The Phantom Menace at 15 was originally published as a postscript to my Q&A column - I'm reprinting it here as its own beast because it got a pretty good reaction and there's no reason to bury it in the back pages. Here it is, with a couple of tweaks. Thank you for your kind indulgence.
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.
Sideshow has posted up more photos to their Sixth Scale STAP and Battle Droid Gallery which will be going up for pre-order on Thursday January 26th between 2-3 PM PT. The set retails for $174.99.
Yep, it’s the same figure as you’ll find in the 2008 Jedi Legacy Evolutions set and then again in the Eopie Mailaway. It’s a decent enough version, with good articulation and passing likeness to Neeson, but it’s time to update the noble Jedi for the new decade. Like Obi-Wan, there’s nothing new here so move along if you’re a loose collector.
Technically speaking, this isn't a "Character Debut" for the Naboo Royal Guard since a version was released in 1999 for The Episode I Collection. Aesthetically speaking, this all new iteration is worlds and 12 years of sculpt and design evolution apart from that TPM figure. This Guard deserves a variant head sculpt/running change for troop/squad building purposes. You can head swap yourself with the ball jointed neck so pick a couple up for that Naboo Hangar diorama that will be immediately enhanced by this worthy upgrade.
Hasbro re-issues the Padawan Kenobi from 2009's The Legacy Collection and includes a commlink this time around. This figure could have been vastly improved by an updated head sculpt as the likeness to McGregor falls short. It's not as premium a Vintage Collection figure as we'd like it to be and one of the weaker releases of this assortment. If you're an opener and already have the '09 release, you're good with skipping this.
Hasbro expanded upon The Phantom Menace Celebration scene finale where we witness little Ani in full Padawan garb. The figure includes a lightsaber, training helmet, and training remote orb. This is a super articulated, with great likeness, vast improvement from the 1999 "Naboo" figure, which until now had been the only version of Padawan Anakin released. It's worth the wait as Hasbro packed in 14 points of articulation, incredible detail, and even a soft goods skirt to plus it up. Can I get a "Yipeee"?
Hasbro has hardly disappointed with the various versions of Queen Amidala and her ornate dresses. We're glad they ditched the salt shaker bodies and went with sound design. While not super-articulated because it doesn't make much sense unless they can engineer appropriate soft goods, they do include swivel elbows and sculpted legs. The likeness is decent and the sculpt and paint app for the Foreign Residence Dress is superb.
We like our Jedis dark, brooding, conflicted, and dreadlocked with warpaint. Easily one of my favorite figures of this wave, the new Quinlan Vos is finely detailed and articulated to include ball jointed hips to be battle posed in many ways. Vos was a blink and you'll miss him Easter Egg in Episode I, but Hasbro made every effort to make sure this figure stands out as one of the better ones to kick off 2012.
Walmart continues to be the destination for Star Wars 2012. Along with new Movie Heroes, Clone Wars, Vehicles and Battle Packs, the retailer is now receiving and putting out the new The Vintage Collection The Phantom Menace wave. These were found at a Scottsdale, AZ store and retailed for $8.96 each. Note that these cards do not have the Maul promotion sticker and entry form. Happy Hunting!
Walmart also began putting out Wave 1 of the Class 2 Vehicles this evening which incude re-issues of the Sith Infiltrator, AAT, Anakin's Podracer, and Sebulba's Podracer. We've taken some front and back boxed photos for your perusal. These were found at a Walmart store in San Diego.
We have uploaded tons in our Image Bank featuring large photos from the Hasbro Booth for your viewing pleasure. If you're a Phantom Menace, there's plenty coming up next year for the 3D re-release. If you're a fan of The Vintage Collection, it's also continuing for 2012.
We update our Image Bank with additional photos of the ROTJ Deleted Scene and TPM waves as well as the ToysRUs exclusive The Force Unleashed II and Droid Attack on the Coronet
We mentioned Hasbro's tendency to stagger their reveals during these events. The afternoon after their Comic-Con panel, Hasbro displays their forthcoming The Phantom Menace and ROTJ Deleted Scenes waves slated for release in the beginning of 2012! And these look spectacular! The TPM wave includes Padawan Anakin, Quinlan Vos, Ben Quadrinaros, Ratts Tyerell, Daultay Dofine, and a Naboo Royal Guard, while the ROTJ wave has Deleted Scene Luke, Leia, Lando, General Cracken, and a Mon Calamari Pilot!