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  1. #1

    TVC wave 1 - ESB

    The first wave of The Vintage Collection is, naturally, ESB-themed. Figures include:

    1. Dengar
    2. Leia Hoth
    3. Han Echo Base (hoth coat open, repairing Falcon)
    4. Luke Bespin
    5. AT-AT Commander
    6. C-3PO (with removable face, chest, and right thigh covers)
    7. Dack Ralter
    8. Darth Vader
    9. Boba Fett
    10. 4-LOM
    11. Twin Pod Cloud Car Pilot

    I picked up most of these yesterday, so here come my thoughts...

    First off, the vintage-style packaging.
    - Folks are saying that the cardstock is thinner, but compared to the VOTC and later lines' cards, it's identical in weight, cut, and thickness. Only those cards had protective clamshells, while these don't. Some bending has already occurred on these cards that I saw on shelves, their off-center design is part of the problem. The holes are pre-punched and still off-center, not J-hooked so getting to figures in the back does require pulling others off the shelf first. The peg holes are reinforced with a little plastic addition to resist tearing.
    - In terms of design, since they don't have clamshells to hold stickers, each one has a choke warning printed in the upper right corner with the "Ages 4 and up" moved to the left above a true item/asst # instead of the classic item numbers. It looks a little busier and doesn't mesh well with the old school elements, but it's fairly minor in the scheme of things. The back design is virtually identical to the VOTC in the larger details, still that awkward color swoop, no bio, a pic of the classic version it's emulating (Han is new so the card calls that out instead), and it adds a "VC##" to the upper right and a UPC and more safety text to the bottom under the "other figures" section. The UPC is not a sticker, so one will need to cut that part of the card to mail in TVC POPs for the mail-away (and since it's the bottom right, it's behind the coffin blister).
    - The coffin blisters are held on like the VOTC and such. Some of my figures, it was well attached, others like the Cloud Car Pilot though, it almost fell off before I opened it. I predict a low but notable failure rate for this. The coffin is slightly vented at the very bottom via an unglued slot, and has a fold-in tab to hold the mail-away certificate. I noticed that due to less tray space, some of the accessories are already put in holsters, Luke Bespin's gun did not want to come out after being in there for so long.
    - The starburst shout-out sticker for mail-away Fett is indeed "low-tack". Because it's die-cut into the starburst, it won't come away in 1 pull, it'll rip itself, but each remnant will be easy to remove and leave nothing behind.

    And now, the figures...
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  2. #2
    Dengar - This is, surprisingly, an improvement in many ways over the Saga version which was quite good for its time. More articulation, a working holster, sharper sculpting. The hands are an odd, narrow pistol-holding pose but they seem to work fine. The paint has weathering here and there, it could have been more even but it's good none the less. They painted his neck fleshy despite being hidden, weird. Unfortunately, there are 2 oddities that hold it back from being awesome in my eyes. First is the head, the sculpt is very good, but the head wrap ends prematurely making the head look disconnected from the figure, and it's a little too tall. Second is the removable codpiece and belt-front, this stands out as very odd mainly because it doesn't stay on that well. Since there's sculpting underneath, my guess is they're considering a reuse of that part down the road, but I can't imagine for what. Still, overall this is a pretty decent figure.

    Leia Hoth - they gave every part of the costume weathering, colored the vest only slightly off from the jumpsuit, and got the little techy details. The face sculpt is fair if a tad simple and lacking detail at the hairline. Face deco is still very pale, Hasbro can't seem to find Leia's coloring, and while the eyebrows are thin they're still not quite close enough to be right (they also left out the small black under her eyes). The head is a bit obvious on the ball joint cuts. Articulation is good, standard waist keeps the small figure's lines looking right, but no ankle articulation is a big of a let-down. Her hands are very narrow gun poses, but they work. The sculpt is a bit hip-y, it balances well to the separate vest piece but without her vest her hips get too big for the figure. Leia comes with just 1 gun, a Rebel DH-17 blaster (the kind the Rebel Fleet Troopers sport in ANH), it's black with a silver barrel. I like the figure, but the leg pose is a bit wider than I would have liked, it's not extreme by any measure though.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  3. #3
    Han Echo Base - first off, his card picture isn't even this outfit, what the heck? This figure is from when Han is welding on the Falcon in his Hoth coat. Hasbro frankensteined this body, it's part VTSC Han Endor (lower torso, legs) and part TSC Han Torture Rack (upper torso, arms), so the coat's arms are the wrong ones, not the thicker, textured lines they should be, but if you didn't look for it, they match up ok to the new separate coat piece. The figure's legs are still a massive problem, too narrow for the shoulders or the body, and a biiiig gunbelt that fits for crap. The gunbelt is a huge problem IMO, it keeps the coat from sitting normally by its floating away from the figure, and adding the gun (the WRONG gun, I might add, still the ANH version) makes this much worse. The coat sculpt is pretty good, it's flared open towards the bottom, hangs nicely, even has a painted inner white lining; no rank badge though, but that may be accurate to the scene, hard to remember. The new head sculpt is recognizably Han, but its exaggerated features come off cartoony from straight on, it looks much better from sides. The figure comes with a welding mask and welder, both designed to be held, but the figure's arms can't bend at the elbow enough to get the mask right up in front of his face. All in all, this is a mixed figure that sort of works, but enough flaws to make it hard to recommend.


    (I'm going to save Luke Bespin comments for later, it'll be a biggie because I really like the figure.)


    AT-AT Commander - this figure frustrates me. It's a simple idea, take parts from recent Imperials and add a new "skirt" with a belt and holster, a removable armor vest, and a helmet. It's a recipe that depends on the armor, and unfortunately the helmet totally undoes the figure in my eyes. The rest of the figure is fine, the permanent belt doesn't even bother me (although what's the point of removable chest armor and not this?), but the helmet is MASSIVE on this guy's melon. The helmet is so big it can be pushed down over his eyes. Yet he comes with goggles that are designed specifically to fit in his eye sockets, but the giant helmet isn't big enough to accommodate the goggles without flaring out even further! If you can get past that (and you'll want to, since it's the armored look that works best for this figure), then you end up with a tiny face out of the helmet. And the helmet is a slightly off design without goggles on top, but the goggles don't fit over the top without stretching them to a ruining point. The helmet has a little sculpted detail inside and out that looks good though. The armor vest looks very nice, a sharp sculpt and a few tiny painted details really make it pop, but it's a bit asymmetrical. The chest under the vest has a new rank badge and pip, I think a 2-level LT's badge, but they're silver without colored panels. Articulation is new-Imp-officer standard, good, and uses alternate legs from a different officer figure so they're narrower and have the riding pants thighs. Deco is simple but good except for the gray ankle hinges in the black boots, and the boots themselves and gloves are matte instead of shiny. The sculpted holster on the new "skirt" works surprisingly well, if you can get past the "facing outwards" design of those right-side holsters. The face sculpt is a tad specific for my tastes, but it's snotty, which is about right for movie Imps. Bottom line, I don't hate this figure, it's standard Imp Officer fare, but it's undone by the helmet design, so it's not quite there.
    - (And a reminder, don't be fooled by pics of the goggles over the top of the helmet, they're not designed to work that way, it ruins the goggles by stretching them well beyond their diameter and may even tear when you try.)
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  4. #4
    AT-AT Commander. Dang. I figured there was one more I missed.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks
    The UPC is not a sticker, so one will need to cut that part of the card to mail in TVC POPs for the mail-away (and since it's the bottom right, it's behind the coffin blister).
    But the mail-away works with basically any figure since July 2008, so it's not really an issue.

  6. #6
    I only have Hoth Leia and Threepio from this wave so far.

    I pretty much agree with JT's assessment of Leia; but I think the likeness is actually pretty good. I'm also thinking that the pale face is just because she's cold, being that it's Hoth and all. But yeah, her stance is definitely wide and the lack of ball-joint ankles is a big minus to me.

    See-Threepio (I know some of you hate to see droids' names typed out like that, but it's just so much easier for me because I don't have to look at the keyboard like I would if I was typing C-3PO): This figure is amazing! Definitely the best Threepio figure ever made and is already in my top five for all-time greatest Star Wars figure. Some claim that he is too short, but not if you use the "official" Lucasfilm height listed for the character. My biggest gripe with all past Threepio figures was that their bodies were too chunky and the heads were too small and thin. This version is finally in the correct proportions and the level of detail is amazing. Some might complain about the lack of vac-metalization, but I think it was a necessary sacrifice to get Threepio out of the mid-90s and get him caught up with the quality that we've become used to in the rest of the line.

    Didn't we ask a question to Hasbro about Threepio in the past and they commented that it was impossible to do the vac-metalized coating on a super-articulated figure? I know it's been addressed before but I just don't remember when.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    AT-AT Commander. Dang. I figured there was one more I missed.
    Yeah, with 11 figures in a case, it's easy to forget 1, I forgot about Dack when I picked them up (they didn't have him because he's not in the R1 case, but I didn't think about it at the time).


    Quote Originally Posted by bigbarada View Post
    I only have Hoth Leia and Threepio from this wave so far.

    I pretty much agree with JT's assessment of Leia; but I think the likeness is actually pretty good. I'm also thinking that the pale face is just because she's cold, being that it's Hoth and all. But yeah, her stance is definitely wide and the lack of ball-joint ankles is a big minus to me.
    The pale face can be compared to the picture on the front of the card, which isn't as pale.

    See-Threepio (I know some of you hate to see droids' names typed out like that, but it's just so much easier for me because I don't have to look at the keyboard like I would if I was typing C-3PO): This figure is amazing! Definitely the best Threepio figure ever made and is already in my top five for all-time greatest Star Wars figure. Some claim that he is too short, but not if you use the "official" Lucasfilm height listed for the character. My biggest gripe with all past Threepio figures was that their bodies were too chunky and the heads were too small and thin. This version is finally in the correct proportions and the level of detail is amazing. Some might complain about the lack of vac-metalization, but I think it was a necessary sacrifice to get Threepio out of the mid-90s and get him caught up with the quality that we've become used to in the rest of the line.
    I fully disagree with you about the scale, 3PO stands the same height as Luke and this figure is a 3rd of a head shorter even at the shoulders, he's also way slighter. Taking this figure in a contextual vacuum, I kinda like this figure although the thigh armor and pose problems and proportional issues of the torso elements all bug me. Taking this figure in context though, it's hard for me to like. Compare it to U-3PO, it comes out behind in almost every way.

    Didn't we ask a question to Hasbro about Threepio in the past and they commented that it was impossible to do the vac-metalized coating on a super-articulated figure? I know it's been addressed before but I just don't remember when.
    No, they said it didn't meet their wear standards, it didn't hold up on the smaller joints. They said they couldn't vac-metalize THIS figure because it's made of PVC which won't take the vac-metalizing, but they also had told us previously that they had been doing research on this kind of shinier coloring so it was always on their minds.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  8. #8
    (Correction on my 3PO review, there's a 4th removable panel. I'm revising the review.)

    C-3PO
    - This is the first non-chromed gold C-3PO we've gotten since the Saga Ultra figure that I can think of, ad the gold looks pretty good, although it takes a greenish tone in some artificial lighting, and Hasbro sprayed a bronze spot sloppily across part of the stomach circle and lower chest. The deco has more goin on though, a few silver touches outside that make it look better, and internal stuff that I'll get to later. The first thing noticed in the coffin blister tray is that he's got no midsection, that's due to the ball-jointed midsection being forced forward, he does actually have the black and wired stomach when you straighten him out. That said, he has less than he should because Hasbro got his upper torso and crotch proportions wrong, too much of both. The figure comes off dumpy due to the odd flared hip design and lower stomach circle, but it's not as bad if you bend his mid-torso joint all the way back. This 3PO's also very short and scaled to match, the character is short, listed as 5cm shorter than Luke, but compared to even the rather short recent Death Star 2 Luke, this 3PO is noticeably shorter at the head and the shoulder; compared to the BAD U-3PO, it's even worse; heck, even compared to Clone Wars 3PO it's shorter (but much brighter in color). Ultimately this 3PO is too small, and against any R2-D2 (which is always too tall), it's a disaster. For sculpted detailing, the work is pretty sharp, and there's more of it than ever, but the thin upper arms and lack of elbow piston hurt more than I expected. Articulation is "super", except for the head which is a standard swivel, and the hips are hampered by the extra flare of the crotch which shouldn't even be there in the first place. I find posing this figure difficult though as I'm often fighting against the mid-torso joint to make it not look dumpy, but the permanent upwards tilt of the head becomes a problem, and the arms have to stay bent or they look too long (and may be), so it's an awkward affair. Then there's the 4 removable panels, the first is the face and this mostly works when on, the eyes seem a little small (and watch for paint issues) but it looks good and stays on ok. The mask when removed has cut out eyes and mouth, and inside there's sculpted detailing (taking it off reminds me of that Simpsons episode where they went to Itchy & Scratchy Land and all the Scratchy robots would scream when they had their faces removed). Without the mask, the inner face is Ep 1 3PO with a good sculpt and paint, but it looks so weird permanently attached to the back of the gold head cover, like a pharoh. The chest panel stays on very nicely, and also has sculpted detailing inside; under the panel is Ep 1 3PO again and this looks more natural than the naked head, but the stomach highlights 2 things: the waist design flares out to that pear-shaped dumpiness of the hips, and the '99 Ep 1 3PO figure has the wrong stomach design. There's a very-well hidden panel on his back and has a little sculpted detail on the panel inside but also a datestamp; inside the figure's back is a silver and black recessed panel with 4 red dots, it's neat but it doesn't look like the ESB coverless design. Finally, 3PO's right thigh front comes off, more sculpted detail inside, but this thing falls off very easily on mine and is small enough to get lost in an instant. Under the thigh is a black mesh with wires, but no actuators that the Ep 1 design showed. In terms of hiding that these are removable, it does a good job except for 2 things: the stomach panel circle cuts off at the sides instead of fully encircling it, and the thigh armor doesn't stay on well enough to hide its gap, but the concept is far better than I expected otherwise.

    Bottom line on C-3PO is an interesting design exercise, and some real improvements for C-3PO figures taken outside the context of this figure, but this is a finished product that has 3 significant enough problems (tiny size, dumpy proportions, posing issues; plus several notable nitpicks) that, while I like some of this figure outside the context, I cannot recommend this figure on the overarching merits.


    Dack Ralter - I don't have this figure yet. It's based on the Evo Rebel Snowspeeder body though, not the newer Luke body.


    Darth Vader - only you could be so bold... Hasbro, to release another Vader figure with few changes! Something that has bugged me about Hasbro's Vader figures since the VOTC has been the "chiffon" capes and the helmet sculpts that aren't exactly from any movie, both of which are still found here. And why not? It's basically the same figure as TLC Vader from '08, except with a change to the head/helmet design. It still has the same articulation, still the pointless open right hand that can't hold anything, still the oversized "mouth" on the mask, still the silver ROTJ shoulder armor (which here should be black for ESB). That said, this Vader comes off better than the '08 one whose tray misshaped the helmet where this new one has a more even shape, and the figure now has glossier blacks and the chiffon capes are a slightly finer material so less fraying around the edge and a cleaner look that hangs nicer and is ever so slightly less see-through. For the redesigned helmet, the upper 2 parts seem to be from the same tooling, but molded with more care so it's very slightly sharper and has better detailing, they sit together much better, and they don't gap at the collar as badly (although they also come off easier as well). The lowest part of the helmet, the collar, is now removable when you pop the whole head off, the sculpt seems the same while the silver details on the back are more subtle on the old version. The underlying head in the mask looks similar, but not quite as sharp, this does seem to be a new sculpt - perhaps based on the old one, but the brow ridge is different. They're both good, but the new one shows a little more mouth, and it's less pink, so in the collar-wearing state the new one is better. With the helmet removed, unfortunately it's this slightly happy-looking, chinless weirdo missing the lower back of his skull, and sporting a white stripe from the chin to the left ear. I don't understand the white paint stripe at all. And Vader without any mask looks ridiculous, although slightly reminiscent of Darth Malak and Darth Sidious, so there is precedent. A nice side-effect of the newly-removable head though is that the cape can be removed and repositioned so instead of pegging through the cape, it pegs between the cape and the silver chain string which looks a little better, although the cape is set a bit further back on the shoulders this way (one could cut and re-sew to accommodate this, but it's right on a hem so that would require a little effort to get right), but the unsightly silver chain sticking out is no longer the same kind of issue and that's a big deal in my book. Take a look at my comparison shot: http://yfrog.com/5bvadercompareeditj

    Bottom line, this new Vader isn't a major update to the last one, it's not even really an ESB design what with the removable helmet and silver armor, but the removable collar is a nifty addition both as a curiosity and for repositioning the cape, and the figure's execution has better molding and nicer fabric for the cape. I like this figure better than the TLC one but it still hasn't hit it out of the park for me yet. If you already have the TLC version, I can only recommend it to those who like it but wante better execution on it, to those looking for a truly new and superior Vader figure I say wait for Hasbro to go back to the drawing board.


    Boba Fett - this is a straight repaint of the Evo Fett figure which was re-released in darker colors just last year in TLC. I didn't buy it as it was the only missing figure from the case. This TVC version seems to have a slightly lighter paint job than the LC one, and a few slightly different paint apps, but looks largely the same to my eyes in all the photos I've seen.


    4-LOM - this is a straight repack of the TAC figure, no change on the paint from what I can tell. Easy pass, predict pegwarming.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post

    Dack Ralter - I don't have this figure yet. It's based on the Evo Rebel Snowspeeder body though, not the newer Luke body.
    I picked up Dak. While it is not the best figure in the line, it fits in a much needed void. The face is more of a drone face that Dak's, almost like the I-Robot robot. The removable helmet works well with this figure, although I found it rather easy to pull the head off. (well I didn't, but my daughter did) Oddly, the blaster is not attached to the hand by those plastic bands like most carded figures (which I like because it seems most hands do a poor job of holding the weapons without them). The seperate trigger finger helps hold the blaster better than most I've seen. The rifle is very "gummy" and slides off Daks shoulders. I haven't really looked closely at it as I was in a hurry when I opened.
    Nowhere in your incoherent ramblings did you come anywhere close to the answer. Thanks to you, everyone in this room is now stupider having heard you. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul. -Billy Madison-

  10. #10
    Interesting. I can't say I'm surprised about the helmet, a lot of them have held onto the heads lately, I find pulling them off with the head tilted all the way back holds a little better.

    Good point about the lack of clear-bands, I think all of these figures are like that in this wave, using the tray and tape for the longer accessories but no clear bands.

    I personally prefer no clear bands because they warp the hand and accessory, and they get brittle and break after a few years leaving you hunting for the now-missing part.


    Something I thought about while writing those 2 reviews today, other versions of Vader and 3PO both have already appeared on these cards in the modern line, just slightly different poses. Boba Fett has appeared on the same card except it was the ROTJ version.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

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