Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,985: Boba Fett (Droids, The Black Series)

Droids XL

The Vintage Collection The Black Series Droids Target Exclusive Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F5301
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Jetpack, rifle, pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $26.49
Availability: May 2022
Appearances: Droids
Bio: With his customized Mandalorian armor, deadly weaponry, and silent demeanor, Boba Fett was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy. (Taken from the box flapcopy. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

This Boba Fett from Droids brings complicated feelings, and many of you know many of the reasons. None of those reasons are that we're in a Boba glut. For years, Boba Fett (like Deadpool) was generally under produced and fans were left unable to get any version of the bounty hunter unless they were at a store the same day the case got unpacked. Target has offered at least four exclusive Bobas Fett this year alone, even though some of the pre-orders kicked off last year. I am not one to say it's overkill because I think each version offers something interesting, but the fact that this figure came out a couple of months ago and is still available at regular price shows that the fever broke. People are over Boba Fett figures that aren't based on the original movie designs.

This figure is pretty vexing because, as you know, I've been needling Hasbro to make it for years - along with R2-D2, C-3PO, and Vlix, all of which appear on the packaging. I know I'm being silly, as I'm pretty sure the current Hasbro team has no idea who I am after generations of turnover and my descent into irrelevancy, but Vlix is on the friggin' box - and my "I will consider going away if I get an official Vlix" campaigning, it is astonishing to see him put on the box not once, but twice. Does Hasbro know they simply must make a Droids Kenner-style Vlix? I hope so. I've only been waiting since I found out he actually really existed way back at an antique show in 1989. (Brazilian figures were making the rounds, he was on the back.) But I digress, we're here to chew the Fett about Boba.

This mold made its debut in 2013 as an SDCC exclusive, then as a single figure, as a white "prototype" figure, as a black "comic" figure, a 40th anniversary figure, a Carbonized figure, an Archive release, and it's all a little ridiculous just how many Boba Fetts we've had from just this one mold. And it's an acceptable base for what is most likely the only Droids version we'll get, but he could have benefited from some revisions. His belt and holster are a different shape and different colors, he doesn't have any pouches on his thighs or belt in the packaging art, and the helmet has no dent. The colors seem to be a pretty good match otherwise, with a desaturated brown and blue in most low-quality screen grabs from back in the day. There's a little more blue in the shoulder armor and codpiece on the figure than in the toy, but that's OK. I mean, it exists - and sometimes all you can say is that you're happy they bothered to try. When making the transition from 2D cels to 3D plastic, there is room for toyetic license and not everything will translate 1:1. The slight changes in color are fine, and I like the cape with the painted orangey stripes on the back.

If you didn't get this figure a dozen times already, it's neat. The armor on the wrists swivels and so do the wrists. The double-jointed knees are a delight, the backpack plugs in well, and the hands can hold the blasters. He stands acceptably, but those earlier figures have ratcheting joints that can make it harder to find a "sweet spot" to avoid toppling over. The range of movement was pretty good for 2013, but today elbows that can't bend 90 degrees (or more) are kind of dreadful. This is a mold you buy because you love the colors, not the quality of his joints. You can still get a lot of poses out of him, but the mold was a little clunky nine years ago and today you know Hasbro can and has done better. Had they used the Return of the Jedi mold, you might've been able to do a little bit better with how he can be posed. A new belt and that newer mold would have been fantastic, but this is a repaint with an "exclusive tax" upcharge. It's about as good as we're going to get, but I really do feel Hasbro needs to step up the game and include a little something extra - an upgrade, an accessory, anything - when a $20-$25 mold is being sold as a $27-$28 exclusive.

With three 3 3/4-inch "cartoon" Boba Fett releases and one 6-inch release, you might think Hasbro is done forever - but there are still more possibilities. We never got an official Kenner retro Boba Fett, either from the Holiday Special or Droids cartoon colors. That would make a great exclusive for someone, perhaps in a 2-pack with Vlix, for $25-$28, and it'd sell because all right-thinking people just want the Boba Fett and will take a Vlix too. (Do it, Hasbro.) A Holiday Special Boba Fett would be a fun 6-inch toy with a giant dragon, but probably wouldn't be a commercially viable product given it would probably be over $150. A simplified Kenner-style Panna Dragon with a trap-door for Boba Fett would be cheap and fun, but again, not something that will happen because they're not fun.

I'll still buy Droids C-3PO or R2-D2 6-inch figures if they ever make any (or Vlix) but I assume the days of buying $27 repaints are coming to a close for me. There are still good ideas and some are incredibly clever like "Santa" Range Trooper or any given robot repaint, and some are things that tug on your heartstrings if you're an old toy dork - Kenner deco is meaningful. But, such things are fleeting, and as we get older such a thing may be truly wonderful for a day before it goes on the shelf and gets covered by even more toys over time. I love this one because of the Vlix connection and my unending love of 1980s Star Wars animation weirdness, so I'm glad to have it. I hope they consider giving him a couple of friends, but if they don't, at least we got this one very weird, very cool action figure that cannot escape the gravity of being biased to love it.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,985: December 13, 2022

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