Sith Lord 0498
11-16-2003, 08:17 PM
First of all, let me just say that Hasbro has done it again, and not in a good way. Even though it says it clearly on the box, the CW Anakin Pilot figures DOES NOT FIT!!! The best I managed was to completely wedge him inside without his bandolier, and when I pried him out, all the joints were loosened significantly--although not enough to damage the figure permanently.
With that said, it's actually a pretty nice vehicle, although the design has to grow on you a little bit. The launch mechanism for its front-loading green proton torpedo is pretty nifty--just twist the R2 unit's head to the left and it fires the torpedo. The lower cannons fold down on wings that remiscient of an X-Wing when in attack mode. For $20, it's a nice EU addition to the Star Wars line.
As for the issue of a pilot, Secret Ceremony Anakin fits inside the cockpit fairly well. The headgear from the CW Anakin also fits this figure, so you don't have to worry about having a pilotless starfighter. Although, it would be nice if Hasbro starts making pilot figures to fit their vehicles--especially when they advertise it.
11-28-2003, 03:44 PM
Although, it would be nice if Hasbro starts making pilot figures to fit their vehicles--especially when they advertise it.
Agreed. I have yet to open mine but probably will this weekend. I guess I need another SC Anakin. :(
I didn't like the design of the ship at first but you're right it does grow on you. I think after seeing it in action in the CW cartoon I developed a better appreciation for it and I actually like it a bit more than the standard Starfighters now. The only thing I don't like is the torpedo but who knows that could change after opening.
11-29-2003, 01:57 AM
Although, it would be nice if Hasbro starts making pilot figures to fit their vehicles--especially when they advertise it.
Well, I suppose I'm not surprised to hear that CW Anakin doesn't fit inside. That is pretty lame. But, now I have a good (sort'a) reason to buy Secret Ceremony Anakin.
02-05-2004, 08:02 PM
The Clone Wars line has brought us not just new figures from both Episode II and its expanded universe, but also several new vehicles. Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Starfighter takes the concept of the AOTC standard Jedi Starfighter and gives it a prequel-era Anakin podracer twist; besides this Hasbro toy, the Ani Starfighter was seen in the Clone Wars cartoon micro-series. But is this new vehicle worth the $20?
This is a standard box with the Clone Wars graphics scheme, I still don't care for the look but it fits with the rest of the series. There's no window, so the art has to do all the work which is probably why these aren't flying off shelves. The art on the front of the box shows Anakin's Starfighter flying above a Geonosis landscape while the regular Clone Wars and Saga Jedi Starfighters (aka green & red) follow behind; the top and bottom photos of the toy all share the front picture's pose - and the main rear photo is very similar - which is unfortunate since Hasbro captured this toy in possibly the worst angle for it. The photo on the side panels and the secondary rear photo are much more flattering but still don't really feel like a true representation.
There are text bubbles on all 4 side panels that say "Anakin's Enhanced Starfighter" and "With Firing Torpedo!" which seem like they were added at the last minute and almost look like stickers. The rear panel has the Clone Wars blurb, a blurb about the ship, and text descriptions that point to various features of the toy along with motion-blurred photos of the elements that move, none of this sells the toy very well I think.
The instructions cover the assembly, sticker application, and various features and gimmicks. The gimmicks are not very impressive or complicated but the instructions explain them clearly, except for completely ignoring the landing leg - the packaging omits this feature too, strangely. The instructions could have been clearer on attaching which of the 2 sets of laser cannons on either side. The sticker application section does fine except for stickers 3 and 4 which are a little confusing because the 2d picture doesn't really explain that these go onto the sides of the interior, not the top surfaces (same exact issue as on the original Jedi Starfighter toy); also, the 4 yellow triangular stickers (1, 2, 11, & 12) are not especially obvious as to where they go, and they don't appear on the box photos, so you have to guess.
This is not simply a revisit of the Jedi Starfighter mold, it takes only a few elements from that toy's mold - cockpit interior, rear panels, nose piece, and engine nozzles - and even then tweaks some of them to accomodate this new toy. The majority of the ship has a new sculpt that of course is going to look like the previous. The aforementioned recycled elements still have nice sculpts, though the cockpit interior which seems to have lost some of the sharpness of its detail but also thankfully lost the annoying headrest of the original Jedi Starfighter toy. The rubbery nose is easily removable here, you could imagine it's another weapon in the Ani arsenal I suppose.
The main elements of the ship look nice from far away but the closer you get, the more you notice that the sculpted lines are thicker and convey less detail - this is most noticable on the top half of the ship where the colors bring out these thick lines. The underside is cast and painted in colors that have their own detail, and there are more shapes to add to that. The top actually has more sculpted lines than the bottom, but I guess in this case less is more. I miss the original's landing leg, this one has been simplified to just a traditional leg and foot that pivots down as one element. The astromech has been moved to just in front of the cockpit and this area's new shape is too blocky, though the droid head does alleviate this some.
The flared cowlings near the front above the hyperdrives are lifted from the Anakin podracer but seem less useful since the hyperdrives are too far in. The hyperdrives are large and shaped like podracer engines (not Ani's pod though) with turbine-style fan blades and exhaust nozzles, but overall these hyperdrives seem dull, hollow, and tacked-on. I really don't care for the "positionable vectored thruster", the new engine sticking out the back that tilts up and down. From the bottom it's not too bad except for poorly-located screws, but from the back and rear this thing is dull as dishwater -- both new engines just don't look that good from the side and really hurt the overall score.
The winglets at the sides and sticking out the back aren't that detailed but do continue a sense of flow even if the rear one's swoop shape is a little Batman-esque. The side ones have a sculpted hydrolic ram detail when you tilt them out, that's a nice touch. The new guns are a little like the X-wing's, they look nice and not too large; the underside has 2 small S-foils (positionable wings) holding the guns that have their own details. Strangely, the right upper gun mounts were molded in the wrong orientation so the upper right gun is pointing a little out - even the package photos show this mistake.
Paint & Deco: 2.5/5
The upper half has the Ep 1 Anakin flag design to it, dark blue with off-white rays emanating out, here from the red astromech dome. This is very sloppy work unfortunately, the white has incredibly messy lines which are so bad I wonder if they might be on purpose; the white also changes to light gray in large chunks and bleeds into the blue a lot. Ani's pod was mostly silver, I think that sort of main color would have fit better than this dark blue which coupled with the black accents do create a bit of a "Batman" note.
The rubbery nose has black scorch marks similar to the first Jedi Starfighter except here they're so badly applied that that they look like a preschooler made them using crayon. The exhaust vents on either side of the top have black scorching coming out, but it's so uniform and solid and starts a quarter inch too far back that the effect is lost. The astromech is painted the same as the original Jedi Starfighter version, from the red main color to the blue eye to the lack of a black radar eye - I would have preferred another color or another type of droid dome. The Republic logo is still a sticker and fits well, look carefully at the orientation of the subtle wear on the logo when applying so it lines up properly.
The hyperdrives are unfortunately cast in very boring medium-gray plastic and except for some blue triangle "teeth" on the forward ring, have no paint at all even though they need paint detail in the worst way. The rest of the underside coloring really looks nice and Star Wars-y though, several different grays, a small amount of wear, and plenty of techy silver plastic near the back.
The stabilizer winglets on the sides and the one coming out of the cockpit are matte black plastic which isn't my favorite choice, it makes them harder to see and sorta plain. Hasbro says the large red "A" symbol stickers should go on the rear section of the ship just behind the cockpit, but I don't like this location for them, so I chose the very boring sides of the hyperdrives where they add badly-needed shape & color -- you might also consider the rear winglet since it's a large black empty canvas. The stickers in the cockpit do a lot to bring this area to life.
The Clone Wars Anakin figure is supposed to fit in the opening cockpit, this is the same cockpit layout as the original Jedi Starfighter and has the same pitfalls in that the seat is way too far forward, shallow, and restrictive. The box doesn't even show the figure in the cockpit, not usually a good sign. Actually, the figure does fit (eventually) but it takes excessivecramming to get him in there all the way, his "skirt" and sleeves are especially troublesome about this; getting him out requires just as much force except there's less to grab onto, so as tempting as it may be, don't try to pull him out by the head. Luckily, Saga Anakin "Secret Ceremony" fits in there like a champ and looks better doing it too.
Next we have the torpedo-launching gimmick -- take the clear green, nearly-featureless missile and stick it in the hole in the middle of the ship, it doesn't always lock into its launcher so it may come back out before you want it to. Also, it sits in the launcher slightly off to the side which I don't like the looks of. Now turn the astromech's head and the missile flies out, not all that straight for maybe 2 feet. It's not the worst missile ever, but far from the best-hidden or best-executed and it keeps the droid from being able to turn its head.
Then there's the "positionable vectored thruster", the large silver nozzle near the back that can tilt up and down. I don't think this makes much sense really, maybe if it tilted to the sides as well or something it'd be better, but I don't care for this one.
The winglet stabilizers can pivot out, the packaging claims this is to go from "cruise" to "attack" mode, but they don't look all that good swept forward and are hardly as exciting as the packaging would have you believe. The landing leg is an undocumented feature, albeit a mind-numbingly simple one - it's a solid leg with a fixed foot on the end that pivots down 90 degrees to sit not even a centimeter beneath the hyperdrives, and when you raise the leg back, the fixed foot sticks out like tab.
Finally, the S-foils can drop down about an inch and a half, I guess to add a larger field of fire and increased flight stability; the left one droops a bit in the raised position thanks to this gimmick. The S-foils (which are called "laser cannon mounts" by the packaging) are small and don't really fit with the style of the ship, seeming more like landing skiis when deployed - they won't hold the ship up though. They do change the feel of the ship especially from the side, but like most of the other features they seem slight and tacked on.
Overall Grade: C+
Some folks didn't care for the main gimmick of the first Jedi Starfighter toy but at least it was something significant and cool, removing that feature and only adding on little bits here and there doesn't make up for that. The Geonosian Fighter has a better sculpt, better colors, better features, and a cool packed-in figure so it's hard to see how the Ani Starfighter can compete with all that. On its own it's not a bad toy, but between some weak sculpting, poor paint, and less-than-exciting features, it definitely comes up short.
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