#2855: Cantina Aliens

LABRIA, NABRUN LEIDS, & TAKEEL

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Their remote location makes the spaceports of Tatooine havens for many suspicious travelers from across the galaxy. At the Mos Eisley spaceport, Chalmun’s Cantina is a popular hangout for the rough crowd and deadly violence breaks out on a daily basis. Takeel, a Snivvian, is known to dabble in bounty hunting and smuggling. The horned Devaronian Labria calls himself an ‘information broker,’ though his information is questionable at best. No one knows for sure what the Morseerian known as Nabrun Leids looks like underneath his breath mask, which he must wear in all non-methane environments. The former fighter pilot will fly anyone or anything anywhere, if the price is suitable. These kinds of patrons have helped make Tatooine’s spaceports famous as a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Initially more focused on actually replicating scenes from the movies with maybe one new figure, and a few retooled ones to better fit the set-up, Power of the Force‘s “Cinema Scenes” line fairly quickly became a way for Kenner to quickly drop three whole new figures, very frequently of quite obscure characters, all in one shot, loosely connected by the theme of all being present in a given scene or locale.  We got two sets dedicated to the Mos Eisly Cantina.  The first was more plot relevant, depicting Obi-Wan facing off against Ponda Baba and Dr Evazan, but the second stuck to the background a bit, and gave us some obscure alien patrons.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The “Cantina Aliens” Cinema Scenes set was added to the Power of the Force line in 1998, as part of the middle year of this particular sub-set.  After quite a bit of focus the first year, this set was the only one in 1998 to be based on A New Hope, and would likewise be the last of the ANH Cinema Scenes.

LABRIA

Officially named “Kardue’sai’Malloc”, this guy’s a weird looking devil dude with a sort of unfortunate name here.  So, you know, there’s that, I suppose.  He’s about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He has some trouble balancing, at least on my copy, made even more difficult by the cape, which also cuts down on his shoulder articulation a little bit.  His sculpt is totally unique, and it does a respectable job of capturing the design from the film.  He’s in line with the rest of the mid-run PotF figures, with a slighlty bulked up build, and a bit of preposing (which also contributes to the difficulty standing).  The cape is removable, and has a rather nice draping effect which keeps it over the shoulders.  Honestly, one of the better capes from the line.  His paint work is pretty basic, and fairly monochromatic, but it gets the job done, and there’s more to it than it could be, so kudos to Kenner there.  He’s packed with a small blaster pistol.

NABRUN LEIDS

That freak!  In the gas mask!  …no, wait, that’s a different guy.  Sorry.  Nabrun Leids is another of the Cantina denizens, characterized by his face obscuring gas mask.  Slightly less obvious are the extra arms, but they’re there too.  The figure stands a little under 3 3/4 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  He’s granted two extra joints, thanks to the two extra arms.  His sculpt is another unique one (though it did get a repaint early in the ’00s as well), and it’s honestly not bad for the era.  It pretty much follows the design, at least what we can see of it, from the movie.  The paint work is again pretty basic, even more so than on Labria.  I do dig the pearlescent white plastic for the jumpsuit, though.  Nabrun is packed with a larger blaster rifle.  He has a little trouble holding it, but it’s a cool design.

TAKEEL

Last up is Takeel, a character that kind of already had a figure before this one, depending on how you look at things.  Takeel is part of the race commonly referred to as “Snaggletooth.”  There were two different Snaggletooths in the vintage line, one from a Cantina set, so arguably he’s technically a remake, I guess?  But the name’s unique to this one, so it gets murky.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt is pretty decently rendered.  It’s certainly a better take on a Snivvian than the original, and one that doesn’t look too bad in a modern light.  I suppose there are some areas that could benefit from maybe some additional texture work, but it’s still a solid offering. The paint’s again on the basic side, and he’s probably the one figure in this set that could benefit from some extra accenting on the paint work, but the basics work out alright.  Takeel is packed with a smaller blaster rifle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this set when it was traded into All Time last summer, as part of a larger collection of figures.  I recall seeing this set, but it never much spoke to me as a kid.  None of these particular designs really jumped out at me, I guess.  I wasn’t expecting much from it when I cracked it open, but I honestly was pretty pleasantly surprised.  They’re all pretty solid aliens, and fill out the scene really nicely.

#2769: R5-D4

R5-D4

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A red astromech droid, R5-D4 thought he’d found a home when the Jawas sold him to Owen Lars, along with the protocol droid C-3PO. But R5’s motivator blew as he rolled away from the sandcrawler, forcing the Jawas to take him back in exchange for R2-D2.”

The Mandalorian has had a number of returning characters from elsewhere in the Star Wars mythos, some big returns, and some rather small.  On the small side was a character that’s easy to miss in both of his on-screen appearances.  A little less so in A New Hope, where R5-D4 is notably the astromech whose head blows up, prompting Owen and Luke to buy R2 instead, but it’s not like he gets name dropped there, or anything.  His reappearance in The Mandalorian almost feels like it could just be a similarly designed droid, until we see the back of him, revealing a small scorch mark where his motivator would have blown all those years prior.  It’s a nice little touch, and a welcome return for a character most people don’t even know exists.  As another astromech, R5 is prone to getting toys, since he can frequently make use of R2 parts.  That was the case for today’s offering, which is the Black Series version of the character.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R5-D4 was released in 2017, as part of the vintage-carded-styled A New Hope 40th Anniversary sub-set of Black Series figures.  R5 was a GameStop exclusive, but was also available through Think Geek, due to their partnership at the time.  It so far marks his only time getting a Black Series release.  The figure’s just over 4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  His movement set-up is the same as R2’s, which tracks, since he’s largely the same collection of pieces as R2.  Like I said, frequently makes use of R2 parts.  It’s film accurate, so it’s not like it’s a bad idea or anything.  The notable change-up here is on the head, which swaps out R2’s dome for the more cylindrical set-up that R5 had going on.  It melds well with the pre-existing parts, and is generally a pretty nice piece in its own right.  R5’s paint work was notably a bit better than the basic R2 we had at this point, since in addition to getting a pretty solid selection of base color work, he also got a little bit of accenting on the white sections of the body in order to make him look a little grimy from being on Tatooine all those years.  It’s actually pretty minor, and a very good sample of work from Hasbro, especially for this era.  The weirdest part is the one stripe of reflective coloring on the head, which is actually a decal.  I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t look bad, and it’s in a spot where it being a decal’s not going to be quite as detrimental.  Unlike the first two releases of R2, which had a ton of accessories, R5 is barebones, with nothing beyond just himself in the package.  It definitely feels light, but then again, I have no clue what exactly you would give R5.  The ’90s opted for missiles, but that’s out of place these days, I suppose.  What a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

R5 is a figure I came very close to buying new.  I saw him at the Think Geek in a mall in Seattle in the summer of 2017, and thought very seriously about buying him, since I’ve always liked him and all, but money was tight at the time, and I had already bought other stuff that day, so I wound up passing.  I never saw him again, and always kicked myself for not picking him up.  So, when this guy came into All Time a few months back, I jumped at the chance to get him, especially after his return appearance on The Mandalorian.  He’s not a figure that does a ton new, I suppose, but that’s just generally R5.  He’s still pretty darn nifty, and a little bit more unique than just another R2.  He’s a real sleeper figure for me.  You don’t expect to be all that impressed by him, but he’ll catch you off guard, in a rather subtle sort of way.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2768: Tusken Raider

TUSKEN RAIDER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“Fearsome desert savages, Tusken Raiders are the foremost reason Tatooine colonists do not wander far from their isolated communities.”

The Mandalorian gets a lot of credit for finally actually doing something worth while with Boba Fett and thereby making all the fuss around him finally worth it, but for me, it’s biggest tale of redemption lies not with Boba, but with Tatooine’s largely unexplored nomad populace, the Tusken Raiders.  The films portray them as little more than savages, generally a purely malevolent force.  The beat up Luke, shoot at Anakin, and murder Shmi….not exactly in that order.  Even when Anakin slaughters an entire camp of them, we’re largely meant to be concerned with the effect said killing has on Anakin, not looking into the horrific slaughtering of a camp that just occurred.  In The Mandalorian, we not only have our first non-antagonist interaction with the Raiders in the mainstream cannon, but also see our first “heroic” character that doesn’t immediately treat them as horrific monsters.  Din’s brief communication with them in Season 1 demonstrates that they do in fact have a language of their own (just a largely non-verbal one, which was a fascinating change), but also hints at something more complex to their culture than violent acts.  Season 2 delves even further, giving us a closer look at their true nature, and even allowing them to actually be good guys for a change.  Perfect time for a re-issue of their Black Series figure, I’d say!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Tusken Raider is part of the fourth assortment of The Black Series Archive.  This whole assortment is dedicated to reissuing army builders, specifically ones that have some new found prominence courtesy of The Mandalorian.  The Raider re-releases the one that showed up twice before, both in 2017, once as part of the main line, and once as part of the 40th Anniversary for A New Hope.  All three figures are effectively the same, especially with no need for updated face printing and the like.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme is definitely a product of it’s time; he’s pretty much got the same set-up as the ANH Obi-Wan, so the elbows are slightly restricted in movement, and the legs are kind of encased in the plastic skirt.  It’s not the end of the world, though, and it’s certainly not the worst the line had.  In fact, it’s pretty useful, once you kind of reset yourself back to how the articulation was earlier in the line.  Fortunately, though the sculpt may be older, the actual sculpting work is really top notch.  It definitely ranks very highly on the scale of Hasbro’s sculpts for this line, with the work on the head in particular being a fantastic example of realistic detailing at this scale.  It really does a spot-on job of capturing the Tusken’s head gear as seen in the movies.  The rest of the sculpt isn’t too bad itself, detailing the various layers to the clothing, as well as the smaller work on the bandoliers and belt.  It’s all topped off with a cloth robe piece, which melds well with the sculpted elements, and also adds a bit more flowiness to the design.  Technically, you can remove the robe, but I opted not to get into that, as it didn’t look very easy to get back in place properly.  The paint work on the Raider is pretty decent work.  The base work is generally pretty clean (although there’s a little slop on the edges of the bandoliers), and there’s a fair bit of accent work on the wraps, which does a nice job of bringing out the sculpted details.  Given Hasbro’s tendency to skimp on some of the painted details for this line, it’s nice that they went the extra mile here.  The Raider is packed with a selection of extras that’s definitely designed with optimal army building in mind.  He’s got a rifle, as well as a Gaderffii stick with three different attachments for the top, allowing for some customization.  Both pieces are easy for him to hold, and are nicely detailed items in their own right.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the first two releases of this figure, since 2017 was kind of a lighter year for me in terms of income, and subsequently in terms of buying as well.  At the time, I didn’t really feel like I needed the Tusken Raider, so I didn’t feel terribly as if I’d missed out.  Their appearances on The Mandalorian gave me a new appreciation for them, so I was definitely glad to get another chance with this re-release.  The figure’s a very nice one, and was definitely one of 2017’s best sculpts.  Even now, it’s no slouch.  I didn’t know what I was missing, but now that I do, I’m very happy to have added this one to my collection.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#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.

#2694: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“Legendary among the heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi is regarded as one of the greatest Jedi Knights ever to have lived. As a young Jedi who had just completed his own training, Obi-Wan made a solemn pledge to train young Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Force. Anakin became a Jedi but then turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Many years later, destiny would have an older and wiser Obi-Wan guiding Anakin’s own son, Luke Skywalker, in the ways of the Force, and ultimately, in turning Vader back to the light side.”

Last week, I took my first dive into the Power of the Force Flashback Photo subset of figures, and rather poked fun at the concept and how far of a reach some of those figures were for the idea.  Well, in their defense, some of them did make at least some bit of sense.  Given that it was to tie-in with the first of the prequels, and there were actually some crossover characters, showing those characters from the original trilogy, and offering the flashback there?  Not the worst idea.  Among the cross over characters was Obi-Wan Kenobi, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, as he is so specifically named on the box, was part of the first set of “Flashback Photo” Power of the Force figures, hitting towards the end of 1998, just as we were getting prepped for the new movie.  He was our fourth Obi-Wan from the line, and only the second to be part of the regular line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  This would mark the first real move to improve the articulation on these figures, as Obi-Wan wound up with a whopping three joints in each of his arms.  Sure, they were all cut joints, and sure, the rest of his movement was majorly restricted by the robes, but it certainly was a step up.  Also of note was the fact that this was the first Obi-Wan not to be based on the first PotF figure’s molds, making him generally less oddly bulked up and weird looking.  He’s still a little more bulked up than Sir Alec Guinness actually was in the movie, but it’s not quite as insane.  Preposing is a bit more involved this time, with the figure being designed to directly interact with the “Flashback” Vader figure, in an effort to recreate their duel from A New Hope.  With the extra articulation, there’s a little more variety as to what you can do, though it’s still not a ton.  Honestly, the screen accurate thing wasn’t the worst concept, and it does at least make him a little more unique compared to others in the line.  It’s not a bad looking sculpt, either, and they were really starting to get the hang of making the clothes look fairly natural on the bodies.  The hood in particular doesn’t look too bad, and hoods are usually pretty darn tricky.  The only downside is that the hands have some difficulty holding the lightsaber, which does somewhat hinder his purpose.  In terms of paint work, Obi-Wan is about on par with the rest of the line, so he’s basic, but generally pretty well handled.  All of the important details are there, and they’re pretty cleanly applied.  Obi-Wan is packed with his lightsaber, which is about all he really needs.  Of course, he’s also got the Flashback Photo, which is about as intriguing here as it was with Beru.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

All of the Flashback Photo figures passed me by as a kid, just because there wasn’t actually much new coverage there.  This one in particular proved frustrating for me as a kid, because I just wanted a prequel Obi-Wan figure, and I kept finding this one, and he wasn’t really what I wanted.  Admittedly not really the figure’s fault, I suppose.  I wound up getting him this past fall when he was traded into All Time.  He’s not a bad little figure, and is probably this line’s best version of Obi-Wan.

#2687: Aunt Beru

AUNT BERU

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Beru Lars was the closest thing to a mother that Luke Skywalker ever knew. She and husband Owen lovingly raised Luke as their nephew, and trained him in the mundane ways of moisture farming on their arid Tatooine homestead.. All along, Aunt Beru understood that a larger destiny awaited Luke. Years before, on another part of Tatooine, the slave Shmi Skywalker raised the boy who would become Luke’s father-Anakin Skywalker. Like Aunt Beru, she sadly understood she could only love and nurture her boy for a relatively short period of time before she had to allow him the freedom to fly on his own wings.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why does Shmi Skywalker get mentioned in Aunt Beru’s bio?  Isn’t that a weird reach?”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  But it’s okay, because weird reaches are something that defined this particular branch of the Power of the Force line.  In celebration of the upcoming Prequel Trilogy, Hasbro (who was once again putting their name on action figures, after deciding to shut down their Kenner division) decided to celebrate in the best possible way you can when you can’t actually release anything from the movie you’re promoting: awkward, forced tie-ins.  Instead of actual Episode 1 based product, they produced the “Flashback Photo” figures, a set of Original Trilogy figures that each had a tie to someone from the new movie.  Figures like Vader, Obi-Wan, R2, or 3PO all made sense, being in both sets of movies and all, but what of other characters?  Well, you get pairings like Beru and Shmi, who aren’t related, and don’t actually interact on-screen….but, I guess they’re sort of similar?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aunt Beru was added to the Power of the Force line in 1999, as part of the second round of the “Flashback Photo” figures that were leading into the new film.  This was Beru’s first figure (not an exceptional shock, really), and remains the only OT Beru figure we’ve ever gotten.  Clearly she’s overdue for Black Series treatment, right?  Riiiiight.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She’s rather limited on the mobility front, due to the harder plastic skirt, but it’s Beru; it’s not like she was exactly action oriented.  Her sculpt was an all-new thing, and it’s actually a rather nice offering.  The proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, and pre-posing is kept to a minimum.  Her outfit is fairly well detailed, and she’s even got a halfway decent likeness of actress Sheila Mary Fraser.  Generally, just pretty good sculpting for the time when you get down to it.  Additionally, the paint work’s not too bad either.  Mostly, it’s flat base color work, but there’s some decent work on the pattern of her collar, and the accenting on the hair also works quite well.  Beru’s real selling point is the accessories.  She gets the best ever accessories for an Aunt Beru figure: a pitch and cup of blue milk!  It’s kind of a signature thing, so it’s nice they put it in there.  Hasbro obviously knew that old woman in a sensible jacket and dress serving a good, calcium building beverage wasn’t going to fly off shelves, so they packed Beru with one of the Lars family Service Droids.  Though simply dubbed “Service Droid” on the package, this guy is actually a WED-15-77 Treadwell droid, which is a somewhat recurring type of droid from the films and expanded universe material.  Treadwell even has a single joint at the base of his treads, and a spot for keeping the milk, making him the perfect companion piece to Beru.  Lastly, there’s the “Flashback Photo” piece, which is really just an extra piece of packaging that you’d be forgiven for immediately throwing away.  It’s a picture of Beru on a set of shutters; pull the tab down, and they flip to show Shmi Skywalker.  Thrilling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is one of those oddball releases that isn’t really ripe for buying as a kid…so I didn’t.  She got traded into All Time over the summer, and I snagged her then, as I continue my quest of getting all of Power of the Force.  Honestly, while she may not be the most thrilling character, Beru is a better figure than you might expect, and holds up surprisingly well for this line.  For me, though, Treadwell is the real star.  He’s just so nifty!

#2546: R2-D2

R2-D2

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“While repairing his new droid R2-D2, young Luke Skywalker unwittingly short circuits its recording system, causing a holographic image of the young Princess Leia to appear. She implores the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and then disappears as quickly as she emerged.”

When Hasbro took full charge of Power of the Force for the line’s final year, they were busy running the Phantom Menace tie-in line right alongside it, resulting in a much smaller assortment of offerings.  In addition, it was a grouping that felt far more like a “best of” assortment than anything, offering mostly revised versions of the franchise’s core characters, with more scene specific accessories that would eventually become Hasbro’s bread and butter for the smaller scale line.  Among these figures was today’s focus, a variant of R2-D2.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R2-D2 was released in 1999, as part of the first of the two CommTech assortments that wrapped up Power of the Force‘s run.  It was the fourth, and final, standard-release R2 in the line.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s notable for being the first R2 to add in the “ankle” articulation on the legs, which would become common place for the line going forward.  It was quite handy for posing him, and meant that he could, for the first time, properly use his third leg function, a function that was added back in here after being removed from the two prior variants.  It’s definitely a cool element.  R2’s sculpt was all-new, and is really the best R2 sculpt to come out of the line.  It’s not leaps and bounds above the others or anything, but it does seem a little sharper, and those extra joints certainly don’t hinder it.  His paint work has some nice light weathering on the lower portion, signifying that he’s a New Hope version of the character, an he’s still all sandy.  Also quite notable is the decision to go with a flat silver paint on the dome, instead of a chromed appearance.  The chromed look was cool, but not actually accurate to the films in the slightest.  This change-over was definitely notable, because it marked Lucasfilm’s licensing relenting on some hard-lined rules for the toys that had been in place since the ’70s, and had been the reason for the chrome on all earlier versions of the character.  R2 was packed with a small holographic figurine of Princess Leia, to showcase his message from her in the first film.  It’s a cool little piece, and one of the better extras for an R2.  He also gets the CommTech stand, for those that care about such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve discussed before, I only felt the need to own one R2 growing up, and that was the first PotF2 figure.  This one just wasn’t in the cards.  However, I’ve been trying to piece together this crazy full set I’m working on, which means picking up all of the various variants.  I gotta say, this R2’s really good.  I have to go back on my last R2 review and say that this one was really the best in the line.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2504: Admiral Motti

ADMIRAL MOTTI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“The senior Imperial commander in charge of operations on the original Death Star, Admiral Motti often disagreed with the decisions of Darth Vader. His outspokenness almost cost him his life when Vader used the Force to strangle the Admiral into silence.”

In 1999, when prepping for the tie-in to The Phantom Menace‘s release and the big marketing push that accompanied, Hasbro decided to actually take over full ownership of the line, officially bringing an end to the facade of Kenner still running the line.  This extended to the Power of the Force line, which would run concurrently with The Phantom Menace, albeit in a far more limited capacity.  They offered up a lot more redoes of previous designs during these two years, but also still gave us some brand new characters never before seen in toy form.  This included today’s focus, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, aka the guy who Vader force chokes in the first movie.  Yay.  That guy really needed a toy, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Admiral Motti was one of the final two Power of the Force II figures released (the other being a Princess Leia variant), hitting shelves just before the transition to Power of the Jedi in 2000.  He was the third Imperial Officer to grace the line, following Tarkin and Piett.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Oh boy, is that one extra joint I see there?  Yep, Motti gets an honest to god elbow hinge on his left arm.  Why is that?  Well, so that he can more properly recreate the force choking scene, of course!  Yep, he actually gets the ability to do that very specific pose.  I mean, there’s not really many other poses he can pull off, of course, but really it feels worth it.  It’s a pretty distinctive pose, and it’s the one pose that any one is really going to remember him in.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to pick Motti out of a line-up if not for the pose.  Otherwise, his stance is fairly neutral, so if you want to throw that arm back behind his back, I guess you can have him look rather British and upper-class and pompous.  In terms of paint work, he’s overall pretty basic in how he works.  Lots of greys, but that’s accurate, so it’s hard to really knock it.  Motti is admittedly a character that doesn’t really have any obvious accessories, but Hasbro did their best.  He gets the same smaller blaster as Tarkin did, as well as a CommTech chip, since those were still a thing at this point.  Amusingly, the back of the chip lists Motti as “Commander of Opperations Aboard the Origional Death Star” which features not one, but two separate typos that are really bad and really noticeable, and were really never corrected, since the line was already on its way out.  I guess we really shouldn’t have been all that surprised by “Skywalkwer”.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Motti’s one of those figure’s I’ve wanted for a while, not really because I care in the slightest about the character, but because he’s sort of one of those morbidly distinctive figures.  I mean, how often do you see the force choke in plastic form?  He’s not an exceedingly common figure, being at the very end of the line and all, so I had to wait through quite a few PotF collections coming in through All Time before finally getting my hands on him.  He’s not the most thrilling figure or anything, but he amuses me, and I’ll admit to doing a little bit of a happy dance when he came through.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2440: R2-D2

R2-D2

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Inside the Imperial Death Star, R2-D2 uses one of his many mechanical assets to rescue his Rebel companions from certain death within a rapidly closing trash compactor.”

As I was mentioning last week, droids make up quite a subset of the Star Wars universe, be they background, or even main characters.  Of note are C-3PO and today’s focus R2-D2, who have appeared in every film in the franchise to date, making them the real connective tissue that holds things together.  Being as frequently appearing as they are in the films, they are similarly pretty frequently appearing in the accompanying toy lines, usually with some sort of gimmick to help set them apart from prior releases.  Let’s dig into what makes this specific R2 so unique.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R2-D2 was released in 1998 as part of Kenner’s Power of the Force line.  He’s the second R2 to be released in the line, following the more standard version from ’95.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation.  This R2 was a totally new sculpt.  It’s not terribly different from the initial figure, but it’s different enough to be noticeable.  Unlike the prior R2, he doesn’t have the retracting third leg, or any third leg at all.  Instead, he makes use of the extra space in the torso to add a slightly different gimmick: a retracting datalink arm.  It’s a cool enough feature, though it would probably be cooler if it hadn’t immediately broken on mine.  Maybe I’m just too rough on my toys?  He’s also got another built-in gimmick, a  pop-out scanner in his head dome.  That one works a lot better, and is probably my favorite part of this particular release.  The paint work on this guy is a definite step-up from the prior figure.  He keeps the chromed head (this was a wonky licensing thing with Lucasfilm, despite its inaccuracy), but corrects the missing third blue stripe on his “face.”  He also gets quite a bit of weathering on his lower portion.  While he’s *technically* a New Hope R2, this added dirt means he pairs quite well with the ESB Dagobah figures, which is another plus in my book.  R2 is packed with both a grasper arm and a saw arm, both of which can plug into the front of the figure.  He also included a Freeze Frame slide depicting R2 and 3PO on the Death Star, though I somehow managed to misplace that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really only had the need for one R2 growing up, so this guy got left out.  He’s one of the ones I was more interested in when I started to go back and fill in the holes in my collection, though, and wound up as part of one of my earlier splurges of PotF figures back in 2018.  He actually sat packaged for a good while before I finally got around to opening him.  Issues with the datalink aside, I think this guy was the best of the R2s offered up by this line.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2401: Sandtrooper

SANDTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Their remote location makes the spaceports of Tatooine havens for the varied masses from across the galaxy. At the seedy Mos Eisley spaceport, this variety is more than evident at the main hangout, Chalmun’s Cantina. The most loathsome of Mos Eisley’s population can regularly be found there, including imperial sandtroopers, who are deployed by the Empire to quell outbursts with brutal efficiency. In the days before the Galactic Empire, the spaceport of Mos Espa hosted a similar reputation as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” From the outdoor markets to the junk shops – overseen by the gambling crimelords, the Hutts – Mos Espa was a place where a nine-year old boy could learn the ways of the universe.”

Hey, remember how I’ve got all these Power of the Force figures I can review?  Great, I don’t have to remind you why I’m doing this review, then.  I’ve looked at all manner of Stormtrooper variants, many of them from this very line, but today I’m kind of doubling back and looking at a variant of a variant.  Oh man, how crazy is that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sandtrooper was released in 1998, accompanying a 3D display diorama of the Mos Eisley Cantina.  He was the actual figure used to sell a bunch of cardboard, wrapped in cardboard.  Neat trick, I suppose.  We had gotten a standard, run of the mill Sandtrooper in the main line, but this one aimed to be different enough to make collector’s buy.  Guess it worked.  According to expanded universe materials, this guy actually has a name.  He’s Davin Felth, the trooper who says “Look sir, droids!” while they’re searching on Tatooine.  And now you know that.  Don’t you feel like your life has meaning now?  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He uses the same head, torso, and pelvis as the single-carded Sandtrooper, but gets a new set of arms and legs.  It’s still the super goofy PotF2 trooper build, but by this time things were starting to be a little bit more toned down.  Those arms and legs are definitely less bulked up compared to prior troopers.  His pose is also a more neutral one, but, in an interesting turn of events, he’s not really able to do anything but hold that one neutral pose.  He looks like he’s standing guard (which makes sense for the playset he came with), meaning he’s designed to hold his weapon in a non-battle stance.  He can’t actually hold it by the handle, due to the relative posing of his arms.  The paint on this guy is also toned down from the prior Sandtrooper.  He’s still got a little bit of weathering, but it’s nowhere near as intense.  His pauldron has changed colors to mark a change in rank, with it being white instead of orange.  For some reason, the black section has also changed to a light grey, which is an odd choice.  Moving further down, the figure has also lost the black detailing at the elbows that prior troopers had, which does look a little weird.  The Sandtrooper was packed with a blaster rifle and a patrol droid (missing from mine) which plugged into his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As part of my goal of getting all the figures from the PotF2 line, I’m having to track down some of the more odd-ball releases as well, which includes this guy.  I ended up getting ahold of one from a loose collection that was traded into All Time, though he was missing the droid piece.  He’s not a bad figure.  I actually like him quite a bit, certainly more than I was expecting to.

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.