Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,029: 4-LOM (The Retro Collection)

and Zuckuss, Amazon Exclusive

The Retro Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F6983
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $27.99
Availability: March 2023
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Cold, calculating droid 4-LOM and Gand bounty hunter Zuckuss were summond by Darth Vader to locate the Millennium Falcon and her crew in STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKE BACK - and together, they make a deadly pair. (Taken from the figure's outer packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: There's something funny about 4-LOM being an Amazon exclusive. As one of the very last The Empire Strikes Back action figures, it may have been first sent to many homes from a Kenner mail-in offer. (Remember those?) You could send off some proof-of-purchases and get a free figure. The reason for that was to clear shelves - kids would buy a few figures they maybe didn't want to get the special new mail-away figure, making stores and Kenner happy without markdown dollars or buybacks or clearances. Now, they just prefer to sell the figures and have the figures sell out - and right now, 4-LOM is busy not selling out on Amazon.

But how is he? I was surprised they reissued him, because you could buy a Kenner original relatively cheaply - and while there are differences, they are not as significant as Zuckuss. The brown rubery vest isn't identical, but is extremely close. A lot of the detail on the front - especially the shoulder straps - was smoothed out and removed, but on the backside it looks pretty much the same. The head is also smoothed out, losing some of those deep grooves and bug-like skin markings. The eyes and facial detail is also a little washed out, sort of like someone had a meter to push the depth up a bit so the colors match and the basic shapes are there, but if you get in close, you'll realize this is the new one. This is annoying, because an eBay photo on your phone looks pretty much the same for the 1982 or 2023 releases - only in person can you easily tell the difference.

Under the robes, there is some loss of detail but at least from the parts I examined, it's not as bad as the head. Much stranger are the foot peg holes - they're small. Very small. Compared to other Kenner reissues, they're tiny - closer to The Vintage Collection foot holes. As much as I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, this is just sloppy work - foot peg holes should be a consistent size in a line, especially if the original figure had room for a standard, bigger one. You won't be able to fit him on old Kenner foot pegs. Articulation is the same, though, so there's that.

The accessories are largely pretty good. The fabric on his outfit is very similar, but not identical, and it feels pretty good for a material sourced 40 years after its original release. Similarly, the blaster isn't bad - you lose a little sculpted detail fidelity, but also they scrubbed some of the recessed circles on the bottom of the rifle off the 1982 original. That's an interesting choice - I like a major (but not significant) change so fans can immediately identify a reproduction beyond "compared to the original, it doesn't look as good." Heck, they could put a little R on these for all I care.

I'm always torn between "this is good" and "this is terrible" on some of the retro remakes. Hasbro is repeatedly doing what I assume has got to be an intentionally bad job with soft detail, because after six full waves and various exclusives, if they're still getting it wrong, it has to be a choice. You can't possibly make this many accidents - and if you see the new Retro Indiana Jones, woof. Horrible, worst one yet. Thanks to 4-LOM being mostly covered in cloth and he's able to hold his blaster well, I think this figure - standing on a shelf - is a fine replacement for an original. But you can also just go to eBay and buy an original for about $20. And if you have a junker original, you could probably steal the remake's parts to fix him up. I don't think the set is an improvement in any way, but in the sense that it's got a few differences, it's interesting. You'll want to keep the originals, though.

Collector's Notes: I got mine at Amazon. It was delivered to the wrong house. My friend's evaporated en route. This set carries a curse.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,029: May 16, 2023

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