Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,045: Paz Vizsla (The Vintage Collection)

(What's so funny about Paz, Love, and Understanding)

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Deluxe Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F6879
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Figure, backpack, blaster, knife, 3 fire blasts, wrist shield
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $27.99
Availability: May 2023
Appearances: The Mandalorian
Bio: Paz Vizsla is a brawny warrior encased in the strongest beskar armor. A descendant of the esteemed House Vizsla, he comes from a long line of leaders spanning the centuries. (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!

Click here to buy it at eBay now!

I bought a fancy keyboard on clearance recently - trust me, this ties in to Paz Vizsla, a $28 "deluxe" figure from The Vintage Collection. I like and have a ton of Star Wars toys, but very few keyboards. When it comes time to replace an old one, which is rare (my work PC still has a Dell RT7020 with a PS/2 to USB dongle) I do a lot of research, or just replace like for like. This time I got one for fun - I wanted something that clicked, and had goofy lights, and a Blackwidow was at the store for $35. Unless it breaks, I may not need another one for years. Paz may be the same way - if you're the kind of person who buys very few figures, this is a good one with great features. Despite the 4+ age grade, Hasbro made (and priced) this figure for adults.

The packaging is a snore, but the figure itself shows a lot of signs of good engineering and development. If your collection doesn't take up an entire room, you'll no doubt have time to open it up and admire that the yellow elements of his armor are molded in color, and not painted like old figures from the 20th and most of the 21st centuries. I think the fancy keyboard analogy is apt, because you can make a $10 Paz Vizsla figure in this size if you want. But Hasbro instead wanted to use multiple colors of plastic, plus a lot of paint apps. It costs a decent amount of money to have a figure made from this many pieces, and the current Hasbro seems to believe the collector does not merely want, but demands this high level of quality. Every detail looks sharp, and the distinctive plastic colors makes the figure seem more "real." A separately molded greave or vambrace stands out like a separate, customized part rather than a single-color plastic limb with some paint. Of course, the silver is painted, and so is the black visor, and a few other bits - but you can see someone had to take a lot more time to assemble this guy.

The sculpting work is excellent, with lots of dents and banged-in areas - some of which are painted - which makes me cringe as I say Hasbro has an opportunity to do a deluxe repaint later. To most fans, the blue paint with silver highlights on the helmet will be good enough. But to some, you'll see dents on the thighs and at $28 ask "why didn't they paint that?" And I would agree with you - because I'm not the kind of person who buys one figure every several years. The current 3 3/4-inch figure is typically $17 now (up from $10-$13 under 5 years ago) and we've seen it's increasingly normal to have alternate heads, removable braids, bottles, blasters, and separately molded pieces galore. As far as accessory count goes, this guy is probably only a little bit more complex that the likes of Fennec Shand or Reva. Sure, he's got energy blasts - but I don't think most fans place real value on those unless they're big diorama or photography people. It's nice to have - but if it was left out, at a regular figure price, nobody would be demanding their inclusion. It's the kind of gear they throw in to justify a higher price that, as I write this, has not yet dropped on the secondary market. Not knowing the production run of the figure, that could change - if Hasbro is sitting on thousands of these in their warehouse, a price drop could come. But if they're almost gone? I could see fans shelling out for this figure because, as I mentioned above, it's rather nice.

Articulation is now standard for a figure with rocker ankles, bend-and-swivel wrists, and mostly smooth joints that allow him to easily hold his giant blaster. Back in the 1990s to 2000s, he would have been most likely preposed with bent elbows and legs so he could hold the gear and stay standing. In some respects, I prefer that. While Mr. Vizsla can stand, you do need to be careful to pose him just-so or he might wobble and fall over as you type. You'll probably want him standing mostly upright, not slightly lurching forward to give the sense of "wow, this is heavy." I greatly appreciate the sculptors put enough arm and leg (and torso, and neck) joints in there to allow him to convey this body language, but they could probably have done something similar at a lower price with fewer joints. Looking at old Kenner toys - specifically the likes of Batman: The Animated Series - characters like the Riddler are capable of appearing like an animated maquette with wildly expressive faces and know-it-all body language, plus legs that can swing forward to sit in vehicles and a rocket-firing question mark for just $5.99. (Adjusted for inflation, they would be closer to $10.)

The idea that you can have a $10 watch and a $10,000 watch is nothing new - or a $5 keyboard, a $50 keyboard, and a $300 keyboard. Hasbro seems to have decided that 3 3/4-inch action figures should be designed (and priced) like a more premium product and Paz really shows that off in spades. The pin in the energy shield fits in his wrist armor incredibly well. The tiny knife fits in his boot like a glove. The energy bolts are a little tight, but they fit. In a vacuum, this is a nice figure but a lack of "wow" accessories like an alternate head, a flight stand, or just something to fill out that mostly-empty box would do something to help remind you that this 4-inch figure is $28 and the 6-inch one was $30 at Best Buy in 2019. (Which, despite some inaccuracies, is a pretty fantastic figure that will have at least 5 releases costing completists north of $180 most likely, but who's counting?)

Paz delivers the goods and charges accordingly. I'd probably be just as happy with a Kenner one, be it in 1980s or 1990s style, if it meant a lower price point - but it probably would be able to nod, or glare, or otherwise stand around as menacingly as this guy. I'm guessing we're a few years away from figures like this - expensive, but incredibly good ones - being a thing of the past. I can't imagine the market will put up with high prices for long, regardless of the quality, and the irony is I bet fans will pay a premium for them if and when the market gets shorted. Even thought it's hard to be impressed by the figure for its price point as compared to "basic" The Vintage Collection sculpts from the last year, on its own merits, price aside? It's really sharp, and the only thing really going against it is that you have a lot of options for your figure dollars in 2023. Could it be better? A bit. But if you saw this 10 or 15 years ago - forget 30 or 40 years ago - you'd feel like you got something from a far-flung future where everything went great and the stores must be lined with great toys and everything sunny all the time always.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,045: July 11, 2023


Brian J said...

The jump to $17 for a basic figure really made me take notice of current pricing for SW figures. It's hard to justify this figure at be the price point, but it does look like a good figure. Are the colors actually as bright as they appear in your photos? He seems extras bright to me. Thanks, as always, for all your work!

Adam16bit said...

I would say the lighting in my photo studio makes him seem a smidgen brighter - also my screen tends to be darker. You can absolutely see where the extra plastic colors are, but still, that's a high price for a figure that offers you less meat on the bone than a typical 6-inch figure at a lower price.