Lars Homestead Padme

Regular guest reviewer Sean Teeter checks in with a new Star Wars review tonight of the latest Padme figure - take it away, Sean!

I only go to Target to shop for new Star Wars stuff, and I’m never disappointed. The first two waves of Clone Wars figures are all in stock, as are many new gold-striped cards. At $4.70 a pop, what collector/kid/all-around Star Wars fan isn’t going to snap a few up?
Time for another “inaction” figure, as I call it. Secret Ceremony Padme wasn’t designed for much other than standing there and looking good –and if it wasn’t for Hasbro’s awful head sculpt, it might have succeeded. Now it’s time for another version of Ms. Portman: Padme Amidala, Lars Homestead. Once again there’s only one real diorama you can use her in if you’re a stickler for accuracy, but at least she’s a little more of an “every day” Padme, as opposed to the wedding version.

Packaging - ***
I’ve given this category an extra half star in the past, and while I still like the general look Hasbro’s gone with, the newness has worn off on me. Well, that and some of the bubbles seem to be made of thinner plastic than before. Even with a well-stocked aisle it can be hard finding one without dents for those who like to keep their figures in the packaging.

Sculpting - ***
So far only one Saga figure has had a head sculpt that’s resembled Natalie Portman: the Arena Escape version, stuck onto of a poorly articulated, overly busty (but who’s complaining) body. Well, this one ain’t Portman either but unlike the wedding version, at least this one looks female –right down to her bellybutton.
Overall, she looks pretty good. The costume definitely captures the look of the real outfit. The folds are nicely done, as are the hanging sections in the front and back. The front sash and hanging back are separately molded pieces that have been attached and they work well enough for the figure. The hands are really a sore spot for me. They barely come out of her sleeves, which make it hard for her to hold anything. The sleeves are also sculpted so that they only look nice if hanging by her sides.

Just like the Clone Wars’ Mace and Asajj, Padme sports a ball-joint neck with an easy to pop off head. This works out fine because the cloak’s neck is so tight that a regularly set head would have been pulled clean off from the figure. At least with this sculpt you can pop it back on. 
I also don’t like the solid uni-leg she has from the waist down. I would have preferred a sculpted skirt over a pair of legs, but at least she’s stable and can stand up. The neck seems a little long and the head sits a little awkward on top. This brings me to the sculpt itself: definitely an improvement over the Secret Ceremony Padme, but Hasbro still has quite a bit of room for improvement. The face seems a little chubbier and slightly generic on the details. The hair works out okay though, and makes a great handle to pull on when Padme’s head gets stuck in the top of her hood.

Paint - **1/2
She has a weird mix of hit and miss when it comes to the paint job. All the details are outstanding: the silver hair piece, the black patterns on the front and back of her robes, and the belt buckle above her sash all look great. The basic ops are a slightly different story. The hands and waistline all have bleeding issues and the ball-joint on her neck isn’t painted all the way. You can still see aquamarine under the jaw line no matter how you turn her head.

The paint ops on her face are pretty clean but seem a little flat in the details. In fact, at certain angles the face almost reminds me of basic version of Jennifer Garner from Alias as opposed to Natalie Portman.

Despite the issues with her skin tones, she’s still heads and tails above her last incarnation. 

Articulation - *3/4
I didn’t expect much, and I certainly didn’t get it. Padme comes with four points: a ball-joint head, shoulder cuts, and a uni-leg cut at the waist. Pretty unexciting, then again you’re probably not going to have Padme striking up any kung-fu poses on Tatooine. 

The head is slightly limited by the hair, as is the uni-leg by the front and back sashes. Her arms are a ridiculous throwback to some of the robed vintage Kenner figures, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Articulation seems to be a last minute thought with this figure. She doesn’t even have a waist cut. Elbow articulation would have also gone a long way. Basically she’s built like a statue that can lean and swing her arms.

Accessories - ***
I can’t really think of anything else she could have come with, but Padme seems a little lacking. She only comes with her traveling cloak and a sculpted base. At least they’re well done.

The base is nice and has a little speckled wash to evoke sand as well as painted pieces of desert junk. Like other recent bases, you can link this one up to others for display purposes. The cloak has a nice silver and dark gray paint wash, and looks pretty good for the most part. Unfortunately the paint wears thin in some areas and the bright blue plastic that the cloak was molded in shows through. Why not just mold it in the dark gray? 

Also, the cut is a little different from the hardcopy photo on the back of the card. This cloak is completely joined at the neck which makes it fit snugly, but also makes it hard to pull off without decapitating Padme. Luckily her hair provides a long enough handle for retrieval. 

Durability/Quality - **1/2
She’s almost a statue. No problem besides her head and the thin arms.

Value - ***
That’s assuming you pick her up at Target for $4.70 or so. She’s not much in the “action” department for an action figure, but she displays pretty well and has a nice base. 

Overall - **3/4
Even though she looks better than the Secret ceremony Padme, her awful lack of articulation and bleeding paint on her basic ops really do bring her down. I didn’t expect great things from this figure, but if I had wanted a statue I would have picked up a figure in the Unleashed line. In my opinion Hasbro’s only given us one Padme figure in the Saga line that was both functional and good-looking: the Coruscant Attack version. Other than that, it’s been an uneven mix. Arena Escape Padme certainly looks great, but her pre-posing and lack of articulation hurt the final product. The Droid Factory Chase figure has the closest body sculpt to Natalie Portman, as well as great articulation in the legs, but the arms look and act useless –not to mention the head would look more at home on a blow-up doll. Of course the Secret Ceremony version is probably the worst of the lot, especially in the looks department.

This version certainly has looks going for it: the blue robes are striking, and the main body is sculpted pretty well. The head and arms could use a going over however.

For the most part, I have no problem with scene specific figures: especially one like Padme Amidala: she has so many dress changes that Hasbro has a vast array of styles to choose from. This gives the sculptors different challenges and chances to bring an interesting new look to an established character in the toy universe. I’d love to see some of the outfits used in Padme’s Naboo retreat: namely the black one with the corset and every fan boy’s favorite, the backless gown she wears when going home with Anakin. They’d be collector’s figures over kid’s toys most certainly, but so are the last two incarnations. 

I’d love to see a completely retooled, well-articulated Padme from the Geonosis Arena, but we already have two versions of that figure. I doubt Hasbro would do a third, but you never know.

Figures from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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