Star Wars Black: Clone Trooper (Phase I) by Hasbro

The new wave of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars Black has arrived, but those of you expecting all new characters will be disappointed. This new case only adds two new figures to the mix: The Phase I Clone Trooper and Anakin Skywalker with the other two slots in this case occupied by re-releases of the Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. Normally this is where I would get all up in Hasbro’s grill, but reissues of the hard to find Boba Fett and the hotly demanded Stormy were actually a cool move on Hasbro’s part to help get these figures into the hands of collectors. I know I was happy to get another Stormtrooper, even if it meant having to suck down an extra Boba Fett. He’s a great figure and I don’t mind having an extra one boxed. Anyway, today we’re going to check out the Clone Trooper, another army builder that should be in rather high demand.

swbp1clone17

Hasbro has revealed a redesign for the Black packaging, but it won’t come until the next wave so what we get here is the same old stuff. It’s a very simple window box that shows off the figure pretty well and offers very little else. I’ve complained about the lack of artistic flair in much of Hasbro’s current package design, but the 6-inch Black series is the one line that I think suits it pretty well. I’ve gone on record saying that I was going to be very choosey about what prequel figures I buy, but this figure was a no brainer. I like the clones and the Phase I helmet is my favorite of the designs. It was also a no-brainer on Hasbro’s part as they’re now free to unleash an unending tide of repaints onto us.

swbp1clone2

swbp1clone3

swbp1clone4

So before I get to the actual figure, let me say that there are some aspects of the QC here that is pretty disappointing. My Clone has black marks scattered on his left leg and some on his left shoulder. The shoulder marks eventually rubbed off, but the marks on his leg haven’t. I’ve yet to try a Magic Eraser, but these are $20 collector figures Hasbro, I shouldn’t have to be trying to clean them up when I take them new out of the package. I’ll also note here that the hinges on this guy feel pretty mushy and even the finish on the overall plastic feels like I could easily scar it with my thumbnail. Sigh… it looks like Hasbro has been dipping into the economy plastic again.

swbp1clone5

I think the sculpting here looks pretty good. While most of the armor is sculpted as part of the buck, the black paint in the joints gives some credibility that it is indeed a suit of armor. The effect may not be as good as we saw with the Stormtrooper, but it’s passable. Overall the black paint is pretty clean, although the pins for the lower pins for the elbow hinges are right in the middle of the black undersuit and they are left white, which is obviously not optimal, especially for a figure in this larger scale. The paint apps on the helmet are not as crisp and straight as I would prefer and it sure would have been nice if they could have gone with a glossy black for the visor.

swbp1clone9

swbp1clone6

The articulation is satisfying, at least on paper. The arms feature swivel hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps. The legs have ball joints with swivels in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles along with lateral rockers. There’s a pretty generous ball joint in the lower torso and the neck is ball jointed.

swbp1clone10

swbp1clone11

For the most part the jointing works fairly well with the armor. The big exception to that is the shoulder armor, which severely restricts the lateral movement of the arms. There’s absolutely no clearance so once the tops of these plates butt up against the torso armor, that’s as far as they’ll go. So granted, the Stormtrooper had a similar problem and I gave him a pass. But, the first time I tested the range of movement on the Clone Trooper, his left shoulder piece popped off with very little pressure and almost no warning. And no, it’s not meant to do that, so I had to glue it back on. Hasbro has done a much better job getting shoulder plates to work with articulation on some of their recent Marvel Legends. It’s a shame they didn’t do it here as well.

swbp1clone7

swbp1clone8

swbp1clone12

swbp1clone10

swbp1clone13

The Clone Trooper comes with two accessories, both guns. You get a blaster pistol and a rifle. Both are decent sculpts and while the pistol is a tad soft and rubbery, the rifle is surprisingly firm and stiff. Both of his hands are designed to hold weapons, so you can get some nice action poses with him and his little arsenal. It may be a valid complaint that Hasbro didn’t pack a Phase II head into the mix, but I’ll not take issue with it here.

swbp1clone16

One point that I will always come back to when looking at these 6-inch Black figures is whether the new scale is justified. Sure, Hasbro’s goal here is to squeeze more money from collectors by introducing a new format. But from the collectors’ point of view, the larger scale should only be justified because it can produce more detailed sculpts, better articulation, better accessories, and better paint. In short, the figures should be better than the 3 ¾” figures, otherwise why bother? In this case, the Phase I Clone Trooper has been done at least as well, and probably better in the smaller format and with the smaller version, you don’t have to sacrifice his interactivity with ships and vehicles.

swbp1clone1

swbp1clone14

swbp1clone15

Obviously, I’m not blown away or even impressed by this figure. Keep in mind, I’ve got about a dozen figures in this series that I’ve opened so by now I’ve set my expectations on what this line will offer and this Clone just falls short. The black marks on his leg armor are annoying, but not devastating. I may still be able to get them off and even if I can’t, well… Clones get dirty in action. I was, however, hoping for firmer joints and that I wouldn’t be reaching for the glue right after opening him. Is he terrible? No. But, in the end, he’s a decidedly average figure and doesn’t match the quality on display in either of my 6-inch Black Stormtroopers or my Sandtrooper. It’s possible I got a lemon, and yes, given the opportunity I will take a chance on a second one, but all in all I was hoping for better.

Star Wars Black: Clone Sergeant (3 ¾” Scale) by Hasbro

Today, I’m going back to before Christmas when Amazon was selling 3 ¾” Star Wars Black figures for about three bucks a pop. I picked up a bunch and I’ve still got some sitting unopened in my closet. Man, I kind of wish I hadn’t bought these. With the exception of that “Attack of the Clones” Padme, these figures have been pretty damn shitty. Nonetheless, I’m anxious to open the rest of them so I can toss them into my Star Wars figure bin and I’m starting today the Clone Sergeant from “Attack of the Clones.” I can’t show you a packaged shot because the bubbles fell off of the cards inside the shipping box and they were all just rattling around in there. Doesn’t matter. We’ve seen the SWB 3 ¾” packaging here before and I still think its rubbish. Those of you who visit here often may remember that I was not impressed with the Stormtrooper or the Biker Scout from this line, so let’s see if this guy can do any better.

swb334cs1

swb334cs2

The figure seems to reuse the body for the Clone Trooper from a couple years back. That’s a good thing, because I have a bunch of those and I think it’s an excellent figure. The key difference here is just a matter of the green painted stripes to denote his rank. The armor on this one looks just as good and you get the same level of super articulation. With the exception of the shoulder armor inhibiting the arm movement a little bit, the Sergeant here can do pretty much everything I want him to do including crouched firing poses. And thank god those shoulder pieces are there, because if they weren’t we’d probably have the same unpainted hinge problem that we saw on the Stormtrooper and Scout Trooper. On the downside, the plastic feels super rubbery and cheap like it’s a knock-off figure.

swb334cs3

As with the previous Clone Trooper, this figure’s helmet is removable to reveal the stock clone head that Hasbro has been using on these guys for a while now. I know some collectors don’t fancy this feature, but I kind of dig it. I don’t think it compromises the look of the helmet too badly and I like being able to pose them with their helmet in the crook of their arm. Oh yeah, I’ll also take this opportunity to once again express my undying love for the “bucket head” style of clone helmet. I dig it so much I’m still considering picking up the Sideshow figure.

swb334cs6

The quality of Paintwork has been a big issue with these figures and I’m sorry to say that’s still the case here. That’s pretty shameful when you consider that the figure required so little paint and they couldn’t even get that right. From the neck down everything looks good, even the little rank dots on his left breast. There are virtually no problems with the black and the green Sergeant striping all looks great too. Unfortunately, the green paintwork on the helmet is botched terribly on the right hand side.

swb334cs4

swb334cs5

The Sergeant comes with two weapons. You get the standard E-11 style Blaster and you get a rifle. Both of these guns are pretty standard fare, but they’re welcome nonetheless.

swb334cs9

swb334cs10

All in all, this Clone Sergeant is much better than the SWB Stormtrooper and Biker Scout, but the figure still feels like a rushed job. The rubbery plastic and piss-poor paintwork on the helmet tells me that Hasbro doesn’t give a crap about this line and they’re just using it to fill pegs. It also begs the question; why not just repack the older superior figures? Somehow I can’t imagine that they don’t have truckloads of those figures lying around somewhere. Still, considering I just spent a couple of dollars on this one, I think he was well worth it. In fact, had he just been a straight Clone Trooper, I probably would have picked up more and been happy. I also have the Clone Pilot in this assortment and I’ll try to swing back around to him next week.

Star Wars Black: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Prequels) by Hasbro

The third wave of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars Black figures has arrived on my doorstep without much breathing room between this one and the last wave. But then again, this isn’t a complete wave anyway. No, this case consisted of three new figures and the Han Solo from Wave 2. It’s annoying, because my best chance of getting these at a decent price has been to buy them by the case. While I might have a chance of picking up Obi-Wan and Luke at a good price a la carte, I’d have to shell out about $40 online to buy a single of the Stormtrooper. And that means having to suck it up and take the good with the bad. God forbid Hasbro pack two Stormtroopers into the case instead of the extra Han, right? Anyway, let’s kick things off with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

obifnal10

There’s the packaging. I still dig it a lot, but according to what we saw at Toy Fair, the boxes are going to be changing to a new deco in a couple of waves. That’s fine by me because having two types of boxes for the line will aggravate my OCD something fierce and that means I don’t have to save the packaging anymore. The box simply states this is Obi-Wan Kenobi, but as we can see it’s Obi-Wan from the Prequels. Someone better versed in The Star Wars might be able to tell you whether he’s from Episode 2 or Episode 3, but I’m fine just considering him Prequel Obi-Wan. Some may be surprised that I bought him, as I’ve sworn to be really picky with this line and mostly stick to Original Trilogy figures. Nonetheless, one of the few things I liked about the Prequels was the way they portrayed young Obi-Wan so I didn’t mind so much getting him with the case.

obifnal5

obifnal9

The sculpt here is not terrible, but it’s definitely got some issues. The plastic robes look way too bulky, particularly in the waist and shoulders, and the effect is exasperated by the head, which looks tiny by comparison. I get that the robes are supposed to be poofy and flowing, but instead it just makes Obi-Wan look like he needs to drop a few pounds. Interestingly enough, the figure uses some actual softgoods for the robes below the belt. On the one hand, it helps to not restrict the hip articulation, but it also begs the question, why not use this for all the robes? A slimmer buck with this kind of fabric over it might have worked better. Maybe? Well, maybe not, but I doubt it could have looked much worse. I mean, just look at the arms. It’s tough to sculpt arms with droopy sleeves and have them look right in multiple poses. These seem like problems that should have been left behind in the 3 3/4″ line.

obifnal4

The head sculpt taken on its own isn’t too bad. There’s definitely a likeness in the portrait and I would have no problem identifying who it’s supposed to be if someone just handed me the head. The fact that it looks disproportionate to the body is more a problem with the heft of the buck than the size of the head. I think the sculptors did a particularly nice job with the hair and the paint is certainly passable. I’ll concede we’ve seen better head sculpts in this line, but the likeness is the least of this figure’s problems.

obifnal6

obifnal7

The articulation is about right for what we’ve been seeing in this line. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and elbows, while the wrists have swivels and hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and rockers in the ankles. The neck is both ball jointed and hinged and the waist appears to be ball jointed, but really only works as a swivel. The only real issue I have with the articulation are the hips. They have a weird amount of play in them. It’s like their loose, but only to a certain degree. It doesn’t affect the figure’s ability to stand, but it you hold the figure by the torso and shake him they wobble all over the place.

obifnal2

obifnal1

Obi-Wan comes with only one accessory… his lightsaber. As we saw with X-Wing Luke, the blade can be detached and the hilt can be worn on the belt. This time, however, the hilt gets pegged into the hole on Obi-Wan’s belt and it fits quite nicely. I wish Hasbro had gone this route with Luke’s lightsabers, rather than using the hook, as this method holds the hilt more securely and looks better. But with just the one lightsaber, this figure feels really light in the accessories department. A softgoods cloak would have gone a long way to round out the package. Hell, we used to get those with the 3 ¾” Vintage Collection Jedi. Actually, screw that, we got a softgoods cloak for Jedi Luke… from Kenner… in the 80s! And if not a cloak, then how about some bits of Clone armor? Anything to help justify the $20 would have been nice.

obifnal8

For a line that has impressed me very nearly consistently from day one, Obi-Wan is certainly a disappointing release. The goal of the 6-inch Black series should be to give us superior sculpts and articulation, but I honestly think young Obi-Wan has been done better in the smaller scales. The real shame here is that I’m pretty sure we’ll see this buck again and again. I’m sure Hasbro is already fitting it for a Mace Windu head. It’s ironic, but in the end I feel worse about having to choke down this figure in this wave than I do picking up a second Han. At least the Han figure is excellent and I can display him with his different belt, hands, and weapon. The same can’t be said for Obi-Meh-Kenobi.

Star Wars Black: Padme Amidala (3 ¾” Scale) by Hasbro

I know what you’re thinking. “What? More of those shitty little Star Wars Black figures? Why don’t you review the 6-inch figures, you sonofabitch?” Woah, there! I promise that this is the last of the 3 ¾” Black figures that I’m going to look at before moving on to cover Wave 2 of the 6-inchers. The name of the game this week has been doing quick features that I can squeeze in between my busy schedule. I’ve been intentionally putting the 6-inch Black figures off until January so that I could give them their proper due once things have calmed down for me. I’ve already featured two of these 3 ¾” figures and it’s safe to say that the line has not been kind to me, nor I to it. Let’s see if Natalie Portman can turn the tides!

swb375padme1

There’s the SWB 3 ¾” card and I’m still not digging it. I will say that at least this figure’s bubble hasn’t prematurely separated from the card, so that’s something. Contained within the miraculously still attached bubble is Padme Amidala in her strategically torn clothing from Thor: The Dark World “Attack of the Clones.” Hey, Hasbro, if you’re going to do an update to an Amidala figure you certainly picked the right one. Although if you do another, you might want to release her in that little black outfit from that scene where she’s telling Anakin she’s a Senator with only business on her mind while wearing an S&M inspired negligee. Anyway, I tend to think of this release as “Arena Battle Padme” and I’m pretty sure the last time this version was done was way back as part of the original AotC series and that’s when Hasbro was incorporating a lot of pre-posed sculpts and action gimmicks, which meant that the figures often sucked.

334padme1

No action gimmicks here! In fact… I’m almost shocked to say it, but… holy crap this is actually a really nice figure. No, strike that… this is an EXCELLENT figure! The detail in the outfit is fantastic, right down to the little sculpted piping in the top and the leggings. The boots are intricately detailed, her belt features some little pouches and a working holster and even her bicep rings are neatly painted. Now this is how to properly do a figure in 2013, Hasbro!

334padme2

Flip her around and she has some rather gruesome scratches across her back as well as tears in her top from one of those arena creatures. The scars are not only part of the sculpt, but also painted in with laser precision. Honestly, I could have done without them, as they are rather gross and off-putting, but I can’t help but respect how beautifully they were executed. Hasbro also did a pretty nice job sculpting Ms. Portman’s derriere. I’ll confess, I’ve grown a new appreciation for her butt after seeing “Your Hignesss.”

334padme4

The portrait is also quite good for a 3 ¾” sculpt. I’d definitely say this figure features a better likeness to Ms. Portman than Diamond’s recent Marvel Select version from their Thor 2 line (Woof!), and that’s a twenty dollar 6-inch scale collector piece. The likeness here is just superb and the paintwork on the face is crisp and clean!

334padme3

334padme5

The articulation here is pretty good, with the only thing holding it back being the T-crotch for the hips. Proper ball jointed hips would have really made this figure perfect and the old style jointing feels dated alongside the rest of the figure’s articulation. The legs feature ball joints in the knees and ankles. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders and elbows and swivels in the wrists. Padme has a ball joint in the torso, which is cleverly hidden under her torn shirt, and her head is ball jointed. Not bad!

334padme6

334padme7

334padme8

Padme comes with two weapons. You get her Naboo-style blaster, which fits comfortably in her hip holster. You also get a larger blaster rifle, which I believe is one she salvaged from a downed Battle Droid, but I could be wrong about that. “AotC” is not exactly one of my “go-to” movies and it’s been ages since I’ve seen it. Her right hand is sculpted to hold the pistol and her left to hold the larger blaster, but I’ve been able to make it work the other way around as well.

334padme9

334padme11

334padme10

After doing two Star Wars Black features with two shitty re-hashes of figures that have been done so much better, it’s refreshing to finally hit a payoff here. Padme is a superb figure and an updated version of the character that was long overdue.  I’d go so far as to say she’s one of the best Star Wars figures I’ve picked up in a while. I got her for $5 during Amazon’s sale, but I would have been perfectly happy laying down ten bucks for this kind of quality. This is a figure that would have been right at home released alongside the other Vintage Collection figures. I believe she was planned for another line that was to coincide with the aborted theatrical re-release of “Attack of the Clones” in 3D and if that’s the case I’m very happy that Hasbro eventually got her to the pegs because she’s a must-have for any collection.

 

Star Wars Unleashed: Clone Trooper by Hasbro

I had a lot of fun looking at those two Target Exclusive Star Wars Unleashed statues, so I thought I’d trot out the only other one that I still have in my collection. It’s the Clone Trooper from Attack of the Clones. I’ll confess, it may seem like an odd one for me to have kept, considering how many of the far more iconic ones that I sold off during The Great Star Wars Collection Purge. But just taking this statue off my shelf, I can instantly see why I kept it. It’s brilliant. Ok, granted, I’m guessing the real reason was because it wasn’t worth much in resale value, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s brilliant.

DSC_0404_zps3fd86696

I’ll throw some recognition to “Unknown Completed Ebay Auction” for providing me with an in-package shot. Mine has been loose since the day I got it. Usually, I’m fine with skipping the in-package shot if I don’t have one, but in this case I just wanted to show off how these statues were originally released when not in those snazzy Target or Walmart Exclusive drums. The presentation is far more functional, and the statues were packaged off their base, but it is damn impressive that Hasbro was able to get these things into a carded package. Granted, it was a very heavy carded package with a very big bubble. Nonetheless, between the artwork and the actual statue, the packages just screamed excitement!  

DSCN0917

Once again, Hasbro blows me away with the design here. Anyone can do a statue, but to create a scene with this much energy and feeling is impressive. Here we have one clone buggering on among the mud and misery, and with a less fortunate fallen comrade at his feet. It’s a classic war scene, which just happens to be clones from Star Wars, but it could have just as easily been depicting any real war with real soldiers. In the end, I think that’s what I love so much about this piece.

DSCN0920

I’m not a huge fan of Attack of the Clones, but I do love that phase of clone armor far better than the designs used for Revenge of the Sith. Part of it is because it’s more Mandalorian and less Stormtrooper, but in the end I think it comes down to the more pronounced fin on top… that’s just fab! I do prefer the all-white look, but I can live with the fact that one of these guys has some red unit paint.

DSCN0919

The sculpt on the advancing trooper is fairly simple, maybe a little soft, but it works and all the important details are here. His pose is excellent, as it looks like he’s just reached the top of a hill and he’s about to continue the charge against the damnable clankers. His weapon is unfortunately pretty soft plastic, and mine has warped a bit over time. I can get it to straighten out pretty well, but eventually it will return to a slightly curved position. And again, I’m talking about the gun here… on the statue.

DSCN0918

Of all the Unleashed Statues I owned, this one features the most impressive base, because it’s like getting an extra figure in the statue. The rock is sculpted and painted particularly nicely, but it’s the fallen clone that makes this base work so well. The rag doll manner in which his limbs are splayed out around him is pretty gruesome and he’s got a couple of laser blasts painted onto his chest plate. The only thing here that doesn’t look so hot is the shattered glass on his visor. It looks more like spider-webs than broken glass.

DSCN0921

The paintwork is probably the least impressive thing about this piece, only because of the dirt wash over the legs. It’s rather heavy handed and similar to that hokey spray effect Hasbro loved to use during the POTF2 period. I think it’s passable here, just because it matches the rock base fairly well, but it’s one of those things that definitely reminds me that this is a very low end statue. Apart from that there’s not a lot of paintwork here, just the red striping and black parts of the armor.

DSCN0922

Even during the times when I had all the remnants of my Star Wars collection put away, this statue has had a place on display somewhere. It’s just one of those pieces that I can put on a shelf or end table and it doesn’t require companion pieces or any explanation as to why it’s there. It’s just a great looking statue that I can acknowledge as such, and I don’t have to apologize for it because it’s from those Prequels. The sculpt and paint are decidedly average, but it’s the design of this piece that I appreciate the most. Just looking at it makes me want to start hunting down some of the Unleashed Statues that I let go. But right now I’m resisting. For once I start down that dark path, forever will it dominate my destiny.   

Star Wars Vintage Collection: Zam Wesell by Hasbro

I haven’t looked at a lot of Hasbro’s Vintage Collection Star Wars figures here, mainly because I can’t find any of the ones I want on the pegs and I’m not prepared to buy a whole case of them online. The pegs around my parts are clogged with the Prequel figures and while I was happy to get General Grievous carded this way as a curiosity, I don’t have a lot of interest in many of the other Prequel figures. Nonetheless, a good friend of mine knowing I was fond of the Zam Wesell character (or at least what she looked like), sent me along the loose figure, so I thought I’d check her out here.

It’s true I really liked the design of this character, although I like to forget that she was some kind of shapeshifting lizard. Besides the fact that she was one of the few chick bounty hunters in Star Wars, I liked the way she looked a bit like she was plucked out of a Sergio Leone film. The long duster and the rifle definitely have that Old West vibe going on. I’ve owned two of the previous incarnations (Preview and Saga), both of which were really well sculpted, but both suffered from some annoying pre-posing and poor articulation. I’m happy to say that this Vintage Collection version makes up for all the past sins and offers up what is likely to be the definitive figure of this character, at least as far as I’m concerned. Like I said, I don’t have the packaging, but chances are you won’t have a problem seeing what her card looks like if the Prequel figures are selling as poorly in your area as they are in mine. Just go down to Target or Walmart and check it out!

Zam’s outfit is very nicely detailed, especially whatever the hell those tubes are on the front of her chest. The belt is sculpted from soft plastic and includes a working holster for her pistol. Her duster is soft plastic, and while it doesn’t really get in the way of her articulation, she can’t really sit down with it. The human head sculpt won’t win any awards for its resemblance to the actress in Attack of the Clones, but at least it ain’t a f’ugly sculpt, as Hasbro is known to turn out some bad looking lady figures in this scale. Zam isn’t one of them, that is unless you slap on her lizard head. I guess the sculpting is ok, but it looks really stupid on top of her flesh tone neck. One other cool thing about Zam, both of her hands are sculpted to hold her weapons.

Zam’s articulation includes a ball jointed neck, ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles and regular rotating hip joints. She also has that universal joint in her torso. Yeah, we’ve seen better articulation in this scale, but only by a few points so Zam has nothing to be ashamed of in this department and you can certainly get some great poses out of her.

Zam comes with a nice little selection of weapons and accessories. Her weapons include a blaster pistol that fits into her holster and her sniper rifle. The paintwork on the rifle is particularly impressive for such a thin and fragile accessory. Her helmet is removable and works with the other three accessories. You get the visor thingy, the face mask that goes across her face and another sculpted version of it that just hangs off of one side. All of these pieces just peg right into the holes on either side of her helmet and stay in place pretty well.

I think Zam is a fair enough argument for putting some Prequel figures out in the Vintage Collection. The fake retconned packaging doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest, but in this case the figure inside is fantastic, so who am I to argue with the packaging. You can take it or leave it, and at $7.99, it’s not like we’re really paying extra for the packaging anyway. Plus, I don’t feel compelled to buy two of her and keep one carded like I’ve been doing with most of the Original Trilogy figures in this line.