The Saga Collection's Hoth wave includes officers from both sides of the war, Major Bren Derlin and General Veers, and since they're all I've found of the line so far, that's who is getting reviewed. I never felt especially compelled to get a Major Derlin, but being as he is John Ratzenberger (aka obnoxious know-it-all postal worker Cliff Clavin from Cheers) you can't go too wrong there. General Veers has never had a basic figure, the only modern version being the AT-AT's pack-in.
Packaging: 3.5/5 (both)
I still like the look of the front but dislike the back which seems crowded and confused. The text on each is a little goofy, but some might find cute. Both card diorama photos behind the bubbles make little sense, Derlin has his weapon drawn and is standing somehow above Leia's briefing, while Veers is standing with one arm in front and the other in back with some AT-ATs walking behind him. The movie photo for Veers is a promo shot that is missing the goggles, weird. As always, you have to savage the packaging to free the figure, but at least this TSC line's trays have required almost no tape, twisties, or clear-bands to hold stuff down which is great - here, Derlin's gun is clear-banded to his hand, but that's it.
Sculpt-Design: 4.5/5 (Derlin); 4/5 (Veers)
Derlin's headsculpt is a good likeness, it really looks like a Cliff Clavin action figure. The hat lets the head work with the ball-jointed articulation better than most, and the hat-scarf ending in a separate piece is cool. The body is average build, a little short like Luke though. The outfit sculpt is pretty decent, there isn't much to it but they captured all the right lines, and the "skirt" has a usable holster sculpted on the right side. The leg pose is neutral but not stiff, the arms can be articulated into a 2-handed shooting pose, but this makes the hands preposed - the left is very open while the right is pointing the index finger, which can make for a good "giving orders" pose.
Veers' facial likeness is so-so at best, it's been likened more to Quentin Tarantino than Juilan Glover, but it actually does have Glover's lines, just somehow it's not him at first glance though it does look more like him after some comparison. The neck is set further back so the jawline isn't affected as much by the ball-jointing as most. The body is tall with a trim build and shoulders slightly too wide. The outfit is pretty good with lots of little wrinkles while stepping back from the oversculpted Ozzel figure's textures, but they did cheat on Veers by adding a pass-through holster to the skirt, as well as nearly-unnoticable notches on the torso for the clip-on armor. The legs are natural in pose, but the arms are permanently wide from the body and elbows angled so there aren't enough poses available except for the "arms behind the back" pose.
Articulation: 3/5 (Derlin); 2.5/5 (Veers)
Derlin doesn't do much in the film, so they didn't give him much articulation, he sports a ball-jointed head, standard shoulders, gauntlets, hips, and waist, plus diagonal-cut elbows. The articulation allows for a good 2-handed gun pose, a decent arms-behind-the-back pose, and lets his left arm straighten naturally while his right when straight sticks out a little like he's pointing at a tauntaun mess on the ground - thankfully the right arm can turn subtly to keep it naturally close to the body, which works well since the holstered gun would get in the way of a straight arm. The figure can stand on his own, but is a little wobbly.
Veers also wasn't a major player and didn't get much articulation, he sports a ball-jointed head, standard shoulders, gloves, hips, and waist, plus diagonal-cut elbows and rotating boots. The angles on the shoulders keeps the arms far away from the body, this doesn't look too bad with an arms-behind-the-back pose, and if he had a watch he'd look perfect checking it, but other than that his poses look poor due to a lack of universal-jointed shoulders. Another annoyance, the neck joint shows the ball when you tilt it side to side. And the work on the elbows is a little gappy for my tastes. Veers has more articulation than Derlin, but it doesn't work as well for him.
Paint-Deco: 4.5/5 (Derlin); 3/5 (Veers)
For some reason, facial hair is too subtle to paint right on figures, but since Derlin's mustache was so bold this figure comes pretty close, and the eyebrows seem just right, small and light enough that you barely notice them but not invisible. The eyes are a little too vibrant but the shape is right which maintains the likeness' quality. The head and neck are cast in fleshtone plastic, the rest of the figure is cast in its colors except for the boots and various small details. The paint work on the details has a tiny bit of slop here and there but overall looks right, I especially like the work on the boots.
Veers has it easy, nearly everything on his outfit is cast in its properly-colored plastic including the black gloves and boots, with the only painted parts being the belt, holster, rank badge & pips, tiny encoder cylinder, and pip on his hat. The rank badge is painted white, fans think it should be silver but the pictures I've seen say it's white. The neck and head are painted rather than cast, and if the head is tilted all the way to either side the top of the ball-joint exposes gray plastic. Painted flesh usually looks thick and matte to the point of ruin, but Veers doesn't stray too badly into that territory. Unfortunately, his eyes and eyebrows are off, the eyes aren't beady enough and the brows are way too thick, and on all I've seen the left pupil is slightly bigger than the right to varying degrees - the misstep on the eyes destroys whatever likeness the head had.
Accessories: 1.5/5 (Derlin); 3/5 (Veers)
Bah! Derlin comes with just 1 miserable accessory, the anemically-small rebel fleet trooper black with silver blaster, the handle is so dinky it wobbles around in his tight pistol-holding fist. The blaster fits in his holster and sticks out to about the top of his stomach, it's so soft that it doesn't really pose much trouble for the right arm's range of motion. They really should have included something else at this price, a piece of equipment from the base, tauntaun mess, ANYTHING.
General Veers comes with 3 accessories, a stormtrooper blaster, and his AT-AT commanding helmet and chest armor frontpiece. The blaster is shiny black rubbery plastic, it looks ok in his hand but totally ridiculous in the holster sticking out almost up to his armpit, it's just too big, clearly Veers had a pistol in there instead and Hasbro should have made one or just filled in the holster. The chest armor clips over the torso and belt, the sculpting is alright but the center flat portion should be bigger, it looks tubby on him and this could have compensated for that, the deco is alright but not exciting, and it has no back piece which is too bad. The helmet clips over the officer's cap with the goggles covering the brim, the helmet looks too wide - it reminds me of Luke's floppy hat from the ANH cut scene - but it's not as far off as it looks, it has good detail sculpting but not outstanding, same with the paint. It's an interesting but flawed set of accessories, and I really wish they had included his periscope so his arms could look natural doing something else.
Both figures also come with the movie title figure stands and the random-packed hologram, the former of which has been a prerequisite for a few years now and the latter of which is not an acceptable value-compensator in my book, I don't even consider these real accessories.
Value: 2/5 (both)
I've decided to include value here rather than letting the "overall" rating carry all the brunt of the problem. Neither figure is a good value, the new $7 MSRP shows off just how weak these are in the market, and have forced me to slow my Star Wars buying habits which is the opposite of what I think Hasbro's intentions with the price increase were (compensate for slower casual fan interest from being an off-movie year by making hardcore collectors pay more). Major Derlin would be an acceptable $5 figure, but he's hardly stellar enough to warrant $6 or $7, especially with just 1 measily accessory. General Veers has more accessories but isn't as good a figure, so he's in the same boat. I want the "overall" rating to reflect the toy, not the inflated pricetag, so if the price is a heavy issue to you then lower their overall ratings below by a half- to full-rating level.
Overall: B+ (Derlin); C+ (Veers)
Major Derlin is a good entry, we have several Hoth rebel grunts but we needed more officers and this one is pretty decent despite having just 1 little accessory. The hand poses are somewhat limiting, yet he's still pretty good plus it IS a Cliff Clavin figure.
General Veers makes for an interesting concept, but the execution is a bit lacking. The facial likeness is off, the arms are in wonky angles that can't do much, the blaster doesn't fit the figure, and the armor doesn't entirely deliver. It came close to being a "B-" but fell just short, it's an ok figure but I don't feel like I really gained much by it.