#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#2848: Wedge Anitlles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Poor Wedge, he gets no respect.  Despite being in all three original trilogy films, and being the only person to survive both Death Star runs, he was completely absent from Kenner’s vintage toyline.  When he did finally get his due as a toy, it furthered the whole “no respect” thing just a bit more.  Packed with a Millennium Falcon-shaped carrying case (because, he’s just clearly the most logical choice for such a thing), initial shipments of the very first Wedge Antilles figure were actually produced with an incorrect color scheme.  While I’ve looked at the corrected Wedge figure, I’ve yet to look at the original release.  I’ll amend that today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wedge was released as the pack-in figure with the Millennium Falcon carrying case, which was added to the Power of the Force line in 1997.  This figure was only available in initial shipments, before being replaced by the corrected version shortly after.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Like the corrected version, this figure was built using the same body as the Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Gear, which is a bit of a misnomer, since it’s actually Snowspeeder Pilot gear.  Again, like that figure, he also gets a different head from Luke.  It still doesn’t look much like Dennis Lawson, but it does at least look distinctly different from Luke, so at least it’s clear it’s a different guy.  The only difference between this figure and the corrected version from later is the paint work, specifically on the helmet and the arms.  The helmet, rather than showcasing Wedge’s correct paint scheme, actually has somewhat of a merging of Wedge and Luke’s helmet designs, leaning a little more heavily into the Luke side.  It’s not a bad design, honestly, but it’s inaccurate.  The arms feature extra white detailing on the raised ribbing on the sleeves.  Again inaccurate, but it’s at least a cool extra detail.  Like the regular release, Wedge was packed with a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After I got the regular version of this guy, this one was certainly on my list, but mostly just for the novelty.  I didn’t really put much effort into tracking him down, or anything, but I was keeping a look out for him while working at the store.  As luck would have it, he came through in a big collection of loose figures I got to process last spring.  He’s a weird oddity to be sure, and makes you wonder about the process that led to these errors making it to production.  Still, he’s a pretty fun novelty to have in my collection.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#2792: Ishi Tib

ISHI TIB

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The Ishi Tib characters come from the planet Tibrin, where they live in the cities built atop coral reefs. Ardent freedom lovers, several Ishi Tibs offered their talents in service to the Rebel Alliance.”

Ah, good, the bio pretty much answers any questions I had.  Well, that sure is convenient.  That’ll do, bio.  That’ll do.  Now, when you look at a character like this, a wonky looking alien, if you will, from the Star Wars universe, most assumptions go to it being from one of two places.  Either it’s a patron of the Mos Eisly Cantina, or one of the hangers on from Jabba’s palace.  This one is, shockingly, from neither of those.  Nope, this one’s instead from the Rebel briefing from Return of the Jedi, which looked to amend the overly human representation of the first two films by adding an assortment of its own wonky looking aliens.  And boom, here’s the Ishi Tib, who are, in fact, a race, and not just one guy.  Obviously.  Ishi Tib’s clearly not a name, you guys.  Why would you think that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ishi Tib was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1998.  It was a good year for characters from Jedi‘s Rebel briefing, so the Tibs fit in well with that.  The figure is just shy of 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The movement on this figure is somewhat restricted by its design, with the head’s shape limiting what can be done with the neck joint, and the robe piece limiting the arms and legs.  The robe is designed so that it could be removed in theory, I suppose, with slits up the side, and a fully detailed sculpt beneath it.  However, the shaping of the head kind of keeps it stuck in place, unless you want to risk mutilating it.  It’s honestly a pretty nice sculpt, overall, though.  The head in particular holds up, and feels on par with more recent offerings.  I suppose it could use some extra texturing, but ultimately I think all the necessary details are covered.  The paint work on the figure is subtle, but well handled.  The base work is all cleanly applied, and there’s even some slight accenting on the head, which is pretty cool.  The Ishi Tib is packed with a somewhat goofy looking blaster rifle, as well as a Freeze Frame showing a shot of the Rebels all being briefed.  I don’t believe any of the Ishi Tib are actually visible in the shot, but it’s admittedly hard to tell.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really familiar with the Ishi Tib prior to acquiring this figure.  I mean, I knew the general design of them, and all, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed this wasn’t just one guy named Ishi Tib prior to reading the figure’s bio.  This one is one I wound up grabbing during one of my big PotF pushes, in the fall of 2018, alongside a whole bunch of other figures.  I mostly grabbed this one at the time because I liked the more unique alien look.  It’s admittedly pretty cool, so I can get behind it.  It’s just a nice, fun figure.

#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.