Darth Tyrannus
Geonosian Escape

Sean Teeter is back, helping me out with some Star Wars reviews once again. Take it away, Sean!

Itís Sean Teeter, back again from the land of the Rasheed Wallace, the Oregon Ducks, and other law breakers. Itís time for a review of Darth Tyranus, Geonosian Escape from Hasbroís latest figure release in the Saga line.

Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging is the same blue-backed blister card featured throughout the rest of Hasbroís Saga line. For their new 2003 releases, Hasbro has changed the background from cosmic swirls to a starburst pattern. The insert containing the figureís movie picture has orange highlights as opposed to the red ones from the 2002 series. Overall itís simple, nice, and practical for display if you wish to leave the figure on the card.

Sculpting - ***
The figure looks fine overall. There are plenty of little wrinkles in the right places, and the face does have a passing resemblance to Christopher Lee, but it just feels a little lacking. The movie character didnít really have any elaborate costume, so thereís not much to build on visually in the first place. The right hand is permanently opened, and the finger details are nice, but Iíd like a closed hand every now and then on the left side. The magnet option is nice, but couldnít Hasbro break down and do what McFarlane and others have done, and include an interchangeable hand or two? The right handís grip is decent, but the saber hilt slides around a bit when using the built in action feature. At least it doesnít fly out like with the Count Dooku version, but itís still mildly annoying. The head sculpt is truly the best part of this category. Instead of the sad, placid look with the first version, this one has some hardened lines. Itís a battle face, and it works well for the figure.

Paint - ***
There isnít much to screw up on here. The paint is exactly the same as the first Dooku figure: glossy black boots, dark brown outfit, light brown belt, white hair and beard. It looks fine Ėthereís no paint bleeding anywhereóbut the characterís outfit was black in the movie, not brown. Check out the 12Ē Count Dooku for a more accurate outfit.

Articulation - **1/2
Oh boy, Hasbroís love for silly action figures is at work again. More than one decent figure has been ruin at the expense of a terrible action feature, most notably the Tatooine Attack Anakin Skywalker. Darth Tyranus has nine points of articulation: two hip cuts, one neck cut, one neck swivel, a left ball-joint shoulder, a left elbow cut, a right shoulder point, a right elbow swivel, and a right wrist cut. Of course, not all of these articulation points actually work for posing. The built-in action feature impairs Tyranusís whole right side, which is very similar to this figureís predecessor. With Count Dooku, you squeezed his two legs together, and he pivoted at the waist while bringing his right arm down in a big chopping motion. Darth Tyranus is the upward chopping model. Squeeze his leg together and he snaps his right arm up. The elbow swivel causes the arm to swing inwards as well, mimicking the scene from Attack of the Clones where Count Dooku slices off Anakin Skywalkerís arm. (Spoiler? At this point, I think not. . .) While it is more movie accurate than the tree-chopping version, the mechanism impairs almost half of the figureís joints! The right leg is immobile, except for activating the action feature, as is the shoulder joint. The elbow swivel is made so loose that the arm falls down if you try to manually bend it. It only works for the action feature. Thereís no waist articulation at all, which is always a sore spot with me. Tyranus cannot hold his weapon with two hands because of the messed up articulation. The neck is not a true ball-joint: thereís a cut at the base so Christopher Lee can turn his head, but thereís also a swivel in the neck so he can look up and down. The left side fairs better with an excellent ball-joint shoulder, giving the arm a full range of motion. The elbow cut is decent, but unexciting. If Hasbro makes another basic version of this character, Iíd like to see the action feature removed, and the right side given similar articulation to the left. I like the swivel elbow, but I just wish it were tight enough to hold bent poses. 

Accessories - ***
Tyranus comes with a removable cape, a metal-hilted light saber with removable red blade, and force lightning. The cape is an improvement over the first version of this figure (Count Dooku, Dark Lord), which just hung loose around the neck and fell off quite often. This version is molded in a loop and fits well over the figureís head. Iíd still prefer a cloth cape . . . Tyranusís light saber hilt isnít as detailed as the first version, but thatís due to the fact that itís a small bent tube of machined metal. The removable blade has the little prong on the end of Tyranusís hilt molded to it --which makes sense from a safety point of view (small, sharp metal objects v.s. kids), but makes the empty hilt look a little strange. The force lightning is a tad fragile around the part that wraps onto the figureís arm, but its main body is pretty sturdy. Luckily, Hasbro gave Tyranus a longer blast than the one packaged with Aayla Secura, so he doesnít have to stand right next to an opponent to fry them. 

Value - **1/2 to ***1/2
Unlike some of his counterparts, Darth Tyranus has shown up in stores. I saw a whole rack of them at Target the other day for about four and a half bucks, and I saw a lone one at K-Mart for $5.50. If you pay higher than this, the figureís not worth it. Heís just starting to pop up in the real world, so online prices should start to drop a bit.
Brian's Toys has him for $14.99.  Planet Action Figure is considerably lower at $8.50 a pop. Of course, thereís always my favorite place in the world: eBay. You can get them for close to standard retail price, as theyíre more common than a figure like Barriss Offee.

Overall - ***
In the end, I think this figure should have just been named ďCount Dooku, 2.0Ē. Not only does is essentially feature the same slashing mechanism, but both figures are specifically designed for the same scene: the light saber battle on Geonosis. There are some things better about this version, such has the head sculpt, ball-joint shoulder, and elbow articulation, but itís still got plenty of bugs. Tyranus does display a hell of a lot better, especially in dioramas. Because of this, heís rounded up to three stars. Heís worth picking up, but he could have been so much more of a figure.

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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