Though I love Hasbros work on background aliens and droids and appreciate that they make such obscure characters in the first place their '07 line really dented my confidence in their ability to do good Original trilogy core character sculpts. I've reached the point where although I want them to 'try again' I'm also afraid to see what they come up with, that they won't have learnt from previous mistakes and will just put out more sub-par figures that we'll be stuck with for years because that figure will be 'done' as far as they're concerned.
Heres the offenders of the TAC lineup:
Bespin Han - horrific frankenstein figure, IMO nothing is salvageable
Jabbas Palace Luke - shoulda been DSII but if this is the quality thank god it wasn't
Smuggler Lando - downgraded headsculpt that looks more like Satan, awkward puffy body, swivel elbows, wrong type of sleeve
Vaporator Luke - giant head syndrome (one extreme or the other, wheres the happy medium?)
Ewok net R2-D2 - yet another shiny chrome dome and the less preferred body sculpt
Yavin Luke - most examples didn't have eyebrows, skin was unusually white, some say he has gorilla arms and his joints are awkward (I agree only on the headsculpt, I think the rest is fine)
Stormtrooper - burdened by an unnecessary removeable helmet that can be warped out of shape and will inevitably turn yellow very quickly
VTAC endor Leia - giraffe neck, another dollface
VTAC Bespin Luke - taller than other lukes, no likeness to speak of, awkward pointy shoulder and elbow joints (although I don't think this one is too bad)
VTAC Hoth han - some hated that he didn't have the hood, some thought he looks fat (I actually liked him)
For me Hoth han was the closest to being completely satisfactory, followed by Bespin Luke and yavin Luke but after that theres a plunge with the figures having what are, for me, glaring flaws as bad as anything from POTF2.
There are a number of trends on which Hasbro seem to be staying the course that make me feel discouraged about what we might get when they eventually make Death Star II Luke for example.
- overuse of Soft goods
a frighteningly ridiculous recent example has to be that Order 66 Anakin - http://www.rebelscum.com/photo.asp?i...rder662AS1.jpg
or perhaps the repaint Emperor from the same series - http://www.rebelscum.com/photo.asp?i...rder664EP1.jpg
Who can honestly say this looks good? Soft goods should be used with far greater consideration and restraint than Hasbro is evidently giving it right now. At the very least the Emperor requires sculpted outer robes and hood, maybe softgoods underneath. The Evolutions figure proves this. Jedi figures should use softgoods only on the lower parts of their tunics like the first figures to do so from the Episode I line. I long for Hasbro to give us a newly sculpted neutral-pose Darth Vader cape - an update of the POTF2 removeable helmet Vader's cape - as soft goods simply do not hang naturally.
- poorly disguised joints
Hasbro messed up last year in an area where previously they have been successful. For some reason ball-jointed shoulders, elbows and knees became too noticeable this year and on one figure from the previous year that springs to mind VTSC X-wing Luke. Some figures in '07 such as Bespin Luke, Death Star trooper and Jabbas palace luke had terrible, unnatural looking joints.
- the insistence on balljoint necks
This kind of jointing looks terrible on human figures but it seems I can't convince most people of this. Nevertheless I must point out that it does lead to atrocities like Giraffe neck VTAC endor Leia, Bobble-head Jabbas palace Luke or figures whose hair juts out unnaturally like X-wing Luke. Other figures get left without lower jaws. Its an added complication in the making of a figure and when it goes wrong it really goes wrong.
- Hasbros persistant reuse of VOTC Han and R2-D2
that Han figure was, and is, far too thin. They cheated us by reusing his legs in the next line of expensive Vintage figures for the, consequently poor, VTSC endor Han and they created a true abomination in 07 with the Torture Rack Han - a figure so proportionally mismatched as to beggar belief that it ever saw release approval. Hasbro needs to get over this idea that because people liked that figure on first release that they can just keep rehashing his parts for every Han figure they do. Its not working. Likewise I and many others continue to be puzzled and irritated by Hasbros refusal to put out a definitive R2-D2, which could easily be done. People weren't overly fond of VOTC R2 and yet its the only sculpt of the main droid of the entire saga they seem to put out in the basic line. A more accurate body sculpt exists and more accurate paintjobs of his dome have previously been done. So why have Hasbro taken it on themselves to return to POTF2 by painting his head in inaccurate chrome whilst persistently issuing a less preferred body?
- disimproving likenesses
Luke peaked in 2004 with the (superior) Saga Jabbas palace figure. Granted his ROTJ luke was quite specific, getting an accurate ANH and ESB likeness is a different story altogether. A standout character whose likenesses have regressed is Lando Calrissian. POTF2 did a basic but not bad likeness of Billy Dee, POTJ did a pretty much flawless one. The Skiff Lando was also good. However VOTC and Smuggler Lando had terrible likenesses. Proof indeed that newer isn't always better - which is why I fear to ask for 'new sculpts'. Likewise Princess Leia hasn't had it good since POTJ's Bespin escape and 25th anniversary figures. Those figures were the closest to Carrie fisher Hasbro ever achieved in this scale. But since VOTC Leia looks like a childs doll.
Probably the best served Original Trilogy main character is Chewbacca. VOTC was a truly great figure and Hasbro have given us headsculpt variants to reflect the various 'hairstyles' or moods of Chewbacca. I only hope these variants get release in the basic line.
- inconsistent scale
We're getting Han figures that are almost as thin as Leia, Luke figures from ROTJ that are shorter than Luke figures from ANH, and figures whose heads are either too big or too small. It seems Hasbro have settled on VOTC as the standard size for Boba Fett's helmet. Unfortunately they have it wrong. The '300th' Boba Fett figure had a helmet that was both the correct size and shape and it hasn't been used since. Why?
So is anyone else going to be excited yet fearful of what we might see when the likes of DSII jedi Luke are finally unveiled?