Transformers Unleashed: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

In the last month or so, I’ve checked a few of Hasbro’s very cool Star Wars Unleashed statues. Hasbro had a good thing going on with this line and in an effort to make lightning strike twice, they tried the same thing with Transformers. The difference? The Star Wars statues seemed like a genuine attempt to bring attractive display pieces to collectors on a budget. The Transformers statues seemed more like a quick and dirty cash grab amidst a sea of other movie related merchandise. I should be able to wrap this one up mighty quick and we can all go on with our business.


I don’t have the packaging for this wonderful object d’art any longer, but I seem to recall it coming in some sort of window box. I also need not confess to actually buying it, as it was a present from the former Mrs. FigureFan. I’m tempted to say it was well-intentioned, but unfortunately she turned out to be quite a vindictive headcase, so it could have just as easily been gifted out of spite. Anyway, the idea here is that in the true nature of the Transformers, this is actually two-Two-TWO statues in one! On one side, it’s Prime in his truck mode, but turn it around and there he is in his robot mode. You see? It’s like a Transfromer but it’s a statue!


The alt mode portion of the statue depicts Prime in his movie truck form, launching himself off a cliff against a backdrop of terrible looking translucent plastic flames. The cliff looks like it’s carved out of chocolate and there’s a huge Autobot insignia sculpted into the side. Only part of the truck is actually here because it’s partly obscured in the so-called fire. I never minded Prime being an extended front cab, but I was never a fan of this coloring. There’s way too much blue, and this statue seems to add even more. Apart from that, there are some stray splotches of paint. All in all, this looks Ok, I guess, but it’s nothing spectacular. Maybe the flipside will be better?



Nah, not really. The pose isn’t bad. Prime is bent down on one knee with a fist held out in defiance and his other arm converted into his gun. Giving Prime an arm that converts into a gun never seemed right to me. It just doesn’t fit the character. But then again, before Revenge of the Fallen I wasn’t used to seeing my childhood hero rip people’s faces off either, so I guess I need to get with the times. Either way, the statue is just being faithful to the source material, so I can’t blame it for that. In fairness, there’s a lot of sculpted detail on this guy, but it’s still not enough to effectively convey the crazy complex “bag of scissors” aesthetic of the Bayformer designs. There’s also way too much bland grey plastic here and not enough painted detail. The head is pretty unspectacular as well. The sculpt is really soft and you can’t really even see his eyes.


It’s hard to put my finger on exactly where Hasbro went wrong with this piece. Sure, aesthetically this is far from my favorite version of Prime, but I was still able to appreciate his Leader Class movie toys. Ultimately, I think most of the blame lies in the super soft sculpt not being able to capture the intricate design. Had this been a statue of old school G1 Sunbow Prime, I think it could have been spectacular. In concept, the whole turnaround gimmick showing off both modes may not have been inherently bad, but the execution just doesn’t result in a piece that I’m all that keen on displaying. And so, Prime here resides on the tip top shelf of display case in the corner. Mostly out of sight and out of mind.

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.


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!  


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 Unleashed: General Grievous (Target Exclusive) by Hasbro

Last week I promised I’d check out the other 2006 Target Exclusive Unleashed statue from Hasbro, and so here we are. As with Boba Fett, this statue was originally released carded as part of the regular Unleashed line, but it got a special repackaged re-issue for Christmas. Neither of them sold well in my area and soon Target had an entire endcap full of them at ridiculously low clearance prices.


The packaging is the same as what we saw last time. You get a big drum with a vintage style deco. It displays the statue very nicely and even has windows on the top to let light in. The inner backdrop of the drom features a really nice illustration and the outer back of the drum has a blurb about Grievous. I’ve done my fair share of shitting on the Prequels, but I’ll concede that there were some cool ideas at work and I always thought Grievous was one of them. He was certainly a more formidable presence than Darth Maul and whoever the hell the main bad guy was in Attack of the Clones. I think it was a fat bug guy, or Jango Fett, or the Trade Federation guys, or maybe Dooku or Palpatine… whoever it was they weren’t as cool as Grievous. I like this guy.


What I didn’t like was how difficult it was to get Grievous out of his drum. Boba’s tray lifted right out, but Grievous’ seemed to be affixed to the bottom of the drum. I had to go in with clippers and cut the twisty-ties. It took some effort, but I managed to get him out unscathed.


At first glance, Grievous doesn’t shock and awe as much as the Boba Fett statue. Maybe that’s because Boba’s more iconic to me, but that one just seemed like a far beefier and more majestic piece than this one. But the more I examine Grievous here, the more I can appreciate what Hasbro did. For starters, this is about as dynamic as you can get from a static piece. Grievous is hanging off the side of what appears to be a bulkhead and he’s poised to lunge at you like a rabid Dalmatian on crack. His four arms are deployed, two wielding lightsabers, one wielding a blaster, and the last holding on to some rails. His talon-like feet peg into the wall piece and the statue balances itself amazingly well for not having a proper horizontal base. This statue’s pose just oozes energy and excitement.


The sculpting on Grievous is adequate, but a lot softer than what we got for Boba. You can see some detail in the grey inner-workings of Grievous’ cybernetic limbs. The white armor plating is supposed to be mostly smooth and without a lot of detail. There are a few cracks sculpted into the armor here and there, but again they’re rather soft and not terribly striking. A lot of the really good detail that’s present is sculpted into the wall. It’s also worth mentioning that Grievous’ thin limbs really betray the quality of plastic. His arms are very bendy and I doubt this guy would survive well in storage without getting all warped.


While the sculpt is ok, I think it’s the paintwork that fails this statue the most. The bulk of Grievous is cast in grey plastic, so most of what needed to be done was just paint the armor white. There are a fair number of brush strokes evident on the armor. That’s ok, I can let that slide as it tends to just look like weathering or possibly even what the paint would look like on the actual armor. There’s also a little variation between some of the armor that’s cast in a matte white plastic and the glossier paint used on other parts. But what’s more troubling is the slop. Granted, you need to get in pretty close to see it, but once you do, there’s an awful lot of it. The metallic green also seemed like a strange choice for the chest area.


It may sound like I have a lot of gripes about Grievous, but the truth is, even with some flubs, this is still a pretty sweet display piece. When you consider he came off a retail shelf and was priced at about $20, I can be a lot more forgiving. If anything the exciting design of the pose makes up for the little technical gaffs, and I have to admit I would love to see this piece duplicated in a higher end statue. In fact, I’d go so far to say that I think the boys at Hasbro did a much better job with the design and pose on this statue than Sideshow did with their tribute to The General. If you’re a fan of the G-Man and you don’t want to blow the budget to represent him on your shelf, you can do a lot worse than tracking down one of these.

Star Wars Unleashed: Boba Fett (Target Exclusive) by Hasbro

I’m mostly up to date on my new receivings and that means I can start digging into some Toy Closet Finds for the next couple of weeks. It’s something I should have been doing all along, but sometimes I do get caught up trying to be topical by featuring new releases. Anyway, today we’re going to check out one of Hasbro’s Star Wars Unleashed series. I loved the idea of bringing affordable collectible statues to mass market retail, and so naturally I was a big fan of this line, at least I was before it became all about miniatures. I owned quite a few of these statues at one point, but most of them were sold off in my Great Star Wars Purge of 2008.  We’ll start out with the man himself, Boba Fett.


This is the Target Exclusive version of the statue, which was offered around Christmas of 2006. Originally, these statues came carded and required some assembly, but Walmart and Target secured the rights to reissue four of the statues fully assembled and in these super cool plastic drums. If memory serves, Walmart got Jedi Luke and Darth Vader from their showdown in Return of the Jedi, whereas Target got Boba here and General Grievous. Shortly after they came out, Target had an entire endcap of these guys and they were clearance down to about $6.98. How could I resist?


The presentation here is crazy awesome. It’s not the most storage friendly package, as it’s really easy to get dings or creases in the plastic. I attribute mine surviving to the fact that it’s sat up on a shelf and has been virtually untouched since the day I bought it. The drum is graced with a very vintage style deco and it offers a nice look at the statue inside. The package deco is only marred by the giant “Only at Target” emblem, which is unfortunately not something that can be removed. The back of the drum has a blurb about The Fett and the inside has a really nice piece of artwork designed as a backdrop for the statue. Hasbro went out of their way to make this statue fully displayable in the package, but you really can’t get all the nuances of this great piece without removing him. The drum is collector friendly and you can lift the statue out and clip away the heavy twisty ties, which secure him to the plastic tray.



By God, this statue is awesome! Granted, it’s a far cry from being true to Boba’s final moments, screaming like a girl as a blind man pushed him into the maw of a giant sand-vagina-monster, but then Unleashed was always about putting Star Wars characters into outlandishly stupendous poses. What we have here is more like a statue of Fett’s demise as commissioned by his Fan Club. He’s depicted going down fighting in a blaze of glory, jetpack firing on full power and rifle blasting away into the Sarlaac with defiance. It is, nonetheless, a majestic display and the pose perfectly conveys a ridiculous amount of energy and excitement for a static piece.


The detail on Fett himself is striking. There’s subtle texture work over every part of his jumpsuit, right down to the stitching, and even some distressed areas. The armor is recreated with all the familiar dings and dents, and there are even a few extra nicks and scratches on his chest plate that aren’t familiar to me. Even his sash, while blown a bit out of proportion for dramatic effect, is fully textured and features fraying at the edges and some holes. Hasbro obviously designed this piece to stand up under close scrutiny and it does that well.


As great as the sculpt is, the paintwork also rises to the occasion. Besides recreating all the familiar green and ochre of Fett’s armor, it’s the distressing that impresses me the most. The rubbed steel is present on the jetpack and the various gashes and dings on his armor are all painted in silver. Yes, some of the silver paint is a little heavy handed, but I don’t it’s enough to detractfrom the overall aesthetic.


About the only place this statue falters is in the base. The Sarlaac tentacles are excellent, and positioned very well with one wrapped around his leg and the other two snaking up for a better grasp. Even, the clear orange plastic used for the blast from the jetpack works wonderfully to hold Fett aloft. No, the problem I have with the base is the Sarlaac itself. Sure, it’s undersized but that doesn’t bother me. What does is the way the orange plastic from the blast fills it up and makes it look like some kind of gelatin desert… with teeth.

While this piece has a nice heft to it, you statue collectors out there may find the plastic a bit wanting in some areas. There’s still some unfortunate bendy quality going on in a few places. Many Unleashed statues were notorious for this and at least a couple of mine didn’t survive storage because of warping plastic. Indeed, the rocket on Fett’s jetpack seems to warp a bit to the side and only a little bit, but otherwise, this is a nice solid hunk of plastic.


A lot of Star Wars Unleashed statues have come and gone out of my collection, but this one has always been one of my favorites. Once again, I really applaud Hasbro’s development of the entire Unleashed line, and looking at this piece it’s hard to believe that it was sold off the shelf of a big box toy retailer and for around twenty bucks. Sure, we aren’t talking about Gentle Giant of Sideshow here, but this statue is an excellent piece of work and for the price, it just couldn’t be beat. At some point next week, I’ll swing around and check out the Unleashed version of General Grievous and see how he stacks up.