It’s pretty good for mass-market stuff. There isn’t much by
way of bells and whistles, but the window box showcases the toy pretty
well, in an appropriate diorama-like way. MIB collectors have
the advantage of being able to display the actual toy without having to
open it. Not much else to say.
Sculpting - ****
Hasbro chooses to knock it out of the park with some pretty obscure
choices. It’s as if they choke on the major players of the SW
universe, giving them oddly inadequate articulation or terrible
sculpts. But frequently, the Expanded Universe characters and
nondescript extras get royal treatment. That’s the case
here. Sure, two of these are repaints, but you really only
notice it with Red Leader. In any case, all three figures and
the accessory are extremely well sculpted.
Red Leader is VOTC Luke with a new head and helmet, and that means he’s
pretty short and a little “lumpy.” Still, we have so many
X-Wing pilots at this point, some of which are nearly perfect, I doubt
anyone is buying this set for the definitive pilot figure.
He’s an army-builder. To be fair, this is one of the more
disappointing molds they could have used. But it’s still not
bad, and only ¼ of the set.
R5-K6, the astromech, is a repaint, but repainted astromechs don’t
really count as repaints in my mind (other than “dirty R2-D2,”
“scorched R2-D2,” “R2-D2 with icemaker,” etc.)
Besides, R5 has two advantages: he’s a repaint of the
rarely-used R5 mold, and he’s a funky black-and-red repaint.
In any case, the basic R5 mold is great, though I may be biased as it
was such a huge improvement over the terrible first incarnation of this
in the modern era. R5 here retains the “bad motivator” that
pops up when you turn his head.
The real reason for the high score, though, is the sculpt on the ground
crew member (some have pointed out he looks like Ryan Stiles of the
Drew Carey Show). His outfit is one of the best jumpsuits
they’ve ever done, full of perfectly sculpted pouches and enough folds
and so on to suggest an actual one-size-fits-all jumpsuit. It’s
amazingly well done.
Plus, in my mind at least it could serve as a great base for a Tantive
IV custom – switch helmets with one of the troopers that has removeable
helmets, and put the vest on him, and all you need to do is paint his
shirt blue. The pants are already essentially the right
color, and the sculpt is close to accurate (a few misplaced pouches are
all that detract). If you could nail the blue in the shirt,
you’d have a fantastic rebel fleet soldier. (even without
that, he makes a great “didn’t quite make it to the screen”
extra for rebel hangar displays (as shown in the pic).
Paint - ***1/2
Red Leader seems a bit sloppy to me, as did VOTC Luke for that
matter. The straps on his chestpiece don’t seem as clean and
crisp as they should be. But R5 sports one of the most
complex paint jobs of any astromech, and it’s all stunningly
handled. Bright, sharp contrasts, clean lines, no
spillover. It looks amazing. And while the ground
crewman is somewhat straightforward in all grey, the paint is well done
and clean. He looks exactly like he should.
Articulation - ****
R5 has what you’d expect. The other two feature what we now
consider standard in our spoiled way – ball jointed elbows, shoulders,
knees, ankles and neck, regular pin hip and wrist, with a kind of
half-ball jointed waist. Until we start to see ball jointed
hips on a regular basis, this is cutting edge, super-articulation for a
SW figure. You’d think the crew guy wouldn’t require such
detail, as he’s just an extra, but this is one of the rare cases where
poseability in an extra matters. Because of his articulation,
he’s very useful as a background character – he can be driving the
transport around, he can be crouching under an X-Wing, he can be
loading up an astromech, or repairing an engine. So three
cheers for Hasbro to recognizing that this figure really needs
articulation to work.
Accessories - ****
This set has the most amazing, unexpected, obscure accessory
ever. That’s right – the ground crewman comes with a
removeable helmet! Ok, that joke out of the way….
This set comes with a really unexpected vehicle, something that isn’t
featured in any dramatic action sequences, but is nevertheless really
fun and neat. It’s a transport! Hasbro
really went all out on this thing – it’s got rolling wheels and an
opening cargo hatch, both of which they could easily have
skipped. Inside the cargo hatch there are slots for guns of
various sizes, and a large open area, presumably for rebel pilot
helmets. It’s also detailed with a surprisingly elaborate
“driving” area, with a lever and some switches and so on – very
impressive. It’s very cleanly painted, cast in the light
brown, but with a few highlights including the “lights” on both ends,
some cargo boxes on top, some detail in the hold.
This thing fills me with nostalgia. The old Kenner line had
the Imperial Troop Transport toy, and this is somewhat of a throwback
to that concept. Plus, it reminds me of those Matchbox/Hot
Wheels toy garages, where the fun was bringing cars up on lifts and
opening the hoods, giving them gas and washing the windows.
It’s a classic play pattern. This takes that basic concept
into Star Wars. It also feels like the mini-rigs that used to
come out in the eighties, only this is actually something that appears
on screen. This is one of the few vehicles that really works
as a “mini” vehicle.
Fun Factor - ****
It’s been a long time since Star Wars has released anything this fun,
in my mind. Sure, the BMF is a great toy, but the obsessive
fanboy collector in me is more impressed with the accuracy of its décor
than the kind of imaginative play it inspires. This set.
Though, gives you a pilot, his droid, and a mechanic, who can drive
both them all around on a little go-kart. It’s a
blast! Sure, it doesn’t have the drama of a set featuring
great warriors, but it’s got a gritty adventure feel to it – let’s gas
up the ship and go a-huntin’!
Value - ****
It’s annoying that the battle packs have gone up in price, but this is
one of the few times I still think you’re getting a good
deal. You get three figures and a vehicle, and that’s NEVER
something you see on the shelves these days. Even if you pay
$40 to get this from an online place, that’s $10 a figure and $10 for
the vehicle, which is not the worst deal in the world (up the price on
the vehicle and lower it on the figures if that math makes you more
comfortable, either way it’s worth it). The vehicle and one
figure are entirely new -- they could have probably gotten away with
putting Luke or R2 in this set. Plus, the figures are all
potential army builders (if you ignore the fact that both the pilot and
the astromech are technically unique “characters”). If any
battlepack is a good value, this one is.
Things to Watch Out For -
I haven’t seen this on shelves, got mine from an online
retailer. I’d say the biggest thing to watch out for would be
unscrupulous people who buy the set and return it with an old figure
substituted for one of the new ones – make sure that’s Red Leader in
there, and of course that the R5 unit is the right one.
I suppose I might be taking
it too easy on this set, after so many battlepacks with figures I had
to give to Goodwill (and even that’s not an option anymore, now that
Goodwill doesn’t take toys because they might have lead paint in
them). I’d grown used to packs like this not only including
figures I already had, but frequently one of the more lame versions of
figures. And of course whether or not you like this set as
much as I do will have a lot to do with whether you think the transport
is a really great toy or something you got stuck with because you
collect astromech figures. But still, three really well
executed figures, one an entirely new sculpt, and a cool vehicle nobody
expected – wow.
Paint: *** ½
Fun Factor: ****
Where to Buy -
This SHOULD be everywhere SW toys are sold, but it seems Walmart is
currently the place to find it.