#2205: Imperial Scanning Crew

IMPERIAL SCANNING CREW

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In 1997, we got our very first Wedge Antilles figure, available exclusively as a pack-in with a figure carrying case shaped like the Millenium Falcon.  Wedge’s placement in a case shaped like a ship that he never so much as stepped foot on during the original trilogy’s run was definitely an odd choice, so in 1998, when Kenner re-issued the case again, I guess they kind of took that to heart, and instead gave us someone who *had* actually stepped foot on the ship…like that’s literally the only thing he did.  Yes, it was the Imperial Scanning Crew, one of those non-even-a-Stormtrooper guys who goes and checks the Falcon when it gets pulled onto the Death Star in the first film.  Admittedly, not the biggest role, but he *did* interact with the Falcon!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As touched on the intro, the Imperial Scanning Crew replaced Wedge Antilles as the pack-in figure for the Power of the Force II Millenium Falcon Carrying Case in 1998.  There’s just the single version of the figure to keep track of this time around, though, which is honestly a little amusing, given the there’s room for multiple purchases on a figure like this.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Like Wedge, the Scanning Crew figure makes use of some reused parts, with his torso, pelvis, and legs all being shared with the AT-ST Driver figure from 1997.  There’s not really a lot you can do to mix up the basic grey jumpsuit, so the re-use is honestly pretty sensible here.  He gets a new head and arms, which remove the gloves and helmet and give him that officers’ style cap that the crew sports in the movie.  The whole sculpt would eventually see re-use again for a single carded Scanning Crew figure in the Original Trilogy Collection, so obviously Hasbro liked it.  It’s not terrible, though it certainly shows all of the hallmarks of the mid-line PotF2 figures, with proportions that aren’t totally crazy, but are certainly a bit off, and some slightly softer sculpted elements.  His paint work is rather on the bland side, but then that’s pretty accurate to the source material.  Application’s still pretty clean, though, and there’s not obviously missing details.  The Scanning Crew figure was packed with a blaster pistol and a scanning trunk, both of which are missing from my copy of the figure.  The trunk is actually a nice, unique piece, and a sensible choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finally picking up a Wedge, I felt compelled to own this guy as well.  Not really sure why, probably just that completist strain that runs through me.  I ended up finding him loose last winter during a vacation, courtesy of my usual vacation stop Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s not super exciting, and really anything to write home about, but he was unique, and honestly a decent choice for this sort of a pack-in figure, being non-essential, but still a nice background filler for a kid who bought the case.

Advertisements

#2196: Zorri Bliss

ZORRI BLISS

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

In the ever-crowded, ever-growing cast of Star Wars characters, it can be a little tricky to focus on new, but it does seem like we get one new mysterious, shady, potential fan favorite character just about every time out.  Hey, when a character like Boba Fett sells as many toys as Boba Fett has sold, I guess there’s nothing wrong with trying to capture a little bit more of that lightning in a bottle.  Rise Of Skywalker‘s new masked character of intrigue is Zorri Bliss, played by a very covered up Keri Russell, who apparently has ties to our boy Poe.  Ties to Poe you say?  Well that’s a semi-decent way of getting me on board, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zorri Bliss is figure VC157 in the Vintage Collection line-up.  She’s yet another of the initial six figures available at launch, and the final figure I picked up from this particular assortment.  As of this time, Zorri is only available in the VC style, but I imagine a Black Series release will follow depending on how she’s received in the film.  The figure stands a little over 3 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Zorri’s articulation really just serves to emphasize my problems with implementation in this line.  He upper half moves fine, but the hips are again mostly stationary, and the knees and ankles don’t offer her much movement either.  Of the four figures I picked up from this line-up, Zorri is definitely the least sure on her feet, and honestly I didn’t have much luck keeping her up without a stand of some sort.  If these guys included stands, that might be okay, but they don’t, which makes her quite a frustrating figure to mess with.  The sculpt is a decent enough offering, all things considered.  While it’s not as impressive as the Jet Trooper, there are still plenty of well-rendered details, and she appears to be fairly accurate to the source material, at least based on what we’ve seen of the character so far.  I will admit that when you put the figure into a basic standing pose and just admire the sculpt, it looks pretty impressive.  Zorri’s paintwork isn’t bad.  Not having a face probably helps her a bit here.  The application is mostly pretty clean, and there’s a halfway decent go at weathering on the helmet.  Zorri is packed with two revolver-looking blaster pistols, which can be held or stowed in her two holsters.  They’re fairly nice, rather unique pieces, and they definitely help her have a bit more of her own flair.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s Jet Trooper, I had not initially planned to buy Zorri, but when you buy one more, it’s easy to make that two more, I guess.  Plus, there’s that Poe connection, I suppose.  I’m an easy mark.  While I was fairly happy with the Jet Trooper, Zorri left me a little cold.  I like the design, and I don’t hate the figure, but there’s really nothing about her that makes me feel like she *needed* TVC treatment, and I ultimately feel like I might have been happier if she’d just been a nicely sculpted 5-POA figure instead.  Maybe I’ll feel better after movie?

I picked up Zorri from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2195: Sith Jet Trooper

SITH JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

What’s a Star Wars movie without some fancy new army builders?  …I mean, seriously, what is it?  Has there ever been one?  I don’t believe so.  Unsurprisingly, Rise of Skywalker is following the well-established conventions of the movies and providing us with various assortments of new faceless goons to choose from.  Today’s is actually a double header, being not only one of the fancy new all-crimson-clad Sith Troopers, but also being based on a new specialization of trooper, the Jet Trooper.  Smash them together and, boom, Sith Jet Trooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sith Jet Trooper is figure VC159 in the Vintage Collection line-up.  He’s part of the same six-figure line-up as Poe and Rey, and was one of the Triple-Force Friday launch figures.  He is one of two army builders in the assortment, with the other being the Knight of Ren.  He’s also one of three variations of the Jet Trooper available at launch, though so far the only one under the Sith Trooper heading.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation. Compared to Rey, the Jet Trooper’s articulation is a little more practical, and certainly a little more resilient.  That said, the hips are still the weak point, and at least on my figure don’t end up adding a ton of posability.  On the flip side, I was actually quite impressed by the range of movement on the figure’s neck, so kudos to Hasbro on that.  Of all the figures in this assortment, the Jet Trooper’s articulation and design is definitely the best rendered.  He’s also got possibly the best sculpt of the bunch.  The fully armored appearance is certainly more forgiving to a highly articulated small-scale figure, and honestly they’ve managed to keep the detail work pretty sharp on him, making this the most technically impressive of the launch sculpts.   It’s also helped by having one of the more basic and straight forward paint apps for this line-up.  It’s really just red and black with just a little touch of yellow, so there’s not a whole lot to possibly mess up here.  It’s clean, and definitely striking in appearance.  The Jet Trooper is packed with two different styles of rifle, which is certainly nice for mixing things up if you do intend to army build.  I also appreciate that one can be holstered on his leg while he holds the other, meaning nothing needs the to be tossed into storage when this guy goes on the shelf.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My only early morning run Triple Force Friday purchases were Poe and Rey from this line, because I wasn’t sure I was totally on board with the switch over.  Then I got into All Time later that day and discovered a shipment had come in there, and that gave me a second chance to think about picking up a few of the figures, with the Jet Trooper at the top of that list.  Ultimately, I’m glad I gave him a second thought, because while I still am not completely on board with full time collecting for The Vintage Collection, I do feel like the Jet Trooper is the nicest showing of this bunch.

The Jet Trooper was picked up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2194: Rey

REY

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Since there’s no basic 3 3/4 inch line-up for the movie launch this time around, the small scale component of the Rise of Skywalker toys will be carried by the recently relaunched The Vintage Collection, an interesting prospect given that TVC has only recently started carrying more than one or two new figures per assortment.  It’s also prone to much more compact line-ups, meaning that our first offering of figures is nowhere near as comprehensive as what we’re used to.  In terms of the core cast for the Sequel Trilogy, the first line-up gives us a re-released Poe (reviewed yesterday) and main character Rey in her latest attire, which is the figure I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey is figure VC156 in the Vintage Collection line-up.  She’s part of the six figure line-up launched at Triple Force Friday, and is one of five new figures in the line-up.  For Rise of Skywalker, there’s been some passage of time since The Last Jedi, so everyone looks to have picked up some fancy new togs.  Rey appears to still be aiming for an “on-brand” appearance, so the base elements from her three prior outfits are all still in the mix, but she’s definitely back to a brighter look following her slightly murkier look during TLJ.  I dig it, and I look forward to seeing it in action on the screen.  The figure stands a little under 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  So, about all this extra articulation that’s supposed to be the main selling point of this style of line vs the 5-poa stuff?  Hasbro was getting the hang of things before halting TVC the first time, and they were also getting the hang of things when the did the Rogue One figures for Black Series, but beyond that, I frequently feel like this style of figure runs into “articulation for the sake of articulation” rather than “articulation for the figure’s benefit”.  The prime offender is pretty much always the hip joints.  While the design here is certainly better than the out of date set-up we saw on yesterday’s Poe, it’s still a very limited, very restricted joint, largely due to how small it has to be to not look super messy at this scale.  The trouble is, it’s enough movement to give the legs some budge, but enough to do a whole lot with that budge, so she’s a figure with hip joints that really just make her hard to keep standing.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s better than other offerings in this style, and probably in the top two for this particular assortment in terms of practical articulation, but she’s still not as posable as a 6-inch figure, nor as sturdy as a 5-POA figure.  Even the sculpt suffers a bit, because they have to contend with adding in all of those joints, which always means breaking things up, and leaving more room for error on misassembly.  Ultimately, it’s not a bad sculpt, and in fact there’s a lot I like about it, though it is a little hard to properly judge some aspects thanks to the paint.  I feel I should start the discussion of the paint by stressing that my figure doesn’t look as bad in person as in the photos.  That said, yes, her face is off center, and it looks really odd.  It would probably look far nicer if it were better applied, and then I might like this whole thing a lot more, but as it is, she’s passable but not really great.  She’s a decently accessorized figure, certainly the best of this new bunch, with her staff, lightsaber both ignited and off, her blaster she got from Han, and a removable back pack piece.  My one main complaint is that she’s got nowhere to hang the lightsaber hilt that I could find, but that’s fairly minor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As this review will have no doubt clued you in, I remain rather apprehensive of TVC.  I liked some of the figures back in the day, but there’s something about it that just seems…out of place?  Black Series came a long and showed me that full articulation works better at the larger scale, and the basic 5-POA stuff reminded me that I really have a lot more fun personally with that style of figure.  If I want a large spread of characters, I’m going for basic and cheap, and if I want something higher end, I’ll drop it for the more important characters.  For me, TVC seems like a shaky middle ground.  The small upcharge per figure really adds up, and I frequently find myself less than thrilled with the articulation.  It’s honestly something I’d kind of confronted with the Walmart-exclusive Black Series, but at least with those, I could focus on the things I wanted to collect instead.  Without the things I want to collect, I guess these become even more frustrating.  Rey’s not a bad figure, but I guess she’s not what I wanted, and it makes being objective tricky.

#2193: Poe’s X-Wing Fighter

POE’S X-WING FIGHTER & POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

October 4th of this year as Triple Force Friday, the third major film product launch for Star Wars since Disney took over the franchise.  There’s been a definite cooling off of the events and their cultural impact as things have progressed and Triple Force Friday was quite indicative of this.  Despite a lot of hyping on the part of Disney’s marketing machine, it was just rather anticlimactic.  I did actually participate in an early run the morning of (since there were no midnight openings to be had near me), and picked up a whopping two things.  I know.  But, I did come up with enough items to do a week of coverage, so I guess here we go?  I’m starting things in the most me way of doing so, with a look at something Poe related, specifically Poe’s X-Wing fighter, and the guy what flies it, Poe Dameron himself.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

There were two vehicles present for the launch this year, which marks a serious scaling down from prior years.  There’s Luke’s X-Wing (which is OT-based) and Poe’s X-Wing.  That’s it.  Also unlike prior launches, these aren’t the slightly cheaper, more all-ages oriented offerings, but rather are part of the newly-returning Vintage Collection, meaning their designed to be (closer) to proper scale, and far more detailed that previous offerings.  While Luke’s fighter is purely an online exclusive, Poe’s is, in theory, supposed to be showing up at brick and mortar locations.  Like its slightly downsized counterpart from The Force Awakens, Poe’s X-Wing has a little bit of required assemble when taking it out of the box, though it’s slightly more intricate when it comes to properly getting the wings and such attached.  There are instructions included and it’s pretty straightforward, so I had no issues getting it all properly put together.  Once fully assembled, it’s definitely a big boi, at 18 1/2 inches in length and with a wingspan of 18 inches, making it noticeably larger than the previous Poe X-Wing, if still under-scaled for proper movie scaling.  It’s also a far more detailed item, with the shared details being a lot sharper on this particular offering.  Additionally, there are far less obvious points of assembly, and some of the less oft-seen parts of the ship are actually properly detailed this time around.  There’s a fully detailed cockpit this time around, which is far better scaled to the Poe figure that is intended to go in it, with a defined seat, console, and controls.  In order to make it more of a display piece and less of a toy piece (and no doubt in order to offer just a touch more customizability), the spot for BB-8 is not filled by a permanently attached BB, but instead has a spot that can hold either a BB or a classic Astromech unit.  With the BB removed, the launching mechanism for the wings also had to be moved; now it’s done via two buttons built into the rear of the ship, which are quite nicely hidden.  The vehicle also gets proper landing hear and such this time, rather than just the one foot at the front of the ship.  All three pieces of gear are designed to fold up compactly and out of the way, and are fully detailed when deployed.  They do take a little of work to get properly locked into place when deployed, but work better than I’d initially expected.  Also included with the landing gear is a little ladder, used for the pilot to get into place, which even has a dedicated spot on the underside of the ship, which is pretty darn nifty.  The biggest change to the Fighter in-universe is of course the colorscheme, which is generally a much brighter appearance.  I really dig this look, and I look forward to seeing it in action in the film.  The paint does a respectable job of capturing the colors, as well as still giving the ship a real worn-in appearance, which the prior ST vehicles have more frequently shied away from.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Unlike prior X-Wings, this one *didn’t* come packed with its pilot and droid.  There is, however, a Poe packed in the corresponding Vintage Collection assortment for the launch (if you need a BB-8, though, you’re going to have a slightly more difficult time of things), which I figured I’d take a look at alongside the vehicle.  While most of the assortment was all-new figures, Poe is actually a slight tweaking of Poe’s small-scale Black Series figure from 2015.  That figure definitely had its ups and downs, especially when it come to implementation of the articulation in the sculpt, so I myself wouldn’t have minded a fully new figure, but I’m hopeful that Hasbro’s got plans for an all-new figure in Poe’s non-piloting gear, and that this guy can be just a bit more of a place holder.  The primary selling point for this release (beyond the vintage style card, which is admittedly pretty cool) is the improved paintwork.  The last release had some pretty rough face paint, but this one uses the printing style.  It’s a little bit off center on my figure, but a marked improvement over my last figure.  Like his last release, this figure is packed with a helmet and a blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being quite underwhelmed by the overall product launch, the only thing that really stuck out at the launch was Poe’s X-Wing, which I do have to say I like the new look of.  So, the Vintage vehicle was the main thing I was looking for when I hit up a handful of stores Friday morning, and was also the one thing I didn’t see anywhere at all that morning, meaning I ended up having to resort to order it online.  That sure made the getting up first thing in the morning to go out feel totally worth it.  In an effort to not feel totally defeated the day of, I grabbed the Poe re-release in person at my first hit-up.  The X-Wing is definitely a very nice piece, no doubt about it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel it didn’t fit my sensibilities as much as the more gimmicky releases from prior films.  It also feels a lot less of package deal, given the lack of included figures.  For Poe, it’s not a huge issue, since the single card will no doubt be easy enough to get, but BB-8 has no 3 3/4 figures currently at market, which could prove frustrating to someone who doesn’t have a couple laying around.

#2191: Cantina Showdown

OBI-WAN KENOBI, DR. EVAZAN, & PONDA BABA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“On the run from Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter the seedy Mos Eisley Cantina in hopes of finding swift passage to the planet Alderaan. Inside, among the gallery of criminals are the murderous Dr. Evazan and the brutal Ponda Baba–both of whom are thirsty for a fight with Skywalker. Reaching for their blasters, the villains are suddenly cut off from Luke by the pulsating blaze of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber! Will Obi-Wan triumph and save the Rebellion’s only hope?”

So, believe it or not, the original purpose of the Cinema Scenes sub-line of Power of the Force II was to, you know, recreate scenes directly from the movies.  By the end of the line, it had transitioned into “let’s throw three figures into a set”, but there was far more focus with the early stuff, where it was a merging of previously released figures with new in order to create a specific scene.  This was the case for today’s set, the “Cantina Showdown”, which showcased Obi-Wan in his brief face-off with Mos Eisley Cantina denizens Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cantina Showdown was one of the four sets released in 1997, the first year of Cinema Scenes.  This set was a Walmart-exclusive upon release, and would prove to be a less than stellar performer at retailer, for a few likely reasons I’ll touch on as I review the figures proper.

OBI-WAN KENOBI

Patterned on his single-carded release from ’95, this figure aimed to inject a little more dynamism into the previous figure.  Like that one, he stands roughly 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  It feels sort of odd and recursive for a figure to add more pre-posing to one of the ’95 releases, but this was far from the only time the line did it, so I guess it was a bit of a thing.  To be fair, Obi-Wan was one of the least stylized of the earliest figures, so I suppose Kenner just wanted him to get in on the ’90s pre-posed, super-roided fun.  So, here he is, I guess?  Despite looking similar, the only parts actually shared with the single are the head and torso, with everything else, including the robe, being retooled for his sick action pose.  I’m…I’m not entirely what the pose is going for, if I’m honest.  It’s not like Alec Guinness was breaking out the kung-fu moves when he whips out the saber at the bar, and even with the dramatically bent elbows, he still doesn’t have the ability to hold his saber two-handed, making the non-holding hand look even more awkward than the single-release, if I’m honest.  The paint on this figure is pretty much the same as the standard, and he’s also got his lightsaber, albeit the shortened version.   Shrinkage!

PONDA BABA

Like Obi-Wan, Ponda Baba also had a single carded release, which this one draws much of its stylistic inspiration from.  Unlike Obi-Wan, Ponda’s prior figure hit shelves just months before this one, making him feel a little bit more redundant.  Again, it’s the pose that really differentiates them, and again, the only real overlap is the head and torso.  Even the jacket gets re-sculpted in the name of dynamics.  It’s admittedly not a bad sculpt; all of the creatures stood out as the best of the earlier figures in this line.  That said, this version, due to the preposing, has a lot of troubles staying standing, which can get more than a little bit annoying.  For me, the most criminal piece of this release is that he doesn’t take advantage of the newly-sculpted parts to add the one important feature that the sing-card lacked: a removable arm!  It’s kind of key to the scene, so for it to be left out of this supposedly scene-specific release is just odd.  Also, this figure cuts the original’s accessory count from two to one, only including the smaller blaster pistol.

DR. EVAZAN

As the set’s one truly unique piece, Dr. Evazan seems like the natural fit for the set’s star, doesn’t he?  I mean, the character had never gotten a toy release before, so this one had to be a big deal, right?  Well, in a word, no.  The thing about Evazan is that he’s got the far less distinctive of the two creature looks here, which is why Ponda was always first for toys.  The thing about this particular Evazan figure is that it doesn’t even really capture that already less distinctive look, making him look even more average than he does in the film.  Removed from the other two figures in this set, it’s a little hard to place him, and that’s probably why his value also drops pretty drastically when it’s just him.  Kenner was right to think this guy couldn’t move as a single-carded figure, but that’s at least in part because he’s the worst of three figures included, made worse by there not being another option to get him.  I will say, they did at least try on the paint, giving him some more subdued work than we saw a lot of his contemporaries, especially on his vest.  He also included a unique blaster pistol, which I suppose would be cool if I had it, but I don’t.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When you go completist on a line, there are the items that really test you.  This is one of those for me with Power of the Force II.  I mostly have them because All Time Toys had all three of them loose, with only the one missing piece between them, and they were super cheap, and I was already buying a bunch of other PotF figures.  It’s not hard to pin-point why this set performed so poorly.  Obi-Wan and Ponda Baba had a lot of work to do to prove their worth, and they don’t succeed.  Evazan didn’t, and yet somehow he also doesn’t succeed.  How does one manage that?

#2179: Poe Dameron

POE DAMERON

DISNEY TOYBOX

So, hey, you know what Friday was?  Yeah, it was Triple Force Friday!  The third “Force Friday” event since the sequel trilogy launched.  It was uhh…it was…well, it happened.  On a Friday no less.  Despite much promotion, it was easily the most anticlimactic and underwhelming event of the three events so far.  So underwhelming in fact that today’s item isn’t from Triple Force Friday at all!  Instead it hit at the end of this summer.  And yes, it’s a Poe Dameron figure.  Contain your shock, please.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poe Dameron is figure 11 in the Star Wars branch of the Disney Store-exclusive Disney Toybox line.  This line started back in 2017 as a way for Disney to salvage some of the assets from their failed Disney Infinity game.  Seeing as Poe had a figure in that line, and they already had his render on file, it’s not a majorly huge surprise that he made his way in here. What’s ever so slightly surprising is that he made it into the line before Finn, who tends to get the secondary status of the new trilogy’s trio.  I mean, I’m not complaining about getting a Poe, or anything, so it’s not a big deal.  Poe’s Infinity figure was in his flight suit, and while some of the Toybox figures have changed up the character models a little bit, he did not, so flight suit it is.  Admittedly, not the worst choice, since it gives the figure some overlap appeal between movies.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Poe makes out quite well on the articulation front, especially if yoyr used to things like the Elite Series, which were pretty limited.  Apart from some slight stiffness on the torso, there’s not much he can’t do.  His sculpt is obviously quite stylized, just like the Infinity figure was.  It’d definitely a bit more on the goofy side, but it does have that sort of classic Disney appearance to it, and it means that all of the figures in the line will look pretty good together.  Despite the cartoony nature, Poe’s head actually sports an alright likeness of Oscar Isaac, albeit in a very cartoony fashion.  There’s some pretty decent detail work throughout the figure, and he looks nice and clean.  The paintwork is all rather basic, but it does its job well, and looks the part.  There’s not real slop or bleed over, which is an area that some of the Disney in-house stuff has had issues with in the past.  Poe includes three accessories.   The first is his helmet, which is honestly the least impressive.  It’s a bit oversized, and it has an opaque visor, meaning it’s not ideal for actually keeping on the figure, versus just having him hold it.  He also includes a small blaster pistol, which is decent.  His last, and by far most impressive extra, is BB-8.  It’s fairly standard fair for BB-8, but cool nevertheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My keyboard on my laptop decided to spontaneously stop working, so I had to take it to the mall to get it fixed.  While there, I found out the warranty was going to cover the repair, meaning I didn’t have to drop the couple hundred dollars I thought I would.  To celebrate that, I swung by the Disney Store and found this guy, who I didn’t even know had been released.  I’d not yet given Toybox a try, so this figure seemed like a good starting point.  I can’t really see myself getting super invested in any other offerings, but as another Poe figure, it’s really not bad.

#2177: Purchase of the Droids

UNCLE OWEN LARS, C-3PO, & LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Under attack by an Imperial Star Destroyer, protocol droid C-3PO and his partner R2-D2 safely escaped a battered Rebel capital ship and landed on the desert planet of Tatooine. Soon after, the droids were abducted by scavenging Jawas and sold to Owen Lars for use on his desert moisture farm. Luke Skywalker, nephew of Owen and a Tatooine youth, remained unaware that his uncle’s purchase of C-3PO and R2-D2 was to help launch one of the most pivotal destinies the galaxy had ever known…his own.”

Alongside its cast of very colorful lead and background characters, Star Wars also has quite a selection of quite average, not particularly colorful or unique in the slightest characters.  For the most part, these characters are rather easily overlooked by merchandising, but there are a few of them who are a touch plot relevant, such as Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle.  This poses the question:  how do you handle toys of these figures?  Kids aren’t exactly going to be lining up to buy a sort of paunchy middle-aged guy in a robe.  What sells him?  Colorful main characters of course!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Uncle Owen, C-3PO, and Luke made up the “Purchase of the Droids” set, part of the 1997 assortment of the Cinemascenes sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force II.  The set is based on, stay with me here, the scene where they purchase the droids.  I know, crazy.

UNCLE OWEN LARS

Man, where’s all the toy love for curmudgeonly uncles?  What’s that?  Nobody cares about them?  Well that’s…pretty accurate, I guess.  This isn’t the only time Owen’s seen action figure form, but it was the first, because there just wasn’t time to fit him into the vintage line.  I know, we were all very sad.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Owen sports an all-new, all-average-looking sculpt.  Perfect for the character!  He’s a bit more pre-posed than other figures from the same period; his right arm in particular is bent and angled in a slightly strange fashion.  I’m not entirely sure what they were going for there, and there’s really no pose it looks natural in.  The likeness on the face is about as good as any of these likenesses were.  He’s identifiable as the character he’s meant to be, and that’s really the main point.  Owen’s paintwork was a little more experimental than others from the line.  It’s a bit murky, but I guess that’s sensible for a guy who lives on a desert planet.

C-3PO

And here begins the slight tweaks for the major players.  There are actually a surprising number of 3POs in the Power of the Force line, though this is only the second one I’ve personally reviewed.  It’s worth noting that this one is actually pretty different from the first one.  He’s been brought more in line with the proper proportions for the character from the film, rather than the more stylistic interpretation of the first figure.  They also sharpened up the detail work a bit, and even added the restraining bolt that the Jawas placed on him when he was captured.  3PO’s paint work starts out with the same vac metalizing as the predecessor, but this one also gets a bunch of dirt and grime, depicting him as he looks after wandering Tatooine for a bit.  It’s definitely a unique look for 3PO and helps him stand out a bit from the other takes on the character.

LUKE SKYWALKER

By 1997, Power of the Force was just beginning to be neck-deep in Luke Skywalker figures, specifically of the “Farmboy” variety.  This figure would be the first of a whole bunch of Luke figures that would draw from the same base figure with a handful of changes here and there.  He was our first instance of the majorly slimmed down version of Farmboy Luke, which would later be used for no less than five separate versions of the character.  It’s not bad for a standard Luke, especially if it was your first time picking up one of this style.  I don’t have much to say about in light of having all of the other five.  He’s the one that comes in this set.  That’s his unique selling point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I didn’t have this set growing up, I remember that my cousin did, and it was one of the things that was left at my grandparents’ house, meaning I would frequently get to play with it when he wasn’t around.  I don’t know what happened to them in particular, but I picked up this one from Yesterday’s Fun over the Christmas holiday last year.  It’s more part of my drive to complete the line than to own any one figure in the set, but it’s one of the few Uncle Owens, and I do have to admit I quite like the 3PO.

#2171: Luminara Unduli

LUMINARA UNDULI

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Jedi Master Luminara Unduli encounters dangerous enemies while bringing a notorious Separatist leader to stannd trial. Battle droids attack the Jedi cruiser transporting Nute Gunray, and the assassin Asajj Ventress secretly boards the ship. Luminara faces battles and betrayals as she fights to retain custody of her important prisoner.”

The clones weren’t the only ones to benefit from the increased time for characterization offered by the Clone Wars cartoon.  After being little more than set dressing for the prequel trilogy proper, many of the Jedi introduced over the course of the films finally got their chance to shine via the cartoon.  Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her padawan Barriss Offee fell into that category, and both wound up with pretty decent arcs over the course of the show, as well as better toys to boot.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luminara was released in the 2009 assortment of Clone Wars figures.  She was part of the fifth wave of figures and was numbered CW30.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Fortunately, by this time in the line, the Jedi were getting fully articulated; while Luminara’s not quite as mobile as the clones, she can still get a decent number of poses out of her.  It’s further aided by the cloth robes on the bottom, another newly-implemented idea when this figure hit, which allows her legs to pretty much have full mobility.  Her sculpt is a pretty respectable recreation of her design on the show.  It’s maybe not quite as impressive as some others in the line, but it’s decent, if maybe a little frail feeling.  To be fair, though, her design is very skinny on the show and there’s only so much you can do with that.  Luminara’s paint is certainly accurate, which means it’s lots of brown and green.  Not incredibly eye catching, or even all that unique for Star Wars, but it’s again true to the character and the application is pretty solidly handed.  Luminara includes her lightsaber both ignited and turned off, depending on your desired set-up.  It feels a little light, but honestly it’s probably better than getting a missile launcher or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t remember specifically when I got this figure, but I know it was when she was relatively new.  While Luminara wasn’t necessarily a favorite of mine, I liked Barriss a lot, and with her figure coming out later, Luminara held me over for a little while I suppose.  It’s a pretty decent figure, which I guess isn’t a huge shock, since Clone Wars figures were all pretty great once the line hit its stride.

#2164: Jabba’s Skiff Guards

KLAATU, BARADA, & NIKTO

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Jabba the Hutt always enjoyed the thrill of using the lives of others as tokens in his games of peril and doom. Years ago he presided over the dangerous Tatooine Podraces where dozens of pilots put their lives on the line as crowds screamed and cheered. He now hoped to surpass that drama by escorting his prisoners Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to their end in the Great Pit of Carkoon. But the captives quickly overcame the skiff guards Klaatu, Nikto and Barada, and brought Jabba himself to a fitting end.”

The denizens of Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi give Mos Eisley Cantina a good run for its money in terms of their unique and strange alien designs..  Fitting, I suppose, since the two locations are on the same planet and all.  The characters in Jabba’s company are divided into three separate groups.  There are the ones in the palace proper, the ones on his sail barge, and the ones on the skiffs over the Sarlac Pit.  Today’s figures, Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto (a sci-fi callback referencing the words spoken to Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still) fall into that third category.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released in 1999, these three were part of the third year of Cinema Scenes for the Power of the Force II line.  They were designed to coincide with the release of the Skiff proper that same year, which just seems downright sensible, doesn’t it?

KLAATU

This is Klaatu, who is apparently a male Kadas’sa’Nikto, at least according to his Wookiepedia entry, which is pretty much my only source for info on this guy.  He’s green, reptilian, and looks like he’s wearing his pajamas.  That’s pretty much all I got.  Oh, right, the figure!  Yeah, so he’s 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  All pretty standard there.  His sculpt was unique to him and would remain so.  Klaatu’s stance is the least pre-posed of this bunch, and honestly his actual sculpt is also the least detailed, which leads one to wonder if he may have originally been slated for some sort of a single release earlier on, before being moved here.  Klaatu’s paintwork is decent enough, if not incredibly eye-catching.  It’s got some weathering going on, so that’s pretty cool.  Klaatu is armed with a pike, which he has a little bit of difficulty properly holding with his pose.

BARADA

This is Barada, who is a Klatooinian, something that may have caused some confusion around his buddy Klaatu.  Barada actually has a whole backstory, not that any of it’s remotely touched on in the movie.  His sculpt would actually be re-used again years later for a single release in slightly different colors.  While still not incredibly pre-posed, he’s still a little more so than Klaatu.  His sculpt is also far more detailed, especially in regards to texturing, which is how he was able to be re-used much later on without much issue.  Barada’s vintage figure actually used the wrong color scheme for the character, meaning this figure was the first time he would receive his proper colors.  The paintwork is fairly strong, especially when it comes to his skin tone.  Barada was packed with a blaster pistol.

NIKTO

This is Nikto…wait, no, it’s actually not!  Despite what the box may claim, the character’s actual name is Vizam, and he’s a member of the Kajain’sa’Nikto, a separate race of Nikto from Klaatu up above.  Additionally, Vizam isn’t even present on the skiff in the movie; he’s part of Jabba’s sail barge crew (he’s seen manning one of the blaster cannons).  But, there was no sail barge set, so here he is.  Of the three sculpts in this set, Nikto/Vizam is actually my personal favorite.  The posing on him is well executed, and I particularly appreciate how he’s sculpted to properly hold his weapon.  I also dig all the work on the various layers of his outfit; it gives this figure a little more depth than his pack-mates.  His paint work is again pretty decent.  They were definitely starting to try out accenting here, which works well for this particular set of characters.  Nikto/Vizam is packed with another pike, but this one is actually unique from the one given to Klaatu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Jabba’s palace group has never been super high on my list of interests, so I didn’t have these growing up (though I did have one of the reissues of Barada). I ended up getting these guys from All Time during one of my Potf2 splurges back in December.  Ultimately, they’re one of the intersting cases of figures that don’t do a whole lot on their, but as part of a greater set, they’re pretty nice.