As promised, let’s take a gander at the Skiff Guards, Klaatu, Barada and Nikto. If your sci-fi chops don’t extend beyond Star Wars, then you are missing the in joke that “Klaatu Barada Nikto” was a phrase from the 1951 classic “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” Klaatu was the alien visitor’s name and the entirety of the phrase kept Gort from going apeshit and destroying the world. In a nice little nod back to the film, the phrase was also used in “Army of Darkness” as an incantation to safely recover The Necronomicon. Of course, for our purposes here, these are the names given to three of Jabba’s pirate-like cronies, which happen to make up the figures in this Cinema Scene 3-pack.
The first time I owned two of these characters in figure form was as a kid when my parents got me the Jabba’s Dungeon playset. It was a remold of the far more fun Droid Factory playset. As the name suggests, Jabba’s Dungeon was basically a place where kids could torture their cute and innocent droid figures. It even came with a branding iron on the end of the crane! The playset itself was pretty useless, but I loved it because it came with two of the Skiff Guards, Klaatu and Nikto, and one of Jabba’s torture droids, 8D8. The playset was also available with three different figures: Barada (the other Skiff Guard), Amanaman, and EV-9D9. Alas, splitting up the guards like that meant that I never did have Barada as a kid. [Sorry for all the rambling, folks. Star Wars toys hold a shit-ton of nostalgia for me. This is another reason why I haven’t done a lot of Star Wars content! –FF]
Here are the guys in all their packaged glory. Hasbro’s Cinema Scenes were a really great marketing idea. As the name suggests, you get three figures from a scene in the movie, packaged against a backdrop to make a little in-package diorama. You also got a plastic figure stand, with a slot so you could clip out the backdrop and slide it into the stand to display your figures. Like most POTF2 figures, nowadays you can get these sets for next to nothing, and I still have a lot of them still in the package. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve ever opened one! The first thing I learned is to have clippers ready, because the figures are secured with a diabolical network of twist-ties around their feet and torsos. Sadly, by securing the figures to the display backdrop, it means there are some unsightly holes in it. Fortunately, the figures stand right in front of them, so they aren’t all that obvious.
I like Barada the least of the trio. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have him as a kid and I’m not as nostalgic toward him. But, I’d like to think it’s more about his sculpt and paintwork. The paintwork on his face, hands, bandanna, and belt are all god-awful. It looks like Hasbro tried to get clever by using some kind of wash, but if that’s the case, it was a failed experiment. And why the hell is he wearing Han Solo’s pants? He does have a nice jaunty, swashbuckler shirt and some cool gear sculpted onto him. He also comes with a kick-ass blaster. God, I loved the POTF2 weapons. They were so big and elaborate and I’ve since loaned a lot of them out to my army of 5-inch Character Options Sontarans.
Next up is Nikto, which is a pretty solid figure. The head sculpt is nice, complete with head wrap, and features some pretty good paintwork, as all his little horn thingies are painted black. He’s got quilted vest and nice silver arm bracers. I especially like the fact that his arms are sculpted to hold his vibro-axe across his chest, much like Weequay.
Of all three figures, Klaatu is the one that most resembles his original vintage counterpart. The outfit is almost exactly the same. It’s just a ruffled white jumpsuit with a cross-checked skirt and a little armor reinforcement to his right shoulder and neck. The head sculpt is especially detailed and I really like his skull cap. Klaatu can hold his vibro-axe in either hand. Of course, Klaatu was also released carded as a much snazzier figure, complete with a fuzzy loin cloth. I think that one is still my favorite.
Ah, but wait. I’m still going to want a Weequay to add to the display, so let’s dig him out of the tote and tear him open too.
I feel sorry for collectors trying to keep track of packaged POTF2 figures because there are just so many different states out there. You’ve got your orange cards, your green cards, your Freeze Frames… and when all is said and done you can still go to your average flea market and pick them out of a bin for a couple bucks each. Well, this Weequay came on a green card and has a snazzy and shimmery photo of him beside the bubble. The package identifies him as “Skiff Guard” but I could have sworn he was once “Skiff Master.” Oh, I forgot, Weequay is a race and not a dude. Yeah, as a kid, I thought Weequay was the guy’s name. The package also points out that he comes with a Force Pike and a Blaster. Oh, shit, I’ve been calling those things vibro-axes. My bad. Too much Knights of the Old Republic, I guess.
Weequay is the man! He was a favorite figure of mine back in the ROTJ heyday. Why? I have no idea, but my Star Wars addled adolescent mind raised him to the unsubstantiated coolness factor of Boba Fettic proportions. In my mind he survived the battle on Tatooine stole himself a fricken Tie Fighter and pursued Han and Luke across the galaxy looking for revenge. Yeah, try to top that nonsense! Unless you write for Marvel Comics, you can’t!
The POTF2 version of Weequay has actually changed very little from his vintage figure days. He’s a tad more pre-posed here, and there’s a little more detail in his ponytail, but his outfit hasn’t changed much at all and his arms are still molded to hold his vibro-axe force pike across his chest so he can use it to bump fools onto the gangplank. He also has some paint-spray dirt around the bottoms of his trousers. In addition to his force pike, Weequay comes with a blaster. He can hold it, but because his arms are designed specifically to hold his other weapon, he can’t really wield it very well. Still, an extra blaster! Who’s going to complain about that? Not me! I basically adore this figure, probably more than anyone should adore any POTF2 figure. It captures all the right points of the original vintage release.
Oh yeah, all of the figures today have the same six points of articulation. The heads turn, the arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs rotate at the hips, and they swivel at the waist. That’s a whole point more than the vintage figures had!
I’m perfectly happy with this entourage of figures for my Skiff display, but I’d be lying if I’m not tempted to pick up a vintage set and maybe even the current molds from Hasbro’s Vintage Collection. See? It’s spreading. The darkness is spreading. No… I will not again embrace the Star Wars collecting addiction. I’m going to go get me some methadone and I’ll be back tomorrow to check out the Skiff.