Star Wars Saga Collection
Firespeeder Pilot

We've gotten junk dealers, bartenders, and even diner owners/fry cooks, so it's no surprise we finally got a firefighter in the Star Wars 3 3/4" line of action figures.

Of course, there would have to be firefighters in the SW Universe - somebody's got to put out the flames when some Jedi kid in training crashes his ship. But it wasn't until Revenge of the Sith where we got to see them in action, and then it was several times.

The Firespeeder Pilot's job is to put out those nasty fires from ship crashes, of which there were enough in ROTS for plenty of overtime pay. Hasbro has released a figure based on the generic character in the lastest wave, and it's always nice to see a brand new character in the deluge of Obi-wan's, Troopers and Anakins.

I snagged him at Target, which appears to be where most of the new stuff is hitting. He'll make his way to Toys R Us, Meijers and Wal-mart soon enough I expect.

Packaging -  ***
The Saga Collection packaging continues to look snazzy, although they aren't particularly easy to store. I like the retro appearance of the logo across the cardback, and placing the holo figure on the back, instead of the front, was a smart idea.

Sculpting - ***
Lots if nifty detail, and the Hasbro sculpting on this series has really improved over the last couple years. These figures make the previous figures look sad by comparison.

The pilot's helmet is not removable, but the sculpting is very accurate to the film, or at least as accurate as you can get in this scale. The wrinkles and folds of the costume look realistic, and also help in hiding some of the articulation.

The sculpt and articulation work pretty well together, and the sculpt doesn't hinder the posing too much. The details on the extinguisher and gun are good, and again, match the film extremely well.

The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and while there's the usual included display stand, it's not required. He stands great on his own, which is always a big plus. You'd think that would be obvious, but alas, it's not.

This would have gotten another half star in this category, if not for one thing - soft plastic.  The entire figure is made from the softer stuff, and it causes issues with things like gaping at the joints, and legs that feel like they may get wobbly as time goes by.

Paint - ***
The paint isn't quite up to the level of the sculpt, or up to the level of some of the recent releases we've seen, but it's still on the plus side of average in relation to other mass market toys.

There's some slop on the uniform, most noticeable on mine around the belts, where the darker color has hit the cream colored uniform. The bronze color on the helmet worked well, with good coverage and a consistent appearance, but the same bronze on the boots didn't fair quite as well.

The wash on the extinguisher is a little overdone, but not so much to whine about, and overall he'll certainly fit in nicely with other figures from the line. He's not perfect, but for less than $7, he's better than alot of other mass market lines. The poor guy just isn't quite as good as we've seen from Hasbro recently.

Articulation - ***1/2
Along with sculpting, Hasbro has upped the ante on articulation with quite a few of their figures, although it can still be rather hit or miss.

This Pilot includes that oh so critical and oh so nice to have joint, the ball jointed neck. He can look up and down, turn to the side, and even tilt. This is a great joint, especially for helmeted figures.

He also has ball jointed shoulders and knees, both of which have a good range of movement and really increase the number of poses. There are cut joints at the elbows, wrists and waist as well.

Like the sculpt, this category would have scored another half star higher if not for the soft plastic.  It causes bad gaping at the elbows, and an overall loose feel to the figure.  They gave us plenty of articulation, and a terrific neck, but the soft material ends up hurting it a bit.

Accessories - ***1/2
The backpack is removable, so I'm calling it an accessory. It's a solid sculpt as I mentioned earlier, with good paint ops.  They went a little overboard with some of the wash, but it does give it a nice weathered appearance.  It can fit in both hands, and you don't need the included rubber band to make it look good.

That leaves the included display stand and the holographic mini-figure. The display stand has the name of the figure right across the front, which is a nice addition to make the figures more unique. And if you're one of those folks that don't like name plates on your bases, you can always just turn it around.

The only last accessory here is the holographic figure. Mine came with a Rebel Trooper, although you could find him with others like Yoda, Han Solo, Queen Amidala, Luke Skywalker or Obi-wan.

Hasbro has tried a lot of goofy add ins with their figures, from freeze frames to comm-tech chips to force files. I have to say that the mini-figures are by far the best of the bunch for me, although the holographic aspect gets a little old. I realize that paint ops were probably too expensive to allow them to add these in, but why a Rebel Trooper would be a hologram is a question best left unasked.

I like the Rebel Trooper, although he's not my favorite of the currently released mini-figures. The Firespeeder Pilot appears to be one per case right now, so if you do find one, you're probably not going to be able to be too picky about which holographic comes with it, at least for now.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a fun figure because of the articulation, the theme, and because he fits in nicely as a generic good guy or bad guy - whatever your imagination requires. He can also fit in with other 3 3/4" lines, since he's not too 'star wars-ified'. The articulation adds to the fun, and even with the soft plastic, he feels built well enough to take some abuse.

Value - ***
I paid less than $7 for these at Target, and I'm betting they're around $6 at Wal-mart. Considering how little you can get in the action figure market in that price range, especially considering the quality of the sculpt and articulation, these are a very good value. Sure, they were a better value at $5 each, but with the prices of other lines at $8 - $10 and more, I'm not surprised that these have risen again to the $6 - $7 range.

Things to watch out for - 
Not much really. You may want to hold out for a specific holo figure, but other than that, there's not much to watch out for.

Overall -  ***
With the thousands of action figures that have been produced for the Star Wars franchise, it's no surprise that there's very few new characters coming out these days. For me, even if it is a better Anakin or Obi-wan, I have a tough time buying it in the 3 3/4" scale because I already have a boat load of them. But the Firespeeder Pilot is a breath of fresh air, even if he isn't the most exciting character to grace the screen.

The soft plastic almost brought this down another half star, but I have to give some props to Hasbro for a) giving us a good sculpt, b) plenty of articulation and c) a new character.

Some folks may actually be turned off by his un-Star Wars like appearance, but again, it's somewhat unique and interesting to me. I don't see myself buying an army, but adding one to the shelf makes the display a little more appealing.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall -  ***

Where to Buy -
These are hitting Targets already, and other brick and mortar mass market retailers like Toys R Us and Wal-mart should have them soon enough.

Related Links:
I've reviewed more than my share of Star Wars're best bet is to hit the All Reviews page and use your browsers search function to look for what you're interested in. Some of the recent highlights:

- Premium Format Darth Vader

- Premium Format Obi-Wan Kenobi

- Premium Format Han Solo

- Medicom Darth Vader

- Medicom ROTS Vader

- Gentle Giant Skiff Guard Lando

- Sideshow 12" Jedi Luke

If you're looking for a great Star Wars specific site, head on over to Rebel Scum.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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