I dump a lot of criticism on you guys in the hope that it may affect some improvements on the figures. Particularly where the articulation is concerned. But this time I am going to take a few minutes to deliver some compliments. I have done this over the phone to your customer sevice people, but I don't know how far it goes from there.
1) Articulation - As far as my greatly desired articulation goes, the #41 clone is a perfect hit (as everyone knows). If you had this articulation on every figure (the ball-joints, not the mitered cuts), I would have next to no complaints and the next compliment will tell you why.
2) Sculpts - Already plenty good enough for me that I don't need to see any improvements. I do not need a perfect movie-accurate likeness of the figure, just one that is very good and easily distinguishes the character. It is the character that is being represented, not the actor. And you guys are doing an outstanding job on that front. At least for me.
3) Hiding of articulation - Beyond superb. The Saga AT-AT driver's knees are an example of my favorite style of hiding articulation (I don't know why you chose not do this on the elbows, but you were that close to the difinitive AT-AT Driver figure). As the figure is, he is great for the poses that are required.
4) Paint applications - Other than the normal imperfections of assembly-line manufacturing, the paint apps are great. Once again, I do not need a movie-perfect likeness of the actor, just a very good representation of the character. And I realize that the sculpt and the paint app have to work together to make the likeness and the manufacturing process limits the ability to make the paint match the sculpt. But the sculpts are good enough that a good painter can make them match the actor's image if they need to that badly. I am good with the paint apps.
5) Packaging - Packaging has aleways been good (except for EIII), but the 2006 Saga line packaging is nothing short of perfect. You will be able to go a long time and really plan out an improvement before I will grow weary of this card design. It would be years in my estimation. You guys followed up the hideous EIII cards with a winner.
6) Variations - I like the variations. Particularly the variety in the clone trooper paints. Having different legions represented in my diorama makes it look great. And the packaging variations like the Darth Vader pose and the C-3PO/Battle Droid head change adds a dimension of variety that I enjoy hunting for. I even enjoy the production paint app changes. They add a little color (so to speak) to the collecting and give me one more thing to collect.
7) Variety of characters - This area has improved by leaps and bounds in tha past 3 or 4 years. I am of the mind that this is the one and only certain proof that you guys DO listen to collectors. Keep up the good work.
8) Durability of the figures - I have not had one break on me...ever (that I can remember). My son did a number on every ship I have given him...but most of that is parts that are able to be put back on the ship having been lost. Very few broken parts. This I appreciate as a parent who has to replace broken toys (out of my own anal retentiveness more than obligation). Thanks for keeping that necessity at a minimum. I have spent more than $30,000 on Star Wars figures ships and playsets for the 12" and 3 3/4" lines just since 1995, and although a lot of that is wrapped up in multiples, I have only about $200.00 of that tied up in re-buying broken toys, and most of that is vehicles so it is even fewer toys than it sounds. Impressive...most impressive, to quote a certain Sith Lord.
Although I will continue to criticize the shortcomings, I will always support the Star Wars 12" and 3 3/4" lines (no matter who is doing them). I just hope you do take the criticisms seriously and make the improvements that large numbers of collectors would like to see.
Oh yeah, and to my fellow forumites...NO CRTICISMS IN THIS THREAD, PLEASE. Lets give Hasbro a small respite from them here.