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  1. #1

    Revenge of the Sith: A look back at the line...

    Now that the "Revenge of the Sith" line has passed into SW action figure history and the new Saga line of figures is starting to trickle into the stores, I thought now's the time to take a look back at the last year and invite others to do the same...

    A new look...
    Back towards the end of 2004 we were treated to four preview figures of the new ROTS line. Along with the figures we got our first look at the radical new packaging that would be haunting the pegs over the year. It was bold and different for the SW line...gone was the simple rectangle and basic bubble...replaced with a card shaped like Vader's helmet with the Vader illustrated in an almost animated cartoon like fashion along with a splash of lava along the bottom of the card front to tie in with the most significant new location from the film and a new, shapely bubble that looked unlike anything that had ever graced a SW figure before.
    The card was successful in that it looked like nothing else hanging on the pegs and along with strong photography of the character featured as the figure, it was an effective display piece.
    It did have some weaknesses...the "helmet" edges of the cards were easily bent and damaged, the bubble fronts were unstackable and easily scuffed, making for a shoddy appearence on the pegs for figures that hung around awhile. I compliment Hasbro for trying something different, but was relieved when I saw the new Saga figures feature a more traditional approch to their cards.

    They're really here...or not...
    This was the first movie-centric line that had fairly decent distribution and availibility...initially anyway. The assortments came out at a good clip through the summer and most of the figures were found within weeks of their first reported sightings for just about everyone who wanted them. There was no major shortage of a key character like the Darth Maul one that happened during Episode One resulting in whole cases flooding the marketplace later that year. In trying to anticipate that for ROTS, Hasbro shipped out whole cases of Vader...but there was never a shortage of that character on the pegs in the first place so the result was turning the main character into a brief pegwarmer. Predictably, the clones and all their variations proved the most popular, especially the scene-stealing specific ones like the red-deco'd shock troopers and the blue-accented Vader's Legion ones. One interesting major omission was the popular Commander was a clone prominately featured in the film with scenes and dialouge with a lead character no less, and no figure. But that should be remedied in the new Saga line...
    One issue that did affect availibility...retailers, hoping to avoid overstock that plagued the last two movie-related product (especially with Episode One), allowed supplys to run out completely before restocking. This was really apparent in outlying areas with limited retailers...weeks would pass with empty pegs. This problem reached a crescendo during the holiday shopping season when many retailers had no figures to offer at all except a small selection of pegwarmers (poor Mon Mothma comes to mind) core characters were availible for gift-shoppers. It was especially odd considering that the DVD release was as successful as the film itself and there was little product out there to capitalize on it. It will be interesting to see if in the coming months, retailers like KB outlets or Big Lots end up with cases of those figure slashed down when they could have been sold at regular prices during the holidays....well, at least that could be a chance for those who may have missed out during the regular run...

    A look at the (action) figures...
    There were 72 basic figures offered (including those four sneak-preview ones) and several retailer exclusives, along with the now-standard deluxe figures and the pack-in figures with various playsets, vehicles and more.
    The line featured a combination of good (most of the time) sculpts, unobtrusive action-features and articulation and a healthy collection of characters from throughout the film (along with several that didn't quite make the cut).
    Many figures were good renditions of the character. Count Dooku (#13) was a far-superior version to any offered during AOTC, C-3PO featured one of his best appearances in the line and Obi-Wan Kenobi(Pilot Gear-#55) was quite simply one of the best versions of that character...period.
    There was a larger effort this time to incorporate cloth into some figures, sometimes successfully (Luminara Unduli #31, Shaak Ti #21), some marginally (any jedi with a skirt) and some not so good (Ki-Adi Mundi's oversized jacket, Vader's funky flowing cape and special horror-show mentions to Wookiees in dresses).
    Some background characters got real fine treatment as figures (Upataun Warrior #53, Mustafar Sentry #56 are a couple that come to mind) that were rewarded with pegwarming status.
    But some characters ended up looking pretty worse for the wear in this line.
    Chewbacca & all the wookiees ended up looking pretty toy-like and not very formidable as action figures here. The biggest loser here was Tarfful#25...from his garish detailing/paint job to his shrunken scale, the wookiee leader could benefit from a more careful, precise sculpt in the future.
    Another casualty of scale was General Greivous...this hulking character towered over Anakin on the Invisible Hand's bridge and over Obi-Wan on that platform on Upatau but Hasbro's version of him seemed a little slight.
    Another interesting issue with this line was the constant re-decoing of figures. From clone markings to Anakin's sith-eyes to all-out re-do's like the Greivous Bodyguard (the second version did look alot better)...repaints were in abundance here...becoming a variation hunter's nightmare. I was also saddend to see the lack of representation of Padme in the ROTS line. One figure of her in her most unflattering costume is woefully insuffiecent. Despite Toygod Steve Sansweet's assertion that her figures don't sell (something I've never noticed), I think that it would be nice to see some more figures of her in the future saga line...

    A few more "issues" to remember...
    One more item on that "scale" issue...I really liked the Boga and was disappointed that not only was Obi-Wan's mount way too small as an action figure, it had the worst detailing and paint scheme seen on a SW creature since the Acklay from AOTC.
    Another interesting "mistake"...while Greivous' Wheelbike was effectively rendered as a toy, why was the General's seat on the wrong side of the vehicle?
    On that superb Obi-Wan #55 might have been more effective to highlight the figure's super-articulation instead of his "pilot gear" which consisted of a sliver of plastic to slide over his head. As it was, the carded figure looked a little too much like the reviled "Choco-Obi" from the POTJ line...
    Another sad couple of items (with somewhat happy endings)...
    After putting out what had to be the weakest entries ever for a film product release(that horrible collapsable Greivous, that lame looking Sidious), Hasbro decided at the end of the summer to surrender the 12" line to a company that specializes in that scale...Sideshow Collectibles. Judging from the three offered so far, we have some good looking figures to look forward to in this scale. Hasbro did some great work in the past on the 12" line, but as the offerings from ROTS showed, it was time for them to pass it on.... was sad to see the demise of the "Unleashed" line. The ROTS entries were quite good...especially the Greivous, the Ani & Obi-Wan and the Sidious/Yoda set. Shrinking the line's scale and/or offering rehases or slightly re-worked versions of these figures was a sad way to bid this line goodbye...

    The force was with them...and us
    I don't want this post to degenerate into a negative are few things I really appreciated this last year...
    The Evolution Sets featured some really fine figures. My favorite of the three was the Anakin to Vader set. Both the ROTS & AOTC figures of him from this set were excellent...good sculpts, good use of cloth, good unobtrusive articulation. The Evolutions concept was a good one I'd like to see continued with core characters from all parts of the saga.
    Again, kudos to Hasbro for not making it terribly hard to aquire this collection (with the glaring exception of certain cough-Target-cough exclusives). At least until the end of the year, even folks like me out in the sticks had a relatively easy time finding most figures.
    Thanks to Hasbro for their appearances at Celebration was fun listening to the artists and some of the movers-n-shakers of the line ply their craft (although a few of those folks have been hitting the convention circut a little too long and their waning enthusiasm is starting to show).

    Moving forward...
    So the last movie-release line is over. It was fun over the years going to midnight madness sales and experiencing the fun of collecting with folks from all over. Now that the movies are done, I think we'll see Hasbro cut way back on what they present to us. The new saga line is upon us, and while it is rife with figures that are reworks of earlier releases of just straight-out reissues, here's hoping Hasbro keeps offering new characters and new versions of old favorites...enough to keep us oldtimers interested and attract the new collector in ways that will keep the line going for years...

    It's been a heck of a ride so far...

  2. #2
    My overall sum of the ROTS line was "improving quality". Sure, a lot of the figures with action features weren't that great. But you look me in the eye and tell me that we didn't get a bunch of great figures this year like Dooku, C-3PO, Clone Commander, Mas Amedda, Super Posable Clone Trooper, the Shocktrooper, Tarkin, Commanders Bacarra and Bly, the Mustafar Sentry, and of course Red Leader Obi-Wan. It was a great year to be a Star Wars collector. However, I do think the line could have gone on until about mid-2006. I know we're still getting ROTS figures with the Saga line, but we would have gotten Commander Cody, the Utapau clone, the fireship pilot, etc. a bit sooner. Either way, rest in peace, ROTS line.

    April 2, 2005-January 1, 2006
    [FONT=Arial Black]"I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERF***ER!!!!!"[/FONT]
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  3. #3
    ROTS did give us both alot of figures and alot of heartaches but if for nothing else we will have the memories. The hunts for the Tarkin wave and the last 12, the joys of finding the Royal guard and finally getting the best rendition of the character, plus the possiblities of customizing some certain EU characters.
    The Evolution sets were beyond a doubt one of the best highlights of the line and here's another fan hoping that Hasbro continues the line.
    True we did get some horror shows of figures, slashing anakin, the various versions of characters, ie Anakin with red saber, anakin with dooku saber, palpatine with both blue and red sabers, it was enough to drive the carded collecters crazy. Not to mention the red and green clone commanders and the regular and black clone pilots.
    Still ROTS gave us in general joy and sadness, joy in the hunt and sadness in the realty that this was going to be the last hoorah for movie release figures. Here hoping that Lucas makes another trilogy (7,8,9) or gives the franchise t someone else who will continue the Star Wars Saga.
    Looking for CW 2010 Sidious and TX-20...if anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated. thanks

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkArtist
    Here hoping that Lucas makes another trilogy (7,8,9) or gives the franchise t someone else who will continue the Star Wars Saga.
    GOD NO!!!! If they made any more they would feel extremely unnecessary. As it is, the six-film series wraps up really well and anything more would be useless and tacked-on. I never want to see VII, VIII, and IX.

    Anywho, I liked the ROTS line for the most part. The cardback was interesting at first, but like all the others, grew tiresome after a full year of it.

    The action features were integrated much better than in the past, but it'll be nice to have them gone for good in 2006 (and hopefully beyond).

    It seemed like the amount of inaccurate figures due to the film not being done was much higher than for the other films. This is especially odd since when Hasbro started the line most of the film was set in stone.

    I like clone troopers, but if I ever see another special version that wasn't in the film, I'll cry. Same goes for overpriced exclusives.
    Got a question for Hasbro? Ask it here!
    My Photos and Reviews: SSG Toy Guide
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  5. #5
    I didn't mind the vader figure. I think the ROTS version is a great sculpt. The palpatine/emperor sculpts were lame as was polis massan, mas amedda, tarfful, and some others. The highlights were Anakin, Obi Wan pilot, the first R2, clone troopers, at-rt driver, ask aak, tarkin, dooku, and a lot of the jedi masters.

    One way to out think people is to make them think you think they'll think what you are not really trying to get them to think what you think.

  6. #6
    When I look back, no matter how I try not to, I see armies of Neimoidians.
    That's my jacket!

  7. #7
    yes...reminiscing of the last,true SW movie line.......

    i was there,april 1st at wal-mart,as midnight madness began...i told him to take it all in,this was the last time we'd be doing this....after an initial melee when people who cam in late didn't go to the back of the line and just jumped sideways into it and got stuff before those of us who WERE waiting,things calmed down and after the scalpers left those of us who remained helped each other out...some guys helped me find emperor palpatine,vader,dooku,yoda #1,threepio,clonetrooper,grevious' bodyguard,padme,and red guard as they were the shortpacks there,and i helped others find what they needed....then we got the big surprise,after most of the pegs were wiped out,30 more cases were brought out to fill them,and EVERYONE who patiently waited got what they wanted.....

    the movie opened,and there were new figures to go with it....palpatine with lightsaber, new clones,dark-side/crispy anakin.....and all it did was fuel the fire for each other.....the movie fueled the desire for more toys,and new toys fueled the desire to see the movie.....

    72 figures for a movie line is damned impressive,and is probably the best launch since TPM in '99.....not only was every main character represented,most secondary characters,and even a few third stringers made the cut....and there were vehicles and playsets this time too( 3 different jedi starfighters,boga,wheelbike,droid tri-fighter,vulture droids,speeder bikes,AT-TE's,spider droid,mustafar set) ,something that,while present,was not nearly as available in force for AOTC......

    as the year wound down,even more figures were released,as were the dreaded exclusives.......

    overall it was a great year for SW,and i think everyone was generally happy with what came out.....the jury's still out on what 2006 will bring collector's,joy or pain.......

    as a final note,i am saddened that this was the last movie year....the anticipation before a movie line came out was,there is no more anticipation,no more surprises and it is when all things are revealed, some of the magic is now gone.....but that is the way of things...the way of the force.....

  8. #8
    Oops! I left out my two favorite figures...the red and blue royal guards. These figures are two of the best in my whole collection!

    One way to out think people is to make them think you think they'll think what you are not really trying to get them to think what you think.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarthVader
    The palpatine/emperor sculpts were lame as was polis massan, mas amedda, tarfful, and some others. The highlights were Anakin, Obi Wan pilot, the first R2, clone troopers, at-rt driver, ask aak, tarkin, dooku, and a lot of the jedi masters.

    Are you sure you meant to include Mas Amedda in your 'lame' list? What was wrong with him? I think they went above and beyond the call of duty with that figure. You're right about the Emperor/palpy sculpts though. Its like they saw the trailer with palpy using a saber, almost choked on their coffee, pointed at the screen and exclaimed "lightsaber!!! *cough* palpy with an action feature *gurgle-cough* at last!! *cough* the kids'll buy him now!!! Down with good collector-friendly sculpts!!"

    Great summary Jedibear, I agree with your pros and cons and will reiterate some of them.

    ROTS Entries to be proud of:

    Count Dooku
    Plo Koon
    Agen Kolar
    Shaak Ti
    Kit Fisto (IMO)
    Coruscant/royal guard
    Ki-Adi Mundi
    Saesee Tinn (despite non-matching colour cloth dress)
    Luminara Unduli
    Aayla Secura (more neutral, we already had an action ready version)
    Clone commander
    Mon Mothma
    Mas Amedda
    Ask Aak
    Meena Tills
    Cpt Antilles (big Irish pegwarmer though)
    Pilot Obi-wan

    Anakin-Vader Evolutions - includes my favourite Vader of all time. Hate the balljointed necks on the Anakins though - its useless on the ROTS one (he can't look up or down so its kind of moot) and the AOTC anakin has no jaw because of it. These points aside they're exemplary figures

    Sith Evolutions - The best Darth Maul so far without doubt. The Dooku is inferior to the basic carded figure but the cloth dress means he can sit better in a geonosian war room diorama for example and he also looks great posed looking up at the ceiling force-pulling rocks down onto Yoda. Palpy looks like a ROTS/ROTJ hybrid - I'd prefer if he'd been based off one or the other. The softgoods didn't really do this figure any favours IMO.

    Clone-stormtrooper evolutions - Don't have this yet but aside from one or two niggles I've read about in these forums its something worth having.

    Jedi Starfighter - a good looking ship, I happen to prefer the AOTC design but we got that too in -

    Plo Koon's Jedi starfighter - beautiful repaint IMO

    Republic Gunship - another repaint and not even a colour scheme thats in the film but it looks very nice, I'm glad I forked out for it. My favourite Prequel vehicle and, correct me if I'm wrong, the only prequel vehicle to appear in more than one film (a lack of consistency which is one of the new trilogy's many shortcomings)

    ROTS line's bloopers:

    any figure with an action feature. No matter how unobtrusive to the sculpt it renders the figure inferior just for being there. A blight.

    Mustufar Anakin (I expect a proper figure in the future -this far from qualifies)

    Destroyer droid (couldn't they have repacked the Episode 1 versions?? This one has no redeeming qualities whatsoever)

    Super Battle Droid (poor quality plastic, crap detail, crap paint, fixed pose and it still can't stand up even with a base)

    Wookie figures (cartoony sculpts and paintjobs)

    Diminutive Grievous figures that can't stand on their own

    Clone pilot (an OKish but very underwhelming figure - annoyingly common on pegs - why can't really great figures occupy pegs like this one did)

    Deluxe figures (with exception of Vader on operating table, Vulture droid and Spider droid these were an horrific waste of plastic and peg space)

    Boga (terribly misjudged representation of the onscreen creature)

    Mustufar playset (one playset and its crap, I'm not sure what its meant to be, at least the Arena was recogniseable even if it was massively downsized)

    Shallow foot holes (especially Pilot Obi-wan - if you can't get him to stand on his own its tough luck because a foot peg won't help one bit)

    Packaging had little to redeem it...nay it had nothing. Each figure took about 5 minutes to open - thats if you weren't being exacting and careful - if you were hoping to keep it relatively intact god help you. The packaging was also dangerous, I cut myself on it a few times.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Devo
    Clone pilot (an OKish but very underwhelming figure - annoyingly common on pegs - why can't really great figures occupy pegs like this one did)
    I think the reason for this wasn't so much the quality of the figure, but the difficulty for many people in finding the Gunship, and the pricepoint of the ARC-170. I bought 3 pilots for my ARC fighter, and if you also had the gunship, that would require 5 of these guys to fill them both. Personally, I thought he'd have been one of the hardest figures to find, but was surprised to see him become more common after the initial shortages in April.


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