Star Wars Legacy Collection: Zuckuss by Hasbro

All in all I’ve been pretty good about keeping my vow to kick collecting Star Wars. In the past couple of years the only Star Wars toys I’ve picked up were the Legacy Millenium Falcon and a set of figures I found clearanced at Ross. This year, I knew I’d be slacking back on that a little bit because of some of the great stuff shown off at Toy Fair. I know I will be picking up most of the vintage carded figures, that marvelous AT-AT (already pre-ordered), and a few other things. So, its probably that sense of impending doom that has made me spend a little more attention to what’s in the Star Wars section of the toy aisles these days. As a result, on my last trip to Toys R Us I spotted Zuckuss on the pegs and decided I needed him. They were doing a “buy one get one half off sale,” so I also picked up another figure too, but we’ll save that one for another time. Among the odds and ends that I kept when I sold off my Star Wars collection were the bounty hunters, so adding an updated Zuckuss to that cadre seemed like a good idea. I should note they also had two really sweet looking Force Unleashed multi-packs. I was really tempted, but maybe next time.

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Since its been a really long time since I last bought a carded Star Wars figure, this is my first experience with the new packaging. Overall, I like it. Its clean, compact and it shows the figure off very well. The position of the character art and name on the package makes it fairly easy to look through the pegs to see who’s hiding. The back panel has a little blurb on the character and a window to see what Build A Droid part you’re getting. My Zuckuss came with a leg for a figure which I am certain I will never, ever complete. Oh yeah, Darth Maul’s mug is stickered on the package. Jesus, does he have to get his picture on everything?

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The last time I owned a figure of this character it was the vintage Kenner release back when he was called 4-LOM (and 4-LOM was called Zuckuss). I remember he was a mail away figure and when I got him I had no idea what role he was going to play in the movie so I played with him as if he was a good guy. Little did I know that not only would he be a villain, but he’d only have about two nano-seconds of screen time. Of course, since then, there’s been a shit load of backstory retconned to this guy in comics and novels and everything else.

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Hasbro has continued to get better and better with many of their Star Wars figure sculpts. Zuckuss here is definitely on par with the quality of figures that were being released in the premium VOTC line several years back. The insectoid head sculpt is excellent and has two hoses that run from his breathing appartus on his backpack. I was delighted to find that I could unplug the backpack as well as the hoses from his face. Actually, I think he might die without that, so I put it back on pretty quickly. His robes are mostly sculpted in plastic, although he does have a softgoods skirt. Yes, that creates a disconnect between the plastic and cloth, but I still dig it as it frees up the leg articulation. I particularly like the fact that this figure represents the character’s short stature.

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The articulation on this little guy is excellent. He has ball joints in the shoulders, elbows and knees. His legs are jointed at the hips and his ankles are hinged. He also has a swivel cut in his waist and his head is ball jointed. For an extra that just stood in the background of a short scene, you can finally let your imagine run wild and make Zuckuss the action star that he was born to be!

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Zuckuss comes with his blaster carbine and… what?? Where’s the stand? I seriously cannot believe that Hasbro stopped putting figure stands in the packages. Obviously, I’ve been away for a while, but this to me is a no brainer. They have the molds made, how much could it cost to stamp those things out? I don’t even care if its personalized. Luckily I have plenty of generic clear disc stands lying around, so Zuckuss need not go standless, but seriously, Hasbro, bring back the stands.

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I’m coming to grips with the fact that collecting Star Wars figures is something that was seeded into me at such a young age and had such a profound effect on my childhood that I will never be free of it. Zuckuss here is a great example of that. He’s little more than window dressing in the movie and yet I love this figure so much. He’s just a badass little bug dude that is ready to pursue his quarry across the universe. What does he do with his all the bounty money he earns? Does he drink fine booze and smoke expensive cigars? Does he buy expensive cars and bug-hookers? I don’t know, but between this little figure and my warped imagination… by god, I’m going to find out!

 

 

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Masters of the Univese Classics: Hordak by Mattel

While I was never a big follower of Filmation’s She-Ra cartoon, I always loved it’s main baddie, Hordak. Even though he had the annoying habit of snorting like a pig and had the silly ability to turn himself into a rocket, there was just something about his overall character design that I always found really cool. His bizarre, creepy head, his majestically sinister outfit, it all made me forget that he was on a less watchable spin-off series commanding a bunch of goofy Snake Mountain rejects. I just kept hoping in vain that one day he would set up shop on Eternia and leave that other show behind.

I didn’t start collecting the Masters Classics figures until the beginning of this year, so like many figures, Hordak had already come and gone. But while I was able to pick up just about all the figures I missed on the secondary market at reasonable prices, Hordak was a little beyond what I was willing to spend. Thankfully Matty has been re-issuing some of these past releases, and this month I was finally able to add this evil bastard to my collection.hdak9

Yep, it’s the same old packaging. The green stone castle motif and MOTU logo really picks at my nostalgia strings. The only real difference here is the Evil Horde sticker that appears on the bubble and “The Original” appearing next to the name, which signifies that this is a re-issue and not really the original. Ahhh… OK. The back panel has a bio and photos of some of the other figures that have been released in the series. As always, its a shame to tear these things open, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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This revamp of Hordak is a really great looking figure on every front. In fact, I’d dare say he’s just about perfect. His head sculpt is brilliant in both design and execution. He’s always looked friggin creepy but this updated sculpt is all the more so. His face isn’t white anymore, but more bone colored. I love the way T4H textured the little bumps into his head and his little boney mohawk. His head rests in a large collar, or cowl, that is connected to his cape. The whole piece can be removed, if you so desire, just by popping off his head, lifting it off, and popping his head back on. This gives Hordak’s head a lot more range of movement, but to me he just doesn’t look as good without the whole evil ensamble.

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The rest of Hordak is just as fantastic, and his unique armor pieces go a long way to make this one of the more unique looking figures in the collection. In fact, the only piece of him that is an overt reuse appears to be the pelvis. His armor pieces are black with embossed, red crests on his chest piece and grieves. The silver trim used on his belt and armor is antiqued to make it look worn, which I think is one of the best paint app effects we’ve seen in the whole line. The whole black, gray, red ensemble really looks amazing together. There is a rather unfortunate little chip in the red crest of my Hordak’s breast plate, but I can live with that. In terms of looking evil, its hard to top a guy with a skull for a face, but Hordak manages to out-evil Skeletor on this outfit alone.

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Hordak comes with a few accessories. First, there’s his staff, which is amazingly well done. The detail work on the sculpting for the head of the staff is really elaborate, featuring a clawed hand holding a sphere with Hordak’s crest on it. Unfortunately, the plastic is a little soft and it has a habit of bending a bit. His crossbow is really cool, with the sculpt and paint job so good, it looks like the bolt is a separate removable piece, even though it isn’t. Finally, there’s his little Imp, which is a nifty little pack-in, although for some reason it has a rather unsightly seam running through his lower body. Couldn’t he just have been molded into one piece?

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There are no surprises in the articulation, as we get exactly what we’ve been getting in all the male characters of the line. The ball joint in the neck is a bit inhibited by the cape/cowl piece, but as mentioned above, you can remove it if you like. Hordak’s arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged elbows and swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists. He swivels at the waist and his legs have universal joints in the hips and have hinged knees and ankles.

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In a line of figures as fantastic as MOTU Classics, it seems like every new figure I get is my new favorite. My expectations on Hordak were pretty high, and I wanted him so bad that I came pretty close to paying Ebay robbery prices. Sure, I’m glad I waited, but even if I had picked him up at twice the price, I still would have been quite happy with him. He’s just all around excellent. Here’s hoping Mattel continues to add more of The Horde to this collection.

*This Feature was re-worked and re-shot on 9/15/15. It originally appeared in a series of articles on Masters of the Universe Classics line.