Droid Factory Chase Padme & 
Secret Ceremony Anakin

I can't find any new Star Wars figures, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for Sean Teeter, with another great guest review...

It’s Sean Teeter, back again from the land of Everclear and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Do you really want those brand new, hard-to-find Star Wars figures? You do? Well look no further, here are two for your perusal: Hasbro’s Padme Amidala, Droid Factory Chase, and Anakin Skywalker, Secret Ceremony.

Packaging - ***
The packaging is the same blue-backed blister card featured throughout the rest of Hasbro’s Saga line. It’s been covered in my previous reviews. ‘Nuff said.

Sculpting - Anakin: *** ½; Padme: ** ½
I have to say that this figure is the best-looking 3 ¾” Anakin yet! The head sculpt is great; no screaming, no weird stares, nothing. Anakin wears a nice stern, serious look. The rest of him looks just as nice: the wrinkles in his outfit, the shins on his boots, and his belt are all highly detailed and look great. The only areas that fail to impress are his hands. The left hand is held open. From behind it looks okay, but from the palm view, the last two fingers seem to join together. It looks like Hasbro may have planned for a magnet at one time to give him “force action”, but there’s nothing there. The right hand is Anakin’s gold robot claw. The claw’s sculpt is somewhat vague on the detailing, not to mention that it’s mostly covered by the sleeve as well. This is a little disappointing since the new hand sculpt was one of the figure’s selling points. The other problem is that the grip is very weak due to the smaller hand size.
It’s interesting to line up all of the different Anakin figures (seven as of this review: 2 deluxe, 1 vehicle pack-in, & 4 basic) to compare their looks and what was changed from figure to figure. However, it’s even more amusing to stand the Droid Factory Chase Amidala next to her earlier Arena Escape version.

Wow! What a difference in interpretation! This is more like the teen-age or kid-sister version of Padme when compared to the highly athletic, extremely busty sculpt of the Arena Escape figure. Instead, Hasbro dropped the sexy Amazon look and tried to make this version closer to Natalie Portman. The body is much smaller and slenderer all around: the hands, feet, bust, arms, and legs are all reduced in size compared to the Arena Escape sculpt. The figure is about the same height, but the older sculpt is in pre-posed stance which would make her taller than the Droid Factory figure if she could stand up straight. The outfit is nice, and has a few wrinkles and creases in all the right places. There’s a holster sculpted to her side for her pistol. The gun looks good holstered but the sculpt isn’t deep enough to firmly hold it in place. Her boots are separately sculpted from the rest of her legs and are nicely detailed. While the main body of the sculpt does look pretty close to her silver screen counterpart, there are many little things – and one large one — hat work against this figure’s overall look. Starting from the bottom, Padme’s right ankle is bent inwards at such an angle that she cannot stand completely neutral – she needs to have her leg turned out a bit. Her torso sculpt makes it impossible for her to fully face front without looking like the top half of her body is sliding off at the waist, ala the opening sequence in the movie Ghost Ship. She has a permanent twisted lean in her abs. It looks fine in a running position, especially with her head looking behind her, but for a figure this articulated she should be able to look normal in a neutral pose as well. 

The hands are another sore spot. She can’t really hold her pistol well with her left one because of the pistol’s trigger. The right one has an extended trigger finger, but you have to press down on the gun a little to wedge it in so it doesn’t fall out. The left hand’s sculpt just looks weird, especially coming off the curve of Padme’s arm. It almost looks like some sort of cat’s paw, especially from the back of the hand. Turn it palm down and she’s got the perfect arm to lean on the window next time she goes driving. Finally, we come to the head. Hasbro should just give up now and admit to defeat when it comes to open-mouthed sculpts; they’re track record is against them, with only one to the good (Barriss Offee) not counting Ephant Mon and his articulated jaw. While Padme’s body does indeed look more like Natalie Portman, her head looks like an adult novelty product. She just projects “blow-up doll” with that open mouth and the flat paint ops don’t help. This is one area that the Arena Escape version got right and Hasbro would have been better off just reusing the older head.

Paint - Anakin: ***; Padme: ** ½
Hasbro has had so much practice with Anakin’s outfit, that they’ve got it down to a science: everything’s as it should be: his vest, belt, and hair bands are all clean. The only downfall are his hands, both bleed severely onto the sleeves of his Jedi robes.

Padme has little to work with, since the majority of her outfit is white. The boots are molded in a different color of plastic, so only the soles are painted. Her belt and holster are pretty clean, except for her side pouch. Her silver armbands both bleed over their edges and fall short of them; depending on which part you look at. Her left hand also bleeds over to her white sleeve. With so little to paint, it’s sad to see so many misses. Once again, the face caps it all off: admittedly, the head sculpt isn’t great to begin with, but a little expression with the eyes or eyebrows could have helped. While the detailing is pretty clean, Padme just looks so emotionless that the results are lackluster.

Articulation - Anakin: ****; Padme: *** ½
The package says “Super Poseable!” on the front, and it ain’t kidding! Anakin was a welcome surprise in the articulation department, which has always been a struggle with Hasbro’s figures. The back of the package advertises nine points of articulation, but Anakin actually has ten: 2 ankle swivels, 2 hip cuts, a waist cut, 2 ball-joint shoulders, 2 bicep cuts, and a neck cut. The ball-jointed shoulders truly make this figure, not only does Anakin have a huge range of arm movement, but they also blend in with the sculpt really well. The bicep cuts offer a decent mix of possible arm poses, but he can’t hold his lightsaber with both hands. This is really a minor complaint since he looks really cool brandishing the lightsaber with one hand and striking a force pose with the other. The ankle swivels are a nice addition, especially if you want your Anakin to do a few ballet moves on his toes. I would have preferred the swivels at the knees, but in light of Hasbro’s previous misfires with Anakin, I was overjoyed to have a figure with great articulation and no action feature to muck it up.

More isn’t necessarily better however, as evidenced with Padme. She may have twelve points (2 boot swivels, 2 knee swivels, 2 hip cuts, 1 waist cut, 1 neck cut, 2 shoulder cuts, and 2 bicep cuts) versus Anakin’s ten, but she’s nowhere near as poseable above the waist. She ties with the Saga Bespin Duel Luke Skywalker for most points of articulation, but hers just don’t work as well as his. Padme’s legs are probably her best feature (articulation-wise fan-boys, calm down). They work really well for running poses and are strong enough to hold one-legged mid-stride stances. Her waist looks a little odd when turned out of its natural resting position. It’s Padme’s arms that really keep this figure from attaining that “Super Poseable” sticker found on Anakin’s packaging. There are only one or two positions they can naturally rest in without looking odd –all of which are for running poses. The only other movie pose in which they work is for the Geonosioan Arena; she can hold them over her head, close enough together to be chained to one of the pillars. Any other pose looks weird, or even downright goofy. However, the fun value is upped because of the numerous silly poses she can do, especially with other figures involved. Here are some of the TV PG suggestions (figure out the other ones for yourselves people): you can bend her arms away from the waist so that she strikes a really stereotypical “run-like-a-girl” pose, have her do the wave at a baseball game, rub a tired action figure’s shoulders, give someone a bear hug, and there’s even a Marcarena move or two in there. Of course, I’m sure Hasbro didn’t really have many of these in mind . . . 

Accessories - Anakin **, Padme ***
Anakin comes with three accessories: his light saber, a blast effect, and his Jedi cloak. The main reason I bought the Anakin figure was for his cloak: it was an item that should have been released with the Tatooine Attack version, since he wears it throughout that scene in the movie. I admit that it would have been hard to do this particular style of cloak in cloth, so I’m fine with the sculpted one. It looks pretty good on him and doesn’t impede the shoulder articulation very much. (And for those who like to mix and match, the cloak doesn’t sit as well on the Tatooine Attack version.) The blast effect is okay as far as blast effects go –in truth, it’s an accessory I could really do without. It’s a tad tight when it comes to attaching to Anakin’s blade. What really torpedoes this category is Anakin’s light saber; it looks tacky as all hell. The saber is one solid piece, with no removable blade –which is fine with me since the pegs on the removable blades break so easily. However, this isn’t a true return to the former solid sabers of past Hasbro figures. The light saber sculpt is pulled from the metal-hilted version used for the Bespin Duel Vader, Luke, and the Tatooine Anakin. The removable blade has been converted into one solid plastic cast and it looks really sloppy. Hasbro has no excuse, especially when there’s a better-looking plastic version already out there: look at the Anakin Hanger Duel figure’s blue saber. They could have reused this one just as easily; in fact, the Hanger Duel Saber is used in the photo art on the back of the packaging! The blade is darker in color than the other versions out there but is just as flimsy and bendable as a regular removable saber blade –much flimsier than Hasbro’s standard solid sabers, like the one that comes with Count Dooku. To add insult to injury, the paint ops are very sloppy: silver bleeds over from the hilt onto the blade and the black ops are all over the place. This light saber almost looks like it was pulled from a bootleg figure!

Padme comes with a cloak, pistol, and a droid factory base. The cloak is sculpted from soft rubber and slides on around her neck. There are slits on each side of the neck hole to allow for easy on and off access. It looks okay but doesn’t really blend well for static poses. The pistol is decent. It has clean paint ops on the handle, but doesn’t fit into her hands that well. It looks better in its holster. (See the sculpt section.) The base may be simple but it’s a nice addition. Padme can be posed in either a running or walking stance on the conveyor belt section. There are some nice paint ops on the sides, giving a slightly weathered look to the belt. The best part is that Hasbro has interactivity in mind with this piece: the base can attach to the deluxe C-3PO base and both can be added to the back of the Geonosian Arena play set.

Value - Depends
The standard in-store price for the Hasbro Saga figures seems to run anywhere from $4.50 to $5.99. I’ve seen Padme at K-Mart and Target, but I can’t find Anakin anywhere offline. If you’re going to open these for display, Kebco Toys has a non-mint sale currently going, with these two at $4.99 each.
Here are a few online retailers:
Brian's Toys has Anakin for $14.99 and Padme for $9.99.
Federation Toys is expecting them soon, and will sell them at $ 7 apiece.
Star Wars Figures has Anakin for $19.95 and Padme for $15.95.

Padme is a great figure if you want to make some wacky looking poses, but she doesn’t do well out of her running pose for the more serious collector. Despite her great leg articulation, her arms are impractical. If you can get her for under $5.50, go for it. She’s even better at $4.50! Anakin should be turning up in physical stores soon, but he can be found online for a decent price. $5.50 and below for this figure is a steal in my opinion. I’d be a little apprehensive at $7, but finding a lower bid should be easy.

Overall - Anakin: *** ½; Padme: ** ¾
Anakin was truly a surprise when I pulled him off the card. I bought him mainly for his cloak, but ended up with a really nice looking figure, with great posability. He’s not perfect, but after slogging through a hoard of mediocre and downright awful Anakin figures, this one has got to be the best. The only thing really keeping him from a higher score is the sheer shoddiness of his light saber. I still can’t believe it came from the same package. However, there’s an easy fix: just use the light saber from the Hanger Duel Anakin.

Padme is truly a tough call for me to rate overall. She’s really not a bad figure, Hasbro has turned out much worse in the past, and her main body sculpt looks great. The factory platform has a little additional play value because it can be attached to another play set. Her leg articulation is also great, but in the end she just doesn’t look right. Her arms look off in almost every position and her head sculpt is just downright unappealing. She probably rates at least three stars but I just can’t give it to her with good conscience from a collector’s point of view. I went in with the opposite set of expectations on these figures, only to have the opposite reactions happen in both cases: low hopes for Anakin = pleasant surprise; high hopes for Padme = disappointment. However, if you’re looking for a figure to place in comedic poses, bump that rating up to three and over –go out there and buy her for the wrong reasons!  

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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