Staaaar Waaaaars, nothing but Staaaaaar Waaaaaaars!!! My drought of writing-time came paired with the holiday season, which only exacerbated the situation since there was such a deluge of new toys released AND of various sales, to boot. In particular, Toys R Us ran a "Buy One, Get One 40% Off" promotion for Star Wars which I took as the opportunity to dive into some delayed additions to the ol' collection. So join me on stroll down Lucas Lane with a myriad of purchases related to the juggernaut what is Disney/Lucasfilm's Star Wars.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black (4"): Luke Skywalker (Hoth Battle Gear)
A figure so terribly exciting I didn't realize he was new for about a month of being at retail. I'm given to understand this is a 100% new sculpt though, save but for the cut-up face, I'm hard pressed to really note it's newness. Like all Empire Strikes Back Lukes this guy comes with a blaster, an ignited lightsaber and a lightsaber hilt. Balljoints abound for his articulation and the paint is nice and tight. It's a good figure, and a great one if you've never had a Hoth Luke, but for me he's just a another reminder of how overly dull the line has become.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black (4"): Yoda
I just... What the hell happened here...? You look at this figure and you're like "oh neat, another Yoda. But hey, it's the real Yoda (aka from ESB, not the Prequels), so that is a decided bonus - I suppose I'll get him. Sure he comes with a hopelessly misguided softgoods backpack for Dagobah Luke which is so over scaled it looks better suited for the 6" line, BUT check out how great the head/likeness is!" And you'd certainly be right about those last two points. But what you would not know, what you could not know is that that crappy fabric robe hides a most terrible secret, one that could well scare you off from this figure entirely. You see, dear friends, this figure has... five points of articulation - and they are all swivel cuts!!! That's freaking right, kids - this figure is less articulated than the Mission Series version! "Oh ho ho," says ye,"but his hands are clearly cast in a separate color/tool - certainly THEY are articulated much like the Mission Series figure..." And you would be WRONG, says I! On the plus side, this figure has the best ESB likeness for Yoda I recall seeing in the entire line. One the minus side, EVERY. OTHER. SINGLE. THING. ABOUT. THIS. FIGURE.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black (6"): Boba Fett
I still have never seen a Boba Fett at retail (so good thing they keep re-packing Han and Obi Wan - you know, the "Hot Sellers") but a friend managed to track one down as a Christmas gift for me and I am eternally grateful. He is a fun figure, and one of the stronger entries in the line, but I've been so frustrated with the pursuit of this figure for so long, and have heard friends whine about the shortfalls, it is really hard not to feel disappointed with him. The cape perpetually hangs at this weird angle, the gray pouches hanging from the belt pretty much lock his hips into position by limiting their articulation and, honestly, the lack of double-jointed elbows pretty much ruins this figure because you can not manipulate him into any of the iconic poses. He's not a bad toy, he's just not a particularly good one.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black (6"): Chewbacca
Chewie turned out pretty well. The sculpt is fantastic and the articulation is pretty good considering the constraints of a fur-covered character/sculpt. His bowcaster is kind of annoying because it comes as three separate, unglued pieces meaning it falls apart easily and the "barrel" seems a bit too short. The left hand is sculpted so "closed" he can't hold the bowcaster at all, and frankly I can't even imagine what their intent was with it. The figure does have a fatal flaw to it, at least for me, and this it's the neck joint. It's nothing but a simple ball-and-socket joint which means, paired with the overhanging fur, you can't really do anything with it. Why does he lack the swivel disc that EVERY OTHER FIGURE in this line has!?!? Especially with that open mouth I desperately want to throw his head back in a roar or tilt forward so that he can look at Han, et al, while talking. It is so, so, so, so frustrating and, like I mentioned, basically ruins the figure for me.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black (6"): Jedi Luke
Skintone is just plastic so it looks cheap and totally washes out what might be a good likeness, the eyes are painted heavily and a bit sloppily, and whatever difference appears between the jumpsuit and the gloves/boots is simply a matter of sculpt texture - not paint. There are a handful of silver paint apps on the (non-removable) belt, and one of the tunic inserts has the folded down flap painted. Which gets us to the accessories... of which there is ostensibly two - making this figure one of the least accessorized in the line. He gets his RotJ lightsaber with removable blade and an alternate tunic front piece so that you can have flap-down or flap-up. The lightsaber hilt turned out pretty great though the blade color is a bit dull and I really appreciate the alternate chest pieces buuuuuuut, that's it? Definitive edition of what!? He should have, at the bare minimum, the handcuffs he's in when he's delivered to the Emperor! And that's before you even consider that this costume is the base for both the "Jabba's Palace" and the "Endor" outfits, so... we're getting screwed the hell out of something here. I got two because of the sale and because of the alternate costume pieces but make no mistake, I am very let down by this figure and ragingly disappointed in Hasbro. Everything about this figure says "this line is dying, jump ship now."
Hasbro - Star Wars Mission Series: Boba Fett & Stormtrooper
A fun pairing, though not a particularly exciting one. Fett is a nice sculpt and decently painted considering the 5-POA format. Same goes for the Stormtrooper. In fact, the 5-POA format is ideal for Imperial armybuilding and I would love if they would put out "buckets of troopers" to really fill in the backgrounds of dioramas and pad out the ranks for Imperial reviews. And man... if they do some rebel troops that could mean we can at last reasonably build out the Yavin Ceremony!
Hasbro - Star Wars Mission Series: "Rebels" R2-D2 & C-3PO
3PO is a fun figure, as always, and looks pretty neat in the Rebels style, which does seem suitably a hint more ANH-y than the Clone Wars design. I get that this line is about being... "cost effective" so the gold plastic is fine but it sure would have been nice if he were painted gold. Aaaaand then, there is R2. This is just the same "movie accurate" version of R2 from the previous Mission Series pack... That's just some super cheap laziness right there as aesthetically he doesn't fit at all with the other Rebels figures, though at least he does have a bit more paint on him than the last one. If they "had" to reuse a sculpt, though, why not the more appropriate Clone Wars one.
Hasbro - Star Wars Mission Series: "Rebels" Zeb & Stormtrooper
Warmin' pegs across the land! Apparently folks either don't like Zeb or they don't like "character + army-builder" 2-packs, 'cause daaaaaaamn. Zeb is a neat toy though. A fun design, pretty much a perfect middle-point between McQuarrie and Clone Wars aesthetics. His skin is more purple than I thought he was, but I've still not seen the show, and I'm pleasantly surprised by his Hammerhead kind of feet. He comes with a big, weird gun that was surprisingly tough to get in his hand. The Stormtrooper is the same as the single carded one so that's nice.
Hasbro - Star Wars Rebels Legends: Agent Kallus
This is the kind of thing I'm not crazy about the animation/Expanded Universe for: Imperials is one-off uniforms/armor, but maybe he's not so singular on the show. I dig the helmet (and was surprised it isn't removable) but I effectively hate that he has huge muttonchops underneath it. He also gets a very PotF2-y gun with a sort of trident-y barrel. It's more novel than anticipated and is really growing on me, but the big rectangle on its butt makes it kinda tough for him to hold.
Hasbro - Star Wars Rebels Legends: C1-10P (Chopper)
I've grown to really like the very McQuarrie-ish look of this guy. He's a decent sculpt and the paint is nice, though the inset "arm" and "techno jumble" in his body are inexplicably separate piece/s of plastic which caused me to spend about 5 minutes trying to pop out the arm with a knife before realizing that it's unarticulated and that "Hasbro makes no sense." It's a neat looking figure but with only three points of articulation and no accessories, comparatively speaking, he does certainly does feel like a rip-off.
Hasbro - Star Wars Rebels Legends: The Inquistor
Pretty much everything about this guy bugs me, but I'm sure he makes sense/is really cool on the show. I just can't remember the last time I saw a character so clearly designed to be a popular toy. I mean, criminey, his "signature weapon" is literally just the spinning lightsaber roleplay toy Hasbro made for Clone Wars Grievous ("Grievous"... good god, the names of those characters... you won't be missed, George). Regardless, this is a fine figure for what it is, even if that silly lightsaber keeps bumping into his limbs due to the sculpt and lack of articulation.
Hasbro - Star Wars Saga Legends: Luke Skywalker (RotJ)
Sure, I'll say it - this is a better toy that the 6" rip-off up above - at least this guy isn't pretending to be something it's not. Heck, I bet they even have the same number of bodily paint apps. The head is probably more accurate on the 6" version but overall the proportions of this figure look better; the 6" one is so skinny/scrawny. The rest of the sculpt here is pretty good, but I wish they'd figure out their handgrip-to-accessory proportions better though, the lightsaber seems so loose and kind of oddly angled.
Hasbro - Star Wars Saga Legends: Snowtrooper
Much like the Stormtrooper up above, with Fett, this is a perfect armybuilder. In fact, the sculpt is remarkably good and he stands quite solidly. See, this is the kind of 5-POA figure I wish we'd see more off - minimal articulation but nice paint and excellent sculpt. Sure I'd love more than 5 joints but given the economy, etc., I think it'd be best to carry-over a modern sensibility to appeal to new/modern shoppers than try to cater to an ever-shrinking nostalgia market a la the ReAction figures. If only they could incorporate ball-and-socket joints these would truly be perfect.
Jakks Pacific - Star Wars Big Size Figures: Chewbacca
This was the first of the Star Wars Big Figs to really turn my head and I gotta say I quite like him. The sculpt is wonderful for a low-cost, rotocast figure. The line is quarter scale which means this guy is a delightful 20" tall! He, uniquely to the line, comes with an accessory - his purse. Oddly his right hand is very clearly sculpted to hold a gun and given how the other figures come with weapons it's odd that the purse is not part of the torso sculpt and that he isn't packin' at least a Stormtrooper blaster if not his trademark bowcaster. Otherwise he's pretty neat. He has the same seven points of articulation as the rest of the line - that waist is glued in place, alas. It's a very simple figure, no doubt about it, but I dig him.
Jakks Pacific - Star Wars Big Size Figures: Scout Trooper
These figures are just as well sculpted as the 3¾" figures (indeed I kinda assumed Hasbro was just blowing up their sculpts before I realized these were coming from Jakks) with comparable, if not better, paint. Articulation wise, every figure gets seven points: swivel hips, shoulders, wrists and neck. The hips are annoyingly limited though, and maybe only swing 10 degrees either way. I'm sure it's to keep the hollow figures from falling over but it's very un-toy-ish. The Biker Scout's visor is a separate piece cast in pretty soft, malleable plastic so warping can be a concern. Still though at about $20 bucks these are pretty novel big figures to have on top of book cases and such - they really fill up the "dead spaces" normal figures are too small to be seen well at.
Jakks Pacific - Star Wars Big Size Figures: TIE Pilot
The TIE Pilot follows the same format as the other figures in the line in terms of sculpt, paint and articulation. Interestingly his blaster is a separate piece attached to the handle sculpted in his hand. Also, his breathing tubes are a soft plastic which allows him to turn his head a little bit. The respirator box is firmly attached the chest so he's not gonna be looking much to either side though. I'm not sure how "completist" I'll be with this line, but I do get a kick out of the large size of these guys.
Jakks Pacific - Star Wars Giant Size Figures: Darth Vader
I've been eyeing this fellow for quite some time. I was really into the 24" craze in the 2010's when ToyBiz did the Thing from the first Fantastic Four movie and Mattel did Batman from Begins, etc., so I was very tickled to see a big return of the scale (slight pun intended) though I will concede that Jakks has gone a bit character crazy with this license. At any rate, the TRU sale was my final gateway to getting this guy and I gotta tell you, he's awesome. The cloth cape and skirt are pretty nice at this scale and I love the inclusion of the metal chain around his neck (the cape is glued in place so the chain is purely decorative), He gets the same seven POAs as the 18" figures which is good enough for me. I really love that he's got his lightsaber hanging from his belt, it just feels so "real." This is basically "my" Vader: calmly, collectedly standing - looming. Threatening simply as a presence. I love the sculpt of the Force-ing left hand, though the lack of elbow articulation makes it a bit hard to find a natural pose. The thing that really blew me away with this guy, though, is the helmet! It looks to me like the most accurate representation of it in any toy or collectible. It could just be the size talking, but I love it. This a big toy and a simple toy, so it's not for everyone but I really like it for both its quality AND conversation-starter-ness. No one, especially none collectors, can pass him without saying something and how many toys these days have that ability.
LEGO - Star Wars: Anakin's Jedi Starfighter
This is a pretty fun little TRU exclusive polybag. I do wish they could have found a better way to represent R2 than a simple blue, round 1x1, but what're ya gonna do? I also really would have preferred Anakin's yellow Starfighter to Darth Vader's green one (sweet mother of midicholrians, I'm smart-assing in defense of prequel continuity - All Star Wars edition of Spoils, what have you done to me!?!?!). The build precludes the pointless tiny wings from closing in more than what you see but if it's really a deal breaker for you, just pop them off. Otherwise, another excellent micro-scale polybag ship!
LEGO - Star Wars: ARC-170 Starfighter Polybag
Aside from the WW2 Bomber cockpit angle (originally intended for the Y-Wings) I fail to see the point to this ship and design, but I'm still a madman for microscale ships and polybags so this fella certainly is my jam! The build recreates the look of the ship shockingly well for the scale. Plus, it gets two unprinted maroon minifig heads for the engines, so I picked up an extra to use those for replacement heads for helmeted characters and the like. For what it's worth, this was a TRU exclusive back in fall '14.
LEGO - Star Wars: AT-DP Polybag
This was a "free with purchase" exclusive at Lego stores in January '15 so it was sort of a fortuitous way to snag a polybag as an excuse to finally pick up some of the Microfighters. I have always hated the walkers in Star Warsbut I gotta admit that this design is the first one I could kind of get behind. The build is delightful - the legs have ratchet joints at the hips, knees and ankles which allow for some reasonable posing but the real highlight is the balljointed cannon! The windshield is a translucent red brick which looks fine but I wonder if a solid color would look better. All in all, though, a wonderful little build.
LEGO - Star Wars: Mos Eisley Cantina
Ooooooh yeah! Now this set is super cool! We get an all-new, gorgeously sculpted/designed Dewback, complete with bricks to build either a saddle or bare back! There's also new a Landspeeder which is a nice design and fun build though it seems a little large and low to the ground (it only uses a handful of clear rounded circles underneath for the hover. It does also lacks a clear place to put an R2 and 3PO, but I don't have them so it's not an issue. The Cantina itself is 4 "cubes" and fifth door piece all connected by hinges for your customizable layout desires. The two alcove pieces are actually on slide-out bases giving you ever more options! On the outside is a clip-on moisture vaporator and a feeding trough (with bone) for the Dewback! And then... there's the figures. They're all good and though none are new characters but almost all are nice, fresh new updates. The only "kind of" bummer is that Han is the regular old Han. It's kind of a bummer that it includes both Luke & Ben and Han & Greedo. It seems like those heavy hitters would be a great way to work out a second companion set to this completing the bar and adding more space. Just replace Han & Greedo with Ponda Baba & Dr. Evazon and there you go! However, if I have one complaint about this set it's the lack of Wuhrer the bartender, a glaring omission and sort of the main thing from holding me back from getting a second set to complete the bar.
LEGO - Star Wars Microfighters: AAT
I've always had a soft spot for this vehicle so I was tickled to see it in this line. I think the "chibi" look makes a lot of sense for the AAT but being such a rounded design that cuteness is a bit lost in the more angular style of Lego. The Pilot Battle Droid is nice and the blue certainly helps spice up the beige color palette. The top cannon is on a hinge joint and it's base is on a spinner for full posing options while the side-guns are "flick fire" missiles. It's a cute build but not really an exciting one.
LEGO - Star Wars Microfighters: Millenium Falcon
The flagship... ship of the line, the Falcon turned out surprisingly excellent in this aesthetic. It's a fun build and captures the iconic ship well, which also keep this building process a bit more engaging. Translucent blue bricks fill in the back for engine exhaust and an R5 head gets the cockpit printing on it to wonderful effect! The Han is just the regular old Han, which I feel like I have a ton of at this point, but maybe his expression is new/different at least? The top of the ship has two flick-fire missiles since they've built this line around a combat game sort of thing. At $10 this is just a really fun thing for anybody and probably should have been my go-to holiday gift last fall.
LEGO - Star Wars Microfighters: X-Wing
I've grown pretty bored of micro X-Wings but this guy is a perfect "chibi"-ification of the design and the squatness of it really gives a fresh and fun vibe. The tiny wings are hinged for either s-foil position and the four "guns" are "flick-fire" missiles, too. I really dig that the engines have translucent pink exhaust, it's such a pleasant change from the typical blue exhaust of spacecraft. The pilot gets new helmet deco as does the R2 head. They're newness also beefs up the unique look of the build. I got this set for it's Original Trilogy-ness but have ended up really loving it on it's own merit!