bored when you get a month of nothing but clones or droids. This is one of those figures you're unlikely to get outside eBay or a theme park, and it's one I think is good enough to track down. Of course, if you have one of the aforementioned R5-X2 or R5-X3 figures, maybe you're good to go. If not, and if you just need more purple droids, this is a good one. I don't know where it fits in with a collection or diorama, but it sure is nifty.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Disney Land via may pal Shannon a few years ago. Thank you Shannon!

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,796: April 5 2021