Kevin Apgar is back, and he's here with a great review
of the newest in the Fan's Choice series from Hasbro. It's all yours,
You’re talking to one of the original Star Wars diehards here in terms of toy collecting. I started at the very beginning and kept on going right until the toys for The Phantom Menace came out. That’s when it all kind of petered out. Since that time, I may have picked up a grand total of eight or nine figures from all that have been put out by Hasbro.
However, I do still check out the racks to see what new ones do come out. Once in a while I will find a gem of a figure that I just can’t pass up. Such was the case here… Fans’ Choice #4 McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper.
For those of you unfamiliar with “McQuarrie Concept”, it refers to the original artwork developed by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie back in the
pre-production stage for the original masterpiece. The masterpiece we now know as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but was then known as Star Wars (prior to Lucas knowing he would get the green light to turn it into a series) or The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Lucas originally titled his screenplay. In this stage, everybody was armed with a
light saber as their primary weapon. There was no exclusivity of these weapons to the Jedi.
We now see one of the original designs come to life as the Fans’ Choice #4 figure and it’s a
Packaging - ***
This new package is really growing on me. This fits in with all the other figures that are out now that have the blue background with the lightburst in the middle of the card and the tan/gold stripe up the left side. The stripe on this card reads “Fans’ Choice #4”. In all honesty, I would have preferred it read A New Hope or maybe The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as an homage to Lucas’ original title. That would have made for a nice touch.
What I really like is on the back where it has a description of what the original conceptual art looked like for those who haven’t seen it. Plus it has a screened back image of a few of the troopers in action in the top right. Me likey.
The star comes off because I would have liked a different title in the title stripe and the fact that they use these little transparent plastic strips to hold the figure to the plastic bubble and his accessories to his hands. More details down in Accessories.
This is truly a beautiful rendering of the original artwork. His armor is great and he comes with a loose belt and holster for his blaster that comes molded around his waist.
Despite my praise, I have one big… nay “huge”… problem with the figure. It’s this new soft plastic that Hasbro is using. It’s practically rubber. I was afraid to try to move his joints because I didn’t know what was natural joint movement and what was straining of the plastic/rubber. That’s how soft it is. So be very careful.
I’m also slightly annoyed by the fact that the belt and holster sit as loosely as they do and it doesn’t appear in the concept art at all.
Finally, his left hand is molded to hold the blaster complete with index finger further forward to place on the trigger. Problem is, he doesn’t hold it all that well. If you tilt his arm downward, the blaster falls right out.
Paint - **
Yes, he’s mostly white. How can you screw that up, you might ask? Well, Hasbro found a way as they usually do. It’s all in the black paint apps. There is not enough black where it should be (elbows, underarms, and hips) and too much where there should be none (on his armor). The Wal-Mart where I found this figure had two of them in stock and this was the lesser of two evils. This one had some speckling of black on his chest and abdominal armor while the other had a big black spot on his codpiece. It looked like the poor trooper soiled himself on the wrong side. Also, the black really doesn’t meet up well at the edges with the white armor. The shield has some nice carbon scoring effects, but you would think there’d be more carbon bleed around the damage marks. Instead, the rest of the shield is perfectly white.
Also, I just noticed that my lightsaber has a silver blotch of paint on the bulge of the blade near the handle.
Articulation - **1/2
He’s really not as bad as the score may seem to portray. He has 10 points of articulation which is pretty decent considering the fact that when I stopped the majority of my SW toy collecting, the figures were topping out at five or six points. Here’s the tally: two balljointed shoulders, two cut elbows, two cut wrists, two cut hips, a cut waist, and a cut neck.
The lowering of points comes from my desire to have stronger joints (read: stronger plastic) and I would have like knee joints so I could put him in a running position like the concept art shows.
Accessories - *** 1/2
Base, shield, lightsaber, and blaster. That’s a heckuva selection of accessories.
The shield clips on to the Stormtrooper’s forearm which almost guarantees a good hold. However, there is a hole in the middle of the shield where the clips come out revealing his arm.
His base has a single peg and almost looks like the unextended bridge that Luke and Leia swing from in the Death Star. It is a solid blue-grey color and it would have been nice to have a little more creative paint apps on this piece.
The blaster is more like a cross between the classic Stormtrooper rifle and Lando’s blaster from The Empire Strikes Back. It’s small and made of the same soft plastic. However, the size should save it from any bend that might occur due to gravity.
The lightsaber is the piece de resistance here. A bulky silver handle extending into an energy burst just past the hilt and then becoming the blade. Just like the original artwork. It is beautiful. But it is soft. The blade will bend easily and you may have to mold it around a bit to get it in the proper place. But, in my mind, this is all made up for with what the blade does… it glows in the dark! Very cool. I saw the blade inside the package and it looked like it had a solid white staff inside the translucent blue of the blade. It did. I thought maybe it was for support until I looked at the bubble insert card and it listed “’Glowing’ Lightsaber” as one of the accessories. Fan boy’s dream come true, let me tell you.
My warning to you regarding accessories… the lightsaber and blaster are held onto his hands using these evil little transparent strips. And they’re a pain to remove. If you want to remove the strip from the
lightsaber, just pull the saber straight up and out of his hand. With regard to the blaster, just leave it on there. It’s really difficult to remove and the blaster doesn’t hold well in his hand without it.
Value - ***1/2
$4.88 at Wal-Mart is not bad to pay for a SW figure. Or for any figure for that matter. Toys are getting so ridiculously priced that you almost want to thank the toy Gods when you find something at this price point. Combine that price with all the accessories you get and you’ve got a “must have”.
Overall - **1/2
This could easily have been a four star figure just because of the originality of it. However, the plastic and the paint machine they use really kill him. Maybe **1/2 is a bit harsh, but I just can’t warrant even a three-star rating at this point.
Now if they would only continue to make more McQuarrie Concept figures but with better plastic and paint…
Figures from the collection of