Figure of the Day: Day 667
3/3/2008 9:00:50 PM | Reported by Adam

30th Anniversary Collection Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. 85196 No. 87468
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Firing rockets, removable control console
Action Feature: Fires rockets
Retail: $24.99
Availability: February 2008

Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: General Grievous' Belbullab-22 starfighter has a sleek design reminiscent of the cyborg general himself. The fighter has a lightspeed engine that makes it capable of achieving superluminal velocities without using an external docking ring. Side-mounted cannons provide effective firepower during space battles. Obi-Wan Kenobi "borrows" Grievous' fighter to escape from Utapau after his final encounter with the leader of the droid armies. (Taken from the toy's box.)

Image: Adam's toy shelves.

Commentary: Hasbro's new vehicle releases have been so few and far between since 2005 that any non-repaint is an event unto itself. Some were pretty good, some weren't all that great. Thankfully, General Grievous' Starfighter is one of Hasbro's best efforts yet, which is saying something given that they've cranked out some fairly good vehicles. This one is more old-school in its design than many others, which means that it functions as a toy well. This is really the most important thing, because anybody could have made a ship that looked adequate. The sculpting is pretty awesome-- it looks like the digital model, meaning that it has a lot of texture and multiple subtle shades of grey, gold, and bronze bringing it to life. The easiest aspect of making a vehicle is ensuring it resembles that original model, so thankfully Hasbro came through here with flying colors.

As a toy, an area in which Hasbro surprisingly falls short, this item also exceeds expectations. The interior was designed not just for thin figures, but has a removable control console to accommodate even larger characters. If you want Obi-Wan Kenobi or General Grievous to sit inside the ship, you shouldn't have too much of a problem either way. Given that Kit Fisto's Jedi Starfighter really couldn't easily fit any Kit Fisto figure, it seemed that the "toy" aspect of these action figures and toys had been lost on Hasbro. Here, we see them back in full force making a toy that not only looks nice, but also won't make a kid cry when he can't figure out why the figure the ship was designed to go with doesn't quite fit. It's simple-- open the canopy, slide the figure in, close the canopy, and presto-- a figure fits inside. There shouldn't be any complex maneuvering to make your action figures sit inside, and this time around, there isn't any. It just works the first time, the way it should always be.

For fans of weapons, this one has at last five. There are two cannons on top of the ship's engines (shown), a cannon that resembles that of an X-wing's on the bottom, and two pull-out rocket firing cannons hidden in either engine on the side. They stick in nicely, so you might have to wiggle them a little in order to get them out. These added weapons look very natural and were integrated into the ship so that they don't stick out like sore thumbs. Kudos, Hasbro!

The one weak point with this vehicle-- and that's a stretch-- is its landing gear. It's only "weak" because it wasn't immediately obvious that it didn't suck. At first, it seems that if you extend the struts under each engine, it will just sink due to gravity over time. Not so! It turns out if you pull them out just a little bit more, almost too forcefully, they will indeed snap into place and stay upright permanently. So be careful with it, as it does work properly if you're willing to give it a little bit of extra care.

Collector's Notes: A new release, it is not yet known how tough this item will be to find. It's showing up in the wild, and Hasbro likes to keep its vehicle molds in circulation for years. I'd expect to see it repackaged in The Clone Wars-style packaging come the Fall, so if you're a box variant fiend, be sure to get your 30th Anniversary edition starfighter before it's too late. Of the four all-new vehicles released since 2007, this is my favorite. The Sith Infiltrator had a few toyetic flaws, and the V-Wing Fighter, while great, had some iffy sculpting that knocked it down a peg. I'm still going over the AT-AP, but it seems that the Grievous' Starfighter is about as perfect as one can hope for out of a toy in this size for this price. Hasbro, this is your cue to give the engineers of this product a raise. Much like the vintage A-wing and the 2002 remake of the Landspeeder, it's just perfect. I can't fault it. It's possible there is some fudging of scale, but that's OK-- the end result is a great toy that's fun to play with and looks awesome in any display. Vehicle fans, take note-- this is one you absolutely must buy. If you want to vote with your dollars, make your vote count and buy the best possible toy that you can for the price. So far. Who knows how the new Homing Spider Droid and Torrent Fighter will turn out?

--Adam Pawlus

Day 667: March 3, 2008

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