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Ewoks: Leektar & Nippet

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by yo go re

I've theorized before that the only reason Jar-Jar and the other Gungans were introduced in Episode I was so that the fanboys would look more kindly upon the Ewoks. It seems to have worked. Of course, there was always one Ewok that didn't need any help to be adorable - the baby.

Leektar is all too familiar with the threats of stormtroopers, having earlier saved an Ewok scouting expedition from attacking stormtroopers. Nippet the wokling is too young to take part in the Battle of Endor, but is delighted by the victory celebration that takes place in her village.

Leektar and Nippet are both based on Ewoks that showed up in Return of the Jedi, but went unnamed. Of course, in Lucasfilm's drive to expand its universe and fill in (and subsequently mine) every blank space, they've been pinned down, identified and classified, and now immortalized in plastic.

Leektar was the black Ewok wearing a bone headdress, just like Logray. When the movie was made, that was probably just meant to keep Ewok Costume #17b from blending into the background at night. More recently, it's been revealed that Leektar was a shaman from another village that was destroyed by fire, and he's been accepted into the tribe that eventually met Leia and the Rebels.

With his hood on, Leektar is 2⅝ tall; without the animal skull topping him off, he's not even 2¼". That seems like a pretty average height for an Ewok - though that may be because this figure is a repaint of 2007's Romba. He's got the benfit of a new head to set him apart, with small wide ears and very round cheeks. He seems to be smiling, thanks to the shape of his mouth and those big teeth.

The figure's sculpt is as good as you'd expect, and he has two nice accessories: a stone-headed war club and a flint dagger that fits in the sheathe on his belt. What's really impressive, though, is the articulation: the last Ewoks we reviewed had swivels at the big five, and nothing else; Leektar has a balljointed head, shoulders and ankles, and swivels at the wrists, waist and hips. The legs end up looking too wide, because of the space needed to accommodate a t-crotch, but other than the lack of theoretical elbows, this is about as superarticulated as an Ewok can ever be.

So that's the adult. Grown-up things are never as cute as un-grown-up things, which is why environmentalists weep tears of their own blood over the thought of someone clubbing baby seals, but will merrily eat big heaping platefuls of raw seal steak once the things are adults. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea. The thing selling this set is Nippet, the baby Ewok.

Though this toy is based on the character (or prop) that appeared in Episode 6, the name "Nippet" comes from the Ewoks cartoon. The cartoon was set about three and a half years after the Battle of Yavin (the finale of the first movie, and "Year Zero" for most SW timelines), which means it was right in between ESB and RotJ. Try not to think about the fact that in the cartoon she was ambulatory, while in the movie she was too small to even sit up unassisted.

The toy is really more of an accessory, not even rating an articulated neck. This little nugget is 1" tall, and comes with real action bucket. Yes, it's really a basket, but "action bucket" is funnier. It's sculpted to look like woven reeds, and there's some kind of fur or padding to keep the wokling comfy.

The newest gimmick to sell Star Wars figures is the "Droid Factory" build-a-figure series, which is exactly what it sounds like: buy a bunch of SW figures, collect the pieces to assemble a droid. Leektar and Nippet share space on the card with the central body of R4-D6, a dark blue astromech with silver highlights. To complete R4, you'd have to buy some pretty uninspiring versions of Luke, Han and Chewie, so mine will likely never progress beyond being a torso. On the plus side, Nippet's basket is the same general size and shape as an R4's head, so you can put that on there and have the only droid in the galaxy with a casing made of wicker.

The Star Wars line debuted new packaging when the Clone Wars figures were released on July 26, 2008 - actually, two new styles of packaging. And unlike every other time Hasbro's put out two parallel product lines, this time the two packages aren't functionally identical. Both versions have the same general shape - that famous white helmet forms the backdrop - but with noteable differences. The faux-animated Clone Wars toys are backed by Clone Trooper helmets, with the little antenna, while the realistic figures - even those based on the previous (good) Clone Wars cartoon - are dubbed the "Legacy Collection" and sold on Stormtrooper cards. That difference, particularly the antenna, makes it really easy to glance at the shelf and see if there's anything worth a closer look.

Really, Leektar is just along for the ride with this set. Nippet would have sold pretty much any Ewok she was partnered with, based on sheer adorableness. The Droid Factory piece is detailed well, but doesn't add anything of value to the set. Fortunately, both Ewoks are done well, and both benefit from not being Gungans.


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