Deluxe Yoda

Sean keeps cranking out the Star Wars guest reviews!  Take it away, Sean...

Is anyone up for a little Yoda? A handful of popular figures have been given the “deluxe” treatment by Hasbro over the years, but somehow the petite Jedi Maestro has managed to escape this –that is until now. Now that everybody’s favorite Muppet Jedi has turned into a digital green ball of fury, it was only natural for Hasbro to shelve their Deluxe Padme with Super Hairstyle Action figure, and pay more attention to the pointy-eared one. I know the Deluxe Yoda’s technically been out for a while, but I haven’t seen this particular figure on the shelves until a few weeks ago. This seems to be the norm nowadays for most of the Star Wars releases. Oh well . . .

Packaging - ***
Take the same blue-backed blister card used on the basic Saga line figures and make it bigger. That pretty much sums it up. You get a clear look at all the accessories and the figure, but the size and weight of the item might cause more stress on the peg hole than a regular carded figure.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpting looks fine on this figure. The outer robe has nice wrinkles and pleats in all the right places. His hands are a little hit and miss. While they both look okay, Yoda can only hold his saber in his right hand. The left one has a magnet embedded into the palm, so the saber does stay in hand, but the gap between his thumb and forefinger is too tight. You could jam the hilt in there, but it just doesn’t fit right. In the end it looks like he’s kind of holding it, but only gingerly with two fingers. 

The head sculpt looks awfully close to the one used for the first Yoda figure in the Saga line; the only difference is that the details look a little rougher in execution. Basically, the sculpt looks like it was worked over a little.
He also has two magnets embedded into the bottom of his feet for use with the base’s action feature.

Paint - **½
The paint ops are pretty simple on this figure. His robes are molded in their color, as is his head. The hands are a bit dark, but passable. His inner sleeves bleed quite a bit onto the outer robe. Yoda’s eyes are pretty sloppy both in their look and application –they don’t sit right with the head’s sculpt. The hair detailing is also hit and miss –white paint is everywhere. There are no highlights or paint detailing on this figure. Hold him up next to the Jedi Master version, and you’ll see that all the lines used to help Yoda’s facial expression are missing. The sculpt is nice enough, but the paint job feels flat. 

Articulation - **
In all honesty it is hard to get decent articulation on a figure smaller than your thumb, but after seeing some of Hasbro’s previous Yodas, this can no longer be used as an excuse. Generally, if any of the Star Wars figures made from the mid-90’s on up have less articulation than their vintage Kenner predecessors, trouble might be afoot. Of course, that’s not always the case: the Jedi Master Yoda figure had 4 points of articulation (head, waist, shoulders), but he had ball-joint arms; so did the goofy-looking Episode 1 sculpt. The POTF2 sculpt chose a uni-leg that swiveled at the hip. The original had 5 points (head, arms, and legs) and still remains the only 3 ¾” Yoda to have individually articulated legs. This version has three: head and shoulders. I realize that his lower half needed to be semi-immobile for the action feature, but why isn’t there any waist articulation? Yoda’s pose makes him a little top heavy when both arms are raised up, especially with his lightsaber. Without the magnetic attraction, he tends to fall over quite a bit. Being able to turn his midsection could have helped balance it out. 

Accessories - ***
Yoda comes with a green metal-hilted lightsaber, two parts of a crane, a Super Battle Droid, a blast effect, and a display base with some built in action features. The lightsaber is the same one packaged with his basic Saga figures: it has a removable green blade and the black paint ops are hit and miss. The two-part crane is really part of the base –the bottom column attaches into a socket, while the crane arm rests precariously on a little peg. The sculpting has some nice details, but the arm’s body is a little warped. I saw a few others like this in the store. 

The base is the main reason this is a “deluxe” figure. With the magic of magnets, Yoda can scoot around, turn, and use the force to either knock down the crane’s arm or push an opponent off the platform. The overall sculpt of the base is nice; it looks similar to the hanger where Yoda faces Count Dooku. The tiled floor has clean paint ops, but the white tubing on the sides bleeds onto the base. The action features are so-so. Yoda’s embedded foot magnets are attracted to the magnets on the end of an arm inserted under the floor of the base. You can slide him around all over the small base as well as turn him around with a little knob on the end of the arm. The arm also activates the two force features on the set: the crane and the “force push”. The right side is connected to the crane. Basically, you have to push the arm all the way over to the right side then pull back. The head of the magnetic arm catches a hook underneath and pulls down the peg holding the crane arm. This sends the crane toppling off the column and onto the base, or whatever figure’s standing in the way. There are three problems with this design: first off, it’s hard to operate the feature without holding onto the base with the other hand while poking around with the magnetic arm. Second, the crane arm barely sits on the column to begin with; simply bumping the base could cause it to fall –no action feature needed! Last of all, Yoda’s position on the end of the arm makes him the most likely candidate to be hit by the falling crane. This is just kind of dumb, since he’s the one knocking it down!

The second action feature is the force push. Basically, a figure stands on top of a little springboard, and gets flung off when activated. Push the magnetic arm into the left side of the base, and the door pops up halfway. It would pop up all the way, but the surrounding sculpt of the base is too tight for the door to completely open by itself. You can push it open the rest of the way, defeating the action feature’s purpose. The figure doesn’t really fly backwards; instead it just falls over. 

The base makes a nice –if somewhat undersized—display for the final duel on Geonosis. The Geonosian Escape Darth Tyranus looks great frying any Anakin figure with his force lightning here. An unmentioned play feature can also be found within this set. The magnetic arm can be used to drag metal lightsaber hilts across the floor, like the force is pulling them towards or away from different figures. It’s a fun little idea that increases the play value a bit.
And now, the bad: Like a few other deluxe figures, this one comes with a second action figure. In this case it’s a Super Battle Droid, and a very cheap one at that. Nowhere near as detailed, or fun, as his earlier carded appearance, Hasbro gets sloppy on this one. He has a basic 4 points of articulation (arms and legs) and comes with an attachable blast effect. His sculpt and paint ops are basic. There’s minor detailing and some splashes of black at the joints. This would be forgivable if he could actually stand up! The plastic used for the limbs is softer than that used for the torso. Even worse, the legs are so darn thin that the droid is permanently “knock-kneed” from his warped stems. I guess Hasbro tried to make the figure lighter, so that it would work better with the springboard feature. It’s hard to send the droid flying when he can’t stand on the platform to begin with! When it does work, he just falls backwards. The result is the same with any other regular-sized figure in the series. 

Value - ***
These tend to run for around nine or ten bucks in the real world. If you look carefully, you might be able to catch one on sale somewhere –several toy stores have been having trouble unloading some of their Star Wars stock and have a tendency to slash their prices. I got mine at K.B. Toys for $9.99. I would have felt more comfortable paying $6 for it. 
Kebco Toys has them at $15.99.
Brian's Toys is higher at $17.99.

Of course, there’s always my favorite place in the world: Ebay. Luckily he’s finally starting to show up in the real world, so the asking price should fall as his artificial rarity decreases.

Overall - **1/2
After opening him up, I just don’t feel that this set is really worth the $10 price tag. In fact, I have yet to find a deluxe figure that I truly like, and I usually don’t bother picking them up. (I am considering the deluxe Clone Trooper in the near future, however.) The Saga deluxe figures are gimmick toys, and this usually means that the actual figure in question is substandard in comparison to any of its basic counterparts (with the exception of Mace Windu, who has yet to have a decent basic figure). The gimmick just isn’t worth that much money. 

The base is probably the best looking part of this set. Forget about the action feature and use it to display your Saga figures. There’s already a better Yoda for this same set and a much more superior Super Battle Droid figure out there –with enough comparison shopping, you might be able to buy both of those figures for the same price as this one.

I guess the best way to sum it all up is by simply stating what I’ve done with each piece from this set: The base currently displays figures from the final duel scene in Attack of the Clones, Deluxe Yoda is hanging from the ceiling inside the doorway of a Republic Gunship, and the Super Battle Droid is crammed in the very back of a high shelf where no one can see him ever again. 

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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