Tanus Spijek

Our College Bum, Sean Teeter,  is here tonight with a great guest review of another Star Wars alien - Tanus Spijek.  Take it away, Sean!

Hasbro has really left prequel related figures in the lurch this year. Despite the generally well received animated Clone Wars figures, it’s been pretty hard to find the second wave in stores anywhere and the last batch of regular sculpt Clone Wars figures are even harder to score. That super-poseable Clone Trooper could be urban legend for all I know, since I’m not willing to fork over $10 plus online for him.
Since the original trilogy is finally set for release on DVD (let’s not even talk about the ‘special edition BS version’ we’re all getting) Hasbro has concentrated on figures from the older films. Of course, there have been a few missteps along the way. You’ll have no problem finding the Holographic Luke Skywalker or the Hoth Rebel Soldier with his POTF 2 throwback chest. The pegs are overflowing with them. However, the aliens from the Return of the Jedi release are pretty scarce. I managed to locate Rappertunie a month back, but the other two have been missing in action until recently.

J’Quille and Tanus Spijek are a pair of hairy aliens seen in the background of Jabba’s Sail Barge. While I can remember seeing J’Quille’s huge head, I have a tougher time remembering Tanus. I’ll have to go back and review my copies of Return of the Jedi when I got a chance.

I gave an eight-year old kid priority over me at the Fred Myers toy department, so I wasn’t able to get both of them for tonight’s review. But so what? These are toys and meant to be played with. I’m sure little Billy, Mikey, Abner, Anakin, Cletus, or whatever his name was will do a lot more playing with these guys than I will.

So tonight is only for Tanus Spijek, alien skunk, or whatever he’s supposed to be.

Packaging - **1/2
I can’t wait for the retro black and silver packaging coming out with the original trilogy figure line. The classic style really stands out in comparison to the Saga cards. After seeing the work done on the animated Clone Wars packaging, the blue and gold just doesn’t cut it anymore. The bubbles also seem to be made with cheaper plastic in some cases, leading to easily dented packages.

Sculpting - ***
I really like the head sculpt on Tanus. It’s very unique and will be sure to stand out among the rest of Jabba’s rabble. The wrinkles around the eyes and mouth work nicely, as do the textured bumps under his chin.

The body is less detailed, and the hairy sculpt comes out kind of blocky in appearance. The anteater-like claws are a nice touch, but the hair detail isn’t up to par in comparison with some of the Chewie figures out there.

This section also gets docked because Hasbro uses the same body for J’Quille as well. The only difference is the head sculpt, paint ops, and the midsection. On J’Quille, he’s given a soft sculpted belt. Here Tanus sports a tail and some really low hanging breasts. You could make the assumption that Tanus is a female version of J’Quille’s species, but even the write-up on the back of the card refers to Tanus as a male, not to mention some crap about him being a spy for the forces of good. Sure he was, that’s why he was left behind to blow up on the Sail Barge, right?
Hairy boobs on a kids toy huh? This is after the silver garter belt and panties on the Secret Ceremony Padme, the nipples on the Unleashed Padme, the near-naked Ayy Vida Twilek from the Outlander Club, and the realistic skin and cleavage on Aayla Secura. There must be some really lonely guys at Hasbro . . .

Paint - **
There’s not much to paint after the face of this figure. The head actually looks pretty good here, and there’s some really nice detail around the mouth. There’s a little bleeding onto the fur, but it’s not too bad.

The claws are actually pretty clean as well, and the fur ends evenly around them. The body is mainly dark brown with a few silver and light brown streaks thrown in. For some reason, the forearms appear to have a lighter wash to them. 

Of course, what would hairy alien boobs be without nips? Hasbro threw a splotch of paint on both to accomplish that. The skunk stripe on his back is just messy. It’s uneven, bleeds, and looks like Mr. Spijek stood under a large Tatooine pigeon for too long.

Articulation - ***1/2
One thing that Hasbro seems to still be doing a decent job on is articulation. Sure, there’s a miss here or there, and they still refuse to fully convert over to ball joints, but it’s still a lot better than the POTF 2 or even the short-lived Power of the Jedi line.

Tanus Spijek has ten points: a neck cut, shoulder cuts, elbow cuts, wrist cuts, a waist cut, and hip cuts. 

The right elbow cut allows you to position the arm in either a bend or neutral position by his side, but the left is cut at such an extreme angle that it’s always going to be bent. It’s not such a bad thing though. Tanus can effect enough poses to interact with any diorama you put him in, and he doesn’t suffer from pre-posing.  I would have preferred ball joints on the shoulders, but that’s just me talking crazy again.

Accessories - *1/2
Hasbro continues to slump in this category as the year goes by. Not only are we being treated to fewer accessories, but they’re either repacks or really low in quality. The latest figures just don’t hold a candle to earlier Saga figures such as the excellent Bespin Luke and Jedi Master Yoda.

Tanus comes with a rifle and the black figure stand that has become standard among Star Wars figures. Of course, as I’ve been fond of noticing, almost every figure that has come with a stand doesn’t need one.

The rifle is another low blow similar in quality to the skiff guard Lando’s Vibro-Axe. While the barrel is pretty stout, the rest of the gun is so flimsy that I’m waiting for it to snap in half. It’s a real shame too, because I like the design. The same gun is also found with J’Quille.

Durability - ***
Tanus is a pretty solid chunk of plastic. There might be some worry with his tail tearing at the base in the long run, but I’m more concerned with his weapon. 

Value - ***
I almost gave this a lower score because of the shoddy gun and body reuse between Tanus and J’Quille, but in the end they serve their purpose in filling out the ranks of Jabba’s court. $4.99 isn’t a bad price at all if you can find him. He’s still a rare catch these days, but is starting to pop up at the local Targets, Fred Meyers, and K-Marts. Pay more than that and I’d start dropping the score.  He’s a tough find online as well, which means one thing: high prices.

Crazy Star Wars probably has one of the lowest online prices at $7.50 for a preorder. 

Cloud City has him in stock for the nutty price of $18.99 for C-7 or C-8 cards; $19.99 for C-9 grade cards.

Brian's Toys is also kind of nuts. $17.99 for C-7/C-8 cards; $19.99 for C-9 cards.

Online, Ebay may be your best bet to avoid insane pricing.

Overall - ***
Tanus Spijek, is definitely worth a purchase, especially for those who love dioramas and need more background aliens. While the blocky body design isn’t the greatest, the head sculpt will make him stand out among his buddies. After all, everyone needs at least one hairy, she-male, clawed, alien skunk in their figure collection.

The fur sculpt could have been pulled off a lot better, especially since this body is being used by two different figures. Hasbro’s continuation back to the land of shoddy accessories is worrying me. Hopefully the new figures produced under the Original Trilogy line will have some better knick-knacks to play with. 

Figures from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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