Friday, October 30, 2009

Star Wars Legacy Collection: Han Solo (Death Star Escape) Review

When I saw photos of the upcoming Star Wars Legacy Collection figures, I knew I had to get my grubby paws on them.  Han Solo (BD 30) is no exception.  For those of you late to the collecting game, this figure is a much needed improvement over the old Han Solo Death Star Escape figure (from the now defunct Kenner's Power of the Jedi Collection).  The main difference (besides the level of sculpt) is that Hasbro's version of Han Solo comes with loads of accessories and [obviously] more articulation.

Flavor Text:

"After rescuing Princess Leia, Han battles his way back to the Death Star's hangar.  The stormtrooper disguise came in handy, but now it's his bold nature and his blaster that will free him from the Empire's clutches."

The Good:

  • Han Solo has 14 points of articulation: ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel hips, ball-jointed knees, and ball-jointed ankles.

    • The facial sculpt of Han Solo is just amazing!  It really does portray the "scruffy nerf-herder" quite well right down to his sideburns!  Also, if I'm not mistaken, Han's mouth looks like he's actually smirking (it could just be my overactive imagination).
    • There is a nice number of detailed accessories that comes with this figure: 1x [removable] stormtrooper body armor, 1x [removable] thermal detonator, 1x [removable] stormtrooper helmet, 1x BlasTech E-11 Imperial blaster pistol, and 1x BAD (Build-A-Droid) torso of R3-A2.

      • The stormtrooper helmet has been painted and sculpted more accurately to match the Stormtroopers in the Star Wars movies.  However, Han's helmet is missing a few paint applications (the empty "rectangular" shaped spots right beneath the visor and the two slightly "rectangular" shaped spots on the back of the helmet).

          The Bad:

          • In order to allow the stormtrooper's body armor to fit Han Solo, his torso was sculpted to be a lot [noticeably] thinner, giving him an emaciated look without the armor on.  His arms are also way too skinny.

            • This is really nitpicking, but the paint application on both Han's arms is wrong.  The long shirt sleeves aren't supposed to be white, but rather slightly tan (matching the color scheme of his clothing under his trademark vest).  This was probably done in order to match the color of the stormtrooper armor.

              • Two issues with the stormtrooper belt: (1) the holster still can't hold the blaster perfectly.  This needs to be changed; (2) the removable thermal detonator (located at the back of the stormtrooper belt) has got be non-removable!  Each time I try to pose Han, I inadvertently touch the thermal detonator causing it to fall off.  That little piece of plastic can easily be lost.
              • I wish Hasbro would just stop with "rubber-banding" the blaster to the figure's hand.  Doing this warps the shape of the plastic accessory permanently.  The blaster looks like it could use a little Viagra, if you know what I mean.

                The Ugly:
                • If anything, it's the price tag for these figures.

                  Additional Notes:

                  • The stormtrooper helmet accessory that comes with Han is noticeably larger than any previously released [removable] stormtrooper helmet.  This is due to Han's head sculpt being slightly larger than usual.  However, I really like the new Han Solo head sculpt and the overall size (this allows for more detail and expression).
                  • FYI, in order to place the stormtrooper body armor over Han's body, you will have to remove his head.  I've tried to put the body armor on without removing his head with no such success.

                    • Just had to compare Han Solo in stormtrooper disguise with the Legacy Collection Han Solo.  Look at that detail and amazing likeness (referring to the recently released Han Solo)!

                      • Another comparison shot, this time with Kenner's Power of the Jedi Han Solo Death Star Escape figure.  Look at the vast improvement and weep!

                      I purchased Han Solo online via BriansToys* for approximately $11.00 (price doesn't include S&H, which they charge separately for some reason). At this time, I recommend shopping around through eBay and other fine online retailers like BigBadToyStore for these. I've seen some sellers on eBay price them at $7.99 to $9.99 (not including S&H). Or else, the old-fashioned way of visiting your nearest Walmart or Toysrus is another way to go (if you have the patience and long for the adventure), which may sell them for $7.00 a piece.

                      *From my past experiences with BriansToys, they usually charge ridiculously high prices for regular Star Wars figures. However, almost always they deliver the figures in C-8 or better condition.


                      Overall, Hasbro's LC Han Solo (Death Star Escape) is a huge improvement over Kenner's POTJ: Han Solo Death Star Escape figure. The amount of accessories and the amazing facial sculpt of Han Solo alone is worth the $11.00 price. Heck, the head sculpt is far superior to Hasbro's Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise figure!If you're a serious Star Wars collector and manage to see this hanging on the pegs, get it. You won't regret it!

                      Thursday, October 22, 2009

                      The Dark Knight Movie Masters: The Joker as Gotham City Thug

                      Admittedly, I've come a bit late to the Movie Masters scene. However, there are perks to being late to the game. For instance, I managed to snag some great deals on most of the Dark Knight and Batman Begins figures. When I saw pictures of the upcoming prototypes of MattyCollector exclusives, I knew it had to be mine. Like most of you, I thoroughly enjoyed "The Dark Knight," but the bank robbery scene was one of the most memorable. Thankfully, Mattel has finally come to its senses (sorta, but more on that later) and decided to release the "Joker as Gotham City Thug" figure (this was made available for sale via on October 15, 2009) for public consumption.

                      The Good:

                      • Gotham City Thug Joker has 20 points of articulation: ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel upper arms, hinged elbows, swivel hands, ab-crunch joint, swivel hips, swivel/hinged legs, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and quasi-ball-jointed ankles.

                      • The details on Joker's shirt are AMAZING! The pattern of various shapes on Joker's shirt are done in a consistent manner. Even the buttons are sculpted as well! I also like how they enhanced the "grouchy" clown mask by adding "dirty" paint applications to it, as seen in the movie.

                      The Bad:

                      • Let's talk accessories. Like previous Movie Masters figures, Gotham City Thug Joker comes with one (lousy) accessory: the "grouchy" clown mask that Joker wore while robbing a mafia-run bank. This mask is particularly useless because it isn't scaled to fit anything. To further add insult to injury, this mask accessory doesn't even come with a "evidence baggie"! Also the over-sized mask seems a bit wider than the previously released mask (found with the Gotham City Thug figure). More useful accessories that would've improved the overall figure include: a blue duffel bag, a weapon for Joker to use menacingly, or even an alternative "unmasked" Joker head!

                      • This also pertains to "accessories," but why on Earth are Joker's hands sculpted to hold something? Is he supposed to hold two imaginary guns to scare everyday civilians into giving up their hard-earned cash? I just don't get it.

                      • The $28 price tag is too much. Although the Four Horsemen sculpts are amazing, the $28 is a whole lot of cash for not a lot of thoughtful packaging and product. I was quite underwhelmed when I viewed photos posted on a toy forum. The packaging looked... empty. It was as if something was missing. I can tell you that my $28 is what's missing. That and Mattel's common sense.

                      • (At least on my figure) Joker's right eye is kind of missing. Or maybe it was deliberate to make it look like Joker's right eye is glimmering. Yeah, like I'll believe that one.

                      • There's some stray paint here and there. Joker's got some blue dots on his mask's lips. There's also some missing paint where Joker's green hair and his white clown mask meet. (I apologize if I sound like I'm nitpicking, but for $28, my figure better be near damn perfect).

                      The Ugly:

                      • I mentioned the $28 price-tag in the "bad" section, but the more I think about it, the uglier it gets. There's no way of justifying the sale of an action figure of this quality for $28. There's just no way. Unfortunately, I'm a toy collector and toy reviewer, so there you have it. Yes, I got screwed.

                      Additional Notes:

                      • Gotham City Thug Joker uses the same parts as the previously released Gotham City Thug: hands (Joker's gloved hands don't have his knuckles painted), body/coat, pants, and shoes (Joker's shoes have a different paint scheme).

                      I purchased this figure online via MattyCollector for approximately $28.00 (price includes S&H and tax; I recommend purchasing more than one figure if you find something else you like mainly because it justifies the S&H costs). I don't recommend searching through eBay for this because these price-gougers are (excuse my language) bat-shit crazy selling these figures with prices ranging from $35 to $65 a piece. Cut out the middle-man and buy it yourself, or if you're lucky enough have another trustworthy collector purchase one for you.


                      Overall, this is just an "okay" figure. We've already been bombarded with leftover Movie Masters figures at mass-market retailers as well as online stores. The $28 price tag by itself is a major turn-off (no surprise there). Also the constant lack of useful accessories continues to hurt this line. What can a collector do with a non-scale clown mask? Why are Joker's hands sculpted as if they're supposed to hold something? Mattel could've included a weapon, a blue duffel bag, even an alternative unmasked Joker head! But nah... Mattel continues to insist upon their ways. I was under the impression that "Movie Masters" was for [serious] collectors (adult collectors), but with these constant stupid accessories, I may have been mistaken.

                      Saturday, October 10, 2009

                      Star Wars Legacy Collection: Princess Leia (Slave Girl Outfit) Review

                      Having been quite the fan of Star Wars (and especially fond of Return of the Jedi) as a kid, I'm really glad to see these updated ROTJ SW figures being released this year. Ever since I started collecting SW figures from 1995 and then on-and-off (I think 2001, 2008-2009) I always hoped for updated versions of many of those old Kenner POTF figures. Thankfully, Kenner has kept not only their ears and eyes open to what the fans desire, but they've also managed to keep lines of communication open to people like us. And I think I speak for most (all of us) that having a re-sculpt of Princess Leia in Slave Outfit is truly a great thing to behold. Who can resist the beautiful Carrie Fisher immortalized in plastic form?

                      Flavor Text:

                      "Princess Leia BD17

                      Made a slave by Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia bides her time as the plan to free Han Solo comes together. The resourceful and courageous princess uses the very chains enslaving her to put an end to Jabba's corrupt reign as the crime lord of Tatooine."

                      The Good:
                      • Princess Leia has 22 points of articulation: ball-jointed head, ball-jointed/swivel shoulders, ball-jointed/swivel elbows, swivel wrists, ball-jointed upper chest, swivel legs, ball-jointed/swivel knees, and ball-jointed/swivel ankles.
                      • The number of detailed accessories makes this figure one of the highlights of this ROTJ (Return of the Jedi) wave: 1x bottom-half portion of Princess Leia sitting down on a cushion (as seen in ROTJ where she is forced to sit next to Jabba the Hutt), 1x staff, 1x "bling" cup, and 1x BAD (Build-A-Droid) torso of R3-M3.
                      • The detail work on Leia is pretty amazing. Although the details of her [sexy] skimpy bra and waist band decoration are minimal, Hasbro's sculptors didn't leave out anything.
                      • Not surprisingly, there are relatively few to none bad paint applications, bleeding, etc.

                      The Bad:
                      • This is really nitpicking, but the facial sculpt barely resembles the beautiful Carrie Fisher. However, the sculpt is far, far better than Kenner's release of Princess Leia as Jabba's Prisoner. Hasbro's version of Leia gives her a far more feminine look.
                      • Although you can't tell from looking at the picture, viewing Princess Leia (in person) her legs look a bit out of proportion to her body (her legs seem to be slightly shorter). Also, her right leg (from the knee down) is crooked. It looks as if Leia is leaning on her right leg, as opposed to balancing her entire body on both legs. *NOTE: Leia is only 3 1/4 inches tall as opposed to the regular 3 3/4 inches tall for most SW figures.*
                      • Leia's cloth skirt is a bit too long. In fact, it's so long that the cloth actually covers her entire feet! Hasbro needs to trim the cloth so that Leia isn't dragging her skirt all over the place.
                      • This isn't really a bad thing, but I wish Hasbro included a long flexible chain that would cling around Leia's neck as opposed to sculpting only a piece of it on her neck. (If you don't know what I mean, look at Kenner's version of Princess Leia as Jabba's Prisoner).
                      • The cup accessory doesn't fit easily into Leia's right hand. Actually I didn't even try to force it in, because I fear that it will alter the tight grip she has on the staff accessory.
                      • If you remove Leia's skirt (guilty as charged), you can see that she suffers like all the Star Wars figures from the "square crotch" area. I hope Hasbro can implement changes for future SW figures to make it more shapely (such as the "V-shape crotch" at least for the female SW characters).
                      • This is another nitpicking observation, but there are at least two inaccuracies regarding the paint scheme of the figure. The first one has to do with Princess Leia's earrings. Hasbro has them painted silver when in fact (in the ROTJ movie) they are gold. Also the skimpy bra straps are supposed to be colored black, not Hasbro's gold-colored ones.
                      • Also, Leia's broken chain is actually supposed to be longer (it's supposed to reach just slightly over her belly button).

                      The Ugly:

                      • If anything, it's the price-tag for these figures.

                      I purchased Princess Leia online via eBay for a total of $22.90 (price includes S&H). At this time, (if they are available) I recommend searching through eBay for these. Most online retailers such as BriansToys and BigBadToyStore* will be selling them for $11.00 (not including S&H). Better yet, I would visit your nearest Walmart or Toysrus (if you have the patience and long for the adventure), which may sell them for $7.00 a piece.

                      *Unfortunately, BigBadToyStore has already sold out their pre-orders for Princess Leia.


                      Overall, Hasbro's Princess Leia (Slave Outfit) is the highlight of the ROTJ Wave from the Legacy Collection. Knowing from previous experience, seeing this figure in stores will be quite rare. If you're a Star Wars collector and manage to see this hanging on the pegs, get it then and there. Don't pass it up because that'll be the last time you'll see it in person. I'm really glad to see Hasbro finally releasing these fan-favorite figures.