Thursday, January 12, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,994: The Mandalorian (The Rescue, The Vintage Collection)

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure PulseCon Set
Item No.:
No. F5551
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #245
Includes: Wrist plug, Beskar spear, pistol, jet pack, whistling birds, flame, plus Grogu, Dark Trooper, and Moff Gideon
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $74.99
Availability: July 2022
Appearances: The Mandalorian   

Bio: The Mandalorian leads a crew on a rescue mission to Moff Gideon’s ship where a garrison of dark troopers – the advanced droids that captured Grogu – are waiting. (Stolen from Hasbro Pulse. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I feel like it's almost a recurring bit in here to say something is overpriced, but it is. This The Mandalorian (The Rescue comes in a lavish, ridiculous box that's incredibly big and expensive to ship, plus an anxiety attack in the making. Do you save the packaging? How much of it? Do you remove the plastic clear trays? How do you store the accessories since there are more gizmos than the figure can hold? How can you not lose a plug for the wrist rocket that's the size of a grain of rice? I realize this may sound silly to you, but I think it's also part of why these things are less fun and more tiny jobs in the making these days. There's no way to hold or store all the accessories you get - I would much rather have bought two different kitted-out mass market Mando figures than this $75 3-pack.

To date, this is the most deluxe version of Din Djarin to date. You get a re-re-retooled figure with a cloth cape, a removable jet pack, a Beskar spear, a blaster pistol, a flame effect, the Whistling Birds effect, and an addition 2-3 figures. If Hasbro just took all this stuff and sold it in a box for $20-$25 you'd probably go "Wow, that's a bit too much" mostly because there's no easy way to store the extra stuff - but things plug in to the figure nicely. The left wrist can plug in a nifty flame blast, the right wrist has a hole for a plug or for the whistling birds. In another era, Hasbro (or Kenner) would have made a line with a dozen versions of Mando and each would sport unique armors and accessories - and I can see an upside to that. Here, you've got so many options for display it's almost daunting.

Complete with tattered cape, this version of our hero follows previous releases by barely changing the figure. The "ice spider" version had unique snow deco and a distinctive left knee pad. The "Razor Crest" version sported different thigh armor and lacked the left knee pad entirely. This "Rescue" version also adds two new wrist armor bits to allow for your fire blast accessories, which I assume costs a bunch of money to tool up. Sadly, they kept the same leg joints from the previous releases too so it's a little bit tougher to pose him compared to, say, Bo-Katan Kryze or Axe Woves. In terms of functionality, he's pretty much the same as that Beskar version we got a while back. Improved, yes. Specific, absolutely. But nothing particularly special beyond being a perfect season 2 finale figure.

The spear is a fine spear, but it doesn't do much of anything - he can hold it, it's fine. The blaster fits in his holster and is nice bright silver. If you got the figure with the non-fire accessories, it would probably be in a store for $15-$17 right now. The fire blasts might mark it up to $20-$23 these days, with the Dark Trooper retailing around $33 (but this version is missing his "dock") and Moff Gideon being $15 tops. Since Grogu has been thrown in multi-packs, I would guesstimate he's $5 tops. If you assume Hasbro would throw Grogu in a deluxe exclusive box (like we saw at Walmart) for about $21, and that Gideon and the Dark Trooper would cost the same as a retail counterpart, this set is "worth" about $68 or so - and that seems absolutely ludicrous given how little you get in the box, and that four "vintage" figures would set you back about $60 these days. I feel like I'm a constant downer and I love these things - but $75 can buy you some pretty awesome, existing Kenner or Hasbro toys.

What's kind of funny - and sad - is that sets like this used to be super cheap. Starting in 2005 Hasbro frequently released "Battle Packs," where you got 5 figures for about $20. They were usually existing figures (or retools) with new deco, and sometimes you got all-new figures in there in similarly large diorama packaging. The key difference is you got 5 figures for $20, and not 3-4 figures for $75. Hasbro is saving money on sets like this, and they're charging us premium prices - and given that a lot of their exclusives aren't selling through anymore, I'd wager to say their plan isn't working. There's no reason this set couldn't be in a simpler box for under $40-$50. As long as people like us keep buying them, Hasbro will keep making higher-end items like this - but it seems interest is slowing down. I certainly don't feel this was a particularly good nor exciting item since other versions of these figures can be had without the massive packaging, but completists will be interested in it and the flame effects are somewhat interesting. It's just that we've had multiple 3 3/4-inch - and 6-inch - versions of this character, often at premium prices, and it's just getting expensive and tiresome when we're not getting cool robots or aliens or other bad guys to fill out the collection. There's no reason to "collect them all" if they're all pretty much the same, and I have a feeling my time playing around with this figure will probably come to an end about the time I finish this sentence.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,994: January 12, 2023

No comments: