#1829: Grand Moff Tarkin

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“As one of Emperor Palpatine’s most loyal administrators, Grand Moff Tarkin devised and administered the construction of the first Death Star battle station. The governor ruled a large section of the Outer Rim Territories, including Tatooine, with an iron fist of terror and brutality.”

Though a prominent character in the franchise’s first installment, as an old guy in a grey military uniform, Wilhuff Tarkin hasn’t been the most toyetic character from the Star Wars movies.  As a matter of fact, Tarkin was the only major character to be completely absent from the vintage line.  His first action figure would come over a decade later.  I’ll be taking a look at that figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Moff Tarkin was released in 1997 as part of Power of the Force II’s second year.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 6 points of articulation.  Tarkin sported a brand-new sculpt, which would remain unique to him (Captain Piett would make use of a similar selection of pieces, but they were just different enough to be…different).  It’s a decent sculpt, and an early break from the extreme proportions of the line.  I mean, sure, he’s still got a bit more bulk than Peter Cushing ever did, but compared to some of the others in the line, he was downright normal looking.  His face even sports a halfway-decent likeness of Cushing, certainly one of the best human likenesses Power of the Force II produced.  While he lacks some of the sharper detailing that a lot of the aliens from this line got, all of the important details are there, and he certainly still looks respectable.  The paint work on Tarkin is clean and fairly simple.  There’s a little bit of slop on some of the silver parts, but it’s minor.  Tarkin is packed with two different styles of blasters: one small, one mid-sized.  Not bad for a guy who never carries a single blaster in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve mentioned a few times before in these PotF2 reviews that my cousin Patrick and I sort of had this shared collection of these figures.  As such, there are a number of figures I never personally owned, which I still have some memories of.  He had a Tarkin, which was sadly lost on the beach on one of our family vacations.  That stuck with me for a while, and I never did get around to finding my own.  I got this one during a sidewalk sale at Lost In Time Toys over the summer.  Tarkin’s a decent figure.  Sure, there have been better versions of the character over the years, but for his first go, this one’s pretty darn good.

#1704: Grand Moff Tarkin

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“An ambitious, ruthless proponent of military power, Wilhuff Tarkin became a favorite of Emperor Palpatine and rose rapidly through the Imperial ranks.”

Before the introduction of Emperor Palpatine in Empire, the original man behind the man that was Darth Vader was Wilhuff Tarkin, Grand Moff of the Empire, and really the central antagonist of A New Hope.  Yes, his name is really Wilhuff.  At least it’s better than Sheev, right?  Tarkin hasn’t always been the most prevalent figure when it comes to action figures, but he was fortunate enough to be one of the recent additions to The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Moff Tarkin is figure #63 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line.  He hit alongside the Solo product back in April, and has proved to be the most difficult to find of the set.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  As an Imperial officer, it’s not a huge surprise to find that Tarkin makes use of some of Krenic’s parts, namely the arms and legs.  He gets a unique torso and skirt piece, to denote his slightly differing rank and his lack of a sidearm.  The torso does a good job of capturing Peter Cushing’s more narrow-shouldered build.  He’s also got a new head, of course, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s best offerings from this line.  The likeness of Cushing is spot-on, right down to the slight little sneer he had in all of Tarkin’s scenes.  There are tons of subtle little details, which really help to make this sculpt incredibly lifelike, even more so than a lot of others in this line.  Tarkin makes use of the new face printing technique, just like the rest of his assortment.  Like with the sculpt, I think Tarkin is one of the best iterations of this technique we’ve seen in the line.  Between the sculpt and the paint, there’s a lifelike quality to Tarkin that just about rivals a Hot Toys offering.  The rest of the paint is more basic, but it’s still very clean, which is always a plus.  Tarkin is only packed with one accessory, but boy is it a good one.  He includes the Imperial Interrogation Droid (or, as he’s known to Robot Chicken fans, Dr. Ball, M.D.!).  It’s a pretty sizable piece, and almost counts as a figure in its own right.  It also highlights how lightly packed the Jawa from this same assortment was, but let’s just focus on the awesome that is this figure and his amazing accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Tarkin’s been a high-ranking want from this line for a good while, so I was super pumped when he was shown off last year.  The figure was also my main want when all of the Solo product was hitting, though it took me a little bit to finally track him down.  I ended up getting him at the same time as Lando and the Jawa.  He’s absolutely my favorite figure from this line, and he’s going to be very hard to top going forward.  This is a figure that no Star Wars fan should miss out on!

#1223: Governor Tarkin & Stormtrooper

GOVERNOR TARKIN & STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: COMIC PACKS (HASBRO)

tarkintrooper1

Back before they were both owned by the same parent company, the first comic book company to hold the Star Wars license was Marvel Comics.  They had a pretty solid run with the license, going a full decade.  The series started off with a pretty straight adaptation of the events of A New Hope, and then eventually filled in the gaps between movies with some of the earliest Expanded Universe stuff.  When Hasbro started releasing packs based on specific comic stories and issues, the Marvel stuff was right at the forefront, including today’s pair, Governor Tarkin and an Imperial Stormtrooper!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tarkin and the Stormtrooper were part of the very first series of Star Wars: Comic Packs from Hasbro.  They were pack 03 in the line, and included issue #2 of the Marvel Star Wars comic (albeit with all the Marvel stuff scrubbed off and replaced with Dark Horse, the then current holders of the comic license).

TARKIN

tarkintrooper2This was only Tarkin’s third time in the 3 3/4 inch scale, which is honestly a bit surprising.  In the Marvel adaptations, the colors were rather different from the movie, in order to make some of the designs a bit more comic friendly.  Tarkin and the rest of the Imperial officers were dressed in grey in the film, which was a rather difficult color to replicate with 1970s printing processes.  So, Marvel changed their pallet to something more akin to Hydra, their in-house branch of fascists.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  As far as structure, he’s a pretty straight re-use of the Revenge of the Sith version of Tarkin.  It’s slightly odd, since that’s not actually a Peter Cushing Tarkin sculpt, but it was the most recent Tarkin sculpt at the time, and, by virtue of being meant to emulate a comic version of the character, I guess he’s not really that far off.  The sculpt is a decent enough piece of work.  He’s rather cartoony, which ends up working a bit better for this particular figure than it did the originator of the sculpt.  There’s not much in the way of posability, but Tarkin was never a super mobile sort of dude, so I guess that’s okay.  The paint work is okay in some spots (mainly on the head), but really bad in some others (mainly anything that’s yellow).  Seriously, I’ve painted customs that looked more professional than this.  Maybe the yellow’s so off because it’s not actually following any sculpted lines?  Tarkin was packed with a standard Stormtrooper short blaster, which is better than nothing, I suppose.

STORMTROOPER

tarkintrooper3The Stormtrooper’s comic design was more or less the same as the movie look, which makes this figure a bit more reliant on replicating comic shading than anything else.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 13 points of articulation.  Not an awful amount of articulation, but slightly disappointing.  See, this figure is a repaint of the CommTech Stormtrooper, which was, at the time of this figure’s release, 7 years old.  That’s not an insane age for a Star Wars mold, and it’s a decent enough sculpt, but the issue that really arises is one of consistency.  The comic versions of Han and Luke from this same line were both also sporting the Stormtrooper armor, but those two figures were built on the body of the Vintage Collection Stormtrooper, which was quite a bit more advanced than this one.  Why didn’t Hasbro just use that body for this guy too?  Wouldn’t that make more sense?  Then he’d at least be able to hold his gun the right way.  Oh well.  The main selling point on this guy is the light blue shading of the paint, which showcases the whole dynamic lighting thing of the comics.  It’s replicated pretty well here, though, as with most figures of this nature, it really only works from select angles.  The Trooper is packed with a Stormtrooper longblaster, which, as I noted above, he can’t actually hold.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like last week’s Baron and Hobbie, this pair came from my Super Awesome Girlfriend.  This is actually a set I almost picked up a few times back when it was new, but never got around to.  Now I understand why.  I’m not an advocate for leaving toys in the package, but this is definitely one of those times where I was more impressed with something before I took it out and played with it.  Both figures are perfectly fine, and I’m happy to have them, but the execution could have been so much more!