Now that I’m getting caught up with some of my new receivings, I’m finally able to go back and start opening some of the figures that I picked up in the sales during Christmas. Since we’re between waves in the 6-inch Black line, I’ll be taking the opportunity over the next three or four weeks to get caught up on some of the 3 ¾” Black figures that remain stacked in the corner. I’m kicking it off with Mara Jade, because I really like her character and I was rather excited to get this figure. While most of my favorite Expanded Universe characters come from the Knights of the Old Republic era, Mara is my favorite contemporary EU character right beside Admiral Thrawn. I believe she was last released in a comic two-pack, but I never did find it on the pegs, so this will be my first and only Mara figure since the POTF2 release. Oh yeah, also it’s Friday and I’ve started drinking early. So, fair warning has been issued. Weeee!
I still haven’t warmed up to the use of the minimalist black deco on these regular carded packages and I don’t think I ever will. Then again after the majesty of the Vintage Collection, it’s hard for me to imagine Hasbro ever releasing a new and acceptable carded design. Even still, these cards look dull and show off fingerprints and scuffing. Also, the bubbles seem to have trouble sticking to them. It’s fun to go to the toy aisle at Target and see the empty cards hanging on the pegs and all the detatched bubbled figures in a pile on the shelf. Ah well. I think it’s all but accepted that this is line is a band aid to keep the pegs full until the toys from the new movie or TV series come out. I’ve got nothing else to say, so let’s rip her open and check her out. I don’t often start with the figure’s portrait, but in this case I really have to, because… this.
Um, yeah. Obviously, someone at Hasbro is a big Peggy Bundy fan because Mara’s mountain of red hair is the spitting image of Katy Segal’s uber-teased hairdo from Married with Children. Folks, I just made a Married with Children reference in a Star Wars figure review. I think it’s time to close up shop and go home. Alas, I’m already home, so I’ll press on. Where was I? Oh yeah, hey Mara, Lion-O called and he wants his hair back. Ok, seriously, I got it all out of my system now. Suffice it to say that the sculpted hair on this figure is ridiculous and Hasbro would have been far better off just recycling one of the heads off of an Avengers Black Widow figure. We’ll see how that looks before I wrap up. The sad thing is the rest of the head sculpt is actually pretty good. It’s like the sculptor kept sending it up to some supervisor for approval and that supervisor would then snort an entire line of cocaine and proclaim, “More hair, damn you! It needs more hair!!!!” before going back to writing a PowerPoint presentation about how kids don’t really want a lot of articulation in their action figures.
The sad thing about this figure is that once you move below the neck, what’s here is quite good. Granted, Mara is a chick in a black body suit, so it’s not like there was a lot of intricate sculpting and paintwork to be done. That didn’t stop Hasbro from including some nice little details like sculpting and painting the straps that hold on her shin guards. Plus, the body here is well proportioned and very nicely articulated. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, and in the torso. The wrists also have swivels. The only letdown here are the hips, which use a standard T-crotch and seems a tad primitive amidst all these ball joints.
The most notable detail on the figure is the smuggler’s style belt that accommodates her accessories. You get a working holster for her pistol, which can be pegged onto her right thigh or behind her. Functional holsters are cool enough when used in this scale, but I don’t recall any figure ever having one with multiple attachment options. You also get a peg hole on the front to hold her lightsaber hilt and Mara comes with an additional lightsaber with the blade permanently lit. I’m a big fan of getting the lightsabers this way, rather than with a removable blade that will inevitably break.
So how about that quick fix? It is indeed possible to slap the ScarJo Avengers Black Widow head on Mara. It’s not a perfect fit, as the ball joint on Mara is considerably larger than Widow’s. I was, however, able to make the swap without any additional shaving. The skin tone doesn’t match and she has a bit of a giraffe neck going on, but I still like it better than the Peggy Bundy head. I’ll also confess to having a little nerdgasm at seeing a ScarJo Mara Jade. I assumed the more recent “Avengers Assemble” Widow’s head would work too, since both Widows use the same body, but that head wouldn’t go on without shaving the ball joint and I’m not really prepared to do that.
So, Mara turned out to be quite a disappointment unless I want to have a headless Black Widow. It’s no secret that most of the 3 ¾” SWB figures I’ve looked at have been pretty poor repacks. It’s sad, but not a big deal since I got most of those for under $5 each.I Mara here set me back a full tenner and I was hoping she’d fall in line with the excellent Padme Amidala figure. Alas, that really isn’t the case. It’s a shame that Hasbro produced such a nice figure only to fail so miserably with the 80’s rock band head. Still, if I ever want to have a figure to stand in for one of the Wilson sisters and go on tour with Heart, Mara’s certainly going to be that girl.
Sometimes I wonder what’s in the sculptors’ mind. There’re things that are really obvious to everyone except for them and the QC of the toy companies.
Anyway, a nice figure below the neck. Great review!