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  1. #1

    Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    In the past week or so, I've picked up almost every new figure I've been missing, everything after the Bar2-D2 wave (minus Holo Luke), and I noticed that while the alien sculpts, outfits, and prop sculpts are all pretty top notch, the human faces on the Dodonna wave (Dodonna, Antilles, Gold Leader) and Ozzel wave (Ozzel, Dengar) are all surprisingly weak compared to the last year and a half of sculpts. And it's not like I have a bad memory, the pictures of these guys are right there on the cards next to the figures, but the figures' faces are "soft" sculpts, generic, or just plain ol' wrong. To make matters worse, the painted facial features are straight out of 1996 (and I've run into several alternate paint jobs on each figure so far due to factory slop) so any shred of recognizability is then lost. When you compared the face sculpts of Luke Hoth, Chancellor Palpatine & Luke Jabba's Palace to that of Ozzel, Dodonna, Antilles, Gold Leader & Dengar, it's hard to understand why this is happening since Palpatine is well over a year older yet has supremely great paint and sculpting. And it's not about Realscan because those Lukes are good headsculpts and not realscan. Did Hasbro bring someone from the recent GI Joe line over to SW for these? They do have that same level of generic sculpting, but those aren't based on real people.

    I dunno, maybe I'm wrong about the timeframe, looking at the headsculpts of Rieekan & the Imp Dignitaries, they're pretty far off their marks too, and Bail Organa has an adequate sculpt but paint that hurts that one. And then there's Elan Sleazbaganno aka Steve Bucemi, although that fig was designed for a Screen Scene which is either handled by a different division or intentionally made weaker.

    At first I thought it might be the weirdo neck articulation they all share, but although some are that weird peg-head thing, some definitely aren't (Dengar's constantly looking down and Gold Leader has that oddball neck hinge). So I don't really know what to make of it.
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  2. #2

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    It seems Hasbro did a poor job on quality control. Maybe they were rushing toget the OTC line out and needed fillers in between what they had and when the promotion started.
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  3. #3

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    You're right, although I believe Dutch and Dodonna have a good face sculpt. Antilles is not bad either. Don't even get me started on the RED Leader figure. He has the 2nd worst face sculpt ever (saga) for a human (Geonosian Escape Mace)!
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  4. #4

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    Isn't Red Leader's head just a slight repaint of the Y-wing Pilot figure's head? It looked really poor on the pics here on SSG. However, I think most of the figures' heads are pretty good sculpts. I agree Ozzel and Dodonna aren't perfect, but they're passable. Sail Barge Lando has a really nice head sculpt, but he was made a month or so before the other human guys.

    You gotta keep in mind, these are figures that are 1/18 the size of the actors who play the characters, so they're not always going to be perfect.
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  5. #5

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    I think they've been okay recently. I'm thrilled with the Dutch Vander figure as well as Ozzel. I have to admit that it's the uniform detail more than the face sculpts that I like the best though. I think Luke Jedi is one of the first sculpts that even remotely resembles Mark Hamill. Since were only paying about $5 for these things I don't expect an exact likeness, but if Hasbro thinks I'll waste good money on something like Red leader then they're dead wrong.

  6. #6

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    I agree with you. The sculpting on the faces recently have been way off. The thing is, with Hasbro, they seem to hit the mark on some figures and on others, they look completely crap.

    The best face-sculpt recently is the Luke Skywalker Jabba's Palace. Don't even get me started on the Throne Room duel version.

    Ozzel looks kinda cartoonish to much. Which sucks because he's based on a real man in a movie.

    My BIGGEST gripe with Hasbro, even more than the action features is bad sloppy paint jobs. I mean, I know they do a lot of figures but come on! Look at the Aayla Secura figure, the detailing on her is awesome. That proves that Hasbro can do a good paint job when they want. I mean, how long has Hasbro been doing figures? After years of making millions of toys, why are they so unable to paint the features on the face of a figure properly? Anyone have any answers? JJB?

    And I thought the days of action figures not looking like their real life counterparts were over...
    Last edited by Darth Trymybestus; 04-15-2004 at 07:16 PM.

  7. #7

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    I'm surprised how many of you feel these are passable face sculpts, like Trymybestus said, "I thought the days of action figures not looking like their real life counterparts were over". Except for Anakin and Obi-Wan figures, I thought Saga was doing better than this, but those recent sculpts I sited are pre-POTJ-quality in my opinion, maybe even pre-Ep1. I don't think it's QC, they only verify what the factory puts out IIRC, this is likely a problem at the sculpting stage.

    Don't get me started on Hasbro's paint, not only are they just sloppy in general, but their faces are 9 times out of 10 carrying paint twice as thick as it should be.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  8. #8

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    Gotta agree with you 100%. They've taken a step back and the recent ones probably are pre- POTJ or pre-Episode I.

    Take for example, the Episode I Senator Palpatine figure and compare it to the Episode II Chancellor Palpatine figure. The Episode II figure is clearly superior and it looks exactly like the character in the movie.

    Also, the awesome sculpt of the Count Dooku Dark Lord figure. I thought Hasbro had improved but the latest sculpts seem generic. They nailed Christopher Lee's likeness.

    Why didn't they keep this standard up?
    They should improve, not take steps back. Every wave line should be way better than the last. But many people seem to prefer POTJ.

    Take the Ozzell figure, if you could just see the face, you probably wouldn't be able to tell it was him just from seeing the face and that's bad. It's a generic figure and you only know it's Ozzell cause of the uniform. The likeness is very vague.

    Another example is the new upcoming OTC Luke Skywalker Dagobah. That face sculpt looks vague and generic. Yeah, it's probably better than many Luke's that preceded it but compared to the Jabba's Palace Luke, it's a step back.

    My only explanation is that many figures are probably rushed or they don't take as much pride in their sculpting.
    Since Episode I, Hasbro really hasn't made that many strides forward. They've taken a few steps back in my opinion.

    I buy Star Wars figures because I love Star Wars and because I want miniature versions of my favorite characters. If a figure doesn't look like the character it's meant to portray then I'm considerably less inclined to buy it.
    Last edited by Darth Trymybestus; 04-15-2004 at 11:06 PM.

  9. #9

    Re: Why are the human face sculpts so weak lately?

    I've noticed the wide variation on face quality myself and have some theories.

    It's the paint, not the sculpt. Remember Lars Homestead Padmé? A great figure except the paint for her face was so thin you could see the color of the plastic through her skin color. Aayla Secura, was I believe molded in blue plastic, so her face was not obliterated by paint. I don't have the Jabba's Palace Luke, but the holgraphic version was the best likeness of Luke of seen, he also does not have much paint on his face. Skiff Guard Lando's skin tone is darker, and probably required less paint. The other figures like Dodonna and Antilles seem to have a thick coating of paint on them. maybe they're now using cheaper, thinner paint, and need more of it, which fills in sculpting details?

    My other theory is simply that not all the SW figures are sculpted by one person. Maybe Ozzel, and Dodonna, etc. were figures sculpted by the new guy; the trainee who is just getting acclimated to the job. Hasbro gave him/her these characters because they seemed less important, and they knew the target audience --us--would buy them anyway. The really nice sculpts we're seeing are done by the talented veterans, who probably also get to pick and choose which figures they want to make, which is why we get a really good Holographic Luke,Tanus Spijek, and Dutch Vander. These are the figures the master sculptor guy picked because he gets to after sculpting the COMMTECH Han Solo.

    Maybe it's a combination of both.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Trymybestus
    Another example is the new upcoming OTC Luke Skywalker Dagobah. That face sculpt looks vague and generic. Yeah, it's probably better than many Luke's that preceded it but compared to the Jabba's Palace Luke, it's a step back.
    How ironic, that was one of the upcoming figures that repeatedly came to mind when I was first starting this thread, but I chickened out figuring that A) we hadn't seen the final toy yet, and B) people would feel that because it's such a milestone figure, it's probably a sacred cow. But you are absolutely right, I don't think it's anywhere near as good a sculpt as Luke Palace and that shouldn't be, it doesn't make sense, it doesn't seem right.


    Quote Originally Posted by B'Omarr Monkey
    It's the paint, not the sculpt. Remember Lars Homestead Padmé? A great figure except the paint for her face was so thin you could see the color of the plastic through her skin color.
    I originally considered that, but ultimately rejected it because on the figures I sited, you can see a definite lack of features in non-painted areas. That is certainly an interesting example you site though, the paint there makes Padme's face look too narrow and slightly elongated; but even that figure has a better facial sculpt, one that looks like the actor, which I believe eludes more and more figures lately.

    The other figures like Dodonna and Antilles seem to have a thick coating of paint on them. maybe they're now using cheaper, thinner paint, and need more of it, which fills in sculpting details?
    They don't have any paint except facial hair and eyes, yet their lines are generally too smooth and the main features are lacking character. This is a big problem with Gold Leader. The eye paint on all of them is pretty Ken-doll generic, so I can't totally discount what you're saying here, but I don't think it is the chief factor.


    My other theory is simply that not all the SW figures are sculpted by one person. Maybe Ozzel, and Dodonna, etc. were figures sculpted by the new guy; the trainee who is just getting acclimated to the job. Hasbro gave him/her these characters because they seemed less important, and they knew the target audience --us--would buy them anyway.
    I fear you may be right with this one, though I still have the sneaking suspicion that it's someone from the recent GI Joe lines that got "borrowed" over or something. With newer sculptors, I gather they imbue more of their own faces into their figures' faces, but with these, I get the sense that they took a blank slate generic face and tried to tweak it to fit a specific character without giving enough care or thought to both large and small shapes, like a sculptor who is trying to cheat his way through work.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

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