Vintage Original Trilogy Collection 12"
Boba Fett and Stormtrooper

Lawrence (better known as 'L' on some boards) comes in tonight with a comparison review of the new vintage original trilogy collection 12" figures, Fett and the Stormtrooper. It's all yours, L!

With the long-awaited arrival of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Hasbro has decided to re-invigorate the line, and retailers appear to be supportive. The so-called "Original Trilogy Collection" sports packaging that pays homage to the vintage line, and while much of the regular lineup is made up of re-issues of older figures, there are new figures here and there as well.

The highlight of the new approach can be found in two lines that attempt to capture the charm of the line in its youth: the "vintage Original Trilogy collection" which sports replicas of the original packaging around brand-new figures with never-before-seen levels of articulation and sculpting, and the new 12" line, which also mimics the original packaging of 12" figures and similarly ups the ante on quality in sculpt and articulation.

This review covers the 12" Boba Fett and 12" Stormtrooper, both characters we've seen many times before, in this scale as well as others. For comparisons, I'll be pointing to the original issue of Fett and the original Stormtrooper (though in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit the pics below are of the Han Solo Stormtrooper that was part of the KB exclusive 2-pack -- the figure is essentially the same for my purpose, however).

Packaging - ****
I suppose people with space concerns might knock a half-star off, since this packaging is not exactly efficient. While the small-scale Vintage OTC figures are packed in a protective clamshell, the larger figures are encased in an entirely separate cardboard box. While the outer box is a straight foward black square, the inner box is a replica of the original packaging, including the colorful backdrops for the photos of the figures, the mix of movie stills and shots of the toy, and so forth. The return to the classic silver logo, the bright colors against the black star field, and the drama of the presentation (the silver sticker label, for example) all make the figure feel like a masterpiece edition. After several years of cut-rate 12" boxes, it's nice to have a figure packaged in a way that makes it feel like an event again. (oh, and I already threw out the Boba Fett box, so sorry, but no pics of that one).

Sculpting - ****
I'm including these together since they are hard to distinguish here; the outfits include many sculpted elements, and the only properly "sculpted" part of the figures are the heads. Still, what a difference a few years makes. These figures are so far superior to the earlier versions it is enough to make one weep. Boba Fett sports far more accurate details in his armor, his wrist guards, his gloves, and his helmet. He's better proportioned, his outfit fits better, and he looks less like a doll. Part of the improvement is due to the decision to make the shirt under the chestplate a single plastic element, also connecting the shoulder armor -- it may sound like a poor idea or a copout, but the outfit is still largely cloth, and this way it fits a LOT better. From a distance, you can barely tell how they've done it. The braids of wookie scalps are thicker, the color is more accurate (though a less accurate blue version exists for some reason), and his little bounty hunting gadgets fit smoothly into their pouches. His helmet's view finding antenna even lowers properly. (some of these features were present in previous versions of the 12" Fett, but none were there in the 1996 version)

The stormtrooper, meanwhile, finally shakes the bulky look many previous efforts have been saddled with. The armor fits better, is slimmer, and seems more on-model this time around. He's got a holster for his weapon, but none of the fun "action features" that Fett's outfit has. Then again, all these guys do is get shot, so I don't really know what I would have expected.

The sculpts are so good I wish I could say more about them. Unfortunately, sometimes it is easier to list criticisms than praise, and when things work this well, pictures serve better than words. Accordingly, I'll let the pictures do the work.

Articulation - *** or **
Here things take a bit of a hit. The Fett sports ball jointed shoulders, hips, ankles and neck, hinged elbows and knees, and a swivel waist. He has no wrist articulation (though he does have a swivel at the elbow). His elbows and knees are not double-jointed. The Stormtrooper is similarly done, though with the addition of wrist joints and a finger joint on the index finger of each hand. 

One's take on this is going to depend a lot on what sorts of figures one collects. For 12" figure collectors who've been buying Sideshow or bbi or Dragon figures, this is a step down. The lack of double-joints, for example, is a pretty severe shortcoming. The lack of multiple points of articulation, especially where a cloth outfit renders articulation invisible, seems a missed opportunity. These figures are being treated as masterpiece editions, iconic characters given special treatment. Better articulation, more in-keeping with what 12" figures have provided for years now, would make sense.

At the same time, these figures are $30. Sideshow figures have hovered around $50 for some time, and Dragon figures are regularly more expensive. These are cheaper figures, available in the mass market in a way these other 12" are not. It is only fair to judge them in this light. These two figures cost $60, as opposed to $100. I can sacrifice some articulation for that; this is still the most articulated SW 12" figure I've ever seen.

Accessories - *
I'm not an accessories nut. I feel that if a character needs them, fine, but I don't like keeping track of tons of little pieces of plastic, and none of them are going to make me like a poor figure any more. 

Still, when a figure like this has NOTHING, it's a shame. Fett and the Trooper each come with a rifle, and no more -- and the trooper's rifle feels a tad small to me. While the Stormtrooper doesn't really need much else (though some little detail would be nice, like a mouse droid or something else that's already been released) the Fett figure could definitely include little bounty hunting gadgets, a grappling line, an extra gun, some detonator mines or thermal detonators or something. You could count the removable twinkies in his pants pouches, I suppose, but these seem more like part of the outfit than proper accessories. Similarly, his removable backpack might count as either category.

Fun factor: ****
If your kid likes SW, there's no way these figures could disappoint. They are sturdy, they are poseable, they are fun villains. They look ready to squash goodness in all corners of the galaxy. 

Value - ****
Well, I remember fondly when SW 12" figs were $20, and I'd love to see these at that price. Still, these are clearly not your average figure, and the attention to detail that was put into them does merit a little more. In comparing these to cheaper 12" figures, they seem a little steep, but I think they hold up pretty well in comparison to higher-end 12" figures. Given that fact, I'd say they are a darn good value.

Overall - ***1/2
The overall score takes into account the missed opportunity of greater articulation, the lack of accessories, and the price, as well as the quality in the sculpt. I consider the Fett to be the definitive Fett for now, until an affordable one with better articulation comes along. He certainly LOOKS right, and I can't really imagine needing a better looking Fett for this price. Similarly, the Stormtrooper finally captures the look of the ubiquitous SW villain in 12" form pretty effectively, for all its shortcomings. If sculpt is your primary concern, you may want to knock the score up by a half-star or so. If you really are bothered by the lack of accessories, or your standards for articulation on 12" is particularly high, you may want to knock it down.

Figure from the collection of Lawrence Horsburgh.

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