For Star Wars fans and collectors, having a passionate advocate and steward like a Steve Sansweet, who also just happens to be the custodian of the largest Star Wars collection in the galaxy, is like catching lightning in a bottle. Not only does he have a collection you can never even dream of owning (let alone housing), but he can write, and write pretty well, of all the relevant events and collectibles from both a fan and collector standpoint because he bore witness to and collected most of them. Like E.F. Hutton, when Steve writes, every Star Wars fan should read.
Hasbro repaints 2009's awesome AT-ST mold, repacks it in a Vintage Collection box, and offers it up as a K-Mart exclusive. For $34.99, it's rightly priced without a figure compared to the $44 that included one with the Legacy Collection Wal-Mart exclusive. Are the superb Vintage packaging and enhanced deco enough to make you collect another Chicken Walker?
Out of all the scene specific Vader's, an "Emperor's Wrath" is probably one of the more symbolic in the saga. Perhaps this figure should have been badged as "Redemption" Vader, though it doesn't have as cool a tone. This is the third Force Lightning energized 'Wrath" Vader in the line (although "Emperor's Wrath" as a sub-moniker isn't mentioned on either card variant), the first as far back as 2000's Power of the Jedi. The Vintage Collection version includes a detachable hand, Force Lightning effects, and what's become a signature look for this scene specific figure; a transparent helmet.
Leia Organa in her glamorous Bespin gown has always been one of the princess' more ornate outfits in the saga. Her standard white color pallet was starkly disrupted during the Cloud City sequence and it was a great change of pace from a costuming standpoint. The figure renditions over the years have attempted to recreate the outer gown, from the vinyl cape of the classic vintage Kenner version to the more woven POTF2 Princess Collection that would be more appropriate as window dressing. For the 2012 Vintage Collection, you get two variant cardbacks with one paying homage to a "Lost Line" look to go with a nicely sculpted and articulated figure. But did Hasbro get the gown right?
Are these the droids you're looking for? One certainly is. We're eternal fans of the galaxy's motorized domestic help, and Hasbro recreates Kenner's classic packaging once again for this Target exclusive, which like the original, faithfully includes modern versions of R5-D4, a Death Star Droid, and an all new Power Droid…GONK!
The Target exclusive Vintage Collection Special Action Figure Sets make a return this summer with their gloriously recreated Kenner packaging. And while previous sets were mostly style over substance, the latest two include all new figures which ups the desirability and open them factor. This second Villain Set includes an all new nicely sculpted and detailed Snaggletooth that you'll definitely want to add to your collection of boozin alien barflies.
The commander of the elite Senate Guard transitions into Phase II armor and penalized with less leg articulation, but Commander Fox looks absolutely smashing in his Target employee colorway. And while this figure could easily be that retailer's exclusive, he's available in general circulation as the 18th Clone Wars assortment figure for 2012. That is if you can find him.
The brave,noble, chin pondering Jedi Knight gets an update in 2012 that is an overall improvement in terms of sculpt, but loses some articulation in the process. Hasbro must not have been entirely happy with the version from 2011 and decided to issue a new, sterner looking, head sculpt a year later. Obi-Wan even comes with a climbing pack for some play value.
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?
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.