The standard brand bearer and primary clone for The Clone Wars series gets an update in 2012 that transitions him into Phase II armor. The new Captain Rex looks absolutely magnificent, with great sculpting, awesome deco and weathering detail, and shares some parts with CW2 Phase II Clone Trooper. What he lacks in articulation (8 points), Rex certainly makes some up for in aesthetics. But will that make the cut for pose happy collectors?
We can blame Canada for this cool carded variant of VC20 Yoda. The Jedi Master is packaged in a Return of the Jedi cardback with the iconic photo that was featured in the original Kenner release instead of the more correct, and dare we say not as iconic, Revenge of the Sith card that was distributed here domestically.
Another version wasn't on my top priority list, but there's plenty to like about the new Clone Pilot, especially since he features new sculpting with re-used parts from previous figures that complement the upgrade. A few ROTS era pilots have been released for battle packs and Evolutions sets over the years with varying degrees of quality. However, this well executed design partnered with some kit bashing and the appeal of a film scene specific representation makes VC97 pretty close to if not definitive.
The deadly female Mandalorian Bounty Hunter is the second Vintage Collection action figure from The Old Republic video game. Shae Vizla includes swappable heads to display her helmeted and un-helmeted and she even comes with some flame effects like it's 2002.
Based on the Clone (or is it?) protagonist from The Force Unleashed II game, Starkiller comes with a pilot outfit and training armor for some Sith apprentice badass-ness. For better or worse, he's the 100th Vintage Collection figure (I thought it should've been a more iconic character that Kenner never originally produced, like Tarkin.) and if past is any prologue on the popularity of other Star Wars video game themed action figures and the cross-sell appeal for both collectors and gamers alike, he should be pretty hard to find on a store peg.
This is the Nikto Skiff Guard we've all been waiting for. It's based on the character the original 1984 Kenner action figure was referenced from and this Vintage Collection version has chock full of sculpt and paint detail that has surpassed all expectations, plus he's got 14 points of articulation to boot.
With Grand Moff Tarkin never being released in the Vintage Kenner line despite being a key character in the film, finally having a Vintage Collection style Star Wars card with a photo of Peter Cushing's iconic portrayal should be a day long remembered for collectors. But Hasbro made some design decisions on the action figure which are a few pegs below ideal. The head sculpt is unmistakably Cushing and one that's absolutely the best yet. But the inclusion of a soft goods skirt and a uniform that's probably too green takes away points on what's otherwise a superb figure. We'll take the mouse droid anytime of day though.
"The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet." This new Movie Heroes action figure, with that light-up lightsaber, captures that scene so amazingly well. It geekily inspired me to load up "Clash of the Lightsabers" on my iPod and photograph him on the POTJ Bespin playset to capture the essence of that scene and…wow...THAT's it. If you're a Vader fan, or even a passing Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this figure up.
Here are the Nth releases of these characters within the past 4 months that could potentially cause some redundancy and over saturation in retail. From the head up, they're excellent, and you may argue that at least one or two are the best yet. But the 5 points of articulation are causing much menace for a few collectors, especially since these head sculpts are meant for more action.
When Hasbro bragged during their speedy presentation at this year's Toy Fair that these new Battle Pack figures are the best they've done of these characters yet, they were somewhat correct... from a certain point of view. The regression in articulation has caused much controversy and debate in the collector community since. Yes, these figures feature excellent sculpting and awful POTF2 era poseability. No, it doesn't have to be this good and that bad.
Expanded Canon meets Expanded Universe as the fan favorite Republic Commando Boss gets the Clone Wars treatment in 2012 with good sculpt, but awfully limited leg articulation. He comes with his standard commando weaponry, a zip line, and a cool storage pack to harness his hand blasters.
The leader of the Wolfpack upgrades his armor but loses mobility for his second figure release. There are a few things so right about this figure and a lot that could have been done better. Visually, he looks stunning, but if you can get by with 8 points of articulation on a figure that's meant to be posed dynamically or keep your figures carded, then you'll probably be O.K.
The most prominent and notorious Clone Trooper unit gets an update in plastic in the new and improved 2011 body. He's super-articulated, nicely-decoed and you can generalize this as a repaint of the Movie Heroes Class I BARC Speeder with Clone Trooper and you would be correct. But then there's a slight issue with the helmet.
Plain vanilla ice cream is sometimes all you need to take care of that sweet tooth. It's uncomplicated yet classically flavorful. In the case of the VC45 Phase I Clone Trooper, Hasbro makes plain white even more intriguing by drafting an all new, spectacular sculpt that's aesthetically and proportionally pleasing, proving that super articulation is not the end all, be all of vanilla ice cream or Clone Troopers.