#2813: Emperor’s Royal Guard

EMPEROR’S ROYAL GUARD

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Only the most promising soldiers are chosen to serve as Emperor Palpatine’s personal guards. Experts in many forms of combat, both armed and unarmed, they are conditioned to automatically react to the Emperor’s will.”

Introduced in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor’s Royal Guards don’t really do much of anything on the screen.  The just stand there.  They look cool and all while doing it, but still, it’s just standing.  Then they reappeared in Revenge of the Sith, and did some more standing.  Also got force thrown around by Yoda a bit, which is something, I suppose.  But mostly still with the standing.  The toys, at least early ones, kind of go along with this, being built mostly for said standing.  Behold, a figure that stands!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Emperor’s Royal Guard was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1997.  This marked the second figure of the design, following up on the vintage release from 1983.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has a whopping two points of articulation.  Okay, technically three, I suppose, because the neck is sort of jointed.  Doesn’t really move, but they tried.  The Royal Guard was the type of figure referred to as a “salt shaker” by the fanbase, due to his skirted design meaning that his torso was all one immobile piece, much like a common table salt shaker.  While the original figure had placed a whole body beneath the figure’s cloth cape, the cloth pieces weren’t really a thing at this point in the line, and so Kenner just made the underlying body one solid block.  The red cloak is still a separate piece, so you can lift it up and see that they’re nothing impressive beneath it, if you so choose, but it hardly seems worth it.  At the very least, the helmet’s pretty cool.  It’s nice and sharply defined, and just looks pretty clean.  The arms, on the other hand, look kind of chunky for some reason.  Odd choice there.  The paint is virtually non-existent on this figure, apart from the black on his visor.  That was it, with nothing more.  I mean, I guess it works, but it’s not terribly exciting.  The Guard is packed with his little poking stick, and, if you were lucky, a Freeze Frame slide.  I was not lucky.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Seeing as they only really stand there, I never had much attachment to the Royal Guards.  They look cool, but that’s it.  And, when it came to this figure, that really was it.  There’s virtually no play value at all here.  He stands real good, because, well, there’s not actual legs, so it would be hard for him to fall over, now wouldn’t it.  This figure wound up coming to me through a trade I did with Max a couple of years ago.  Mostly I got it because I’m getting all of the Power of the Force figures, and I kind have to get this one, now don’t I?  Honestly the sturdiness is nice from a display standpoint.  If you just want an army of them to stand behind Palpatine at attention, as in the movie, this is honestly your best bet.  So, maybe he’s not without value.  But he’s still not a great toy on his own.

#2812: Union Jack

UNION JACK

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

Union Jack is one of those characters that’s rather hard to group within the Marvel Universe.  As effectively the British equivalent to Captain America, he generally tends to get fitted in there, but in the ’90s, when Cap wasn’t quite as much of a bankable power-house, that made getting a Union Jack figure a sort of a meandering task.  Enter the world of exclusives!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Union Jack was offered as a mail-away offer in ToyFare #7, made available to order in March of 1998 and shipping out later that same year.  At this point in time, the current Union Jack, Joey Chapman, was wearing a radically different costume, but this one of course had the appeal of potentially being any of the three of them, and Joey would eventually return to it anyway, making it a solid choice.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He gets everything that was standard for these figures in terms of movement, as well as getting universal joints on his shoulders.  Yay for extra movement!  Union Jack is a repaint of the Spider-Man line’s Web-Glider Spider-man.  It was a pretty basic, clean base body, so it works overall.  The only slight downside is the presence of peg holes on the outsides of the calves, the back, and the sides of the torso.  They’re generally pretty small and easy to miss, though, and ultimately worth the trade-off of everything else the body offers.  It’s nicely balanced in terms of proportions, and just works well for the character.  He also gets a soft-goods belt piece, which is a little ill-fitting and goofy, but fits with the general aesthetic of other figures in the style.  His paint work is generally pretty solid.  They’ve done a nice job of capturing the distinctive layout of the character’s costume.  Some of the edges are a little fuzzy, and he makes the usual mistake of getting the pattern of the Union Jack inaccurate, since the white border is more or less uniform on all sides.  Still, it’s not horrible for what it is.  Despite a usual lack of accessories with these figures, Union Jack does get one: his knife.  Not typically his main go-to, but it’s one of the two weapons he’s always seen carrying, and it can even be stored in his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Seeing as I’ve already stated that Havok was my entry point on these exclusives, I suppose it’s fairly obvious that this was another one I didn’t get new.  He’s a relatively recent addition to my collection, picked up not too long before I started the site in 2013 (in fact, he just missed the window of me starting to look at new additions to my collection by four figures, according to my list; cut that one very close), courtesy of Cosmic Comix.  He’s a fairly basic figure, but also a rather well done one.  Probably one of the better ToyFare exclusives.

#2806: Jawa & “GONK” Droid

JAWA & “GONK” DROID

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Jawas are small, foul smelling machine-scavengers of Tatooine’s deserts. Crafty traders and talented mechanics, they often use power ‘Gonk’ droids to provide energy for their scavenged goods.”

Though they only got one single release in the vintage line, and they’re only in one film of the original trilogy, when it came to Power of the Force II, Kenner was determined to give the Jawas some more proper coverage.  They got in early, with a pair of them joining the line’s second year.  There was also a follow-up in 1997 with one of the creatures.  Finally, we got one last one just as the line was on its way out, this time alongside possibly the best droid in the whole franchise, the “GONK” Droid!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Jawa and “GONK” Droid were added to Power of the Force in 1999, officially falling into Hasbro’s tenure in the last two years.  They were part of the second round of figures for the year, running concurrently with the Episode I figures.  The Jawa stands about 3 inches tall (placing him between the two from the two-pack in sizing) and has 6 points of articulation.  Hasbro was getting a little more experienced with robe construction, so this one’s actually got a separate robe piece for the bottom half, with actual legs sculpted beneath it.  It means more articulation, but also means less motion, since the robe only allows so much movement.  In terms of pure functionality, the prior design honestly worked a bit better, but I suppose the appearance is a little better on this one.  The depth of detail on this new figure was more involved, so he’s a bit more technically impressive, although the overall appearance is really the same as the larger Jawa from the two-pack.  The paint work on the Jawa is virtually identical to the prior releases, right down to the light-piping square on the top of his head.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  The GONK winds up as a bit more of an accessory.  He’s about 2 3/4 inches tall and he has moving legs, but not in a way that really counts as articulation.  There’s a button on the left side, which moves right leg backward, and the left leg forward.  Unfortunately, to facilitate this feature, that means the default set-up has the right leg forward and the left leg backward, with no way to lock them into place in a regular standing position.  And he’s not really stable in the default pose.  You have to rely on rubber bands or twisty ties if you want to keep his legs in a regular pose.  That’s not ideal.  On the plus side, it’s at least a fairly nice sculpt, far removed from the vintage design, and transitioning into something far more screen accurate.  These two are packed with two accessories: a blaster for the Jawa and a CommTech chip, which actually does play sounds for both figures.  That’s pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked the Jawas, and, of course, I have a fondness for the GONK due to my brother Christian’s attachment to the LEGO version, so this was a set that it’s kind of surprising how long it took me to acquire.  I actually had it for a while before reviewing, as I’d picked it up during one of my big splurges of Power of the Force buying from All Time.  But, it remained sealed hanging on my wall for a bit, until one in a ratty package came through, and I decided it was easier to swap them, since I was going to open mine eventually anyway.  Hey, at least it pushed me to finally open them.  These figures are overall pretty good, but they both suffer a little bit from some over-engineering.  Fortunately, it’s easy enough to work around, and, especially in the case of the GONK, it’s worth working around, because it’s a very nice looking figure.

#2805: Firestar

FIRESTAR

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

It wasn’t terribly long ago I was discussing the creation of Firestar, a Marvel character that *didn’t* make her first appearance in the comics, but rather on Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends.  Despite being a rather popular show, Amazing Friends never got any direct toy tie-ins.  And, while that’s not so big a deal for the likes of Spider-Man and Ice Man, whose comic-counterparts had plenty of notoriety on their own, for Firestar, whose comic version has never had quite the same prominence, it made her more difficult to place for toy coverage.  As such, her very first action figure came not as a mass release, but rather as a mail-way exclusive, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestar was the mail-away offer for ToyFare #2, made available to offer in October of 1997, and arriving the following spring.  Interestingly, while both Firestar and the immediate follow-up, Wonder Man, would gain prominence via membership in Busiek and Perez’s line-up for their relaunch of Avengers, that wouldn’t be until roughly a year after their releases, making it somewhat coincidental.  Much like Wonder Man, Firestar had no direct ties to any of Toy Biz’s currently running lines, making her another one-off.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 10 points of articulation.  Firestar was a total repaint, specifically of the Medusa figure from the Fantastic Four line.  It’s admittedly not one of Toy Biz’s finest.  The articulation’s kind of wonky, as are the proportions, and she’s also got a lot of sculpted details for her costume that don’t correspond to Firestar.  On the plus side, the lack of volume to the hair is at least less of an issue here, and, honestly, her being stuck in this pose with her arms sort of raised, does at least work better for Firestar than it did for Medusa.  In general, I do feel like the sculpt works better as Firestar, which is odd, because it’s so clearly not for Firestar.  Really, everything about this sculpt just continues to be weird.  The paint work is fairly sparse.  For the most part, she’s just molded in the proper colors, mostly the yellow, though the hair is molded in the proper red.  Beyond that, the paint’s decent enough.  Firestar had no accessories, but that was fairly standard with these releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in the Legends review, Firestar’s always been a favorite of mine.  I didn’t actually order this figure new, however, and she was one of those ones that had sort of a silly value for a while during my primary time collecting Toy Biz Marvel.  Instead, I wound up finally getting her during my period of getting back into 5-inch Marvel just after starting college.  I found her on a dealer’s table at Mego Meet of all places, and wound up getting her for something silly, like $5.  She’s not great.  She’s not even particularly good.  But, she’s an alright stand-in for the character, and she was our only Firestar for far too long.  All that said, the sting of this figure is certainly lessened by the existence of the Legends release from earlier this year.

#2799: Captain Piett

CAPTAIN PIETT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Following Admiral Ozzel’s fatal mistake during the assault on Hoth, Darth Vader promoted Captain Piett to the station of Admiral. Piett remained in command of Vader’s Executor until its destruction during the Battle of Endor.”

The Empire’s most visible and most marketable troops are certainly the Stormtroopers, but they aren’t the ones that get to make all of the decisions.  That’s left to the far less marketable Imperial Officers.  During the vintage toyline, Kenner didn’t actually make any named officers, giving us just one generic one to cover things.  When it came time to fill things in for Power of the Force II, they rectified that by actually doing a few of the named officers.  This included one Firmus Piett, the longest lived ranking Imperial in the films, serving as Admiral over both Empire and Jedi.  But we’re not talking about that.  No, we’re going before that, when he was just a Captain.  For reasons.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Piett was added to Power of the Force in 1998.  Though he’s billed as a Captain, it’s notable that the bio describes his whole career path in the film, and we also never got an Ozzel, so he might as well just be an Admiral.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s quite similar to the Tarkin figure.  It makes sense, what with them being in the same uniform, and having a rather similar build.  It’s notable that they’re still totally unique from each other, though; no shared parts at all, even the ones that are almost identical.  It’s a reasonable enough sculpt.  Like Tarkin, he’s a little bulked up, but not nearly as much as earlier figures in the line.  The head doesn’t really look much like Kenneth Colley, who played Piett in the film.  Colley has some rather distinctly harsh lines on his face, and they aren’t really here.  He’s also got a much stronger jawline than he should.  Ultimately, he just looks much more generic. Not enough that I think the intent was for him to initially be a generic guy, but enough that he’s not immediately recognizable as Piett.  The paint work is pretty standard, matching up with the other Imperial Officers from the line, and generally being pretty cleanly applied.  Piett is packed with the same small blaster as Tarkin and Motti, as well as a baton (for all that baton stuff he does), and a Freeze Frame of Piett on the Executor…from when he’s an Admiral...

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Piett’s a character I always had a little bit of a soft spot for, since it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy the way he winds up in his position.  I mean, he’s still a bad guy, like, through and through, but still.  Despite that, however, I never actually had this guy as a kid, nor did any of my cousins.  It’s probably because he’s not a super distinctive figure, I guess.  He’s not bad, mind you, and actually works pretty well as a rank and file Imperial.  So, if you want maybe a few of him, that’s maybe not the worst thing.

#2798: Wonder Man

WONDER MAN

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

I was just talking about Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K. earlier this week, so why not talk about it a little bit more?  The show brings in a lot of slightly more obscure characters, and does some fun stuff with them.  Amongst those characters is Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, who is voiced by Nathan Fillion (who was previous supposed to cameo as Williams in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but had his role cut), and who serves as the rebound fling for M.O.D.O.K.’s wife Jodie.  As someone who’s been a Wonder Man fan since way before it was even approaching cool to be a Wonder Man fan (which, honestly, is any time before, like the last month), I was thrilled to see him show up, and loved the hell out of Fillion in the role.  I’d still love to see him pull it off in live action, though.  Wonder Man’s actually had a small handful of figures over the years, but today, I’m going back to the beginning and taking a look at his very first!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wonder Man was the exclusive mail-away offer in ToyFare #3, made available for order in November of 1997, and shipping out the following spring.  Interestingly, the character was actually still dead at the time of the figure’s release, although his return in the third volume of Avengers would wind up happening in the same year as this figure’s official release, by coincidence no doubt.  While Havok had ties to the X-Men line specifically, Wonder Man was a far more open-ended figure, since there was no dedicated Avengers line at the time.  Unlike the later figures, he got no fancy package and just shipped in a plain white mailer.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s sculpt is a complete re-use, namely of Archangel II, minus the wings, of course.  As I’ve discussed before, it was a sculpt that Toy Biz rather liked.  It’s not a terrible choice for Wonder Man, especially for that late ’80s, John Byrne West Coast Avengers look they seemed to be aiming for.  The head sculpt’s still a little bit wonky, and he’s got the remnants of the wing-flapping mechanism on his back still.  But, for a straight repaint, he actually really works, so I’ve got to give them some serious props on that.  The paint work’s fairly straight forward on this guy, but it certainly gets the job done, and conveys his design properly.  Wonder Man included no accessories, but he certainly falls into that territory of “what would you give him?”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Busiek and Perez’s relaunch of Avengers was happening right as I got into reading comics, and my dad was picking it up and letting me read it with him.  Wonder Man’s return is kind of a notable part of that, and I definitely gained an attachment to the character through that.  I remember that there was a comic store near my parents’ house that had this figure in their glass case, for the unthinkable price of, like $25, and I used to stare at it all the time, but never got it.  My dad wound up getting me this one as, I believe, and Easter gift, more than likely in 2000 or so.  His nature as a repaint makes him a little iffy, but ultimately, he does work pretty well.

#2791: Havok

HAVOK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

In the Series 3 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the original line-up included a Havok figure, who, like US Agent and Adam Warlock later would be, was cut from the line-up due to the slow-roll of scaling back how many figures were in each assortment.  Unlike those two, however, Havok was scrapped before getting to the prototyping stage, so the only thing we saw of him was an illustration of his head alongside the others in the assortment on the card backs for that set.  While Havok would of course make his way into the line proper several years later as part of the Invasion Series, that was after he had changed over to his X-Factor team uniform.  His classic attire would go un-produced for another six years, when it would finally make its way into toy form as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was offered up as an exclusive mail-away figure in ToyFare #16, officially going up for order at the end of 1998, and arriving to collectors in early 1999.  Though clearly designed to accent Toy Biz’s ongoing X-Men line, the only branding on his fairly simple white box was his own name and the ToyFare logo.  Honestly, it was a bit surprising that he got anything at all, as earlier figures had just been in plain white boxes.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has an impressive 16 points of articulation.  Havok is based on the body of the Spider-Man line’s Daredevil, one of Toy Biz’s very best bodies from their 5-inch days, not only on a sculpt front, but especially on an articulation front.  It also was a fairly blank canvas, which made it a decent starting point for Havok.  There are some remnant details for the glove, boot, and belt lines, but given that he’s all black, they’re easy enough to look past.  Havok’s head sculpt is borrowed from Black Bolt, but with the tuning fork on the head removed and replaced with Havok’s usual head gear.  That head gear does have a tendency to come loose if you’re not careful, and the actual head’s eye holes on the mask don’t line up with Havok’s, but it’s generally an okay set-up, and certainly good given the standards for prior exclusives up to this point.  Havok’s paint work is fairly basic, but follows the design well.  It does have to contend with the sculpt not matching with the paint on the head, but it could be worse.  It hits the right notes, and that’s what’s important.  Havok included no accessories, but I’m honestly not sure what he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s again a Havok figure’s fault for a huge chunk of my collecting.  I know; you’re all terribly surprised.  I already had the main line Havok by this point, but when this guy was announced as an exclusive and I read about it on my main source for toy news, one Raving Toy Maniac, I was all about getting him, which meant buying my first issue of this weird ToyFare thing.  Upon reading this weird ToyFare thing, I was pretty well hooked, and got myself a subscription, which I hung onto until rather close to the end of the magazine’s publication.  It undoubtedly was responsible for me being as up-to-date with toys as I was at the time, and got me buying plenty of things I would have otherwise not even known had existed.  Havok himself is a pretty nice little figure.  Sure, he’s mostly repaint, but he’s a good repaint, and probably one of the stronger 5-inch Marvel exclusives from ToyFare.

#2750: Emperor Palpatine

EMPEROR PALPATINE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

I was going to begin this review by remarking that I’ve never actually reviewed an Emperor Palpatine figure review, but that’s…well, it’s a lie, I guess, because I have.  Clearly, I’m very invested in the character, because I keep such close tabs on him.  I mean, yeah, he’s the most pivotal single character in the whole saga, I suppose, but he’s…boring?  I mean, I guess the unlimited power gimmick is always good for a laugh.  But beyond that?  Meh.  Even his toys tend to be pretty meh.  I mean, there’s only so many ways to add something new and different to an old guy in a cloak.  This one goes for simulated unlimited power.  Go figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Emperor Palpatine was the fifth and final of the five figures in the Power F/X line-up of Power of the Force figures.  He falls more into R2’s vein, being more of his own standalone piece, rather than more interactive with the others like the three lightsaber wielders.  It feels a little bit like a missed opportunity, though, since he’s based on Palpatine’s portion of the throne room battle, which would make him a somewhat decent pair off with Luke, allowing for multiple display options if you get the whole set.  As it stands, he’s just, kind of off on his own, and not really ingrained to the crossline playability set-up.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  Well, he’s got three joints…I hesitate to really call it articulation, because there’s hardly any actual motion to be had.  He’s pretty much just got the one pose, making him even less posable than the other figures in the set, and that was already kind of a low bar.  The figure’s sculpt is a tweaking of the prior single-card release of Palpatine, which wasn’t a terrible set-up.  It was an old guy in robes, and I guess it did that well enough.  This one’s an old guy in robes, but with his arms up this time.  He kinda looks like he’s doing the Thriller dance.  Like Vader, this guy’s sculpt does at least hide the battery pack a little better than Luke or Obi-Wan did, so he doesn’t look quite as weird.  Although, admittedly, a hunch back wouldn’t look all that out of place for this guy.  His Power F/X feature is worked into his hands, similarly to the three lightsaber wielders, but for his lightning (commonly referred to as “unlimited power” by those in the know).  The bolts slot into his hands, and the effect is, again, a fairly weak light, but I guess it’s alright.  His paint work is pretty much just on the face and hands.  It’s kind of thick, but consistent with the other PotF Palpatine figures.  At least there’s no notable slop or anything.  Palpatine gets his own stand, based on his spot in front of the window on the Death Star II.  It doesn’t work quite as well as the other three Death Star stands, I find, but it’s not a bad set piece, I suppose.  It’s got the little arm for moving him around, but it doesn’t really have the same appeal without that dueling ability the other three had, or the slightly more fun magnet gimmick from R2.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Palpatine was really just a side effect of getting the rest of this set of figures.  He was in the lot, and I wasn’t really going to turn him down, I guess.  In retrospect, Luke and Vader are really the only two I really wanted, and the others are a bit extraneous.  Palpatine really exemplifies this, because he just doesn’t really seem to fulfill the same purpose as the others.  That’s probably why he tends to be the least desired of the set.

#2749: Polaris

POLARIS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Lorna Dane, a long-time friend to the X-Men, is the mutant known as Polaris! Able to manipulate the forces of magnetism, she has learned to utilize her powers in various ways, such as creating force fields and firing pure bolts of magnetic energy! As a member of the government sanctioned X-Factor Team, Polaris will not hesitate to use her powerful mutant abilities to help the X-Men whenever she is needed!”

“Long-time friend” kind of down plays that whole period in the ’60s when she was an actual member of the team.  Or that period in the ’80s when she was an actual member of the team.  Heck, you can’t even use the “maybe they were trying to keep it in line with the cartoon” excuse, because, there too, she was an actual member of the team.  What I’m getting at here is a simple question: why does this unnamed Toy Biz copy writer have a personal vendetta against Lorna Dane?  Is it because of all the times she’s been brainwashed and crazy?  Because you’re going to have to rule out, like, 90% of the X-Men, if that’s your thing.  I will not stand for this slander libel against Lorna.  It’s unreasonable, I tell you!  I’m so mad, I’m gonna review this action figure.  I know, that’s so out of character for me.  See?  See how mad I am?  It’s your move, person that wrote the packaging text on a figure from 25 years ago for a toy company that’s been defunct for over a decade…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Polaris was released in the “Flashback Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which hit shelves in 1996, and was the 15th assortment in the line.  It was that year’s requisite repaint series, which they’d gotten somewhat attached to, I suppose.  Polaris marked the third member of the ’90s X-Factor team added, and would be the last one added to the mainstream line.  She’s ostensibly in her ’90s team attire, but I’ll get a bit more into that in a moment.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Since it was a repaint series, Polaris is, unsurprisingly, a repaint, specifically of the Series 6 Rogue figure.  It’s not a terrible sculpt, I suppose, but it was a little outdated by this point, making her a little stiffer than other figures from the same year.  And, while the overall design of the character matches up alright with the sculpt if you squint, it’s not a super close match, and ends up amalgamates a few of her different X-Facter looks.  It’s seems to be closes to the sleeveless w/ headband look she had slightly later in the run, but adds a jacket to the mix (since Rogue’s was sculpted in place), and somewhat awkwardly recreates a few of her costume design elements by ignoring or reinterpreting the actual sculpted Rogue elements.  This is largely done by the paint work, which does the heavy lifting to make Rogue look like Polaris.  Honestly, it does a pretty respectable job, and while it looks like she’s a repaint, she’s at least distinctly different enough to not look totally out of place if both figures are on the shelf.  Polaris was packed with a removable belt, and a weird translucent green gun thing…I suppose to make up for Rogue’s general lack of the obligatory unnecessary gun?  She also keeps Rogue’s “Power Upper Punch” action feature, which is a little out of place with Lorna, but it’s a part of the sculpt, so it stays.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had Havok in my X-Men collection from the very beginning, so I couldn’t very well not have Polaris to go with him, right?  I got her back when she was new, and if I’m recalling correctly, I believe she was given to me by my parents, alongside the second of the two X-Men carrying cases I had as a kid.  I actually got her before Rogue, if I recall correctly, which made her stand out a bit more in my collection at the time.  She’s perhaps not the most exciting or inventive figure in the line, but she’s not a bad figure either, and that places her into the half of the “Flashback” assortment that wasn’t totally pointless.  Good for her.

#2743: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In last week’s review of Kenner’s Power of the Force Power F/X Darth Vader, I brought up the figure’s compatibility not only with the previously reviewed Luke Skywalker, but also with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a figure I had not yet reviewed.  Can you really say you’re surprised that I’m reviewing that figure now?  I mean…I don’t think you can, but I’ve been wrong before.  Anyway, let’s just get onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (as the line was very insistent on in reference to him) was another 1997 release, the fourth of the five figure Power F/X sub-line of Power of the Force.  In contrast to Vader’s cross-film set-up, Ben is, unsurprisingly, based on his A New Hope appearance, specifically his final duel with Vader, which is sensible, since it was, at this point, his only real lightsaber battle.  That being said, it’s low key kind of a shame that they didn’t use the Power F/X set-up for some shimmering force ghosts.  I guess that’s not as inherently toyetic.  Ben stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Just like the last two, his right arm is restricted in order to facilitate the light-up feature, and the rest of his articulation’s more for just tweaking the exact nature of his stance.  His sculpt is quite similar to all of the other Kenobi’s from the line, being especially cut from the same cloth as his first figure and the one from the Cantina Cinema Scene boxed set.  He’s even got the same headsculpt as those releases, and his still removable cloak piece is almost identical to the one from the boxed version.  Beyond that, he really just follows the lead of Luke, being a somewhat awkward sculpt, including still having the hunch on his back for the batteries.  The robe does it’s best to hide this, but it doesn’t work quite as well as Luke’s cape did.  He does at least add a little more detailing to the lightsaber hilt than Luke did, but it’s still somewhat removed from the film product.  Ben’s paint work is pretty much the same as the other versions of the character, apart from one rather notable mistake: his lightsaber is the wrong color, being green, rather than the appropriate blue.  Supposedly, this change occurred because blue LEDs were more expensive than green, and Kenner couldn’t justify the cost.  Seems like a weird choice to me, but here we are.  Ben was packed with the same hallway stand piece that was included with Luke, allowing him, like Luke, to be connected with the Vader figure for a more interactive set-up.  And, while Luke came with an entire cardboard backdrop for him and Vader, Ben and Vader each got half of an A New Hope-inspired backdrop, which shows off the Millennium Falcon in the Death Star‘s hangar bay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the only one of these I had as a kid, but I came very close to buying Obi-Wan a few times, mostly because I no longer had my original release, and I wasn’t yet at the point of going for exact replacements for my toys.  I never really could muster the excitement to grab this one, though.  He’s alright, but admittedly a bit redundant for me, since the Luke/Vader pairing is the one that holds more nostalgia.  Perhaps I’ll snag a second Vader some day, so that I can justify having Vader face off against each of them.