Sideshow Star Wars
Commander Praji

2008 has been a pretty good year for Sideshow's Star Wars line.  There's been the excellent Obi-wan, Palpatine and Sidious...and the not quite so excellent Snowbunny Padme. Now, she's not as bad as some think, but she's still quite a step down from the first three, and I've been hopeful that she's a mere bump in the road of excellence for the line this year.

The next release is Commander Praji.  Who?  Yea, that's what most people say.  Nahdonnis Praji is one of those Imperial Commanders, the guys whose incompetence and failure was always such a thorn in Vader's side.  Praji screwed up too, letting C-3PO and R2-D2 escape with the Death Star plans.

Sideshow has just started shipping this guy in the U.S., and he was a domestic exclusive through them.  He is $60, and is a limited edition of 3000.

Packaging - ****
Another great score for a Sideshow Star Wars package - would you expect something different?  They haven't changed the basic concept, still using the nifty magnet closure, adding in plenty of text on the film and specific character, and packaging him up inside in a completely collector friendly way, so that you can remove the figure from the box and put him back again if you desire without damaging a thing.


Sculpting - ***
Let's be honest - Praji wasn't exactly Paul Newman.  But he did have a face with plenty of personality, something a sculptor can hang his hat on.

Unfortunately, the head sculpt doesn't quite work for me as the character.  It's close, but a bit extreme and harsh.  Part of this may be the paint application though, and if it were hand done by one of the fine custom painters out there (I just had some work done by Les Walker, and can highly recommend him - drop me an email if you need details), I suspect the sculpt would shine through a bit better.  But there is still enough of a caricature feel to this sculpt that it's not high on my list.

The best part though is the eyes.  They are very lifelike, and very finely sculpted with deep set eyeballs in clearly defined sockets.

Another big plus this time around is that the head looks just about the perfect size. This is still the older body, but there's no sign of any melon head here.

The hands are sculpted to hold the weapons, although you'll want to be careful as the fingers are quite stiff and could damage the guns if you put them in the hands or take out a bit too roughly.

If this were a character where I really cared deeply about the head sculpt - say, Han Solo or Princess Leia - this score would end up in more trouble.  But is anyone actually buying this figure because they want Praji?  Of course not - they want a great looking Imperial Commander.  And while the sculpt is a bit off, screen accuracy wise, it still is fairly realistic and lifelike, making him look solid on the shelf for the average person who would have no idea who Praji is anyway.

Paint - ***
There's no serious quality issues here, and the application is actually quite good for a factory job.

My issues all are more aesthetic, covering things that personally bug me.  For example, I hate the painted nostrils.  Yes, they are going for that dark, shadowed look, but these nostrils are so deep that they'd look that way on their own.  In person, the painted holes look much too obvious and odd.

I'm also not a huge fan of the lip color, which gives him a bit too much of the lipstick look.  Praji is more of an autumn.

They did go with the gloss on the eyes, which is always a big plus.  And the skin tone is fairly realistic and even, with no glaring gloss to distract.

Articulation - ***
Everyone is greatly anticipating the new Sideshow body, but this isn't it.  They body works adequately, especially for a character like this who you'll probably pose as I did in the very first photo anyway.  The body doesn't hang as naturally as the Hot Toys or Medicom, but it's sufficient for this particularly character.

Accessories - ***1/2
Ah, here's a place where Sideshow really stepped it up, which is nice considering the character could have been rather dull otherwise.

He has a blaster pistol and rifle, and Sideshow's weapon sculpts have really improved.  Both of these look terrific, with a ton of small detail.  The pistol has the cool coil along the top, made from a very stiff, thin wire.  The pistol is perfectly scaled, fits nicely in his hand (although I'd be careful not to break the small trigger with his fat finger), and looks terrific in or out of the holster.

The blaster rifle has the cool folding stock, similar to Leia's.  Again, there's a ton of great sculpting details, and the stock looks perfect either folded in or out.

He has an extra set of ungloved hands, but getting the hands on and off is a bit of a trick.  In fact, unless you're really sold on going without the gloves for some reason, I'd just leave them on.

He also comes with two small Imperial 'tubes', that fit in the uniform on either side of the chest.  These little silver tubes are under the hands in the box, but fall out quite easily - mine were floating around inside the package when I opened him up.  They are extremely easy to lose, so I'd suggest checking that they are still there every time you handle the figure.

He also has the usual stand of course, although there's really no reason you'll need to use it.

Outfit - ***1/2
The other area where this figure steps it up is the outfit.  Since that's what most people are buying this figure for, that's good news.

The costume consists of the tunic, riding style pants, high top boots, holster/belt, and not one but two versions of his distinctive cap.

The boots don't seem *quite* screen accurate to me, but they are made from a nice leathery plastic material, with a high gloss shine.  The pants and tunic are very well tailored, fitting the thin Sideshow body surprisingly well.  The tunic front can be folded down (there's no wire though) because it is attached on the top right shoulder using very thin velcro.  The stitching is high quality all around, and the two pieces look terrific together.  The tunic does ride up a bit on his neck, making him look a bit like he lacks one entirely, but it's a minor issue.

If you do pull off the gloves, you'll find that the sleeves are a little short, not able to completely cover the wrist joints, but as I said earlier, I wouldn't suggest this anyway.

The belt fits tightly, but has a pretty easy buckle to work with.  A long post on the back of the buckle simply fits in a hole on the belt.  The holster is not removable, and has a bit of a bright color compared to the rest of the uniform.  I was expecting black leather rather than this bright brown, but I can't find a photo of the uniform to confirm which color it should be.

The holster has a strap to confine the gun that works with a magnet, much like Bespin Luke.  However, this strap worked much better for me than that one, and it doesn't have the too thin and easy to break tie down strap.  The gun fits inside it perfectly with little chance for damage.

Finally, there's the hats.  I much prefer the sculpted plastic version, rather than the cloth version, but the cloth version isn't as dopey as I had expected.  I shot photos with him wearing both - you should be able to tell which is which. You can get the cloth version to look pretty good if you get it pulled down far enough on the back of his head.  The sculpted plastic one fits great, and looks good in just about any pose.

Value - **
Sixty bucks?  For Praji?  The issue here for a lot of collectors won't be that the usual Sideshow quality Star Wars figure isn't worth $60, but that a character like Praji is unlikely to stir their loins enough to convince them to free up the coin.  This is clearly a figure for the hard core fan.

Things to Watch Out For - 
There were two key things to pay attention to.

As I mentioned earlier, be very careful with the silver tubes.  These things fall out of the pockets very easily, and once they do you might have a tough time finding them.  Every time you repose or handle the figure, I'd suggest you double check that they're still there.  And when you're first pulling him out of his box, be sure to look for them, since they'll probably be floating around lose in the package some place.

The other issue is with the swappable hands.  I swapped them for the photos, but I wouldn't if you didn't absolutely need to.  His gloved look is obviously more iconic, and getting the gloves back on once you pulled them off is more effort than it's worth.  If you do remove them, I'd suggest getting the wrist peg lined up as straight as possible, then bending the elbow at a 90 degree angle.  Lay the figure down so that the upper half of the arm is flat on a table with the lower forearm sticking up straight, and press the glove hand down on to the peg.  It will pop into place if everything is lined up just right.

Overall - ***
Most license figures are all about head sculpt likeness first (including the paint), everything else second.  This character is unique, in that it's exactly the opposite. 

Oh, you still want the head sculpt and paint to be lifelike, but accuracy there isn't as critical as accuracy in the uniform and accessories.  You're buying this figure to get a great looking Imperial Commander on the shelf, and in that way Praji succeeds quite well.  In fact, although I'm not jumping up and down over the likeness, I almost gave this guy another half star Overall.

But I still have to consider the other factors as well, including the price.  While Praji looks good as a straight Imperial officer, he's still got enough minor issues to put him in the "better than average, but nothing to call Gramma at 2am over" range.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Online options are probably going to be your best best:

- this figure was a Sideshow exclusive in the US, and you can get on their waitlist.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
've done tons of sixth scale Star Wars reviews:

- the last was the exceptional Palpatine/Sidous and ANH Obi-Wan, and the not quite so exceptional Ilum Padme.

- in the sixth scale line, I've also reviewed Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

If you'd like to check out some of the 12" Star Wars offerings from Medicom, hit these links:

- my review of Darth Maul, the 501st Clone Trooper, Jango Fett, the Sandtrooper and  Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the VCD Yoda and Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and this very Trooper.

- and my review of their first release Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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