Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,095: Professor Huyang (The Black Series)

Old Droid

The Black Series 2023 Window Box Line Look Ahsoka Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F7110
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #07 - Star Wars: Ahsoka
Includes: Removable backpack, tool, pad
Action Feature: Removable backpack has jointed arms
Retail: $24.99
Availability: October 2023
Appearances: Star Wars: Ahsoka

Bio: Set after the fall of the Empire, Ahsoka follows former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. (Taken from the box packaging.)

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!

Originally seen in The Clone Wars, this Professor Huyang action figure seems to be an all-new sculpt that fell victim to budgeting cuts on its way out the door. My sample is stable and stands well, with just the right articulation and some nice gear - but the coloration and paint isn't quite right. Normally I don't advocate for "premium finish" reissues, but this is one of the few cases where I might say Hasbro should consider it in a year or two. It's a good figure - but it's not a great figure. As I write this, the price on Amazon dipped a bit - a disturbing trend with 6-inch figures shortly after they hit stores. It might be back up by now, but this is the kind of trend you don't want to see with new, collectible figures within weeks of release.

Looking at the droid, Hasbro seemed to be working from great reference. The sculpted texture on the droid chest is great, a much more streamlined and sinewy take on the slightly chunkier robot we saw in the cartoons. The joints in the design translate nicely to functional joints on the action figure, with a vinyl apron being just flexible enough to not get in the way of posing his legs. The double-jointed neck does much to add to his personality, letting him cock his head as he examines his accessories or be posed "talking" to another figure. I found the figure to be generally stable and had no problems posing him in any way I wanted, although the shoulders were a little stiff and didn' move exactly like I expected. Due to their design, I assumed they had the "ring" we used to see in older figure shoulder joints - they don't. Whoever sat at the computer sculpting this one did a great job overall, as the parts fit together well and everything looks like it should. The only shortcoming might be for safety reasons - the figure had a big antenna on his left shoulder in the live-action show, and it was either retracted or removed to a small nub for this release. The figure even has a backpack with moving limbs - which no doubt added much to the cost - with some paint on them too.

Unfortunately, cost is a real issue and when it comes to deco I feel it came up short. The figure was molded in plastic that seems closer to the cartoon coloring, rather than the "painted" opaque look of the live-action show. Had Hasbro used different materials or painted the whole thing, I think he would look great. Even his tool lost the red pommel deco hit, and his biceps are unpainted despite having paint on the TV show. I think fans would bristle at paying "deluxe" prices for this one, but I do wonder if there's a way to do this for $1 or $2 more - and how would he look? The eyes aren't quite the right color, but it's close. If you don't compare the figure to a still from the show you'd probably say "yup, looks like Huyang" - and being a new character that's likely. It's not like we've been staring at him for 30 years so we know when the hair is wrong or a panel is misplaced, but you can look at him and tell a few things didn't quite turn out as the designers likely intended. Heck, maybe it's just because the TV show design was unfinished when the figure left China.

It's rare that Hasbro can get a Disney+ series toy on-shelf with a show anymore, but Huyang came pretty close at just a couple of months. I'd love to see stuff day-and-date - or before - the show comes out, as that used to be commonplace... but it does come with a cost of potential accuracy. We've seen Transformers Studio Series toys get delayed until after the movie comes out to shoot for improved accuracy, with kid line toys getting out on-shelf first minus the authenticity. That might actually be a really good compromise - get a "kid version" (or Retro Kenner) version out fast and cheap, while delaying the "collector" version for later so they can nail it. When you're looking at a premium figure - and at $25, this is a premium figure - fan expectations are for sub-perfection and Professor Huyang is tantalizingly close to perfect. A customizer with a steady hand probably already perfected him, but for those of us untalented hacks, we'll have to settle for "good enough." But "good enough" is actually really well done... minus the pesky paint problems.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,095: January 2, 2024

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