JediTricks: Welcome to SSG's 13th YIR article! How amazing is that? We're going to be changing things up a little from the last few years, trimming the fat (sorry SW Transformers), but we're still going to take a good look at what went down in 2010 with Star Wars collecting. 2010 was another year of rough pacing thanks to a weakened first half of the year that had virtually no basic waves, and the frustratingly-difficult-to-find Toys R Us wave, but it was surprisingly bolstered by a decent variety of exclusives. Season 3 of Clone Wars began, albeit with some confusing timeline-jumping episodes. Celebration V in Florida had SW fans fighting off gators with FX lightsabers (and if you believe that, I've got a Skyhook on Coruscant to sell you). The Force Unleashed II quietly limped out to mixed response. The official fan club, Hyperspace, announced in 2010 that it is closing. Star Wars Blu-Ray and theatrical 3D were announced. We lost a good friend with the passing of Bill Wolf III, who reported for years on SSG as Grand Admiral Thrawn. And quite possibly the finest figure wave in collecting history hit stores late in the year. Collecting was more community-oriented than ever with a challenging year, but with some luck and some help from friends, ultimately it proved another rewarding year for Star Wars.
Tycho: In 2010, there were 62 carded figures offered between both the realistic and Clone Wars lines, by a rough count. I got 37 individually different figures from all those offerings - 13 of 31 realistic figures, 24 of 31 of the Clone Wars figures, and counting multiples so in total, I bought 80 figures. It was a good year for me to find stuff from Hasbro that I wanted to buy, like 5 Zombie Geonosians, 6 Wooofs, or 8 Jaina Solos (for different scenes from the books I want to make). I think JediTricks summed everything else up well. I’ll add that I was very impressed with the large vehicle offerings this past year. They are an important part of what makes this toy line so much fun for those of us who open and display our figures in dioramas – the toys that interact with the figures. We’ll talk more about that later in this review. Meanwhile, the EU wave was a great thing to me, Star Wars has long lived on in the offerings outside the movies, including Clone Wars, and The New Jedi Order was one of the strongest examples of this in Star Wars literature. Grand Admiral Thrawn’s passing was an example of what the community here at SSG has weathered, as with time’s passage, we’ve lost some good members of this website, and I continue to be grateful that my friendship with BobaFrett from our very own forums resulted in the kidney transplant almost exactly 2 years ago from now, which has kept me around here (on this planet, I mean). Who’d have thought Steve’s incidental posting of the photographs of 9 of the basic modern action figures 15 years ago would have resulted in the friendships we have made here?!
SirSteve: Well… there is not much for me to say that these two have not said already. I guess I will start with saying that yes, this Year In Review is about 3 months late and it’s mostly my fault.
Huge thanks to JediTricks for taking the lead and putting this together as I have been really busy with the new site re-design and then there was Toy Fair. I am just now getting caught up. But as they say, better late than never! Also, I would like to do this year's a little different by getting input from YOU and what you thought of 2010. Please post your comments below!
My highlight for 2010 was getting photo ops with George Lucas during Celebration V, and of course the low was losing Bill (Thrawn). As far as the Hasbro toys went, it was mixed for me. I enjoyed The Vintage Collection line more than The Clone Wars. Personally, I like the “live action” movies more and I am waiting for the “live action” TV series. So let’s get to it…
JediTricks: Clone Wars really brought some A-game figures this year, when it was findable, that is. I was lucky enough to find Hondo and Aayla, but many weren't. Pre Viszla, cold-weather Rex and the Flamethrower Trooper, Cato Parasiti, Undead Geonosian, and Quinlan Vos were all quite good. And then there's the bounty hunter Embo, possibly the coolest figure in the whole line. New Grievous should be here but can't, the sculpt and articulation are so much better, but the rubbery limbs and foot-claws. make it impossible to stand upright, hold accessories, or even keep the shoulder armor on.
Tycho: Again, I agree with JediTricks’ statement above. My choice would have to come from these figures. It’s difficult to look at just the artwork that went into the figure, and step away from how much I like a character like Hondo Ohnaka, but I think Embo and the Zombie Geonosian have to fight it out to take the cake. In the end, for me it was the Zombie Geonosian. What a creative way to bring back this alien and a unique new look for him.
SirSteve: Cad Bane. The pirate look in the Star Wars universe is a nice change and it seems the villains are always the more interesting looking characters.
- BEST REALISTIC BASIC FIGURES -
JediTricks: The Legacy Collection ended with the Expanded Universe wave and then there was silence until the summer release of The Vintage Collection, where my list starts off. Although a price increase happened, we did get cool classic cardbacks and great new figures, like Leia Hoth, a new Magnaguard, and the fantastic new Luke Bespin. But the entire 3rd wave of ROTJ as a whole - Gamorrean, Ackbar, Luke Jedi, Wooof, bar2-D2, Rebel Commando, and Wicket - shone brightly. There was something for almost every taste and every figure was done pretty well, although paying $8 for Wicket by himself was a tough pill.
Tycho: Wooof will take this honor for me, by a long shot. I love seeing almost all but 7 of the actual vintage figures now redone, and this gets the original “Klaatu” off the list with the kind of cool figure I knew they could do. As I mentioned before, I’ve really wanted Jacen and Jaina for a long time, and the Yuuzhan Vong in the comic 2-pack, but they were either ordinary, or had drawbacks from size to wardrobe choice. The new ROTS Grievous deserves mention, too. Although I haven’t bought him – I seriously would like to. I did pick up his Magna Guards though – as I had use for more of them in dioramas, while I think I have an extra Grievous figure as it stands.
SirSteve: Gamorrean Guard… finally done right!
- WORST BASIC FIGURES -
JediTricks: There weren't a lot of bad figures this year, mostly any trouble was about availability. The only Clone Wars figure that might fit would be Ki-Adi-Mundi with his dopey crossed eyes that have made him a pegwarmer. Realistic takes only a few hits since there were so few figures, but TVC Darth Sidious with his odd costume design and over-the-top headsculpt slightly stands out for me. It's the ROTS Clone Trooper though that is a disaster with green-tinged, overiszed helmet that shipped most of its run missing paint... shipping at the same time as the Saga Legends regular version that's a dollar less and significantly better.
Tycho: I can’t really recollect a problem with any of the figures offered this year. I don’t see an issue with Darth Sidious, I wanted a figure of him from the duel with Yoda and picked up a couple. Now I’m not sure what year Clone Wars’ Thi-Sen was supposed to be issued on his single card in – or for that matter the FireFighter Battle Droid, and TX-20, but their availability stank! I do not want to buy extra Obi-wans and Anakins with that battlepack. I finally turned to eBay and Thi-Sen is on his way. Rumor is that Hasbro will be releasing his warriors, too? It’s 3 years after their singular appearance in a CW episode. But I will wait and stay off eBay until I can find out if there’s a cheaper way to get 4 more animated Talz.
SirSteve: Other than a few that did not stand very well, I thought overall they all were pretty good. Generic answer maybe, but it’s the truth.
- BEST DELUXE FIGURE & VEHICLE -
JediTricks: Cad Bane with Pirate Speeder Bike, easy. It's a decent all-new Cad Bane figure with a very cool swoop bike to ride, both with quality paint/deco. This set is quite old west, and a lot of great poses can be made with it.
Tycho: I like Anakin with Padme’s starskiff – sort of. Right now I’m at least happy they made the ship (a new sculpt at that) and offered a unique figure with it – though that could have easily been a way to get out Captain Typho or even better, a new Padme. I’d have preferred at least a 2 seater version of that ship, of course – or larger. But all I’m going to do is hang it in a display scene, so like the Saga 2’s Sith Infiltrator, it will serve its intended purpose. But it’s terribly lacking. With a pack-in figure, this ship (only larger) might have worked as a store exclusive.
SirSteve: Cad Bane with Pirate Speeder Bike for me as well… As stated earlier, Cad Bane is an interesting looking character and his speeder is just as cool.
- BEST BATTLEPACK / MULTI-PACK / COMIC PACK -
JediTricks: I passed on the exclusive tail-end Comic Packs, which are still shipping, and as usual I rarely partake of Battle Packs. So for me, there was the quite nice SDCC-exclusive Comic-Pack robo-Maul / Owen Lars, both TRU-exclusive The Force Unleashed 5-packs (especially Raxus Prime Starkiller and the Militia Elite), and the Target-exclusive Geonosis Arena R2 & 3PO.
Tycho: I loved getting all the Entertainment Earth comic 2-packs, and longed for Ysanne Isard to get a figure, with that cool new Baron Fel. But they’re just human figures and not sculpting masterpieces. Thi-Sen’s battlepack would encourage me, but for the fact it disgusts me that I could not get the figure by himself, when he was offered that way. Rohlan Dyre and Jarael rock, as do Deliah Blue and Darth Nihlus. The latter comic series I prefer (Legacy), but the former KOTOR characters are cooler. The new sculpts are all about equal to each other. Another battlepack I liked was getting several of Cad Bane’s lackeys in the Target-exclusive Hostage Crisis pack -the Weequay was necessary. The Force Unleashed multi-packs were of great value. The Felucian was a unique figure, as was Proxy. (I know the Felucian was offered with the Battle Rancor before, but I didn’t buy one.) I guess I’m going to have to run with Jarael and Rohlan. Good characters and good sculpts.
SirSteve: I agree with JediTricks on this one… the San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Maul and Owen Lars Comic-Pack was a great surprise and the package was nicely done.
- BEST VEHICLE OF THE YEAR -
JediTricks: A few really good choices to choose from in 2010, although not as many overall as '09. The new Snowspeeder scaled down properly with a better design and even given a second run in classic Kenner packaging was a treat. Cramming fun features into the Twin-Pod Cloud Car was dandy. Other stuff looked dandy as well - though I did pass on the CW Slave I – but let's face it, the AT-AT was the winner of the year. Standing tall and dangerous with lots more accurate sculpting, room for 2 dozen figures, well-articulated legs, fun play features, playset styling, bringing back the '02 Speeder Bike mold, and using tons of electronic features, the AT-AT truly joins the recent big vehicle winners circle of the BMF and AT-TE.
Tycho: Yup. The AT-AT, though I still haven’t opened mine. I really liked what I saw of it out of the box at Comic Con. They put a lot of features on this thing. I also got my Droid Gunship (Battle of Kashyyyk) from HasbroToyShop before the end of the year. I’m so glad they made this vehicle, as now I can almost complete my diorama. But I have to recognize the new Big Slave-One as my favorite. I opened this right away and flew it around, fired the missiles, and it was just like I was a kid. I loved getting the new animated Fett and Bossk. Plus with playset room inside the ship and a cool prisoner cage, it was almost everything I wanted. I miss the old Gatling gun type of weapon that the AOTC Slave-One had, and the “handle” you could fly the ship around with, but I’ve very much enjoyed this purchase – perhaps the most of anything I bought this year.
SirSteve: Definitely the AT-AT. There is just so much going on with it! I also liked The Vintage Collection Toys “R” Us Exclusive with all the details Hasbro put into the package.
- BEST ODDITY -
JediTricks: Once it survived its beatings from postmen Mike Tyson and The Undertaker, the mail-away rocket-firing vintage Boba Fett was a nice oddity. The Galactic Heroes AT-AT looked really nifty as well, it's amazing to think it finally was created after years of speculation. The classic Kenner ESB packaging for vehicles with the AT-AT, TIE Fighter, Snowspeeder, and Cloud Car was a treat. If only Sgt. Bric hadn't been such a fizzle and a jerk on the show, I would have dug his all-new-parts mail-away with the big vinyl mat more.
Tycho: I still haven’t cut out all my PoPs to mail in for my Bric figures, surely because I dislike the character so much. But I want to use him as a background alien for animated scenes with my figures, so I best get moving on it. But that’s how uninspiring that guy is for me. I strongly would prefer an animated Baron Papanoida figure and Jocasta Nu if that helps illustrate my point (and I do actually want these figures), it has nothing to do with Hasbro, however. Dave Filloni and the CW crew can’t always create a winner (like Hondo Ohnaka or Cad Bane). Sgt. Bric is my most-hated CW character I think – besides those stupid bunny-droids. Meanwhile, the Galactic Heroes AT-AT rocked! I did not want the rocket-firing Boba Fett. So I count myself as an oddity of the year, too.
SirSteve: Nothing comes to mind…
- SURPRISE OF THE YEAR -
JediTricks: It has to be Jabba the Hutt's Throne set! Wow, what a great surprise, a new Oola, a new Jabba, a rolling throne with tons of pillows, good stuff all around. Oh, and a good runner-up would be Hasbro finally getting us the Force FX Sabers with removable blades - not only do they work and look as good as the original series, but they have some nice extra accessories to boot.
Tycho: The Jabba Throne is a good choice.
SirSteve: My surprise of the year was TVC Rocket Firing Boba Fett. Fantastic piece and of course, all the nostalgia!
- MOST WANTED 3 3/4" FIGURES -
JediTricks: I want new Leia ANH and Bespin at the quality we got Leia Hoth, who thankfully comes off my list after years. New Han everything with a newer quality of body, and improved head sculpts – Hasbro's most recent sculpt is starting to show promise here, so I want to see even more. Vader with a little more focus on specific movie accuracy and a better tailored cape and skirt and cape-chain situation (this year's Vader makes the chain fixable with a removable head to move the cape back at least, but it's not intentional). A stormtrooper with hands that work a little better with the E-11 blaster, it's a little thing but it means a lot to me. A new Biker Scout with quality at least as good as the AT-AT Driver.
Tycho: I shudder at the thought of tooling expenses going to more Darth Vader figures. I know. He sells and keeps the cases refreshing, so I can get my: Jocasta Nu realistic and animated, Animated Bail Organa, Animated Padmes, more AOTC and ROTS realistic Padmes, animated and realistic Senator Onacanda Farr (Rodia), Nomi Sunrider, Sylvar, Master Arca, Kyp Durron, a new Yuuzhan Vong, Anakin Solo, Tahiri, Animated Baron Papanoida, Senator Chuchi, Animated Chancellor Palpatine, some more of the animated Separatist Leaders like Admiral Trench. Jar Jar and Padme in their Hazmat suits and Dr. Vindii from the Blue Shadow Virus would be cool, too. JediTricks, as to Han Solo, I want a Deluxe Carbon Frozen piece with extra “frozen pose” arms you can put on Han (and maybe a different head) so that you can enclose your figure in the carbonite block and it have several different covers – one which you can see through like the 80’s POTF one, plus different colored covers for the heating / melting look, too. This figure would not cost a lot in tooling to make. They might as well include Han’s Bespin and Jabba’s Palace binders, and his skiff blaster gun, too.
SirSteve: My MOST wanted figure is… a furry Wampa! Yeah!
- MOST WANTED VEHICLES -
JediTricks: I sorta called the Slave I set last year, as well as the return of a better speeder bike, but that's all for my '09 predictions. Jabba's Sail Barge may never happen, but it'd be great if it did. As much an improvement as the '02 Speeder Bike is, it turns out it's not enough of one and we still do need a new one, preferrably with clear positionable stand. I sense through the Force that we may see a Nu-Class Republic Attack Shuttle, but that could just be too much blue milk.
Tycho: Jabba The Hutt’s Sailbarge in a large-ship scale must be done. Especially with most of the movies having at least one or more “big scale” vehicles now – like the BMF, TurboTank, or AT-AT. But ROTJ’s 30th Anniversary is in 2013. Ideally, they should get the tooling for the sailbarge underway now – while they lie and say they aren’t making her. The MTT – about the size of the TurboTank, would be a nice addition for big vehicles for TPM who’s 15th Anniversary is in 2014. Both vehicles could be featured more by Dave Filloni in CW at the request of Hasbro. It all makes Lucasfilm more revenue. I’d also love the Republic Attack Shuttle. I’d also like Hondo Ohnaka’s Rapier-One (Weequay flying saucer fighter ship – the smaller one). That ship that Anakin and Obi-Wan use which looks like an angel fish, is cool, too. So is Hondo’s tank, btw. From ROTS, Bail Organa’s speeder could be made for an Ultimate Order 66 Battlepack. The Lars’ family landspeeder might finally get made, along with an update for Luke’s – and the T-16, if they want to go in that direction. A Big Sandcrawler with Droid Factory parts (BAD parts recycled?) would be awesome! The Gungan Bongo and the podracers could return for TPM, but it’s not a priority yet. Better would be the Wookiee catamaran and Count Dooku’s solar sailor, plus Asajj Ventress’ unique ship from the Gennedy Series. Can you tell I like the vehicles? Don’t ask me if there’s anything else. I have a much longer list. Not mentioned here, is a return to a Beast Assortment, which I’d enjoy as well – especially if it first offered creatures we’ve never gotten before, from the movies and the animation.
SirSteve: Yet again… still wanting a big Jabba’s Barge! Tycho… the category is MOST wanted.
- MOST ANTICIPATED FOR 2011 -
JediTricks: The Jedi Turbo Speeder vehicle looks really cool. A new name for the Deluxe Figure & Vehicle line, hopefully with more cool little vehicles. Some Clone Wars episodes that aren't jumping around the timeline or taking place in the Senate.
Tycho: SideShow’s offerings of Momaw Nadon (due to ship this month of January!), Yoda, and Commander Cody have really excited me. I love new Padme figures (Outlander Disguise). Yup, the Jedi Turbo Speeder looks cool. I can’t wait to get Bom Vimdim, though. I love cantina aliens. And the Rebel Pilots sets plus the one with the Yavin Base Transport look fun. So far I don’t know of a lot of stuff that’s confirmed which I want. I’ll be buying a lot less this coming year because I’m not a carded collector. But the cards do look beautiful!
SirSteve: Well, seeing as this is a bit late and I have already seen what’s on the horizon, I am most looking forward to more of ‘The Vintage Collection’ line. I just have a soft spot for the [package] look since it reminds me of my childhood.
- 2010 STAR WARS FIGURE OF THE YEAR -
JediTricks: For me, it came down to Luke Bespin, Embo, and the Gamorrean - a tough group to choose the best. I added up each figure's pros and cons giving them numerical values, but that ended in a 2-way tie, so I set them each up on my desk and meditated on their Star Warsiness. I am giving the title to Clone Wars Embo. Here's a character who was only in 1 episode of the cartoon, yet he's a bounty hunter, he's an alien without feeling like a rehash of existing Star Wars aliens or recycling the same ol' bounty hunter motifs, truly neither a good guy nor a bad guy, mainly silent and uses his actions to speak for him, and instead of blurting out his whole history upon introduction he remains mysterious and cool. Hasbro really drove this figure home, Embo has great sculpting, choice accessories, expressive articulation, cool armor, good paint, is a buck cheaper than TVC figures, and is a keen bounty hunter alien action figure - how Star Wars is that? Extremely! (And unlike the Gamorrean, his hat doesn't fall off.)
Tycho: I’m going to go with Wooof. He brings us only 7 figures away from having all the vintage figures completely modernized after 16 years. Because of resculpts and completely new and never-made-before characters (like the prequel figures which I also love), the original '80s vintage figures have only been redone at a rate of about 6.4 per year. Obviously, like in 1997, there were at least 29 of those right there (I use a final count of 102 eighties figures, counting Jabba, Salacious, and the Max Rebo Band members, along with certain very distinguishable variants). But Wooof is very easily customizable as different Niktos – with his removable accessories – kind of like how people make different Ewoks by switching the hoods. With Wooof, you can make different Niktos. The removable helmet feature is awesome! I love the fur wrap. That sure takes me back to the real vintage days. And the working holster for his gun is a nice touch, as his articulation – well above and beyond what we’ve had for the Weequay, Barada, and the red Nikto offerings (until the Sailbarge Gunner and Giran in the B-A-D line). Plus, I haven’t bought many of the vintage figures, as I really haven’t felt the desire to replace my older figures (like Admiral Ackbar for example) – but I really like the looking at the cardbacks in the store, and it’s been nice to have a few of those at home.
SirSteve: Vintage-style Rocket-Firing Boba Fett! Do I really need to say more?
Well, that's it for what we thought of 2010, so now it's your turn to add your take to the mix. Post your additions to the Year in Review list as a reply and keep it going!