Cost-cutting along with some unfortunate creative missteps make up this latest wave of offerings to the action collection...I won't even go into the unposable bodies...it's old news. But as a fan of this line, this group is the saddest to hit the shelves in awhile...
Plo Koon *** Another Jedi Council member makes his debut. Nice head sculpt & detailing...head is fairly loose though. Sculpted hands (more like claws with those nails) look good but don't graso his lightsaber hilt very well. This figure's accessories feature some blatant re-use from an earlier release (the boots, belt & lightsaber hilt come from the Episode One Mace Windu)but at least the detailing is darker and edgier. Looks good posed with the other 12" jedi from AOTC. One minor nit: I wish Hasbro would consider returning to the clip-style hilt for the lightsaber hilts(similar to the ones featured on the EpOne Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon). This current peg-style doesn't attch to the belt as well...and since Plo doesn't grasp it well either...it would make a difference.
Padme Amidala ** I was braced for worse....from the early shots floating around I was expecting a bobble-head. It's not that bad, but it's obvious that the realscan technique was NOT used here. Add to that the strange "shortcut" they chose in dealing with the hairstyle...weird looking rubber tubes to simulate the braids...and it makes the figure look cheap. Also, with this form-fitting costume, the current Hasbro female body's shortcomings are REALLY noticable. WHere the "Unleashed" version went too far in the "vixen" look, this poor figure just looks anorexic & rail-thin...especially with the almost oversized belt. The hands that don't grasp are also a bad move, especially considering they supply the figure with TWO guns. I used one of the clear rubberbands included in the figure's packaging to strap the BD rifle to her hand. The sublime Natalie Portman deserves better than this...as do the fans of this strong female character in the SW universe. VERY disappointing.
Anakin Skywalker w/ Lightsaber slashing action MINUS **** What can I say...I have never been this appalled by an action collection entry. (Even the open-mouth Qui-Gon isn't this bad). Features a truly awful sculpt (and still way too light hair with one tiny redeeming quality...the sculpted tail looks better than the poof of hair featured on past padawan 12"ers)and the utterly wasted action feature. I hope that this isn't going to be the start of a trend in the action collection....the action features on the smaller figures are distracting enough for older collectors...pleas Hasbro don't start saddling the AC with them! I've noticed that the european action feature Han is due for release later this year...I would rather see more care go into the uniforms, outfits and accessories....
Geonosian Warrior ***** Whew...at least there was one figure in this wave that kept it from being a complete bust. Great detailed sculpt, cool translucent posable wings and a nice iradecent finish make this figure stand out. His hands could have been molded a little differently to better grip his spear, but otherwise a good effort.
Princess Leia & Han Solo in Carbonite ** This TRU exclusive sounded like a good idea early on....take the GIJoe Viet-vet idea and use it on the carbonite block with Leia/Boussh looking on. Unortunately, the lightbulb behind the carbon block are too obvious (the block could have been a little more opaque)and the effect is cheap looking. Also, the earlier release of Leia in this outfit 9from the KB 3-pack) is a much nicer looking figure. Cheaper looking materails are used for the costume and the perky facial expression on the head sculpt make the whole enterprise look a little cheesy. Sigh.
Luke Skywalker & Tauntaun *** I'm a little late with this one...it was the holiday exclusive for TRU. Yes, the tauntaun is still impressive. Yes, the saga windowbox (if you're lucky to have a mint one) display the figure handsomely. Yes, Luke's Hoth gear is as detailed & well-done as it has been during the last three times it was availible. But that's the point here. With the exception of a broken horn and a scarred face, this entire set is a reissue...and a very expensive one at that.
Last year brough us some fantastic entries in the Action Collection....and already this year we've seen alot of new figures. I enjoy this collection and want to continue to. I would rather see Hasbro slow down and focus on quality in any upcoming releases....we know they can do it. I hope this disappointing wave is an exception...not the rule.