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View Full Version : Jedi Mind Tricks: Episode V - The Empire Comes a'Knocking



JediTricks
04-23-2007, 03:13 AM
This week's column includes a quick review of the new Galactic Heroes, an editorial on Hasbro's Droideka shield, and Tycho voices his disappointment at the lack of future for Galactic Heroes.


Jedi Mind Tricks: Episode V - The Empire Comes a'Knocking

- EDITORIAL: Last week, Hasbro confirmed that they will be releasing a Destroyer Droid with shield accessory, but the devil was in their details and they lead to great controversy. The Destroyer Droid (aka the Droideka) will be a modification of the Saga version from 2002 (which was later reissued in the ROTS line), it'll have a different head, and they're removing the awful missile-launchers from the bottoms of the blaster-hands. That Droideka does have a well-sculpted lower body, but from the spine up it's pretty dubious with a fat spine sporting a gimmick lever in the back, a blocky underdetailed torso to accommodate the gimmick, and inaccurate shoulders that sport big swivel cut joints in the middle and lack their hose detailing - this however was not the source of the controversy. No, that instead lay with Hasbro's decision to include only half of the shield with the figure, so if you want a full shield you have to buy 2 of this set. Oh the horror!

Personally, I think folks are making too much about this, here we are finally getting an accessory that we've been clamoring over for the last 8 years - one I've found notoriously difficult to simulate via alternate methods (the closest I got was a clear plastic baseball display, but it was more of a Droideka hamster ball). The explanation as to why it's in halves was clear: a full one wouldn't fit on the package. That seems pretty reasonable to me, after all, the shield was well larger than the Droideka itself, so where would a whole one go on a basic figure card? Would we prefer Hasbro try to shrink the shield to fit the basic card, or perhaps cut it up into smaller pieces so you can reassemble it thus creating a shield with even more ugly seams and less structural integrity? I, for one, would not. Here's how I see it: if we wanted a single carded figure to come with the whole shield, it would have at least to be on a deluxe card which would cost more (and Hasbro doesn't have a deluxe assortment running right now anyway), it'd still be in halves, and there you'd only get 1 Droideka figure. So think of this as a deluxe Droideka set that comes with a second bonus full Droideka figure, there weren't all that many shots in the prequels with them using those shields anyway. Plus, hopefully Hasbro will have to package the shield half right over the figure which will make a sweet-looking carded display piece. And the shield half will still look good from the front, or up against a wall.

Now all we need is to convince Hasbro to just do a better Destroyer Droid figure and we're all set.
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- COLLECTING LIGHTHOUSE: Starting off, the final 4 Titanium Series die-cast metal Ultra 6" vehicles have hit the streets. These 4 TRU-exclusive vehicles include 2 new sculpts and 2 repaints from the very first Ultra wave. The repaints - the X-wing Starfighter with Red 3 markings, and the Clone Wars deco Republic Gunship - are originally from the Wal-mart exclusive versions back in '05 but now come in the larger packaging with the display cases (the vehicles had to be modified to accommodate the stand aspect of the case). And of course the 2 new molds - the TIE Fighter and Anakin's Ep 3 Jedi Starfighter - which were originally scheduled for mass release but the Ultra line's sales were soft enough that Hasbro pulled the plug on it before their main release. The Jedi Starfighter looks very nice, like a scaled down version of Hasbro's 3.75-inch line version. The Republic Gunship looks pretty sharp so long as you dig that Clone Wars paint scheme, if not it could be a bit much for those tastes. The X-wing and TIE Fighter are the less interesting of the group, they're just not as exciting paint jobs or sculpts. Still, these entries will really round out any Titanium Series Ultra collection, so look for them now at your local TRU for $25 a piece.

Galactic Heroes '07 wave 3 has started showing up at stores across the country, so far just Target but they're not exclusives. The wave includes Leia Boushh & Han Carbonite, Ponda Baba & Snaggletooth, Royal Guard & Imperial (Death Star) Gunner, and Luke Jedi & Vader Removable Helmet.
The Royal Guard & Gunner look decent, I know a lot of folks are itching for a G.Heroes Royal Guard and it looks like it pays off nicely. Ponda Baba looks spot-on, but Snaggletooth's grin is way too ridiculous for me. I haven't been feeling really compelled to get a lot of Galactic Heroes figures in the past after the early offerings, but as soon as I saw this wave's 2 main character sets, I snapped them up.
This is my favorite look for Luke, the Death Star II outfit, and they did this figure proper right down to the sculpting on the exposed elements of the saber hilt in his hand. Luke's paint is a little sloppy at his hair, but the rest holds up nicely. Vader looks pretty sharp too - even if he is a reuse from the ESB Leia & Vader set - the new, scarred-up head under the removable helmet is done very well (although he is smiling which makes little sense to me). Vader's helmet fits snugly, but the sculpt isn't quite right, they cut the sides a little and there's a vent cut in the back. Luke has been sculpted to match Vader's fencing pose, it's not quite as Star Warsy as I'd like but it gets the swordfighting idea across and allows for the right arm on each to be movable.
Leia Boushh is very small, Leia G.Heroes figures are always small but her outfit isn't as big and she's not gesturing much, so it seems even smaller. Still, Leia's detailing is very nice on the Boushh outfit, including her weapon in her right hand and the thermal detonator in her left, but once again we have a Leia figure that I don't think translates to its intended character as well as the boys do, and again she's smiling which seems out of character. Her main feature is the removable Boushh helmet, it's very well-detailed, and fits over her head alright, but because her body is so tiny it's like she's a bobblehead wearing that helmet. Han Skiff is sculpted just about perfect, his hair is a little scruffier than usual which is a great touch; this is a simple outfit but they nailed stuff like the shirt shape and even the holes on the belt. The skiff blaster in his right hand seems a little bigger than it should, but they got the details there right too, and his right arm is movable so he can aim at the Sarlacc.
The best part of the Han/Leia ROTJ set is the carbonite block accessory, it's a great dark gray material, the sculpt is fantastic with the ESB-looking hair, the 4 round fingers on each hand, and the classic G.Heroes leg pose (though they sculpted his mouth in a smile which is bonkers); even the controls are unique from each other. The block's got a nice heft to it because it's not hollow, and the back is flat and carved out to accommodate then Han figure busting out like he just thawed. The set was nice to begin with, but this carbonite block is going to make even the haters think twice on this set.

The latest SW Transformers - Clone Pilot / Republic Gunship, Saesee Tiin / Ep 2 Jedi Starfighter, and Mace Windu / Ep 3 Jedi Starfighter - are continuing to show up, albeit in small numbers. In my travels it's been all Target stores and Kmart so far. The Republic Gunship seems so far to be the hottest one, I've yet to see it anywhere, with Mace's Jedi Starfighter close behind, and the bright orange Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive ring pretty common. Of course, there are case assortment issues - Anakin / Jedi Starfighter, Vader / TIE Advanced, and Palpatine / Shuttle - are all in the case too, and the pegs are still fairly full of Boba Fett / Slave I and Darth Maul / Sith Infiltrator which further slows up the works.

Nothing's changed on the TAC (30th Anniversary Collection) basic figure front unfortunately, the line is still slowly crawling out rather than enjoying the big launch we'd all prefer, wave 1 has some definitive pegwarmers (Obi-Wan and R2) which slow stocking of those cases as the pegwarmers pile up. While Hasbro has a revision to wave 1 which lowers focus on those 2 pegwarmers and Mace - the only other "findable" one right now - Obi-Wan and R2 also appear in 3 separate revisions of the wave 2 case as well. Moreover, retailers are still getting shipments of the last few waves of last year's TSC (The Saga Collection) which isn't helping matters either, as this is holding up more precious Star Wars shelfspace, too much dedicated for the waning TSC line.

The TAC vehicles are still also suffering a similar fate, with previous waves taking up what little shelfspace there is available, so the V-wing and Sith Infiltrator wait in the wings. Making matters worse, the new vehicles in the wave, which are 2 per case each, are shipping with 1 White small-wing TIE Fighter and 1 Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter from the previous wave, and Hasbro has several revisions to this case coming down the pike, all with just 1 of each new ship, the first one with 1 Sith Infiltrator and no V-wing at all - who thought that was a good idea?

Sideshow's 12-inch Rebel Endor Trooper 3pack has started showing up on doorsteps en masse, collectors seem especially smitten with Nik Sant, the bald, bearded Endor Rebel Commando Pathfinder. Check out some of the fans' cool photos in the Endor Strike Force forums thread (http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/showthread.php?t=34544).

Speaking of Sideshow 12-inch Star Wars, last week was the preorders for the SW Celebration IV-exclusive Luke Yavin Ceremony figure for both attendees and non-attendees, and a little birdy has told me that preorder interest for the non-attendee version was very high, some outlets found them higher than preorders of the attendee version. Keep in mind, Sideshow sets only a small portion of the 6,000-unit run aside for non-attendees, who also have to pay $5 more plus shipping and handling fees that the attendees don't. Does this say something about a lower turnout for Celebration IV? I've also noticed a lot more people frustrated that there will be 3 Hasbro McQuarrie concept figures exclusive to C4, and they're scrambling to get the hook-up from collectors who will be attending. I think the problem stems from 2 things, first that Los Angeles is on the coast and expensive so fans who attended the recent C3 convention didn't feel as drawn to make it this year; and both Sideshow and Hasbro waited too long to announce their respective exclusives, so those who might have been swayed to go by the inclusion of these exclusives now realize it's too close to convention time to get travel & accommodations set up. Hopefully, everybody who wants an exclusive from the show will be able to get them through other channels: Sideshow's wait list usually pays off pretty well, but Hasbro's said their concept droids' exclusivity is dead set, and concept Luke may be made available online if there are any left over after the con (Hasbro's track record here is pretty spotty).
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- A SOLO THOUGHT: When was the last time you picked up a figure and played with it, or at least found a cool new pose to put it in? Many of today's Hasbro figures have enough articulation to accommodate some really creative poses, and not just ultra-dynamic action but subtle neutral poses as well. And the poses that Sideshow's 12-inch figures can take are nearly limitless, especially when using the included stands. These don't have to be just eye-candy, you can still have fun with them too even if you don't enact epic battles on the carpet. A few minutes posing a figure can really re-energize your collecting spirit - try it while blaring a Star Wars soundtrack.
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- TYCHO'S MOUSE DROID REPORT: It was both with great excitement and sadness that I found and purchased the latest four 2-packs from Galactic Heroes (Leia Boussh, Vader Removable Helmet, Snaggletooth, etc.). Of course I love getting these little guys and think this wave is wonderful. But I'm darn disappointed that there is not currently more forthcoming in the line (that we know about) which I can look forward to. It's funny how this sub-line has endeared itself to me and many others.

Sub-lines are not new to us as Star Wars collectors, in spite of how many there have been in the modern line. Kenner had the 12-inch and Micro-Collections back in the day, and chances are you might've indulged in it, no matter if you claim your hobby is 3 3/4-inch figures and "that's it." I have some self-control today ['no comment' to that one! -JT] - I don't have 1 item from any Titanium Series collection - they should make an award plaque I could buy for achieving that. Oh, right, that might start another collection! But I went for Playskool Jedi Force, Clone Wars Animated Figures, Force Battlers, Buddies, 12-inch and many of SideShow's contributions to the 1:6 scale line. Probably like myself, you hadn't thought about it, but the 3 3/4-inch Deluxe started that whole business in 1996 with Luke on his "desert sport skiff". So I don't know what's more sad, my penchant for being suckered into sub-lines, or that there aren't even more Galactic Heroes announced for the moment* - let alone the fact that I want a complete line of movie-modeled, scruched-up ships and vehicles to go with them.

But, at least I never bought any "Custom Choppers"!

*It should be noted that when I was preparing this column, it was announced that there would indeed be Qui-Gon and JarJar offered as Galactic Heroes in a Cinema Scene pack with the Theed Hanger Duel that would include the N-1 Naboo Fighter. But a fuddy-duddy like myself won't be satisfied, as I have most of the items included with the proposed set from when they were issued as Playskool Star Wars Adventures. I will have to wait for the inevitable Qui-Gon / JarJar 2-pack that will be forthcoming one of these years. But I think patience will pay off. [editor's note: it was just revealed as well that there is another wave of 2-packs planned for early Summer with Han Endor & Logray, Imperial Officer & Death Star Trooper, General Veers & AT-AT Driver, and Garindan & Duros -JT]
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- FIN: Here we are at the end of another Jedi Mind Tricks column, and just in time as I can't think of another thing to put before your eyes. Thanks for reading this column, hopefully you've had some fun and found it informative as well, or at least killed twenty minutes at work while your boss wasn't looking. Please feel free to leave any sort of comments / questions / random keystrokes in the Comments System, or in this column's forums thread. Until next week, remember: the Empire will compensate you if Captain Solo dies!

- PREVIOUS COLUMNS: Episode I - 3/26/07 (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/index.php?categoryid=10&p2_articleid=695); Episode II - 4/2/07 (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/index.php?categoryid=10&p2_articleid=727); Episode III - 4/9/07 (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/index.php?categoryid=10&p2_articleid=744), Episode IV - 4/16/07 (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/index.php?categoryid=10&p2_articleid=754)

note: the opinions stated in this article are not necessarily those of SirStevesGuide.com or its owner. JediTricks is not now, nor has he ever been, a ninja - not even a T-shirt ninja - though he may be a mutant or a turtle.

Tycho
04-23-2007, 05:12 AM
- A SOLO THOUGHT: ...And the poses that Sideshow's 12-inch figures can take are nearly limitless, especially when using the included stands. These don't have to be just eye-candy, you can still have fun with them too even if you don't enact epic battles on the carpet. A few minutes posing a figure can really re-energize your collecting spirit -

In my posing of SideShow Anakin (Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan for the Mustafar duel, I have Anakin on one foot, delivering a kick to Obi-Wan's chest with his other boot. Obi-Wan in turn is reeling back, in mid-air, getting knocked off both his feet (though in the movie he recovers by making it a full back-flip - or was that verse Darth Maul? - he keeps fighting so many Sith you can get confused). Anyway, it looks so cool that I refuse to move my figures again. :rolleyes:

Now you see why I love Galactic Heroes? I can keep them all loose in a shoe box, not lose any small accessory, and play with them without hurting anything, least of all a cool "scene."

And another thing to JediTricks: Galactic Heroes are supposed to be "cutsie-wootsie" and all smiles - so of course Vader Removeable Helmet and Han Frozen In Carbonite are smiling. That's the Galactic Heroes style.

It's actually another thing I like about the uniqueness of the Galactic Heroes line.

Perhaps some day you'll be scratching your head if they do Han Bespin Torture smiling, and even a happy-faced Mustafar Anakin on fire! Hehehe.

Luke Bespin with bloody stump wrist - smiling!

And the capper: Dead Ewok smiling!

I'm actually surprised they haven't figured out how to twist Vader's mask so he's even smiling. If it looked fun, I'd buy it. As I said, that's the style.

JediTricks
04-23-2007, 10:21 PM
Anyway, it looks so cool that I refuse to move my figures again. :rolleyes:I have that problem too, so I've started taking quick pictures with my cellphone camera of any pose I want to save for later, so I can go back to it. It's a hard habit to break, but reposing cool figures is so rewarding.


Galactic Heroes are supposed to be "cutsie-wootsie" and all smiles - so of course Vader Removeable Helmet and Han Frozen In Carbonite are smiling. That's the Galactic Heroes style.I can point to a dozen awesome G.Heroes figures that work fine without the line's trademark smiles, I even have a thread in the G.Heroes forum about that.

Tycho
04-23-2007, 10:42 PM
I have that problem too, so I've started taking quick pictures with my cellphone camera of any pose I want to save for later, so I can go back to it. It's a hard habit to break, but reposing cool figures is so rewarding.

LOL. I did the same thing with my ex-girlfriend's digital cam.


I can point to a dozen awesome G.Heroes figures that work fine without the line's trademark smiles, I even have a thread in the G.Heroes forum about that.

I'll have to look that up if only so I can vehemently disagree with you on that point. ;)