-Guest Post by Toytooine
Welcome back to this regular article I totally do, like all the time. It’s been a while, and as last I checked I still have a pulse, so clearly I bought more Star Wars stuff. Those of us in the action figure world have been in a bit of a drought with a lack of new product on the shelves. Geez, its like there wasn’t a movie this past holiday season! When you look down the retail aisles, you still see stuff sitting around from The Force Awakens. But that’s ok, we like that. It saves us money.
Sadly, it looks like our wallets are losing some weight as our friends at Hasbro decided to start releasing stuff again, so let’s take a look. Our first entry comes from apparently the Father’s Day section of Target? I guess they figure that when Dad is done getting everything he needs at the best price from True Value, or visiting his local grill factory, or whatever it is that dads do, he can go buy Star Wars toys?
Yeah, if you go to Target just behind those nasty elastic waistband cargo shorts and next to the clearance holiday trinkets no one actually wants as gifts, you can find an oddly specific limited selection of Stars War action dolls. So, if you are super lucky you can find the Retro Collection figures. Those are the ones that are made like the ones from the 70’s. So you can relive your childhood. Or if you are a youngling (like me) and weren’t alive back then, this is the closest you’ll come to time travel. Then, they have a variant Black Series figure of Luke, covered in garbage.
And then we have this guy:
1. Han Solo – Stormtrooper Disguise
Hey look, it’s our favorite dad. All decked out in his best dad gear. It’s kind of interesting that this guy was put out right next to the Retro Collection. Famously (well, as famous as a niche toy can be) the vintage toy line made a Stormtrooper Luke but never a Stormtrooper Han.
Since then we’ve had a few come out, but this guy is definitely the best. This is part of the Vintage Collection. Not to be confused with the Retro Collection. How could anyone possibly confuse that? So, we have all the articulation you could ever want for Han to do the splits or turn into a pretzel. The body is from an older Sandtrooper figure, which is appropriate, but the head is all new. For such a small toy, the sculpt is really good, and the newer face printing technology really makes this thing look like ol’ Harry Ford. It comes with a removable helmet, but you definitely are gonna wanna display this with the Han noggin’.
Ok, that was too positive so we gotta pump on the brakes and take the train to LameTown. That might be a bit harsh. This figure is… okaaaaaaaayyy. It’s just super meh. This is just marginally a better version of a figure that was only marginally better than the previous version of that figure.
We got a pretty good Boushh figure in the years after Revenge of the Sith. And a few years ago, they updated this figure. I passed on it back then because it’s just not that much better. They added some elbow movement, but the sculpt wasn’t any better and the detonator is stuck in her hand, so it’s a bit of a step backward. This is the 6” Black Series figure shrunk down, so the biceps have a weird curved sculpt that does not work at this scale and does not allow the arms to fully rest at her side. The paint for the face is a little better (mine has a smudge – gaaahhhh!) so, it’s fine if you never had a figure of this but it’s only just fine.
3. Scarif Stormtrooper
This guy came out as a Walmart exclusive back when Rogue One was in theaters, but it was a Walmart exclusive, so no one was ever able to buy the thing.
He’s fun, he’s a trooper, go on, get like 20 of ‘em. Fill your $80 Imperial Tank toy.
This guy is the star of this wave of figures. Saelt-Marae? Salt-Morray? He’s Yak Face. I’m not gonna spell check the canon name of this guy. We all know he’s Yak Face. He’s so huge! He’s got like a billion points of articulation you’ll never need, and he’s wonderful. Now, I’m not saying size matters, but in these days of higher prices, it always feels great when something feels hefty and worth your monies.
We got this character years and years ago, but it just didn’t give this lovable, derpy, Joe Camel-lookin’ barge attendee proper justice. A version of this guy came with the huge Jabba’s Sail Barge and a coin but… yeah, I’m not doing that. Hasbro, we need more aliens like this in the toy line!
5. Jabba’s Skiff Guard – Klaatu
Another cool alien figure. Not as cool as Yak Face.
The paint on this guy is pretty great. He’ll look great on that Barge I’ll never buy. He’s also got all the articulation ever. The only big downside is that he’s got huge, bulky hips, so his legs need to permanently stay akimbo. But he can do all the karate moves you want him to. That’s a thing.
6. Han Solo – Echo Base
Seemingly out of nowhere, a few months ago, 4 totally random figures got announced for the Vintage Collection. These were a bit of a let-down for two reasons. One, they were just previously released toys coming back again. Two, they were only going to be available in Europe. Fortunately, on both counts, these toys are a bit better than expected. Basically, every online retailer got them, so they are more-or-less widely available. And, they have new paint thanks to the new face-printing technology, meaning this Han is a photo-accurate likeness of…
Oh. Oh my. Han Solo, what happened? What happened to your face? Why is it melting and sad?
This was a weird choice of figure to rerelease. I mean, he wears this open-coat in like 1 scene in the movie. Good for them, but like, when are we gonna get Lando with one sleeve rolled up? So essential. The coat, for what it is, is nicely done. The body underneath is not great with a barrel chest and twig legs, but its all covered nicely with the coat. I just wish that the better face paint did not highlight how out of date the face sculpt is.
7. Leia – Hoth
This figure is an absolute classic. I loved this figure when it came out. There isn’t much change from that one, so I was hesitant to pull the trigger. But the paint is much better. No more goth lipstick from the last version. There is not much to say other than if you need a version of this Leia, get this one.
Honestly, if you are looking for any version of Leia, this might be the top one to get.
8. Darth Vader
He’s another niche one that I was on the fence about getting. He’s just the removable helmet Darth Vader figure from a while ago. Admittedly, that was a good figure. In addition, there is not much paint to improve on this one. But then I realized what was strange. Instead of the fleshy tone of crispy Anakin under the hood, it looks grey like a zombie. This is meant to be, based on the package, Vader from that shot in Empire when he is getting the helmet lowered onto his head. The grey is not 100% accurate to the makeup in the movie, but it’s kinda cool to have a super-articulated toy from that nanosecond. And by cool, I mean expensive.
So many Vaders… but this is the zombie one, and you can’t really hate on a zombified Sith lord.
9. Luke Skywalker – Endor
Like the Leia above, this is one of the best Luke figures on the market at this scale. He’s articulated super well so he can cross his arms to fit into the handcuff accessories, or pose in any fighting stance, or just stand around with some cuts and lumps in his limbs – you do you.
He has the updated face paint, but unlike Leia, I’m not sure its is helping. It’s certainly better, but the more I look at it, the more I am reminded that this sculpt doesn’t quite look like Mark.
I guess you can say they missed the… mark.
This is listed as ‘Endor’ Luke by virtue of the handcuff accessories. This is from the scene where he is walking out of the AT-AT, making this the only time he wears this outfit on Endor as listed on the package. So there’s this general trend of making characters from a single scene context.
10. General Grievous
Ok guys, we are saving the best for last.
Take a look at this guy. Look at how glorious! But yeah. I tried to take a picture of him. I really did. The darn thing just won’t stand up. No matter what I do. They have the spindly, thin little legs out of flimsy plastic, and then they have him posed so one foot is offset from the other. All of this is a recipe for something that will need to spend the rest of its time having a nice rest on the bed.
Grievous the Broken doesn’t even have a peg hole in his tiny foot for you to use your own figure stand. Poor thing.
This comes from the slightly perplexing Galaxy of Adventures line. While loosely based on the series of shorts on Youtube, I don’t think anyone is sure why they are branding this line of toys that way. Specifically, the characters in the line don’t match the art style of the show – so why brand it Galaxy of Adventures? The Resistance toys looked like the show art. Mainly, it feels like an excuse for Hasbro to sell old, cheap figures again. This particular Grievous came out a few years ago, and wasn’t very good back then. I never got him, and I was bored, so I picked him up.
Bonus: Tube Toys?
You may not see these on the shelves because they are not in the usual action figure card, but rather in a strange plastic tube. I’m not sure this is a great marketing idea. While it’s good to change up the packaging to keep the line fresh, this package does not ‘read’ as an action figure. If I glance at a tube, I am thinking of those zoo gift shops where I pay way too much money and buy my kid a tube of awful little rubber animals. Most of the figures I see at the stores are turned around in the circular tube anyway, so you can’t get a good look at the toy in there.
On top of this, it feels like a cheat, you are paying more money for this toy because they give you a comic book that’s about four tiny pages long. Its not telling you a new story or anything, this one just appears to be a truncated comic version of a scene in Revenge of the Sith. Its so short I feel like you would have a hard time following the plot if you did not already know the movie. If the whole point of this line is to introduce new kids to the story, I’m not sure this is helping.
So that’s that. Enough complaining for one week. I hope we all learned some valuable lessons about face paint toady, and if nothing else, remember Star Wars toys are the embodiment of a belated Father’s Day for dads and the dad-at-heart.
I hope you all gifted your fathers with weird tubes of floppy Grievouses.