#2924: Vision

VISION

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Created by Ultron, Vision was part of a plan to conquer the Avengers. His transparent skin lights up when passing ghost-like through objects. Vision knew Ultron was evil, and helped the Avengers defeat him. He proved invaluable and was asked to join the team. Proud of the symbol he bears as one of Earth’s mightiest, this hero answers the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Remember a time, way back when, when Vision *wasn’t* a household name?  It was a dark, strange time, you guys.  People, like, didn’t know him, or care about him, and they looked at you weird when you explained his backstory to them.  Brain patterns are a thing, Tim!  Don’t ruin this for me!  But nowadays, Vision’s cool!  That’s where things should be!  Let’s review a figure of him, just to celebrate it!  This has probably been too many exclamation points!  Now I can’t stop, though!  To the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line. In a crazy turn of events, this was the fourth freaking Vision figure from Toy Biz.  Somebody there really liked this guy.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  Vision’s articulation scheme is generally pretty decent for the era.  The hips could maybe stand to have slightly better range, but he’s otherwise got a great range.  Vision’s sculpt was all-new, and remained unique to him.  He’s based on the character’s look in the show, just like the rest of the line.  Vision’s design for the show was generally one of the more faithful ones, at least in broad strokes terms.  It takes his classic design and sort of techs it up a little bit for something sightly more robotic.  All things considered, it’s not much of a departure from how the MCU would adapt him later, albeit with a slightly different end aesthetic.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing the animation model, and making it fit with the rest of the line.  The cape piece is cloth, but it’s actually quite nicely handled.  There’s a proper hem on the sides and everything.  That’s commitment to quality, right there.  Toy Biz knew, you guys.  They knew this guy was gonna take off.  And good for them.  Vision’s color work went a just a touch lighter than his on-screen model, but it’s generally a bright and eye catching look.  The slight metallics are cool, as are the transparent parts, which are that way to facilitate the light-up feature (unfortunatley no longer working on my figure).  Vision was packed with one of Ultron’s drones from the show’s opening episode.  It can be hooked up to Vision to also light-up, and even has articulated arms. It’s definitely one of the best of these gimmicky extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Vision was one of my most wanted figures from this set when they were released, and was also one of my favorite parts of the show as a whole.  They were scarce at their first drop, so he wound up as the third figure I got from the line, but I did finally get one, and he was my first 5-inch figure of the character.  That was definitely significant, which was cool.  He’s still one of my favorites, and he honestly holds up pretty darn well.

#2918: Gamorrean Guard

GAMORREAN GUARD

STAR WAR: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The brutish nature of Gamorreans, along with their great strength and violent tendencies, made them excellent mercenaries and guardsmen in Jabba’s desert palace.”

Jabba’s green pig-man guards make for a rather distinctive introduction back into the world of Star Wars during Return of the Jedi‘s opening scenes.  They’re a great merging of puppetry and prosthetics, making for a generally pretty unique design, and one that’s not quickly forgotten.  It’s hard to imagine the whole Jabba’s palace sequence without them present in some fashion, so when Kenner turned their sights on building up that particular locale for Power of the Force in the ’90s, the Gamorrean Guards were right there, along for the ride!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gamorrean Guard was added to Power of the Force II in 1997, a year that, as I noted last time, is quite packed with Jabba-related characters.  This marked their first time in toy treatment since the vintage line, as was the case for most of these guys in the ’90s.  The figure stands just shy of 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The vintage Gamorrean sculpt was definitely not bad for the time, so this one had a slightly higher bar to clear than other offerings.  That being said, creatures are certainly where the ’90s line excelled, especially early on, so they were in pretty safe hands here.  The sculpt’s a pretty strong one.  It’s a little bit more pre-posed, but that’s largely just to allow the arms to be bent for holding the weapon just a bit better.  Otherwise, it’s nothing too crazy, just a generally looser stance, I suppose.  The detail work is generally pretty good.  Perhaps a little softer than a modern figure, but very good for the time.  It does a good job of capturing the design of the creatures as we see them in the movie, and it also maintains a generic enough appearance that you could pick up multiples for the purposes of army building, and it would still work pretty well.  The Guard’s paint is pretty basic and overall pretty drab, but that’s as expected, and it does a perfectly adequate job of recreating the base colors as seen in the movie.  I suppose some accenting would do a bit to help the sculpt pop a bit more, but that wasn’t really what this era of the line was about.  There is at least a little accenting on the face, and it does look quite nice.  The Gamorrean was packed with a single vibro axe, which is pretty standard issue for these guys.  It fits nicely in the left hand, and generally looks appropriately menacing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Gamorrean has never been an essential piece of my collection, as much as I do enjoy their presence at the palace.  As such, I was never in much of a hurry to get this one, especially with it not being particularly rare, either.  I wound up snagging this one a little over a year ago, when one with a less than stellar box got traded into All Time.  He’s a pretty cool little figure, and he does what he needs to, which is always nice to see.

#2917: Wasp

WASP

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

With Avengers: United They Stand’s shifted focus on the team’s lower tier characters (for the time, anyway) placing Ant-Man as the show’s central character, it also made for some great extra focus on Hank’s long time partner in fighting crime, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp.  Though she’s always been pretty central to the team in the comics, UTS marked the first time she got any real time in the spotlight with the general populace. And, it got her a third action figure, so that’s pretty cool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp was part of Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line, which hit shelves at the same time as Series 2 in the back half of 1999.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and she has 16 points of articulation. Wasp isn’t quite as well articulated as Ant-Man (admittedly the best articulated of this particular line), but she’s still better than most figures of the era.  The only thing that really holds her back are those dreaded v-hips, but that was something we’d still be dealing with for another several years. She also benefits from separately articulated wings, as well as a moving “stinger” piece, which is unfortunately missing from mine. Wasp’s sculpt was an all-new, totally unique piece, based on her design from the show, albeit in that slightly tweaked style that we saw with Ant-Man.  Her design from the show was certainly an overhaul of how she tended to look in the comics, but it’s also a far cry from her worst look over the years.  It’s certainly a more armored look, but it was the end of the ‘90s.  This is just how we dressed then, guys.  The sculpt captures the design well enough, and makes it work in the context of Toy Biz’s wider Marvel line at the time.  Probably the weirdest part of the sculpt are the arms, which are a touch too short, comparatively.  Otherwise, it does look pretty solid.  She has two different heads for the purposes of helmeted and unhelmeted looks.  Both sculpts are nicely rendered, and they swap out pretty easily.  Wasp’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  It’s all base work, but it’s cleanly applied, and it’s a little more involved than just a straight recreation of the show’s color scheme.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Wasp was also packed with a small missile launching drone.  It’s a goofy, rather extraneous piece, and that’s probably part of why I have no clue where the one that came with my figure has wound up.  Honestly, the extra head is enough to make it feel worth it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Ant-Man, Wasp was one of the last figures I got from this line, since my dad had the first one we found. So, she was on that list of the final three figures I gave to my Grandmother, and she picked this one up for me the week after I got Ant-Man.  I was again pretty excited, and she’s another one that I still really like all these years later.

#2911: Bib Fortuna

BIB FORTUNA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Behold the biggest surprise return Star Wars character of 2020, Bib Fortuna.  Sure, Boba Fett gets all that fuss around him, but we all knew that would happen anyway.  And I’m still not entirely convinced it was Boba anyway.  I mean, did you see how he actually had an impact on the plot and like a character arc, and like dialogue, and like something to do other than just suck?  I feel like that’s not very Boba Fett.  What if he’s another clone?  What if that’s the real twist of Book of Boba Fett?  What if he was really Rex the whole time?  Yeah, that’d be cool.  Wait, I’ve gotten too far off track ragging on Boba Fett.  What was I doing?  Right, Bib Fortuna review.  Of course.  How could I possibly get distracted from that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bib Fortuna was added to the Power of the Force II line in 1997, a year with quite a solid helping of Jabba’s Palace related characters.  Guess they really wanted to have them all ready for the playset the next year.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 6 points of articulation.  Bib is rather restricted on the articulation front, thanks to a handful of his design cues.  The tendrils on the head negate most of the neck movement, and the robes negate most of the leg and waist movement.  So, while all that articulation is present, he’s not really much more posable than, say, the Royal Guard.  His sculpt is still kind of from the transitional period of the line, so he’s kind of got some of that lingering bulkiness, which makes him not terribly far removed from his Mandalorian appearance, I guess.  The head’s kind of light on detailing for an alien from the line, and while there’s a fully detailed body beneath the rubber robes, there’s also no easy way to see it, since the robes can’t make it over his head.  In general, the detailing on him does seem to be a little softer than other entries from the line, which is too bad.  It’s not terrible, but not great either.  In terms of paint, he’s likewise not bad, but also not terribly inspiring.  The base work is alright, but it’s really just bare minimum.  Also, the blues seem a little too bright to me, but that might just be personal perception.  Bib was packed with a small blaster pistol, you know, for all that cool action stuff he gets into.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bib is an alright character, I guess, and it was cool seeing him show back up after three decades, but I’m not sure he makes for the most exciting action figure.  This one’s really only good for standing there, which, admittedly, is all the character really does anyway, so I can’t fault them there.  This one wasn’t one I had as a kid, nor was he one I wanted as a kid.  I got his rather recently, as part of a batch of PotF figures I picked up from All Time in the fall of 2019.  He’s okay.  Not super exciting, but he stands behind Jabba well enough.

#2910: Ant-Man

ANT-MAN

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“As the leader of the Avengers, Dr. Hank Pym is Ant-Man! Ant-Man blends brilliant battlefield strategies with a guide-by-example bravery to unite Earth’s mightiest heroes against the forces of evil. The symbol on his chest means Ant-Man will always heed the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

In 1999, after the massive success of their Spider-Man and X-Men animated series (and in light of the at least moderate success of Iron ManFantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk), Marvel tried to bank on a few more cartoons.  From the “big team of colorful heroes” angle, we got Avengers: United They Stand, an ill-fated attempt at getting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes out to a wider audience before the MCU would do so far more successfully.  I’m an unashamed fan of the show, but it didn’t really hit with most people, and has generally been seen as a black mark on the team’s reputation in larger media terms.  Something notable about the show was its shift away from the big names in favor of focusing on the lower tier mainstays of the team.  In accordance with that, for the purposes of the show, the team’s leader wasn’t Captain America or Iron Man, but rather Ant-Man, specifically of the Hank Pym variety.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ant-Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand, not that it was anything other than a clerical numbering, since all of the figures from both assortments shipped at the same time.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s remarkably posable for this era of figures, which certainly makes him a very playable figure.  Ant-Man had an all-new sculpt, based on his design from the show.  The show gave a good portion of the cast some rather radically different designs, Ant-Man included.  He got a whole armored appearance within the show, removing him quite a bit from his classic attire.  In retrospect, it’s not quite as crazy different, though, since elements of it would make their way into Scott Lang’s early ’00s re-design, and likewise would become part of the character’s MCU design.  He’s actually closer to the MCU Ant-Man than the classic is in many ways, making him a fair bit more recognizable.  I guess that’s an unintended bonus.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the style of the show’s animation and translating into a working figure.  It honestly ends up looking pretty darn good, and may even be the best of the sculpts this line produced.  Heck, it’s just one of Toy Biz’s best 5-inch Marvel sculpts.  He’s even got a fully removable helmet, which was pretty great at the time.  The only slight oddity to the sculpt is his “action feature”; in order to simulate his ability to grow into Giant-Man in the show, they gave him extending limbs.  It’s not the worst concept in theory, but it doesn’t really give the intended effect; he just looks like he’s really stretchy.  Fortunately, it doesn’t at all impede the figure’s function at normal scale.  His paint work’s not bad for the era.  It’s a lot of base work, and it’s pretty cleanly applied.  There’s a little bit of wear on the hair on mine, but it’s otherwise held up pretty well in the two decades I’ve owned it, so I’ll consider that a win.  Ant-Man was packed with his removable helmet, a miniature version of himself, and the mini-ship he would ride around in on the show.  The ship could be placed on his back, like on the show, and could be fully deployed by using the magnet on his forearm to unlock it.  I’ve lost half of mini Ant-Man, because he was literally an inch tall and I was 7, as well as the hatch for the vehicle, because, again, 7, so, you know, that’s how it works.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I absolutely love this figure.  He’s probably my favorite figure from this line.  He just really works.  Despite that, he’s one of the very last figures I actually got from the line.  The line was rather scarce at launch, so finding multiples of figures wasn’t super likely.  Because of this, my dad and I wound up sharing most of the line, at least at first.  He wound up getting the first Ant-Man.  However, as the line began to become more plentiful, I started getting more of them, and Ant-Man was one of the last three I had left to get.  I mentioned this to my Grandmother, and she asked for a list of the three I was missing.  The next week, when I went over to their house, she pulled this guy out for me, having bought him in the mean time, and he very quickly became one of my favorites.  He holds up remarkably well, and I still really like him.

#2876: Jedi Spirits

ANAKIN, YODA, & OBI-WAN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda — three individuals with lives intricately intertwined. Before Obi-Wan Kenobi was forced into a life of hiding, before Anakin Skywalker gave in to the dark side and became Darth Vader, even before Yoda was known as the last Jedi Master, a young Anakin was presented to the Jedi Council for permission to train the boy in the ways of the Force. Many years later, the Galactic Republic crumbled and the evil Empire rose in its place. Only after the defeat of the Empire, at the hands of Anakin’s son Luke Skywalker, would the three great Jedi be reunited after death as spiritual guides for Luke and the New Republic.”

First hinted at during A New Hope’s climactic battle, when Luke hears the voice of the recently killed Obi-Wan during his run on the Death Star, the force ghost concept fully appears during Empire, when Obi-Wan fully manifests in spirit form.  He shows up again during Return of the Jedi, and is ultimately joined by both Yoda and Anakin in the film’s final moments.  They don’t really do much other than stand there, but it’s a distinctive visual, and one that stuck with fans.  So, toys, of course.  The first one we got was an Anakin, during the original Power of the Force run, though it was handled slightly differently than now.  A more conventional take on the concept in toy form hit the ’90s line as a mail-away figure, the Spirit of Obi-Wan.  Not content to let Obi-Wan have all the fun, Kenner put him out again, this time alongside the other two, as one of their Cinema Scenes, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Jedi Spirits set was part of the 1998 Cinema Scenes line-up for Power of the Force II.  They were one of two Jedi sets released that year, as the line began to be more focused on the final film.  They included a stand, based on the edge of one of the Ewok structures from Endor, where they are seen in the film.  Interestingly, they were all three screwed into the base in addition to the usual foot pegs.  Not entirely sure why that was the case; maybe there was some concern about potentially damaging them by twisty tying them in like the others?

ANAKIN

He’s been subsequently replaced by Hayden Christian in more recent editions of the film, but the original version of Jedi gave us a look at an Anakin from a potential version of events where he never fell to the dark side to become Darth Vader.  It’s honestly sort of sensible, since it also means he would, you know, look vaguely like the guy whose face Luke actually saw earlier that day, so he might be able to know it was his father, and all.  But that’s probably all very silly, I suppose.  The elder Anakin got a sort of force ghost-y figure in the vintage line, designed to sort of be the best of both worlds.  Power of the Force II split it into two figures, with this being the more overt ghost one.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches all and he has three points of articulation…technically.  The neck definitely moves…a little.  The arms also move, but as you can see from the photo, they tend to just fall out of the socket more often than not.  Not sure why, but that’s how it is.  He was an all new sculpt, based on Sebastian Shaw’s brief appearance as Anakin from the movie.  It’s distinctly different from Obi-Wan, so that’s certainly a nice touch.  There’s some nice texture work going on as well.  While the mail-away Obi-Wan was just translucent blue with no paint, they mixed things up a little bit for this set, adding some dry brushed white, to give him a little more depth.

YODA

Yoda was totally without any force ghost figures at this point, so him finally getting one was certainly an accomplishment.  While there were a few Yoda molds to chose from, this one was a new one entirely.  He stands about 2 1/4 inches tall.  You can sort of get some motion at the neck and shoulders, but nothing much, and it feels like it doesn’t want to really move.  Beyond that, it’s a nice enough sculpt.  It’s good for just standing there, which is all he really needs to do.  It’s more accurate than other molds from the same line, and the stance in particular is a little closer to the actual puppet, since he doesn’t have to contend with needing to move.  Also, the arms stay on him, so that’s a plus over Anakin.  Good for him.  His paint works pretty much the same way, although it’s not quite as intense in its application.

OBI-WAN

Obi-Wan is, of course, the figure in this set that was the least new, especially at the time of his release, with the prior version having hit just the previous year at the time.  That being said, Kenner did at least make him a little different, even if it was just for the sake of being different.  The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall.  He’s sort of got the same articulation as Yoda, where it’s *technically* there, but very limited and not really ideal for any proper use.  His sculpt is largely the same as the mail-away version, but he changes out the right arm for one with a different pose.  So there’s that, I guess.  It’s not a bad sculpt, so I can get behind it, especially without the one arm just kind of sticking out like on the prior version.  His paint matches the other two in the set, which looks a fair bit better than the unpainted version.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had none of the Cinema Scenes sets as a kid, so obviously that’s not where this one came from.  It is, however, one of the earlier ones I picked up once I actually started doing such things.  I snagged this one when it was traded into All Time, almost exactly two years ago, at this point.  I know, I’ve got quite a PotF2 backlog, don’t I?  It’s not a terribly playable set, but at the same time, it really seems to get the feel of Cinema Scenes down the best, because it’s a distinct visual, and these figures are always gonna be a tough sell by themselves.

#2875: Synch

SYNCH

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

One of the primary appeals of ToyFare‘s exclusive mail away offers, for the 5-inch Marvel stuff, at least, was the ability to fill in some teams and line-ups that were just missing one stray character here or there, or at least give them at least a touch more depth to their numbers.  There were a lot of short-lived lines from Toy Biz in the ’90s, so they had plenty of loose ends to worry about.  Case in point: Generation X.  The X-spin-off team had their own line, which ran two series, and left the central team without a number of its core members.  While it was still rather lacking at the end of the day, they did get at least one extra core member via the mail-away set-up, and gave current main X-Men team member Everett Thomas, aka Synch, his very first (and to date, only) figure in the process.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Synch was offered up in ToyFare Magazine #9, first becoming available for order in May of 1998, and shipping out later that year.  After nine Marvel exclusives, they had a Witchblade figure for issue #8, and then came back to Marvel with this guy.  He was then the last Marvel exclusive for six months, when Havok picked up the baton.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The Generation X figures were at a weird spot for Toy Biz, articulation wise, as they decided to eliminate the elbow and knee joints on all of the figures for some reason.  Synch did at least get extra shoulder movement, by virtue of making use of Banshee’s body from the main line.  Toy Biz apparently felt Banshee always needed the extra movement, and Synch got that on a technicality.  Or, perhaps he just copied it from Banshee using his powers.  That’s a pretty solid explanation, right?  In addition to using all of Banshee’s parts below the neck, Synch also got the head from the Space Riders version of Professor X.  It’s not quite the face I envision Synch having, but it was a bald head that actually had ears, which made it a better fit than the Silver Surfer head, I suppose.  It’s honestly not the worst choice.  The rest of the work is handled with the paint.  It does an okay job for the most part, but for some reason the belt buckle is way larger than the actual sculpted piece, which makes it look really strange.  That said, they did actually try on this one, and he even got some extra accenting on the yellow parts of his costume.  It’s a bit heavy handed in some spots, but the effort’s at least nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually kinda liked Generation X back in the day, and I really liked my figures of Jubilee, Chamber, and Skin from the toyline.  I didn’t have a Synch growing up, though, mostly because he just wasn’t a figure I ever saw turn up anywhere.  I know he’s not generally regarded as being a very good one, but I’ve never much looked into that.  Whatever the case, my first real chance to get one came quite recently, when he got traded into All Time, which made him an easy pick-up for me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Maybe not great, but he gets the job done.  It’s a shame that they didn’t ever get M or Husk out, leaving the team incomplete, even with this guy included.  Of course, with him just being added to the main X-team, maybe this won’t be the only Synch figure for too much longer.  Fingers crossed.

#2869: Final Jedi Duel

LUKE SKYWALKER, DARTH VADER, & EMPEROR PALPATINE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE (KENNER)

“Under the evil gaze of Emperor Palpatine, the lightsabers of two Jedi Knights – a father and son – clash furiously in a final duel between the light side and dark side of the Force. Slowly, the young Skywalker is lured closer to the rage of the dark side, and Palpatine sits confident of the Rebellion’s defeat and the acquisition of a new emissary to fulfill his evil legacy! But the young Jedi’s resistance appears to be growing…”

Though its later years saw Cinema Scenes switch more to getting out never before released characters and obscurities out in a quick shot, Kenner launched it with a focus on actually recreating distinctive scenes directly from the film.  It doesn’t get much more distinctive than Luke and Vader’s duel on the second Death Star during the climax of Return of the Jedi, so it’s not a terrible surprise that this scene was one of the ones more specifically recreated.  In fact, they technically recreated it twice, if you count the Power F/X figures.  But this was the only time they did it in Cinema Scenes.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Final Jedi Duel was added to the Cinema Scenes sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force in 1997.  It was the only Jedi-based set from the first year, though many would certainly follow.  The set included a stand, like all of the Cinema Scenes, but this time it was a far more integral piece, since the Emperor’s chair is permanently affixed to the stand.

LUKE SKYWALKER

Jedi Luke was no stranger to this line, although at this point, he’d only had one version, and it was iffy on screen accuracy, since it amalgamated a few looks.  This one was unique in Power of the Force in that it was actually a Death Star II version of Luke, specifically sans the vest.  In fact, it was the first ever non-Endor Luke to not sport the vest, so that’s pretty cool.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  While the core line was moving from pre-posing at this point, they had really translated it into the Cinema Scenes figures, which remained quite pre-posed in their first year.  Luke is one of the most impacted by this, with a deep lunging saber dueling pose.  It looks impressive when the whole set-up’s there, but on his own, it can be a bit limiting.  Notably, it makes him really hard to keep standing, which I’m not big on.  That said, the actual sculpt isn’t a terrible one.  Notably, it introduced a new head, more specifically tailored to Jedi than the one on the prior Jedi Luke.  It’s honestly not a bad likeness, especially for the time.  The paint work on this figure is pretty basic, but in keeping with the line.  He does get shiny boots, so that’s fun.  He’s packed with his lightsaber, which he has a little trouble holding.

DARTH VADER

Vader was also no stranger to the line.  This marked the third version of him for the line, each one being slightly more pre-posed than the last.  It was another amalgamated design, keeping with the other two.  The figure stands just over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  This Vader sculpt actually got re-used a few tomes, mainly for the wonky colored repaints that Hasbro liked trotting out for anniversaries and special occasions.  Like Luke, he’s rather pre-posed, though this one’s a little more stable, and he can actually stand on his own.  Generally, he looks a lot like the prior two, but the one notable improvement here was the inclusion of his skirt beneath his cape.  That marked a first for a Vader figure, so it’s kind of a big deal.  His cape has been re-worked here so that it’s not actually removable.  It’s connection is kind of weird, but otherwise I guess it’s not bad.  The paint on Vader pretty much matches the other versions from the line.  It’s not like he really had any major change ups in the films, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Vader is packed with his lightsaber, which he holds a lot better than Luke.

EMPEROR PALPATINE

Ah, Palpatine.  Always the most thrilling action figure subject.  He’s so exciting, right?  What’s this one’s gimmick?  He sits.  That’s it.  That’s the whole thing.  Literally, he takes the overall vibe of all of the other Power of the Force Palpatines, folds him in the middle, and makes him sit in his sit-and-spin chair.  Technically he’s got articulation, and technically you can take him out of the chair, but really, what’s the point?  It’s not like you’re going to do anything else with him.  He’s made for sitting.  I suppose that’s more to the point for the character than other figures, so kudos to Kenner for that.  He’s also got the chair, which does look pretty cool.  Too bad you can’t take it off the base, but it’s still nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Final Jedi Duel is a rather recent addition to my collection.  It got traded into All Time a couple of months ago, sealed.  They’d come through loose a few times, but without the base, at which point Palpatine is actually pointless, so why bother?  So, when it was a sealed one, that was a pretty easy sale for me.  It’s not a terrible set.  It doesn’t have the broader appeal of other Cinema Scenes, since none of them really work outside of the setting.  On the other hand, it makes it one of the truest sets to the actual concept, so I guess there’s that.

#2868: Multiple Man

MULTIPLE MAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

The ‘90s X-spin-off teams that weren’t X-Force all had to sort of find their footing within the already established lines that Toy Biz was putting out, which meant that some of them were fewer and further between.  The line up to Peter David’s X-Factor run was definitely a slow build, as they sort of trickled out of the main X-Men line.  The likes of Strong Guy, Havok, and Polaris all found spots, but Jaime Maddrox was, I guess, a step too far for the main line at the time.  Good thing we had the exclusives game to rely on, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Multiple Man was the mail away offer in ToyFare Magazine #4, offered up in December of 1997, and shipping out in early 1998.  Though ostensibly part of the X-Men line still running from Toy Biz at the time, his box had no such branding, or any branding at all.  It was just an all-white shipper, with him bagged up inside.  They hadn’t gotten very fancy yet at this point.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He got extra joints at the ankles!  Good for him, I suppose.  Multiple Man was built on the body of Octo-Spider-Man, which was one of Toy Biz’s favorites to repaint.  It’s a pretty decent slender build body, and it fits usual depictions of the character, so it works well for him.  His head is re-used from Silver Surfer, and, apart from being perhaps a little devoid of character, it works perfectly alright for his full cowled look.  It does have a slightly weird fit on the body, but generally it works okay.  The rest of the magic is done with paint.  Much like the Polaris figure, Multiple Man’s paint work gives him a weird amalgam of his various costume designs over the years.  It was blue and yellow to match the rest of X-Factor, and it also had the x-symbol on the head, but the overall detailing on the main suit more matches up with his original costume design.  Ultimately, this is a case where I think the amalgamated approach may really work better, since it just feels like a classic Multiple Man.  It’s sort of a greatest hits set-up.  He’s unfortunately missing out on his usual overcoat of the era; surely a cloth one wouldn’t have messed up their margins too badly?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was exactly a year behind on getting a Multiple Man new, so I had to wait a few years.  He still wound up as one of my earlier additions when I started actually get them.  I remember seeing him in the same glass case that held the Wonder Man I was always looking at, but my first one actually came out of a $5 bin of loose figures, which was a real steal at the time.  I also picked up a second one, quite recently, when it got traded into All Time, because it really never hurts to have more Multiple Men.  He’s a simple figure, but I really liked him when I got him, and he’s a surprisingly effective figure.

#2862: Jabba’s Dancers

RYSTALL, GREEATA, & LYN ME

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Deep within the dimly lit halls of Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine, the musical combo, the Max Rebo Band, entertains some of the galaxy’s most notorious smugglers, mercenaries, and bounty hunters. Besides offering great music, the multispecies band has three of the galaxy’s best back-up singers and dancers. Greeata, a Rodian who is also a capable kloo horn player, joined the band at the same time as its lead singer, Sy Snootles. Rystáll, an exotic near-human raised by a pair of Ortolan musicians, was a slave under the crime lord Xizor until Lando Calrissian won her by defeating the lord in a sabacc tournament. Lando freed her and Rystáll’s travels eventually brought her to Tatooine. The third singer is a Twi’lek named Lyn Me, recognized by her people as the greatest dancer out of all the Twi’lek clans. Together the trio of singers/dancers helped the band secure a lucrative, extended contract playing in Jabba’s court until a visit from the Jedi Luke Skywalker cause the Hutt’s criminal empire to come crashing down.”

As I discussed last week, in its second year, the “Cinema Scenes” Power of the Force II sub-line shifted from purely scene-accurate recreations to a way to get out three figures that otherwise might not see release.  In light of the release of the Original Trilogy’s special editions in theaters, Kenner added a handful of the newly added characters to the line.  Included in that second year were Rystall, Greeata, and Lyn Me, three dancers from the extended musical number in Jabba’s Palace from Return of the Jedi‘s special edition release.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“Jabba’s Dancers” was one of the Cinema Scenes sets added to Power of the Force in 1998.  It was one of two Jedi-themed sets from that year, and the only explicitly special edition-based set in the line.  Like the rest of the line, this set featured a display base for the three figures, though for some reason, this one places all three of them at the far end, which makes them look quite off balance.

RYSTALL

Rystáll Sant, as is her full name, is a human-Theelin hybrid.  What’s a Theelin?  Apparently a race that got a fair bit of use in animation, it would seem.  How about that?  Anyway, Rystáll stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is more on the pre-posed side, since she’s in the midst of a dance, though it’s admittedly a more reserved sort of a dance.  Mostly, it’s just the shoulders that really have that sort of strut to them.  It’s not ideal for a lot of variety in actual posing, but it looks decent enough when compared to the shot of her from the film.  In general, it’s a pretty nice sculpt.  It’s fairly basic, but all of the important details are present.  She also stands alright on her own, which is always a plus.  Her paint work is also rather basic.  There’s some slight shifting of colors from piece to piece, which is a little distracting, but otherwise, things work.

GREEATA

Greeata Jendowanian is a female Rodian (aka the race of Greedos), who’s fairly distinctive, so that’s going for her.  Yay, more Rodians.  The figure is the same height as Rystáll, and keeps effectively the same articulation scheme.  Her legs are a touch more restricted, thanks to that skirt piece, but overall, you get okay poses out of her.  She’s also posed mid-dance, and it’s again very much carried in the shoulders.  In her case, the posing winds up making her a little more off-balance, so she tends to topple quite a bit.  But, if you can keep her standing, she does look pretty nice.  The detail work on the texturing of the skin in particular is quite impressive.  Greeta’s paint work is slightly more involved, but generally works out a little better than Rystáll’s.  There are no drastic shifts in color between pieces, and there are a few spots of accenting that work quite nicely.

LYN ME

Not to be confused with Oola, Lyn Me is the *other* Twi’lek dancer from Jabba’s palace.  See, she’s not green, she’s white.  But, you know, actually white.  Chalky white.  Alabaster.  Real pale.  That’s her.  Apparently, she’s an even better dancer than Oola?  That feels a bit ret-con-y to me, but that’s kind of Lyn Me in a nutshell.  Lyn Me is yet another unique sculpt.  Like the others, she’s also in a dance pose, though hers is a little more intense than the other two.  Not incredibly so, but she’s still a little more pre-posed.  It works out okay, though, and I think makes her look a bit more interesting on her own than the other two.  Generally, it’s a pretty nice sculpt, and probably the best of the three included here.  Her paintwork is decent enough, though some of her black wrappings are a little messy on the application front.  Overall, though, not a terrible piece of work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this pack up from All Time at the same time as the Cantina Aliens set last summer.  I wasn’t quite as immediately familiar with this set, at least as a kid.  I became aware of it later, but I don’t really remember seeing like I did the others.  Whatever the case, I picked it up mostly for completion’s sake, but I do ultimately like the three of them a fair bit, even if they are Special Edition characters.  They add some nice variety to the Jabba’s palace display, and there really are worse things.