Vintage Collection - Return of the Jedi
Star Wars - Hasbro
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
|There's something a little
different in the guest review tonight,
as Lawrence takes a look at Hasbro's new vintage series - yes, that's a
paradox! Tell us all about them, L!
After making a few appearances as an adjunct to a more central
line, the Vintage line has finally gotten the green light as a basic
line of figures – minus the restriction on what figures could be made,
minus the special clamshell, and minus the price increase.
that last bit didn’t fit in with every retailer’s plans for the line,
but we’ll get to that.
It’s unclear if sales for the Vintage
Collection have been as strong as Hasbro hoped, but so far they keep
pumping out great stuff. Just now surfacing, the Return of
Jedi wave features a diverse mix of hero and background characters from
that film, aliens and droids, upgrades to older sculpts and one
character not seen in plastic since 1984.
|Packaging - ****
an old-school Star Wars fan, I find it simply preposterous to imagine
that any line could sport more appealing packaging than this.
suppose that might overstate the case a bit, but really, it’s just
joyous to see the classic design brought back. The inclusion
photos of the vintage figures on the back is a nice touch.
reproducing the vintage photo for Luke as he appears on the Death Star
(minus his cloak and outer vest), Hasbro appears to have missed the
opportunity for a “Death Star Luke” cardback. It’s up to you
whether that’s an issue.
Sculpting - R2-D2 ***; everyone
remarkable about this wave is that just about every single figure is
stunning, a real high watermark for sculpting. Additionally,
three of the figures are upgrades to figures that haven’t been
revisited since POTF2 (Ackbar, Wicket, and the Gamorrean Guard), and
which fans really wanted to see improved.
Luke: The face
sculpt is more round than you might expect – it bears more of a
resemblance to the original vintage figure than to Hamill as he
appeared in the film. But it looks better than many prior
attempts, and there’s no denying that the rest of the figure looks
amazing. They captured the slim build of the actor, and
accurately reproduced the few details in the somewhat spartan costume,
like the design of his belt buckle, and the way his vest
There seems to be a running change in the figure, in that later issues
have a peghole for the saber hilt. This will almost certainly
stand as the definitive Death Star Jedi Luke for some time.
guard: Wow. Just… wow. There’s so much to
this guy. The head is perfect, accurately reproducing the
original mask, with such crisp detail work it seems as though the mouth
might actually open. It’s just an outstanding
are only two flaws, both easy to remedy. First, the removable
helmet doesn’t stay on very well, meaning you’ll want to save yourself
some trouble and just glue it in place. Second, the skirt is,
be polite, a little more aggressively furry than it probably needs to
be. Fresh out of the package, he looks a bit like he’s being
eaten by a dust bunny. This is easy to fix – trim it, or
the belt a bit, or cut the skirt shorter. It’s a shortcoming
the figure that a fix is required at all. Still, it’s
to be harsh on a figure that, with minimal tweaking, stands as one of
the best Star Wars figures ever made.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I've also
heard, though can't confirm, that the skirt looks better turned around,
as though they might have put it on backwards.
Another phenomenal improvement over a figure last produced in the late
90’s, Ackbar now not only matches the original costume more precisely,
but is more accurately proportioned. His Popeye-esque
feature a lot of wrinkles and ridges, and his costume is sculpted to
look as though it’s comprised of several different materials.
Wicket is one of the few ewok characters who receives considerable
screen time as an individual – his interactions with both Leia and R2
are the closest we get to seeing an ewok with a recognizable
personality. Hasbro did a spectacular job with him.
noticeably smaller than almost every other ewok, and his face actually
resembles the original costume rather than looking generic.
sculpt on both hoods is outstanding, and they fit snugly.
This is one of the few missteps in the wave. Although the
slightly smaller astromech mold is fun to see (though fans continue to
debate on the true scale of R2), it’s another instance in which an
action feature tends to detract from the toy. R2 has no fewer
than three action features working against him. First, and
frustrating, his dome features a slot which can be used to feature a
raising periscope or the hilt of Luke’s jedi lightsaber. To
either, you push the middle leg in; to lower either, you pull the leg
out. That means that R2 cannot be displayed with his middle
retracted and his dome shut, or with both his middle leg and periscope
extended. The second feature is an interface which extends
an opening panel – as is often the case, the panel is noticeable,
taking away from the “pure” look we’d get with a fully sculpted
droid. It’s not particularly ugly, but it stands
Finally, R2 has a drinks-serving dispenser on the top of his dome
which, when removed, leaves a hole. Without these features
certainly have come closer to a definitive version of R2. I
note that the drink serving tray is astonishingly detailed, and
includes individual removable beverages – an unexpected extra mile for
the team at Hasbro to take.
Wooof: As with the Gamorrean
guard, he suffers from a needlessly removable helmet that simply
doesn’t stay on, and must be glued in place. Still, that’s a
small quibble with an otherwise exceptional figure. His outer
vest is a separately sculpted piece, as is the bandolier strap around
his shoulder, giving even more detail to what was already a great
figure. Hasbro has given the figure the same somewhat bulky
the original costume featured, which some fans consider ugly, but it
matches the original costume so I have no
soldier: Finally, we come to yet another figure that really
needed an upgrade, and one of the most sought-after
army-builders. This is another exceptionally detailed sculpt,
with a removeable helmet, bandolier strap, backpack, and soft goods
trenchcoat. The sculpting is once again superb, giving us
realistic human proportions, wrinkles and folds in the outfit, accurate
differentiation between materials. Unfortunately, Hasbro’s
inexplicable fetish for giving unique face sculpts to otherwise generic
army-builder figures is in evidence here; the soldier is bearded and
bald. While it is possible to swap out heads due to the
the ball joint Hasbro has used, it isn’t easy to find heads that are a
good match for the size of the peg here.
There is no
need to break this category down by figure, for the simple reason that
every single figure sports an exceptional paint job. Ackbar
mottled skin, Wooof’s horns and bumps have been highlighted, Wicket’s
fur has the appropriate highlights to give the impression of hair, R2
has the more authentic steel grey instead of the vac-metal silver on
his dome, there’s even a faint glaze of drool and/or snot on the snout
of the Gamorrean guard. The Endor trooper may be the most
impressive: his boots are muddied and weathered, his pants
feature both highlights and an elaborate camo treatment, his helmet has
silver “scratches” and wear.
- Luke and Wicket ****; everyone else *** ½
Luke: Luke may be
the most impressive. His ball
jointed hips are better executed than Bespin Luke’s: his legs
aren’t so far from each other, there’s no “diaper” look.
he is so slim, when he turns to the side, his torso splits in an
ungainly fashion – see the group picture for further evidence of what
I’m attempting to describe. He does have ball-jointed wrists,
which allow for more poseability with the lightsaber than we’ve ever
seen before. He also features the same ball joints in the
shoulders, elbows, knees, neck and ankles that we’ve come to expect.
Guard: Ball jointed shoulders, elbows, neck, ankles and
traditional articulation at the hips and wrists. His neck
and placement means he can’t really move his head all that much to the
side, but then neither could the guards in the film. It may
appear that his shoulder articulation is of little use, but it is
possible to get the armor on his upper arms to slide under the leather
on his shoulders, so his arms actually can extend laterally quite a
Ackbar: Ball joints at the neck, shoulders, knees,
elbows, with more movement in the head than I expected, which gives him
far more character. No ankle articulation, but as far as I’m
concerned, it’s wholly unnecessary most of the time and definitely not
Wicket: Ball joints at the shoulders, hips, ankles,
as well as swivel wrists and neck. This is simply an insanely
well-articulated figure for its size.
and the Endor soldier: Both feature ball joints in the neck,
shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, and traditional swivel joints at
the waist, hips and wrist.
R2-D2: I suppose it could count
against his articulation that his use of his middle leg is restricted
by the action feature, but I consider that more a shortcoming of the
sculpt. He’s got a ton of moving parts, so he’s actually more
articulated than most astromechs.
- Wooof ***; everyone else ****
if superbly sculpted figures with elaborate paint jobs and
unprecedented articulation weren’t enough, this wave also features an
extensive and creative set of accessories for almost every figure.
Luke comes with the expected assortment of gear – his lightsaber, a
lightsaber hilt for his belt, and a pair of manacles.
Guard: A figure that already impresses gets even more
when you see the arsenal he’s packing. He comes with three
weapons – two different kinds of axes and a pole arm I’m fairly certain
we’ve never seen in plastic before. This is an army-builder’s
dream, and Hasbro seems to be taking full advantage of the fact that
many fans will want to buy this figure multiple times.
Ackbar comes with two accessories: his “commander wand” about
which there isn’t much to say, and the control pad from his admiral’s
chair. Without the chair, it’s not clear what we, or the good
admiral, are meant to do with this thing.
Showing remarkable creativity and imagination, Hasbro has included the
green headdress and brown pouch that Wicket wore in the 1980’s “Ewoks”
cartoon, in addition to the brown hood he wears in the film, and a
spear. For fans who don’t particularly feel the need for a
cartoon-accurate Wicket, the hood will fit some previous ewok figures,
allowing for an easy way to customize new members of the tribe.
He’s one of the more tricked out R2 units. His accessories
well rendered and pretty fun, even if they do have such an adverse
impact on the figure itself.
Wooof: The guard comes with the gun that can be stored in his
hip holster, and a pole arm.
soldier: Although I counted the helmet, backpack and coat as
of his costume under the sculpting category, I think they could just as
easily be listed alongside his rifle and pistol (that fits in his hip
holster) because by changing what he’s wearing and how he’s armed you
can easily create new individual soldiers. Without the
trenchcoat, he looks more like the soldiers we saw in the Saga line,
and he can in fact fit into the restrictive plastic jacket those
figures wore (pic of this custom is included, but note that the plastic
coat does not come with the Vintage Collection figure).
- *** at TRU or online, **** everywhere else
don’t want to give a complex algorithm for this score, but it really is
all over the place. Wicket should perhaps score slightly
here given that we once got ewoks in two-packs, and now we’re being
asked to pay the highest price ever for the smallest ewok ever,
packaged alone. R2 is similarly tiny, but at least comes with
elaborate drinks tray to add some perceived value. But in all
cases, value is going to depend on where you get them. TRU
inexplicably decided to charge $10 for these, which is just this side
of insanity. Most online places like BBTS are charging pretty
much the same. If you find these at Target, Walmart, K-Mart
the like, you’ll pay less – and since these tend to show up everywhere,
there’s no reason to pay more than you have to unless your desperate or
insane. The Gamorrean Guard is such a huge work of art, I
could give him a pass at $10 – for everyone else, as awesome as these
are, they really shouldn’t be more than $7-8 a pop.
Factor - ****
figures are a blast, and this is a wave that kids and collectors are
set to enjoy equally. We’ve got some great aliens in Ackbar,
Gamorrean guard, and Wooof, we’ve got a fantastic Luke figure, we’ve
got a fun variant on R2-D2, we’ve got a good soldier figure.
is an exceptionally fun assortment of figures.
I honestly can’t
remember the last time a single wave of Star Wars figures had so much
greatness in it, with no real filler in the bunch. The
figure is R2-D2, and that’s only because he’s a fun gimmick rather than
the definitive version some of us have been waiting to see.
the Vintage Collection may produce individual figures that surpass what
we have here, this is probably going to be the only time we’ll have an
entire wave of figures that qualify as “must haves” for most fans.
This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer.
Photos and text by Lawrence Horsburgh.