Star Wars Episode I
Rabe and Amidala

Sean Teeter the College Bum returns with a new Star Wars review.  Tonight it's two figures based on Episode One - Rabe and Queen Amidala!  What's the scoop, Sean? 

Now that Hasbro has wrapped up on their twelve vintage-style figures, with C-3PO still missing from many retail outlets, what’s left in the 3 ¾” Star Wars line for kids and collectors to pick over? The Original Trilogy Collection? Hardly, since the majority of these figures are nothing but repacks. Even the handful of new figures produced in this line ain’t anything to write the farm about. With the Episode III preview figures slated to come out in a couple of months, Hasbro has to do something to keep the line alive. Hasbro has seven new figures in the works, with the first five hitting the shelves as we speak. These five are unique in that they are prequel characters, yet are being packaged in the same style as the OTC figures, although the actual OTC logo is missing. Let’s just call this the OTC Transitional line.
Out now are Pablo-Jill, Yarua, and Sly Moore from Attack of the Clones; Rabe and Queen Amidala from the Phantom Menace; with two aliens from A New Hope rounding out the listed seven, although there’s a few ANH other aliens pictured for future release at Hasbro’s official site.

While I haven’t decided whether or not to pick up Yarua the Wookie senator yet, I have snagged the other four currently available. Tonight I look at the two Episode I figures, Rabe and Amidala.

Packaging - ***
I dig the retro silver and black. The packaging is simple and very well done with a nice headshot of the figure on the front. I like that each figure has it’s own unique background photo art as well. 

One thing that’s slightly awkward is what Hasbro’s done to replace the OTC logo at the bottom of the bubble. The figure’s name is still at the top of the bubble, but the logo area now reads as the character’s description, such as “Celebration Ceremony” for Amidala. This text is far more eye catching than the actual nameplate.

Speaking of text, the write-up on Amidala’s seems to be wrong. Hasbro pulls a Lucas and states that the Gungans presented Amidala with a Globe of Peace, when it was the other way around. More on that globe in the accessories section. . .

Sculpting - Amidala: bare-bones ***; Rabe: **
Admittedly I expected Rabe to be pretty lackluster, but I had high hopes for Amidala. I keep waiting for Hasbro to produce a great Natalie Portman figure, but I have yet to see anything that comes close to a home run. So far the best overall Padme is the Naboo Pilot version, which is so scene specific that you can’t use it as is with any other figure.

Rabe is pretty humdrum in appearance. All three female figures in this latest release share similar bodies –the legs are tucked into sculpted skirts, much like the OTC Bespin Leia. Rabe’s legs are done up in Genie pants. The pleats in her robes and the long dangly sleeves are serviceable, but her hands and face really sink this one. Hasbro has real trouble with female figures when it comes to hands, they always look weird –almost monkey-like sometimes. The face isn’t much better. It’s man baby . . . well, if she isn’t, somebody beat her with an ugly stick.

In the end Amidala is more of a glorified ** ½ star figure, but I felt that the head sculpt was better than average when compared to other Padme figures out there. The hair design is really well done and quite detailed. The head is really close to the teenage Natalie Portman, but seems fatter than it should, probably because of the ball joint inside. The mesh on the forehead isn’t as detailed as the test shot figure pictured on the back of the card.
The dress is simple, yet well done. However the flair on the lower folds makes it look like Nat’s butt is a little bigger than it should be. The legs are very similar to the ones used on the bridal Padme, but don’t have the garter belt. She does still sport the same glitter undies however, which makes me wonder who at Hasbro okayed that move on a figure that’s supposed to represent a young teenage girl.

Her hands suffer a similar fate as Rabe, more so with the open left one than the right.

Paint - Rabe: ** ½; Amidala: ***
Hasbro did a pretty good job on the yellow to red gradient shift in Rabe’s robes, however the bleeding found on her belt, hands, and face kind of kick it back down. The face sculpt isn’t that great to begin with, but the clown/whore rouge cheeks and red lipstick don’t help it any.

Amidala fares a bit better. The detailing on her dress’s front pleat is very nicely done, and pretty clean. The lipstick and cheek dots are pretty clean, but slightly off-center. The mesh crown is missing some paint on the sides, and there’s some bleeding around the neckline. The one major mistake is the skin color: Padme was dusted down with white make-up, which can clearly be seen in the packed photo art.

Articulation - *1/2
Okay, neither of these figures were ever going to be used for any kung-fu action posing, so I wasn’t expecting much, but c’mon Hasbro! You showed us what you could do with the VOTC figures in this category. I don’t expect these kinds of figures to be tricked out, but I would also like some poseability.

Both figures come with four points of articulation: neck, shoulders, and one arm cut. Rabe’s cut is on the right arm, Amidala’s is on the left. Rabe’s head cut is limited due to her hood. Amidala has a ball joint allowing for some variation. That’s all folks.

Accessories - Amidala: ***; Rabe: **
Rabe is pretty weak in this department. She comes with a blaster and the same clunky black stand found throughout the OTC line. The peg on the stand barely fits the small peg holes in her feet, and the blaster is the same one used with the Droid Factory Chase Padme figure –done in a softer plastic, and with slightly messier paint ops.

Amidala fares a bit better with three accessories: her Globe of Peace, her outer gown, and her stand. The gown is the real winner here, and mimics iridescent gauze about as well as any soft plastic can. The collar design is also well done and matches the lizard frill present in the source material. The silver points around the end are a little hit and miss, but aren’t as noticeable from the front. The one real downer is the gown is too long on the right side. Amidala will always be tilted to her left while wearing it unless you place something underneath to prop her up.

The Globe of Peace would be more aptly titled as the Global Piece of Crap. It would have been tolerable if this thing were just the clear, lightning streaked softball it appeared to be, but for some reason the thing opens up to display a little silver brain or something. Huh? Yeah, that and the scale is a bit off. Wasn’t this thing about the size of a beach ball in the movie?

Durability/Quality - **
The shoulder joints are pretty weak, so I certainly won’t be swinging them around too much.

Value - Rabe: * ½; Amidala: ** ½
Prices are back up to around five and a half bucks at my local Target, but you’ve got to find them first. Amidala is definitely the better value of the two. has both of them in at $7.99 a pop, which is probably your best bet online. Oh yeah, Ebay.

Overall - Rabe: * ¾: Amidala: ** ½
The first question is why were these two figures even made? Easy: we haven’t had any Phantom Menace characters in a while, and the Star Wars universe is low on female characters.

These two are very scene specific figures and the dioramas that these might turn up in are very low on the diorama-maker’s priority list. Rabe, in truth, is so nondescript; you could buy four of her and stick them in a line behind the Amidala figure of your choice if you wish. However, they’ll all have the same pose.

This Queen Amidala figure could have been a nice single-figure showpiece aimed directly at collectors as opposed to kids, but it falls short. It is certainly in the better-looking half of the Padme figures out there, but nowhere near the Naboo Pilot or Droid Factory version –heck, even the Amidala dressed in purple from the Episode I line was a better figure.

These ladies are a step back for Hasbro, especially since I’ve seen the test shots for several of the Upcoming Episode III figures. Looks like I’ll get my ultimate Dooku figure in the future. I just want a good Padme as well –without patented Episode III “Twin-Birthing Action” please, Hasbro.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Amidala: bare-bones ***; Rabe: **
Paint - Rabe: ** ½; Amidala: ***
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories - Amidala: ***; Rabe: **
Quality - ** 
Value - Rabe: * ½; Amidala: ** ½
Overall - Rabe: * ¾: Amidala: ** ½

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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