#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.

#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.

#1890: Imperial Assault Tank Driver

IMPERIAL ASSAULT TANK DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

The re-launch of The Vintage Collection after its six year hiatus was rather soft, with its first assortment being almost entirely re-releases from the Walmart-exclusive Black Series releases.  Only Snoke was new, but, honestly, who really cared that much.  Fortunately, the second assortment has flipped the script, with three new figures and only one re-issue.  I’ll be looking at one of new releases, and perhaps the most popular figure in the assortment today.  Without further ado, here’s the Imperial Assault Tank Driver!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Assault Tank Driver is one of the four figures in the second series of the re-launched Vintage Collection line, and is officially numbered VC126.  He’s based on the driver seen during the Jedha sequence of Rogue One.  It was one of the earliest figures we knew was coming from this line, as it was showcased alongside the line’s first vehicle, the Assault Tank.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  From a sculpting standpoint, the Driver has a lot in common with the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper from the 2016 Rogue One assortment.  Given the similarities of the two designs, as well as the fact that the larger-scale figures did the same thing, it’s neither surprising, nor is it a bad choice.  The sculpt was a pretty strong one the first time around, and it remains so now (in general, those Rogue One sculpts were the best to come out of that iteration of The Black Series).  In order differentiate him a bit from his shore-dwelling brethren, the Tank Drive gets a new headsculpt and belt piece, patterned after his unique armor set.  The helmet is particularly sharp, and ends up being a notable improvement over the somewhat softer Scarif Trooper helmet.  We kind of saw this same thing occur with the main 3 3/4″ line’s versions of these two, so my guess is that the Driver’s helmet just better lends itself to a small-scale sculpt.  The Tank Driver’s paintwork is some of the best we’ve seen from Hasbro, especially at this scale.  They’ve used their printing technique to handle the weathering on the figure’s armor, which gives him a nice, worn appearance, matching the somewhat rundown nature of Jedha as we see it in the film.  It’s similar to, but distinctly different from, how things were handled with the Scarif Trooper, and it really gives the figure a lifelike quality.  The Tank Driver is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster. It’s molded in a solid grey, which was the slightest bit of a letdown when compared to the more detailed blaster we got with the Scarif Trooper.  But, if they’re gonna cut paint apps, I’d prefer they cut slightly less essential ones like these.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

He’s been somewhat hard to find, but I actually didn’t have any real trouble with this guy.  He was amongst the first case of them I found, about two months ago.  The Tank Driver is a strong design, and I’ve loved him the two prior times I’ve bought him in figure form.  This guy continues that trend, being another very solid offering in the more articulated Star Wars range.  I hope that going forward, this figure represents the trend of figures to come.

#1807: Rebel Solider – Hoth

REBEL SOLDIER — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

In the hiatus between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Hasbro launched a brand-new style of Star Wars figure.  They were higher quality sculpts, much more articulated than the standard faire, and, coolest of all, they had packaging based on that of the old vintage figures.  The Vintage Collection ran for three series of four figures each, one assortment from each movie in the original trilogy.  In 2010, the line was re-launched, with a more expansive selection of figures.  It went on hiatus in 2012, and was in the mean time replaced by the smaller-scale Black Series offerings.  Following the franchise’s 40th anniversary, however, the line has been brought back from hiatus!  I’ll be looking at the first assortment’s one true “vintage” character, the Hoth Rebel Soldier!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Soldier is one of the six figures in the first series of the re-launched Vintage Collection.  He, like all but one of his case-mates, is essentially a straight re-release of a prior figure, specifically the clean-shaven Rebel Soldier from 2010’s Target-exclusive “Defense of Hoth” boxed set.  The figure was meant to see a single-packed release as a running change to The Legacy Collection’s bearded Rebel, but that never materialized, leaving this guy exclusive to a boxed item, and thereby difficult to acquire for the purposes of army building.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  While he’s not quite as mobile as some of the more recent offerings from Hasbro, he’s pretty good for a figure who was sculpted almost a decade ago.  He’s well-proportioned, and his uniform is sharply detailed, matching up well with the film.  The helmet is removable, albeit slightly tricky to get off the first time.  I like it well enough, though I’m not super crazy about the scarf, as it seems to make him a little too specific for army building.  The underlying head is distinct enough to look like a real person, while still being generic enough to allow for some army building.  He’s not bearded, which is good, since most of the Hoth Rebels were not.  The skirt piece is cloth, which looks slightly off when compared to the rest of the figure, but allows for much better posability, so I don’t mind it so much.  The paintwork on this figure is clean, and well-applied.  I generally like to see weathering on these sorts of figures, but for the Hoth guys, it’s not as big a deal, since snow’s trickier.  The Rebel Soldier is packed with a blaster rifle, a pistol, and a survival pack, which is a pretty decent assortment of extras, especially given the smaller available area in the vintage packaging.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Rebel Soldier’s been by far the scarcest of the new Vintage Collection, no doubt due to his army building potential.  As such, finding one wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.  I managed to track one down by scouting out an out of the way Walmart that had just put out its case.  I’m glad I got him, because he’s a really strong figure, and the best Hoth Rebel out there.

#0492: Ewoks and catapult

CHUBBRAY, STEMZEE, & CATAPULT

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION

Ah, yes, Ewoks. The very first thing to split Star Wars fans. No one is simply okay with the Ewoks. You love them or you hate them. And you certainly can’t ever, under any circumstances see the other side’s point of view. They’re wrong and that’s just how it is. They must accept it.

I fall into the camp that likes the Ewoks. I was probably 3 or 4 when I saw Return of the Jedi for the first time, so I never had a problem with the Carebears from Hell. Thing is, I never actually had any of the Ewok action figures for some reason, even though Jedi was my favorite of the movies growing up and I had just about every other Endor themed figure. But, things change, so here I am reviewing some Ewoks. Yay!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The two Ewoks and their catapult were released as part of Hasbro’s second go at the Vintage Collection line. The set was released exclusively through K-Mart stores and it was done in packaging that replicates the vintage line. So, no window boxes for these guys! I just had to trust that I was getting figures and not like, two rocks or something. (Incidentally, there are totally two rocks in this box! Also figures, but that’s not the point!)

CHUBBRAY

According to Wookiepedia (which I totally had to use to figure which of these two was which), Chubbray is “an Ewok who participated in the Battle of Endor alongside the ewok Stemzee.” Which I actually could have figured out on my own, just from this set. Hilariously, the entry on Stemzee reads: “Stemzee was an Ewok who participated in the Battle of Endor alongside ewok Chubbray.” That’s sort of the equivalent of two words using each other in their definitions. I’m honestly shocked that there’s not even some sort of EU stuff for them. I mean, there’s a freaking entry for Ice Cream Maker Guy! Obviously, these two have gone over looked for far too long. So, I’ll just have to give them some backstory myself.

“Chubbray is the greatest Ewok warrior of all time. The Chubster (as he is known to his friends) is a total mechanical genius (especially impressive in a society still based around trees and rope technology.) He is a revolutionary, responsible for leading the cavalry charge against the tyrannical Empire. In Ewok language, Chubbray is synonymous with death, because that’s what Chubbray rains down upon his enemies. Also, he makes a killer martini.”

See? That wasn’t so hard! Chubbray is about 2 ¾ inches in height and he features 14 points of articulation. While that’s certainly more articulation than most previous Ewoks, the lack of elbows and knees do make the figure a little stiff. I don’t have an expert on the previous Ewok figures, so I don’t know if any pieces are shared here. Regardless, the sculpt is nicely done. It looks like the creatures from the movie, and there’s some very nice detail work on the fur and the head covering. About the only downside of the sculpt is that the joints are really visible. Chubbray’s paintwork is generally pretty clean, though, to be fair, it’s not the most complex paintjob of all time. Still, it’s all well applied and all the colors are well chosen. Chubbray includes a spear, which is probably just a normal spear, but I’m going to pretend it’s some sort of an energy spear that’s powered by some minutely scaled generator that Chubbray built himself. I mean, the greatest Ewok warrior that ever lived has to have a top-notch weapon, right?

STEMZEE

“Stemzee was the best friend of Ewok hero Chubbray from childhood. When Chubbray led the Ewoks against the Empire, Stemzee stood by his side the whole time. Stemzee proved himself quite the formidable warrior. After the battle, Stemzee professed his long-standing love for Chubbray, and the two settled down in a house built from the skulls of the freshly killed Empire forces. Stemzee drinks a killer martini.”

Aw, wasn’t that one kinda sweet? They’re so happy together! Stemzee is roughly 3 inches tall and features 20 points of articulation. Check out those elbow joints! Those are certainly a nice thing. Stemzee’s sculpt seems to be a more advanced one than Chubbray’s, which leads me to think that these two use bodies from previously released Ewoks. It’s a pretty good sculpt, with lots of fine detail work and such, and the articulation is even pretty smoothly worked in, which is good. Stemzee features a slightly more complex paintjob than Chubbray, and he’s a better figure for it. The colors look nice and everything is applied rather cleanly. Stemzee includes a spear, which is different from the one included with Chubbray.

CATAPULT

“The Catapult is the unsung hero of the Battle of Endor. It’s life began when it was built by brilliant Ewok warrior, Chubbray the Great, who was having something of an off day. The Catapult, known as ‘Leslie’ to its closest friends, fought bravely throughout the battle, and was personally responsible for saving an entire platoon of Ewok soldiers. Leslie was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice while facing off against one of those chicken-walker-thingies. It was given an honorary medal of…honor, and another catapult was constructed in its honor. There was a lot of honor. It may or may not have been killed by a killer martini. Evidence was inconclusive.”

Oh no! We killed off Leslie the Catapult! The tragedy! So, the catapult isn’t really a figure, but it is the centerpiece of the set, so it gets its own section. It’s about 3 inches tall, 4 inches long, and 2 inches wide. It doesn’t actually have any articulation to speak of, but you can wind the winch up to pull the arm back for a throwing action. It doesn’t work fantastically, but it’s okay. The sculpt of the catapult is rather nicely detailed, and it actually does look a little like it was constructed out of something that at least resembles wood. It’s like imitation wood. There’s also some nice work on the ties and such, which helps to further illustrate the “built from trees thing.” The paintwork on the catapult is pretty decently handled, with lots of nice accent work to bring out the details of the sculpt. The catapult includes two large rocks, each with a small hole on the bottom so they can be placed on the catapult’s arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was picked up while I was killing some time at a K-Mart with my Super Awesome Girlfriend (it was the same trip which got me the FOOT NINJA!!!!). We were wandering through and I noticed this set in the clearance section for about $10. With a little encouraging from SAGF, I figured “why not?” and went for it. I can kinda see why the set might get clearanced. It’s not the most thrilling set, and I can imagine the whole “not being able to see what you’re getting” thing probably turned some people off. Still, I kinda feel bad for the poor set. It’s really not a bad set, and at clearance prices it’s a fantastic way to get a couple of Ewoks. Plus, there’s a really cool catapult!