Thursday, May 19, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,926: Death Watch Mandalorian (The Vintage Collection)

DEATH WATCH MANDALORIAN
Scale Debut

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. F4477
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #219
Includes: Pistol, rifle, backpack
Action Feature: n/
Retail: $13.99
Availability: April 2022
Appearances: The Mandalorian
Bio: The warrior clans of Mandalore were believed to have been wiped out ages ago. But they were resurrected, and with them, their legendary combat armor that was feared across the galaxy. (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:
Again, amazing. This Death Watch Mandalorian is from flashbacks in The Mandalorian streaming show, and it's spectacular. Sure, maybe the 6-inch ones will be better or whatever but the 3 3/4-inch one is so good it makes me hope Hasbro revisits Din Djarin. What we had for him was good, but now we see what Hasbro can give us? Go back to the well, redo Boba Fett, redo Jango Fett, go ahead and give Darth Vader another whirl while you're at it too. It's a good thing I like this mold, because Hasbro will be re-trotting out it for Axe Woves and the Death Watch Airborne Mandalorian. And, hopefully, whatever else they feel like. A trooper pack would be nice.

This figure looks just like on the show, with a grey body suit and blue armor. You get black boots and a mostly clean helmet, with some limited scuffing. You'll also see some silver highlights plus what I assume may be rank markings - as I write this I haven't seen a lot of reference books explaining everything just yet. The jet pack has some silver highlights and holes that seem perfect for flame accessories which, as of yet, don't seem to exist. The 2003 Boba Fett flame stand won't work without additional modifications to the figure or the flames... but Death Watch Mando's holster has a blaster that fits nicely, and the two-handed rifle can be gripped without much trouble thanks to the amazing articulation. Hasbro sculpted and painted this figure well, and their engineers put joints pretty much anywhere I could hope. I would buy trooper packs of this. As I write this, I hope Hasbro considers a box for SDCC/PulseCon/someone's exclusive with variant accessories and deco. It'll sell. They're very good. Have them fight Super Battle Droids or something... we haven't had a new one in years.

Articulation is worth praising, with excellent more-than-90-degree bends on the elbows and knees. The ankles and wrists move nicely, the double-waist joint is nearly flawless, and the ball-and-socket hip joints paired with swivel thighs are perfection. Those bend-and-swivel thighs are gone, which basically means that this figure is infinitely better than even last year's new Return of the Jedi Boba Fett. I'm getting so many cool poses out of this guy and he stays standing without help that I'm actually quite surprised - it's like when I first got a super-articulated Spider-Man figure. But better.

If you're a cranky old collector who only wants the very best, I feel you. Even if you hate everything new, make sure you get your hands on this figure - just play with a friend's, if you can. You'll go "oh, this is spectacular" and then you'll want 6 of him. I can't get over how good some of these new guys are, in part because the new hips and elbow/knee cuts aren't new technology and seem to use fewer parts than how figures used to be constructed. They just got smarter. I've been pretty complainy about paying $14 for a 3 3/4-inch figure, but if it's this good? The value is obvious - this is one of the very best figures Hasbro has ever done for Star Wars, and as an increasingly bitter and older fan it's going to keep me from wandering off as I look at metallic repaints with scorn. Hasbro, if you're reading, please repaint this mold as often as it makes sense, and feel free to go back to the well to give us yet another The Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett if it's done with this kind of articulation. After all, you haven't done an all-new super-articulated ESB Boba since 2008!

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,926: May 19, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,925: Fennec Shand (The Vintage Collection)

FENNEC SHAND
Scale Debut

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E7763 No. F4471
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #221
Includes: Braid, helmet head, unmasked head, rifle with strap, rifle, bottle
Action Feature: n/
Retail: $13.99
Availability: April 2022
Appearances: The Book of Boba Fett
Bio: An assassin and elite mercenary, Fennec Shand has worked for all the top syndicates. Clever, capable, and cunning, she is not to be underestimated and is full of surprises. (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:
She's good. Buy her. Fennec Shand has few nitpicks or quibbles, someone at Hasbro must have looked at the figure budget and said "Oh, we can make something really good here," which means that this new-and-improved style figure has confirmed that the reissues we've been getting are old and inferior. I don't know how long this figure has been in the making, but we first met the character in this costume in 2019. Also curiously, she's always worn the same costume, which means she has a closet full of the same outfit. But let's get back to the figure, which you should absolutely buy. You don't even need to read the rest of this review, she's the best figure in this scale I've bought (plus or minus some of last year's very best The Mandalorian figures), and you should go get her. If you miss her, I feel badly for you.

This figure spoils me. We've been sold a lot of figures where there's a lot of "it's pretty good except" or "if they could sit/hold a weapon/etc. it would be so much better." Here, she just works. The range of articulation is remarkable, with two well-hidden waist joints. And a neck joint that's sturdy, but removes without too much of a fight to swap heads. The arms and hands are jointed nicely enough and have enough give so she can hold a weapon with two hands. The legs swing forward, and we've got cloth elements so she can sit if you want. The knees bend 90 degrees so she could sit at a bar if you wanted. The costume sculpt also seems absolutely perfect. I have no bad things to say about how this figure was sculpted, this is a shining gem and the gold standard of what Hasbro can do in this scale in 2022. Given all the awkwardness we've been sold (and re-sold at higher prices), this figure tells us Hasbro should never, ever reissue an old figure and should just set fire to the old molds. Why should we settle for troopers that fall over or Jedi that can't duel with their lightsabers? We shouldn't - because Fennec was perfectly designed with the best joints we may ever see this year. I grouse about a lot of the 3 3/4-inch figures because for $14, I want perfection, and Fennec pretty much gives it to us.

The helmet pops off and on the neck easily, but there's a new feature - the ponytail has to be removed and swapped from head to head. Strange! But neat. It gives you something more to do with the figure. The helmeted head has no face inside, so she can hold it in her hand, and/or you can pretend it's shading her eyes when it's on her head. Clearly, someone put thought into this. I particularly like the weathered detail on it.

Fennec's Ming-Na Wen head is one of Hasbro's very best at this (or any) scale. It's her. It's not a vaguely Asian-looking person who's a woman - this is very clearly the actress from the show. The eyes shine, the lips sparkle, the eyebrows are on fleek, and she has just the slightest hint of having seen it all in her facial expression. The hair is decorated well, with the tiniest of strings painted within her locks. A couple of strands hang over her face. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it's so amazing that Hasbro should start fresh with every 3 3/4-inch figure from now on. Why are we settling for Han Solo figures that look like Han Solo but not Harrison Ford? Our Bo-Katan Kryze and Fennec Shand heads are just so good - it's sort of upsetting how low our standards were in the past, even for figures I thought were good at the time.

My sample has no problems holding her blasters whatsoever, but you do have to fidget a bit to get her to grip the bottle. The fact that she can hold it at all is impressive, so accessory interaction is excellent. I have no doubt that there are problems with this figure, but compared to Hasbro's usual levels of quality - which are pretty good - this is next-level. This is excellent. I'm not crazy about the cloth parts not quite covering up the front of the figures' legs as much as I would like, but it's quibble and soft goods are rarely perfect. (And some are outright awful.) We've bought so many figures that are good, or OK, or decent enough, that I sometimes forget what it's like to be genuinely impressed by a figure. To have a likeness this good on a head the size of a pea is amazing. 

To have joints that work well on a figure that has a decent center of gravity so she doesn't topple over on my desk as I write this review is excellent. There's a big difference between having articulation, and having good articulation that lets you pose a figure just right so you don't have to worry about diving off the end of a shelf. I've settled for so many figures - gold figures, metallic figures - that this is a firm reminder that we should continue voting with our dollars and buy only the very best. This is it, kids, so skip all those carbonized figures (unless you really want them!) and put your hard-earned dollars to get this one.

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,925: May 17, 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,924: CB-23 (Droid Depot set, The Black Series)

CB-23
Droid Depot Set

The Black Series Galaxy's Edge Exclusive Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F3400
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Babu Frik, Pit Droid, Battle Droid with blaster and antenna backpacks, K-7R1, and CB-23
Action Feature: Weighted Base
Retail: $74.99
Availability: March 2022
Appearances: Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Star Wars: Resistance
Bio: A maroon and turquoise BB astromech unit, CB-23 is a member of the Resistance and serves as Poe Dameron's co-pilot for a short period of time while BB-8 was on another mission. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I don't have anything to complain about here. CB-23 is another - and one of few - figures from the Star Wars: Resistance cartoon to make the transition to the 6-inch line. Considering that the show came and went with the sort of enthusiasm you reserve for a sneeze, it's kind of amazing that Hasbro gave us a new droid dome to go with this BB-8 retool. The BB-8 mold hasn't been used very much at this scale, and it's kind of amazing to think after 7 years this is only the second BB droid in this particular size class. I assumed we'd have had a BB-9E by now, but no.

If you missed Star Wars: Resistance, that's OK, I suggest you keep missing it. The show was the most colorful Star Wars has been since Ewoks and/or Droids, and was loaded with neat vehicles, cool aliens, and some excellent costumes along with some of the most dreadfully dull stories aimed at young kids you'd expect to see. The tie-ins to the sequel trilogy were few, but given how they can't actually spoil anything or tell you anything in the show you were left without a lot to go on unles you really loved the characters. While I could hang out with Flix all day long, he has yet to get his own spin-off.

CB-23 was BB-8's replacement, and is a pretty nice figure. The red roly-poly body has the same weighted mechanism we saw with BB-8, and there's no dirty deco or battle damage. It's just a nice clean robot with a newly-tooled dome, complete with wonderful blue highlights, a silver cap, and other painted silver and black detailing. I'd make some comment or snide remark about it if I could, or even say it's amazing, but it's just kind of exactly what you would and should expect out of this kind of a retooled action figure. The colors are all nice and bright, the paint is mostly incredibly clean and the antenna are, for some reason, almost translucent. But everything looks good. As a glorified accessory, this robot is charming and more colorful than most figures we tend to get.

There aren't many landmarks I can point to and say "this is awesome!" Top-to-bottom, it's an incredibly decent little robot that serves as a reminder that the designers behind Resistance did a great job and there may be some gold to mine out of the show if we ever get to a point where anything goes in action figures again. (It won't, so don't get your hopes up.) I wouldn't recommend this figure for the price of the boxed set, but it's nice enough that if you were going to buy the set anyway, it's not going to tick you off. It's good! You'll like it.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Shop Disney.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,924: May 12, 2022

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,923: Pit Droid (Droid Depot set, The Black Series)

PIT DROID
Droid Depot Set

The Black Series Galaxy's Edge Exclusive Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F3400
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Babu Frik, Pit Droid, Battle Droid with blaster and antenna backpacks, K-7R1, and CB-23
Action Feature: Sort of wads up
Retail: $74.99
Availability: March 2022
Appearances: Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and The Phantom Menace
Bio: The cheap and expendable often bolt out to repair still cycling superheated pod racer engines with no regard to their personal safety. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I like droids, especially new ones. With so many repaints - even this set is sort of burdened with a few of them - a fresh face (in the scale) like this Pit Droid is welcome. While he has no accessories of his own, the $75 set does seem expensive. Thanks to recent price increases, a $25 K-2SO-style droid, a $25 Battle Droid, and a mishmash of 3 mini droids for $25... it's not terrible. It's not ideal, as I wouldn't have bought another Battle Droid at this point, but that's how they get you.

I can only assume more repaints of this Pit Droid are coming, and it's a good enough mold to consider buying in more colors. While it can't fold up under a tiny little saucer, it's loaded with articulation like an ab crunch, two elbow joints, ball-jointed elbows, and swivel wrists. This gets it pretty close - it's not perfect, but it's still impressive for the size that you can fold him down quite a bit. At about 4-inches tall he competes with similarly sized The Vintage Collection figures in terms of complexity and size. Who ever thought we'd get rocker ankles on a Pit Droid? I sure didn't, but the DUM-series has them.

Sculpting is good, deco is light - but more or less true to the CG models - and the design hasn't been in this scale before, so he's pretty exciting. A reddish brown robot with a subtle grey ring around the dome is nice, as are the painted antenna. I like what Hasbro did here, and if it were sold separately for $15-$18 or a $25 2-pack I'd say it's arguably worth that. As the most impressive, robust new part of a $75 souvenir set it's a bit ridiculous, but given that most "new" figures lately are reruns of some sort you might be fine shelling out to get something that isn't a photoreal of a figure you've already purchased once or twice. Also there's so little from The Phantom Menace that this is actually kind of lovely. Hopefully Hasbro throws in a tool or two next time, because you will probably want one or two more of these in different colors. Get it if the price for the set doesn't make you wince.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Shop Disney.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,923: May 10, 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,922: Mace Windu (Redux, The Vintage Collection)

MACE WINDU
Re-re-redux

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. F4486 No. F4495
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #35
Includes: Cloth robes, lightsaber, hilt
Action Feature: Hilt can't plug on belt
Retail: $13.99
Availability: April 2022
Appearances: Attack of the Clones
Bio: A grim Jedi Master, Mace Windu was the champion of the Jedi Order, with little tolerance for the failings of the Senate, the arguments of politicians, or the opinions of rebellious Jedi. (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 Mace Windu is a rerun of a rerun, the Jedi of Theseus, and really not too great compared to other new figures. I mean, it's not bad... but given that at its core it's a repaint of a retool of a figure from 2007? It's disappointing. Hasbro put a lot of effort refurbishing a core figure who started life in The 30th Anniversary Collection - the skirt and head were changed for The Vintage Collection in 2011. So this is a repaint of an 11 year old figure, that was at its core a 15 year old figure, which had some problems. It was also created for specialty/fan channel, meaning you won't find this series of rereleases in big box stores or their respective web sites. While I don't think this figure is as good of an improvement as it could be, newer fans who don't own a Mace Windu figure will find a lot to like. It's just the old-timers that will probably feel bad that they're buying the same tooling, again, complete with some of its problems.

The colors of the robes are better, the plastic outfit better matches the cloth under the skirt - that's good! It looks more like the reference photos than previous figures, which trended lighter. The legs are the swing-forward variety, still blocked by the vinyl skirt hanging down - that's bad. The skirt wasn't retooled, so the hole on the belt is too small for the lightsaber hilt's peg - so it won't go in there. You're got some stiff elbows, perfectly acceptable cloth brown robes, and hands which are a bit more flexible than some. That's an improvement - I don't know what it is, but getting accessories in those tiny hands tends to be difficult.

The 2011 head sculpt is here and it's arguably improved with the Photoreal paint... but it needs work. The eyebrows on my two samples are a little different, one seems off-center and both seem too thick to look like Samuel L. Jackson. His eyebrows are incredibly thin, especially in The Phantom Menace, where I had to double-check to verify he did indeed have them in the first place. The lips are colored lightly, and the shine on the yes looks wonderful. But I can't get beyond how much I dislike the very thick eyebrows. The skin tone seems OK, the expression is/was fine, and it is an improvement over what we had before [FOTD #1,751].

Since the 2011 figure was expensive (and Hasbro could save money bringing back the old tooling), this figure existing makes sense - fans want a 3 3/4-inch Mace Windu, and anything on a Vintage cardback tends to sell if it has adult fans. It's both the best we've had, and disappointing. 3 3/4-inch Jedi hips tend to be marred by bad articulation and plastic robes, as this is. The sleeves are kind of bulky and weird. The belt hilt peg doesn't work, which is pretty sad given it should be a pretty easy thing to take care of somehow. And the eyebrows... I hate the eyebrows. When a figure's reissue is at least partially predicated on improving it, this one is something of a lateral move. Is it better? Yeah. Is it as good as we're seeing when it comes to the paint on other recent heads of this size? No. Are the accessories too big still? Yeah. Could Hasbro have done well just to make us an all-new one even if it means waiting a few years? Probably. If you're on a budget, I'd pass on this one and hold your breath for another new one later. It might not ever come... but Mace is someone Hasbro likes to revisit on the regular. If you have no Mace Windu figures, get this one - it's as good as they come in this size! If you have most or all of them, consider how much you want to set fire to $14 to have something to look at, nod, and then put back in a display or in a box to store somewhere. Given how much of these lines are repaints, you might be better served saving the cash for the next big HasLab item instead, whatever it is.

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,922: May 5, 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,921: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Archive, The Black Series 6-Inch)

OBI-WAN KENOBI
2.0, Previously the Worst 6-Inch Figure Ever, Improved

The Black Series Archive 6-Inch Figure
Item No.:
Asst. F0961 No. F1909
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $22.99
Availability: December 2021
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Obi-Wan is forced to battle his friend Anakin Skywalker in a devastating lightsaber duel after Anakin turns to the Dark Side. (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 generally don't like dumping on figures, and I won't because this Obi-Wan Kenobi rerelease is an improvement on the worst The Black Series figure ever made. I think there's room for debate on if those Carbonized, Credit Collection, or Holiday Edition figures are any good (or not.) But the 2014 release of Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi looked bad when it hit shelves and today looks like a bootleg that you wouldn't pay a nickel for at the flea market... so of course it's worth over $70 on the secondary market. Just because something is worth money doesn't mean it is any good, but generally speaking valuable items may be worth revisiting. This one needs some new work, and enhanced deco isn't enough for him.

The original figure had an incredibly pale blue lightsaber, and so does the new one. I wouldn't say it's an improvement, but it's no worse - and it might be just a bit bluer and, surprisingly, thicker. As such, we can say well-ish done Hasbro, but a bluer hue would've been welcome.


At first glance the figure doesn't look great - but compared to the previous edition it's a huge improvement. Compared to other 6-inch Hasbro Obi-Wan Kenobi figures (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Clone Wars) it just looks awful. The head seems so thin and squished, the personality's not quite right, and if anything this shows that no amount of paint or correct colored plastic can save a doomed head sculpt. Over the years we've seen all sorts of great sculpts marred by weird skintones or iffy paint choices, which makes this figure - which is a bad sculpt with better but still bad paint choices - unique. The hair is too light, the skin tone is better and has hints of life thanks to a few rosy spots, the eyes are glossy and more lively. Lokoing at reference photos for the movie, his hard seems to be darker with grey temples - this figure just doesn't match it. I'm not sure why, either, it could've been an easy fix that may have distracted you from the parts of the beard are lacking in paint.

The body is pretty much the same, with boots that are too light and lacking in any real detail. The pants seem acceptable (and the same as before) and the robes are a bit more saturated - but the broad shoulders only make his head look smaller. It's doomed, but at least things like the brown under the chin and the belt are good.. The painted elements on the belt are placed better this time and the paint is overall improved, but when it comes to determining what makes a good figure, it ain't the belt. If the head or pose are bad, the figure sucks - and the joints are fine, but there's just something about the pose that doesn't read as good. But hey, at least the hands are a color that more closely resembles that of a human rather than that of a cake made to look like a human.

This is currently the best version of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Episode III in this Hasbro line. Other versions of him in other lines and scales are arguably better. Maybe you'll like it enough, but you're wrong, it's bad. At certain angles, in certain dark rooms, with just the right light, I admit the head is capable of looking pretty decent - but that's a lot of marks to hit to get a reissue from "worst figure ever" to "almost acceptable." This figure will sell and sell well thanks to the upcoming streaming show, but you can only lie to yourself so much about it being good. I wouldn't hold your breath for a re-redux, but I'd like to ask Hasbro to consider it for Revenge of the Sith's 20th anniversary in 2025. There's no reason for this to be the worst version of Ewan McGregor so far.

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


Day 2,921: May 3, 2022

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,920: The Emperor (PulseCon/Throne, The Vintage Collection)

THE EMPEROR
Emperor's Throne Room

The Vintage Collection PulseCon Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F1267
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: Throne, backdrop, lightning, cane
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $31.99
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Rising from the north pole of the second Death Star is a 100-story isolation tower reserved for the Emperor, from which he oversees the battle station's operations. The tower's four spokes house a throne room, Palpatines private chambers, and a vault reserved for Sith artifacts. This throne room was the site of a climactic showdown between Jedi and Sith at the Battle of Endor. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
The "just different enough to make you mad" mantra fit for figures based on this mold for a while. This PulseCon deluxe box throne room The Emperor is basically the same as the single-carded The Emperor [FOTD #2,885], but this version has a throne, a backdrop, and a new head. A better head! The superior head. But it also costs more than twice as much as the basic figure, because you're going to pay it, and it sold out, so you did. Samples on eBay go for over double the initial asking price.

For fans who buy boxed toys, I assume there's eventually a point where you just realize you're buying a box and the contents are probably irrelevant. If it looks cool, that's probably what counts - and this box looks cool. The wonderful package photography looks great with Luke and Vader (not included) dueling in front of the Emperor, and it's enough to distract you from the fact that the body for this figure has been used at least half a dozen times since its debut as an Evolution figure in 2005. The new cloth robes hide the very old (but good for the time) articulation, but they're bulky when he sits down and it doesn't look as clean as the all-plastic seated figure from a Cinema Scene from way back in 1998.

The head sculpt looks great, much more like what I imagine the character's make-up to look like. He's sitting, so there's no gnashing of teeth or snarl. He's just hanging out and making phone calls. It's what you want in a despot. The throne looks great with purple upholstery, silver and red highlights, and a rotating base. Why does it rotate? I don't know. But it does, and that's nice. The figure also includes Sith lightning and a cane in a tray under the throne.

What makes the figure set arguably worth it is a giant cardboard and plastic Death Star window plus a fold-out "diorama" in the box. It's not bad - but you're basically paying $32 for a $14 figure with a plush box. Is it worth it? Since it's a limited exclusive item, you may feel that it is. Since the head sculpt is good - and cheaper than paying someone to custom-sculpt one for your own - it's potentially worth paying for the very best. I don't grasp why they wouldn't just throw this head in the normal carded figure to get it out to as many people as possible and properly replicate the less furious face of the 1983-1985 Kenner figure, but that's me.

I wouldn't recommend him for the current secondary market prices, but if you ever see this sculpt reissued or used in a gift set at a price you can stomach? Buy it, it's a good head. The body is pretty blah, though, so perhaps Hasbro will make an all-new body some day. But it's been 17 years, so perhaps they won't.

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

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,920: April 28, 2022

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,919: Clone Captain Grey (The Vintage Collection)

CLONE CAPTAIN GREY
Green on TV, Red in Comics

The Vintage Collection Amazon Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F2886
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #209
Includes: 3 more clones, helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $62.99
Availability: January 2022
Appearances: The Bad Batch

Bio: CC-10/994, who also went by the nickname "Grey," was a Clone Captain who served in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Assigned to Jedi General Depa Billaba, he was a Clone Commander in the general's battalion. Surviving the decimation of Depa Billaba's battalion, Grey was reassigned to a new battalion, also commanded by Billaba, along with Clone Captain "Styles." (Taken from Wookieepedia. There is no bio on the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
Over 10 years ago, back when Figure of the Day really was every day, I had a month where I basically trolled readers by doing a Clone every day. We got so many Clone Troopers that the line was basically all clones - and readership really took a dive a couple of weeks in. And today Hasbro gives us Clone Commander Grey, the TV version of the character as the trooper who made Kanan Jarrus's life awful during Order 66 was red in the comics. So maybe we'll get another one down the road. It's a good figure, but is it exciting? No, of course not. But it has a stellar face under that helmet.

A realistic interpretation of the CG-animated The Bad Batch trooper, has a darker green and less battle damage than on TV. The patterns are quite similar, though, so you'll get the stripes on the arms, the green shoulders, and the pad. The helmet does a good job replicating the pattern (but not color) from the s how, with a body that's teh same one we've been getting for about a decade. It's not bad, but it's out of date. The figure's chief highlight is the head. It's great! The hair looks good, the face paint is exceptional, and there's a decent resemblance to Temuera Morrison. I particularly love the wrinkles in the forehead and the signs of weariness around the face. I bet this would make a good Boba Fett face with less hair and more scars. It's really easy to like, and I think you'll be impressed if or when you see it up close for yourself.

Hasbro has made over 275 - probably over 300, I haven't reviewed them all - Clone Troopers since 2002. It's kind of draining. "We made the same guy again but the colors are a bit different and maybe he has different hair" is sort of soul-crushing, especially when you have a character like this who amounted to little more than a cameo in the rich tapestry of hundreds of episodes of Star Wars (with more time on comic pages... but he looked different.) In and of itself, this is a nice looking figure with cool armor and a stellar head sculpt. I just can't say that I feel much of anything now that I own it, especially after all the pre-order drama on Amazon not allowing people to place orders for several months after it launched. (Also, it got a price increase after being in stock for a few weeks and not selling out - as I write this, it shot up to $66.99 from $62.99.) It's not like this figure is bad - it's just hard to say it's worth 25% of $66.99 if you already have a healthy Clone collection. But if you don't already have dozens or hundreds of Clones, this is a good one, and one to display with the helmet off since the face is so good.

Collector's Notes: I got mine on Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,919: April 26, 2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,918: Baze Malbus (Photoreal Redux, The Black Series)

BAZE MALBUS
Second Edition

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Green Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Packaging
Item No.:
No. F2898
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #05 - Rogue One: A Star War Story
Includes: Belt plug-in gizmo, backpack, blaster/cape, cable
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $22.99
Availability: December 2021
Appearances: Rogue One: A Star War Story

Bio: The harsh reality of his Imperial-occupied home world has hardened Baze Malbus into a pragmatic soldier and a crack shot with his heavy repeater cannon. (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:
When it comes to reissues with improved portraits, I'm always a bit torn - on one hand, this Baze Malbus has a stunningly good portrait and it's one of Hasbro's best. On the other, Hasbro is asking you to spend another $23-$25 on more or less the same Baze Malbus from 2017 [FOTD #2,349] that offers little beyond giving you a head that actually has some life to it. His previous release had a head that was good for 2016 and 2017 - nice sculpt, everything is where it should be. You couldn't begrudge it for being pretty much as good as Hasbro could do at the time.

The new version comes to life with much more painting and shaded detail. The eyes seem to be gazing with purpose, the facial hair seems a bit more realistic, and the skin tone is much more like that of a person. If Hasbro had a bit more time in 2016, I bet they could've done a much better job the first time, but not quite as good as this one. If you're looking to buy a 6-inch Baze and you don't know which one to get, this is the one you should get. The other one? Not worth keeping around unless it's valuable to you for some reason, because the new aesthetics are what you really want.

Accessories are more or less the same, except I noticed the grey on the blaster is a bit darker and the body suit is more saturated. (More accurately, some of the parts of the 2017 Baze are more saturated - the 2021 model seems more uniform.) Articulation is the same as before, but mine did have issues getting him to pose standing up. He kept wanting to flop over.

If you simply must have the best, this is it. If you bought the original version and never gave him a second thought, consider that with the realistic face repaints, Carbonized figures, Credit Collection, and so forth, you've potentially paid several hundred dollars to re-buy different versions of characters you already own. It's inevitable with long-running properties, but even though I can't stop singing the praises of Hasbro's Rogue One rereleases in terms of realism and life, it's also about a hundred bucks to re-buy figures that I didn't really have any reason to buy again until Hasbro said "here's take two, check this out." And that makes me feel bad. But at least I now have something in my hands that I can look at and say this is so good, I have no reason to buy another Hasbro 6-inch Baze Malbus figure for as long as I live. Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,918: April 21, 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,917: Elite Squad Trooper (The Vintage Collection)

ELITE SQUAD TROOPER
Not quite black, not quite clone

The Vintage Collection Hasbro Pulse / Shop Disney Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F2886
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #211
Includes: 3 more clones, 2 blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $62.99
Availability: January 2022
Appearances: The Bad Batch

Bio: Elite Squad Troopers were special forces troopers who served the early Galactic Empire prior to the termination of cloning production on Kamino. (Taken from Wookieepedia. There is no bio on the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
One of very few unpunched carded vintage figures, this Elite Squad Trooper is part of an Amazon-exclusive The Bad Batch 4-pack loosely modeled after an old German exclusive package. You get a big box with 4 carded guys inside, all of which are effectively repaints/tweaks of existing figures. Since it has Rex in it, it's going to be a hit. This figure is technically not a clone, but it does wear clone armor, thus making it easy/fast to manufacture with no new tooling. That's a real time- and money-saver in this business.

Complete with glued-down helmet, this black repaint has a green visor, plus accessories. Firearms fans will enjoy a small DC-17 pistol, and a standard DC-15A blaster rifle. As always, they fit the hands just fine.

The base figure is the Clone Trooper mold we first got around 2011 with a Phase 2/Revenge of the Sith-style helmet. This is kind of funny, because that means the base mold is 11 years old. To put that in perspective, Kenner's original Star Wars figure line ran from 1978-1985, so what we consider to be the newest and best mold is, in toy industry years, positively ancient. It's still pretty good - the hip joints are a little antiquated given what we've seen as of late, and neck and shoulders are a little stiff, but he's generally thinner and looks better than his forebears. Despite not having rocker ankles, he looks pretty good! Unfortunately figures from that era weren't designed with balancing well in mind, so he may look a little awkward and stand a little funky if removed from the packaging.

Given what I assume was Hasbro's mandate - use existing tooling to make The Bad Batch action figures in a hurry - they did a good job. (Why we got 6-inch molds of the actual batch and not 3 3/4-inch, I can only speculate.) From a development perspective, this is a good figure. But it's also an army-builder, which means putting one of them in a gift set is just irritating to anyone wanting a second or third black trooper. Hopefully Hasbro will either release singles or a multi-pack of black troopers later, but given how The Vintage Collection has gone and we've only had a couple of Imperial Stormtrooper multi-packs for army builders over the course of 44 years, I wouldn't hold your breath. Just get this one now, or the 6-inch one if you prefer, because it'll probably be a long wait before they put out something else in this size. (Also the set is kind of expensive for what you get - about $15.75 per figure before tax.)

Collector's Notes: I got mine on Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,917: April 19, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,916: Imperial Stormtrooper with Pauldron (The Vintage Collection)

STORMTROOPER
with Pauldron (4-pack)

The Vintage Collection Hasbro Pulse / Shop Disney Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F5321
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 more Stormtroopers, 2 blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $44.99
Availability: January 2022
Appearances: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Mandalorian

Bio: Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause. They wear imposing white armor. (Taken from Hasbro Pulse. There is no bio on the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I went ahead and ordered this box of four Stormtroopers because this one was different than the other ones I had. You see, this one has an orange pauldron - but otherwise it's the same as the 2019 Imperial Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,598]. This is to say, it's more production of the best version of the trooper we've seen released thus far, but what may be a slightly better one is up for Walmart's future exclusivity. But for now? This is good.

Four of this figure is packed in a box - one has a pauldron, three do not. This one has iffy mouth paint on my sample, but it's otherwise a pretty great trooper. Check out the articulation - it's good! He can move well. The wrists have extra joints, he can hold his blasters, the soles of his shoes are painted, and you pretty much get everything you could want on a clean white Stormtrooper other than a holster or even more gear. It meets all requirements, and it's nice to have a slightly different trooper to add to your Disney-era armies.

The classic Stormtrooper blaster has the added extra scope thing on all the Disney-era blasters, but lacks the painted silver element of the previous single-carded trooper. It's just black. The longer rifle is just a longer rifle - perfectly good, and a nice bonus.

If you want more Stormtroopers, and they become available again, you should buy this set. Even if you don't like the pauldron, you can pop it off - but I like it. Back in the 1990s, Kenner customizers would make Sandtroopers with just the pad - usually they have more ammo pouches and backpacks in the films, but in the era of VHS and little to know reference materials, most fans didn't think to build them out. As such, this is sort of retro, but more accurately, this is how some troopers looked on Rebels and subsequent OT-era movies. Minus the lenses, which tend to be known to be green now, and this one is black. As such, if you're looking for the best version of the Stormtrooper as you may remember it, this is probably it. But if you have that recent The Vintage Collection figure and don't care if you missed a shoulder pad, then you can skip it. I just assume everyone wants more troopers so I'd nudge you to get it if life permits.

Collector's Notes: I got mine at Hasbro Pulse. As of my writing this, it's sold out, but it's been available and not available several times over the past year.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,916: April 14, 2022

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,915: R6-D3

R6-D3
Surprise, New Dome

Droid Factory The Mandalorian Boxed Set
Item No.:
No. n/a
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: 3 more droid figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $44.99
Availability: December 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the Star Wars galaxy. Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors. These four are featured in Star Wars: The Mandalorian. This is the way... for 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:
This one is a bit of a mystery - I held off opening it last because R6-D3 looks like nothing special at first glance. I assumed it was a white R2 dome with gold highlights. Then just an R6- but it turns out it's a new sculpt! The shape is different. The "pie slices" are gone at the top, instead you'll see a blank canvas except for a motivator and some grime. Neat. The head itself is closer to that of R2-D2, with a big eye and panels much more in line with classic movie astromechs than the new model. It's easy to see how some could mistake this for a rehash of the same R6 droids we have seen for nearly a decade, but it's a new head. Rejoice! There are also a lot of silver patterns around the dome, giving it an unquestionably distinctive look.

The silver and gold coloring look good, and the deco extends to the body. While the dome is new, the body and legs are pretty much what you've seen for years and may have one or two of. Or three, or four. Or 200. You know the drill - no foot wires, limited leg deco, but surprisingly ornate body paint. Nearly all the gold panels on the back are filled in, while the front is largely gold-filled with some dirt and grime for good measure. My sample has some paint alignment issues, but the design they tried to do is, in theory, good. You should probably make it a point to seek this one out in person if health/safety/personal preference allows just to be sure yours is a bit more aligned than mine. Or maybe you can just pretend that the entire marketing department of Industrial Automaton was first against the wall when the revolution came, and has already been punished for their paint crimes.

You may have noticed we made it this far with no mention of where he appears on the show. I have no idea. Sadly I did a rewatch just before it showed up and I'm not inclined to re-rewatch two seasons to find him, and neither Wookieepedia nor a basic web search point to the specific on-screen appearance of this one. As such, I can say it matches the photo on the box, and is a neat design in its own right. I really do like the pattern/lettering, new dome, and color choices - if this was just a new droid for the sake of a new droid, I'd say it's a good one. Is it truly authentic? Who knows. Was it memorable enough to deserve a figuer? Clearly not - but sometimes you just buy something because it looks cool, and this one certainly qualifies.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon. Thanks, Shannon!

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,915: April 12, 2022