Star Wars Vintage Collection: General Grievous by Hasbro

I swore to myself I wasn’t going to buy any Vintage Collection figures based on the prequels and yet here we are. I really thought this was a stupid idea on Hasbro’s part to take such a great concept as the VC and sully it by shoehorning the prequel figures into retconned packaging. I still think it is. Nonetheless, I really wanted to own this Grievous figure as it looked simply amazing and leaps and bounds better than the old Grievous figure that I had in my collection. “So, who cares about the packaging anyway?”, says I to myself, “I’m just buying it for the figure.” And yet before I got to the register, I convinced myself that the packaging looked so damn good, I needed an extra to leave carded and pop into a clamshell. Kudos, Hasbro, you have defeated me again!

So, yeah. The original concept here was to give fans awesome figures based on vintage originals and mount them on the same cards as the old ones. Obviously we’re straying here, since the prequel figures aren’t vintage and they were never issued on this style cardback. Part of me wants to see this whole operation as part of Lucas’ plan to make us think that characters like Grievous were already part of the master plan when he sat down to pen the original Star Wars. Then the more rational part of me says, “just shut up and enjoy the damn toys.” And I certainly can’t argue with results. The card looks awesome. The figure looks awesome. The figure on the card looks awesome. Of course, these no longer come in clamshells, but Hasbro has conveniently provided us the opportunity to buy them online. The back panel of the card still shows Grievous in his original Revenge of the Sith packaging to compare it with the new stuff.

I’ll lay my tortured opinionw about the prequel films aside and say that General Grievous was my favorite character from the newer films. When I purged all the prequel stuff out of my collection a few years back, I still kept Grievous, although now I can pretty much discard them all, since this new figure is absolutely fantastic and skunks all the previous Grievouses in every possible way. Keep in mind, I’m not saying this figure is perfect, as there are still a few unfortunate elements at work here, but it is an outstanding figure. All of his armor plates are cast in soft plastic, so you can bend his chest plates out to reveal his chest. His armor also has a nice brushed finish to give it a realistic bone look.

The real softgoods cape is an excellent addition to the figure. It’s remarkably well crafted with the correct insignia on the back and a gorgeous red liner. It also has sewn in pouches for Grievous to store his trophy lightsbaers. I’m not usually a fan of using softgoods in figures this small, but in this case it not only looks great, but it eliminates all the poseability problems that the plastic cape added to previous releases. It actually looks like someone took a 1:6 scale accessory and shrunk it down for a 3 3/4″ figure. Plus he can easily remove it for when he wants to get down and start busting open caps of whoop ass on Jedi fools.

But like I said, this figure does still have a few issues worth noting. The use of soft bendy plastic for the legs, for example, is unfortunate. I’m totally amazed that Grievous can stand so well, but these legs are still prone to easy warping and they don’t always stay where you want them to. And then there’s the arms. While they will peg into each other, this severely limits their articulation. The figure was definitely designed with the assumption that we’re going to be keeping his arms separated most of the time, which is admittedly how I plan on displaying him anyway.

Grievous comes with a nice dose of accessories. He has his blaster, two activated lightsabers (one green and one blue), and two trophy light saber hilts, that can actually be tucked into pouches on his cape. Yeah, I said that already, but it’s such a cool feature, I had to say it again. Sadly, he does not come with a figure stand, but then none of the VC figures do. Even more sad is that his feet do not have pegholes, so you can’t even help him out with one of Hasbro’s generic Star Wars stands.

If you’re a fan of the Wheezing G-Man, I can’t recommend this figure enough. True, I fell in love with the packaging too, but if your will is stronger than mine, I still suggest you ignore the retconned packaging and get the figure anyway. Truth is, I dig him so much, I’m probably going to have to hunt down his starfighter too.

Star Wars Vintage Collection: Mail Away Boba Fett by Hasbro

This isn’t going to be any kind of in-depth look at the figure because I ain’t opening him, but I finally got my Rocket-Firing Boba Fett in the mail a few days ago so I thought I’d post a few pictures. Although I’m guessing that everybody and their grandmother probably got this guy before I did.  

Turns out I was lucky for the delay because I got mine after Hasbro instituted their new packing procedures. Instead of tossing his flimsy box into a mailer and chucking him to the postal winds to get the shit beaten out of him, they finally started to double box him. Honestly, it really didn’t matter to me either way. If mine was beat to hell I would have been happy to open him, but since he showed up this way I just sealed him in a starcase to hang him on my wall.

Even though I was around and actually playing with Star Wars figures back when this figure was supposed to be released, I can’t say as I ever felt like any great part of my childhood was robbed because my Fett couldn’t fire his rocket. I guess even back then I wasn’t much into the whole firing missile gimmick. Anyway, he’s a nice looking figure and a really nice fanwank to us older collectors.

Star Wars Vintage Collection: 4-LOM and Zuckuss set (Celebration V Exclusive) by Hasbro

This year, Hasbro decided to have a little fun with one of their Celebration V exclusives by creating this 30th Anniversary Bounty Hunter set. The set includes updated figures of bounty hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM carded on facsimiles of their original error cards, which switched their names around. It pokes fun at the sometimes ridiculous nature of the action figures that were produced off of characters that fans knew nothing about and often appeared for only a split second on screen. Sure, all sorts of stories and histories have been retconned around these characters over the last 30 years, but at the time they were released nobody could have possibly known that Kenner had named the characters wrong on the original packages. I can still remember getting my 4-LOM mailaway figure before seeing The Empire Strikes Back. I had no idea who he was. I’m pretty sure I wound up using him as a Rebel spy. I even remember looking for him in the movie, expecting him to have some huge role. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even spot him at all.

Oftentimes a big draw of these exclusives lies in the special packaging, and that’s doubly true for this set, since the whole point of it is to recreate the original error cards. The figures themselves are almost secondary to the whole package.

The set comes in a thin, illustrated cardboard sleeve. It’s decorated on the front with pictures of the two original cardbacks against an appropriate star field pattern. The bottom right hand corner has a Celebration V logo with Boba Fett. The sides include a brief synopsis of the history of the original packaging error.

Take the sleeve off and you have the box. The sides show off full size versions of the Zuckuss and 4-LOM cards. The box opens like a book and is secured with velcro tabs. Open it up and it reveals two windows displaying the carded figures inside. The top and bottom of each of these compartments are taped, but with the flick of a razor you can remove the carded figures for closer inspection.

The fronts of the cards are identical to the regular Vintage Collection cards with one exception. The borders used on these cards are actually foil as opposed to just being illustrated to look like foil. These figures also do not have the Free Boba Fett stickers that most of the carded VCfigures have. The back panels of the cards, however are identical to what is seen on the regular VC figures.

The figures inside are each unique in their own way. Zuckuss (or in this case 4-LOM) is the same sculpt as the figure that was recently released as part of the Legacy lineup. The paint job has been changed to match the vintage figure more and the cloth gown has been changed for a material that more closely matches the one used on the original figure. 4-LOM (or Zuckuss), on the other hand, is the same sculpt as the figure released in the Legends line and currently repacked in the Vintage Collection line, only with a cleaner and more basic paint job to better match his vintage figure.

Whether or not you can really consider this set an exclusive is a matter for some debate. It was obviously created with Celebration V in mind, but it went up for sale on Hasbro’s Toyshop after the convention and at the time of writing this article, it’s still readily available. Obviously, either Hasbro overestimated the demand for this set or just decided to produce enough to make fans happy [yeah, unlike the SDCC Sgt. Slaughter figures! -Ed.].

The price on this set is $14.99, which is a really nice deal. It’s about the same price as these figures would cost if you bought them individually off the pegs at Walmart. You’re basically getting the extra special packaging for free and it won’t break your bank if you want to grab a second set for openers.


Star Wars Vintage Collection: AT-AT Commander by Hasbro

I really am trying to pace myself on picking up these new Vintage Collection figures. After being away from Star Wars for a while, I’m trying not to overdo it. Nonetheless, I’ve picked up a new one each time I stop in to Wally World to pick up something. Early coverage of the Empire Strikes Back assortment referred to this figure as General Veers, which I think he is definitely intended to be, but I suspect Hasbro went with the more generic “AT-AT Commander” to satisfy the requirements of reusing the vintage card. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Veers.

Still loving the packaging, but then even as a kid, I loved the vintage AT-AT Commander card. Even though it doesn’t show the character, it shows the AT-AT’s and that’s plenty cool and made it somewhat distinctive. As with the other releases in this line, the card features the Free Boba Fett sticker on the front and the back featues photos of the vintage figures and cards. These new vintage style figures are also issued without the clamshells used in the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. The downside about the new packaging? Yep, it’s so cool, I had to buy two so I can keep one carded.

With that out of the way, the last time we saw General Veers as a figure was in the Saga Collection. Is this new release a major improvement? Well, in some cases yes, in others no. The articulation is a huge improvement, but we’ll get to that a little later. The sculpt on the new figure is excellent. I think the head sculpt is a significant improvement, but the rest of the figure is about on par with its predecessor. Like the Saga Veers this figure has a removable vest and helmet. The helmet is about the same, although the new figure comes with goggles that can be worn over the figure’s eyes or up on the helmet itself.

It’s the vest where I take issue with this new figure. On the Saga figure, the vest included the larger sculpted belt buckle and when it was removed, Veers was in his normal Imperial Officer uniform. His head was even sculpted with his officer’s cap and the helmet was made to fit over it. On this update, the huge belt buckle is sculpted onto the figure, so you can’t fully convert him to his officer’s uniform and he looks rather silly with the vest removed. He’s also not wearing his officer’s cap. Bottom line, I liked the option to go from his field outfit to his duty uniform on the older figure. It’s not a huge deal, and yes, this is still a nice figure. But I like to apply the Hippocratic Oath to figure updates. Hasbro should do no harm, or in this case, don’t go backwards on a good idea. And in the end, my Veers can’t chill with his fellow Generals without feeling like the odd man out.

I wish I still had my Saga Collection Veers to do a comparison pic, but I’m afraid he went with my Endor AT-AT, so we’ll have to just settle for a shot with good old Uncle Ozzel.

The AT-AT Commander’s articulation includes a ball jointed neck and universal joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles, as well as swivel cuts in his wrists. He has standard leg movement in the hips and he can swivel at the waist. Not bad at all.

Besides his aforementioned vest, helmet and goggles, the Commander comes with a blaster that fits into his sculpted holster.

The AT-AT Commander cost $7.98 at Walmart, which sure beats the $12.99 I was paying for some of the last Vintage OTC figures even without the clamshell. If it sounds like I came down hard on this figure, keep in mind that I still really love this guy and he’s a nice addition to my BMF AT-AT. I just think that Hasbro sidestepped some really good ideas employed in the last release that they should have applied here.


Star Wars Vintage Collection: C-3PO by Hasbro

I looked at the Vintage Collection Han and Leia figures together, but I wanted to save C-3PO because he deserves his own review. Yes, he is just that bad. In fact, there’s so much wrong with this figure, it’s hard to know where to start. This figure is poorly designed, poorly executed, and he has a gimmick that doesn’t belong anywhere near a “vintage style” 3PO mounted on an Empire Strikes Back card. In fairness, I knew this figure was going to be crap when I bought him. You can see it right through the bubble. But I figured I’d check him out anyway and at least I’d get a PoP for my Boba Fett mailaway.

One ridiculous thing about this release is that C-3PO was already released as part of the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection on this very same card and so for carded collectors he’s somewhat superfluous. It’s possible that Hasbro was trying to make a mends for the VOTC 3PO, which was also a terrible, terrible figure, but somehow swapping one crappy 3PO for another doesn’t seem like a good plan. Either way, the packaging is the best thing about this figure. The front is nearly identical to the VOTC version. The only real drawback of this figure’s packaging is that the choking hazard sticker is stuck directly on the card, whereas it was on the clamshell of the VOTC release. There’s also the mailaway Boba Fett sticker on the front.

I’ll start with one of the few things I like about this figure, and that’s the coloring. We’ve had plenty of shiny 3PO’s but not too many grubbier ones. This version’s duller coppery finish makes it pretty good for the Tatooine scenes from A New Hope, which begs the question, why put him on an Empire Strikes Back card? The other thing I like about this figure is the articulation. 3PO has a ball jointed head, and universal joints in the shoulders, elbows and knees. He also has swivels in the shoulders and ankles. 3PO has a ball joint in his waist, but unfortunately the back lip of his torso gets caught on the wirey midsection, which makes use of this joint tricky. He’s also pulled apart at the waist a few times while trying to make use of this joint.

This 3PO has some issues with proportions, a lot of which has to do with the gimmick that I’ll talk about in a minute. His upper torso looks a little too wide, but his pelvis looks absolutely huge, which gives his hip joints a weird extra wide stance. I’ll admit there’s some nice sculpting at work, especially the detail on his arms and the exposed wires of his midsection, but that doesn’t help a lot when the proportions look so wrong.

The dumbest thing about this 3PO is that he was designed with removable plates. It’s a gimmick that severely effects the aesthetics of the figure. Since 3PO never appeared like this in any of the Original Trilogy films, it’s obviously a nod to his appearance in Attack of the Clones, but if that was the intention, Hasbro should have saved this figure for an Attack of the Clones card, since they are doing some prequel figures in the vintage style too (don’t get me started on how stupid an idea I think that is!). The face plate, chest plate and right thigh plate are all removable to expose his inner workings. Unfortunately, the face plate and right thigh fall off almost every time I fiddle with him.

In the end, I think this figure is just a bit better than the awful VOTC 3PO, but mainly because that figure couldn’t even get the paint job right let alone the sculpt and there’s absolutely nothing that I like about it. Had Hasbro nixed the idea of the removable plates and improved the proportions, this could have been an excellent 3PO, but then it would have been an entirely new figure. Again, I like the coloring and the articulation at work here, but the rest of this figure is a damn shame.

Star Wars Vintage Collection: Han Solo (Echo Base) and Princess Leia (Hoth Outfit) by Hasbro

I picked up my first figures from the new Vintage Collection today. Actually I picked up two of each, so I could keep two carded. This is something I almost never do, but since I already got on board this whole vintage style figure idea back during the Original Trilogy Collection, I might as well keep going. The first two I’m going to look at are Han and Leia in their Hoth outfits. I also picked up 3PO, but we’ll save him for next time.

The packaging is the real draw here for me. Hasbro certainly knows how to pull on the heart (and wallet) strings of late thirty-something geeks, because seeing these things hanging on the pegs again really is something special. As with the VOTC releases, the fronts of these cards are excellent facsimiles of their early 80’s counterparts. Ok, actually Han is oddly enough an original figure with an original card, but it still looks like something authentic. The backs of the cards show the old figure with the new one (again, except for Han), along with a blurb about the line and some photos of other figures in the assortment. The other big difference is the Boba Fett mailaway advert on the front, which is a sticker and not printed directly on the card. What’s missing? That’s right, the clamshell.

I had mixed feelings about Hasbro abandoning the clamshells they used for the VOTC line. On the one hand, these new released don’t quite look as streamlined next to the VOTC carded figures. Yes, I plan on putting them in clamshells (which Hasbro conveniently sells), but they won’t have the special foil stickers or the embossed “Star Wars” on the back. On the other hand, as we’ll see a little later on the price is significantly lower, so there are some good points too.

Let’s start with Han in his Echo Base outfit, which is basically a Bespin Han only instead of the regular blue jacket, he’s wearing a Hoth style trenchcoat. The trousers and boots are the same as we’ve seen Han wearing as part of his Cloud City outfit. His belt is a separate piece, which includes a working holster for his pistol. His trenchcoat is also a separate piece, which is actually sculpted like a vest, which in conjunction with the figure’s arms is meant to look like a jacket. It works, pretty well, although the illusion crumbles under close inspection around the arms, or obviously if you take it off. Still, I don’t mind it and the jacket features some nice sculpting.

Hasbro didn’t quite get the job done with this figure’s head sculpt, which is kind of strange, since many of the modern Han figures have been fairly good likenesses. This one doesn’t completely miss the mark, but it’s not exactly Harrison Ford either. Fortunately, you can always grab one of your other recent Han figures and swap the heads if you so desire. Of course, that doesn’t help you for your mint-on-card figure.

Han’s articulation is excellent. He has a ball jointed head. His arms have ball jointed shoulders, elbows and he has swivel wrists. His legs have standard rotation at the hips and balljoints in the knees and ankles. Han also has a ball joint in the torso.

Apart from his iconic broom-handled pistol, Han comes with a welding mask and a welding tool. The mask has a handle, so he can hold it up to his face. I think they’re pretty cool accessories to stow away in the BMF Falcon.

Hoth Leia is a very welcome figure, since this version of her hasn’t been done in a while, and I don’t think it’s ever really been done particuarly well until now. Her outfit consists of her Hoth off-white fatigues and gloves with grey boots. There’s a lot of excellent sculpting on her outfit, including wrinkles, stitching and her arm communicator. Her vest is a separate piece, and unlike Han’s jacket, this piece is intended to be a vest so it can be removed without exposing the whole fake sleeve syndrome.

Hasbro has frequently had issues getting Leia’s head sculpt right, but in a bizarre turn of events, they actually did a fine job here. It’s not a perfect likeness, but it’s close (certainly closer than Han’s), and it’s not f’ugly, nor does it look like a monkey. The hair is also well sculpted and the paint apps on the lips and eyes are razor sharp.

Leia’s articulation includes a ball jointed head. Her arms have ball joints in the shoulders and elbows, and her wrists swivel. She has standard rotation in the hips and her knees are ball jointed. She can also swivel at the waist. Leia is missing any ankle articulation.

Leia comes with a standard Rebel-style blaster.

I picked up these figures for $7.98 each at Walmart, which is what regular Star Wars figures have been priced at for a while now. Keep in mind that back when the VOTC figures were released, they sold for around $9.99 to start with, but before the line ended they were up to $12.99 each at a lot of retailers, and that was a few years ago. I realize that they no longer come with the clamshell, but even if you buy a pack from Hasbro, you’re still ahead of the game. I think what I like about this pricing the most is that I’m not paying for an unwanted clamshell on the doubles that I plan on opening. If Hasbro was smart, they’d sell special clamshells with the foil stickers on them, but I’m willing to make do with the generic ones in favor of this price reduction. In hindsight, it’s too bad I didn’t keep the ones from the VOTC doubles that I opened.