Scramble On Yavin Star Wars Battlepack

Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Regular contributor Lawrence Horsburgh (better known as "L" to many of you) steps in tonight with a guest review of one of the latest Battlepacks to hit the shelves. Take it away, L!

“Scramble on Yavin,” the lastest Original Trilogy battlepack (which a Buzzer over at Raving Toy Maniac astutely suggested sounds like a breakfast special at Denny’s), is either the coolest surprise Star Wars has had in a while, or a complete waste, depending on how interested you are in starship maintenance and troop transportation.
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro

Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro
Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro

Packaging - ***
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 - ****
Amazing.  Sometimes 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.

Overall - ****
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.

Score Recap:
Packaging: ***
Sculpt: ****
Paint: *** ½
Articulation: ****
Accessories: ****
Fun Factor: ****
Value: ****

Where to Buy -
This SHOULD be everywhere SW toys are sold, but it seems Walmart is currently the place to find it. 

Scramble on Yavin Star Wars Battlepack action figures by Hasbro

Figures from the collection of Lawrence Horsburgh

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