What's the point of these little 2" Unleashed Battle Packs? With the original Unleashed statues it's obvious - they stand on your desk and look good. They all do, for a given value of "good" - if you're buying a plastic statue of a Trandoshan, you presumably don't mind what they look like. These things are too small to stand out on anyone's desk, and because of their scale, can't offer much in terms of sculpt and paintwork anyway. What gives?
Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice embarks on an epic journey that takes him from hunting down the last of the Jedi, including General Rahm Kota, to ultimately confronting his former master. Along the way, he develops a strong bond with his pilot Juno Eclipse, helps the fallen Jedi Maris Brood seek redemption, and rekindles Master Kota's connection to the Force.
Hasbro must've wished they'd thought of another name for their statues when The Force Unleashed turned up - this, then, is an Unleashed Unleashed Battle Pack, containing four minifigures from the game, which has been spawning merchandise left and right lately. Incidentally, like the proper Unleashed figures, it also contains a "secret" cheat code for the game - it's "wookiee," and unlocks the Apprentice's Father's costume for use. Maybe his dad was a Wookiee, maybe he just wore a Wookiee costume, who knows? Who cares - if you're too unimaginative to try typing random Star Wars words into the cheat code field, they're all on the internet and a fifteen picosecond search will get them for you.
We may as well look at the figures in the order that the bio text introduces them, which brings us to Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice, Galen Marek, and you, if you're playing the video game. He was also "Jacob Nion" for a while, before they changed their minds - the name made it through in some early material. Since he's the guy you play in the game - a Mary Sue, really - he's all kinds of uber-powerful, able to juggle
Star Destroyers with Force levitation, throw around Sith lightning like Storm in a bad mood, and generally be stupidly over-the-top. His figure represents this by having three little bits of clear purple plastic attached to his limbs, representing auras of Force energy or some such garbage - they're just clipped on, and can be removed without much trouble.
Marek, or whatever his name is, is a CGI creation, but even without an actor Hasbro have managed to foul up the actor likeness. He's a brooding, tough-looking guy, with a bit of Pacific Islander in his heritage - I have no freakin' idea who the minifigure is supposed to be, beyond looking a bit Germanic. Mind you, the prototype shown on the back of the packaging looks like the original Battlestar Galactica's Apollo with severe constipation, so possibly this is an improvement. He's painted in various muddy shades, with dark green pants and his silver shoulder armour standing out most, and for some reason is leaning drunkenly over to one side.
Maybe he's meant to be dodging mid-duel - like the Obi-Wan Monkey Boy reviewed, it winds up looking kind of like a baseball pose (I think he's bunted the ball and is just taking off for first). He can move his arms, at least - swivel shoulders, though with the hands joined on the lightsaber hilt the arms can't move independent of each other - so he can raise his saber, and look a bit more serious. His base is a plain bit of generically techy floor, which for some reason is rounded on one end, and square on the other.
Next up, General Rahm Kota, "Samurai Jedi" before he acquired a name - at one point his role in the story was intended to be fulfilled by the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn,
and there's still a bit of a resemblence there. He's another one clad mainly in earthy tones, with light tan pants the main standout - the paint separating them from his robe isn't too clean, which detracts from him a bit. His face looks a bit more like his CGI model than does Marek's, but mainly thanks to having the distinctive beard and tightly pulled-back hairdo to rely on. To his credit, he's got a fairly convincing stern expression, thanks to the dots marking his pupils being just the right position.
His pose is a bit wonky as well - I think he's meant to be charging forwards, but since he needed both feet on the ground for stability there's not much of a sense of motion in his body, so the robes streaming out behind him make him look like he's slowly advancing into a strong headwind. Maybe Marek's using a sustained Force push to try to shove him back, or something. His base is a techy kind of floor, in a square with one corner trimmed off - it's grey, so it doesn't match Marek's sandstone coloured base.
Third in line is Juno Eclipse, increasingly proving that I was spot-on predicting the plot of The Force Unleashed way back in March when I got the Lego Rogue Shadow set - she's like a female James Bond, one shag and her partner stops being evil. She's a serious-looking no-nonsense blonde - the minifigure kind of gets her right, with a generic-looking female face that's at least not flat-out ugly, given the scale. Her Imperial Navy uniform is quite good, with the proper design, the little rank insignia on her chest,
the silver shoulder clasps, and her open-backed gloves. Impressively, if you study the minifigure closely enough, you'll see that her rank insignia is identical to the proper action figure, six red bars - unfortunately that makes her a Fleet Admiral, so I think someone at Hasbro goofed. Her CGI image seems to have a lower rank, four orange two red - that's still Rear Admiral, but at least it's a bit lower.
Juno is posed rather well, advancing with her blaster pistol held out behind her - she looks like she's peering around a corner, which is appropriate caution for a mere mortal mixing it with wildly overpowered Jedi. Her base roughly matches Marek's in colour and design, though there's a weird slanted block thingy sticking up for her to lean her foot on. Really, there's not much to complain about with Juno - her shortcomings are inevitable for a figure her size and price. Personally I'd like to see one of her in her look-at-my-cleavage flight uniform, just for variety, but you can't have everything. (Really, what was Vader thinking, putting his apprentice in a ship with her?)
Lastly for this set is Maris Brood, she of the skimpy sports bra. This figure, and Maris's proper 3¾" figure with the backwards hilts, make me suspect that the people behind The Force Unleashed designed her without actually stopping and working out how you'd fight with lightsaber tonfas. In this case, Maris is striding forwards with her arms held out awkwardly to the side, as if she's worried about accidentally skewering herself on the blades.
Either she's also fighting a headwind - maybe "Force hurricane" will be the strategy for players who can't be bothered to learn the various moves, and want to win the game by just hitting one button really fast - or she's wading through waist-deep sludge and trying not to get her sabers wet.
Looking beyond the pose, she's got her ups and downs as a figure. The photographs suggest that there's a real problem of matching the skin colours on her torso to her arms and face, but under natural lighting it's pretty difficult to see a difference - it's just a camera flash thing. What is a problem is the paint division on her forearms - the whole arms are clear pink plastic, with everything but the saber blades painted over, and on some of the packs I browsed through when buying mine, half her forearms were pink and see-through, so choose wisely. On the plus side, they got the sabers right this time - the blades come out the long ends. Her face is actually quite good - the paint apps are roughly the same as on the full-size figure, but since they're not so fine relative to the smaller sculpt they flesh out her face a lot more. The one change on the face is that the minifigure gets her lipstick right: black, not red. She's standing on a parallelogram-shaped techy base, which of these figures is the best at not drawing undue attention to itself while still looking okay if you do focus on it.
So that's the pack, and from what I've gathered of The Force Unleashed, it seems to be a decent spread of the game's characters - we've got the hero/anti-hero/whatever, a cloud of people for him to fight, and Juno to bang some sense into him. (Battle-damaged Vader, the other prominent figure from pre-game publicity, is available in a separate pack, along with a lightning-throwing Emperor and a couple of those royal guard guys painted black for extra evil.) And having gone to the trouble of reviewing them... I still don't see the point. As you'll have guessed, I bought the pack just because it had Juno and Maris in it, and was cheap, but you can't play with them (or the other two, who are now in a drawer), and they're not good enough to be display pieces in their own right. And even as "collectables" (a term which can apply to any old crap), well, they're not that cheap, and buying four at a time you're bound to wind up with a few you didn't really want - just collect the action figures instead.